Hugsies Blog!

August 1, 2015

Top 4 reason why Bing is better than Google

Filed under: Blogroll — Tags: , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 1:40 pm
  1. Video searches on Google only searches Youtube. Which is stupid since if you want to search for Youtube videos, you’d simply use Youtube.com directly. Bing searches all sites for videos (including porn sites) and allows you to thumb though the videos before going to the site that hosts the videos, which helps avoid malware.
  2. Image searches will not display any pornographic images regardless of your “safe search” settings. If you search for “boobs” on Google, you’ll get images of clothed busty women, often as “demotivational” joke/meme images. On Bing you’ll get what you’re looking for.
  3. Google allows 3rd parties to pay Google to have their search results (i.e. Ads) appear at the top of search results, Bing shows more relevant search results, but otherwise the same searches.
  4. Bing is apart of Microsoft Live, you can earn points by doing searches with Bing, and redeem them for just about anything. I my self redeem for XBox Live $5 gift codes, and buy more games when on sale for virtually free. Wish I could do that on Steam.

That said, Google does have a very good reverse image search where you give it an image file and it will tell you more about that image, who is in the image, where you can find high resolution versions of the images, alternate copies, etc. Wolfram Alpha has their own take on this as well called, Image identification Project.

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November 10, 2013

The 1080p delema of the Xbox One

Filed under: Gaming!, Xbox 360, Xbox One — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 9:21 pm

PCs have been doing HD and better resolutions for decades before “HD” was even a marketing sales gimmick. Microsoft is trying to cram an HTPC (home theater PC), a DVR, skype, and a video game console into one unit, with hardware specs that are well below even a mid-range gaming PC, or even a HTPC that you could get in the $500 price range.

Microsoft is using virtual machines (HyperV) to run all of this stuff in the background all as separate Operating Systems (OS) that its NO WONDER why the resolutions of CoD Ghosts, and other games are running at 900p or 720p.  NOT at the ubiquitous and largely taken-for-granted quality of 1080p, which has been common place for over a decade.

It’s not that the Xbox One hardware isn’t up to snuff to do 1080p at 60fps, assuming all it is doing is running a video game. It’s the other multiple OS running other stuff via HyperV that devs are having to deal with. They only get a slice of the pie of it’s GPU/CPU horsepower, which is whats making developers lower graphics resolutions to maintain a certain frame rate in their games.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom wants to record a TV show in the background while you play your video game, even though you probably don’t have TV feed hooked up to it (since you already own a DVR). Also CPU cycles are being used as it listens to you via Kinect, while you yell at n00bs and trolls online; just in case you actually give a voice command to the Xbox. There is a “GAME DVR” that records you playing the game in case you wanna record your last epic trick shot, or achievement (which granted thats fucking cool).  Plus there’s online and network traffic, cloud storage, and cloud servers. That’s a LOT of stuff going on that would bog down a high end PC with an eight-core CPU @ 4.5ghz, quad GPUs in SLI, with 64GB of quad channel RAM with a 250GB SSD storage.

That last bit might be exaggerated but I believe you get my point. All of this reminds me of past failures Microsoft had, like Windows Me, and to some extent Windows Vista. It’s typical Microsoft ideologies where they take something that works well, and in its next incarnation try make it do far too much and it ultimately fails, or it won’t meet expectations. All because it’s doing all this extra “crap” that most users have no need for, and it prevents them from doing what users WANT it to do. Microsoft doesn’t care what you want, they know better for your own good!

With all of that said,  I’m still gonna buy an Xbox One over a PS4 since I have no loyalty nor much history with Sony as I’ve had with Xbox over the past decade and a half, not to mention with DOS/Windows PC gaming which spans a better part of 30 years now. Plus I just re-upped my XBL gold membership for another year. 🙂

June 20, 2013

Microsoft rescinds is DRM, but no more free ride

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 9:41 am

Pressure from the backlash of the online community, or was it rumors about higher number of pre-orders for the PS4 vs XBoxOne, Microsoft has dropped it’s 24 check in DRM. Games will not require a 24 hour Internet check-in, but a one-time Internet connection will be required during system set-up. Games on disc may be lent, resold, given away and rented, but now that disc must be sitting in the drive tray to be played. But no longer will you be able to share free copies of games you bought to your friends and family so you can play with them, nor will there be an online marketplace to trade/sell your games you don’t play anymore.

If Microsoft had announced  this during the Xbox One announcement in May, BEFORE E3, and taked about how you can share and trade your games with friends, this whole DRM outrage we’ve seen for the past month would have been a just a wispier. I think Microsoft did this backwards and they could have handled this a lot better. It was just the other day I heard about the sharing of games, and having a marketplace to resell your games to others. If that was supposed to be the trade-off for their DRM DRAMA, then WHY DIDN’T MICROSOFT SAY THIS IN THE FUCKING FIRST PLACE A MONTH AGO? OR at least make this announcement at E3.

