Archive for the ‘Computing’ Category

I Switched Back to SeaMonkey

March 29, 2012

I’ve been hearing more and more about new “features” in newer versions of Firefox that I’ve simply decided to switch back to SeaMonkey. For one, it still has a sane interface. I don’t need an add-on to have my status bar. I mean, really. They couldn’t have just disabled the status bar by default, and let “techies” re-enable it? The address bar still shows the protocol in SeaMonkey (sure, it’s a small thing, but a lot of small things can turn into a very big thing). It doesn’t seem to be as.. bloated as Firefox is (has been and probably will still be until the end of Firefox). Since the last time I used SeaMonkey as my default browser (2007?), it’s been updated with the good features of Firefox (I reviewed a Beta of SeaMonkey 2 back in December of 2008) and a little rant about it in 2009. I was critical of it because it didn’t support older versions of Windows. Sure, it’s something to complain about, but these days most browsers don’t support anything under XP (except for OS/2, you odd man out, you). All in all, I’m glad that I switched back to SeaMonkey. It makes browsing the web enjoyable once again.

SOPA and PIPA Suck.

January 18, 2012

Obligatory post. ‘Nuff said. Do everything in your power to make non-techies aware of the issues at hand. If enough people fight back, they will back down. If enough people boycott their goods, it’ll hurt them where it hurts most.

I Would if I Could

February 18, 2011

As you may know, the United States federal government has been seizing Internet domains for hosting copyrighted content or child pornography. However, they went above and beyond that when they “accidentally” seized 84,000 domains, most (if not 99%) of them innocent. Looking for more information I found this article on “El Reg”. Seeing a bold “fuck off” half-way down the article, I decided to click on the link to a blogger who was had one of the 84,000 domains. Imagine my surprise when I see that the blog is called stop_error.

At first I kind of smirked, seeing that some one else used the title. Do I care? No. Really, it’s just the official terminology for a blue screen of death. But there was a more important thing that I started thinking of. Why can the federal government just come in and “grab” any domain they want? Even domains registered outside of the United States? What about a little thing I like to call the United States Constitution? This is a result of big government. Democrats and Republicans both love big government. We need people who understand and respect the Constitution in charge. I’m crying right now about this, much like a certain person in the house. And yes, this is a big fucking deal.

I Want the Old Slashdot Back

January 26, 2011

After freshly installing a Fedora 14 virtual machine (just trying to keep up with the different Linux distros. I really don’t think I can fully switch over to Linux on my primary machine due to my love of PC gaming. I won’t get a console, thank you very much!) I decide to fire up Firefox and go to Slashdot, just to test and see if things are working. It worked, but I now wish it didn’t work, since I saw something so horrid that I wish I never saw it. I saw… the horrible new Web 2.0 Slashdot.

In typical Web 2.0 fashion, it has lots of blank white space and that downright annoying as all hell header that scrolls down with the page. I have to ask: why? What was so wrong with the older design? Or even the design older than that? I’m hearing reports that it isn’t compatible with older browsers on older operating systems, so this is a major bummer. If only web designers would design sites the way I would: “if it doesn’t work with Netscape/Internet Explorer 3, then it sucks”. There might have been a lot of things to hate about 1990’s web design (such as most GeoCities pages), but at least for the most part it sucked less. I’d love to hear what you think of the new design.

Written from my Fedora 14 Virtual machine.

 

EDIT: Of course here is the news entry about the redesign itself.

I’m Racist? Really?

January 15, 2011

When you play a game online, communication is key. A crappy team with communication will for the most part win over a good team without communication. But what happens when you’re in a game where people are communicating, but in a different language? What happens when they lag so bad, that other players feel like they’re lagging? I was playing a game today where all that was happening and I pointed this out. Another player called me a “racist”.

Is it racism when you want to play a game where communication and lag can make or break a game?

