Apparently there is some big horse race on today. Its the one where lots of people who don't follow the horse racing, follow the horse racing. The one where amateurs become experts, losers become winners, everyone gets horribly drunk, and ladies wear silly hats. Its that day when lots of people finish work early or just plain don't bother going in the first place. Yes, that’s right, its Melbourne Cup Day. For those who plan on having a flutter or perhaps going along for the show, good luck to you all. Sadly, I plan on sleeping through the whole event and then getting up late in the afternoon and heading to work, sober.
We posted news some months ago about a forum member, Dark_Greg, who is making a Star Wars Fan Film. A friend of mine and I are currently working on a Star Wars fan film. We've done some preliminary screen testing, built some basic sabre props and are in the middle of sourcing materials for costumes etc. The story is coming along quite nicely, and fits somewhere in the Star Wars universe around the time before the mandalorian wars. Well, things are moving along and they are in need of some actors for spoken roles, two female and one male. Anyone interested can drop a line in this thread or contact Dark_Greg via Private Message in the forums. May the force be with you!
Credit cards, RFID tags and Tank Tops. These things are talked about in a brief article over on PCMech. They wonder if we are going to need to install a firewall to protect our bodies!
The folks at Guru3D have recently updated their nVidia overclocking tool, nVHardPage. "With this tweak utility you can enable/disable hidden features in nVidia control panel, tweak nVidia Direct3D and OpenGL settings and overclock your nVidia display adapter."
Photography fans will have heard about HDR or High Dynamic Range. Its a way of getting more out of the available light than your digital camera would usually be able to capture. It is also something being used in other areas of video and graphics including computer games. CoolTechZone have a little beginners guide to HDR.
HardwareZone have taken a long hard look at the ATI Radeon X1000 series of graphics cards including the Radeon X1300, X1600 and X1800. A very good read, all 17 pages of it, for those who have been waiting for these cards to hit the market. Full article here.
Some pictures, on The Inquirer, of a wafer of Playstation 3 CPUs as well a close-up of the rear of a finished CPU. Check them out here.
In an article titled Second-class Intel to trail AMD for years, The Register claim that "Where Intel had a very real shot at closing the gap with AMD in just 18 months on previous roadmaps, it now looks more likely to trail for close to four years."
Forum member Statts found this link. Its the fastest armoured 4WD in the world, and was built from the ground up to be the most capable non-military armoured luxury vehicle in the world. Nice!
Telstra is offering free online coverage of tomorrow's Melbourne Cup, in case you can't get to a TV. You'll need to register here. The offer is only available to people who have broadband connections, are physically located in Australia and are over 18 years of age.
If you're confused by all the video card product names lately, this guide on Xbit should help. Our information guide will give you very clear idea of the major technical differences between the cards and will lead you through all the tricky names and markings that are currently circulating in the market.
BigBruin have part 2 of their HTPC primer posted. Some of these aspects include component speed, cooling, noise, style, and the user interface.
Koopz sent word that Opera now has "voice technology". This page has more details. Basically, you can now select an article, hit the 'V' key and Opera will literally read it to you. Having great fun reading the ocau forums with this atm :D
F.E.A.R. Game Review
(link) Sunday, 30-October-2005 12:23:03 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Owen has written what I think is our first game review here on OCAU. He's shared his thoughts and a few screenshots from Monolith's new F.E.A.R. first-person shooter:
If the Daylight Savings change has made your forum time incorrect (as usual), update your settings in UserCP -> Edit Options to whichever setting makes it correct. For example I had to set it to "DST Correction Always On".
We don't yet have details of what is updated in this version - presumably support and comparison benchmarks for the latest CPUs and chipsets. We'll update the mirror page with full info when we receive it.
PCStats have posted an article all about Windows Vista, HDCP and Digital Rights Management. "Microsoft, as you might imagine, intends to support HD DVD and video on all its current operating systems, especially the upcoming Windows Vista. To this end, the company is building support for HDCP into the operating system as part of its suite of DRM (Digital Rights Management) abilities called Output Content Protection Management (OCPM)."
If you happen to own a Radeon'R' X1800 XT you might want to try overclocking it, since that’s what Overclockers Australia is all about. If you're lucky you could get it to break the 1Ghz barrier with a little help from some liquid nitrogen. Thanks Biel_Tann.
For the Firefox users, PC Mechanic have reviewed and tested hundreds of Firefox Extension. They present The Best for your browsing pleasure.
Since Xmas isn't very far away it might be time to start thinking about presents for the tech-minded person in your life. AMDBoard have a list of the Accessories Your Notebook Can't Live Without. Anyone want to give me a Notebook for Xmas?
