Water on Mars!

NASA has just confirmed the existence of water on Mars. After staring at a pair of before and after shots, from the newly landed Mars Pheonix Lander, scientists concluded that the white powdery-looking substance in the images was water! Their evidence, the powdery substance, seems to have sublimated (turned from solid to gas) in the Martian Atmosphere. In other words… MELTING/EVAPORATING ICE! *cue Martian music* Don’t believe me? Here is their evidence.

Ice on Mars

Remote Gaming

A new service from a website called SteamMyGame.com has me impressed! Using their system, you can stream games from one computer in your house (say, your mega-awesome gaming desktop) to any other platform in your house (say, your 5 year old laptop, a tablet, or an Eee PC).
The service starts the game on your desktop or other powerful computer and streams the video over to your underpowered laptop/ultramobile pc/console. You get to play the game with all of the settings maxxed out at very high framerates on a system that normally wouldn’t even start the game. The streaming service takes the input from your mobile system (keyboard and mouse) and streams it back to the desktop (or other powerful computer). Right now this seems like it is restricted to local networks only, because the data throughput required to do this is more than most internet connections can handle. For a 720p connection (1280 x 720 resolution) you need to be transfering between 1 megabyte and 8 megabytes per second to maintain a healthy framerate.

Either way, until integrated graphics catch up on mobile systems, this provides an interesting alternative for those with powerful desktops and underpowered laptops. If internet connections ramp up, we might start seeing “Remote Gaming Services” where a powerful server runs the game at very high settings and streams it to any computer anywhere with any hardware for a fee.

Here is someone demonstrating the technology:

Spore Creature Creator

static.squarespaceSpore is coming sometime in September, but EA/MAXIS have released the creature creator inside the game ahead of schedule for us to goof around with. There is a free version and also a paid version ($9.99). The free version has about 1/4 of the available pieces to add to your creature, but otherwise it is the same thing.

In Spore, you will take a creature from single celled organism all the way to galaxy spanning civilization over the course of many generations and many different sub-games.

Here is a link to the Spore site.

Download the free version of the Creature Creator here.

Firefox 3

Incoming Firefox 3! Everyone go download it! Make sure to refresh the page, in case it is still displaying the old version. In other words, press F5 once you get there. This will be the first Guiness World Record for most downloads in one day, be a part of it!

Firefox Wordmark Horzontal - newlockup

Nvidia GTX 280/260 Benchmarks Released!

In advance of the launch tomorrow, any tech site worth its salt has released a hands-on review of Nvidia’s next line of GPUs. So far the nomenclature of the new series completely resets Nvidia’s old system. Previously, the last Nvidia line of GPUs ended (presumably) at the 9800GX2. Now they are back in the hundreds and have placed a GTX prefix in front of the entire line (so far).
Ok, on to the random bits of information. This beast has 1.4 BILLION transistors. Nvidia’s last high-end card had only 754 million transistors, so we are seeing almost double the brute force capability. Let’s show you a little comparison between a Geforce GTX280 and a top of the line dual core Penryn CPU from Intel:

GTX 280 Die Size

Now technically, in a simplified sense, the older generation of Nvidia GPUs had 128 cores. Consumer CPUs, at most, have 4 cores. The new generation of Nvidia GPUs has 240 cores. That is an INSANE number of cores compared to a Central Processing Unit. Maybe that’s why the GTX 280 can suck 236 Watts at full bore. Now you might wonder, why not replace or augment your CPU with all of that crazy power in your GPU? Well, the industry is actually moving in that direction. The primary roadblock is the fact that GPUs process data in a very specific, specialized way and CPUs are built to process data in a very general way. GPUs are generally built to work with pixels, while CPUs are built to work with ANY data. We’ve already seen GPUs used by scientists to do brute force calculations much faster than CPUs, and we’ll see a more mainstream/consumer fusion of the two components in late 2009.

So how much faster is it?! Compared to the previous single-card solution from Nvidia, the 9800GTX, it is roughly 50% faster in most games. Running the game Oblivion, here is a benchmark graph stolen from AnandTech.com comparing the top performing GPUs at maximum resolution and maximum detail. This resolution is so high that it is confined to 30 inch monitors, most users will not be pushing their GPU nearly this hard. Score is presented as number of rendered ‘frames’ per second.

GTX 280 Benchmarks

The GTX280 will cost $650 and the GTX260 will cost $400.

GTX 280

Nvidia has done it again, the fastest single GPU in existence. AMD/ATI have their work cut out for them, we already know their 4870 wont be as fast as the GTX280, but theoretically the pricing should be MUCH lower and multi-GPU solutions could end up giving them a competitive advantage performance-wise. We’re in the midst of another GPU war! It’ll be a few more days till we get to see direct comparisons between the best from AMD and the best from Nvidia.

I. Can’t. Wait.

Week of 6/15/08

We’ve got three events upcoming!
On the 17th:

Firefox 3 will be released. Everyone go out and get it on launch day, we are trying to set a world record for most downloads in a single day.


The Spore Creature Creator will be released, more on this Tuesday.


On the 18th:

Nvidia releases their next line of GPUs! It seems only a few months back the 9000 series hit the shelves, now the GTX 200 line is already at our doorstep. AMD will be releasing their 4000 series early next week in retaliation.


Zombie-Related Update!

In case anyone is in need of a flash-based zombie fighting fix, check out a classic and its sequel!
The Last Stand
Fight the zombies off before they break through your barricade, recruit others to help in the fight, and find more potent weapons along the way!

The Last Stand 2
More of the same, continues the storyline after the first game, even more fun!

Now go! Productivity be damned!

The Last Stand

EVE Online #2

Part two of my Eve Online segment, here are two trailers detailing their recent Empyrean Age Expansion (free, awesome).

And finally, you MUST take a look at their expansion site. This has to be the coolest use of flash I’ve seen in awhile. Let the site load and watch as a space battle automatically ensures across the top half of the page: HERE

EVE Online #1

Eve Online is an MMO by the Icelandic company CCP. I’ve played the game since 2004 and have always been greatly impressed by their cinematic trailers, usually produced alongside one of their massive free expansion packs. This is the first of several I wanted to post, starting with a fairly recent cinematic released by CCP for their Trinity Expansion. Some of you have no doubt seen this before, but it is worth watching again, if just for the music.

Download the high definition version: HERE


Hydrogen is Awesome. I saw a TV commercial and drank some water, now I’m a big fan!

Hydrogen Bomb

Hydrogen Burning Sun

Hydrogen Powered Car