The Holy Order Of The Asian Pussy Pounders
2008 Macworld Prediction Results
by Tironius, created Tuesday, January 15, 2008, with permalink

I was right for the wrong reasons

So yesterday I made some predictions about what’s “in the air,” my thinking that this tagline referred to an ecosystem of WiFi for Apple TV and iPhone. I was wrong, mostly, but did get one thing right.

Yesterday, I said…

I hereby predict that Apple’s new iPhone will at least speak to, if not be able to completely control, Apple TV, making Apple TV one of iPhone’s storage solutions

WRONG. As it stands now, Apple TV and iPhone are estranged brothers leading separate lives. iPhone cannot use Apple TV’s hard drive as a quick repository.

In my next prediction, I said…

I predict Apple will tout a new media server solution that involves these components: Airport Extreme with the new 802.11n capabilities, connected hard drive, & Leopard; the Airport Wi-Fi base station with its connected large-capacity hard drive will provide Apple TV and any computer on the network with a central repository for all media files (not to mention back up capabilities inherent to Leopard). The speed of the new draft N makes this happen

WRONG. The three-two punch was not a solution Apple introduced, but the above prediction was using a third-party external hard drive. I furthered that with this prediction…

Moreover, Apple will announce its own branded external hard drive with the same form factor as both the Airport and Apple TV, making it the perfect companion for either. For Airport, a connected hard drive provides the perfect place for Leopard’s new built-in back up functions called “Time Machine”; for Apple TV, obviously, it will provide a boost in storage to house all those iTunes movie purchases. iPhone (and its touchscreen iPod brother) will connect to the hard drive no matter which it’s connected to.

WRONG, & RIGHT. Apple is completely missing the mark with their new storage-WiFi combo called “Time Capsule.” I was right in that they are using this for Leopards inherent backup capabilities, but at 500 gigabytes and one terabyte, this would be an excellent central source for my large media files, freeing up space I’d prefer to allow Photoshop use. Apple TV should be able to access Time Capsule’s immense storage for any movie it needs. (Maybe it can.) So, check one: Apple did brand its own hard drive, though they combined it with Airport Extreme in an all-in-one.

* 1 outta 3 *

Labels: ,

2008 Macworld
by Tironius, created Monday, January 14, 2008, with permalink

100% foolproof predictions to 2008 Macworld keynote, sure to impress, mesmerize, impregnate

With the introductory phase of iPhone over, 2008 marks a new time for iFun for the iPhone & Apple TV

In March of 2007, before the release of iPhone but after the introductory keynote, I predicted a few things that I think now will materialize at this Macworld. I stated that I believe that Apple is using WiFi as the secret sauce to a micro-ecosystem involving Apple TV and iPhone, where movies for the iPhone would be stored on Apple TV’s 50-hour hard drive, accessible to the phone through WiFi. My basis for asserting this is a never-mentioned off-handed remark Steve Jobs made at that first 2007 keynote. I am the only one to pick up on it, and made a video.

Steve Jobs’ remark can be heard exactly 14 minutes-in, in the original Macworld 2007 keynote video on Apple’s site.

In the video, Steve Jobs talking about the Apple TV—introduced in the keynote before the iPhone—says the following: “It’s got a forty-gigabyte hard drive inside it, so it will store up to fifty hours of video, which comes in handy for something I’m about to show you.” Steve jobs that Apple TV’s hard drive is handy for the iPhone. But why? Why, indeed, or rather, Wi-Fi.

Pic: Apple teases us on its website: ‘There’s something in the air.’somethingintheair_20080110

I made some predictions last March which I think are still valid and in play, because Apple goes forward regarding iPhone at a snail’s pace. Two thousand seven was all about introducing a revolutionary product. In the design space, there is a principle of which we must be aware, that people will reject anything too innovative [11. Conversely, they will reject anything too familiar as not being innovative enough] So, I understand Apple’s throwing iPhone into the pool and allowing people to get accustomed to it. But now, it’s a new year with new fun. Apple is now set to release new products—or redesigned old products—to take advantage of the iPhone, and this is what I think:

OUT ON A LIMB PREDICTIONS

Original article:
“Something about Steve Jobs’ keynote that I missed the first time”

  1. I hereby predict that Apple’s new iPhone will at least speak to, if not be able to completely control, Apple TV, making Apple TV one of iPhone’s storage solutions.

  2. I predict Apple will tout a new media server solution that involves these components: Airport Extreme with the new 802.11n capabilities, connected hard drive, & Leopard; the Airport Wi-Fi base station with its connected large-capacity hard drive will provide Apple TV and any computer on the network with a central repository for all media files (not to mention back up capabilities inherent to Leopard). The speed of the new draft N makes this happen.

  3. Moreover, Apple will announce its own branded external hard drive with the same form factor as both the Airport and Apple TV, making it the perfect companion for either. For Airport, a connected hard drive provides the perfect place for Leopard’s new built-in back up functions called “Time Machine”; for Apple TV, obviously, it will provide a boost in storage to house all those iTunes movie purchases. iPhone (and its touchscreen iPod brother) will connect to the hard drive no matter which it’s connected to.

    and…

  4. Apple will unveil its fabled Movie download service, allowing both Apple TV and iPhone to access those movies directly through the air.

