15 August 98 - 21 August 98
Highlights within this period includes:
  • New StarCraft Patch to V1.02
  • Research to Break All Speed Barriers on Net
  • Deadline for SBLive! Promo Package - Typo
  • SoundBlaster Live! First Personal Impression
  • Netscape 4.06
  • Time Bug In Windows 98New Handwriting Recognition System for PalmPilot
  • WinAmp 1.92-SP1
  • SBLive! Review
  • Aureal's A3D Vs Creative's EAX
  • Stable Celeron at 496Mhz on ABIT BH6!
  • Newest SBLive Drivers from Creative
  • WinAmp 2.00
  • Matrox Millenium G200 Review
  • USB Audio
  • Run The Full-Retail Version of Unreal with SBLive!
  • NT 5.0 Beta 2
  • Powerstrip v2.25
  • Voodoo 2 Rev 3???
  • 2 Forthcoming Titles from Jane's
  • Microsoft NT 5.X, 6.X
  • STB Velocity V4400 Preview
  • Need for Speed III : Hot Pursuit
  • Intel Pushes To Eradicate ISA
  • Linux Red Hat 5.1
  • Copper Alloy Cooling
  • AMD K6-2 350Mhz
  • First Virus in Java Found!
  • Norton Utilities 3.0.7 "freezes" Windows
  • S3 And 3Dfx Goes To War
21th August 1998 {Friday}
S3 And 3Dfx Go to War 21st August 22:37 pm

Ahem, from GameCenter's article, it seems like the 2 giants of the video card industries are waging some PR war with each other.

It happened after a "controversial" report from Mercury Research, which published that though 3Dfx's Voodoo Banshee had came out tops in 3D Winbench 98, it had lost out to S3's Savage3D in Turok and Incoming benchmarks.

Ignoring the 3D WinBench 98 scores, S3 followed on August 11 with a press release announcing that Savage3D bested Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo 2 in real-world applications.

On August 19, 3Dfx countered with a press release challenging Mercury Research's testing methodology. Apparently, Mercury Research did the game benchmarking at each card's default refresh rate, which in the case of Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo 2 was 60 Hz, or 60 screen redraws per second. Testing at this low refresh rate limited performance to 60 frames per second. Savage3D, on the other hand, defaulted to 85 Hz, allowing faster results.

My say: I wouldn't run my Voodoo 2 (or Banshee, if I had one) with VSYNC ON because it would grossly diminish what the V2 is truely capable of by limiting it to the default refresh rate.

And I would agree that Mercury Research could make the matter clearer if they ran the benchmarks again with VSYNC turned OFF. We'll then be able to see the real winner and potential buyers will be enlightened.

Hear what GameCenter has to say about this:

News Analysis
There's no question that Mercury Research's results are misleading; to be fair, all cards need to be tested at the same refresh rate. Otherwise, you end up testing default refresh rate rather than 3D performance.

Of course, the best way to test is with v-sync off, where the card renders frames without regard to refresh rate. That way, you can measure actual performance without any artificial constraints.

It's unfortunate, though, that in its August 19 press release, 3Dfx felt the need to confuse the situation by comparing performance with v-sync off vs. Mercury Research's v-sync on results. When you're in the right, you're better off taking the high road.

Norton Utilities 3.0.7 "Freezes" Windows 21st August 22:14 pm

According to a report from BugNet, the latest version of Norton Utilities caused Windows to hang and denies users from floppy access.

It has been established that a component of NU 3.0.7, Norton System Doctor, froze Windows in 6 scenarios. Some workarounds has been posted on ZDNet's page. (I want to know the workarounds!)

First virus in JAVA found! 21st August 08:04 am

If Java could be used to write cross-platform applications, then someone would likely find a way to cause cross-platform havoc with a Java-based virus.

The Symantec Antivirus Research Center (SARC) has found the first such virus, but the good news is it can't hurt Web surfers.

The research center's automated virus-hunting engine, called Seeker, found the virus during a routine scan of websites. The virus, called Strange Brew, is just an infector. It spreads itself from one Java application to another, and it can jump from anything from a Network Computer to an IBM S/390 mainframe.

"This is just proof of concept," said Kerry Nachenberg, chief researcher at SARC, in Santa Monica, Calif. "The guy is showing it can be done, and he was the first to do it."

Because Strange Brew functions differently than standard non-Java viruses, anti-virus programs can't detect it even with a new definition file. A new executable is needed to detect it, which Symantec said it will make available for download through the LiveUpdate function in Norton AntiVirus

AMD K6-2 350 MHz 21st August 08:00 am

Advanced Micro Devices is expected to announce next week a 350-MHz version of the K6-2 CPU, which the company said it plans to position as an alternative to higher-end Pentium II processors.

AMD officials declined to comment about the upcoming announcement, but acknowledged that the company's road map calls for a K6-2 350-MHz processor to ship this quarter. A 400-MHz chip is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter.

Although the K6 and K6-2 processors are generally used in entry-level PCs, AMD officials said the 350-MHz and 400-MHz CPUs will be aimed at the performance-PC market, competing directly with the Pentium II. K6-2 processors are consistently priced 25 percent lower than corresponding Pentium II chips

Copper Alloy Cooling 21st August 07:55 am

HPC had done an interesting article on Copper Alloy Cooling for the Voodoo2 cards.

According to engineers, the copper alloy material conducts heat at two to three times the rate of the aluminum material commonly used in extruded aluminum heat sinks. This should allow heat to get away from the chip at a faster rate and allow a more even dissipation rate across the surface area of the sink

20th August 1998 {Thursday}
Red Hat Linux 5.1 20th August 19:54 pm
ZDNet has just posted the article "Red Hat Linux 5.1, Watch Out Windows".

With the growing interest to find themselves a stable and reliable operating system, many techies have looked to Linux as a viable "free" alternative to the Windows platform. The open source movement has also garnered a huge following and even named brands like Netscape Communications Corp had staked a fortune on it.

For many years, Linux remained a techie's operating system and haven't had much penetration on the general user's desktop. All this is set to change with many Linux distributors taking the responsibility upon themselves to release versions of Linux for the masses. Red Hat Linux 5.X is one of such operating system distribution. A snippet of the full story:

Not only was Red Hat Linux 5.1 able to detect all of our hardware on the first try--including motherboard resources, our 3Com 3C905B-TX NIC and an Adaptec 2940UW SCSI adapter--it was able to configure our TCP/IP network from our Windows NT-based DHCP server. Sounds almost too perfect? It also auto-probed our Matrox Millennium II video card, and set up the X-Window environment automatically. Even Windows NT 4.0 Server installs don't always go this smoothly.

While Linux still has a steeper learning curve compared to Windows, it has gained tremendous popularity due to the enormous amount of online information, tech-support documentation and a very enthusiastic community.

Many people have discovered that once they've overcame the initial setup difficulties and finding relevant driver/software support, all the pains were well worth it and everything will pay off.

Before you take the plunge into the world of Linux, consider the following:

Scheduled Maintenance (Again??) 20th August 19:42 pm

Yap! Our ISP will be doing another round of equipment maintenance and upgrades 2 days from now (22 Aug 98) between 2 - 5 pm (Singapore time). So several services on S-One will be interrupted and Hardware One is not spared:

  • Have Fun Home Pages
  • LionCity and all the SIG Web pages
  • Files Exchange Center
  • ChatZone
  • Mahjong Online
  • Kali Server
  • Meeting Point Server
  • Netmeeting Server
  • Singapore ONE Community Forum
  • Quake Server
  • Mud Server

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Nevertheless, don't let this be an excuse for not visiting Hardware One. You can take this opportunity to visit our US mirror on GotGames Network. You can find us at http://hardwareone.gotgames.com (hmm... hopefully GGN's server will be up during those critical hours?)

Intel Pushes to Eradicate ISA 20th August 18:38 pm

I caught this earth-shaking news (ok! ok! not exactly! but...) off EE Times.

