Wednesday, November 26, 2008

18 Undiscovered Websites Every Gamer Should Know

All credits go to "GAME FORUM -ADMIN"

Others, but what about the great, lesser-known gaming sites?

This post introduces 18 great gaming sites you might not have seen before. Whether you’re looking for freebies, music, laughs or oddities, there’s something here for occasional and hardcore gamers alike.

1. Overclocked Remix
is a community hub of users who painstakingly remix and arrange video game music. There are thousands of tracks available for download. If you like the soundtrack to your favorite game, you can bet it has been remixed and reworked here.

2. The Freeware Indie Games Database
offers just under 1,000 play-tested freeware titles from independent game developers. The games here are innovative and unique. Some of them are bound to be re-developed as Wii titles.

3. POKE is a light-weight utility that allows you to cheat in almost any single player game, whether it’s already published or to be published in the future.

4.The Daedalus Project
gets into the minds of MMORPG players. The website’s author has surveyed over 35,000 gamers and provides a detailed break-down of his findings in areas such as the player life-cycle, making friends and status reversal. It’s fascinating stuff.

5.Gaming Magazines of the Pre-Internet Era
is a treasure trove for retro gamers. It links out to .PDF databases of old and out of print gaming magazines.

6. The Grand List of Role Playing Game Clichés
is a list of 100+ painful clichés any RPG fan would have encountered before. My favorite? The No! My beloved peasant village cliché: “The hero’s home town, city, slum, or planet will usually be annihilated in a spectacular fashion before the end of the game, and often before the end of the opening scene.”

7. GameCakes
is the website for people who love cake and video games. These game-themed cakes run the gamut, from the bizarre to the majestic. The scrumptious photos will have you baking your own cupcakes in no time.

8. CrazyPC
is the hardcore gamer’s place for computer accessories. All the neon, case mods, plexiglass, tubes and coolant fluid you can poke a memory stick at.

9. VGMusic
is host to 24,000+ midi versions of video game tracks from all your retro favorites: Megaman, Mario, Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, et al.

10. Build Your Own Gaming Computers
is a website dedicated to helping you… well, you can probably guess. Gaming rigs sell for thousands of dollars and learning to build your own can save you lots of cash. This website provides advice on the entire process, from choosing parts to installation.

11. Abandonia
offers thousands of abandonware DOS downloads. Abandonware essentially means games which aren’t sold anymore, prompting their release into the public domain. They’re the games you might have owned and loved as a child or teenager. Chances are you’ll find some old favorites here.

12. Jay is Games
sources out the best casual games and brings them directly to you. The blog’s authors sure know their stuff and their opinions are worth listening to. Subscribe to their feed for a daily stream of gorgeous, idle distractions.

13. Old Grandma Hardcore
is the blog of a foul-mouthed, lovable gamer grandma (with the pictures to prove it!). No, we’re not talking Brain Training and The Sims — we’re talking games like Bioshock and The Darkness. This grandma really is hardcore!

14. Insert Credit
is a multi-author Japanese games and culture blog specializing in breaking news from the land of the rising sun.

15. Replacementdocs
is an online archive of .PDF game manuals for thousands of popular games. If you’ve experienced the frustration of losing the manual to your favorite title, replacementdocs should have a solution for you.

16. Wonderland
is an odds-and-ends gaming blog mainly known for its cool gamecrafts. From Darth Vader backpacks to Quake coasters, this blog is proof that gamers are an arty bunch.

17. The Speed Demos Archive
is host to hundreds of videos documenting the efforts of those dedicated individuals who’ve conquered games in the shortest time possible. Watch epic games like Half Life 2 and Icewind Dale beaten before your lunch-break is over.

18. The System Requirements Lab
analyzes your computer, benchmarking it against the minimum requirements of a specific product. Ever wondered if your computer can handle that gorgeous new release? Now you’ll know.

Update: Here are some more great websites that you might not have seen before, suggested from our readers]GGMania]MultiPlayerGames, Paper, Shotgun Helper

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coffee with an Italian stallion

SINGAPORE: You could say this Italian has played quite a part in Singapore’s nation-building.

After all, Roberto Pregarz has been credited with single-handedly saving the Raffles Hotel — not the swish, super five-star establishment on Beach Road that it has become, but the iconic yet genteelly-going-to seed hotel it once was.

