* Posts by B3vil

29 posts • joined 12 Mar 2009

iPhone 4.0: iAds, multitasking, and 98 tweaks

B3vil

South Park needed

your phone has iAds (with a heavy accent)

(your phone has Aids, for the slow.. They even capitalized the A for you, how kind :-)

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Warner Music gives up on free streaming services

B3vil
Grenade

Typical

A model people like comes around, where some are even willing to pay for it, they endorse it for a while, then decide to pull the plug.

If they think everybody is just going to go out and buy the music they were listening to on spotify instead they're wrong. A lot of people using spotify like it because of the format (convenient, all under one roof), were happy that it was legal because of the ads, but were never going to go out and buy the CDs. They'll just listen to something else on the service instead. They didn't buy anything, and they're not going to buy anything. The monthly fee is tempting to get rid of the ads, without restricting their choice.

Other people, such as myself have bought several albums I've listened to on spotify, while they were still available on spotify. It didn't matter that I could listen to them for free, I like the concept of physical ownership and being able to store my own local FLAC copies of the discs I own, to convert on demand for my MP3 player etc. For me, spotify is/was a nice way to be able to preview some albums, without having to resort to illegal means, it resulted in actual physical sales for albums I deemed good enough, of which there were plenty.

It might not be what Warner want to see, but the true value of their music is far better reflected by business models like Spotify (wihch is really just a personal radio station) than the prices they'd like to charge for their lossy compressed files. They're obviously afraid of this becoming the accepted value, but it's inevitable anyway and all they're going to achieve by pulling the plug is driving people back to torrents etc. It's as if they've seen the future, and decided they don't like it, and still somehow think they can change it.

Give people a reason to buy your products and they will. I quite happily just paid ~£27 for the deluxe edition of David Ford's new album, there's nothing special about it over the standard one, it's the exact same CD, but I'm paying the money for the physical product.

Really, need a 'pulling hair out' icon here, sometimes it's hard to believe that the people making these decisions miss the obvious.

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Burger King cooks up Windows 7 Whopper

B3vil

Waiting for 2009 server..

I'll never go hungry again!

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Zero-day fixes star in biggest ever Patch Tuesday

B3vil

@TeeCee

I don't believe the released RTM versions have the ballot thingy, at least my legally obtained version doesn't.

What's more amusing is the number of patches you need to place on the virtual XP machine if you use that, they ship with a plain (any thus highly vulnerable) SP3 disc, IE6, no patches.

It would be good if I could actually add text back to the taskbar, but otherwise it definitely feels like an improvement over Vista in terms of speed & stability, although I have encountered compatibility problems with some apps (mainly system tools such as defragment software)

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Sunbelt buckles up for anti-bloatware drive

B3vil
Unhappy

the modern AV scanners ARE slow

I was doing some work on one of my older machines (It's an Athlon XP 3000+, 2gb RAM, Nvidia 6800 series so hardly ancient) and was noticing that simple operations such as SVN checkouts were taking forever. At first I thought it was a bad wireless connection or similar (connection was 'average'), but the problem persisted even when connected directly.

Turns out it was AVG eating every last bit of CPU time and bringing the machine to a standstill during checkout. I made sure it wasn't just the windows 'drop down to PIO mode' issue with one of the drives (which could result in any process accessing the drive using excessive CPU time) and confirmed that it wasn't. The real-time scanning engine was simply killing the CPU. Switching it off brought the checkout time from half an hour back down to 5 minutes.

On recommendation and based on personal experience with other machines I tried Avast! which was no better (about 25 minutes to checkout) and in the end concluded that the machine will just have to run without AV during checkout.

It seems the modern versions of these AV packages don't care much for single core processors, and with the increase in popularity of low-powered netbooks I don't see how this bodes well for their performance or security.

The only other time I've seen AV products have such a negative effect on performance and productivity was with the horribly bloated Norton and McAfee crapware which thinks it owns your PC. I might have to give that NOD32 thing people are mentioning here a run because all the other options are looking very poor indeed.

