Saturday, March 29, 2008

AirPort Extreme and Nintendo DS WiFi

Something that has bothered me for a long time was that I could never get my DS to connect to my home wireless network, via Airport Extreme. The issue is with the newer model Extremes that operate at 802.11n and the DS's very picky DNS and security protocols. Nintendo's tech support on the subject is outdated, and I have visited random boards over time trying to find an answer but none ever worked for me. I even asked at the Apple Store and they had nothing to offer, but were oddly interested in wether or not the issue was on Nintendo's side or AirPort's side (might have something to do with recent Safari hacking shenanigans). alas, no setups or manual configs have helped-- UNTIL NOW!

Recent google searching brought me to this post wherein a key feature of AirPort Utility 5.3.1 was revealed!

roule said...

Wrt getting the Nintendo DS to work with the new Airport Extreme base station 802.11n, the following article provided me the critical hint: Use Option (Ctrl on WinXP) when selecting the radio mode, more choices will appear. I selected "802.11b/g compatible", then I selected WEP 128 bits, entered a 13-character sequence, and bingo. The NDS saw my network, I entered the same 13 characters on the NDS, and I had a connection. (link)

While the article link he referred to was dead, that small tidbit about using the option key for additional items in the pulldown menus was TRUE. Sure enough the extended settings allowed me to access my home network from my DS. WOOT!

Thank you, mystery forum poster, for helping me finally get online -- at home -- with my DS.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two Comics Day

Only two books for me this week, but it's quality, not quantity!

All Star Superman
Green Lantern

Today at the comics shop I was actually talking with one of the trusty stewards about comics. When discussing All Star Superman, I believe I described the series as "Probably he best book of the decade." This I believe to be true, and have expounded as such in these posts before. Morrison is brewing some potent soup. With each issue I am continually amazed at how a character with 70 years of history is presented with such a fresh and exciting color. What I haven't decided is if it is in fact because of the history that Morrison is able to do this, the voodoo that he do. But taking a step back, hypothetically erasing all of Superman's past and looking at it in All Star as something completely new, that's where it becomes something special. Whether or not this is achieved by Morrison post hoc isn't really worth arguing, I'd rather just enjoy the comics.

The match with Quitely on art isn't something I can keep talking about, I'll just be repeating what I've said before. But in the context of the above Quitely's art plays an enormous role in that it would not be considered Superman "flavour." So again without the history: the soft but hulking figures, svelte and wirey supporting cast, and minutely rendered oddities of fiction become something unique unto themselves. Something that is a Superman we know in our subconscious, and yet one we've never seen before. My goodness, read this book.

Green Lantern also came up in conversation, mostly good. I'm enjoying it more than I have been in years, though the last few issues have been a bit odd. I may have to post separately.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Of Movies and Games

The Incredible Hulk Movie

Um, yeah. I'm going to need those TPS reports. Can't say the trailer sparked anything in me.


The Incredible Hulk Videogame

Early screens look pretty nice. There have been a few Hulk games, some decent, some forgettable. Clearly this is for movie-tie in purposes only, but too early to tell.

Iron Man Movie

Still totally psyched for this movie. I've loved every tidbit so far and am now going into official blackout phase so I may enjoy the movie as best I can when it comes out.

Iron Man Movie Videogame

The game is looking sweet too. Recent footage of "play" has been sent out and I like what I see. Like I've mentioned before, this game is a long time coming.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No Comics Day

Nothing to catch me on the shelves today. But I would like to voice an opinion of Aaron Lopresti's upcoming stint on Wonder Woman.

Yes.


Yes, please.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

That Which Science Hath Wrought

[skynet]



I have seen some cool robots. I have been greatly disappointed by robots. In high school I even built a robot.

But this robot = WIN.

[/skynet]

via io9

Arthur C. Clarke


It sure is fun around here lately, what with so many people who's work I admire up and dying. Trust me, I use levity to ease the pain.