Valve, You’re Losing Your Touch

October 30, 2010

The latest Team Fortress 2 updates¬† have (in my opinion) practically destroyed the game. Micro-transactions. New items that don’t fit with the art style. Its turned into an entirely different game than the one I purchased several years ago. Hell, everything up to the War! update (December 2009) was great. Even the Engineer update was pretty good. But everything after that went down hill.

Micro-transactions are quite possibly the worst idea to grace video gaming. Originally, they said the micro-transactions would be cheap. Cents. Maybe a dollar or two. That was an idea I could go along with. Cheap items to customize your game play (but not let you have a have an advantage over other players). The Team Fortress 2 micro-transaction system (the “Mann Co. store”) is not cheap. The game itself cost $20 when I bought it (standalone retail release in April 2008). As I write this post, it is currently 50% off, going for $9.99. The Orange Box (which included Team Fortress 2, Portal, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One and Half-Life 2 Episode Two) cost $50, when released in October of 2007. Look through the screenshots below to see how much some items cost. It’s amazing, actually, that people purchase these “items”. And, some of these items have bonuses when purchased through a bundle. Valve said that items for purchase can also be dropped using the item-drop system. From what I can tell, some items are only available for purchase.

Valve, I don’t want to think this, but you’re turning into Activision or EA. That’s something I thought would never happen. But I was naive. In the end, everyone sells out.

First. Sale. Doctrine.

August 27, 2010

You’ve probably heard about THQ (and other publisher/developers) whining about used-game sales. It sickens me to see people agreeing with the companies. Video game industry take note: you’re no different than the music, movie and book industry (they whine as well, but it’s impossible to enforce their demands). I purchase a game for $50, I see it as the value of playing and enjoying the game and the possibility to sell the game if I don’t like it or would like to purchase another new game. I love hearing the argument about maintaining the game servers. Didn’t part of the initial cost of the game go into maintaining such servers? I always thought that only one player could play online per copy of the game? If I sell a copy of the game, isn’t there still only one player (a different player) playing online?

Oh wait, they expect for people to get tired of the game and no longer play it online, thus allowing them to discontinue it. But if I sell my copy of the game, another player who never played it before will be interested in it and will be playing it online. Meaning it’d be a little more controversial to discontinue it. What about just stating on the back of the package “Online services will be discontinued on November 30, 2013” (or whatever date they decide to discontinue it).

There’s also that pesky First Sale Doctrine, which basically states that people are allowed to sell or give away anything when they want to.

I’ve Finally Upgraded to Windows Vista

August 19, 2010

My “unoffical” policy of upgrading my operating system is to upgrade to the predicessor of the current version of Windows. For the longest time, I’ve used Windows 2000. And I will readily admit that Windows 2000 is the best operating system, no. The best piece of software to come out of a certain company from Redmond, Washington. At the time that it came out, it was revolutionary. Stability and being able to use it for less than workstation tasks. Times change, though. Software isn’t compatible any more. Hardware isn’t compatible anymore. At the end, you are going to upgrade to something else. It’s going to happen. It may not be to the latest version of Windows. It may be to Apple’s OS X. It may be to Linux or FreeBSD or.. something. But you are going to upgrade.

I upgraded to Windows XP a few years ago. Yes, I did use prior to that. But on my own computer it was Windows 2000 or bust. It was my computer, so I had the say on what software was being run on it. But today… well a few days ago, rather. I upgraded to Windows Vista. The very software I complained about. The very software I made fun of. I knew that it was inevitable that I would upgrade. Linux is great, but at the moment it isn’t a Windows killer. And, I hate to admit it, but Windows Vista isn’t very bad at all. It takes a little while to get used to it. They changed a lot of things for the better (eg: Windows update) and some things not so much for the better. Actually compared to my testing of Windows 7, I prefer Vista. I like that Vista is darker than 7. I like the Vista UI better. But, Vista is the OS I’ll be using for the forseeable future. Funny how that works, hmm?

