Do you like drawing? Would you like your art to stick out from the paper and become alive?
3Doodler seems to be the most amazing concept for a drawing tool yet. WoobleWorks is behind the hand-held 3D-printer which allows you to draw 3D drawings, in mid air.
The product is still in development, but through their Kickstarter campaign you can join legions of others to support their work and ensure you'll get your own 3Doodler before everyone else.
The campaign can be found here: http://kck.st/Yt7maS
I coughed up 109 dollars last week to get my own pen by December, and just since then the number of pledges have increased by 3000 and more than $200k. If you think this seems like an interesting concept to you, you should check out he campaign and the Youtube-videos they have created.
Shroud of anonymity
I just changed my profile picture. It's the first time in here that I use a picture as an avatar that's actually and identifiably of me, and not some image I found on Google.
I was hesitant about it.
First of all I'm not one for changing profile photo very often. I've been on Gamereactor (Norway) for almost six years now, and I've had five different profile photos. I get attached to them. They're me online, and how I present myself to the world. And people immediately recognize me in the forum by my avatar without having to check my nickname, just like I do with others. And I don't see the point in having a new profile photo all the time.
Secondly, I'm fond of the anonymity a generic photo from Google Images lends me. Nobody knows how I look or who I am IRL. I can make my own, separate persona online. I don't have to be me. I can be creative in my writing and in how I formulate myself.
So why did I change to a photo of me this time? Well. With the new design to this page I thought I was up for a change. And as quite a few users in the Norwegian forums already know who I am from being featured both online and in the magazine, there was hardly a point anymore. So I decided to try it out.
But I'm not shredding my shroud of anonymity lightly. I think in many cases it's important to put a wall between your online persona and your IRL self, especially when you're younger and more vulnerable. Any mistakes you make just affects your fake persona, and doesn't haunt you IRL. And there are people out there who might not have good intentions towards young, vulnerable people.
How about you? What's your perspective on your online anonymity? Or do you openly go by your real name and real face all over online?
Vorfreude: Rome 2
The game that I am most keenly anticipating at the moment is Total War: Rome II.
While I have yet to acquire quite a few of this falls major titles and there are several more exciting titles coming out before October next year, when Rome II is scheduled for release, my attention is squarely focused on this one game. There are games that I look really forward to trying, like Assassin's Creed 3, but my most devoted interest is for Rome only.
I am usually not a sucker for the PR bursts of gaming companies. Trailers, teasers, screenshots. I avoid them, or I take a merely polite interest in them. However, there is one game about which I have read all about till now. Rome II.
I loved Rome when I first played it, and I have been a fan of the series ever since. For all its faults the series is still brilliant. Rome was the game that showed me the strategy genre. Arguable it was the game that made me a gamer. Before Rome I was only a casual gamer at best. Rome stole hundreds of hours of my time, and I stole myself time to play it. Right after school, before starting on homework. All the way until I heard my mum enter through the garage, every day, and then I had to hurry up and shut down the game and the computer to hide my naughty behavior.
When they are now making a new Rome I'm sold. I've read most of what's been leaked of information about the game they are making. Latest of all are the factions of the game that they have started to reveal, along with hints about the size of the new campaign map. I can't wait to get my hands on this game.
Assassin's Creed 1
I was in a bookstore yesterday, and I came over the line-up of the entire Assassin's Creed book series. So I had to buy one of the books to check out. I won't be able to read the book until at least after my exams, however once I've read my purchase, which was the first in the series, I will share with you my opinions.
Maybe you've read the books already, or tried to?
You can hardly find a person that could care less than me whenever there's a sale somewhere in some shop. But there is one type of sale I do care about. When there is a sale on games.
Steam has just kicked off their Autumn Sale and I've already bought four titles for the neat sum of 32.81 Euros. I've got mixed feeling about this as I still have titles on my Steam account from Steam's last big sale that I haven't even installed or played yet. But these are once more good offers, on good games, that I've wanted for a long time. So what could I do, other than bite the grass. It is in fact greener.
Worst of all however is the fact that I won't be able to try out any of these titles for a few weeks, for fear of diving in and not surfacing again before the exams take me by surprise.
Do you ever buy games on sale, primarily because they're on sale?
Have you tried Desert Bus?
You may have heard about this game. It's possibly the most meaningless game ever.
Desert Bus is about driving a bus at 45 mph from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada, and back again. In real time. One trip takes hours, and gives you one point.
Coincidentally I remembered this game a couple weeks ago and I googled it. Only to find out that right now, a charity is going on where they play the game Live to collect money for a charity, Child's Play.
If countless hours of singularity is your cup of tea, check out the live video of the event. You can also check out the web page for their charity. http://desertbus.org/
The game can be played in your browser on your computer. Or buy the game on your Iphone or Android phone, where the proceeds go to Child's Play.
