Next version of OS X will be called Snow Leopard – what is Apple thinking?

Engadget has been covering today’s WWDC 2008 keynote, and it has been announced that Apple’s next OS X version will be called Snow Leopard. And that is the dumbest name I have ever heard for any piece of software.

First of all, Snow Leopard won’t even have new key features. It will be only a security and performance update for Leopard. In other words, something Microsoft would call a service pack. Snow Leopard is just a service pack, so why does it even need a new name? Oh, probably because Apple is trying to show their OS is perfect, works all the time, and is secure – unlike Windows, which needs a service pack (roll eyes).

Now forget that Snow Leopard is just a service pack. Still, why did Apple pick such a name? You can say “my computer’s running Leopard” or “my computer’s running Windows” or even “my computer’s running Ubuntu” but can you imagine yourself saying “my computer’s running Snow Leopard”? I don’t know about you, but I think that just sounds dumb.

Also people are wondering if Snow Leopard will even be free. It is just a service pack after all, and people all over internet forums are seeing that. Microsoft doesn’t charge for its service packs, but then again Apple doesn’t even want to acknowledge that this is one.

Apple should have really picked a different name for its next “version” of OS X. Or just call it Leopard SP1.

Intel won’t let Nvidia make Nehalem chipsets

Nvidia has told Fudzilla that Intel won’t let Nvidia make its Nforce chipset that will work with Intel’s Nehalem generation of processors. This has been confirmed from Intel’s side as well. This is definitely bad news for gamers and computer enthusiasts.

This is big news in the computer hardware industry because if Intel really doesn’t let Nvidia make its chipset work with Nehalem, that means there will be no SLI support with Nehalem. This will force system builders that want the latest and highest performance hardware to choose between using Nehalem for top of the line processor performance, or SLI for top of the line video and graphics performance.

People who will want dual, triple, or quad graphics cards from Nvidia will be forced to use an AMD processor with their next generation system build. This will mean lower sales on the high end to computer enthusiasts from Intel. At this point Intel and Nvidia should be working together to keep AMD and ATI from gaining back some market share.

If Intel keeps this up, we may very well see many people going with AMD processors or with ATI graphics cards. This move by Intel will hurt both companies.

Intel is doing this because they see how Nvidia’s graphics cards can be used in supercomputer applications. They might lose a lot of money if companies stop buying their processors and instead begin using graphics cards to power their servers. This will not happen for a while however, as there are only a few applications written to use graphics cards as computational devices.

What Intel is doing is also breaking their license agreement with Nvidia. If this actually happens, Nvidia will certainly take legal action against Intel for breaking the license.

This is a bad move for Intel. It will hurt gamers, system builders, performance enthusiasts, overclockers, and the whole industry. I hope Intel rethinks their decision, otherwise my next computer build might be as an ATI or AMD customer.

Firefox will soon grab 20% of the browser market share

Net Applications says that Firefox can have 20% of the browser market share as early as next month. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer’s market share continues to drop steadily.

This will be a major milestone for Firefox. If this 20% takeover will happen soon, it might as well happen on Download Day for Firefox. If Download Day succeeds, Firefox will also grab the world record for most software downloads in 24 hours.

Here at Wordplop, 49% of visitors use Firefox, 35% use Internet Explorer, 5% use Opera, and the remaining 11% use a variety of other browsers. These statistics are from the previous 16,000 unique visitors.

This will be good news for web developers as well. Firefox is much more standards compliant than Internet Explorer. Some standard code that works in all browsers just will not work in Internet Explorer. Most web developers hate Internet Explorer for that reason, so the more people that use Firefox, the better.

The only downside to this milestone might be that hackers will try harder to write malicious code that works with Firefox. Right now Firefox is much safer than Internet Explorer, but as it gains market share, it might become more vulnerable as more malicious code will be written for it. However, this is inevitable with all software, so it shouldn’t be worried about.

Congratulations to Mozilla and all Firefox developers for this soon-to-be milestone.

