Play LucasArts Adventures on Your iPhone

Gaming November 30th, 2007

MonkeyiPhoneFollowing a Nintendo DS port and various PDA ports, ScummVM now has an iPhone port too…

While it was announced on the ScummVM website, its still not an official port and currently still in beta.
Here’s what Gizmodo had to say about the interface:

After trying it I can tell you that if there’s a platform designed to play these kind of games,it’s the iPhone. In fact, these are the only games that truly feel at home on the iPhone, thanks to its great touchscreen support, even better than Apple’s native software:

ScummVM fully supports multi-touch to simulate the behavior of the mouse using gestures. With a single tap you left click, but for a right click you hold one finger and tap with another. To toggle click and drag, which is necessary in some games like Monkey Island 3, you “hold one finger on screen, swipe another up from bottom to top.” Then you can drag something, lift your finger to drop it and it will automatically switch back to normal. Quite ingenious and easy.

Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert, who is an iPhone user, also seems to be pleased with this new iPhone emulation.

And there’s clearly a market for such old games on new devices (iPhone, Nintendo DS, XBOX Arcade…) it really makes me wonder why the owner companies would let these games be pirated as abandonware rather than make use of them in the new gaming platforms we have today.

While such games do not have the graphics and sound to compete with games like Halo 3 on today’s leading gaming platforms. They can still take advantage of the computing power mobile devices have these days which is probably stronger than the PCs these games used to run on.

There’s a whole market of mobile casual games where such games can have success these days, if companies are not smart enough to commercialize on it, at least I’m hoping to see many more emulations like these supporting old games on new platforms.

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.NET Web Products Roadmap (ASP.NET, Silverlight, IIS7)

Programming, Technology November 29th, 2007

Scott Guthrie just published a comprehensive post detailing Microsoft’s .NET web products roadmap.
To sum up the release schedule:

  • .NET Framework Source Code - No date specified in the post but should be any time now.
  • ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions – Preview version will be available next week
  • Silverlight 2.0 – Public beta on Q1 2008 (With Go-Live licence)
  • IIS 7 – Will be part of the Windows 2008 release. The official launch is at February 27th 2008 so it’ll probably RTM before that.

I’m extremely happy to see Silverlight maturing as a web development platform with its 2.0 version that includes:

  • WPF UI Framework: The current Silverlight Alpha release only includes basic controls support and a managed API for UI drawing.  The next public Silverlight preview will add support for the higher level features of the WPF UI framework.  These include: the extensible control framework model, layout manager support, two-way data-binding support, and control template and skinning support.  The WPF UI Framework features in Silverlight will be a compatible subset of the WPF UI Framework features in last week’s .NET Framework 3.5 release.
  • Rich Controls: Silverlight will deliver a rich set of controls that make building Rich Internet Applications much easier.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for core form controls (textbox, checkbox, radiobutton, etc), built-in layout management controls (StackPanel, Grid, etc), common functionality controls (TabControl, Slider, ScrollViewer, ProgressBar, etc) and data manipulation controls (DataGrid, etc).
  • Rich Networking Support: Silverlight will deliver rich networking support.  The next Silverlight preview release will add support for REST, POX, RSS, and WS* communication.  It will also add support for cross domain network access (so that Silverlight clients can access resources and data from any trusted source on the web).
  • Rich Base Class Library Support: Silverlight will include a rich .NET base class library of functionality (collections, IO, generics, threading, globalization, XML, local storage, etc).  The next Silverlight preview release will also add built-in support for LINQ to XML and richer HTML DOM API integration.

When evaluating Silverlight (1.0 and 1.1) a few month ago I came to a conclusion that its not mature enough for us to use it for building business UIs. Having support for only vector graphic shapes meant that any control had to be built manually which means we would have had to manually build a lot of controls ourselves.

With the new support for WPF UI Framework and Rich Controls it now seems more robust for building LOB applications.

