April 30, 2004

Senate says No to Broadband Taxes

The U.S. Senate voted 93-3 to renew a four year ban on broadband access taxes. State governments are clamoring for new sources of revenue as dial-up and land-line phone taxes decline in addition to the tough economy. However politicians do not want to impede the move to broadband in any way, so for the next few years it looks like no taxes on DSL, cable modem, and Blackberries. Read

HDTV Buying Guide

Extremetech has an excellent buying guide for HDTVs. The article goes into minute detail of all the different display technologies and the pros and cons of each. Personally I think plasma is the way to go right now for the best value of image quality and screen real estate. However spending a few thousand on a TV isn't in my blood yet. Maybe I should donate some blood and plasma to build up the funds to buy a plasma. Hmmm. Read

DVD Burner Roundup

Anandtech has a review roundup of 8 DVD burners in the $100 range. It seems DVD burning hasn't really taken off recently, other than making DVD videos the storage capacity isn't really enough for today's multimedia backup needs. And how many people make DVD movies from their home PC anyway? Read

April 29, 2004

C64 Comes Back

Another one of those direct to TV joystick systems is going to be released, but this time based on the Commodore 64. It's going to come with 30 game classics and cost about $35. Not a bad system for the young beginner gamer. Read

April 27, 2004

Half-life 2 Late Summer?

According to the forums on Halflife2.net a German magazine has quoted Gabe Newell that they are planning for a release in the late summer. Gabe also admitted the delay had more to do with scheduling issues than the source code theft. I hope this doesn't turn out to be another Duke Nukem Forever. The video demos that are out are so amazing, but I remember feeling the same way watching the E3 DNF one few years ago. Read

Viewsonic VP201B 20" LCD Monitor Review

The first true competitor to our 2001FP is here. GamePC reviews Viewsonic's VP201B. Interestingly the Viewsonic has the same specifications as the 2001FP, 1600X1200 resolution and 16ms pixel response time. It is however a bit more expensive and probably won't get the 20-25% off sales that Dell does periodically.

X-box 2 Specs, Not!

Since today is a slow news day, I will post this rumor of X-box 2 specifications being leaked onto *cough* a Chinese message board. This certainly is false, but it's the rage among tech news sites today. It's worth a look to see what one fan imagined his dream X-box 2 would be. 3.5ghz CPU, 20-80GB HD, and 9.4GB DVD drive. Uh... I don't think so. Read

April 26, 2004

Korean Air Wi-Fi

Boeing announced that Korean Air will be the first airline to use its Wi-Fi in the air service starting in 2005. Prices are projected to be $9.95 for 30 minutes and $29.95 for longer flight. Frankly that seems to be too pricey. I predict like the hotel industry, someone will start offering it free to attract customers. Read

Painkiller Review

Firingsquad reviews Painkiller. Single player is fun, multi-player not so much. This game reminds me of the Serious Sam series, lots of fancy graphics and simple killing, not much complexity. Sometimes that is all a gamer is looking for however.

Everquest 2 Beta

Sony is taking applications for Everquest 2 beta. So for you fan boys who are addicted to Ever-crack, this is your chance to get a leg up on the next version of the most addictive online role player game in the world. Link

Digital Photo Drawbacks

Sunday Star Times writes about how digital photography has major archival drawbacks. First of all, people tend to not print out their photos. Consequently if consumers lose their data from a hard-drive crash, they lose out on all their memories. Moreover most printouts from color inkjets tend not to stand the test of time and CD-Rs don't seem to last either. Another drawback is the low resolution and poor quality of most digital photographs compared to 35mm film. Fifty years from now, all the pictures we take now are liable to be lost. Personally I'm worried most of losing all my data. I've been using CD-Rs to backup, but now with the recent tests that show CD-Rs don't last very long. I need to buy one of those backup hard-drives ASAP. Read [Via Engadget]

Jobs on Apple's Strategy

The New York Times looks into how Steve Jobs has changed Apple's strategy over the years. With the advent of iPod and opening their software to Windows, the future sure looks bright. I'm excited to see what Jobs has planned next in the world of consumer electronics. Althought it sounds like video ipod is not on the top of his list from this article. Read

Game Company Startup Retrospective

Brian Hook, one of the key contributors of iD Software's Quake games, wrote a fantastic retrospective on why his gaming company startup failed. For all you aspiring entreprenuers, this one is an eye opener that business isn't easy. The key lesson from this is to plan, plan, and plan. Moreover having a significant initial capital base is very important. Tom Warfield, a prominent shareware author, picks apart Hook's analysis in his blog entry. Both are good reads. Read - Read

