Diablo 3 Launch and the Gaming Software Industry

The most globally anticipated game of 2012 will soon make its debut, just in time to suck up all of your free time this summer. Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment announced that at midnight on May 15th, their Diablo franchise will release its third installment. It has been 12 long years since the release of Diablo 2, making this perhaps the longest software development cycle ever!

To celebrate, there will be several launch events held around the world, including one in Blizzard's own hometown of Irvine, at the Spectrum shopping center's Giant Wheel court. Judging by the photos of previous launch events, you may want to steer clear of the mayhem unless you are a truly devoted fan. Think Comicon flash mob!

Diablo 3 Launch at the Irvine Spectrum Big Wheel
Fiats will be replaced with fanboys in two short weeks!

Sandra Steingraber Living Downstream for Earth Week

I attended the Caltech screening of Sandra Steingraber's biographical film, Living Downstream last Thursday night. Shown as part of Caltech's Earth Week activities, The film chronicles Dr. Steingraber's 30-year battle with cancer and her concurent fight to eradicate the production of carcinogenic pollutants from American industry.

First, I applaud the university's Net Impact group for putting together another educational event, keeping the community aware of important issues that we often overlook in our busy lives. Often, we treat these issues with apathy or inaction until some of us are suddenly, personally, and sometimes devastatingly affected.

LA is no stranger to pollution. I did not experience the air pollution afflicting the city during the 1970s, but I understand that LA was the poster child for air pollution, where dark brown smog clouds would choke citizens daily. Though the air is much cleaner today due to stricter California clean air codes, the smog still exists. And those are only the pollutants we can see.

Deer in San Gabriel Valley is a Sign of a Healthy Ecosystem
Deer in San Gabriel Valley is a Sign of a Healthy Ecosystem

New Apple iPad to PC File Transfers: 3 Easy Ways

As mentioned in my previous posting, my first major task with my new iPad was going to be transferring photos from my PC to my iPad. I am sure that that there are many ways to accomplish this task. I have already found three easy ways.

1. Apple iCloud

I was most interested in finding an Apple-centric solution to be better acquainted with the Mac ecosystem. The new iPad has iCloud functionality built into version 5.1 of the iOS. You can download Apple iCloud for Windows here. I installed this on my Windows workstation, but there are a couple of extra steps not described by the Apple instructions.

First, the installation did not place a shortcut on my desktop, nor did it add any programs to my start menu. I had to run a search on my hard drive for the installation, and create my own desktop shortcut icon to my iCloud installation.

The other small problem I experienced was with Photostream. I set up two folders on my computer: one for Photostream uploads to the iCloud, and another for Photostream downloads. I then put photos into my upload folder: and....nothing. I restarted the iCloud program on my PC, doublechecked my folders setup, but still no luck. As a final resort, I restarted my PC. Voila! My first images appeared in the iCloud. More importantly, they became available for viewing from my iPad's photo application. Mission accomplished!

Manhattan Beach is Cloudy
iPad to PC file transfers are cloudy but fun!

New Apple iPad First Impressions: Retina Display is Brilliant

Well, what to do while waiting for the 2012 MacBook Pros? Why not buy the new Apple iPad? My itch to buy a new gadget got the best of me last weekend while I was browsing at the Pasadena Apple store. I was very tempted to buy a MacBook Air. However,the new iPad had something that no other computing device has: the high-resolution Retina display. I was sold!

As a part-time photographer, I couldn't wait to see my most prized photos in a Retina display. I was in for a treat: every photo must be viewed with the new iPad, as the high dynamic range and sharpness will make you feel like you are seeing them for the first time again.

So, the $1000 question is, which variant did I buy? I plan to download apps galore, and probably store a few photo portfolios as well. Despite knowing that a 64GB SD card is less than $100, I decided on a 64GB model. The 4G LTE is a nice option, but I opted not to purchase it since every coffee shop in LA has wifi access, which suits me perfectly.

I plan to spend a lot of time with the iPad over the next few weeks, and I will share the highlights with you in upcoming posts. If you have questions about the iPad, feel free to leave a comment, which I will promptly answer. And yes, this entire post was written using the iPad!

SpaceX: New Hope for America's Space Industry

Elon Musk, the founder of Paypal and Tesla Motors, was interviewed on CBS' 60 Minutes a couple of weeks ago. His newest commercial venture, Space Exploration Technologies, more commonly known as SpaceX, is on the verge of a significant milestone: becoming the first commercial company to re-supply the International Space Station(ISS). The SpaceX Dragon space capsule is set to launch on April 30th and dock with the ISS soon afterwards.

The Los Angeles aerospace industry has not escaped the effects of national budget issues. Just last week, the Obama administration announced that NASA would suffer a $300 million budget cut to planetary exploration, a potential blow to the esteemed Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Center
A Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Can America return to greatness?