Thursday, June 30, 2005
First I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Vash and I'm one of the newest writers to Techspec. As many of you know Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht (who's finally resurfaced) are now going to be doing a podcast on Digg and some of the most dugg stories and their favorites. They are planning to release an episode within the next two weeks.
The iPods Makeover
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Canadian copyright law update - you can stop it!
Bill C-60 is not yet law. An organization is submitting a petition to Parliament on behalf of Canadians who are opposed to this backwards step in technological advancement.
A brief summary of how Bill C-60 will affect Canadians can be foudn at: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/billc60/Consumer_Fact_Sheet.shtml
Information on the petition, including instructions on how to join it, and Bill C-60 can be found at http://www.digital-copyright.ca
Friday, June 24, 2005
Firefox 1.0.5 Test Builds
Games of the Past
Age of Empires
Yeah, the first one. Screw the 2nd one. The first one really opened me up into the world of pc gaming, and besides another game that blew me away at the time, which was Chrono Trigger by the way, was the definitive game to have back then. With its beautiful graphics, and nearly infinite replay value, this game could hold your attention for a long time coming. This only was helped by some smooth online play, which allowed even me on my 33.6kbs dial-up modem to play relatively well. Plus you can get it and its expansion, Rise of Rome, for only ten bucks now. You can’t beat that.
Time to dig way back here. What could very easily be the predecessor to today’s Grand Theft Auto series, this game does exactly the opposite of what it says you should be doing. Instead of playing as a crime fighter, you begin as a weak little nobody in the crime world and must move up by completing tasks like kidnapping kids and selling them for cheap labor, blackmailing the mayor with nudie photos, and causing large train wrecks for money. But what makes this game awesome is the absurdity of it all. You may attempt to break into a house, only to find that Rambo owns it. You may try and kidnap a kid, but upon nabbing the kid, all the grandma’s in the park pull machine guns out of their purses to attempt to stop you. And you thought Grand Theft Auto was bad. This is a really old DOS game, but does fine on Windows.
Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight
The first Dark Forces game was good, but this improved on the idea so much, it easily gets the nod. The first game to give you Jedi powers and the first game that allowed you to run around and slash people up with a lightsaber. It also allowed you to choose, depending on whom you killed and what force powers you use during the game, between the light and dark side of the force, each with a separate ending. Truly awesome game. What’s really strange about this is that there is still a small mod community around this game at http://www.massassi.net/.
I had to include this. You play as a cockroach. Sounds exciting already huh? Back in the day though, this game had some serious graphical muscle, and look surprisingly good with its photorealistic graphics. But, oh right, the story. You are a mad scientist who transformed himself into a cockroach. You must survive the everyday perils of a cockroach, dodging a hot oven, scalding hot chili, and of course, insect traps. What’s also cool is they recently re-released the game with the name Bad Mojo: Redux, which is pretty much the same game, but it’s only for twenty bucks. You owe it to yourself to give this game a look.
Grand Theft Auto
I had to put this on here, because a lot of people hadn’t even heard of the series until the third iteration came out. The original was a top-down version of essentially the games you play today, except playing top-down is a bit harder than it is in 3D. Recently Rockstar released this as a classic free game. So, especially since it’s free, you should definitely check this game out.
Before the series went 3D, and now has gone AWOL, the first two Duke games were classic side scrollers, and surprisingly good games. It didn’t have the gratuitous violence, and the women like 3D did, but it did have a solid action component that was surprisingly more fun than it probably should’ve been. The 2nd iteration was by far more sophisticated and more fun than the first one, so check that one out first.
Do NOT hate on this game. Everyone of you know that one time or another, you were attempting to set the prices right at your stand, so you could get maximum money without losing customers. While this game has turned into a cheap, quick, online flash game, it used to be an original DOS game, with super simplistic graphics, and mostly just text. But as boring as it sounds, it was highly addicting, and I’m sure it all made your mommies proud that you were learning supply and demand at such an early age.
The first game in the series redefined the First Person Shooter, and brought the genre into a new age with its graphics, and the real quick reactionary abilities needed. It also had superb level design, and good lighting for a game of its time. It’s also had the netcode necessary to hold impressive multiplayer battles, which is the primary reason this game became such a huge hit.
I’m a big space sim junkie, joystick and all, and the last really excellent title in that series to come out is X-wing Alliance. A deep, deep story mode, with extra goods depending on how well you do in some of the missions, and some very unforgettable online play made for one hell of a space sim game. And again, for its time, the graphics were great.
Alright, I think I’ve compiled a pretty good list of PC games that you might have missed from back in the day. I’ve also included some links here at the bottom to point you in the right direction of where you can find demos or full versions of these games on the Internet today.
Age of Empires – http://www.microsoft.com/games/empires/downloads.htm
Crime Fighter – http://www.pssoft.de/english/
Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight – http://www.3dgamers.com/games/jediknight/
Bad Mojo – http://www.download.com/3000-2097-858713.html?legacy=cnet
Grand Theft Auto – http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/
Duke Nukem – http://www.3drealms.com/downloads.html
Lemonade Stand – http://www.lemonadegame.com/
Quake – http://thegw.com/archives/quake/demo.html
X-Wing Alliance - http://www.gamershell.com/download_4673.shtml
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Apple+Intel=Mac & Windows ????
