14 August 1999 - Saturday

Wilfred Coughs 19:48 pm - Wilfred
Wow! A rarity to see so many of your editors ranting in a single day. No, I don't think I'll be able to post much today. But thankfully, Kan and the rest of the gang are standing in the gap! Life's a bitch.

Monsoon MM1000 19:39 pm - Wilfred
Tech-Review throws up a review on the sleek Monsoon 1000 flat panel speakers. Not only are they great on the eyes, they will not disappoint in the sound department!

The satellites produced excellent highs with crisp, clean sound output. Each satellite is powered by 12.5 watts of power and rated up to 20 kHz. The crisp tones put out by Hotel California came through with an excellent sound quality that anyone would be impressed with. We haven't heard such crisp, clean highs since our review of the Cambridge Soundworks Microworks. Words, from Paul Van Dyk is one trance track that gives a good overall frequency test, which the MM1000s passed with great performance. One very interesting aspect of the satellites are their ability to produce sound from the rear. Both sides of the satellites are identical and output the same sound. This particular feature was probably involved in improving 3D sound imaging.

Athlon & PIII Price Comparison 19:36 pm - Wilfred
Our pals at CPUReview tidied up their price comparison article and threw in a few new charts with new pricing information of the chips. Looks like AMD is still up with super aggressive pricing! =) Now the part of interest must be if the motherboards are up to standard!

Share Your Internet Connection 19:32 pm - Sniper
PC Magazine has this interesting article about sharing your internet connection at home or office.

The solution to both scenarios is available in Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and in Windows 2000. In fact, it shipped as part of Internet Explorer 5, which is included with both OSs. It's called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), and its purpose is to minimize Internet costs for locations needing Internet connections for more than one computer.

Cracker for RC5-512 19:10 pm - Sniper
Just when I posted an article on cracking RC5-64bit, this article came along.

Shamir dubs his idea for the computer Twinkle, which stands for The Weizmann Institute Key Locating Engine and also refers to the twinkle of its light emitting diodes. The 6-by-6-inch optical computer would measure the light from diodes to perform mathematical calculations solving 512-bit RSA encryption keys faster than ever within two or three days. An effort in February to solve shorter, easier 465-bit keys took hundreds of computers and several months. 

Monthly Hardware News 17:48 pm - Kan
iXBT posted their Monthly Hardware News. New stuffs include some info on the Merced processor, the Athlon, the Rise mP6-II and many more!

Anyway, at the same time, namely by the middle of the year 2000, Intel should already have a 800MHz Cascades version - Pentium III Xeon made with 0.18 micron technology (server Coppermine), which is expected to stably work with its dear x86 software. And in the beginning of 2001 Intel is going to shift to Coppermine's successor - a new IA-32 core Willamette, which is expected to work at over 1GHz and to be provided with a minimum 1MB L2 on-chip cache and the whole lot of various constructive changes intended to increase its performance.

By the way, a very interesting analogy suddenly occurred to us while writing this. It looks as if IA-64 software will appear the same thing for Merced, as Direct Rambus DRAM appeared for i820, when the memory manufacturers failed to provide the required amount of DR DRAM and as a result the chipset launching had to be slightly postponed.

ABIT BX6-2 17:46 pm - Kan
Our buds over at WickedPC posted a review on the ABIT BX6-2 Slot-1 motherboard. Anyway, catch our own review on the BX6-2 over here too!

Motherboards are a silly situation. There's a million of them on the market, and only a few good ones worth buying. Most people end up buying a value pc that has an excess stock motherboard that causes more problems than its worth, but for the people who read up and shop around, there are choices of products from companies like Abit. We all knew how the Abit BH6 and the Celeron 300a were so overclockable together due to the excellent overclocking capabilities of the BH6. The BX6 was a step up, and worked just as well. Abit went and took some modifications to both boards, and called it the Abit BX6 Revision 2.0. For character saving reasons, we'll refer to it as the BX6 Rev2.

Interview: Metal Fatigue 17:44 pm - Kan
FiringSquad posted an interview with Zono's Jason Hough on their upcoming RTS game, Metal Fatigue.

We had the unique opportunity to interview Jason Hough, designer at Zono, about his upcoming 3D real time strategy game, Metal Fatigue. Metal Fatigue brings a host of cool features to the RTS genre, namely modular units, and a three level battlefield. The modular units come in the form of giant robots called "Combots." To build these combots, the player decides which type of arm fittings (weapons) to equip them with, as well as a ton of torsos and leg fixtures that give the combot more weapons or special abilities. The combination of dozens of pieces allows for hundreds of possibilities. Metal Fatigue also features a fully rotatable and zoomable battlefield, thanks to its entirely 3D design.

KyroTech 800 Mhz Athlon 17:41 pm - Kan
More madness over at Tomshardware as the gurus took a look at the latest offering from KyroTech, the supercooled 800 Mhz Athlon.

Kryotech, 'The House of Cool Computing' has been the leader in CPU-cooling technology for quite a while. However, in the past their systems still weren't quite the top-performers, because they couldn't team up with Intel, and use their top-notch processors, but chose AMD instead. AMD's past processors were good performers, but they weren't quite fast enough in all of the computing aspects, even when cooled and thus clocked a lot higher than their original specs. Now times have changed, AMD is producing a CPU that is faster than the competing products from Intel in all aspects that are important for computing. This puts Kryotech's Cool Athlon in the position of not only passing Intel's top-performers, but really leaving them in the dust. Finally Kryotech is able to show what they really can do, not only in terms of cooling technology, but also in terms of vast performance.

Need for Speed: High Stakes 17:37 pm - Kan
TheTechZone posted another new review today, Need for Speed: High Stakes. This game is really impressive and if you haven't play it, you should!

Luckily it doesnít look like NFS4 will be a flop. NFS: High Stakes is a racing game for the fan who loves arcade racing games. Nothing more than that. Sim racing fans will probably hate this game or at least not enjoy it very much. I mean how can a sim racing fan enjoy an arcade racer? I donít know. Personally I prefer a mix of both but either way I still like the racing game, sim or arcade. Ok thatís a big enough intro since I havenít played NFS1,2,or 3 in quite a while so I canít reflect on how much they have each changed graphically and gameplay wise.

Kan Yawns 17:36 pm - Kan
I just love it when I get a chance to idle. Yes, we have Sniper who's finally starting to post news on our front page. Gosh, how I love that :)

Join [email protected] 17:15 pm - Sniper
The boys have been debating whether to post this for quite sometime, well, we would like people out there to join our RC5 effort. Don't know what's RC5?  Look here for more information.  Kan has came out with a nice page of instructions for novice to configure.  Currently we are ranked 2,643 in the world and 5th in Singapore.  Don't wait and think!! Do it now, start cracking.

Hello World
17:00 pm - Sniper
Hi, I've been working behind the scenes for quiet sometime now, I guess its time for me to come forward to help relief the boys of the workload.  Some of the news you read here are actually contributed by me and posted by Kan and Wilfred, and I hope you'll enjoy the articles that I post in the future.

DVD: Set Top Or DVD-ROM Drive 12:17 pm - Kan
SharkyExtreme posted an interesting article on whether you will like to purchase a DVD set top or a DVD-ROM drive to be played on your computer. For me, I will go for a set top!

In this age of high-tech gadgets and consumers with money to buy them, is it any surprise to find out that DVD player sales are nearing the three million-unit mark? Would it be any more of a surprise to find that this rate is growing so fast, that another two million units will likely be sold before the end of the year? Would you be mystified to learn that over 30 million DVD discs have been purchased in just two years? These numbers certainly won't surprise anyone who has had the pleasure of watching a DVD movie in all of its glory, but DVD's rapid acceptance is still a bit mind-boggling.

SoundMan X2 12:15 pm - Kan
We have another speakers review from AGN Hardware, the SoundMan X2. Hmm, the woofers spot a rather futuristic look.

The system contains two magnetically shielded satellite speakers, and a magnetically shielded sub-woofer unit. The design of the speaker enclosures is very appealing to the eye. The slick contoured design and black finish make them a very impressive looking speaker system. The overall footprint of the system is minimal too, as the satellites are only a few inches wide, by about 6-7 inches tall, and the sub-woofer doesn't take up a lot of space either. The power output of the satellites is 8 watts per channel, and the sub-woofer cranks out 24 watts of power. Overall Logitech claims the total power output is 40 watts RMS. 

Frag With Lag 12:12 pm - Kan
Exxtreme3D posted an article teaching you how to frag under lag conditions. Read the article to increase your change of survival in the underworld.

I've always played multiplayer games using a lousy modem. Always have been and, most likely, always will be. At first, online modem games wasn't much to bitch about. Heck, just about everyone had one. All those fast T1 connections were limited to those businesses using networks. Then, things turned for the worse for the modem users. The introduction of the cable modem and the DSL marked a revelation in how we play games. At first, I was dumbfounded by this technology. I was getting killed so much that I had an online tombstone right there in the game. While I was lagging away, they were fragging away.

Labtec ATX-5820 Speakers Review 12:10 pm - Kan
Those babes over at 3DHardware.net posted a review on the Labtec ATX-5820 speakers. Hmm, this one comes with Virtual Dolby Surround, sounds neat!

