Gaming in Windows 8 – The Hydro Thunder Hurricane beta / preview / trial

If you immediately moved on to the Windows 8 Release Preview and wiped out your installation of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (build 8250), then you, my friend, are missing out! Shortly (very shortly) before the release of the Release Preview, I began seeing a few “Xbox Live” branded games showing up on the Windows 8 store. Attempts to download them went painfully slowly. But eventually, and even after multiple attempts, the game finally downloaded, and I found myself playing Hydro Thunder Hurricane (a demo of it, anyway), on Windows 8.

click to see full HD 1920×1080 screenshot

Hydro Thunder Hurricane, along with Wordament, have both been released as trial versions. While I haven’t fooled around with Wordament too much, Hydro Thunder Hurricane seems to start up as fast if not faster than it does from the Xbox 360 Dashboard, right from my start menu. The whole time it runs, the system remains responsive, touching the Windows key works to get back to the new Metro style Start Menu, and the game resumes without a hitch (thanks Windows Phone Mango!). Multi tasking (Windows key + Tab) from the desktop, I can still see the last animated frame of where I was at and pick up like nothing happened.

Only two maps are available in Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the famous Tsunami Bowl, and Lake Powell. The game has an options menu which overs controller, mouse/keyboard, or touch controls. I have used Mouse and Keyboard and have been able to play the game quite well. Hydro Thunder Hurricane in Windows 8 loads up natively in whatever resolution you’re already running Windows in, which in my case was a full blown 1920×1080 – and it looked great and played smooth the entire time.

If running Xbox Live Arcade games on Windows 8 is going to be a feature of Windows 8, even if games have to be rolled out one by one, my only request is that I get the games I already paid for automatically added to my account. For instance, Hydro Thunder Hurricane (which I have on the Xbox 360, along with Hydro Thunder Go on Windows Phone 7). But beyond that one request? I want everything else to be just like this. Multiple control scheme options, full resolution and fast, seamlessly integrated within Windows itself, fast launching… this was a true treat to stumble on to. Get yourself in to the Windows 8 “store” and check it out, if you still have the Consumer Preview – it seems to be absent in the Release Preview, so far – but perhaps I’m just looking in all the wrong places.

irc999 – free IRC on the iPad

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a simple chat solution to connect me in to an IRC channel on the go. I had my iPad handy and searched for IRC applications. A plethora of paid apps that I didn’t know whether I would like or not showed up. Then a free option showed up that I decided I could at least check out. Other than a few minor issues, I found irc999 a surprisingly elegant solution! Continue reading “irc999 – free IRC on the iPad”

Can't click links in Outlook "due to restrictions in effect on this computer" SOLVED!

When you click links, most specifically links in your Outlook email client, you receive this error message: “This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.” Now, for the magic question that might blow your mind… have you ever had Google Chrome installed, and just recently uninstalled it?

If you say no, you can keep reading, the solution applies to many scenarios, but the Google Chrome uninstall is the most common. Google has supposedly fixed this is newer uninstallers, but I still see the problem all the time. The file association in the registry is still pointing to Chrome and can be fixed by modifying certain registry keys… but I’ve put together a handy .REG file that you can download, double click, and be done! Don’t forget to exit and re-open Outlook for the fix to activate. If you’re more intersted in what registry keys are being modified, you can right click the .reg file and select “EDIT” to see the keys that will be changed in plain text.

Download HTML links fix

Microsoft has also developed a “FixIt” utility for this purpose, so if you don’t trust a random stranger making changes in your registry, I understand! You can download Microsoft’s official fix for Hyperlinks not working in Outlook (vague enough?) from their knowledgebase.