Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I will never buy an Xbox

I’ve read Opening the Xbox, a book which explains in details how the Xbox evolved from being an idea to the day it launched. The author, Dean Takahashi, reveals that originally Microsoft’s CEO Bill Gates wanted a complete “living room computing” solution. He envisioned that the Xbox user could, with one push of a button, switch from playing games to editing documents and spreadsheets right on the Xbox (no doubt using Microsoft Office). I learned a great deal about the economics of creating a console. However, the part that interested me most was the fact that deep inside, Xbox is a desktop PC with barebones Windows operating system and DirectX.

But to be fair, all consoles are some sort of a computer with an operating system. They all have processors, RAM, motherboards, optical disk drives, and hard disks. Why do I criticize just the Xbox for being a PC with Windows?

One of the major features of the Xbox, says Takahashi, is that game developers don’t need new tools to develop games. They can use the tools and software they already use to make Windows games. Since both Windows and Xbox use DirectX, they use the same instructions and game code. This means game developers will have a small learning curve to develop for the consol. But more importantly, they can port their PC games to Xbox (and vice versa) with ease. Surely this is much easier than porting games to Playstation 3. For me, this “feature” is the reason I stayed away from Xbox and Xbox360.

What this means is that most Xbox titles will eventually show up on PCs. This happened with almost all “exclusive” Xbox titles like Halo and Gears of War. It is a great way for game companies to make more money on big-name titles after they run their course on the Xbox. Just make the proper modifications to the game and port it to the PC and sell more titles.

I can buy an Xbox360 and restrain myself to its limited processor and hardware. Or I can buy a decent PC with a much better processor and graphics with the same price as the Xbox and play all Xbox games on it, when they are ported. All that while enjoying extra benefits that the PC offers like word processing and other software. You see, Bill Gates had the right idea but failed to follow up on it. That is why I will never buy an Xbox.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Macworld Keynote

Steve Jobs introduces the Macbook Air. This is the link to the full length video of macworld 2008 keynotes:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Google's Android Surfaces

An interesting article in USA Today talks about the demo of the first Android phone. Good read for smartphone enthusiasts.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bill Gates CES Keynote

Nothing new, downloadable shows and sales figures. But good to see Gates is still walking on his own.
As promised this is Bill Gates full length keynote presentation.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Amazing Techmeme Video

I check Techmeme more than I check my email, about 6 times a day. It is a great source for fresh tech news and tech blog rants. You really know whats going on on the technology scene when you look at techmeme. Even if you miss a day or two, you can always go back and see the front page as it was that day, just type the time (for example January 1st 2007 1:00 PM).

I found this video showing how the front page changes during 50 hours. Its amazing! I wish I created this website.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs: Round 2

It was exactly one year ago that I talked about the public speaking skills of the two most influential figures in the computer industry, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It is time once again to keep a close eye on the technology news because of the eminent arrival of Consumer Electronics Show with Gates to present the Keynote, and Macworld where Jobs will take the center stage.

I will be watching both keynotes and will try to embed both videos here.

Earth to Mozilla!!

I was checking out my visitors trends (thanks to Google Analytics) and noticed I had a visit from someone at mountainview.mozilla.com!! I'm sure they came to read my Firefox feedback/rants, including the Full Page Zoom post below.

Whoever you are, FIX THE ZOOM :)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Firefox 3 Full Page Zoom: Good Idea Bad Excution

I was so excited about the full page zoom feature in Firefox 3. Even more excited about it than the new bookmarks. However, it turned out to be not what I expected. You see, I have a laptop with Ubuntu in the living room for casual browsing. The native screen resolution is 1920x1200 which makes the websites we visit very tiny and unreadable, although very crisp.

To fix the problem, i tried to increase the font size in Firefox but that broke the design of almost all websites, rendering them unreadable and defeating the purpose to increase the font size in the first place. I also tried to reduce the resolution but the buttons and menus became huge and the Firefox interface took almost a third of the screen. And since we're no longer working in the native resolution of the screen, everything looks a little fuzzy. So I took the best of both solutions; increase the font slightly and decrease the resolution slightly. Now most websites are readable with very small changes in layout due to font size. Life is good. Its about to get better.

Enter Full Page Zoom. When I first heard about it I thought this will solve the problem. It basically increases the size of the whole page, not just the font. It lets you zoom in without breaking the layout of the page. Now I can switch back to full resolution and zoom in to make the site bigger to accompany my large resolution and keep everything crisp and clear and readable. And it works. But..

With this new feature, they (Firefox developers) introduced a new "feature." They call it site-specific preferences. Which basically means that you set your preferences for each site separately. This sounds like an okay feature but it wrecks my use of full page zoom. You see, every time I zoom in to one page and read it then visit a different site, the full page zoom returns to the default zoom and renders everything smaller. Then I have to zoom in again to read the next page and so on.

There is no way to configure any of these two features and no way to disable site-specific preferences. Maybe someone will write an extension? Maybe I will do it? Who knows, Always Zoom extension! (you read it here first). I hope this issue will be addressed before launch.

My post in Mozilla forums about this subject sparked a good discussion which eventually turned to two guys fighting about a totally different subject.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Microsoft Office for Linux?

Gizmodo has a preview for Microsoft Office for Mac. Now since it is clear Office is still in development for operating systems other than windows, why not port the software to Linux as well? I dont see myself using it in my Linux box (I use Google Docs and Open Office) but it may help convert some people over to Linux.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Techy Title Here"

My good friend MBH started what I call a "too technical blog." He generally talks about Unix/Linux. Give him a visit: mbhtech.blogspot.com.