Monday, March 29, 2010

Disable Driver Signing in Windows 7

If you want to turn off device driver signing in Windows 7 completely, do the following.

Hit the Win+R keys together to open the run dialog. Type gpedit.msc to open the local groups policy editor.

Expand ‘Administrative Templates’ (it’s under ‘User Configuration’). Expand ‘System’. Click ‘Driver Installation’.


In the right panel, double click on ‘Code Signing for Device Drivers’.


Choose ‘Enabled’ in the window that appears. In the underlying options, choose ‘Ignore’. This disables drivers signing in Windows 7, and now you can install unsigned drivers in Windows 7.


Click Apply, OK. Restart your computer to install unsigned drivers.

USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th

On April 6th, Microsoft will be releasing a system update over Xbox LIVE for your Xbox 360 that will allow USB flash drives to be used for storing profiles, game saves, demos and more. I’ve been testing this feature out for a few weeks, and I have to say it’s really great. Once you take the system update on April 6th, you’ll be able to connect your USB flash drives to your console and head over to the memory section to configure your new storage device. Once you do that, the system will conduct a one time performance and integrity check to confirm the drive is working properly. You will then be able to configure how much storage to use on the device, up to 16 GB. The remaining space on the flash drive will be accessible by your PC or Mac. USB Hard drives may work, but like flash memory, you’ll only be able to use up to 16GB of space. Since performance on flash based USB storage is usually better, I highly recommend using flash based instead of spinning media like a hard drive… It’s just going to give you a much better experience.

Microsoft has also enhanced the memory management functions, so you’ll be able to have better control on what you want to copy or move between storage devices.

A couple of points:

  • You can have 2 devices connected to the console at a time, enabling up to 32GB of simultaneous storage.
  • The system won’t just configure the device once it is connected to the console. You’ll need to head to the memory area in system settings, select your USB Device, and choose from Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or Customize (you can choose how much memory you want configured for Xbox360 from the free space on the device.)

While any flash drive can be used, Microsoft is partnering with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 branded USB flash drive in May that comes pre-configured out of the box and ready to go.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

For those of you that haven't heard yet. Lucasarts is making a sequel to The Force Unleashed.

Tonight at the Spike TV Video Game Awards the sequel to the popular Star Wars game The Force Unleashed was announced.

The accompanying trailer showed the main character from the first game return cloaked in a dark robe and enter a large arena. Here he came face-to-face with a Rancor and lightning sprung from his finger tips.

It was also announced that the game will arriving some time in 2010. A voice over from Yoda closed the trailer with these words of wisdom:

"Uncertain your future is. Find yourself, you must."

Flying Spaghetti Monster

You can now get a flying spaghetti monster bumper sticker for your car.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why didn't we think of this???

This is just one of those things that makes you wonder "Now why didn't I think of this?"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Project Dogwaffle

I was browsing the internet and I recently stumbled upon a neat little program called Project Dogwaffle. Project Dogwaffle (PD for short) is a very powerful (and free!) "painting" program. This program allows you to paint without the mess and the fumes of regular painting.

Project Dogwaffle has an amazing way of painting by using optipustics. Under the optipustics settings window you can set properties of your paintbrush to achieve effects of moss, grass, explosions, etc. or you can turn optipustics off and just paint with a regular brush.

The picture included on the right was painted using Project Dogwaffle's optipustics functions. With it we were able to create a very nice explosion, something that would have taken much longer to create using traditional methods in Photoshop.

An incredibly handy feature of Project Dogwaffle is that you can export the graphics to edit them in another program (Photoshop for example).

Android Tablet gives iPad run for the Money

Android Tablet gives iPad run for the Money

Notion Ink demoed its final version of the Android tablet called Adam prior to Mobile World Congress 2010. In the video cofounder Rohan Shravan shows off some awesome hardware innovation.

It was demonstrated in an area outdoors which was partially shaded and fully exposed to bright sunlight. This was done to show how wonderfully the tablet adapts in either condition; beautiful LCD display in normal lighting and crisp monochrome display in direct sunlight.

Unlike the Apple iPad, Adam has a camera that conveniently swivels 180 degrees. Imagine the use cases: turn towards yourself to have video chats, turn away 90 degrees to record a lecture or seminar while working simultaneously, turn another 90 degrees to take a picture of someone in front of you. Let’s not forget to throw in multi-tasking capabilities.

