Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

I listed my parents to buy a Nikon D5200 with Exceed 3, yet I got a D7000 with an Exceed 2. Exceed 3 has a 24 Megapixel sensor.  I realize that I could've imported a D5200 from Hong Kong.  I suppose I can trade the D7000 in for a D8000 (with Exceed 3) next Christmas. It's a disaster, nobody sold the D5200 on Amazon this December. It comes out next month.



D5200 is superior to D7000 in mass majority of ways.

Much higher true resolution24 MPvs16.1 MP
Help
Capture around 50% more detail in your photos
Has in-camera HDRYesvsNo
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Can create panoramas in-cameraYesvsNo
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Has a flip-out screenYesvsNo
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Significantly lighter555 gvs780 g
Help
Around 30% lighter
Smaller129x98x78 mmvs132x105x77 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller


I am going to take box-art screenshots with this D7000.  I don't have Lightshow 4.0, but I have registered copy of AKVIS Enhancer for Photoshop CS4 which a lot better.  AKVIS Enhancer will make the D7000 appear as D5200 in image quality.


Just take it for granted that this takes amazing pictures under all conditions, including low light, and that it contains all the manual controls that you'd ever want.

Instead, here's some things that the camera does that you might not have heard about:

* Built-in EyeFi support

If you've used EyeFi SD cards before, you probably assumed that it would work with the D7000, since the D7000 now uses SD cards instead of CF. But not only do you not have to mess around with SD-to-CF adapters, the camera is actually EyeFi aware-- you can choose to have it upload or not upload on a slot-by-slot basis (so you might have it automatically upload the RAW files you saved to an EyeFi Pro card in slot 1, but not bother to upload the JPEGs you saved to the EyeFi Explorer card in slot 2), and there is also an icon that appears on the Info display to indicate that there are files waiting to upload, that the upload is in progress or disabled, etc.

The Nikon Wifi adapter is going for $400. A 4GB, class 6 EyeFi card goes for $40. If you really want to move RAW files, snag the Pro version for $80. Yes, the Nikon adapter does things that EyeFi can't, but if you just want to get your files onto a PC without pulling the card, why spend 10X the money?

You're stuck with the usual limitations of the EyeFi card, but I fully expect to use this feature a LOT with studio portraits-- yeah, it only takes 10 seconds to pull the card and have Windows recognize that you added it, then another 5 seconds to eject the card and stick it back in the camera. But if you just want a quick check that your exposure or focus is where you want it, wouldn't you rather just hit a single key and see your last shot, then get right back into the flow? You may want to drop your JPEG file sizes to speed up the transfer.

* In-camera RAW file processing

The camera contains a ton of built-in settings-- in addition to the basics like Standard, Normal, Landscape, etc, you also get all the various Scene modes, which are basically variations on those main settings.

RAW processing allows you to see how the shot would have looked had you used one of those other modes. In other words, you shoot in Normal, which basically applies no processing to the image, then select the RAW file, and choose how you'd like to adjust it. You can change the white balance settings, exposure, basic picture setting (landscape, portrait, etc), noise reduction, color space, and dynamic lighting. With the exception of the advanced details on the basic picture settings, you see a preview of how your change will affect the picture.

If you like it, just hit EXEcute and it writes out a JPEG to your card. Don't like it, just back out and nothing's saved.

This means that you don't have to worry that shooting in Vivid is going to result in an oversaturated image, or you can punch something up even more after the fact. The only real drawback here to me is that it is going to kick out a JPEG, so if you're planning on doing further editing in Photoshop, this may not be the best route. But if you're just looking to go right from the camera to the web, or want to get an idea of how playing with custom settings will affect your shots, this is a massive shortcut to taking and then deleting a ton of shots. (And keep in mind that Photoshop will allow you to mess with most of these settings when importing RAW files anyway, and the plugin D7000-compatible RAW plugin had a release candidate posted yesterday, so you can finally open your RAW shots.)

And a related feature that's in most other Nikons, but that you might not know about-- you can define your own basic picture settings. Want something that's super-saturated and super-contrasty? Just hit a few buttons, choose a name, and you're done. On the older Nikons, you had to edit the basic profile itself, now, you can use one as a starting point and adjust from there. Much cleaner.

* User-defined settings on the control knob

Not as hidden as the first two, but I can't emphasize how cool this feature is. Here's the situation I was in last night-- I was shooting a singing contest in a dimly-lit venue. I was allowed to use a flash, but I didn't want to constantly be blasting the singers while they were performing.

I defined one setting as shutter priority, 1/60th, ISO Hi 2, center-weighted metering & focus, no flash. The second setting was automatic, ISO auto, full metering and autofocus, flash enabled. I'd take a couple shots in U2 with the flash, close the flash down and switch to U1 and shoot a half a dozen shots, then switch back to U2 and use the flash for a couple more shots. There was no fumbling for controls, no worrying that I changed the shutter speed without realizing it when changing between Auto and S-- every time I went from U2 to U1, all my settings were reset to where I put them before the event started.

I don't think I ever felt as confident about my camera settings in a rapidly changing situation as I did last night-- with just a simple twist of a knob, I was able to change to a completely different shooting configuration with absolute confidence that it was what I wanted.

To me, the utility of this is almost endless-- I'll probably set up one setting for studio portraits, and the other for landscape stuff. If I was still shooting news, I'd probably be swapping between flash and no-flash configurations. For sports, I'd change between action modes and post-game portraits.

The only thing that would make this even better would be if I could import and export settings for later use-- even if you use the "Save/Load" settings option to back up your current configuration to a memory card, it doesn't appear that this information is stored. However, it may be a bug in the Load settings feature, as a number of my settings were incorrectly reset when I tried to load in settings. Either way, it would work better if I could treat these like custom basic picture settings, saving them by name and loading them at will.

* Built-in interval timer shooting

Want to take time-lapse pictures? Just set up your camera on the tripod, specify when you want it to start, how many pictures to take overall, and how many pictures to take each interval and walk away. When it's time to start taking pictures, the camera will automatically focus and shoot, then go back to waiting for the next shot. No messing around with tethering, 3rd party software, whatever-- it's all in the camera, and it's all super-easy to set up. You'll find yourself taking pictures of your living room just to see what your cat actually does all day while you're at work.

* Zoom in live view

This might just be "new to me," but I found it to be very cool for manually adjusting focus when on a tripod-- frame your basic shot, then change to live view. From there, zoom in with the magnifying glass key, and move around the image with the navigation pad until you find the point you want to focus on, then manually focus. Since you can zoom into a tiny portion of the overall image, you can see that you're getting exactly the focus point you want before you take the shot. One gotcha that I always forget, though-- don't forget to pick your aperture BEFORE going into live view, as you can't change it once live view has started.

* Adjustable shooting rate

Again, might be "new to me," but in addition to blasting away at 6fps, you can manually adjust that from 1 to 5 FPS in order to get a different effect. You obviously need to be using a fast enough shutter speed to support your choice-- if you're at 1/2 a second, you're not going to shoot faster than 2FPS.

As I mentioned in one of my other reviews, I used to be a semi-pro photographer-- I was the photo editor for both a weekly and a daily paper, I've shot tons of sports and news photos, and landscape photography is my hobby. I've recently gotten back into portrait photography as well. While I never owned as many cameras as a true pro would have (that semi- means that I never made enough money at it to be able to really spring for equipment), I have shot with a lot of other people's equipment, and I can honestly say that this is the best camera I've ever used. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rares: Shining Force III, Shining the Holy Ark and Twinkle Tale bought

Shining Force III - I had Panzer Dragoon Saga for 18 months now and I love it dearly. Panzer Dragoon saga is the greatest game nobody has played. Shining Force III takes 10 years after Shining the Darkness and is supposed to end the old school series. Sega published sequels like Shining Tears for PS2 that "Genesis era gameplay" in late in the PS2 era. The Sega Saturn controller didn't have a joystick so it was heavily Genesis 6 button controller based. Sega Saturn had a Nights 3D controller, but a handfull of games supported the "Nights 3D controller". I own three Saturn 3D controllers. Shining Force III would play a lot like Golden Sun and Golden Sun 2 for GBA.

Shining The Holy Ark - I just bought this a day ago. Direct prequel to Shining Force III. For Sega Saturn, Shining Wisdom was the direct storyline sequel to Genesis Shining Force II. Shiing The Holy Ark was direct sequel to Shining Wisdom. It's 3D and plays a lot like Shining of the Darkness for Sega Genesis. My theory even more bizzare. My theory is Camelot Game Planning noticed Elder Scrolls II - Daggerfall in development for PC and was eager to develop a Sega Saturn equivelant. Elder Scrolls must've been as hyped as it is now.

