Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on July 31, 2000 · Page 39
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 39

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Reno, Nevada
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Monday, July 31, 2000
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Page 39
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Reno Gazette-Journal 3E gadgets Hk gacnraes The Cutting Edge Of Entertainment Monday, July 31, 2000 Game sucks you in, makes you care Game: Deus Ex Price: $39.95 Category: Action Developer: Ion Storm Publisher: Eidos Ranking: Deus Ex is, flat out, the best action game on the market today. This is for one simple reason: depth of game play. There are just so many things to do and so many ways of doing them that it never gets boring. Action, strategy, role playing, adventure they're all there. First, the story. A plague is upon the land, and the government is hoarding vaccine necessary for survival. Only the elite and politically favored have access to it. (No, this is not a Cory Farley column.) There are numerous underground resistance forces trying to steal vaccine and distribute it to less fortunate victims. Your job is to combat them. You are JC Denton, an operative for a shady government agency that sends you on missions that get less ethical as the story progresses. You eventually find yourself enmeshed in enough conspiracies, double TODD CHAPMAN PC Games dealings and moral dilemmas to make Ross Perot's ears spin. You walk, run, sneak, climb ' and swim. You gain essential information from talking to soldiers, bums, conspirators, prostitutes and drug dealers. You read papers, hack into computers, pick locks and bypass security grids. Yes, there are plenty of "toss the grenade and slam the door" situations, but strategy and cunning are often more effective. You earn experience points and upgrades according to your accomplishments. You choose how to distribute them among your potential specialties. If you want to develop brute force and heavy weapons skills, go for it. I preferred stealth and computer hacking. (Surprise.) The mood is dark and brooding. Night time cityscapes with familiar touches from New York, Hong Kong and Paris predominate. The music is amazing. Slow and tense while you're exploring, then suddenly frantic when you stumble into a gunfight. It enhances the atmosphere beautifully. (Aaa! The Atmosphere!) As I've said in this column before, what gamers want is immersion. Environment and characters that suck you in and ; make you care. This game delivers big time. I found myself stealing vaccine and giving it to ; victims on the side. The amazing thing is that they would thank me and go off to share it with others. Later on, bad guys trying to shoot me would find their view obstructed by the same bums, or some prostitute . would sashay up to me and say "Watch out. There are three terrorists waiting for you around the corner." Don't let the Ion Storm label scare you. After the execrable "Daikatana" and the embarrassing "Dominion," they finally got this one right. In real life, Reno heart surgeon Todd Chapman has never had anyone sashay up to him and ' say anything. E-mail chapmanaci.net. pts Complete information on all weekly Business Licenses, Statistics, Activities and Construction information and subscriptions for the RENO BUILDER may be obtained by writing Reno Builders Exchange, Inc., 500 Ryland Street, Suite 1 00, Reno, Nevada 89502. Or call: 775-786-4468 Got gadgets? Learn to use them politely Cell phones, laptops create need for tech etiquette By J. Leslie Sopko ROCHESTER (N.Y.) DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE ROCHESTER, N.Y. At Spin Caffe on tony Park Avenue, the clerks are so familiar with rudeness they can break out in a Saturday Night Live-style skit based on what they've seen. " 'Can I get a smoothie?' " clerk Brian Thomson, 23, said. mimicking what he said was a typical customer. Then, pretending to hold a cell phone to his ear, he describes how the customer carries on a galling three-way conversation, while placing additional orders for the people on the other end of the line. "You have to stand here while they read off the entire menu to their friends on the phone. 'Strawberry, banana...' Meanwhile, the line is forming and you're getting some pretty dirty looks." Common courtesy is going the way of the rotary dial. Technology is redefining the rules of etiquette: Normally dignified patrons of Geva Theatre and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra let their beepers and phones jangle during performances. Executives interrupt meetings and conversations, whipping out PalmPilots to check stock quotes or jot notes. Online geeks lug laptops to the dinner table, surfing the Web while they slurp their soup. "People are just getting carried away," said an exasperated Mary Therese Friel, 41, a fqrmer Miss USA who teaches etiquette and runs a modeling business from her suburban Mendon home. "Manners take a lot of v I effort, and it's always "V I me nrsi xning to go when people are i uusy. - j$ Rut she rpnrespntQ d r - just one side of this nearly every community j across the nation. & Paul Saffo, a director of ; & the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, Calif., believes people will adjust to technological innovation. "It always takes us time to accommodate to it and learn the Games get mush-minded kids ready to go back to school GANNETT NEWS SERVICE In less than a month, some of you with kiddos on a traditional school schedule will be sending the wee ones back to their desks with minds made mushy from a summer divided between Wild Waters and The Simpsons reruns. No worries. You have a few weeks to get their gears oiled and in shape for strenuous reviews of addition, spelling or pre-algebra. Just pick up an all-purpose grade-specific computer title, an educational ware thinly disguised as "fun." There are plenty of grade-specific titles for children in grades 1-6, but the quality of those titles range from barely engaging to "So much fun, they couldn't possibly be learning anything." The following titles, all CD-ROMS for Windows or Mac, strike a balance with a solid academic base woven into a theme that children will like to play. All software is judged on a five star scale by looking at the following five factors: educational, fun, ease of use, value, and technical. 11 . r in- JumpStart 1st Grade Rating: 'h Ages: 5-7 Maker: Knowledge Adventure www.knowledqeadventure com rules of polite behavior," he said. "When telephones first arrived, it took people a while to learn you don't call during dinner." Meanwhile, the fcmily rosts ot tne . i world should . V V lighten up or get with it, according ,0 s ticiuette V . I I 1 11 i ' it'''i., i H. .V.- '.I. ,.4fri 11 . I b2si I Learn proper use of your gadget. It's the hacks who fumble around trying to silence their beepers during a public performance. Slow down. Most of us are no longer impressed by a PalmPilot or cell phone. It's better to give 15 minutes of uninterrupted attention, than an hour with constant interruptions. Keep it personal. Don't use a stranger's voice to record a personal voice-mail message. By the same token, you don't have to update the message daily; missing a day is awkward for the caller. Review your cell phone use: Don't subject others to r. A" -d ; Z. O 1 : banal conversations. Spare us the annoying melodies when it rings. Don t dial than normal is unnecessary. Be considerate. Take time to thank people and talk face-to-face, just as we our lives. Cost: $20 First graders join Frankie the dog on a series of treasure hunts. Children earn clues by playing a series of academic activities. The 12 interactive play areas cover math, telling time, science, language arts, and art. There is even a special tutor mode that pops up when children are having difficulty. Reader Rabbit's 2nd Grade Rating: '2 Ages: 6-8 Maker: The Learning Company www.shopmattel.com Cost: $20 Move over Mario, here comes Reader Rabbit! For children that love video games, this grade-based title delivers lots of education in a Nintendo-type environment. Children help Sam the Lion rescue Reader Rabbit from a secret chamber at the top of a three-towered castle. To get to the secret chamber, children tackle six types of skill challenges. While this program covers a variety of second grade curriculum topics, it is particularly strong in reading and writing activities. The Cluefinders' 3rd Grade Adventures Rating: Ages: 7-9 Maker The Learning Company www.shopmattel.com Cost: $30 If you have a rising 3rd grader (or even a recent graduate of 3rd grade), you are in for a special treat. This truly outstanding title combines the excitement of an Indiana-type adventure with fun and interesting academic games. Finding themselves in a rain forest, players join the SPECIALIZING IN ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGES me Mortgage DONNIA HERRERA (775) 575-7811 technology lovers such as Tom Day. "On my left hip is my cell phone and on my right is wireless e-mail, " said the 56-year-old chief A I ii I .(J . . r : V i ' 1 . I 1 .... tips while driving. Speaking louder did before technology changed , Cluefinders, a group of four brainy junior detectives, in solving the mystery of a missing scientist. The academic activities cover a massive amount of math, geography, science, reading and language arts. The Cluefinders' 4th Grade Adventures Rating: 'A Ages: 8-10 Maker: The Learning Company www.shopmattel.com Cost: $30 As in the Cluefinders' 3rd Grade Adventures, players join the four sleuth-sawy children known as the "Cluefinders" to solve a mystery. This time the mystery is set in Egypt, and players must stop an evil archaeologist from unleashing an ancient force upon the world. The software does a nice job of integrating the learning activities into an engaging adventure. The Cluefinders' 5th Grade Adventures Rating: V2 Ages: 9-11 Maker The Learning Company www.shopmattel.com Cost: $30 In this title, two of the four Cluefinders' children have CANDI RODECK (775) 689-9546 executive officer of EZ-Net, one of the area's first Internet service providers. "Every time I get an e-mail I immediately respond because it's that critical to be in constant communication. "That's the difference in today's society. And half the people out there don't think it's rude because they do it themselves." Fifteen years ago, Day started what is now the Cellular