Kyleのシリコンバレー通信(英語)

2009年1月号 Fallout 3:やっと登場,でも待っただけの価値あり

この記事を読むのに必要な時間:およそ 8 分

Audiosurf

One other game I wanted to mention which is probably as far away from Fallout in content and design yet quite extraordinary in its own right is Audiosurf. How to describe it? It is sort of a racing game, but a colorfully abstract one that uses your own music files (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, etc) to construct a 3D track. You aren't actually racing anyone. As your song plays, a small spaceship zips along the track, and you need to either run through or avoid colored shapes placed on it, and score points appropriately. Once you see it in action you'll immediately understand. It is ordinarily US$9.99 but I picked it up on Steam for $2.49. The UI needs work--basically everything you see other than the track looks rather rough, and unfortunately it does not support double-byte characters. Oh noes! Still, I think it is worth it, and a superb example of a unique concept well executed by clever and engaging design.

Sweet CTD

Vista has been generally stable so far, though I'd prefer to be using XP for compatibilty. Still, I have suffered several crash-to-desktop problems running Fallout. Even worse, it blue screened on me once, certainly not something I expect to see. This is Vista, after all. How can it be that such a modern and well-designed OS suffers such ignominy? I suppose it is because, once you scratch beneath the fancy three-dimensional UI and shiny colors, it is still just Windows. But a BSOD? That surprised me. Bethesda issued their first patch which was supposed to fix a crash on exit (I read a remark that Bethesda is known for crashes on exit, but I have no independent verification of that) but although the game has no problems quitting now, it is now less stable while running. Vista usually catches the crash and, unlike Mac OS X which just lets you restart, Vista offers to research the problem for you. I let Windows check online for a cause/solution but apparently it wasn't happy that Firefox is my default browser. Although Firefox activated, no Microsoft webpage appeared. I wonder if my crashing is because I'm using nVidea ForceWare 175.19 and the current release version at this time is 178.24 (and will probably be higher by the time you read this). I really avoid upgrading drivers unless I'm suffering an obvious problem (following the old rule "If it ain't broke, don't fix it") but perhaps I should upgrade in this case.

iPhone more reliable than BlackBerry and Treo

Concerning the reliability of the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Treo machines, the independent warranty agency SquareTrade studied about 15,000 iPhones for which they've sold warranty policies (http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_iPhone_Study_1108.pdf). They found that the iPhone "had a 5.6% malfunction rate, half the rate of the Blackberry and one-third the rate of the Treo" in the first year of ownership. Using the one year of data they have collected so far, they project that the iPhone will have a "9-11% malfunction rate" in the first two years of ownership. They say that BlackBerry has a 14.3% malfunction rate while Treos have a 21% failure rate. One somewhat disturbing observation was that they project that about one in four iPhones will "fail due to an accident in the first two years of ownership." The touch screen is a major source of such failure--about one out of every three problems concerns the screen. So, to recap their results: ~1/10 will fail because of a mechanical malfunction and ~25/100 will fail because of an accident. The iPhone is slippery smooth, so easy to slip out of the hand, so yes, I can imagine that accidents will be serious problem. That's the main reason bought a rubber sleeve that surrounds my iPhone. It doesn't look very attractive, but I am less likely to drop it.

(Completely off-topic: does anyone have any old copies of MacJapan magazines? I want to complete my collection... Please email me!)