Labels: , ,

Visiting the North Korean border
by Chris Maupin, created Sunday, August 12, 2007, with permalink

Day trip to the edge of forever: North-South Korean border a creepy place

digg story

“This is the ‘bridge of no return…’,” the US MP informed us. “Cross this bridge and you will be stripped of all freedoms and will be forbidden to ever enter S Korea or the US Again. Cross this bridge and you are in N Korea’s hands.” The bridge was little more than 8 feet wide and and perhaps a hundred feet long or so. In the days of the Korean war, war prisoners were told to choose which side they would live the remainder of their lives in. Some chose wisely, others didn’t.

DSCN1591

Hello everyone!

Cross this bridge and you will be stripped of all freedoms and will be forbidden to ever enter S Korea or the US again.

Yesterday I visited Panmunjeom [1] 1. The United Nations Joint Security Area and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) a 4 mile wide ribbon of land that divides the two Koreas along the 38th parallel. The DMZ is perhaps the most militarized border in the world. Both sides are heavily walled and fenced. The DMZ itself is infested with landmines and anyone trying to make it across would not make it very far. Covered in guard towers on both sides, you often find yourself being watched by N Korean soldiers.

We started our tour at “Camp Bonifas” which was formerly known as “Camp Kittyhawk.” The once US military base is now under the Republic of Korea’s command and is the largest installation near the DMZ. We were briefed by an American MP on the history and background of the DMZ and Korean War. Then we signed UN waivers and got made the short drive to the JSA (United Nations Joint Security Area.) The JSA is the place where the DMZ narrows around a cluster of buildings and the two sides meet without fences. On the one side there is a large S Korean Building used to house officials, dignitaries and for other administrative purposes. Across from it is it’s N Korean counterpart - dubbed the “monkey house” because of the rude behavior of it’s N Korean Guard. In between there are no fences, no walls, nothing - only a series of portable type buildings used to hold negotiations and talks. Between the buildings the two sides soldiers stare eachother down and try to intimidate one another all day long. It was intense.

In the days of the Korean war, war prisoners were told to choose which side they would live the remainder of their lives in. Some chose wisely, others didn’t.

So there, at the JSA, I saw them.. The North Korean soldiers - just like on TV. Wearing their olive drab uniforms, gaunt, cold looking. They watched us through binoculars the whole time we were there. 2 from the Monkey house steps, and one from a guard tower. It was an eerie feeling knowing that all that separated us from those brainwashed fascist soldiers was an imaginary dotted line in the sand. The guide told us that when president Bush met with the S Korean president a while back, 2 N Korean soldiers entered the meeting room (illegally) and proceeded to polish their boots with an American flag on display. yikes.

DSCN1588

After we left the JSA, we headed to a high hilltop observation tower on the DMZ border. Across the forest you could see it — N Korea and it’s flagship village known to the locals as “Propaganda Village” because it used to blare loud propaganda messages slamming the US and S Korea and enticing people to defect into N Korea. When S Korea erected a new flagpole which was some 300’ in height a few years ago N Korea responded by erecting what might be the largest flagpole ever built by man. It waves a massive 660 lb N Korean flag that measures some 60’ in length and requires 16 people to raise and lower it. I took some good shots of the village and the flag so you can see them below.

We then passed through more ‘gaza-like’ checkpoints with anti-tank traps and gun turret posts to ‘Dora Observatory.’ Photography from the wall of the observatory is prohibited, but of course I don’t believe in rules, so I smuggled out some photos for you! Sensitive and classified! Don’t turn me over to the UN please!

DSCN1579

After the observatory we headed to the ‘3rd Infiltration Tunnel’ site which was discovered in 1978. The N Koreans have attempted several times to dig a series of tunnels from which to invade S Korea from. Sneaky bastards! Cameras were not allowed in this area.

The last stop was the Dora-san Station. This is the new train station that has a line that goes from Dorasan (S Korea) to Pyongyang, the N Korean Capital City. After years of negotiations Kim Jong Il (N Korean Dictator) allowed the train from S to N to be built - then of course at the last minute he refused to allow any trains to enter N Korea. So the station sets, ready and manned to send travelers off into the North. Schedule boards and waiting chairs all anticipating a train that will never come - at least not for now. I took a photo of the sign that says “Dora -> Pyongyang” and got my passport stamped there.

Well, Hope you enjoy these photos and the candid peek into the bizarre and secretive North. It was a great tour and I recommend it. Special thanks to the USO who booked and organized it for me - what a great organization they are.

That’s all for now,
—Kurippi 19

Labels: , ,

Derren Brown's supplier found here in Franny
by Tironius, created Friday, August 10, 2007, with permalink

I find the source for Derren Brown’s tools of magic here in San Francisco

1. Since our chat was brief, I couldn’t get specifics like his name or whether he owned the shop. I assume he does.

I‘ve made a huge discovery today: Mental magician Derren Brown’s magical supplier seems[1] to operate a shop of magic here in San Francisco. I learned this as I briefly chatted it up with the worker inside this shop called Misdirections Magic Shop:

skitched-20070810-233620.png

“Derren Brown gets all his stuff from me,” the Chinese worker—who's demeanor and knowledge make his story plausible—said as I asked about Derren Brown products, “We’re friends.” Holy shit!

