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Continuing my journey into the Cult of Apple, I recently added the iPad to my list of Apple products.

Initially I wasn’t certain I was going to invest in one – I prefer deadwood over PDFs, I have an iPhone for mobile internet… why would I need an iPad?

As I puzzled out the dichotomy between “ooh new shiny” and “do I really need this?” a lot if friends were more than keen to provide their opinions. There is a risk inherent with liberal thought to always think of things out of context or in views of Ebul Right and Pure Left.

Who would have thought buying an electronic device could be a political statement? 🙂

See, Apple are very controlling of their products. This is risky in that they cab potentially control what you see and interact with when using your iPhone or iPad.

But, conversely, they also provide some of the best productivity tools to allow you to create your own content – which they can’t interfere with. (And would be hugely foolish if they did.)

Furthermore, with many forms of media becoming standardised there are plenty of simple solutions other than distributing through iTunes.

Most common was the Cult of Android trying to tell me that there are better Android tablets. I looked around. To date, none seem to exist.

Further to this, despite Google being a mostly fluffy company, they do still own YouTube, which is almost as regulated as iTunes.

Finally, the liberal argument comes around to the conservative argument structure. Nothing truly bad is happening now, but it COULD happen. Hello slippery slope. Yes, we need to be vigilant – but that is no excuse for being cowboys.

Apple’s control does mean better quality and better security. Not that they have perfected this yet. 😉

Finally a friend said to think of the iPad not as a computer, but as an electronic piece of paper which can store any information you want and be able to carry loads of books without the weight.

After talking to a number of US role-players who had iPads, I realised that this was the best way to view the iPad.

So I bought one.

What first strikes me is that this feels like a much more intuitive way to read a PDF. I hate reading PDF books on a laptop because they feel clumsy and inelegant.

Being able to physically “turn” a page, pinch or zoom effortlessly just seems natural, whereas using a mouse seems very detached.

In much the same way that MP3 players made listening to music easier than the old “rewind tape” Walkman, the iPad is an improvement by going back to the way you normally read a book.

With the added benefit of interactive elements. As Wired have shown, an iPad allows a magazine to be more than words. A great example is their interview with Trent Reznor, following him through the creation of a song. As you read the article there are versions of the song to play at each stage of it’s development, images change to show what is being discussed.

It’s a great example of the future, and certainly has me reading more again. An added bonus is the thousands of free classics to download. I’ve been beefing up my Philosophy collection.

Frankly, I feel the door is open for all manner of use and application with this device. Hardly the restrictive horror others perceive it to be.

Conan

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It has been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, but I have been crazy busy with websites and scriptwriting. Crazy busy.

But today I want to write about something that is really pissing me off.

InFamous, the PS3 exclusive third person superhero sandbox game, was one of the highlight titles on the PS3. It genuinely felt like a comic book setting and hero with some great gameplay, cutscenes and a suitably gonzo storyline.

Fast forward a bit and Sucker Punch announce inFamous 2. In a surprise twist, they reveal that the main character has been completely redesigned. Part of the problem is that due to schedule clashes, Cole had to be recast. Now I am if the opinion that if the voice actor is changing – it is a great opportunity to reimagine the character. This is not the first computer/console game to do this, and even in the comic book world character appearance change is very common.

Unfortunately, the Internet being what it is, a vocal number of fans kicked up a fuss about how Cole looked like a backstreet boy/gay porn star/etc etc etc.

So, against better judgement, Sucker Punch have apparently redesigned the character to look more like the original.

I say against better judgement because if they had kept the New Cole, the furore would have died down and people would have focused on the game. Until now, more attention was on the game than the change in character. But now that the change has been reversed, fans are arguing over which was better. New or Old. Attention has moved away from the game and on to the character choice.

There are many who welcomed the new look, myself included, and feel that having Old Cole with a different voice is more jarring and tackier than completely overhauling the character. Others welcome the return, because it is comfortably familiar. However, now some of them want the original voice actor too.

Ultimately by listening to the “fans” – and I use that hesitantly because the complainers were not speaking for the fans IMO – Sucker Punch have mired themselves into a trivial debate that threatens to overshadow what looks to be an awesome new game.

If they had stuck to their guns, said “we made the change because of xyz” and asked fans to trust them – it would have had a much better outcome. Now they have made themselves look indecisive, and left a very negative taste in lot of people’s mouths.

Having recently played inFamous again, the original Cole was not a great design. The newer look was definitely better. I am disappointed when fan pressure is used this way, as it doesn’t improve the product, it just sows ill will.

Hopefully for those of us who are more open to change, a skin for the new Cole will be provided as DLC or unlockable. Or better yet, the core game changes back to using the New Cole and the Old Cole is a DLC/unlockable character.

Laters!

Conan

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