Some ideas regarding Silverlight in LOB apps:

  1. Embed Silverlight in InfoPath. InfoPath forms only support a limited set of controls and since its driven by IE it could be extended by embedding ActiveX controls. If you want rich graphics, animations, graphs, etc. as part of your form you have to embed some sort of an ActiveX.
    Of course, you can always develop you’re own ActiveX and embed a WinForm or WPF inside InfoPath but why go through all that work when Microsoft already implemented Silverlight ActivX for you?
  2. Outlook folder Homepage. Folder homepages in Outlook are htmls. To display rich UI in that view the only (hacky) way (presented by Microsoft as part pf project Elixir on MSDN) is to embed an ActiveX in that html and have it connect with an Outlook addin via .NET remoting. Silverlight can be used to save the work and effort on developing (and deploying) your own ActiveX.

I guess we’ll have to re-evaluate Silverlight when the 2.0 beta comes out…

On other notes, I’m at Redmond right now attending the Silverlight 1.0 Firestarter event which should be interesting…

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The Real Twin Peaks

Travel, United States November 25th, 2007

Last weekend (following this post) I drove to the great falls area to get some of that Twin Peaks atmosphere.
It just so happens that I went on a misty and sometimes rainy day which some would call bad luck but I kind of found the views more interesting on this weather (kind of the same gloomy weather they had when shooting the series).

I used the travel guide from the Twin Peaks Gazette which I found as kind of hard to follow at times and outdated (it was written at 1999…).

In any case, I started the trip by driving from Seattle to North Bend (~45 minutes drive) and stopping at the double-R, now known as Twede’s for the obvious Coffee and Cherry Pie (and some french toasts) breakfast.

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From there I have to admit I kind of lost track of the guide and just drove around for a while to catch the scenery.
I really wanted to find the place where the Twin Peaks sign was shot at. The guide states as follows:

You might want to find a safe place to pull over because this intersection of Reining, Mill Pond and Meadowbrook is Sparkwood and 21.

Continue down and I can’t promise that you will find the actual spot where the sign was placed because it’s hard to find. It’s about halfway from that intersection to the end of Reining. If you reach another intersection, you’ve gone too far.

Once you actually find the Reining, Mill Pond and Meadowbrrok intersection, it gets easier to locate yourself and get to the places the guide talks about.

To find the real location where the Twin Peaks sign was located, you have to picture down on Reining from the intersection and shortly after you’ll see a crossroad where you need to take right to SE Reining Road. The location is a short ride from that right turn. Here is one of my shots compared to the real one:

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What do you think? Same spot huh? Looks like both shots were taken on the same season too…
I also took a shott of the pole number to help future travelers locate the exact spot:

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If you continue with Reining instead of taking the right to SE Reining Road you’ll see on your left what seems to me like the mill, though I can’t be sure:

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From there I continued to the falls to take a pictures of the falls and “The Great Northern”  which is actually Salish Lodge Dining Room:

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There’s a very nice trail that leads to the bottom of the falls. You should take it if you’re there…

From there I went Falls City to see some more stuff (The Bookhouse etc.). I could not find Big Ed’s Gas Farm (I guess its not there anymore) and as it started getting dark and rainy I called it a day and went back to Seattle for dinner.

You can check out the rest of the photos on my Real Twin Peaks Flickr Set.

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Mass Effect is Out!

Gaming November 21st, 2007

1606653372_64ed34dc85_mMass Effect, a new RPG developed by BioWare and published by Microsoft Games , was released to store in the US today.

“Mass Effect” combines a deep story with intense, sci-fi tactical combat. Through high-definition graphics and an amazingly realistic and innovative conversation system that allows for lifelike interaction with the voices of scores of digital actors such as of Seth Green, Marina Sirtis and Lance Henriksen, “Mass Effect” provides an immersive gameplay experience never seen before in a video game.

I just came back from the Microsoft Store where I saw this game was selling like hot cookies. More than 3 shelves got cleared in less than 30 minutes…

If you want to know more check out the following links:

I can’t wait to get my own XBOX360 already…

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Developers Academy II – 1:0 to Live.com

Events November 19th, 2007

I read Dror’s post and decided to compare the search for the 2nd Developers Academy in both Google and Live.com.