Well, the chip making giant is getting impatient with the pain of the ISA Bus sticking around (like piles) and assembled a tiger team (some taskforce... heh!) in an effort to eliminate the ISA BUS from PCs by the year 2000. Here's the interesting cuts:

Intel claims the relatively slow and stodgy bus holds back the PC with its ties to register-level hardware interrupts and direct-memory access channels, creating incompatibility issues and support headaches for OEMs. Analysts said the elimination of the admittedly aging ISA bus will take longer than Intel would hope and, they noted, the effort will also aid Intel to drive more PC functions — such as audio and modem features — to its processors and chip sets.

Personally, I would have liked to have an ISA free system but it doesn't seem to be an easy move. With countless of people still having ISA sound cards, modems (and me with an ISA MPEG card and proprietary SCSI card for my scanner), Intel will have to ease this transition for stubborn people like myself...

"ISA is crippling the computer platform right now," said Jim Pappas, director for technology initiatives at Intel. "A bad-behaving ISA device can slow down other parts of a system."

While we see a growing trend of new PCI sound cards and other peripherals emerging, and the number of ISA slots on motherboards becoming more of a rarity, we have been unable to detach ourselves from the aging BUS system. If Intel does not start this painful initiative, it is unlikely that the industry can move on. (Read the full story)

Need For Speed III : Hot Pursuit 20th August 18:15 pm

PCM&E took a first peek at the pre-release build of NFSIII. I've played the demo and can vouch for the superb eye candy and pure arcade racing fun that you'll experience.

Now with NFSIII supporting 3D acceleration on not only GLIDE but Direct3D as well, we are certain that many more people will be drawn to the NFS series of arcade racing games from Electronic Arts. Unlike NFSII SE, we can now play the game at higher than 640 X 480 resolution.

Also, you'll get to enjoy new gameplay options that will now let you pursue after speeding cars and catch the violators. Other improvements include the ability to change the realism levels to match your driving skills.

Hot Pursuit mode rocks! It's nice to be the one chasing after speeders, instead of being the one having the heart-attack when you see and hear the lights and the siren coming up on you, out what appears like nowhere. Although it's not realistic driving a Lamborghini or Corvette squad car – it sure is A LOT of fun, chasing down speeders in one!

Put on the lights and siren, and off you go to apprehend the criminals. While you're chasing them down you'll also hear radio chatter from other squad cars, as well as the police choppers! Put it all together behind the dash of a Lamborghini pursuit squad car and you've got one very convincing hi-speed-chase experience that looks, sounds and feels intense.

Once again, EA has proven that there's room for improvement even for a past winning title. This is another winner. (Read PCM&E's Review)

STB Velocity 4400 Preview 20th August 17:58 pm

RivaRave has done this splendid preview on the STB Velocity 4400, a soon-to-be-released 2D/3D accelerator based on the Riva TNT. This preview does give us a good idea (if we didn't already know) about how well the final board will perform with final drivers.

At this point, the Velocity 440 shows that it can be a very competent performer, running GLQuake 2 at 40+ frames/s using 1024 X 768, 16 bit colour. Visually, I must believe that it is right at the top with the G200.

2D video quality is also improved. AVI and MPEG playback is faster with no dropped frames or tearing even at 32bit color mode at 1600x1200. In comparison, my RIVA ZX had tearing in high resolutions. Color saturation under playback is better. Filtering from upscaling is sharper and more precise. I predict that'll help out in DVD movies using MPEG-2 video.

Once again, we are asked to reserve our final judgement for the actual release. Are you satisfied yet? (RivaRave's Preview)

Microsoft NT 5.X, 6.X 20th August 01:05 am

Sigh. Oh yes, I'm excited. <yawn>

ZDNet has just put up 2 pieces of news regarding Windows NT. Well, it is said that Microsoft although still beta testing NT 5.0, it is already working on NT 5.1 and 6.0 releases. Here's some amusing snippets I caught off the article:

Microsoft Corp., crowing that it has reached a milestone for the second beta release of Windows NT 5.0, is also warning testers not to expect too much from the release.

