The Haus

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Aureal Update

The Vortex of Sound is reporting that the major suitor for Aureal's 3D sound technology is still Guillemot (who offered US$8 million). However, Creative Labs has put in a bid at US$11 million, if Aureal agrees to drop their lawsuits. I honestly hope that Guillemot wins and can actually do something with the technology. Creative Labs is a great company, but they need someone to keep them honest in the 3D audio world. Thanks loonyboi.

Get'cher VAX--And Hurry!

Compaq has announced that that they are retiring the VAX 4000, MicroVAX 3100-88, and MicroVAX 3100-98. If you read J.t.Qbe's VAX articles (here, here, and here) and want to try it out on one of these machines, get your order in by September 30! Thanks Slashdot.

Pondering the Imponderable

The FedEx guy stopped back a second time yesterday and I got my replacement Visor Deluxe. I immediately slapped a screen protector on before I scratched this one up at all. To my amazement, when I ran the benchmark I got 158%! My old one usually got 97%. I skimmed through some of the articles on the Visor Central forums only to find out that I should have been getting 158% all along! Apparently there was more wrong with my old one than the fact that it ate batteries. Once again, kudos to Handspring for getting my replacement to me so quickly. I don't expect things to be perfect, but I do expect that companies will work quickly to correct things when they aren't. It's nice to see that Handspring is one of those companies. And no, they didn't pay me a red cent to say that.

UPDATE! 11:30 P.M. Upon further review, the benchmarking problem appears to be the fault of the Afterburner Hack. What I didn't know is that some settings are not reset to the defaults when you disable Afterburner. As a result, I was unwittingly removing some of the optimizations that Handspring made to the Visor.

If you are a sports freak like I am (Heaven help you), then do yourself a favor and check out Nick Bakay is the man behind the "Tale of the Tape" segments on ESPN and is also the voice behind Norbert on The Angry Beavers on Nickelodeon.

M$ Stinger

CNet has put up an interview with Ben Waldman, M$ V.P.: Mobile Services Group, regarding their new "Stinger" cell phone/PDA/cuisinart/whatever. I'm glad that interviews like this exist, because it proves that M$ really is as arrogant and utterly clueless as many claim. Here's a nice clip on why he feels PalmOS devices are so popular:
You know, Palm has brainwashed people for so many years. They've told people, "Well, it's all the things it can do--the's very simple and that's all you can do."

And we show these devices to people and they're just taken away. You can have rich, great color screens and you can browse the Web.

(Palm's) whole "simple" thing is so self-serving. When you think about last year, color wasn't part of simple. (They) didn't want to do color. Now all of the sudden color is included in simple because they can do a color device.
Words fail me. Tell me, is there anyone so profoundly stupid that they would like a cell phone running WinCE or, God forbid, Internet Explorer? Shoot me now. Unfortunately the interviewer didn't have the guts to throw any hardball questions at him, so he is allowed to give his marketing spiel without even so much as a squeak. Barf. Thanks Ars Technica, I think.

The Master comments: What interests me is the standard corporate mindset this implies Microsoft has. They have the "we can do no evil" attitude, which ironically makes them blind to exactly the same situation they erronously accuse Palm of. Microsoft has for years downplayed the usfulness of features in competitive products that they do not posess, and when they finally add them, make a big deal about it like it's the latest and greatest. I'd go on, but I'm sure J.T. can do a much more articulate rant than me on this subject :-)

J.t.Qbe comments: Rather than calling it the M$ "Stinger", it should be called the M$ "Spork"--it tries to do everything, but does nothing well ("spork" is the name of my Win95 box here at work). The beauty of the Palm devices IS the simplicity--they're information appliances, not PC clones. Color is nice, but I have no need (or desire) for a color handheld with 16 MB RAM and M$ (qr)applications which drain the batteries in an hour, and all for the bargain price of $400++. If I want to browse the web, I'll use my PC. Ditto for word processing and heavy gaming. Otherwise, I just need my little Visor with my book list, shopping list, calendar, phone list, and of course, Solarwars. As usual, M$ misses the point and tries to do it all to drive out the competition.

Wiretapping Law Curtailed

According to this article, a Federal judge struck down portions of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which would have greatly increased the amount of information and the ease of getting that information via wiretapping and other technologies for law enforcement. This is perhaps the most interesting bit for computer-types:
One of the most controversial--and ambiguous--pieces of the proposed regulations has dealt with how much information a law enforcement agency can extract from "packet switched" information such as email, Internet voice calls or other Net data transmissions.

The FCC had proposed giving the FBI and other authorities access to this information even when relatively little evidence had been presented that a target was involved in a crime . . .

