Digital Thoughts : Other http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/category/22.aspxPosts that don't fit into any of the other categories.en-GBCommunityServer 2.0 (Build: 60217.2664)Geek 2.0 http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/26/731.aspxFri, 26 May 2006 08:35:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:731Derek Lakin3http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/731.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=731http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/731.aspx<img src="/photos/digital_pictures/images/730/original.html" border="0" class="leftimage"><p>These days if you've got a new(ish) idea then it's got to be Something 2.0. <a href="#topofpage">SOA 2.0</a>, <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0</a>, and so on. It doesn't necessarily mean it's really new, but there's a new spin to it. Well last night I think we came up with Geek 2.0!</p> <p><a href="#topofpage">James Governor</a> was kind enough to invite me down to London for a <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0 chat</a> with a few other people. Mysyteriously there wasn't a <a href="http://paulmwatson.com/journal/2006/05/22/web2ireland-photos/">geek pride T-shirt</a> in sight (at first :P), we were all dressed in a smart casual fashion, and there was no <a href="#topofpage">schwag</a> either, just lot's of red wine.</p> <p>We all travalled down to <a href="#topofpage">Bedale's Wineshop</a> just up the road from Liverpool Street station (the one we were at isn't on their web site, but <a href="#topofpage">James is there a lot</a>!) and by mutual consensus starting with some red wine and didn't change. We started with a "Fat pino", moved on to a "Really fat pinot" (James' descriptions, not mine), whose name's escape me, but they were both from New Zealand (i'm a bit of peasant when it comes to wine, but I like it!), though one was called "Shaky Bridge". After that came a 1982 Chateau Neuf du Pape, which I think was the one that smelt of leather! There was another French wine after that, which I think cost about £35 per bottle and was actually very nice :D</p> <p>Besides all the very nice wine, I did have a really good time. There were some really great people there from Microsoft, Adobe, IBM and more besides. We didn't talk about anything specific and there was no agenda, but we did all have a good chinwag and enjoyed the wine.</p> <p>So, my thanks to James for the invite and his excellent choices of wine. Thanks must also go to Ben Watson from Adobe, who actually paid for it all! Thanks for the conversation to Peter Bell (Developer Relations at Microsoft), Roo, Darren, and Rob (all Emerging Technologies at IBM, have a very nice looking blog called <a href="#topofpage">eightbar</a>, and have a bizarre fascination with the virtual world <a href="#topofpage">Second Life</a>). <a href="#topofpage">Tink</a> and a few others were also there, but I didn't much chance to chat with them. Maybe next time.</p> <p>All in all we had a good time, great wine, and a good tech chat. The only schwag I ended up was an <a href="#topofpage">invitation to</a> <a href="#topofpage">Stringfellows in Soho</a> from a girl outside Liverpool Street station, but for me this is the way forward for geek meets. Forget your geek pride T-shirts and bring out the wine!</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_731.html" width="1" height="1">OtherSpore at E3 http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/11/721.aspxThu, 11 May 2006 08:48:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:721Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/721.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=721http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/721.aspx<img src="http://blog.polyceta.com/photos/digital_pictures/images/original/spore_demo.aspx" class="leftimage" border="0"><p>The guys at Electronics Arts/Maxis have been giving a demo of the much anticipated new game from Will Wright: <a href="#topofpage">SPORE</a>. IGN have a <a href="#topofpage">download of the video</a> of the demo given at E3 and it is awesome! It shows off the game selection screen, where you choose which of the 6 levels to start playing, from the Tide Pool Phase up to the Space Phase.</p> <p>There is a separate editor associated with each level giving the user complete control over how their creature looks from the number of arms and legs, to the colour and texture of the skin.</p> <img src="http://blog.polyceta.com/photos/digital_pictures/images/original/spore_trailer.aspx" class="rightimage" border="0"><p>The SPORE website has also been updated with new information from E3. This includes a set of <a href="#topofpage">in-game screenshots</a>, the video trailer for Spore, and some screenshots of creatures recently created by the SPORE game team.</p> <p>The only disappointing thing for me is the news that SPORE most likely won't be released until 2007, given that it does not feature in the fiscal details for 2006, meaning it won't be released until at the earliest April 2006. In the mean time I'll just have to make do with the completely awesome trailer and demo.