Duh? Some milestone indeed. Or are we seeing a humble giant here?

The software maker said earlier this year that it expected to deliver NT 5.0 in the first quarter of 1999. But few customers or industry observers are predicting Microsoft will ship NT 5.0 before the third quarter of next year.

Wow! I recall having read last year's issue of PC Computing that described Microsoft's road map for their operating system. Windows 98 and NT 5.0 are supposed to ship together in early 1998. Well, so much for keeping us in suspense. Here's another amusing statement (I don't know why, I had a good laugh):

At the reviewers' workshop, Microsoft further clarified its release criteria, however, saying that, rather than shipping NT when it's ready, it won't ship the operating system until customers tell the company it's ready.

Judging from this statement, am I ever to see NT 5.0 hit the shelfs???? Say that again "...until customers tell the company it's ready."???? Look, I really want it. But I'm losing patience. (Read the Full Story from ZDNet)

2 Forthcoming Titles from Jane's 20th August 00:43 am

This is what I've found at Gamer's Alliance... Our favourite Sim maker is working hard to release 2 new games for the coming holiday season. Jane's Combat Simulations will be releasing the following titles:

Jane's Israeli Air Force
Jane's IAF is being developed by a group of Israeli fighter jocks in Tel Aviv. It features 7 modern-day jets, an outstanding terrain engine and all the nitty gritty technical information you'd expect from a Jane's sim. This is the first sim to model an entire air force rather than just one plane or just one era. They've just hit beta and will ship the product in September.

Jane's WWII Fighters
This is going to be the dominant WWII game for this holiday season. The 7 authentic WWII planes look amazing. Each features highly-detailed graphics and accurate flight dynamics. They even creak and groan as they bank and roll. Players can use large flight formations for a tactical advantage and hide in the 3D volumetric clouds while planning an ambush. WWII Fighters is scheduled for October.

We can look forward to 2 very high quality simulations with superior graphics and authenticity associated with Jane's brand name. Flight sim fans rejoice!

19th August 1998 {Wednesday}
Voodoo 2 Rev 3??? 19th August 19:41 pm

Am I always this unlucky???? Now that I've got my Voodoo 2 at a long last, 3Dfx has developed a rev 3 board that's somewhat optimised to better utilise memory and run a good 15% faster. Ok, I'm jealous... I feel cheated... but what the heck! The tasty bit from Voodoo Extreme (again?):

3Dfx has developed a revision to the Voodoo2 Reference Board that makes better utilization of memory and therefore runs faster. The chipset remains unchanged. The board does not have any new features, just the optimization of memory. The revised board can run over 100 MHz and can offer an overall performance boost of around 15 percent.

PowerStrip v2.25 19th August 19:37 pm

I noticed this over at VE today, EntechTaiwan has updated their niffy video tweaking utility (yet again) to version 2.25. Here's the chunk that dropped off VE:

PowerStrip 2.25 has been released, with additional hardware support for the Matrox G100 and G200, as well as refined support for the latest Savage3D silicon. Features include programmable refresh rates to 200Hz, gamma/color calibration under NT as well as 95/98, screen adjustment, clock controls and driver switches (vsync, etc.). For those interested in such things, Cardex, Eon and ViewTop are all currently licensed to bundle the PS with their Savage3Ds, should they decide to make boards based on the chip.

NT 5.0 Beta 2 19th August 16:39 pm

Microsoft today reached a major milestone on its way to final availability of the Windows NT 5.0 platform, with release of the second beta versions of the Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 5.0, Windows NT Server 5.0, and Windows NT Server 5.0 Enterprise Edition operating systems.

Beta 2, the first release intended specifically to encourage information technology professionals to begin pilot-testing Windows NT 5.0 in their organizations, will be distributed to more than a quarter million developers, channel partners and other beta testers worldwide.