We've reviewed Labtec's excellent APX-4620 3-piece speaker system and we loved it. That particular system didn't have the best sound, but it offered damned great sound for the mere $100 USD it would set you back. Anyway, the ATX-5820 is a step up, offering Virtual Dolby Surround, with the same setup as the APX-4620. We already knew how good the previous system sounded, which basically meant that the ATX-5820 would sound exactly as good except for the added Virtual Dolby feature.

EPoX Super7 Motherboard 12:08 pm - Kan
I must admit I'm no Super7 motherboard fan. Anyway, 3D Alpha reviewed the EPoX EP-MVP3G-2 Super7 motherboard. How do the gals find the board? Read on to find out more:

EPoX clearly wanted to make the best Super 7 motherboard of all the manufacturers when they built the EP-MVP3G-2/5. In addition to the inclusion of Ultra ATA/66, the board has PC99 color coding of the peripheral interface ports on the back. As I do not presently have an Ultra ATA/66 hard drive in the lab, I am unable to properly evaluate that feature, but will do so as soon as I have one. One of my gripes with the original EP-MVP3G-M (minor though it is) was that the DIMM slot brackets were somewhat flimsy and subject to breakage. EPoX fixed this with the EP-MVP3G-2/5 motherboards, however, as the brackets are quite sturdy, and, in fact, make RAM installation vastly easier. This does, unfortunately, create a small problem. The brackets are so large that they cannot be fully opened with the AGP card in place (notice the proximity of the DIMM slots and the AGP slot in the picture).

EverGlide MousePad 12:05 pm - Kan
TheTechZone reviewed the EverGlide MousePad. This mousepad gives you a 'sticky' feeling and it's really good for precision moves.

The EverGlide was designed with Quaking in mind. It's a product for the Quakers looking for that extra advantage. The surface is made of a very hard plastic with a micro-beveled edge. It's pretty hard to bend, if you could bend it at all. The bottom of the pad has 4 rubber stoppers so the pad don't slip when in use. The mousing surface itself is not as smooth as the edge of the pad. This helps improves the traction and prevents the mouse from slipping.

New ABIT BP6/BE6 BIOS 11:02 am - Kan
FiringSquad posted some beta BIOS for the BP6/BE6 fixing the ATA-66 problems on certain drives. To get the BE6, go to here, to get the BP6, go to here. The ZIP file also includes new Win 98, NT4 and Windows 2000 drivers for better compatibility.

ActionTec 56K Modem Giveaway 11:59 am - Kan
The guys over at Speedy3D is giving away a ActionTec 56K modem. If you wish for a modem, hop over there to take part in the contest.

Today, we have decided to give away one actiontec call waiting modem to one lucky reader. This product from actiontec is a call waiting modem that let's you receive calls while you are online. Read our review of the external callwaiting modem here. To win, first there is a couple of things you must do:

ACT Labs GS Gun System 11:56 am - Kan
ACT Labs Marketing Manager sent note on their new GS Gun System. Sounds interesting....

Richmond, BC. August 13, 1999 - ACT LABS Ltd., developers of cutting-edge gaming peripherals for the
intermediate to advanced gamer, have announced that they are now shipping their ACT LABS GS Gun SystemT. The product is available now and has a MSRP of $99.99 including bundled software. This is the first product that
utilizes their patent-pending PC gun technology.

ACT LABS has been working extensively with software developers to ensure many games have integrated support for the GS this fall. The GS is applicable to four specific game genres; action/adventure, hunting, military
simulations, and first person shooting titles. ACT LABS has teamed up with software companies in each genre for promotional purposes and events that will launch this fall. Some of the popular games that are scheduled for GS support include Die Hard Trilogy 2T from Fox InteractiveT, Top ShotT and Cabela Sportsman's ChallengeT from Activisionģ, and Deer Hunter 3T developed by Sunstorm InteractiveT. ACT LABS also understands that independent developers are currently finalizing "mods" or game add-ons for use with popular first person shooter titles. The GS is currently scheduled for support in more than 20 titles and the list is growing each day.
The ACT LABS GS Gun SystemT is a complete system that has been designed to offer both single and two-player use. Following the high design standard set by their previous products, the system consists of 2 light guns that are stored in an attractive holster-style base unit. The base has a metallic finish and rubber form
fitting pockets to keep the guns upright in storage. Each gun incorporates a rubber-contoured handle for
additional comfort.

The third important component of the ACT LABS GS Gun SystemT is a handheld controller that can be used in
conjunction with one of the guns. This device has it's own storage location at the rear of the base unit. You
can "hot-swap" the guns at any time to allow for the use of the included handheld controller. The handheld
controller also has a "mouse-emulation" feature that gives it additional functionality.

Part III of BIOS Optimization Guide 11:53 am - Kan
Adrian's Rojak pot posted Part III of the BIOS Optimization Guide. Learn how to optimize your system by tweaking your BIOS settings!

ESCD (Extended System Configuration Data) is a feature of the Plug & Play BIOS that stores the IRQ, DMA, I/O and memory information of the system. Normally, you should leave the setting as Disabled.

But if you have installed a new add-on card and the consequent system reconfiguration causes a serious conflict of resources (the OS may not boot as a result), then you should enable it so that the BIOS will reset the settings for all PnP cards in the system. The BIOS will automatically reset the setting to Disabled the next time you boot.

13 August 1999 - Friday

FireBall Plus KA 15:45 pm - Kan
The gurus over at FiringSquad brought to us another new review on the FireBall Plus KA. This one is a 7,200 rpm drive with a ATA-66 interface. Pretty fast, but I still prefer the IBM 22GXP. 

The hard disk has a drastic impact on how fast your system feels. The quality of the hard disk won't affect your game framerates, but it will affect your program load times. Do you ever wonder why Windows takes so much time to load? Yes, the size of the bloated OS is partially to blame, but a fast hard disk can shorten the Windows load time considerably. In Q3test, are you tired of being the last one to join a game when the server changes maps? Upgrade to 7200RPM, and you might actually get a fair shot at the armor and weapons.

Hardware Extreme Shifted 15:13 pm - Kan
Our gang brothers over at Hardware Extreme just shifted to GXNetwork

Their new URL is at http://hwextreme.gxnetwork.com. Let's welcome'em! :) Anyway, they have some info about the Athlon as well as the new MSI 6167 Athlon motherboard. Here's a pic of the new MSI 6167 motherboard:

GlobalWin vs Alpha Coolers 15:10 pm - Kan
Basically it's the clash of the titans as TheTechZone did a roundup on the Globalwin FDP32 vs Alpha Socket370 coolers. Hmm, which one is actually better? Let the experts find out:

If you thought the Alpha cooler was big, wait till you lay your eyes on the new Global Win. The FDP32 redefines big! The above picture really doesn't do it justice. The FDP32 is bigger in all dimension when compared to the Alpha. Both coolers uses the same Y.S. Tech fans to cool the fins. The fan is rated to move 26 cubic feet of air per minute.

Price wise, it looks like Global Win wants the title of best Socket 370 cooler back really bad as they are blowing out their FDP32 for just $24, a $6 saving over the Alpha. Global Win's thinking if they can beat the Alpha in performance and in price, they can send Alpha back to the drawing boards.

DTT2500 Speakers Review 13:50 pm - Yingzong
These DTT2500 Digital Speakers would really make the Big Bad Wolf go wild. They look like the very stuff to blow your house down! Not to mention your ears as well. Groovy... Gamer's Depot has just done a review on these monsters and they're really drooling all over the place. Listen to this :

If you're into DVD movies on your PC, then you better go out and grab a box of Depend undergarments before you check these out. Because once the Digital 5.1 surround kicks in..... Umm let's just say you'll have to throw away whatever underwear you happen to be wearing at the time! I think after my listening tests of the DTT2500's I'm going to go out and buy stock in whatever company makes Depends. =p

The Dolby Digital 5.1 is reproduced flawlessly as your favorite DVD movies come to life. This speaker system truly is a "Multimedia Solution". The top-notch sound quality that the DTT2500's produce for their price range simply cannot be expressed properly in a review like this. You seriously owe it to yourself to get off of you lazy toosh and head down to the store and audition these puppies!

Adrenaline Vault Reviews Dungeon Keeper 2 13:45 pm - Yingzong
For those of you who have a penchant for beating up goody-two-shoes and spreading havouc throughout the underground, DK2 is a game which you'd sickeningly like. Avault has just done a review on this Real-Time Strategy game by Electronic Arts.

The storyline was interesting, the missions were varied and provided just enough challenge to keep my attention, even when my enthusiasm for digging and creating rooms began to wane a bit. When I wanted a break from the campaign, I enjoyed playing the My Pet Dungeon mode and experimenting with different traps, testing my creative abilities or simply attempting to stave off wave after wave of heroes. I usually find that I came up with some good ideas that were useful in later campaign missions. The dedicated multiplayer server was a nice addition, and a necessary one in this day and age. I had no problems setting up games, although I mostly stuck to single-player contests.

This section really reflects the way I felt about DK2 overall. Almost every area featured something new and different; at the same time, nothing drastically altered the experience or made the follow-up seem like an entirely new, revolutionary title. It's obvious the development team knew they had something good and stuck to calibrating, not reinventing, the wheel. To this end, I find DK2 enjoyable. It was free from any major bugs and offered me hours of entertainment, which was precisely what I liked about the first one.

3DCool Monitor Cooler 07:04 am - Kan
Just received a note from Speedy3D about their new review on the 3DCool's Monitor Cooler.

