Posts Tagged ‘PS3’


Insecurity Questions – 28. April, 2011

So it’s been a month since I last blogged and a week since the Sony PlayStation Network went down. My excuse is that I lost an employee at the start of a rush and have been training someone new.

Sony, well, they got hacked but it wasn’t until this morning that they informed me that my personal information might have been “compromised”.

PSN Red Tape

BTW, you gotta love that they use the word “compromised” and not “stolen”. It’s like telling someone you’re “being let go”, not “fired”, or that “the graveyard shift is a good place to find your legs” instead of “it’s a s**t shift and as you’re low-man on the totem pole, it’s gonna all fall on you” but I digress.

If you’re active in the modern, web-connected world, there’s a good chance some of your personal data has been stolen. It goes with the territory. If you’re vigilant about checking your statements (after the recession, who isn’t watching every penny) and you have a halfway decent credit card company, then you’ll just need to get a new card. Oh, you’ll also have to change your password but thank God you don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts, right?  Right?

That’s all fine. What I hate are these lame security questions. Why? Because you’re forced to choose between a handful of pre-generated questions. And if you answer honestly you’re screwed because that info can easily be scraped with a Google search or a perusal of your MySpace profile page (you do know they’re up for sale, right? And that you have all sorts of info on there, right? My advice: delete your account now!).

Personally, if we’re gonna use security questions, I’d like to create my own. Heck, only two people know where I first kissed a girl and one of them was drunk so that’d be a perfect one.

If you can’t generate your own questions, make up the answers. In order to make it easier, why not assume someone else’s identity. Yeah, that’s right, lie. Sometimes lying works. Maybe you were born in Castle Greyskull and maybe your first pet was Battle Cat.

Just lay off the riods, okay?

Posted in Off-Topic

Call of Duty: Black Ops – 4. March, 2011

Count me among the hordes of gamers that’s hooked on BLACK OPS. You don’t know how often I’ll think “I wonder if I should give up the Red Dot for a Suppressor?” or “would Marathon pair better with Ghost Pro?” or “if I lob all my Semtex at B Dom, can I still get the capture for A, pick off a dude, grab his resupply and nade the baddies taking A so I can finally pro my Scavenger?”.

Oh, wait, sorry about that.

For the uninitiated, I’m only referring to half the game, the online multiplayer mode, and there’s a good reason for that.  The solo campaign sucks. I’ve been gaming for about a year now and BLACK OPS easily has one of the most boring single player experiences imaginable.  You do the same thing level after level after level. Once in a while they throw you in a vehicle but that’s never as fun as it should be. Even worse, the game play is occasionally confusing and, sadly, not very engaging, which is a shame considering how much I enjoyed the solo CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2 experience.  The only reason to complete the BLACK OPS solo mission is to open up the amazingly fun “Five” map (more on that in a second).

No, the one reason this game stays in my PS3 is because of the online multiplayer.  Clearly this is where all the hard work went.  Not only are there a wide variety of game types (from variations on “capture the flag” to “every-man-for-himself“) but they also mixed in a leveling systems and currency used for player/weapon customizations/wager matches.  In short, they’ve added just about everything that makes a game addictive while managing to keep the hacking/modding to a minimum.  Might I add that it was all the modding/hacking that turned me off to the CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2 online multiplayer.  But I digress.  It’s not all guerrilla warfare against other dudes. You also have the zombie modes.

These are co-op games of survival, which we’ve seen before, but it’s the one called “Five” that stands out from the pack. Here’s why: you’re in the pentagon when a zombie infestation breaks out. You (and up to 3 other players) have to fight your way out. Okay, so far this sounds like any other zombie game, right? Did I mention that you get to play one of these guys?

That’s right, you get to play as JFK, Robert McNamara, Castro or Nixon. Freakin’ sweet!

And now I’m off to download the new map pack… after I do a little more writing (priorities, right?).

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Golden Globes 2011 Nominations – 14. December, 2010

Okay, yeah, it’s been a while since I posted. Sure, I could blame my PS3 and FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS — I’m positive it would be less of a time suck if it weren’t so damn glitchy — but also I got hit by the holiday blues. More like the holidays jumped me in a dark alley, beat the s**t out me with baseball bats and now they’re dragging me behind a dumpsters to really have some fun with me. Yeah, that’s right, I hate the holidays. You hear that Christmas? F**k you and the rest of your winter holiday buddies.

But I digress. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or HFPA (doesn’t that sound like an STD?), just announced the Golden Globe nominations. As always, it’s a bewildering mix of high brow films, popcorn flicks and the unexplainable (I’m talking about that unsexy, so-it-thinks-it-can-sing retarded step-sister of SHOWGIRLS. THREE NOMINATION? ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME?!).

So, thoughts? Opinions? Violent dissent?

