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If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

I’m still waiting for someone I know to tell me he or she likes Windows 8. I’ve seen some strangers online say they like it, but not a lot of them, and many of them appear to be astroturfers because they just like it too much. I’m sure Apple loves it, because, like my boss told me, a lot of older apps (like anything older than Office 2010) won’t run on Windows 8. So, if you have to re-buy all your software anyway, what advantage is there to buying a Windows 8 machine over a Macintosh?

In fact, that’s exactly what his parents did. They gave up on Windows entirely and bought a Mac Mini.

The other approach, of course, is to buy a Chromebook. A lot of people seem to be doing that too, seeing as it’s the best-selling laptop on Amazon–so much so that they don’t have any stock, and third-party sellers are scalping them for $80 above retail like they used to do with Nintendo Wii consoles.Read More »If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

Happy 35th birthday, Atari 2600

The venerable Atari 2600 turned 35 this past weekend. People of a certain age remember it as the device that ushered in home video games. I know I spent a lot of afternoons after school playing blocky, chirpy video games on them in the early 1980s.

The 2600 wasn’t the first cartridge-based console, but it was the first widely successful one. It even spawned clones, the private-label Sears Video Arcade and the Coleco Gemini.

Read More »Happy 35th birthday, Atari 2600

Lessons of the HP Touchpad

At full price ($499 for the 16 GB model and $599 for the 32 GB model) the HP Touchpad was a colossal flop. Like AT&T’s first PC clones of the mid 1980s, it was a me-too product at a me-too price that wasn’t quite as good as the product it was imitating. So, basically, there was no reason to buy it.

At closeout prices, it became an Internet sensation. The few web sites that have it in stock can’t handle the traffic they’re getting. At $99 and $149, it’s selling like the Nintendo Wii in its glory days.

And I think there’s a significant parallel there that highlights the missed opportunity.
Read More »Lessons of the HP Touchpad

Review: GT Max Playstation-USB converter

After my disappointing experience with an inexpensive–perhaps I should just say cheapX-Kim USB gamepad, I decided to give the GT Max Playstation-USB converter a try. This inexpensive (under $5) adapter lets you use Playstation and Playstation 2 (PS2) controllers with a PC.

I’m just interested in being able to use it with emulators for older systems, so I can’t comment on its suitability for using Playstation dance pads with PC games, or using inexpensive PS2 controllers with PS3s. Other users report some degree of success for that.

I’m happy to report that I can now play five or six levels of Jumpman or 9 innings of Baseball Stars without my hands hurting.

Read More »Review: GT Max Playstation-USB converter

Review: X-Kim GPTL-00A

I think the last time I saw a halfway original idea for a game was around 1992. Everything I’ve seen since then has just been a re-hash of something old, with incrementally better graphics to make it prettier to look at, better AI to make the game harder to beat, and perhaps a new setting.

So I don’t play a lot of games. And when I do, I’d rather play an old game for an old system, which of convenience’s sake usually means running an emulator. But video games on a keyboard–even a really good keyboard–isn’t much fun, so I bought myself a cheap USB game controller.

Read More »Review: X-Kim GPTL-00A

Just say no to black boxes

When the PS3 was released, one of its advertised features was that you could install Linux on it and use it as a Linux computer. I doubt many people did it, but it was a useful feature for those who did.

Sony later took that ability away in a firmware update. You could choose not to install that later firmware, but then you gave up other capabilities.

Now, some enthusiasts have figured out various ways to get that capability back, and Sony is so thrilled about that, they’re suing.

Sony is in the wrong.
Read More »Just say no to black boxes