by Mike

Software on Steam

October 16, 2012 in Software


I love Steam. I don’t think I would have started buying games if it didn’t exist. I love the community, the interface and how easy it is to use. Steam is my favorite! Now they have full blown started selling software.

It was rumored that they would start selling more than games and hats a long time ago, but now its finally happening! Though most of the software so far is either free, expensive or somewhat useless  it shows that there will be a good range of prices and include even very expensive production software. I am still curious where all this will go, what new products will launch, and how it will effect Microsoft Marketplace and Apple App Store.

With the Windows 8 Marketplace I don’t expect to see anything like Office in there any time soon, but this might be a good place for indie software developers to make their mark. Steam has, after all, helped so many indie game dev.’s get their games to a very large market. Speaking of indie, Humble Bundle has also started releasing more than just games and soundtracks – currently they are offering eBooks.

by Mike

Windows 8 is a Bad Idea

September 27, 2012 in Software

There is no other explanation… When a developer still makes around $215,000 a day, 2 years after release from his game, logically he should want to be on as many platforms as possible. Turning down an open invite to certify their game for the Windows 8 Marketplace would be foolish, right?! I personally think there is more to it than that, and at this point in case you haven’t figured it out I’m referring to Markus Persson who tweeted this earlier, saying “I told [Microsoft] to stop trying to ruin the pc as an open platform” and has spoken out other times against Windows 8. He goes on to say “I’d rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along.” and many would say that’s bad for business.

Having the income Notch has allows him to be slightly picky. If he wanted to he could be more aggressive and get Minecraft on every platform. He would likely have even more income. At this point I think he would rather take a stand and make a point. He has helped many indie game developers find a place in the market by supporting the Humble Bundle and many other projects, both financially and in marketing. This stand against the Windows 8 Market is one I can agree with. The PC stands out against Mac because it is an open platform. Users aren’t given a set of rules but instead allowed to think outside the box, and explore outside the box. To take that away from the PC would be a disaster. Either people will switch to Mac, or they will switch to Linux. Already Linux has overcome some of my personal issues in terms of compatibility and entertainment. Steam now runs many games on Linux and there are so many apps, its hard to not find one that does what you need.

Windows 8 is less than a month from launch, but Intel CEO Paul Otellini is quoted as saying Windows 8 still requires improvements to be made. They want to stick with their release deadline and feel that any imperfections can be fixed with an update later down the road. Even RIM has learned from making that mistake and pushed back the release of BB10 to make sure their product ships working ready to take on the world (and its looking REALLY good now). Just look at iOS6 Maps on the iPhone 5 to see how an incomplete element can impact the reputation of a successful company. Is Microsoft really that obtuse, or is it wrong to keep customers waiting? How do you feel about being sold a product that isn’t ready yet? There is nothing but a promise to comfort you that they will fix things later…

At the end of the day, I have to hand it to Microsoft for being bold, but they are playing with some very dangerous ideas. Already many people do not want to switch just because they don’t like the way it looks! If developers don’t feel they have the same control over their software they won’t make the switch. They need the respect and cooperation of developers otherwise they won’t get anywhere. Microsoft knew this 20 years ago, but have they forgotten this now? Only ti me will tell, and usually Microsoft puts out one risky release every other version of Windows. For now I won’t come near Windows 8 and I can’t think of a single person I would recommend it to.

by Mike

Skype Changing to new ‘Opus’ audio codec

September 13, 2012 in Software

Anyone that uses an in game voice chat program like Vent, Mumble, Team Speak or even if you are using Skype, you should know by now the codec is everything. Any spike in latency can be frustrating and annoying and a good audio codec can make a huge difference. Mumble prides itself in a codec developed specifically for speech and promises low bandwidth with high quality!

Skype has been knocking this new Opus codec around since March 2009 intending to create a low bandwidth codec “designed for the internet.” This should mean full CD quality audio in full band stereo over Skype, regardless of internet connection. They are also bringing in new technologies to help with packet loss so your friends and family wont sound like some dubstep audio sample. Personally this makes me VERY hopeful to see Skype on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

There is no specific ETA but they expect it to become standard across all Skype platforms. Below is a video that likely has way more information than anyone would be interested in…

by Mike

Apple Announcement Predictions

September 12, 2012 in Hardware

An Apple site search reveals the iPhone 5 with LTE, iTunes, iPod Nano, iPod Touch but what about the iPad mini? Only time will tell but the tech community is certainly buzzing. Find out more today at 1PM Eastern! Already thousands of people are queued up to watch live blogs, news feeds and tweets. The excitement is palpable!

by Mike

Portable Devices are Hot

September 11, 2012 in Hardware

Apple has the world talking about them this week with lots of buzz over the iPhone 5 and their new iOS. Pretty much every tech company and their mother has a tablet out now. A whole new generation of laptops are coming out and the most interesting marketing technique I’ve seen yet -they are now being branded as “ultrabooks”!