Twinkle Tale - Now you should know how Gleylancer was medicore and Americans didn't import it? Like Elminate Down, a SHMUP with a highest possible score of 10/10, Twinkle Tale is another SHMUP that could get 9.0+ review score. Twinkle Tale is a lot like Contra Shattered Soldier for PS2 (the hardest USA PS2 title). It had to be a reproduction cart to fit inside my Sega Genesis. I played the cart, it is as hard as Eliminate Down. Twinkle Tale can be summed up as Contra Shattered Soldier without the blood and gore.

Twinkle Tale (rarest Genesis game?)

Monday, December 17, 2012

I ignored the truth Aspartame causes me brain damage

Diet Mountain Dew Kills! I never knew my favorite diet Mountain Dew that I used daily will greatly increase Stroke, nerve damage and Alzheimer’s Disease. That means i can drink the regular Mountain Dew… I wonder how much of my brain degenerated after 15 years of citrus goodness?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I come to show you that I am cool and have Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space as well as Genesis, NES, SNES, N64, GBA and MAME roms. This Android device also has have blackjack, Black Gammon, Plants vs. Zombies, Tetris, Texas Hold Em Up Poker, Klondike and Spider Solitaire. Handheld came with the root user available. It has microSD screenshot ability with 'Screen It'.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Installed Linux Mint 14.1

This is Linux Mint 14.1 Mate with Mate 1.4.  Mate 1.4 fixes ancient Gnome 2.32.2 glitches.  I got 1.0. of Mint Display Manager and openDNS.  Linux Mint 14 Mate is as always more stable than Cinnamon.  Bluetooth is functional. MintStick replaces USB-ImageWriter, for a better UI and better progress reporting. Gedit 2.30 replaced Gedit 3. It's a more mature/stable alternative, which provides more features and a much better search functionality than the latter version. MATE now includes its own character map, fast alt-tabbing with Marco compositing, a selection of notification styles (although this was included in Linux Mint 13, it wasn't part of MATE 1.2), and Caja improvements such as a toggle button to show and edit the path and a new button to compare files in the file conflict dialog. Ext4 can now add CRC32 checksums to many parts of its metadata and use them to reveal corruptions. The Brcmfmac Broadcom WLAN driver now works with the Bcm43235/6/8 USB chips, while the rt2x00 Ralink driver, starting with 3.4, supports the RT5372 WLAN chipset.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

B3 Spirit




The youngest active stealth bomber in the U.S. turns 15 this year, and the other 19 B-2s in the Air Force fleet are nearly five years older. Meanwhile, the integrated defense systems they face have become much more sophisticated. Multi-static radar, which is now relatively common, is so sensitive that it can detect certain stealth craft. To stay ahead of such defense systems, the Air Force has budgeted $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop a successor to the B-2 that could be active by 2020. Actual designs of the new bomber are classified, but some secrets are already out.
Patents and bid proposals from Northrop Grumman, maker of the B-2, suggest that the new bomber will be narrower than the B-2 but maintain the familiar flying wing design, which reduces radar reflection by minimizing hard edges. Engineers are also testing new types of radar-absorbing coatings that could be customized to individual defense systems. And so a picture of the next generation of stealth bombers is beginning to emerge.

CUSTOM COATINGS

Most stealth coatings consist of a radar-absorbing material, typically a form of iron, suspended in paint. But they are heavy (which lowers fuel efficiency), need to be reapplied frequently, and don’t absorb all radar frequencies. Ceno Technologies, a particles-science company in Sanborn, New York, has developed a lighter, more durable coating that uses hollow ceramic spheres, called cenospheres. Because the spheres can be covered in carbon, silver or other metals that absorb slightly different wavelengths of radar, the coating can be customized to deceive specific radar systems.

SMOOTHER SHAPE

The B-2 has two semi-flush air-intake vents, the hard edges of which can reflect radar. In one design seen in a patent from Northrop Grumman, the new bomber has four small vents rather than two large ones. The smaller vents can be buried more deeply in the wing, reducing the possibility of radar returns.

SMARTER DECOYS

To confuse radar defense systems, the new bomber will probably carry something like the Miniature Air Launched Decoy made by Raytheon. The modified drones use radar reflectors to create bomber-like signatures that divert attention from the actual bomber. The decoys fly on a preprogrammed course for up to 575 miles and may carry radar jammers to further confuse air defenses.

RETRACTABLE WING

In one design from Northrop Grumman, engineers included a canard wing on the plane’s nose, which would provide extra lift during takeoff and flight, allowing a smaller bomber to carry a heavier weapons payload. Because its straight lines and hard angles would reflect radar, the canard wing will most likely be designed to fold flush with the bomber’s body as the craft comes within range of defense systems.

HEAVIER WEAPONS

The new bomber will most likely have a single weapons bay, as opposed to the twin bays on the B-2. It will still be able to carry conventional GPS-guided JDAM missiles, nuclear warheads and even the new 30,000-pound, bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator, but a single bay would reduce the cost of manufacturing—a major concern for designers on a relatively tight budget.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lutheran Churches stood against Nazis

Lutheran churches in Germany were among the only institutions to stand against Nazis in the 1940s. For this reason they were left intact when the Stalinists took over. And forty years later, the Lutheran churches of East Germany were prominent in the crumbling of Stalinism. The revolutions of 1989 throughout the East Bloc were Lutheran revolutions -- from the epicenter in Bach's church in East Germany to the uprising in Timisoara -- all of these began in Lutheran churches.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wii U

The Wii U is a video game console from Nintendo and the successor to the Wii. The system was released on November 18, 2012, in North America; November 30, 2012, in the PAL regions; and on December 8, 2012, in Japan. It is the first entry in the eighth generation of video game home consoles, and will compete with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to support high-definition graphics, capable of producing video output up to 1080p, and has 2 GB of RAM with half dedicated to the console's operating system. The console was released in two versions: a "Basic" white-colored version with 8 GB of internal Flash storage; and a "Deluxe"/"Premium" black-colored version with 32 GB of Flash storage. The Deluxe package additionally includes stands for the console and for the GamePad, a charging dock for the GamePad, and a pack-in game. An HDMI cable is included with both versions. The Wii U's primary controller is the Wii U GamePad, which features an embedded touchscreen. The touchscreen is used to supplement the main gameplay shown on the television or, with games supporting Off-TV Play, can allow the player to continue playing games by displaying the main gameplay even when the television is off. In addition to the Wii U GamePad, a more traditional controller, called the Wii U Pro Controller, may be used.

The system is backward compatible with Wii, and Wii U games may support compatibility with Wii peripherals, such as the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. While it is not backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube discs or peripherals, Nintendo of America's director of entertainment and trend marketing indicated that select GameCube titles would become available for download, although Nintendo has since stated it has nothing to announce regarding this.
Contents

History
Development

The console was first conceived in 2008,[19] after Nintendo recognized several limitations and challenges with the Wii, such as the general public perception that the system catered primarily for a "casual" audience. With Wii U, Nintendo explicitly wishes to bring "core" gamers back. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the lack of HD and limited network infrastructure for the Wii also contributed to the system being regarded in a separate class to its competitors' systems, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was decided that a new console would have to be made to accommodate significant structural changes.

Within the company, there was much debate over the idea for the new console, and the project was scrapped and restarted several times. The concept of a touchscreen embedded within the controller was originally inspired by the blue light on the Wii that illuminates to indicate new messages. Miyamoto and his team wanted to include a small screen to provide game feedback and status messages to players (in similar vein to the VMU for Sega's Dreamcast). Much later in development, this was expanded to a full screen that could display the game being played in its entirety, a concept which was suggested but not financially viable earlier in the project.
Pre-announcement

Initial beliefs about the Wii's successor were that the new console would be an "enhanced version" named the "Wii HD." Many journalists claimed that it would have a high-definition video output along with a Blu-ray Disc drive built in with a release sometime in 2011. However, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata later stated that he saw "no significant reason" to include HD into the Wii and that such an addition would be better suited for a successor. Shigeru Miyamoto also expressed Nintendo's interest in working with HD graphics but clarified that the company is primarily focused on the gameplay experience. In October 2009, Miyamoto said that they had no concrete plans about a successor yet, but knew that the successor would possibly still feature motion controls and they expected its interface to be "more compact" and cheaper. Iwata also mentioned that the Wii's successor might be 3D-compatible but concluded that the adoption rates of 3D televisions should increase to at least 30% first.

