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New Gmail Features, WoW is a Life Changing Experience, Windows 7: My Second Impressions

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If you use Gmail, i have some good news for you. Google is working on a new video chat plug-in that will change the resolution of your video chatting from 640 x 480, all the way up to high-definition. It'll be interesting to see how "high-def" it will be, but i'm still excited for this feature. I read a couple of days ago, that Gmail had to go with a lower video quality because they were taking a "quantity over quality" approach. Moving on to more new Gmail features. There will be a contact manager, which will remove your duplicate contacts. Google may also be working on being able to attach bigger files onto your e-mails. We'll see what happens in the Gmail world, soon.

This is a scary picture, representing a guy's timeline, playing WoW. He increasingly gets fatter over the months / years. I found this on Digg and the title was, "How WOW Changed My Life." Apparently, this picture is a fake because his ear spacers actually get smaller throughout the years, but that's besides the point. The Digg title really had me reflecting on how WoW changed my life. It all started on Feb 1st of 2007. My friend told me to try out a 10-day trial on WoW and i told myself, "What the hell? I have to pay every month, what a rip-off." But, like many users, i was addicted as soon as i logged on. I bought the original game and the expansion (The Burning Crusade) the next day. I started out as a Dwarf Hunter (Arnaridis) on the server, Hellscream. I hit level 70 and still didn't know much about the game (L2P). My girlfriend (at the time, Hazel) usually called me while i was raiding and i'd tell her that i was playing WoW. I was playing about 8 hours on a school night, back then. As i said, my girlfriend would call me and would always tell me to stop playing or, "Get off for like 5 minutes," but i'd refuse because you can't just leave in the middle of a raid. I played WoW for a bit over a year and a half because one day, i realized how much money i've spent on the game. I was sitting in Religion class when my buddy asked how much i've spent on WoW. After calculating how much i've spent (around $360 CAD), i quit the game, when my play-time finished. Oh yeah, i also starved myself everyday to play the game because i didn't have a job at the time. I saved up the $20 CAD every week, which i got as lunch money from my mom. My girlfriend, Nikki, also had a [small] part to me quitting WoW, so i'll also mention that. WoW greatly altered my grades and had me sleeping about 3-4 hours a day (that hasn't changed). Ever since i started WoW, my body has become used to sleeping late nights and i actually like that. I was an hooked on WoW until i started, until about a month before i quit. But, i realized that i can't be going into University playing this game or it will ruin my future. That's where Nikki comes in, she made me realize that there are more important things to life than that stupid (forgive me WoW) game. Anyways, that was me rambling about WoW for a bit, let's move on to Windows 7. I may continue this WoW-rant one day.

Windows 7. I did my first impressions on it yesterday (here) and it was all smooth. Windows 7 is running completely stable on my laptop and desktop. I'm loving the new "Homegroup" option in the Control Panel because instead of downloading the same program over and over, i can now download it once and share it across my network. This is useful for me because if i download too many things, i will go over my Rogers 60GB download limit a month. But now, i bring my laptop to school, download all of my essentials there, and then share it, using Homegroup, to my desktop and my other laptop. I do have an issue with Google Gadgets on Windows 7 and it's because of the new taskbar. There are just some minor visual issues when displaying the Google Gadgets icon as a "Deskbar." Other than that, Google Gadgets itself, works fine. The boot-up on my Vista laptop is much, much faster running Windows 7. Currently, i do not know how much Windows 7 improves on the laptop's battery, but i will find out soon. Oh yeah, i also love the Windows Wallpaper slideshow. There is a new Windows 7 feature that enables you to automatically change your wallpaper after a certain time (you can change it). For me, i have 3 wallpaper background that change every 10 minutes. I am still looking for a couple of more nature-based wallpapers, to add to my collection. Another problem with Windows 7 is driver compatibility. This is a small issue and it doesn't really have anything to do with Windows 7 itself, but instead Windows Vista. Since, Windows 7 uses Vista-based drivers, my old webcam is currently, not supported. The video capability of the webcam is working, but it's integrated microphone doesn't work at all. I've been trying to find an alternate solution, but as of right now, i haven't found one yet. If it matters to you, the webcam i am using is the Logitech QuickCam Messenger. Luckily, i have 2 webcams and the other one works perfectly fine. On my laptop, i am using "Small Icons" on the taskbar because the bigger taskbar covers up too much of the screen. On my desktop computer though, i am using the regular icons because i have enough room on my screen for it. That is all for my Windows 7 review of the day. I will talk more about it again, if i have anything interesting to mention. My friend, Richard, mentions that Windows Media Center got a good overhaul, but i haven't checked it out yet.

