Can Microsoft Studios’ Project Spark Spark A Game Designer In You?

Microsoft has revealed something which I think it’s one step closer to my dream.  I love to be able to program easily, create stuffs out of thin air in term of being creative with digital, and so on.  Nonetheless, saying is easy, but doing these things are like enduring multiple torturous headaches or yawning marathons.  Sometimes, programming or making digital things creatively can be very hypnotic and exciting, but only sometimes.  Most of the times, it’s worse than counting sheep unless you’re the type of person who could endure such sheep counting of course (and won’t go to sleep).  My dream is that I could use hologram to control, program, and create digital stuffs.  Of course, using hologram to program is still pretty much science fiction at the moment, right?  Well, Microsoft has revealed Microsoft Studios’ Project Spark which allows just about anyone who has creative idea to be able to create a video game easily.  How easy is it?  Well, from what I see it’s pretty much like what you see is what you get sort of things.  Instead of painting a video game in 2D like how you would use a paint app, you would paint a game in 3D.  Nonetheless, from what I see so far in couple demo videos on YouTube and elsewhere about Project Spark, it seems that Microsoft Studios’ Project Spark makes this process super easy and effortless.  Imagine, you can just conjure up a digital world for a game within seconds, all customizable with personal touch of your own imagination, isn’t it so awesome?  I think it is!  So, it might be one step closer to my dream, really!  Anyhow, check out Microsoft Studios’ Project Spark videos right after the break and you will know more about this awesome game creation software/app.

Afterthought:  Obviously, you might not be able to create a game with Project Spark on the level which is on par with video games that get release by major game studios such as Irrational Games (Bioshock Infinite is one of their awesome games), because major game studios are expertly concentrating their time and resources into making games for living.  Nonetheless, Project Spark is the right idea in how to allow people to enter the game design arena.  Also, Project Spark is the right idea for making the game creation process easier.  Now, if you have more time and resources and a team of artists, I think you might be able to rely on Project Spark or another app that is as capable as Project Spark to come up with games that might be as awesome as major game studios’ games.  I think Project Spark is great and has great potential, but it’s not a magical solution to all great video games.  In the end, I think it’s all about how you create the story, characters, material designs, and a host of other things in order for a video game to be great.

Besides English, You Can Add Keyboard Layouts On Windows 8 So You Can Type In Other Languages

Chinese language tattoo Andy

Chinese language tattoo Andy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this video, I briefly talk of how to configure Windows 8 in a way that it allows you to type in other languages.  For an example, let say you know how to write in Chinese or French or whatever, you can use my tip to turn on this feature which allows you to type in Chinese or French or whatever on Windows 8.  Basically, this tip will use Windows 8’s built-in feature, therefore you don’t have to install any third party software.  Furthermore, for the bonus, I also show you how to make your whole operating system (Windows 8) to appear in another language.  Anyhow, check out this video right after the break.  Enjoy!!!

Microsoft Revealed Xbox One

English: A black "Elite" Xbox 360 co...

English: A black “Elite” Xbox 360 console by Microsoft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Microsoft announced the new Xbox console as Xbox One.  I think Xbox One will definitely be a worthy adversary to PS4.  Now, after seeing some details of Xbox One, I can’t wait to see what PS4 will bring to the game.  Xbox One and Ps4 will definitely give more life to the console market.  How come?  What people forget is that consoles, although have became the computers, are not providing the experience that the computers are providing.  How come?  Consoles are cheaper than most computers, and they are there to provide a complete experience; unique experience that comes in a single package.  Computers can do the same, but computers are more expensive.  Computers give more freedom to users when it comes down to choose what sort experience the users want to have, but it does require the users to think for themselves.  For an example, users can use computers for entertainment and work, or they can combine all experiences into one, but these customization of experiences require users to make choices and sometimes build the machines themselves.  Console on the other hand is uniquely made to provide a unique experience.  This is why I think people will go on to show support for consoles even though the line between consoles and computers is getting more blur each day.  Anyhow, check out the Xbox One in details by watching the playlist of the Xbox One videos right after the break.  Enjoy!!!

Stop Bashing Windows 8, It’s Easy Really…

Once again, more Windows 8 haters came out to bash Windows 8 as Frank Shaw, VP of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, defended Windows 8 with his “Staying centered” blog post.  Personally, I think Windows 8 is refreshing and better than all older Windows versions.  How come?  The new user interface (desktop environment) is not that hard as how people make it to be.  Imagine how much harder it will be for the people who think Windows 8 is hard to use when the future is all about different user interfaces.  Imagine what if we have to interact with holographic interface as a way to interact with computer, will people complain how much harder this will be?  I know, I somewhat don’t make sense now, but I think as the present speeds up into the future, I think I will make a lot more sense then.

I think Microsoft is doing it right with Windows 8, but since everybody is complaining, Microsoft should make the Windows Live Tile Screen as the secondary screen and not the primary one.  Microsoft should make Windows 7 desktop environment as the primary screen for Windows 8.  This way, everyone won’t have any complaint about the Windows Live Tile Screen since it’s in the background.  When people need the Windows Live Tile Screen, they can hot corner it whenever.  Personally, I use Windows 7 desktop environment much more than Windows 8 Live Tile Screen, but I love to have Windows 8 Live Tile Screen for organizing apps and having quick glances as live information from the live tiles.

