Lifestyle and Emerging Technology In Plain English

Tag Archives: Entertainment

It’d better be…

Godspeed Commander Hadfield

Canadian astronaut, space enthusiast, educator, social media sensation, and now entertainer? Yep, those are just a sampling of the roles that Commander Chris Hadifeld fulfilled during his 146 day posting to the ISS as Station Commander.

His Soyuz capsule returns to Earth tomorrow evening, but as a last surprise, the Commander released this video reworking of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Enjoy, and thank you Commander Hadfield! Have a safe journey home!

I’m quite enjoying Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol!

Yep, I’m having fun with Ace Patrol, as you may have seen in my previous post, it’s a light single/multiplayer, World War I strategic combat game. Airfights consist of up to 8 combatants, four per side, and vary depending on aircraft, pilot skill, and game difficulty level.

Ace Patrol is currently only available for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone in the Canada iTunes store, during this pre-launch period, but it will be available worldwide on May 9th.

I’m having a blast, check out the ingame images below:

Colour me impressed — using iTunes to stream music to multiple devices simultaneously

Back in 2006 as part of a post on a new iPod Nano, I vented on how broken iTunes was for my workflow. Well, time has passed and iTunes has improved, but it’s still not as intuitive or simple for me and my centralized music setup:

  • File server storing my music
  • Remote playback systems in various rooms (Mac mini, Apple TVs, Airport Express, etc)
  • Remote control of said music stream

My big beef then was organization. iTunes was a pain and wanted to sync/manage my music on my behalf in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Well, that’s since been fixed.

My next beef was with the lack of sound synchronization across multiple devices as you play back. For example, if I wanted to play a song back on my Mac Mini, and have it stream *as well* to my kitchen Apple TV, and my desktop computer simultaneously.

Previously, to achieve this I had to run a 3rd party application set on all my devices — a cool little app called Airfoil. Basically you had the Airfoil ‘broadcast’ app running on whatever computer was actually doing the playing. Airfoil grabbed the audio stream and sent it out to all the devices that it recognized either via the Airfoil Speakers app, or an Airplay device, or an iPhone / iPad. A minor pain, but it worked.

Back to iTunes

So, this morning I discovered something new in iTunes, you can now stream music to multiple devices simultaneously. Yes, this may have appeared in a previous iTunes update but I hadn’t noticed it — so it’s new to me 😉

One of the neat things is that the Apple Remote app — a free iOS app to control Apple TV or iTunes over a network — also passes through the multiple device playback feature. This means you can sit on your couch and control the sound on any of your playback devices through out your home.

Second neat thing

iTunes Airplay connects to the Airfoil Speakers app running on my Windows PC, letting me add my home office desktop into the sound mix.

Yes, it’s pretty cool to have music streaming through the entire house, in sync, as you walk from room to room.

 

 

Get your Kerbal on! Update .18 released.

The latest, and possibly greatest, update to Kerbal Space Program has just been released, featuring:

* Docking
Connecting vessels together is now possible! Build space stations, surface bases, or assemble huge spacecraft in orbit.

* Flight Planning
Getting to other planets and moons just got a lot simpler. Place maneuvers along your orbit to create a flight plan, and then just follow the guidance cues. No need to figure out angles or hold a protractor to the screen!

* Action Groups
A new way to control your ships! Instead of having everything done through staging, you can assign parts to groups that are controlled with a keypress. Set up Abort systems, or rig up complex contraptions. Or just let the game handle it automatically.

* New Resources System
Watching fuel drain has never been so much fun! New resources allow for completely new possibilities. Energy, Fuel, Oxidizer and other resources now flow through your ship. Manage them as you fly, and pump them across parts.

* Music
KSP now has its own soundtrack, featuring many cool tracks, from smooth jazzy tunes to build ships by, to wondrous spacy themes as you explore the solar system.

* Performance Tweaks
New terrain optimizations and a system to prevent lag by slowing the simulation make for a significant improvement in performance.

Check out the video below to see some of these new enhancements in action!

A book to tide me over until the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend

Last weekend was great fun as @tturbo and the rest of our years-old Guild Wars group jumped in to the most recent Beta Weekend event.

But now the event is done, and the wait continues for the *next* event, and I’m finding I need more of the world to explore.

Behold!
So ‘a man has said’ that there are these Guild Wars 2 novels out there, which means I must check them out. And I did by downloading the first (from iTunes): Guild Wars: The Ghosts of Ascalon.

The Story So Far…
Actually it’s pretty good. Standard adventuring fare, but being published in 2010, brings many of the game improvements into the story-line. Guards have rifles. The world map has changed. They fear Dragons again.

I’m hoping we’ll see the introduction of the Engineer :)

Niggles.
Ok, it’s an eBook, downloaded from iTunes. Which means it’s got DRM. For me that’s a problem as I like to read on different devices. I prefer my Kobo, but occasionally will read on my iPad or iPhone, depending on the context.

Fortunately there’s a cool app that will easily remove iTunes DRM from most iTunes eBooks — and it worked like a charm — and I’m reading happily on my Kobo, slowly. I don’t want to rush through the book and *still* have to wait a while for the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend :)