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10 Things I Love About GNOME 3

April 5, 2011 37 comments

There’s a famous quote that goes something like,

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.” -Henry Ford

As you most likely know, Henry Ford’s company popularized the automobile. Naturally, automobiles are very different from horses and if you get too used to how a horse works, you might find it awkward to adjust to using an automobile. Automobiles, obviously, are much better than horses, but they no doubt caused complaints from horse riders who were too used to how things worked as they were and have worked for years. GNOME 3, being released tomorrow (Wednesday April 6), is having a similar problem: how do you innovate without annoying long-time users who are used to the way things are done now? The short answer is: you can’t. Changes must be made that might seem awkward or even stupid at first to some, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Fortunately for GNOME, their latest version of their popular desktop environment manages to break very few eggs, if any, and still magically makes omelets regardless of that. GNOME 3 designers and developers have had a lot of time to think and plan about the design of the latest desktop and it shows very clearly in several areas. Some refinement and improvement could come in future releases (and that is actually being worked on right now), but for now I am loving the GNOME 3 desktop as it stands today just fine. Why? I’ll give you 10 reasons: Read more…

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Review: "Gurren Lagann"

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

When my mom got Netflix for the family about a month-and-a-half ago, my favorite feature instantly became the Instant Streaming component. I set it up on my Wii so the family could watch shows over the internet and we’ve barely watched regular television since. About this time I noticed that there were some shows on Netflix that I’ve always wanted to watch but never could due to cost-related factors (I’m not the type to torrent a show just to watch it). One of those was Gurren Lagann, an anime (Japanese animation) that my brother watched online a while ago. So one day, out of boredom, I decided to start watching the series. I’d heard a lot of good things from the rather cult-ish fanbase around this show on the interweb about it, some people saying it was the greatest show they’ve ever watched. So, the question here is: does Gurren Lagann live up to the hype? Is it really that awesome? For the most part, I’d say yes, but I did hit some noticeable snags along the way… Read more…

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Review: "Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective"

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy March, everybody! I’m kicking off the month with a well-overdue review of a more recent game that I want to share with you:

When you analyze how good or bad a game was, you have to examine everything in context. If a game is fun to play but doesn’t have an expansive story, does that mean that the game is mediocre? One of the common missteps when reviewing a game is that sometimes a story (or lack thereof) wholly or mostly determines the game’s score (as evidenced by high scores on several RPGs by reviewers on GameFAQs and the inclusions of a “story” rating on the inside of nearly all of the user reviews, whether the story matters or not). The only times when this is a problem are when it’s not very appropriate, like when a certain reviewer called Kirby’s Epic Yarn the worst game of the past year simply because the story was not “sophisticated” enough, completely disregarding other games that were absolute wastes of time that year. Is the story so important in games that it’s up there with graphics, music, and even gameplay as one of the most important factors that determine it’s rating? Usually, I’d say no, but Ghost Trick by Capcom is the perfect counter-example to that assumption. Read more…

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Review: "Dinosaurchestra" by Lemon Demon

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

For the past three or four years, I have been a Lemon Demon fan. While the name might put some people off, the band was created by the awesomeness that is known by the name of Neil Cicierega, who also created the insanely popular Potter Puppet Pals, as well as a genre known as “animutation” (which I won’t delve into further for fear of creeping you out). In addition to these things, he also regularly uploads funny, short films and videos on his YouTube channel and performs live at conventions and whatnot. The only problem he has, though, is that he’s an independent musician, so almost all of his money has to be gained from word-of-mouth or the occasional gig. Fortunately for him, his music is insanely awesome, as evidenced in his awesomely titled “Dinosaurchestra” album. Read more…

An Analysis of Review Scales

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Or: Why I Use the 5-point Review Scale

The most confusing thing in the world when it comes to reading reviews is that there are over 9000 (so to speak) different review “scales” that are used to rate movies, music, games, and many other works on an absolute scale. Some sites use a 10-point scale, while others use 6,5,4, or even 100-point scales. I have even seen some websites like 1up that use a standard academic grading system from A+ to F! This is further confused by the different reviewers’ references for scoring; for example, Final Fantasy is absolutely awful when reviewed like a linear, 3D, first-person shooter, but when reviewed like a role-playing game it’s pretty great. With so much confusion when it comes to reviewing works, what is the “correct” way to review? What is the correct way to read reviews? In this voluntary essay, I will logically analyze the various scales and styles used to review various things, as well as the right way to read these reviews: Read more…

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Review: "Metroid: Other M"

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

For my first review here, I’m going to review a controversial game that, as far as I can tell, is one of those that you either love or hate. Yes, as the title obviously suggests, this is Metroid: Other M, released last October for the Nintendo Wii and developed by Team Ninja of “Ninja Gaiden” and “Dead or Alive” fame. I’ve been a fan of Metroid games ever since I received Zero Mission for the GBA as a Christmas gift as a kid, and I instantly loved it! I now own a copy of every single Metroid game released and have beaten them all (with the exception of Metroid II), sometimes more than once. I think that would know a good Metroid game when I see one, and Other M fits that description perfectly! Read more…

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