The Tech Zone have a short post about what to takes to be a game developer, written by several guys who used to develop games for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.
Design Technica wonder about the Future of Mobile Phones. They're talking about the USA but most of the tech is here in Australia already. A phone used to be something you talk into. These days it seems you can and do just about everything else with them, with very little talking.
Hexus Gaming have reviewed Serious Sam 2 for the gaming crowd. For some reason, I thought Serious Sam was a game about a little guy who ran around on a beach resort cavorting with bikini clad women and getting drunk!
The GeForce 6800GT and Radeon X800XL are effectively mainstream cards with the availability of GeForce 7800 and Radeon X1800 series. Thankfully, the prices are moving downward or they're replaced by a much cheaper card. Tech-Hounds take a long hard look at these cards and what they have to offer gamers.
Several news items kindly sent in by Furfle:
Microsoft have been told off by a Washington Judge after they tried to implement a policy which would force manufacturers to tether their MP3 players to Microsoft's music player software, Windows Media Player.
Another "Microsoft" article, this time they are patching the Xbox 360 system because its been causing some problems. Better sooner than later.
Broadband uptake in Australia has increased over the last year but according to official figures, we still lag behind.
Do we need another Ebay-like service? Google seem to be making moves towards the online auction arena. Is there nothing they don't want to have a go at?
Don't forget, if you come across something newsworthy in your travels, then drop us a line at email@example.com and remember to include a link to the page/item etc ...
Corsair announced the immediate availability of DDR1 XMS-4000 2GB solutions. Available in both 1GB single and 2GB kit packages, the XMS-4000PT is guaranteed to run at 500MHz at 3-4-4-8-1T.Altech Computers, who distribute Corsair memory in Australia, sent over this 32KB PDF with more info.
Gigabyte have a new R0HS-compliant i945P motherboard. As the first Green Computing motherboard from GIGABYTE, the GA-8I945P-G-RH complies with the European Union’s Restriction of use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive that limits the use of lead, mercury, cadmium and other hazardous substances in electronic products. More info in a 485KB DOC here.
Gigabyte also announced their 2nd generation Silent-Pipe cooling system for their video cards. This is achieved through a unique design that draws cool air in through a new proprietary front-flow thermal module to remove heat from the heat sink on the VGA card. With the improved natural airflow generated by GIGABYTE Silent-Pipe II technology, even hardcore 3D processing applications can run smoothly and reliably with minimal noise from high-speed VGA card cooling fans. More info in a 685KB DOC here.
Noctua, an Austrian (not Australian :) ) company, has some new large CPU coolers. Thanks to the enormous surface area of more than 5000cm² (NH-U12) and 3800cm² (NH-U9) as well as the application of large 120mm (NH-U12) and 92mm (NH-U9) fans, NH-U coolers are especially suitable for all fields of application where maximum performance at minimum noise levels is required. They don't seem all that different to ones we've seen already.. anyway, more info here.
NVIDIA and ASUS unveiled the latest in their A6 Notebook Series. The two all new notebooks are the world’s first launched designs to incorporate the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 mobile graphics processing unit (GPU). More info here.
Western Digital have a new sales promotion in Australia, offering a free wireless optical mouse with their large hard drives. You've probably seen the banners etc on OCAU, but they only went to an "info coming soon" page at first. The full info is now in a 1MB image file on this page.
VIA have a new chipset with integrated graphics. Enabling support for DirectX 9.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0 for high quality video processing, the VIA K8M890 also boasts the Chromotion Video Display Engine for enhanced visual output, extensive display support including all HDTV output formats up to 1920x1080p, advanced 2D/3D graphics capabilities, comprehensive de-interlace support and DuoView™ for enhanced productivity and presentation capabilities. More info here.
Sciby put together a pretty funny movie for his Uni degree about some "behind the scenes" action at OCAU. It's not going to win him any Oscars, but it definitely has its moments. Enjoy!
Click the appropriate pic for the small (16MB) or large (53MB) version. Yes, they're in .mov format, deal with it. I found the Quicktime Alternative codec works well in media player, if you don't want to use the proper Quicktime player.
First up today, something for the Quake 4 players. The games console and .cfg file have a host of tweaks and tricks ready for the gamer to explore. Viperlair outline some of the basics you should know. Also, over on UberWoot you can find a gallery of over 750 screenshots which take you through the entire game. For those who don't want to spoil the experience, Ignore This Link!
On TecCentral you can find a roundup of Five High-End CPU Coolers including the Aerocool HT-102, Aerocool GT-1000, Thermaltake Sonic Tower, Thermaltake Big Typhoon and Scythe Ninja. The article is machine translated from German but the results are easy to follow, even if the rest of the artikle isn't.