If you're the type that likes to drive legally and follow traffic rules when playing GTA sometimes, then this might be the game for you.
Obama - four more years
All the numbers all but show that Obama has definitely been re-elected across the pond. He hasn't yet come out on the podium to receive the celebration, but there's little chance for Romney to win now. It's a relief not to see Bishop Romney get elected.
It was a rather boring show to follow the polls come in. I watched it on both PBS and national television here in Norway, as well as following the chatter on Twitter.
Even if I didn't get too excited about the result I am happy about the outcome. Now I'm going to see if I can catch Obama's speech, and then I'll catch a couple hours of sleep.
Did you watch the election, and what did you think of the result?
..the fifth of November. The gunpowder treason and plot...
It is bonfire night today, and on this occasion I have ordered myself a Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta. However it has not yet arrived.
To mark this day I have decided to watch the movie V for Vendetta and to read about Guy Fawkes. As there is no tradition for celebrating this day here in Norway there is not much else to do. I don't have the space or the materials to fire up a bonfire on my own.
Do you celebrate Guy Fawkes Night where you are and have you planned something special for tonight?
The other day, my ways crossed the path of a plainclothes police patrol, or maybe their ways crossed mine. This is not so extraordinary in and of itself, but it's not an every day occurance either. In fact it was the first time I have been questioned by the police. And I didn't even act suspiciously - as far as I know.
I was on my way home from festivities. Some former classmates from the International Baccalaureate at secondary school whose paths has led us to NTNU, Trondheim University, had gathered. My path home had brought me via via and through the city centre. The clock was therefore a little past 2 AM. I had been walking for about an hour from starting on the way home and had maybe three quarters of an hour left to walk. I was right beneath Tyholt tower, a big tower that looms over the city of Trondheim. I was reasoning to find the direction from there as it was dark and I have a habit of walking without knowing the exact way in advance. That way I memorize the outline of the streets in an area better than from a map.
A black car, with lights on inside it, drove curiously slow up besides me where I was walking and minding my own business. There were no streetlights so it was quite dark between the houses. I slowed down, in the expectation that the car was going to swing into the crossing road in front of me. It didn't. I slowed down another time, just to see if someone wanted to ask me for directions, despite dismissing the possibility on account of the unreasonable hour. However, instead a broadly built, short haired, woman stepped out of the car, which stopped. She told me they were from the police and asked if I talked Norwegian. Upon stepping out of the car and onto the pavement, she took a step in between and into a big puddle which swallowed her foot entirely.
She wanted to see my ID, which I willingly presented, and she asked me where I was going and where I came from. My account may not have been entirely precise, as I may have mixed a street address, as when you have the entire route in your head just like a map, remembering street addresses is not that important. Also I hadn't had a regular sleep pattern recently. In addition, it wasn't exactly a tour from A to B. After our gathering had ended as early as ten PM I followed first one friend home, to pick up something and to have a chat, and then another friend from there, both living in almost the opposite direction of my appartment.
I don't know if this was what made the cops more interested in my activities, but for whatever reason I got the whole Q&A about where I lived, where I came from, what I was doing in Trondheim, and so on. Meanwhile they were checking my ID, thoroughly. Had I been drinking recently? No, not ever. Could I follow his finger with my eyes while he shone this irritating little flashlight into my face? Ok, go ahead. However he didn't seem totally satisfied with the responses from my pupils. Apparently they were both too big and also a little red around them. Had I been taking any drugs or anything? No, definitely not. Had I been smoking anything? No, I can't stand the smell of people smoking. Had I been trying something for the first time that evening? No, not that I know. Had I been consuming a lot of coffee or caffeine? No, I've never drunk coffee or energy drinks or anything.
Still not satisfied, he wanted to check my pockets. They're not really allowed to search you without some kind of reasonable suspicion, However, I was in a helpful mood and eager to move on, and a little tired, so it didn't occur to me to argue with the police at that hour. Also, I didn't have anything to hide that I could think of, so I said yes immediately.
But, while he was checking my left trouser pocket I remembered that that's where I always keep my beloved Victorinox. I know paragraph 352a of Norwegian Law sufficiently well to argue for the legality of my keeping a pocket knife on my person in public as it is not a suitable weapon in any way, and I could always come up with a reasonable purpose for it. Yet, in my head a discussion was unfolding about wether to volunteer it before he found it, or to keep calm and wait for him to discover it. To my amazement, after what felt like a little bit of eternity with him sarching through that not very deep pocket, he didn't find the pocket knife. Only the keys that I was keeping in the same pocket, and which luckily had ended up on top of the pocket tool. So he concluded that I only had my keys there and went on to my other pockets. Despite my certainty of the pocket tool's legality I was relieved and a bit astonished.
After a few more questions, I got my ID papers back, and he said that I seemed both truthful and sincere, so I was allowed to continue my walk. Almost ten minutes had passed.
After they drove on along the road I was left there walking a bit lightheaded and amazed that he didn't even manage to find the pocket knife, and at the policewoman who stepped into the puddle. Enough to distract me and prevent me from finding the correct direction south on the moonless night, thus leading me to take a wrong turn into a street leading me east and then north until I ended up back near Berg student housing where the original festivities of that evening had taken place. Additionally I was indignated with myself for not taking care to ask for them to identify themselves with badges as police. Though I was certain of their authenticity, even in the dark, from the male officer having some sort of uniform with insignia, badge and a radio, as well as the car while civilian being the same make and model as Norwegian police cars and clearly with a remodeled trunk, I am always suspicious and therefore always intend to ask the police to identify themselves to avoid the risk of being scammed. Lastly I was thinking about checking every pocket in my pants, my jacket and in my wallet to ensure that I still had everything, which I did.
Even though I had my hat, the police weren't so trusting. Do I look suspicious?
Every year, the Christmas gimmick is pushed earlier. Shops try to sell you the weak excuse of holiday feeling ever sooner. It's only October, but I've already been offered "Christmas soda".
In Norway, to many people my age, Christmas soda is a sort of ironic, half holy ritual that's not to be broken until December. I'm not a regular consumer of gimmicky sodas like that, and drink only such drinks when on occasion I'm offered. Not even every year. On this occasion someone had been out and bought some brand of Christmas soda, which had just hit the shelves for this years season, to have something besides alcohol for those of us who don't drink. Thus I drank Christmas soda. But, isn't it a bit early to sell us on the Christmas branding in October?
The other day I flew home from Gardermoen Airport to Trondheim where I study. Going through the security checkpoint I had to use three trays. I had my Macbook computer, a backpack and a big, tangly jacket. But why oh why did the security worker have to take my hat and press it into the tray under my jacket? Now the brim is bent and all out of shape.
Have you had any negative experiences with airport security workers treating your stuff carelessly or have you ever lost something or had anything stolen at the security checkpoint at an airport?
I came home to Trondheim yesterday, after a weekend at my parents' home near Oslo. It was kind of like time had stood still. The country was still covered every inch in white snow. And today I had to go about and turn back time one hour on all of the clocks and electronics that I'd left here in Trondheim. So now I'm all set back in the right timeline, but if something went wrong I would have been well prepared for every eventuality:
These are the time traveler's essentials.
Hogwarts Airport Express
I visited my parents at home this weekend in correlation with my twenty-first birthday, and Sunday night I was flying back to Trondheim from OSL Airport Gardermoen, the main airport in Norway. To find my assigned gate I had to turn left in the busy main terminal, into an anonymous opening and through a white, heavily lit, never-ending corridor that led me into a separate and newly erected building. Amazingly there were not a soul to be seen there. In contrast to all the buzzing people throughout the rest of the airport, Gates 19 A to H was almost completely vacated.
Walking to my Gate, 19 C, felt a bit like looking for Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station.
Back to the Future
If you haven't remembered yet, you're supposed to turn your clocks back tonight. This always causes some confusion, at least it does for me. i have though figured out which way I was supposed to turn my clock, and the funny thing now is that the clock is approaching 3 am (here in Norway) for the second time around this night.
Did you remember to turn your clocks back?
One month in The Secret World
Today Funcom and the Secret World community celebrates that it's one month since the public release of their latest title and MMO.
By special circumstances I decided to make an exception from my usual habit of avoiding these types of games and made The Secret World the first MMO-game that I've bought and actively played. Not counting a couple hours in The Lord of the Rings Online after it was made free-to-play. So far I'm quite impressed with Funcom. In the three weeks since I got the game I've spent almost 80 hours in Kingsmouth, Solomon Islands.
If anyone wants to play, make an attempt at early dungeons, or trade, then feel free to contact me in-game. I play in the Huldra dimension.
I'm not much of a movie enthusiast and I rarely go to the cinema, but in the last two weeks, perhaps in part because this year's exams is drawing near, I've been to the cinema twice. Last Saturday I watched the first part of the Hunger Games trilogy. This Saturday it was The Avengers that I was going to watch, the day after the Norwegian premiere.
I'd heard a lot of praise of the movie from friends that had watched the movie before the premiere, and from coverage in countries where the movie was in cinemas a little earlier. And I've come late to some of director Joss Whedon's other works recently, but as most others I've quickly become a huge fan. So me and a friend decided to go watch The Avengers on Saturday evening.
The movie is about The Avenger Initiative, invented by Doctor Fury that brings together some of the Marvel Universe's most famous and extraordinary superheroes. And they are also some of the most singleminded and self-centred personalities you can imagine. And it is a feat to Joss Whedon's credit to bring all these characters together in an almost coherent and streamlined manner. And much attention and responsibility is given to Scarlett Johanssons character, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff who makes the team much more dynamic.
