Saturday, November 21, 2015

Batman After Arkham: What's Next Without Rocksteady?

  I'd like to see a Batman game, where you play as a cycling cast of villains all trying to find out who's under the mask these days. It would be a completely new spin on the series, exploring the inner-workings of the criminal underbelly within Gotham. Along the way, you'd encounter the usual suspects trying to protect the city, like Catwoman, Nightwing and Robin, with maybe even a little bit of good-guy Jason Todd.

  You'd get to take turns across the city, as every story weaves a bigger web, with a healthy dose of playable villains: Harley as the master-criminal-on-the-edge, aided closely by the likes of Ivy, with a sprinkle of the "very" dynamic Two-Face & Penguin duo, and a few pinches of Riddler (sans-trophies), Mr. Freeze, and some other long-awaited obscurities further explored. Icing on the cake; wouldn't it be great to even get a little nod to the beginnings of the Suicide Squad?

  I'd personally like a Batman game where the Joker is nearly absent after his death, where the only mentions of him are Harley on a rampage. Keeping in trend, Bats would only appear as a character you're bent on defeating (likely getting the ultimate upper-hand at the end), and only popping up at each villain's near-success with whatever dastardly deed they're up to. He'd almost act as the game's target rather than the anti-hero we've come to know, (play) and love.

  The seedy underground of Gotham is begging to be explored. It would be somewhat of an Origins game, but not in the sense of the origins of the criminals. What you'd be introduced to was how the underground continues to operate even after Batman rounds up all of those baddies in every story. Maybe we'd even be introduced to how one of those daring prison riots goes down, as all of our villains make it back on to the streets and right in to their old habits.

  The game could lead off with our villains; locked up, and right at the start of a jailbreak. A minor chain of events, say someone nabbing keys off Sharp's or Cash's belt loop, suddenly balloons and quickly explodes in to an all out war. The villains we've worked so hard to capture in every other Batman saga are now suddenly the focus of the story. The plot twist is, whomever this new, mysterious Batman is has become the player's worst enemy and greatest fear.

  For once, the entire cast of characters trying to take over Gotham would have to put their differences aside and work together for one common goal. You'll spend the entire time discovering what makes each of these villains tick, all while trying to discover what has become of Batman after Arkham.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Apple's First Generation iGame

So... It's been a while since my last post. Since the passing of Steve Jobs... I couldn't ignore an epiphany I just had. It was so good, I had to write it down. So good in fact, that it could only come from the mind of Skippy.

I have a theory about first generation Apple products within the past 10 years.

The original iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and AppleTV all had 3 things in common. I don't see the AppleWatch being any different.

1) Core lacking feature made it in to the second generation.
2) The following model was overhauled, and outlasted the original.
3) Support for the first gen product saw premature EOL due to specs.


The original iPhone...
1) Lacked 3G at a time where Edge networks were on the way out.
2) Was replaced with the iPhone 3G, and the original metal design was scrapped for the plastic 3G. The 3GS after that kept the same form-factor
3) Was kicked to the curb and stuck on iOS 3 fairly early, whereas the iPhone 4 got iOS 7 and the 3GS got iOS 6. By that logic, the first iPhone should have gotten iOS 4. (And the 3G, iOS 5, but neither happened.)

The original iPod Touch...
1) Lacked a speaker, which was odd for a device that was basically an iPhone without a phone. Thinness was the winner over the speaker.
2) Was replaced by the 2nd gen iPod Touch with the rounded back and black antenna spot. The black bezel was also dropped, and this design again lasted through the 3rd gen product with higher capacity.
3) Once again, the original iPod Touch was abandoned at iOS 3, but the second and third generations followed suit at iOS 4 and 5, respectively - unlike the iPhone.

The original iPad...
1) Lacked cameras, but this wasn't a big deal at the time.
2) The iPad 2 was again a total redesign. It gained cameras, a better speaker, much better internals, and third party accessory manufacturers had a field day with this design because the size and style lasted not two, but three generations.
3) This was possibly the biggest sting on the list. The original iPad would only last through iOS 5 and then get snubbed. Meanwhile the iPad 2, released a year later, is still current on iOS 8.

The original AppleTV...
1) Was a complete departure from the AppleTV 2 and 3 that would follow, so really, the complete concept of the original was scrapped.
2) The AppleTV 2 was a total redesign in and out, in every way. Instead of containing a HD for storing content, the redesign was a box meant from streaming content hosted by another device.
3) Didn't even run what was considered "iOS", so support its unique OS was knocked off fairly quickly. The small black design that we know now has been the only other design since the original.


