News from inside Verizon Labs

In continuing with being unemployed, I went and participated in a focus group at Verizon Labs in Waltham and made $75 today. I got into the focus group through a posting on Craigslist and by filling out a survey about my video game usage. In my world of right now, the whole endeavor worked out to talking about video games for an hour and a half in exchange for a full tank of gas and an extra $40; this unemployed thing is kind of annoying but it does have it's more romantic elements.

Anyway, you might be wondering what Verizon cares about video games for, which is something that I wondered as well. Verizon is working on launching their FiOS fiber optic broadband service and is trying to figure out different service packages to include with the thing and they're thinking of including a video game service. Thankfully, they seem aware of the fact that they have no chance of competing with the likes of Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo and seem to be looking into making a service based on older games and simpler games. Personally, I think that it's a dumb idea that's going to fail miserably because the only people that want to play older games already do so with old consoles or with emulators. So that's what they're planning and if they wanted to, they could pay me $100k and I'd write up a great big document explaining why it's a bad idea that's destined to fail but they only gave me $75 so I gave my input as was appropriate to the situation and they'll probably go through with it anyway. I expect that they've already invested upwards of a million dollars in this and won't want to cut the cord, which will end up losing them many millions more in the end. I'm telling you Verizon, pay me more and I'll spell out for any executive you have, even those that don't know a thing about video games, why this is a horrible idea that's destined to lose you money. I'm no businessman but I'm savvy to the mind of the video game player and I'm plenty savvy to the way my generation buys crap.

The Pants Scale

I have decided to start using a new rating system for ascribing quality and victory to things and people, namely pants. For example, I am going to award two and a half pants to the person that suggested I watch the movie that I'm watching right now. It should be noted that this is pants and not pairs of pants.

The pants I am discussing here are less like real pants and more like points, in a karmic sense. To that end, they are non-transferable, have no monetary value, are non-corporeal and are not keep in any records.

Bizarro Gashes

I appear to have the strange ability to cut myself with things you wouldn't think you could get cut with but make sense after explanation. My two examples of my executing this skill are when I cut myself on a hamburger this summer and when I cut myself on a hammer yesterday. Ooh, they both start with ham, I wonder if this means that I'm fated to cut myself on a ham at some point in the future. Anyway, you might be asking yourself how the Hell I might have managed to cut myself on a hamburger and a hammer and you will find the answers forthright. The hamburger was frozen at the time, and as frozen hamburgers go was in a large stack. I was in the process of trying to separate a patty for myself and it came free rather violently and sliced across my hand. As for yesterday, and the hammer, I succeeded in stepping really hard on the claw-end of my hammer and it cut right in making a great big gash on the bottom of my foot. So take this as a lesson, beware hamburgers and hammers as more than just blunt instruments, they've got some piercing power too.

Transformers: Quick Review

I just finished watching the last of the Transformers cartoons (all of the first series) and I think that I can easily say that the show started good, got better and better, peaked after Season 2 with Transformers: The Movie and then went downhill slowly through Season 3 and ending in mediocrity with the Rebirth mini-series (aka. Season 4). Seasons 3 and 4 suffered from an excess of commercialization in that the show seemed to be pushing half a dozen new toys every few episodes. The same commercialization could be seen in the first 2 seasons but was done with more subtlety and background.

My complaints about Seasons 3 and 4 aside, I still found the overall experience quite enjoyable and recommend it for the die hard fans. Watching it in full instead of random episodes here and there when I was too young to keep them stored in my head gives a fantastic perspective on the whole storyline and the characters themselves. Of course, the full perspective also gives me a real appreciation for the shear quantity of gaping holes in the storyline and crazy faux technical lingo. It makes me wonder if it wouldn't be possible to convince someone to fund a complete remake of the original series; rewrite all of the old stories, cut a few, add a few, create overall continuity and then outsource the animation to some Korean studio that'll get whipped by some guy until bear drives in and Tom Cruise saves the day.

Boximus Prime

Boximus Prime 1

This is my Boximus Prime costume in robot mode. I was very pleased, the costume was a big success at Halloween parties last night. I was also pleased because building the costume gave me something to do for a while. At some point, I'm going to see if I can get my brother to video tape me transforming and I'll put it up somewhere for you all.

Law School

For those that I haven't told yet, I've decided to go to law school. I'm going to take the LSAT at the beginning of December and then apply to schools in December/January. This is a decision that's been a long time coming and that I've been getting more and more committed to of late. To give the best explanation I can of this decision: I've been toying with the idea for well over a year, largely because I think politics or diplomacy would be the sorts of careers where I could get away with my boisterous, high volume, talk a lot, center of attention style and put it to good use. Add to all that, that I like arguing a bunch and you've got arrows pointing towards a law degree. However, I was stuck in the I must do science mindset considering law school as a lark until about a month ago when I half-jokingly asked a friend for life advice, he suggested law school and a whole bunch of things clicked into place in my head.

I know that I have a great mind for math, science and engineering but I've been riding that for years, not needing to put much into it and not really getting much out of it. I know exactly what things will be like and where I'll end up if I keep doing science and engineering, which pretty much takes all the fun out of it so I'm going to stop coasting and choose a different direction; it's proactive time.

Since it's on a related note, my chief regret in the way I handled my MIT education is that I let my must do science mindset run things and didn't consider the non-technical classes to have much value. In retrospect, I wish that I had taken more architecture classes while I was there. This desire is not because I want to be an architect professionally, but because I did when I was 5 and expect that it would have been a lot of fun to design a few buildings.

Halloween 2005 Preview

Boximus Prime Preview 1 Boximus Prime Preview 2

Halloween is coming on quickly and I have decided to go and make myself a fancy costume this year. Shortly after waking up today I went and obtained some of the materials that I need and spent much of the afternoon/early evening working on my costume. I kept working until I ran out of packing tape and will pick up where I left off after a trip to the store tomorrow. With luck I will be well prepared for any Halloween parties I attend this weekend. Included are some previews images of my costume; it's more impressive than it looks.