Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Windows Vista - Deleting a shortcut is just a few clicks away....

Microsoft is really trying to focus on enhanced security in Windows Vista. One thing they are trying to do (like OSX and Linux) is really make sure that what you are doing what you think you are. In OSX and Linux this works really well (basically enter a password to go 'root' temporarily for a command, such as changing IP addresses and the like), but Windows has become a bit paranoid.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hasbro introduces Transformers Classics line

The new series of figures will feature updated versions of the first generation of TRANSFORMERS, inspired by the look and spirit of the original figures and characters. The line will include favorites: OPTIMUS PRIME, Bumblebee, Astrotrain and Megatron which will be represented as a blaster for the first time since the 1980's.

I love Transformers. But, Hasbro, you're making a toy of Hot Rod, not Rodimus. I'd hope you can at least get the names of the Transformers correct.

read more | digg story

A look at the FreeNAS server

FreeNAS, an open source NAS server, can convert a PC into a network-attached storage server. The software, which is based on FreeBSD, Samba, and PHP, includes an operating system that supports various software RAID models and a Web user interface. The server supports access from Windows machines, Apple Macs, FTP, SSH, and Network File System (NFS).

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Super Mario DS Sells 480,000 Units In Japan on Day 1

Super Mario Bros. managed to sell through 480,000 units in it's first day, making it the fastest selling DS title ever.

I can't wait till I pick this up for the DS. Maybe once I finish Morrowind. If you don't already have it, you can pick up New Super Mario Bros. here!

read more | digg story

Morrowind: Not quite Oblivion...

Because I know that minimum game requirements don't actually mean I can play the game, I've decided to reload Morrowind and play. It's not really what I want to play after seeing Oblivion on the X-Box 360, but I'm afraid that I cannot run it. Since games are not usually returnable after opening, I'd like to know if anyone has played Oblivion on a Radeon 9700 and how well it ran. Here are my computers specs:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2200+
RAM: 384megs
Video Card: Radeon 9700 128meg

It's a beast, huh? If anyone has run Oblivion on a machine somewhat like the above, I'd love to hear your experiances.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Firefox Extension: Reveal

If you use Firefox with a bunch of tabs, this extension is great. By pressing F2 it displays all of your tabs in thumbnail view, allowing you to see all of the pages currently open, rearrange tabs, and search all of the tabs (once turned on in the options). I'm not generally bit on extensions, but this one is really great.

I stumbled across this website a few months ago, but never really paid attention to it. Recently I needed a better way to keep track of things I do during the day, and started using their 'Life in Text' tutorial, which was basically a set of shell scripts for Unix (or Cygwin) to run a basic Todo list via the command line. Since then, I've started visiting the site more and more often as they have a ton of neat little tricks, not just for business-related things.

How to Make a Spider from 5 Crisp Dollar Bills (and Scare Waitresses!)

Once in a while you're likely to have a bad reaction. (I once made one for a tip, and popped it up on the bar. When the girl turned around and saw it, for just that split second, it looked real. She let out a scream, and must have jumped three feet straight into the air. She was slightly arachniphobic. Oops.)

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Wii + 360 is the Preferred Package

Joystiq is running a poll with interesting results: at last count close to 50% of gamers will run with a Wii and a 360, and another 25% will go with just a Wii. The PS3 is taking a hammering it seems after E3. Is it price, functionality, delays, or all of the above?

This really doesn't suprise me at all. While with current generations I was fine with a PS2 and a Gamecube (bought in that order), I can honestly say I may go without a PS3 until such a time comes that I could justify the price. Right now, I'd go with the Wii and get an X-Box 360 as my secondary machine.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Trail of the Black Wyrm

Title: Trail of the Black Wyrm
Author: Chris Pierson

I picked this up a few days ago. This is the second book in the 'Taladas Trilogy' series of Dragonlance books. The series is an introduction into the second continent on Krynn called Taladas. While on the same world, the two continents are vastly different.

The book picks up where the last book, 'Blades of the Tiger' left off. I'm currently about a quarter of the way through the book, and I'm enjoying it as much as the first. It's nice to see newer Dragonlance books on par with the writing level of Weis and Hickman, especially since many older books in the franchise are less than steller (I love them all, but even die-hards admit to that fact).

