By Collin Allen

Half-Life 2

December 12, 2005

I finally finished playing Half-Life 2 on the Xbox (as evidenced by the lack of updates around here), and it is outstanding. I’m not a gamer by any means, but I do enjoy a well-crafted piece of work when I find it. Though Half-Life 2 has been out in the Windows world for quite some time, the Xbox release is rather new and it’s obvious why the port took so long: Valve put a tremendous amount of work into making this one of the best Xbox titles to date. The level of detail is one that I’ve never seen before on the Xbox, with accurate physics, impressive lip-syncing, clever map design, and some of the best textures anywhere. Eye candy aside, the gameplay varies between charging through enemies, avoiding their AI, and solving puzzles – all of which help create an enjoyable gameplay experience. If you haven’t yet played Half-Life 2 on the Xbox, check it out. Even for a non-gamer like myself, it was a real treat to play.

iPod Dock Connectors

December 5, 2005

I purchased a few iPod Dock connectors from a fellow on the iPodLinux forums so I can get started on my next iPod project. I’m thinking about designing a PCB to solder the connectors to, making it easier to plug into a breadboard. Any recommendations for an extremely low-run PCB manufacturer?

Swedish Campground

December 4, 2005

A great little short story at explains the origins of the Command key symbol.

“There are too many Apples on the screen! It’s ridiculous! We’re taking the Apple logo in vain! We’ve got to stop doing that!”

After we told him that we had to display the command key symbol with each item that had one, he told us that we better find a different symbol to use instead of the Apple logo, and, because it affected both the manuals and the keyboard hardware, we only had a few days to come up with something else.

Read the rest

Close Other Tabs

December 3, 2005

Continuing with the recent trend of Mac Tips here at Command-Tab, this is one I recently discovered for Safari. Starting with a window containing multiple tabs, you can close all tabs except the current one by Option-clicking the current tab’s close button. It’s a bit odd, considering a regular click on that very same button will close what you’re viewing, but like most Mac applications, holding Option reverses the behavior. So, if you’re ever looking for not-so-obvious features in Mac apps, hold Option and see what goodies the thoughtful developers coded in for your surprise.

As a bonus, hover over a link and read the text in Safari’s status bar (enabled in View, Show Status Bar; highly recommended to have open). By default, links open in the same tab or window you’re viewing. Now try pressing Command, Option, or Shift and watch the status text change to see the myriad of available options. Try combinations, too!

Firefox: G4 and G5 Optimized

December 2, 2005

Firefox has finally reached version 1.5 for all available systems and is a highly recommended upgrade for all owners of this great browser. There are also G4 and G5 optimized versions for those with the appropriate processors. Lastly, John Nunemaker has some tips to make Firefox look more like a Mac application and hide its multi-platform feel (which is about the only drawback making me use Safari nearly full time).