From what I gather, this shop must be a somewhat hardcore supplier of top magicians if Derren gets his goods from here. I could only talk briefly as there was, in fact, either an amateur or a professional magician who started talking serious shop with the man after our first interlude.

2. I can’t remember exactly. These names are made up, but sound like what I saw. They were definitely jargon that a magician in-the-know would recognize.

Derren Write-ups:

A taste of Derren on YouTube
A good synopsis of his talents and book
In-depth on one particularly shocking stunt
A secret revealed about his newest U.K. show Trick or Treat
Derren found on iTunes

The shop is very small, just a narrow walk-in area with a large display case on the right side. In it, various magical and novelty products are on display, from beginner to advanced. I say advanced, because there were various decks of cards with hardcore jargon attached to each. “Snake eyes technique,” or “Deuce technique.”[2] There were also plenty of gag gifts and novelty items, like electrocuting cameras and computer mice. Behind the case on shelves against the wall were many books and DVDs containing the secrets to magic. I noticed one was by that one magician I see on cable.

37
Derren can be found at iTunes.

41ZKX8WDEGL._SS500_

3. NYTimes writer Neil Strauss went from loser to master pick-up artist in his book The Game Amazon, wherein he talked about the concept demonstrating value to the psychology of the opposite sex. Magic is one way to do this. His mastery arose from the tutelage of master pick-up artist Mystery, who himself has a new show about the life on VH1 iTunes.

4. Derren sells how-tos to magicians on his website, but not to outsiders. Luckily, there is no ‘outside’ on the Internet

“He has two DVDs out, but he’s very advanced,” the man responds when I asked if he had Derren Brown how-tos. The short conversation turned to his TV shows when he informed me I would have to order from the U.K. I informed him of Derren’s new place in iTunes, about which I have written here.

When I looked up at his ceiling, I was flabbergasted. On it were the autographed pictures of famous magicians, but for which only one I cared. When I first asked to take a picture of the autographed head shot of Mr. Brown, the guy politely told me he doesn’t allow photography.

“OK,” I said, “I’m just such a big fan.” “All right, you can,” he said. Yay.

skitched-34

After the visit, I now have a renewed interest in watching the how-to videos Derren produced [4] and learning a few tricks, because, according to Neil Strauss in his book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists[3], magic is a great way to capture women’s interest and pick up phone numbers, and nothing is more magical than pounding sweet Asian pussy.

Labels: ,

Derren Brown mesmerizes America
by Tironius, created Wednesday, August 01, 2007, with permalink

Master mental magician Derren Brown hits iTunes

iTunes

Derren Brown, the king of mind tricks, who has in the past shocked and awed U.K. audiences, comes to America with a television series called Mind Control, featured in the iTunes television store.

1. Stooge, n: a person who is employed to assume a particular role while keeping their true identity hidden

2. Stage magic

3. Showmanship is in essence, lying, but not lying. It’s giving the impression you are doing something one way for the effect, but the audience is smart enough to know something might be deceptive, which is fine. It’s a relationship between performer and audience, where the audience suspends disbelief. I’m paraphrasing from his book, Tricks of the Mind Amazon, which I own.

4. Neuro-Linguistic Programming

iTunes show link

Brown rocked the U.K. with such sensational stunts including playing Russian Roulette on live TV, conducted a live seance, hypnotically converting atheists into “believers,” and his normal bag of tricks.

37

I like Brown because he makes absolutely no claims that he uses real magic, but he does claim—and I believe him—to not use actors or stooges [1]. He professes nothing more than someone using a combination of magic [2], psychology, misdirection, and showmanship [3]. He employs principles of NLP [4] to embed commands into his unwitting victims, and, other times he has you believe he’s using such hypnotic techniques. The fun is not knowing which is taking place.

More added…

Cheesy and cheeky, Mr. Brown specializes not in illusion as much as the art of disillusionment. He may seem like a tonic to Americans disenchanted with the elaborate artifices of the so-called reality genre.

Mr. Brown is a charlatan, but at least he admits it.

Read more of “Derren Brown: Mind Control”

Labels: , , ,

Reality P2P
by Tironius, created Sunday, July 22, 2007, with permalink

Peer-to-peer users share candid shots

Enjoy candid photography and documents from the hard drives of others through Gnutella

It’s interesting what people put on the peer-to-peer networks and not realize. See, when installing certain Gnutella-network peer-to-peer applications such as Limewire or Bearshare, the user is given options to make certain folders shared. 1. But I have no way of knowing; I can only assume that they fully know and comprehend their actions in publishing their pictures and documents to the network. I imagine that certain common folders such as “My Documents” are shared by hapless idiots, not knowing that they are publishing their lives to the world [1]. DSC00610Thusly, files like Word documents, pictures, useless .dll files, and countless more are available for others to download.

