The Haus

Friday, March 10, 2000


Spurred on by the news of GeForce-esque chips powering Microsoft's X-Box, NVIDIA's stock finished at $118/share today. Remember that it started the week at $59.25. *cough*

More X-Box

This interesting article on MSNBC documents how the idea of Microsoft making the X-Box came about. It shows some of the thought processes that came into play to make the X-Box what we will see next year.

This ZDNet article gives some information on how Intel undercut AMD's prices to win the X-Box contract. Thus the processor of choice for the X-Box will be a Pentium III-600.

Perhaps most interestingly both articles mention that the OS for the X-Box will be a scaled-back version of Windows 2000. We'll see how that one goes, especially in less than 64M RAM. Thanks Stomped for the links.

Something Hysterical

Every since I found out about JeffK, I've made daily stops at Lowtax's hysterical, although often ribald, Something Awful site. Lowtax daily rips, skewers, and generally pokes fun at the weirdness that is the web (thankfully, he hasn't found this site yet). This week, his target is extremely awful white rappers on the web. He even takes a closer look at some of the "lyrics" (song #1, song #2). You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn a little bit about yourself. Or maybe not. One warning: the lyrics contain some strong language. The really sad thing is that these "rappers", under our current shoddy system of government, are allowed to reproduce. Thankfully, no girl with an I.Q. higher than that of a glazed doughnut would dare come within howitzer range of them.

The Master comments: BWAhahahahAHAHAHahahaha *snort* *gasp*

Checklist for Linux Newbies

FirstLinux has posted a checklist for people who are trying to install Linux for the first time. Linux installation is not as daunting as it used to be, but on the other hand some preparations are certainly beneficial if not necessary. This is a first-draft document and FirstLinux welcomes your comments. Thanks Linux Today.

XFree86 4.0 Released!

Slashdot is reporting that version 4.0 of XFree86 has been released! This version includes the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI), although there are only DRI-enabled drivers for Voodoo3 and Voodoo Banshee cards. Basically, what DirectX is to Windows, DRI is to Linux. Be forewarned, this is pretty bleeding-edge stuff. Everything might not quite be there yet. I'm going to wait until Red Hat comes out with a new distribution with XFree86 4.x rather than try to wrestle with it myself.

Scott Draeker on Slashdot

Slashdot has posted a Q&A with Loki Software's president Scott Draeker concerning many subjects dealing with gaming under Linux. This quote caught my eye:
There are big differences in the quality of drivers available. The 3dfx and Matrox cards are well supported. ATI support is also progressing well. The NVidia drivers, however, are in really bad shape because the source they released is obfuscated -- to play on an analogy from Bob Young, it's like being allowed to work on your Ford, but being given only metric tools to do it. Without the necessary information, its simply not possible to create decent NVidia drivers, and until the drivers improve we can't officially support those cards. NVidia has promised to release closed source drivers which will improve performance.
OK, NVIDIA! Use some of that money you made this week from your stock going through the roof, get some coders, and get those drivers fixed! I've tried to play games in Linux using the current NVIDIA drivers and I must agree. It's a mess.

George Broussard on the 'Shack

The Shugashack has posted an interview with 3DRealms' George Brussard, the braintrust behind Duke Nukem 4 Ever. All the questions were submitted by 'Shack readers. The Q&A includes tons of screenshots. Hustle on over and check it out!

X-Box: Even More Official

As promised, Microsoft's official X-Box site is online with details on their forthcoming gaming console. Here are the official specs:Is it just me, or does 64M of unified memory seem too little? Of course, I have no idea how much memory is in the Dreamcast or Playstation 2. It probably also won't have to run full versions of Windows 98/2000 which would eat 64M for breakfast. I found it interesting that the site does not mention the Athlon specifically as the CPU of choice. You can also check out the full press release. The site looks like crap in Netscape 4.x but renders fine in Mozilla.

Thursday, March 9, 2000

X-Box: It's Official

ActiveWin caught Bill Gates' appearance on MSNBC where he formally revealed the X-Box gaming console. Here are the specs (most of which was already known):I'm sure we'll be hearing way too much about this product over the next year. You can check out the X-Box homepage tomorrow for more information. Thanks Evil Avatar.