Gmail; New Features: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/01/upcoming-gmail-features-contact.html
How WOW Changed My Life (and picture): http://digg.com/pc_games/How_WOW_Changed_My_Life
Windows 7 Boot Screen picture: http://www.askvg.com/download-new-windows-7-beta-boot-screen-for-windows-xp-and-vista/

Nintendo Owns Game Industry Growth in 2008, No GTA 5 This Year, Worm Has Now Hit 9M PCs, Dell and SSD in the Future

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Today, i've had a pretty busy morning. I've already vacuumed my whole house. It took a while, but it's alright. I'm actually cold in my house because i have to resort to wearing shorts right now. The pants i usually wear are in the dryer, so i have to wait about an hour until they are all dry. While i was eating this morning, i caught a glimpse of the introduction to Barack Obama's inauguration. Anyways, time for the daily news.

Speaking of Barack Obama, he actually supports the Wii. The makers of the Wii, Nintendo (duh!), have spoke out and said that they are "99% responsible for the [gaming] industry's growth [in 2008]." Nintendo's hardware "sold more than 20 million units in the U.S. last year, with 132 million software units sold on the company's platforms." In 2007, Nintendo only sold around 15 million consoles and portables, so in 2008, they had a huge increase. "That increase in sales, Nintendo says, is 99% of the reason the video game industry saw revenues increase by $3.35 billion last year." Incredible statement from Nintendo and there is also a nice pie chart for everyone. Nintendo owns. I still don't like the Wii or the DS / DSi, just in case you're wondering.

A couple of days ago, i talked about a rumour about a new Grand Theft Auto 5 possibly coming out later this year (here). The makers of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar, have stepped up and denied all rumours of a Grand Theft Auto 5 release this year. "For Xbox 360 and DS gamers, at least, there's no shortage of GTA loving this year. The DLC for GTA IV, the Lost and Damned, is on its way, and GTA: Chinatown Wars will be released this March." At least there is still some good news from Rockstar this year, right?

A couple of days ago, i also talked about a Microsoft worm that infected 1.1 million PCs in under 24 hours (here). Well, i have more news on that worm, called Downadup. After just 4 days, Downadup has now, reportedly, hit over 9 million PCs. Downadup also has another name, Conficker. This Microsoft worm actually infects a hole that Microsoft already patched up. How does Downadup (Conficker) infect so many PCs then? Because one-third of all Windows PC users have not installed this patch, which was released last October. "Those PCs are the ones being hijacked by the worm." So, if you haven't updated your Windows PC, i would think that this is a good time to do that. This is another reason why you should keep your Windows Update and all of your anti-virus / anti-spyware programs up-to-date.

Dell is in the news today, regarding SSDs. The Dell XPS M1330 and M1730 laptops now have an option for you to install a 256GB SSD on your model. SSD's (Solid-State Drives) are fairly new technology. "Solid-state drives are generally faster at getting data than [HDDs] hard-disk drives, but pricing is a hurdle for consumers." In our computer / laptop, we store all of our information onto our hard-drves, which are HDDs. Currently, we are trying to make a move towards SDDs. SDDs are much faster and also much more compact than HDDs. But, the SSDs main flaw is that they are, in some cases, 10 times pricier than HDDs. 99% of PC owners, right now, are using HDDs in their computer, but soon (meaning a couple of years) that will change. "Currently the price of consumer-grade SSD costs from $2 to $3.45 per gigabyte, with hard drives going for about 38 cents per gigabyte, according to Gartner Inc. and iSuppli Corp."

Nintendo Owns Gaming Industry (and picture): http://kotaku.com/5133243/nintendo-says-its-responsible-for-99-of-game-industry-growth-in-2008
No Grand Theft Auto 5: http://ps3.qj.net/Rockstar-Grand-Theft-Auto-V-rumor-was-just-a-rumor/pg/49/aid/128093
Downadup Microsoft Worm: http://www.pcworld.com/article/157858/downadup_conficker.html?tk=rss_news
Dell and SSD (and picture): http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10144985-64.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5
SSD in the Future: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=Storage&articleId=9126238&taxonomyId=19&pageNumber=1