Andy Laub

Andy Laub is a designer & developer in the Twin Cities.

Published Jun 06

Hot damn, look at me!

An overdue realization and its implications »

Holy cow! I just realized the PS2 controller bites it.

I’m just going to spell it out right here: the PS2 controller sucks. Yes, I said PS2, as in the console that’s been out for 5 years and the one that I’ve owned and played for 2. What brought me to this conclusion was a small number of things, but the most notable is my old nemesis Gran Turismo. I thought the original GT was fantastic. There was nothing else like it and it happened to only be available for the Playstation 1 that I already had. Great. I bought it. Then I bought the second one – even better. Then I bought a PS2, and the third one, which was terrible. The most recent, Gran Turismo 4, is a good recovery.

Then Forza Motorsport came along and pretty much stomped all over it. It’s been argued to death everywhere which is better and both have their own disciples, but there is one thing Forza has that absolutely kills GT: the controller. While the PS2 controller is basically a copy of the DualShock PS1 controller (which seemed to evolve from the Super Nintendo’s), Microsoft opted to put two larger triggers on the bottom of the Xbox controllers (similar to the Dreamcast in design and similar to the N64’s single trigger in concept). The advantage of these triggers is that they have more travel than any buttons on the PS2 controller, and it’s easier to modulate pressure on them, kind of the way you do with the foot pedals in your car.

Logically, driving games on the Xbox take advantage of these triggers and use them for the gas / brake controls meaning you can control the pressure on each instead of either pressing down or not pressing down. The controller has stayed relatively intact for the new generation aside from wirelessness and a slight makeover, meaning that driving games will continue to use this functionality, meaning that Forza 2 and likely Grand Theft Auto 4 will use this functionality. This is very good. Gran Turismo 5: Rehash Edition will sport next-gen graphics but be stuck with the same old controller it’s always been stuck with, meaning more sore thumbs when you’re mashing the X button and trying to make yourself go faster. Oh! Maybe you’ll get to use “motion sensors” to move your car. Right, that sounds awesome.

Whatever. I seriously don’t see myself ending up with a PS3 for a long time if at all, whereas an Xbox 360 will probably join the family as soon as Forza 2 shows up.

Design Meltdown just may be my new favorite site, ever.

Anniversary Statstravaganza »

Wordpress made it a year without breaking anything too badly. Let's review.

One year ago today, PDF and I were sitting and staring at my monitor, making WordPress go. The result was this post, the first of 6 months worth of daily images. Many of those images were terrible. Some were OK.

Regardless, it’s been a good time so far, and even though the images have migrated, I have every intention of continuing to chronicle my various thoughts. But for now, let’s look at some facts and figures, yes?

Shortstat info since October 25, 2005

Total hits: 48,806
Unique hits: 4,250

Top browser: IE 6.0

Top 5 repeat referrers:

  1. 368
  2. 330
  3. 191
  4. 97
  5. 74

Top 5 search terms:

  1. andy laub: 38
  2. swedish models: 17
  3. macbook: 5
  4. Andy Laub: 4
  5. You may want to consider using a third-party utility to convert the
    muxed file to a format that does allow you to edit or export: 4
Overall info since inception

Posts: 244
Average posts per day: .67
Average time between posts: 1.50 days

Comments: 273
Average comments per post: 1.12
Average comments per day: .75

Internal images: 257
Average images per post: 1.05
Average images per day: .70

Videos: 2

Flickr images: 203
Average Flickr images per day: .56 bookmarks: 235
Average bookmarks per day: .64

Change in regular readership: 400%, up to four now! Way to go, guys!

Minor updates »

I’ve made a couple changes to the site this past week for usability’s sake and to keep myself satisfied with it. You’ll notice on the singular post pages that the format has shifted from two columns to three which mimics both the home page and the archive while making better use of the space alloted.

This is easier said than done because I still have a bunch of posts with images to account for and they all need a two-column layout to be happy and healthy. Fortunately, a few strategically distributed if/else statements were enough to take care of this and now I have a layout that makes me much happier.

The second change really doesn’t benefit anyone in particular but I decided to rewrite my info page because I was sick of just having lists of stuff and because this new one fits with the three-column philosophy.

The final change I made after I wrote this because I realized how many times I tend to make changes to posts. Take note of the small grey number next to the title; from now on that’s your reference to the version of this particular post. Minor things like adding links to existing content will result in a .1 addition, while major things like adding this paragraph you’re reading are good for a whole new version.

Twice as Legal »

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent learning the ins and outs of riding motorcycles in a basic rider safety course. Abe took it so he can get a license for his new ride; I took it because motorcycles are cool and I’ve never ridden one. We both had a blast in spite of the combination of sweltering heat, extra clothing and hot asphalt, and we both aced the written and range tests.

The course was invaluable and I’d recommend it to anyone with a free weekend and even a passing interest in motorcycles. And although I don’t currently own a bike (keyword: currently), it will make me more aware as a driver. And now I’m all cool cause I can say that I have a motorcycle license.

Rorschach gone wild.