Windows NT Workstation 5.0 is the premier desktop operating system for businesses large and small and is designed to replace Windows 95 as the standard business desktop. Windows NT Server 5.0, the newest version of Microsoft's best-selling server operating system, is the multipurpose server operating system designed to connect, run and manage every part of the digital business. When combined, they provide the platform that lowers the total cost of ownership, enables a new generation of distributed applications, and establishes the infrastructure for companies to build their digital nervous systems for greater efficiency.

18th August 1998 {Tuesday}
Run The Full-Retail Version of Unreal with SBLive! 18th August 13:46 pm

Here's another piece of very cool information from 3DSoundSurge. Frank has very kindly informed me about their latest discovery (or workaround), which will enable the full retail version of Unreal to work with Creative's SoundBlaster Live!

I've followed their workaround and it really works... now you can have all the levels and textures of the full retail version in addition to the EAX optimizations of the bundled SE version! It rocks! Thanks Frank!

First, you must have both the bundled Unreal Special Edition and the retail version of Unreal at hand before you attempt the following:

Sergey Zakharov (just a normal guy ) has made a break threw in the SB Live Unreal version. This was 3DsoundSurge tested and it will work. Here are the instructions for which is needed to preform this task.

Yes, it is possible to run the full retail version of Unreal with the SBLive without the error when trying to access the advanced options menu. This is about the only difference I could tell between the two versions, aside from the obvious lack of levels and skins in the UnrealSE version.First off, this will *not* work with the newer Glidedrv.dll floating around out there so if you depend on this for every ounce of performance, keep running the unmodified retail version of Unreal and
change your advanced options settings by editing the unreal.ini file.

The following is assuming you did a full install of Unreal.

  • Backup your saved games in the unreal\save folder along with the unreal.ini file in the unreal\system folder if you have a previous Unreal install somewhere on your hard drive. Save games are used in conjunction with the unreal.ini file so when you save or copy your saved games, save the unreal.ini file along with them.
  • If you want to use the Unreal Editor, install this along with the retail version of Unreal since it's not availible in the UnrealSE version.
  • Install the retail version of Unreal if it's not installed already along with UnrealEd if desired.
  • Install the UnrealSE version.
  • Copy the following folders from the retail Unreal install folder to the UnrealSE install folder:
    • Save
    • Maps
    • Music
    • Sounds
    • Textures
  • Copy the file unreal.ini from the retail Unreal\system folder to the UnrealSE\system folder. This is imperative because it contains alot of neccessary info along with what skins will be availible for use.
  • If you are going to use UnrealEd, copy UnrealEd.exe from the unreal\system folder to the unrealSE\system folder.
  • Make sure the "CdPath=" in the unreal.ini file under the "Engine.Engine" heading points to the correct location of where your current Unreal folder is. For example, if you originally installed Unreal retail to D:\unreal and you installed the UnrealSE version to E:\unrealSE, the version you will be running after doing the modification is now in E:\unrealSE. You would change the line "CdPath=D:\unreal\" to "CdPath=E:\unrealSE\"
  • If you want to use UnrealEd and you already have Visual Basic Runtime 5.0 (required for UnrealEd) installed, you will have to uninstall it using Add/Remove Programs, then reinstall it so Unreal will recognize that it's installed.
  • Run Unreal from the UnrealSE\system folder and don't forget to access the now availible advanced options menu to change the "3D Hardware" option to "true".

USB Audio 18th August 12:16 pm

Frank of 3DSoundSurge has notified me of their article talking about the advent of USB Audio and its benefits/pitfalls for gamers! USB speakers, etc have very slowly made their limited appearances in the market but we've not observe any market demand for these devices.

USB is meant to be a consumer medium, but I can see USB audio dying a death as a consumer product. If people want cheap sound, they’ll buy a $30 sound card. If people want a good sound system, they’ll pay $100-$200 for a Live! or Vortex 2. Nowhere in the scheme of things can I see room for USB speakers.

I reckon that many people will be apprehensive in adopting USB as a standard even though Windows 98 has already provided wide support for it. Matter of fact is that we haven't seen the large availability of USB compatible devices in retail yet. We also hear of many of the glitches in the newest USB peripherals.