April 25, 2004

Gaming While Drunk: EA goes Live? by Robert Keenan

Itís Sunday, and Iím enjoying my day off with a few spirited rounds of Pandora Tomorrow on Xbox LIVE and a refreshing Rum and Coke. Iíve been trying to get back into Xbox LIVE a little bit, it seems Iíll play constantly, and the not touch it again for a month or two before coming back. But the hot Merc. Vs. Spy action was just too much to pass up. Xbox LIVE is a great service, and according to new reports MS intends to get over a million people online before the end of the year with a great new pack (instead of Mechassault as a packin game theyíre going to begin to include Crimson Skies) and things are generally looking up for them. Now IGN is running a story that points to the picture getting a lot rosier. It seems EA games are FINALLY going to be given LIVE support. For most people that means only one thing, Madden on LIVE. EA has for some reason always kind of spurned the Xbox. Theyíre games appear on the PS2 with online support, and then none for the Xbox. Their games seem to look and perform a little bit better on the PS2 in spite of its technical limitations. Even the most level headed pundit put forth some tinfoil hat conspiracy theories of EA crippling their own games to get more sales for the PS2 versions. Iím not saying I believe that, but EA does clearly favor the PS2 for most of its business decisions. Theyíre also one of the few companies who can do exactly as they please. Despite the efforts of the ESPN franchise (made by Working Designs, devs for the excellent 2kX series of games that originally appeared on the Dreamcast) which many consider superior EA is pretty much the only name in sports. People donít want to play Football, they want to play Madden. They donít care about golf, but theyíre hot for the new Tiger title. These games do insane numbers at retail, and EA knows the kind of clout they have. Them going LIVE this year is a huge boost for both of them. No longer will people choose the ESPN game when they want Madden just because they want to play online. Also, people who choose consoles by where they can play Madden against friends will have another option, and for people with Xboxes thinking about getting LIVE this may be swift kick needed to get them off the fence. Sony always touts their huge sales numbers for their network adaptor but they lack a seroius killer app for it (Final Fantasy 11 is the closest thing to it, but it also requires the beefy investment to get both the game and the harddrive) and the more important thing is that people pay for LIVE, which means itís a powerful tool for MS to get back into the black with the Xbox. With the new LIVE features and more on the way its getting more tempting to a greater number of people. Madden is going to be icing on whatís shaping up to be quite a cake. -Written by Robert Keenan Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Comment on the discussion forum. [Discussion] [Back to the Front Page]

Google Email Interview

One of the founders of Google is interviewed about eWeek. Looks like they are going to add features like Pop3, IMAP support, and forwarding in due time. He expects the beta-test to last about 6 months as they incorporate feedback and new features. I personally think all the privacy issues are hog wash. I am waiting enthusiastically to get my own Gmail account. Read

HDTV Tivos Are Out

Tivo fans have been awaiting this day for years. The new HDTV capable Tivos have begun shipping and are sellling out. The device can hold 30 hours of HDTV content on a 250 gigabyte hard-drive with the best PVR user interface in the business. Initial pricing is a steep $999, but expect it to come down to $499 at least in the near future with DirectTV promotions. Initial impressions are positive, although people have differing opinions on picture quality for non-HDTV content. I think will be sticking to my 120 gigabyte for the time being. There simply isn't enough HDTV content to make it worthwhile for me. Read - Read Impressions

EA Signs on X-Box Live

IGN and a number of industry analysts are saying Electronic Arts and Microsoft have reached a deal on X-Box Live. Accordingly Electronic Arts will launch a number of sports games with the online capability this year. Battlefield 1942 is also an obvious choice. I wonder if BF1942 will have the same success as the PC version, it doesn't seem the X-box version of Counterstrike has caught on. Read

April 23, 2004

Nvidia Driver Issues

Driverheaven is taking issue with Nvidia's latest benchmarks citing image quality irregularities. Looks like the soap opera of benchmark spiking is not over. Read

Why the Music Industry Stinks

Designtechnica opines on why the music industry is missing the boat. Instead of suing their own customers and dreaming about the good old days in the 80's where they gouged pricing on CDs, they should be like a normal company when a product goes obselete. The writer recommends jumping full force in supporting DVD-Audio and SACD. I totally agree, if there was more software on the higher resolution formats; I would be first in line to buy more music. Read