With digital cameras, MP3 players, USB memory keys and Flash cards everywhere, many people will find they need to recover data from a corrupt flash device at some time. PCStats have a beginners How-To guide to Flash Recovery and Protection. Not a bad read.
Do we need another CPU maker joining the war? Is there a need for another type of CPU? Perhaps this company will find a place for their 65nm low-power dual-core system-on-a-chip.
Most people are by now aware that the Apple iTunes store has opened in Australia, and doing great business from what I hear. We get the music legally, Apple and the recording companies make a profit and the artists get ... well, they get the same 8c to 14c per song sold, or so this guy says. Perhaps if they're selling more songs then it's a good thing? I don't really know!
What separates a professional digital camera from a non-professional one? There was a discussion recently in our Photography Forum asking this very question. Over on OCModShop you can read another persons view in this brief article.
FiringSquad have posted an interview with ATI's AVIVO product manager Godfrey Cheng. The questions they ask are not typical PR questions and they include a sidebar commentary on the responses.
For some time now, users of various P2P software have been finding themselves in court over their file sharing practices. This time it's a BitTorrent user who has had to face the Judge, and lost. Also, Neill found an article on Mindjack which ponders the future of TV programs after taking into account the amount of Piracy going on.
iPods now do the video thing, but how do you get the video onto your iPod? Ars Technica have posted a nice Getting video onto your iPod article. Suitable for both Windows and Mac OSX. There's more info on this topic here in our Wiki.
If you are a Photochopper, Photoshopper, or just like to play with Adobe® Photoshop®, then just keep in mind that Trademarks are not verbs OK! Thanks for the link David.
And just for fun, Katilyst sent this link to an article on /. Microwave Surveillance. Check the link at the end.
Wednesday Night Reviews
(link) Wednesday, 26-October-2005 11:45:27 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A zillion people sent word that Apple's iTunes Australia store is now online, with over a million songs available, at $1.69 AUD each. More info here and there's an iTunes Oz FAQ here on CNet.
Feartec sent in a reminder for people to shut down and disconnect their PC's, routers, webcams, modems etc during storms. Many homes and business in Tamworth have awoken today with dead Servers, PC's and hardware from last nights storms (photos in this thread).
The recent Space Elevator Games went off without any major breakthroughs, but with much promise for the future. Meanwhile, the Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity are still going strong.
Intel has shuffled its future high-end CPU roadmap, with Itanium 2 delayed due to "quality issues" and the Reidland Xeon MP platform scrapped in favour of a platform named Caneland. Basically a bunch of stuff way off in the future is now different stuff, and will no doubt be changed again several times by then.
A Californian company claims its future CPUs will be far more power efficient than current offerings. Over three years, a 4,000-node cluster of PWRficient-based servers might consume $360,000 in electricity--an equivalent bank of Xeons and Opterons would chew up $3 million and $3.5 million worth of electricity, respectively, P.A. Semi claims. Some more info on RealWorldTech.
Ars Technica have a rundown of the second beta version of the new Microsoft Command Shell (MSH). "Unlike Linux command-line utilities, which contain their own argument parsers and output format mechanisms, MSH commands (called Cmdlets) all inherit a single base class, which ensures that all commands expose the same methods, parse arguments the same way, and output data with the same standard MSH output framework." This could be handy. At times I still drop to the command prompt to write batch files and do some basic file handling.
ExploitStation have a rather detailed yet concise review of five anti-spyware tools including SpywareBlaster, Spybot Search & Destroy, Ad-Aware and others. Quite a handy guide if you need one, and who doesn't! Thanks Richard.
GamersHell have posted part 1 of an article titled Securing Your Computer. They say It's a bit 'hardcore', it's not the typical 'Download this app, click accept accept and you're secure!' kind of thing.
Beyond3D take a look at the Radeon R520 GPU by comparing two cards, namely, the Radeon X1800 XT and XL. They look for things like the image quality options they enabled, their performances and where their improvements are.
Fans of the new game FEAR can find a Tweak Guide over at TweakGuides. "The guide includes screenshot comparisons of some of the harder-to-spot setting differences, more detailed setting descriptions, all the working advanced tweaks, and a ton of links to useful resources for troubleshooting FEAR problems."
Another voice in the Blu-ray Vs HD-DVD war today comes from a company called Forrester Research who believe "the Sony-led format will indeed succeed in replacing the DVD as the next-generation disk." They go on to say that "it's possible that physical media will be replaced by digital media and that none of this bickering over a new format will even matter in the end." Read the rest on Business Week.