Famous it was, but with an owner who was unwilling to invest in it, business was poor. When the young Pregarz was made assistant general manager and handed the keys, his predecessor also told him: “Raffles will close in six months.”

His only chance at success then was his creativity. He exercised that to such an extent that despite his lack of prior hotel experience, Raffles not only survived the six months, Pregarz himself stayed and almost single-handedly operated the hotel for 22 years until it closed in early 1989 for extensive renovations.

It celebrated its centennial under him and in that year — 1986 — it was hailed as the “most famous hotel in the world”.

His achievements have been well-recognised all over the world and what he did to revive, resuscitate (and at times reinvent) the allure of what is arguably Singapore’s most well-known icon is chronicled in books and press reports. But how did an Italian man with a then shaky command of English do it?

The “human touch”, he says.

“My staff and I both spoke broken English ... (but) we had the same mentality. We understood and respected each other no matter what our jobs were. My job was not to give orders, but to help them. I had to prove to them that I could (help them).”

That is why during these trying times, Pregarz is fretting about how where everything is heading, as to his eyes it all seems to lack the “human touch” principle he operates by.

At Raffles, he wined and dined film stars and famous authors, but was also not above himself doing the dishes when the dishwasher broke down.

What is needed, he says, is a return to those days when everyone seemed to have a common purpose — nation building.

“The Minister Mentor and his colleagues were building the Singaporean,” he says. These days, he laments, some policymakers are “not down-to-earth with the bread-and-butter issues of most ordinary Singaporeans.

As he puts it, “their vision is so global that they cannot see their own housing estate. Investment and money seems more important to them than quality of life”.

“We have done extremely well for 40 years without casinos, why we need them now?” he asks. These will only create bigger problems for the new generation.

Singapore to him is home and Italy is a “place to visit to drink wine, eat pizzas, enjoy the sceneries, the arts”.

But Pregarz, 69, who married a Singaporean and is the father of two and a grandfather of one, wants to know: Who will be the Singaporean in 10 years time?

“We are now importing unskilled labourers while our skilled ones are being exported,” he says. “Singapore is still one of the best countries to work, to live and to raise a family, but for how long more if the present trend continues?”

The higher-than-forecasted revenue from the goods and service tax and the money from fines should be used to help ordinary Singaporeans.

“Why these extras cannot be used to help the citizens during a crisis? Why do we need to charge GST on essential food items?” he questions passionately.

At the heart of his activism — Pregarz writes to the media regularly — is the Singapore he wants his children and grandchildren to live in. He treasures the Singapore that allowed for him and his wife, Helena to save part of their modest salaries to buy their own first home.

“My hope is that our leaders will study and follow the path of their predecessors, the builders of Singapore. Do not experiment. Stop and ponder on what we have achieved. Do not follow the Western style democracy. This is made to protect the delinquents, not the law-abiding citizens.”

He does not let up even when he is on his annual sojourn to Italy. Pregarz — who has been twice bestowed the title of cavaliere (roughly the equivalent of a knighthood or the Legion d’ Honneur) by the Italian government — takes that government to task as well.

His wife, a retired teacher, says: “It could be graffiti on the walls, beggars in the streets... When his friends start seeing his letters in the local newspaper, they say ‘Oh, Roberto is in town again’.”

Pregarz even had a part to play in giving Singapore the famous violinist Vanessa Mae. It was at Raffles Hotel that she was conceived.

“Yes, yes,” he says delighting in relating how it came about. “Her mother Pamela was playing the piano at the Palm Court that time and her father was the food and beverage manager.”

Ah, the human touch... -

New word 'Meh' enters English dictionary

Characters perform on stage at 'The Simpsons' Panel.

LONDON: "Meh", a word which indicates a lack of interest or enthusiasm, became the latest addition to the Collins English Dictionary on Monday.

The word, which beat hundreds of other suggestions from members of the public, will feature in the 30th anniversary edition of the dictionary, which is to be published next year.

Though the word apparently originates from North America, Collins said it was now widely used on the Internet, and was increasingly seen in British spoken English.

The dictionary entry for "meh" will say it can be used as an interjection to indicate indifference or boredom, as an adjective to describe something as boring or mediocre, or to show an individual is apathetic or unimpressed.

