I was browsing Digg today, and an interesting story caught my eye (no pun intended there.) The story was about a man who had become blind about two years ago when he fell victim to a freak accident involving exploding red-hot liquid aluminum. Out of all of the senses to lose, sight is the one and only that would completely devastate my life the most. I think I could live without smell, taste, touch or even hearing, but sight, I could not live without.

Everything I enjoy doing, from reading, to writing, and even playing video games requires sight more then hearing.  Sure, hearing is definately a plus, but someone who is deaf can play a video game.

According to the article, a procedure called Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis or OOKP for short, can restore some sight to someone who has lost all sight. The procedure is performed by Dr Christopher Liu at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton, England.  I am not a Doctor, so I don’t think I would be able to explain it properly, so I’ve included an excerpt from the article in question.

Excerpt From: Yahoo News
“The technique, pioneered in Italy in the 1960s, involves creating a support for an artificial cornea from the patient’s own tooth and the surrounding bone.

The procedure used on McNichol involved his son Robert, 23, donating a tooth, its root and part of the jaw.

McNichol’s right eye socket was rebuilt, part of the tooth inserted and a lens inserted in a hole drilled in the tooth.

The first operation lasted ten hours and the second five hours.”

According to the article, the procedure was a success, and the patient was able to recover enough of his sight to get around, and to be able to watch TV again.  Its an impressive improvement, considering he couldn’t see at all before the procedure.

Medical technology is advancing at an ever increasing speed, with new medical equipement and procedures tested and proven all the time. At this rate, maybe we will able to attain immortality – hopefully before I get too old.

Either, it’s good to know that if I ever do lose my sight, there is still hope for recovering it.

[From: Yahoo News]

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This sucks…

February 27, 2008

I woke up this morning at around 8:15AM, with a splitting headache. My head feels like someone on the inside is banging on my brain with some sort of blunt object, and not only that, my throat feels like someone poured acid down my mouth. Its certainly not the end of the world, but it sucks. I’ve never known anyone who enjoys being sick, but I wonder if anyone out there does enjoy it? That’d be messed up.

I think I saw it coming though, I’d been feeling a little off the last few days. I’ve also been waking up the last few days, with head aches that seem to be getting worse every day. I should probably make a trip down to my local clinic, and get it checked out. Maybe they’ll give me something to make it go away faster. Who knows?

Anyway, I decided to call in sick today because being a rep on the phone involved talking a lot, and I don’t think I’d make it. I don’t think I’d be able to talk all day the way my throat feels. I’ve not been very lucky in the past 12 months. I’ve been more sick in those months, then I have ever been in a 12 month period.

The worst part about it though, isn’t the fact that I feel like crap, but the fact that I always feel bad when I call in sick. Its not like most large cell centers, where if one agent is missing, no one will notice. Its a very small team, and its noticeable when someone isn’t there. I feel as though I am letting people down, and to me thats a terrible feeling.

I need to start taking some Echinacea, its apparently been proven to help prevent colds, and shorten them, if you happen to already have one.

Update:  I went to my local medical clinic, and saw a doctor. According to him its a case of extreme sinus congestion causing my headaches. He figures the sore throat is due to a cold or something.  So very enlightening.  He prescribed me some sort of nasal spray, that according to him, should relieve the sinus pressure and cure my headache.   I hope he is right, because these headaches have been a daily occurrence since just before Northern Voice 08′, which was last week.

Cliffy B, the man behind Epic Games’ Gears of War was recently quoted as saying:

“I think people would rather make a game that sells 4.5 million copies than a million and “Gears” is at 4.5 million right now on the 360. I think the PC is just in disarray… what’s driving the PC right now is ‘Sims’-type games and ‘WoW‘ and a lot of stuff that’s in a web-based interface. You just click on it and play it. That’s the direction PC is evolving into So for me, the PC is kind of the secondary part of what we’re doing. It’s important for us, but right now making AAA games on consoles is where we’re at.”

To which Mark Rein

CliffyB has a point, pretty much all of the big hits have been on consoles in the last few years. The reason for this is pretty self explanitory, consoles have a much larger install base. There are WAY more consoles sitting in living rooms across the world, then there are high end gaming PC’s. This is completely understandable, considering a high-end PC needed to play games as they are released can cost a few thousand dollars. Whereas a console sells for around $600 to $400, depending on which one you want.

