Video Game History: Lookin’ Good, Despite The Graphics

June 29th, 2015 by Noel

vghOnce upon a time, disco ruled the airwaves, Rocky packed unmatched movie theater punch, and the Atari Corporation dominated the family room. The year was 1976 and Atari had just released the Atari 2600 home video game console, a four-bit system that promised to bring the arcade experience to the home. Riding the strength of hit titles such as Asteroids and Space Invaders, Atari dominated the video game market, moving millions of 2600 units in its heady heyday.

In 1996, one finds a vastly different video game console landscape. Atari is gone, having merged with disk drive manufacturer JTS Corporation in July 1996, and today’s video game console manufacturers enjoy technological advances that far surpass the Atari machines of the 1970s and including, with some exceptions, the use of CD-ROM as a game publishing medium. Moreover, many of todays companies are beginning to move beyond the standalone console to surf the wave of the World Wide Web.

Today, video game consoles manufactured by Read the rest of this entry »

How Cereal And Video Games Got Together To Make Sales

June 17th, 2015 by Noel

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The “Breakfast and Blue Jeans–better together” promo shows the wide accessibility of Old Navy’s offbeat lifestyle position. The retailer’s name will be on the front of 3 million cereal boxes, and the entire back panel will advertise the promo, which offers consumers $5 off Old Navy purchases of $25 or more. In true Old Navy ad style, the panel contains the coupon and a shot of its jeans, with campy graphic bursts highlighting product features through nutritional-type boasts, such as “fortified with six sturdy rivets” and “good for you.” The Old Navy logo and slogan, “Shopping is fun again,” runs below.

A side panel announces a sweepstakes. For the grand prize, an Old Navy truck will bring jeans, sweatshirts, caps and cereal to up to 2,000 students at the winner’s school. TV spots by General Mills agency Campbell Mithun Esty Read the rest of this entry »

A Neat Story About A Data Recovery Company

June 14th, 2015 by Noel

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years or are one of those grandmothers who have never seen or used a computer in your life, you probably have had some kind of issue with either a file or a hard drive at least once. You may have had a blue screen, or a clicking hard drive (which after some research I have found people actually call the “click of death”), or some kind of loss in which you really couldn’t get anything back.

Me. If I was a blond. And a woman. And had a particularly large mouth, apparently.

Me. If I was a blond. And a woman. And had a particularly large mouth, apparently.

I was one of the lucky ones for quite a long time. In fact, I think I never had a lost file in all 15 years of me using PCs. Do I think it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always used Fujitsu laptops? Uh, probably not. I have read a lot of bad reviews of Fujitsu laptops that had me sometimes even reconsidering the fact that I own one. But, I will say the fact that they also manufacture  their own hard drives has got to mean something as far as overall consistentcy. At least, this is my theory, of which I have very little proof :)

Well, all that changed a couple of months ago when I was working on a paper for a company that I was doing consultancy for. Naturally, the thing was due only a couple of days before my hard drive finally up and crashed, and I was absolutely freaking out. Money was pretty tight at the time, and I assumed that I would probably be doomed here.

Anyway, after freaking out for a while and doing some searches on the Internet for the absolute most perfect data recovery software that has ever been created that can somehow recover files from a hard drive that is a brick, I finally chilled a little bit. Decided to weigh my options when I was looking to recovery my Mac laptop. I checked out this forum. Most of the data recovery techniques were way over my head. So, I did a couple searches and decided to contact a company called Hard Drive Recovery Group. The guy I talked to was actually pretty cool and I’m surprised at how well he was able to diagnose the problem with my hard drive over the phone. I was calmed down right away because I could tell that he was an expert immediately. I don’t typically deal very much in terms of IDE or SATA, so the whole thing, needless to say, impressed me a lot. Hardware has never really been my game, let’s say.

He said that Read the rest of this entry »

Should One Start A Business Blog?

June 13th, 2015 by Noel

abbAmong various marketing tools, blogging is the most powerful one, but only for those who know how to create the best content. Those who are wondering how to start a blog should answer many questions before making any further decisions.