Of course once they are brought together they still aren't very cooperative or even friendly with each other. And they have to sort out a lot of differences and do a lot of solo runs before they can finally come together and fight the big mean polytheistic son of a god.
And that's it. There's more explosions than in The Transformers movies and a lot of fast paced action interspersed with funny dialogue and just the right amount of one-liners. And the one one big emotional scene that should turn the movie and the team all around is dumbed and dulled down by a cheap one-liner and not the right kind of music - seemingly. Or maybe it's a conscious choice. This is not that kind of movie, and they don't make the mistake of trying to do something that may not contrast well.
So for a long time into the experience they seemed to be at a level that was entertaining, but didn't really entertain me. But then, after the moment appeared to have passed and when the team had finally decided to work together, the movie hit a new high, and the last bit was pure pleasure watching.
When you find yourself laughing at jokes that's funny because they build on the dialogue from much earlier in the film, it's a sure sign it's a good movie. There's lots of hilarious moments. Sadly this also threatened to ruin the entire experience, as the other audience members seemed to have contracted some sort of sit-com disorder. Yeah it's funny, but it's not THAT funny. You don't have to laugh out loud or comment on the jokes. And most of the jokes were really obvious, I could see them coming miles away, and still people laugh hysterically. I'd like to make a reference to one of Joss Whedon's other productions and point out that there's a special hell for people who talk at the theatre (together with the child molesters). This, and the subtexting in Norwegian was a bit detrimental to part of the experience of the movie, yet I did have a great time.
As always in these Marvel movies there was a cameo by Stan Lee. Which is interesting to notice each time.
One interesting thing was when the bad guy, Loki, explained his view on humanity. When you find yourself agreeing with the bad god you reflect on how it must allways be to watch Hollywood movies if you're a Nazi - or Russian.
The Hunger Games-movie
The Hunger Games is on everybody's lips nowadays. For some of you it may be about to be shoved aside by incredible The Avengers, but The Hunger Games is nevertheless the current cultural phenomenon. Whether you're all about the books or you've just seen the movie, as most of us seem to have done. If you haven't heard of The Hunger Games I assume that you must be living in a cave somewhere.
The books has gotten a lot of praise. In the Guardian I even saw the author compared to C.S Lewis and J.K Rowling. While this book series has hit the young adult readership with quite a force I wouldn't quite go that far. The story of the first book was capturing and imaginative and in many ways brilliant. But I did miss some depth and the rest of the trilogy is somewhat repetitive of the first, and while still capturing they are quite predictable, and the third book almost dull apart from a very good ending.
Yeah, I read the books. Only a couple weeks ago. I read them in anticipation of the movie, and because they were recommended to me. And I would recommend them to others. They are not in any way girly or boring, as for some reason one would almost expect when there's a female protagonist. I would bet even hardcore feminists could favor this book and its stubborn, independent main character. And the movie too captures the same balance between action and dialogue.
I watched the movie last weekend at the cinema with my little sister. She'd already watched it before, but I hadn't.
I actually liked the first half the best. There are a few scenes that's really emotional and greatly presented. And that's rewarding in a movie. In the arena however, they've evidently been extremely careful in order to get a PG-13 rating, and it shows. The shaky cam scenes works well enough, but some of the more drawn out kills from the book almost made me laugh at how unrealistically they were portrayed, although there are some faults there in the book too as far as I can remember. The big final scene towards the end also has been made much less dramatic than they should have and could have. I won't spoil it if you haven't watched the movie yet, but they should've put them completely in. And I can't imagine it would've really made a difference on the rating.
One other thing that bugged me on several occasions was the subtexting. After watching movies at home for a long time since I last visited the cinema, the Norwegian subtitles really irritated me. They should have an option to view movies at the cinema without subtitles. My eyes are so contrived that my attention is caught by text, and even though I didn't need the subtitles at all, they distracted me from hearing the dialogue several times. I look forward to when this movie comes out on DVD and I can watch it without subtitles.
I also hope that when they release it on DVD they make a director's cut edition for grown ups with a little more realism and some blood. There seemed to be some room made for extended scenes in several places, where events where left out but still hinted at.
One last thing I noted when I watched the movie was that the fire-dresses were not really how I'd pictured them, and quite frankly unimpressive.
Other than that, I would say that this movie was by far truer to the book than I would have expected beforehand, and about as much as I had been told. There are a few places where it derives from the book, but very few places where it contradicts it or simplifies things. With the concept of the book revolving around a reality show this is of course made much easier to adapt to a movie format. Even though one misses a lot when going from the very personal first person perspective of the book to the perspective of a movie, without many of the inner thought of the protagonist.
Now all we have to wait for is the game...
What does it mean to be politically active?
Would you consider yourself politically active?
At the very least I would say that I have always been politically interested. While I haven't really taken part in any political activities, I have never shunned from taking part in political discussion with friends, family or fellow interneters.