My Gnutella client of choice is Acquisition for the Mac. Unlike Limewire, it’s Mac-like interface is not based on Java, so it’s quicker and less quirky, and makes for finding hentai manga fun and easy.

Their unwitting exhibitionism provides for wonderfully creepy adventures. For the more voyeuristic of our readers, much fun can be had by peaking into the lives of others by seeing their private photographs and documents. All it takes for such ethically-dubious behavior is to know what to type into your search field.

For instance, type in the word resume (i.e. résumé), and find what people don’t know they have included in their shared folders: their entire life’s history. I was able to get some résumé-writing tips simply by reading a real-world example. It’s amazing how many people use Word templates.

But résumés are somewhat boring; what else can one find?

The real fun: Pictures

Type in the letters “DSC,” a common naming-scheme for several cameras, and eureka!, a wonderful cornucopia of breached privacy.

Picture 2

Random pictures include:

P1010749

The real fun can come after, because applications like Acquisition and Limewire allow a person to browse through all files made available on that person’s hard drive. So if the first picture of ugly dog isn’t enough, you can see the other pictures on the roll.

Acquisition

Labels: , ,

iWeb tutorial: How to create aqua buttons
by Tironius, created Wednesday, July 18, 2007, with permalink

iWeb bests Photoshop in making simple graphics for the web

For those who find Photoshop intimidating or bloated, let Tironius be your guide to creating lickable buttons with li’l ol’ iWeb for web or print

Bloggers and amateur web site creators who don’t find Apple’s aqua look passé will cheer in ecstasy when realized how easy it is to create those style of buttons using Apple’s oft-overlooked little trooper, iWeb. Now, I’ve already shown you how you can create print-quality flyers and posters in my iWeb for print hack. (There’s not much this little program can’t do.) In that, I explain how iWeb creates stunning flyers just like InDesign or Apple’s iWork.

iWeb

Today, however, I will concentrate how easy you can create simple buttons simply by creating them in iWeb using shapes, and either using them for your iWeb site, or copying them to any other program. So let’s get started.

How to create an aqua-style button

First, let’s see an example of what we’re up against:

skitched-2

Not too shabby. Photoshop would give me a little more finesse, but creating this for your own website will make yours better than ninety per cent of the rest.

Open iWeb and create a new page

Open the page you want to place your new delicious button; or, open a new page if you plan to export this button for some other use (say) in another web page. Select New Page in the File menu. Up pops the template dialogue sheet, and to the left side select White for your template family, and Blank for the actual template. This will give us a clean workspace.

Select a shape

To create our pill-shaped button, we will select one of the shapes in the Shapes button located in the lower left of the main workspace. It is the rounded corner rectangle, fifth from the top of the pop-up menu.

iWeb

You should see a shape similar to this one (though, size and color might be different if you’re on a different template):

iWeb-1

This is our building block.

Adjust the size, color and shape

It’s a nice looking box, but it doesn’t much look like our end product. Let’s fix that by altering its shape. If it isn’t already, select the rectangular box you just created. When an object is selected, that object’s bounding box will appear. A total of eight little squares appear in the corners and on the sides. Dragging these will reshape the object. Drag the top center one downward so that your rectangle becomes a pill shape.

iWeb-3

If the shape is still too rectangular (that is to say, if the corners are too sharp), then iWeb allows you to adjust the radius of those corners. That is the little circle in the top left of our shape (under the cursor in the above picture). Use this to adjust the shape into more of a pill:

iWeb-4

Part of what gives the button its glassy look is the gradient you see underneath the glare. In this instance, the pill gradates from a dark blue to a brilliant blue. Let’s do this now.

iWeb-18

It’s time to use the inspector. In the lower right corner of the program, there is a blue letter “i.” Click it and up pops the inspector, a pane that allows you to control all aspects of the site, including colors, size, and links. In this lesson, we’ll mostly use the color options located in object inspector. Click the tab shown in the above picture, fifth tab from the left.

Picture 1-1

The object pane should look like this:

Picture 1

Let’s fill our shape a different color. But, instead of just filling it with one color, we will fill it with two, whereby one subtly changes to the other. That’s a gradient fill.

Picture 1-2

Click the pop-up menu in the inspector where it says Color Fill, and select Gradient Fill.

OtherViews

Now, instead of one color swatch, you see two. Click the top swatch, and up pops the color inspector. Mac OS X’s color inspector is the best. I find it to be superior to Adobe’s in ease of use. It’s time select our base color; for this, I chose a classic aqua blue. Any color works, but blue is classy.

Colors

For now, we want both colors to be the same. You’re able to drag swatches around, so to make the other color the same, simply drag the first color on top of the second:

iWeb-5

Now, select the top one again, and using the slider in the color inspector, make the blue just a hair darker. Don’t go crazy; subtlety is the way to go:

Colors-1

Picture 2

Note, if you accidentally make the bottom color the darker color, no worries: just click that little double arrow right by the swatches. That switches them. Also, if you choose to have a stroke (an outer line) like mine, make the color the same as your darker blue. You can select the stroke using the pop-up menu. Select Line, and just drag the darker blue swatch right onto the swatch of the stroke below. Final note: already this is a great button and looks more like “Web 2.0” style now than the final.

