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General Tech

10 tech things I’m nostalgic about

A lot has changed in 12 years. This year is 2014. I started My first website in 2002, 12 years ago. A lot of things have changed since then, technology wise and culture wise. But for me, I miss some things that we had back then but less common now. Here’s 10:

1) Phones with long battery life

Motorola RAZR
Motorola RAZR

Remember the candy bar phones? Remember flip phones and slider phones? The Motorola Razr? All those phones couldn’t play apps or games, and had a crappy web browser, camera, and texting interface sure, but – their batteries lasted a long time! I remember the old candy bar phones lasting weeks on end without having to charge. These days we all have to charge our smartphones at least once a day.
Also, remember cellphone charms?? That used to be the way to customize your phone. Now its turned to smartphone cases.

2) Payphones

very rare these days
very rare these days

Yeah, do you see any payphones anymore? No, because everyone has a smartphone now. But what if I lost my phone or ran out of battery? Well tough luck, because payphones are all gone now. They are ‘legacy’ artifacts.

3) Internet Chat rooms

The old Yahoo Chat rooms
The old Yahoo Chat rooms

Remember when people met random strangers in chat rooms powered by Java applets? Bots? People getting kicked? Meeting ~hottiebabe13~ or ~darksoul_12~ online? Well thats not common anymore, these days I don’t see any internet chat rooms anymore, its all just been replaced by social networks, which isn’t exactly the same. I did find some sites like sharedtalk and habbo hotel which brings me back, but most chat rooms have disappeared.

4) ICQ/MSN/AIM/IM clients

MSN messenger
MSN messenger back in the day

Who uses IM clients anymore? Now everyone just uses apps on their phone like Wechat, Whatsapp, Kakaotalk, SMS, etc or Skype/Facebook/Twitter. So when people ask me ‘hey what did you use to connect with people before Facebook?’ I’ll just say, yeah there was this “app” called MSN and I would just ask people for their MSN id… thats how we kept in contact back then. Ditto for ICQ and AIM.

5) PDAs / Pocket PCs / Palm / Blackberry

This was a PDA
This was a PDA

These are all grouped together, but anyways these are all ‘legacy’ technology. For you young people, PDAs were basically personal organizers that served as calendars/calculators/reminders/contacts and they kept track of all those things. They are basically the core functions of a smartphone. PDAs and Pocket PCs disappeared when smart phones came along, but I still remember using my Palm / Pocket PC to keep track of notes, and some even had some basic games on them! And yes Blackberry is dead, so it goes here too.

6) MP3 players (especially HDD based ones)

An HDD-based MP3 Player
An HDD-based MP3 Player

Yes Mp3 players! Remember back in the day when people carried two devices, an Mp3 player and a cellphone? Well they’re gone now! Yes some companies still sell basic Mp3 players, but most people just use their phone to listen to music now! I used to carry around a Creative Zen Vision M, and that thing stored 30 GBs, which was a lot. Now, umm my phone has 32GB but it needs that space for apps too. Some iRivers, Zunes, iPod classics and Creative Zens used to store up to 120GBs of music!

7) Physical Media (CDs, DVDs, Floppies)

Floppy disks
Floppy disks

Yes, everything from the 5.25″ floppy disks, 3.5″ floppies, zip drives, to 2x/4x/8x/24x/50x/100x CD-ROMs/CD-RWs/DVD-ROM/DVD-RWs drives, what happened to physical media? Yes I know it still exists, but less and less computers have optical drives now, and no tablets ever have them. More and more software and “apps” as its now being called, are being downloaded from the cloud now!! While thats not a bad thing, I still like being able to share my physical media with other people and knowing I have a backup somewhere. In fact PC makers don’t even ship OS backups unless you pay extra now. And no, no one I know owns a blu ray writer. Whatever happened to burning CD/DVDs and giving it to your friends? Remember MP3 CDs? Same thing happened to cassette mixtapes too… speaking of which…

8) VHS, Cassettes, Film Cameras

A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of 'legacy' tech
A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of ‘legacy’ tech

Do you know the biggest advantage of VCRs and Cassettes? The fact that you can record over them! I spent alot of my childhood recording my favorite shows and movies on my VHS and music onto cassette tapes, and now its obsolete technology. But you can’t do that these days! You can record to digital media sure, but you can’t record directly to a physical media anymore. Also, Film cameras… analog photography instead of digital photography. We tend to think of everything in megapixels, but back in the day we had to develop film in dark rooms, and the quality of that film is still much better than your average facebook photo.

