Archive for November, 2009

Waiting and waiting for a trailer

Players are now waiting in the lobby of the movie theater in Playstation Home eagerly awaiting for the Final Fantasy 13 trailer which is due in less than an hour. Will it finally announce a release date for the rest of the world? Why would Square-Enix go through all the trouble in creating a countdown to November 13 (which is Friday the 13th FYI) just for a trailer.

Whatever it is, we’ll know soon enough.

Freeware PS3 Media Server

ps3mediaserver – Project Hosting on Google Code

If you’re like me who doesn’t own a PC to stream media to the PS3 then this free alternative is a good idea. It runs on macs, PCs and Linux and developed on the Java platform.

It’s fairly simple to use if you know your way around media servers but to put it simply, it gets the job done. I’m using my mac mini  ( not the latest but the first generation intel Mac mini with 2 GB of RAM to do this. It automatically sets up the DNLA protocols necessary to communicate with the PS3 and automatically sets the movie folder in your home folder as the default source for the media. You can add additional folders as well.

But what makes this piece of software great is the transcoding. Up until now, we’ve always been dependent on the formats that the consoles supported and it hasn’t been easy. Not all avi files would play, incompatible condec and so on that it’s been quite a challenge to play anything off a home media server to the PS3 but it all changes with this software and it’s built in transcoder.

Yes folks it has a built in transcoder which will allow you to transcode in almost faster than real time any format to make it PS3 friendly.  That means all your mkv, avi, ogg, and so on will be transcoded in almost real time. Note that I stress almost real time. This is because results may vary on the processor, RAM and so on of your computer and may either be faster or slower.

Sound transmitted supports dolby digital or whatever audio encoding is in your files. Scrubbing through the movie may prove to be difficult for some formats since I’ve stated above that it may or may not be transcoding. This means that if the file is being transcoded, chances are you can’t skip any further than what has already been transcoded. So be warned. A mild inconvenience but nothing that should seriously affect the overall experience.

The PS3 automatically detects the presence of the media server and everything can be accessed from there. The one amazing thing I’m very very much impressed here is tha ability to select language. Yes I do mean the audio language of the file. The file format mkv is used mostly if there are multiple languages in the file. It’s like the DVD language menu option but can usually only be controlled or watched on a PC. PS3 Media Server ia able to dissect through the language options and send that information to the PS3 which will allow you to select your desired language.

The best part of this, it’s free. Yes, click on the link above to bring you to the developer’s page and download away. I do hope that they continue to develop and support this important piece of software and keep it free.

Kindle comes to the PC

As more and more ebook services and devices are coming out. Amazon has
released the PC version of their famous Kindle. This now allows users
to read their ebooks on their desktop of laptop computer. It makes sens
doesn’t it? There the device and the iPhone version and now you can
read books on your computer.

Mac users are out of luck at the moment but the FAQs give mac users hope.

The desktop software also allows you to manage your books and download them accordingly.

Much similar to the iPod setup, you can have 6 devices registered with Amazon.

And the great thing is, the service is available where they ship the Kindle. But we still have to see if the $2 levy will be subtracted for users outside the US. The $2 is the charge for the delivery of the book via AT&T’s 3G network. Understandably that the user carries the cost of transmission outside the US. But I don’t think that this should be added to purchases or deliveries made to the PC.

Could Amazon be banking on the millions of netbooks out there to be transformed by their software into ebook readers? Maybe. But this really provides them an opportunity to gain a very strong foothold as Barnes and Noble’s “nook” reader is a much better reader than the Kindle technically. Since Amazon cannot change their device overnight, this PC application might be a way to get users into their gates before B&N does.

But I still stand on opinion that all ebooks should be playable on any device regardless on where you bought it. Much like a real book. I don’t need some special tree or binding or glasses to read books that I bought from Amazon, Borders or even B&H. I can just open it and read it. I think that is the reason why many people aren’t entirely sold on the book thing since the only advantage is that you get the book instantly and you don’t have to bring a lot when traveling.