5.08 Drivers, UT, and Me

I just played some Unreal Tournament to see if these new NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers would take care of the mipmap corruption on my TNT. First I played about three different levels of Capture-the-Flag (usually the corruption would come in after several levels). Then I played the two levels were the corruption seemed most prevalent (and most nasty): DM-Morpheus and CTF-LavaGiant. I am pleased to report that there was no corruption of any kind. Obviously this is only one time played, but so far things seem VERY good.


Loki Software and Creative Labs have teamed up to produce OpenAL, a cross-platform, non-proprietary, LGPL-licensed, 3D audio library. Basically it does for audio what OpenGL does for video. Check this interview on LinuxGames with Michael Vance, one of the OpenAL developers.

What does this mean for you? It means 3D sound without having to rely on DirectX. Thus games can more easily be designed for Windows, Mac, and (perhaps most importantly) Linux at the same time. Thanks Slashdot for the news.

Your Computer May Be Possessed By Demons

That bastion of technical knowledge, the Weekly World News, "reports" that a "leading minister" has discovered that all PCs built after 1985 have enough room to be possessed by Satan himself, or at least his minions. This "leading minister" reports that some of his churchgoers' computers spewed out "a stream of obscenities written in a 2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect!" There's hope though--if your computer demons lead you to wickedness, you can consult your clergyman or else have your hard drive replaced and software reinstalled.

Hmmm. I've seen those obscenities from my PCs. "Illegal operation. . . General protection fault. . . Internet Explorer. . ." I exorcised the evil spirits in some of my PCs, and now the only daemons inhabiting them are friendly!

The Master comments: Except for the SunRPC, finger, ftp, http, sendmail, etc, etc, daemons installed by default and not secured >:-)

A.T. Hun comments: They should've asked some real "leading ministers" who are also computer geeks. Whoever that might be . . .

More on the 5.08 Detonators

Thresh's Firing Squad has an article examining the new unofficial NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers. They look at general advantages over the 3.68 drivers, plus the effects of enabling S3TC texture compression and full-scene anti-aliasing. In some cases, using the 5.08 drivers resulted in a 30% speed increase on a GeForce!

NVNews is reporting that there is "fairly undesirable screen artifacting" when using full-screen anti-aliasing in Unreal Tournament with these drivers. They also give this report:
I was hoping to get in a question and answer session in with NVIDIA on the Detonator 5.08's. They respectfully declined and stated that these drivers should have not been leaked and that they are NOT at all ready for use by their customers. If you have problems with them, you're on your own.
Also, 3DGPU ran some tests to see the effects of the 5.08 drivers in Quake III Arena. It has been theorized that these drivers use some form of texture compression by default in Q3A which causes these incredible speed-ups. Hopefully NVIDIA will be releasing "official" versions of these drivers soon, along with an "official" explanation.

Thanks Björn3D for the links.

Pondering the Imponderable

OK, I'm used to Midwestern weather being, um, eccentric, but this is crazy. Yesterday: temperature around 70F, thunderstorm. Last night we had to turn on our air conditioning to clear the humidity out of the air. This morning: temperature around 27F, snowstorm. It even looks like I might have to shovel before the day is over. Oh well.

So far the 5.08 Detonator drivers (story) have been working well on my system. I really need to play some Unreal Tournament to put them through their paces. If they take care of my mipmapping corruption in UT, I'll be ecstatic.

The Master and I found a bug in our database the other day that causes all the news searches to be case-sensitive. Hopefully that situation will be resolved soon.

The Master comments: Midwest: I love it when it snows in May myself :-( Hey! Nice hint A.T.! I hope to correct the case-sensitivity issue tonight. I wasn't able to take care of it last night with all the thunder and lightning around us.

A.T. Hun comments: Actually, it wasn't intended to be a hint to you, rather a helpful service to both the people who have used our search function :)

The Master comments: Both people?!? Wow-we must be getting popular =) Actually-I needed the hint-I've been thinking about how to fix that all day. BTW: I think we need a comment system-this is getting silly!

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