</p> <div class="clearfix"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_721.html" width="1" height="1">OtherCatching Up http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/04/713.aspxThu, 04 May 2006 14:04:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:713Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/713.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=713http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/713.aspxI've been particularly bad at blogging here on Digital Thoughts recently and for this I apologise. I have been (barely) managing to keep up with my posting over on <a href="#topofpage">Bill's Baby</a> and <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0 Blog</a>, but things have been particularly slack here.<br><br>The reason for my blogging absence is that I've actually been <b>really</b> busy. I quit my dull day job that has been boring me to tears for the last 18 months and have set up my own company, <a href="#topofpage">Polyceta Limited</a>. I now work from the comfort of my own home on new and exciting things with great people like those at <a href="#topofpage">Content Master</a>, for whom I am currently working.<br><br>The salamandersoftware.co.uk domain name will gradually be phased out and replaced with the new polyceta.com domain name. The <a href="#topofpage">FeedBurner feed</a> for this blog was updated ages ago and you can currently use http://blog.polyceta.com and http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk to get to Digital Thoughts.<br><img src="/aggbug_PostID_713.html" width="1" height="1">OtherComputers and the Internet According to &quot;normal&quot; People http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/04/06/710.aspxThu, 06 Apr 2006 10:44:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:710Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/710.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=710http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/710.aspxI just got sent this link about how <a href="#topofpage">"normal" people perceive computers and the Internet</a>. Here's some of the funny ones (they're funny becuase they're true!)<br><blockquote><ul><li>Computers get slower and slower with time; this is perfectly normal, and the only thing to do is to go to the store, and get them to format and reinstall everything (which isn't a problem, because other than Windows, Office, all those cool toolbars and that nice purple ape buddy, there isn't anything installed).</li><li>Keyboards have some piece of magical technology which makes keys move around from time to time, when you're not looking; for that reason, you <span>always</span> look attentively at the keys when typing, even after a decade or more.</li><li>Computers ask <span>"Are you sure?"</span>, and similar questions, all the time, because they're made for idiots. Since you're an intelligent and educated person, you know that you can <span><span>always</span></span> simply click on "Yes", without reading. It certainly saves time.</li><li><span>"What do you mean, my computer can't handle Windows Vista? It was top of the line when I bought it 8 years ago! I bet you're deceiving me!"</span></li><li>Buying stuff through the Internet is an absurd idea; some evil hacker would get your credit card's number the exact moment you used it. <span>"What am I, insane?"</span></li><li>Email messages should be kept <span>forever</span>, and in the Inbox. Even ads for penis enlargement pills (you never know when they might be useful, after all). When, after a while, your mailbox "breaks", you simply get yourself another one, and tell everyone that you've changed email addresses.</li></ul></blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_710.html" width="1" height="1">WebOtherMIX 'o6 in Vegas http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/04/05/708.aspxWed, 05 Apr 2006 12:37:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:708Derek Lakin1http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/708.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=708http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/708.aspx<p>I wasn't fortunate enough to go myself, but my good friend <a href="#topofpage">Paul</a> did go and has <a href="#topofpage">written up his report</a> of the sessions he attended.</p> <p>Maybe it's just Paul's <strike>twisted</strike> <strike>peculiar</strike> <strike>strange</strike> <strike>different</strike> unique outlook on life, but his <a href="#topofpage">experiences in Las Vegas</a> aren't quite what I would have expected.</p> <blockquote>I am not jaded. I am not cynical or wordly wise, I am easy to please for Pete's sake but Las Vegas in that first hour was underwhelming. I knew by the time we got to our hotel that Vegas had been commercialised. Sure, it has always been about the money but back then the money was dirty and the streets dirtier. 100 dollar bills were rolled up and used properly back then, they weren't exchanged for a quarter-pounder and 90 in change. When you couldn't pay your debts you had to talk to Luigi or Mario, not phone the gamblers helpline and get a three year residual loan at favourable rates. McDonalds, Dennys, StarBucks. Commercialised by the same bland, generic-Viagra using, Westernised globalisation mega-brands that make 100 chain outlets a niche experience.</blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_708.html" width="1" height="1">WebOtherOptimising Windows Vista under Virtual PC http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/03/21/707.aspxTue, 21 Mar 2006 11:14:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:707Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/707.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=707http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/707.aspxFor those of you that don't have the spare hardware to try out Windows Vista on a separate box Virtual PC makes an ideal alternative. Ben Armstrong has a great post on how to <a href="#topofpage">optimise Virtual PC for running Windows Vista</a>.<br><blockquote><ol><li>The more memory you can assign to the virtual machine - the better.&nbsp; Though make sure you <a href="#topofpage">leave enough memory for the host operating system</a>. </li><li>Install the Virtual Machine Additions that come with Virtual Server 2005 R2 - these make a world of difference. </li><li>Turn off most of the advanced video animation.&nbsp; You can do this by going to: <ol><li><strong><em>'Start menu'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; right click <strong><em>'Computer' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Properties' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Advanced System Settings'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; hit the <strong><em>'Settings'</em></strong> button under the <strong><em>'Performance' </em></strong>section </li><li>--&gt; Uncheck everything except <strong><em>'Smooth edges of screen fonts'</em></strong>, <strong><em>'Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop'</em></strong> and <strong><em>'Use visual styles on windows and buttons'</em></strong> and then hit <strong><em>'OK'</em></strong><br></li></ol> </li><li>While you have the Advanced System Settings open - go to the <strong><em>'System Protection'</em></strong> tab and disable this feature (you can use undo disks to get the same level of protection)<br> </li><li>Stop explorer from searching the network at odd times by going to: <ol><li><strong><em>'Start menu'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; left click <strong><em>'Computer' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; select the<strong><em> 'Tools'</em></strong> menu </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Folder Options'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; select the <strong><em>'View'</em></strong> tab </li><li>--&gt; Uncheck <strong><em>'Automatically search for network printers'</em></strong><br></li></ol> </li><li>Finally - if you are using Virtual Server - do not use a desktop background</li></ol></blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_707.html" width="1" height="1">OtherStargate Worlds Website http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/03/02/687.aspxThu, 02 Mar 2006 12:04:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:687Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/687.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=687http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/687.aspx<img src="/photos/digital_pictures/images/686/original.html" class="leftimage" border="0">The <a href="#topofpage">official website for Stargate Worlds</a> (that I <a href="/archive/2006/02/01/663.html">talked about before</a>) has now been launched.<br><br>The content is a bit limited at the moment, but over time this will obviously grow. The forums have already been running for a while now and is a much better resource at the moment than the website. A good example of this is the interview with world builder Josh Kurtz, which beyond telling us a bit about Josh doesn't actually tell us anything about the game. Every game related question was met with a "we'll tell you more later" type response.<a href="/files/25/digital_thoughts_images/entry685.html" target="_blank"><br></a> <div class="clearfix"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_687.html" width="1" height="1">OtherHoliday Time http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/02/10/679.aspxFri, 10 Feb 2006 16:07:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:679Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/679.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=679http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/679.aspx<p>I'm off to Vancouver for a week so I won't be posting here until I come back.</p> <p>Until then enjoy the view:<br /> <a href="#topofpage" title="Vancouver"><img src="http://static.flickr.com/1/303840_d3a5d45d78.jpg" alt="Vancouver" class="centeredimage" /></a></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_679.html" width="1" height="1">OtherStargate Worlds http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/02/01/663.aspxWed, 01 Feb 2006 11:49:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:663Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/663.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=663http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/663.aspx<P><IMG class=rightimage alt="Jafa Concept Art" src="/images/JafaOpenFace.jpg">Just a week ago I was <a href="/archive/2006/01/23/655.html">mourning the cancellation of the nearly complete FPS game Stargate SG1 The Alliance</A>. Today, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel for SG1 computer games, this time in the guise of <A href="#topofpage">Stargate Worlds</A>, a MMORPG being created by <A href="#topofpage">Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment</A>.