April 22, 2004

CD-Rs Not Good for Archiving

PC Active, a Dutch personal computer magazine, ran a test and found that many CD-Rs start to come apart after only 2 years. Many CD-R companies brag that you can archive your data for 100 years or 1 million read cycles. This obviously is not the case according to this article. Companies suggest magnetic tape for true archiving for up to 30 years. I actually have most of my data archived on CD-Rs, so this report is scaring me. I need to pick up one of those one-touch backup hard-drives from Maxtor or Seagate. It's a bummer that they are pretty expensive vs. the cheap CD-Rs. Read

Amazon Does Jewelry

Amazon.com has opened a jewelry store citing the high profit margins in the industry where the average store makes of 45-50%. The company is aiming for a 13% margin and offering the rest to customer savings. They even plan to store their own inventory, a non-standard practive for the world's largest internet retailer. Blue Nile must be hating this. Read

April 21, 2004

Ambient Orb

Check out this Ambient Orb egg that wirelessly changes color depending on the weather forecast, the moves in the stock market, and a number of different information trends. Basically with one glance you can see how much the market is up or down by the color of the Orb or if there is a lot of pollen in the air in your area. Neat idea, don't know if it will be a huge success at $149 a piece though. Read

GamePC Home Theater PC Guide

GamePC has an excellent guide to building your own home theater PC. This is the latest rage among hardware ethusiasts who want a capable box that does PVR, DVD, CD, and mp3 jukebox all in one case. I haven't done this yet, since I recently got HDTV working. Although I know there are HDTV cards out there, it's more trouble than it's worth right now. Read

Ars Reviews AOL IM Clients

Ars-Technica has a good overview of the various AOL instant messenger clients and add-ons. He covers GAIM, Trillian, Miranda, and DeadAIM. I personally use DeadAIM myself and love the tab window feature. There is nothing that clutters the desktop more than a dozen chat windows. Read

April 20, 2004

Richest Man Profile

Fortune profiles the world's richest man, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. This quirky old man with over $50 billion in wealth takes the bus, flies coach, and drives a 10 year old Volvo. He's so frugal he once defended his cheapness by saying he rarely throws out plastic glasses anymore. If your're that rich, shouldn't you enjoy some of it? Read

PC Mag Reviews 14 MP3 Players

PC Magazine reviews 14 Mp3 players. As expected, Apples iPod Mini tops the list with its brilliant form factor and user interface. Read

Battlefield 2 Q&A

Gamespy has a Q&A with Electronic Arts on the next sequel in the Battlefield franchise. New features include scaleable maps depending on number of players and VOIP. Expected release is Spring of 2005. This is the true next generation game we are all looking for. BF Vietnam didn't cut it for many BF1942 fans. Read

DirectTV Anti-Piracy Lawsuit

A former employee is suing DirectTV for wrongful termination. The employee disagreed with the company's tactics of forcing fines from customers, when they had no real proof of piracy other than they bought a smart card reader. Read

Forbes Best New Digital Cameras

Forbes has a guide on how to pick the best new digital cameras. The article also provides a brief overview of the prominent models in each category. I'm a big Canon fan myself. You really can't go wrong with a Canon model. Read

NV30 Retrospective

Derek Wilson at Anandtech gives his retrospective on why Nvidia's NV30 graphic chipset failed. A lot of detail here on the flawed aircraft carrier "noise" design and lack of pixel pipelines. Hardware geek heads rejoice. Read

April 19, 2004

Netflix Raises Prices

Over the weekend, I got an email from Netflix saying they would increase their prices by $2 a month. Since I recently got HDTV from my cable company, I'm on the fence on whether I should cancel or not. HDTV movies have significantly better image detail and quality than DVDs. However Netflix has the ultimate in convenience and selection. I even checked out Wal-mart's DVD service, but found the selection and delivery speed lacking. Plus the price discount is small. I haven't made a decision yet, but Netflix don't take your customers for granted. Since launching our service almost four years ago, the subscription rate for the 3-at-a-time program has never changed. We've added more than 20 distribution centers in order to provide one business day delivery to most of our members. We've also expanded our library by thousands of titles and now offer more than 18,000 to choose from. During the four years, improvements such as these, as well as postal rate changes, have increased the cost of doing business. Beginning June 15, 2004, we will be raising the prices of all our subscription programs. Your plan, the Netflix 3-at-a-time program, will change from $19.95 per month to $21.99 per month. Read

Broadband Expands

CNN reports that now 25% of American adults have broadband internet. 39% of internet surfers use the fat pipes. The split is 42% DSL (aka Baby Bell hell) and 54% cable (aka we charge more). I want my super broadband! Send down some of that Internet2 university bandwidth. Read

Toothing for Sex

The innovative uses of wireless technology! In London, adventurous bluetooth cellphone users are setting up sexual encounters by sending anonymous messages in train cars. My question is, who do you know you're sending this to? What if it's someone you don't think is attractive? Read

Zvue Video Player Review

SiliconValley.com reviews the Zvue video player which retails for $149. The video iPod wannabe has a 2.5" color screen, SD flash memory card slot, and ability to play MP3s and video files. I'm not wild about the low resolution 240X160 and the 15 frames per second. Although a nice consumer effort, I rather go with what Apple cooks up. I can't wait, you know they will nail the elegant design and user interface.

