If it’s good enough for Shatner – Old school computer advertising, as dug out of the back issues of vintage computer magazines. William Shatner, Roger Moore, and the cast of M*A*S*H all offered their images to promote various relics of the golden era of computing.
Is black the new green? – Do websites with black backgrounds use less energy than bright ones? The team from Dialogue Box tackle the issue of green web design and attempt to explode the myths surrounding energy usage and website colours.
Smaller than mp3 – Not content with shrinking music down to mp3 size, researchers at the University of Rochester have formulated a solution to recreate sounds through recreation of the physical attributes of an instrument and its player to store the sounds in files 1,000 times smaller than current mp3 standards.
Ten stupid ideas that earned a million – From pixel advertising to vegetarian wishbones, through HIV-positive dating and glasses for dogs, here’s a list of some of the most stupid ideas to have earned a fortune for their creators. (Russian)
Happily, one of the best things about the Mozilla Foundation’s flagship browser Firefox, is the sheer breadth of additional functionality provided by an active development community in the form of addons or plugins. There’s a great range in terms of ease-of-use, function and stability, some which are so useful as to almost warrant standard inclusion, others merely worth playing with from time to time. It should be noted of course that adding plugins can cause problems with Firefox’s stability and security, though many of those listed are fairly mature projects and should not pose much of a risk. Here are a few I’ve dabbled with from time to time:
Adblock or Adblock Plus – There’s fair advertising, and then there’s frankly unreasonable advertising. I can see the merits of allowing sites to earn funding through the placement of adverts related to their products, whether they come from Google or elsewhere, but some web adverts go too far. The popup plague of yesteryear might have been largely beaten back, but that doesn’t prevent wiley coders from placing wholly obtrusive flash adverts in every nook they can find. Unfortunately their actions can only serve to give web advertising a bad reputation, and drive people to finding ways of blocking adverts wholesale, obtrusive or otherwise. Of course there will always be a small minority of web users who cannot stand to see web adverts in any form, but for their purposes, and the folks seeking refuge from the advertising bombardment, Adblock/Adblock Plus will fulfil their every need.
To tell the truth, the history of these two projects confuses me, save to say that at one time or another one or both of these plugins has been under development. As I understand the current situation, Adblock Plus is the more highly recommended, as it’s more heavily featured, comes with some default filters to subscribe to which can get rid of most adverts with the minimum of fuss for the end user, and has a much reduced resource footprint to boot (pardon the pun).
Zool: An early example of in-game advertising
We should be clear about one thing. In-game advertising isn’t new. And not just the self-effacing, tongue-in-cheek form of advertising epitomised by the Loom™-toting pirate in LucasArts’ The Secret of Monkey Island. Anyone who remembers Zool from the early 1990s might recall the Chupa Chups sponsorship deal, and the FIFA series has been using advertising on their billboards for many years, though what with ‘image rights’ being big money for clubs and players alike, the football genre could be said to have entrenched itself in the realm of ‘reverse’ advertising.
Nevertheless, the presence of advertising in games has been pretty low key, considering the industry’s growth over the past decade or so. Advertising is not usually so slow to find its way into new forms of media entertainment, Internet advertising being the biggest example of recent times. So the news that in-game advertising rights for Counter-Strike (the ‘big one’ as far as non-MMORPGs is concerned) have been sold to IGA should only come as expected. Previously adverts for Valve’s flagship had been reserved for brief loading screens, an idea which apparently never took hold. Where Internet advertising has had much reaction to the point where many people block out adverts as a matter of course, this will be more difficult to achieve in such a gaming environment, and should it succeed, might result in future games featuring truly hard-coded advertising avenues.