Archive for February, 2008

Coming Soon: The Bank Job

February 29th, 2008

The story of one of the greatest heists of all time.

I love a good heist movie, and this one looks like it has some fun conspiracy theory stuff added on over the top of it all.


2007 Game in Review

February 28th, 2008

For some reason, I played quite a few computer games in 2007.

Aftering buying a Wii in 2006, I got an XBox360 and PS3 to go along with it. And a few games as well.

Over the next few months I’ll do a series of game reviews (and there’s likely to be a fair gap before the last few, as I haven’t finished them yet…). I’m looking at games released in Australia in 2007. I’ll also review things that come out in 2008 as I play them.

Once I’ve covered them all, then I’ll announce gaming’s most prestigious prize: The Exasperated Calculator Game of the Year.

The shortlist (aka ‘Games I played’) for 2007 includes:

  • Bioshock (Xbox 360)

  • Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

  • Portal (Xbox 360)

  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

  • Uncharted (PS3)

  • World in Conflict (PC)

I’ll try and review all of these by the end of 2008.


Coming Soon: Superhero Movie

February 28th, 2008

The latest take-off from the makers of Scary Movie and The Naked Gun.

If you have any thought that it’s possible for these people to be funny, watch the trailer. It’s one of the most horrible things I have ever seen.


The most distracting table ever

February 28th, 2008

A table with built in marble runs.

Please buy me one of these, work. I promise I won’t be completely distracted by shiny marbles all day long.


Cultural differences

February 28th, 2008

How different cultures around the world count money.

Someone once demonstrated that differences in the way people rolled cigarettes were driven by tax policy. It’s probably the same here.


Innovation in teaching

February 28th, 2008

Using lies to engage students

I think this is a good idea. But maybe I’m lying…


Making Garfield funny again

February 28th, 2008

The comic Garfield with everyone but the character Jon deleted

It’s incredible, really. It totally transforms the comic, but it still works.


Hands up if you can see the problem

February 27th, 2008

Net Neutrality is one of the biggest hot button issues among the nerd illuminati of the Internet right now. The simple question is whether all internet bits are equal, or should ISPs be allowed to privilege some bits (from their customers or people who pay them) over others.

There are some side issues here, but a big part of it is peer to peer. Which brings me to this story from today that online video distributors can save a lot of money by using peer to peer protocols

In the example given, Democracy Now saves $1,000 (of a $1,200 bill) by using BitTorrent. My question is – who ends up paying that $1,000? If we assume (and it’s not a great assumption) that everything is competitive, then that $1,200 represents the cost of pushing that many bits to end users. If it goes down, then it must mean that $1,000 worth of bits are now being pushed by someone else – in this case, the upstream bandwidth from the users.

So who pays?

At first, probably the ISP of the end users. Their bandwidth out gets used up, costing them money.

They’ll pretty quickly pass that on to the end users. Which means they’ll increase prices for everyone.

So what’s DemocracyNow really doing here? They’re pushing the costs of distributing from themselves on to end users. Which, due to the way pricing is set up, will be borne equally by everyone, regardless of how interested they are. In fact, people who have no interest at all in the video probably end up paying for this too.

I’m not arguing against net neutrality – there are other reasons why it’s a good idea. This is probably more an example of how the pricing for internet access is set up wrong – flat rate charges create strange incentives across the Internet, not just for the end users.

But that $1,000 saving? That doesn’t exist. You’re just making other people pay it.


Coming Soon: Married Life

February 27th, 2008

A dark comedy about a man who decides that in order to stop his wife suffering when he leaves her, she has to die.

Looks beautifully acted, should be quite good.


The Silence of the Bears

February 27th, 2008

What happens if you put a Gummi Bear into molten potassium chlorate.

Hannibal Lecter would be proud.