Create the button’s text

iWeb-7

So what is the purpose of this button? Are you sending your reader to a picture page? Or your blog? It’s time to tell them where to go with text. In the lower left corner of the work space, click the Text button. This will plop a brand spankin’ new text box right in the center of your work space. Type your words. To make sure the words align exactly to the button, we want to center the text both horizontally and vertically.

Picture 4-1

We’ll now switch over to the text inspector. It’s the big “T” tab right in the middle as shown. In the Color & Alignment section, select the center alignment button, and center vertically button. If it isn’t already, select white as the text’s color. To give the text a teensy bit of contrast from the background, we will apply a very subtle drop shadow. Go back to the object inspector (fifth tab from the left), and tick the Shadow checkbox.

Picture 5-1

The following separates the pros from the amateurs. A real design snob will scoff at the use of a drop shadow. They seem to be accepted and prevalent in package design, however. I can always spot the Photoshop lover by his use of the default drop shadow settings (which by the way is 75% opacity). These are much too dark and gaudy! In our design we will tone it down to an acceptable level. Use my settings as shown in the picture. No need to type “pt” in the settings fields.

You may need to adjust the size and font face of your text. This is done in a separate inspector called the font inspector. (This is one part of OS X that needs an overhaul.) Myriad Pro is the font of choice for Apple.Click the “A” button, the Fonts button, in the lower right corner. Up pops the font inspector. With your text box selected, find the Myriad Pro font family in the inspector. You can search for Myriad Pro using the Search field at the bottom of the inspector, or simply browse for it. Select Semibold if you have it. Another good choice is Helvetica (but rather boring). Keep it classy: simple is better.

Picture 7

My size for text is 32, but your button size might be different. It’s an arbitrary decision; whatever size text fits well in the button is what you should use.

iWeb-9

Create the highlight

This is the component that makes the glass button glassy. And, iWeb makes it so easy to create. In Photoshop, one must muck with layer masks or the gradient tool, but in iWeb, its all about the color inspector, baby! Easy as pie.

First, we must copy our pill shape, because it will become the highlight. I simply held down the Option key before dragging the shape upward, thus creating a second pill.

iWeb-10

We must then change its color and size. For now, we can change its color to white (for both swatches, since it is a gradient). By clicking and dragging the second shape’s bounding box (on the top center or bottom), I can squish the shape a bit. Do the same for the sides: grab either the left or the right handle, and move it in. Hold the Option key while you do this will do both sides at the same time.

Align the new shape above the other; iWeb will help you keep it center. Use the picture as a guide to how things should look:

iWeb-11

Now, the fun part. What makes the second shape look like glare on a glassy surface is its transparency. iWeb does this beautifully. With the white pill shape selected, in the object inspector, select the top swatch for its gradient. Now, in the color inspector, there is a horizontal slider near the bottom pane that controls the opacity of a color. We’re doing the top color, so set the opacity at 80% (by sliding or typing in the value).

Picture 6

Select the shapes second gradient swatch, and set it to just 10%. We’re on the last leg of the race! See how good your button looks now?

iWeb-12

All that’s left is to set a drop shadow and export!

Complete and export

You know how to do the next part. Click your original blue button, and apply and adjust its drop shadow using similar settings as your text. You can maybe go a little darker, but don’t over-do it.

Exporting is easy. Simply select all and copy. To copy, hold the Command key and hit C. Or, in the Edit menu, select Copy. I can paste directly into iWork, Skitch, ImageWell, Photoshop, or Preview (by selecting New From Clipboard in the File menu). Pasting into Skitch, ImageWell and Photoshop retains transparency of the drop shadow. Preview annoyingly applied a white background. Apple’s Pages has a wonderful relationship with iWeb; pasting into Pages retains every single object as a separate entity. Text fields remain text fields, etc.

That’s a wrap

Hope you had fun. Who needs Photoshop when you can make such beautiful graphics for simple needs with little old iWeb, Apple’s best kept secret.

skitched-3

Labels: , , ,

Flipping out
by Tironius, created Saturday, May 26, 2007, with permalink

Derren Brown taps the king of ambigrams for the secret to his show ‘Trick or Treat’

Up is down, black is white with the master of psychological illusion

Watching my boy Derren Brown got ambigrams in my noggin. The topic arose in conversation with internationally renowned calligrapher Claude Dieterich A. and I, and Claude turned my attention to the top man in the field, John Langdon. I visit the man’s website and, lo and behold, there’s D.B. all up in my grill (er, on the front page) with his Trick or Treat cards, designed by John Langdon.

may11_1b.jpg

Derren's book,
Tricks of the Mind,
is a fantastic look at skepticism, agnosticism, and memory recall. It teaches all the ways people scam other people.

An ambigram is a word or letterform that, when flipped or reversed, reads the same (or a new) word.