To install this thing you shut-down the computer, as you must when installing any fan. Then I unscrewed one the plates that was a slot away from my modem. The modem is the last thing plugged into my motherboard. After that I just plugged the connector into the hdd connector(any power source will be fine though). Once I finished that I screwed the plate in that has the connector that the monitor plugs into. After that I set the monitor cooler on the hottest part of my monitor, plugged it in and booted up the computer. That is the installation. There were some instructions included but I didnít feel that any were needed. I mean no one that doesnít know anything about computers is going to try and install this fan.

Freespace 2 Preview 06:43 am - Kan
Noticed that Gamespot previewed Descent Freespace 2. If you haven't even play Part 1 of Descent Freespace, you should do so immediately! :)

When Descent: FreeSpace was released last year, it proved that a space combat simulation didn't have to have the words "Wing" or "TIE" in the title to be taken seriously. With the original game, developer Volition managed to combine the best elements of Origin's Wing Commander games and LucasArts' X-Wing and TIE Fighter games, as well as add some innovations of its own. Most notable among these innovations were a sophisticated means of commanding your wingmen (creating a believable sense of taking part in a large-scale war, as opposed to the more solitary-seeming dogfights of its competition), an excellent interface, and some stunning graphics.

ATrend 440BX Motherboard 06:35 am - Kan
SharkyExtreme reviewed the ATrend 440BX Slot-1 motherboard. 

Seeking to satisfy the needs of not only the PC system builder, but also the consumer as well, the ATC6254M is designed to fulfill the necessary requirements for enjoyable audio and video support.

For the audio portion of this magic mainboard formula, A-Trend settled on the Yamaha YMF-740 audio processor. The 740 is a stereo/Midi solution we've grown to like the past year as it has previously appeared in various versions on other integrated mainboard solutions we've tested.

Optiquest L700 06:33 am - Kan
Our buds over at AGN Hardware posted a review on the Optiquest L700 LCD monitor. Yum yum, I know you yearn for one.

Based on what we have seen in Flat Panel technology, large business seems to be pushing the LCD market along, not gaming.  Monitors are getting smaller, thinner, taking up less power, and are rapidly adopting the LCD as the primary display.  While this solution remains cheaper than the true Digital Flat Panel, the price reduction also carries with it a loss of image quality.  Not that TFT technology hasn't come a long way from the older Dual Scan technology, but is TFT really he way we want to see our games?

Summoner Preview 06:30 am - Kan
3DRage previewed the latest game from Volition (makers of Descent Freespace series), the Summoner.

The setting of the story is a land called Medeva, which a majority, if not all of the game will be played. The island if Iona will be the first location we discuss in the preview, and is the central location of Medevan culture. The entire isand of Iona was once completely submerged underwater, and was named after Iona, who is the daughter of the sea god Amasido. Iona was the lover of Vadagar, god of the earth and her fatherís most hated enemy. In order to prevent the the interference of Iona and his relationship, Vadagar raised Ionaís citadel above the waves. However, Vadagar had not known that Iona could not survive out of the watery depths of the ocean, so she perished.

Iomega USB ZIP 06:29 am - Kan
ActiveWin posted a review on the Iomega USB Zip drive. Faster than the parallel port version and still as portable, it sure is difficult to beat!

USB hardware is really easy to install. With the USB Zip 100 the first thing you need to do before plugging the drive into the USB port is to install the IomegaWare software. The IomegaWare software includes the drivers that will be needed once you plug it into the USB port. Finally you plug the drive into the USB port - Windows 98 detects what it is straight away, selects the drivers and you are ready to go, you don't even need to reboot, that is what real Plug & Play is.

Once setup is complete, there is little else that you need to do. The drive is already setup for you in Windows and appears as a removable disk drive and also automatically gets its own drive letter assigned to it.

Arstechnica reviews ATI A-I-W 128 01:35 am - Yingzong
"Mmmph mmph mmm mmmm Hmm mmph muh hmmm!". That's Kenny talk for "Arstechnia has just done a review on the ATI All-In-Wonder 128!". "Mmm hmm Mmmph!". Kenny wants us to "Check it out!"!

For the hardcore gamer and tweaker, this card is probably a pass. Its distaste for non-orthodox FSB speeds, 16MB of RAM, and good-but-not-great 3D performance lack the luster we've come to expect from dedicated 3D cards. Then again, for the graphics professional or CAD/3D designer, the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 has no contender in its price range. Its image quality is just short of spectacular, and its OpenGL and Direct3D ratings smoke a Matrox G200 six-ways-to-Sunday (700% faster at OpenGL, 250% faster at D3D). And with ATI's apparent dedication to this chipset (there are currently 7 configurations in their lineup using it), driver updates will likely ease the heavy CPU dependency.

I'm Back Mm'kay... 01:30 am - Yingzong
Wilfred's been giving me the guilt trip 'cos I've not been helping him to update his favourite site (namely this one). So I'll be here to relieve him of further work stress so that he can continue to go after his mermaid in the land of fishes. And of course, it seemed like a good idea since it is Friday the 13th, mm'kay?

12 August 1999 - Thursday

Voodoo 3500 Review! 23:50 pm - Wilfred
While many are still faithful 3dfx users, there are numerous who also fled their cards for the apparent void of 'latest' features. All the debate aside, here comes the highest-end flagship Voodoo 3500 and HotHardware's take on it!

"Deep Blue's Cousin" To Predict Blue Skies 23:29 pm - Wilfred
CNet reports that the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) took delivery of an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer to simulate global climate patterns and more! Putting 20X the computational power used to beat Kasporov into serious action?

In a recent top 500 list released by Netlib, IBM was one of the most widely use supercomputers in the world. Netlib is a data repository for the scientific computing community maintained by AT&T Bell Laboratories, the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and by engineers and scientists worldwide.

IBM supercomputers use a technique known as parallel processing while the more traditional supercomputers use a method called vector processing. Basically, parallel processing spreads computing tasks among many processors running at the same time, whereas vector processing relies on fewer, faster processors.

The new RS/6000 SP system, code-named Blackforest, is five times larger and 20 times more powerful than the original Deep Blue system which bested world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

NCAR will use Deep Blue to evaluate the effects of industrial pollutants, including greenhouse gases and other airborne chemicals. Blackforest will also help NCAR's scientists conduct atmospheric research into droughts, ozone depletion, long-range weather prediction, and global climate changes.

Editorial #1 Editorial #2  23:21 pm - Wilfred
I usually pick one out of the few editorials from osOpinion to post about. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading these and I can't have you pass them by... so here they are:

Security: How Big Of A Chink In Microsoft's Armour?
For the end user right now, Microsoft practices "Are you sure?" security: "Are you sure" you want to run this macro, open that file? In fact users are often uncertain if the file they are about to open is going to work as advertise, or is going to wreak havoc on their system. If you look at the Security tab within Internet Explorer, you see different "zones" that you can define settings for: Internet, Intranet, Trusted Sites and Restricted Sites. Even if users could accurate index the world according to these categories, it is very crude and not very useful. Systems need to function under the principle of least privileges, and in a large Intranet for example, there could very definitely be one or two servers with malicious trojans.

How Could FUD Turn Against It's Creator
Yesterday Microsoft declared that it had released an 'embedded' version of NT 4.0 that it hoped would be used to run mission critical devices in hospitals, eventually being used in pacemakers and the like. No, really! If you had visions of red lights flashing in emergency rooms across the world as thousands of embedded NT systems coughed up BSODs, then you're not alone.

I'm not trying to bash Microsoft here. They do make some fine products indeed (with that many talented programmers working for them, how could they not?) like Excel, which is easily the best spreadsheet application ever written. But NT is not one of those fine products. In fact Microsoft's proficiency at writing operating systems is so far below adequate that it has given them a reputation for writing buggy software. The only reason they even bother to keep playing in the OS market is that they have a de facto monopoly, which makes the opportunity cost of not selling new OSes too high for them to pass up the opportunity.

MS Intellimouse Explorer 23:08 pm - Wilfred
FiringSquad just reviewed the latest Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer as well as Revenant demo. Check out both articles!

The biggest problem to solve was the cumbersome mousepad. Microsoft solved this problem by using a special CCD device. A "charged coupled device" is the mechanism used in a digital camera to capture a picture. So in essence, the MS Optical mouse is a very specialized digital camera. The camera is designed to take very fast snapshots of the surface under the mouse. It then compares the last two pictures and specialized firmware determines the difference between the pictures and translates it into positional movement.

An unearthly red glow on the bottom of the Intellipoint Explorer is the product of a bright LED used to illuminate the target surface. The light is set at a 10-15 degree angle from the CCD, to better show in profile the contrast between the tiny ridges and valleys on a typical surface.

Hackers May Be Snooping You 23:01 pm - Wilfred
Frightened already? Hmm.. read the entire story at ZDNet. Perhaps I should start worrying about online privacy issues today...

Companies and users of broadband modems beware: Malicious hackers may be "listening" in on your computer's conversation across the Internet.

That's the danger highlighted in a security advisory released on Wednesday by hacker-cum-security specialists L0pht Heavy Industries. The flaw affects Windows 95, 98 and 2000 as well as the SunOS and Solaris 2.6 running a network service known as the ICMP router discovery protocol, or IRDP, that determines the route computers use to connect to the Internet.

