nullstream weblog - April 2007

Gaming News Roundup


April 25, 2007 10:01 PM PST

It's been an interesting week for gaming news, all kinds of rumours and mysterious release dates near and far!

Continue reading "Gaming News Roundup"...

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Dre Rap Covers


April 24, 2007 11:06 PM PST

ninagordon3.jpg View the extended entry for some YouTube videos of Dr. Dre produced rap covers by various artists.

The videos that follow have NSFW language.

Continue reading "Dre Rap Covers"...

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Nullstream Mobile

Nullstream Site

April 24, 2007 09:50 PM PST

I've also completed the work on the Nullstream Mobile site, located at (or if you prefer). It uses only basic HTML, conserves bandwidth and works great on the most minimal browsers. You can view the most recent posts, the most recently commented on posts and the entire monthly post archives.

Individual posts are formatted for the small screen, and even support the new captcha features. There individual post pages also let you easily navigate between entries with links on the top and bottom of the page, as well as buttons that let you skip right to comments, comment entry, or back to the top of the page.

Let me know if you see any issues on your phone!

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Nullstream Site

April 24, 2007 09:15 PM PST

In another round of spam fighting, I've implemented a captcha system. This means that in order to enter a comment, you'll need to type the word that appears in the image next to the comment box. This is retroactive to commenting on all past posts as well, so get used to it.

Captchas aren't always images containing words that are hard for computers to decode. They're any system that tries to provide an easy solution for humans, and a difficult one for machines. Witness Hotcaptcha:

I've also implemented an internal change that will highlight the comments made by authenticated nullstream authors. This change is not retroactive, but new comments made will include the feature, as seen below.

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Literal Origami

Mobile Tech

April 24, 2007 10:17 AM PST

Admittedly I'm a bit of a gadget geek. Ok maybe more of a gadget freak ([desperate cry for help]). Whether you like gadgets or not, however, you have to be impressed by this mobile wonder that Samsung is working on. They have really taken this origami concept to heart. The P9000 is a bit old news but some videos of it in action are starting to crop up and are pretty cool to check out.

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Goblins, oh my!


April 14, 2007 07:57 PM PST


Goblin Valley Utah.

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360 Spring Update

Home Theater

April 10, 2007 12:22 AM PST

When was the last time you turned on one of your consumer electronic devices only to find that it had magically acquired a pile of new features? Well for those of us who own a 360, this scenario is not strange, in fact we've come to expected it. And true to form Microsoft is prepping another whopper of an upgrade for this spring.

There are far to many new features and improvements to list here, but the biggest one being discussed is the integration with Windows Messenger. You'll be able to seamlessly chat between Messenger and 360 friends, from the console or a PC. Currently the 360 lets you text with either a USB keyboard or the on screen keyboard, but this summer they are releasing a 'texting' controller. This is a wireless 360 controller with a qwerty thumb-pad. I'm not so sure I'd be interested in the new controller, but being able to IM direct from the console will be very handy indeed. Currently I have to use IM to track down friends for games when they don't have their consoles booted up yet. Now I won't have to leave the 360 to do it.

There are a lot of other cool features to check out like improvements to the achievement system, the download system and parental controls to name a few. Some of the more exciting features are support for H.264 video and MPEG-4 Part 2 (simple profile) with 2 channel AAC LC. Also added is support for playing Windows Media protected content (wm-drm) streamed from a PC.  This is a pretty big deal as it opens the 360 up to streaming even more content from your PC. It may actually help drive H.264 and MP4 as the standards for archiving your video content since they can also be played by the Apple TV.

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Cool Recruiting Idea


April 7, 2007 02:50 AM PST


Red 5 is a new MMO game company formed by a bunch of ex-Blizzard employees responsible for World of Warcraft. The name "Red 5" itself is an obvious Star Wars reference. They've licensed the Project Offset engine for whatever it is they are working on.

They've recently tried an interesting approach to recruiting top talent in the game industry by scouring the web looking for notable people and sending them each a personalized package and invitation, Willy Wonka style, to meet the staff. This is the account of one recipient.

Red 5 detailed the operation here.

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Which Sci-Fi Crew Do You Hang With


April 5, 2007 10:42 PM PST


Take the quiz!

Continue reading "Which Sci-Fi Crew Do You Hang With"...

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Google Desktop For Mac

Cool Tech

April 4, 2007 12:58 AM PST

Just released, you can download it here.

Why use it when Spotlight is built in? It caches versions of your docs locally, so if you ever delete a file by accident, you can still get at it. It also will index your Gmail account if you set it to do that. It also uses Spotlight importers, so that any third party application that provides an importer automatically works with GDS. And unlike the Windows version of Google Desktop, the Mac version does a full text search of the entire document, even large ones.

But for me, the best reason is that I find it significantly faster to return results than Spotlight, although I haven't compared the quality of the results yet. I've switched from using Spotlight as an application launcher to Mac GDS because of the speed difference. Spotlight seems to choke occasionally, taking seconds to respond to the UI and making it hard to see results get filtered in real time as you type.

It took a little over an hour on my iMac to index the disk, but significantly longer on my old laptop with its slower disk and CPU. YMMV.

There's no sidebar, which I really miss from Windows GDS. I prefer the sidebar over Dashboard widgets, since the widgets aren't always visible and require extra key strokes and time to display. With a quick glance, the sidebar can provide all that useful information much faster. Maybe in future versions...

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Vista 64


April 3, 2007 09:32 AM PST

So far I'm liking 64 bit version of Vista. I had a little difficulty at first getting my raid driver setup, but I've managed to find drivers for the rest of my hardware. I'm still searching for what I think is the killer app, but overall I really like the look and feel of things. Of course I am a bit biased, but I went for nearly a year without using vista so I really didn't know what to expect in the final product. There are quite a few changes since the last time I ran it, and there's certainly a lot more polish. I think right now if I were to pick a killer application, it would probably have to be the speech recognition. Although speech recognition really isn't going to be used by too many people. I've been playing the speech recognition now for well over a decade, it is surprising how long it is taking to become usable. I will say right now that in windows Vista the speech recognition works amazingly well. I suppose it ought to given the powerful processors that we have today. The accuracy is amazingly better than the old dragon dictate system that I played with so many years ago. But only going to the tutorial, which does minimal training, I've been able to dictate this entire post.

(End of speech dictated text)

More on Vista's speech engine here.

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Apple and EMI Sell DRM Free Music


April 2, 2007 05:32 PM PST

Apple DRM

Apple and EMI agree to sell tracks that are DRM-free online. EMI can sell them independently in any format, and Apple will charge a $0.30 premium for the DRM-free tracks ($1.29 per track) in AAC format.

Initially, the thought was that Steve Jobs' Thoughts on Music essay was the catalyst to this deal, but it's now coming out that EMI wanted to do this independently. Regardless, it's an interesting move that deserves discussion. Since we never got around to discussing Jobs' essay, feel free to bring that in too.

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Joel On Stuff


April 1, 2007 02:03 AM PST

joel.pngAn interesting interview (230 MB) with Joel, from Joel On Software.

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