Archive for the 'News' Category

Harry Potter 7 Title Announced

J.K. Rowling has hidden the title of Harry Potter 7 somewhere on her website, for you to find. I must say, I’m a little disappointed by it, but it does make some sense. There are a lot of rumors about this book, since it will have the responsibility of tying up all the loose ends of the series. Apparently, two main characters will die. Most people are betting on Harry and Voldemort, which makes some amount of sense, but I think it will be Snape and someone else. Whatever, we’ll find out when it’s released in 2007.

Windows Vista released to Businesses

Today Microsoft released the business version of its new OS, Windows Vista. This is the first major OS update from M$ since Windows XP came out, so it’s been pretty widely anticipated. Vista sports a new look for windows, called Aero, and a lot of other cool features. Nobody I know is planning on upgrading just yet, and not just because the home and ultimate editions won’t be released until January 30th. I only have one friend saving to buy Vista, but everyone else I know just doesn’t care.

And don’t look at me, I’m happy with OS X.

PlayStation 3 Release

Today, Sony’s third generation video game console was released. And what a beast it is. I went to Best Buy to try it out, and got some pictures and a video.

Let me just say this. Wow. And I mean that totally sincerely. Wow. I expected it to be amazing (well, with a $500 core model and $600 full, it pretty much has to be), but this is ridiculous. The graphical quality is freakin’ amazing. It looks insanely photorealistic. The images it produces on the fly are like images pre-rendered by Pixar or something. I feel like I’m preaching here, but I really believe this stuff.

The new controller design (as in, redesigned l2/r2 buttons) is awesome. I really like the trigger-style buttons. They move much faster and more fluidly.

I took some photos of it at Best Buy, go to this gallery to check ’em out.

And here’s the video I took (pardon the quality, youtube ruins movies…):

(check out this photo for an idea of what the footage actually looked like)

Zune Release

Today Microsoft released the first version of its PMP (Portable Media Player), the Zune. Supposedly M$’s “iPod Killer,” the Zune costs $250 and comes in 3 “colors”: Black, White, and (get this) Brown. Those are some colors there, yup…I could make a whole freakin’ rainbow of Zunes. It comes equipped with WiFi, but (for some reason, most likely legal) you cannot use it to transmit music to it from your computer, and you cannot use it to buy music from M$’s online music store.

What can you use it for? Trading music from other Zunes (The 3/3 deal though: you can either listen to the song 3 times or keep it for 3 days before it deletes itself, whichever happens first), trade pictures from other Zunes, or synch it with your 360 (score keeping, friends’ statuses from Live, etc). It’s one of the largest wastes of money I’ve seen so far. Why bother making customers pay more for a Zune with WiFi, when the WiFi doesn’t even do anything useful yet? I would release a cheaper, smaller Zune (which maybe costs less than the iPod, its rival, and therefore sell more?) that has the same features as the iPod Video (plus the larger screen, more customization features, and sadly yes, larger color selection…), while they worked on developing that WiFi a bit more so it could do PC syncing and wireless music purchasing. But that’s most likely a problem with the RIAA, not M$. Stupid RIAA.

But for all the good things about the Zune, its software looks horrible. Check out Engadget’s review for more information on that front. I don’t plan on buying one any time soon ever.

Oh and I should mention the Zune ad campaign, most of which sucks (“Welcome to the social” is not English, folks!), but this site has many of the TV ads and posters (or maybe they’re just concepts? I’m not sure) that are actually good. Watch the one with the robot and the two birds one, as they are the best.

Woot!

Hooray, the Democrats completely OWNED that election! We have regained control of the Senate, the House, and we have the majority of governors as well! :D

School Bans Tag

A school in Boston (not far from my home) has banned tag, touch football, and other chase games for fear of the kids getting hurt during recess and suing the school. This means that these kids have next to no chance of actually learning anything during recess. A common misconception is that kids don’t ever learn anything during recess, but this is when social skills develop, and if they aren’t allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, how will they learn the lessons not taught in school? This is just one more way we are becoming more and more sheltered, moving closer and closer to a ‘utopia’ like presented in The Giver and other such stories. Way to go, Boston.

Video Game Decency Act

GamePolitics has a report on Senator Upton’s (A Republican from Michigan) new bill. The Video Game Decency Act, it’s called. The act would make it legal for the FCC to fine game companies which hide content of their games in order to gain a lower ESRB rating.
On the surface, this seems fine. The game companies should accept the ratings their games deserve. However, the reason this bill came about was the Hot Coffee mod for GTA: San Andreas. This mod accessed code that was in the game, but was in no way accessible through playing the game. The new bill would require ESRB to completely play through a game before giving it a rating, which means that it misses the purpose completely. There’s no way to account for every single hack, patch, custom map, and easter egg for every game out there. Take Oblivion, for example. The official gameplay alone is enough to keep a softcore gamer like me busy for at least 3 months, and maybe 2 months for a hardcore gamer. Then there are official hacks and patches for the game which would require more time to test, and unofficial patchs and hacks which would make the game virtually unreleasable due to lack of “proper” testing. I think Nightwing sums it up pretty well in a comment on that article:

It wasn’t hidden material that could be accessed through gameplay.

It was unused code that, by design, was supposed to be not part of the game.

Access to the code was NOT made by official patches or upgrades by the company.

Access to the code was NOT made by official unlockable codes provided within the official software.

Access was provided by non publisher, non developer, non official means.

Access was provided by non company personnel and therefore was a modification of said product that was NOT official intended.

I can think of a number of products whose use could be modified or interpreted to allow the product to be used in a manner that the creating company did not intend for the product.

If said products can be modified or interpreted to be used by some individuals in a manner which -I- feel is “indecent”, can I then demand the company who created the product be fined, at the least, because it’s product COULD be used by other individuals for purposes other than what the company claims the product was intended?

If someone can come up with a way to use a product in a way that was not intended to be used by the maker of the product, can we really hold the maker responsible for how the product is used?

nightwng2000
NW2K Software

I hope this bill doesn’t go through, for the sake of all the gamers out there…


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