The Haus

Friday, January 18, 2002

Visor: Not Quite Dead?

I signed on as a Handspring developer to get access to the SDK and other materials. An email was sent out tonight to all Handspring developers regarding comments that led many to believe that they were abandoning their Visor line of PalmOS organizers. Here's what Handspring's Jeff Hawkins had to say:
There has been some confusion over Handspring's commitment to the organizer business as a result of comments we made in our recent conference call with financial analysts. We are sorry for any confusion we may have caused. I am writing to clarify our position.

Handspring remains committed to producing and supporting our organizer products. We believe that there will be a market for organizers for some time to come. What we intended in our earnings call is that because of our strong belief in the value of wireless communications, we are putting more and more of our development resources into our communicator products. This is true. We are very excited about the Treo communicator and are investing heavily in future communicator products.

The Visor product line has been an incredible success and the Springboard expansion slot supports many great solutions thanks to you. As the Visor product line matures we are consolidating the line into a few key products, Visor Pro, Visor Neo and Visor Edge. Going forward we will continue to support Springboard developers. We will continue to manufacture and sell Visor products as long as there is sufficient demand and we are able to build them. It is natural that as demand dictates we may reduce the number of SKUs and the geographies and channels in which they are available.

Again, I hope this clarifies any confusion we may have caused. Thank you for your support of Handspring in the past and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.
This seems to make a lot more sense. I had a hard time imagining Handspring simply dumping the Visor and the Springboard expansion modules. Now, where's that color Visor Edge?

RtCW SDK Released

id Software has released the SDK for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. You can snag it from id's FTP site or Blue's list of mirrors. The SDK will enable people to make custom maps and mods for Wolfie. I wonder how long it will be before someone adds a Hitler boss character a la the original?

RtCW Linux Binaries, Demo

id Software has released the 1.1b single-player Linux binaries (which include the multiplayer updates) for Return to Castle Wolfenstein as well as the single player demo. You can get them all from id's FTP site. Otherwise you can check out Blue's mirrors to download the retail game binaries (9.2M), the full single-player demo (112M), or the no media demo (4.1M--the PK3 from the Win32 version is required).

Thursday, January 17, 2002

No More Visors

VisorCentral got word that Handspring plans to exit the "traditional organizer" market. No word on when they plan to do this, what it will mean for their Visor line of PDAs, or what will happen with their Springboard technology. It may be a risky strategy to go purely with their unproven Treo communicator line. On the other hand, maybe they are simply conceding defeat to PocketPC devices. Whatever the case, I can't say that I'm thrilled with the news.

Microsoft Security?

Bill Gates apparently wants to make "Microsoft Security" an oxymoron no longer. He issued a memo calling security "more important than any other part of our work." Here's what he plans to do:
The new emphasis on security will include the unprecedented step of stopping development on new operating-system software for the entire month of February and sending the company's 7,000 systems programmers to a special security-training program. The company also plans to re-examine all of its Windows operating-system code in an effort to find security flaws.
Time will tell if this is an actual philosophical shift at the software giant or if it is merely a p.r. ploy. I sincerely hope that it is the former, but I want proof, not words. Thanks Slashdot (N.B. I found a new link to the article since the one on Slashdot's front page is broken).

J.t.Qbe comments: The whole memo is an interesting read--you can catch it at The Register, along with The Register's typically interesting commentary. If you get Usenet, check out the thread on comp.os.vms too. In toto the memo is rather arrogant (so it must be authentic billg), implying that there is no such thing as a secure platform, but Microsoft will be the one to give it to us. And it'll involve .NET. Uh, Bill? VMS? OpenBSD? Oh wait, those don't put cash into his pocket.

Yer All Buffle-headed

Over at the Baldur's Gate forum on PlanetBaldursGate, there's word that today is Imoen's birthday. I suppose today's as good as any. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, "Yer all buffle-headed" is one of her memorable lines from the game. It's meaningless, she's cute, and that combo has ended up in marriage for many of us.

I bought Baldur's Gate on the day it first showed up at Best Buy in Minneapolis at the end of '98. Three times I've tried and failed to like the game, but this fourth time is going well. The secret: BG kind of looks like Diablo, but it isn't Diablo. Play it like Diablo and you'll get slaughtered. Play it as AD&D and you'll have fun.

I really need to get some sleep one of these days.

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