Friday, October 28, 2005

F.E.A.R... no time to be scared

I bought F.E.A.R the day it was released but because of other commitments I haven't found the time to play it through yet. Although from what I've seen and played so far it looks like it will be one of the great all time games and it's well worth the money (DVD edition). Also being true to it's name you will crap you pants at times ;-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

AAL FOX Series: Round 2

My race was a bit up and down, but other than that I had a lot of fun thanks to some close racing.

Close Racing

In qualifying I was very lucky to get 10th with a time that was almost a second faster than my hot lap. This was odd because I hadn't raced in over a week but somehow I was now faster? I guess this got my hopes up that I might have a good race even though I would be racing on a different setup and one which I hadn't used before.

Once we were racing I made it up to 6th by the end of the first lap but I knew right away I didn't have a good race pace. In the practise before the race I received a copy of sambo's setup from Threeps because I only had a qualifying setup at the time. The new setup was easy to drive and seemed to look after the tyres very well. But once I had completed a few laps of the race I realised I was going much slower than I had expected. I was hoping that my times would improve from 2:29s-2:30s once I burnt some fuel, but to my surprise they didn't. I then tried to push the car a bit harder which only caused me to spin out and overheat my tyres.

Is this the right way?

Once they were at a good temperature again I started to push, only to spun off at almost the same place but this time I hit the wall. I thought the car was ok at first so I didn't pull into the pits at the end of that lap. If I was going to complete the race with only 2 stops I knew I needed to complete at least one more lap. This however was a mistake because by the time I made it to the first split on the next lap I found that the car was uncontrollable. I almost took a few people out as I was sliding around trying to control it.

Maybe staying out was a bad idea...

After my pit stop to fix the damage I had lost all confidence in the car and Threeps was on my tail. I didn't want to push to hard because of the threat of a spin. This meant that Threeps was easily faster than me and after a long battle he found a way past. He then started to pull away and I thought I'd never see him again.

Coming into the pits for the second time I wasn't to sure where I should be braking on the entry. The only time I had actually entered the pits was on my first stop when I was damaged and going slow. Maybe next time I'll remember to try a pit entry before the race starts. Anyway I managed to brake as late as I think was possible for me which was a good sign and I had a clean stop. As I was driving past Threeps in pit lane he finished his stop and pulled out next to me which meant we were side by side. When we reached the exit I had my nose just in front and Threeps backed off to pull in behind me. I knew that he was faster than me before so the only thing I could do is start pushing hard and hope I don't spin. Otherwise he would just pass me again and that would be then end of it.

Threeps down the inside

After the pit stop I pulled away from Threeps mostly because he was caught in a battle with PS13t. I was also starting to catch StanDaam and by the time I was on his tail he had caught Doso. This turned into a three way battle which gave me an opportunity to get past StanDaam. Now I was behind Doso and on the up hill left hander Doso and I were side by side. This caused us to be slower on the straight where StanDaam was catching us quickly. I had Doso to my left and StanDaam coming past on the right when he had a moment and slid across the track in front of us. This left Doso and I side by side going into the first chicane where I managed to just get in front.

StanDaam stunt driving

From then on I didn't see anyone else and managed to pull away from StanDaam who had also gotten past Doso. I did start to catch kwijibo at the end of the race making up 10 seconds to finish 2 seconds behind him. But catching someone is one thing getting past is another so in the end I was more than happy with 7th.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Haiku's First Employee

Development on Haiku has stepped up a notch in the last few weeks with Haiku Inc. taking on it's first full time employee Axel Dörfler. This should be a great boost to the project and I can't wait to get my hands on a build. So if you want to keep up to date with the development visit Axel Dörfler's blog.

Friday, October 21, 2005

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Released

Yes that's correct, OpenOffice.org 2.0 has been release and is ready to be downloaded. I've just installed it and from what I have seen it's a massive improvement over 1.1 which was already a great product. So if you haven't tried OpenOffice now is a good time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Open Source Software

I know that open source software might not appeal to everyone but things are changing. If you look at the big open source projects today you will see that they are very professional and well developed. So if you are looking for and open source alternative here are some programs I use everyday at work and home:

Also the best place to find open source software is SourceForge.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

AAL GTR Series: Round 5

I Qualified 6th which is my best performance to date. On a sad note just before qualifying I got a call saying that my missing cat Gandalf had in fact died Saturday on Torrens road.

On the first lap I almost went into the back of Righteous at turn 2 then backed off an got swamped by Leigh McD & Boxhead. Somehow I managed to hold my position and a lap or two later Righteous spun at turn 3 which put me into 5th.

