The Haus

Thursday, March 7, 2002

New NVIDIA Linux Drivers

NVIDIA has released version 1.0-2802 of their drivers for Linux. The biggest two changes in these new drivers are support for the GeForce4 family of cards and the addition of anisotropic filtering. They seem to give me a big of a framerate boost in general. Anisotropic filtering is pretty amazing. I set it to the highest level with the command:


I dropped from almost 120 fps to 73 on the "four" demo but only from 70 to 60 on the UpsetChaps demo 2. Basically anisotropic filtering makes the textures towards the horizon seem much more clear. The difference was immediately obvious to me. Obviously, it comes with a pretty stiff performance penalty. I plan on testing it at various levels with and without antialiasing. Yes, I like my GeForce3 Ti200 :) Thanks HardOCP.

UPDATE! Wow! People talk alot about antialiasing, but in my book anisotropic filtering has a far greater visual impact. Using the "maximum" setting on mpterra1 in Quake III: Team Arena is stunning. Of course, my framerates also drop to nearly unplayable levels at 1024x768 with seven bots. I found this page on NVNews in their GeForce3 preview that shows the effects of anisotropic filtering. Most impressive.

Fox Slams the SSSCA

Fox News, of all places, has an editorial slamming Senator Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and his SSSCA that would place content controls on everything and virtually eliminate "fair use" of copyrighted materials. The "Senator from Disney" indeed! Here's a snip:
"Keep your grubby laws off my computer" sounds like a pretty good slogan, and it's one that Republicans could use against Democrats nationwide. A few smart Democrats, like Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia, realize this. As Boucher puts it, these companies are "seeking to use their copyright not just to obtain fair compensation but in effect to exercise complete dominance and total control of the copyrighted work...I have told the heads of the major labels I think this is a major mistake that will engender a major public backlash." Unfortunately, Boucher seems to be a voice in the wilderness within the Democratic Party, which has forged a symbiotic relationship with the entertainment industries over the past few decades.
Read it. It's a bit vitriolic in places, but the points made are excellent. Thanks Slashdot.

<OP-ED>I have to say that I can't understand the author's amazement that this is a Democrat proposing this legislation. The Democratic party has always been in favor of legislating everyone into oblivion. The Republicans are the ones who want a more "hands-off" government (almost to a ridiculous extreme sometimes). The SSSCA seems to fit in perfectly with the Democrat's agenda.</OP-ED>

JKII Transcript

Raven's James Monroe updated his .plan with a link to the transcript of their March 1 developer chat for Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Yes, I will be buying this game.

Pondering the Imponderable

J.t. was talking about his time killers. I've just gotten one of mine back: Diablo II. I decided to try a Paladin again. For some reason, I keep being drawn to this class. After a bunch of Druids, I was looking for a change of pace. At any rate, I've got my latest incarnation, SirRobin, up to the 20th level. I just finished Act II and made very short work of Duriel using Thorns and Zeal. I'm intending him to be an Avenger (i.e. using Vengeance as his primary attack). At this point, the multiple attacks of Zeal are better and use less mana than Vengeance. In a few skill points, that all should change.

Might & Magic IX Coming Soon!

For the last few months 3DO has projected a March release for Might & Magic IX, the latest and (hopefully) greatest M&M game (which is supposed to be using the Lithtech engine, for those of you who care about that kind of qrap). To be really ambitious, they've also projected a March release date for Heroes of Might & Magic IV, their turn-based strategy series. Gone Gold got word today that the final release candidates of both games have gone for final testing, putting them on track to be released this month. Hooray! My work productivity is doomed. Being a telecommuter is a double-edged sword.

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. . .

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