Friday 29 June 2007

Say hello to iPhone

I can't iPhone home! So, I'll consider a BlackBerry and iPod duo for the time being!

Thursday 28 June 2007

Obituary notice

This is a transcript of my mother's obituary notice, which I wrote, as it appears in today's edition of Express & Echo newspaper:

Hood, Margaret NeƩ Woodland

On Friday June 8th 2007 our leading lady, wife, mum and best friend died aged 65 at the RD&E Hospital, Wonford.

Loving wife to Robin, devoted mum to John, beloved sister to Sidney, Norman, Brenda and Allan, cherished sister-in-law to Kathleen, Marion, Alan and Julian, treasured Auntie to Alison, Andrew, Claire, Hazel and Hayley, greatly loved daughter-in-law to Cecil.

Special thanks to all the nursing and care staff at Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre, Mardon House, Wonford and Lucerne House Care Centre, Alphington.

The funeral service is to be held at Alphington Parish Church on Monday 9TH July at 1:00pm, followed by a private cremation service.

Flowers for Margaret and/or donations to Lucerne House Fund Raising, which enhances the quality of life, for the residents of Lucerne House, and provides access to the community for example trips to the National Trust’s Killerton House.

Donations may be given by retiring collection or cheques made payable to 'Lucerne House Fund Raising' and flowers may be sent C/o Co-op Funeralcare, 119 Cowick Street, St. Thomas, Exeter, EX4 1JD.

Wednesday 27 June 2007


Nintendo's official press announcement regarding, its answer to Xbox Live, WiiWare!


Nintendo Sets a New Paradigm: One Game Can Still Make a Difference

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 27, 2007 – The search for the next ingeniously ground-breaking video game has begun. At a private developers conference this week, Nintendo announced the introduction of WiiWare™, a game-creation service that will allow developers large and small to create new downloadable video game content for sale by Nintendo through the Wii Shop Channel of the hot Wii™ home video game system. WiiWare paves the way for smaller, more creative games to make their way to the public at lower prices, without any inventory risk to developers. The first WiiWare content will launch in early 2008.

"Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas will be able to get their original games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit," says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."

The possibilities for WiiWare are limited only by the imaginations of developers. WiiWare provides game creators a simple method by which they can get their games to the public. This approach, combined with the remarkable motion controls of the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™, will give birth to fresh takes on established genres, as well as original ideas that currently exist only in developers' minds. The reduced barriers to development provide developers the freedom to create and an inexpensive, clearly defined path to reach consumers who will ultimately determine which game will become the Next Big Thing.

WiiWare will be posted on the Wii Shop Channel. As with current Wii Shop Channel offerings, users will redeem Wii Points™ to download content. It will support a variety of pricing options. Details about that and upcoming projects will be announced at a later date. For more information about Wii, visit

Tuesday 26 June 2007

That's it man, game over man, game over!

Avid gamers should read A gamer's look at Parallels 3 and its ability to play games for Windows when compared to Boot Camp's native OS support.

The conclusion is unsurprising given the inherent limitations of virtualization.

Sunday 24 June 2007

Dirty Pop

Tonight I noticed that the widely reported "speaker popping" issue, affecting Mac OS X 10.4.10, has blighted my Intel-based iMac too! Lets hope Apple quickly issues a patch!

Friday 22 June 2007

Windows Experience

After installing Mac OS X 10.4.10 Combo Update (Intel), repairing permissions both before and after applying the iterative update. I rebooted into Windows Vista!

Last night I noticed the Windows Update icon had appeared on the taskbar! I double-clicked to see what updates were available, and it was an update for the Windows Live Messenger 8.5 beta.

The update was designed specifically to test Windows Live Messenger updates pushed through the Microsoft Update engine - which you can use within Windows Vista's Windows Update client off the Start Menu. Microsoft is putting great efforts to 'push' updates through Windows Update and Microsoft Update that add to the Windows user experience.

The update to Windows Live Messenger 8.5 offers no new functionality, or updates to the application itself, as it was designed simply to test the functionality of rolling out an update through Microsoft Update. I'd certainly love to see this functionality incorporated into Apple Software Update (part of Boot Camp), thereby eliminating the need to burn a CD replete with the latest drivers!

Time to download the Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (DX10 demo) and test Windows Explorer.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Das Boot

Have other Mac Users noticed any system sluggishness when booting back into Mac OS X 10.4 via Boot Camp? It takes repeated restarts to improve system responsiveness! This will doubtlessly be addressed in the final retail release (as part of Mac OS X 10.5).

Personally speaking, I prefer Boot Camp, to any existing third-party virtualization tools such as Parallels Desktop, despite lacking the option to run Windows Vista concurrently with Mac OS X! If SWsoft would like me to appraise Parallels Desktop, and post a review, please contact me.

Monday 18 June 2007

Games for Windows

Having now settled into Windows Vista (using Boot Camp 1.3) sans WOW, I'm forewarned of Aero's influence on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's translucent menubar (Apple's worst menubar decision since Mac OS X Public Beta)!

However, for the time being, I'm much more interested in Microsoft's Games for Windows marketing strategy and Windows Vista native support for Xbox 360 controller for Windows!

