The Haus

Monday, September 11, 2000

Final NFL Week #2

This week in my NFL picks I was a still-respectable 9-6, giving me a two week record of 20-10. Try to keep yourselves under control while you wait anxiously for my week #3 picks later this week.

Lith's Mecha Game Revealed

Monolith announced the official name of their new mecha combat game. It is Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles. Seriously. has two interviews about the game. The first with lead designer Matt Norton, the second with Monolith CEO Jason Hall. Of interest is that is will be a download-only game. The full version will only be about a 20M download and the demo will only be 5M. That alone raises concerns about depth of content (or lack thereof).

As proof that the PC.IGN staff must be taking as many drugs as the Lith folks who came up with the game's name, here's the first question in the first interview:
First off, that's a fantastic title. Where did it come from and what is supposed to let us know about the nature of the game? And who is this Tex anyway?
Ahh, journalism at its finest. Thanks Blue.


Well-time to pull plugs. I'm sure A.T. is offline since he's getting pummeled by some monster thunderstorms, and they're just about here as well. Goodbye, Earth. Catch ya on the flip side :-)

Shogo Linux Update

Hyperion Software has given a status update on their ports of Shogo to Linux, Amiga, and the Mac. Among the most interesting bits is that they hope to have a demo on all three platforms available this month. Thanks Linux Games.

Pitchford on Blue Shift

Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford updated his .plan with some information on their special extra single player episode (called "Blue Shift"--be careful how you say that!) for the Dreamcast version of Half-Life. Here's a snip:
I seem to be getting a lot of questions about Half-Life: Blue Shift and Half-Life for Sega Dreamcast. Here are correct answers to the most common questions...

+Blue Shift is intended to be exclusive to the Sega Dreamcast version of Half-Life. It's possible that it could eventually appear on other platforms (like the PC) should it be successful. Porting Blue Shift to other platforms cannot be considered until after the Dreamcast version ships. (And, yes, we've seen the petition)
. . .
+In Blue Shift, players take on the role of the security guard known as Barney.

+Blue Shift is a complete new episode that spans about 27 levels. This is about 1/3 the size of the original Half-Life.
There's more where that came from, so be sure to check it out.

Wozniak in the Hall

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, will be one of seven people to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Woz will go in for his single-handed design of the Apple II computer. He really is the one who made the personal computer a reality. Thanks Ars Technica.

Fighting Mecha Screenies

Voodoo Extreme posted some more screenshots from Monolith's upcoming mano-a-mano fighting robot game. Is it just me or do all these screenshots on VE and Evil Avatar (The Official Monolith Apologist Website) seem to be excuses for the abuse of colored lighting (and colors in general)? Take this screenshot for example. The mecha looks like my three-year-old threw up a bag of Skittles on it.

And no, I'm not bitter just because it isn't Shogo 2--far from it. Maybe the gameplay will be very cool, but the levels so far look like ones normally reviewed by Cranky Steve.

The Master comments: Oh my. It's a tonka action mecha playset! I swear, that CAN'T be a game. Blech.

Mobile Phone Research

This isn't your standard Haus news blurb, but I hear people talking about this all the time so it bears repeating. New Scientist has an article posted on the various studies on the dangers of mobile phone use. The not-so-surprising conclusion? At this point there doesn't seem to be any danger. The studies that seem to indicate potential problems have been irreproducible.

The main danger from mobile phone use would seem to be swerving into an oncoming Mack truck because you aren't paying attention to what you are doing. While I was on vacation I saw a woman driving while talking on her cellphone AND putting on makeup at the same time. Made me wish I was driving a bulldozer. Thanks Slashdot

The Master comments: Actually, I like the one my wife pointed out to me the other day after picking me up from work-she was smoking, tuning the radio, talking while holding the phone against her shoulder, and had a book on the steering wheel-could she really be that busy? I really wish for recoiless rifles on vehicles when I see that. I wish states would just ban talking on those d$$$ things while driving on the highway. With a death sentence penalty for violation. Not that isn't what's happening anyway . . .

Spamming DeCSS

According to Slashdot, someone has been spamming the Usenet (particularly the comp.* groups) with the DeCSS source code. DeCSS is a bit of code which enables people to view DVDs. The movie industry has their undies in a bundle about it because it could be used to copy DVDs. When are people going to realize that no copy protection scheme will _ever_ be foolproof? If you can see it or hear it, it can be copied. End of story.

The Master comments: Personally, I agree with lawsuits against any software incorporating DeCSS as long as it's usage is for violating copyright-good luck proving that one in court. I wish somebody would write a free, legal player for DVDs on Linux, but so far DeCSS has been the only option, and it's been used as such, as well as in illegal copying software.

I DO NOT agree that the algorithm isn't valid for free and public publication, however. Algorithms should NOT be patentable or copyrightable in my opinion-if they are the entire computer industry owes Knute and Sedgewick every dime they've ever made on all software. I'm sure nobody out there is willing to pay up, are they?

Sunday, September 10, 2000

NFL Update

Boy, talk about upset-city in the NFL this weekend! Going into tonight's game, my record is a more humbling 7-6. Eeyore is one better at 8-5. No matter how the remaining two games turn out, she'll still beat me by one game since we have identical picks left.

I guess picking against my own team (the Lions) came back to haunt me. It's amazing that they managed to beat the Redskins without scoring a touchdown. Four big interceptions certainly helped. It's kind of funny that I saw the Lions beat the Skins a grand total of zero times in my lifetime going into last year, now they've beaten them in back-to-back years.

UPDATE! Arizona's late TD makes me 8-6.

New Webdog

There is a new version of Webdog, the popular news and .plan tracker, available. It includes support for skins and some IE enhancements. Thanks Blue.

Past Two Days' News

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