Month: October 2005 (page 1 of 3)

Apps to go

usbAges after everyone else has one I’ve finally got round to getting a USB Stick. The Corsair 2GB Flash Voyager is a 2GB stick that recently got the PC Pro award for USB sticks. At £82 I thought that was pretty good value. First step was to split the stick into two 1Gb drives. One drive will have a backup of my XP files – mail, pictures, files, passwords, pdf’s of manuals – that sort of thing. This is a protected drive and also the backup file is protected too – just in case it falls into the wrong hands. The second drive contains some handy apps that will work on any machine without installing and some essential utils to fix a pc. They are:

That’s it for the moment. I’m sure there’s a few more tools that would be handy to carry around but that will do for now – if you think there’s anything else worth adding let me know.

Xbox.com updates

You’ll notice the not so subtle gamertag section has appeared on the sidebar. Microsoft have finally updated Xbox.com in preparation for the 360. One of the updates is to introduce My Xbox. This is where you can view your profile, see your game achievements and also who is currently playing on your friends list.

However you can also see your friends achievements and the Gamer Card goes with you througout Xbox.com. You can easily embed it into web pages too. The full functionality won’t be seen until you play a 360 and the profiles start to update – still a nice early look at the new functionality on offer. Piccies of the friends list and also Messenger integration are on Flickr.

There’s also a chance to get an early look at the 360 in Glasgow:

Glasgow 4th -6th November, The Lighthouse, Gallery 5, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Glasgow (Map)

Friday 4th 12.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Saturday 5th 10.30am – 6.00pm
Sunday 6th 10.30am – 6.00pm

More details of the other venues here.

Flock

Hype’s a wonderful thing but when it bares no fruit you feel conned. That’s how I feel after trying Flock. This is the Firefox browser with social networking and sharing built in. Blog from your browser – yep. Flickr integration – woo! Del.icio.us integration of your bookmarks – impressive.

But it’s so SLOW. The blogging GUI is also lacking and for me just doesn’t work very well – I can quickly log into the blog and post from any browser so where’s the advantage. I do like the Del.icio.us integration but I also don’t want the whole world to see my favourites – they are my precious and I want to keep them that way. Did I mention it was slow? Admitedly it’s a very early release with optimisation to come but if this is the best of the Web 2.0 apps then it can flock off – I’ll stick with Firefox thank you very much.

Backwards Compatibility

A lot has been made of the ability of the Xbox 360 to play Xbox games. Too much has been said about it – it HAS to have it, why only certain games, this will put me off buying a 360…blah blah blah. I just don’t see the issue – the PS2 has backward compatibility but I’ve never used it – once I see, hear and play next gen games the immediately previous gen just looks poor.

Now that Sony are struggling with not only a new version of the PS2 but have revealed issues on the PS3 maybe the debate will calm down. It’s not about being backward compatible – what about updating older games. Take Halo2 or Pro Evo4/5 – they’ve lost none of their playability since release – wouldn’t it be nice to play hi-res versions on the 360 or with new maps/teams? There are rumours that Halo1/2 will have hi-res graphics on the 360 – it is nice to think they will be true. Ultimately I would rather MS concentrated on the 360 line up rather than wondering about how we can play the old games on the 360. Will I really want to play PGR2 ahead of PGR3? Then again, an updated Halo2 may be THE only other game worth playing on the 360!

Pro Evo 5

Now that I’ve had to chance to play this properly online I have to say I’m disappointed. It still is the best soccer game and the online play has been improved since last year…but the reality is it’s a lazy conversion and update.

Where’s the widescreen options, why are the graphics still average, the dodgy pitches that make it difficult to see the ball – I could go on with grumbles. Oh – not forgetting that you can’t really use the PS2 pad on Xbox as they stop you swapping the controls round properly – I’m just sticking with the Xbox pad as the controls tweaks brought in for the PSP means only one trigger doesn’t make much difference. 2vs 2 online was promised but only if 2 are on the same Xbox – doh!

Lag has improved but isn’t a thing of the past. Each player now hosts one half which in theory makes it fair – in practice I’ve found the player not hosting plays very defensively for the half hoping that his smooth half will result in goals – not the way it should be played. It’s also difficult to get a random game. From looking at the forums it seems to be because leagues have been introduced – you get points for games you win and then you are allocated into a league – if a player with high points loses against a player with less points then they lose quite a bit more than if they were equal. Pretty sad really but stats still rule the roost.

Live is also still full of sore losers. Why does everyone want to play with the best teams only – missing so much by playing with the same teams over and over. There are also so many people who can’t take a beating. Hello to the guy that beat me on penalties (Chelsea v Arsenal) this afternoon and then when I suggested a rematch with swapped teams he agreed but then picked a better team instead of Arsenal. Made the 4-1 drubbing even sweeter – the language he came out with – I guess me laughing over the headset didn’t help. Child.

Worth the purchase if you intend to play online although 11 vs 11 online seems further away than ever.

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