Posted in Industry

The Agony of Playing LAST NIGHT in HD on my PS3 – 8. November, 2010

Christ, there are so many damn festival deadlines approaching/passing. The Sundance deadline was just a few weeks ago but recently there’s been the Berlinale, Slamdance, the Miami International Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, SXSW and Tribeca. By the end of the month I’m looking to submit to the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Dallas International Film Festival, Rooftop Films, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Lucky for me, I have a locked cut of my film to submit.

Still, being the neurotic perfectionist that I am, I want to hold a few screening before proceeding with the sound edit/mix and color correction. Now, I could just screen my SD DVD but I shot high-def, I have a nice TV and a PS3, why the Hell shouldn’t I screen the best possible version I can? Really, what’s stopping me?

Well, nothing but time, technology and storage space.

Warning: I’m about to peg the geek/nerd/techie meter.

I shot my film with the Panasonic HVX200 so my footage is all 1080p/23.98 DVCproHD. I color corrected my locked, festival submission cut in After Effects with Colorista and Looks. So far, so good.

Now, the PS3 can handle H.264 but wants that in an MPEG-4 wrapper. That’s straightforward, right?

Yes… and no. After Effects won’t output a multi-pass codec so I needed to create an intermediary version. I went with ProRes. Why not the Animation codec or ProRes HQ? While those codecs deliver a higher quality image, the trade off in time is crippling. My After Effects ProRes output of a five reel film took 60 hours! ProRes HQ is roughly 20% larger than the vanilla ProRes I used, so that would have taken 72 hours. I couldn’t afford to tie up my computer for three full days. The Animation codec is lossless so God only knows how long that would have taken.

With my ProRes version in hand the next step was to create an H.264 version with AAC audio in Compressor. I think that took about a day, can’t really be sure because I farmed this work out to another computer; like I said, I have other work to complete, work that requires the use of my MacBook Pro.

After that it’s an easy passthrough in QTPro to wrap the file as MPEG-4 (thank you Stu for this tip).

Done.  Next, I had to transfer the film to my PS3 and I’m done. Not quite. My film is about 30GB but I only have 20GB left on my PS3 HDD. Solution: buy a new HDD (thank God the PS3 makes swapping the HDD easy). After hours/days of research I learned that I needed to purchase a 2.5″ 5400rpm 500GB SATA II HDD with a 16MB cache. I found a nice Hitachi on Amazon and I’m golden.

Well, no. See, they send me a drive with a 8MB cache. I send the drive back but in the meantime I do a bit more research. It looks like no one makes a 2.5″ 5400rpm 500GB SATA II HDD with a 16MB cache. You either get a 5400rpm with an 8MB cache or a 7200rpm HDD with a 16MB cache. I’m thinking I really could use the 16MB cache in regards to the heft of my file’s data rate but boards suggest that some folk have had issues with the 7200rpm drives in their PS3s. Ugh. Fine, I’ll go with an 8MB cache HDD.

The new HDD arrives and I immediately make 2 backups of my PS3 HDD before swapping it out for my new one. I pray this will go without a hitch. It almost does. I had to have the PS3 OS on a USB stick in order to properly format my new 500GB HDD. I then restored my original PS3 files but that took close to 5 hours. Once I verified that all my files were restored and worked, it’s finally time to transfer my file to my PS3. I can’t use my 30GB USB stick (formatted, it’s less than 30GB and we’re all experienced that pain/agony) but I have some space on the external HDD I use to back up my PS3. I hook that drive up to my MBP and…

Failure?! Yup. See, the HDD I use to backup my PS3 is formatted FAT 32, which restricts file size to 4GB or less. What’s worse, the PS3 won’t recognize a drive formatted any other way. FUCK! How the hell am I supposed to move this 30GB H.264 file from a Mac formatted HDD to my PS3?

The answer is PS3 Media Server. It’s a Mac app that lets your PS3 browse your Mac for playable media. At first I was worried that I’d have to always stream the media but there’s a “Copy to PS3” function.

Did it work?

Hell yeah! My film transferred to my PS3, it plays in all its HD glory.

Now I need to organize a pair of screenings this weekend (all the while praying that work doesn’t ask me to come in Saturday or Sunday). Was this worth it? I think so but I’ll confirm after the screenings.  Meanwhile, if you’re trying to do the same thing with your Mac/PS3, feel free to shoot me your questions.

A Prince Falls, A Jerk Rises, A Plumber Celebrates – 13. September, 2010

Sorry if the blogging is erratic over the next two weeks–I’m prepping my film for submission to the Sundance Film Festival. Still, while waiting for renders, nothing seems to pass the time better than my PS3. I’ve only had the damn thing for less than a year but I’ve already taken an interest in the behind-the-scenes of the video game industry and that brings us to this post.

A Prince Falls.