Overall, I think Windows 8 is so much more robust than all older Windows versions.  Under the hood, Windows 8 got so much more features that are way cooler and necessary than all older Windows versions.  I don’t think we should disregard the new features Windows 8 brought to us (e.g., file history, ribbon interface, live tile, better security, etc…), because with these new features I have been enjoyed Windows 8 a lot more than the older Windows versions.  On another topic, I think Windows 8 Live Tile Screen is perfect for tablets and smartphones.

After thought:  I know everyone has different taste when it comes down to using computer, therefore my personal view on Windows 8 should not be dictated as my saying that everyone who hates Windows 8 is wrong.  I’m not saying that people who hate Windows 8 are wrong, but I’m just saying that they should give Windows 8 a chance.  Furthermore, they should try to learn how to use Windows 8 before they bash Windows 8.  Once again, personally, I never have a problem of using Windows 8 interface at all.  In fact, I find Windows 8 interface is rather easy.  If I can use Windows 8 interface, everyone else too should be able to use Windows 8 interface without any difficulty.  It is not that hard really!!!

Had Ditched Spotify, Was With Xbox Music, Now I’m Back With Spotify Again But Still Using And Loving Windows 8 Ecosystem

Spotifys huvudkontor på Humlegårdsgatan

Spotifys huvudkontor på Humlegårdsgatan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A month after I quitted Spotify, now I’m back with it for my music listening pleasure.  A month ago, I ditched Spotify for Microsoft’s Xbox Music as I bought into the idea of a more coherent Windows 8 platform ecosystem.  Unfortunately, Xbox Music was a frustrated experience.  Fortunately, I like the Windows 8 ecosystem still, but my love affair with Windows 8 ecosystem just have to do without the Xbox Music experience.

Xbox Music experience was bad for me, because it was hard to have the playlist on my HTC 8X Windows 8 phone to sync correctly with the one on Windows 8 PC and creating playlist was a pain through Xbox Music app.  Furthermore, Xbox Music suddenly refused to play any music in my playlists even though I had one more day of free trial subscription before the whole free trial subscription period would end accordingly.  I would have stuck with Xbox Music by subscribing to its monthly fee payment structure, but the last straw was about how Microsoft did not train their customer support departments well on how to deal with Xbox Music errors, whether the Xbox Music errors found on the smartphone or the Windows 8 PC.  I experienced this first hand as customer supports would transfer me back and forth between the Windows 8 and Xbox customer support departments, but in the end my question and problem would not be resolved.

I thought I would have gone for weeks on end without being able to listen to awesome music on my smartphone since now I’m no longer using iPhone 5.  Instead of iPhone 5, I’m using HTC 8X Windows 8 phone.  I like HTC 8X Windows 8 phone a lot, because it got Windows 8 operating system.  I think Windows 8 operating system is way cooler than the stuffs that make up Android and iPhone operating systems.  Nonetheless, without great music experience, it was painful for me.  Luckily, Spotify came to the rescue.  Spotify app, a beta version nonetheless, is now available in Windows 8 phone app store.  Like a thirsty person that was in a desert, I was too eager to download Spotify app on HTC 8X and paid up roughly around $10 per month for premium plan with Spotify.

The great feeling of being able to listen to whatever music I want and not having to be frustrated by the creation and syncing of playlists is a wonderful thing.  Now, I’m listening to Spotify again whenever I’m in my car, at home, and elsewhere.

I think Microsoft needs to have dedicated teams within their Xbox Music department to make sure Xbox Music does well.  If I’m Microsoft, I would want to imagine that Xbox Music — a core service among core services within Microsoft complex — is a company of itself, just like Spotify, and so the teams that build Xbox Music can be dedicated enough to see things from the ground up, to make sure that Xbox Music will be just as easy and a pleasure to use as Spotify.  After all, Xbox Music does carry the substantial amount of music that form the core of the whole Xbox Music service.  Unfortunately, content fulfilling isn’t enough for some people like me, because a clunky Xbox Music user interface in terms of creating and syncing playlists and weird Xbox Music errors do push people like me away from the service.  Furthermore, bad customer supports on Xbox Music do not help to alleviate but only enhance the Xbox Music problems.

In conclusion, I think Xbox Music needs to be better, and I think Microsoft has the resource to dedicate such a task.  Windows 8 ecosystem is great, but I think people will appreciate more if Xbox Music is a part of Windows 8 ecosystem greatness.  Thanks to Spotify, I like to stick to HTC 8X smartphone a lot longer.  There is one downside with Spotify at the moment is that it doesn’t work well with Windows 8 PC.  Why?  I experience that Spotify refuse to quit or to have its process to be terminated once you launch it on Windows 8 PC.  Furthermore, Spotify tends to crash too frequently on Windows 8 PC.  Perhaps, some people have better luck with Spotify on Windows 8 PC, but I don’t.  Some people’s answer to Spotify problematic issues on Windows 8 PC by launching Spotify on a Windows 7 virtual machine (i.e., installing Windows 7 on a virtual machine that runs on Windows 8 PC).