Privacy groups argued that giving law enforcement access to the packets without getting a full judge's order could open individuals to privacy violations by police and be an expansion of existing wiretap laws. The court agreed, saying that police must get a court order to win access to Net packets instead of simply allowing a prosecutor or law enforcement agency to ask carriers for the access.
I assume this means that the FBI won't just be able to stroll into an ISP and demand that Carnivore be placed online. Forcing law enforcement to get a court order is A Good Thing, and will prevent abuse. Good thing this judge had more common sense than the FCC. Thanks Ars Technica

Ask Hook: Industry Frustration

VE has posted a new edition of Ask (Brian) Hook. In this episode, Hook helps talk a fellow programmer down from going postal due to on-the-job stress. No, this wasn't sent in by The Master. Granted, he is about to go postal, but he doesn't work for a gaming company.

The Master comments: LOL-actually, most of the times I've really wanted to go postal, it had to do with my Bank or my ISP, thankfully not my job. Course, there ARE those days...

Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Visor Replacement Already

As I mentioned before (story) I called Handspring on Sunday to get a replacement for my Visor Deluxe. It had been going through batteries like mad since I patched it for the 8M DRAM problem. Naturally, we were out of the house earlier today and my new one came via FedEx already! Obviously Handspring has cleared up some of the support problems they had earlier. Kudos, folks!

J.t.Qbe comments: Wow, that's fast! I hope they're as quick with mine. I bumped a table yesterday morning. The Visor case was fine, but the screen was cracked. Costs $85 for a new one. Yikes!

Interview with Mr. Elusive

There's an interview with "Mr. Elusive" over on Stomped. They talk about his work on Q3A, and what he will be contributing to Doom. Cool beans.

Loki to Produce FreeBSD Compatible Games

This morning I noticed a press release stating that Loki, well-known for porting current Windows games to Linux, will begin working with BSDI to ensure that its Linux ports will also work with FreeBSD. Currently you can run many Linux binaries on FreeBSD via a set of compatibility libraries (and FreeBSD advocates claim that they often run faster than on Linux). Loki will begin certifying that its games work with those libraries. This is big news for FreeBSD fans, who previously had no guarantee that Loki's games would work in this way. I'm a big BSD fan myself--in my experience and use, FreeBSD has been more stable and faster than Linux. You can read the full press release here. Thanks for the tip, Daemonnews.

Help Wraith!

Our very own Wraith, as most of you know, is working on a mod for Quake III Arena called Bloodbath Arena. He updated his site, asking for some extra help.
If you are any/all of the above [Mappers, Modelers, 2D Texture Artist, Skinner], email me right away. We are desperate for your help. Right now, other than coding stuff (which is ALL me), some light modelling (again, me), and a couple of maps (Ghost in My Shell), not much is done. The code is keeping me busy enough that I can't take another break to learn another skill (I think I've already proven that my modelling skills suck...but I can make a really cool box), and I can't map to save my life (I couldn't even get the "Make A Box" tutorial right...although I can map all day for UT...UnrealEd2 is incredible). I need help so that I can focus my attention on where it needs to be: squarely on the code.

Deus Ex Port to Linux

Linux Games is reporting that Loki will be porting ION Storm's Deus Ex to Linux! Hopefully once they yank out all the D3D code, it might actually run decently on my system. User Friendly posted a picture of Deus Ex on display at Loki's booth at LinuxWorld. Cool stuff. Kudos to the team at Loki--those guys are porting machines!

Obi-Wan Screenies

Gamespot got their hands on a bunch of new screenshots from LucasArts' forthcoming Episode I: Obi-Wan. After playing a bit of the FAKK2 demo, my faith was restored in third-person games. The concept of playing the entire game with only the lightsaber is almost too delicious.

FAKK2 Patch

This actually came out last night whilst we were having quite the thunderstorm here. Ritual released a patch for Heavy Metal: FAKK2 (2.8M). Unfortunately, sTeve at the Shugashack is reporting that the patch really didn't help people who were having problems. I played the demo for a little while and didn't have any problems, even with EAX2 turned on. Go figure.

Past Two Days' News

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
August 10, 2007: SCO SUCKS IT DOWN!
July 5, 2007: Slackware 12.0 Released
May 20, 2007: PhpBB 3.0 RC 1 Released
February 2, 2007: DOOM3 1.31 Patch

January 27, 2007: Join the World Community Grid
January 17, 2007: Flash Player 9 for Linux
December 30, 2006: Darkness over Daggerford 1.2
December 19, 2006: Pocket Tunes 4.0 Released
December 9, 2006: WRT54G 1.01.1 Firmware OK with Linux/Mac

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