There’s no denying that a Yoda vs Vader fight is a rather cool prospect - although I think Darth Maul might actually be more interesting, given how Vader is mostly a cripple and has to do most things by just waving his hand. I’m just not sure it feels right in a Soul Calibur game; I found even the inclusion of Link a little weird and jarring in the last one (on GameCube), but such titanic icons as Yoda and Vader?

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Microsoft vs Becta

If you’re not familiar, Becta(British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) is an arm of the UK government that is dedicated to setting IT strategy for UK schools. Recently, they advised schools in a reportnot to upgrade to Vista or Office 2007, for several reasons: “…there remains a perceived lack of significant business benefit delivered by the new features in Vista to balance out the costs associated with its deployment…”

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I’ve posted about this in the forum, but thought I’d cover my bases and mention it here too. If you write tools which export data to Ogre, you should know about some improvements in the tangent space calculation process in the next major version of OGRE (Shoggoth, CVS HEAD). You can now calculate tangents on any geometry, not just Mesh The TangentSpaceCalc class will generate tangents for any input geometry, so if you use custom geometry classes you can use the same functionality easily Tangent space is now weighted by face/vertex metrics By taking into account things like the triangle size and facet angle at a vertex, meshes which have variable tesselation areas sharing vertices may look better because the tangent space will be proportionately weighted Shared geometry seams are now respected You can add multiple sets of index data to the TangentSpaceCalc inputs referencing the same vertex data and all the data will be considered together, should that be necessary Splitting vertices due to mirroring and rotation in tangent space Optionally the tangent process can split vertices which border tangent space regions which are mirrored or excessively rotated.

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Of Questionable Merit

Ok, let’s be clear - Rez HDcoming to the 360 on XBLA is a good thing, I’m sure I’ll end up adding it to my growing XBLA collection - Pac Man Championship Edition is one of my favourite I’ve-got-15-minutes-spare games of all time, and Marie can’t seem to ever stop playing Zuma. If we’re really, really lucky, it might be the free game Microsoft will toss our way in recompense for the shaky Live service recently(which has gotten better, but it’s still pretty sluggish at peak times here), although that’s probably military-grade wishful thinking on my part.

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Suddenly I’m even more glad I chose a 360 for my current HD console purchase - I just watched the latest Little Big Planet demo from CES 2008, where it looks cute and interesting as ever (even if they didn’t have time / inclination to show anything we haven’t seen before really), but the guy doing the presentation was talking about a public beta in late Summer, with an intention of a ‘Fall’ release (2008).

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Home Media Server

I had an ‘incident’ over the weekend (which I won’t go into, suffice to say that it was somewhat down to my own carelessness) which resulted in me needing to restore a bunch of files from backup for my local Linux server - luckily I back up my server every day on a typical full/incremental backup cycle so all I lost was a few hours worth of spam (I’m 99% sure I haven’t lost any genuine correspondence, but if you think I’ve missed you, let me know).

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Mass Effect Review

A couple of people expressed an interest in what my opinion of Mass Effect would end up being, as a previous KOTORfan, so now that I’ve had it for a while, and am about 10 hours into the game (according to my last save), I felt I had enough information to deliver on this request. For the time-poor among you who are tired of my wordy postings, here’s the skinny version:

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Posted on Major Nelson: Dear Xbox LIVE Members:   During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records. This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service. As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break.

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I heard today that, unbeknownst to people downloading it, Office 2003 SP3 drops supportfor loading a number of older Office formats, including Word 6.0 and Word 97. Now, it’s fair to say that these formats are as old as the hills, but here’s the thing - businesses will have lots of archived documents that they probably haven’t converted to newer formats that they don’t want to lose access to. To just drop support for opening this archived material is ridiculous and is understandably ruffling a few feathers.

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You might remember the problem that my wife had with a corrupted gamertagthanks to problems with the Live registration & recovery servicejust before Xmas, but that hasn’t been the end of our problems with the service. Since a few days after xmas, we’ve found that in the evenings logging onto Live takes an absolute age, sometimes long enough that we just give up. The story- apparantly too many people bought or received 360’s over Xmas and the Live servers are getting swamped at peak times, or so the ever reliable Internet tells me here, and here.

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