</P> <P>Details at the moment are fairly sketchy as they are only at the pre-production stage:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>"Step through the Stargate<SUP>TM</SUP> as an SG team of soldiers and scientists, and travel instantly to fantastic worlds in this galaxy and beyond. Players can forge alliances, establish trade, investigate ancient mysteries, and defend Earth from such hostile forces as the Goa'uld and the Ori in an immense multiplayer universe.</P> <P>Stargate Worlds provides players with a form of ranged combat unique to MMORPG that will take full advantage of modern and science fiction weaponry, cover, and terrain. Players will be able to form squads with their friends or use bots for players who want to go solo. Squad leaders will control maneuvers and objectives through an innovative combat control interface. Players may choose to create characters that are members of either the SGC (the Good Guys) or the System Lords (the Bad Guys). Characters are equipped with varied and mixed skills, with the choice to form such classes as Research, Combat Marine, Medical, Scientific, Diplomatic, Engineering, Archeological, and Exploration. PVP will be possible between the two alliances on many contested worlds, actually swaying the balance of power on those planets, and unlocking hidden content. Cooperative play will also be possible, and players will be encouraged to forge temporary alliances to deal with greater threats, such as the Ori.</P> <P>The universe evolves as players inhabit and vie for control over alien worlds. Local populations will shift their allegiance between the two alliances. Outside threats, such as the Ori, will conspire to further change the face of these worlds. Players will be able to tip the balance of power on these worlds, beating back the Ori invasion, and swaying the local populations to their side through quests, combat and trade. Whether you are a solitary explorer, master tradesman, or commander of a massive armed force- your every action will alter the worlds of the Stargate<SUP>TM</SUP> universe."</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P dir=ltr>There is some <A href="#topofpage">concept art</A> on the website, but at this stage it's really not giving anything away.</P> <P dir=ltr>The team in charge looks pretty impressive, from one of the founding members of Electronic Arts (and producer/director for The Matrix Online) Joseph Ybarra as Vice President of Product Development, through Stu Rose as Art Director, previously responsible for Blizzard, Warcraft and Starcraft logos and worked on games such as Warcraft I, II and III, and World of Warcraft (to name a few). Creative Director Chris Lug was the designer for the James Bond 007 RPG and has worked on games such as Strek Trek DSP: Dominion Wars and Duke Nukem: Time to Kill and Jim Brown, Director of New Product Development comes from a Holywood background having worked on Alien, The Abyss and produced special effects for Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek The Motion Picture The Special Edition.</P> <P dir=ltr>It all sounds very promising and interesting and I'm sure it will have a massive following when it's released. Given the timing I can't help but wonder if MGM decided that this was going to be better than Stargate The Alliance and that they dropped it for this.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_663.html" width="1" height="1">OtherStargate Game Cancelled http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/01/23/655.aspxMon, 23 Jan 2006 11:57:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:655Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/655.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=655http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/655.aspx<IMG class=leftimage alt="Stargate The Alliance" src="/images/stargate_forumheader.jpg"> <P>Just weeks before it was ready for release the enormously anticipated FPS game Stargate the Alliance has been cancelled :(</P> <P>It was <A href="#topofpage">confirmed on the official forums</A> a couple of days ago after rumours and stories started to hit the internet:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>"It pains me to say this but unfortunately Stargate SG-1 The Alliance has been canceled.</P> <P>An official statement is forth coming from MGM and/or perception in the coming days.</P> <P>I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the employees of Perception all the very best for the future. Having seen the game first hand I know you guys did a fantastic job and you have every right to feel proud of what you have done.</P> <P>I encourage all the Perception employees who are hidden members of this forum to let yourselves be known. You should be proud of the work you have done and I encourage all members of the forum here to congratulate the Perception crew and to wish them all the very best.</P> <P>**adding**<BR>Anyone involved in the focus testing that occured recently is no longer held by the NDA. You are free to talk openly about the game and all you know of it.