Tag Archives: video game

Swimming with the 8-bit fishes

30 May

Some days I swear my blog should be changed to “Geek events in DC and all things Super Mario Bros”.  Take, for example, my need to show you all this epic Mario Fish Tank.

I happen to love fish.  Add Mario to an aquarium, and this is pretty win.  I’d want a ton of algae eaters in this tank so they could chill on the ? blocks.  And the bubbles from the warp tube is also super epic.  Only thing I’d change is to make the background higher than world 1-1.  This thing is totally higher up than just the first stage!

[via Geekologie]

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How Bitcoins are related to AIDS Research

27 Sep
This is yet another reason why geeks will rule the world.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, gamers have solved the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like retrovirus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.   With this solution, researchers can develop drugs that target areas of these enzymes (i.e. ‘finding a cure’ for AIDS).   Said scientists’ computers were unable to determine the structures of the amino acids that made up this disease’s enzymes, as computers’ spatial reasoning skills are not yet as advanced as humans’.    (via the Daily What)
 
In this case, people were asked to help solve the retrovirus enzyme’s structure through playing a  game called Foldit, where gamers competed to determine the amino acid structures in a puzzle-like approach. “To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks,” SMH reported.  The gamers won this game so quickly that they were given actual scientific citation credit in the research paper.   This may have been ‘the first time’ that gamers have solved a ‘long-standing scientific problem’. It makes me proud to be a geek, and I’m sure we’ll see more research like this in the future.
 
Harnessing the power of geeks reminds me of the old screen-saver program, SETI@Home.  Have any of you used it?  The goal was to find alien life by using distributed computing to analyze of packages of radio noise collected from space.  This program was an early attempt by the University of California at Berkley, and was renowned for being able to utilize downtime on computers.  I don’t think it ever worked, and it sounds like the program might be shut down this year.  However, I do remember that I got a digital certificate for my work, and I was able to ‘donate’ my computer’s computation hours toward my High School’s total.  I don’t know if it got my school any prizes or recognition for the effort, but it was worth a try.
District Geek

But I got a shiny certificate!

I believe there are screen-savers that still work on solving problems like finding a cure for cancer and calculating prime numbers to the bazillionth digit.  I’m not sure how much effort is going toward such work nowadays, as it seems computation power can yield profit, as shown through Bitcoin mining.  Called the future ‘digital currency’ by some, Bitcoins are a new form of digital cash that can be used to purchase goods or services.  They can also exchanged with other real and virtual currencies, such as the US dollar and the Linden Dollar.  Bitcoins can -only- be generated through winning a race to process blocks of ‘Bitcoin transaction logs’ which verify Bitcoin purchase, ultimately rewarding the processor with 50 of their own Bitcoins for the effort.  Unlike Seti@Home, these packages are so complex that it would take years for a home PC to solve one block.  Instead, massive computer farms are dedicated to ‘mining’ Bitcoins.
Ok, it’s an 8-bit coin

I italicized -only- above because this process for ‘minting’ Bitcoins is under scrutiny; there is no centralized authority for this currency.  Instead, Bitcoin is underwritten by a peer-to-peer network akin to file-sharing services like BitTorrent, with certificates and public-key encryptions that are signed during transactions ‘to prevent duplication’.  Those blocks of transaction logs that are used to generate more Bitcoins are the only way to verify if the Bitcoins themselves are forged. (Thanks to the Economist.) However, Bitcoin currency exchange systems can be hacked, and many are unsure whether it is worth investing in.  Do any of you mine or trade Bitcoins?  If so, how has the experience been?

UPDATE 9/29: Thank you to all those that commented on this post.  My research on Bitcoins security had holes, and I hope that the edits to the above section correctly address these issues.  Also, now you can buy ‘real Bitcoins‘!

 Tangential economic musing aside, the progress made by gamers and tech geeks alike is impressive.   We’re kicking ass and solving the world’s problems, one win at a time.  Game on.

 

Kawaii Cubes

17 May

I found an epic video from Kotaku on a wicked Minecraft setup made by team Oz Workshop.  This thing is massive, and includes not just buildings but entire towns from Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films!  If you have not seen all the Studio Ghibli films, you really should.  Each one has its own oddities (read: some have crack as a key ingredient), but they also have charm and confer poignant lessons that can leave your soul satisfied.

I especially adore Laputa: Castle in the Sky, whose interior appears to be as creepy and massive as the movie was (might there be old freaky robots on that thing?).   Also, the interior of Howl’s Moving Castle is so perfect! I half want to see the fire talk to me! ❤

Such a cute fire demon! (via and everything nice)

Plus, there’s a catbus and Totoro too! Squee!  Minecraft’s infinite potential shines through in this one.  Way to go, Oz Workshop!

Inheritance

13 May

I was with my family in Buffalo for Mother’s day weekend, and while there I was able to snag the Nintendo 64 that my sisters and I played during the last few years I was at home with them.

(via Wikipedia)

I decided it was safer to transport it home by carrying it onto the plane, so I checked my clothes and took the N64 with me through airport security.  I have had my share of bad dealings with the TSA, but the lines in Buffalo International Airport were short, and I had nothing negative to say about it.  On the positive side, when my precious cargo was sent through the x-ray machine, the guy that ran the machine stopped the N64 bin once it was through and leaned over to inspect it.  A massive grin broke out on his face.  “Nintendo 64!” he laughed.  “Old school!”

I proudly smiled and said, “Yep, my Inheritance!”

TSA X-ray guy nodded and sent the N64 bin through to me.  “Rock on,” he said.  I thanked him and wished him a nice day.

That likely was the best TSA experience for me in a long while, and there were no complications getting the console home.  Now I have my 8-bit NES and the N-64 at my house – yay!

Then, when I got home, I saw this on spaceghetto.st (VERY NSFW and Mature/R rated).  Gamer Picture Guy, you got me.  I don’t own all these systems yet. But I’ve played on most of them!  Partial credit?

Tablet Fever!

9 May

I just got my iPad2, and will be sure to post a review on it once I play around a bit.  I’ll be posting reviews of apps, software, and accessories as I purchase them, too!  In the meantime, I’ll share this article I saw on gamesradar:

“Sony unveiled the two ‘PlayStation Certified’ tablets at an event in Japan last night. Running on Android 3.0, both tablets are scheduled for release in the fall of this year. The first device, codenamed S1, features a 9.4-inch display, while the other hosts two separate 5.5 inch displays and a closeable clamshell formfactor. The S1 is designed for home use, while the S2 is for more mobile-minded consumers.  Both tablets will receive what Sony calls “high quality first generation PlayStation titles”,” which gamesradar believes will be just PS1 games.I am a fan of PS1 mainly because it’s the one I grew up on.  I only played a few PS2 titles, so I think the old titles would be ok with me, but for the mainstream audience, it seems like Sony needs to be more forward-thinking and begin to make new titles for these tablets, or at least find a compatible clone of PS3 titles for these tablets.  The Nintendo DS, for example, has a massive games market and online content which make it thrive as a portable gaming platform.

There are an abundance of tablets on the market now, and it will be very interesting to see what brands will make it out of this decade intact.  I opted for the iPad mainly because of the app store and the ability to use it with the apps as an art tablet (although there is no pressure sensitivity yet).  I had a mac as my first laptop, and I loved it, but it is getting to be obsolete and needed to be replaced.  I have my eye on the ThinkGeek bluetooth keyboard, so that this new and trendy tablet will also double as a travel laptop for me.

Do you have a tablet? What are its pros and cons? Which are the forerunners right now?