For weeks I was having a hard time trying to justify the always-online draconian DRM Drama Microsoft was trying to push, unaware of this sharing feature, and a marketplace to buy/sell/trade your old games. I had this gut feeling that the DRM was largely rumor (and therefore exaggerated, and likely false), or that microsoft had something else to balance out this DRM bullshit. Low and behold there WAS, and then it was yoinked days later. Microsoft could have handled this a LOT better. you’d this a company this old would have better PR team.

I still don’t understand why we can’t have both. Xbox Live already has a large offline user base, we call them SILVER members. These are people who didn’t pay ($60 a year) for a Gold membership, probably because they don’t have broadband internet, or have no internet. Why not give these people the non-DRM always online, no game sharing. While we GOLD members who ARE online all the time can share games, use the power “of the cloud,” resell/trade games buy games online, and be able to take the disc out of the drive and still play our games.

Keep in mind STEAM has more DRM in their platform than what Microsoft was proposing to do with Xbox One. But Steam has been around for over a decade. Even I beta tested it for a short time, but back then it was no more than a IM client for gamers and I had zero interest in yet another instant message client, with AIM/ICQ, Y! messenger, etc all. However Steam had evolved exponentially in the past 10 years to be the one-stop-shop to find games on the PC. I tend to agree that if Steam didn’t exist (or something like it didn’t exist) PC gaming would be almost dead and we’d only be playing MMOs and facebook games.

So Microsoft saw what Steam was doing, and wanted to copy that model, even one-up it. If Mircosoft timed this better, made the announcement up front about sharing games with your friends and family so that your single copy you bought you can give out FREE copies to your family and friends so you can play your new game WITH THEM, and being able to trade/sell your games you don’t play anymore would have been a HUGE hit and would have made the 24hr DRM check-in just an afterthought.

Sony’s E3 press conference really nailed it in about how bad DRM and always on internet connections was. And really smeared this all over microsoft’s face. But people seem to forget that Sony also had an EVIL history regarding DRM. Remember the root kits that would be embedded into your PC if you tried to play a DVD movie released by Sony?

May 24, 2013

Xbox One with no 360 backwards compadibility

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:27 pm

With all the roumors and bad speculations about the new Xbox One, the fact that the new console will not be backward compadible with older 360 games is complete bullshit. Microsoft posted a FAQ recently and mentioned this:

Q:    Will Xbox One be backward compatible with my existing games?
A:    Xbox One hardware is not compatible with Xbox 360 games. We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games—games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud. We care very much about the investment you have made in Xbox 360 and will continue to support it with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future.

It’s very uncharacteristic for Microsoft of orphan their user base like this. This is something more akin to what Apple does every time a new Mac PC or a new version of OS X is released. Microsoft is well known for legacy support, only just recently dropping support for Windows XP that’s been around for over 12 years, yet updates over the internet for windows 2000 and XP still work. Heck I think even windows 95 and 98 still update over the web via MS.

As for the compatibility issue, yes it makes sense.  The 360 is powered by a RISC based CPU (PowerPC I believe) so whatever is compiled for the 360 won’t work on anything else since it’s a different beast. Xbox One is basically a lot like the original Xbox with an i386 base CPU (AMD x64 & GPU) which is exactly what the PS4 has. So it has the same guts as a modern PC from 2006.

But with all the talk about how powerful it is, and how the “cloud” gives it even more power to play your games and enhance your “experience” (so SICK of that vague term) how hard would it be to slap a 360 VM in the Xbox One? Would it be so difficult to emulate it as a VM? It’s already running THREE separate “operating systems” in a virtual machine environment. Most gamers won’t bother with the TV crap running in the background anyway; we already have DVRs. So PLEASE give us a 360 VM instead!

They did keep legacy support with a limited number of classic Xbox games on the 360, however it WAS an emulator so you could still keep playing Halo and Halo 2 even on Xbox Live on your 360. It should be a no-brainer to get 360 support on the Xbox One.

But this catch phrase meme “the cloud” is so meaningless. For over 10 years we have been playing MMO type games which always suffer from lag lag lag mostly due to server congestion in the so-called “Cloud.” For the most part the “cloud” is just for remote storage, but Microsoft wants you to believe that they can offload CPU processes into the cloud for things that aren’t sensitive to lag. While this is evident in some cases like SETI@Home, or Folding@Home Project, but this is purely number crunching using a distributed network using idle CPU clock cycles.

I really do not see how Microsoft’s “cloud” will help power on my video games faster, stronger, and better. Improve my “experience” (ah that fucking word again) and make games FASTER, when we are held back by the bandwidth of my internet connection. Seriously if MS found a cure for lag, then please share it with the rest of the MMO community, we really need to know.

