Saturday, February 3, 2007

Vista! + Board games!

So uh, Vista... hmm. Seems like MS' latest OS installment didn't have quite as warm a reception as they had hoped. I'm personally not too shocked - the majority of new features are merely cosmetic and don't thoroughly address modern usability issues. What I am curious about is what this means for long term adoption. Most new computers will be coming out with Vista pre-installed, but there are a lot of existing users out there who sound like they won't bother upgrading. I have to wonder what long-term implications this will have on game developers, since DirectX 10 is a major improvement over 9. In all likely hood developers will probably plow forward with DirectX 10 as a requirement which may increase Vista adoption. It remains to be seen if that was Microsofts plan all along.

This is actually kind of funny, while Vista just came out, it's the first time in probably 5 years that I've installed a Linux distribution on one of my machines. Specifically I just installed the Ubuntu Linux distro so I can setup a stable and quick Subversion server.

The installation was relatively quick and easy. Ubuntu itself is very user friendly although I'm not sure Linux is quite as easy to use as Windows yet (lots of command line tweaking required). I also downloaded the Edubuntu live cd to show to my Fiance (who is a school teacher) and she was actually quite impressed (and didn't even know there was such a thing as OSS). Both versions contain a TON of Open-Source free productivity utilities (like OpenOffice) with Edubuntu even containing an entire educational suite.

Now I wasn't able to get a dual-boot setup going although the problem I ran into was not even completely Ubuntu's fault. You see, the machine I was installing it on is a relatively old one and it's bios doesn't have support for greater than 8 GB hard-drives natively. Ubuntu uses something called GRUB as it's boot loader which was installed at a partition past the 8 GB limit. Since it couldn't map that space, the boot loader would fail every time. After a bit of googling and a LOT of experimentation, I finally realized I could just create a tiny new partition at the beggining of the hard-drive (where the boot loader would reside). Unfortunetly I wasn't too careful during the process and so accidentally destroyed my Windows partition. :-) All is well now though and luckily nothing critical was lot. Honestly a dual-boot on that machine doesn't even make sense so I probably won't even bother in the future. Besides, learning how to get SVN working is taking enough time as it is...

I've never been very big on Board games but the past year or so me and the woman have been playing a lot of really great ones. Specifically german-style board games like Settlers of Catan, Lost Cities, Ticket to Ride and Carcassone. Now when most Americans think of board games they usually think of games like Monopoly, Sorry!, or Uno. The reality is that in other parts of the world there are some really incredible games that really haven't penetrated into the American mainstream yet, but I think thats destined to happen. While Settlers and Lost Cities have really been a blast, Carcassone is probably the game we play most. With it's simple rules yet complex strategic depth, it's always a game with tons of suspense and drama. It's also highly replayable offering a completely different experience each time. Settlers is a classic but relies maybe too much on your initial luck with placement and rolling the robber (which can really leave some players in the dust). Next up is Puerto Rico but I'm afraid the complexity is really going to turn the woman off of it (although I doubt it's as complex as something like Axis & Allies).

Alright, I'm out. Next time, Star Trader space combat!

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