nullstream weblog - March 2007

Xbox Black

Gaming

March 27, 2007 10:10 PM PST

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So, the updated Xbox is here. New specs:

The obvious issues:


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Do you want Photoshop Basic, Professional or Ultimate

Lame

March 26, 2007 11:35 AM PST

Looks like Adobe is taking a page from Microsoft's product book and now has at least six inscrutable product versions. Not only is the product bundling tremendously confusing, but the pricing seems really over the top. It will now be even more absurd when they claim that each time a kid pirates a copy of their CS Master Suite, they're losing $2499 (the math doesn't work when the money was never there to begin with).


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There Goes The Neighbourhood

Confessional

March 25, 2007 11:34 PM PST

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*Spoilers*

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I am also a cylon, based on the number of times I've heard Hendrix's vesion of "All Along The Watchtower". Especially after a few beers.


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Summer reading

Books

March 25, 2007 11:22 PM PST

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A new Tolkien book, The Children of Hurin, is coming out in April.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be out on July 21.

What other nerdly things are there to do until Battlestar Galactica resumes 9 fracking months from now?


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Is $826 a lot of money?

Gaming

March 21, 2007 09:41 AM PST

According to Google:

UK£ 425 = 826.03 U.S. dollars (as of this posting)

And according to this article, £425 is how much the PS3 is going to cost in the UK when it is launched this week. Don't forget that Sony has also yanked the hardware PS2 backwards compatibility chip from this version so you are actually getting even less for those hard earned pounds.


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Adding HD QAM Support to MCE

Home Theater

March 18, 2007 11:33 PM PST

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The combination of Windows MCE 2005 and the Xbox 360 has totally transformed my home theater experience over the last year. Bit by bit all the pieces have been falling into place. The first phase was to add some large internal and external drives (1TB total) to my home built, dual tuner, MCE setup and then copy over most of my media. This gave me the ability to stream recorded and live TV wireless to my 360 and projector, as well as all my music, photos, FM radio, home video and a selection of my favorite DVDs ripped to MPEG 2. The second phase was the addition of Divx / Xvid support via the free Transcode 360. That brought the sweet ability to expand my online library to include my large collection of achieved TV shows and movies in Divx format. The third phase Microsoft did on their own, they added the ability to purchase TV shows and rent movies online and download them directly to the 360. Many of these are offered in fullHD! The selection is growing and the prices are on par with iTunes. The forth phase was the addition of the external 360 HD-DVD drive. I'm not going to predict who is going to win the format wars, but in the mean time I'm getting many of my Netflix selections in HD-DVD and they look and sound awesome.

Continue reading "Adding HD QAM Support to MCE"...

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Experiment: X

Apple

March 18, 2007 07:32 PM PST

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I've been using Windows computers since Christmas of 1996, and various flavours of Unix machines provided by my university since 1990. The Windows machines have significantly improved usability over OpenWindows or XWindows or whatever ncurses based terminal environment runs on linux these days. But the usability improvements of Windows always seem to be offset by some issue or other plaguing my computers, and there is always the threat of malware, like the nasty Sony rootkit, which I have no idea how to detect let alone remove.

In the summer of 2004, I decided to get a Powerbook running Mac OS X. There were plenty of good reasons to buy one before that time, but it was only then that the feature set added up to something irresistible: Xcode, GarageBand, Camino, iLife, Delicious Library and of course, the OS itself: an incredibly polished and beautiful user interface with a solid Unix core. It certainly helped that I'd been enjoying using my iPod for all of music needs (including my alarm clock), and the hardware is extremely well designed both technically and aesthetically.

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T-Mobile Dash

Mobile Tech

March 17, 2007 11:33 PM PST

IMG_7987.jpg After terrible customer service from Verizon after years of patronage, I decided to look for a new cell phone provider. I couldn't resist this deal on the T-Mobile Dash. One year contract, highly rated smart phone with Wi-Fi and Keyboard, cheap family voice plan and a free 512M memory card.

There are plenty of reviews on the Dash online, so I'll just focus on a few of the questions I still had and the Microsoft smartphone platform.

Continue reading "T-Mobile Dash"...

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Do you want Halo Basic, Professional, Or Ultimate?

Lame

March 16, 2007 05:26 PM PST

Now Microsoft is extending their wildly popular multi - SKU strategy to the Halo franchise. That's just great. Where do they come up with this stuff? My guess: They hired some marketing big-wig from McDonalds. "Would you like to super size that?"


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C64 As The High End

Gaming

March 15, 2007 02:06 PM PST

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Okay, Commodore is back in the game, so to speak.

If you were going to get a high end gaming PC, would you buy from a vendor like Commodore or Alienware, or build it yourself?

What parts make a high end gaming machine anyway? Certainly a cutting edge graphics card and a beefy CPU are requirements, but I'm not convinced RAM type really matters. Would you buy the expensive sound card, surround sound speakers or physics accelerators? Is PCI-X going to make a noticeable difference?

More pictures here.


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Dress Up Firefox for Vista

Intarweb

March 9, 2007 02:37 PM PST

In the early days of Mozilla it was pretty ugly. When running it on XP it just didn't look like it belonged. It had odd widgets and a non standard scroll bar etc. Early Firefox cleared it up some, and modern Firefox looks right at home in XP. That is until you try and run it on Vista. It just doesn't fit in. Bring it up along side Vista IE 7 and it looks down right sad. Since I'm finally getting around to reacquainting myself with Vista, I decided to dig around to see if I could pretty it up a bit.
Continue reading "Dress Up Firefox for Vista"...

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Cell Phone Nation

Opinion

March 6, 2007 04:56 PM PST

I love gadgets and devices, but I don't yet own a cell phone. I have a family and kids that are away from the house a lot of the time - so I have some legitimate use cases. The problem is that I've lived long enough without one that I just can't be convinced that I 'need' one. (It has also become a bit of a challenge to see how long I can hold out). I especially do not 'need' one enough to justify the amount of money a month it costs. I have no problem shelling out a 'one time' chunk of change for PDAs, Laptops, cameras, game consoles and the like, but a monthly bill is something different entirely for me. Regardless of the amount, any new monthly bill feels like another ball and chain I have to drag around. For the rest of the masses, they (meaning probably 99% of you) absorbed that initial price shock years ago and now just accept it as a cost of life. Now they get nickeled and dimed to death and don't even notice.

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Virtual Fridays

Rant

March 4, 2007 01:07 AM PST

Weekly meetings: the bane of productive engineers everywhere. They are doubly brutal when held on Monday mornings. There is nothing like a Monday morning weekly meeting to suck the energy out of the start of the work week. You know the drill: file into the conference room, every one taking their usual seat while trying to avoid sitting next to the guy with intense coffee breath or who farts too much.

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Linux Source Code Browsing

Linux

March 2, 2007 11:58 AM PST

There are a few free and not so free varieties of code browsing tools available for Linux. Two of the free kind are KScope and Source Navigator.

Both of these tools allow you to import existing code projects and build cross reference indexes. They both will also function as a code editor and project manager. Both can be pointed at existing projects regardless of their structure. Both allow for code browsing without having to compile without special flags, unlike some tools. KScope has been around for a while now and is actively being developed. Source Navigator has more features than KScope but development pretty much stopped in early 2004. Source Navigator still works perfectly fine however, although the X style GUI makes it seem dated.

Continue reading "Linux Source Code Browsing"...

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