Prey Demo

I’ve been reading for weeks about people becoming frustrated waiting for the Prey demo to be released for XBox 360. Well alas, as one of my favorite sites, XBox 360 Fanboy pointed out… the demo has been released. It’s 1.17 GB’s and the title (PREY Singleplayer and Multipla…) leads me to believe the demo will include multiplayer, which should result in quite a bit of playtime. Enjoy the holiday weekend in multiplayer mode.

Vista Beta 2

In case you live in a cave somewhere and hadn't heard yet, Microsoft recently released a beta of Windows Vista to the public. Of course I immediately went to the Vista website and downloaded the 3.2 GB ISO. Being the first few hours that it was out, I figured the Microsoft servers were probably being overwhelmed as it took me a while to get the download running smoothly. The next morning my download was complete and I burned a DVD+RW of the ISO and proceeded to install the OS. My first attempt to install Vista was on an extra external USB drive I had sitting around that I don't really use. I wasn't sure if it would work as my computer did support booting an external drive, but it was a beta version after all.

Sure enough installing to the external USB drive didn't work out, so I installed it on my second internal hard drive. The install went smoothly after that and I am currently writing this blog from Windows Vista. To be safe I left Windows XP on my machine and now am successfully dual-booting (Lifehacker has a good tutorial on how to install Vista as a dual-boot). Although I've been running Vista for about a week I haven't expierenced any major issues. The only hiccup occured after Vista installed, I had to get my CD for the drivers to my wireless network card. The flashy appearance of Vista is appealing, but it's certainly nothing to get overly-excited about in my opinion.

So far my favorite thing about Vista is Media Player 11, but you can download that (also in beta) for XP on Microsoft's website. I've never really been too big a fan of Windows Media Player due to the fact that I don't like how it arranges my music in Media Player itself as well as on my hard drive, but I think they got it right this time. The Artist or Album view is great:

For those of you who aren't nerdy enough to know about Vista or have seen the screenshots that are nearly everywhere, check out this website for some screencasts.

And to prove I'm not the only geek out there, the Vista download that was made available to the public was 'the biggest software download in history'. In fact, if you check out Alexa.com, windowsvista.com has a 200,000% increase. That is absurd, see for yourself:

The Beauty of RSS

I may never need to go to another website again (OK, so that's exaggerating). RSS is quickly changing the way in which the web can be navigated and how quickly people can be informed. For those people like myself who have an above average knowledge of internet-related technology, we already know and use RSS on a daily basis. But for those of you who are still in the dark, let me see if I can help clarify what it is and why it is so freggin' wonderful.

RSS stands for really simple syndication. If a site has an RSS 'feed' you can use certain programs or web applications to subscribe to those feeds. If you look closely on many of your favorite websites, you will see a link that says RSS or XML, or perhaps notice one of these images: This indicates that the site (or section of the site you are reading) has an RSS feed. You may say, so what? Well, let me explain…

Like the nerd I am I always must have the latest and greatest software, so I recently downloaded Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2. Outlook 2007 supports subscribing to RSS Feeds which has really changed the way I get news from websites. To the right is the RSS section of my Navigation Pane in Outlook 2007. As you can see I have added numerous sites which I frequently visit. What this means is when a site posts a new article or gets updated, it appears as a new message in one of my RSS folders (or wherever you specifiy). What this means is I spend less and less time navigating to my favorite sites to see if they have recently been updated.

Outlook 2007 is still in Beta after all and isn't running 100% smoothly so I suggest you try using your own program. There are many other alternatives to reading RSS feeds, some are standalone applications that run as a program on your computer while others are web-based. Here is some guy that lists a bunch of 'em. In each program or website there will be a simple way to add the RSS or XML links from your favorite sites.

Want to know more? Click here to get another really good overview of RSS.

*You can even create your own feeds now without being too big a nerd. Feedburner lets users create their own RSS feeds and spares them the technical detail of writing XML.

How Small We Are…

One of my greatest interests is Astronomy and the Universe. I remember as a younger boy my grandfather had a telescope, but I never really thought much of it. During my high school years I started watching shows on the Universe and my interest slowly started to rise. Throughout college I took some Astronomy courses and started to realize just how vast the Universe is. The majority of us go about our days living our lives and never really consider how small and insignificant we really are. Here is an animation that may give you a slight understanding: www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10

Our visible universe (how far we can see from Earth in any direction) is 13.7 billion light years. The speed of light is 670,616,629.384 miles per hour. Why do I mention mph? Because that's a term we use everyday… it's a speed we can relate to… we are supposed to drive 55mph, modern airliners fly at around 500mph, the fastest jet man has made (SR-71) hit a record just above 2,000mph. If we were to fly in an airliner to the edge of our visible universe (which by the way is 91,874,478,225,608,000,000 miles away) it would take 20,975,908,270,686.7 years (20 trillion years!). The size of the visible universe is incomprehensible to the human mind. These distances we cannot wrap our minds around.

The next time you look up at the night sky, remember you are not seeing stars as they are now, you are seeing them as they were years ago. The closest stars to us are about 4 light years away, in other words they are so far away it takes light (traveling at the insane speed I mention above) 4 years to reach us. Even our own Sun, the closest star to us, is so far away it takes light about 8 minutes to travel to us. If the Sun vanished now at this instant, we would still have light for 8 minutes.

There are so many other mind boggling things in the Universe, such things as neutron stars, black holes, gamma bursts, etc, which keep my mind spinning when trying to comprehend it.