Some owners and users of the iPod Nano are not happy. Following complaints from iPod Nano users about cracked and scratched screens it seems a class action has been filed against Apple. "The lawsuit alleges that Apple launched the music player despite knowing its design would limit its life."
Someone has accidentally discovered how to make a small and efficient White LED light. Shining twice as bright as a 60watt light globe and lasting 50 time longer, I'd say these guys have a very bright future.
Finally, Nick tells us that Linux can now milk cows. It even cleans the cow’s undercarriage!
From Yuye: Relating to what I've sent last time, a new firefox-based browser called flock was released pretty recently. Pretty buggy still but general functionality is there. It integrates flickr/blogging/rss aggregation/del.icio.us and similar stuff. Really neat being able to drag and drop content for blogging, whilst using flickr photos on one platform. There's a review of flock here on WindowsAtoZ, too.
From Ambush: The Antikythera mechanism is the oldest known surviving geared mechanism, and is believed to be an early example of an analogue computer. It's been reconstructed. Economist Article related to the unveiling of the reconstruction here, Wikipedia entry here.
NGOHW have uncovered a possible future 7800 GS product from NVIDIA, mentioned in the drivers.
From Jason: A free version of VMware has been released which will allow the operation of VMWare images created using other VMWare products (ESX / GSX etc). There some restrictions however, like the inability to create images & to add hardware. The vmware site has been quite congested since this announcement.
Apple updated a few of their products earlier this week, thanks eroda. Most notable is a quad-core (dual dual-core) Power Mac G5. There's some comments on this new beast here in our SMP & Clustering Forum.
LegionHW cover memory bandwidth and capacities. This article looks at frame rate gains and the load time improvements that can be received when increasing the memory capacity.
Bryson noticed a rumour that iTunes will hit Oz soon.. again. Despite speculation iTunes would go live last October and then in May this year, two major record labels stalled the launch by refusing to sign licensing agreements allowing the Apple megastore to sell their artists' songs.
Bern sent in a comparison between the new "Paxville" dual core Xeon and Opteron CPUs on GamePC. There's some comments in our Intel Hardware forum here.
Meanwhile Mammal spotted that AMD topped Intel in a full month of desktop processor sales, for the first time recently. Ben says there's a price drop on the way from them soon, too.
CoolTechZone have some info on the SDGE multiple video card technology from ECS. The basic concept behind SDGE is to combine the functionalities of NVIDIA’s SLI and ATI’s Crossfire technologies to come up with an in-between solution.
Apparently the popular free email service Gmail will be renamed in the UK, due to a naming dispute, thanks Rusti.
The big news for the day, or so many people have told me, is that Quake 4 has been released. The official site is full of flash and video but the trailers look cool. Pic0o has posted a heap of screenshots for people to check out. Also, there is lots of info over at ETG. Thanks to everyone who sent in the links.
Several people sent word that your printer might be spying on you. Actually, this isn't a new thing and has been used in commercial printers for some time, but how do we know what information is revealed and who has access to it? Thanks guys.
Hardware Secrets have an article about the internal workings of the Pentium 4 CPU. Things like pipelines, cache and fetch, allocators and decoders ... oh my!
Is VoIP the latest hype or is it really the way of the future? That’s the question asked in this article over at Red & Blackness.
BigBruin have a PC TV Tuner primer for those in the market for a Tuner Card. Its a bit brief but covers most of the basics.
Quantum Computing. The idea has been thrown about a bit for some years now but the reality of it is quite a way off. The Techzone ponder the theory and practical aspects of Quantum Computing.
Beyond3D have interviewed Nicklas Renqvist, one of the longest serving members of Futuremark, and questions him about their 3DMark software and other 3D stuff.
Eroda sent this in. It's Muglets! A nice way to get your face spread around on the Internet. Thanks Eroda.
I think this idea is great. Have a look and read of The Bubble Project. Real social commentary!
It's been a quiet week from me, as I've been on my annual pilgrimage to Philip Island for the MotoGP. Thanks to aftahours and Mred32 for keeping the news flowing while I was away. Many reviews on the way, stay tuned..
Cheating in Multi-Player Games
(link) Monday, 17-October-2005 08:00:08 (GMT +10) - by Mred32
Do you cheat in online games? Does anybody? Well, I guess the answer to the second one is yes. Exploits, bugs, wall hacks, headshot hacks and the like are prevalent in the online gaming arena and game makers have been doing some rather long yards in an attempt to stamp it out. Things like Punk Buster and SecurePlay have been used to good effect as well as other file verification techniques like Valve Software’s Steam. Yet, the cheating still continues. To some people its little more than a case of If you can get away with it, then fine but for others its the ruination of a game. Wikipedia has a few things to say about game cheating and there are plenty of How-to-Cheat web sites as well as the How-to-stop-the-Cheats sites.