One franchise in upstate New York. He boasts that The University Club, a former social club for business people, once passed a resolution to ban cell phones in the dining room because of his annoying multitasking. "I understood their concern, and I didn't drop my membership," he laughed. "So I do have some degree of etiquette." Meghan Lougen shrugs at the doomsayers. The 20-year-old waitress and college student feels disconnected without her cell phone and its call-waiting feature. She and her friends think nothing of cutting off each other to accept an incoming call. "We're just used to it," she said, adding that it's only her grandmother who doesn't relate. "She has a problem with call waiting," Lougen said. "She also thinks it's rude that I bring my phone everywhere. I tell her that it's just something I need." Technology can be isolating enough without it leading to a total communications breakdown. Friel said even Emily Post has revised her rules to suit the 21st century. "Good manners are about being civil, considerate and a good person," she said. "People who do have class and manners can pick out that other type of person in a heartbeat. And usually they are embarrassing themselves without even knowing it." disappeared. Players join the two remaining Cluefinders on a mysterious island that appears to be ALIVE! By playing academic games, players collect clues and ancient artifacts that are needed to help rescue the missing Cluefinders. Carmen Sandiego's Think Quick Challenge Rating: Vz Ages: 8-12 Maker: The Learning Company www.shopmattel.com Cost: $30 This title reviews curriculum for 4th-6th graders by having players solve a mystery. Children try to stop the evil Carmen Sandiego and her army of Knowledge Robots ("Knowbots") from stealing all the knowledge of the world. To defeat this devious villain, children must outthink the Knowbots in a game-show type competition and use their brains to infiltrate Carmen's hideouts. Machabee Office Environments 130 South Center Street Reno, NV 89501 Gizmo briefs Get Cubed It looks like a white box of Kleenex encased in museum glass. Except instead of tissues, DVDs eject from the top. Cables for power, a monitor, FireWire and network connections attach to the bottom. The thing just stands there, meekly. The clear plastic shell lifts the cube a couple of inches above the ground, so air currents flow through and it doesn't require a fan. Apple Computer's PowerMac G4 Cube, starting at $1,800, claims to be a supercomputer; but really. It does look more like a box of tissues, with a little Apple logo emblazoned on the side. Two years after the christening of the iMac, Apple is again playing with the way the world looks at the PC. Only this one isn't a happy-go-lucky jellybean. While the iMac won people over with its colorful flamboyance, the G4 Cube, if successful, may be known for its raw utility. The Cube is not sexy or aerodynamic, but neither a line nor a curve appears wasted. If Howard Roark, architect from Ayn Rand's objectivist manifesto The Fountainhead, were to design a computer, this would be it. The G4 Cube had its beginnings, said Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, when Steve Jobs and his core group of Apple executives were nuilling the success of the sculpted iMac consumer product line and the powerful G4 professional line. After pondering what to do next, the group settled on a product that would join the industrial design of the iMac and the utility of the G4. Faults: The papers on a cluttered desk might block the Cube's air intake hole and cause the system to overheat. Also, the Cube is not easy to pick up; the glass-like sides are slippery, and the computer is heavy enough for that to be vexing. But that annoyance can be forgiven since it's hard to imagine a solution that wouldn't mar the Cube's monolithic body. Plus, how often does a computer get picked up, anyway? It's hard to say how many people will like the way DVDs glide in and out of the top-loading slot. Or like the fact that when I flip it over and push a spot on its belly, a handle pops up. Pull up on that handle, and the computer slips right out of its shell, offering quick access to any of the components that might need swapping or fixing. The Cube is cool, even if it's not exactly cute. Anycall When is a phone not a phone? When it's a camera. Or an MP3 player. Both devices are being built into new phones from South Korean electronics giant Samsung. The new Anycall Camera Phone (model SCH-V200) takes digital photos and comes with an LCD display screen. It can take 20 pictures with 350,000-pixel resolution and includes accessories for transferring the images to a PC. The musical SGH-M100 will come with 32MB of data storage capability and will be able to play the downloadable digital music format called MP3. Samsung has also developed a phone that includes a miniature TV receiver. All three are either in use or are set for release in South Korea or Europe this year. U.S. consumers will have to wait. And, oh, yes. You can make calls on the phones, too. Wire service reports 8 SHARP. Color Digital PrintersCopiers Sales and Service (775) 329-3145 FAX: (775)786-5710 www.machabee.com

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