Announcing Co-Optimus.com

I just got word about a new site, Co-Optimus.com, which seems to be the first site to focus solely on co-operative gaming on consoles and PCs alike. The official press release follows:

Easton, PA – January 28, 2008 – Nicholas Puleo, current Editor-in-Chief of EvilAvatar.com, has announced a new resource for Cooperative gaming aficionados, Co-Optimus.com.   Co-Optimus.com is your prime source in the co-op gaming world.  Co-op gaming allows 2 or more players to team up against the computer to achieve a goal.  There was almost 100 games released in 2007 with a co-op mode as well as a growing trend continuing into 2008 of developers putting cooperative modes into their games.  In fact, games like Electronic Arts’ Army of Two and Valve’s Left for Dead are being designed from the ground up as a co-op experience.  This has created a need for gamers to find out exactly what games have the co-op features they want, and gamers want to know how those games will play.

With virtually no other websites dedicated to co-op games, gamers are having a hard time finding the information they need for their co-op experience.  Co-Optimus.com fills this void by providing an extensive database of games that feature a co-op mode across nine platforms including the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii.  The site also features user reviews, ratings, and matchmaking as well as discussion forums to help find a buddy for all your co-op needs.

“Since Doom popularized cooperative play on the PC more almost 15 years ago, it’s been the absolute best way to enjoy a gaming experience,” says Puleo.  “Until now it was difficult to find information on cooperative games for any system, Co-optimus.com solves that problem.”
To celebrate the launch of Co-Optimus.com the site is giving away codes and discs for many popular Co-Op titles, including the recently released Burnout Paradise from Electronic Arts and Omega 5 for Xbox Live Arcade.

About Co-Optimus.com
Co-Optimus.com was founded by Nick Puleo, Editor-in-Chief of Evil Avatar.com.  He’s been in that role for four years and has covered the games industry for six.  Puleo also manages TheWeeklyRelease.com, a website dedicated to video game, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-Ray, and movie release dates. 

In theory it is very similar to our very our local site The Xbox Lounge. I encourage you all to go over and take a peek.

[tags]Xbox 360, co-op[/tags]

Rock Band and Drumshhh

Rock BandOne game that I’m eagerly awaiting to hit the South African local retail shelves is Rock BandTM. The game allows you to form your own virtual band with lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and of course vocals. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever considered buying a drum set for home. One thing stopping me buying the real deal is because I have neighbours that wouldn’t take too kindly to me making a racket.

Now the Rock Band drum set isn’t quiet either, but at least you can control the volume of your TV or home theatre or simply play with headphones on if you are worried about the noise. The special edition kit comes with all of the instruments pictured below.

Rock Band instruments

And to make you drum set even quieter, a fellow Xbox MVP has developed a novel concept – self-adhesive felt pads called DrumshhhTM which reduce the volume of the drum set by about 50%.

Drumshhh

[tags]Xbox 360,Rockband[/tags]

Power to the people

I suppose its to be expected that an emerging country such as South Africa has to face so many challenges on its path forward but the recent power outages which Eskom, the national power utility, calls “load shedding” is actually just plain ridiculous. A while back Eskom implemented a load schedding schedule to reduce the strain on the national power grid as maintenance work needed to be done and there wasn’t enough power to go around. Either the planned summer maintenance was guise or we really are in trouble.

EskomLightEndOfTheTunnel

The power outages have been getting worse and worse and according to recent reports it is estimated that up to R2 billion is being lost on a daily basis due to the unexpected power outages. Most businesses would be able to plan around the supposed schedules but when they hit randomly its just not acceptable. As usual some people have injected a little humour.

 

EskomVsBush1

EskomVsBush2

EskomVsBush3

When will it end? Who knows! But I know that I’m doing my little bit to save on power consumption. I’m switching all my incandescent lighting to the longer lasting and more efficient energy saving globes and keeping lights off at home when not needed. I wonder what difference it would make if companies took the initiative and got rid of CRT monitors in favour of LCD monitors. Possibly government could provide some form of incentive in this regard.