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Eurocrat demands MP3 player volume limit mandate

B3vil

Just drives the loudness war...

If the players have limits music producers will just further overcompress their releases so that they sound 'louder' still thus destroying the sound completel and making them near impossible to listen to on a decent set-up.

The current volume limits are problem even right now if you're listening to older 'pre-remaster' material which is significantly quieter than the modern music the current limits were based around. In some cases the older material only hitting 50% peak amplitude, and has no excessive compression which is great for listening to on a proper setup, but near useless on portable players due to these silly limits.

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Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome

B3vil

@Chris Bradshaw

Microsoft don't really lose their market share.

As far as the users are concerned they're still running IE, IE supports all the latest features that their favorite sites need, and they have no reason to run anything other than IE.

If anything it will give people more of a reason to stick with IE.

When a new version of IE comes out, they will happily upgrade to it because they think that IE is good, and IE does everything they need. By that point IE might actually support the standards properly. I think what Microsoft don't like is simply that it means they'll have to do work to

a) ensure that future updates and versions don't break the plugin, because then it will look like iE sucks (page worked in previous version, update broke it.. blah blah blah)

or

b) actually implement all these things properlyso that the plugin isn't needed.

People think Firefox is great because of it's ad-blocking, but it's only really great when you have the ad-block plugins installed. People see the plugins and the features they offer as part of the browser. Once the plugin is installed nobody will even remember it's 'Google' or 'Chrome'

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Philips waves farewell to point-and-press remote controls

B3vil
FAIL

Wiiii

How often have you been playing on a Wii and thinking 'it would have been easier with a button' but forgiven it because it was a bit different and innovative and was a game after all, and every time I'm on the home screen I just want to use the buttons to move around, but I can't.

Now force people to do this on something that's not a game. For every basic operation.

Oh, and I hope they come with wriststraps, and that there is a warning every time you turn the TV on......

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250GB PS3 Slim rumoured

B3vil

No Linux, No Sale

simple as that really. they've killed the only interesting feature

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Breakfast cereal freebie CD dishes up hard-core smut

B3vil

Seen similar with audio CDs and game updates

Were they a few years past their best before date?

I only ask because i've seen similar with some 'enhanced' audio CDs and game updaters.

In both cases the software has contained links to websites which have long since expired, and (probably maliciously) been bought up by people pushing malware.

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Amazon limits PS3 Slim sales

B3vil
FAIL

Every time I consider buying one, Sony take away the features I want

The price, for the most part is enough to put me off.

However, I thought the 100% in hardware backwards compatibility would be useful, and it would be worth buying for that once the price came down.

Sony Removed it, main reason for wanting one gone, so even with the cheaper prices it wasn't worth it.

Now I've been hanging on for the price to come down so that I could install linux and develop some software on it, and test out some of the homebrew, and Sony are killing that too, making it rather pointless for me to develop anything because in a few years people will only have the slim ones. It was the main (only?) edge this thing had over the 360.

Looks like I won't be able to get a modern one with that feature now leaving absolutely no value in the product. At this point it would only be good value if it was cheaper than the 360, but with the current trends by the time it's cheaper than the 360 it will probably only play blu-ray movies because Sony have decided nobody needs the other features anyway.

Fail, to say the least.

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Music downloads greener than buying CDs

B3vil
Thumb Down

Quality

With high speed connections, high capacity disks and modern processors there is no real excuse for them to sell things in a sub-CD quality lossy format.

Hell, they could sell the original multi-channel sources and do all the mixing in realtime, letting you turn on / off layers or set up your 7.1 mix as you want with recommended defaults, and give you the option to convert it to MP3 for portable players, without having to worry about space or physical distribution. (Ok, A couple of CDs tried this with some bonus proprietary solution, but that was just a gimmick mixing even lower quality mp3s)

But they don't, and until I get a better product by downloading their digital offerings I'll be sticking with the physical discs, no matter how 'ungreen' they are. I'm fed up of technology moving *backwards* and offering us worse overall products for more expensive prices, the music industry (and Sony with the new PS3s) are prime examples of this.

