Safari, Qemu, and Zombies

Yet another week has passed, so it’s time for another week in review – the 8th instalment already. This week was marked by the realisation that Qemu and DOSBox on mobile phones are cool, that Apple is working hard on Safari 4, and that Microsoft appears to be more concerned about Linux than about Apple. And, of course, Haiku got Flash. This week’s My Take is about zombies.

Week in Review

The biggest news this week is of course that Haiku got Flash support Apple released the first beta release of Safari 4, for both Windows and Mac OS X. Packed with a literally insane amount of improvements, people commended the browser for its speed and excellent standards compliance. The interface changes, however, were met with a lot of resistance, with several articles noting the various shortcomings. Quickly, it became clear that the traditional layout could be restored with a few terminal commands, so let’s hope Apple will add a little checkbox for this in the settings panel.

This week we also realised that Qemu and DOSBox are pretty neat tools for doing all sorts of useless things with mobile phones. DOSBox allows you to run Windows 3.1 on Symbian devices, and Qemu to run System 7 on your iPhone. While the usefulness is pretty much non-existent, we did get to discuss beer and girls for once on OSNews. We’re flexible like that.

Another interesting bit this month was that Steve Ballmer explained that Microsoft sees Linux as a bigger threat to the company than Apple. Microsoft thinks that Linux has a higher market share than Apple on the desktop, which could be true if you look at the worldwide market. Despite this, Microsoft still sees piracy as its biggest competitor.

We also found out that Haiku got Flash support through a port of Gnash, and that Xfce released version 4.6.0 of their Gtk+ desktop, packed with changes, fixes, and new features. We also got a few glimpses into the future of Chrome, and Microsoft detailed some of the changes between the windows 7 beta and the upcoming RC.

My Take: OMG zombies!!1!! Oh noes!!1

I can’t imagine that it took Valve too much time, imagination, and resources to slap Left 4 Dead together. Despite the total lack of a story or any form of depth or character development, Left 4 Dead surprised me by being so much fun to play.

A good friend of mine owns an Xbox 360 just like I do, and we decided to be on the lookout for a multiplayer game we both liked so we could play together. Since the game I’m waiting for has been delayed for 2 months (Sacred 2), now seemed like as good a time as ever to both buy Left 4 Dead, and enjoy some decent zombie killing fun on XBox Live.

I’m going to review the game properly for OSNews once he and I complete the four campaigns on expert mode (at which point my social life will probably resemble a dead squirrel), but there are a few things I’d like to say already. First, the game’s performance is very, very good. You can have 50-70 zombies running towards you, but there’s no choppiness or lag – probably thanks to the old but tried and true Source engine. In any case, the game remains smooth at all times.

Second, this is the first FPS game on the console that didn’t make me long for a more precise aiming instrument. The game’s movements are so smooth that aiming with the analog stick is very, very comfortable. It remains a mystery to me why high-profile games like Fallout 3 can’t achieve the level of movement smoothness that Left 4 Dead displays.

Third, it sucks having to pay to play online. I know this keeps console prices down, but gaming is already expensive enough (64 EUR for a new game, like Left 4 Dead), but paying for online play just irks me.

In any case, I can recommend Left 4 Dead. Maybe we should set up an OSNews lobby one of these days?


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