Archives for: "May 2005"

Longhorn Start Menu

Just the other day I came across Ryan Dawson's entry on his blog, he talks about the Start Menu and how it could be improved in Longhorn.

When I got my Tablet PC it really hit me, running at 1400x1050 resolution really made it hit home - the Start Menu needs to be more prominent. Coming across his entry got me thinking more. I was a huge fan of the Windows XP Start Menu, sure a lot of people hated it, but I loved the quick access it can give to programs and links to My Music etc. It was great. Yes OK Longhorn will be resolution independent if you want, so a tiny Start Menu won't be a problem, but I think we need something more. Here's the actual rough idea that Ryan sketched out:

Longhorn Start Menu concept

This is a great idea, rather then having a menu, you have a panel. Big enough so you can fit lots of important stuff in there that you'd like to see on a single key-press. You've got your typical links to My Music etc. But what about RSS feeds? How cool would that be being able to check your favourite feeds with a single key press and without having to launch your browser or your aggregator? Awesome.

Also a search box built right into it (and may be with 1st focus), wanna launch Notepad but don't fancy navigating through the program menus? Type 'Notepad' hit enter. Wanna set up a keystroke (remember those?) hit Start and then N and boom, there's Notepad. Sure you can do a lot of that with Windows Desktop Search. But it's not the same as having it all integrated into the OS and on Start "Menu".

There's so much you could do with this.

Where's my Pocket PC?

Well, since Microsoft have now launched Windows Mobile 5 (previously codenamed Magneto), I really can't buy a device which doesn't have it. I knew this was coming in this sort of time frame, which is why I had planned to get the XDA IIi in April, however it was out of stock - for about a month. Well done O2, you've just lost a sale.

I looked at the upcoming SPV C550 from Orange, however with Orange screwing around with not updating customers with the C500 (like Catherine) with Windows Media Player 10, I've decided against it. The C500 is stuck with version 9, which is really substandard on the mobile platform. The C550 has Media Player 10, but considering it's out after Windows Mobile 5, I just can't buy something that's out of date before it's released. Judging on Orange's past with updating things, I doubt it will ever have Windows Mobile 5. So I'll pass.

The Tablet PC I've just got helps a lot, it's really made me much more mobile and I can really get some work done on it. So that's no doubt killed the urgent need for a Pocket PC or Smartphone.

What's in the future? The HTC Universal looks absolutely gorgeous, should be out later this year (September/October is the word on the street, so I'll assume by the end of the year). Check this baby out:

HTC Universal
HTC Universal
HTC Universal
HTC Universal
HTC Universal

It's got WiFi like the XDA IIi (only 'b' come on we should be at 'g' now), a VGA screen - like some of the high-end Dells today, that's an insane DPI count, will be great for reading. Got a 520Mhz Xscale like the XDA IIi, but it's got 3G support and Windows Mobile 5. It also looks hot in black.

I've also got my eye on the Samsung SGH-i300 (in Bill's left hand, also shown the Universal), no word on if or when it will be availble in the UK. But it features a built in 3GB hard drive which is pretty uber.

HTC Universal and Samsung SGH-i300

Bringing more traffic to the forums

Well I've implemented my main idea for getting more people over to the forums. Now the Oblivion, Quake and DOOM sites have the 6 most recently active topics shown in their contents. I am planning to add the feature to the Xbox 360 site as well, I'm sure Wester will want it up for the Half-Life site too.

At the moment this is done with JavaScript, I am however planning on adding an RSS feed up at some point to the forums, and then pulling the data from that using PHP to get it handled server-side to help compatibility with clients with non-JavaScript enabled browsers.

It appears to be having the desired effect with 21 guests now looking over the boards.

Back to work soon

My two weeks holiday are nearly up. Out of the nine or ten things I had planned to do, I've done zero of them.

I've been trying to play Civilisation 3, Morrowind, Silent Hunter 3, and let's not forget Forza Motorsport, but somehow didn't manage to play them much either.

I've got a heap of e-mails in my inbox that need sorting out, not managed to even start those yet.

I need another two weeks off work.

Battlestar Galactica season 2

Well season 2 of Battlestar Galactica will be airing in the US in July, I can't find any date for the UK. :(

I'm getting sick of the abuse

I've been on the receiving end of a lot of abuse from Wester lately, he's trying my patience.

False information Wester has posted publicly as fact on the sites:

This also means that it will be mandatory to purchase new, recompiled versions of Xbox 1 titles in order for them to run on an Xbox 360, which is indeed a disappointment. And infact, Sony and Nintendo themselves have already confirmed that their next-generation gaming consoles (PlayStation 3 and The Revolution) will be perfectly backwards compatible with their older PlayStation 2 and GameCube titles. It's unfortunate to be true for both Microsoft fans and Microsoft themself, only time will tell.