In 2010, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime commented that he felt "confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it" and declared that a successor would not be launched in the near future. At the E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the BBC that they would begin announcing a new console once Nintendo ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology [they had]". Later, at an investor's meeting, he disclosed that they were "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but they were simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for [his] business to positively surprise people."[34] Reggie Fils-Aime commented in a CNN article and claimed that Nintendo's next home console would not likely feature stereoscopic 3D, based on the 3D technology Nintendo had experimented with.

In April 2011, an uncredited source indicated that Nintendo was planning on unveiling the successor to the Wii during E3 2011, codenamed Project Café,[6] that would be capable of gameplay in HD resolutions and will be backward compatible with Wii software. It was also rumored that the console would feature an all new controller with a built in high-resolution screen. The origin of the rumor for the codename (and many other details) was French technology publication 01net. 01net had previously revealed the technical specifications of Sony's PlayStation Vita before it was announced. The new machine was believed twice as powerful as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Many claims focused on the new controller, which would feature dual analog sticks, a standard D-pad, two bumpers, two triggers and "possibly more". IGN compared the functionality of the new controller to a Nintendo GameCube controller. 01net claimed the controller would be "a touch tablet controller, with moderate graphic output," comparing the controller to an iPad with buttons. They also added that there would be a front-facing camera on the controller. Supposedly, the controller would also feature six-axis motion controls that outperform a PlayStation Move motion controller (in terms of fidelity), as well as a built-in sensor bar.[44] The new controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen. 01net took the rumor a step further and claimed that the touchscreen would be single-touch. Sources from CVG claimed that the controller featured a high-resolution screen. IGN claimed that the controller would allow players to stream entire games to the controller from the console, and that the console itself "is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)."

According to Edge, THQ president Brian Farrell allegedly told investors: "We don't expect new hardware any time soon from either Microsoft or Sony. It's different on Nintendo – we'll let them announce their new hardware".
Announcement
The Wii U shown at E3 2011, demonstrating the various uses of the GamePad controller.

On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9). Speaking at an investor's conference, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stated the Wii successor would "offer something new for home game systems." Iwata also confirmed that the successor to Wii would not launch in the fiscal year of 2012, meaning that it would release after April 2012.

On May 4, 2011, Kotaku reported that Project Café would have 8 GB of flash-based memory on board, with the assumed purpose of storing game saves. The game discs used by the console were said to be of a proprietary format, and to hold up to 25 GB of data, which is similar to the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray Disc. In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console would feature a controller with a 6 inch touchscreen that would give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and a camera. Nikkei said the system would be released in mid-2012.

A prototype version of Wii U was showcased at E3 2011. The design of the console and controller were not definitive versions. The controller demonstrated a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contained a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera. All processing is done on the console itself, the output of which can be displayed either on a TV, the controller, or both simultaneously; however, the screen only supports single touch, not multitouch, going against a popular trend across the technology industry, and, at the time of unveiling, the system only supported output to one tablet controller at a time, though Nintendo was reportedly looking into allowing for such functionality in the final version of the hardware. Games that were confirmed were New Super Mario Bros. U and the change of console from the Wii to Wii U of the long-in-development Pikmin 3 A list of third party titles was also announced to be available at release, and were on show with trailers from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.

Shares of Nintendo fell almost 10 percent in the two days following the unveiling of Wii U to levels not seen since 2006. Some analysts expressed skepticism in regards to the addition of a touch screen to the controller, expressing concern that the controller would be less affordable and less innovative than the original Wii Remote. When asked about whether or not the Wii U was going to support 3D, Iwata told San Jose Mercury News, "If you are going to connect Wii U with a home TV capable of displaying 3-D images, technologically, yes, it is going to be possible, but that's not the area we are focusing on."

On January 26, 2012, Iwata told investors that the Wii U would be launched by the 2012 year end shopping season in all major regions, and that its final specifications and form factor would be revealed at E3 2012. Furthermore, Iwata stated that the console would feature a unified online system known as Nintendo Network, which would feature user account support as opposed to the use of friend codes. Nintendo Network would also provide the framework for online multiplayer interactions, add-on content sales, as well as online distribution of applications and video games.[62] Moreover, Iwata mentioned that the Wii U controller would support NFC, which would allow the system to wirelessly interact with figurines and cards created by developers. It would also allow for microtransactions to take place wirelessly using credit cards that have NFC support.
Launch

On September 13, 2012, during a Japanese Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced that launch date was set to December 8, 2012 in Japan.[63] Later that day, Nintendo announced that the North American launch date would be November 18, 2012.[64] The Wii U was made available in two bundles: the Basic Set ($299.99 in US) and the Deluxe Set ($349.99 in US). Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo Australia also announced that the Wii U would be released in both regions simultaneously on November 30, 2012. It would also launch with the Basic Pack ($349.95 AUD) and Deluxe Pack ($429.95 AUD) bundles, with European prices being set by individual retailers.[65] The Basic bundle contains a Wii U with 8 GB of on-storage, the Wii U GamePad and stylus and an HDMI cable, while the Deluxe bundle adds on a Nintendo Network Premium subscription, 32 GB of on-storage, a sensor bar, the Nintendo Land game (all regions except Japan), as well as stands for the console and controller.

On July 13, 2013, Nintendo released a white version of the Premium Pack in Japan, as well as was as an official battery pack and charger dock for the Wii Remote capable of lasting 13 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged, retailing at ¥4,200. Additionally, on July 25, the company also released an improved battery pack for the Gamepad controller. The standard 1500mAh battery is bundled with the console, while the new 2550mAh battery pack will increase its longevity between five and eight hours before needing to be recharged, retailing at ¥3,150.

On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced the Deluxe/Premium 32 GB Model would get a price drop from $349.99 to $299.99, in the United States and Europe. It was also announced that the current $299 Basic 8GB Wii U Model would stop production. This price drop would take effect starting on September 20, 2013.
Hardware

During a Nintendo Direct on September 13, 2012, Nintendo revealed that the Wii U would be available in two colors at launch, black and white. The white version is called the Basic Set in North America and the Basic Pack in the PAL regions and Japan and come with 8 GB of internal flash memory. The black version is called the Deluxe Set in North America and the Premium Pack in Europe and Australia and comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. In Japan a white version of the Premium Pack was released on July 13, 2013.

Console

See also: Espresso (microprocessor) and Latte (graphics chip)
An illustration of the Wii U MCM without heat spreader. The smaller chip, lower right, is the "Espresso" CPU made by IBM. The other chips are the "Latte" GPGPU (large chip) from AMD and an EEPROM chip (tiny) from Renesas.

The Wii U utilizes a custom multi-chip module (MCM) developed by AMD, IBM and Renesas in cooperation with Nintendo. Its MCM combines a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), as well as an EEPROM memory controller. The CPU, designed by IBM, consists of a PowerPC 750-based tri-core processor "Espresso" clocked at 1.24 GHz. It is described by IBM as an "all-new, Power-based microprocessor", the processor is a multi-core design manufactured at 45 nm with an eDRAM cache of unknown size. It is produced by IBM at their 300 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, New York. The GPU, designed by AMD, consists of a AMD Radeon High Definition processor codenamed "Latte" packed with a 35 MB eDRAM cache built onto the die clocked at 550 MHz. The console also includes a secondary custom chip that handles undisclosed tasks. These tasks are handled seamlessly in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode. The console also contains a dedicated hardware audio DSP module.

The Wii U contains 2 GB of DDR3 system memory consisting of four 512 MB (4 Gb) DDR3-1600 DRAM chips with a maximum bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s, in which 1 GB reserved for the operating system and unavailable to games. This is 20 times the amount found in the original Wii. The GPU also features a 35 MB eDRAM cache memory. The memory architecture allows the CPU and GPU to access both the main DDR3 memory pool and the eDRAM cache memory pool, removing the need for separate, dedicated memory pools.

The read-only optical disc drive will read proprietary high-density Wii U Optical Discs (25 GB per layer) at 5x CAV, similar to Blu-ray Discs,[77][78] for a maximum read speed of 22.5 MB/s, and will also support Wii Optical Discs at 6x CAV for backwards compatibility with the Wii. To further enhance optical drive performance, the Wii U will also feature a Zlib decompression like its predecessor, allowing for greater real-term bandwidth. It is unknown whether the disc drive drive will be capable of reading dual-layer 50 GB discs or not. The console includes an 8 GB (Basic) or 32 GB (Deluxe (NA)/Premium (EU)) internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards up to 32 GB, only available in Wii Mode, and USB hard disk drives up to 2 TB.