Tablets And Smartphones Might Not Be So Hot If These Devices Came Out A Decade Or Two Earlier

If tablets had come out a decade or two earlier, I doubt people would care!  How come?  I imagined at that time, tablets would be near useless since modern apps, processors, and plethora of computing options that are now being able to be packaged nicely into a tiny tablet were the stuffs of imagination then.  After all, personal computers back then were still so new and incapable if we are comparing the then personal computers against the current ones.  In a way, I think I’d read somewhere that had mentioned that Steve Jobs might get the tablet idea from Star Trek, whether this piece of information is wrong or not, even if Steve Jobs had come out the tablets then, nobody would care.  With perfect hindsight, now we know why, right?  In fact, I think I’d read that Microsoft had come out with certain tablet form factors way earlier than the first wave of popular iPads, but even though at the time laptops and PCs were the norm Microsoft’s tablet form factors failed to pick up steam.  In fact, nobody had cared about Microsoft’s tablet form factors then!

With hindsight, we now clearly know why tablets are only matter now, but not back then.  Nonetheless, even now, without the hindsight, I think tablets won’t be all that important and cool as to how the current media would like us all to think.  In fact, tablets are something that people want to use in very unique circumstances.  Let say, smartphones are definitely the better device form factors to carry around since the biggest smartphones might still be a lot smaller and lighter than the smallest and lightest tablets.  You get the picture!  Smartphones obviously are more convenient and easier to pocket, therefore people feel more personal about their smartphones.  The usage of tablets are for the people who have the patience to carry more than one electronic devices when they are out and about.  I don’t think there are more folks in that camp than the camp of let carry only all in one small but powerful electronic device (such as smartphone).  I can see how awesome a tablet might be as a remote control for a big screen TV.  I can see how awesome a tablet might be for reading electronic books and magazines.  Nonetheless, I still think people prefer to do all of that on smartphones if they’re out and about.

With the current electronic trend, people are buying more tablets than personal computers.  With the current electronic trend, people are definitely buying more smartphones than personal computers.  Does this electronic trend tell us that personal computers are about to die a slow death?  I doubt so!  Nonetheless, I can see why people are buying more smaller electronic device form factors.  I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see the benefits of carrying something so small and yet so useful as a smartphone or a tablet.  For an example, to be able to store thousands of electronic books in a smartphone is definitely a big plus over to how things were done traditionally when it comes down to books.  Basically, convenient, useful, and powerful are the three terms that immediately come to mind whenever I think about small electronic device form factors.  Smartphones and tablets allow us to feel the power of being productive while on the go.  In a sense, the productiveness that radiates from today small electronic device form factors is something that the older generations of homo sapiens had never ever seen before.  These small electronic device form factors that set the trend which can be comparable to the older trendsetters such as the bring about of automobiles, planes, and so on.

So, people are buying up more small electronic device form factors, does it mean that the personal computer trend is on a life support system?  No, because people still need to be content creators first before there will be content consumers.  Without personal computers that are powerful enough to churn out creative works, I doubt there will be much of contents to be consumed on small electronic device form factors.  So, I think personal computers are safe for now, because there aren’t any tablet or smartphone out there that can upheave this personal computer reign just yet.

Sure, personal computers are more powerful and come with more choices than ever before, but why people are not thinking or talking about them as much as they used to?  Perhaps, personal computers are so normal that we can only see them when we’re actually using them?  They’re not exotic as tablets and smartphones.  Nonetheless, asking most gamers out there which device or machine they prefer to play latest games on, I would bet personal computer with a humongous display would be the preferable choice, always!

In short, personal computer technology has came a long way and has matured to a point of it’s no longer needing to be talked about constantly in order for it to be attractive.  Plus, as personal computer technology improved, so the lifespan of personal computer machines.  With so many households are already teaming with personal computers and most mid-end to high-end personal computers are more expensive than smartphones and tablets, therefore I don’t think people want to think or buy personal computers in the same light as how they might want to do so for smartphones and tablets.

In conclusion, I think the three terms I describe earlier — convient, useful, and powerful — are some of the most important factors that dictate why people have been buying so much smartphones and tablets.  Nonetheless, if these smartphones and tablets had come out a decade or two earlier, I highly doubt that people would care!  In a sense, people are now finding these small electronic device form factors quite useful thanks to the advance of personal computer technology first.  In a sense, personal computer technology isn’t a trendsetter anymore showing that personal computer technology had been so matured.  Nonetheless, don’t think for a second that personal computer technology is dying, because it’s still the trendsetter when it comes to content producing.  So, until the small electronic device form factors get more capable, actually be as capable or better than personal computers, I don’t see how personal computers will be outdated.  With that being said, technology usually moves at the speed of light, therefore I’m not sure how relevant my saying, in regarding to personal computer popularity, will be in a near future (i.e., five years down the road).


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