A little slide but still good

I held 5th position for a while but it wasn't easy as I had Boxhead, 9ra55h0paH & Sarsippius close behind. Then on lap 17 (18?) I had a major high speed spin going into turn 2 which put me into the sand trap and then the wall, where I waited for everyone to go past. That is what you get for putting a wheel on the grass at high speed. Then I managed to blew a tyre because I was in a rush to catch up, this sent me off the road into the sand again.

A big slide and not so good

After my pit stop to fix the car I went back out, drove a few laps and then spun off on lap 29 at turn 3 (now I know how Righteous felt). Back into the pits it was and I then drove the last 15 laps mostly by myself. You could say this wasn't the best race for me but I guess 9th isn't too bad.

Controlled drift maybe?

Goodbye Gandalf

I found out on Wednesday night that my missing cat Gandalf (who had been missing since Saturday) had in fact been run over. I would like to thank the people that rang me after reading the posters I had placed around the area, it mustn't have been an easy thing to do. I hope that in the 3 years Gandalf was around he had a good time and now that he is gone I will miss him a lot. Goodbye Gandalf...

Gandalf in the garden

Thursday, September 01, 2005

AAL GTR Series: Round 4

Round 4 at Fern Bay Black was all about preserving the tyres for a 1 stop strategy...

Look out!

I was happy to qualify in 7th position, although that meant I was behind a sea of SCR cars (and a few aliens). I wasn't to sure how my tyres would go under racing conditions but from my testing I found that they could last over 14 laps. Going by those figures I thought I'd be able to hold on till the end of lap 15, taking the rolling start into account. I also made sure I added more than enough fuel for 15 laps and set my pit stop for just over 14 as a safety measure.

After one false start we were racing and almost right away I made up a few places. Over the next few laps Boxhead, Bugle and myself managed to brake away from the pack while Sambo and Chaz disappear off into the distance. At this point the 3 of us were just following each other around waiting for someone to make a mistake. I could see that Boxhead was starting to have issues with the rear tyres and then as we came into the hairpin before the 2nd chicane he went a bit wide and I got through. I decided not to push to hard in case my tyres didn't last the distance and at this point I turned on the tyre wear indicator.

Getting lucky

A few laps later it looked like Bugle managed to get past Boxhead in the same place and started catching me. I wasn't to sure what I was going to do at this point, I knew my tyres were not going to last as long as I planned. I also knew it would be hard for Bugle to pass me on this track with so many high speed corners making it hard to stay close, causing a lack of down force. In the end I just held my line and kept driving at a speed which would preserve the tyres.

At the end of lap 14 I decided to come into the pits (scared that I would blow a rear) which meant I would have to get one more lap than I had planned out of the second set of tyres. By this point Bugle was just a second or so behind me but he stayed out a fair bit longer before pitting. This had me thinking that he would surely pass me once he had completed his pit stop. I guess one of the things that saved me was that I had more fuel in the tank when I pitted, so I didn't need to wait as long to fill up. I was also lucky that when I rejoined the race I was in clean air and at this point I turned off the wear indicator (it was better not to know).

On the lap Bugle pitted I kind of lost the plot, went wide onto the grass and tapped the wall coming out of a turn near the end of the lap. I was now sure that he would be in front of me when he rejoined the race. To my delight though, just as I past the pit exit he was making his way back onto the track. Although by the next turn he was right up my arse again and had some great speed.

A little dirty but still good

After following me around for a number of laps I could see that Bugle was getting a good idea of where he could over take me. His best bet was the left turn just after the 2nd chicane, because it looked like he could hold at least 10km/hr more than me through it. Most other places in the track were to hard to stay close because of the dirty air, but I could see he knew what he was doing and it was only a matter of time.

On lap 27 I was a bit slow out of the 2nd chicane and Bugle pounced. All I could do was move to the middle of the road and hold my line. I could see him in my rear mirror gaining fast when he pulled to the inside. I'm guessing after he pulled out of my slip stream he locked a wheel because all I could hear at this point was the sound of screeching tyres. I decided not to look left to see what was going on but just run a bit wide and leave enough room for the both of us. To my surprise we didn't touch, no one spun and I had managed to hold my position. Bugle was still close but with only one lap to go I thought I might be able to do it... hold a 3rd place finish (all be it a minute behind the leaders).

If I close my eyes everything will be ok

At the end of that lap Bugle pulled off into the pits with a front right flat and I took it easy on the last lap to make sure I made it. My congratulations go to Chaz for the win, Sambo for the 2nd and Bugle for the great clean race we had (pity you were unlucky at the end though).

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta 2 Released

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta 2 has just been released so if you feel like checking it out why not head over to OpenOffice.org and download it.

Steam Update & HiDef model pack

That's right Steam has been updated again so make sure you restart you client. Also the HiDef model pack has been released for Half-Life 1 and can be downloaded here.