October 29, 2012

Rolling with Windows 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:50 pm

I’m now running windows 8 on my primary desktop PC. I’ve been running the consumer preview on another PC with little fanfare and quite frankly it was no big deal. I was able to score a copy of windows 8, legitimately for only $14.99.  This was the compelling reason for getting it and I’m no longer bootlegging it, or using some half-assed consumer preview version. No more will you have to spend upwards of $200 for Micro$oft Windows so-called Ultimate Edition. Heck even Mac OS X will be sold for about $40 but they also will be releasing new versions annually of OS X. I don’t know if Microsoft plans an annual re-release like Apple has been doing since OS X 10.7.0 (Lion).

The install was quite easy. What I opted to do was to download the OS over the internet, burn and ISO file to a DVD and do a clean install. Yes you CAN do a clean install on discounted “upgrade” versions of Win8 and it doesn’t bother asking you for the CDkey of the old OS, or asking for the old CD. So it’s bascially a full version of Win8, since really you’re really just buying a Product Code that the installer asks for during a clean install.

You simply use the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant app that you download and run on the PC you wish to upgrade where you buy the product key code, and download the OS. Then you have the option of an in-place upgrade over your existing OS (except windows XP). If you do an in-place update it won’t ask for the product key since the app alrady knows it. But this route seems to take LONGEST time do do the install since it has to move and delete all your old contents on your harddrive. But you seem to retain everything as long as it’s compatible for which the Upgrade assistant tells you before hand. The quickest and best way was to burn the ISO the upgrade assistant created (or create a bootable USB flash drive) and boot to that to install it. When the disk tools appear i just completely deleted all the partitions on my C: drive, and it only took like 6 mins to get it done.  Took longer to download and burn the DVD than it was to install it.

No longer do you have the start menu, you now have “Tiles.” However when I was tuning the preview version  it just seemed like it was in the way since most of the time you’re running windows apps that just brings up the desktop interface anyway. However, once you get your Live account set up with Win8, it all changes. The formerly-named “metro” interface then makes sense. People who have Windows phones will feel right at home with the “tiles.” These aren’t just icon replacements to your apps, they actually display and do stuff at a glance.

As Microsoft does, they tend to follow what Apple does. Windows 8 is also an attempt to blend tablet/portable devices with desktop computers. OS X Lion and Mountian Lion didn’t do this as much as Windows 8 does. Though at this rate Apple may be coping some tricks from Microsoft this time around. One of the things that bothers me with my Android Tablet, my Mac, and now windows 8 is there’s no simple way to close apps.  Sure the older “desktop mode” apps still have the “X” at the top right to close it.. But the native Windows 8 apps that launch from the Tile screen never close.  They don’t have a close button, and there’s no apparent way to close them. Sure they aren’t taking any CPU cycles when you’re not using them, but if you’ve opened many of these apps, and you press ALT-TAB to switch to some other app you have to tab though a dozen of these fucking icons to get to the app you want to get to.  I have to CTRL-ALT-DELETE to open up task manager so i can force quit these apps. That irritates the fuck out of me.

Chrome also seems to have an “app” version of it self as well as the normal desktop mode. If you launch it from the tile screen, it comes up in full screen but still functions like the desktop. However you do see the [X] button at the top right but it doesn’t do anything; it’s like a phantom button. So there’s no way to close chrome other than clicking the little (x) on every tab you have open. It runs as a separate instance than the desktop mode of Chrome which DOES have a working [X] close button.

But besides that I’m quite happy with my $15 purchase for an OS. Cheapest OS I ever did, and hell my best friend bought like 3 copies of it for this price for his laptop, desktop, and his wife’s laptop too. The promotion discount, by the time you read this, will no longer be available but even then the normal price for it is only $39.99 which is just plain cheap. I pay more for a Xbox 360 video game which I only end up playing for a maximum of 2 months before I’m bored of it. With an OS you’re gonna be using it for a few years.

I’m also glad Microsoft has paid attention to critics about past releases of windows having nearly a dozen different versions that made little sense to consumers. We had Basic, Home Basic, Premium, Professional  business  and the over priced Ultimate to confuse users about what OS they needed, plus there were separate 32bit and 64bit versions of all of these to contend with. With windows 8 that BS is gone. We now basically have four versions of Windows 8 with one of them that is intended for ARM based mobile devices; Windows 8 RT.  The rest “Windows 8” considered the basic edition, “Windows 8 Pro” which will probably be the most common one people will get, and “Windows 8 Enterprise” for server and IT professionals which has been available since August 2012.

