the Evil Network

Not necessarily evil, but not necessarily good...

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Friday, June 24, 2005

The Doses, they are truly Lethal...

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:59 AM
ComicsNot to be outdone by Tauhid's resurrection, "old-school" webcomics favorite Lethal Doses, by Lemuel "Hot Soup" Pew, comes back from an even longer hiatus.

Of course, Soup hasn't been a complete stranger to the online comic world, having abandoned LD in favor of the more dramatic storylines of Winter, which also went on hiatus sometime last summer.

So, in other words, welcome back, Soup! We missed you and hope to see you stick around for a while! Maybe ArshrAAm and I can have yet another cameo? We'll talk. =D

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Spells & Whistles Returns

Posted by Nathaniel at 11:49 AM
ComicsTauhid Bondia's Spells & Whistles is back online, under a new banner and sporting a much more intricate look. The art appears tighter and more detailed, and it is also being referred to as "Spells & Whistles: 2nd Edition". Tauhid promises that the comic has changed, but for the better:
First of all this is no longer a gag-a-day (gag-a-week?) strip. Infact it can't rightly be described as a strip at all. What I'm doing is creating a story here. Fans of the old S&W know that it wasn't real heavy on plot and that humor was the driving force behind things. The reverse is true now though not the extreme reverse. The humor is still there. I like to laugh and I like to try and make others laugh so I'll not be loosing that aspect anytime soon. However the story that is told will be a large part of the thing now. Try and think of S&W 2E as a funny story where S&W was a oneliner.
You may remember that Spells & Whistles was an Evil Network Comics Spotlight a while back, and one that I was very sad to see disappear. I am definitely looking forward to this new story.

Possible Nintendo Revolution Controller Pics?

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:44 AM
GamingI posted at Evil Avatar (my home away from home) an alleged scan from a Japanese magazine depicting what appears to be the new Nintendo Revolution much talked-about 'revolutionary' controller design. Possibly fake--ok, highly likely fake--but interesting concept, nonetheless.

Original image was killed but, fortuitously, a mirror was quickly provided by a quick-thinking EvAv member.

Enjoy the speculation!

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:25 AM
Tomorrow afternoon, I board a plane that will careen tenuously up over the dreaded mountains of Guadalajara and carry me safely tucked away in its belly towards my beloved America. Here, in no particular order, I present my list of things that I look forward to seeing upon my return to civilization.
  • My family
  • My friends
  • Cartoons that aren't dubbed in Spanish
  • A US dollar
  • People who don't have black hair
  • Mountain Dew and/or Pepsi
  • My GameCube
  • Batman Begins
  • Driving
  • Signs written in English
  • Signs that denote America's persistence in clinging to an outdated form of units of measure (God bless you, MPH)
  • Rain
I'll check back in when I reach my homeland. Adios.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Keepin' it gangsta in San Andreas

Posted by ArshrAAm at 11:14 AM
Gaming I recently acquired a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the PC. It's become a new favorite of mine. The soundtrack is great, featuring some classic tunes you might recognize from the lame pseudo-arts of remixing and covering. The scenery is beautiful and amusing. The voice acting and script is pretty solid. The cast features such talents as Samuel L. Jackson, Ice T, David Cross, Wil Wheaton and James Woods. The control is decent.

I don't have too many complaints about the game. The user track station sometimes knocks out the SFX, but that should be fixed by just entering a building. Hand-to-hand combat is a bit of a pain, as you can easily lose targetting of the opponent. Overall, it's a very enjoyable experience with plenty of action to keep you busy for a long time.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's ringed with mountains so you can't escape...

Posted by Nathaniel at 7:29 PM
So, today marks my fifth day in Mexico. As much as I have really gotten to like Guadalajara (despite the fact that it is an entity approximately one thousand times more enormous than anything a simple Iowa boy should EVER be let loose within), I'm ready to go home. I'm counting down the hours until I get on the plane that will take me back to my native soil. Currently: 116. Don't make me count the minutes.

