The Haus

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

S3 == SONICblue

Everyone knows that your problems go away when you change your name! At least that's what the folks at SONICblue hope (I will refer to them from now on as "The Company Formerly Known as S3"). Here's a snip from the pr:
With the exit of its desktop and portable graphics chips and board businesses, SONICblue will be highly focused on digital media and information appliance opportunities.

Today's announcement marks a key turning point from S3's ten-year history in the PC graphics chip industry. SONICblue will apply its broad technology capabilities, brands, and financial resources to bring forward leadership products into the new target markets.
I love it when companies make up pseudo-mission-statements like the one in that last sentence. It sounds good, means nothing, and could apply to GM, IBM, organized crime, or just about anyone else. Good thing they didn't say anything about "utilizing synergy." The sad thing is they probably paid a small fortune and held many meetings to come up with that statement--not to mention the name "SONICblue" itself. Thanks Shugashack.

Squishie for Q3A

Our very own Wraith, the man who isn't happy unless he's coding like a madman, has decided to try to bring Squishie to Quake III Arena. Squishie is a Shogo mod that pitted "Squishies" (men) vs. the mechas. It is by far the most fun I've ever had with any mod. Currently he is looking for skinners, 2D artists, programmers, and mappers. If you are interested, check out his Squishie site for all the details.

Subscriptions and Napster

As a part of the ongoing legal wrangling between the recording industry and Napster, Napster and BMG formed an alliance to make BMG's catalogue available to Napster on a subscription basis. In other words, you can download whatever you like, but you'll have to pay. If the fees can be kept reasonably low, this could be a great idea for both Napster fans and the recording industry. Time will tell how this plays out. Thanks Slashdot.

AvantGo Channel

I sent an email back to the AvantGo representative who informed me that we had been accepted as an official AvantGo channel. Unfortunately, they haven't gotten around to adding us yet, even though I sent back the information over two weeks ago. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Pondering the Imponderable

I'd like to thank my sons for giving me what I would estimate is my 153rd cold this year. I think before I had kids I could count the number of colds I had on one hand, two hands tops. Now I get them more often than I get hot dinners. If/when this breaks, I hope to have some brand-spankin' new content for the Haus. Stay tuned!

Eavy Assault Bonus Pack Released

Eavy has released his assault bonus pack for Unreal Tournament. In the 20M download you get new versions of some of the standard UT assault maps that remove various exploits, several new maps, and a mutator that removes some of the annoying exploits from the assault gametype itself. It is a must-download for an UT assault player.

Scott Miller .plan update

Scott Miller updated his .plan with a modernized version of the old Ant and Grasshopper story. While it's just a tad bit harsh, it's an awfully good description of life under the special interest groups. I got a chuckle anyway :-)

A.T. Hun comments: As an ultra, ultra-conservative I can't help but sigh to myself when I read that (and I've read it in various forms before). We need a kick in the hinder in this country so people stop thinking that the decade of economic prosperity we just enjoyed is what the government "owes" us. So many compare "Gen-X"ers to the "Lost Generation" of the 20s. They got their kick in the pants from the Great Depression and WW II. I wonder what we're setting ourselves up for . . .

XWing Trilogy

Lucasarts announced that it will soon be offering the XWing Trilogy (XWing, TIE Fighter, XWing Alliance, and a demo version of XWing vs. TIE Fighter) for $29.95. If you never bought XWing Alliance, this is a great chance to get a great game. XWing and TIE Fighter are great too, although the technology is older. I assume those two games will be the versions that were released as the XWing Collector's CD-ROM. That had updated versions of those two games using the XWing vs. TIE Fighter engine. Thanks Evil Avatar.

I've wasted an awful lot of time and money on this series (but it's been worth it!). I bought XWing and both expansion packs, then also the XWing Collector's Edition. I bought TIE Fighter and its expansion pack, then the TIE Fighter Collector's Edition. I bought XWing vs. TIE Fighter and its mission pack. I bought XWing Alliance. Finally I bought the XWing Collector's CD-ROM. So, in effect, I bought both XWing and TIE Fighter three times :) If memory serves, I think J.t. has my original copies of XWing and TIE Fighter.

RAMBUS Drops 20%

In the "ha-ha" department, RAMBUS' stock is dropping like a rock today (-11 3/4 this morning, although it has rebounded a bit) on word that Intel will "phase out most of its RAMBUS technology". It'd be a pity if the stock price would drop enough that, say, Micron could buy them out :) Thanks sCary.

The Master comments: No thanks, I think I'd rather have someone in Taiwan buy them out. If Micron picked them up they'd just continue the patent attacks, and raise prices too. Micron is a market hyena too.

Bill Gates and the World's Poor

Bill Gates and Microsoft get (justifiable) flak on this page from time to time, but I have to give him credit when credit is due. He gave a speech at the Creating Digital Dividends conference, whose goal seemed to be making the world better via technology. Gates makes the valid point (which is quickly lost on so many Americans who have too much money for their own good) that computers alone will not make the world a better place. Here's a quote:
Do people have a clear view of what it means to live on $1 a day? ... There are things those people need at that level other than technology. ... About 99 percent of the benefits of having (a PC) come when you've provided reasonable health and literacy to the person who's going to sit down and use it.
I'm always amazed at the theoretically smart people who think that any problem can be solved by throwing computers at it. The Minnesota government was considering a project to give EVERY family in the state a computer. News flash: if they can't eat and aren't healthy, computers won't make a difference. We've been throwing computers at our schools for years, yet students' test scores are still dropping. Computers are tools, not solutions in and of themselves. Unfortunately too many people assume that if you throw enough money (or equipment) at a problem, the problem will go away without us having to get directly involved. Thanks Ars Technica.

RA:UT 1.60 Released

As was announced yesterday (story), Mongo released version 1.60 of the popular Rocket Arena for Unreal Tournament mod. There are two versions available: a 21.2M full version and a 8.9M patch from 1.4x or from the Game of the Year edition of UT. 1.60 is not network compatible with 1.4x, so everyone should upgrade as soon as possible.

This should be a great day for UT fans. Eavy is supposed to release his assault bonus pack today too. I'm glad he took the time to make all the improvements to assault that he did. Epic left some horrible exploits and cheats in that gametype which really kept it from taking off online.

Past Two Days' News

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