As a PC Gamer at heart, I always hate hearing this kind of thing. But there has been a trend of late, for games to be released on all consoles including the PC. The reason for this is obvious, release a game on as many consoles as possible, and this raises the potential number of buyers, as obviously not every one has a high-end gaming PC, a Wii, an Xbox 360 and a PS3. Most people just have one or the other. To me this is another indication that PC gaming may be in decline, because the biggest numbers are always generated by the consoles. Halo 3, when it was released for the Xbox 360 late last year sold millions, yes MILLIONS on launch day. This is why PC gaming is dying, No PC Game has ever done that, I don’t think it will be dead any time soon, but it there is certainly a downward trend. Its all in the numbers, publishers won’t want to invest money if they aren’t guaranteed a return on their investment.

But at the same time, this is why I love hearing quotes like this. The following is a quote from Marc Rein, VP of Epic Games. They give me faith that PC gaming may just survive.

“NPD numbers are an estimate. We don’t know what they are exactly but if you sell 80,000 a month for 10 months that’s a multi-million seller worldwide. Who’s going to complain about that? We’re in the internet age and people react to numbers they don’t understand. It’s funny, after that I spent a lot of time going through long-term NPD numbers. I actually went and looked all the way back to 1995 and I dissected all the shooters. The path we’re on right now isn’t going to make it the fastest selling game but PC games have a potentially much longer tail than console games. There’s a good chance to sell that game for a much longer period of time than the more hit-oriented console games”

PC games typically last longer, in that they are played, and purchased at retail much longer after their initial release then console games. There are a few reasons for this, but I think mostly its because of user created content. PC games have had a long history of letting players get in and create content, such as new levels, or sometimes users will take the game and completely change it, adding new functions or game play mechanics, essentially creating a new game. This kind of customization is what PC Gamers have going for them.

The announcement of Microsoft’s XNA Arcade is bad news, because it will allow console gamers the same kind of customizations. But I’ll get into that in later posts.

Finally, Mark Rein was quoted:

“MR: Oh he’s an idiot [laughing]. No, he’s a great guy. Cliff makes console games though, right? He’s on a console team that makes what is primarily a console game.”

I’m sure its all in good fun, but in the end I am a gamer above all else, and it doesn’t matter where good games are released, because I’ll play them anyway.

This type of thing amuses me to no end, I always love a good prank, and the best pranks are the one’s where no one is hurt or embarassed. The people over at Improv Everywhere have been organizing elaborate pranks for a while now. 

The best ones that have happened recently,have all taken place in New York, and this one is no different.

Their latest prank is a little bit more subtle, but funny none-the-less. They decided to lug old desktop computers into Starbucks, and use them like any other customer would use a laptop. But enough of my description, take a look at the video after the jump.

The sight of seeing people lugging huge travel bags into the Starbucks, with old CRT monitors is just pure funny to me.  It had me chuckling through out the entire video.  The just the sheer confusion experienced by everyone not in on the prank was priceless.

 Check out their site for more pranks and video’s!

[From http://www.improveverywhere.com]

I got my PC back up and running, finally. It turns out it wasn’t the motherboard at all, but rather a dead power supply.  So in the end it was cheaper to fix then I thought it would of been.  Awesome!

Its true what they say, “You don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone.”  Lucky for me it wasn’t gone for ever.

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Northern Voice 2008 is over.  It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot.  In fact I was inspired to start this blog because of my experience.  But now that the conference is over, I think I should start to think about what direction I want to go with my blog.  I don’t want it to just be about my life in general, its not the reason I started to blog.

Since most of my spare time is spent on geeky things, its unavoidable that the things I write about will also be geeky.

I was a little disappointed that the Net Neutrality discussion didn’t happen, but there was some talk of having this discussion later in the week.  This is good news for those of us lucky enough to live in Vancouver. 

All in all it was a good end.  

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I missed the keynote!!

February 23, 2008

Its just my luck I suppose.  I woke up extra early today so that I would make it here with time to spare.  Unfortunately, I didn’t memorize the route I took to get to this building yesterday, so I got completely turned around on my way. UBC is a big campus, and it’s easy to get lost it seems.

Even though I missed they keynote, I certainly haven’t missed the conference, there are going to be a lot of interesting things to do and see today.  The most interesting for me is the discussion on Net Neutrality taking place after lunch.

Well, the keynote just ended and people are pouring into the atrium, so I am going to put the laptop away and explore a little bit!

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