Speaking of which, 2 trends I don’t like right now: having high megapixel cameras like 13MP+ where people take pictures that take up alot of space on their phone and then upload it to facebook where its compressed to a 100kb~ image. There’s no point. And having super high resolution displays (>240ppi) on your phone/tablet/laptop when most of the internet is not optimized for it, your retina cannot distinguish it, and will look horribly pixellated on the small screen. Thanks a lot to Steve Jobs and the iPhone 4 for starting that trend.

9) Old school LAN gaming and FPS gaming and 2D side scrollers

Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games
Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games

Remember those old DOS games? Some of them were quality games, like Commander Keen and Unreal Tournament and Duke Nukem, but these days you don’t find those types of games anymore. You find big budget 3D games like Call of Duty or Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto. I lament the simple days where a game would take hours and hours to beat like Prince of Persia or Dark Sun, or old school FPS deathmatch games like Quake III or UT, and the days where you could set up a LAN network and play Starcraft / Diablo II with your friends without an internet connection. There’s no LAN games anymore! What a pity. Now everything is online, and you have to make an account and have a good internet connection.

10) Graphic settings/cards, Sound cards & PC peripherals

A typical DOS game setup screen
A typical DOS game setup screen

These days people just use phones and tablets for gaming – but back in the 80s and 90s, gaming was all about the PC! When we ran a game, we had to first setup and configure the game. We would specify the graphic settings (often EGA, CGA or VGA), the sound card (usually Adlib or Sound blaster), number of channels and voices, and the peripherals (Keyboard, Joystick, Mouse and Gravis Gamepad). We don’t see much setup these days with games, just boot up and play, but no in those dark days we had to execute some bash scripts to run a game. But it was fun though, because who doesn’t enjoy playing Bio Menace or Jill of the Jungle on a Gravis Gamepad??

On that note, I also miss dedicated graphics on laptops! Whats up with that? My first notebook had a dedicated graphics card. Only Alienware and some high end notebooks have it now. 90% of consumer laptops come with integrated GPUs now. And how about PCMCIA/Express cards expansion ports for laptops? They made those laptops really expandable!

I also miss…

This was the most popular search engine before Google
Kids, This was the most popular search engine before Google

Old shrine sites. Pre-Google old messy search engine domains like Altavista, Dogpile, Hotbot and non-Google search sites. Yahoo! Geocities. Angelfire. Lycos. All those website builders. Guestbooks. Netscape Navigator. Windows XP. Xanga. Livejournal. Myspace. The golden age of Flash/Shockwave games (mid 2000s). It was a part of my youth 🙁 now its just Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter…

I don’t miss…

But overall we really accomplished alot in the past decade technology wise, and things I won’t miss include:

CRT TVs and Monitors
VCDs
Pagers
Answering machines
HD-DVDs
Dial-up internet
Modem jacks
Serial/Parallel ports
S-video ports
Firewire ports
notebooks with < 4 hrs of battery life (this used to be the norm until intel haswell came out) VGA ports (some notebooks still have them) 3.5mm audio jack (we still have them and I wish we can switch to TOSLINK ASAP) WAP browsers Composite connections Netbooks Compact Flash and MMC cards 4200rpm hard drives (and HDDs in general) slow a/b/g wireless wifi single core processors (before Intel Core Duo came out) resistive TFT touch screens (this was the norm for tablets and touch screens until the iPhone came out) 2G phones non built-in wireless wifi answering machines Poorly designed websites with flashing banners and animated gifs marquee, bgsound, blink and other obnoxious HTML tags Windows Vista Printers (and I still hate them) Forums (and I still hate them) Fax Machines Overhead projectors (I blame these with my loss of eyesight) Pay-per-view

Categories
Tech

Top 20 Greatest video games of all time

Yay.. another top 20 list!! Here we go.. the topic is Video games. I’m going to list the video games in order of influence, and mention the developer, the first console it was published for (starting with Atari, not gonna count Space War or Pong since those were before consoles), and the first year it was released in.

1. Doom

Doom made FPS games popular
Doom made FPS games popular

Developer: id Software
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1993

This game is the most important of all time because it made first person shooters popular. There were FPS games before Doom like Wolf3D and Catacomb Abyss, but this was the most well known one. Without Doom, we wouldn’t have the multi-billion dollar gaming industry of Call of Duty and Halo like we do now, its that simple. I remember my parents wouldn’t let me play this game because it was “violent” at the time. Now seems silly cause its so pixellated.

