[ES] Participo en un concierto de música de 8 bits

El próximo viernes 12 de marzo participaré en un concierto gratuito con motivo de la feria de retroinformática Retromadrid.

Para hacer “Bits & Baudios” hemos metido en la coctelera cuatro ingredientes para una experiencia única:
El electrizante sonido de la banda madrileña Wicked Wanda, que pasarán varios temas inmortales del videojuego por el filtro de su punk-blues.
El reciclaje electrónico de Néboa, en cuyas manos las viejas máquinas recobran la vida en un asombroso caleidoscopio sonoro.
La música de 5alad, más conocido en el mundillo de la electrónica como Monoceros, presentando su recién salido “low res. graphics”, combinando nuevas y viejas tecnologías, que estará actuando con sus laptops 8 bits, y visuales a cargo de sus commodores en directo.
Y, finalmente, un extraño experimento pop-ochobitero de consecuencias imprevisibles, para el que unirán sus fuerzas Juan Alonso (de “La Monja Enana”) y César Astudillo “Gominolas”. <– ése soy yo :-)

El concierto “Bits & Baudios” tendrá lugar el viernes 12 de marzo a las 19:00 en la Sala Latinarte, cedida gratuitamente por la Junta Municipal de Latina, a la cual agradecemos enormemente su participación e implicación en el proyecto.

A better Watchmen than Watchmen

Being a Watchmen fan since I first read it circa 1990, I think it is but fair to offer my honest opinion about the film version:

  • This is a brilliant film that captures the atmosphere of the graphic novel in one of the best possible ways the audiovisual medium could do.
  • The script has managed to retain those plot elements that best contribute to the story, enhances those that make the story more robust, and has the courage to do away with those elements that served more Alan Moore’s auteur ego than the story.
  • Most remarkably, the superlatively elegant simplification of the story’s ending is so appropriate to the story that it simply makes it better. Honestly, if I was Allan Moore I would have thought: “Oops, why didn’t I think of it myself?”. The new ending is way more solid, it does not strecht suspension of disbelief to the point of fracture like the original ending did, and not only it eliminates an enormously redundant, innecesary element, but it serves to make one of the existing elements more meaningful.

Kudos to the script writers and the director. It is a pity when the flow and consistence of a story are weakened here and there by an excessive presence of the narrator. When I read Watchmen, the thing I disliked most was those unnecessary details that, instead of serving the story, seemed to be there just to remind us of how smart the storyteller was. The guys in charge of the film had the honesty and courage to wipe those away, and man, do I love the result. Yeah, the film does have one or two “aw, come on” moments, but then, ladies and gentlemen, the graphic novel had ten or twelve!

Sorry about the “inverse rant”, but after reading other opinions on the subject, I just felt obliged to make my point. The guys making the film found they had to make the choice to either serve the story, or serve the author. And they chose well. I just feel we are not thanking them enough.

[ES] ¡Vente a la Retromadrid!

El cartel lo hizo Spidey

El cartel lo hizo Spidey

Un año más, la Asociación de Usuarios de Informática Clásica celebra su feria Retromadrid. Será este sábado 14 de marzo en el Centro Cultural El Greco. Como otros años, quien vaya podrá ser testigo de la impresionante vitalidad de la escena retroinformática, y podrá volver a entrar en contacto con aquellos cacharros maravillosos y pasmarse ante el nuevo software que hoy en día se sigue desarrollando para ellos.

En la edición del año pasado me ofrecí a dar una charlita y ellos me dieron la oportunidad, por lo que les estoy muy agradecido. Estoy muy ilusionado porque este año han querido contar conmigo de nuevo. Además, no estaré solo: participaré en una mesa redonda moderada por José Manuel Fernández “Spidey”, y en la que estaré junto a Alfonso Borro “Borrocop” y Fernándo Sáenz. Juntos daremos un repaso a la década de oro del software español y reflexionaremos sobre las lecciones que entonces, y aun ahora, podemos extraer de aquella época.

