The Haus

Monday, July 22, 2002

Real and Open Source

Real has formed the Helix Community to create an open source media player, server, and encoder. While they are not opening their proprietary Real Audio or Real Video codecs, they are releasing a reverse-engineered version of the Windows Media codec (see this ZDNet story). If this actually works and is really a "clean room" project, it really could be a positive thing. Listen to Windows Media without needing the bloated, buggy, security hole that is Windows Media Player! Unless M$ can find some of its own code in there, I don't think they'd want to risk a lawsuit. For a follow-up, The Register summarizes open-source advocate Bruce Perens feelings on this move. Whatever the case, it will be a very interesting story to follow in the future. Thanks Slashdot for the original story.

Worldcom Files for Chapter 11

CNN (and everyone else for that matter) is reporting that Worldcom has filed for bankruptcy. This is the largest bankruptcy case in American history with $107 billion in assets, dwarfing Enron's $63.4 billion. Chapter 11 gives them relief from creditors to secure funding and hopefully continue operation. Of biggest concern to fans of the Internet is that Worldcom owns UUNet, which handles a good chunk of the Internet's traffic.

I have to laugh at the folks on Slashdot who go to great lengths to blame our current president for this (of course they also blame him for cancer, gout, unemployment, furries, and the new iMac). The blame needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the CEO and those who allowed for the "creative accounting" the caused all of this. As painful as this will be, this is exactly what we need. We need people to learn that if you are greedy and will lie to rip off shareholders, you will pay. Your company will go up in flames, you will never be a CEO anywhere again, and you might even do time. All the laws in the world can't keep this in check. Only the fear of total, cataclysmic failure will keep these jerks in line.

What now? Well, the market is going to be skittish for awhile, probably postponing a complete recovery from this recession. But in the end, the country and the market will come out of this better, wiser, and stronger. The only way the Enron and Worldcom debacles can really hurt us is if we fail to learn from them.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Fun with Drivers

Yesterday I decided to get Neverwinter Nights. So far it seems like a pretty nice RPG. Bioware claims a 60 hour single-player experience, but given the amount of time I've already invested, I'm guessing it'll be much longer for me.

One thing I did notice is that my framerate was not what I thought it could be. So I decided to try the latest "official" NVIDIA drivers, 29.40. Those gave me a serious framerate boost (better than double) over the 21.83 drivers that I was using. Unfortunately, they made Jedi Knight II lock up. So I tried the drivers Raven recommends (23.11). JK no longer locks up and Neverwinter gets a framerate boost. It's all good. Even better, they are the only drivers I've found other than the 21.83s that will work with Diablo II. It was a pain, but it was worth it.

Just an FYI, this is the command to check your framerate in NWN. Pull down the console with the ~ key (you will see a ">" at the top left of the screen) and type:

trace fps
The only caveat is that I don't know how to turn it off other than restarting the game :) I hope the Linux client comes out soon so I won't have to reboot anymore. I've got plenty of room on my root partition just waiting for it.

No Old News

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