AT&T Wireless Customer Service = Not Good

As many of you AT&T Wireless users know, their customer service hasn't been the greatest especially right after the number portability deadline. Read about how one customer spend SIXTY hours on the phone trying to get his cellphone issues sorted out. AT&T spent millions of dollars implementing a new customer relationship management system, only to have it crash repeatedly on use. That firm's CIO probably isn't going to last very long. Lee ordered his new phone on Nov. 25. When he went to the AT&T Wireless website to check the status of his order a day later, he was greeted with a message: "We could not find a porting request for this number in the system. Please contact Customer Care." It was the beginning of a two-month odyssey in which Lee estimates he made 15 to 20 calls to AT&T Wireless, sent nearly as many e-mails and spent 60 hours on the phone dealing with customer service representatives or waiting on hold-with the line often going dead when AT&T Wireless's customer service lines became overloaded. Read

Half-Life 2 in 2005?

Founder of Valve, Gabe Newell, is now quoted as saying he may push out Half-life 2 to 2005 if need be. This is pretty sad indeed as the company has already plowed tens of millions of dollars into this project. It's sounding like the Titanic these days with cost over-runs and the unfortunate hacker attack. I'm sure the game will rock when it is released, but will it ever make a profit? "We've already spent millions into this project, and we're willing to spend as much as we need to make this the best first person experience ever. If that means delaying the game to 2005, we'll do it without any hesitation. If it means sinking another $20 million into the project, we can do it. Rest assured, if we delay the game, it'll be only to blow your socks off even more when it finally releases." Update: HalfLife2.net is reporting this is an old quote from September 2003. Oops. Read

April 18, 2004

Gaming While Drunk: Price Descrimination

I hate working late on Saturdays because then I have a choice to make. Do I just enjoy my evening and play some games, or do I go back out to pick up some of the fine booze that makes these articles happen? If I donít go out then I have to spend my Sundays dry because I live in a state that still loves its blue laws. Its not fair, I tell you.

This of course brings us to vodka. I do like vodka, and I make a mean White Russian. I usually buy Rain vodka, which tastes great, looks awesome in your minibar, and only costs $18 or so. Iíve told a lot of friends about Rain vodka and many of them have bought it and enjoyed it. Of course, a lot of them tell me that thereís no way theyíre going to try a premium vodka that only costs $18. What does this have to do with videogames?

People are stupid, thatís what. Weíre seeing more and more games come out a $39.99 price point, from NBA Ballers to Lifeline. This is a great thing, making games less expensive. So of course people hate it. When Iím scouring the game stores looking for something to play I overhear it constantly.

ďIts not $50? Whatís wrong with it?Ē

Nothing, you twit. Youíre going to go home and bitch on the forums about how expensive games are and then when companies do something about it youíll wonder whatís wrong with it. Iíve even had people assume Ballers was a budget title because of the price point!

The Xbox recently dropped its price point to $150, and with its harddrive, great graphics, and easy modding into a HTPC thatís the best bargain going right now. Of course, now people think the Xbox is failing since it slashed its price. They assume that the system is now the budget choice, and it makes them stay away.

This is some silly logic. Game companies and some Hardware companies are giving you exactly what you want and you hold it against them.

I have some advice for the makers of the next Deer Hunter game. Donít price it low, make it $79.99. The consumer will think that it must be a great game, or else why it would it be MORE expensive? If you judge quality by price, why should you ever help their wallets?

Devs, the people have spoken. Make games more expensive, sell more copies. Its as easy as that. Me? Iím going to play Beyond Good and Evil, a game I bought for $20 that destroys anything else on the market right now.

-Written by Robert Keenan

Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Comment on the discussion forum.