I've ventured out at least a little bit this weekend. I took a walk down to the Plaza del Sol, which is a sort of a mall they have here, I believe. There was a Subway there, and a Dairy Queen, the only places I felt I could safely walk into and order from a visual menu. "Numbero Siete" I spoke elegently and confidently in the Subway. The nice man behind the counter mistook my meager attempt at navigating his language as "fluence", and proceeded to dispense incoherent jibberish in my direction in a 20-second repeating loop. I smiled and said "Si", which he responded to by throwing my meatball sub to the floor, kicking it wildly, pouring on onions, tabasco sauce, and a substance I'm probably thankful I couldn't recognize, before handing it to me. I evidently managed to order "slightly mangled and disturbing food". I thanked him and paid him an inordinate amount of pesos. The sad part is that the same thing happens to me regularly in Subway in the US, as well.

More nonsensical adventures in Mexico later! Same Bat-channel, likely a slightly different Bat-time.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

If only we had an office in Cancun...

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:53 AM
I haven't posted for a few days, and I realize this, and I apologize. The truth is, recently my mind has been elsewhere. Namely, Mexico (which is where the rest of me happens to be, as well).

Now, consider this: I have lived a very secluded life. I currently reside in central Iowa, and I have been as far north as Leech Lake in northern Minnesota, as far south as Bolivar, Missouri. My eastern-most reach was a job interview in Clinton, Iowa (nestled away in the "pig-snout" of the state). And to complete the panorama, my furthest venture west was Omaha, Nebraska.

That's it. That's the length, width, height and depth of my traveling experience. Yet, here I am. In Mexico. More appropriately, I'm in the city of Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, in the fine state of Jalisco. Find it on a map.

How did this happen? Well, I have really no earthly idea. We just finished a huge project here in the US, but this is only step 1. Now we need to do the same thing in our other worldwide offices. A Europe implementation is under way, with one to follow in our Singapore office. And me? I volunteered for Mexico. Why Mexico? Once again, I have really no earthly idea. Well, maybe I do.

I suppose more than anything, I want more experience managing projects. So, this is an opportunity in one way because this project is mine to control (and fail, but hey, that comes with the credentials). And I knew that if I had an opportunity to travel anywhere, I should take it, because, honestly, I'm lived a sheltered life, and I really need to experience some culture shock to get my focus beyond my little, tiny, comfy, cozy central Iowa universe.

But Mexico? Yeah. My head is spinning, too.

And to make the culture shock that much more complicated, Guadalajara/Zapopan is roughly 4,832 times the size of Des Moines. There's about 6 million people here, and that much is obvious, because the streets are basically lined with people. It's insane.

And don't get me started on the language barriers. Yo habla un poco Espanol, and it's getting only marginally better. Before my next trip, I need to unpack a couple of linguistics books from college and get reaquianted with language analysis.

Oh, yeah - another trip. Did I mention that this is just one of four? All told, before the end of the summer, I will have spent a total of 33 days here in Mexico.

I'll talk more later, but communication will be sparse. Not for lack of access, mind you, Mexico is thankfully just as wired as the US as far as I can tell. No, it's mainly due to the fact that in order to keep from going insane and getting extremely homesick, I'm completely pouring myself into the work I need to do here. So, expect the usual non-existence from me, but maybe the others can make up for the Setebos-neglect you will be experiencing for the next few days.

Later on, I'll talk about my very first flight. Wow.....

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by Nathaniel at 2:18 PM
My wife gets the Pottery Barn Kids catalog every month. A few months ago she was flipping through it and came across an entertainment center that had a GameCube sitting on the shelf for that "trendy" touch. She thought I'd be interested, so she showed it to me. Ever since then, I've picked up the catalog every month and flipped through it to see what video game system they've decided to feature. I've seen a GameCube, a PS2, an Xbox, and a Game Boy Advance.

This month's issue features something extraordinary that I thought I'd post. See if you can spot the problem with letting clueless people dress up your photo shoot.

For the Love of Pseudo-Science!

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:31 AM
UPDATE: No sooner did I mention 'starshift drive' than a Forumopolis thread appeared piecing it apart. Yes, my friends: we are geeks. Hear us whine...

You know what pseudo-science is, right? It's the make-believe scientific principles that science fiction authors utilize in order to justify the dependable operation of massive space-traversing star vessels and to provide a logical catalyst for some thought-provoking ideals. Some of the best pseudo-science created during the golden age of science fiction has actually brought about real inventions and discoveries within recent decades.