2. Space Invaders

Space Invaders pioneered shooting games
Space Invaders pioneered shooting games

Developer: Taito Corporation
Console: Atari 2600 (first port)
Year: 1978

Space Invaders has become synonymous with video games because of the pixellated space alien character. It pioneered space shooting games which were popular in the 1980s, and video games in general because without it, the modern video game industry wouldn’t have been born. This is the game that made Atari 2600 popular, and thus making video games a viable industry as a whole.

3. Pac-man

Pac-man is one of the most enduring popular arcade games of all time
Pac-man is one of the most enduring popular arcade games of all time

Developer: Namco
Console: Atari 2600 (first port)
Year: 1980

Pac-man, like Space Invaders, made video games accepted and popular among the masses. It was a brilliantly addictive game that continues to be widely played today. This game and space invaders helped create the video game industry and pave way for more advanced games, both on arcades and on consoles.

4. Tetris

Tetris is one of the most popular games of all time
Tetris is one of the most popular games of all time

Developer: Alexey Pajitnov
Console: Gameboy (most well known)
Year: 1989 (for gameboy)

Tetris is one of the most addictive and popular video games of all time. Designed by one Russian programmer, it has led to numerous versions and remixes, and continues to be widely known and played, much like Pac-man. This was the game that sold Game boy to the masses.

5. Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros made platformers popular and revived the video game industry
Super Mario Bros made platformers popular and revived the video game industry

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1985

Super Mario Bros made platformers popular in the late 80s/early 90s, and revived the video game industry from the crash of 1983. It is one of the most well known and important video games of all time. The success of this game led to the success of games like Sonic, and Super Mario 64, and other platforming games, but this is the original.

6. Grand Theft Auto III

GTA3 made sandbox games popular
GTA3 made sandbox games popular

Developer: Rockstar North
Console: Playstation 2
Year: 2001

Hard to estimate the impact of this game. In 2001, games were mostly linear, requiring you to finish a set of goals in a certain order. When this game came out, people were blown away because of the freedom they had. I had friends who played this game for days on end, because there was essentially no “end” to it. You could just not do the missions and just go about the city. This was and is a landmark title for video games for that kind of influence.

7. Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo changed the FPS genre
Halo changed the FPS genre

Developer: Bungie
Console: Xbox
Year: 2001

This game single-handededly saved Microsoft’s ass, and revitalized the FPS genre to boot. When Halo came out, it popularized the notion of using vehicles in FPS, and using shields instead of health packs, and only carrying two weapons. In comparison to 90s FPS like Doom, Quake, Duke3D, Unreal Tournament, which focused more on how many weapons and powerups you could get. Without Halo, there wouldn’t be Call of Duty or Battlefield or modern FPS’s.

8. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II popularized fighting games
Street Fighter II popularized fighting games

Developer: Capcom
Console: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1992

This game made the fighting genre popular in the 90s, and spawned other games like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, etc. Anyone ever heard of Street Fighter I?? No, everyone talks about II, because this is the one that made it to the USA and made it popular. This is the one that had like 20 different versions.

9. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is the first popular MMORPG
World of Warcraft is the first popular MMORPG

Developer: Blizzard
Console: PC
Year: 2004

World of Warcraft was the first popular MMORPG. Yes I know there was Everquest and Ultima Online, but WoW made the genre really well known in the public mind. People died over this game. People starved their kids to play this game. Anyways, its immensely influential, and you can see its influence in MMORPGs today like League of Legends and Guild Wars.

10. Legend of Zelda

Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game
Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1986

Legend of Zelda was a landmark adventure game for the genre. It established elements popular in the genre including the overhead map, puzzles, role playing, etc. The influence of Zelda can be felt in virtually every adventure and RPG game today.

11. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII popularized JRPGs in the west
Final Fantasy VII popularized JRPGs in the west

Developer: Squaresoft
Console: Playstation
Year: 1997

Final Fantasy VII made Japanese RPGs popular in western culture.. before there were a minority of players playing great classics like Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger but JRPGs really became popular after Final Fantasy made it. Final Fantasy established the traditional JRPG formula, and blended it with great graphics and great storytelling, and spawned a legion of cosplayer fans everywhere. Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger are considered amongst the greatest RPGs of all time, but I think FFVII still wins based on influence.

12. Angry Birds

Angry Birds made mobile games a force to reckon with
Angry Birds made mobile games a force to reckon with

Developer: Rovio
Console: iOS
Year: 2009

Angry Birds is the game that really made mobile games a force to contend with. They were such a runaway hit, and spawned such successful sequels that now iOS and Android can compete with PSP and Nintendo DS in the handheld market. In 2009, no one thought mobile games would be that big. Before Angry Birds, mobile games were essentially the equivalent of flash games and facebook games. But Angry Birds really proved how successful mobile games could be.