Steam Client
  • Added Half-Life: Blue Shift game and desktop icon
  • Fixed HTML control sometimes drawing incorrect scrollbar
  • Updated required driver versions for Source games
  • Added support for Half-Life 1: HiDef model pack

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Pleasure and the Pain

1UP have a nice article that explains what went wrong with the Sega Saturn.

CEO of Sega of America - Tom Kalinske - took the stage first and shocked the entire videogame world by informing everyone that the Saturn's launch date was, in fact, that day. Systems and a handful of games had been shipped to retailers nationwide and would go on sale that morning with an MSRP of $399.99. This was four months earlier than the "official" release date of Sept. 2.

AAL GTR Round 3

Qualifying for round 3 of the GTR AustralAsian League at the Kyoto Ring has now opened. So if you want to race make sure that you register your hot lap before the end of Sunday.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rally of SA 2005 Pictures

Rally of SA is now over but I did manage to make it on Saturday to see the action in heat 1. This is the second year that I have been and once again I had a great time. Here are a couple of photos from Saturdays heat one action (taken with my Olympus C-770 UZ).

Rally SA

Rally SA

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tested: Vantec Iceberq5

I've had the Vantec Iceberq5 in my computer for a while now and thought I'd post about how it's going. This isn't really a review, it's just my thoughts on what I have experienced.

The installation was as easy as it could have been, with the only major hassle being the removal of the old heat sink from my Leadtek Ti4600. After that it was just a matter of adding thermal paste to the GPU, thermal pads to the heat sinks and putting it all together. I was a bit worried at first about the pressure that the retaining clip was applying to my video card when I was putting it on, but all seems well now and nothing snapped.

The last thing left to do was plug the fan in. I didn't have the option of using the fan connectors on the video card (they were 2 pin) so I could have either use a 3-4 pin converter (one came with it) or run it from my fan controller. In the end it was easier for me to use my fan controller because my power supply (Enermax) doesn't have many leads.

I've noticed that my video card now runs a lot cooler than it did before, even when it's under very heavy load. Also when the computer is running I can't hear the fan on the Iceberq5, but that could be because the other fans in my case make a fair bit of noise. I think the Iceberq5 was a great buy and it will let me get a little bit more life out of my old video card (through overclocking).

Vantec Iceberq5

Monday, July 25, 2005

Panasonic's new digital camera

Just found news on the Digital Camera Resource Page that Panasonic will be adding a new camera to the FZ series in September called the Lumix DMC-FZ30. Going by the specs it should be a great camera... I just wish my Olympus C-770 had an AF-assist lamp, optical image stabilizer and manual zoom/focus rings, then I wouldn't even be thinking about upgrading (not that I can afford to).

Rally SA, August 6-7

That's right it's almost time for Rally SA again, so be sure you don't have anything else planned for that weekend.

It's Rally Time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lack of games for the DS

I own a Nintendo DS and other than Mario 64 which I bought at the same time as the console, I have no other games. I also don't see any games here in Australia that I would really want to buy right now. I've been waiting for a sign that things will get better but the Nintendo Australia website isn't giving me any guarantees.

I know people have talked about how strong the DS showing was at this years E3, but those games could be years away from an Australian release. So I guess for now I'll just have to keep dreaming of games I'd like to see...

My Nintendo DS Game Wish List

  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Mario Party
  • Mario Kart
  • Mario Golf
  • Golden Eye
  • Quake
  • Wave Race

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

OpenOffice, is it any good?

As you may know OpenOffice is a free open source alternative to Microsoft Office. You might also know that version 2 should be coming out soon (as it's currently in beta). My question is though, is OpenOffice (in it's current form) a viable alternative or just something you use if you have no other choice?

If you have ever used OpenOffice 1.1 then you will know that it's a great piece of software but it does have it's short comings. The biggest problem would have to be the support for Word documents, where it has more than a few issues displaying them correctly (mostly due to tables). The menus are also quite confusing at first if you have come from Microsoft Office Office, although that might not be a bad thing(?). It's also lacking a database like Access, and the load up times leave a lot to be desired (from my experience). These all sound like big issues, but are they?

The fact is that I'm using OpenOffice 1.1.4 right now to draft this post and that's because it's stable and it works as it was intended to. OpenOffice isn't all about compatibility with other software, it's about creating and editing documents and I do that in the recommend OpenOffice format so I can view and edit them later. If I need to share a document with others not using OpenOffice I'll use the fantastic export as PDF feature. That way anyone will be able to view the file and see it as I intended it to look, but you can always save as word document format if you have to (which works fine). I also feel like I have more power over how the program works, with options to enable and disable everything that I find frustrating and annoying (auto correct, help, complete, etc...).