This wikipedia page explains the differences between these editions of windows 8. It seems the Pro edition will be the most common used consumer version and found on OEM PCs. I believe most all of them will install on 32bit or 64bit based PCs using the same install since there is no further breakdown (nor confusion) of separate 32/64bit editions listed.

May 8, 2009

Running Windows 7 RC

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:20 am

Well I downloaded the newest version of Windows 7 (RC) and everything thing is running well.  Some aspects of my hardware I can’t control since APIC drivers don’t exist for Win7, and even the Vista versions don’t work with it. So now my PC runs at stock speeds, and I can’t over clock it (as if I need that) nor underclock; it so i can quite the fans down (it’s noisy!!)

The UI takes some getting used too.  I never used Vista very much at all, I’ve been using XP since forever so this is a big leap for me.  I’m also using the 64bit version of Win7, and while it does “see” all 4GB of RAM I have, it still says only 3.25GB is accessible.  I thought the 64bit version of Windows was supposed to overcome that?!?  I’m running on an Asus PQ5 motherboard and in it’s BIOS has a setting about the PCI remapping memory registers around this limit with having over 3.5GB of RAM.  I’m not sure if I need to enable or disable it.  Either way Win7 still acts as if I’m running 32bit Windows.

Also the product key I’m using is the same one I got when regisreting for the Windows 7 beta back in January.   I was able to get about 5 product keys, and the two I’ve used work fine, and activating windows had no problems.  Also all the product keys work with either 32 or 64 bit versions. Win7 RC will last one year which by then Windows 7 will be out in retail, and I’ll try to pick up a copy of it before my install dies off.  I’m sure I can score a student or OEM version for under $150.

December 5, 2007

Microsoft Compensation!

Filed under: Gaming! — Tags: , , , , — Hugsie @ 1:26 am

I called up Xbox support, and after listening to the Halo theme music for the umpteenth time while on hold, I was able to speak to a supervisor. Because I’ve dealt with FOUR units that need to be repaired, I will be given special priorty to a “Elete support team” (as said by the supervisor) who are set up for dealing with special cases like myself who have had too many system failures.

Xbox support was apparetly so swamped with support calls that this “elete” team wasn’t able to get to me before the end of their work day, so they are going to call me back tommarow afternoon and speak with me. I’m a little confused as to why they need to call me. I just want to get the box asap so I can send off my broken unit and get it back before I leave town.

The supervisor eluded to compensation from having to deal with four 360s dying on me. That made me raise an eyebrow. Compensation… like what? Last time they gave me 13 extra months to my membership, I don’t really need 2 years. I’d rather have a buttload of MS points. But what I’d REALLY want is to get a NEW (not a referb) Xbox 360, and the newer versions with a HDMI port.

So perhaps this team is “elite” since they have the power to grant people anything. Free MS points, games, shwag… who knows? Otherwise why would they need to speak to me in the first place when I just want to get my Xbox replaced asap? Hopefully I can also have them “overnight” the shipping both ways so maybe I’ll have my FIFTH Xbox back before the end of this week? That would rock!

Five is my favorite number (and multiples of 5), so I hope it’s also the charm for me! I sure am going to get my fair share of the 3 billion dollars that Microsoft reported to be loosing to the failure rate of the Xbox 360.

Lets recap:
July 2006 – Bought my first Xbox 360, Premium version. Bought a service contract for $50.  The best $50 I ever spent!

September 2006 – Days before the inital 90 day warranty was over, I got the Three Red Lights of Death (TRLoD). This was just around the time they announced an extended warranry to the very first units of the Xbox 360, but mine was too new to be included. But I already had a service contract so it was a free replacement, and I got a premium version. Service contract extended a few months.

March 2007 – I just got a new HDTV to play games on my 360. The moment I hook up my 360 to my new TV, and set it to 1080p; it choaks and I get TRLoD! With my service contract it gets replaced, but I end up with a CORE version? Minor cosmetic thing anyway, since I kept the HDD unit I had since I had my first 360 back in July ’06.

October 2007 – Just weeks before anticipating Guitar Hero III release. I get the three red rings of DEATH again. After two weeks later I get a replacement before GH3 hits the shelves. This unit was also a CORE version but with the loudest optical drive I’ve ever heard! And 13 months added to my XBL gold membership for free!

December 2007 – The day of the new dashboard update (Dec 4th). That noisy optical disc drive proved to be a ticking time bomb. I had some minor problems with the optical disc drive other than it being really noisy, like when I eject the disc, it would still be spinning. When playing CoD4, I heard this horrible loud noise akin to a coffee grinder. I thought it was going to scratch up the game disc, but it’s fine. But now the disc tray will constantly eject when closing (with a disc in it or not).

So now this time it’s not the TRLoD, so I’m stuck with a half-assed Xbox 360 that still works, but the optical drive is shot. I can still play downloaded games, and watch movies, since they added Mpeg4 support.

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