Derren offers contestants on his magical/mentalism U.K. telly programme the choice of two cards that say either “Trick” or “Treat” as the basis for their either good or bad fate. Unbeknownst to the contestant is that the decision is arbitrary as the card will say whatever Derren want’s it to say.

Labels: , , ,

Trick or Treat
by Tironius, created Tuesday, May 22, 2007, with permalink

UK's master of illusion Derren Brown is back

It’s something nice or something nasty in Derren Brown’s newest show of mental trickery, giving viewers a real treat

My boy Derren Brown, master of psychology, illusion, and showmanship, is back in full force with his new show, Trick or Treat. Contestants each week choose a card: “trick” or “treat.” After his or her choice in the coming weeks will either receive something pleasent, a treat, or something rather horrible, the trick. They won’t know which they chose, what the stunt will be or when their experience will take place. And, in each instance, Derren has full control.

Picture 4.png

The tricks and treats are the most fun parts of the show because these hidden-camera stunts are so much more elaborate and cunning to be pulled on hapless fool. Think of these stunts as being from The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, if Jamie Kennedy were Jason Vorhees on acid. If none of this makes sense, here is a quick rundown of the first episode (of six) in the season: Derren at midnight breaks in a flat to tell the subject he has been chosen for the show, and that he must choose from the two trick or treat cards. He does, and Derren reveals to the audience that he has chosen “trick.” (More on the secret to this later.)

What was the trick played on the man? Derren, using his powers over the human mind, forces his subject to fall asleep in a rigged photo booth the man was using to take passport photos. While asleep, Derren flies the man from London to Morocco, where he then is awakened in the same booth. From the subject’s perspectives the time is instantaneous. He nods off, and wakes in a different country. The confusion on his face was priceless and completely real.

Out of body finale

His finale was even more impressive. Jules, a young psychologist, agreed to do the show. What she didn’t know—after she had picked her “trick” card—was that Derren had placed a hidden camera in her car. After observing her “hands-free approach to driving,” it was clear his plan: He would create for her, using his masterful powers of hypnosis, a scenario where she is witness to her own car crash in an out-of-body experience. She would literally see herself lying limp in the driver’s seat of her crashed car as paramedics carry her corpse away, as if she was a ghost witnessing the aftermath.

Picture 3.png

To do this, the production employed a bit of Hollywood magic. To be believable that this woman is seeing herself, not only would the show need a convincing body double, but also create some kind of mask so that the actress looked exactly like Jules, the subject. Movies do this all the time: a special-effects make-up artist creates a “life cast” of an actor using alginate and plaster—creating a negative impression—and creates a positive mask from that. The catch here, however, is that the show needs an original life cast without the subject’s awareness. So, a few weeks after the initial meeting with Derren, the subject receives a free spa treatment, unaware that it has anything to do with Derren Brown. Under the guise of a facial mask, a successful mold is created and a mask is made.

Months later (the production observed the subject to make sure she was psychologically robust enough to endure such a stunt), everything was ready to begin her trick. Derren phone calls Jules telling her she is needed for a photo shoot for the upcoming show and to wear an exact set of clothes. As she drives out to the country, she receives a call from Derren. Derren performs my favorite and most intriguing tricks of all by using his words and sounds to completely incapacitate a person on the other end of the line, making them fall completely unconscious. It is a sight to behold and I will strive to learn its secret. To put it another way: She picks up the phone while driving, he asks her to pull over, and a few seconds later, she is completely asleep. Now Derren and his elaborate team can put the pieces together for an astounding stunt.

The subject is under trance. The setting is a remote country road with no one else around. Television cameras are hidden among the trees of the surrounding forrest area. Another car is brought in and beaten to look like a car accident. The two cars are placed together on the intersection, as well as a fake broken stop light (with accompanying signs that warn of its malfunction). While still unconscious, Derren places the girl on her feet to one corner of the intersection. He employs yet another astounding verbal hypnotic trick where he makes her feet stick to the ground, unable to move. Soon, she must only stand and watch.

The mask they made creates a spooky reality for its witness

She wakes. She sees her car smashed into the side of another. “Oh god,” she says to herself. She tries to move but is confused by her legs refusal to work. She’s stuck. She sees a man exit the vehicle, distraught at what has apparently happened. She sees and hears him call the police with a quivery voice. He says he’s fine, but the other person isn’t moving. By now, she sees something horrible. In her car sits the driver—it’s her. Same clothes, same hair, same face. The ambulance arrives. Police arrives. No one acknowledges the woman standing at the scene. She shouts “Hello?” in vein. They pull the body out of her car. She touches herself to reassure she isn’t a ghost. She’s freaking out. Gurney’d into the ambulance, the corpse is whisked away. The police take the man away, talking about how these things happen.

Picture 7.png

They all drive off with her still there, still unable to move. And there she stands, looking at two wrecked cars in the middle of nowhere. Alone.

After a few minutes, her cell phone rings as it still rests in her car seat. She walks to pick it up. The sound must be the hypnotic release of her immobility. She picks up the line. “It’s Derren” can be heard. She sits down and again she falls asleep.