Some people become so frustrated with the amount of cheating that they will stop playing a favourite game altogether. While Counter Strike come to mind, there are plenty of other games which have suffered the same fate. They become known more for the amount of cheating than for the great game they could have been. Sometimes people say they can justify their cheating with comments like ...it adds to the game experience when the enemy can shoot through walls. Then there are cases of people being so good at a game without cheating, that they end up being booted because nobody will believe they are not cheating! It seems the Internet is full of people who are happy to ruin the online experience for others.
Many people have suggested to me that it is the fault of game makers not making hack-proof games, yet, in the years since computers have been used I am yet to see a hack-proof operating system let alone a game. Experienced players know that cheating exists and they will often simply move to another server, but the new players will soon pick up on what’s going on and often just give the game away. For my part the bottom line is that the game isn't supposed to be played that way, and it gives people an unfair advantage over other players who paid their money to buy a game.
So where does the real problem lie. Is it really with the cheaters? Is it something we just have to accept and live with? ... or is it the fault of the game makers who need to tighten up the game code? We have a poll running in this forum thread in our games forum. Feel free to have your say!
The Inquirer tells us that AMD are getting set to drop the price of it's Opteron Range in the near future. Prices are set to drop at the end of the month.
On The Tech Report, an article all about AMD's future plans for CPU technology including the direction they plan to head in 2006 and beyond. "We still didn't get a roadmap update with product code names and target dates, but we did get a sense of what features AMD is planning to build into its CPUs in the coming months and years." Read it here.
Do you use Instant Messaging? Does it annoy you when the person you want to chat to happen to use a different IM network? The Tech Zone have an article all about it and what we can do to improve things. Also, with the VoIP market booming at the moment, maybe that is the better way to go? Ebay recently bought Skype who now see Microsoft as their rival.
Also on The Tech Zone, what makes a gamer A Gamer? Is it the social interaction or maybe the competition? Perhaps, like me, you just play games because its fun?
Hardware Secrets recently went on a tour of the Kingston Memory Factory in Fountain Valley USA. Click the link and take the tour yourself.
XYZ Computing have posted an interview with Tony Bove. Who is Tony Bove you ask? He's the guy who is just about to release a book titled "Just Say No to Microsoft". "With this book Bove intends to help readers rid Microsoft from their life- this is easier said that done, but it is certainly possible."
Hewlett-Packard have recently recalled 135,000 battery packs sold with notebooks shipped around the world from March 2004 to May 2005 after claims they were prone to overheating and catching fire. Read more here.
PENIS enlargement. All-natural Viagra. Small Cap investments. Sick of spammers filling up your inbox? Well, you can blame the Yanks. According to this article Australians receive more than 3 times more spam from the US than from any other source. Only three times?
Tweaktown have had a look at the new Catalyst 5.10 drivers that were released recently for users of Radeon graphics cards, and compare these drivers to the previous release Catalyst 5.9 to see what has changed.
Firing Squad have posted an interesting article titled Digital SLR vs All-in-One Point-and-Shoot. Alan Dang from FiringSquad.com tests that statement by comparing two 8 megapixel digital cameras: a $600 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 point-and-shoot versus a $1400 Canon EOS-20D backed by over $4000 worth of lenses and accessories. What are the cameras capable of? When does equipment become the limiting factor? It doesn't matter if you think you know the outcome, or even if your budget doesn't come close to this price range. This is an article for anyone interested in digital photography.
It's probably a bit late now, but ATI have announced that they have made a tool which they claim improves scores in Doom3 when antialiasing is enabled. Read more here, on Hexus.
The guys at ThinkComputers wonder why they bought an Xp64 CPU when there just aren't many drivers for it yet. Will Windows Xp64 support happen?
Selecting a good LCD screen is not always a simple matter, depending on what use you plan on putting it to. For gaming at least, there are a few things to consider. The TechZone tell us how to select an LCD for gaming.
Fans of the Lionhead Studios game Black and White will be happy to know that Black and White 2 is about to hit the shop shelves. I really like B&W and spent many hours trying to teach my creature to do what I wanted it to do. Its one of those games which are a bit hard to categorize as its not a true RTS, yet it doesn't really fit the classic RPG style either. Trusted Reviews have had a look at the game and they tell us what they think.
Microsoft and Yahoo are going to link their IM platforms so that the users of each network can talk to each other. I wonder if this is in response to Google's release of Google Talk?