The Wii U features 802.11 b/g/n wireless network connectivity and Fast Ethernet (requires an attachment), Bluetooth 4.0, four USB 2.0 ports (two at the rear and two at the front of the console) and an SD memory card slot (supports up to SDHC cards). An additional power port is also included to power the Wii Sensor Bar, an auxiliary infra red emitter first introduced on the Wii. Audio/video output options include 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576i, 480p, and 480i, through HDMI 1.4 and component video (YPBPR and D-Terminal), 576i, 480i (standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen) through composite video, S-Video, RGB SCART and D-Terminal, six-channel 5.1 linear PCM surround sound, and RCA analog stereo. The console also supports stereoscopic 3D images and video.

^[a] Neither Nintendo, IBM nor AMD has revealed detailed specifications, such as the number of cores, clock rate, or cache sizes. References have been made to the chip containing "a lot" of eDRAM and "the same processor technology found in Watson".

Controllers

The Wii U GamePad is the main controller for the Wii U, and up to two GamePads can be connected per console.[82] The console will also be compatible with up to four Wii Remotes (Plus) with a Nunchuk/Classic Controller attachment, or up to four Wii U Pro Controllers for more traditional controls, or a combination of the two.[83] The console also supports the Wii Balance Board, and every official Wii accessory.

An illustration of the Wii U GamePad (White)

The Wii U GamePad is the Wii U's primary controller and comes bundled with the console. It features a built-in 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 16:9 resistive touchscreen, which can either supplement or replicate the gameplay shown on the television display. It also features a built-in front-facing camera and sensor strip, a built-in microphone, stereo speakers, and supports NFC.[84] The Wii U GamePad supports nine-axis motion detection via a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis magnetometer, and also comes equipped with a rumble feature.[85] It includes a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery capable of storing 1500 mAh and lasting 3–5 hours. The controllers weighs 1.1 lbs (500 g), has dimensions of 130 × 23 × 260 mm (5.3 × 0.9 × 10.2 in), and has etched plastic grips in its rear in order to increase its grip. The Wii U GamePad's wireless communication with the Wii U console is based on IEEE 802.11n operating at ~5.2 GHz and technically supports repeaters[86], while using a proprietary transfer protocol and software co-developed by Broadcom and Nintendo.[87] The Wii U GamePad, however, is not compatible with the original Wii.

The controller also features the following buttons: HOME button, TV CONTROL button, START (+) and SELECT (-) button, dual clickable analog sticks, a D-pad, a four face buttons (A, B, X, Y), bumper buttons (R/L) and trigger buttons (ZL/ZR), and a POWER button. The START and SELECT buttons are represented by a "+" and "-" signs respectively. The analogue sticks are not restricted to 8-axis movement, a departure from previous Nintendo console controllers with analogue sticks.[citation needed] A TV CONTROL button opens an interface on the Wii U GamePad that acts as a television remote control, allowing the user to change the volume and switch channels or video input. This feature is also implemented in Nintendo TVii. The Wii U GamePad also features a dedicated volume slider, which controls the controller's speakers' volume. The controller comes with a stylus for interacting with the touch screen.

The Wii U GamePad features several output connectors. Its stereo jack (3.5 mm connector) will support the connection of a headset to allow a user to speak and hear audio simultaneously. The controller features an infrared transceiver, part of "TV CONTROL" feature. It will also be able to communicate with future accessories. A power port, a "Multi-Purpose External Extension Connector" (power and data transmission for possible future additional accessories), two metal contacts for charging cradle power connectors (at the bottom around external extension connector), and stereo speakers are included. The controller is charged via a proprietary cable and a dedicated charging cradle.

The Wii U GamePad has built-in near field communication, which according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, can be used for, among other uses, figurines that can interact with the console and wireless credit card payments with compatible cards.[84] The Wii U GamePad also allows for asymmetric gameplay, where the player using the controller has one gameplay experience, while competing players using a Wii Remote or a Wii U Pro Controller have different experiences. When using the "Off TV Play" function, the controller can also function as a standalone screen without the use of a television screen.

Wii U Pro Controller

The Wii U Pro Controller is the second controller released for the console, available separately. Like more traditional controllers, it features standard control sticks, buttons, and triggers. Nintendo unveiled the Pro Controller at E3 2012 with the aim of attracting more "hardcore" gamers to make the Wii U more competitive with Sony and Microsoft's offerings. Many video game journalists have noted the similarity between the controller and Microsoft's Xbox 360 Controller. Nintendo claims that the design of the Pro Controller is an “enhanced version” of the Classic Controller and "offers a richer experience." Certain games with flexible control schemes, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Trine 2: Director's Cut, are also compatible with the Classic Controller.

The Wii U Pro Controller is not compatible with previous-generation Wii games.

Wii Remote

The Wii Remote, also known colloquially as the Wiimote, and Wii Remote Plus, which come with a built-in Wii MotionPlus sensor, are also compatible with the Wii U. A main feature of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing through the use of accelerometer and optical sensor technology. Another feature is its expand-ability through the use of attachments. The Nunchuk, which complements the Wii Remote provides functions similar to those in the Wii U GamePad. Some other attachments include the Classic Controller, which offers a more traditional controls, similarly to the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wii Zapper, which is mainly use for first person shooter games, and the Wii Wheel, originally used for Mario Kart Wii and now also compatible with Mario Kart 8 among other Wii U racing games.

On July 13, 2013, Nintendo released an official battery pack and charger dock for the Wii Remote capable of lasting 13 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged.
Near field communication (NFC)

The Wii U's near field communication chip is located on the Wii U GamePad. The NFC chip can be used to allow users to import content from supported devices. This is achieved by placing the device on the Wii U GamePad. The NFC chip also has the ability to write information on items which can be used as a means of transferring information.[94] Moreover, the NFC chip can also be used to make wireless transaction using supported credit cards by simply placing the credit card on top of the Wii U GamePad.
User interface
Main article: Wii U system software

The Wii U uses both the Wii U Menu and the Wii Mode depending on which application it is going to launch. The Wii U Menu is used to access applications built specifically for the Wii U system. On the other hand, the Wii Mode activates the system's backward compatibility with the original Wii and launches the Wii Menu.

The Wii U Menu dashboard

The Wii U Menu is the main dashboard of the system and is directly integrated with Miiverse and the Nintendo Network. It is a graphical user interface similar to the Wii's "Wii Menu" and Nintendo 3DS' HOME Menu. It allows launching software stored on Wii U optical discs, applications installed in the internal memory or an external storage device, or Wii titles through the system's "Wii Mode". Like the original Wii, discs can also be hot-swapped while in the menu. The Wii U Menu also allows users to access system applications such as the Miiverse, surf the internet using the Internet Browser, watch movies and TV shows on Nintendo TVii, download apps through the Nintendo eShop, and check for notifications. System settings, parental controls and the activity log can also be launched through the menu.

When the Wii U powers on, the television screen will show the WaraWara Plaza in which trending user status and comments on Miiverse are shown. Each user is represented by their respective Mii and is often associated with a Miiverse community. Users can save any Mii on the WaraWara Plaza to their personal library, Yeah! their post, write a comment, and send a friend request. By default, on the TV screen, the WaraWara Plaza is displayed while on the GamePad screen, application icons are displayed. These however can be swapped any time between the television screen and the GamePad screen.
Home Menu

The Home Menu (stylized as HOME Menu) can be accessed during any game or application through the user pressing the Home Button on the Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote. The Home Menu allows the user to launch certain multitasking applications, such as Miiverse, Nintendo TVii, Nintendo eShop, Friend List and the Internet Browser while a game or application is running. It also displays various information such as date and time, the wireless signal status, number of friends online, controller battery life and controller settings. Current downloads can also be managed in the Download Manager, which downloads and installs games and applications and their respective updates, as well as downloading system updates in the background.

Wii Mode


The Wii Mode is a fully virtual Wii system inside of the Wii U, with all of the limitations and privileges therein. When a Wii game disc is inserted into the Wii U, the system automatically launches the Wii Mode. The Wii Mode system memory is limited to 512 MB, just like the Wii system memory is. The SD Card Menu is also available on the Wii U's Wii Menu, just like it is on Wii, which an up to 32 GB SDHC card can be inserted into the system. There are a few slight differences, however. The Wii System Settings are not accessible, only the data management settings. Although the Wii Shop Channel is fully available, not all of the content is; the Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube applications available on the Wii Shop Channel cannot be used on the Wii U.