After having it in mind for a couple years I have presently gone to the step of joining a youth party. They call themselves The Left and forfeit liberal ideas, but there are far more leftist parties to choose from in Norwegian politics. I did not join the from some deep founded ideological conviction though. However they are the party that closes fit my views in the most important cases. My reason for joining a political party was entirely based in a desire for more opportunities to discuss politics.
I would like to know if any of you support a particular political party in your country, and maybe even are a member. With the entire Europe available I might even here talk to people who live in countries where they aren't really allowed to choose political sides freely. In that case you have my sympathies.
Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia Play R800i
The Xperia Play is in large part just a gimmick. But for gamers it might be the gimmick that will sell. My question is a simple one: Is it worth the bucks?
There's a saying that goes the best camera is the one you always bring along. As a gamer I would like to adapt that saying and claim the same goes for consoles. In which case Sony Ericssons formula of a hybrid between a smartphone and handheld console might be just about it.
Xperia Play is the very first phone to hit the shelves with big brother Sony's Playstation Suite certification. This is what Sony has called their platform for releasing old licenses to smartphones. In short it's a way to earn new bucks on old Playstation One titles. What Sony's up against is the not-entirely-legal Playtation One emulators that have popped up on the Android Market lately and has of course been around for other platforms for a while. Sony wants to profit from peoples nostalgia and that's of course fully understandable and entirely within their rights as it happens. Sony Ericsson claims there'll be 50 titles available for the Xperia Play come release (which was on Friday, 1st of April).
I've also tested the Xperia Arc, which is perhaps the real flagship model of Sony Ericsson's. However Xperia Play is certainly the most interesting to us gamers, and even clearly the one recieving the most attention from Sony Ericsson themselves. In the UK alone they reportedly sport a massive advertising budget of £4 million for their three new phones in the Xperia line, the Neo, the Arc and the Play with the Play getting clearly the most attention in ads, ads and even more ads. It's clear that Sony Ericsson is targeting gamers as a market. Considering it's ambitions as a tie-in between handheld console and smartphone it is obvious that the Xperia Play will be sporting some sparkling hardware under the hood.
Design and build quality
The Xperia Play is smaller than the Arc. In return it's a way thicker and heavier phone. 16 millimeters thick makes it almost twice as thick as the Arc is at it's thinnest. If we put them side by side the Arc is about the same thickness as the gamepad of Xperia Play alone.
It might be a bit bumpy and bulky in the pocket of your jeans, and it is in no way as discrete in the inner pocket of your jacket as the Arc. There's a very recognizable weight against your chest. However the rounded sides and the bi-convex shape of the phone glides easily down into your jeans' pockets. It also lies very good in the shape of your hand. While it has a distinct weight to it, it's almost as if I don't won't to put it aside.
The material covering the back and sides of the Play is distinctly plastic. On the sides there's metallish looking silver coloured stripes, but even this isn't anything but plastic. Sony Ericsson has obviously saved a couple of bucks by choosing simpler and cheaper materials for the outer parts of Xperia Play. By no means does this imply that the hardware packed inside the Play need to be taken from the same shelf, but it does not give the same premium feel that you get from phones the like of Nokias N8 with its durable aluminum cover. There's a bit too much squeaks and creaks from the plastic rear cover. Apart from this the rear cover of the phone is much closer attached to the phone than that of the Arc which only hangs by a couple of hinges. On the other hand the rear cover of the Xperia Play is almost attached at too many points. It's not that easy to pry it off, and as it is so clearly plastic I'm left worried that I'll break the cover in half if I pry too hard.
The Xperia Play has four buttons face-side bellow the screen. These are from the left; the back-button, a home-button, a menu-button and a search-button. These are distinct and marked and easy to use without having to actually look to find out what button you're pressing. There's just the right amount of pressure required to press them, and although they are of plastic as well and moving a bit around in their place, they seem durable enough.
The On/Off-button is far more distinctly placed and easy to use than that of Xperia Arc. Placing it too the right removes it from where you would naturally put pressure to hold the device while playing using the gamepad. However I sometimes accidentally press it as I try to press the L-button while using the gamepad. This of course pauses my game and prompts me if I want to shut off the device, which is irritating. Still, I don't see how Sony Ericsson could have made a better On/Off-button unless they made it tinier and harder to press, which would also have received my complaint. The best here is to not hold the gamepad in too tight a grasp, which will also be better for your thumbs and wrists as soon more UK children are injured from repetitive strain injuries than from falling from trees. I'll return to the quality and comfort of the gamepad, including the L- and R-buttons on the right hand side, later on in this review.
There's also a volume rocker on the left side of the phone which operates well, although it is placed a bit too low. It had to be as the L- and R-buttons take precedence and confine it to be placed at the centre between them.