Matrox Millenium G200 Review 18th August 11:53 am

AGN3D has delivered their review on the Matrox Millenium G200. And what's most interesting is that the guys have put up benchmark numbers comparing the performance of the Millenium G200 vs the Mystique G200.

As I had said earlier in the review, the SGRAM and higher speed RAMDAC are what truly sets the Millennium G200 apart from the Mystique. I have a 19" Viewsonic G790 monitor, and with the Mystique G200 the 1600x1200 resolution was something that could drive me to an eye doctor screaming after 10 minutes of viewing time. This is no doubt a result of the slower 230MHz RAMDAC of the Mystique. Since the Millennium uses a faster 250MHz Ramdac, I was actually able to work with the 1600x1200 resolution.

The Millennium G200 also comes with SGRAM rather than the less expensive SDRAM. In theory SGRAM is supposed to be much faster then SDRAM, but testing showed differently. If you are going to be running the card at 1600x1200 resolutions, then the SGRAM will pay off. If you are going to be playing games on a 17" monitor, then the SGRAM is overkill.

Since both cards are affordably priced (although only the Millenium has arrived here in S'pore), you may be wondering which card will suit your needs better, it is thus important to note...

The Millennium G200 is one card that actually comes through on all of the manufactures promises. It will provide you with rock solid high-resolution graphics support, while still playing all your favorite games. The included bundle is one of the best that I have seen from a graphics card priced under $500. Both Simply 3D and Picture Publisher will nurture the budding artist inside your soul, without ripping the last few dollars from your hands. If you are a gamer with a smaller monitor and are worried more about playing games then graphics apps, I would go for the Mystique G200. If you are a gamer with a 19" or higher monitor, business user or graphic artist in the making, I would go for the Millennium G200. Either way, no matter which decision you make, you will end up a winner.

Since the Savage3D, RivaTNT or Banshee are not out yet, we don't really see any competition for Matrox at the moment. This is surely the best 2D/3D card to get out there NOW! (AGN3D's full review)

WinAmp 2.00 18th August 07:07 am

No, don't worry. It's not out yet. Here is a screenshot of the upcoming WinAmp 2.00. It comes with a equalizer window, which incorporates the Winamp UI. The EQ window, like all Winamp 2.x windows, is dockable. In this case, it's attached to the main window. What's docking, you ask? If you move a window, any windows which are docked to it move as well.

17th August 1998 {Monday}
Newest SBLive Drivers From Creative 17th August 23:23 pm

I was milling around Creative's website and chanced upon this update (dated 17 Aug 98). It kinda amazed me with their speed of their drivers development. This is the file description provided:

Latest update for Sound Blaster Live!. These new drivers open up more functionality for SPDIF In and SPDIF Out recording. This driver update is for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0.

You can grab it right here from Creative's FTP site or Singapore One users would want to get it from the Fun server.

Stable Celeron at 496mhz on ABIT BH6! 17th August 22:13 pm

Your other hardware savvy editor, Overclocker, has just posted (no pun intended) his latest success in getting his 266mhz Celeron to run reliably at 496mhz! Yap, not just POSTing but playing games and all. It runs perfectly on his BH6 mobo.

You must also note the awesome CPU benchmarks he's obtained with WinTune 98. Here's the post:

17/8/98 - Hello, I have finally managed to locate Wintune and run some tests on my BH-6 running at 496 MHz. My video score probably sucks because I'm using Matrox Millenlium and without 3d acceleration... I want to provide Quake 2 and Unreal timedemo scores but don't know how to run them, please post!!!
Don't know why Wintune thinks I have 484 instead of 496. Any ideas???

