Category Archives: Technology

Camino: a great browser for Mac!

So, it looks like we have a prospective upstager to the famous Apple Safari browser for the Mac: and it goes by the name Camino. Camino is an open-source, free web browser application that actually builds on what Safari has to offer, and presents it just as elegantly. 

I recently stumbled onto Camino while I was browsing through Apple’s downloads section of their website, under the Internet Utilities section. I decided to give it a download, as I’m always on the lookout for 

a new browser, hoping that one day I’ll find the one that works most co-operatively with my internet connection. Safari has seemed to be my best bet, as Mozilla Firefox (for Mac) let me down as it often failed to establish a connection, and Opera being just a tad to basic. 

So, once I downloaded it, I gave Camino a test drive, and let’s just say I’m very, very impressed! Camino adequately did the jobs I set it out to do, such as going onto Facebook and my own blog, and didn’t give me the connection grief that Safari seems to be prone to (Safari doesn’t seem to register I’m connected to the internet at times, but then again, I doubt Apple’s hardcore developers counted on a rickety old iBurst modem being used for the above task, as even the drivers for it don’t work sometimes and need to be reinstalled) and Camino performed these jobs at incredible speed and efficiency.  

Camino’s latest version is 1.6, and new features include the support for a Software updates, AppleScript, Keychains, Feed Detection, spell checking and session saving, virtually bringing it into line with Safari. Camino’s interface is elegant and user friendly, tabs being neatly visible and commands such as return, back, forward, having a clean and simplified look.

“Mozilla power, Mac Style” being Camino’s slogan, I believe this holds especially true to the browser, as Camino’s developers seem to have hit the nail on the head; Camino is a clean, user friendly and powerful browser that any web-surfer would be wise to consider, in my opinion, at least. If you’re interested, Camino can be downloaded at http://www.caminobrowser.org.

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Music, photos and CTAs

So, it’s been about a week from my last post… and on a cold Monday morning, locked deep inside the bowels of a shady EMS (Economic Management Sciences) classroom… 20 kids sharpened their pens and began to work on a volatile (and constantly changing) government’s single greatest torture device to date – a vile, horrible thing known only as a CTA.

Haha… well, as my introduction tells you in a rather epic manner, Term 4 at school has started, and to the poor, unfortunate kids in Grade 9 around the country of South Africa, that means only one thing – CTAs (Continuous Task Assesment) which means in almost every lesson we have, we’re forced to work through a booklet with every task inside for a mark which composes most of our term mark (other than exams) and the catch being that it isn’t something we’re really allowed to study for – we have to apply the knowledge we’ve learnt over the course of the year to the situation given to us in the paper. So over all, that’s been my week at school! It’s been a little stressful knowing we’re doing something for marks every lesson, but I suppose I’d just have to build a bridge and get over it – a

lthough on Monday my friend Rahul and I actually managed to find a spelling error – (a rather nerdish observation) so that’s Grade 9 – 1 Government – 0!

However, over the past week I’ve finally gotten stuck into making some music in Apple’s GarageBand, predominately using the Musical typing featuring to compose my own loops, as I can’t play a musical instrument, and I must say I’m both really coming along nicely with this (after composing my first real song) and I’m also really impressed with GarageBand’s professional audio production capabilities – it’s another item to add onto my list of why I’m a Mac user and addict! Hopefully this will be something that will really help me with my video-editing and soundtrack work, and it’ll be a great new way to relax and have some fun!

Changing the subject completely, I’ve also gotten stuck into image editing – and I’ve downloaded the Iris for Mac application (a really fantastic app that fills in all the little things iPhoto can’t do – and using them together provides a great way to get some really great photos going! At the moment, I’m mostly working on and editing photos of myself (mostly to create my next big profile picture on Facebook!) and I must give credits to Iris – I’ve been considering Photoshop for a long time, but for the things I do with an image-editing program, it’d be like using a chainsaw to cut wrapping paper, and Iris neatly complete the tasks I need it to, so if you ever need a decent photo editing program, Iris is my suggestion!

So, anywho, I think it’s about time I went back to GarageBand – I desperately want to finish the song I’ve now started, so, cheerio!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for XBOX 360 Review

Approximately a year ago, I made my parents swear an oath that when Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was released, they would buy it for me, no matter the cost or whether my behavior had been up to scratch!

So, here I am, a year later, now in possession of the game and having played through it twice. As a huge Star Wars fan, I’ve enjoyed most of the games Lucasarts have released over the past few years, such as, for instance, Republic Commando or Empire At War, which is one of the reasons why I followed The Force Unleashed‘s development with great interest. Even going so far as to research game engines such as Euphoria or DMM to further enhance my understanding of what the player might be able to accomplish while playing through the game.

This sparked my interest even further, as The Force Unleashed, as proclaimed by Lucasarts, is the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, and seems to be Lucasart’s best effort to date. During the prologue of The Force Unleashed, the player plays as Darth Vader on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk, rather than his spotlighted Secret Apprentice, codenamed Starkiller. The prologue is a fantastic way to wet your appetite for the rest of the game, as thanks to the DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) engine, wood splinters, glass shatters and metal warps realistically, with out having to conform to a standard animation for a 3D model in the game. Simply speaking, your actions affect everything around you realistically, can harm both you and your enemies, and ensure that each play-through is different, thus adding loads of replay value. The Havok engine, which is most prominently seen in the Halo series (my personal favourite series of games of all time) allows objects to know their (and each others) dimensions, weight and size, which works well with DMM, literally allowing the player to use his surroundings against his enemy. 

You start off the game with fore core powers, Grip, Force Push, Lightning and Repulse. These are useful enough to vanquish your foes, but as you play through and gain experience, these powers can be amped up to amazing degrees. The player also makes extensive use of his/her lightsaber, and similarly with Force powers, a dizzying array of combos and attacks can be gained with experience, with the player even being able to use to force and their lightsaber together in some instances.

As the player plays through the game, new outfits and lightsaber crystal colors can be unlocked, which also add to replay value. (My personal favorite outfit being the Jedi Adventure Robes). There are many boss fights throughout the game, the first few primarily being Jedi that you, as Starkiller, are on the hunt for. 

I won’t carry on further on this subject as spoilers are abound, but if you are a Star Wars fan, you’ll find The Force Unleashed’s story line extremely powerful and subtly moving, depending on which choice you take. 

All in all, I find the Force Unleashed an incredible game with great replay value, amazing Force powers and lightsaber skills, and an unbelievable story-line. If you’re a Star Wars fan with a next-gen console such as a Playstation 3 or an XBOX 360, I definitely suggest adding The Force Unleashed to your collection of games; It’s been worth the wait.