TV Control

The Wii U GamePad has a "TV Control" feature that allows it to function as an infrared TV remote which allows the user conveniently change channels, adjust volume or browse a programming guide, even when the system is not powered on. It is compatible with most cable and satellite providers' set-top boxes and most TV brands. Functionality may vary by country.
Software and services

Nintendo Network

Nintendo Network is Nintendo's unified network infrastructure similar to the Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live. Available on the Wii U and also on the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Network for the latter provides the means for online multiplayer, online leaderboards, video chatting (achieved by the using the Wii U Gamepad's built-in camera), as well as downloads and streaming media services. Nintendo Network on the Wii U uses a user account system much like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, called Nintendo Network ID. One Wii U system can contain up to twelve user accounts.[99] The user account system on the Wii U replaces the previous friend code model that was used on the original Wii, but does not eliminate use of friend codes on Wii games using the Wii Mode. The Nintendo Network administration team also has administrators to remove inappropriate content from its services, such as Miiverse.

SpotPass


Similar to Nintendo 3DS's more distinctly mobile SpotPass functionality, the Spotpass feature is an online utility which is built into the Wii U system. It allows the Wii U to automatically download available content via Wi-Fi in the background even when the Wii U is already running an application, or powered off in sleep mode. Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass includes full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. Content currently being downloaded can be viewed in the Download Manager, accessed via the Wii U's HOME Menu.

Nintendo eShop

Nintendo eShop is the Wii U's online distribution store. The eShop provides download-only Wii U titles, retail Wii U titles, Virtual Console titles, and various others applications. It will also allow users to purchase downloadable content (DLC) and to automatically download patches for both physical and downloadable games. Moreover, all content obtained from the Wii U's eShop is attached to a user account, and currently, they cannot be moved to other Wii U systems. Therefore if the console has issues in which require a replacement, purchased funds and licenses can only be transferred to a new console through Nintendo's customer support.

The Nintendo eShop is a multitasking application and can be accessed anytime via the Home Menu screen, even when a game or application is already running at the same time. Background downloading is also possible via SpotPass while playing games or using any other application such as Miiverse and the web browser. Currently, up to 10 downloads can be queued up at a time. The status of the downloads can be checked on the Home Menu under the Download Manager. If notifications are activated a pop-up message will appear in the top center corner of the screen to notify the user that a download is finished.

The eShop also supports user reviews of games, applications and other media. Users can submit a software review of with "stars" ranging from one to five, representing its quality in a crescent order. Users can also categorize games by age and gender and as suitable for hardcore or more casual gamers. These reviews can only be submitted after using the software at least one hour.
Miiverse
Main article: Miiverse
Miiverse

Miiverse, portmanteau of "Mii" and "Universe", is Wii U integrated communication system or social networking service, powered by the Nintendo Network, which allows players to interact and share their experiences through their own Miis. The Miiverse allows users to seamlessly share accomplishments, comments, and hand written notes with other users. It is integrated into the system menu of the Wii U via WaraWara Plaza, but social interactions can also occur within supported games. A user is able to suspend any game to access Miiverse functions, and then return to the game at the point it was left.

Nintendo has stated that Miiverse will be moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users is approporiate and that no spoilers are shared. In order to facilitate this, it was stated that comments posted could take up to 30 minutes to appear on Miiverse.[102] However, such delays have not been reported by users. From February 2013 the players under the age of 12 years are no longer allowed to directly send or receive friend requests within Miiverse.

On April 25, 2013, the Miiverse became available on every internet enabled smartphone, tablet and PC devices. It will also become available on the Nintendo 3DS later in the year.
Internet Browser
Main article: Internet Browser (Wii U)
Internet Browser

The Wii U also contains an internet browser which allows users to browse the web on the Wii U GamePad and/or the television screen. It functions as a multitasking app on the Wii U and can be used while another game or application is suspended in the background.[105] The browser is primarily controlled using the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen, or with the analog stick to scroll through web pages and the D-pad to cycle through links on the page, similarly to using a keyboard. It can play HTML 5 video and audio in websites such as YouTube and various other social media. The user can choose to hide the browser's view on the TV screen for privacy, which contains presentation effects such as the opening of stage curtains. The user can also choose between the Google and Yahoo! search engines. There is a text wrap option to automatically wrap text to the width of the screen at different zoom levels. Users can also create bookmarks, with each user having its own set of personal bookmarks. The browser also supports up to 6 tabs simultaneously. Up to 32 pages can be stored into the browser's history before the older items start being replaced.
Nintendo TVii
Main article: Nintendo TVii
Nintendo TVii

Nintendo TVii is a free television based service which allows users to find programs on Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and on their cable network. Nintendo TVii also allows users to control their TiVo DVR through the Wii U. Users are then able to select the source of the program they wish to watch and watch it on their television or on the Wii U GamePad. By default, the GamePad screen shows information on the show currently being watched. This information includes reviews, screenshots, cast lists, trailers, and other general information about the show provided by Wikipedia, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, as well as other individual source services. Nintendo TVii also has a dedicated sports section where the user can view player positions and highlights of the match updated in real-time.

Each user has its own personalized settings on Nintendo TVii, such as their preferences, favorite shows and sports teams, personal Mii and social network account integration. Users can then interact with their friends and the community by sharing and commenting on reactions to live moments on the current show, on social networks such as Miiverse, Facebook, and Twitter, through the GamePad while they watch their show on the television screen.

The service is currently only available in selected regions. Nintendo TVii was made available with the Wii U's release in Japan on December 8, 2012. It was released in North America on December 20, 2012 and is scheduled to be released in Europe sometime in 2013.

Nintendo is also working with YouTube, LoveFilm (United Kingdom and Ireland only), Nico Nico Douga and YNN! (Japan only) to bring streaming movie and television content to the Wii U. Nintendo had initially delayed the deployment of some media capabilities for the Wii U as it delayed its online infrastructure. Late in the launch day, a firmware update deployed the Netflix app. Then, access to the Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube apps gradually became active later in the launch week.
Wii U Chat
Main article: Wii U Chat

Wii U Chat is Nintendo's online video chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allows the users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is essentially needed, since the application is compatible with Off-TV Play. Users can also draw on the GamePad during a chat session. If there is a game or another application already running, the GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call.
Loyalty programs

Nintendo currently offers two types of loyalty programs on the Wii U. The Nintendo Network Premium/Deluxe Digital Promotion, in which owners trade points for Nintendo eShop credit; and Club Nintendo in which owners trade points for special Nintendo merchandising.
Nintendo Network Premium

Nintendo Network Premium in Europe, Australia and Japan, or Deluxe Digital Promotion in North America, is a loyalty program similar to PlayStation Plus offered on PlayStation Network. Consumers who purchase the Wii U Deluxe Pack (North America) / Premium Pack (Europe and Japan) will receive a free two-year subscription to this service which lets Wii U owners receive points for each download purchase. Members who buy games and apps through the Wii U Nintendo eShop will receive ten percent of the price back in the form of Nintendo Points, which can subsequently be put towards future online purchases on both the Wii U's and Nintendo 3DS's eShop. The promotion is currently planned through December 2014, with any future plans to be revealed at a later date.
Club Nintendo
Main article: Club Nintendo

Club Nintendo is a loyalty program in which users register purchased Nintendo products in order to exchange them for a variety of unique rewards. Once linked to Club Nintendo, every product downloaded through the eShop is automatically registered in the Club Nintendo account. The user can also then take a survey for each product registered to earn additional coins/stars, which then prizes can be redeemed.
Games
Trine 2: Director's Cut was a North American and European launch title on the eShop. This scene from the Dwarven Caverns chapter is exclusive to the Wii U version.
Main articles: List of Wii U games and Wii U Download Software

The Wii U was launched with 29 games in North America on November 18, 26 games in Europe and 25 games in Australia on November 30, and 11 games in Japan on December 8, 2012. Download-only games via Nintendo eShop were also available on launch day for the Wii U in North America, Europe, and Australia. Titles developed or published by Nintendo that were released alongside the Wii U's launch or early in its lifespan include Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U and Lego City Undercover, Third-party "launch window titles" include Darksiders II, Assassin's Creed III, Mass Effect 3, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Just Dance 4, Madden NFL 13, and Scribblenauts Unlimited, as well as exclusives such as ZombiU and Rabbids Land.

In an effort to improve sales after the initial six months in the console's lifespan, Nintendo has released a variety of games during the rest of year such as Game & Wario and Pikmin 3, and they currently plan to include, The Wonderful 101, The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Wii Party U, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World and Wii Fit U. In 2014, Nintendo plans to release Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2 and a new entry in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Off-TV Play
Main article: Off-TV Play

The Off-TV Play feature lets the user play games only on the Wii U GamePad controller using its embedded touchscreen, without the need for the television to be powered on. This feature is available on certain games only.
Asymmetric gameplay
Main article: Asymmetric gameplay

Asymmetric gameplay is a form of multiplayer in video games in which multiple players can play the same game simultaneously in different ways and rules. For example, one players is playing the same game with different gameplay mechanics and rules on the Wii U GamePad's screen while the rest of the players are playing the same game with different gameplay mechanics and rules on the television screen. This feature is a major component of various Wii U games such as Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U.