[tags]Eskom,power,electricity,South Africa[/tags]

Free Xbox LIVE Arcade game announced

After the recent service issues that some users experienced with Xbox LIVE over the festive season a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game was announced and now we know what and when. The free game is Undertow worth 800 Microsoft Points and it will be available for FREE to all Xbox LIVE users (yes both silver and gold) from 12h00 on Wednesday the 23rd of January 2007 until 09h59 on Monday the 28th of January 2007.

[tags]Xbox LIVE Arcade,Undertow,Xbox LIVE[/tags]

South African Communities on Virtual Tech-Ed

A couple of us local community enthusiasts quickly put together a last minute idea for a Fish Bowl video at Tech-Ed 2007 South Africa last year. The video finally went live on the site today. You can watch it by clicking here.

Thanks to Hilton, Nicholas and Willie for helping get the word out there and putting South Africa on the international map.

Now does anyone know how to download a copy of the video for storage purposes?

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,video[/tags]

Linux running under Virtual Server 2005

image Recently we decided to put up a virtual Linux server in one of our hosting environments. The host machine is a Windows Server 2003 x64 edition running Virtual Server 2005 R2 x64 SP1. We chose to install CentOS 5.1 which is community Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

The installation went perfectly fine but I noticed that the system time was going way too fast. So the first thing I did was configure ntpd to synchronise the system time with an NTP time source. Unfortunately after about 12 hours the time was still about 40 minutes out, obviously traditional time synchonisation was not going to cut it. After a bit of searching I found this knowledge base article on the Linux kernel 2.6 clock source. I set the kernel option clock=pit which configures the Linux kernel to use the programmable interrupt timer, only to find that now the clock was too slow. Could it get any worse!

Then I recalled that Microsoft had been working on virtual machine additions for Linux and that one of the features was time synchronisation. Unfortunately they only officially support Red Hat and SuSE Linux so I took a long-shot and installed them anyway. I had to manually force install the RHEL RPM but it worked and now the time is perfectly synchronised with the host server – which of course is already NTP synchronised to the hosting environment’s NTP server.

[tags]Virtual Server 2005,Linux,CentOS,NTP,time synchronisation[/tags]

The Lone Server

image I just have to take my hat off to the Microsoft Windows Server team. If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you go take a peek at the The Lone Server Story featuring a humourous take on the last Windows Server 2003 server serving the microsoft.com website. Make sure you watch the video (or the longer version) as its rather funny how Microsoft can rip their own products off with comments like “babysit total losers like Windows ME”.

The only error I picked up in the video is the dude calling himself Windows Server 2000, it should be Windows 2000 Server.

[tags]Microsoft,Windows Server 2003,Windows Server 2008,humour[/tags]

Free Xbox LIVE Arcade game coming soon

Major Nelson has posted about a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game for all Xbox LIVE members which will be made available in the coming weeks. This freebie seems partly as a result of the recent Xbox LIVE service issues that users have experienced.

Dear Xbox LIVE Members:                                                                                                    

During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records.  This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service. 

As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break.  While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance.  I would like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked around the clock to return the service to a stable state. 

At the same time we would like to offer a token of our appreciation to all of you in celebration of record success for the service.  And as a thank you for your loyalty during this holiday period, we will be offering all of our Xbox LIVE members around the world access to a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game that will be available to download free of charge.  In the coming weeks we will be sharing the specific details of this offer with you. 

Thank you again for helping make Xbox LIVE everything that it is today! 

Sincerely,

Marc Whitten

General Manager, Xbox LIVE

Gamertag: Notwen

[tags]Xbox LIVE,XBLA[/tags]

Xbox MVP

I received an awesome e-mail on Tuesday from Microsoft. It read as follows:

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award!  The MVP Award is our way of saying thank you for promoting the spirit of community and enhancing people’s lives and the industry’s success every day.  Your extraordinary efforts in Xbox technical communities during the past year are greatly appreciated.

It seems like I’m actually the first Xbox MVP for the African continent which is really cool. This year will be an awesome year considering it has started off on such an amazing note. 🙂

[tags]MVP,Microsoft,Xbox[/tags]