13. Starcraft

Starcraft is one of the most influential RTS games of all time
Starcraft is one of the most influential RTS games of all time

Developer: Blizzard
Console: PC
Year: 1998

Starcraft was one of my most beloved games when I was young. I used to make mods and conversions for it, and played the LAN multiplayer all day with my friends. It is one of the most influential RTS games of all time. It is so successful in Korea that they have 24 hour channels broadcasting tournaments there. The races are perfectly balanced. The story is great. The cinematics are awesome. And the multiplayer is very addictive. Even 15 years later, my Korean friends are still playing it.

14. Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007 made FPS the multiplayer genre
Goldeneye 007 made FPS the multiplayer genre

Developer: Rare
Console: Nintendo 64
Year: 1997

I’m also going to put Quake in this entry as well, but basically these two games changed FPS’s from Doom-like clones and dungeon shootem ups to a genre with more realistic graphics and awesome multiplayer abilities. I remember playing Goldeneye for hours every day after school at my friends house, and the multiplayer was just awesome. All those cheats, levels and mods were great. A very influential game in the genre.

15. Half Life

Half life gave FPS games more story and depth
Half life gave FPS games more story and depth

Developer: Valve
Console: PC
Year: 1998

Like Goldeneye, Halo, Doom and Quake, Half-life evolved the FPS genre. Where Goldeneye and Quake made FPS’s more realistic, Half-life gave them more depth, making use of scripted dialog to make the game feel more like a cinematic film rather than a typical shoot-em up. Without Half-life, there wouldn’t be Halo, and without Halo there wouldn’t be modern FPS games like Call of Duty.

16. Commander Keen

Commander Keen made smooth scrolling platforming possible on the PC
Commander Keen made smooth scrolling platforming possible on the PC

Developer: id Software
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1990

Ahh.. how I loved playing Commander Keen in my childhood. This was the first game to use smooth scrolling platforming on the PC, and it revolutionized platform gaming on the PC. After Commander Keen came out, all these DOS games that were basically platforming clones of it came out as well. Commander Keen itself was based on the smooth platforming of Super Mario, that wasn’t done on PC at the time until John Carmack figured out a way to do it.

17. Sim City

Simcity made simulation games popular
Simcity made simulation games popular

Developer: Maxis
Console: PC (MS-DOS)
Year: 1989

Sim City (and by extension, the Sims), made simulation games a viable genre. Before Simcity, there weren’t any really good simulators out for things like playing God and building your own city, or controlling your own inhabitants. Its legacy can be felt in virtually all Sims games by both Maxis and other companies.

18. Pokemon

Pokemon revolutionized handheld RPGs
Pokemon revolutionized handheld RPGs

Developer: Game Freak
Console: Game Boy
Year: 1998

Boy, was Pokemon a huge fad when it came out. Pokemon cartoons, stuffed animals, trading cards – kind of like how Angry Birds is now. Anyways, it was a huge deal when it hit the US, because the concepts were so unique. Catching monsters to battle?? Trading monsters?? TWO versions of the same game?? It was such a unique idea at the time, and it was executed so well. Millions of children became addicted to the game, and I still don’t mind playing it today.

19. Deus Ex

Deus Ex is considered the  best PC game of all time
Deus Ex is considered the best PC game of all time

Developer: Ion Storm
Console: PC
Year: 2000

Deus Ex is a game of magnificent proportions… released by Ion Storm (the same studio that made the ill-fated Daikatana) in 2000, the game combines FPS, stealth, adventure and RPG genres, and does it seamlessly. For the great blend of elements, gameplay, graphics, storytelling and sheer scope, its often considered the best PC game of all time. Its legacy can be felt in virtually all sci-fi FPS’s since then, including Bioshock and Fallout 3.

20. Wii Sports

Wii Sports made casual and motion gaming popular
Wii Sports made casual and motion gaming popular

Developer: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Wii
Year: 2006

Wii Sports, along with Guitar Hero, made casual games part of social parties, and made motion/peripheral gaming popular. Without Wii Sports, its arguable whether or not Nintendo would have sold so many Wii consoles, and its influence on casual gaming is pretty vast, having influenced pretty much the design of the PS Move and the Xbox Kinect, and all those motion based games as well.

Categories
Tech

Starcraft 2 Strategy: Marine Arena v1.1 basics & techniques

I recorded some videos that explain the basics of how Marine Arena works, as well as some commentary on a game me and my brother played. I hope you guys enjoy these videos and I’ll record more of these pod-casting type videos 😛

Marine Arena Intro and Gameplay
httpv://youtu.be/HJG73zc_aFc