The result: An unauthorized user can intercept outgoing information, possibly modify unencrypted or lightly encrypted data, or deny service to the network.

Next Generation Systems: Consoles & PCs 22:57 pm - Wilfred
GameWire has written a long editorial about upcoming console systems and PCs that most gamers will be concerned about.

"... we have the PSX2. Nothing is really certain about this system, not even the name. The whole thing seems like it was made to divert attention from DreamCast, and I bet Sony is really sweating their boots to push something final out the door. Its initial response was that of awe. With just basically some private shows and some chips slapped together, rumors spread like wild flowers. The specs on this thing are immensely high, and set it up to be 10x more powerful in polygon count then some of today's SGI workstations. Technology that is hardly even out of spec sheets is scheduled to be used on this baby. However the technology is so sophisticated it's hard to imagine Sony getting this thing out the door for less then 500 dollars (Recent rumors say it will cost $300. I'm not saying this can't happen but it is very unlikely), which is still cheap when you look at a SGI Workstation that is priced at a standard of about 10k. A bigger question then price is even if they can provide the hardware to pull this off. The emotion engine is being manufactured by Toshiba and uses a .18-micron. That is very hard to pull off and neither Toshiba nor Sony has done it before (Not even very many companies that do this for a living can say that they have done this before). There is bound to be a lot of problems in developing the amount of chips needed in the time provided."

Cambridge SoundWorks FPS2000 22:51 pm - Wilfred
TheTechZone also did a review on the FPS2000 speakers. Can't go far wrong with this tried-and-tested set for real digital fidelity!

The FPS 2000 does not only make your games come to life but the system also makes your cd's have stunning clarity. With a few adjustments to the volume and the balancing of front to rear, you can make the guitars in your cd's seem as if they explode from all area's around you. Dave Mathews - Crush is especially nice. All the instruments come from there own direction, it is as if you are at the concert in the front row. The music will come in from one side and fade out to the other side and then to top it all off, it fades out to behind you. Amazing!

Tweak Your Win98! 22:46 pm - Wilfred
ComChip posted yet another Windows 98 optimization guide. Actually, I bet most of you are skilled in system optimization right?

Do not set the swap file size to be too low, because you may run out of memory later. The size of the swap file to set is different for every user. You may want to set it to a low value if you have lots of RAM or if you only use your computer for word processor or something. My suggestion is to set it so that the size of the ram and the virtual memory to add up to around 128 megs, and then if you run out, then increase it and so on until you are satisfied.

Budget sound card roundup 22:30 pm - David
Dudes at 3D Hardware did a roundup of budget sound cards, thinking of upgrading your sound card? Hop over!

The PC sound industry jas been going under a number of important changes since the Creative Game Blaster / Sound Blaster and AdLib revolution. The first one was stereo sound, brought in to the real mainstream by the Sound Blaster Pro and Gravis Ultrasound sound cards. The next one was better resolutiojn to the sound, which the Sound Blaster 16 and Ultrasound MAX stood for. The next one, and second last one in my opinion, was of a slightly different kind than the prevoius ones. This one came with the Sound Blaster AWE 32, and introduced close-to-professional MIDI sampling and hardware DSP abilities to the wide public, and was different in the manner that although very appreciated by any one with any inclination towards music and it's making, it didn't help anyone who bought the card immediately, as the new features of the previous cards had done before. This was a few years ago, and between this one and the last (definately not final though...) PC audio revolution the development meant the introduction of wider polyphonies and most importantly for gamers, the PCI sound cards, making it possible for the more and more powerful audio chips to offload the processor a lot in games and thus increase game performance.

TennMax Detonator 13:00 pm - Kan
Our buds over at HardOCP wrote down their thoughts on the TennMax Detonator TNT2 cooler. Do check it out!

What might be a bit of a snag though, is UNINSTALLING the mutha that is glued on there now!  Many of these fans are cheapy units that are glued on and not meant to be easily removed.  Sometimes a good 30 minute trip to the freezer can help you out of a jam here.  The cold gets the glue brittle and allows you to rip the damn thing off with much more ease.  Just remember to be careful folks.

Setting up a RAM Drive 12:57 pm - Kan
Hey, this is interesting. Ever since we move to Windows, nobody seems to use Ramdrive anymore. Check out the article over at TheTechZone on how to setup a RAM drive.

With 256 MB RAM, just use between 80-100 MB of RAM for the RAM drive, and once in Windows, install Quake 3 to the RAM drive and run it from there. Then, you will be the first one in the levels every time. Loading Quake 3 from a RAM drive is a whole new experience. The game loads like right NOW! You'll beat everyone to the level by up to 10 seconds.

The main problem with using a RAM drive for games is that the RAM you assign for the RAM drive is no longer available to system RAM. In other words, if you have 256 megs of RAM and you assign 100 megs for a RAM drive, your system RAM is now down to 156 Megs. This is why you need a lot of RAM to be able to setup a RAM drive.

ABIT BE6 12:56 pm - Kan
The pros over at ComputingPros released their review on the ABIT BE6 motherboard.

There seems to be no end in site for Abit's stream of innovative motherboards lately and the BE6 is another one of them. Abit must have their engineers working overtime to crank out this many motherboards. Anyhow today we look at one of their most talked about lately which is the BE6. Lately Abit has been expanding their vision and reaching out into every segment of the motherboard market with a board for every type of socket you can think of. They've pretty much dominated the market with their Socket 370 boards such as BM6, ZM6, and the clever dual celeron BP6. I wonder what all those 6's are for? Anyhow they've come back to the Slot 1 format and decided this area needed some help. So how do you differentiate yourself from the other excellent BX Slot 1 boards? You throw in UDMA 66 support!

I Brake For Geeks 12:55 pm - Kan
Interesting article over at TheTechZone where the guys posted an article called I Brake for Geeks. Hmm, sounds familiar. :)

In high school, everyone could pinpoint a ďgeekĒ.  They were members of a very special society.  They were a skinny, pocket-protector wearing, keep-to-themselves type.  They were shy and quiet, wearing pants that were way too short and glasses taped together across the bridge of their noses. Athletes and cheerleaders usually made fun of them, and they, typically, stood against the wall at the homecoming dance and prom. They always had their nose in a book and aced the final biology test covering chapters 5-27. They were, however, at peace with themselves, perfectly happy to spend weekend evenings at home, looking through their microscope or working on a project that would one day assist in their admission to the Harvard Graduate School. 

Logitech FEELit Mouse 01:53 am - Wilfred
Wired News reported Logitech's plan to release a US$99 mouse that will add tactile sensations to onscreen mousing. That's a REAL heavy folder to move! Dammit!

Logitech envisions users feeling the cursor interact with points, lines, and curves as they draw a 2-D image in a design program. Contours, surfaces, textures, and edges could provide similar sensations in 3-D rendering.

Icons on a user's computer desktop could have weight, and the user could sense them sliding across the screen. Big files might feel heavier than small ones.

Products on commerce sites could have a 3-D sense of shape and texture, the company says. Car buyers could run their mouse over the vehicle's sleek lines. Educational software could convey a physical sense of gravity, friction, inertia, and magnetism.

UPS & Surge Protection Guide 01:48 am - Wilfred
Ars-Technica has thrown up a rare guide on Uninterruptible Power Supplies and surge protectors. Always use protection!

"... lightning strikes can cause over-voltage down your power line or under-voltage when electricity-managing devices are struck. It is best to not operate electronic devices at these times, unless they are attached to a quality surge suppressor (which will not prevent your computer from rebooting), or a UPS. But w all know that there is more to fear than lightning.  In fact, if you live in a bustling city center, the biggest fear for you is probably under-powered utilities."

Who Will Win The DVD Standards Fight? 01:44 am - Wilfred
CNET has an article on the long drawn debate on the standards fight. So who is going to dominate? Check this out!

InfoTech estimated about 12 million DVD ROM drives would be sold this year, but the devices are not expected to reach critical mass until late next year when interactive DVD games from Sony and others hit the market.

That is also when the first consumer electronic devices supporting DVD-RAM are expected to hit the market. Compatibility has been the platform's biggest shortcoming. Many newer, 5X or above, DVD drives can read DVD-RAM disks, but most older models cannot. CD rewritable went through a similar conversion after its introduction in 1997. Initially, few drives could read CD-rewritable-created CDs.

Analysts would not speculate which standard would dominate, but Sony's success in the consumer electronics and gaming space is expected to give DVD+RW a push next year.

Corel Linux Preview 01:37 am - Wilfred
Linux Weekly News wrote a preview on Corel's Linux distribution they saw at LinuxWorld. Certain things only get better each passing day!

The preview started with a demonstration of the installation process. It may well be that Corel has outdone Caldera in the "ease of installation" category - at least, if you don't use Caldera's automatic repartitioning. They have deliberately set things up to ask a minimum of questions, on the theory the people don't want to have to hassle with it. They want it to just work. Along those lines, the system boots up into X before anything else even really gets going.

They ask all of four questions - and not always ones that one might expect. The first one is for a username, so that they can create a nonprivileged account. Then you get the option of creating a recovery disk. There is a partitioning question (with a graphical partition editor available), then there is a set of canned package choices ("minimal desktop," "server", etc.) You can also pick and choose packages. Then it's done, it just goes and installs itself.