Even the first generation of Intel iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Minis with the Core Duo follow this path slightly, but that was Intel's release schedule at work. The original Mac Pro even got the cold shoulder because of specs.

Some people are going to disagree with me, I know, but the list I just made is an example of how Apple tends to snub first-generation products to favor the redesign after the product takes off.

The AppleWatch will see a substantial overhaul in its second generation. This is a small market segment, in which Apple is fantastic at either creating from nothing or dominating and where the market exists, no matter how small at the time. That market will boom when the iProduct comes out, because that's just how it works.

I have a theory to go with that as well...


Apple likely designs the dream product they want. AFTER THAT, they design the first generation. A bulkier, more-feasible version of their dream product that could hit the price-point and release date they want. That version of the product is released. The dream product they dreamed up is then released, but as the "second generation" product, after the first is kicked to the curb due to its unique design and lower specs. By the time component costs go down, they add in the missing feature to the second generation the following year, and people end up getting everything they wanted from the first generation.

Apple isn't stupid. They don't leave features out because they didn't get to it. Those features are obviously planned. They hold back to leave you wanting more, and they're right every time. I also believe the AppleTV was the exception to that philosophy due to a market shift in streaming rather than buying. The original AppleTV was simply a victim of the time.

I wish I could get some insight to really, officially prove all of this, but for now, it remains just that - insight. Speculation. Which is what brings us all here. The rumor community around Apple exists (see, MacRumors) because of this company's obsession over secrecy - which actually, might be the most genius, well-thought-out concept around.

Everyone thinks they know about Apple, because very few of us actually know so very little.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Farewell, Steve Jobs

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs

Not once did I meet him, but Steve Jobs has touched my life in a way that many so-called icons and heroes of our time couldn't. I feel that God was gracious enough to put me on this planet at the same time as Steve. I was extremely lucky to witness the awesome presentations he gave, use the innovative products he dreamed up, and learn to really live a little from his inspirational way of perceiving life.

No words can describe what I really feel, and I can't believe he is really gone, but the legacy he created will never leave us. That's the most reassuring thing - that I'll always have a little bit of my hero with me every time I need to measure myself against someone truly great. He changed the world for the better, and it's always awe inspiring to realize that. We will all miss you Steve. Your impact on me has changed my life. Steve, I can't imagine life without your influence.

Last night, I learned about Steve's passing from a very close friend; a friend who equally holds Steve in a light brighter than most. A text read "Call me", and I did, knowing what we'd discuss. I was working on another project, and my concentration was blown. I opened up Safari to Apple's default start page. Three things I never thought I'd see were glowing on the screen in front of me. A large picture of Steve, his name, and below it, a set of years, "1955 - 2011", all in black and white. Ominously prominent, but very real.

I spent the evening looking up every major news outlet for articles about Steve. Some great, namely one by Walt Mossberg, and others very brief, but all of them had a common theme. A mythical titan of a man had left us, and no one again in creation will ever be able to step in to fill those New Balance shoes. I really thought hard about something; Steve Jobs lived for 56 years, each year seemingly more fulfilling than the last. Since the dawn of time, there has never been another Steve Jobs. Somehow, some way, I was given life at a time where I was able to watch him do what he did best. Innovate. I hope I can be an innovator someday.

"No one wants to die. Even people who wanna go to heaven don't wanna die to get there." - Steve Jobs

Think back to the scientific minds and philosophers you've read about in the history books. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Isaac Newton all come to mind. Did you ever believe that you'd live to witness a man work who was equally as great, if not better than those minds? Steve Jobs belongs among those names so rightfully so, that already, you can open any book that relates to business in any way, and find some reference to Steve, Apple, or a product or industry they've created or changed. Some day, you'll be asked about this time, and you'll be able to talk about it because you were there.

This morning, when I woke up, I went for a drive. I came to a stretch of road between two towns where spreading fields surrounded you, and the road seemed to go on forever. I hoped in a way that it would, and that I wouldn't have to face reality for a while. A flock of geese flew overhead, and when I looked up, I noticed that there wasn't a single cloud in the clear blue sky. I didn't stop moving, but the world seemed to, if only for a moment, and I realized how lucky I am to have life in the face of death, especially here and now. Unfortunately, I had to turn off of that road, and I arrived at work, where I am a Network Administrator and Technician. I arrived at this job only because I was inspired years ago to get in to computers. I only got into computers because of Apple. In a way, I am where I am today because of Steve.