Another interesting feature places the touch pad on the back, very interesting to control touch screen operation without looking. The Adam tablet also features 3 USB ports, one HDMI out port for full HD in 1080p, eco-friendly using a tenth of the power, and boasting 24 hours of battery life(more than 10 hours viewing full high definition video).

Notion Ink plans to customize the Android operating system it will ship with, plus open up the API for developers to write apps for the larger screen. Although the final software was not ready for the demo, they noted they will have split screen virtual keyboards to allow typing with thumbs on the tablet. Look for it in June 2010 with a price point of $327-$800.

Below are side by side specs compared with the Apple iPad courtesy of Technoholik. See more exclusive photos at Technoholik’s Flickr stream.

Apple iPadNotion Ink Adam
Screen9.7 inch 4:3 IPS LCD (1024×768)10 inch Transflective LCD Pixel Qi screen (1024×600)
1024×768 pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)Low power full color black & white mode
OSiPhone OS 3.2Android, Unbuntu, Chromium
CPUApple A4 processornVidia Tegra 2
Dual Core 1GHz + Graphic
Internet BrowserSafariFirefox, Chrome
Outputs:VGA, Dock connectors (extra)HDMI, 3x USB
Video Out720p1080p
CameraNoYes, 3 Megapixel with Autofocus
BatteryUp to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music16 hours, 160 hours on backlight off mode
WirelessWi-Fi, 3G (HSPA/GSM), BluetoothWi-Fi, 3G (HSPA/GSM), Bluetooth (US Edition)
Weight1.5 pounds1.7 pounds
RF, ambient light sensor. AGPS, Proximity sensor, accelerometer, Touchpad
Adobe Flash 10.0 supportNoYes
StorageNoYes, (SD Card slot)

via Android Tapp

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

Content-Aware Fill Sneak Peek

Merton, the Chatroulette Piano Guy

Who is Merton the Chatroulette Piano Guy? The mystery remains, but one thing is clear: He's not Ben Folds in disguise, contrary to the rumor that gained momentum after the musician's talent caught attention on Chatroulette (an online site that randomly pairs people around the world for one-on-one live webcam chats).

The buzz over the mystery man compelled Folds to break out his own webcam during a North Carolina concert and offer a tribute. In front of 2,000 screaming fans, he serenaded his Chatroulette partners with impromptu songs in Merton-like style. He made up lyrics to match each person on the computer screen, from a shy writer who finally emerged from behind a notepad to the man waving a lighter to Folds' live music.

Folds' performance provides evidence that Merton the Chatroulette Piano Guy has made it. He's Chatroulette's first legitimate online superstar. What Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell did for YouTube in 2005 with "Lazy Sunday," Merton the Chatroulette Piano Guy has now done for the online video chat service. Other than that, little is known about Merton (except that he's not fellow piano player Ben Folds), and for now, he seems quite content cloaking himself in mystery (and a green hood).

In an exclusive interview with Mashable, Merton breaks down how and why there is no possible way he could be Ben Folds, citing the difference in their piano playing techniques (most people will just have to take him at his word).

"At first, I thought it was a similarity. You know, I can accept that - we're both white guys who play the piano and sing kind of funny songs," explains Merton over the confusion. "Any musician, and certainly any pianist, will notice that we are not the same person."

That doesn't mean he wasn't flattered by the comparison. "I think it's great. I love his version of Chatroulette because he's a different kind of improviser than I am," says Merton.

Merton filmed a series of three-hour Chatroulette sessions over two nights. The clips were then edited and posted on YouTube, where they are now (after some re-editing over privacy concerns for a few of Merton's Chatroulette partners) approaching five million views.

Of course, by the time he filmed his more recent sessions, Merton was already a known Chatroulette star. He admits, "My experience was very different because everyone knew who I was. It's more fun one way, and a little less fun another way."

Whoever Merton is, he seems media-savvy enough to know that the mystery surrounding his identity is what (at least at first) drives his story. He is an unknown piano player who has already had a well-known musician pay tribute to him. Merton mentions in the interview that he doesn't want his identity to become a "treasure hunt." He also admits, "[I would] have the most fun if I went undetected for as long as possible." For the many who feel they must know his identity, the treasure hunt continues.

via Yahoo!

Spy Party Beta

Spy Party public beta due in 2011!