Intel have released a dual-core Xeon CPU in what some are calling an attempt to close the server market gap with AMD. The CPU, code-named Paxville, will run at 2.80Ghz.
AIVAS got a giggle out of Google when he typed the word Failure in the search box and hit the "I Feel Lucky" button. You could try it on our own Aggle search site also. It comes up as the first link :)
Trusted Reviews has some X05 coverage posted up on their site. X05: A disused gasworks in the heart of Amsterdam, several hundred of the European games industry’s finest, and an early chance to get my hands on some of the Xbox 360’s most exciting launch games. Microsoft wants to turn Xbox 360 into the world’s number 1 console, and to do it has over 200 games on the way.
SFFTech has posted up an article titled DIY Notebooks: The Next Enthusiast Conquest. This article takes a look at the rise of the Notebook and the eventual emergence of DIY Notebooks. The article focuses on Small Form Factor manufacturers and how this concept may influence their direction.
Once again Rojak Pot have updated their BIOS Optimization Guide to 8.4.2. Check it out here.
Apparently the Chaos Cloud that was mentioned earlier this week was indeed a hoax. Thanks to the few hundred people that sent that in. =P
With all the different choices these days when it comes to purchasing a new graphics card, it can be hard to choose what to buy. Rbmods have made things a bit easier with their guide that they just posted up. Check it out here.
We have the CPU and the GPU, but do we really need a PPU? The Physics Processing Unit is a separate processor specifically for games which will handle all the physics and interaction in 3D games. You can read a bit more about it here and also read an interview with one of the creators of the idea.
eCoustics have a short Q&A all about Home Theatre Systems. Some common facts and fallacies about home theater, stereo and video. While you're there, they have an article about placing your surround speakers.
Asus have nearly completed their dual-7800 GT card featuring not one but two 7800GT cores. PC Perspective have some photos of the card in pre-production, but not a lot of info about it yet. Nice!
The Tech Zone have posted the story of The First Internet Worm. "Morris was a 23-year-old graduate student at Cornell University in 1988 when he wrote the first Internet worm in 99 lines of C code."
On the Doom front, the Doom movie is set for release on the 21st of October. They have an official site now. This could be good if its well executed. Sadly though, many of these type of spin offs aren't. On the Quake front, Whispy tells us that Quake 4 is almost ready to ship. Check out www.quake4game.com for all the info and screenshots.
Microsoft last week held their launch for the Xbox 360 in Amsterdam. Bit-Tech have a collection of photos and screenshots and other info from the event.
The folks at T-Break had a chat to David "Tabasco" Nalasco from ATI during their R520 launch in Ibiza and discussed the past, present and future of CrossFire. Have a read of it here.
MP3 players come in all shapes and sizes, configurations and prices. I don't have an MP3 player but I might have to think about it now that these are available. Actually, I think I'll give it a miss. They're ugly with all those diamonds on them and its at least $10,000 over priced.
Nick sent this one in to us. Its a month old but a story about a "chaos cloud". Astronomers have detected a mysterious mass they've dubbed a "chaos cloud" that dissolves everything in its path, including comets, asteroids, planets and entire stars. Very interesting stuff, except for the part which says its heading right for us, and will get here in 2014. I guess I should go cash in my super then?
Saturday Night Reviews
(link) Saturday, 8-October-2005 13:25:10 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NSW RFS Open Day - Sat 8th Oct 2005 (tomorrow)
(link) Friday, 7-October-2005 07:23:04 (GMT +10) - by Agg
From Rodgrech, one of our resident fireys: More than 400 Rural Fire Brigade Stations across NSW will open their doors to the public on Saturday, 8 October 2005 in the second annual RFS state-wide Open Day.
The RFS Open Day will be a great opportunity for communities around the state to meet their local volunteers, look through brigade stations and inspect fire tankers and equipment.
This is the second annual state-wide RFS Open Day. It aims to increase the profile of RFS volunteers, what they do and how they do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.
It is also an excellent time for people to learn more about what they can do to protect their home and property in the event of fire.
The RFS Open Day would not be possible without the support of Chubb, who have helped us provide resources to all of the participating brigades.
Chubb is proud to be the official sponsor of the 2005 RFS Open Day. Chubb’s long relationship with the RFS reflects its commitment to providing fire and security protection for local communities, and its support for the volunteers who serve these communities.
Brigades have organised a range of activities and demonstrations that will be of interest to all the family and everyone is invited to come along.
Lots of people let us know that the Australian High Court has ruled in favour of Playstation modchips. The legalities are fairly specific though, so I doubt we'll suddenly see a modchip-friendly legal environment in Oz. Not to mention what the Free Trade Agreement with the US will do to the copyright situation here. Anyway, there's a thread discussing this issue here.