Play Any Region Code DVDs On Win98? 01:26 am - Wilfred
A pal sent along this URL I thought some of you might be interested. There is a way of hacking your Windows 98 registry to get your DVDs of any region code to work! Take a look, but proceed with caution!

Tom Looks At Athlon Too! 01:23 am - Wilfred
Oh, so does it surprise you half a bit? "AMD Finally Overtaking Intel..." Whoa! Coming from THE man, that's a lot of weight in the statement. Of course, never doubt Tom for not doing his homework, there's a VERY hefty chunk for your reading!!

In the block diagrams of the two CPUs you'll find that Athlon has a BTB (branch target buffer) with no less than 2048 entries, which means that Athlon can store 2048 different branching addresses. The BHT (branch history table) can store 4096 entries. This stands against Pentium III's Dynamic Branch Predictor with only 512 entries. AMD claims that Athlon makes a correct branch prediction with a probability of 95%, which is very high. Intel's Pentium III is estimated to have a probability of 90-92% for correct branch predictions.

Linux's Roadmap? 01:15 am - Wilfred
Something like dat... Linus Torvalds outlined his vision for Linux development in the coming years and what features we can expect to see in upcoming kernel revisions.

Future initiatives planned for the next version of Linux include improvements intended to support a range of technologies, including sound cards, universal serial bus (USB), PCMCIA cards, and plug-and-play features. Work to incorporate DVD drive support is being hampered by trade secrets in decrypting DVD information.

Windows 2000 RC1 Refresh 00:39 am - Kan
Our pals over at NT Game Palace sent note on the availability of Windows 2000 RC1 refresh available for Windows 2000 Beta 3 customers. 

To order this refresh update send an email to [email protected] with the follow:

Company Name, Your Name, Address, City, Postal code, Country, Email address, Phone Number, If you want Windows 2000 RC1 Professional and Server or Windows 2000 RC1 Adv. Server and your CPP product ID key which is on the back of the CD case of Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3

ZIP External vs ZIP Internal 00:33 am - Kan
Some new stuffs over at 3D Alpha where the guys compared the external ZIP drives against the internal.

So now you're ready to find out which Zip Drive is more worth the money. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what's more important: Mobility or Speed? The External Parallel Port Zip Drives are excellent for mobility, and are easy to carry around, but you'll find out that their speed isn't nearly as fast as Iomega's Internal Zip Drives, even on faster and newer parallel ports. It all depends upon what you plan to do with the drive. Do you plan to use it at home a good deal? Or are you purchasing it soley for the sake of mobility as well as storage? What about if you plan to do both?

GLClock v5.0 00:29 am - Kan
DemoNews sent note on the new version of GLClock v5.0. You can download the file from here.

Masa's awesome GLClock has been updated to version 5.0. This version support for more graphic cards, such as the Voodoo3. GLClock renders a clock (with your time) in real-time using OpenGL as acceleration. To benchmark your OpenGL speed use the benchmark.bat file. Wood, Marble and Sky the different shades the clock can have.

Addtronics Medium Tower Casing 00:25 am - Kan
AbsolutePC posted their thoughts on the Addtronics Medium Tower Casing. Hmm, give me a large tower anytime baby!

Starting off with first impressionsÖ WOW! This is a beauty. The craftsmanship in this case can be spotted from first glance as all seams and fittings are very tight and clean. As I began to examine it a bit closer I immediately noticed the lack of screws. Woohoo I thought.. I hate screws! So I resumed inspection and easily popped the front cover off the case with an easy pull of the bottom of the front panel. Here I found the access to the entire case very easy. With the loosening of two front screws, the swing open butterfly doors become fully operational and full case access is a snap. With room for 4 3.5" drives, 2 internal and 2 external, and 3 5.25" external drives, this case settles in high up on the charts with many comparable full tower cases.

Monitor Cooler 00:22 am - Kan
TheTechZone posted a review on the 3DCool's Monitor cooler. Seems like a lot of people are neglecting to cool the monitor properly. Bad...

When I first heard of this product, I thought what the heck? What good is a monitor cooler. I mean what will it do? You canít overclock the monitor or anything and it doesnít affect system performance. However, I forgot one thing that the monitor produces a lot of. Heat. This can even affect the picture on your screen if you have a really old monitor. It can also affect the picture if your monitor is located in a section of the house which collects a lot of heat. Instead of buying a new monitor to fix the deteriorating picture on the monitor you can access a cheap alternative. Monitor cooling. Its cheap, easy to install, and quite effective.

11 August 1999 - Wednesday

SIIB USB PC Camera 23:56 pm - Kan
SystemLogic reviewed the SIIB USB PC Camera. Nowadays, the cameras are so good, I feel shy posing in front of them. Shows all my blemishes! =)

The amazing thing is that there is no need for a capture card.  This saves you a ton of money, believe me.  Before I even knew there was a such thing as a USB PC camera, I invested a lot of money into the Iomega Buz, as well as a Phillips capture card.  At the time I needed those to connect my video camera because I was doing quite a bit of video editing. I ended up having all kinds of compatibility problems and what not, so I ended up throwing those in my "pile o' junk" box.  This PC camera is different, and we will venture into why in this review.  

RealMagic Hollywood DVD Decoder Card 23:42 pm - Kan
3D Alpha posted a review on the RealMagic Hollywood DVD Decoder card from Sigma Designs. Anyway, we did a review on the RealMagic Dragon DVD card as well. Do check it out.

To this end, many companies began producing dedicated MPEG2 decoder boards capable of handling the requirements of DVD movies. The focus of this review is, of course, one of those boards. In this case, Sigma Design's REALmagic Hollywood Plus. The card came with an extremely well written and detailed users guide, which included graphical installation instructions. The Hollywood Plus uses an external VGA pass though cable, which is most commonly seen on Voodoo 2 graphics cards. There was no loss of image quality from using this cable, so it would seem alright to leave it connected.

Indexing Feature with Windows 2000 23:40 pm - Kan
BetaOS sent note on their new article on the Indexing Feature found in Windows 2000.

One of the many new features integrated with Windows 2000 is the feature that allows you to enhance your search capabilities.  The difference between the search function in Windows 9x and Windows 2000 is the Indexing Service that has replaced the old Windows 9x version of the search function.

Indexing Service is an optional feature - it is not turned on by default when loading Windows 2000.  When enabled, the files on your computer are indexed and maintained so that you can perform faster searches with greater search capabilities. However, before you enable it, lets discuss what it really is.

ADS Notebook USB Port 06:54 am - Kan
USB Workshop posted a review on this ADS Notebook USB port which basically allows you to add USB support to your notebook (if it doesn't have'em built-in) thru the PCMCIA slots.

Inside ADS Technologies USB port for notebooks is a OPTi 82C861 PCI to USB controller which complies to OHCI USB standard. USB port for notebooks requires notebooks with a 32-bit CardBus Type II PC card slot. CardBus interface operates in 32-bit data paths (132 Mbps bandwidth) and allows bus-mastering, lower voltage option and advanced power management.  ADS website provides a list of CardBus Type II compatible notebooks in case you have no idea what CardBus is. You can look for your notebook model on ADS site. 

News Reviews @ AGN 06:51 am - Kan
Boy, I just love'em. AGN Hardware posted another 3 new reviews today. The EtherFast Switched Network in-a-box from Linksys, the Viewsonic GT775 monitor as well as the Quantum Fireball KA Plus

I think Linksys was feeling my pain.  I had no sooner said to a friend of mine that what the gaming community needed was a network kit with a switch in the box instead of a hub, then the PR people from Linksys called me to let me know about a new product that would have just that.  Needless to say I was excited about the product, but I also found myself a bit skeptical about the quality of the product.  After all, how good could a switch be if you only paid $169 for it and they threw in a few NIC cards as well?

Quantum Fireball KA Plus 06:49 am - Kan
Tweak3D reviewed the Quantum Fireball KA Plus hard disk. This one comes with a 7,200 rpm and 512KB of cache as well as ATA-66 interface.

I'd have to say I really like this drive. It is fast, and there's no doubt about it. It makes a huge impact in the times it takes to get things done. You'll waste much less time waiting for that new game to install, or for that file to copy, or for that level to load.

But what makes me like this drive so much is definitly the price. Only $140 for a drive with these specs? It's a great price/performance bargain. If you thought ATA/66 would be too expensive, keep in mind that you can get this hard drive and the Abit BE6 motherboard for under $300 USD (total). That's a pretty good bargain considering the performance this hard drive puts out.

Curve Surfaces in Q3Test 06:44 am - Kan
QuakeCity posted an interesting article on how curve surfaces are used in Q3Test to increase the realism of the game.

Curved surfaces in Quake 3 Arena are deformable meshes, something that might be familiar to 3D Studio users. They are simply lines or a series of lines following a user defined bezier curve The defined curve can be extruded upon the lateral axis of the curve to form a bevel, or closed to form a flat polygon (a round disc or portion thereof). You can also create patches from grids of curves, and "round rectangles". An unlimited number of resultant shapes can be created by defining different curves and combining them with other patches or brushes.

Gabriel Knight 3 06:41 am - Kan
More games galore as Exxtreme3D had an interview with Jane Jenson on her upcoming trilogy, Gabriel Knight 3.

Vinny: Will we be able to play other characters beside Gabriel? If so, how will this character differ from the Gabriel?