SAN FRANCISCO — At last year’s Game Developers Conference, designer Chris Hecker unveiled a prototype of a new game called SpyParty.
This year, he let me play it.
SpyParty is like nothing else I’ve ever played. It’s an asymmetrical multiplayer game: One player mingles among computer-controlled party guests, attempting to perform sly feats of espionage. The other player watches the action from afar through the sight of a sniper rifle, hoping to pick out the human spy from a roomful of robots, then assassinate him.
Chris Hecker is one of the liveliest, most outspoken personalities in the games industry. His yearly “rants” at GDC are the can’t-miss moments of the show. This year, he railed against developers not finishing their game designs. In 2007, he made waves when he called the just-released Wii a “piece of ****.”
Until 2009, Hecker worked at Maxis creating Spore. Now, following Electronic Arts layoffs, he’s a one-man game development team. Showing me and a friend SpyParty at his hotel room at the W, Hecker talked a mile a minute about his new project, which is still in the early prototype stage of development.
“Games are still in the Wild West, design-wise,” he said a followup e-mail. “We really don’t know what we’re doing yet. In movies, sometime around 1900 somebody realized, ‘Hey, we could actually move the camera around while the scene is being filmed,’ and that was a revelation.”
“We’re having those moments in game design these days, and will be for the next 10 or 20 years, and that’s incredibly exciting to be involved with as a creative person.”
I needed to bring a friend, he’d told me, because the game’s learning curve is so steep. Experienced players can easily trounce newbies.
Hecker sat us down in a corner, where two laptops with Xbox 360 controllers hummed silently.
Hecker lectures at the Montreal International Games Summit 2007.
Chris Hecker lectures at the Montreal International Games Summit 2007.
Photo: MIGS/Flickr
SpyParty begins with the spy player, who first selects his character. The player can chose to slip into a handful of different character models: a guy in a tux, women in a variety of dresses, a rotund chap in a top hat.
The mind game starts immediately, because even on this character-selection screen, the spy is trying to outwit his opponent: Which character do they suspect I’d pick?
The spy player has to complete four tasks to win the game: Plant a bug on the ambassador at the party, make contact with a double agent, move a book from one shelf to another and swap a statue for a different one.
Each of these actions has a “tell,” a giveaway that the sniper can pick up on if he is paying attention. In the case of the physical actions, it’s a quick character animation. For the double agent bit, it’s a secret code phrase — somebody will say the words “banana bread.” (Hecker says this is what he was having as a snack when he recorded the audio.)
The sniper player needs only to watch and listen, but within the limitations of his faraway vantage point. From afar, the sniper can see the entire party, in the windowed corner of an apartment building. He can see everyone mingle, chat and stroll around the room. But he’s too far away to make out the subtle “tells” that can help identify the target. Zooming in with the rifle scope narrows the view, but lets him see what the guests are doing.
My first try as the sniper was easy: All I had to do was watch for the one player that didn’t act like a computer-controlled bot. The first time I caught my friend correcting his movements in mid-stride, I knew I had my target.
Later moments behind the trigger weren’t so easy, once the spy had figured out how to pretend to be artificial intelligence. I wasted more than a few bullets on wild guesses and longshots. SpyParty gets hard.
Hecker says that his former boss, Sims creator Will Wright, didn’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. He just picked a target, fired, and said “Let’s go again.”
The concept for SpyParty has been kicking around in Hecker’s head since 2005, inspired by an Indie Game Jam entry called Dueling Machine. That game took place in a teeming city where one player hunted another with a single bullet.
“It was awesome and tense, and I loved the idea of hiding in plain sight and only having one bullet,” said Hecker.
After proving my incompetence as an assassin, I switched into the spy role. It is harrowing. You know you’re being watched. To further heighten the suspense, you can see the sniper’s laser sight as it sweeps across the room, eyeballing potential targets.
When the laser focuses on you, the tension is intense. And the relief, when the beam swings away, is powerful. But if you’re playing in the same room as your opponent, you can’t sigh or show relief, or you’ll reveal your hand. Hecker says he’s seen players fake button presses to fool opponents.
SpyParty won’t be released to the public for another couple of years. Hecker wants to cook up more scenarios and design a matchmaking system to make sure players of similar experience are paired up online.
He’s looking to change the game’s basic art into something more stylized, better capturing the ’60s spy flicks that inspired his game.
Hecker, now outside the confines of a big game studio, loves the freedom.
“I can make exactly the game I want to make, exactly the way I want it,” he said. “Being indie converts all game-development problems you might find at a normal studio, like politics, team structure, selling your ideas and the like, into a single simple question: ‘Can I afford to eat long enough to make this game?’”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

iPad Keyboard Dock

The iPad keyboard dock comes in real handy as a home base for your iPad. It has a nice smooth aluminum finish and it can be used for charging,syncing,etc. It is also compatible with other accessories like the camera kit for the iPad.

