Tasty Static – the modern day SkyRoads remix

Fans of BlueMoon Interactive’s DOS game SkyRoads, rejoice! I found an excellent remake of the classic: Tasty Static. The game is FANTASTIC, take my word for it Open-mouthed smile Or don’t. Just check the screenshots and the trailer.

The basic gameplay is the same as SkyRoads, you have to reach the end of a road by jumping and moving on differently setup platforms. There are different types of platforms, ones which make you go faster, slow you down, lava blocks which burn you on contact and bumpy blocks which make you hop when you touch them. There are also a few extras like shooting lasers and backward mode. The visuals are very nice. The ship and all the other effects are simple polygons, but they still manage to look fantastic. The best part about the game, though, is the sound track. I can’t describe it in words. Tasty Static is freeware, so just head over to the website and download the game. Did I mention it comes for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems? This game is truly a gem, and it inspires me to see such amazing work in the freeware domain.

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Samsung Infuse 4G vs HTC Inspire 4G vs iPhone 4

A friend of mine recently went to the US to pursue his Masters degree, and he has asked me to help him decide between 3 phones:

Samsung Infuse 4G, HTC Inspire 4G and Apple iPhone 4.

I used the internet to quickly compare the phones and had to suggest Samsung Infuse 4G. Here’s my response:

      • Between Samsung Infuse 4G and HTC Inspire 4G, go for Samsung Infuse (click me). Except maybe for looks, or the UI. HTC has Sense UI where as Samsung has TouchWiz UI. I personally like TouchWiz. Check some YouTube videos to get a better idea.
      • Between Samsung Infuse 4G and iPhone 4, go with Samsung Infuse 4G (click me). The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. But since you already have the iPad, having an iPhone will give you a more integrated and simple experience. But think about Bluetooth file transfer. On an iPhone, you can’t transfer files through Bluetooth to other brand phones, only to an iPhone.
      • Between HTC Inspire 4G and iPhone 4, go with whatever you like, according to your preferences (click me).

All in all, if you ask me, you should disregard the HTC Inspire 4G altogether. Samsung Infuse 4G is the overall winner, but if you want the Apple experience, go with the iPhone. Just remember that Samsung Infuse will come with Froyo (Android 2.2), not the latest Gingerbread (Android 2.3). But apparently, Gingerbread for Infuse 4G is on its way, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Look for reviews on YouTube if you don’t feel like reading. Let me know what you’ve decided 🙂

      PS: btw, in those comparisons, disregard the “More Apps Available” factor, because it honestly shouldn’t make a difference to you between Apple’s 350K apps vs Android’s 270K apps. The important and most useful apps are covered in both the platforms. If you ask me, Apple probably has more

redundant and useless apps which actually cost money

    .

Firefox 6 Released

So what’s the deal with Mozilla? I know they’ve changed to a rapid release cycle, but it doesn’t feel like it was too long ago that version 4 was released. Soon after, version 5 didn’t bring any groundbreaking changes to the table either. Now, they’ve released version 6.

Firefox Download Button

Judging from FF6’s release notes, most of the changes are under the hood:

The latest version of Firefox has the following changes:

  • The address bar now highlights the domain of the website you’re visiting
  • Streamlined the look of the site identity block
  • Added support for the latest draft version of WebSockets with a prefixed API
  • Added support for EventSource / server-sent events
  • Added support for window.matchMedia
  • Added Scratchpad, an interactive JavaScript prototyping environment
  • Added a new Web Developer menu item and moved development-related items into it
  • Improved usability of the Web Console
  • Improved the discoverability of Firefox Sync
  • Reduced browser startup time when using Panorama
  • Fixed several stability issues
  • Fixed several security issues

I’m used to seeing major changes or overhauls with an increase in version number by 1. Oh well. I hope by the time FF reaches it’s double digit version, it’ll be different from FF6.

You can download Firefox 6 from the official website, if your browser hasn’t already prompted you about the update. One word of caution though. Remember when some of your add-ons were rendered useless with the update from 3.6 to 4? I don’t expect more add-ons to be unsupported, because versions 4, 5 and 6 are similar, but watch out. Until next time.

KDE for Windows

The computer desktop is an essential part of our computing experience. It is the starting point, the home page, the single point in space-time continuum that we can come back to. That’s all very good. But the Windows desktop looks old. Despite so many changes and developments in interface technology, we are still stuck with the same old desktop from Windows 95. The taskbar offers little improvement from previous versions. All we have is a Start button, active program list, pinned programs, and a system tray, which hides some useful functionality like adjusting volume. These kind of things should have become easy by now.

Win95_vs_Win7

I’d have liked if the desktops started acting more like those in smart phones, i.e, widgetized/realtime functionality. Just check any smartphone interface, be it HTC’s Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz, or even Symbian’s Widgeted interface. They use that space on the screen so efficiently. They either provide useful realtime information in a very readable manner (like time and date, news feeds, facebook updates…), or provide easy access to most used tasks in one click (or touch). Why hasn’t Windows done anything like that? Sure they have Gadgets, but they are little more than trinkets which are satisfied with being the auxiliary components instead of seizing the desktop.

In this department, the Linux community has made a lot of progress. Of course, I have no idea about the iOS, mainly because I’ve never seen one in my life. Take Gnome for instance. It offers so many widgets and multiple taskbars for us to customize. We can populate the bars with useful trinkets like dictionary, quick search, multimedia controls, clipboard, copy stack, volume controls, and what not. Ubuntu, in particular, has integrated social network into it’s operating system.