Jane Jensen: You play Grace Nakimura for 6 out of the 16 timeblocks.  As I've mentioned above, Gabriel's role is more that of keeping tabs on, and spying on, all the other NPCs whereas Grace is involved in the Rennes puzzle -- research and riddle work.

Interview on Dungeon Keeper 2 06:39 am - Kan
Yup, Speedy3D scored an interview with David Armor from Bullfrog Entertainment on some niffy details about the upcoming game Dungeon Keeper 2.

KP: Are you planning a sequel for DK2? If so it will be called??
DA: We have a team looking at where we should take DK next, but details are to be decided.

KP: What engine did you build DK2 on?
DA: The engine is something Bullfrog has been working on for a couple of years. We're primarily using D3D to put the polygons on the screen once we've processed them.

ABIT BE6 06:37 am - Kan
3DRage (gee, this is kinda confusing) posted a review on the ABIT BE6 Slot-1 motherboard. Darn, I'm still waiting for the ATA-66 drivers for Windows 2000.

While the Slot 1 consumers were content at the current time with their excellent selection of 440BX Slot 1 boards to choose from, what of the socket370 market. Well, Abit decided to give the consumers what they wanted, an overclocker friendly socket370 motherboard, namely, the BM6. This was followed by the more cost effective ZM6 and then Abit really hit the jackpot with the first ever dual socket370 motherboard, the BP6. Now, Abit's latest release comes in the Slot 1 flavor and is called the BE6. The board comes equipped with Ultra DMA/66 support which many thought would only be available with the release of the Camino 820 chipset as well as the usual overclockable settings.

Rage Fury 06:35 am - Kan
Rage3D posted a review of the ATi Rage Fury card as well as an article on the T-Buffer technology used in the upcoming Voodoo4. 

This is one area where I have to frown upon this board. I have had some problems with this board blanking out my monitor while using the TV out. I had to go through a ritual of going to safe mode, removing all my display adapters and monitors, and reinstalling everything. This happened several times, until I loaded up a little utility called Powerstrip. This utility, apparently, got my monitor and display card talking to each other much better than ATI's drivers did. I feel that I shouldn't have had to use a 3rd party utility to get my card working properly. This is the most glaring problem I had with the card, but once I had Powerstrip running, everything was fine. Overall, I'd say that some more work needs to be done in this area.

TNT2 M64 06:30 am - Kan
DansData took a look at the nVidia TNT2 M64 (codenamed Butterfly) graphics card. This card is actually not bad with it's relatively fast performance and affordable price.

What gives, in this case, is the NVIDIA Riva TNT2 Model 64 chipset, with a honking 32 megabytes of video memory. The Model 64 is a cut-down version of the full TNT2; it retains the TNT2's 128 bit data interface, but has only a 64 bit memory interface. In English, this means the Model 64 is notably slower for 3D than the "real" TNT2, but retains outrageous 2D performance - high speeds and high refresh rates*** at resolutions higher than 1600 by 1200 and high colour depths are easy for the Model 64, although these resolutions are of little use on monitors with a diagonal of less than 21 inches.

9 August 1999 - Monday
Availability Of Point-&-Click Linux Install? 23:09 pm - Wilfred
Oh yes, certainly this has come to pass quickly. Caldera will put up its award-winning LIZARD install for free download come Sept 3. Here's the full story and more about NKFS, a Netware file system kernel module.

LIZARD makes the transition from Windows to Linux easier for the new user and reduces down time created by command line installation. "We were overwhelmed by the response to our OpenLinux LIZARD install," said Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera Systems, Inc. "Both Caldera Systems and the "Trolls" knew we had a winner when both reviewers and the Fortune 500 said that it was the one feature they had been waiting for in order to recommend and implement Linux on the enterprise."

"Caldera Systems wants to exhibit its commitment to the Linux and Open Source communities by facilitating continuous Linux growth and development," said Drew Spencer, Caldera Systems engineering vice president. "We've done it in the past by open-sourcing other Caldera technologies. We know from experience that giving back will accelerate that process and we hope that others will join us in the continued enhancement of LIZARD for the benefit of the entire Linux industry."

The Myth Of Upgradability 23:04 pm - Wilfred
I've been thinking about this and I'm sure most of you remember those empty claims of PC upgradability etc. Even when most of us have resigned to the futility of 'upgradable designs', osOpionion has an editorial about this:

Once, I had a nice little 386/40 computer (lovely machine - I still miss it). When I wanted to increase its memory after a year or so, the salesman just laughed. "36-pin SIMMs? They don't make those anymore, it's all 72-pin now"

I skipped the 486 era and ended up with a Pentium/100. Again, memory upgrade time came around. "What do you mean, SIMMs? We're all on DIMMs now!" The Pentium soldiered on with its miserly 16 MB until it got hit by lightning.

And now I have a K6/200. The damn thing is just a little more than a year old, but (a) I can't upgrade to a K6-3 because "the 66MHz bus is ancient history" and (b) when I tried to get a new video card that the BeOS could live with, I quickly found out that PCI video cards simply aren't made any more. AGP has taken over completely. Of course, my K6 doesn't have an AGP slot. So I now have to buy another new computer?

I tend to be hard on machines - I go through a keyboard and a mouse or two a year. Now I'm already starting to wonder how long I'll still be able to get a serial mouse ... "Sorry, sir, they only make USB models nowadays and we don't keep old stock".

Do we start to see a pattern here? First we are sold on the promise of infinite upgradeability, then we quickly find out that if you want to upgrade, you'd better do it within six months. This ain't Moore's Law, it's Murphy's. In most industrial countries, the auto industry has to guarantee parts availability for 10 years. By law. Maybe the computer industry needs something similar.

PowerLeap PL-K6-III 23:00 pm - Wilfred
Interested in upgrading your aged Pentium 75-233mhz PCs but on an extremely tight budget? Hardware Central just did a review on PowerLeap's PL-K6-III upgrade kit.

The PL-K6-III is a processor upgrade kit that will replace your current processor with a converter onto which you plug your new CPU, an AMD K6-III/400 in this case. Actually the converter can be used to upgrade any Pentium 75~233MHz system to an AMD K6-II/333~450MHz or AMD K6-III/400~450MHz, as they're also offered separately.

The entire converter comes supplied with a high performance cooler of the same exceptional quality as the PL-PII Slotket. Again, Powerleap chose not to cut corners with this CPU upgrade kit.

GlobalWin FDP32 19:18 pm - Kan
Yum yum. More overclocking madness as PlanetHardware brought to us a review on the latest heatsink from GlobalWin, the FDP32. Read how the true master saw the heatsink to have them fitted on the ABIT BP6. Darn, sounds dangerous. 

Mind you these suckers looked big in the ad over at Global WIN, but I figured, "ahh, trick photography". Boy was I wrong. I got the shipment in and opened the box and looked at these suckers, they're freakin' huge. So huge in fact they wouldn't fit in my BP6 motherboard. It seems when Abit made the BP6 motherboard, they put this "pile" of capacitors above and below the sockets. I guess they never thought people would put 1/2 LB of aluminum on the board. In order to get it to fit, I had to get medieval on them with the hacksaw. (For other BP6 owners, you just cut off the outermost ribs, it fits with less than an 1/8"after you trim off the heatsink) The aluminum is good and strong, (I found this out during the cutting process) and I personally like the fact it's unpainted. I've often wondered why manufacturers insist on painting the heatsinks black.

Athlon 600 vs Pentium III 600 19:13 pm - Kan
More Athlon madness as SharkyExtreme thrashed out the Athlon 600 against the Pentium III 600. It doesn't take a genius to know which one is faster. :)

As we mentioned in both of the Athlon CPU reviews we've done thus far, the real world benchmark result differences between the Athlon and P3 are nearly identical currently, while the synthetic benchmark scores give the Athlon CPUs a decided advantage.

The reason for this lies in the way benchmarks work. Basically the synthetic benchmarks we utilize take advantage of a good deal of the new hardware that's designed into the Athlon CPU's architecture, including its 128KB of L1 cache and its simultaneous handling of multiple FPU and integer commands. 

Athlon 600/650 Review 19:12 pm - Kan
Over at the House of Anand, Anand finally posted his thoughts on the Athlon 600 and 650 Mhz processors. Darn, I'm sure you will love to have one in your box right now...

The next opportunity for AMD came with addressing their weakness, their FPU. AMD was in a lose-lose situation, they werenít able to produce enough processors to compete with Intel solely on clock speed, and at the clock speeds they were currently at, they werenít able to produce high enough performing parts to make a significant difference in the market share. Granted they were making progress, but the outlook didnít seem good. Rumors (youíve gotta love those) began to surface about a mysterious K6-3D processor, supposedly a 300MHz K6 with an improved FPU, possibly one that could match or even exceed Intelís current offerings at a lower cost. AMDís policy became to undercut Intelís pricing whenever possible, however sometimes it just wasn't possible. AMD was involved in a price war, one that they were trying very adamantly to win, but as we've seen in the past, often when a company is involved in a price war, they stop worrying about competing on other levels, including performance.

TennMax Detonator Cooler 19:09 pm - Kan
SysopSolutions posted their thoughts on the TennMax Detonator Cooler. I'm pretty impressed with TennMax's high quality fans - they are hard to beat!

This time packaging is very basic. The box the sink was shipped in came with the cooler itself and accompanying instructions. The heat sink design is very radical. The fan is recessed into the block which is comprised of layers of stamped metal formed as fins to allow for effective dissipation of heat. These fins are riveted together to form the shape of the sink. Generally the more surface area available to remove heat generated by the chip the more efficient the cooler works. As you can see there is lots of surface area here.