The first thing one should think about is if he needs a blog. This requires some sort of commitment, and it is not enough to create a blog and leave it that way. Those who do not enjoy writing will never succeed, but there is also an alternative; creating an audio or video blog.

The next thing to consider is the audience one wants to attract. The target audience should use the Internet, read blogs, use search engines and social media, and if they do not belong in those groups, the blog will be a waste of time. Not every blog has the same purpose, so one needs to figure out if he wants to increase the search engine ratings or reach new customers, for instance. Even when the blog is finished, it should be promoted and one should know how to determine the blog success. Everyone can find out how to start a blog, but still, Read the rest of this entry »

How Exactly Do Graphics Cards Really Work?

June 11th, 2015 by Noel

hegrwIn the setup phase, the triangle vertex data streams (x, y, z, color, etc.) are organized for presentation to the rendering engine. Triangles are sorted, culled, and clipped, and edge slopes are calculated for input into the raster engine. Subpixel corrections are needed to avoid anomalies such as poke-throughs and frayed edges. Converting from the floating-point “software” domain to the fixed-point “hardware” domain also is necessary. Doing all this in the host processor burns a lot of CPU cycles.

Finally, in the rasterisation phase, triangles are shaded, sorted, texture mapped, blended, and mapped to the display. Antialiasing and dithering functions are applied to help correct for a number of different artifacts, such as those seen on near-horizontal edges. Quality is not necessarily guaranteed here – some VGCs use simpler scanning techniques which can, for example, result in bleed-through along triangle boundaries.

System Performance

Let’s take a look at how three contemporary systems perform full 3D-geometry lighting-model simulations using fixed 10-pixel triangles. They run 3D software on a 100-MHz Pentium processor with a 2D Windows accelerator, a 3D VGC with 30-Mpixel/s performance, and a hardware-assisted 3D VGC.

For small numbers of triangles, the performance is dominated by system copy calls. They occur most often in the case of the software 3D system (which composes the picture in system memory). The 3D VGC with setup shows lower frame rates due to a double-buffer approach synchronized to the monitor frequency. Read the rest of this entry »

Get The Gizmo, Man, Before Things Get Crazy

May 25th, 2015 by Noel

Gizmo Gypsies is offering an interactive-adventure-story-filled CDROM and DVD called “The Little Wizard.” It’s ideal for anyone looking for an educational, yet entertaining option to reading a book. And, it’s a fun way to introduce your child to the computer.

3dmDeveloped by an expert team of conceptual artists, musicians, animators, 3D modeling and interactive game developers, and programmers, “The Little Wizard,” is targeted at children ages three to eight. Upon entering into the world of the Little Wizard, you and your child are greeted with richly detailed illustrations and brightly colored graphics. You join along as he and his forest friends journey to strange and mystical lands such as wild-and-crazy Bugville, Slo-Mo Junction, and nutty Normal Town in search of someone who may have special powers like his own.

A number of games interspersed throughout the series of adventure stories allow your child to build skills such as pattern recognition, basic math, construction, and color mixing. In the Cave Game, for example, the child is asked to match colors and solve basic math problems. The Eartail Forest game calls on your child to use the mouse and keyboard to help the Little Wizard create music or add sounds. In Slo-Mo Junction, the child follows a blueprint to build different things with blocks. Other games found in the Little Wizard adventure stories include The Snoring Game and The Read the rest of this entry »

Android And Flash – Can’t We Just Be Friends?

May 22nd, 2015 by Noel

I never really expected to be somebody that you would call a tablet geek. I frankly thought that apples were probably going to be a waste of time and that the PC was still want to be king for a period of time. I think I was alone here, as there were quite a few experts that said the same thing.

I never really thought that I would be a tablet owner, but then I received one for Christmas from a friend of mine and I immediately took to it.