Multiple screen multiplayer mode is also an unique feature of Wii U. It works like a traditional split-screen mode without the need for an actual split screen. The Wii U GamePad and the TV function as the separate screens in this scenario, offering each player a full screen experience to themselves. Compared to Ad-hoc multiplayer, multiple screen multiplayer works on the same console and does not need two independent systems and multiple copies of the game.
Virtual Console
Main article: Virtual Console

In January 2013, Nintendo announced that NES and Super NES titles would be made available for the Virtual Console service on the Wii U in April 2013 and would include the option to use Off-TV Play on the Wii U Gamepad and the ability to post on Miiverse dedicated communities. Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 titles will also be made available at a later date.
Backward compatibility


The Wii U is compatible with most Wii games, both on disc and download. Wii accessories such as the Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board also remain compatible. It is also possible to move most downloaded software and save files from the Wii to the Wii U.[80] While original Wii games are playable on the Wii U system, they cannot be played on the GamePad screen.

Despite the Wii's general compatibility with GameCube games, the Wii U is not compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, although Nintendo has stated that some GameCube games will be available as Virtual Console titles through the Nintendo eShop.
Reception

The Wii U received mixed reviews. John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology" simply to show off features of the console. Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console," but notes that, "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List / Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours," and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch time. Similarly, TechRadar praised the system's GamePad functionality and HD graphics, but criticized the limited battery power for the GamePad, and that there was not much of a system selling game around its launch period. Some industry figures have claimed that the Wii U is not an 8th generation console, with many citing the hardware as the reason. Reggie Fils-Aime, COO of Nintendo of America, however, has noted that similar comments were made in 2006 when the Wii first launched.

By May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that they were dialing back support for the console and had no games in development for it at the time, however they partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for PS or Xbox". At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that they were not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved, though they stated shortly after that they are still "big supporters" of the Wii U, and plan to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as they did in 2012. Bethesda Softworks has announced that as of July 2013 they have no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining the decision: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making". This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware. Contrarily, Activision has stated that they will "do everything they can" to support the system and would continue to develop games for it.
Sales
Life-to-date number of units shipped, in millions Date     Japan     America     Other     Total     Increase
2012-12-31     0.83     1.32     0.90     3.06     N/A
2013-03-31     0.92     1.52     1.01     3.45     12.7%
2013-06-30     1.01     1.58     1.02     3.61     4.6%

As of 30 June 2013, Nintendo reports 3.61 million units have been shipped worldwide.

During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 Wii U units and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group. It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend. In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012. According to the NPD group, nearly 890,000 Nintendo Wii U units have been sold in the United States after 41 days on the market.  In the three months leading up to June 2013 it sold 160,000 units, which was down 51% from the three months prior.

In January 2013, the Wii U sold 57,000 units in the US. By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch. Initial sales numbers in the US and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for fiscal year 2013 by 17 percent, from 5.5 million to 4 million; the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units. This has left some critics questioning the future of Nintendo, describing the Wii U as putting Nintendo in "trouble" and suggesting that Nintendo possibly should move out of the hardware sector. At the end of July 2013, Walmart subsidiary Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that they had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis". Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with Game CEO Martyn Gibbs saying "We fully support all Nintendo products, including Wii U."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

RINOs are obese unicorns

1. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.)
Once approached by Democratic Leader Harry Reid to switch parties, Chafee has long supported liberal policies. He backs legal abortion, gay rights, federal-funded health care, strict environmental protections and a higher minimum wage. Opposes ANWR drilling. Also was the only Republican in Congress not to endorse the President’s reelection and one of three who tried to gut Bush’s tax cuts.

2. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine)

A self-described “centrist,” Snowe scored a 100% pro-choice voting record as scored by NARAL and consistently votes with Democrats on social issues.

3. Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.)

“Snarlin’ Arlen” warned Bush not to nominate judges who might overturn Roe v. Wade, joined Chaffee reducing tax cuts and supported Democrats on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, HMO and overtime regulation. Also opposed school choice in Washington, D.C.

4. Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

Voted with liberals on the 1999 tax cut, campaign finance reform and the partial-birth abortion ban. Also advocated “pay-as-you-go” tax cuts with spending increases in 2004, leading to a budget never agreed upon between the House and Senate.

5. Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.)

He led the House fight for McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform.”  He’s also prone to back environmental causes, gun control and abortion rights. He had no GOP challenger in 2004, but narrowly escaped defeat, 52% to 48%, by a Democratic opponent in the general election. 

6. Gov. George Pataki (N.Y.)

Helped unions raise pay and unionize Indian casinos.  Has said, “I believe in a limited government, low taxes, a tough approach to crime. … But I also believe in an activist government. I’m not one of those laissez-faire types.”

7. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.)

Over the course of his 23-year career, he’s gained considerable power (chairman of the Science Committee), despite amassing one of the most liberal voting records of any House Republican. Fought back conservative challengers in 2000 and 2002 and could face a GOP challenge in ’06.

8. Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)

Has said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”  Supports civil unions and stringent gun laws. After visiting Houston, he criticized the city’s aesthetics, saying, “This is what happens when you don’t have zoning.” 

9. Rep. Michael Castle (Del.)

As president of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership and key player in the so-called Tuesday Group lunches, he is a ring-leader of RINOs. He’s teamed with Democrats to make federal funding of embryonic stem cell research one of his top priorities. 

10. Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa)

One of only six House Republicans to vote against the Iraq War resolution in 2002, he was also the only Republican to vote against President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts. His support for environmental causes and abortion rights has won him liberal fans.

Bought a Wii U on Launch day



picked up a Wii U at Wal-mart at 12:20 AM + Mario Bros. U. I had a lot of stuff to do. I couldn't find a Deluxe.  Wii U should allow you to install games on encrypted SD cards anyhow! I bought a 64 GB SD Card.
Now I am fully next generation. I didn't pick up a console at the release date since 9/9/1999 for Sega Dreamcast. I was at the Xbox 360 and PS3 launches at midnight (@ Wal-Mart 2005 and 2006) and didn't buy. They all say Wii U deluxe all spoken for. Amazon, the Deluxe cost $750. Since Rayman Legends is not a launch title (oh snap!), in that New Super Mario Bros. U claims victory. I made this mp4 with my Cisco Flip Video and went to bed with the greatest heavy metal song ever. I don't know if Metallica's best song is Enter Sandman or Master of Puppets, so I made an educated guess with help of child memories. My professional speaker skills stink so I subtitled the video. Thanks for watching.


I also bought Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed.  I got my reviews off IGN.com