I've pre-ordered Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PC) along with an Xbox 360 Crossfire - Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows and Xbox 360 wireless controller.

Reviews to follow.

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Wii Stock

Nintendo fans rejoice! Wii (includes Wii Sports) are back in stock at! Has the drought ended in time for Wimbledon?

Don't forget to pre-order Resident Evil 4 (Wii), reviews suggest that this entry, in Capcom's lauded franchise, is greatly enhanced by game engine retooling. The latest issue of games™ magazine, issue 58, features an excellent article - The Surviving Horror. This looks back at the roots of Resident Evil, its profound influence, and how next generation console technology may shape the future of the franchise. Make sure you own a Wii and a PS3 or Xbox 360!

Friday 8 June 2007

Free DivX Pro limited offer

DivX Pro is available gratis, for a limited time, on both Mac and Windows. I wouldn't go without this codec and nor should you!

Thursday 7 June 2007

Predictions for WWDC '07

This June the center of the Mac universe will be at Moscone West in downtown San Francisco as developers and IT professionals from around the globe come together for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Technically-speaking WWDC 2007 should lack the glamour of Macworld! But, this is Apple we're talking about, and everything Apple does, under the stewardship of CEO Steve Jobs, is followed with great interest by developers, consumers, and the public at large!

Here are my predictions for next week:

*New iMacs and iPods (maybe delayed until Apple Expo Paris)
*iLife 07
*iWork 07
*iLife and iWork integrated into Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
*Boot Camp no longer requires reboot in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
*Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac release date announced
*Blu-Ray build-to-order (BTO) option available from Apple Store
*.Mac updated with Google co-branding and sans subscription

Lots of cool new applications and updates from third-party developers.

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Wii Widens Lead

Bloomberg is reporting that Nintendo's Wii is outselling Sony's PS3 at a ratio of 5:1, undermining Sony's ability to recoup investments in the machine.

Monday 4 June 2007

Virtual Console Century

The following Nintendo press release maybe of interest to readers:

REDMOND, Wash., June 1, 2007 – Nintendo is giving video game fans a way to access their favorite classic games, all without leaving the comfort of their homes. And gamers have responded en masse as the library of downloadable game classics continues to grow. The upcoming addition of Zelda II™ – The Adventure of Link® on June 4 marks the 100th classic game available on the Wii Shop Channel. And since going online Nov. 19, owners of Nintendo’s hot Wii™ video game system have downloaded more than 4.7 million classic games from Wii’s Virtual Console, a rate of more than 1,000 games every hour since launch. The top five classic game downloads globally to date, and their original system are:

1) Super Mario Bros.® (NES®)
2) Super Mario 64® (N64®)
3) Mario Kart 64™ (N64®)
4) Super Mario World® (SNES®)
5) The Legend of Zelda® (NES®)

Wii lets players visit the Wii Shop Channel to redeem Wii Points™ to download classic video games from the original Nintendo Entertainment System®, the Super NES® and the Nintendo® 64, and the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx16 consoles. These games are nostalgic totems to veteran gamers, and simultaneously, new, easy-to-play entries for younger players. These games demonstrate Nintendo’s staying power across generations by letting veteran gamers relive their glory days while their children play them for the first time. The addition of Zelda II – The Adventure of Link brings a fourth Legend of Zelda® game to the Wii Shop Channel from three classic Nintendo platforms, providing exciting adventures that span the decades. Additional classic games are added to the Wii Shop Channel every Monday.

“With an Internet connection rate reaching 40 percent, Wii owners have more options than ever to find the kinds of games they love to play,” says George Harrison, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. “Beyond the Wii Shop Channel, all types of people are getting connected and checking out the information and entertainment options available on the Wii Menu. Whether voting, creating a Mii or just checking the weather, everyone has a favorite channel.”

The Wii Shop Channel is one of the many entertainment and informational channels that are available via the Wii system. Others include the Forecast Channel, the News Channel, the Mii Channel, the Everybody Votes Channel, the Photo Channel and the Internet Channel. Each of these broadens the appeal of Wii to new audiences and draws in consumers who might not otherwise be interested in a video game system.

Friday 1 June 2007

The Ultimate View

I've been testing Windows Vista Ultimate OEM/OEI DSP edition, installed on an Intel-based Mac! Installation was a breeze, thanks to Boot Camp 1.2 and built-in Apple Software Update (available directly from the Start menu).

Overall I'm quite impressed with Windows Vista Ultimate's performance, which is, ironically, more responsive than Mac OS X 10.4, despite a lack of compatible drivers. Microsoft should be lauded for making improvements, especially with Windows Media Center, despite their controversial and confusing product (and pricing) strategy.

Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open) GUI applies an extra layer of lip gloss and renders certain text better than Aqua (Mac OS X) and vice versa. For the first time since the release of Windows 95 (although it's not a paradigm shift from Windows XP), Microsoft has completely revised its user interface guidelines, covering aesthetics, common controls such as buttons and radio buttons, task dialogs, wizards, common dialogs, control panels, icons, fonts, user notifications, and the "tone" of text used.

Avid video gamers, starved of Mac ports, are truly spoilt for choice. Roll on Halo 2.

One caveat I should mention, install Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (x86) and not 64-bit (x64)! Support for the former is more robust in the short-to-mid term.