The contents of the box that Xperia Play comes in are as follows:
-Xperia Play phone
-Micro SDHC memory card of 8 gigabytes
As with all never Sony Ericsson phones there's no paper manual. The user guide is placed as a digital copy on the phone memory card. There's also no CD with synchronization software. This is also placed on the memory card for installation with the connection of the phone. The software is simple to use, but has some advanced features. The only hiccup is that there's a lot of small programs in one, which is rather unintuitive and clumsy. Also the software is not for Mac.
That there's a memory card contained in the box is positive, but absolutely necessary, as there's not much internal memory in the phone. After downloading quite a few apps I was prompted to remove some of my apps to the SD-card to preserve the internal memory and the speed of the phone. There's only 380 megabyte user available internal storage. So you'll need the 8 GB that comes with the phone. Even that may be too little, considering you're supposed to load a bunch of games onto the phone eventually. I never got there during my time with the phone so far as there's not that many games available yet.
Also, while the cable of the charger that comes with the Xperia Arc is far too short for almost anything, the charger accompanying Play is, luckily, longer. Which means you'll be able to actually use the phone while charging, which you'll have to do a lot.
The Xperia Play comes loaded with the newest version of Android. Which is Android 2.3 called Gingerbread. Sony Ericsson are also promising that they'll be smarting in keeping their Android phones updated with Android updates in the future, as they have taken heavy criticism for being slow at releasing software updates.
Gingerbread is definitely a faster and smoother operating system, and Sony Ericsson has also had time to place on top their own user interface. It has five screens and Sony Ericsson has made a lot of smart, user friendly choices as well as keeping it from dragging the phone. There's no lag to speak of in the menus. It's also quite nice to look at. A nice function lets you use two fingers and press them together to show all the widgets on one screen.
Few apps and widgets preinstalled
The UI lets you organize the apps installed automatically after when they were installed, alphabetically, how often they are used, or you can drag them around in the order you prefer.
Sony Ericsson hasn't preinstalled many apps on the phone. There's no navigation software, other than Google Maps for instance. There's a few worth to mention though.
Twitter and Facebook is integrated even more seamlessly than ever with this Android phone through Sony Ericsson's Timescape widget, which basically shows you all the information from your social networking services and SMSes as well as incoming phone calls. The widget also lets you upload a status to one or both of the social networks (Twitter, Facebook). I loved the way the Timeshare app presents all the updates from my social networking profiles all in one batch and lets me flip through all the days statuses and posts in a minute. If you're addicted to your daily dose of social media then this will make your life a lot easier - and more "connected". Only issue is the widget quirking and being slow sometimes as it downloads data from the social networks to the phone.
Sony Ericsson's app TrackID for identifying songs has also been preinstalled, as well as an app called simply Postcard, which lets you take a picture with the phone camera and send physically as a postcard to an address. First postcard is free. There's also, of course, a couple of games and no less than three different apps for keeping track of your games for Xperia Play.
There's of course a nice and seamless integration of Google Mail, and also an Exchange mail application. If you receive an attachment containing an Office file, this can be viewed with the app Office Suite. It's the free version that comes preloaded, and the version that costs money can also edit and create documents.
The hardware under the hood of Xperia Play is naturally associated with high demands for performane. Sony wouldn't mind you buying a handheld console (the PSP of course) as well. But Sony Ericsson wants first to tempt you to buy the Xperia Play for muchs the same reasons.
The phone is equipped with a 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno GPU and Snapdragon-chipset. That powerful components, though not quite as powerful as the dual core processor of LG's Optimus 2X for instance. There's also 512 megabyte of RAM. The hardware does the job well, with no
lag in the main user interface or when shifting through the widget-screens. There's usually no lag in any game unless you run another application at the same time, though there might be loading times. All games run usually smooth.
Small things that impressed me are such as the fact that the phone senses when you remove the rear cover and unmounts the SD-card which is also together with the SIM-car placed very easily accessible once you get the rear cover off. Once you replace the cover with the SD-card inside the phone mounts the card again automatically.
Nine years since '9/11'
Today nine years has passed since the world was shocked by the attacks on World Trade Center in New York, September 11th 2001. Previously the world's tallest buildings, the two towers was hit by two planes and consequently collapsed completely into a pile of rubble and dust. Also the Pentagon and United Airlines' Flight 93 were attacked by the Al-Qaeda terrorists. In all four planes were hijacked that day nine years ago.
The attacks immediately attracted massive media attention and was met with disbelief and shocked panic. The attacks on the two towers was in part sent Live by CNN. The footage from CNN Live can still be watched on YouTube.
Both towers collapsed within two hours after impacted by the hijacked planes. It still stands as the only time in history that steel-framed buildings has completely and progressively collapsed. 2 977 people plus the 19 hijackers died in the terrorist attacks.