¡Venid, os va a encantar!

(el cartel lo hizo Spidey… mola ¿eh?)

Are most usability tests worthless?

It is in very few occasions that I disagree with Javier Cañada, so when this happens, I should try to make the most of it.

Let me draw your attention to his recent rant on usability testing and the comments that follow, mine among them. You might like to join the rumpus :-)

Comments on this post are disabled. If you want to say something about the issue, Javier’s place is the place.

While Pixar keeps on innovating, Dreamworks keeps on mixmitating

If, like me, you’re a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, your amazement at the upcoming Pixar’s film “Up!” will be somewhat moderate. What these guys are doing is just taking American animation out of the cage where it’s been since the thirties, and into the vast, fertile creative territory where Studio Ghibli have been working for decades now. This is not without merit though, and the flick looks terrific. I can’t wait to see more. If this film fulfills my expectations by making further wise, Miyazakian choices such as realizing animation films don’t need a villain, then my happiness will be complete.

Update: Nevertheless, go see “Ponyo on the cliff” if you want a taste at the real thing.

Meanwhile, what do Dreamworks do? Announce “Monsters vs Aliens“. For the purpose of describing it I’ll have no choice but to invent a new portmanteau word: man, they’re doing a blatant mixmitation of the cute-spooky creatures of “Monsters” with a touch of the cold-war, B-series atmosphere of “The Incredibles”. Come on, they’re even cloning Pixar’s style of rendering the human figure to the point that they will soon turn it into an industry-wide standard. Laaame.

Next time someone asks me to illustrate the difference between being a leader and being a not-so-fast follower, I’ll have a handy example at hand.

“Up!” trailer enjoyed via Denegro.

Fleeting conjunction

A few days ago, while we were at the countryside, I was watching my daughter standing in the sun. And out of the blue, I started to think that she together with her shadow defined a plane, and I saw that plane cut the sun in half. And then I could see the plane stretching past the sun to the limits of the universe.

Such is the power of human mind that we can define a mental construct that is imaginary, is infinite, and yet is also real. Geometric entities have that beauty. Because if I thicken the plane a little –say, an eighth of an inch— then that plane really exists. And it includes a gigantic volume of interstellar space, and it includes the sun’s core, and it includes my daughter’s sternum and that strip of dirt that was being momentarily framed by her silhouette. And with the power of my mind I was selecting exactly that subset of reality, and for a moment, that slice of the universe belonged only to me and my daughter.

So I couldn’t help but sit down on the dirt in the precise spot where I could see my daughter’s head covering the sun, and then I could see not only the plane, but enclosed in it, the infinite line that was piercing the sun, my head, and my daughter’s. And I felt oddly yet overwhelmingly honored to be a part of that fleeting conjunction.

Scott McCloud + Google = pure awesomeness

Honestly, the news that Google is releasing a new browser hadn’t succeeded at catching my attention.

But that was before I learnt that Scott McCloud had been commissioned to write a comic on Chrome’s innards.

Boy, if you’ve ever wanted an example of how the language of comics can be used to convey complex concepts in a clear, efficient and attractive way, well, don’t miss this one. In a blink, I’ve found myself ten pages into Chrome’s process and memory management scheme (a subject in which I could hardly be less interested today) —and loving it.

Pure McCloud genius that would be able to make my children understand the difference between a process and a thread. And more than that: give a damn about it!

Sometimes Google just manages to re-win my heart.

Interviewed as “Gominolas”

Manuel Sagra has just published a quite long interview in Spanish in which he asks me about my old work as a video game soundtrack author and game designer. If you can read Spanish, and are curious about how music for 8-bit computers was made, or about the genesis of the largest video game studio in Spain, you might like it.

If you have something to comment about the interview, please don’t do it here, but in Manu’s post. He’ll appreciate it.