</P> <P>If you are one of these people and are unsure of the legitimacy of this, please PM me and I will explain further."</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P dir=ltr>It all seems to stem from a parting of the ways between developers Perception and Publishers JoWooD Productions. Since then, despite several offers from new publishers, MGM (who own the Stargate license and have to approve everything) have failed to respond in any way (so it seems) least of all to actually approve a new publisher.</P> <P>Eventually Perception ran out of money and had to lay off all the staff and shut down the project.</P> <P>Hopefully, MGM will make an official statement to explain what's happened and to provide some hope that this game will see the light of day.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_655.html" width="1" height="1">OtherFlyakite OSX 3 Released http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/01/16/639.aspxMon, 16 Jan 2006 12:19:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:639Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/639.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=639http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/639.aspx<P>If you like the look of MacOSX, but have a PC then you can get pretty close with the <A href="#topofpage">FlyaKite GUIKit</A>.</P> <P>As reported over on Aqua-Soft:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>"We’ve been waiting for this release for over half a year, but the wait was well worth it. This release includes the first ever dynamic boot patcher, which will finally–safely–allow for a progress bar on the bootup screen. Additionally, with programmer herd’s help, flyakite has included a program in this pack that will let you close other programs with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Q, similar to the behavior present on the Macintosh in which pressing Apple + Q will close the application. Additionally, flyakite wrote a sweet macro program which will automatically move the taskbar to the top of the screen, something never seen before (done automatically, that is) in any other transformation pack. flyakite’s website has also been updated. This website, famous among the Aqua community, is a joy to peruse and browse. It pushes the edge in Aqua website emulation!</P> <P>flyakite said it himself: “this will be the ultimate release. it will put every release I have ever made to shame, and will embarass future releases of mine.” That’s a statement of a pretty high order, but we’re sure it’s true!"&nbsp;</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <DIV><A title=FlyaKite href="/images/flyakite.png"><IMG alt=FlyaKite src="/images/flyakite_small.jpg" border=0></A></DIV> <DIV> <P>I used the FlyaKite GUIKit in it's previous release and loved it. I only stopped using it when Kol's Vista visual style was released.</P> <P>In addition to the GUIKit itself there is an awesome website too. Just look at the screenshot on the left (click for full size). It has windows with transparency, a working launch bar, menu, iTunes, themes and wallpapers and much more.</P> <P>The MSN window that is shown in the screenshot is a screenshot of the MSN&nbsp;skin that is included in FlyaKite. There really is too much in this GUIKit to go in to any depth, just try it out for yourself. If you don't like it you can use the uninstaller that's part of the setup (the same as you'd expect from an application) which put you back to where you were before you started.</P></DIV> <DIV class=clearfix></DIV><img src="/aggbug_PostID_639.html" width="1" height="1">OtherWindows Live Messenger Beta Invites http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/01/12/619.aspxThu, 12 Jan 2006 10:15:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:619Derek Lakin10http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/619.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=619http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/619.aspx<P>After my initial flurry of inviting close friends I've now got some more invites to hand out for the new Windows Live Messenger (Messenger 8) beta.</P> <P>First five to comment get an invite.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_619.html" width="1" height="1">SoftwareOtherKoL's VistaXP Theme Pulled http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2005/12/15/608.aspxThu, 15 Dec 2005 13:06:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:608Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/608.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=608http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/608.aspx<P>This isn't (and won't) be my normal fare on this blog, but I feel that Microsoft have really got it wrong on this subject. First of all what's happened?</P> <P>Francisco Javier Ocasio Gotay (aka KoL) is one of the best and well-known artists in the theming community and has been for years. 