The Haus

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Back from Comdex

Well, my long day is through. ~10 hours in a car is enough to do anybody in. I didn't make an update directly from Comdex since a) there is no easy way to do it with the browser I have--all on roaming no less, and b) there wasn't much to report. The Big Boys weren't there. No Intel, AMD, or NVIDIA. No Red Hat or other Linux reps. M$ only had its PocketPC division there. The only way to see anything from Handspring was to sign up for their Treo demonstration, which sadly I didn't do ahead of time.

Speaking of which, M$ had a promotion that every day of Comdex they would trade in someone's PalmOS device for a PocketPC one (or WinCE, as I still prefer to call it). I'd sooner be disemboweled than trade in my Visor. Of course, if they had offered, I would have asked how well their synchronization software works in Red Hat 7.2.

I saw quite a bit on the Blackberry PDA (or "wireless email solution" as they call it). It is basically a PDA with GSM/GPRS wireless capabilities. It is neither a PalmOS nor a PocketPC device. It uses Java for everything. I got to play with one a bit. Instead of using Graffiti or some pen-based method of input, it comes with a tiny thumb keyboard that I found too small to use well, despite the fact that I have small hands. I found myself longing for Graffiti.

Other random bits: the Cingular speaker was WAY too much. She said a lot of words without saying much of anything at all. Buzzword city. I picked up a copy of a magazine called CPU (Computer Power User) that contains columns by Anand Lal Shimpi (of AnandTech), Alex Ross (aka Sharky, formerly of Sharky Extreme), and Kyle Bennett (of HardOCP). Looks like it could be an interesting magazine.

I also got to see some wearable computer stuff. The applications they showed were mainly for military or law enforcement use. I still can't help but think what an unbelievable dork you would look like with this crazy headband with a mini-screen in front of your right eye. Not that that would stop some people. I was dying to ask what kind of Quake III framerate you could get on that.

All in all, I had a good time. Despite having to get up at an ungodly hour, I'd go again. But next time I would prefer if more of the Big Boys were there.

Anti-game Lawsuit Tossed

According to a post on Blue's, Judge Dismisses Columbine Suit Against Media indicates that the lawsuit pressed by family members of slain teacher Dave Sanders was tossed out, with the Judge noting that similar cases have been tossed out of court all over the country, and that video games and movies didn't kill the teacher, the gunmen did. Thank goodness for a judge who saw the real issues.

We're Waiting, A.T.

A.T. is down in Chicago at Comdex today, so we're waiting for his promised update via his Visor and cerebral implants, or whatever his plan was for sending an on-the-spot update. Where are you, A.T.?

The Master comments: He's frozen in the middle of the Comdex floor, going "Wow wow wow wow" as his geek circuit goes into overload and blows sky-high. What did you think? :-)

A.T. Hun comments: Where were you at Comdex, Qbe? Thought you were going to meet us! :) Actually, when you posted this, we were stuck in Chicago traffic. We didn't actually get in until around 10:30.

J.t.Qbe comments: Didn't you see me wave? Too bad--you missed some good beers after the show.

Microsoft To Pull Windows From The Market?

That's what big baby Steve "Monkeyboy" Ballmer is threatening: if the remaining states who don't like Microsoft's "antitrust settlement" won't roll over and play dead, Microsoft may just have to pull Windows from the market and stop developing new versions.

Wait a minute. Is that supposed to be a threat or a promise?

The Master comments: Oh, please. So, is that why IBM went out of business in the 60's after that anti-trust ruling was made against them? Oh, wait, that's right, they survived that and are still making gobs of cash.

J.t.Qbe comments: And now they're pushing Linux!

The Master comments: A sensible move, considering they get to write off massive amounts of development monies for software being written on the "outside". Convenient, isn't it?

A.T. Hun comments: Ballmer keeps finding new and improved ways of making a complete jackass of himself.

J.t.Qbe comments: billg has already filled his quota, so now Balldy has to take over. . .

Monday, March 4, 2002

Streaming Hubble Repair

I found another use for the Crossover plugin! I'm watching the 300K feed of NASA television which is broadcasting the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope by the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Way too cool. Thanks Ars Technica.

SS:SE Benchmarks

I was perusing HardOCP's review of the Visiontek GeForce4 Ti4600, and came across their Serious Sam: Second Edition benchmarks. On a lark, I decided to fire up my copy of it and see how my system stacks up. They used the same processor I have (an Athlon XP 1800+), but with a GeForce3 Ti500 (I have the the Ti200) and the aforementioned GeForce4. To run benchmarks in either edition of Serious Sam, pull down the console and type this command:


After that, choose a demo from the "Demo" menu. Since they used the "Elephant Atrium" demo, I did as well. You can check HardOCP for their scores. I used the same settings and no antialiasing. Serious Sam actually reports two speeds, I used the lower one. At 1600x1200x32 I got 30.5 fps. At 1024x768x32 I got 63.5 fps.

Obviously the newer cards are faster, but it is really something to see a new game playing smoothly at 1600x1200. That being said, my monitor can only refresh at 60Hz at that resolution, so I can't keep it there very long before I feel a seizure coming on :) Plus, the difference between 1600x1200 and 1024x768 visually is not great enough for me to warrant the resulting drop in framerate.

No Old News

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