Archive for June 2008

Diablo III Preview

Published on June 30, 2008

On Saturday, Blizzard officially announced Diablo III, the next in the highly popular role-playing game series. Although the first Diablo was fun, it was Diablo II that put the series into the upper echelons of gaming. It has been over 7 years since the one and only expansion pack for Diablo II was released, enabling the game to run at 800×600 instead of a paltry 640×480 (those were the days).

I highly recommend the game play trailer on the official website (linked above). One of Blizzard’s employees shows a number of new game mechanics (destructible environments that you can use to your advantage), as well as one of the new playable classes (the witch doctor, which looks super cool). I am super excited about this title, and I’ll definitely be picking it up once it’s released. Blizzard, like Valve, seldom disappoints with their releases, and this is one to definitely watch.

Death of the Newspaper

Published on June 25, 2008

It’s no surprise that the internet, along with 24-hour news channels, are killing off newspapers as a whole. But it seems as if the end of newsprint is nearer than expected. Earlier this month McClatchy Company, the group responsible for publishing our local Raleigh News & Observer, slashed over 10% of its workforce. This cut leads to the inevitable: less news in the newspaper.

When I read the newspaper, I mainly look at the local news section, the business section, and the comics (the most important part). The News & Observer will be merging the business section with the local news section, cutting coverage in both sections in the process. Happily, the comics section is (for now) being left alone. But these changes are leaving less for me to look forward to. I can only see this change as a snowball effect. Provide readers with less content and they’ll leave. Have readers leave, and then cut back even more as a result, causing yet more readers to leave.

Life and Science Museum Photos

Published on June 24, 2008

A brand new photo album has been posted, showcasing a recent trip to the Life and Science Museum in Durham, NC. Several new exhibits have opened in recent times, greatly increasing the size of the museum. This particular album focuses on these new attractions (we didn’t visit any of the indoor exhibits on this trip). Enjoy the photos!

Do You Still Use CDs?

Published on June 20, 2008

How do you purchase your music? Does anyone still buy CDs, or has everyone moved to digital music? And where do you purchase your music from?

Call me old school, but I still purchase CDs through my favorite retailer Amazon.com (I gave up buying music from brick and mortar stores long ago). Seeing as my musical tastes are outside of the mainstream, it’s not surprising that many of the albums on my radar are difficult to find. For example, I recently picked up a few albums from 1970’s progressive rock band Camel, and both were imports (and therefore more expensive than the domestic albums might be). But the imports were the only thing available. One other album I’m seeking is currently marked as shipping in ‘4 to 6 weeks’ which, in Amazon speak, means that it’s unlikely to ever be available again. This isn’t an isolated case; I’m finding that it’s increasingly difficult to find certain albums on CD.

As a result, I’m wondering whether it’s worth buying CDs anymore. I primarily listen to CDs on my way to and from work, though I listen to my iPod exclusively at work and on the occasional trip somewhere. When I’m at home, I listen to my music through either iTunes or WinAmp. Having a CD gives me something tangible as well as a backup (in case the digital rip gets destroyed or corrupted). But CDs have their own problems. The jewel cases are bulky (they way a ton en mass), and they’re always a bother to open up after purchasing them (what’s with all those stickers and cellophane wrap?).

The Amazon MP3 Store seems very appealing, in that all the offered music is DRM free. But, not surprisingly, not every album is available. So what do you do?

Pyro Updates in Team Fortress 2

Published on June 19, 2008

The fine folks at Valve have updated Team Fortress 2 once again, bringing new achievements, unlockable weapons, and a core change to the Pyro class. Along with all of these changes come two new community maps: one control point map and one capture the flag map. If you’re interested in checking out the new content for free, you can do so this weekend, from June 20 to June 22. As always, friend me up if you jump into a game; my nickname is jgbCodeMonkey.

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Autocompletion Sorting in Firefox 3

Published on June 16, 2008

I recently noted in Firefox 3.0 RC 2 that the sort order for autocompleting input fields is broken. In Firefox 2.x, items are sorted alphabetically (different from the insertion order scheme used in Firefox 1.x, if I recall correctly). Now, it appears that the items are sorted according to how they were inserted, with the most recent entries appearing on the bottom. This strange result unfortunately affects Googlebar Lite, beginning with Firefox 3 builds. I haven’t received any complaints about this at the moment, but I’m guessing that most people haven’t switched away from 2.x, so no one has caught it yet.

It’s possible that this issue is a valid Firefox bug. I see that bug 418343 has been written against the search autocomplete results, though I’m guessing it applies to all autocompleting elements (with the exception of the AwesomeBar).

The autocomplete textbox inherits the sortDirection property from the base XUL element, but I have yet to try setting that manually to see if it has any effect. And I’m not sure whether to set it on the textbox itself, or on one of the child elements that lives inside.

Hopefully setting this property will fix the issue, though I’m only given three sort options: ascending, descending, and natural. I’m guessing that the natural option is what I’m seeing now in Firefox 3, with newest at the bottom. One of the largest feature requests that I get for Googlebar Lite is to sort search history items in the order they were inserted, with newest at the top. While I may not be able to easily sort things like people want, I might at least be able to return to the behavior seen in 2.x.

Firefox 3 Next Tuesday!

Published on June 12, 2008

Mozilla Developer News reports that Firefox 3 will be officially launched next Tuesday, June 17. Make sure you download your copy that day, to help Mozilla break the world download record. I’ve been using Firefox 3 for a while now, and it’s worlds better than Firefox 2 (which was already super awesome).

Displaying Recent Comments

Published on June 5, 2008

I have added a new section to the sidebar of this site, showing the most recent comments posted here. Hopefully, this will help foster further discussion on older topics (which occasionally get comments). This new feature comes via the aptly named Recent Comments WordPress plug-in. I’m quite impressed with the customization options available, and installation was a snap.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how the recent comments list should appear? Plenty of options are available, including an excerpt preview of each comment. I tried several options out, but I’m not sure what visitors would find most useful.

Your suggestions would be appreciated.

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