I see this application caters more on those who want to try out the Kindle service without having to shell out for the hardware but just want the buying and using experience and I don’t have an iPhone or and iPod Touch to be able to do it. Yes the screen would be bigger but all but the usual strain on the eyes due to prolonged reading on a monitor still remains. My best bet would be to install this on a netbook and then you’ll almost have the Kindle experience.

If you don’t have an iPod or iPhone but would want to try the ebooks from Amazon, then this is the software for you. It’s free and just create an account to get started. I do hope that they release a mac version soon.

November 13 is important for Final Fantasy XIII

And no, the game will not be released tomorrow. But instead, Sony will fill the ten screens of Playstation Home with a new trailer! Yes, a trailer. But we are all hoping for something bigger than that. It could be the North American (English) release date which would be sweet. Then only for my happiness to be deflated by the sight of a Spring 2010 release date. Like sometime in May ; ;.

We only have a few hours to find out.

FINAL FANTASY XIII E3 2009 Trailer

Domina Shantotto’s annoying quests

Now that the fall update for FFXI has arrived players in Vana’diel can now play the third add on scenario which deals with everyone’s lovable (sarcasm) black mage, Shantotto.

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

FINAL FANTASY XI “A Shantotto Ascension” — New Trailer

Shantotto is up to no good as she makes a mistake that sucks her into a portal. While leaving Windurst to Sarutabaruta, my moogle goes after me with a letter from Shantotto saying that I am now a member of her group and that I must head on to Quifim Island with a number of items in hand.

Final Fantasy XI: A Shantotto Ascension TGS 09: Debut Trailer

Now this is where this add-on gets really annoying. You’ll have to farm/ buy items found in the Maze of Shakrami, Gusgen Mines and Ordelle’s Caves. Synth these items together with other ingredients and bring them to Qufim Island. The sick part is farming them.

Picture this, everyone who purchased the add on is farming bats, crawlers and skeletons in these areas. It’s not a 100% drop. It’s rare/ex. The item can be bazaared as well as the synthed item. But you can’t sell the synth item.

The fact that you can sell the raw materials means every RMT player (real money trader) is camping out there for these items and selling them. Grrr… I just need 2! (Now that’s a hint).

On top of that, the items are not 100% synth. It’s a hit or miss. So if you lose one of the items during synthing, you’ll have to do the entire process again. That really sucks.

So in the meantime, I’ll subbing THF in the hopes that I’ll get the drop. It’s off to the Ordelle’s Caves for me for the last item. I need to make room. These things aren’t stackable.

Japanese water heater and rice cooker

How hard can it be to heat water in Japan? Which button would you press? ;P

Or cook rice?…Sooo which is the rice cooker and which is the water heater? I’m so confused. ><

FFXIV Music to be performed in Chicago

As 2009 comes to a close, the Distant Worlds concert tour of Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu will end the year in Chicago. They will include new music into the mix particularly the theme of the upcoming MMORPG, FFXIV.

I had the pleasure of attending the Singapore concert in the middle of this year which was amazing and I’m glad that they’ve brought the concert series outside of Japan and the United States into other countries as well.

Uematsu will be there and will be seated with the audience. Just like in Singapore! The concert will be on December 12.

Here’s hoping they come back to South East Asia next year!

Seen in Macau: Granite sidewalks

The old sidewalks of Macau are covered in these black and white
granite tiles. It’s quite fascinating to look at but what heppens when
it rains? Doesn’t it get all slippery and you fall down? Especially on
the downward slope of the hills?

Seen in Macau: Ruins of St. Paul

We took a taxi from the hotel to one of the major landmarks of the
city which is the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. According to
Wikipedia, the Jesuit cathedral was built in 1582 and was then the
largest Catholic church in Asia. It was destroyed by a fire and
typhoon in 1835. All that remains is the facade.

I didn’t take this picture during this trip but last year. Not much
has changed since then.

Seen in Macau: LED Billboards

Seen in Macau: LED Billboards, originally uploaded by mdelamerced.

Not too far from the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral is this LED
billboard.