The word was popularised by the US comedy animation series "The Simpsons", where characters Bart and Lisa use it to express indifference when their father Homer suggests a day trip.

It was submitted by Erin Whyte from Nottingham, central England, and a panel of Collins language experts singled it out from the hundreds of other submissions because of its frequency of use in modern English.

"This is a new interjection from the US that seems to have inveigled its way into common speech over here," said Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries.

"It shows people are increasingly writing in a register somewhere in between spoken and written English."

Other words submitted to Collins' campaign - which was launched in June and called on members of the public to suggest words they used in everyday English - were jargonaut (a fan of jargon); frenemy (an enemy disguised as a friend) and huggles (a hybrid of hugs and snuggles). - AFP/de

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tigers kill zoo worker in Singapore

By Khushwant Singh
Mr Nordin Mondong, 32, from Sarawak, is believed to have fallen into the moat surrounding the White tiger enclosure at about 12.15pm and was immediately pounced on by the three big cats weighing over 100 kg each. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
A MALAYSIAN cleaner was mauled to death by three tigers which pounced on him when he fell into the moat in the enclosure at the Singapore Zoo in Mandai on Thursday.

The man has been identified as Mr Nordin Montong, 32, from Sarawak. His family has been notified of his death, said the Singapore Zoo in a statement.

As a precautionary measure, the Zoo has temporarily closed the White Tiger exhibit.

The Zoo said the man, a contract worker, jumped into the moat at the tiger enclosure at 12.15pm and was pounced on by the three big cats weighing over 100 kg each.

Terrified visitors near the section watched the vicious attack in horror and screamed.

The commotion attracted the attention of a keeper who was nearby. Other keepers sprang to Mr Nordin's rescue by distracting the tigers.

The keepers managed to separate the Mr Nordin from the tiger.

"While waiting for the ambulance, our vets attended to him," said Ms Giswajit Guha, the Zoo's assistant director.

The ambulance arrived at 12.45pm but the mauled worker had died of injuries to his neck and body.

Mr Nordin started working at the Zoo in June.

It is believed he was not supposed to be in the Tiger enclosure and was assigned to clean the Chimpanzee section on Thursday.

He was seen behaving in an agitated manner before he fell into the moat.

"Our heartfelt condolences go to the worker's family and we will provide his family with whatever assistance they need during this period," said Ms Guha.

Police and the Zoo are investigating the incident.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is it good or not ??

Fewer seats on this MRT train

MORE trains with about a third of their seats removed will ply the MRT tracks from next week, even as commuters yesterday said they found the trains no less crowded as a result.

An SMRT train with 84 of its 300 seats taken out made its debut 1-1/2 weeks ago.

One such train will be added to the network every week from next week, so that by the end of January, 10 modified trains will be in use along the SMRT's North-South and East-West lines during the morning peak hours.

Say goodbye to Maldives

Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed, a former political prisoner, was sworn in Tuesday after he unseated Asia's longest-serving leader in the country's first multi-party elections two weeks ago. He inherits an island nation with several problems.

Foremost among them: The very likely possibility that the Maldives will sink under water if the current pace of climate change keeps raising sea levels.

The Maldives is an archipelago of almost 1,200 coral islands located south-southwest of India. Most of the islands lie just 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has forecast a rise in sea levels of at least 7.1 inches (18 cm) by the end of the century.

The island was badly hit by the December 2004 tsunami, which killed an estimated 273,800 people and left thousands missing across Asia and Africa.

In the Maldives itself, at least 82 people were killed and 26 unaccounted for from a population just over 270,000, according to the Maldives Disaster Management Center. Sixty-nine islands were completely flooded and a further 30 islands half flooded.

The capital of Male was also flooded, although sea walls protected it from further devastation. The government has calculated that creating a similar barrier around the rest of the country would cost too much. Video Watch Maldives president vow to save the nation. »

Resorts World at Sentosa starts hiring for Universal Studios

SINGAPORE: Resorts World at Sentosa wants to hire 2,300 people for its theme park operations by the second quarter of next year.

Its assistant vice-president for Communications, Robin Goh said the company has started to fill 300 managerial and supervisory positions for the Universal Studio operations here.