Lots of people also sent in this link to some Uni of QLD guys, OCAU members, trying to get scurvy to delay their exams. There's a large thread here in our Pub forum about it.
EverythingUSB have an article about an official Portable USB Apps Platform called U3. Co-developed by SanDisk and M-Systems, the open-standard U3 platform allows users to take their applications, not just data, with them to any USB-equipped Windows PC and to launch them with as little as two clicks.
I linked this review in the previous post, but it's worth another look. The Gigabyte i-RAM SATA RAMdrive is coming closer to commercial availability.. check out how it spanks a Raptor in the benchmarks.
`X' wants the world to know that the October Iron Cookoff is underway in our Geek Food forum, with the theme being "beans". Pardon me.
TheTechZone have an article (buried in the ads) about how you may be using Linux without realising. By browsing OCAU, for example. :)
From Dinuc: Busy time at the moment for the photography forum, first up we have the Voting for the September Iron photographer. Then there is the October Iron Photographer theme, which is "Retro". There are already some good entries in. And finally we have a very interesting debate over whether the December challenge should be shot using disposable cameras. This is intended to level the playing field between those with point and shoot cameras and the digital SLR's. Can you give up your digital?
OCAU has a range of merchandise available. There's things to wear, things to drink out of and things to stick to other things - all with free shipping. As Summer approaches, so does the risk of warm beer and frozen hands. Fear not! An OCAU stubby holder can save the day:
ATI Radeon X1000 Released
(link) Wednesday, 5-October-2005 15:51:31 (GMT +10) - by Agg
ATI have released their Radeon X1000 series of video cards. We've been waiting quite a while to see ATI's response to NVIDIA's 7800 series. Will this launch put them back on top? More importantly, will these products actually be hitting the shelves anytime soon?
Competitive gamers and enthusiasts looking for the absolute best will want the Radeon® X1800 -- the fastest graphics processor on the planet. For those getting started in gaming or who are more interested in editing photos and videos, the Radeon® X1600 delivers the best image quality available, for high-fidelity editing and playback. For those who want all of the features and capabilities of the Radeon X1800 and Radeon X1600 but who are on a budget, the Radeon® X1300 will meet their needs for as low as US $79.
It's been a while since I've updated our Content Archive, and it's been fairly quiet in the meantime. However there's a few hundred articles and reviews in there and it's been difficult to update and navigate for a long time. So, I've now moved it into the Wiki which will make things easier. I'll only be updating that version from now on.
I've added these recent articles to the archive - check them out if you missed them the first time around:
Congratulations to Australians Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren, who were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine yesterday, for their work on the cause of stomach ulcers. GPs now routinely treat ulcer sufferers with antibiotics and this once-intractable ailment is entirely curable. There's an interview with them here.
DriverHeaven meanwhile have an interview with NVIDIA. I think we as a company have changed the way in which we bring a product to market. The day we launched the 7800 GTX and the GT, it was possible to buy it online in volume from all the major Etail stores (nearly 40), with boards available from all our partners.
TweakTown compared a couple of X800GT cards from HIS and PowerColor.
On Phoronix: VDrift, the cross-platform open-source driving simulator designed for drift racing, recently released its 2005-10-02 source that now has initial network multi-player support, ghost car relay option, SCans build system, and terrain detail options. Screenshots here, more info and downloads here.
The next-gen DVD war took another turn recently with a major movie studio deciding that it will support both formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. With both formats set to hit the shelves early in the new year it’s getting to the stage were the major content providers are making firm decisions as to which way they will go.
Blu-Ray is being pushed by Sony Corp while HD-DVD is the work of Toshiba Corp. Blu-Ray currently has the support of Walt Disney, Sony Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, game maker Electronic Arts, computer suppliers Dell, HP and Apple Computer, and the Sony PlayStation 3 will carry a Blu-Ray drive. On the hardware suppliers side Blu-Ray also has LG Electronics, Pioneer, Sharp, Philips and Panasonic. Meanwhile, HD-DVD has the support of Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. HD-DVD will also be supported by chip maker Intel Corp and software giant Microsoft Corp. With these last two on board this provides a support base which could add some leverage to the Toshiba camp. Paramount Pictures have stated that they will provide content on both formats.
Samsung claim they will provide drives for both formats and are even looking into the possibility of a dual format drive, which would dumb down the format war to a degree. While both formats use a blue laser to read and write to the disk, the single/dual layer capacities are 15GB and 30GB for HD-DVD and for Blu-ray, it's 25GB and 50GB. HD-DVD also offers backwards compatability with existing DVD disks, something Blu-Ray lacks, and I think this will be a major plus for many people. Neither format seems to offer any other real advantages or disadvantages except their capacity. While Microsoft claim the 50GB Blu-Ray disks are "nowhere in sight", Sony claim this is not the case and that 50GB disks will be available by mid 2006.
