The Haus

Saturday, July 8, 2000


Blew two hours today updating the drivers for my Creative Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT, and it SUCKED. Hardcore. I finally had to delete my monitor config before I could get the new detonators to come up in any resolution other than 640x480. Now, I'm running at a crappy 60 refresh. Need to find a video config for my Pack Bell monitor. Blech blech blech . . .

Update! I spent a chunk of time looking for a monitor .inf file for my Packard Bell PB8517MG monitor-turns out that PB is no longer operating (they're part of NEC now) and their FTP is dead. I found what I needed on the Canadian Pack Bell site. After two hours of searching. What a pain. . .

A.T. Hun comments: Which is why I always use HzTool to set the refresh rates. Win9x's monitor definition setup leaves a lot to be desired. With HzTool I can just set it, save it, and not worry about it.

PalmOS Emulator and SDK

After jumping through several dozen hoops, I managed to download and install the Handspring SDK and PalmOS emulator. Pretty cool stuff. The toughest part was downloading the ROM from my Visor, but I eventually figured it out. After getting the emulator running I fired up the To-Do list and made myself a note :)

To-Do List

Now to make some cool apps for this clever little device. Any app ideas? Email them to me!

The Master comments: You might be able to right now, but I wouldn't get too attached to that to-do :-)

Upgrading to XFree 4.0.1?

I've seen that XFree86 4.0.1 binaries are starting to show up for various Linux distributions (I know Mandrake and Red Hat both have them available). If you are thinking about upgrading, you might want to check out this review of XFree86 4.0.1 on the Duke of URL. If you are using NVIDIA's new drivers, you'll have to wait until .94 is officially released before upgrading to 4.0.1. Apparently .93 and earlier won't work with it. Thanks Linux Today.

Elite Force Demo Review

Thresh's Firing Squad has posted a review of the Star Trek: Elite Force demo from Raven for those of us who are still trying to download this monster or haven't been able to yet due to fear of excessive current. They include this warning about downloading from FilePlanet:
The exe we downloaded from them last night had CRC errors - this was a problem experienced by two other folks at Gamers/FiringSquad as well. The file we snagged off of actually worked.
I don't know about you, but I'm really excited about these new Q3A-engine games that are coming out. We should be seeing some amazing stuff soon. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

MOO3 Interview

Gamecenter has slapped up an interview with Quicksilver's Alan Emrich, one of the folks working on Masters of Orion 3. The talk about gameplay, combat, and exactly what the heck MOO3 is anyway. Thanks Blue.

We're Still Here!

We had some terrible thunderstorms come through this area last night and they are supposed to keep coming through all day. Good too see there wasn't a lightning bolt with The Haus' name on it. If you don't hear much from The Master or me today, it's because we're trying to keep our computers from becoming lightning rods.

Friday, July 7, 2000

Star Trek: Elite Force Demo

Raven's Brian Pelletier updated his .plan with word that a demo of their Quake III Arena engine-powered Star Trek: Elite Force is available from Gamespy/FilePlanet. It is an 85M download, so pack a lunch (maybe breakfast too if FilePlanet is its usual speedy self). Kenn Hoekstra also updated his .plan to say that if you need tech support with the demo, check out

UPDATE! Apparently the Raven folks were a little conservative in reporting the size of the demo. It is in fact a 115 megger, so breakfast is definitely in order.

Gameboy emulator for PalmOS

Check out Liberty, a Gameboy emulator for PalmOS. Sigh. There goes MORE of my free time.

A.T. Hun comments: I figured it would only be a matter of time before someone would do this. Good thing I'm get an 8M Visor! This really could be a killer app.

Deus Ex Beta D3D DLL

Eidos Interactive have released a beta Direct3D DLL for Deus Ex which addresses some texture thrashing and other D3D problems on NVIDIA- and Matrox-based video cards. No official word on whether or not it works in the demo version, but I intend to find out. Thanks Blue.

UPDATE! The new .DLL does work with the demo, but it really doesn't help much for me. I fear that my poor TNT is just too antiquated to deal with it. Oddly enough, I can run Unreal Tournament with much better framerates . . .

More Mac 3D Competition

I saw on Stomped that things are starting to heat up in the Apple 3D graphics market. Both NVIDIA and 3dfx are beginning to push their new chips as alternatives to reigning Mac champ, ATi. More competition is A Good Thing (tMS).

The Master comments: I dunno-with Apple dropping support for their gamesprockets API and offloading game APIs to the game companies-it just might be a moot point that Apple systems are finally to parity with the PC world in 3D graphics. I hope I'm wrong tho.

A Realistic Look at Computing

LinuxPlanet has an editorial called Deep Dark Truthful Mirror. The author urges everyone in the computer industry, especially Linux afficionados, to come to grips with five basic truths about computing. I think this is a quite realistic look at the matter, and hardcore pro-Linux folks would do well to pay attention. J.t.Qbe? Any thoughts? Thanks Linux Today.

J.t.Qbe comments: Ok, I read the thing. My reaction is, "Duh? Doesn't everyone know these things?"

But maybe not. There are many types of Linux fans, but most fall into one of two categories: realists/idealists or zealots. You can find lots of zealots out there (just read most of the idiots who post on Slashdot) who believe that M$ is totally evil and will be destroyed, that absolutely all software must be completely free in all senses of the word, that anything but the GPL is evil, that anything but Linux is evil, that only command-line wizards are worthy to use Linux or computers at all, etc. etc. etc. I've just about heard it all.

Then you have the realists/idealists, who actually work in the computer industry and know how things work. Proprietary software has always been around and always will be. Microsoft and Windows aren't going away tomorrow, or maybe ever. Operating systems other than Linux do exist and do work well, sometimes even better. I have no problem with these facts, nor do most of the Linux fans I know. I don't think this article was meant for us. I think this article was meant for the zealots who can't see beyond their own ill-formed opinions.

Linux and open source software aren't about radical revolution ("I'd like a dozen Communist revolutions, please.") but about empowerment (YUK! PC word!). Most Linux fans I know are idealists who promote Linux where it fits and works well, and other things when it doesn't. I gave a guy here at work a Mandrake Linux CD today and he was amazed at all the software he got with it for free--operating system, development tools, compilers, web server, etc etc. The value of that is lost on us affluent Americans. It means a lot to those who aren't as rich though, whether in this country or elsewhere. Ten years ago (you remember those days, A.T.) I couldn't afford a C compiler (but bought one anyway), much less Unix. It would have been great to get them for free. What about poorer countries who can't afford to outfit their schools with the latest and greatest Microsoft systems? Linux gives them power. What about giving your older PC to someone who can't afford one? You can't legally give them Windows with it unless you give them the CD/manual as well. But you can give them Linux for free, and with it you give them the potential to pick up valuable job skills.

Linux and open source are truly great things with power to change the world. However, realists know that it won't happen overnight or everywhere. We simply let the world know how great it is without cramming it down their throats. We already know the things this article says.

iSilo Wings' Schedule

The NHL schedules were just released so I spent a little time converting the Detroit Red Wings' schedule into iSilo format for PalmOS devices. If you are interested, you can download it here (2K). You will need iSilo or iSilo free (highly recommended), which you can download here. iSilo can also read HTML and Palm DOC files. It's probably the nicest DOC reader I've come across so far. Plus iSilo free is, well, free. You can't beat the price.

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