There are several ways the iPad keyboard dock can enhance your life:

  • Use it to charge the battery by connecting to a computer with USB cable
  • You can also charge the battery by plugging the dock into a regular electrical outlet
  • Its great for holding the iPad at just the right angle when you want to write emails or watch a movie
  • What I really love is that that dock can be connected to a video projector, television, stereo, or speakers

Microsoft's Hyper-V Server 2008 for free?

Microsoft is giving away its Hyper-V Server 2008 for free. Below is the full article from SD Times.


I generally stay away from Windows reporting, as the vageries of Microsoft's licensing and distribution poilices are beyond me. I am the free software guy, here at SD Times. So it delighted me to find that there is, in fact, a free version of Windows out there. Can you believe it? It's actually included with the Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. The package includes the core of Windows Server 2008, presumably packaged up by AIK. Not only that, but the license included with this package is quite different from other Windows packages.

First of all, this version of Windows checks its validity certification once in the first week. Then never again. And it has a 100 year grace period, so you really don't have to ever stop using it. According to the license included with the software, you can actually redistribute this ISO, as well! Can you imagine? A free Windows you can redistribute? Clause 5 of the XP EULA is gone, too, so you can presumably embed this OS, or even use it as a server for commercial purposes without owing Microsoft a penny.

Now, there are obviously Windows-things missing from this image, but the license says you can do anything you need after install, as long as it's only about managing systems. That's a wide berth for use, though: even Notepad can be used for management. Of course, you can't modify the disc image before redistribution. Or at all, really.

As the open source guy, it seems a bit silly that this is news, but evidently, this is all unheard of in Windows land.



USB Port Concept

In a classic case of "why didn't we think of this first," Chinese design student Gonglue Jiang has shown us a new way for overcoming the limitations imposed by the scarcity of USB ports
on some computers. Instead of forcing you to constantly hot swap devices into that one port, Gonglue's Infinite USB plugs keep all your cables connected, thereby facilitating those smartphone syncs, spy camera recharges, and -- for the ultimate irony -- maybe even a USB hub. If you're thinking this would be brought down by a bout of bandwidth starvation once you start some USB multitasking, you're probably right, but power shortages shouldn't be an issue as the author has also come up with an external power connector that joins into his Infinite chain of connectivity. If only this wasn't just a concept.

Force Field Armor

Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists

Breaking News: Nintendo 3DS

Computer Junkies received a letter from Nintendo concerning its new product, the Nintendo 3DS (Name not official). It will have 3D-like quality without the need for 3D glasses, so Nintendo says. The full letter is below.

March 23, 2010

To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Launch of New Portable Game Machine

Nintendo Co., Ltd.(Minami-ward of Kyoto-city, President Satoru Iwata) will lauch "Nintendo 3DS"(temp) during the fiscal year ending March 2011, on which games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses.

"Nintendo 3DS"(temp) is going to be the new portable game machine to succeed "Nintendo DS series", whose cumulative consolidated sales from Nintendo amounted to 125million units as of the end of December 2009, and will include backward compatibility so that the software for Nintendo DS, including the onse for Nintendo DSi, can also be enjoyed.

We are planning to announce additional details at E3 show, which is scheduled to be held from June 15, 2010 at Los Angeles in the U.S.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Windows 7 Tip

Yesterday I was searching for the Run button on the start menu (I use Windows 7) but it wasn't there. Confused, I searched for it under the programs menu and I found it; but I still wondered if I could have it back on my Start menu.

I did some exploring on my start menu's properties and I found the option where you can put the Run button back on the start bar. I will show you how in the next few steps:

1- Right click the start button
2- Click "Properties"
3- On the "Start Menu" tab click the "Customize" button
4- A list will pop up on the screen
5- Towards the bottom of the list there will be a checkbox to put the Run command onto your start menu. Check the box

Note: This guide applies to Windows 7, I do not know how well this works with other Windows OSes.

Copyright © 2008-2012 Computer Junkies