Redlynx Trials 2 Second Edition Review

Although not many people may know about this game, it has been around for a few years now. The first versions of Redlynx’s Trials games, back then known as Trial Bike, were available as a Java version online. They helped start the 2D flash bike games you see on every flash game site now.

The latest version of the Trials series is called Trials 2 Second Edition, and it was just released on Steam. Trials 2 SE only costs $9.99, which can make it the perfect game for those lazy evenings, or when you don’t have the time to play a whole round of CoD4 or CS:S.

Another thing regarding Trials is that it doesn’t belong into any familiar category of games. It’s a 3D game with 2D gameplay. Meaning the controls are still only the arrow keys for controlling the bike, yet the graphics are 3D. This makes the game kind of hard to judge, so it can’t be compared to any other game. The price also makes it seem like a mini-game, but it’s not.

Trials 2 Second Edition has great graphics. It incorporates 3D dynamic lighting effects, volumetric particle effects, bloom, motion blur, and shadows. It looks really good, and all of the effects give it a realistic feeling. You can take a look at the official screenshots, but the game looks better when you’re playing it. Sounds are much better than in previous versions of the game, but they’re still not the best.

The gameplay is the same as in previous versions of the game. However, this version of Trials is 3D. The gameplay just doesn’t seem to fit a 3D game. The bike doesn’t act realistically, and that is something that is expected of most good-looking 3D games. The game looks realistic, but doesn’t feel realistic. To go uphill you lean backwards. If you’re going uphill and lean forwards, you will slam your face on the ground, even though you’re going uphill. This type of gameplay is great for a game you play in your browser through flash or java, not a game you play fullscreen in 3D. It just doesn’t feel right.

The online part of Trials 2 Second Edition is stats and achievements. You can show your stats to your friends, and the top scores are listed on the game’s website.

Overall I have to say this game is great. This is one of the best arcade games I’ve played in a while. And with a $9.99 price tag, it is definitely worth the money. If you want to try it out for yourself, you can download the demo.

In-game advertisements make games more realistic

Sony has announced that they will be allowing third party advertisements in-game for the Playstation 3. Many people are complaining about this, although the truth is that most in-game ads actually make the game more realistic.

First, gamers do have a legitimate reason to be upset. We are paying upwards of $50 a game, so it shows that in-game ads would just be greedy from the publisher’s side. Some are saying in return for in-game ads the game should be cheaper. This would be nice, but most companies are greedy. They want additional profit, not a lower price for gamers to pay.

A positive side to in-game advertisements, however, is that they make the game more realistic. In an urban environment, would you rather see an advertisement from a real company or some fake ad? Same thing for racing games – on the sides of the track, ads from real companies would make it more realistic than fake ads. In these settings the ads can play a good role by making the environment more realistic. If you can relate more to the environment in the game, it seems more realistic.

The best solution for everybody would be to cut games’ prices in exchange for in-game ads. That won’t happen for the majority of games however, so gamers shouldn’t be expecting it. So people should stop complaining about in-game ads and take a fresh look at them and how they add to the environment of the game.

AGP is dead, get over it

There was recently an article on TG Daily saying AGP is almost dead. This is true, so why do people still want to revive this old format?

On major overclocking forums, people are complaining that AGP is being phased out of the market. I don’t understand why. AGP is a very old format, and it has been replaced by PCI Express long ago. PCIe is a superior format, mostly because it’s multiple times faster than AGP.

All the new graphics cards that have been released over the past few years have been targeted for PCIe. Some companies made AGP versions of these cards, but recent graphics cards are far too powerful to be put in the AGP format. AGP simply cannot transfer data at the speed that these performance cards need to transfer it.

This is the same as people complaining that their five year old 300 watt power supply cannot power a 9800GX2. It’s obvious it can’t because it’s lacking the performance ability to do so, and the same is happening for AGP. It can’t handle newer cards.

People who still use AGP should just upgrade their motherboards when they want a new video card. Stop complaining about an old format and upgrade. You can’t put a V12 Ferrari engine in a ’90s Honda Civic. This is the same as the transition from DDR to DDR2, and soon it will be DDR2 to DDR3. Face the facts that AGP is too old and upgrade to PCIe if you want a new graphics card.