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April 17, 2004

Amazon.com Gets in Search

Amazon decided it wants a piece of the search engine game with the release of A9.com beta. The company differentiates its service with "search inside the book" content and the ability to keep track of the history of your queries. The basic toolbar add-on is also available. The reason Amazon is getting into this market is paid search advertising is making hundreds of millions of dollars for the likes of Yahoo/Overture and Google. I'm a bit skeptical, noting that Amazon has tried to get into new internet markets like auction vs. eBay in the past with limited success. Read

April 15, 2004

Discussion Topic of the Week

List the gaming consoles you owned in your life-time. Also which one was your sentimental favorite? Discuss

Samsung i550 Smartphone

The FCC has approved the Samsung i550 Palm OS based smartphone for release later this year. The i550 is a new iteration of the i500 and will come with 1.0 megapixel camera, video recording, and MP3 capabilities. It also will have a SD flash memory slot and compatibility with Palm OS software.

What Developers are Playing

Gamespy has the latest "what computer game programmers are playing?" column. Not surprisingly Unreal Tournament 2004 is on top of the list. If you participated on our discussion forums, you would of known that for sure. Read

PalmOne Handheld Rumors

Brighthand reports finding webpages on internet stores for the Zire 72 and Zire 31. PalmOne has said they will announce new models before the end of the month. The reported features for the Zire 72 include a different D-pad vs. joystick, a MP3 player button, 32MB of memory, bluetooth wireless, and a 1.2 megapixel camera. The Zire 31 will have 16MB of memory and a new SD/MMC flash card slot. Read

Factor 5 Dumps Gamecube

First it was Rare, most recently it was Silicon Knights. Now it seems every strong 2nd party developer for Nintendo is heading out the door to greener pastures. Factor 5, maker of the successful Rogue Squadron series, has decided to move on exclusively to other platforms. It looks like they like the Sony PSP. This is another sad day for Nintendo fan-boys. Besides Nintendo and few select Japanese studios, who is going to make games for the next generation Gamecube? It depressing the prospects in Mario land. Read

April 14, 2004

The President's Iraq Press Conference

Our Commander-in-Chief gave a solid, well thought out 17 minute speech last night on the war in Iraq. In fact, the clear goals, thought process on why we must stay the course to pursue the first democracy in the Middle East, and the date time goal posts made me feel much better. Unfortunately for the Administration they didn't end it there. During an intense Q&A, Bush had many awkward pauses and rambled continuously under the heat. He seemed like a 3 year old when he pronounced a tough (for him) foreign leader's name with a self-satisfied smirk and emphasis. He seems truly proud of himself that he was able to get the Japanese prime minister's name right. With classic lines such as "They're not happy they're occupied (Iraqis). I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied, either", the President didn't seem very Presidential. Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live are going to have a field day on this one. At one point during the horrid Q&A, the cameras panned to Karl Rove. He had a stunned, deer in head-lights look on his face. It was like he was thinking, "Why did we let him to Q&A?" Read

First NV40 Reviews

The first review of Nvidia's next-generation graphics hardware is out on Tom's Hardware. Looks like Nvidia finally has a great product on its hands, although still with slightly inferior image quality. The performance in new games like Far Cry looks very impressive. ATI will ship their new cards later this month. Before you run out and think about buying the new GeForce read this: The first barrier on your way to graphics ecstasy is the power requirement calling for a PSU with at least 480Watts. In effect, its not so much the power rating that may prove problematic - it may turn out harder to find a power supply with enough ATX power cables for use with the graphics card! I don't know anyone that has a 480 watt power supply, I doubt you do either. My 300 watt one now seems puny. Read - Read

ATI R420 Roadmap

HardOCP got a hold of what is rumored to be ATI's R420 chipset roadmap with actual card-name monikers. Enjoy! Read

N-Gage QD Details

CVG reveals more details of Nokia's N-Gage QD. The new iteration will get rid of "side-talking" phone use along with no more MP3 player and radio functionality. The screen also can now handle 65 thousand colors vs. 4096 in the original model. And best of all, one can insert a new game without removing the battery! Wow... what innovation. Read

April 13, 2004

The Glory of HDTV

A blogger goes off on how great HDTV is. I just got it yesterday myself and I have to say I agree. I need to upgrade my 27" Samsung however to something nicer. Ohhhh... 42" plasmas are calling my name. Read

Mark Cuban on the Stock Market

Mark Cuban, billionaire founder of Broadcast.com and owner of Dallas Mavericks, sounds off on the stock market and how it all really works. Interesting reading from a real successful businessman, unlike Mr. "You're Fired" Donald Trump. Read