The terror shook the american public, as well as the world, and hence triggered George W. Bush's War on Terror. Subsequent to the 9/11 attacks as a consequence numerous more lives have been lost in the U.S invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The reprisal terror of the USA have led them into the stagnancy they still suffer from in Asia.
This year the anniversary for the event coincides with the muslim celebration of Eid. This has caused several controversial religious and ideological clashes. Most notably the planned burning of two hundred copies of the Qur'ān (no word on wether they are Holy - at least half in Arabic) by a Florida Church led by Pastor Terry Jones (not the Monty Python Terry Jones).
For my part '9/11' nearly passed me by without particular notice. Not until the evening that Tuesday nine years ago did I register the news and understand that this was more than just a curious minor event of local importance to New York. That this was a historic event with worldwide importance and consequences. I had of course registered mention of the news throughout the day at school. It had not, however, registered with me that this had anything to do with me, so I did not take notice of the content of the talks. Later I have however found much more understanding of and interest in this historic event.
Where were you when this catastrophic event happened?
When did you become aware of what had happened?
My first week at the University is at an end. More precisely it ended a few hours ago.
We started Tuesday. Place: University of Oslo, Blindern. This week was dedicated to introduce us to life at the University. It seems to me it all revolves around booze.
We got joined into groups the first day, each group with a couple of "buddies" that were to take care of us and introduce us to the University. I was in a group with a few of the other 150 history-students.
The average age seems to be quite high, and the intake of alcohol is a prerequisite for social interaction to happen. Suits me just fine. I don't want to drink. I don't want to talk.
There was a few information lectures as well, but I hope next week will bring serious business.
Headed for home
Okay. So my final blog of this journey, the one about the return journey from England, is a bit late. But I blame jet-lag.
Our flight was scheduled from Gatwick Airport at 09:10, which translates into quite early in the morning for us...
We estimated for ourself a minimum of time and set the clock to ring at 0600 hours.
We had half an hour to pack up our stuff and get ready to leave. Then half an hour to get our asses from the hostel to Paddington station and take the Bakerloo line to Victoria Station, where the Gatwick Express left about about a quarter past seven. Half an hour later we entered Gatwick Airport and immediately found where to check-in, right next to the entrance. From there, everything went mostly smoothly, except that we decided to get ourself some breakfast, which left us with very little to no time at all to find our gate.
We landed pretty accurately three hours after takeoff, after two hours flight-time.
Then I: Came home, by train, to an empty house. Packed out. Checked if the Internet was still there. Packed out a bit more. Checked again that the Internet was really still there. Watched some TV while eating. Checked that nothing serious had happened to or on the Internet while I was away. Went to bed. End of visit. End of holiday. End of summer. End of story.
Day 35: Last Day
Our last day of the journey didn't start well at all. When it knocked on our door early in the morning (about noon) we the hostel personnel asked us wtf we were still doing there.
Turns out we hadn't booked until the 11th as was what we had thought. Luckily they had the room free for today as well allowing us to pay for another night (not at a particularly good rate though). A day built for fail in other words.
After getting off with a bad start we went out into the City of London, visiting the Victorinox Flagship Store once more, and then past the U.S embassy to Hyde Park and Speaker's Corner.
In the picture bellow you can see the empty Speaker's Corner, and in the background the Marble Arch.
Sadly our last day was marked by rain and we didn't get to enjoy it particularly well. A bit of a bad end on the trip with the accumulation of fail and all.
I'll probably give you an update when I'm home in Norway safe and sound tomorrow, so i won't completely cancel off the trip or my blog jet. Stay tuned!
Day 34: Onions
We went for an easy time hangin' around London today. I had to visit the Victorinox Flagship Store in New Bond Street - just to watch. Other than that we spent some time in Hyde Park and just walking the Streets of London. In the evening we went to Covent Garden for a bite. Not a particularly cheap one. Neither exceptionally good. Too much onions...or was it duck!?
Also, I found a statue of Dwight Eisenhowe,r while walking the streets at random east of Hyde Park. However, just as I was about to grab my camera and take a picture, I noticed the big, gray, fenced-in building right behind it. With the eagle on top and the level of security there was no doubt. Taking pictures near the U.S embassy usually gets you into a lot of unwanted trouble, so I restrained myself from doing so.
1. Inception that we watched yesterday is not, as I had hoped, a film that has you pondering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything for days. However, I practically stumbled upon this illustration of the major plot-hole in the movie today. One out of several.
2. I saw the grave of the anonymous soldier in Paris. In London they have a memorial to all the anonymous animals that has died in war.
3. "This sign is temporary." "The next sentence is true. The previous sentence was false."
"Just take it down when you're finnished will you!"
Day 33rd: Inception
It's Sunday...Oh well. Not any more. *looking at clock*
Anyways. On Sundays, shops and stuff is generally closed, making this a day for leisure, whether you wish it or not. We certainly called for the leisure part, staying most of the day in close proximity to our beds and our hostel room.
