Yahoo! Go TV

Yahoo bought Meedio last week and has already released the Meedio Pro software ($45) as a free beta. Meedio is similar to Windows Media Centre or FrontRow in that it groups all your media together in a TV friendly format. Yay! for Yahoo! The bad news is that on start-up it checks to make sure you are located in the US using your IP address so will only work for US users. Boo!

However you can get round the US check and run the software although none of the internet functionality will work. I hope you like purple and blue screens.

Genuine Windows Update

Heard it from one of the guys at work today who was annoyed that his pirated Windows was now suffering from pop-ups telling him so and confirmed on tech sites also – Microsoft are updating their Windows Genuine Advantage software this week to make sure that those without officially licensed copies of Windows will know that it is pirated and keep nagging you until:

  • You buy a Windows license OR
  • You agree to not receive Windows updates from Microsoft

I guess it’s to be expected of Microsoft but seems a strange time to do it less than 12 months away from the launch of Vista. Crackers will undoubtedly get round it and you can disable the service although you will no longer be able to download updates. Time to budget for purchasing an O/S. It seems daft that people are willing to spend £30-£40 on a variety of games but not the £60-£100 on an operating system.

How to beat DVD pirates

Offer DVDs for $1.50….that 84p according to Google. Mad?

Well in China Warner are offering The Aviator for the exact price mentioned above. So the packaging is cheap and nasty and there’s probably no extras but would anyone go to the bother of pirating a DVD if it could be bought so cheaply? Not me.

Makes you wonder how much profit they make in the UK when it can be sold so cheaply elsewhere. Maybe it’s time for everyone to pirate and boycott official DVD purchases to see what impact it has elsewhere around the globe.

HD Stuff

A few bit’s and pieces on HD. Firstly, my TV. Had no real issues with it apart from a bug with the 360 (and maybe hi-def content in general) in that the colour red (and oranges) would cause some ghosting of the image on the screen. Nothing major and certainly nothing that could be spotted in game. You could see it especially on the dashboard and in PGR menu’s although changing the dashboard theme removed the issue.

However I picked up TopSpin last week which looked gorgeous until I played my first tournament on clay. Uggggggghhhhhhhhh. Fugly and difficult to watch – felt the whole image was blurry. Luckily for me the next day saw the latest firmware release for the TV which solved the problem. Good stuff Philips – only took 4 months.

I still don’t know whether providing the facility to upgrade your TV’s firmware is a good idea. In one respect it allows Philips to address issues through the life of he TV. However it also allows them to ship a ‘buggy’ product knowing it can be addressed in the long term. How many users though will:

  • Know about the firmware release
  • Know how to apply it
  • Have the confidence to do it

People I know have issues applying a firmware release to a DVD writer worth about £60 never mind to a TV worth £1800. For me it’s great but I’m a geek. For average users it’s just not good enough.

Other HD news is a rumour – Microsoft will announce their HD-DVD add on at E3 next month and it will be priced at $100. That sounds stupidly cheap. If it’s true then I can see a lot of people picking up the device. Hopefully they’ll add an HDMI socket to the player as well – HDMI is the new scart and I’m still surprised they went with component rather than HDMI on the 360. Time to make amends.

I’m still looking for an HDMI switch box. As I’ve mentioned HDMI has become the standard way of hooking up HD sources yet most screens still only have one socket. If your a switch box manufacturer then the next couple of years is the time to make money. By year end I’ll have the DVD player, Sky HD, PS3 and probably the 360 via the HD-DVD add on all using HDMI. So it’s definitely a five way switch box which looking at those on the market will cost between £150 and £350. Ouch. Octava is my first choice as there is now a UK distributor and it’s the cheapest. Gefen do a 4 way HDMI and audio switch box but it’s over £300. I would rather get a new amp with some HDMI inputs than pay that much. So it looks like Octava unless I turn up a bad review in avforums. I’ll post an update once I have the box and tested it.

Project Gotham Tournaments

An update last week to Project Gotham enabled online tournaments, the first of which started today. From today until the 2nd May you must set a time that will hopefully end up in the top 64. Thereafter there will be an elimination round with prizes for those involved.

I’ve got no chance of getting into the top 64 (last time I checked I was in the top 300) but it’s events like this over Live that extend the lifetime of a game. Hopefully there’s more to come. Just a shame that it’s locked to auto gears and the car (Lamborghini Gallardo) sucks. Reminds me of the Paris pack on PGR2 – me and Piglet raced one track until we were both in the top 50. Those were the (sad) days.

Another World

A classic game first released in 1991 has been given an update.
Another World 2
It’s author has now released a hi-res version of the game. You can download the game which acts as a demo and play through the opening encounter. It costs €7 to purchase the full game which is highly recommended. In it’s day the game was untouched and really was a joy to behold. Even now there are still nice touches that highlight the thought that went into the game which took two years to write…It took six days to create the Earth. Another World took two years.

Screens from the demo and the opening level can be seen here. Even with a 360 I’ve sat at the PC for the last hour playing this. Enough of this, Another World is waiting.

Google Calendar

Another Google app, this time Calendar. After a quick play today I think this is easier to use than 30boxes so if you are after a calendar that you can use at anytime this is recommended. Easy to share (RSS, ical, xml) with others if that’s your bag too.

I want integration with Outlook though – a nice button within the app to synchronise my offline and online calendar or even better an option so that it syncs on start up. Maybe it’s time to make the switch to using online e-mail, calendars and to-do as I could get most of my functionality from Google except that it’s blocked from work. There’s always a fly in the ointment.