Within the confines of Kris Straub's Starshift Crisis, he embeds the principles of "starshift drive," a pseudo-science idea of instantaneous space travel using the theory of many-worlds quantum mechanics as its foundation. Truly remarkable. The best part of the explanation has to be the last line: Any minor differences between universes are accepted as the only drawback to starshift drive use. With a 99.9999999% accuracy standard, one has to wonder what qualifies as a "minor difference."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Infinite Canvas Made Easy: the Tarquin Engine

Posted by Nathaniel at 2:42 PM
Are you thinking of creating a webcomic? Are you considering that avant-gardé style du jour, infinite canvas? Might I suggest instead you simply stab out your eyes with a sharp stick? No? Well, then, you may be pleased to know that new media guru, Daniel Goodbrey--in association with Webcomics Nation--has released The Tarquin Engine. From the site:
The Tarquin Engine is a tool for the creation and delivery of zooming infinite canvas webcomics. In it's current form it exists as a series of Action Script routines within a Macromedia Flash FLA file. Users can customise this template file through a simple drag-and-drop process in order to create their own original infinite canvas narrative.
In no time at all, with very little prior knowledge of the intricacies of Flash, you too may be creating monstrocities such as this on your very own computer, you no-talent hack!

In all honesty, I love it when people put together simple-to-use tools and resources that make it easier for others to be able to create what they love. Free and simple blogging tools comes to mind, just as an on-hand example. While I thoroughly despise the constant clicking, re-centering, and seemingly endless scrolling, scrolling, scrolling inherently involved with infinite canvas, I appreciate that others are doing all the labor in order to make these tools available for the general webcomic public to enjoy. I just hope that not too many of my favorite cartoonists decide to jump ship and take this opportunity to convert their formats to the dreaded infinite canvas.

Sorry--I meant fucking infinite canvas.


Posted by Dacquin at 8:26 AM
I come back from the depths of my PS2 and got online only to be sucked into an online game called Poom. The objective is to keep the ball in the air for as long as you can. How can simple games like this be so addicting?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Video Game Violence Debate

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:46 PM
1up has an interesting article up that is basically a side-by-side interview with anti-violent video game lawyer, Jack Thompson and professor of comparative media studies at MIT, Henry Jenkins. Henry defends the value of video games as an educational entertainment source, while Jack mainly discusses how he believes violent video games will someday lead to the ultimate and untimely destruction of the universe. My favorite quote from Jack:
Eventually there is going to be a Columbine to the factor of 10, a slaughter in a school by a crazed gamer. And when that happens, when America figures out these kids were filled up with virtual violence, Congress may ban the games altogether. You wise guys who think you're so clever about saying what kids ought to play and then putting [Mature] games in the hands of those kids, you will wish you listened to me.
Definitely worth a look-see for anyone interested in either side of the debate.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

PSP UMD: this is a joke, right?

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:34 AM
By now, everyone is already well aware of Sony's plans to release movies in their proprietary UMD (Universal Media Disc) format for their PSP portable "media" device. We all scoffed, as well we should. But I never, ever allowed myself for even a second to believe that it might prove successful.

All of the UMDs being released are priced between $15 and $30 dollars each. That's $15 to $30 for a movie in a smaller format than a DVD, playable only on a PSP, and without the extra features such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, director interviews, deleted scenes, and the other deliverables that make DVDs well worth their $15 to $30 price tag.

So who would buy a UMD? Obviously, only PSP owners would, and likely only a minority of those tech-savvy gadgeteers would be interested in shelling out that much cash for a seriously inadequate piece of technology. But this is unbelievable:
Retail prices for these films generally range from $14.99 up to $29.99 (you find them in most stores in the videogame isle). As of the time of this writing, nearly 20 films are available on UMD for PSP, with more than 100 additional titles announced (or soon to be announced) for release later in the year. Two of the currently available titles, Sony's House of Flying Daggers and Resident Evil: Apocalypse (both released on 4/19) have already sold more than 100,000 copies each - a surprising number given that it took some nine months for the first DVD title to reach the same milestone (for the record, it was Sony's Air Force One).
Unbelievable. If you are one of the 200,000 fools that bought one of these castrated farces of technology, please contact us! We'd love to talk to you about a substantial amount of money we're holding in a Nigerian bank account that we need to transfer to the US.

The rest of us, we're going to leave Sony to their ridiculous pipe dream and go play some games and watch some DVDs.

We've moved!