Clarke... man. Sci-fi connoisseur that I am, Clarke's books hold prominent places in my library. Two of my favorite books of the genre are 2001 and Childhood's End. 2001 is and always will be a classic, I went back to it just last year and it still holds up. The movie does what it does but I always found the book much more riveting with a payoff you can really sink your teeth into. Childhood's End is just a fantastic, epic story. Spanning as much time as it does, it's amazing how as a reader you are locked in from beginning to end. There are so many concepts at play you'd think you'd get lost or lose interest as characters come and go, but it's exactly the opposite. And I think its a testament to the story to how many times Hollywood has tried to adapt it and failed-- instead all of the cool stuff was ripped off and put little by little into other movies. It's doubtful a proper adaptation could ever be made and considered fresh, so much of it has been poached by others. But the book remains a wonderful reading experience.

A multitude of science fiction absolutes were first put forth by Clarke, some have even borne fruit and are now science fact. Clarke will no doubt be remembered as one of our greatest authors. But you know, the man wrote alot of books, influenced alot of minds, and lived to a very old age. It's not a bad way to leave.

Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's



Yes it is lame of me to post this so late, it slipped my mind. And also, you have to be in Vegas. Or get there. So, you know, good luck with that.

In any case I'll have some news later of the featured band, The WildCelts, and my supposed affiliation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

SXSW

It's been muy activo about town, as SXSW has taken over Austin. "South by Southwest" is a city-wide event that is centered on film and music, as well as various panels on related things. I didn't take in any of the film gatherings, but there have been all kinds of bands in town. Bands play all over the place, and their viewing in official SXSW capacity is arranged by a studious wrist-banding system. I didn't spring for one of those, but maybe next year considering the number of acts it would have been cool to see. Granted a I missed a few shows just based on scheduling anyways, it's kind of like Comicon-- you'd just have to take a few days off if you want the whole shebang.

Official shows are only part of it, like I said there's tons of bands in town just on their own to join the party. Last week I caught They Might Be Giants, which is always a great show. Downtown Austin is hoppin, it was fun just to hit 6th street and walk around catching random acts at random bars. And they really cover it here, too, there's a public access channel devoted solely to SXSW. Plus the radio coverage was surprisingly full (to me, a still new Austiner), this past week was chock full of new music and chat with visiting acts. Pretty cool.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Return to Dark Castle


It's been a long time coming, but Return to Dark Castle is finally available. I've had a passive involvement with its production, but I can tell you as far as Mac games go, it's kind of a big deal.

I played Dark Castle "back in the day" and have vivid memories of the Amiga version of this vintage platform game. Return is a full fledged sequel for Mac in full force, after being in development for ten years. Believe me when I tell you that the game's fan base is loyal and large and has been chomping at the bit as these last few weeks have seen to the final details of its release.

As a game, Dark Castle is a special kind of beast. Given the current offerings from decades of platform game evolution, I can barely tolerate the stringent rules Dark Castle puts into place. This game's difficulty is merciless. And I'm not talking about the kind of unforgiving perfection found in Mario games, Dark Castle would seem to have been developed as a punishment tool. Learning curve? None. Familiar players and newbs alike may see the first death in less than a minute's play. But die-hard fans of the game would have it no other way, and any other Dark Castle-isms players seek will be found in abundance. It a huge, gargantuan game, level after torturous level. Odds are if you're familiar with the game you've been waiting for its release with baited breath, so go and have your fill. If you're just curious there's a demo available, but you've been warned. Duck Tales this ain't.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Comics Day

A big 'ol fat stack for two weeks worth of books. All good stuff!

Empowered vol 3 (!!!)
Fables 1001 Nights SC
Wonder Woman
Green Arrow/Black Canary
Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern
Teen Titans Year 1 (!)
Fantastic 4
Star Wars Rebellion
Madman (!)
Echo (!)
Young Liars (!!)

Woot! What a haul! Empowered is pure Adam Warren and awesome for all the right reasons. While the art remains lucious and the over-joke of the book's titular premise is highly entertaining. Warren himself notes on his Deviant Art journal that some of the heavier sci-fi fell by the wayside in this volume. He goes on to say that the next volume will contain such things in overdrive, and you know that makes me a very happy camper.

First long-time indy Jeff Smith debuts his new book, Rasl, now Terry Moore enters the fray with Echo. Once again I'm torn between diving in or waiting for the trade, and once again I pick up the first issue to see what's what. Which apparently involves a woman who obtains a nanotech battlesuit...?