In the evening, however, we decided to leave our rooms headed for Leicester Square. Well there, we found Odeon West End Cinema (not hard) and ordered tickets for the screening of Inception at 20:30.
After eating across the square at a Mexican place called..eh...something, we returned to the cinema. Watching the movie was thus about all we had time to do today, as it was late into the night (depending on definition) when we exited the Cinema.
The movie Inception was alright. Not that awesome that people has claimed all the way since the premiere, but certainly worth watching. It wasn't by far as deep as people has claimed. Rather quite meh'. But still it had an interesting plot.
Day 32nd: Tour de IB
One of our wishes, that we didn't expect to get into realization on this particular trip, was to go to Wales. However, today we went to Cardiff, Wales.
Being a decision taken late last night, we didn't really have any detailed plan for our stay in Cardiff. However, Cardiff is the location of the IB Curriculum and Assessment Center, where they do lots of stuff that have to do with the International Baccalaureate (I8) Diploma Programme that all three of us have spent most of the last two years to complete. Having already visited our IB Coordinator in her home in France earlier on on our trip, we found it intriguing also to have seen the site from where such a significant part of our education has been managed. Too bad we didn't go to Geneva, to see the IBO Headquarters, earlier on, or this would have made our "Tour de IB" complete.
We couldn't exactly expect there to be any reception committee to welcome us, on a Saturday afternoon. Other than that we didn't know exactly what sight would await us, other than probably not a spectacular one, nor a tourist magnet. Anyways, we went there; as always; for the lulz.
Our arrival to Cardiff Center Railway Station, after two hours train-sitting, dragged out till almost four o'clock. Leaving little possibility that anyone would be there, even if they did have office hours on Saturdays.
Getting from the railway-station to Cardiff Gate Business Park, where had a vague idea that the IB would be locate, proved to come with more hardships however. The bus that were supposed to take us to the location didn't go all the way to Cardiff Gate in the Weekends, thus the very friendly and helpful welsh bus driver dropped us off somewhere within proximity, with some rather vague directions for where to take the road from there.
For me this somewhat experimental walking of cul-de-sacs was extra strenuous as the blister that has grown on my little toe for a month now, reached proportions yesterday close to the size of the host toe and consequentially burst, leaving a large raw area, covering most of my toe, that caused some serious irritation, leaving me less apt to walk.
Our walk took us through the bush, and onto paths that absolutely didn't look like they led to a Business Park. In the end however, we found and crossed the main road and entered the area where we hoped the IB would be located somewhere.
We found the building, photographed it, and left to find the return bus, going all the way back to the bus stop.
Once back in Cardiff we wanted to see some of the city's other wonders. After eating at Weatherspoon, we walked to Cardiff Castle, an old fortification with a history going back all the way to the Romans and before. However, entrance was impossible as admittance to the castle ended five hours earlier. Not a big surprise, but we had to settle for images taken from the outside.
Once back on the station, we were told that the last train to London had just left, causing some worry until we were told that we could still catch a connecting train that would allow us to change in Bristol.
2. Obviously somebody didn't want us to enter their premises. Don't think they had any apples either.
3. Amazingly this path actually led us to the Business Park.
Oh. And also there were bunnies. Runnin' over the field. Didn't manage to capture a photo good enough to show you guys however. My apologies. Bunnies are always win.
4. The IB finally there. End station of Tour de International Baccalaureate.
5. Breaking and entering? Nah. Sightseeing.
6. No smoking.
7. We took a little rest in their garden behind the building.
8. Beware; "This scheme is controlled by the IB." Conspiracies...
9. Smoker's cage?
10. -The IBO is watching you.
12. Anyone want horses? Horses provided.
13. Cardiff Castle in background.
14. These welsh people actually laughed at our hats. Considering several of them were carrying giant inflated balloon cocks around, our hats shouldn't be that funny. Not to mention all the fire-fighter's costumes and playboybunnies we saw around central Cardiff. Apparently this wasn't even a special occasion for funny dressing, but an ordinary Saturday afternoon.
16. Does that mean it's allowed on all other trains? At least we met some really festive people on our train journey back to Paddington.
- Shroud of anonymity
- Vorfreude: Rome 2
- Assassin's Creed 1
- Autumn sale!
- Have you tried Desert Bus?
- Obama - four more years
- Remember, remember...
- Troubled police
- Christmas spirit
- Airport security
- Timely Travel
- Hogwarts Airport Express
- Back to the Future
- One month in The Secret World
- The Avengers-movie
- The Hunger Games-movie
- Politically Active
- Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia Play R800i
- Nine years since '9/11'
- Headed for home
- Day 35: Last Day
- Day 34: Onions
- Day 33rd: Inception
- Day 32nd: Tour de IB
- Day 31st: Stonehenge
- Day 30th of interraili'n