Mini-Review: Onlive gaming service for Macs and PCs ditches monthly subscription fees

6 10 2010

What is Onlive?
If you’re not familiar with Onlive’s gaming service it’s basically a cloud computer gaming service. If you have a Mac running OS X 10.6 or a PC running a recent Windows flavor you can create an account for free and play a multitude of games all without downloading or installing the actual games onto your hard drive. Onlive originally had planned to offer their gaming service for around $15 buck per month plus game prices but announced yesterday there will be no monthly fee to play games using the Onlive service. You will still have to purchase games you want to play with several options available. Many games offer a free timed demo, discounted 3 to 5-day game-play passes or full purchases of the games for unlimited play. Onlive even offers a very interesting feature of letting you become a game voyeur allowing to watch other gamers in which you can gage if the game perks your interest or even pick up some playing style tips from them as well.

My Onlive test drive
I signed up, downloaded a small 10MB app and ran some games in demo mode on my iMac i5 and was pleasantly impressed with how fast I could access the games with lag-less game play and quality of the graphics and sound overall. You basically play the game in HD, 720p so you’re not gonna get, in my case, true 2560 x 1,440 resolution but very excellent graphics considering you are essentially streaming the entire game. My whole Onlive experience was pretty much flawless with nothing stalling or delaying me from getting to the games with regards to my initial registering and clicking on a game to play.

This opens up the doors to many wanna-be gamers or budget students whose computer systems are simply lacking in processor power, a pixel-crunching graphics card or limited storage space. I have heard some netbook users having a pretty good experience as well. Currently they offer close to 30 game titles with more being added soon and titles are varied including titles like: Assassin’s Creed II, Borderlands, Darksiders, Batman: Arkham Asylum, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, NBA 2K11 just to name a few.

I think Onlive offers a great service giving budget or wanna-be gamers a pretty easy way to test and play a variety of games on their non-gaming and gaming systems. I think it also gives hardcore gamers a sweet avenue to easily squeeze in more game time without having to download demos or trek down to a store. It also seems like Onlive is sincerely listening to gamers who are using their service and striving to accommodate their requests which is always welcome.

So there’s really not to much stopping any potential gamers out there from checking it out and getting their game on.

Mini-Review: Onlive Mac and PC gaming service

Mini-Review: Onlive Mac and PC gaming service 5 out of 5 stars
Product: gaming service
Small 10MB App. download to play all the games, version: 246.61376
Cost: Service is free, you just pay for the games you want play
My take: "Drop dead easy way to get your game on!" -RiscX
Onlive login screen

Onlive login screen

Onlive sceen in spectator mode view gamer playing Mafia II

Onlive sceen in spectator mode view gamer playing Mafia II

Onlive screen shot in spectator mode watching a gamer playing Mafia II

Onlive screen shot in spectator mode watching a gamer playing Mafia II


Mini-Review: FocusWriter, a theme-able unique text editor

1 10 2010

Sometimes you come across an app which makes you really enjoy using your computer. This is one of those apps; FocusWriter.

I recently ran across what I think is a really cool writing app for students, writers and others looking for a rather light text editor with some rather nifty features. FocusWriter is described as: a fullscreen, distraction-free word processor designed to immerse you as much as possible in your work. The application’s window can be themed and includes some nice little features not found in most other text editors.

FocusWriter autosaves your writing progress, and reloads the last files you had open to make it easy to jump back in during your next writing session. Some of the other features I think are really nice are a hiding toolbar and live stats bar. You can even “Theme” it to your liking with custom color schemes and even use your own images as backgrounds to get you really immersed in what you are writing.

I’m using FocusWriter 1.3.0 for Mac OS X 10.6.4 on an iMac i5 system and it runs smoother than butter. I find it fairly light, sits around 45MB installed and just a tad heavier on system memory compared to TextEdit which is saying a lot for all the features it has. They have a Windows version and a few Linux packages as well.

Even though FocusWriter is called a word processor I feel it’s more in line of a really nice text editor to be precise. Some other features I would have liked to see are more font control, stylization of text and drag and drop capabilities, both onto the app icon and adding files into the document window itself. Then again those might cause distractions and add to unnecessary bloat to what is otherwise a simple, unique beautiful text editor. I like it so much i’m going to replace my ‘ol TextEdit writing app with this one.

Mini-Review: FocusWriter

Mini-Review: WindowShade X 4 out of 5 stars Product: Graeme Gott, FocusWriter

Version: 1.3.0

Cost: Opensource but feel free to donate if you use it 🙂

My take: “FocusWriter is my new text editor!” -RiscX

Here are some screen grabs of FocusWriter:

FocusWriter main screen

FocusWriter main screen: Heres is one example of a "themed" main screen with background image, foreground colored with 70% transparency and colored text. You can toggle and extend the document window to full screen mode hiding the desktop entirely and simply focus on your writing task at hand.

FocusWriter Toolbar

FocusWriter Toolbar: FocusWriter also lets you fully customize your toolbar with many options selecting only those you want to use and/display. Another random theme I set up as well.

FocusWriter Stats-Bar

FocusWriter Stats-Bar: Smart feature which all text editors should include is the stats bar of your current writing projects, you can even have time limits and writing goals to again keep you focused 🙂 I really like the document tab feature letting you keep multiple document in one window such as your main writing piece with another tab holding notes and other tabs displaying other various documents/content related to your main work all in one simple window. Yet another theme I used.

%d bloggers like this: