Origami – Neutron Star Edition

I was really keen on getting a Samsung Q1 Ultramobile (Origami) until I learned a little more about the specs from Samsung’s UK site:



Damn. I was kinda hoping for an ultra mobile PC I didn’t need to use a semi-trailer to haul around! 🙂


(from here, close to the very bottom). No word on Aussie availability yet…

So How’s The 360?

Fantastic.


Incidentally – we were excited when we saw Big W had the premium pack for 628 on the launch Thursday, but Dick Smiths at Macquarie currently have the premium pack for 615 – 35 bucks off! My preorder was $650, but I got it at 20 past 12 on Thursday morning, so there were perks. Sorta.


Was it worth the money? YES!


The Box


The new dashboard is fast and easy. Having universal voice chat connectivity in private channels through Live – even while loading games or playing different games – is just brilliant. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea.


I miss the MSN Messenger alerts though, which made it easier to work out when to hop over to the Xbox when someone you needed to play was online.


It’s a bit loud when playing a game, but I don’t usually notice because the game sound is bone crunchingly good – I haven’t heard a dodgy game yet.


The Games


Anyway, I picked up and have played these quality titles, which I can now recommend:


Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) – cinematic, exhilarating, beautiful. They’ve done so much with the console controller, but kept it usable and playable. The AI of your teammates is the only bit I’d suggest is questionable, to the point of being uh… challenged. But it’s thoroughly engrossing, and I haven’t yet played online, which I’ve read is the best online you can get…


PGR3 – at first, I was a bit upset that the slow cars disappeared from Project Gotham Racing 2. Now, I don’t even notice they’re gone. Pretty much summed up in one word: wow. And fast. Perhaps wowfast. It’s good, either way. Playing Online Career on Live can be a challenging at off-peak times because the race start timer resets when anyone joins or leaves (which is just a little bit silly, IMHO), but the waits are well worth it. And Playtime live matches are fun, and no waiting. Definitely, definitely worth owning.


Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved – let me be clear: I suck at PGR2’s Geometry Wars (“Retro”). 39,000 points was all I was ever good for. But Evolved is slightly slower to ramp up, and I’m hovering around 130K now… I need to make the 250. Must make the 250. I know I can do it. It’s addictive, compelling, and has a thumping soundtrack. Excellent to play to warm up for just about anything else!


Burnout: Revenge – good in a maniacal sort of way, and they’ve fixed many of the problems I had with earlier versions. Looks great, plays great, is great.


I’m currently spoiled by having too many games and not enough time. And Oblivion just out too.

Daylight Saving Time – Still On This Week

Note #1: This post links to discussion boards that use colourful language. If you don’t like that sort of thing, don’t click any non-numerical links below.


Note #2: If Elected, I Solemnly Promise: As a suggestion to governments for next time around: If the objective was to get the Closing Ceremony televised at the same time as the Opening Ceremony, perhaps just moving the end of Daylight Savings Time by just a day from the Sunday to Monday morning might have been enough to achieve the objective?


Anyway – thought I’d mention that 912475 – the Australian Windows DST patch for non-Exchange environments – was installed on all my PCs (5 physical – XP x64, WS2003, XP 32-bit x2, MCE, and a virtual WS2003), but the Media Centre ticked back over to Standard Time a week early anyway.


There have been some reports of others finding the same thing – doing a quick trawl of the net, it looks like this problem is cropping up a bit, but doesn’t seem to affect the majority of computers.


It looks like the probable cause is that the time zone information stored under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation might not have refreshed for some reason when the patch was installed.


Going into the Time Zones tab of the Date and Time Control Panel and re-selecting the current Time Zone is enough to refresh that registry key and right the clock (ie, I skipped a step from those listed by someone else reporting the problem here – it might even be enough simply to hit the Time Zones tab and OK), and it seems to work consistently, so if you’ve installed the update and have a recalcitrant clock, try that first. If you’re set to synchronize with an external time source other than the default time.windows.com, try changing that next.


I’ll be looking into this situation some more tomorrow; in the meantime, re-selection seems to work for everyone that’s installed the patch.


The other DST Update (909915) always required the user to pick a “Comm Games” time zone manually (though scripty options were provided).

Xbox 360 Night for the Aussie Contingent

Yes, after four months of waiting, the Xbox 360 is finally going to be available. (And there was much rejoicing.)


I’ll be lining up to get mine tonight, playing The Setup Game (aka Cable Conundrum), and then playing a lot into the early hours of the morning, when I’ll be yelled at for being so bloody inconsiderate and not pumicing the corns on her feet. Shudder.


To those that challenge me at PGR3: 1 w1ll 0wn j00. Also looking forward to some split-screen Burnout, and some GRAW. Mmm. GRAW.


Speaking of GRAW, “Spore” rhymes with GRAW, and I’m told this video is worth the hour. I might find out between 8pm and 12 tonight…


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-775656482294094003&q=spore


Only one thing remains to be said:



We who are about to buy salute you.

Messenger Beta Contact Grouping

I like contacts grouped in the “traditional” way:



  • displayed in groups

  • offline and mobile contacts grouped or hidden

  • Away contacts displayed inline, so that “locational memory” still applies (eg, I know that if a friend is online, they will always be in the same relative position)

I’ve installed Messenger beta 8.0.566 a couple of times, but playing with the view settings eventually gets this combination lost somewhere.


To restore my sanity, I’ve been editing a value in this registry key:


HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MSNMessenger\PerPassportSettings\(number)\GroupState


As the name implies, if you have a bunch of passports, it’s per-passport. There’s a DWORD called .FilterContactsBy, and the value 2 is the one I want, but the UI doesn’t seem to be able to set it in v.566. It’s been bugged; I assume it’ll be fixed in the next release.


I’m in sunny Melbourne (that’s pronounced Mel-burn by the way) at the moment, for the first time. It’s a good-looking city, with lots of crazy 80’s coloured shapes all over the place. Fun!

It’s an Origami for mi

Currently on couch, but perched in front of laptop.


Tried blogging via Community Server from hastily-borrowed i-mate Jasjar while reclined, but it didn’t pan out, and I don’t like the keyboard on it. I’ll let that post go.


So as long as someone manages to get a nice, semi-regular QWERTY keyboard (eg, shift, control and Esc keys) into a UMPC, I’m there.


When I can get a phone built into my watch, that’ll be me about done. Nice, ultraportable PC for roaming use, nice, fast PC for home gaming (or will the 360 cure him of his PC gaming addiction? Find out this season on Blog du Tristank), and no *^%_ phone to carry around.


* um, as long as they get back to cleaner designs. Clean is good. Looking like a piece of stereo equipment is a turnoff for me.

CoComment, eh? Phwoooaaaar, eh? Phwoooooaaaaaar, eh? Eh eh? Eh? (wink)

Right. Been busy. Forced myself to take 1/2 hour to do something other than type, whether it was play games or read feeds. Feeds won, so I’m now catching up on the 7387 unread items I have in RssBandit.


Jay mentioned coComment earlier, and it sounded like a good idea, so I’m trying it out. I have no idea whether it’s any good or not yet, but when the bookmarklet popped up the first time (shown), I found myself grinning like a madman. Wow. No, not wow, phwooar.


Now that’s a sexy UI for a bookmarklet.


Am I sick? Almost certainly. Do I need help? Possibly. Was it worth taking a screenshot? Yeah, definitely. I’m into… candid… photography. Nudge, nudge.


 


Speaking of UI, that’s Maxthon perched away in the background (I prefer the next-to-the-current-tab grouping approach to IE7’s “just add it to the end with the others, dear” approach). Maxthon didn’t let me add the bookmarklet to Favourites, and it instead added something that wasn’t the Javascript. Solution was simply to fire up IE, add the bookmarklet to favorites (sic) in that, and then reopen Maxthon to use it. If that didn’t *actually* work, I’ll update.


[Update] D’oh – cookie problems. So not yet.

Blog Chipolatas

So much to do, so little time. Moving RSS out of Outlook and into RssBandit means I spend less time reading my feeds each day, but my workload is high enough that I don’t usually get a chance to check it. Sigh.


Anyway, rather than talk about what I’ve been doing, I’d rather talk about what’s coming up and/or exciting!



Someone mentioned somewhere that PC gaming was on the decline, and this post was top of MSN Search for those keywords. Well, yes. I agree. And in my humble I-was-a-gamer-long-before-Microsoft opinion, it’s going to take more than putting Halo 2 out to fix it, no disrespect intended to the really-rather-good Halo 2. In the immortal-yet-somehow-butchered-by-me-anyway words of Denis Leary:



PC Gaming’s not dead, it’s frozen. And when they thaw it out, it’s going to be really mad.


So what would I like to see? A reason to get a real long-travel proportional joystick again! And things that just don’t work as well on consoles:




  • Flight Sims involving helicopters. DI’s Apache Longbow and Hind were just amazing at the time. Jane’s Apache was also good.


  • Another real Falcon game. Any flight sim would be good. F15 Strike Eagle 4 would be fine.


  • X online. Or something. Freelancer was close, but was let down by a boring travel mechanic.


  • Ultima 10. Don’t care. Just want it. Same with Wing Commander, the Mark Hamill version, please.


  • A Mechwarrior that returns to simulation, that doesn’t get the scale wrong (for eg, Mechwarrior 2 with virtual cockpit)


  • Another Deus Ex sequel, only not as small and spoon-fed. (Caaarn BioShock)


  • We haven’t had a really good Star Wars sim for years. Meaning, since TIE Fighter. Carn Lucasarts.


  • Syndicate 3! And no 3D this time, thanks

Ya know, stuff we haven’t seen for a good 10 years that was actually really good.


Meanwhile, I sit here, mouse doing laps of the screen, wondering what work to do next… No games to distract me makes Tristan a dull, haggard and ever-so-slightly* narky boy.