Zombies ate my Attention

October 28, 2007

Did I mention I love zombie movies?

Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, 28 Weeks Later and so many others provide such delightfully bloody movie nights and one starts to wonder… so many movies have been made about apocaliptic zombie infestations that such an event might actually come to pass. I mean, just think about it. In the meantime, some useful tips for survival.

How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse

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In Austria, as in many other places in the world, a trip to the supermarket can become quite fun. Well for me it’s always kind of fun: I ride my old school red Puch bicycle all the way to the supermarket and have a lot of fun trying to learn (and pronounce) the names of products. But today as soon as I entered the Eurospar supermarket I was confronted – to both my surprise and delight – with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not one, but actually a couple of hundreds of him.

arnold_apfel.jpg

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ShameStation was one of the funniest demos presented at this year’s PerGames.

In this game, the player controls another human being as if in a first-person shooter. The “avatar” obeys voice commands output by the vision-impairing helmet, which are sent by the “station” itself as the player manipulates an arcade-style joystick & button interface. The player experiences the world as seen from the perspective of the “avatar”, thanks to a camera set up in the helmet.

Obviously I would never pass the opportunity to try this (and make an ass of myself in front of the pervasive gaming experts whose work I follow) and so, as an “avatar”, I subjected myself to the sadistic whims of my friend Christina Heidecker.

I just wish they would have used a big friggin’ watergun to go with the cool helmet. For instance, a Super Soaker Hydroblitz would have done a good job (and made a lot of pervasive gaming reasearchers angry):

 

PS: Hey by the way, this soaker is awesome, it looks like something out of a futuristic FPS (Doom 3 comes to mind)! If someone is wondering about a Christmas present for me, this might just be it. Although with the temperatures I get here in Austria I might have to fill it up with hot tea.

Taken from Wired:

“Alex Faaborg, Mozilla’s interface designer, posted a note on his blog yesterday about the divergent themes coming for Firefox 3. Echoing the sentiments of many a Mac Firefox user, Faaborg writes, “personally I think a unified cross platform UI results in applications that at best feel foreign everywhere, and at worst don’t even feel like real applications.””

Interesting. That’s the same reason why some Java applications look so bad, I guess 🙂

Don’t have a cow, man!

October 9, 2007

Last Saturday night instead of doing what 26-year-olds normally do (meaning getting drunk and making an ass of myself attempting to dance to electro in some artsy bar) I joined a flatmate in visiting several of Linz’s museums in the Long Night of Museums – where you pay 10€ and get to see all museums you can/want/have patience to.

The last one we visited was the Schlossmuseum (at the Linz castle). The permanenet exhibition sure has a lot to look at, including medieval armor and huge two-handed swords. These were awesome, ever since my times as a D&D player I wanted to actually see what a two-handed sword looked like and I must say I sure wouldn’t be the right guy to carry one, let alone wield it in battle without unintentionally hurting my allies or myself*.

Besides this permanent exhibition there was also one about chocolate. It is rather cruel… almost as an exhibition about sex. Anyway, at least we could try some qualities. And I made friends with that great Austrian icon of chocolate: the Milka cow.

Me and the Milka cow

* The movie Zatoichi (2004) comes to mind… at least two times in the movie you see what happens when a n00b tries so much to draw a katana sword (LOL, the spell correction at WordPress doesn’t know the word “katana”… maybe it should see the movie sometime).

Flashback: PerGames 2007

October 5, 2007

I was more than happy to attend the PerGames conference this year in Salzburg, together with Christina Heidecker who is co-author of the Noon installation. There’s nothing like hearing from the people who inspire and inform my current research work.

I was mostly found attending the workshops, where among other things I came to learn some about some great events (read “pervasive games”) that have been staged by the Interaction Laboratory of the Swedish Institute of Computer Science.

Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to play the Node Game, using a wearable RFID reader device that bears some similarities to the prototype I presented at the conference. Here’s a pic of me and my teammates, available at the PerGames 2007 page.