Author Archives: drew1440

Dell Venue Pro

The first and last Dell Windows Phone

Dell was one of the launch manufacturers for Windows Phone, back when it launched in 2010. The Venue 7 stood out compared to the other models thanks to its slide form factor which is reminiscent of the old Samsung slide phones of the era. A gentle push will reveal the phone’s keyboard, which looks similar to a standard PC keyboard in terms of layout.

Aside from that, it’s pretty much the same compared to other Windows Phone 7 handsets with its 5-megapixel camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor with an Adreno 200 graphics core, and 16GB onboard storage. No micro-SD support so storage cannot be expanded.

This would be Dell’s last foray into the mobile market, Dell also had a few Android handsets like the Dell Streak and would produce a few tablet devices like the Dell Venue.

This handset originally ran the launch builds of Windows Phone 7 and was later upgraded to 7.8 which backported various Windows Phone 8 features.

Microsoft has slowly phased support for Windows Phone 7, with various services ceasing support. Bing no longer works, the app store has since been discontinued meaning you can no longer download and install applications for the device, limiting its capabilities as a smartphone. You’re pretty much limited to what comes with the device, which is very little in this case. The handset has pretty much become a basic feature phone with web browsing functionality but with Internet Explorer 9 the browsing is very limited with certain sites refusing to load due to how old the browser is and the lack of support for modern security protocols.

As someone who use Windows Phone from 2011 – 2017, it’s a sad state to see how this once fantastic but flawed mobile OS has been abandoned, kind of like seeing how deteriorated the Titanic wreck is.
Some things still work as of October 2022, like the search suggestions that appear when you type into the Internet Explorer search bar, and the Bing background wallpaper.

The games will certainly be missed as Microsoft actually put some effort into porting popular titles like Doodle Jump and Fruit Ninja, and also embraced new titles like Beards n Beaks and Wordament. All of these feature Xbox Live achievements and leaderboards which synced with your main Xbox profile.

There are very few applications that are preinstalled, which Windows OEMs could do so. Considering this is a Dell, I’m surprised there no McAfree security preinstalled. The only one I can see is a network operation settings app, that lets you set the correct internet and MMS configuration for your network provider.

Music & Video

The Zune software is used to transfer media from and to the phone and is required for this purpose. You cannot use MTP to transfer content as the phones file system is not exposed to the host in any form. Its a very similar approach to what Apple took with the iPhone, where iTunes was the only way to exchange media to the phone. (Although later ios released supported PTP for easier photo transfers)

The problem here is Zune is partially broken on later Windows 10 releases since the conversion function is nonfunctional. This was useful for when you had high quality MP3 files that you wanted to transfer to the phone Zune could transcode them to a lower quality, say 128Kbps, and copy them to the phone. The result is a smaller file size in a more efficient WMA format whilst maintaining some form of quality.

Using Windows 8, 7 or Vista is recommended if you wish to transcode your music through Zune.

This does make the phone a kickass music player, and back when if was functional Zune pass was revolutionary for the time as it allowed you to subscribe to stream music from their library, similar to Spotify or Deezer today.

Lastly the Zune software could also sync podcasts and applications/games downloaded from the Zune store. This functionality has since been removed and has not been replicated, making it impossibly to load apps from your PC onto the phone itself.

You at least get access to an FM radio, which lets you change the frequency by sliding your finger in the direction you want to scan. It can pick up station name indicators along with any supplementary information if broadcast by the station. You can also pin stations individually onto the start screen for quick access.

Conclusion

Well, it’s a shame to see that was once a smartphone has now been relegated to a feature phone, or even a dumb phone as compared to your typical Nokia or Sony Ericsson feature phone that has the ability to run third party Java programs, Windows Phone 7 now lacks this ability. Only merit it has is its Internet Explorer browser which is losing support by the day.

Nokia 6230

The 6230 was one of the major milestones when it came to multimedia handsets of 2004, whilst it lacked 3G network support, it made up for it with its 2G EDGE and Bluetooth support which allows for file transfers with other handsets that support it. A TFT colour display is offered which supports up to 65536 colours, but is stuck with the low resolution of 128×128. Marketed and sold as a business-class phone, which meant it included an email client and a calendar that could sync with an external server. A VGA resolution camera is included which is capable of capturing video.

The 6230 was another example of Nokia’s flagship handsets of the time and incorporated all of the common characteristics of Nokia, including exchangeable covers, a lanyard, and a hands-free port.

There are three soft keys, left, middle and right which can be used to activate certain functions depending on what’s displayed on the screen. The middle soft key is typically the select button, which is commonly used to confirm and enter menus. The left/right buttons are commonly used to go back or display an option/list menu.
Lastly, you have the common Send/End keys, also known as green/red phone keys.

Nokia would later continue to enhance the 6230 with the 6230i, which adds a larger screen, better camera and more storage, whilst sticking with the popular form factor.

Homescreen

This will look familiar to anyone who has used Nokia S40 phones in the past, with the signal and battery power meters on the left and right respectively, along with the network operator in the middle, which can be replaced with an operator logo if one is provided (very few actually did this).

The directional keys can be used as shortcuts to common menu items, like pressing the up button opens the camera, left will open the SMS message composer.

Speed dialing can be activated by pressing and holding down a key, which will dial out the contact number assigned to it. 1 will always dial out the voicemail number.

Menu Navigation

The 6230 uses the Series 40 platform, but with an updated icon set, still the menu layout remains the same as previous models.

Messages

Here you can create and send SMS text messages, or compose one using the built-in templates offered. Received messages can be entered into custom folders for long-term keeping.
There is also a distribution list for when you want to spam multiple contacts with the same message, you simply enter the numbers to send the message to or select from your phonebook, and your message will be set to multiple recipients. Useful for making an announcement or sending the same message to multiple contacts frequently.