NHL Fever 2000 19:08 pm - Kan
More reviews churning out from FiringSquad as the guys released a review on NHL Fever 2000

The first thing you're going to notice about NFL Fever is its clean, crisp graphics. Colors are vivid and lush and all uniforms are recreated to a T. If you bump up the resolution to 1024x768 (as this game should be played) you'll easily make out numbers on jerseys, and in many situations you can clearly read the names on the back of players' shirts! All the stadiums in the NFL are rendered authentically. I noticed that the Oakland Coliseum (where the Raiders play) in NFL Fever even features the East Bay hills in the background behind the stadium! Now that's attention to detail. All this combined makes starting up a game in NFL Fever 2000 look almost as good as Monday Night Football. Another nice touch was the cinematic replays that happen after an exciting play.

Diamond MX25 19:05 pm - Kan
FiringSquad posted a review on the latest gadget from Diamond, the MX25. The MX25 is actually a breakout board for the MX300 which supports digital S/PDIF out signals.

Diamond's MX300 sound card was the first Aureal Vortex-2 based sound card to ship with included support for 4 speakers. Seemingly designed specifically to counter Creative's then-recent release of the Sound Blaster Live!, the MX300 and Vortex 2 had a revolutionary sound technology Creative couldn't match - "wavetracing." Basically, wavetracing works by mimicking the real physics of sound. In a 3D game, the actual in-game geometry (the walls, floors, ceilings, and objects which make up the world) is used to filter sound effects. Sounds heard through a wall are more muffled at high frequencies and lower in volume, and dynamic effects such as realtime Doppler shift and sound reflections are seamlessly and automatically integrated.

ABIT BE6 Review 19:04 pm - Kan
Guys, don't miss out the review done by our pals over at HardOCP - the ABIT BE6 Slot-1 motherboard. I had one running on a P3-450 and it looks pretty cool!

As on the BX6.2, ABIT has included a thermal header that will allow you to install a thermistor, which does come with it, in order to take the temperature pretty much anywhere on the board.  This is a handy feature that will let you see just how hot that pesky TNT2 Ultra card is getting and if a little more air movement might help you out. ABIT does also send along the needed software for the specific mainboard so the whole process it point and click, outside actually plugging the thermistor onto the header. 

OK, so I held out the best for last.  ABIT is the first mainboard company in the world to release a BX chipset board with built-on ATA 66 hard drive Support.  That is right homey! Two channels of bus Master IDE Ports supporting up to four Ultra DMA 33/66 devices, along with two channels of bus Master IDE Ports supporting up to four Ultra DMA 33 devices too.  We of course have been beating on it for so long now that there are others on the market, but that is what testing a board for longer than overnight gets us.  :(

JetCooler 19:01 pm - Kan
TheTechZone posted two new reviews today. The JetCooler which is basically a drive bay heat extractor as well as the AVB Force Feedback wheel which only cost 70 bucks!

The design of the unit is very smart. While most drive bay coolers uses small 1.5" fans on the drive bay face, the TT-900 uses 2 big 92mm fans on 2 levels. The fans are very quite. They only give off 27 decibels of noise when operating at 2100 RPM. This is quieter than most case fans. You won't be wasting any power supply connectors by using this product because a 4 pin pass through connector powers the fans.

Installation is a 3 minute operation. Just remove your computer case cover, pop off a hard drive bay cover, slide the unit into the drive bay, screw it down, connect the power and put case cover back on. The unit is 8-1/4" deep   by 5-3/4" wide  by 1-2/3" high. You shouldn't have any trouble getting the TT-900 to fit it in most cases. For smaller cases you may have to install it at the highest drive bay to avoid hitting the motherboard. The unit goes in pretty deep.

ASUS P3B-F 07:20 am - Kan
New review hot off the stove from ComputingPros - ASUS P3B-F which features a whopping 6 PCI slots as well as the 'JumperFree' feature, much like the ABIT SoftMenu technology.. 

What do you do when you have one of the best selling boards on the market? You capitalize on its brand name and respected performance and quality. That's exactly what Asus did with their latest motherboard, the P3B-F. They didn't just revise their P2B, but made a whole new one from the ground up. If you read our review on MSI's 6163 you heard me mentioning that I would like to see BX boards sporting 6 PCI slots and 1 ISA slot at the most. Well, it looks like my prayers have been answered. Asus comes through with a unique board here that supports up to 6 PCI slots, 1 ISA, 1 AGP. Not only does it have 6 PCI slots but 4 DIMM slots, which also satisfy my other criteria for having the perfect layout. The other item that's being seen with more regularity is the lack of jumpers which is a warm welcome to all motherboard tweakers out there who hate to fiddle with jumpers. They coined their jumperless feature as "JumperFree" and even the voltage can be adjusted from within the BIOS.

New Reviews @ AGN 06:46 am - Kan
Two new reviews over at AGN Hardware. First, it's the Athlon 600 Mhz processor review (err, to mark Athlon Day) and the second review is on the D-Link DFE 910 10/100 Network in a box.  

Even though the first Athlon products are more of a target against Intelís Pentium III line, there will be other Athlon family processor with plans of penetration into Intelís Pentium III Xeon world as well. What we will be seeing is a new line of processors including the Athlon Professional and Athlon Ultra that will provide faster system bus and larger cache sizes. They will of course be more expensive, but they will also provide a level of performance to that market that has never been seen before. Imagine a NT box with Dual Athlon Ultras with 2MB of Cache and a 650MHz speed and you have the perfect partnership for the ultimate 3D rendering system. You never know, maybe they graphics of that next Star Wars movie will be made on an Athlon system!

EPoX Dual-Board 06:42 am - Kan
HardwarePros also posted a review on the EPoX EP-BXB-S Dual Slot-1 motherboard. It comes with built-in U2W SCSI, and it definitely won't be as cheap as the BP6.

Other than the operating system you also need applications which take advantage of SMP such as 3D Studio MAX, Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Visual Studio.  Most of us don't use these programs enough to justify spending more money on an SMP machine.  However as many of you heard, Quake III Arena already has SMP support and performance gains of 40-80% can be expected.  Quake III is the first game to support SMP, but you can expect this to become a trend in the next few years.  Why are games going to use multi-processors?  Well, the reason is simple, games are becoming extremely complex and 3D video accelerators are quickly becoming more powerful than CPU's.  Today's fastest 3D accelerators are constantly waiting for the CPU to send them data and the next generation will further increase the gap. Since processors advance a lot slower than 3D accelerators, the next natural step is use two processors instead of one.  With prices as low as they are, you may find yourself looking for a dual-processing rig for your next system.

Dual-Board Shootout 06:36 am - Kan
CRUS posted a massive dual-processor motherboards shootout, including boards like the BP6, IWill DBD-100, MSI 6120, DFI P2XBL/D and many more!

"Eww, that sounds pricey..." Yes, buying 2 P-III's would be very pricey. But who said that you would have to use P-III's or P-II's? Why not Celerons? With the release of the PPGA Celerons and "Slockets" that allow running PPGA Celerons in a Dual configuration (and now boards like the ABIT BP6) there's nothing preventing you from doing just that, and thatís exactly what I'm going to do in this comparison.

I'm going to use a pair of 400Mhz PPGA Celerons and an array of motherboards and Slockets, and I'm going to tell you whatís the best motherboard and slocket to get, which has the best price/performance ration and which is the best SCSI board etc. etc.  

Siggraph 06:36 am - Kan
FiringSquad went down to Siggraph (international conference and exhibition on computer graphics) in Los Angeles to thrash out more info on the upcoming Glaze3D card!

The Glaze3D supports up to 128MB of SDRAM with a 64 or 128-bit bus. Speeds can range from 143MHz to 166MHz and 200MHz. The eDRAM also has a maximum speed of 200MHz. I asked Petri what was the SDRAM speed, and he immediately answered 200MHz. We might see the slower memory speeds in the low end cards, but it looks like Bitboys is thinking 5ns.

Even though the core and the mclock can run asynchronously, I had to ask Petri if the processor core could overclock to 200MHz. The 200/200/200 (core/eDRAM/SDRAM) setting just sounded right somehow, but Petri quickly dashed my hopes and came up with a very conservative 160MHz possible overclocking speed.

Athlon vs Pentium III Shootout 06:33 am - Kan
More shootouts as GameCenter also posted an article comparing the Athlon vs the Pentium III.

In addition to old-school MMX support, both CPUs include proprietary SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) instruction sets. AMD introduced its 3DNow instruction set last year with its K6-2 processor, and Intel caught up this year with its SSE instruction set in the Pentium III. Architecture-wise, these two are pretty similar, with each being able to perform four floating-point operations in a single clock cycle. This can speed up the geometry stage of the graphics pipeline and could also be applied to more sophisticated physics modeling in games.

Linux: Reason Why People Talk About It 01:49 am - Wilfred
osOpinion has an editorial that OpenSource movement is the reason for Linux basking in the limelight, overshadowing other emerging and powerful OSes like BeOS.