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prestige vs. Teaching

This is a fact: Smart, ambitious people are rarely choosing K-12 teaching as a career these days. Consider that, in 2007, among high school seniors who took the SAT and intended to major in education, the average scores were a dismal 480 in Critical Reading, 483 in Mathematics, and 476 in Writing. Compare those scores with the average scores of students intending to become engineers—524, 579, and 510. Or to students intending to enter the fields of communications and journalism: 523, 501, 519. Also consider that the most competitive, elite colleges and universities, like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton, aren’t offering undergraduate majors in teaching or education. So why don’t the nation’s best, brightest, most motivated, most talented students choose to pursue K-12 teaching? This question has been raised for decades now and our society has always known the answer. Society has chosen, mostly through government policy, and sometimes through its market mechanism, to maintain teaching as a second-rate career that, more often than not, does not attract the smartest and most ambitious. The reasons the “achiever class” doesn’t enter K-12 teaching are so smack-you-in-the-face obvious that it seems foolish to spell them out here, but I will. It’s all a matter of prestige and career mobility. Smart, Ambitious People Want Prestige People who are intelligent and motivated will do all sorts of dreadful jobs just to obtain a mark of prestige from society. Think about medical doctors who repair human bodies with sharp, frightening tools and take samples of blood, moles, and urine all day. These people earn big bucks. According to BLS, in 2008, dentists earned an average annual salary of $154,270 and surgeons earned $206,770. Consider lawyers who spend insufferable 12-hour days pouring over mind-numbing, overly complex regulation books and legal codes. They earned $124,750. The average middle school teacher? A paltry $52,570. That’s certainly no mark of prestige. People who are intelligent and motivated also want to be perceived as successful. If I asked you to close your eyes and describe a businessperson, you would likely imagine someone with impeccable posture, in a fancy suit, with a sharp haircut, and with a twinkle in his or her eye. That imagined archetype looks like a million bucks… a top achiever. If I asked you to close your eyes and describe a K-12 classroom teacher, on the other hand, something tells me that many of you would imagine a friendly, middle-aged [mostly white] woman who was dressed moderately well, but who didn’t particularly stand out… nice and kind, but not a top achiever. Those are today’s societal images, I’m afraid. Smart, ambitious people want society to view them as something great and important, and that’s not a teacher in 2010. Smart, Ambitious People Want Upward Mobility People who are intelligent and motivated also want the opportunity to quickly advance their careers. These achievers often enjoy healthy competition and like to be acknowledged for the outstanding work they do—that’s what drives them. The lawyer works late into the night preparing the perfect legal memo so that she can become a partner of the firm one day. The owner of a large chain store works to improve efficiency and delivery methods to gain more customers and expand his business. But what about teachers? In most public systems, no matter how well they instruct, no matter how creative or inspiring they are, no matter how much their students are learning, they all get paid a structured and uniform salary. They also have little room to advance their careers unless they become desk rats in the Land of Red Tape and Bureaucracy. What smart, ambitious person wants that? An Utterly Simple and Obvious Conclusion The bottom line here, stated generally, is that if our society wants to cultivate outstanding teachers from the achiever class, it has to begin to put the right incentives in place for these smart, ambitious people to join the profession. This involves increased compensation that is based on achievement, changed images and demographics of teachers, opportunities to advance while in the classroom, and, yes, some much-needed, healthy competition. Today, the public policy decisions our society has made force our schools to recruit too many teachers who, frankly, want stability, do not take risks, and aren’t interested in improving their profession. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t terrific teachers out there; it means that there aren’t nearly enough. Programs like Teach for America and The New Teacher Project do help bring smart, ambitious people into our nation’s classrooms, but they aren’t staying long enough to radically improve our schools and our students’ futures. Their ambition correctly recognizes better career opportunities in business, law, medicine, engineering, etc. If American society is serious about recruiting the “best and brightest” into education for the long-term (I’m skeptical), it will have to make some game-changing, sometimes radical, incentives changes. No more of this warm, fuzzy, “I do it all for the kids” mentality. Much more focus on increasing prestige and career mobility instead.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Greys and Teotihuacan

Go see Teotihuacan, and be impressed at how nobody human could have the tools to build them symbolizing the solar system. The grays or gray hybrids built Teotihucan. The grays steal embryos and modify the human DNA with theirs to create a now-extinct superhuman species.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Summerwind

