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  1. After a leak of a black Microsoft Windows XP desktop theme last week, MS decided to rework and officially release the new theme, branded as the 'Zune' XP Theme, named after their upcoming portable multimedia device. Official download is available here: Zune XP Theme Microsoft is a little late on this release, I believe. The black/orange theme really should have been out before Halloween, don't you think?
  2. I discovered a fantastic trick for getting the spell checker to work in virtually all text fields, not just input boxes. As usual, open about.config in a new tab/window, and locate layout.spellcheckDefault. Change it's value to 2 to turn on Firefox 2's spell-checking in input fields as well as text areas. You'll need to close and restart Firefox for it to take effect. Oh, and I find it amusing that the Firefox spell checker flags Firefox as a typo.
  3. I stumbled onto a fantastic open source software drum machine, called Hydrogen. It runs on Linux, MacOSX, and Windows XP, includes a handful of kit samples and demo tracks, and is remarkably simple to use. Did I mention it was free? Also, for all you budding starving artists out there, here's another fantastic bit of musician-friendly software: AP Tuner is a software digital tuner, with incredible accuracy. It's freely available for download, but the authors ask that you purchase a license if you find the application useful. At $35USD (and free to try out first) it's still cheaper than a similar quality quartz tuner, and more flexible than any hardware tuner out there.
  4. Guest

    The new media

    We're the new media. Yep, fansite operators are the new, true games journalists. We're the ones who hunt, pry, beg and borrow any leads we can, in our own spare time, out of a desire to learn and share.The big companies always have the upper hand though. Why? They don't earn information, they don't seek it, they merely pay the right people in the right way, sit back, and watch the "news" roll in. Sanitized, sanctioned, and utterly unearned.Of course, this just mirrors the regular news media setup. Big news agencies purchase (at an exorbitant rate) news from the services, while the services purchase news from the independant publishers (at a hefty fee), while the publishers pay their actual field reporters, the people doing all the real work, a nominal living.Funny thing is, I've been laughed at by a (now former) Ubisoft representative for claiming to be a member of the press, as I report gaming related news for several websites, some of which are higher traffic than the actual games companies' official sites. But no, I don't pay enough to be part of the "real" press. I'm not nameless, faceless, but carrying an IGN business card. I don't matter. I'm just the real press, not the press companies are willing to actualy work with.An example: Back in April `04, Ubisoft released a press release documenting how they had been contracted to publish the console version of America's Army. On February 22, 2005, Ubisoft released the name of this new game. Gamespy, IGN and a slew of "real" news sites suddenly fell over themselves to break this hot new story. Not bad. It only took them ten months to catch up with the real media. Congratulations, big gaming news companies! One day you might actually, you know, report news that you've actually found out on your own.
  5. With the exception of the Xbox360, which uses Apple Macintosh hardware to both play and develop. Sure, a Mac is still a personal computer, but it's not a PC in the common definition.The thing is, a PC/workstation will always be the source of platform development, not the platform for actual entertainment. We're of the PC generation, but it's just a passing phase in the electronic entertainment world. My first console was the Atari 2600, while my first "PC" was a Commodore 64 (although I had been coding on a Commodore PET for years at this point). The C64 was light years better that the current IBM PC clones out there, in terms of games and entertainment. It also cost about a third (if not less) than the IBM PC's.Fact of the matter is, PC's are more flexible, so they will always be the preferred platform for development and multitasking/productivity. Consoles have always been the mainstay of electronic entertainment, along with now fading arcade games.We are a PC generation. The console gamer has been around a lot longer, and will remain to be the dominant species, as long as technology progresses.Consoles are easier to develop for, as it's a closed system, and the maker tends to ship solid development kits. PC's are open, and though more flexible, more difficult to create content that will work in all cases.Consoles are cheaper than PC's, in most cases. Proprietary parts, and the hardware can ship at a loss, since you can recoup the difference in licensing fees from game developers.The list goes on. We're a hiccough, not the be all, end all of electronic entertainment. We are inherently marginalized due to the ebb and flow of technology.We don't matter anymore. This may change, but it won't ever flip to PC gamers being dominant again, at least not long term. That's not how the last 30+ years have worked... why would it now?/PC gamer at heart, but owner of multiple consoles over the years.
  6. Game developers, in any genre, are still just working for a living. Sure, they might have 'dream jobs' to the typical gamer, but it's still their job. Job.Calling them out, calling them names, calling them anything other than employees of a company is at best pointless, and at worst, insulting.The games industry is bigger than Hollywood, these days. Bob, working for game company X is just a slave to the corporation he works for. If he works for a very friendly company, that slave stance still holds. He is limited by his employer's vision.It's just a job. It's also a career. Everyone here has either had a job, a career, or had no experience with the 'real' world, in terms of money. When making demands of game developers, think about your job, or career. Would you have to kowtow to every customer? I mean, the customer is NOT always right, this much my experience teaches me. The customer must always THINK they are right. FEEL right. If I gave every customer what they demanded of me, they would be worse off than they realize. Instead, I give my customers what they actually need. Sure, I spin it to make them understand that what they ask for is not the same as what they want/need. That's my experience at work. If you were an expert game designer, why haven't you created GR2(3)PC yet? If you are an expert in choosing paint colour schemes, why aren't you an interior designer?Do you have the right to complain about the quality of service you receive? Yes.Do you have the right to second guess? Yes.Do you have the right to be a jackass? Yes. Just as you have the right to be laughed at, over and over again.Sure, an expert may be wrong. We're just human. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't be critical, but it does mean that you have to be prepared to be critical of an expert. If the expert borks something, don't pounce, but point out the error. They are just as human as you. But, if you simply dislike, and cannot accept the word of an expert, back it up, hardcore, or be ready to be ridiculed.
  7. It looks like Infogrames and Vivendi Universal Games will be trying to help UbiSoft stay European-operated, in light of the recent stock purchase by EA, called 'hostile' by the Guillemots.Infogrames, owned by Atari, earned fame for the Unreal series of games, while VU Games is the retail distributor for Valve's titles.
  8. Guest


    Apparently, the Pentagon is building it's own Internet, at an estimated cost of $200 billion. Talk about war driving. Sheesh.For the German readers, here's an article showing that Windows Media Player 10 was made using warez, at least in part. Microsoft, the bastions of IP rights and proper licensing are a little bruised at the moment. I'm waiting for the BSA to invade MS's offices. Of course, since Microsoft founded the BSA...In a sharp slap to the faces of all those who claim video game violence is corrupting today's youth, Capcom is releasing the official Gamecube Chainsaw to accompany Resident Evil 4. Excellent.
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