5 months ago he released the first version of his VistaXP theme which mimicked the look of Vista/Longhorn on Windows XP. On Monday he received a legal request to remove the theme from all sites, which he has now done. </P> <BLOCKQUOTE>The theme was originally released on 17th July 2005 and is arguably the best Vista port to date. The thread here at Neowin generated more than a 1000 comments and had nearly 300,000 visitors. It has taken the company nearly 5 months to contact KoL to ask him to remove the theme. Third party law firm, Seed IP contacted KoL 2 days ago. [source: <A href="#topofpage">neowin</A>]</BLOCKQUOTE> <P>So let's get the legal bit out of the way. KoL's theme did contain Microsoft UI artwork, fonts and images that are subject to copyright, trademark, etc and as such Microsoft have every right to request that the them be removed. However, theming communities such as <A href="#topofpage">Neowin</A>, <A href="#topofpage">WinCustomize</A>, <A href="#topofpage">ThemeXP</A> and <A href="#topofpage">deviantART</A> are rife with ports of Microsoft's Vista style to the Windows XP platform either as an MS Style or to the popular <A href="#topofpage">WindowsBlinds</A> package by <A href="#topofpage">StarDock</A>. Most, if not all, of these Vista themes draw from the same resources that KoL did to produce their themes. So, it would seem that KoL's theme received attention from Microsoft because of it's popularity. </P> <P>So, a themer got busted by Microsoft for using copyright material, so what? Apple have been doing it for years. What's the problem? Well I think Microsoft are going about it all wrong. Back when Windows XP was released it support themes and Visual Styles, but it only supported 3: Luna, Silver and Olive. Since then Microsoft have only released one extra official theme: Royale. To this day Windows XP does not directly support the addition of user-created visual styles, it requires a hacked uxtheme.dll or an application such as <A href="#topofpage">StyleXP</A> or <A href="#topofpage">WindowsBlinds</A>. </P> <P>I think this is where Microsoft got it all wrong. Having provided this great new feature I think Microsoft should have supported easy style switching of user-generated styles and themes. I'm sure they had a good reason for not supporting at launch time, but they've had plenty of time since to work round whatever those problems were. I really hope that Vista won't suffer from the same problem. </P> <P>Now theming is very popular and exceptional artists, such as KoL, spend a lot of time and effort creating beautiful themes for us all to enjoy (as long as we use a hack or third party software) and there is a definite buzz around the new Vista look-and-feel. People like and are excited about it, that's why thousands of people downloaded KoL's VistaXP theme and continue to download the <A href="#topofpage">many other</A> <A href="#topofpage">Vista-style</A> skins that are available. So come on <A href="#topofpage">Robert Scoble</A>, start talking to Microsoft and let's help the theming community make Windows XP and Windows Vista look good. People are clearly excited by the new Vista look-and-feel, so let's encourage them, not squash them. </P> <P>Fortunately KoL hasn't been put off by all this corporate attention and will continue to create themes and styles, though no more Vista I guess. You can see KoL's artwork on his website <A href="#topofpage">StudioTwentyEight.com</A>.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_608.html" width="1" height="1">OtherVirgin Galactic Space Port http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2005/12/13/604.aspxTue, 13 Dec 2005 15:51:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:604Derek Lakin0http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/604.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=604http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/604.aspx<IMG alt="Virgin Galactic" src="/images/News_newgalacticlogo.jpg" align=left> <P>Virgin Galactic and the State of New Mexico have <A href="#topofpage">announced an agreement</A> to build a 27 square mile $200 million space port in the southern part of the state.</P> <P>How awesome is that!? A huge great space port from which tourists will be able to visit space and (assuming I don't die prematurely) all built in my life time. No all I need to do is start saving the cash for a ticket!</P> <P>I've loved the stars, planets and space in general ever since I was a kid and Science Fiction still fascinates me now, but I don't think I ever really imagined that personal space flight would be a reality in my life time. But following the success of the X Prize and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic it looks like this is really going to happen.</P><br /> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>Virgin Galactic has agreed to locate its world's headquarters and Mission Control in New Mexico and strongly believes that the new spaceport will offer fledgling astronauts an experience that will be truly out of this world.