Archive for July, 2007

Wii will rock you!

The years 2007. Computers have become FAST. And game consoles couldn’t be too far behind, could they? This was something the Big 3 have noticed too. And in the rush to get their consoles ready for Christmas ’06, some of them managed to build winners. Of course, their global launch has happened only a few months back. But nonetheless, most folks were talking about Microsoft’s XBox 360™ or Sony’s PlayStation 3™. But Nintendo seems to have won this round, with it’s wildly popular Wii™. Launched around the same time as the XBox 360™, it wasn’t expected to make much of a dent in Microsoft’s console market, because, face it. The XBox was faster and had higher specs that the Wii, which, on the other hand, shared it’s specs with the older generation XBox. But Nintendo seems to have targeted a different market with it’s Wii.

To compete with Sony‘s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft‘s Xbox 360, Nintendo has re-invented videogaming, making it more social, more intuitive and surprisingly physically engaging. The Wii is indeed revolutionary, and it’s potentially the device that will make videogaming as widely enjoyed as board or card games.The feature that sets the Wii apart from both its competitors and its ancestors is the Wii remote, the device’s control pad. Instead of a bulky, button-studded joystick, Nintendo has produced a slim wand that looks like a television remote control. It’s connected to the console wirelessly, and more important, it’s equipped with an innovative motion sensor that detects movement and rotation in three dimensions.

In other words, the Wii remote allows users to get up, move around the room and become part of the game. If you want your character on the screen to swing his sword, you wield the remote and make the thrusts and parries yourself. In a game of baseball, you hold the remote like a bat, and swing for the stands when you want your virtual player to do the same.

By giving players the ability to physically interact with a virtual world, Nintendo has significantly changed the experience of videogaming. It’s suddenly more immersive, more compelling and potentially more appealing to consumers who have never considered buying a videogame console before.There’s no sequence of arcane button combinations required to throw a baseball: You just wind up and mime an actual throw. Suddenly, videogames are fun for everyone–old or young, male or female, regardless of prior gaming experience.

Now here’s something. Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles cost $500/$600 and $300/$400 respectively. Compare that to the Wii’s $250 price tag, and Nintendo’s already got a leg up in the upcoming console war. By concentrating on innovating through game play, and ignoring its competitors’ most high-tech features–super-powered processors, support for high-definition televisions and DVD formats–Nintendo has not only been able to keep its costs down, but it’s hit upon the single thing that sets apart an entertainment device most: It’s fun.

July 26, 2007 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Honey, I Shrunk the PC!


PCs come in all shapes and sizes. The larger they are, the more performance they tend to offer, and that’s the metric that drives a market still ruled by Moore’s law and its myriad derivatives. There’s a certain appeal to small systems, however — especially if you go the DIY route, proving once again that even if small can’t quite run World of Warcraft, it sure can be beautiful.

Picotux doesn’t do sexy. Picotux doesn’t do games. Picotux doesn’t do much of anything. What picotux does do is be a truly minuscule computer, not much larger than the ethernet jack that brackets it. An inch long and only 19 mm wide and deep, the ARM-powered little winder has 8 MB of RAM, 100 Mbit ethernet and a 55-MHz CPU. It runs uClinux and makes a wonderful web server.

Take a look at it’s tech specs here.
Or visit it’s makers here.

July 19, 2007 at 10:24 pm 2 comments


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