CPU (1) Intel Celeron @ 484 MHz
Video Board Matrox MGA Millennium
Video Mode [email protected] bits/pixel
RAM 128 MB
OS Windows 98 4.10.1998
Browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows 98)

Area Tested Value % of Ref*
CP Integer 1450 MIPS 154 %
CPU Floating Point 574 MFLOPS 152 %
Video (2D) 69.6 MPixels/s 88 %
Direct3D 41.3 MPixels/s 74 %
OpenGL 8.4 MPixels/s 103 %
Memory 754 MBytes/s 134 %
Cached Disk C:\ 80 MBytes/s 94 %
Uncached Disk C:\ 1.84 MBytes/s 73 %

Higher numbers are better.
*The reference machine is currently a 333 MHz Pentium II with 64 MB of RAM and a Permedia-based video board with 8 MB of video RAM. (Origin - The Overclocker's Workbench)

Aureal's A3D vs Creative's EAX 17th August 20:08 pm

Hi people! Forgive me for being so upbeat about sound cards and posting more sound related news (you know what it's like when you're still playing with your new toy?).

ZDNet has put forth their comparison of 2 3D sound processing methods from Aureal and Creative. With Creative's SBLive already launched and Vortex 2 based cards on the near horizon, we watch with bated breath, as two promising technologies clash to establish itself as the de-facto gaming standard! A short quote from the article:

Which is better?
The effectiveness of the approach depends on the application, analysts say. For games, Aureal's technology can better model an environment through which a player may be moving, said Rob Enderle, an analyst at PC market watcher Giga Information Group.

Meanwhile, Creative's technology offers more flexibility for high-end audio editing and music systems. "There is nothing else out there with the quality of the Creative technology," said Enderle.

Ultimately, the user won't notice a difference, especially if only two speakers are in use.

SBLive! Review 17th August 19:55 pm

CoolInfo has thrown at us their complete review of the SBLive! card from Creative. They've done a pretty thorough analysis on the card, EAX, and even the software bundle. Here's the most important snippet:

The Sound Blaster Live! is without a doubt unique in its own right. It is the only audio card right now that can do what it was designed to do; deliver environmental audio so real it has to be Live! While Aureal currently has A3D and the developing Vortex2, they produce 3D audio by means of the physics and geometrics of a given environment. It does not take into consideration the value of what the gamer wants to hear. While this accuracy may be better for certain situations, I do not think gaming would fit the category. Back to the Live!, If you can see through the hassle of installation and the tedious configuration, the truly awesome performance of the card, then you have no reason to hesitate. Creative Labs really has changed PC audio forever.

Damn. Wish I had my FourPointSurrounds now!!!! (Full Review)

WinAmp 1.92-SP1 17th August 13:48 pm

WinAmp v1.92-SP1 is released. New features includes :

  • MOD/XM/IT input plug-in sounds MUCH nicer, and has bugfixes.
  • WAV player should now play *any* .WAV file all the way through.
  • Nitrane 1.0 engine included, with MP3, MP2, MPG bugfixes.
  • CD-Audio included, without CDDB support (coming soon!)
  • Nullsoft's fullscreen and windowed visualization plug-ins included.
  • Nullsoft's systray general plug-in included.

You can download the files from our Utilities section or by clicking here.

New Hand Recognition System for PalmPilot 17th August 13:42 pm

If you're one of the more than 1 million PalmPilot users, but you don't get along with the Graffiti handwriting system that comes with it, you now have a choice.

Communication Intelligence announced on Thursday its Jot handwriting recognition system designed for 3Com's Palm III, PalmPilot, and Pilot handheld devices. Jot is commonly used as the input system for competing Windows CE 2.0 personal digital assistants

The handwriting recognition system allows users to input text, punctuation, and macros with natural printed characters anywhere on the Palm screen, the company says.

Users tend to have an awkward relationship with handwriting recognition, said Mike McGuire, a senior analyst at research firm Dataquest. Characters must be learned and practiced, usually for several weeks, before achieving the desired effect, he explained

Time bug in Windows 98 17th August 13:38 pm

Microsoft Corp. confirmed today that users who boot up their PCs at midnight when a new year begins may find that their calendars shoot ahead by a few days. The bug has nothing to do with the year 2000 problem, -- however it could happen at the start of any new year, right as the clock strikes midnight.