A few years ago I was introduced to the Katamari games and I was instantly charmed. They’re bright, fun, easy to play and unlike every other game out there. They’re perfect for anyone that says “I don’t like video games.” Heck, I’ve seen it win over girlfriends. So it is with that introduction that I bring news that Katamari creator Keita Takahashi has parted ways with his video game publisher Bandai, possibly to create playgrounds. Yes, he was only involved with the original title but it’s still a huge loss of creative lunacy in an otherwise staid industry. Then again, I’d love to run around one of his playgrounds.

A Jerk Rises

I have such faint memories of the original DUKE NUKEM that it wasn’t big news to me that the sequel was finally coming out. Then I learned the real story: after a decade and close to $20 million in development funds, the creators filed for bankruptcy and then counter sued their publishers. Holy s**t, and I thought movies were slow moving and expensive. So how did Duke rise from the vaporware grave? It seems the hero of the day is Randy Ptichford, the guy responsible my video game addiction, BORDERLANDS. I’m not sure I’m gonna run out and pre-order this title but my interest has been piqued.

A Plumber Celebrates

That right, this sucka is 25 years-old.

Okay, enough blogging.  Time to export more FCP sequences to After Effects.

Posted in Off-Topic

Scott Pilgrim vs. Scott Pilgrim – 29. July, 2010

Sorry I haven’t written more this week but right now I have a night gig, in addition to my day gig, where I’m supposed to install a server, set up network storage and allow any user to authenticate from any machine but I’ve run into a hitch: users can’t login.

Oh yeah, also, I’ve never done this before and I know nothing about network administration.

(How I ended up with this gig is for another post.)

Therefore I’m quickly steering ya towards something that caught my eye. Have you ever heard of Scott Pilgrim? It’s a comic series I’ve been aware of but know nothing about (my theme of the week).

They’re making a movie and it looks, well…

It’s Edgar Wright directing so it has a ton of potential but that trailer… but maybe I’m wrong. My buddy Pat used to always say, “terrible trailer = great movie.”

What looks more interesting to me is this:

Now that looks fun.

Okay, enough writing. Back to the salt mines.

Posted in Off-Topic

Gimmie More Streams – 22. July, 2010

Goddamn those Euros, I’m so jealous they’re getting this!

A bit of background to help you understand my response. First, I don’t subscribe to cable. It’s a cost I cut a long time ago and I don’t really miss it. Then television got great. Suddenly I was hooked on shows like VERONICA MARS and FRINGE; my latest addiction is MAD MEN (I blame my former roommate for that).

For a while it seemed that for $1.99 iTunes could give me what I needed but damn if those files aren’t huge and season passes are expensive (and what if the show starts sucking?). Hulu seemed like the answer. Just a couple of problems: the window of viewing and the window for viewing. A couple weeks of “nose to the grindstone” and I end up with 20+ hours of NBC sitcoms and Fox animation I wanted to watch but they’re expiring in 14 hours.  Plus I was locked into watching episodes on my laptop. Sure, I could always get the DVDs from Netflix but…

But then Netflix introduced streaming on the PS3 and it was as if a whole new world opened up to me.  Suddenly I could follow my whim and watch a movie or a documentary or an episode of KING OF THE HILL and all I had to do was start buffering while I cooked dinner.  I consider that a big win but instantly I wanted more.  I wanted more than a handful of THE OFFICE episodes and why do I still have to use that stupid disc?

So when I heard that Hulu was offering a paid service that would show current shows and allow access to their back catalog, I was interested. When I learned that I’d be able to do this on my PS3, which is hooked up to a sweet TV, I immediately signed up for an invite.

(Still waiting for that invite.)

So obviously I’m excited for streaming services that let me view quality content via my PS3. Therefore, it should be obvious that a film nut like me wants a service showing Criterion like programming (plus I’m dying for something to tear me away from BORDERLANDS). Those are the movies I love, the kind I need to be watching, discovering.

Here’s hoping Mubi & Sony make this happen in North America.

Red Dead Rave – 17. May, 2010

Tomorrow the postman will only need to ring once because she’s bringing me a new PS3 game. Say hello to Red Dead Redemption.

This game looks pretty awesome but don’t take my word for it. Read the absolutely glowing New York Times review for a second opinion.

Posted in Off-Topic

Portal On The Mac Promises Cake – 13. May, 2010

The very first game I finished on my PS3 was this super sweet puzzle-game-meets-the-movie-CUBE called PORTAL.

Thanks to the fine folk at Steam (a game service of some sort) you can now enjoy this awesome game on your Mac.  Even better, until May 24 this game won’t cost you a cent. That’s right, it’s free!

Posted in Off-Topic

Not Like The Other – 27. April, 2010

One of these trophies is not like the others (the background is your hint).


Okay, back to to finishing God of War 3 before Red Dead Redemption arrives… along with some more Borderlands level grinding for good measure.

Posted in Off-Topic