A new version is out of my favourite video player – Zoom Player v19!

I’ve been using this excellent player for close to two decades now, and it constantly keeps improving while still allowing total control of all aspects of video playback. This is really the video player for those who love to tinker with their settings to get the most out of the software. There’s lots of new features in this version, including IPTV support, libVLC integration, screen casting and much more!

Over the past year, I have been working hard to ensure Zoom Player maintains its crown as the most versatile Media Player and Home Theater PC software for Windows. I’ve kept in constant communication with Zoom Player’s user base, and software enthusiasts from across the world to better understand which features would take Zoom Player to the next level.

Zoom Player v19 has been released!

Source: Zoom Player v19 final has been released

It won’t be long now until SDF users can start testing the brand-new MetaArray V. From SDF@Mastodon:

MetaArray V went online for early testing with 112TB of storage, 3 times that of MetaArray IV.

Can’t wait to test this! Apparently we’re also moving back to Apache for the web server, which is nice. There’s bound to be some initial problems – but that’s all part of the fun after all🤓

Meanwhile, here’s some nice server-room ambiance (go fullscreen for blinkenlights):

Twenty-five years ago on November 19th, 1998, the classic video game Half-Life was released. Now on the 25th anniversary Valve Software have released a new update for the game with developer commentary, support for widescreen displays and updated multiplayer – including the ability to play as the crazy-looking Ivan the Space Biker. There’s also a new documentary about the making of the game, definitely worth watching if you’re interested.

Half-Life is back and better than ever. Alongside interviews with the original developers, the game is now available with the Uplink mini-campaign, Steam Deck support, updated graphics settings, new multiplayer maps, and bonus restored goodies.

However, for those instead wanting to play a true modern remake with greatly updated graphics I would recommend trying Black Mesa instead, it’s got most everything from the old game and a much needed rework of the final Xen chapter.

Source: Half-Life

A Quarter In, A Quarter-Million Out: 10 Years of Emulation at Internet Archive – Jason Scott on 10 years of “The Emularity” running at the Internet Archive:

10 years ago, the Internet Archive made an announcement: It was possible for anyone with a reasonably powerful computer running a modern browser to have software emulated, running as it did back when it was fresh and new, with a single click. Now, a decade later, we have surpassed 250,000 pieces of software running at the Archive and it might be a great time to reflect on how different the landscape has become since then.

Prince of Persia intro

Prince of Persia intro

Some of my favourites from the colletion:

Source: A Quarter In, A Quarter-Million Out: 10 Years of Emulation at Internet Archive

Vivaldi today released version 6.1 of their awesome browser. The big news this time are several improvements to the new Workspaces feature, and a setting that allows Vivaldi to masquerade as another browser for sites that stupidly block browsers based on Client Hints. And as always – a *lot* of small improvements and bug fixes in the change log.

The new Vivaldi on desktop masquerades as competitors to benefit its users and gives access to Bing Chat. Adds more functionality to Workspaces & Tabs.

Vivaldi bypasses restrictions to access Bing Chat. Improves Workspaces.

Another change is Vivaldi is pretending to be Chrome for bad GPU drivers that apply performance tweaks based on executable name, something initially discovered by the Yandex browser developers.

It’s a sad state of things when browsers have to pretend to be something else just for basic functionality to work, and this happened a lot for the Opera browser as well back in the day. It’s history repeating itself once again, and this kind of abuse of web specification by web sites and driver developers will lead to a browser monoculture where the big browsers owned by mega-corporations who collect your personal data will be the only viable option for users who just want a good web browser experience.

Source: Vivaldi browser bypasses restrictions to access Bing Chat.

Introducing the AI Mirror Test, which very smart people keep failing – Great article from The Verge on AI and our tendency to anthropomorphize machines that mimic human behavior, even when we’re fully aware we’re talking to a machine, also known as the ELIZA effect.

AI chatbots like Bing and ChatGPT are entrancing users, but they’re just autocomplete systems trained on our own stories about superintelligent AI. That makes them software — not sentient.

A monkey looking into a mirror at its own reflection

Who’s that in the mirror?

Just like humans, these new AI chatbots at times seem very intelligent, and sometimes just outright stupid – but we should not forget these are just algorithmic responses and not a sign of any sentience. We are still a very long way from that point – if it ever will happen.

Source: Introducing the AI Mirror Test, which very smart people keep failing

Just to post something new at least once in a while – here’s an AI Drake song about browsing the web with the Vivaldi browser:

Internet searchin’, pages turnin’
Finding something new, never learnin’
Vivaldi, it’s the tool that I choose
A browsin’ journey, no time to loose
Exploring wide and far
Vivaldi, it’s my go-to star
Surfin’ the web with style and grace
Vivaldi, the browser I won’t replace

Source: Make AI Drake sing about whatever you want.

The first images coming from the recently activated James Webb Space Telescope are absolutely stunning!

This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.

“Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula

“Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula

Source: First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

Well, this was a pleasant surprise among all the horrible things going on in the world these days: A new Monkey Island game is coming this year! I just really hope this is not some very elaborate April Fools  joke… 😀

Announcing Return to Monkey Island, the long-awaited follow-up to the legendary Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge by Ron Gilbert’s Terrible Toybox in collaboration with Devolver Digital and Lucasfilm Games, coming 2022.

Source: Return to Monkey Island | Coming 2022

Hey Hey 16K – A tribute to the ZX Spectrum and the trials and tribulations of using the home microcomputers of the 80s. Originally a Flash music video, published on the B3TA web site on 4 May 2004. Now lovingly emulated and finally pixel-perfect by the magic of the Ruffle SWF emulator.

Hey Hey, 16K
What does that get you today?
You need more than that for a letter
Old Skool Ram Paks are much better.

Hey Hey 16K

Source: Hey Hey 16K : M.J. Hibbett and Rob Manuel : Internet Archive