Monday, 22 December 2014

Remembering... Y2K


Grab your radiation suit and head for the hills, David Hayward recalls the turn of the new century

Fifteen years ago today, panic ensued. In a matter of days, so it was claimed, planes would fall out of the sky. The financial industry would collapse, and all money and property would be null and void. There would rioting and the collapse of society as we know it. And this is our personal favourite: the nuclear weaponry of a dozen warmongering nations would suddenly become active and rocket toward their 1980s cold war targets.

Digital GIS

Landsat 8 spacecraft

David Briddock treks from maps to graphical information systems

A marriage between cartography and computers appeared quite logical, yet it was a journey that took decades to complete.

Humax STA-1200BSW Soundbar

Humax STA-1200BSW Soundbar

Michael has been comparing his waistline with that of a soundbar. He lost

Described as the "World's Slimmest Soundbar", the STA-1200BSW has been developed by Humax, a company better known for its settop boxes (STB). This product consists of the actual soundbar, a subwoofer, a remote control unit and various leads packaged in a box whose size might make you wonder about the slimmest claim.

Once everything is unpacked you quickly realise that the 'World's Slimmest' claim takes no account of the soundbar's width, which stretches to 1200mm. Other dimensions are a depth of 20mm and a height of 37mm. The subwoofer, by comparison, is box-shaped with dimensions of 195 x266 x265mm.

Viewsonic VX2880ML

Viewsonic VX2880ML

Mark discovers those customers Viewsonic's new 4K screen is going to impress

The number of monitor makers that includes 4K offering in their ranges is expanding rapidly, and ViewSonic has joined their ranks with the VX2880ml.

Its VX series consists of primarily consumer focused products. However, I can see this particular design being favoured by business users who want high-resolution media presentations and use CAD/ CAM applications.

Visually, this is an attractive design, with a narrow bezel on all sides and a somewhat quirky two-part metal stand. Those not wanting to use that support can utilise the VESA 100 mount on the back.

New year’s revolution

xbox one revolution

You’ve read about how triple-A will define your next year - now find out why Xbox One’s indie lineup could end up putting all that in the shade

There was a time, a few years back, where even the most casual observer could tell you what 'indie game' meant: "It's like Mario, but the story's probably about the creator's folks getting divorced, or the outbreak of SARS or something." Thanks to legions of mistyeyed 16-bit enthusiasts, each as eager as the last to prove that the medium could serve to offer better stories than 'kill a lizard, kiss a woman', the retro, 2D, plaintive platformer certainly had its time in the sun - not least on Xbox 360. Think back to the very best of XBLA and you'll find games that took a single well-worn genre and warped one piece of its make-up into an unfamiliar shape - Braid (mechanics), Fez (perspective), Super Meat Boy (difficulty) and Limbo (colour) all pulled this trick. And it was a great one, proof that the ingenuity of creators more interested in challenging players than indulging them could be successful (and, yes, profitable - an inside source told us Jonathan Blow could afford to build an actual time machine, which he did and now uses to fly to his detractors' births and shout at their parents about the importance of a solid education in philosophy).