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Mars rover stalks mystery space alien object

B3vil
Thumb Down

Fake!

It's obviously a leftover from when we faked the Moon Landings on Mars

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Hackintosher aims 'blazin' guns' at Apple

B3vil
Boffin

Install on a MAC?

Can you legally install OSX on a MAC, then move that hard disk into a standard PC, and have it work? You installed it legally, right?

Could that be a loophole in their EULA?

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HP excessive packaging world record put to the test

B3vil
WTF?

Ebuyer

A year or two ago I ordered a few things from Ebuyer, including a cable (didn't want to pay high street prices)

The delivery came as two parts, at different times. The first was tightly packed had almost everything in it, and barely any padding (including Hard Disks etc.)

The second, well the delivery guy certainly found amusing. He even asked me to make absolutely sure what I'd ordered was in the box. The box you see was large enough for several 50" Television sets, but weighed almost nothing. Inside were hundreds of air-filled padding bags, some polystyrene stuff, and right in the middle, a solitary HDMI cable wrapped in about 5 layers of bubble wrap.

Needless to say, the actual thing I was interested in could have just been posted through the mailbox. Shame I didn't have a camera on me.

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Hollywood prepares to battle Asteroids

B3vil
Grenade

Interactive Asteroids

Are you sure this isn't for that 'interactive pre-movie game' there was a prior article about.. where the crowd must wave their hands around like lunatics to avoid ... asteroids ?

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Is Ocarina missing a trick?

B3vil
Stop

For home users?

JPEG, MP3, MP4 / XVID / ZIP (emulators etc.) and most other common formats people have for *data* are already compressed.

Enabling drive compression on a 1.5tb drive saved around 1% of space here, not double.

If the software is recompressing images using a different, lossy technique then home users are unlikely to be happy when the image quality of their photographs or audio quality of their mp3s starts to degrade.

This type of thing is fine for business, with hundreds of documents, often in word, excel, text etc. formats, which compress well but for the most common media types people keep these days additional compression won't buy you much.

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PC repair techs police dangerous picture law

B3vil
Thumb Down

trojans etc.

Many trojans also put undesirable material on your PC, sometimes hidden in secret hidden folders, sometimes visible.

It would be fairly normal for somebody to delete anything they notice, and not notice anything that's been hidden.

Running data recovery software is likely to uncover such hidden or deleted data, which you would then be responsible for.

Oh well, like people really needed another reason to never use PC world for repairs anyway.

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Recession takes chunk out of game sales

B3vil
Flame

Treat your customers badly and they will leave

.. is a lesson that extends far beyond games

Devaluing the 2nd hand value of games with download-only, account locked content results in less sales. (end result, people get less for their old games, they spend less on new games)

Steam isn't too bad until you end up behind some university firewall that doesn't allow it. I've seen this first hand. Other online activation systems suffer in a similar way.

A lack of variety in games, games that feel incomplete, over-hyped products all lower confidence in products. Given the hardware failure levels, the xbox increases are surprising.

It's very easy to blame a recession when you're in one, but when you burn your customers time and time again maybe you should be looking at other reasons?

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Microsoft gets second extension in IE EU antitrust brouhaha

B3vil
Thumb Down

Missed the boat.

IE..

This focus on IE and WMP by the EU just makes them look silly. There are (from what I've read here) many, far worse anti-competitive practices going on, but it always comes down to IE and WMP.

If the EU want to make a point, and level the marketplace properly then they should just ban the selling of anything except barebones systems, and ban the bundling of any commercial software, and ban unfair licensing agreements etc.

That way people have to make an active choice at the time of purchase. The cost of the products becomes more obvious.

More difficult? Maybe

Will result in better informed customers? Probably

Will result in fairer pricing? Should Do

Will result in better informed in-store support staff? You can only teach a monkey so much..

Fairer competition? Definitely.