SO what does this mean exactly? Is there a difference or is this just another way of getting you to buy tech… I want to hear your opinion before I continue.
[poll id=’2′]
Read the rest of this entry →

by Mike


August 7, 2012 in Kwappy Weviews

I haven’t had a chance to use this router very long but already I see a huge downfall in the DHCP reservation and port forwarding. Some of the biggest things I liked about my D-Link is that I didn’t have to type in very much. More drop down menus could improve the efficiency of a lot of options. Host name resolution on more pages would be useful too. Sorry Asus, but I’m not that badass enough to recognize my mac address in the list of 15 other devices…

On the positive side the router performs great under heavy load and with multiple devices. The QOS engine seems efficient and works well. The bandwidth monitor application is not only very neat and useful but graphically pleasing too. The device itself is susceptible to fingerprints and smudges but when its clean and left alone the lights are a great eye catcher and totally a device to be shown off. The cables out the back can be a bit of an eye sore if you are like me and have ethernet cables of every colour and length, running in every direction.

Wifi performance has been great. Despite it not having any external antennas, the 2.4 GHz band is able to reach the full apartment with strong signal even through several concrete walls. 5GHz isn’t perfect but has a far reach compatibly to other 5GHz devices.

Reboot times range from 5-10 seconds and 60 for a full reboot. Firmware updates take about 3 minutes, however no network traffic is impacted for the first 2 minutes. Overall I give the device an 8/10. It performs great and looks sexy, but some of the UI could have easily been improved to help administrative efficiency A LOT. A few strange failures randomly occurred but it seems they are still releasing firmware fixes on a fairly regular basis. Though I would like to be as objective as possible, comparability, every D-Link device I have used has a far more user friendly interface; not only dummy proof but efficient for any network admin.

by Mike

D-Link DIR-825

August 7, 2012 in Kwappy Weviews

I used this router for about a year and I must say it was good till the end. By that I mean it worked great and by the end it was a pain in the ass. Out of the box the router worked great! As more firmware updates came out the device only improved, until suddenly I realized the device required reboots in order to access the UI. If I had an uptime of over 2 days I could not access the Web UI gateway… No other performance was impacted, just administration. Not sure if an Apache server, P2P or any other high traffic/connection protocols could be to blame for this or not.

On the positive side, when it worked I loved everything about the UI. Simple and detailed I found it easy to do common tasks, maintain stability with QOS and selective port blocking/filtering. This router made it very easy to keep a balanced web experience in a large home with many users and devices.

Wireless performance was not as good as I hoped. Though it has two external antennas, the wireless was almost useless outside of the house or on top floors in the home. Needless to say, being in the basement surrounded by ventilation ducts doesn’t help its case, however even inside the home some desktop computers were unable to connect at all with USB wifi adapters when interference was high – even while being the only SSID on channel 4 in the general vicinity. The 5GHz band was nearly useless I found. Weak signal even when one floor directly above the router.

Reboot times ranged from 15 seconds, 45 seconds and 75 seconds for a full reboot. Firmware updates seem few and far in between and can be a bit picky, sometimes requiring a reboot before starting and again after finishing. Overall rating 6/10

by Mike

Office 2013

July 16, 2012 in Software

its rumored that Microsoft will be unvailing their new version of Office toda. With their new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet computer coming out, this year is very important. The 5,000-employee Office division now includes 170 user experience designers and researchers, twice as many as it had a year ago. This goes without saying, it will be interesting to see how the new metro styled OS will impact the Office UI.

Clearly Microsoft intends to make the product more touch friendly. The new Office also comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.

A consumer preview of the new Office is available today and can be downloaded by clicking the link below. Microsoft is promising this will be more than just a work tool and more of an every day program users will enjoy to use. More to come soon!

Microsoft Office ]

by Mike

Leap Motion

July 10, 2012 in Hardware

I have to admit this is by far the best human interface device I have ever seen. I would rather let the video speak for itself but I will say that this is real, and the video footage is not simulated in anyway. This is the real deal!

[ Leap Motion ]

by Mike

Today, You May Not Have Internet

July 9, 2012 in News

Last night a friend asked me why some people would be without internet this Monday, knowing about this issue since last Friday I found it somewhat funny that it took so long to truly circulate. Basically for those who don’t know, some people created malware that changes the DNS settings on your computer – appropriately named DNSChanger. When you type in a website, instead of the DNS pointing your web browser to the real website, it would point you to a website that would make profit off of you visiting the page through ads and other monetized functions. No big D though, the FBI found the fraudulent DNS server and turned it into a proper DNS server.

Since then, Google and Facebook have been monitoring incoming DNS requests and provided users with a friendly message explaining that their computer has been compromised and given some easy ways to fix the problem. Now today, July 9th the FBI plans on turning off this DNS server… Now this may not make sense to anyone but the DNS server had the power to point your computer to any website they wanted… So instead of turning it into a normal fully working DNS server, why didn’t the FBI just make it so any website request pointed users to a tool that would fix their DNS settings, thus avoiding the whole catastrophe of having over 200,000 users suddenly not have internet any more! Sure, it probably would have been “illegal” but if it was done by the FBI for a constructive and positive reason, who cares? Everyone would have known about the problem right away and been able to fix it.

I can’t complain though, things like this keep me employed! =)

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