The Haus

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Neverwinter Nights 1.21 Patch Released

Bioware has released the 1.21 patch for Neverwinter Nights. The patch fixes several bugs (some of which are listed on that page) and is available through the NWN updater or from the above link.

MSNTV Virus Dials 911

There is a new virus out that spreads via email and causes WebTV/MSNTV modems to dial 911. Users of those devices are urged to take the following action:

Microsoft advises affected customers to delete the email and call 1-800-469-3288.

Technicians are advising victims to "hard nuke" their unit - in other words to reset the machine by entering a new code.

Microsoft says it is also in the process of investigating the virus and how it is able to both replicate and control the WebTV modem.

Thanks Slashdot.

Mozilla 1.1 Beta Released

Version 1.1 Beta of everybody's favorite (at least it should be!) web-browser, Mozilla, has been released! Among the fixes are massive improvements to the JavaScript debugger and the addition of a download manager. Check out the release notes and download a version for your operating system of choice.

I tried out 1.1 Alpha when it came out, but quickly reverted to 1.0. 1.1 Beta seems much more stable and without the wonky table problems that the alpha suffered from. If you want to try out the latest and greatest Mozilla, check this one out.

UPDATE! W00t! It looks like 1.1 Beta fixes the bug with Mozilla's pop-up blocking that allowed Linux Games pop-ups through. That was the only site I saw it on. MAN, I hate pop-up/under/across/through windows.

Pondering the Imponderable

I've been plugging away at Neverwinter Nights. It really can suck you in. The spell effects are quite nice and the story seems quite deep. I've run into one bug that was a bit troubling. My Druid helped someone out of a part of the city and it said my alignment moved three points toward good so I wouldn't be able to level as a Druid (I need to be neutral). That message, however, is not correct. There's a pretty wide range of neutral. As long as I don't go too far in either direction, I'm fine. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way to do anything "neutrally." To move away from good, I need to kill a few innocents which doesn't seem like a neutral "live and let live" thing to do. Hopefully J.t. and I can try out some co-op soon.

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.

No Old News

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