Feb 10

“Reflex review” of Final Fantasy on the iPhone

Post game-release, Feb. 22nd ’10, Video:

The Great:
– The graphics both sprites and surroundings.
– Touch control in shops.
– The music & sound effects are fantastyc
– Nostalgic.

The “Bad”:
– The touch D-pad looks very tedious for controlling around the world. I’m annoyed just not being able to see the entire screen. I’d definitely miss the tactile feedback, as well.
– Also, it is painfully clear that battles are just as tedious as ever. A double-tap on ‘attack’ to attack a random enemy instead of explicitly tapping a guy would’ve helped a great deal.

Don’t own this platform, and not going to pick it up anytime soon. Oh well. Fun to think about for me and fun to play for many others. Nice to know this generation gets a sweet taste of the RPG classics. Just you kids wait until they re-release “US” Final Fantasy III (or VI for those in-the-know). It’ll blow your Chucks off!

Feb 10

Mom & Pop Shop vs Big Box

From neighborhood signs (and webpages) that read “Keep Petaluma Eggcentric” and the anti “Big-Box” sentiment it implies, Petalumans, on the whole, have fought to keep the town quaint.  Downtown shops are independent and run by locals (though there are a few chain-coffee shops).  Tourists flock to and gawk at our muddy river whilst tasting local Sonoma or Napa county wines.

A town that was once the hub of Telecom Valley, continues to primarily favor antique stores and boutique shops.  Alone, it struggles to maintain its economy out of the red.  Even with the project potentially helping to bring additional tax revenue to the city, fear of losing these little businesses is one reason why many citizens have vigorously fought against it.  In their minds, the onslaught of the Big-box commercialization from coming to town would further cripple Petaluma’s spirit.

Kenilworth Field, Target(ed)

This prized lot of land, some 400K square feet of prime real estate in the geographic center of town, was the former site of Kenilworth junior high school.  It was purchased in 2004 by Regency, a Florida development company for $22 million.  This capital went immediately to the school district which began construction of the new junior high at a different location. Shortly thereafter, Target signed on to be the headliner of the new shopping center, to be named East Washington Place (EWP). In the years since, squabbling over uncertainties and misinformation have created an atmosphere that has driven the town’s governing body (Mayor and City Council) to postpone project decisions again and again.

So much so that Regency Centers filed a lawsuit against the city and Target has threatened to pull out of the project altogether. The primary reasons for the City’s delays are, in actuality, few, but undeniable.

Continue reading →

Feb 10

Aboard the SuperSpeedDrive train

Alright, this isn’t really about a train, at least not the one that transports people and things from here to there. This “train” is more like a train-station; as in, one that stores and transports people to and from itself. The faster the station can process each person, or transaction, the quicker trains can come and go.

Until the past couple years, in a computer system, this station/storage-engine has been the slowest element. The SSD (Solid State Drive) is a new generation of hard drive that is really fast. Speed that is leaps and bounds above the current mainstream technology. It just can’t be stated enough, SSDs positively bring an entirely new level of performance to the slowest component in a modern computer. In order of magnitude, lets go back to that train metaphor:

The Traditional Hard Disk Drive

Speed of a new SSD

One primary source of speedup is the demise of the last truly mechanical internal computer component – not counting fans.  These mechanical hard drives are literally a spinning disk with a small arm that reads from them. The very nature of this interaction has physical limitations that electrons moving across silcon chips do not.  This fact alone gives these SSD drives speed potential far beyond their mechanical ancestors.

Continue reading →

Feb 10

Final Fantasy on the iPlatform

This marks the first moment I wished I possessed a device capable of hosting this platform. That which I call iPlatform is the underlying system that the iPod/iPhone/iPad runs. It is intimately interfaced with Apple’s various stores.

The 8-bit remakes never looked so slick. I’d definitely take to (re)playing these games in this medium over the more clunky Nintendo DS. Granted, I have been there and done that…

Feb 10

Pondering Petaluma

Sim City view

Sim City view

Having lived in this town for the majority of my life, I’ve watched it grow and change as I have.  In those many years, I’ve gained an acute understanding of it.  I’ve acknowledged its good qualities and complained – often – about its shortcomings.  But only recently, have I come to genuinely care about the place I call home.

Petaluma’s unique qualities are what make it worth caring about.  With my knowledge of its history and my interest in its present and future, I have begun to critically analyze its faults.  What better way to shape and improve the future of the community, than to be a part of it.

Whether this be, to physically participate in local politics or become a more outspoken, thought provoking critic, I’m undecided.  No longer will I be subject to the “don’t bitch when you do nothing” mantra.  Now when I analyze, it will be first and foremost, thoroughly digested here on FTTA.   And now for the obligatory P-Town debrief to introduce the multi-post kick off surrounding the this-town topic.

Petaluma is one of Sonoma County’s eldest subsidiaries.  And its history is one of the key traits that make the culture of Petaluma far more interesting than many bedroom communities like it.   Incorporated in 1858, blah blah blah, and utilized as scenery for many movies, the city has a rich past present and future.  Can’t wait to help guide the way.

Feb 10

iPad to raise the cost of eBooks

With all the hype, leverage potential and uber proprietary platform, why wouldn’t publishers jump ship to Apple?  It’s a rather sad state of capitalistic greed, out to scrooge the consumer.  Isn’t more competition suppose to reduce prices? Seemingly not, what with a third [large] publisher set to switch from camp Kindle (Amazon) to iPad (Apple).


Apple’s infamous stance on DRM makes the move seem sadly inevitable, as it stacks up as another reason why they begin to hold a majority of publishers favor.  Amazon on the other hand, is renowned to fight for DRM-free low cost content – check out their awesome mp3 store for example – thusly taking the side of the consumer.  While Apple’s stores oft take to exploiting its platform popularity to permit for higher cost content and superfluous copyright protection.

Furthermore since dinosaurs still roam the free market, their influence is impossible to outright ignore.

“We don’t like the Amazon model of $9.99 . . . We think it really devalues books and hurts all the retailers of hardcover books . . .And now Amazon is willing to sit down with us again and renegotiate.”

Ahh Rupert, Mr. Murdoch you stay classy, what with your intense inability to expand beyond your traditional business models.   Paid web content?  Not going to happen, at least not the way you invision.   But, I digress.

A lower priced product makes perfect economical sense, lower the cost to the consumer and you’ll sell more.  Raise prices, sell less, profit less.  Amazon already takes a loss at the current price point of $10 for new book releases.  I imagine this is in effort to promote their own platform’s (i.e. Kindle) vitality.

And that’s ok, because they understand the economic balance. So, this means either publishers are simply getting greedier, as the cost to produce an eBook is about as close to $0 as it gets.  Or Amazon is expected to make up for the cost of producing a hardcover book that is predominantely sold at retail stores that are far & wide going out of business.