At this stage, the balance seems to be leaning towards Blu-Ray but will it stay that way? Will we, as the consumers, end up with more obsolete new hardware in our home? Which format will you choose or will you sit on the fence for a while? We have a poll running in this forum thread where you can have your say and see what others think.
Thetron sent in an interesting read about the details of converting your car to run on Hydrogen, and according to that article, we'll be seeing the technology being used on cars in the showroom in under 10 years from now.
Ambush let's us know of this intersting project: The ReactOS project is dedicated to making Free Software available to everyone by providing a ground-up implementation of a Microsoft Windows® XP compatible operating system. ReactOS aims to achieve complete binary compatibility with both applications and device drivers meant for NT and XP operating systems, by using a similar architecture and providing a complete and equivalent public interface.
XYZ Computing share their thoughts on the new Day of Defeat: Source, which was released just recently. Check out the article here.
PC Mechanic explores alternative options to Google's search engine, and also reveals sources of information that are not available in Google search.
Phoronix have alot of information posted about Ageia PhysX, and it's ability to support alternative operating systems, such as Linux.
Hardware Secrets takes us through a tour of Corsair's new factory in California, USA.
The TechZone updates us on the state of HDTV and the growth of HDTV in the Pacific Basin compared to the USA and Europe. Full article here.
Creativemods have their October Modder of the Month posted. I have to say that his profile is almost as impressive as his mods: I'm currently employed at Honeywell Inc. as a laser machinist, working with jet engine parts in the aerospace industry. I also attend high school... Crazy! He also owns his own business.
OCWizard have a play with an audiocassette deck for your PC. Full review of the BTO Plusdeck2 PC Cassette Deck here.
Tweakguides has their Tweak Guide for the Call of Duty 2 Demo posted. The purpose of this guide is to provide descriptions of the in-game settings, as well as a range of advanced tweaks including full details of the major command variables you can use in the console. However the best use of this guide is for those who want to see whether they can tweak the game to achieve a good level of image quality vs. performance on their machine, allowing you to work out whether you need to upgrade for the full retail version, or indeed whether it's even worth buying the game if it performs/looks poorly on your machine.
Finally, Davo_rulz found an interview with Bethesda, the company that acquired the Fallout 3 license.
Just a quick personal note: it was 5 years ago yesterday, the 1st of October 2000, that I left my corporate career to start working on OCAU full-time. Amazingly here I still am, five years later. So, a quick thanks to the sponsors for making it possible, and to all you guys for making it worthwhile. :)
We linked Alonso@Bistro's impressive custom tower case (on the monitor stand, remember?) a week or so ago.. he's now posted a thread in our modding worklogs forum which shows in great detail with many pics, how it all came together.
Wild gorillas have been observed using tools for the first time. "We have now seen tool use in all the great apes in the wild," he said.
ArsTechnica looked in more detail at why Microsoft chose HD DVD over Blu-Ray. There's more to the story, including the fact that HD DVD requires Managed Copy.
A few people sent word of MIT's plans for $100 laptops. The laptop can be powered either with an AC adapter or via a wind-up crank, which is stored in the housing of the laptop where the hinge is located.
LegitReviews meanwhile have pics and details on Aopen's Pandora, a mini-PC that looks like a Mac Mini. When we first heard of AOpen's upcoming Pandora small form factor system at Computex 2005, we thought that it was nothing more than a lawsuit waiting to happen.
DVHardware reckon ATI have shortened their warranties. ATI's products now only have one year of warranty, except the FireGL and FireMV family for workstations which is only lowered to three years.
From Tank: sometimes you just accidentally stumble across the weirdest stuff on the web.. like this or even this. what are these people thinking..
Simon sent in this interview with Dan of DansData fame. Speaking of which, he's got more letters. Acetone in your gasoline, mobile phone car unlocking, alleged antigravity, and a cavalcade of scumbags.
On a final hungover-from-Oktoberfest note, it's good to see technology being used for something useful for a change, thanks Darklord! A beer mat that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically asks for a refill has been created by thirsty researchers in Germany.
Bali Bombed Again
(link) Saturday, 1-October-2005 20:50:11 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Terror has struck again in Bali, with at least 25 killed in a series of bomb explosions earlier this weekend. More info here and there's a forum thread here.
Australians with loved ones in Bali have been urged to try to make direct contact with them, or to contact DFAT's emergency hotline on 1800 002 214.
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