Archive for April 2006

No Place To Go

Published on April 29, 2006

It looks as if Firefox Places will be disabled for Firefox 2.0. This is a disappointing turn of events, but the developers apparently feel it needs more polish before it can be let loose on the public. I’ve only briefly played with the latest implementation in recent trunk builds (it has since been disabled), and what I saw seemed pretty good. Live bookmarks need work, and accessing the Places window is still a little clunky. The feature set for 2.0 is still fairly interesting. Hopefully, 2.0 will be an exciting release.

Code Names Are Bad

Published on April 28, 2006

So, apparently, the Nintendo Revolution has been renamed to Nintendo Wii. Let the jokes commence.

This is the primary problem with using “code names” in the wild. When an official name comes along, replacing said code name, early adopters are thrown for a loop. It happened with the Firefox web browser not too long ago. Early builds of Firefox were known as Phoenix and later Firebird. I actually happen to prefer the Firebird name; it keeps some semblance of continuity with their Thunderbird product (plus, it just sounds cool). At first, the Firefox name seemed really stupid. But as time has passed, it has become ingrained in our culture, and has lost that silly feel to it.

Can Nintendo’s new console do the same? I don’t really think so. The name they’ve chosen is so incredibly stupid, that it will be an uphill battle to win back the respect they had earned. We’ll see how they fare in the long run with this decision. I have a bad feeling that they won’t do as well.

Consider the World Saved

Published on April 22, 2006

I know I’ve mentioned this a number of times already, and I’ll do my best to make this the final post on the topic, but Oblivion is so incredibly fun. After 73.5 hours of gameplay, my level 34 Wanderer (a character class I created) has finally completed the main quest line. I’ve rid the world of Tamriel of those pesky Oblivion gates, and generally saved the entire populace from annihilation. Fortunately, the game doesn’t end there. I’ve completed 81 quests so far, and still have a total of 15 active quests under my belt. There’s no telling how many I have yet to start. My character has risen to the top of the Thieves guild, is nearly to the top of the Mages guild, and is on the way up in the Fighters guild (I haven’t even started the Dark Brotherhood line of quests). To say that this game is packed with stuff to do is an understatement.

Unfortunately, I’ve run into a number of crashes recently. I occasionally get dumped to the desktop when performing a quick-load, and my graphics card has conked out a time or two (I’ve got to build a new machine). But thankfully, the sheer joy I get from playing this game overshadows these annoying problems. And the upcoming game patch that Bethesda announced will hopefully solve these issues. If you still haven’t purchased this game, I highly recommend it. Oblivion is a purchase you won’t regret.

Software Sightings

Published on April 13, 2006

Firefox is now available to download. Several stability and security fixes have been included, so make sure you upgrade.

Googlebar Lite 4.0 will be released this weekend (most likely on Saturday). Lots of great new features are coming, so stay tuned.

Thanks to a mention from Penny Arcade, I downloaded the BTMod for Oblivion, and wow what a difference it makes! The mod makes the inventory and map screens larger, so that you can see more at once. If you have the PC version of Oblivion, and you haven’t grabbed this mod, you absolutely need to.

Google Calendar

Published on April 13, 2006

It looks like Google Calendar has gone live. I’ve only played around with it for a few moments, but it really looks great. Lots of customization options, and a clean interface. If you have a GMail account, you can sign up with Google Calendar to try it out (registering with them is merely a matter of specifying what time zone you live in). This new tool should make lots of folks happy, although I personally don’t have a use for it. We use the Worst Program Ever Written at work, and outside of work I don’t have any need for scheduling events. It should be interesting to see how this ties in to GMail. There is some really interesting potential there. More information on the whole tool can be found over at Matt Cutts’ blog (my dad was his graduate school advisor!).

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A Little Vacation

Published on April 6, 2006

I’m currently enjoying some vacation from work (essentially today and tomorrow), so I have some free time to get stuff done. Perhaps Googlebar Lite 4.0 will show up soon. I’m still waiting on one of my translators to respond; once he does, a release is quite possible. Much of my free time has so far been spent in Oblivion. I just can’t get enough of that game!

Elder Scrolls Fun

Published on April 3, 2006

Posting may be slow over the upcoming days. I’m very busy with something that I’ll talk more about soon.

Thus ended my last post which, to be quite honest, wasn’t that long ago. Regardless, I have to admit that I’ve been ‘busy’ with Oblivion. I purchased the game from Amazon last week, got it on Thursday, and have been enjoying it ever since. Here’s my quickie review of what I’ve seen so far.

Visually, this game is stunning; one of the best to date. The lip-synch seems poorly done, but I know that’s a hard thing to get right, so I’ll cut the developers some slack. But everything else is truly magnificent to behold. My personal rig seems to be able to handle the game, albeit at 1024 x 768 (with all the eye candy, mind you). The forest areas are a real treat to behold, as are the caves and dungeons one gets to explore.

Content-wise, this game is gigantic. I’ve played for several hours, and have only scratched the surface of what is available. I’ve restarted the game 3 times so far, for a variety of reasons. The first two times, I was unhappy with the way I had set up my character. The third time, I unwittingly turned into a vampire and died, with no cure in sight (and I didn’t have a save game from before my sickness). My current character, Rolande, is a “Wanderer” (a custom class I created; part Thief, part Mage), and he’s doing very well so far. I have yet to start the main quest; I’ve simply been too busy getting sidetracked. Joining the Mage’s guild is quite an involved task!

This game isn’t without its problems. Game installation was flaky, and I got the game into a state where it wouldn’t start and couldn’t be uninstalled. After wrestling with that, I’m now facing a problem where the game crashes every time I exit. Granted, it’s not a major problem (I am leaving the game, after all), but it’s an annoyance. There are other minor quibbles: the AI system has its flaws (although it works surprisingly well on the whole), the enemies are (and remain) incredibly difficult, and it stinks that you are only given 8 hotkey slots.

But I am very pleased so far. This game is awesome. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Morrowind.

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