If you're looking at getting back into Dragonlance or can't wait to start another book, this, and the first volume, are well worth the read.

Friday, May 26, 2006

X-Men III: Last Stand

I saw this movie earlier today, and I have to admit that I loved it. In case anyone is planning on seeing it I won't give away any details, save for the fact that Beast was awesome, the huge fight scene was great, and there damn well better be more X-Men movies!

As a side note, definately wait until the credits are over. Not only do you see a suprising twist, but you can really see who the geeks are (at the showing I went to, more than half the audience left except for the few people in the know).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The iShoe!

My friend John sent me this link. When I was initially told of the iShoe, I had dreams of flash/mini harddrives imbeded inside of my shoes. But alas, it is just a bundle of Nike shoes and an iPod, the regular kind.

Apple, Nike, please make the iPod and shoes have a baby, a wonderous baby that plays music as well as keeps my feet warm and dry, and looks damn cool. I know you can do it. The world is ready for it. Hell, 'Get Smart' had telephone shoes!


Sony to prevent selling of pre-owned PS3 games?

So Daily Radar is reporting -- apparently users will 'rent' games rather than buy them. Right...

If this is correct, it's another nail in the coffin for the PS3. I'm already not going to purchase one due to the price, and I'm not going to pay $50-70 for a new game, find out it's crap, and not have a recourse such as selling it back to a local store.

I see this being shot down, however, because record companies try to say the same thing (the physical media doesn't mean anything, you're paying for the right to listen), but I see used CD stores all over the place.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

New flight release of Ubuntu is out

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Flight 8 is out.

Counting the days till all my machines get to upgrade...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Screw you Luigi!

So my wife is playing Mario Party 4 and someone finally won the lottery that is run just before the last five turns. Luigi won.

I hope he's happy. Because he still sucks.

Sun Puts It's Weight Behind Ubuntu

fak3r writes "Sun today announced that they are putting their weight behind Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu has been many people's desktop Linux choice for a few years now, with its Debian heritage, you can see what kind of server it could be. Slap that on the new Sun 1Us with the new Niagra T1's CPU, the one that'll have four, six or eight cores each, and go to town."

As they say on Slashdot, I welcome our new bright and shiney overlords. I only hope that Ubuntu, while being shadowed over by Sun, will still be left to it's own devices. Ubuntu is so far the nicest Linux distro that I have used, and I have installed it on a wide range of systems from a Thinkpad 385ED (which this post is being written on) all the way up to newer AMD systems. I hope that things only get better from here.

Slashdot Link | Original ZDNet Article

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Introducing Macbook

It is finally here!!!

This means that the next laptop I buy will definately be a Mac. While the MacBook Pros are certainly very nice laptops, I've always wanted a nice light one.

Thanks Apple!

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Xubuntu Rocks

After 5 hours (yes, 5 hours) of installation, I got Xubuntu 6.06 Beta 2 installed on an IBM Thinkpad 385ED. This bad boy has a 167mhz Pentium with MMX, and has been upgraded to 81megs of RAM. It previously had Damn Small Linux installed (and before that, Windows 98). After the install I have 633megs of space left on a 1.8gig drive.

The installation was painless, if not incredibly long. Most of the time was spent installing the language packs, but other than that I did not have any issues. All of the hardware seems to have been picked up except for the sound card, which I'll get around to later, and a strange bug with the video card. The LCD supports 800x600 as the native resolution, but XServer had me set it to 1024x768 (yet still runs at 800x600).

Battery seems to be holding up, and Firefox is actually quicker on this machine. I really only need this machine to get online and to be a terminal for Remote Desktop into my Windows machine and for NX Client into my other machines.

All in all, I'm very happy.

Which Linux Distro is Right For Me?

My friend Bob forwarded this link to me when he was looking for a new distro. I found it pretty good reading. It boils down to that there is no single distro that is best for everyone, it depends on the person.