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I've been fooling around with trying to install a PHPBB forum on a free webserver from dhost.info, but it just wasn't working as well as I had hoped it would. The whole system just wasn't very reliable. This place gives you a PHPBB 2 forum with plenty of themes to choose from and an administrative control center and everything. Signing up was just like anything else: an activation email and you're ready to go.
I've always liked the way PHPBB looked and this was perfect for what I wanted to do. The real challenge is getting anybody to sign up for it and be active. With an internet saturated by message boards, it takes somebody with a real following to make anything that people will visit But this is something for you guys if you've been wanting to set up a forum for your clan or guild, or whatever you call your online gaming group. So check these guys out.
IpodderXP out at Gnomedex
---More to come
UAB Tech Guy
Console war not only a war for video games
Why would anybody want to spend well over $500 for a PC with the same specs as that of a $300 Xbox 360? This just goes to prove to the consumer that computers can and will be built cheaper in the future. Such a decrease in the price of computers could lead to a computer being in ever house much like its predecessor the telephone. One thing that Microsoft loves to do is crush the competition. How could Microsoft crush the competition in the console world as well as making a further advance in the PC world? By allowing the Xbox 360 users to have some form of Windows on their machine. With the now upcoming release of Windows Longhorn many have begun to wonder how Windows Longhorn and the Xbox 360 will tie together. There is obviously more pressure for Microsoft to infatuate Windows into the Xbox some how as Sony is planning on releasing a distro of Linux with the Playstation 3 hard drive. The last thing Microsoft wants is to lose the console war as well as allow Linux to make any sort of gain on Microsoft. Millions of Playstation 3’s will be sold which means that there is a potential that millions of more people will be introduced to Linux. Believe it or not, the console war could also be a war not only for video games but also for the next leading OS.
If there is one thing that people like it is all in one devices. The problem with all in once devices such as media center PC’s is they are very expensive. The Xbox 360 is going to come with a media center extender much like the media center hacks for the original Xbox. This allows for the user to be able to listen to their music, watch their DVD’s, and view their pictures all on the same box. Add that to the fact that the Xbox360 is only $300 as compared to an expensive media center pc and you already have a deal.
Microsoft as well as many other companies learned a valuable lesson due to the hacking of the Xbox. This lesson is that people will eat the forbidden fruit. They will find ways around things in order to get what they want. I believe that it is time for Microsoft as well as other companies to listen to the people. Permit us to eat the forbidden fruit, make a profit your self and give the consumer what they want. The console war could be the start of something great or a complete failure for Microsoft. The choice is theirs, they can listen to what the consumer wants or they can watch as we get what we want anyway.
digg this story
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Techspec's new look
Friday, June 17, 2005
Go Make Something
In a world where everything we hear and see is controlled by the urge to make more money, there is a movement bubbling up from the underground. People all over the globe are finding ways to express themselves and be heard. Between blogs, podcasts, and internet TV shows, the possibilities are endless for user created content.
Blogs are increasing by the thousands everyday, whether they be by aspiring journalists or just people eager to tell their story. Blogging has even become so huge that the word “blog” was officially added to the dictionary late last year. This form of media has helped to fuel the fire of independent media, convincing people that they can be heard if they have something to say.
Podcasts were the next step in the movement, allowing the common man to make his own radio show. It’s not easy to get on the radio these days. There are too many rules, regulations, and bad number one songs to keep an average person from making the content they want to make. Podcasts have allowed people all over the world to say what they have to say without worrying about what “The Boss” thinks. In podcasting, you are the boss.
IpTV is the final frontier of independent media. There are ways for a TV show to be distributed all over the world through the internet. If anyone has the desire to be seen on TV they don’t have to wait around for someone to notice their talent. They just need a camera, a computer, and the drive to create something that big corporations won’t.
Now is the time to rise to the challenge and make sure that the large networks know that we don’t need them anymore. Technology has finally given us the ability to make whatever content we want and have it seen without the assistance of larger corporations. So take advantage of this moment in history and go make something.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
My Life Bytes Promo played on Daily Source Code!!!
You can listen to "My Life Bytes" via The Feed or The Website! If you like what you hear, vote for me on The Alley or The Pickle!!!
UAB Tech Guy
Thursday, June 09, 2005
iTunes + Podcasting: Am I the only one drooling?
Steve Jobs demoed iTunes 4.9 at the latest WWDC. I wasn't at all shocked to see how easy the process was to subscribe and download Podcasts. Apple gathered 8,000 Podcasts and threw them into their music store.
Apple itself also released a Podcast to it's New Music Tuesdays section of the store. It's pretty simple and has a DJ that tells you about and lets you listen to samples of new music. The cool part about Apple's Podcast is the album art switching as the 'cast goes on. The current sample of the song playing displays new artwork in the artwork section of iTunes and switches as the samples switch. Pretty sweet.
Will this kill apps like iPodder? Probably not. But there will be a lot of healthy competition playing out in the coming months.
iTunes 4.9 with Podcast support should be out within the next 30 days.
::Looks at watch::
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Apple - QuickTime - Download - QuickTime 7 for Windows Public Preview
UAB Tech Guy
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Systm Release 2
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
WSJ.com - Blogging Becomes A Corporate Job; Digital 'Handshake'?
In its short lifespan, blogging has largely been a freewheeling exercise in online self-expression. Now it is also becoming a corporate job.
A small but growing number of businesses are hiring people to write blogs, otherwise known as Web logs, or frequently updated online journals. Companies are looking for candidates who can write in a conversational style about timely topics that would appeal to customers, clients and potential recruits.
UAB Tech Guy