I searched for the term Developers Academy II in both Google and Live.com and where Live.com got the right answer on its first entry, the correct entry was only #3 in Google…

I guess 1:0 to Microsoft Live :)

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Uninstalling Previous Versions of Visual Studio 2008

.NET November 19th, 2007

Here are the instructions to follow before you install Visual Studio 2008 RTM:

  1. Go to the Control Panel and launch Add/Remove Programs
  2. Remove all instances of Visual Studio 2008/Codename Orcas products
  3. Remove any remaining supporting products in the specified order.
    • Remove “Crystal Reports for Visual Studio 2008 beta2″ (or “Crystal Reports 2007″)
    • Remove “MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008 Beta”
    • Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5″
    • Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 Design Tools”
    • Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 for Devices”
    • Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Performance Collection Tools”
    • Remove “Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2 for Pocket PC”
    • Remove “Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2 for Smartphone”
    • Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component / Microsoft Web Designer Tools”
    • Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Runtime 3.0″
    • Remove “Microsoft Device Emulator 3.0″
    • Remove “Microsoft Document Explorer 2008″
    • Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Codename Orcas Remote Debugger”
    • Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio 64bit Prerequisites Beta” (64-bit platforms only)
    • Remove “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5″
    • Remove “Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 3.5″

Now that you’re sure all the beta bits are are gone you can install the Visual Studio 2008 RTM edition of your choice…

Note that the list above are the products that were on my machine  and you might have additional products that require removal on your machine.

Update 20/11/2007:

ScottGu just published his own version of the list. When writing this post I started from the same list Scott has now made public but I updated it according to the products that were installed on my machine (removed some stuff, renamed some stuff to fit the name as it appears in beta2). So basically there shouldnt be a difference between the two…

kick it on DotNetKicks.com

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Upgrading My Machine to Visual Studio 2008 RTM

Programming November 19th, 2007

I’m currently uninstalling the beta bits from my machine in order to install the RTM version of Visual Studio 2008. My experience with this process on previous versions was pretty painful and so far with the 2008 versions I’ve had to re-image my machine in order to upgrade to beta 2.

So I hope this time the process won’t be as painful as it used to…

Update:
Update completed without any problem. Just be sure to follow these beta uninstall instructions.

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Twin Peaks

Travel, United States November 18th, 2007

“… There are many stories in Twin Peaks–some of them are sad, some funny. Some of them are stories of madness, of violence. Some are ordinary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mystery–the mystery of life. Sometimes, the mystery of death. The mystery of the woods. The woods surrounding Twin Peaks.”

- The Log Lady

If you don’t know Twin Peaks then you’re missing out on one of the best shows ever to air on TV.
I watched the Twin Peaks pilot episode on TV several years ago (the aired just the pilot episode  but not the whole series) and I quickly became a Twin Peaks (and more generally, a David Lynch) fan. I’ve been gathering whatever Twin Peaks episodes I could find via file sharing ever since…

Last week while browsing Amazon I saw an announcement for a new Twin Peaks DVD pack on the main page:
Twin Peaks – The Definitive Gold Box Edition (The Complete Series)

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I immediately threw the box to my cart (along with some other stuff) and got it today.

Filled with nostalgia, I  put the first DVD in the player and started watching the pilot episode.
And then it suddenly struck me!

Located “just 5 miles from the Canadian border and 12 miles west of the state line” lies the town of Twin Peaks, population 51, 201. A town where we find out exactly what goes on behind the white picket fences of small-town, middle-class America.

Twin Peek was filmed in the pacific-northwest. I’m currently in the pacific-northwest. Hmmmm….

A quick look in Google and Wikipedia turned out that the show was short at the towns of Snoqualmie, North Bend and at the great falls area. Less than an hour drive from Seattle…

So tomorrow, I’m going to Twin Peaks!

(Note to self, get some coffee and cherry pie on the way…)

Apple PR Bullies Caught on Tape

Technology November 18th, 2007

Apple’s public relations tendency to bully journalists and bloggers is nothing new but a recent post on Valleywag shows a rare view on things really work behind the scenes.

A British journalist is interviewing Apple Vice President Philip Schiller when Pr abruptly ends the interview when he attempts to ask a questions about the iTunes monopoly on downloads for the iPhone.

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The Physics of Rock

Uncategorized November 17th, 2007

I wish I had a PhD in guitar acoustics like Dr Mark Lewney