In many respects, BeOS, and others, are technologically superior. They have fully journalled filesystems, are pervasively multithreaded, and handle media content in a vastly more efficient way. In addition, MacOS and Windows, both have the advantage of being fully entrenched in the desktop market. They don't have to worry about luring software vendors to their platforms, or writing drivers for their hardware, all of that is done for them. So if Linux is neither a dominant player in the desktop market, nor is it the most technologically superior operating system (hold off on the flames for a second), then why all of this hype?

Poll #22: The Number Of Email Accounts 01:38 am - Wilfred
This is the compiled results of the last poll on how many email accounts each user hold. So how many is enough?

NT For Embedded Applications 01:33 am - Wilfred
At CNet, it is reported that Microsoft plans to release a version of NT for 'embedded' settings like POS devices, manufacturing and networking equipment. Here's a scratch:

Microsoft's latest Windows operating system variant is tailored for use in devices such as network routers and switches, industrial machines, and health care equipment, for example. Copier giant Xerox intends to use the software within its document management systems for corporate offices. 3Com has also pledged to utilize the software within its network switching hardware.

8 August 1999 - Sunday
Savage4 roundup? 22:00 pm - David
Review Zone did a roundup of some popular Savage4 based cards, dedicated to all Savage fan out there *bowwow*.

I have a Savage4-based graphic card. I'm not alone- thousands have purchased Savage4 based graphic cards, people who prefer not to expend their monthly savings on a top-of-the-range card which will rapidly become outdated. And Iím reaping the benefits of owning a card which has a modest amount of performance yet allows me to make more than one upgrade to my fairly modest PC. But the question is this: If you haven't already got one, should you buy one?

T-Buffer: Do We Need It? 14:04 pm - Wilfred
This is not the usual T-Buffer writeup, but Riva3D has decided to discuss the real value of utilising T-Buffers.

It is a bit of a stretch to assume that these techniques can be applied to a full scene using today's graphics cards without compromising frame rate unacceptably. But what about upcoming chipsets from S3, NVIDIA, Matrox, etc.? It's obvious that extremely high polygon counts will be the name of the game for those companies that want to keep up. With this new capability for high polycount and framerates, utilizing the features of OpenGL or D3D that allow full scene antialiasing, motion blur, and depth of field becomes not only a possibility, but will undoubtedly be utilized in the next generation of games, without requiring a T Buffer to do so.

Rumours At The Register 14:00 pm - Wilfred
Rumour off the mill has it that Intel is contemplating an AMD buyover. Wow! Intel Athlon??? Errm... are we going to see the next anti-trust suit from the DOJ soon?

Speculation is mounting in the chip community that Intel might now feel able to buy AMD.

The chip giant would be safe from the threat of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action because of Via's latest acquisition -- the IDT-Centaur x.86 business line. Earlier this week, Via said it would pay $167 million for Cyrix technology.

AMD would not come too expensive. For over a month now, its share price has bumped along at a dismal $16 or so. AMD turned in a record loss-making quarter recently, and is in debt up to its eyeballs.

Wilfred Coughs 13:55 pm - Wilfred
Really coughing... inactivity, inactivity. Wrestling with the hassles of life, work and all. Bitten by a flu bug and a nursing a bad sore throat, life's a bitch. =) Well, managed to catch the South Park movie: Bigger, Longer, Uncut... and boy! It's DAMN good! For a while, I thought they ran out of creative steam in the recent episodes, then whoa... the movie is a must watch if you're fortunate enough to catch it here in sunny Singapore. Now, I wouldn't blame the censors for giving it an R-rating in the U.S. =)

More Glaze3D Madness 10:48 am - Kan
Totally wacky as BitBoys wrote a detailed article explaining what is Glaze3D all about. It will be a dream comes true if Glaze3D is finally out in the market.

Glaze3Dô builds on embedded DRAM technology from Infineon Technologies. The current crop of 3D-graphics chips are struggling with conventional external memory technology which no longer offers sufficient memory bandwidth for 3D-graphics rendering. External DRAM access times have declined by only 10% p.a.

Embedding the framebuffer memory on the same silicon chip with the rendering core allows a huge 512-bit wide memory bus, four times larger than the external 128-bit bus used before. This directly translates to a quantum leap in rendering performance and visual image quality. Users want true color rendering, lots of high-quality textures and photorealistic image quality. And all this at hundred frames per second.

AMD To Release Athlon 650 Mhz 10:45 am - Kan
Finally AMD has something to brag about as it announces the World-fastest-processor next week - the Athlon 650 Mhz. Knowing AMD, you probably need to wait for another few more months before getting your hands on one of them.

Various analysts have stated that the Athlon will outperform Intel's Pentium III on various applications when running at the same clock speed, which is measured in terms of megahertz. Benchmarks being released next week by AMD show that the chip outperforms Pentium III and even the higher-end Xeon by sizeable margins in a variety of applications. Nonetheless, being able to also promote more megahertz is important for marketing efforts.

AMD and Intel executives have stated on numerous occasions that consumers often make purchasing decisions on the clock speed of chips. With Athlon, AMD has equaled, but not surpassed Intel in chip clock speed.

P3B-F 10:38 am - Kan
Over at BxBoards, Andy reviewed the latest offering from ASUS, the P3B-F which features a whopping 6 PCI slots. Check it out:

Build quality, as you would expect from Asus is excellent and the board has that reassuring feeling of solidity that usually encompasses Asus products. You've either got it, or you haven't, and Asus always seem to produce quality goods. The P3B-F is engineered to be adaptable so the board is designed from the ground up to run with the more conventional 5/2 PCI/ISA combo, or in this case 6/1 as reviewed here. Occupying the slot space normally reserved for the second ISA slot, the board fitted like a glove into all the cases I tried. The P3B-F will fit into existing cases just fine, and the sixth PCI slot shouldn't prove to be an issue.

Radius 19" Monitor 10:38 am - Kan
Rage3D reviewed the Radius 19" Monitor. Hmm,  I think my eyes are getting smaller and smaller nowadays and I need to shop for a bigger monitor - again. Darn...

Radius is a product line for little known imaging company called Miro Displays, Inc. If you have never heard of them, you are not alone. Based in Mountain View, California, they are also in high-end color matching business. The monitor came in a standard monitor box with all the necessary cables, a manual, and a warranty card. I will say, that I really like the shape of the monitor. Instead of the back end of the monitor being cubed, like with most monitors, it is curved to a small flat surface, which is where the heat-vents are located. Thumbs up to the guys over at Radius! The on screen display buttons are oval-shaped and slanted horizontally, they look like a petal on a daisy flower.

Shark Multimedia USB Modem and Hub 10:36 am - Kan
Buds over at Netigen posted a wonderful review on the Shark Multimedia USB Modem as well as the USB HUB.

Here's more food for thought. HSP modems are very much dependent on your processor. That means your processor will drive the modem as well -- which may be fine if you have a high-octane system or all you plan to use it for is normal surfing and e-mail duties. But if you're into heavy browsing or online Quake deathmatch sessions, the processing cycles needed for these CPU-intensive tasks may take a toll on the modem's performance. 

Athlon/Pentium 3 Price Comparison 10:34 am - Kan
CPUReview posted an interesting article on the price comparison between the Athlon and the Pentium 3 processors. Check it out!

WOW! The Athlon is approximately 14% cheaper than the Pentium 3 at both 500Mhz and 550Mhz! Unfortunately it is also 14% more expensive than the Pentium 3 at 600Mhz.

ABIT BE6 Review 10:32 am - Kan
Our pals over at FiringSquad released the review of the ABIT BE6 Slot-1 motherboard. Actually, I've been playing with it for a week now, and I'm quite impressed with the overclockability of this baby (no, I don't plan to write a review on this (lazy bummer)).

While rummaging through the cabling, we encountered the usual 40-pin IDE and floppy cables. We also found an 80-pin IDE cable and a strange little black wire with a power connector at one end. Our first reaction was "wow, there's a thermistor!" You attach the thermistor to a header on the motherboard, and you can use it the measuring tip to monitor the temperature of your CPU. Once you attach the thermistor to the CPU heatsink as close to the core as possible, you can monitor the temperature from the BIOS or with the Winbond Hardware Doctor Utility.

Benwin 2000 10:30 am - Kan
More flat-panel speakers madness as Speedy3D bring to us their review on the Benwin 2000 speakers.

Lately, LCD's, or flat panel monitors have been in the spotlight as the essential space saving computer component. One key part that is constantly overlooked for space saving are the speakers. Most of today's speakers are built using the cone type design, which can be fairly large and can have a big desktop foot print. Now, with the introduction of a new type of speaker, the flat panel speaker, we can buy quality speakers that can be used to save space too. There are only a few makers of these flat panel speakers, among them is the company called Benwin. Benwin's latest in the flat panel speaker market is the BW2000 desktop speakers.

Vampire: The Masquerade 10:29 am - Kan
CRUS sent note that they have some screenshots on the upcoming game Vampire: The Masquerade

Based on the well-known White Wolf role-playing system, Vampire: The Masquerade Ė Redemption is an Action RPG in which the player lives and battles as a Vampire over a span of 800 years.  It features four fully 3D gothic worlds set both in the dark ages and modern times, a party-based, role-playing system, a complex storyline and a faithful online re-creation of the original paper-based version.

As Christof, a vampire of the Brujah Clan, you must fight and feed on the blood of mortals, while hiding your vampiric powers and controlling the urges of the beast within you.  Along the way you are joined by other vampires who will fight by your side as you solve a series of quests surrounding a deep story.  

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