She awakens in her car, pulled to the side of the road, completely fine. No one else around. She starts her car and leaves.

Secret of ‘Tricks’ and ‘Treats’

In episode five Derren actually gives away the secret of the show (though I had solved the mystery before that—so there).

What the contestants believe is that their choice of card will ultimately how the course of events will go. In reality, however, Derren has already chosen their fate before they even choose; their choice in cards is arbitrary. The secret to this are the cards: each card reads both the word “TRICK” and the word “TREAT.” All is needed is which way to flip:

trick.png

(The second image is the same image flipped.)

treat.png

I’ve had to make one of these in a graphic design class, and I forget what the concept is names. How wonderfully clever.

Labels:

Street Fighter
by Tironius, created Tuesday, May 08, 2007, with permalink

The not-so classic arcade game that spawned 16 sequels and dozens of console ports

Pounders senior HADOUKEN correspondent, Q–Pounder, reports from the field

In that grand year of 1987, which among other lesser events, marked Q-pounder's 7th birthday, a burgeoning game company decided to release one of the worst games imaginable.

Capcom's Street Fighter was the third one-on-one fighting game of its kind. It followed Data East's dual joystick rattling Karate Champ and Konami's silly Yie Ar Kung Fu (I think that's supposed to mean 1-2 Kung Fu a top-secret Mandarin romanization scheme). SF succeeded in being even less fun than these two mediocre games while employing an overly complicated control scheme with a then unheard of six buttons.

Street Fighter (ストリートファイター), or commonly abbreviated as SF, is a popular series of fighting video games in which the players pit combatants from around the world, each with his or her own special moves, against one another. Capcom released the first game in the series in August 1987[1].
—Wikipedia

Being seven and barely tall enough to see the washed-out sprites over the cigarette-scorched bezel art, my eyes naturally gravitated to the bank of 14 buttons and two joysticks. This wasn't the pnematic pressure-sensing button console pictured above. This was the balls-to-the-wall six-buttons-for-six-identically-worthless-moves version. I dropped in my quarter and flew to Japan, where I wooped the stand-still AI on the first guy, then jump kicked the second guy to death. Next I flew to America. Apparently, Americans are tougher than Japanese. They were certainly Fought dirtier. An Engrish announcer told me that I'd better get some real skills before I challenged him again, then called me 'Kiddo.' I probably shouted something rebellious back before diving into the abyss and squandering my allowance. Americans proved not tough-E-nuff. Next it was off to China. There my journey ended in tragedy. An old Chinese man quipped the same crack about me sucking too bad. I winced at the word 'kiddo.' But my quarters depleted, I slumped over and walked off, passing on my way out the door dozens of more worthy games. Leaving the smoke-hazy game hall, I turned back to the ugly box flickering in the corner. "Curse you, Street Fighter. May bureaucrats shuffle your sequel's best sound engineers and programmers off to other projects. May your consoles be culled to make way for Froggers and Centipedes at retirement homes across the southwest. May your franchise end in ruin."

Flash forward to the present. After waking with to a too-much-pizza dump and a flipped cockroach on the bathroom floor, I fired up my PS2 to play some classic shooters and sidescrollers on Capcom Arcade Classics Volume II. I scrolled through the roster of 20 or so arcade-perfect ports with added bonus features like marketing fliers, sound test modes and brisk development histories. There it was, glaring back at me. Twenty years of infamy and shame. Street Fighter. I shrugged. The pussy was getting her gym stuff together. I had a good five minutes to kill. The first thing I noticed was that when the announcer starts the match, he says "Lound One." My underdeveloped ears hadn't taken notice of this back in that jukebox flooded game room. It was funny at first but it quickly became distracting. I cut through the first wave of uninspired muscle men and old drunk Chinese dudes. Eventually the game just got too hard. The fact that the characters, regardless of their sociolinguistic background all dished out the exact same "kiddo" line also distracted me. Fortunately, the only thing to be distracted from was the god-awful gameplay.

In case you're wondering, you can still throw hadoukens and do that spin kick thing and that uppercut thing. All you have to do is try the same joystick motion about 20 times and you'll eventually do it. It's just too fickle to be performed with any consistency.

I was going to beat the game so I could relay the ending to Pounders readers. After about 10 continues on a guy half way through the game, I just couldn't go on. Solly!

To think that Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game was only a few years away. Wait! Omigosh. Look! They might be making a Street Fighter: The Movie 2: The Game 2! This time focusing on Chun Li. There's some AP pounding inspiration from the past...

Japanese Women Become Even More Fuckable
by Mr. Patch, created Wednesday, April 25, 2007, with permalink

We owe everything to the Japanese. A new trend in women's clothing is now bordering on just what us disallusioned males actually fantasize about- ultra low rise jeans showing us the goods. Well check it out for yourselves fellow pounders and judge the boner factor. I give it one rock-hard erection.

http://www.japannewbie.com/2007/04/08/ultra-low-rise-denim-bikini-pants/

Virtual Console Awesomeness
by Mr. Patch, created Tuesday, April 03, 2007, with permalink

Yesterday I downloaded "Dragon's Curse" through the Wii Shop channel (check the list of VC games on tap- VC Games), a game from the Wonderboy series and an off-shoot of the Adventure Island franchise. If you're not familiar with the Wonderboy games I encourage you to check out the Wiki entry for brief synopsis.