Then people who want Windows will have to actively go out of their way to buy it. The main problem is that right now it's the default, and many, people will just stick with the default if they don't have to think about it.

Removing IE and Media Player achieves nothing except for making it clear that the EU just don't get 'it'. All that will happen is that people will click through defaults, and end up downloading them as part of some other update package anyway.

The bundling and hidden costs are a far bigger problem.

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Microsoft extends Red-Ring-of-Death cover to fresh Xbox fault

B3vil

@Phil

My experience with the 360 was quite the opposite. One phonecall, on Sunday morning no-less, and it was picked up and returned within 2 days, all at Microsoft's expense. This was one of the earlier failures, maybe their standards have dropped since due to the cost of it all.

The people with PS3 failures (and my own experience with a PS2 failure) have ended up having to make calls to Sony to ask where there machines are because they're taking so long.

I'm no MS fan (I wouldn't mind seeing them burn in the pits of hell) but my experience with the xbox returns process was fantastic, I was so impressed I would almost be willing to write it off as a non-issue. The only other company I've ever dealt with (and this was a long time ago) where the service was quite so impressive was Creative, who were willing to ship out a replacement part the same day, without requiring any return of the broken hardware, or even proof that it was broken. They're a shadow of their former self now tho.

I guess it's a case of 'your experience may vary'

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B3vil
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PS3 reliability

I don't personally know that many people with PS3s, but all the people I do know who own them have suffered from drive failure problems (hard drive and/or blu-ray) and Sony's return policy isn't a patch on the Microsoft one. (probably only because there hasn't been a huge PR uproar over the failures)

Doesn't look like it's all flowers, smiles, and unicorns on either side of the fence from here. The most reliable is probably the Wii, but that's mainly because it's older more well refined, lower-specced tech.

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Oops: Microsoft wonk hits Live Messenger red button

B3vil

Why?

Why does a feature exist to make people change their email addresses in the first place anyway? Are they planning on filtering out existing email addresses that would infringe current 'allowed' XBOX Live Identities retroactively? (ie, if you've used a trademarked name, character name from a game, or something they deem offensive they'll revoke your email address, even if it was fine years ago?)

I've got a feeling I'm completely missing the point here, and that this feature must be for something else tho, not forcing people to change their address?

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BT gets 8 NHS trusts in south

B3vil
Joke

Death (to) profiling

Phorm have noticed that the vital signs of your loved one are quickly taking a turn for the worse. We are sure you would be interested in the following services, tailored specifically to their needs and yours.

Funerals R Us

XxxXtrawide Coffins

Necrophiliacs United

If you wish to opt out of this service please visit our offices 1km south of the North Pole between the hours of 1:01pm and 1:02pm on the 32nd of December.

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YouTube yanks music videos from German site

B3vil
Thumb Up

Should be the other way around

Youtube is owned by Google.

People watching videos on Youtube costs Google money in bandwidth.

People watching videos on Youtube promotes the artists, by word of mouth, reputation etc. They're (low quality) adverts for a product you can buy in the shops (CD Singles, Albums)

The artists, and record labels should be paying Google to show these adverts for their products. If Google want to show some of them free of charge the record companies should be happy for the free promotion.

This should be the same for radio playback.

IF the music is used to sell a different product, without being directly credited at the time (and thus not advertised as people don't know what it is) then yes, the company using it should pay for the rights to use it.

Music is not being used to sell YouTube, YouTube can survive perfectly fine on it's own. YouTube doesn't need the music, therefore Google have no reason to pay. Promoting somebody else's work should not cost you money.

Once the artists, record labels, and the ever-so-infamous PRS realise this, maybe some sense will be restored.

.. but hey, if they don't want their videos out there, I'm quite happy to never see them, and therefore never hear the songs, and buy other things instead. Their choice really..

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Fable creator: How DLC ruined my summer vacation

B3vil
Unhappy

Need new ideas..

Both Fable and Fable 2 had immense amounts of charm, and wit which is lacking from many other titles. Whoever gave the games the character they have deserves a medal.