Link to blog

Life After the Video Game Crash

The PS3 is too expensive, the 360 isn't selling outside the USA, and 75% of homes don't have an HDTV. Could this spell disaster for the gaming industry? This article makes a good case.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ubuntu Center Hands-On

Ubuntu Center is a PHP control center for your Ubuntu box. You can stream music from your computer, view your photos, bookmarks, calendar, and much more. It is packed full of amazing features that are elsewhere, but never together in harmony. Ubuntu Center takes care of this by incorporating many capabilities into a simple web interface.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

CBS to air DDR Show

I feel so sorry for American TV at this point. Whomever decided that this was a good idea needs to give me all of their money right now, because they don't deserve it.

Story from Yahoo

CPU overclocked to 7.104Ghz!

CPU cooled with liquid nitrogen has set an overclocking record.

read more | digg story

Nintendo vs Sony: War of the Press Conferences

So, I'm stuck on the couch after hurting my back yesterday, so the computer gets hooked up to the TV to watch the press conferences from Nintendo and Sony online via Gamespot. I wasn't too interested in the Microsoft conference, so didn't watch it.

Sony - The PSP and the PS3
Sony's conference was the longer of the two. Starting off with a lot of factual information (sales dribble for the most part), they eventually go to the meat of what people wanted - the games and hardware.

From the looks of things, the PSP is trying hard to do too much at one time. It now will include the ability to download games via the wireless connection to a memory stick. They showed off Ridge Racer from the PSOne as a demo.

There were also a lot of short videos all crammed together (including PlanetPSP). The name sounds like a map program, but looking it up online it's a puzzle game. All flash, no substance. A mishmash of videos all slapped together that just confused me.

It doesn't look like the PSP has much more coming along on its own, but will provide interconnectivity with the PS3.

The Playstation 3
Overall, I was disappointed with the PS3 demo. They started off with a showcasing of upcoming games. Most of these were nothing more than 5-10 seconds of CG rendering from the looks of it. The vast majority I have no idea what the actual game is about. For example, Getaway. It showed a city, then the camera backed into a hallway showing a man with a gun, and another man on the ground. That was it. PlanetPSP was even more confusing.

I did enjoy the demo of Eight Days. It looks to be an action game that plays like a movie. The characters ducked from windows, one crashed through a plate glass window into a dinner, and the gunfight looked awesome. Watching it though, it just seemed like a movie, and it felt like a CG rendered movie with the way that the camera moved around. If that is the real gameplay, the PS3 will look wonderful. Unforunately, it looks like an old EA game add that touted the CG rendered video as the actual game.

I wish I could have seen Gran Turismo in full HD glory as they are beautiful games, but the stream left much to the imagination. I felt that it was a CG video as well since it used a lot of the 'TV' camera angles to display the video, which is also impossible to drive in.

The other games that they demoed looked really nice, but that's about all that I could say.

And the controller... Let's put it this way: Nintendo does it better. The demo with Dylan Jobes playing the game made him look stupid as he played. Twisting the gamepad around like that doesn't really make me want to play the games. At least they decided to keep the controller as the dual-shock design, not the boomerang.

I'm not even going to say anything about the price except that I won't be paying $600 for a game console.

Nintendo - The Wii and the DS
Nintendo's motto is 'playing = believing'. They are emphasis gameplay over graphics, unlike Sony and Microsoft.

The Wii
Nintendo started off right away with a demonstration of the Wii and the new Wiimote. The demo of Zelda looked fun to play, using a combination of the nunchuck and the Wiimote to aim the boomerang and the bow and arrow. I also like the nice touch of the sound effect in the controller allowing a fluid motion of sound from your body to the television screen.

They also demoed Red Steel, a new FPS for the Wii. I think I may enjoy using the new controller setup to play FPS since you don't have the use the dual analog sticks to look and move around. You actually get to use your hands. Metriod Prime 3 uses the same basic control setup, and should be great.

The Wii will also seem to have some of the same standby features of the DS, and the bundled Opera browser will be available instantly as soon as the system turns on. They are trying to emphasis the quickness of loading times on the new Wii.