The bug was discovered by Prove It 2000, a Cambridge, England-based company that specializes in year 2000 compliance, according to Ryan James, a Microsoft spokesman. James said Microsoft is working on and will post a fix for the bug. Users can also manually reset their calendars if they experience the problem.

16th August 1998 {Sunday}
Netscape 4.06 16th August 09:06 am

Netscape released Communicator 4.06. Go to here to download it. For Singapore high speed users, I had uploaded a copy to Fun.

SoundBlaster Live! First Personal Impression 16th August 00:17 am

Once again, I'm sounding so apologetic again. Ok, so here goes again... Sorry for the lack of updates. :P

No, it's not because I'm feeling lazy again. So I'll reveal to you another secret, I've rushed down to grab a piece of the sizzling promo SBLive! package (available in S'pore).

Well, the card which originally retailed at about S$369 now comes with this unbelievable offer in which Creative is giving away the Cambridge SoundWorks PCWorks FourPointSurround (worth S$188) ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!

However, my experience was a mixed one today. Don't mistake that for disappointment. But yes! I was disappointed as Creative had exhausted their stock of FourPointSurround speakers (apparently the card is selling like hot hamburgers!) and I can only collect my free speakers from them sometime middle or end of Sept (the salesgirl at A-Zone had said).

So I got home without the chance to FULLY experience Creative's Environmental Audio Extension (EAX) technology in its full glory. But nevertheless, EAX has impressed me so much that I can safely say that this card really kicks-ass!! (even when it's just heard on my 2.1 speaker PCWorks setup)

The card is fairly small, about the size of my Diamond Viper V330, but it comes with a "mini-card" that is the audio extension card. The PCB is very densely packed and had nice classy CREATIVE SOUNDBLASTER printed in gold colour. The connectors themselves felt solid and came in a matte gold platings.

Well, to touch a bit on the installation, I had to rearrange a couple of the PCI cards so as to accommodate the Audio Extension card which (though no need a PCI slot) requires a free slot backpane to enable usage of the many connectors.

The effects that you can add are simply astounding and awesome. I had used this extremely versatile Creative Playcenter software (included) to play audio CDs and MP3 files, and you can in REAL TIME modify the "environment" you wish the audio stream be reproduced in... and TADA! You can make your favourite singer come to live with "Concert Hall" mode or even closer to home in the "Toilet" mode. All in REAL TIME.

The demos really showcased it's tremendous ability. I'll keep everyone posted on this topic once I've got the chance to do my personal write-up.

Meanwhile, please take care!

Deadline for SBLive! Promo Package - Typo 16th August 00:13 am

Sorry people, there was a typo when we posted the deadline (13 Aug) for the SBLive! Promo Package (S$359 + free Cambridge SoundWorks PCWorks FourPointSurround Speakers) that's available in Singapore. It had read 23 July, which is of course ridiculous, it should have read 23 August. I guess many of you would have figured that.

Thanx to Phil Askey for notifying me of the terrible mistake. So please hurry down and grab a piece of the card if you are interested, the promotion is still on! :)

15th August 1998 {Saturday}
Research to Break all Speed Barriers on the Net 15th August 01:22 am

Read this really interesting post off ZDNet, that somewhat briefly talked about the new very high speed Internet 2 - our next generation Internet. Here's the speedy blurb (or read the full article):

"People now are accustomed to the world wide wait. They don't even bother to access video clips because it's frustrating," Mambretti says. But running on Abilene, a nationwide network that runs at over 2 gigabits per second-Web-based video could get to you a thousand times faster than it does today. Abilene is an Internet 2 backbone that Cisco, Nortel, Qwest, and the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID)--a partnership of over 125 major research universities--recently announced.

New StarCraft Patch to v1.02 15th August 00:33 am

The Blizzard Games Consortium has posted that the new patch for StarCraft to v1.02 has been released and can be obtained if you log onto Battle.net. Well, do check out Blizzard Games' article which details the updates to be expected from this patch file.

[Beam me to the latest news archive!]

Copyright 1998 Hardware One
Last updated 27 September 1998 23:47