Out 3G-ing 3G - CDMA 20001xEV-DO Revision A

A standards board passed the technical specifications for the CDMA 2000 1x-EV-DO Revision A. What does this mean to you? Think about 1.8-3.1Mps of wireless bandwidth for your smartphone, laptop, or PDA. This will allow true full motion mobile video phone calls. Verizon is currently rolling out access for laptops in select cities. Companies need to get with the program and think of easier to remember monikers. Who the hell thought up CDMA 2000 1x-EV-DO? Can't they just say CDMA Version 3? Sigh. Read

Apple Looking at iPod Mini Problem

With the rampant discussion all over the net on the iPod Mini static problems, Apple said they are investigating the issue. The company is also reminding customers they have a warranty for the product, so don't worry too much. Read

Forbes Previews Google Mail

Forbes previewed Google's free email service. The reporter liked the 1 gigabyte of storage space, the email organization features, and the excellent search capability. Looks like we are all going to get GMail addresses soon, although I'm not a big fan of the GMail domain name. Read

April 12, 2004

Trip Hawkins New Adventure

The founder of Electronic Arts (success) and 3DO (failure) has started another company called Digital Chocolate. This latest venture will focus on mobile gaming. The heaviest hitters in the venture capital community, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia, have ponied up $8M to fund Mr. Hawkins and his nine employees. Good luck Trip! If someone would only have a wireless Texas Holdem game networked on my Treo 600, that would totally rock. Read

Man Wins Life Savings on Red

So the guy who bet his life savings in a Las Vegas casino winded up winning as the ball landed on red. He won about $135,000 and a famed place in the Plaza casino's lobby. I don't recommend this to our readers however. Read

Nintendo's New Direction

Gamespy reports from a trip to Japan on what Nintendo plans to do in future strategy. Although their handheld strategy may work against Sony PSP, I remain doubtful that the next generation Gamecube will have any further success. This is coming from a Nintendo Gamecube fan-boy/owner. Read

GBA Titles for 2004

Gamespy has posted what it thinks will be Nintendo's first party lineup for the Gameboy Advance in 2004. The most interesting title to me is Mario vs. Donkey Kong. What kind of game could that be? Read

April 11, 2004

Gaming While Drunk: Eggs and Scotch and High End TVs

Well, itís Easter and Iím kicking with a great 12 year old Scotch while downing the occasional Cadbury Cream Egg. Iím of the opinion that the caramel variety are for suckers, and the only true eggs are the regular creamy variety. Theyíre simply jampacked with AWESOME. In between all this fattening up and drinking though Iím thinking about my TV.

I got a nice 36 inch Sony Wega from Best Buy about a year ago. Got a good deal, and the picture on it is really nice. It makes my games and DVDs look great. I looked at a lot of televisions before I chose this one. I looked at how many inputs they had, how nice the tube was, sound, etc etc. I knew I would have at least three or four game systems hooked into it, so the amount of inputs and ease of set up were important.

In other words, things have changed.

Back in the day you would hook your cable up to your TV and maybe your NES and that would be the end of it. Do you remember having to buy RF adaptors for your systems because your TV didnít have an AV in? Do you remember having to buy the adaptor with the two sets of prongs to GIVE your TV the cable in? I do, and it was a pain in the ass.

Those days are over though. Now I know a ton of people who have multiple gaming systems, and many of them donít like the DVD playback on the game systems so they have a stand alone progressive scan DVD player. It doesnít end there, since many people have a TV out on their computer so they can play MAME on the big screen. Now, you may just think itís the techno elite doing this, but Iíve seen some people I wouldnít have guessed with very nice setups.

I was flabbergasted yesterday when I was talking to one of my motherís friends and The Shield came up. ďHave you seen last weekís episode?Ē I asked, and my jaw hit the floor when she responded.

ďI havenít caught it yet, but the torrent should be up by this evening and then Iíll pick it up.Ē Sweet! All this cool AV shit has really gotten out, and torrents of the better continuing shows are getting easier and easier to find, meaning you might not even need TiVO if you have a fast connection speed. Miss the Sopranos? Thereíll be a torrent.

Back on topic of gaming though, weíre seeing an increasing amount of people buying televisions to be monitors for their DVDs and videogame systems. According to some Nielson numbers the amount of 18-24 year olds watching TV is going down as videogames, the internet, and torrents are on the rise. Right now people have a lot better things to do than watch TV, and with videogames getting more immersive and more popular this is a trend thatís only going to continue. How many hours of TV do you think an Evercrack addict watches?

My TV fits my needs though, and the last time I walked through the local electronics superstore I saw TVs with even more inputs, prettier pictures, and more options. Cable television isnít pushing technology this fast, itís the videogame consoles and the race to get a better picture cheaper than your computer monitor.