Treat of the week goes to David Lapham's Young Liars. You know this shit is going to get crazy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dave Stevens

A crushing blow to the artistic community, word has been made that one of the all time greats, Dave Stevens, has passed.

I don't have much to say about this except that his pin-up art was a long time inspiration for me and this news is very sad. I've met him a couple times at conventions, a nice guy who was incredibly talented and welcomed talking about his work.

The Beat notes his passing and links to Mark Evanier who has a kind write-up. There will be many more to come as this truly great artist is remembered.

The cover from Sheena below is one of my all time favorite pieces. And yeah, Sheena is right hot and perfectly rendered, but what always got me was how amazing the tree and parrot were. That guy could draw. Do yourself a favor and check out some his fantastic paintings:

Dave Stevens Website

Pride of Baghdad

I haven't read a bad book yet by Brian K. Vaughan, and Pride of Baghdad is not an exception. The hardcover came out some time ago, it's only been a month or so since the softcover release which is definitely a great buy if you passed the first time (like I did). The book is a tragic tale steeped in metaphor as a group of lions make way into the warzone of Baghdad after their zoo confines are destroyed in an urban attack. It's got character, action, pathos, and, um... animal gang rape.

Certain archetypes are attached to the lions and their animal companions, tho the story keeps focus on the family aspect, if not as a dysfunctional one. As they travel out of their enclosed habitat for the first time, several other animals are introduced and the reader gets to play a little game of applying the various metaphoric traits of nations or ideals to each encounter. The quaint moments are offset by the suddenly violent (and graphically so), no doubt culling from the countless tales of woe from that much maligned region. It's easy to take the anthropomorphism as a gimmick, not unlike some Disney parable for grown ups, but I think it goes a bit farther than that. Take, for instance, the I'm-totally-not-kidding scene of gang rape. It's told in a flashback from the story's matriarch and is very strange to read because early in the book it's almost out of nowhere. At first I was pretty put off, I found the idea ludicrous, of bizarre context, and slightly insulting as narrative. I still feel that way on the surface, but only because it's hard to separate what you know of the animal kingdom with how it's presented in the story. It's a gut reaction to shun it off as some kind of writer's cliche to garner sympathy while simultaneously trying to create a resolved female lead, a tactic that rarely works (and if you've been reading comics for any number of years, you know exactly what I'm talking about). However, this story is literally metaphor after metaphor, and it is all too easy to forget that violence against women is a serious fucking problem in other parts of the world. Vaughan's reasons for including the commentary in this way are his own, and maybe the oddity or shock of its execution does its job. We can stroll through Crate and Barrel and sit in any number of Starbucks in a massive cultural denial, only to be passively reminded of humanity's evil by way of a lioness' scarred face. Does the book weigh heavy in that way? It does, and not just by the preceding event which is in fact a very small segment of an overarching theme. Vaughan sends the characters through various and random scenes of violence that stifle the protagonists as they look for some kind of sanction, it could be any family's story. Vaughan wraps this meta-metaphor around what is reported to be the inspiration for the book-- an actual account of escaped lions during the war in the Middle East! There would seem to be no solace for animal or man in the landscape of war, and do not count on this book-- no matter how beautifully illustrated-- to provide a happy ending. It's a juxtaposition that is hard to ignore, these greatly humanized animals amidst an almost dreamlike warscape.


Which brings me to the art. Oh, man, the art. Niko Henrichon shows not only a mastery of the animal form, but also of environment and color. Each page is stunning in and of itself, and the book is peppered with "wow" moments that you'll want to look at again and again. Scenes that switch from idyllic to horrific are rendered with incredible detail. Colors as themes impress wonder, small moments of peace, and impending dread. The lions themselves are drafted at levels superior to most you've probably seen in mainstream art, I'd place Henrichon fairly high amongst the illustrators of wildlife. It's not just the lions, either, it's the monkeys, the horses, the turtles. And the bear. Of course the bear! And the tanks and the explosions, and... well, you get the idea. It really is an amazing thing to see this quality of art applied to such a story.