There were 27 playable games at E3, though they are not saying how many will be available at laugh. There will be Red Steel, Zelda, and a Mario game for purchase, but it's up for grabs who the others will be.

Nintendo also showed the tennis game with 4 players. I'm not a big tennis fan, but I could see myself playing it just because it looks fun.

The Nintendo DS
The focus on the DS is the overall package. The online services, the new games, and the new DS Lite. The DS Lite will be smaller and have a brighter screen than the current DS, but otherwise be the same.

They plan on lauching over 100 new games this year for the DS, including the Brain Age games and more. As with the PSP, there didn't seem to be much in the way of innovation other than a restyling of the system.

My Impressions
I was much more impressed with the Nintendo conference. I know that I did miss a lot of the 'wow' factor by watching a low rate streaming version of the Sony conference, but all I really saw was a showcase of graphics. I come from an age where games didn't have to have flashy graphics (heck, I play a text-based D&D game). Nintendo overall looks like I'll have more fun at a cheaper pricepoint.

Sorry Sony, but like a lot of other people are saying, I think you've lost this battle.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Nintendo: Wii love you

Original Time Article

Nintendo may be on to something with the new Nintendo Wii (formerly known as the Nintendo Revolution, a much cooler name). For the first time in years, I think I may look forward to playing console games again. Why?

The Controller
Perhaps the biggest thing I am looking forward too is the new controller. With the built-in motion sensor, games will be more immersive. It's been pointed out on other sites, including the one linked above, but take football games. The new Madden game will allow you to really play football instead of just select a play, and then press the button at the correct time.

Other games, such as FPS (which I loath on consoles) may actually be fun. Not to mention RPGs like Oblivion (while not on a Nintendo system) which force you to plan out your attack. More more hitting buttons to slash your sword, you actually get to do it!

The joystick expansion will let current style games play without any problem, but think about what could be put in there. No one really knows as Nintendo is keeping a lid on the possible new features of the controller expansion port, but let us hope that it doesn't get ignored like the SNES expansion port.

The Games
With the expandability of the controller, game options will expand. One thing that computer games have always had are the cheap, mindless games like those featured on MSN Zone. They are addictive without requiring learning how to master a game, pouring over FAQs and getting frustrated over a portion of a game. I hope to see more collections of mini-games as I don't have a lot of time to play games anymore.

Players will also have the ability to download previous generation games to play on the Wii. I would pay to download legal copies of old SNES and NES games to play on the TV instead of playing them with a keyboard on a computer.

The Future of Gaming?
I hope that the Wii takes off. It's the only new system that I am really looking forward too. Sure, the XBox 360 has nice graphics and Oblivion, and the PS3 looks wonderful, but will they be exciting? Will they get me to leave the computer to play console games again? I don't think they will, but I really have hope for the Wii.

Make me proud Nintendo, make me proud.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Down from the heavens descended Chuck Norris

Because I have nothing else to rant about, here are some of the reasons that I love the internet:

Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny
OK, yes, it's probably been passed around like a certain snotty European's lady of the evening (I love thesauruses), but I love it. Especially because it contains Godzilla, Batman, Shaq, Jackie Chan, Indiana Jones, and Chuck Norris!

BONUS! This website contains the MP3 for download.

Super Mario Reloaded
This is what Luigi dreams about every night. That little green guy, always overshadowed by the great red shadow of Mario wishes that he was cool enough to get cloned and attempt to kick Mario's ass. Sorry Luigi, but the best you'll ever amount to is a glorified vacuum salesman.

Supe vs. Elián González
That's it Supe, teach that little crying kid what's it like to be on the receiving end of a Time Crisis light gun.

By the way...I curse you John for ever giving Clark access to Photoshop.

So that's it. I hope everyone is more stupid for reading this post.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sun: I Hate Thee

No, not the giant ball of gas that keeps me warm. Other than getting in my eyes, I have little problems with that sun. (aside: Yes sun, bide your sweet time. But you'll get your comeuppance!) I'm talking about Sun Microsystems and a beast of a server they created.