If a person was forced to choose what the greatest ghost story in Wisconsin might be, it would almost undoubtedly be the legend of Summerwind. This haunted mansion has spawned more strange tales and stories that any other location in the state. What dark secrets remain hidden in the ruins of this once grand estate? Were the stories of ghostly encounters and messages from beyond really true ... or were they part of an elaborate publicity hoax?
Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Todd Roll)
Located on the shores of West Bay Lake, in the far northeast regions of Wisconsin, are the ruins of a once grand mansion that was called Summerwind. The house is long gone now, but the memories remain ... as do the stories and legends of the inexplicable events that once took place there. Summerwind is perhaps Wisconsin’s most haunted house, or at least it was, before fire and the elements of nature destroyed her. Regardless, even the ravages of time cannot destroy the haunted history of the house.
The mansion was built in 1916 by Robert P. Lamont as a summer home for he and his family. Nestled on the shores of the lake, the house caught the cool breezes of northern Wisconsin and provided a comfortable place for Lamont to escape the pressures of everyday life in Washington D.C., as he would later go on to serve as the Secretary of Commerce under President Herbert Hoover.But life was not always sublime at Summerwind during the years of the Lamont family. For those who claim that the ghost stories of the house were "created" in later years, they forget the original tale of Robert Lamont’s encounter with a spirit. Legends of the house say that Lamont actually fired a pistol at a ghost that he believed was an intruder. The bullet holes in the basement door from the kitchen remained for many years.
Two photos taken at Summerwind the bullet holes that were fired into the basement door by Robert Lamont! The legends say that he was shooting at a ghost at the time!(Photos courtesy of Todd Roll)
Upon the death of Robert Lamont, the house was sold ... and sold again. It seemed that nothing out of the ordinary really happened there, save for Lamont’s encounter with the phantom intruder, until the early 1970's. It was in this period that the family living in the house was nearly destroyed ... supposedly by ghosts.
Arnold Hinshaw, his wife Ginger, and their six children, moved into Summerwind in the early part of the 1970's. They would only reside in the house for six months, but it would be an eventful period of time.From the day that they moved in, they knew strange things were going on in the house. It had been vacant for some time ... but it had apparently been occupied by otherworldly visitors. The Hinshaws, and their children, immediately started to report vague shapes and shadows flickering down the hallways. They also claimed to hear mumbled voices in darkened, empty rooms. When they would walk inside, the sounds would quickly stop. Most alarming was the ghost of the woman who was often seen floating back and forth just past some French doors that led off from the dining room.The family wondered if they were simply imagining things but continued events convinced them otherwise. Appliances, a hot water heater and a water pump would mysteriously break down and then repair themselves before a serviceman could be called.Windows and doors that were closed would reopen on their own. One particular window, which proved especially stubborn, would raise and lower itself at all hours. Out of desperation, Arnold drove a heavy nail through the window casing and it finally stayed closed.On one occasion, Arnold walked out to his car to go to work and the vehicle suddenly burst into flames. No one was near it and it is unknown whether the source of the fire was supernatural in origin or not, but regardless, no cause was ever found for it.
Despite the strange activity, the Hinshaws wanted to make the best of the historic house so they decided to hire some men to make a few renovations. It was most common for the workers to not show up for work, usually claiming illness, although a few of them simply told her that they refused to work on Summerwind ... which was reputed to be haunted. That was when the Hinshaws gave up and decided to try and do all of the work themselves.
One day they began painting a closet in one of the bedrooms. A large shoe drawer was installed in the closet’s back wall and Arnold pulled it out so that he could paint around the edges of the frame. When he did, he noticed that there seemed to be a large, dark space behind the drawer.Ginger brought him a flashlight and he wedged himself into the narrow opening as far as his shoulders. He looked around with the flashlight and then suddenly jumped back, scrambling away from the opening. He was both frightened and disgusted ... there was some sort of corpse jammed into the secret compartment!Believing that an animal had crawled in there and died many years ago, Arnold tried to squeeze back in for a closer look. He couldn’t make out much of anything, so when the children came home from school, he recruited his daughter Mary to get a better look. Mary took the flashlight and crawled inside. Moments later, she let out a scream ... it was a human corpse! She uncovered a skull, still bearing dirty black hair, a brown arm and a portion of a leg.
Why the Hinshaws never contacted the authorities about this body is unknown. Was the story concocted later to fit into the tales of "haunted" Summerwind? Or was their reasoning the truth ... that the body had been the result of a crime that took place many years ago, far too long for the police to do anything about it now.Had they been thinking things through, they might have realized that this body might have been the cause of much of the supernatural activity in the house ... removing it might have laid the ghost to rest, so to speak.Regardless, they left the corpse where they found it ... but it will figure into our story once again.
Shortly after the discovery of the body in the hidden compartment, things started to take a turn for the worse at Summerwind.
Arnold began staying up very late at night and playing a Hammond organ that the couple had purchased before moving into the house. He had always enjoyed playing the organ, using it as a form of relaxation, but his playing now was different. His playing became a frenzied mixture of melodies that seemed to make no sense, and grew louder as the night wore on. Ginger pleaded with him to stop but Arnold claimed the demons in his head demanded that he play. He often crashed the keys on the organ until dawn, frightening his wife and children so badly that they often huddled together in one bedroom, crying and cowering in fear.Arnold had a complete mental breakdown and at the same time, Ginger attempted suicide.
Were the stories of strange events at Summerwind merely the result of two disturbed minds? It might seem so ... but what about the children? They also reported the ghostly encounters. Were they simply influenced by their parents questionable sanity ... or were the stories real?The family’s connection with the house would continue for years to come.
While Arnold was sent away for treatment, Ginger and the children moved to Granton, Wisconsin to live with Ginger’s parents. Ginger and Arnold would eventually be divorced when it looked as though Arnold’s hopes for recovery were failing. Ginger later recovered her health, away from Summerwind at last, and she married a man named George Olsen.Things seemed to be going quite well for her in her new peaceful life, until a few years later, when her father announced that he was going to buy Summerwind.Raymond Bober was a popcorn vendor and businessman who with his wife Marie, planned to turn the old mansion into a restaurant and an inn. He believed that the house would attract many guests to the scenic location on the lake.They had no idea what had happened to their daughter in the house.
Ginger was horrified at her parent’s decision. She had never given them all of the details about what had happened during the six months that she had lived in the house and she refused to do so now. What she did do was to beg them not to buy Summerwind.Bober’s mind was made up however. He announced that he realized the house was haunted, but this would not deter him. He claimed that he had spent time at the house and knew the identity of the ghost that was haunting the place.According to Bober, the ghost was a man named Jonathan Carver, an eighteenth century British explorer who was haunting the house and searching for an old deed that had been given to him by the Sioux Indians. In the document, he supposedly had the rights to the northern third of Wisconsin. The deed had supposedly been placed in a box and sealed into the foundation of Summerwind. Bober claimed that Carver had asked his help in finding it.Bober wrote a book about his experiences at Summerwind and his communications with Carver through dreams, trances and a Ouija board. The book was published in 1979 under the name of Wolffgang von Bober and was called THE CARVER EFFECT. It is currently out-of-print and very hard to find.Shortly after Bober bought the house, he, his son Karl, Ginger and her new husband, George, spent a day exploring and looking over the house. The group had wandered through the place and as they were leaving the second floor, George spotted the closet where the secret compartment was hidden. He began pulling out the drawers and looking behind them, although Ginger begged for him to stop. George was confused. He had simply been curious as to what might be in the drawers. Up until then, Ginger had never told anyone about finding the body behind the closet. Sitting in the kitchen later, she would tell them everything. After hearing the story, the men rushed back upstairs and returned to the closet. Ginger’s brother, Karl, climbed into the space with a light and looked around. In a few moments, he climbed back out ... it was empty! Bober and George also inspected the small space and found nothing. Where had the corpse gone? Had it been removed, either by natural or supernatural forces? Or, most importantly, had it ever really been there at all?
Toward the end of that Summer, Karl traveled alone to the old house. He had gone to get a repair estimate on some work to be done on the house and to check with someone about getting rid of the bats which were inhabiting the place. He also planned to do some yard work and to get the place cleaned up a little.It started to rain the first day that he was there and he began closing some of the windows. He was upstairs, in the dark hallway, and heard a voice call his name. He looked around but there was no one there. Karl closed the window and went downstairs. He walked into the front room and heard what sounded like two pistol shots! He ran into the kitchen and found the room filled with smoke and the acrid smell of gunpowder ... apparently someone had fired a gun inside of the house!Karl searched the place, finding the doors locked and undisturbed. There appeared to be no one inside and he returned to the kitchen. He began looking around the room and discovered two bullet holes in the door leading down to the basement. He examined them closely and realized that they were not new holes at all ... but old bullet holes that had worn smooth around the edges.They were apparently holes left behind from Robert Lamont’s encounter with a ghost in the kitchen. Perhaps events from the past were replaying themselves at Summerwind!No matter what the explanation, it was enough for Karl and he left the house that afternoon.
The plans to turn the house into a restaurant did not go smoothly. Workmen refused to stay on the job, complaining of tools disappearing and feelings as if they were being watched. Marie Bober agreed with their complaints. She was always uneasy in the house and frequently told people that she felt as if she was followed from place to place whenever she was inside.Most disturbing to Bober however was the apparent shrinkage and expansion of the house. Bober would measure rooms one day and then find that they were a different size the next day. Usually, his measurements were larger than those given in the blueprints of the house ... sometime greatly larger. At one point, Bober estimated that he could seat 150 people in his restaurant but after laying out his plans on the blueprints of Summerwind, he realized that the place could seat half that many.Photographs that were taken of the house, using the same camera and taken only seconds apart, also displayed the variations of space. The living room was said to show the greatest enlargement.Bober compared his photos of the living room with those that Ginger had taken when she and Arnold moved in. Ginger’s photos showed curtains on the windows that she took with her when she moved out. The curtains were physically absent in the room that Bober photographed ... but somehow they appeared in his photos!Like the incident involving Karl and the pistol shots, could Summerwind be a place where time inexplicably repeats itself? Perhaps the place wasn’t haunted at all, but instead, was a mysterious site where time was distorted in ways that we cannot understand. Perhaps the shadows and figures that were seen could have been people or images from the past (or the future) and perhaps the sound of someone calling Karl’s name would happen in reality ... several months later. We will never know for sure now, but the idea is something worth considering.
Eventually, the project was abandoned and Bober would never see the dream of his restaurant and inn. Strangely though, despite his claims that he was an earthly companion of the ghostly Jonathan Carver, the Bobers never spent the night inside of the house. They chose instead to sleep in an RV that they parked on the grounds. Also strange was the fact that Carver (if the ghost existed) chose to manifest himself in such malevolent ways ... especially if he was looking for help in finding his deed.Bober’s explanation for this was that Carver resented anyone living in the house or trying to renovate the place, at least until the deed was found. Bober spent many days searching the basement for where the deed might be hidden, chipping the foundation and peering into dark holes and crevices.To this day, the mysterious deed has never been found.
Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Todd Roll)
In the years that followed Bober’s abandonment of Summerwind, a number of skeptics came forward to poke holes in some of Bober’s claims. Many of their counter-claims, however, have been nearly as easy to discredit as some of Bober’s original ones.Obviously, we are never going to know for sure if Summerwind was really haunted. The house is gone now and we are left with only the claims, reports and witness accounts of Bober and his family.We can examine the claims of the family, and the skeptics, and try to make sense of it all.
In 1983, a freelance writer named Will Pooley set out to gather the facts behind the story and discredit it. His research claimed that even if Bober had found Carver’s deed, it would have been worthless. He based these findings on the fact that the British government ruled against an individual’s purchase of Indian land and also that the Sioux had never claimed land west of the Mississippi River.First of all, the land was not sold to Carver, it was given to him in return for assistance that he had given to the Indians, so British law would not have ruled against this. On the other subject, the Sioux Indians were not a single tribe, they were an entire nation, made up of many different tribes. It is possible, and very likely, that one tribe that belonged to the Sioux nation could have lived in Wisconsin. The white settlers pushed the Indians further and further west and as this particular tribe abandoned their lands, they could have deeded them to Carver.Pooley also argued that the deed to the property had been located in the old land office in Wausau, Wisconsin in the 1930's and that it is unlikely that Carver even journeyed as far north as West Bay Lake.But would he have had to have traveled to northern Wisconsin to hold a deed to the land? And why would there not have been another deed filed for that piece of land? Someone could have claimed it many years later, not even realizing that Carver already held the title to it.He also argued that the deed could have never been placed in the foundation of the house anyway ... Summerwind had been built more than 130 years after Carver died. To this, it can only be argued that many events of the supernatural world go unexplained. One man that Pooley did talk to however, was Herb Dickman of Land 'O Lakes, Wisconsin. He had helped pour the foundation for the house in 1916 and recalled that nothing had been placed in the foundation ... a box containing a deed or anything else. So, who really knows?
Apparently, Bober was not always the most credible person either. Residents who lived close to Summerwind said that Bober spent less than two summers at the estate. After abandoning plans for the restaurant, he tried to get a permit to operate a concession stand near the house but local ordinances prohibited this. Perhaps he was planning the idea of tours of the "haunted" house ... and idea that would come along a little later.There was even some uncertainty as to whether or not Bober even owned Summerwind. One area resident told Pooley that Bober had tried to buy the house on a contract-for-deed but the deal had fallen through. The house had been abandoned and no one laid claim to it, save for the bank, and they never realized what Bober was up to out there. This story has never been verified however and it cannot be proven that Bober did not own the place.So how much of the story that Bober wrote about in his book is true? Was the house really haunted, or was the story of the haunting merely a part of a scheme by Raymond Bober to draw crowds to a haunted restaurant?
Those who live near the house claim that the idea that it is haunted has all come from the fact that the mansion was abandoned and from Bober’s wild claims. But what else would they say?These neighbors have often made it very clear that they resent the strangers who have come to the property, tramping over their lawns and knocking on their doors. They say that the chartered buses that once came and dumped would-be ghost hunters onto the grounds of Summerwind were also unwelcome. These are the last people to ask for an objective opinion on whether this house is actually haunted.So there remains the mystery ... was Summerwind really haunted? No one knows and if they do, they aren’t saying.
The house was completely abandoned in the early 1980's and fell deeper and deeper into ruin. Bats had already taken up residence years before and the house became a virtual shell, resting there in a grove of pines. The windows were shattered and the doors hung open, inviting nature’s destructive force inside.In 1986, the house was purchased by three investors who apparently thought that they could make a go of the place again. But it was not to be ... forces greater than man had other ideas. Summerwind was struck by lightning during a terrible storm in June of 1988 and burned to the ground.Today, only the foundations, the stone chimneys and perhaps the ghosts remain ...

summerwind.gif (49013 bytes)Ruins of Summerwind (Photo Courtesy of Stacy McArdle)