Archive for August, 2005

The Revolution, 10 Years Later

August 24, 2005

It was ten years ago today that Microsoft released the operating system that revolutionized the way we live our lives, Microsoft Windows 95.

With Windows 95’s Debut, Microsoft Scales Heights of Hype (Washington Post, 1995)

Google releases new Desktop Search

August 23, 2005

Google has released a new version of their Google Desktop Search client dubbed Google Desktop Search Version 2 Beta, very original. Its biggest new feature is Sidebar, which is much like the feature in the next version of Windows also called Sidebar, that is if it hasn’t been dropped again like I had heard it had. Sidebar for GDS comes with several handy features like search as you type, Google News, weather, stocks, Gmail indexing, a scratch pad, and the ability to add more through plug-ins. The new version seems to add some new security features also like encryption for your index. Looking at some of the features it seems they are catching up with MSN and their own Windows Desktop Search, but they still have some work to do.

Is it just me or does it seem like Microsoft seems to be behind the curve in every thing but their MSN division? MSN seems to be popping out projects, that work, while the rest of the company is still trying to catch up. MSN seems to have their act together and can get the job done very well in less time. I think the company (Windows team) needs a field trip to the MSN division to see how work gets done and not delayed.

Xbox 360’s Core Dud

August 18, 2005

Microsoft recently announced that the upcoming next-generation gaming console know as the Xbox 360 will come in two editions. I posted on here shortly after they made the announcement the press brief, which included the details of each edition. That posting can be found here.

The choice of two editions at first thought to me seems confusing and pointless. I found myself hopelessly searching for answers to questions I had; like if you buy the Core package are you forced to buy a memory card to save your games, or will it have some sort of internal memory? So far it seems your forced into buying a memory card to even begin playing the games. To use the backward compatibility with the original Xbox games you have to have the Hard Drive which is $99 so it ends up being the same price as the Premium edition with less included extras. It seems to me the Core package is more just a dud product so Microsoft can still claim to be at the $299 sweet spot that we have enjoyed for years. I don’t see many gamers buying the Core package because of these downfalls. The only reason I can see buying the Core is if all you need is a DVD (which you can buy for about $49 at Walmart) player or a Media Center Extender (which runs normally about the same price as the Core system). So really the Core system is pointless to buy when the Premium version comes with so many included features for just $100 more saving you about $200 if you were to buy the Core package. All I can say is you can put me down for a Premium, now all I need to do is pay for it. What would be ideal though is if Microsoft would just give everyone and Xbox 360 for free, that would make their goal of a billion gamers a lot easier. We can only dream.

The Countdown Begins: Xbox 360 Launch Details!

August 17, 2005

The Countdown Begins: Xbox 360 Launch Details!

Leipzig, Germany— Ending weeks of speculation about which upcoming videogame platform will give gamers the most bang for their buck, today at the German Games Convention Microsoft® revealed that consumers can get their hands on Xbox 360™—the most powerful and feature-packed next-generation video game and entertainment system—for as little as $299.99 U.S. starting this holiday season. For gamers who want to experience the ultimate digital entertainment thrill ride, Microsoft also announced a model with hundreds of dollars worth of accessories for $399.99 U.S., giving consumers the definitive entertainment experience at an unbelievable value right out of the box.

The Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Core System—along with an impressive lineup of high-definition game titles from the world’s best publishers and developers—will make their debut in North America, Europe, and Japan in time for this holiday season, several months ahead of the competition. Although details for the Japan launch will be addressed at the Tokyo Game Show in September, the unprecedented three-region launch signifies an industry first. The Xbox 360 platform will deliver the most powerful console, the best games, the next generation of the Xbox Live® service, and amazing digital entertainment experiences never seen in console entertainment.

“The sheer entertainment value of Xbox 360 cannot be overstated,” says Robbie Bach, chief Xbox® officer for Microsoft. “While the system has the muscle to power awe-inspiring graphics, audio, and online play, it’s also got the intelligence to serve as a one-of-a-kind entertainment device that plays CDs, DVDs, MP3s, and digital content from an array of devices, including portable music players and digital cameras.”

With its built-in Ethernet port and free Silver level of service right out of the box, Xbox 360 also connects players to Xbox Live, the premier global online console games and entertainment network. With Xbox Live, gamers can chat with friends online, build and share gamer profiles, send and receive text and voice messages, and access Xbox Live Marketplace for new content such as game demos, trailers, and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade. Subscribers to the Gold level of service will also enjoy access to online multiplayer gaming in their favorite games, as well as great promotional programs such as worldwide tournaments, the chance to play online with their favorite celebrities, and opportunities to win big prizes.

For gamers who want the ultimate experience (and the best value) right out of the box, Microsoft will offer the $399.99 U.S. Xbox 360 console. This premium edition—distinguished by signature metallic detailing on the console itself—comes fully loaded for the ultimate gaming experience, with components and accessories that would cost more than $200 if sold separately. The system includes:

  • Xbox 360 Console: Sexy styling that packs a punch—three powerful core processors are poised to pump out 720p/1080i output, 16×9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound, and DVD playback right out of the box.
  • Xbox 360 Hard Drive: 20GB and detachable, the hard drive allows gamers to store their games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos, and community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace.
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller: Hassle-free high-performance precision wireless gaming features the Xbox Guide Button for quick access to digital movies, music, and games libraries as well as a range of up to 30 feet and 30 hours of battery life on two AA batteries. 3
  • Xbox 360 Faceplate: The removable Faceplate comes in stylish “chill” (white) and can be swapped out with custom Faceplates to reflect gamers’ personalities or decor.
  • Xbox 360 Headset: This lets gamers strategize with teammates or trash-talk opponents while playing games on Xbox Live.
  • Xbox 360 Component HD-AV Cable: This connects gamers to the world of Xbox 360 games and graphics through high-definition and standard-definition connections.
  • Xbox Live Silver membership: With this, gamers can chat with friends online, send and receive voice and text messages, and access new content from Xbox Live Marketplace like demos, trailers, and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade.
  • A bonus Media Remote: Included for a limited time only, the integrated control center for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies, and music, as well as access their Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC with a single remote.

At $299.99 U.S., the Xbox 360 Core System comes standard with what consumers need to jump right into next-generation games and media, and is fully expandable to the complete Xbox 360 experience:

  • Xbox 360 console: As with the premium edition, three powerful core processors pump out 720p/1080i output, 16×9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound, and DVD playback right out of the box.
  • Xbox 360 Controller: This wired controller features an extended nine-foot cable and a comfortable, enhanced ergonomic design.
  • Xbox 360 Faceplate: Like no other console before, the Xbox 360 console allows customization and a removable Faceplate that comes in stylish “chill” (white), which can be swapped out with other custom Faceplates to reflect gamers’ personalities or decor.
  • Xbox 360 Standard AV Cable: This connects gamers to the world of Xbox 360, delivering great next-generation graphics and games using standard-definition connections.

The Xbox 360 console also comes ready for customization. With an array of Xbox 360 accessories, gamers can trick out their systems to suit their individual tastes and personalize their experiences. In addition to an ever-growing selection of eye-catching Faceplates ($19.99 U.S.), Xbox 360 Controllers (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S.*), and Component HD AV Cable (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S.*), the lineup includes a wealth of accessories that brings next-generation gaming entertainment to its optimum:

  • Xbox 360 Hard Drive: 20GB and detachable, the hard drive allows gamers to store their games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos, community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace, and more (estimated retail price $99.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Memory Unit (64 MB): Easily portable, this lets gamers save games, in-game achievements, and unique gamer profiles for quick and easy access on the go (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller: The same hassle-free high-performance precision wireless gaming that comes with the premium edition features the Xbox Guide Button for quick access to digital movies, music, and games libraries as well as a range of up to 30 feet and 30 hours of battery life on two AA batteries (estimated retail price $49.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit: This allows plug and play for high-performance, precision wireless gaming with the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. Gamers will be given ample warning when the end of battery life is nearing so they can connect the Play & Charge cable for uninterrupted play (estimated retail price $19.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 rechargeable battery pack: This provides up to 25 hours of gameplay for wireless gaming fun (estimated retail price $11.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter: With this, gamers can chat with friends and play games via Xbox Live, as well as stream videos and music to Xbox 360 from a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC, all without the clutter of wires (estimated retail price $99.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Headset: This heightens the Xbox Live experience by letting gamers strategize with teammates or trash-talk opponents while playing games (estimated retail price $19.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote: Sold as an accessory, this integrated control center for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies, and music, as well as control a TV and their Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC with a single controller (estimated retail price $29.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 S-Video AV Cable (U.S. only) / Xbox 360 SCART AV Cable (Europe only): This versatile cable works for both high-definition and standard-definition TVs that use S-Video or composite video inputs. It provides optimal audio and video signal transfer (estimated retail price $29.99 U.S.*).
  • Xbox 360 VGA HD AV Cable: Gamers can experience high-definition gaming on flat-panel TV or VGA monitors. This cable provides optimal audio and video signal transfer (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S.*).

“With both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core System, we’re offering consumers real choice and real value,” says Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and publishing for the Home Entertainment Division at Microsoft. “We’re bringing true next-generation experiences into gamers’ living rooms this Christmas holiday.”

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you.

The system will launch this holiday season in Europe, Japan, and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

*Actual retail price may vary.

Source: XBOX.COM

Why Macs Suck, the Video

August 14, 2005

I found this video on why this guy believes the Mac sucks. It is a very funny video and I recommend you watching it. It highlights some of the problems people have with the Mac and presents them in a comedic way. (WARNING: CONTAINS OFFENSIVE MATERIAL)

http://perseus.franklins.net/whymacssuck.wmv

Odd Keywords

August 13, 2005

Today I was looking at some search keywords that had been used to find my site on search engines and I found this very interesting keyword, “psychological treatment therapy diaper fetish abuse”. So I decided to do search of my own to see what this would come back with and here is a link to what I found. Click here for my search

Peter Jennings Dies

August 8, 2005

Peter Jennings the anchor of ABC News’s World News Tonight has died at the age of 67 due to lung cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with the Jennings family.

ABC News: Peter Jennings Dies at 67

Microsoft don’t bully the web!

August 3, 2005

In a recent article on WindowsITPro.com by Paul Thurrott he called for a boycott of Microsoft and their Internet Explorer product. He ended his remarks on the decision by Microsoft to not make the next version of Internet Explorer completely compliant with the web standards with this:

“My advice is simple: Boycott IE. It’s a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn’t secure and isn’t standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators. Because of their user bases, however, Web developers are hamstrung into developing for IE at the expense of established standards that work well in all other browsers. You can turn the tide by demanding more from Microsoft and by using a better alternative Web browser. I recommend and use Mozilla Firefox, but Apple Safari (Macintosh only) and Opera 8 are both worth considering as well.”

The standards he speaks of are ones set by separate entity than Microsoft, a company that controls the market like the juggernaut they are. Because of the undeniable control of the web Microsoft in my opinion, whether they should or not, does set the standard. How can something that over 85% of the people who use the internet day in and day out not be the standard? Just by the command of their market share Microsoft is and sets the standards.

Now do I think this is right? The simple answer is no. But because of the commanding lead and almost impossibility of Microsoft not being the dominant force on the web for at least until the end of this decade, unless some unseen force changes that, Microsoft will be the standard. We as developers and consumers must accept this fact and live with it until we can change things. Since the majority of web users will not switch to a more “standards” compliant browser we must show Microsoft that we want the browser to conform in anyway it can to create a more open environment on the web for alternative browsers, but how can we accomplish this?

I have to say when I first saw Thurrott’s call for a boycott I thought that he was jumping the gun and making a fool of himself for making a war cry for a non-issue. Microsoft has set the standard so other browsers need to conform to those. But the more I thought about it the more I realized he was right. Microsoft does need to be more accepting of the standards that other browsers follow. Microsoft is the big bully in the playground we call the internet and they are trying to use their might of control over that playground so that others are forced to use them to use the playground and all it offers. By forcing websites to use the standards that Microsoft has set they have mad the web in some way incompatible with other browsers than the one they make. To truly experience the web the way you are meant to you are forced to use Internet Explorer because of the bullying that Microsoft has done.

Microsoft does though seem to be setting themselves up for a better browser. By at least attempting to comply with the standards they can without breaking the web into an unusable wasteland of broken sites they show that they are trying. The only question I ask is are they doing all they can without turning the internet into a wasteland? Hopefully they are and maybe with this new focus on standards compliance they can slowly transition to a more standard compliant browser that stops bullying sites into building a site for Internet Explorer and not the internet. Am I going as far as Thurrott to call for a boycott? No, but I am calling for developers to slowly transition from the old way of the internet relying on Internet Explorer and move onto the standards that have been accepted by the other browsers available. Maybe by doing this Microsoft will see they have been left behind and begin to transition Internet Explorer into a better browser.

Bush: Teach Intelligent Design (Creation)

August 1, 2005

President Bush said on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside of evolution in public schools. He said, “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought… You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes”. He would not comment on what his beliefs of our origins were.

…intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation…

Tomorrow I will try and get a more in-depth write up here on the blog.

Source: MSNBC/ AP