OpenOffice is a great piece of software in it's own right, it might not have everything that Microsoft Office does now but it's still early days. One thing I would recommend is asking yourself this question, is Microsoft Office worth AUD$220+ more than OpenOffice?

Note: If you plan to use OpenOffice and still need to view Word documents I would recommend installing the Word Document viewer from Microsoft found here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Apple using x86 to power Mac OS X

It's official, Apple with be changing from the current PowerPC (IBM) architecture to Intel's x86. Personally I can see this causing a lot of issues with the software we have developed and are developing. As we are using Macromedia (Adobe?) Director I don't have the luxury of just recompiling our software, I'll have to wait for an update to Director before that happens. Of course what about our older software that was built in previous versions of director. As most Director developers know it's had some major syntax changes in the current version (MX 2004).

I guess the only thing I can do is wait and see what happens, you never know it might cause the end of the Macintosh and save me a lot of development/testing time (but I doubt it).

Guild Wars, level 20 and beyond...

I've been playing Guild Wars for a few weeks now and I must say it's a great game and unlike any other MMORPG I've played before (coming from EverQuest & Star Wars Galaxies). I would also compare Guild Wars with games like Neverwinter Nights and Dungeon Siege more than I would other MMORPG's to. Some of the reasons being that in Guild Wars it's easy to find a group, do a quick mission and feel like you character has advanced in the game world. Even if you can't find a group you can always play it alone with the aid of AI henchmen if you really want (although I wouldn't recommend doing that if you can help it).

Now that I've hit level 20 I'm hoping that the game play will change, not that I'm bored with it. I should now be able to concentrate more on questing for items, helping my guild and competing in player vs player matches (PvP). I'm not sure what to expect yet but I hope that the game can keep me interested for a little bit longer.

Friday, May 27, 2005

EYO now has the Vantec Iceberq5

For anyone that is having overheating issues you know (or even suspect) is your video card then I would recommend getting something like the Vantec Iceberq5.

I own a Geforce 4 Ti 4600 which I'm positive is having overheating issues (even though it has a massive heat sink and 2 useless fans) so I'll be getting one of these probably within the next week or two. If it does nothing and I'm still having issues at least I'll know for sure it's not my video card.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Quake 2 Competition Results

The Quake 2 competition ran smoothly, with the exception of when I accidentally paused the server in the first game, although it didn't seem to effect anyone that much (i hope). The first game was run as a free for all with the top 8 going through to the 1 on 1 knock-out rounds. Prizes were awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd, plus they all received certificates.

The final results were Sam (Fireslide) dominated the final over Sam (samoo) while it was a close game between Sam & Sam (spex) for 3rd place with Sam coming out on top in the end, confused? Well everyone who made the final 4 was named Sam... anyway the results of each round are below.

Finals: q2dm1
Fireslide (14) deaf. teamsam.samoo (6)
sam (16) deaf. spex (9)

Round 2: q2dm1
teamsam.samoo (11) deaf. sam (1)
Fireslide (15) deaf. spex (2)

Round 1: q2dm1
sam (20) deaf. peanutz (1)
samoo (10) deaf. woka (0)
Fireslide (20) deaf Deus(-1)
spex (10) deaf. will (4)

FFA Round: q2dm8
sam (50)
samoo (47)
spex (35)
Fireslide (35)
will (35)
Deus (30)
woka (29)
peanutz (28)
xcipher (18)
fort (14)

I hope everyone had fun and I'll see you all at the next WonderLAN. Not sure what game I'll be using for the next competition, but feel free to make suggestions on the SA Gamers forums.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jan WonderLAN: Quake 2 - 1 on 1

Here is the basic run-down of the Quake 2: 1 on 1 Competition I'll be holding at WonderLAN on the 22nd of January 2005.

  • To sign up you will need to have Quake 2 installed and patched to version 3.20
  • Sign ups will be at the LAN and opened after an announcement over the mic. Note that the comp has only a limited number of spots
  • It will be a knock out comp with each round consisting of 2-3 short games with the winner moving onto the next round
  • The maps will be chosen from the standard Quake 2 DM map list (Q2DM1, Q2DM2, etc...)
  • Start time will be worked at the LAN
  • First place will receive a prize of 3 games (from the list below) and a certificate, Second place will receive 2 games and a certificate and Third place will receive a game and a certificate. Jolt might also be given away but cannot be confirmed.
  • The prize list is as follows: Deus Ex, Morrowind: Elder Scrolls III, Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Thief II: The Metal Age, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon & Worms World Party. The players will get to pick which games they want with first place getting first pick (note that third place will get whatever 1st and 2nd didn't take).

If you would like to discuss the competition or give feedback then please do so here. Hope to see you all on the day :-)