I can say that I am a gadget guy, and obviously the fact that I started with a high-end tablet like the Asus Transformer Infinity, meant that I would either sink or swim right away. There would be no opportunity for me to complain about the technology, or the lack of hardware power, because really this is one of the best tablets you can buy right now. What’s more, the fact that you can use a keyboard is a huge plus for me. I will say that the keyboard itself is a bit of a piece of junk, but it does provide battery life and actually makes this a usable device. Very usable, in fact; I use it for reading books and when I’m cooking in order to read recipes, as well as to play a lot of the games that are available. I certainly won’t be talking about the IPad, of course, but that’s because I never really had any time for Apple products because I feel as if they are a lot of hype and mostly junk.

flash-androidBut Android is actually a phenomenal ecosystem as far as programmers are concerned. As a user, I’ve always been very impressed with the fact that most Android software is actually either cheap or free. Those are two characteristics that make the platform very attractive for almost anyone. So it really was a surprise for me that Adobe stopped supporting Android when it comes to Flash. I understand that they already have a number of platforms that they are Read the rest of this entry »

Flash – The Origin

May 12th, 2015 by Noel

(I’m not always a huge proponent of looking back, especially when it comes to computer programs and platforms, but this is an interesting classic article from Computer Shopper touting the “great strides” of the original Macromedia Flash. Here we are, some 15 years later, and it’s still kicking. Something you really can’t say about many languages of the tech bubble era…)

Increasingly, the most attractive way to publish your multimedia is via the Internet or a corporate intranet. It saves the cost of burning and distributing CDs; it lets you update the product on a continuous basis; and you can be sure of an audience as large as you want–global, if necessary. Because plain HTML delivers static content, however, developers are always on the lookout for “active Web” tools that paint motion and sound–in a word, multimedia–onto the Web.

There are a variety of ways to create active Web content, most of which involve plug-ins. The ruling plug-in is Macromedia’s Shockwave, which has quickly become a standard for multimedia playback on the Web. Like other multimedia formats, Shockwave’s player is distributed free for download.

As might be expected, Macromedia Director movies can be easily “shocked”; in fact, Director is one of the major products used to create Shockwave presentations. Unfortunately, Director 5 cannot save files in Shockwave format. Instead, you’ll need to visit the Macromedia Web site and download Afterburner for Director, which compresses your movie and saves it in Shockwave format. Director 6, which will have been released by press time, will include lots of Read the rest of this entry »

Flash Love – Nostalgia Time

May 10th, 2015 by Noel

I’ve always had a soft spot for Macromedia Flash. As one of the first members of the press to review the original version of the product, then called FutureSplash Animator 1.0, I feel as if I’ve watched it grow up.

Back in its infancy, when it was developed and marketed by a small company called FutureWave Software Inc., I thought it was more than just a cute kid. This wasn’t just another animated GIF maker: It was a cel-based tool that created streaming animations for the Web and multimedia, and it was fairly full-featured for such a young product.

Several months later, at the January 1997 Macworld Expo, I was searching for the FutureWave booth. I found it – finally – hidden away in the budget booth section of San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Twenty-four hours later, it was gone, and so was FutureWave. The company’s executives reappeared in the giant Macromedia Inc. Read the rest of this entry »

Fitness Tips To Keep You From Blobbing Out

May 1st, 2015 by Noel

ftsWho were the first Frisbee throwers? The ninja, of course. (Though if you tried to catch one of their “Frisbees” you might end up, Road Warrior–style, picking your fingertips off the ground.) Students at Ron Blackwood’s dojo in Orange, California, still train with shuriken, or throwing stars, even though, as Blackwood says, “they’re illegal as all get-out here in California.” The point is, once you’ve mastered the art of throwing the bladed shuriken, almost anything can become a weapon. “I’m sitting here looking at a coaster,” Blackwood says “That could he a shuriken A tin-can lid, a saucer, a CD–those could be shurikerz.”

A Frisbee-that could be a shuriker.

To strengthen and enhance the flexibility of their wrists–the better to throw at you with, my dear–Blackwood’s students do sets of pushups on their fists or their fingertips.

The throw itself marshals the principles of taijuisu, which literally means “body art” and practically means that every ounce of your weight and strength will be put into every punch, every throw. If throwing with your right hand, stand with your rightfoot pointed directly at your target, your knees bent, and your leftfoot behind you, pointed backward at a 45-degree angle. Start with your weight on you rear foot, your hand holding Read the rest of this entry »