The "Wow" started in 2007 and I failed to realize it.

A Look at Firefox 4 Beta 1

July 12, 2010

A few days ago Mozilla released the first beta of Firefox 4. Though, it is still pretty early in the development cycle, I like what I’m seeing so far in Firefox 4 beta 1. So far, they’ve updated the user interface, made several changes to the underlying HTML rendering system called Gecko, 64-bit Firefox binaries and there is now support for WebM. Of course there are still things to come in later Firefox 4 releases, and I’ll write about such releases when the time comes. This “look” was run on Windows XP x64 SP2 with the 32-bit version of Firefox.

When you first start Firefox, you’ll notice several things. For one, tabs are now on top (though you may set it so that tabs are on the bottom, like older Firefox releases). There is also the newer, more modern theme. Surprisingly, I like it.

On Vista/7 systems, the default UI is the “Firefox bar”. It can still be used on 2000/XP systems, and looks fairly good even if it is not being used in its intended environment. As always, you can always disable it and use the classic UI on Vista/7 systems.

Currently, Firefox 4 gets 97/100 on the acid 3 test, while Firefox 3.6.6 gets 94/100. By the time Firefox is officially released, it will get 100/100 on the test. Though, that is not as important as many of the other HTML5 improvements in the beta. Firefox now supports WebM video, which will surely be more popular thanks to YouTube’s encoding of all videos to WebM.

Firefox 3 introduced the current add-on system. It does what it needs to do and does it well. Firefox 4 introduces a new add-on system that no longer opens a dialog box. Now, the add-on system is interfaced with in a tab. It does the same job as Firefox 3.x’s system and it keeps with the new UI’s “theme”.

Not to mention that Firefox 4 supports hardware acceleration for videos current. Though later releases should expand this to in-page content. Don’t worry though, Firefox 4 supports this through DirectX 9 on Windows (so it will be compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7). Firefox 4 also supports Direct2D (which is available in Windows 7 and the “Platform Update” in Vista). IE9 does the same thing, and performance should be superior with Firefox 4. There are other new features that I’ll discuss in the final review of Firefox 4.

All in all, I feel that right now Firefox 4 is an excellent browser. Even in the pre-release state that it is (though I have yet to have it crash on me). Unless I find a serious problem with it, I will probably use it until the final vesion of Firefox 4 is released.

EDIT: Firefox 4 Beta 2 and now Beta 3 are released. As I said, I will post a final review when Firefox 4 is released.

Why Dice, Why!?

July 2, 2010

I love the Battlefield series. I can honestly say that a good portion of my most epic moments in gaming came from that series. Jets. Helicopters. Tanks. Jeeps. You name it. I’ve piloted one (in game, at least) and I’ve killed (again, in game) lots. I buy every new Battlefield game for the PC. And every Battlefield game is buggy. Not a little buggy, but very buggy. From extremely crappy server browsers to the menu that takes 10(+) seconds to load. And yet I put up with it. Why? Because as soon as I’m in game I have as much fun as anyone could possibly have while blowing shit up.

But with the latest game (Bad Company 2), I really can’t say the same. The server browser is downright horrible (the latency doesn’t even show up correctly). The buggy quirks annoyed me. It was like every other DICE game; the game is great except for those little things. And a lot of those little things make a big thing. After the Modern Warfare 2 (I’m sorry but MW2 was and always will be Mech Warrior 2) dedicated server, or lack of, fiasco, DICE promised that BC2 would feature dedicated servers. And they were right.. well somewhat. The game does indeed have dedicated servers. But they’re not servers that I could run in my basement. I have to rent a server from an “authorized provider”.¬† With BF2, there were ranked (rented) servers, that would allow unlocks and unranked servers that wouldn’t allow unlocks, but anyone could run. Why isn’t there an option for that in Bad Company 2? I would like to be able to practice flying the different helicopters offline, but with this I can’t. Why don’t you allow for unranked servers?