Two sets of dates will live forever in my mind; the 10 year period from 2001 to 2011. I remember where I was and what I was doing when the world lost Dale Earnhardt. An All-American hero in sports. I remember the shock of hearing that music legend Johnny Cash's house being burned to the ground. Now, I'll always remember the evening of October 5th, 2011, that I spent wide awake, reading and consuming everything I could about Steve Jobs. How I clung to the belief that I could somehow measure up one day. Maybe something I've done will mean something to someone, hopefully something I've said has helped somebody, and maybe what I just wrote made you realize that life is equally as fragile and precious for everyone.

Farewell Steve. You will truly be missed. You have touched my life, and endless others. I will always miss you.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Skippy's iPhone Event Predictions

"It's been a long time. How have you been?"

To quote Aaron Lewis, "It's been a while" since I've done a prediction post regarding an Apple Event. So I figured I owed it to you.

You should suspect that there is no redesigned iPhone, given that we have very little to go on regarding new hardware leaks. I'll go on the record and say that the iPhone 4S / 5 is an updated iPhone 4. Apple is all about how the iPhone "feels in the hand".

The iPod Touch is the polar opposite of that mantra. It feels like crap holding it to your ear, and rightfully so, since it's not made to be held like that. A tapered iPod Touch certainly is. All of these tapered rumors are for the iPod Touch, and those might not even happen this year. The iPod Touch is only going to go white and gain the A5 this year. Tapered designs are on hold, if not for next year, then indefinitely. I'm 99.9% certain.

Will the iPod Classic hit the end of the road? Good news. No. It's still too early, and to give a product the axe so close to its 10th anniversary at Apple would insulting to the iPod itself. It says that no matter how long a product works well and remains wholly unchanged, there's always a chance that it's on the chopping block. It's strange, but it's the only explanation I have. The Classic will not only go unmentioned again this year, it will be untouched - pun intended.

The iPod Shuffle on the other hand is not safe. It's the iPod that no one really ever talks about. You don't hear that often how "I love my iPod Shuffle" or "I wish Apple added (Insert worthless feature here) to the iPod Shuffle" - it just doesn't happen. Maybe the iPod Shuffle is perfect the way it is? Hell, Apple went right back to what it was two generations ago with minor alterations. HELL! Even the iPod Nano is now based off of the iPod Shuffle!

That all adds up to a big problem. The Nano has now evolved to handle the only thing the iPod Nano is good for - a clip-on-and-go music player. Its design was proven the way it was a few years back, and it proven again now that Apple brought the design right back. How do you evolve it without upsetting people? You don't. Everyone gets pissed off when you do.

The Shuffle is closer to the end of its life than the Classic, and no one realizes it. At least with the Classic, people always want a storage bump. People never request the Shuffle gains anything. There's a reason for that.

So that leaves the Nano. It's possible that it will get a storage bump, a price drop, or maybe even both. There was also a rumor a while back that referred to the implementation of a camera in the Nano. How cool would that be? The world's most compact and portable camera? I might buy one just for that reason. AS LONG AS IT CAN TAKE STILL PHOTOS IF IT CAN TAKE VIDEO. Excuse me, fifth generation Clickwheel Nano? HEAR THAT?

Referring finally to iCloud, I believe that our hopes of seeing it under Snow Leopard are bogus. A screenshot went around a while back that v10.6.9 would include it. You know the only problem with that? The v. Apple NEVER adds little V's in front of an OS version number. iCloud, for us iUsers will be Lion-Only.

Yes, to get the free iCloud, you need to upgrade to Lion for $29. Would you expect anything less? I think not. Either you get your PPC apps under 10.6, or you get iCloud under 10.7. You can't have both. Apple doesn't roll that way.

Did I hit it all? I think so. Two and a half hours to go now, folks! We'll find out soon enough, won't we? I'll grade myself after the event. Stay tuned.

I'LL ACE IT. LIKE I ACE LIFE. FTW... Or whatever the kids say.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Wants To Buy Ad Space?

So I had another epiphany. I want to make money because I'm greedy. I have ad space on my blog. This makes me put 2 + 2 together. It comes out to something around 5, actually.

I want to know if there are companies, advertisers, businesses, websites, or anything / anyone at all that is willing to buy ad space from me. Now, this is where things get interesting.

Maybe I can expand beyond my blog. Let's think Nascar. A giant company ad on the hood, trunk, fenders, and doors costs a certain amount of money. I'd be willing to sell ad space on my car, which gets parked in the lot of 2 local colleges as well as countless grocery stores. I'd be willing to sell ad space on the lid of my laptop that everyone sees. I'd be willing to walk around in company t-shirts for what it's worth.

Out of absolute curiosity, I'm wondering if anyone is willing to start buying out little bits of potential advertising space that already travel with me regardless.

Let the offers flow!