Selection_0011 How cool is that? And why hasn’t Windows have something like that already? And then there is KDE. It has made so many radical changes in it’s UI that the learning curve is rather steep. But it offers so much promise and it implements the added functionality I’ve been craving for. KDE is headed in the right direction, and I really wanted to experience it.

OpenSUSE114KDENetbookPages

To that end I installed openSUSE on my computer, but I guess I was too used to the look of the old explorer paradigm. I found the Gnome/Windows explorers more agreeable. In the end, I removed it because I was simply not using it too often.

I was looking for a Windows alternative to KDE’s Folder View widget, which essentially displays the contents of a selected folder in a nice panel on the desktop. This was so that I can remove clutter on my desktop and have easy access to all my frequently used locations, not to mention clear up desktop space for a more unrestricted and complete Rainmeter setup (more on this some other time). And guess what I found from the official makers of KDE: the KDE for Windows package! It enables one to run KDE applications in Windows alongside Windows Explorer and native Windows applications. What’s more, it allows us to use the KDE desktop over the Windows desktop (replaces the desktop area, not the taskbar).

KDE_on_Windows

I was pretty excited, and installed the required packages. Alas, it’s not perfect. The apps crash randomly, and messing around with the desktop widgets also crashes certain processes. It’s not as seamless as KDE on openSUSE, but it’s still something. The Folder View widget works, and it’s probably the only reason I downloaded this. But opening a folder opens it in the KDE explorer, not Windows explorer.

Oh well, it’s a start. Lot’s of exploring to do still. I’ll write again when I have made progress. And since KDE for Windows isn’t in it’s final stages of development, let’s hope time fixes all the bugs.

On an other note, one other way to improve your desktop functionality (especially in terms of realtime information) is Rainmeter. Even if it has a slightly steep learning curve, it is just phenomenal. Take the Omnimo skin suite, for instance. It turns your desktop to a full on Windows Phone 7 desktop, with loads of functionality.

My_Omnimo_Panels_by_karmat111

The only problem is handling the desktop icons. You’ll have to find a way to deal with them. More on Rainmeter later. This post is more of a record than an article. My next article will explore what the ideal and prodictive desktop is supposed to be, and how we can achieve something close with what is available freely. Until next time.

More 3D pics from my Leh trip

 

Remember my post about Stereoscopic 3D? I have processed more such photos on the occasion of my family trip to Leh, Ladakh. Use your typical red-blue 3D glasses to view:

Me.

My dad.

Road

thikse_monastery

If I had known they’d turn out so great, I would have made time to take more, which would really shine in 3D. To see how 3D works and how one might make 3D photos, refer to my post about stereoscopic vision. And I compel you to use Google and Youtube for really good tutorials. Until next time folks.

Windows Live Writer

I haven’t been blogging much, have I? I have missed a lot of wonderful posts I could have made, like reviews of my new 22 inch LCD monitor, my Logitech MX-518 gaming mouse, my new desk (well, modified the old one), my Sennheiser HD201 circumaural headphones, my wonderful phone Nokia 5230, the C6 firmware mod ported for Nokia 5230 (by 008Rohit from Daily Mobile Forums) which really REALLY improves productivity, how I then tragically lost my phone ( Crying face ), got a new Nokia X2-01 (which sports S40, and is not moddable at all), and a bunch of other things like my new obsession with getting myself an Android phone and why I‘m considering the Samsung Galaxy Ace… etc., etc…

One of the reasons has something to do with how inconvenient I find making a new post using WordPress. While the editor is good, I don’t have a quick option for logging into my account from my blog. I have to go to the WordPress homepage to log in. That, and I’m lazy as hell, so I need things to look easy for me to do them.

While cleaning up my PC the other day, I was uninstalling Windows Live Essentials. I got curious and checked out what it has to offer and Windows Live Writer grabbed my attention. It’s simple and fits in with the whole Windows 7 look and feel. It also offers the ribbon toolbar, which I quite favor. How good it is remains to be seen, as this is still the first post I’m making with it. Let’s see how it turns out.

If anyone knows how I can log into my WordPress account directly from my blog, it might help me. Of course, I’ll be using Live Writer for some time now, but still I’d like to know. My first guess is a theme, or a widget. see you folks Smile

 

EDIT:

Ganesh Dhamodkar of Blog of Reflections had this to say:

Add the “Meta” widget somewhere in your blog and you will be able to log in directly from your blog :)

Thanks for the tip bro 🙂

An old half-coocked game in Pyglet: Ship Showdown!

My interest in role playing games and the fact that I use the alias “Fantasist” online led me to a nice program called RPG Maker 2000, and then to RPG Maker XP (both by Enterbrain) and they finally showed me the way to game development. I’ve messed around with RMXP’s scripts and even made a few. Then, I tried a little bit of indy game dev, and my favorite so far is Pyglet.

Here is a little something I developed in Pyglet. I’ve made many trials and errors and a lot of my experimental work is not published or properly materialized, except this. I know it’s not complete and it still has a few hitches here and there (nothing that crashes the game though, I hope), but it’s the most solid chunk of work I’ve bothered to keep. Now I present to you…

Ship Showdown!

Download Source Code (Dropbox Link)

Mirror (Media Fire)

1. You will need Python installed to run the game.

2. Extract and run the file “Ship Showdown.py”

Screenshots

I know going through other people’s code is a bit tedious, but if anyone want to take it apart, learn, experiment, modify, adapt, feel free to do so 😀

And with that I bid adieu!