I couldn’t let this pass without commenting on it. The Gears of War action figures that have been talked about for a while now have finally been revealed in box form, one of them is shown on the right-hand side there (click for a larger version). Now, men have always been reluctant to grow up, and gamers are probably the least willing of all camps. But surely this takes the cake - action figures specifically designed for a product that is targetted at 18+ year olds.

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It’s official - Vista’s UAC was designed to annoy users. The idea was to piss them off enough that they’d beat on the ISV’s to make them change their software so it didn’t trigger UAC prompts anymore. So that’s at least one feature in Vista that’s a rip-roaring success then. To be fair, it’s a bitter pill that had to be swallowed. Microsoft built OSs for decades that were concentrated on flaunting all their wares to developers with little or no protection; because you know, security just gets in the way and all those rookie developers get upset when things are difficult.

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I love the Science Museum. Of course I do, it’s a natural environment for me - they have a Cray in there for Turing’s sake, I was geeking out about that for ages when I visited a few years ago (while my wife rolled her eyes and grudgingly took a photo of me next to it). So you can imagine I was happy to hear that Ogre is living there right now, for a little while at least, because a game made with it is part of the Science of Survival exhibition, a family-oriented interactive exhibition concentrating on “global resources, climate change, and our options for a sustainable future”.

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Saying it with sake

I received a rather large package in the mail this morning which at first puzzled me - I knew for a fact that despite what I might hope, Rock Band really wasn’t going to arrive that fast! It was only when I saw the ‘Produce of Japan’ stamped on the side that it dawned on me who it might be from - my most significant client right now is a Japanese company.

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Good news tinged with bad today - the rumours are indeed true, Rock Band has finally got a release date in Europe, that is to say May 23rd - provided you have an XBox 360 that is. PS2/3 and Wii versions won’t appear until around September time, thanks to a timed exclusive deal. I bet Microsoft had to lay out a pretty penny for this one, Rock Band is one of the most hotly anticipated titles around and I have to admit I’m dying to get my hands on it.

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Innovation revisited

A few weeks ago I posted a rant about how companies keep way more code to themselves than makes any rational sense, under the pretense of protecting their competitive advantage. I asserted that in a large number of cases, what they’re keeping to themselves is actually exactly what everyone else is also developing internally, and also keeping to themselves in the hope that it’s worth something. Result - a ton of duplicated effort that is worth very little.

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You’ll know about this if you read the forums, but I thought I’d post about it here too. At the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai Intel showed off their ‘Smoke’ demo which they designed for the 4-core (2 HT threads per core) Nehalem processor, which includes Havok physics and a lot of fire simulation. They chose to use Ogre for the rendering, which is nice 😀 Video 1 Video 2

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Acceleration?

While I have something of a penchant for British rock bands (I’m biased, but I still think over the last 50 years a greater proportion of truly excellent songwriting has come from this side of the Atlantic than the other), there are still many North American bands I like. One that I’ve stuck with pretty much since I first had a CD player is REM - I own every one of their studio albums and on the whole have always enjoyed them.

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Firefox 3 Beta 5 Test

Firefox 3 is about to hit Release Candidate 1 any day now, and beta 5 is supposed to be pretty stable now, and since it can co-exist with Firefox 2 on Windows (not on OS X or Linux, mind) I thought I’d give it a try. And hey, it’s pretty damn cool. Outwardly when static you won’t notice a great deal of difference - the back / forward buttons are a little more compact, the icons are a little flashier in places and you have quite cool things like one-click bookmarking on the location bar (the little star icon - it’s gold when you’re on a bookmarked page already, outlined when you’re not), but otherwise just feels like Firefox 2, which is no bad thing.

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Choking down OOXML

They’re not announcing the results officially until tomorrow, but it appears that enough countries have changed their votes since September 2007 for OOXML to become an ISO standard. Some of the key ‘switchers’ responsible include the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Japan (all from No to Yes) and France (from No to Abstain). We need document standards to preserve business data over long periods and thus as a core principle it’s a good thing to have an ISO standard used by Microsoft Office, the dominant business office suite  - and for good reason, it’s been a great product over many years.

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