Similar to the Bonk and AI games, Dragon's Curse features very simplified levels and overly floaty controls. If you're a fan of Super Mario Bros. then you may be taken aback by the imprecise movements and "slidiness" of the main character.

But what the game lacks in pizazz it makes up for in charm. Your character can use coins to buy armor, weapons and health, which makes early levels progressively easier. I absolutely love this aspect of the game because it encourages players to revisit levels and earn money.

I have around nine VC games thus far and Dragon's Curse definitely ranks up there with the best of them (Sim City, Castlevania IV, Tecmo Bowl). I'm waiting for Uwe Boll to make a film version of this game.

Understanding the history of Mario
by Mr. Patch, created Monday, March 19, 2007, with permalink

Explaining Super Mario Bros. II

In response to Tironius and his question about Super Mario Bros.

Japan’s version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was NOT the same game as the one we all know in the US. In Japan SMB2 is a direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. and has the same graphics and enemies. Only a few minor changes appear in the game, such as the inclusion poison mushrooms. Also, the game is far more difficult than SMB, which is one reason why it wasn’t initially release in the US.

The game that we Americans are familiar with is known in Japan as Super Mario USA or Doki Doki Panic. It was never developed as a Mario game, thus the cast of strange characters that never appeared in the original Mario games. Nintendo simply swapped the original Doki Doki characters out for Mario characters, and kept all the other assets unchanged:

Eventually the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in the US under the name Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels and received a visual upgrade thanks to the power the Super Nintendo.

The game was again rereleased in Japan on the Game Boy Advance in 2004 to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the Famicom system. It quickly became one of Japan’s best selling GBA titles that year.

Derren Brown: 'Trick or Treat'
by Tironius, created Monday, March 12, 2007, with permalink

Master of psychology and subliminal persuasion is back

37

England’s incomparable master of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship (using a varied mixture of those techniques) will have a new series on Channel 4 in the U.K., according to the website of Objective Productions, the company that produces Derren’s shows. It says:

“The controversial award-winning psychological illusionist Derren Brown stars in his brand new series, Trick or Treat. In each episode a member of the public must choose between a Trick or a Treat and, as ever with Derren, anything could happen.” From [Objective Productions Company Website][2]

Excellent. I have become recently a huge fan of Mr. Brown and his tricks of the mind. To the pounders unfamiliar, Derren Brown has had several shows on U.K.’s Channel 4. It started with his series of specials, “Mind Control,” and later included his series “Trick of the Mind” running for three seasons. (I know because I downloaded them.) His most complained about show in the U.K. was called “Seance,” where he indeed conducted one. (Most of the complaints happened before the show aired by religious nuts.) His most controversial special was named “Derren Brown: Russian Roulette,” even making [CNN news][3]. In that, he whittled thousands of volunteers down to just one, selected to place a single bullet in the chamber of a revolver gun, afterward Derren plays Russian Roulette. Derren’s job: to stay alive.

But, to me his most amazingly spectacular special was one called “Derren Brown: The Heist.” Good god, the man used cult-like techniques of hypnotic persuasion to convince members a Derren Brown seminar (so they thought) to rob an armed guard at a bank. These are not actors, but rather normal people like you and me, normal people who ventured into felonious robbery without Brown ever telling them what they should do or how to do it.

Luckily, he uses his powers for good (TV) and not evil.

He has also written a book. I bought Derren Brown’s book Tricks of the Mind, and it is a great read on the basics of some what he does. Some of it I had already read from sources like Digg, for instance the eye ‘tells,’ or the way a person’s eye moves when they, say, lie. But his chapter on memory retention is genius, and I plan to fully employ the techniques therein.

In it, in the first part of that chapter on memory, he gave a list of twenty random nouns and told me, the reader, to memorize them. I of course could only get three. Then, using a visualization technique where you link the list of items together into pairs, I was able to memorize all of them:

  1. Telephone
  2. Sausage
  3. Monkey
  4. Button
  5. Book
  6. Cabbage
  7. Glass
  8. Mouse
  9. Stomach
  10. Cardboard
  11. Ferry
  12. Christmas
  13. Athlete
  14. Key
  15. Wigwam
  16. Baby
  17. Kiwi
  18. Bed
  19. Paintbrush
  20. Walnut

I assure you all of these are correct, and that I just now typed them without looking in the book. And, I read that chapter two weeks ago. Amazing. Other chapters delve into why people are duped by psychics, religion, and other ferry tales, and I love to see more and more atheists coming forward as public figures. (He talks about his own de-conversion from Christianity quite candidly in the book.)

I plan to use his techniques to start stacking life in my favor. Mr. 19 is also experimenting with them, and we’ll both keep our Pounder brethren in the light as to our success. Nineteen had an interesting bit of magic in a bar, so I hope he tells the story here.

Labels: , , ,