Thatís good news for film fans, and even better news for videogame enthusiasts. Finally, the Sony and Samsungs of the world are listening to us and giving us what they want. It looks like your basic channels are on the way out, and you know what? Thatís great news. More videogames and less sitcoms sits very well with me.

-Written by Robert Keenan

Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Comment on the discussion forum.

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N-Gage 2 Pictures

HowardForums has some first photos of N-Gage 2 according to a Nokia insider. These may or may not be real, but still interesting to see even if its a prototype. See

Next-Gen Graphics Require Hefty Power

Inquirer is reporting that the next generation graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia will require two power supply connectors. This means you probably want a high 350+ wattage power supply to even think of running a NV40 or R420 in your computer. Read

Online State Taxes

States are starting to crack down on taxing out-of-state internet purchases. Did you know everytime you buy something on the internet, you are supposed to keep track and calculate your state taxes at the end of year? I did not. Read

X-box Sales Double on Price Cut

Gameindustry.biz is reporting that X-box sales doubled the week following the $30 price cut to $149. Sources also say Sony may respond with their own $149 offering with a two game bundle included. Both hardware offerings are still above Nintendo's $99 price. Read

April 09, 2004

New Spiderman 2 Trailer

A new Spiderman 2 trailer is posted. Check it out. Spidey man, Spidey man! Watch

ATI Catalyst 4.4

For you ATI fan-boys with Radeon cards, the new v4.4 graphic drivers are out with a myriad of bug fixes and new features. Download

April 08, 2004

Real Player Pains

Ars-Technica writes about the history of annoying Real media players from file extension hijacking to annoying advertising. Moreover it's downright difficult to find the link to the free player. Real 10 seems to be a bit more user conscious, but not fully. Read

April 07, 2004

Firesale at Gateway Stores

PVRblog reports that Gateway is having a firesale at their Gateway Country retail stores until they all close this Friday. People are buying DVD players for over 50% off and plasma screens for over 15% off. Run and get yourself some new consumer electronics. Read

Google OS and Technology

Here's an excellent blog entry on how advanced Google's OS technology and server farms are. It seems the ability to scale massive new applications is Google's competitive advantage. 100,000 servers around the world is mind-boggling. Read

Metroid Movie

Famed action director John Woo has gotten the rights to a Metroid movie from Nintendo. Finally it looks like someone is serious about making a blockbuster film about our favorite female, space bounty hunter. They are hoping to release it before 2006. I'm psyched, are you? Read

April 06, 2004

Next Gen Graphic Cards Release Dates

Thanks to Anandtech, the release dates for the next generation graphic cards are out. These dates are subject to change of course, but according to sources Nvidia will release their NV40 based graphics cards on April 13th as the GeForce 6800. ATI will fight back with their R420 based Radeon V800Pro on April 26th and then follow up with a PCI Express version on June 14th. What this all means is good news to buyers, as this will drive down prices for everyone. Read

HDTV Tivo Pictures

TivoCommunity has a thread where someone shows off pictures of the new HDTV Tivo coming out in a few weeks. It has a 250 gigabyte hard-drive with space for another HD. Note this is a prototype, the final HDTV Tivo may look different. See

April 05, 2004

Elder Scrolls: Arena for Free

For the 10 anniversary of the classic RPG, Elder Scrolls: Arena, Bethesda Softworks is releasing the full game for free. You probably have to download the DOS emulator to get it to work with Windows. Download