The worlds were great, as others have mentioned, they didn't feel 'copy and paste' the same way Oblivion did (after a few dungeons / caves you could recognize all the prefabs and it became very boring, now THAT was a bad game after Morrowind)

However, they also both suffered from feeling too short, and having many parts underdeveloped, unbalanced, in some cases unstable.

The original Black and White, I skipped over. The sequel had one of the nicest 'city building' elements I've seen in a game, but the AI was so scripted it wasn't even funny, and it ruined the entire game. I'd also agree on the points made about the gestures, they're either a key feature of the game, or they're worthless. Having to buy them made no sense.

Spore, I always felt wanted to be a Lionhead game. It fails miserably because it suffers from all the overblown hype, but lacks all the charm making it essentially worthless. It's the Sims with creatures, wherever everything can be solved with a song and dance. Relationships meters, little bubbles above heads. Some meaningless combat system if you decided to take that route. No house building, but essentially it was the Sims, and I'm only surprised there isn't a 'My Pet Spore' expansion for TS yet. At least if Lionhead had done it, it might have had a bit more character to it.

The likes of Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital and Syndicate were all superb. Same humor, same charm, but they actually always tried something new back then and pulled it off in ways which at the time were remarkably deep and progressive, and could be approached in many ways.

The logic behind a lot of modern titles is far too transparent, this makes them appear shallow and worthless. It's an overused term, but the most appropriate description would be 'dumbed-down', either because the market demands it, or because it makes the development easier. The other article about text in games is another example, a library full of books can really help draw you into a world, some old games (Frontier, Lemmings 2) even came with books which added to the experience.

Back to the original subject. I still keep my eye on Bullfrog, because I still think they have the potential to produce something wonderful. Their games do have an edge, but the more recent efforts always leave you wondering 'what could have been'. Maybe one day they'll get it right again.

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EA: No DRM for Sims 3

B3vil

The whole truth?

Several serial key protection systems have also included disc based protection which in many cases installs equally as intrusive processes, and software which prevents other software from functioning, forcing you to uninstall or disable it. (I'm surprised forcing you to remove somebody elses software for no actual technical reason is legal)

No online activations, No background services, No disc based DRM, No forcing you to remove other software, and we could have a winner.

A game should be playable out of the box even on a machine with no internet access.

Doing a serial check for using their online services, when the user requests them (user shared content etc.) is fair enough, it's more akin to the way the MMORPGs work, however patches should still be available separately.

The game code doesn't have to contain the full serial check logic, just enough to make sure the key hasn't been mistyped. Ensure server side that only real valid keys get the user content, and if it does look like a key has been used across multiple machines, disable online content for that user. (unless it's a security update or similar that could risk the machine becoming a zombie without it)

ANYTHING beyond that is unacceptable IMHO.

Piracy will happen whatever you do, rewarding actual customers with extra services (extra online content) rather than punishing them by making them jump through hoops which the pirates don't even see (broken DRM systems, annoying disc based protections etc.) makes the most sense.

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Mr. WebTV gives games thin-client treatment

B3vil
Thumb Down

No thanks

just another way to try and force a rental model down our throats.

I like to own things, I like to be able to collect things, I like a physical product that just works, and if it fails, I can buy another one preowned.

I like to have a choice over which version of a game I run, if they fixed some bugs in a patch, but also introduced new ones, I like the choice of being able to run the old version.

I want my games to react the frame after I press a button.

I want my games to have high quality visuals and sounds, not cable-tv quality garbage.

I want all the things that this fails to offer, and don't want any of the things it does.

It's just another anti-consumer product designed to squeeze money out of people with minimum investment, passing the cost onto everybody else and giving no long term value for money at all.

I can't think of a single reason I'd want to buy garbage like this, and if it becomes the only choice I guess I'll just find another hobby.

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Google plugs your surf history into ad money machine

B3vil
Stop

Time to start blocking.

never really felt the need to use adblock etc. until now as Google's ads never seems intrusive, however, with this news it's just gone onto all my machines.

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