The Haus

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Pondering the Imponderable

Well, my computer has now almost completely become a work machine. On Saturday, I ended up picking up a copy of Burnout 3: Takedown for my PS2 (which actually was quite hard to find in-stock anywhere in Green Bay). My wife and I have really been beating that game to death. It's frightfully addictive ("No, just one more race, I promise!"). I'd go so far as to say that it's one of those games that you would specifically buy a console for. Interestingly enough, my older two boys really aren't interested in playing it that much. My three-year-old loves it and would play it constantly if we let him. Not that he's very good at it or anything, but he has fun. That's really the important part.

The Master comments: Eeyore is thinking about picking that one up as well. Our youngest likes crashing cars, so that game ought to be right up his alley.

The Cell, Part I

Ars Technica has posted the first part of their look at the new Cell processor, currently under development by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. The Cell will be the brains behind Sony's forthcoming Playstation 3 console. It's really a "back to the future" kind of CPU, applying old concepts in a new way. The article is quite technical, but still can even give plebs like myself an idea of what makes the Cell unique.

The Master comments: The Cell processor is very interesting in that IBM is moving backwards to a time when the processors themselves knew very little about the instruction stream, and did what they were told. Programmers will have a massive amount of control over this type of processor, but it will be interesting to see if it will ever work in a "general" computing environment. I'm sure this type of CPU will work very well in gaming, supercomputing, and other controlled work environments.

Monday, February 7, 2005

HL2 EULA Illegal?

There's some interesting information coming out from The Inquirer discussing a German consumer association review on the legality of the Half Life 2 EULA, as it pertains to Steam. Interesting discussion, even if it is from TI, especially if it forces Valve to break the tight integration of HL2 and Steam.

The German Consumer Association has recently found that the packaging on Half-Life 2 is misleading. In a report made following complaints from the public, they said that the mere listing of an internet connection under the 'other' category in system requirements did not accurately describe the true extent of the internet tie-in with the game, and ordered Vivendi to amend the packaging and untie Steam from HL2 or face a hefty fine.

A.T. Hun comments: I've a feeling that most software EULAs would not stand up to court scrutiny.


I've spent considerable thought-time today pondering the question of which is the greater evil: Microsoft, just because it's Microsoft, or HP, whose software destroyed my weekend.

On Saturday I went down to Beast Buy and coughed up some heavy dough for a decent printer/copier/scanner/fax, the HP Photosmart 2610. It got good reviews, it has good features, it's had some good word-of-mouth. I need something decent for my new business venture and decided that the 2610 was the one for me. After bringing it home and setting it up, I had the USB cable in hand... and then decided to go with the cool and nifty Ethernet installation.

Big mistake. The printer was operational for a full 30 minutes before taking down my LAN, my VOIP adapter and DSL connection for the rest of the day. I attempted repeatedly to uninstall the HP drivers and software, but the uninstall always crashed on me. At midnight I gave up. Yesterday I attempted to uninstall yet again. The uninstall crashed... and left Windows unbootable. Yay. My Windows 98 installation (yes, 98) has been bulletproof for the last 3 years, but HP took it down.

After cursing out HP thoroughly and trying to figure out how to recover my OS, I decided to throw in the towel. I've been longing for a bigger HD for months, so I bought a nice 120GB drive to replace the previous 20-gigger and spent the rest of the day doing the Windows two-step. I've been able to pull a fair amount of data from the old drive and must admit that Windows is a lot snappier now than it was after accumulating 3 years of stuff.

And the HP 2610? I hooked it up via USB and it's working just fine. I didn't appreciate losing my OS for it, but I did end up with a bigger drive and a nice big spare partition for Linux (or FreeBSD). It could have been worse, I guess.

Slackware 10.1 Released

I've given A.T. all day to post this; since he has apparently fallen down on the job, Qbe is here to keep you informed. Pat Volkerdings has beaten his mystery illness (so far, at least) and has given us a new revision of Slackware. Just in time, too: I've just lopped off 30GB of my shiny new hard drive and was about to install 10.0 on it. Now I'll wait until I can get 10.1. Unfortunately the ISOs are available by Bittorrent, so it's a bear getting them. Thanks OSNews for the good news.

A.T. Hun comments: Oops. I downloaded the ISOs but forgot to post about it! Downloading them via BitTorrent worked nicely for me. The second one came much more slowly than the first. Now I just need to find a time to upgrade . . .

No Old News

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