April 03, 2004

Another Dell 2001FP 20" LCD Monitor Review by Arogan

(Editor's note: This review was first posted on our awesome FirstAdopter.com 2001FP discussion board.) This thread helped me decide to purchase the 2001FP so I thought I would join in on the discussion. $750 direct from Dell. Free shipping. Arrived in 24hrs. This is my initial report with only a few hours of testing. All tests were performed using DVI. - No dead/stuck pixels. No "screen door" effect that I can tell. Back light is nice and even. - After turning on clear type the text looks great at 1600X1200. Since I sit pretty far back from the monitor I just increase the font size in windows, eudora, IE, etc and everything is fine. I can still read normal size text at 1600X1200 even from several feet back but I just prefer larger fonts. The monitor is just that sharp. - Contrast seems fine. Default settings don't burn your retina's out. - Pivot landscape/portrait - Lots of inputs: analog vga, dvi, s-video, composite, usb2.0 hub (2 ports on the bottom and 2 on the left side which are very accessible. Xbox looks pretty good on it with some blur. I tried Ninja Gaiden. - Controls are well layed out. One single button cycles through the 4 inputs. - Good monitor placement adjustments: height, rotate, pivot, angle - Very thin bezel. - 18 lbs (including stand), much cooler than that old adi 19" crt. Games - UT2004 @ 1024X768X32. It looks very very good. When playing normal it looks just great with no ghosting. If you pan back and forth really fast (which you normally wouldn't do constantly) you will notice a slight blur effect. It's hard to describe. It's not exactly ghosting but it looks different from a crt. - Far Cry @ 1024X768X32: Very similar to ut2004 and just looks great. Very playable. - Counter Strike Condition zero @ 1024X768X32: Again much much better than the planar pl191m. It had this weird jerking motion. Almost like poor framerate yet I was pegged at 60 fps (vsync on). At 1600X1200 it ran smooth. I had to uncheck mouse smoothing at that res otherwise it felt a bit laggy. After that it played great. The only problem is your crosshair is a bit small at 1600X1200. It's weird this jerking motion was only apparent in CS and not in the other 2 games at the same interpolated 1024X768. I still need to try the other stretch setting (aspect). They are 1:1, fill, and aspect. It's not the perfect monitor (I don't think one exists yet). Gaming on a LCD I think just takes a bit of adjusting. Having said that this monitor blows away the planar pl191m for gaming. It's a BIG BIG improvement. I had purchased a planar about 6 months ago and just couldn't stand the ghosting and returned it. I consider myself pretty picky about these things. Based on this initial experience so far I think this monitor is a keeper! More info about the jerky motion Hmmm....Did some more testing. It seems like a refresh rate of 75hz causes the jerky motion issue in games. I'm not sure why since I thought refresh doesn't have much meaning with LCD monitors. What happened before is 1024X768 supports 60-75hz while 1600X1200 only supports 60hz. Counter strike at 1024 starts with 75hz but if you make any video changes like gamma and apply it restarts CS but at 60hz (which is very smooth). Anyway, Is there a way to make CS always use 60hz in opengl? Refresh Override (available with CRT) is not an option under ati display tab when you have a LCD hooked up. I even tried reforce which didn't help. I have an ati 9700 pro. I guess I could just play CS at 1600X1200 which looks great but then the crosshair is a bit too small. After several more hours of game play (with no motion sickness or ill side effects) I'm completely use to the 2001fp. I'll never go back to a CRT now. I consider myself a pretty hard core fps gamer and this monitor has met my needs. CS seems to be pretty harsh on LCD's (probably the older engine and the color pallet) and it's very playable on the 2001FP. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! You must check out our 2001FP discussion forum. It is the best resource on the internet for 2001FP questions and comments with HUNDREDS of responses. Moreover be sure to participate on our forum, which is full of the smartest and nicest early adopters on the internet. [Discussion] [Back to the Front Page]

More Sony PS3 and PSP Details

Sony's COO has revealed more details about Playstation 3 and PSP gaming handheld. The PSP will not have region restrictions for its software and the PS3 will be a center piece in Sony's home digital media hub strategy not unlike the current PSX device. Like the PS2, there will be multiple versions of the PS3 suiting the gamer and digital hub markets. PSP development kits will be out in March or April and the handheld will have 30 megabytes of memory. Read

Google's Early Hardware

Thanks to Archive.org, we can find out what Google ran on during the early days of its existence. You can see nice pictures of two 300mhz Pentium II servers and massive amounts of ram (512MB) and hard disk space (9 gigabytes). Also be sure to check out the Lego PC server. See

Mother Strips for her Kid's Birthday

A mother in Pennsylvania is arrested for stripping during her son's birthday party in provideing entertainment for the 13 to 16 year old kids. Parents these days! Read

April 01, 2004

WarCraft Online Beta Preview

Firingsquad has a very enticing preview of the upcoming online game, World of Warcraft. Sounds like the perfect multiplayer RPG for the casual gamer. It is an attempt to perfect the MMORPG formula. Blizzard is on a hot streak, so I bet this game is going to rock also. Read

Vonage Wi-Fi Phones

Vonage is planning to offer Wi-Fi phones later this year that lets its subscribers call and receive phone calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot. I need to try this $35 a month all you can eat plan next time I move. Unfortunately where I live, the local number transfer plan doesn't work. Read

Google Email

Although it was initially panned by some as an April Fool's joke, it's turning out Google email is real. In a just a few weeks, everyone can get an @gmail.com address with one gigabyte of storage and google search technology. Sign me up! Read