The integrated resort will send 100 of them to the Universal Studios in Orlando, US for about four months of training. Mr Goh said some of the 200 managers will spend about two weeks there.

He said this will cost Resorts World at Sentosa about S$5 million and is part of the company's training budget.

This news comes less than a month since Marina Bay Sands Resort announced its massive recruitment drive.

Resorts World at Sentosa confirms it is on track to open in early 2010.

Mr Goh said the integrated resort will also keep its promise of offering 10,000 jobs where Singaporeans will get priority in the hiring. Of the 10,000 jobs, 30 per cent or 3,000 jobs will go to the Universal Studios operations here.

In addition, Resorts World is also working with four polytechnics - Temasek, Ngee Ann, Nanyang and Singapore Polytechnics.

They are planning to send about 100 of the poly students to the Universal Studios in Orlando for internships starting next year. They will spend about four months there.

When the students return home, they may get a job at the Universal Studios in Singapore. - CNA/vm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

World's largest natural mirror

Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 km² (4,085 square miles). It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, 3,650 meters high. When it is covered with water, the Salar de Uyuni reflects the sky.

The salt is over 10 meters thick in the center. In the dry season, the salt planes are a completely flat expanse of dry salt, but in the wet season, it is covered with a thin sheet of water which makes the most beautiful reflections.

Salar de Uyuni is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, of which less than 25,000 tons is extracted annually.

You can see every mountain and every cloud reflected in the salar and you can't tell how far away they are or where the sky starts and ends.

Due to its large size, smooth surface, high surface reflectivity when covered with shallow water, and minimal elevation deviation, Salar de Uyuni makes an ideal target for the testing and calibration of remote sensing instruments on orbiting satellites used to study the Earth.

In addition to providing an excellent target surface the skies above Salar de Uyuni are so clear, and the air so dry, that the surface works up to five times better for satellite calibration than using the surface of the ocean.

info from

Singapore beat Italy at WCG2008 Finals

Singapore strikes gold in World Cyber Games (WCG)
Team also wins a silver at World Cyber Games
By Tham Yuen-C

A silver, came from Mr Danny Koo (left), 28 in the fighting game Virtua Fighter 5. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF RAPTURE GAMING

A SINGAPORE gamer has delivered the Republic's first gold medal from the World Cyber Games (WCG), considered the Olympics of the cybergaming world.

Mr Jared Beins, 19, beat Mr Steven Anderson from the United States to become the top player of mobile phone game Asphalt 4.

Another medal, a silver, came from Mr Danny Koo, 28 in the fighting game Virtua Fighter 5.

'The best part was waving the Singapore flag for the first time ever,' said Mr Beins, whose gaming name is Slyfoxlover.

The national serviceman was representing Singapore for the first time at an international meet, and had set aside two hours every day in the last three months to practise the car racing game.

It was the first year that mobile phone games were played at the WCG, in a bid to attract a wider range of competitors.

'They're very simple,' said Mr Beins, of mobile phone games. 'Anybody can figure them out.'

Aside from those, casual games such as Guitar Hero III and Fifa 2008 were also introduced this year.

Singapore fielded 19 gamers in nine games at the annual tournament's grand finals in Cologne, Germany. Some 800 players from 78 countries competed in 14 computer, console and mobile games such as Warcraft III and Halo 3.

Singapore's other medal, from another WCG newbie, Mr Koo, was hard-fought.

'When my teammate Wilson [Chia] lost against the US, I was really nervous,' he said.

Players assume different characters with different skills in the hand-to-hand combat game. The business development manager of a fine-dining restaurant lost in the final round to Japan's Hiromiki Kumada, the country's top player.

'He's won a lot of national tournaments,' said Mr Koo, who went to Japan in August to spar with the gamers there.

To compete on the world stage, players first have to win their regional championships.

The wins put Singapore in the top seven of the medal tally - behind gaming powerhouses like first place-winner South Korea which was followed by the Netherlands and the US - and more than made up for the disappointing performance at last year's tournament.

At the WCG finals in Seattle last year, all but one of Singapore's top gamers crashed out after the first round.

'We're an underdog, no one expected us to get two medals,' said Mr Herman Ng, managing director of Rapture Gaming and manager of the Singapore team.