If you're an artist who hasn't seen this book, you are missing out. If you're a reader with some level of social consciousness, it's a story you'd do good to read. It's a gateway book on both the political and graphic level. Finding the symbolism and metaphors is only half the enjoyment of the read, and perhaps you may change your mind on some of those interpretations on a re-read. I mean, who is that bear, really???

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gary Gygax

Gygax, a key creator of Dungeons and Dragons, has passed.

Seriously, other than Star Wars, D&D may have been the largest influence on my creative bents as I grew up. It played a huge role (neat pun) in forming my gaming and storytelling passions, and to this day is in my head as a standard to emulate. In videogames especially, you may not realize how just about every rule, random encounter, or text string in some way owes itself to the base rules of the Dungeons and Dragons system.

THACO, 3d6, +1 to bladed weapons, Chaotic Neutral, Keep on the Borderlands, Carrion Crawlers, and Charisma 18. It's all deep-seeded in the realm of the ubergeek, but damn if I don't love all of it. I know many of you do, too.

Read a nice write-up at C|Net, and hopefully many more to come.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Who do you Skrull?


There's a lot of broo-ha about the latest Skrull rumblings in the Marvel U. Um, really? Yeah, I guess there is. It's all predicated on the soon to be "big reveals" of possible Skrully-types, whom may or may not actually be Skrulls. I'm not a big Marvel reader so it's not registering too large on my radar, but I have to admit it's a clever gimmick, especially if any one of the major characters they are teasing turns out to actually be a Skrull. What's also funny is that it's not some big secret ending, Marvel is flat out telling readers multiple characters are Skrulls right now. Well, Maybe.

And maybe, just maybe, Marvel isn't going to go far enough. Meaning they totally will not and I'm putting money on the usual crapout. Granted if Wolverine turns out to be a Skrull, yeah, that's as about as far as I think they would actually take it. But they could go so much farther than that. Were the heavy reigns of this latest Marvel event event placed in my iron grip, I'd take this thing all the way to the freakin' moon. Say, for instance, that not just a few select heroes or villains turned out to be Skrulls, but everyone. Not just all the Avengers or all the X-Men. Everyone. The whole planet. Yes, I propose that the entire population of the planet is in fact ALL Skrulls running a giant simulation of Earth in overly elaborate preparation for a forthcoming invasion of the real thing. One that's been going about its merry way while we've been watching Skrulls for who knows how long.

In this situation the Marvel U could be rebooted to just about any point in time. And that, dear readers, would be awesome. You think that would piss off long time readers? Why? It's all just stories. It wouldn't piss people off any more so than that classic season of Dallas. Or any number of Star Trek time-travel episodes. Something like this would do no more harm than DC's only real reboot, the original Crisis. Technically all the pre-Crisis stories are negated, but we still have them and love our favorites. Hell, DC reprints them by the truckload. Marvel reached the point of Crisis a long time ago, they really could use a start-over. I think there is a good projection of success there with what the Ultimate Universe became. Simply put, Marvel has waaaay too many books and waaaay too many of them exist in their own universe at any given time. I mean, how many versions of Nick Fury are there?

With the upcoming Final Crisis in DC's corner, who knows what's going to come of it. Marvel is in the position of beating that event to the punch, which I'm sure was no coincidence, so keep your fingers crossed. Skrulls? Bring 'em out en masse.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Staple

Saturday I stopped by Staple, a small press expo here in Austin. It was a fairly small show, nothing like APE as far as the indie expos go, but not that bad. There were some pretty cool guests of honor, I got a chance to chat with Eric Powell and pick up his latest sketchbook. Also headlining was Brian Wood, who I was happy to have sign my copies of Demo and Supermarket. But the super treat was the bonus meeting with Kristian Donaldson, kick ass artist of aforementioned Supermarket. It was awesome to have my book signed by both creators, now I just have to track down Becky Cloonan!

Other than the signings I picked up a couple sketchbooks from local artists and a t-shirt with Powell's "Staplegator." Being as small show as it was I passed thru within an hour. Honestly it took me longer to find the tiny expo hall, but it was a cool afternoon diversion.