The Xbox 360 GPU is based on the R520.

The Xbox 360 GPU is based on the R500.

Possible indications of insanity?

I think the Xbox 360 looks like an N64 controller.

New MTV Quake 4 mini-teaser-trailer-video

With all the Xbox 360 buzz roaming around the net, FilePlanet have thrown up a special Quake IV segment of the Xbox 360 MTV video wrapped up in a short, mini-teaser-trailer-video with never before seen, real-time gameplay featuring footage. Be sure to check it out!

I warned him a few months ago the quality of his posts was slipping a lot, he was repeating words, and double-enforcing obvious meanings (see above "mini-teaser-trailer-video with never before seen, real-time gameplay featuring footage"). He took it personally. Now he's been posting things that are simply untrue (see above "mandatory to purchase new, recompiled versions of Xbox 1 titles in order for them to run on an Xbox 360"), he takes my corrections as being personal. And he spews abuse back at me and everyone, including my girlfriend (see below) for no reason at all, and worse yet in public.

Is there some sort of known mental condition that explains this?

This is him snapping at Catherine:

god what hte hell is wrong with the gamespot server


people wanting 2 know about e3


I need bloody video stream feed


yeah well itll be like that for a few days


*rolls eyes*


your probably not the only person wanting it, so u shouldnt roll ur eyes


I can roll my eyes as much as I want thank you very fucking much don't tick me off


yeah well u know what ur not the only person who has problems in the bloody world u know


I'm bloody aware of that but you don't have to bitch and moan about me being pizt why don't you just go fuck off if you're gonna be so snappy and such a bitch like that if you don't give a fuck good for you, want a cookie? it doesn't matter to me

Sorry Wester you've got no excuse to talk to Catherine like that.

Xbox 360 more powerful then PS3


When you break down the numbers, Xbox 360 has provably more performance than PS3. Keep in mind that Sony has a track record of over promising and under delivering on technical performance. The truth is that both systems pack a lot of power for high definition games and entertainment.

However, hardware performance, while important, is only a third of the puzzle. Xbox 360 is a fusion of hardware, software and services. Without the software and services to power it, even the most powerful hardware becomes inconsequential. Xbox 360 games—by leveraging cutting-edge hardware, software, and services—will outperform the PlayStation 3.

Xbox 360 blows PS3 away...

...At Google.

Microsoft's new multimedia hub goes down a storm on Google with it being the top searched for query. Microsoft's main competitor - Darth Vader is way down in 10th place, while their other competitor Sony's PlayStation 3 is struggling in 3rd behind country singer Kenny Chesney.

Yup Sony have been at it

Xbox 360 Degrees:

It's now emerged that most of the demonstrations that Sony have been showing of the PlayStation 3 are fake. This won't strike anyone as being very surprising with Sony's past record (the PS2 announcement, lots of fancy demos and "Toy Story graphics in real-time" look at what we actually got).

Earlier Epic's Mark Rein had confirmed that only their Unreal 3 engine demo was being rendered on early PS3 hardware and a few other less then spectacular titles, it even emerged that the Fight Night demonstration that EA showed had been put together on an Xbox 360 and then ported over to the PS3 as Sony had been so late in delivering their development kits to EA, despite the advanced graphics chip the PS3 had it still suffered from slow down and aliasing.

The most astonishing demonstration was definitely the Killzone video - Guerrilla's Jan-Bart Van Beek finally let it slip that it was all pre-rendered.

Is the Killzone sequence a fair example of what people can expect from realtime gameplay on Playstation 3?

Jan-Bart: It's basically a representation of the look and feel of the game we're trying to make.

It represents what you're trying to do with the game? Well where's the actual game then? Stop showing us videos and show us the game.

While Microsoft have their own surprises:

On the Microsoft front, after several people came out speaking about the hardware their demonstrations were actually running on - not being anywhere near the final machine... Dual core 2Ghz CPU and a Radeon 9800 Pro (in comparison the PC I'm writing this on is about even) shocked a lot of people. Microsoft's Robbie Bach finally confirmed them to be true, stating that they were only using the alpha development kits and that the final kits won't be ready until about July.

AnandTech found out more.

The specs

  Xbox 360 PS3 PC
Processors 3 1 1
Core architecture PowerPC PowerPC P4 Prescott EE
Clock frequency 3.2Ghz 3.2Ghz 3.2Ghz
Concurrent threads 6 8 2
Vector units 3 8 0
Cache 1MB 512KB 1MB
Overall FLOPs 1 Tflops 218 Gflops 3 Gflops

Advantage Xbox.

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