If the last hour or so has taught me anything, it's these things - 1) I don't understand Minicom, or at least enough to do what I want, 2) I may have been bested by my love for archaic machines, and 3) I have no idea how to use a Sun Ultra Enterprise 2.

1 can be fixed with a little reading, and 2 can be considered more of a sickness (unless one ignores the fact that I also recently got a Thinkpad 385ED, then I'm fine). 3 though...that one's tough.

For anyone that reads this that has no idea what I'm talking about, I've always wanted a SPARC machine. They sounded like little tough bastards that dished out fileserving with the best of them, were rock-solid web servers, and were so rare outside of the corporate environment I wanted one. eBay has had them for years but much outside of the price range I wanted to spend ($0). So I've dreamed of having a nice little 64bit SPARC to call my own.

Years pass, and now I have one. Well, two, to be exact. The brief euphoria I felt when I was told I could have them passed once I actually tried to use it, and I fell into a sort of buyer's remorse, if you will.

The first thing that became apparent was the lack of a video card, at least in these two machines. They have a serial interface, but damned if I can it it to work (see lesson 1). I have access to a video card as the system admin that originally owned it has two with cards, but they take special monitors (of which he has a 21" monitor, but with a .50 pitch. Yikes).

The second thing was that, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I had considered a small fileserver, but these suckers are loud, and only have 2.1gb drives in them. Webserver? Same issues, and I already have a webserver that is a 700mhz Celeron (see lesson 2) that runs beautifully. Sandbox to play and break? The thing only has a serial console interface, and at least one has a possible bad harddrive. I could combine the two and get a larger machine with slightly more RAM running dual 167mhz UltraSPARCs, and two 2.1gb Seagate Barracuda drives. But that would leave me with a box with slightly less RAM and no processor.

Now that my hopes and dreams of a Sun computer are dashed. Oh well. According to eBay, I might be able to make $50 a machine. Now if I could only find out how much this copy of Solaris 9 is worth. Talk about profit!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rockbox for iPods

CNet Article as found on Digg.

So while waiting for a computer to finish installing Windows Update I was looking over Digg, because as midnight with nothing on TV (yes, [AS] is on with the new Apple commercials, but I'm not really paying attention) and there is a link to a CNet article about Rockbox.

The author, James Kim, recently installed Rockbox on his iPod. Incidently, I had done so as well after another posting on Digg to a Newsforge (I think, I can't find the exact article) posting a bit about the program and how to install it. Since I had to format my computer, I decided to take the plunge and possibly turn my iPod into an expensive paperweight.

Luckily it all went smoothly. Anyone who has used DOS, understands what firmware is, or normally tweaks with 3rd-party software for hardware shouldn't have any problems either. I won't delve into the specifics of the install, there are more than enough tutorials out there for that.

Now, I don't use my iPod nearly as much as I should. It's there when I want to listen to music in the car (my cd changer will sometimes not work), not bother my wife while I'm working on something, or I want to tune out the rest of the world. Unforunately, none of those things happen very often so it sits on my desk, buried under papers, awaiting for my beck and call.

I use the iPod even less now. In fact, I don't think I've really touched it since installing Rockbox. When one gets right down to it, the iPod is just like the CD changer in my car, just holding more CDs. I want it to work just as easily. With the CD changer, I pop in up to 10 CDs. I can change between CDs and songs without looking at the display through the use of a nice controller. It works. And so does the default iPod firmware.

Rockbox is more powerful, handles more codecs, and has the ability to be expanded with plugins. It has a kick-ass equilizer system built in giving one complete control over the sound output, which is essential for MP3s that are not CD quality. I don't need that.

I can't make playlists on-the-fly like I can with the default firmware. It doesn't just go to sleep, it turns off. And it may just be me, but the HD seems to spin a lot more. The interface just isn't a clean under Rockbox. And having the light on all the time by default seems like a waste of battery.

The iPod is about simplicity, not so many features that you loose count. Call me lazy, but I think that I'll be passing on Rockbox for now. Not because I want to be locked into iTunes (which I happen to like as music organizing software, and I use WinAmp 2.8 to play music), but because I want my iPod to be an iPod - clean interface, easy management software, and to not make me think about what I'm doing.