Power in Simplicity »

I am finishing up my viewing of the (Tivo’d) MTV Movie Awards. I really thought it was a well-done show this year, eschewing overly complicated backdrops in favor of a relatively simple arc of (massive) monitors. It proved to be incredibly versatile and looked awesome for all three of the musical performances (Gnarls Barkley, Christina Aguilera, and AFI).

Of particular interest to me was Gnarls Barkley, in part because I’d never heard the music before but also because of their presentation. They decided to go with a Star Wars theme which sounds a little cheesy but was way, way better than it sounds. Aside from how good I thought the song was (which resulted in me buying the album), I couldn’t help but be reminded of PDF by the bass-playing Storm Trooper.

And Chewbacca on drums? Priceless.

Finally, just for the record, I am convinced that Christina Aguilera has the talent and versatility to follow in Madonna’s footsteps.

Lost nerves »

So the Saab is out of commission this week while I await the return of my mechanic so he can check out an oiling issue. It’s for this reason that I dragged my bike out of the basement and have been taking that to work instead. I enjoy it — I’ve always enjoyed biking — but I’m realizing that I’m less and less prone to taking risks and/or showing off. I like to think this is partially a result of me biking to commute rather than for recreation, meaning I don’t make an effort. At the same time, minor things like approaching curves at acute angles and anything else vaguely technical gets me nervous, which is sad.

These are things that I used to be able to handle without issue, and now I’m not so sure. It’s boiling down to an overwhelming loss of confidence and I suppose that can be attributed toward a few things. One of the biggest factors was probably my minor mishap last year. The next largest, or maybe equal, is that I have not been on a bike for a long time for anything more than a basic ride around town. That’s what I need to change, as my bike is certainly more capable than I am right now.

I don’t use TV to learn. »

As much as I like to take in information on various topics, I find that TV is a fairly useless medium for doing so. Most of this is due to control issues. I have no control over the programming on TV. I can record things I’d like to see, but I can’t tell the show itself how in-depth I want it to go on a particular subject. Shows about cars are an excellent example of this. While I enjoy watching car builds on shows like Overhaulin’ I can’t say that I actually absorb any of the information in any of them. Magazines and online publications are much more tailored to this kind of thing. If I’m reading a story about the original Ford GT40 which was said to average 135 mph at Le Mans back in the 60’s, it makes me want to know what the Audi R8, winner of this event for the past few years, is capable of. Google says it’s about 143 mph, but then I would need to figure out whether this is at Sarthe, and if so then it fails to take into account the kink they added to the straightaway (according to Gran Turismo 4).

Regardless, in a matter of minutes I can have more information than a TV show could provide in an entire hour. I think TV is an excellent jumping off point for figuring out what you want to learn about, but beyond that it’s all down to real research (reading). On the subject of skimming over information, I offer a criticism of nearly every modern home magazine (Dwell, Metropolitan Home, etc). Any time I am reading about a house (or seeing it on TV), I immediately want and need to see floor plans. This doesn’t work on TV for obvious reasons, but unfortunately floor plans are not provided for some of the nicest houses featured in the aforementioned magazines. I chalk it up to a space issue, but on occasion they’ll show a multi-level house and floor plans for one floor. I don’t really get that and that’s why I don’t really find myself reading them except as a last resort.

On the other hand, Fine Homebuilding (last I checked), had an annual issue dedicated to specific houses and complete floor plans for them.

Episode III: The Backstroke of the West

Triple 6 »

Today is apparently the most evil day ever so I celebrate with some recent obsessions of an apparently unsavory and immoral nature.

That’s right, more video games.

I picked up Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories today as it’s finally been released for the PS2 at the rock-bottom price of $19.99. So far it plays real nice (though not as immersive as San Andreas, obviously) and offers some worthy updates while taking place in Liberty City (home of Grand Theft Auto III).

I’m also thinking of picking up Big Brain Academy, another game along the vein of Brain Age, though it seems slightly more puzzle-oriented.

Finally, the big-spender of the bunch is—you guessed it—the DS Lite. Reports were trickling in of Target accidentally selling them last week but I had no luck obtaining one and so I’ll be waiting for the official hit date of June 11.

OK, that’s it. Go listen to The Gorillaz or something similarly appropriate.

Sport Compact Car helps a Sentra speed up by slimming down. A lot.

Fast Cars in Lost Wages »

At the Imperial Palace.

At Caesar’s.

Still no porn star pictures though (sorry jb).

Let’s take a bunch of songs and put them all together. It’s like Voltron, but with less robots and more music.

Vegas in 3 Days »

home A&W airport plane New Super Mario Bros Brain Age airport taxi New York New York pizza slot machines room sleep leftovers Paris Bellagio Imperial Palace cars The Venetian The Mirage Treasure Island Chipotle mall Apple Store Macbook fashion shows Caesar’s celebrities Lamborghini NYNY nap dinner MGM Grand lions Madonna bright lights NYNY pretzels room Brain Age sleep checkout Monte Carlo adidas Store bus The Wynn bag check KFC Ferrari bus Fremont St. old casinos porn stars waiting bus The Wynn dinner Avenue Q taxi airport Pizza Hut plane iPod airport home

Pictures are worth more words than I wrote.

The Perfect Paper Airplane… except that it takes 35 steps to make.