</P> <P>"When Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne won the X PRIZE in October 2004, we knew the new space industry had arrived," said Secretary Rick Homans. "And when Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin would use that same technology to fly paying passengers into space, we realized that our most important job was to convince Virgin Galactic to come to New Mexico and launch the personal spaceflight industry. This announcement is a convergence of dreams and we are proud that Virgin will be New Mexico's anchor tenant at the world's most exciting space tourism location. " <BR><BR>"New Mexico has worked hard to bring us to their exciting new spaceport facility," stated Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic. "The State has several factors that make it an ideal operations base: climate, free airspace, low population density, high altitude, and stunning scenery. Our team was highly impressed by the professionalism and the competitive pitch the state and its advisors developed. We look forward to working together to make the "Final Frontier" a reality for tens of thousands of pioneering space tourists. Our activities will prove the commercial viability and excellent safety technology behind private personal spaceflight and give birth to a new industry in New Mexico."</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P dir=ltr>In conjunction with this announcement Virgin Galactic have also unveiled a new logo (see above) designed by renowned design guru Philippe Starck.</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P dir=ltr>Philippe Starck explains: "The curiosity and adventure of the human spirit exists in the vision of a human eye, from today, through millions of years of evolution, right back to the beginning of mankind. The nebulous iris represents the infinite possibilities of this endeavour and signifies our opportunity to look back at earth from space with our own eyes for the first time. The eye's pupil incorporates an eclipse, the dawning of something new, something unique but accessible. Something far, but near."</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P dir=ltr>Apparently the final design will actually be based on Richard Branson's actual iris. Branson is quoted as saying: "<EM>When I look at the logo I am reminded of childlike awe. I believe it represents all those who will watch and be a part of the growth of this amazing new commercial aviation sector. Whether they be six or sixty, all will see and believe that a new chapter in the story of space flight has begun.</EM>" Like I said above, I'm one of those people that can't wait for this "new chapter in the story of space flight".</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_604.html" width="1" height="1">OtherIconBuffet Free Delivery http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2005/12/05/599.aspxMon, 05 Dec 2005 10:15:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:599Derek Lakin4http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/comments/599.aspxhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/commentrss.aspx?PostID=599http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/rsscomments/599.aspx<p>If you have installed one of the Express editions of Visual Studio and signed up for the registration benefits then you may already be aware of <a href="#topofpage">IconBuffet</a>&nbsp;as they have provided a large number of free icons.</p> <p>In addition to this they are now offering a service called <a href="#topofpage">Free Delivery</a>. Register and sign-up and every month you'll get a new set of free icons, however, different members will get different sets of icons and to get the ones you didn't receive they have to be delivered to you by another member that did get it:</p> <blockquote dir="ltr"> <p>Once a month, IconBuffet will deliver a free collection of stock icons (a Free Delivery) to your IconBuffet account. These special icons are royalty-free for both commercial and personal use.</p> <p>Each IconBuffet member may — or may not — receive the same Free Delivery as the next member. In fact, we may release a dozen different Free Deliveries in a given month. There’s no way to tell what you’ll receive each month.</p> <p>Is there a catch? Absolutely not. Each Free Delivery will contain royalty-free artwork (icons or illustration) that you are free to use on your website, your blog, a client’s website, commercial software, or just about whatever. You’re not required to purchase anything.</p> <p>With each Free Delivery you receive, you can make five Free Deliveries of your own to friends and colleagues. If they’re already an IconBuffet member, the Free Delivery will arrive immediately in their account. If not, they can create their own free account, and begin receiving — and delivering — icons of their own. It’s that easy.</p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><img alt="Oslo Atmosphere" src="/images/prev_ltd_oslo_atmosphere.gif" align="left">I've got the Oslo Atmosphere set and I've got <strike>4</strike> <strike>3</strike> 2 deliveries left if anyone else would like them in exchange for one of the other free deliveries available this month (something like Shanghai Tech, Shanghai Tech Vector or Oslo Finance would be nice). Just send me your set to derek.lakin &lt;at&gt; gmail.com </p> <p dir="ltr">Update: I've now got the Shanghai Tech set aswell (thanks <a href="#topofpage">Paul</a>) and have 3 deliveries remaining. It looks like you get 5 deliveries for each collection whether you received direct or delivered to you by a friend.</p> <p>Update 2: The Oslo Finance set has now been added to my collection thanks to <a href="#topofpage">RoudyBob</a>. I've got 2 deliveries left for Oslo Atmosphere, 2 for Shanghai Tech and 5 for Oslo Finance.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_599.html" width="1" height="1">Other