Nokia smart messaging is supported, which allows sending and receiving of ringtones and black/white static images to other supported handsets (commonly Nokia) but also with some Samsung/LG/Motorola. There are 10 templates that have been included with the handset that can be sent.
EMS is not supported. Instead MMS is supported, which allows for photos and small audio clips to be sent using the phones data connection. Up to 100kb can be attached to a single MMS file.

There is an option or instant messaging, where it requires connecting to an instant messaging client. Possibly you could use this for AIM or MSN Messenger, but I believe these services required you to use their own mobile clients. Possibly this was intended to be used by the network provided instead, although it may only function for users on the same mobile network.
I don’t think any network providers in the Uk made use of the feature.

Lastly, there is also a built-in email client which supports POP3 and SMTP protocols which were commonly used in that time. However, it is very limited, which no support for attachments

Contacts

The Phonebook, up to 1000 entries can be saved to the internal memory, with a little more being saved to the SIM card. Contacts stored in the phone memory can have additional information assigned to it, such as the email address, home/landline number, fax number, office/work, and a photo of the contact assigned, which will appear onscreen when the contact shows. If a contact has multiple numbers assigned to it, the first number entered will be the default contact used.

A presence service is supported, which lets you know if any contacts are available directly for chat, im not sure how this works exactly, if it uses some obscure GSM protocol to achieve this, but it was not widely used.
As mentioned earlier, the contact’s photo can be st to appear when the contact calls, although you are limited to using a portrait version of the contact, and its still hard to make out due to the low size and resolution of the display. Plus you are limited to 100 contacts that can have a photo assigned to them,
Contacts can slo be assigned to groups, upto 5 in total are supported. Each group can have its own custom ringtones.

Call Register

Three lists are stored here, each for received, dialed and missed calls. Each list can save up to 20 entries and will show the date/time of the call. You can also press the green call button from the idle screen to show the recently dialed numbers.

Settings

This section remains largely unchanged from the previous models, but there are some new options to take advantage of the added functionality

Profiles: Phone profiles can be set and configured from there, you can also access this by pressing the power button, located at the top of the handset.

Communication: lets you access the Bluetooth, IrDA (Infra-Red) and GPRS sync settings. For Bluetooth you can set the device to be discoverable, view any previously paired devices and set devices to connect without any confirmation required.
The support of both Bluetooth and Irda is useful, as many laptops lacked Bluetooth support, but included Infrared support for data exchange. With additional software like Nokia PC Suite, you could use the GPRS connection to connect to the internet.

Gallery

The file manager, here you can view any photos captured by the camera, or any of the ringtones and default wallpapers.
The memory card can also be accessed and managed here, and files can be copied over from phone memory to the memory card. Upto 128MB is officially supported, using the MultiMedia Card standard (MMC). The added storage makes the device useful for an MP3 player.
As a layer of security, you can set a passcode for the memory card, which must interfered when the card is inserted into another device.

One poor design decision is the Send soft key when you are viewing a photo, pressing it directly inserts it into an MMS message, however you assume it would give you a menu to choose from if you want to send via MMS, Bluetooth or Infrared.

Media

This is where you can access most of the phone’s multimedia functions,
The Camera can capture phones in regular and portrait modes, and an added night mode lets you try to take photos in low-light conditions. The files are saved in the JPEG format, and three types of compression can be used.

Media Player – Plays multimedia files like MP3 files. You can adjust the audio using the equalizer to adjust the sound output.

Music Player – Searches for and plays back Mp3 files, and supports the use of playlists.

Voice Recorder – lets you record upto 3 minutes of speech, which can function during a phone call when the handset is on loudspeaker mode.

Radio – FM radio player, this requires the handsfree or the headphones to be connected, since it functions as the radio’s antenna.

Organizer

Alarm Clock: A single alarm can be set, and can be on set days of the week. A unique ringtone can be set for the alarm to distinguish it from the regular ringtones, or it can be set to play the radio, which requires the headset to be connected for it to play.

Calendar: A monthly calendar can be displayed, and up to around 200 entered can be set into the handset memory. You can view the calendar weekly or monthly, depending on which is preferred, and you can jump directly to a date, which seems to max out at the year 2080 of which the phone wraps around to 1980.

I’d be surprised if this phone will even be in use by then

Types of calendar events that can be added are meeting, call reminders, birthday, normal reminders and memo)

To Do List: Create occasions with three proitory rates, being High, Normal and Low, with the deadline date being set. The text editing interface is almost the same as the SMS composer.

Wallet: Information here can be protected by a passcode which makes it useful to store sensitive information like payment info.

Lastly there is a sync utility that lets you synchronise the data on your phone with an external server, which can then sync with a desktop PC or a PDA.

Applications

J2ME, which is the mobile implementation of Java is supported here, and Nokia have included a few games with the handset. Applications can only be saved onto the phone’s internal memory and is limited to 1.5MB which is shared across all applications.

Nokia also offered free downloadable games that could be downloaded through the internal browser.

Games that come included are Golf, Chess and a Beach Rally II. Additional games can be installed using the Nokia PC Suite, or through the WAP browser, but they have a chance of being installed under the Collection folder, rather than games.

For applications, a unit converter and a world time app are preinstalled.

Web

The XHTML browser, mobile websites could be browsed, and up to 20 bookmarks can be saved for easy access. There is also a service inbox that saved any web links your network operator may send. WAP sites can also be accessed, but these were quickly falling out of favor with the rise of proper mobile internet.

Photo Captures

Images have a VGA resolution of 640 x 480

ReplayTV

An alternative Tivo-like DVR that was introduced in 1999. Hardware was typically made by Panasonic although a few other brands existed also.

ReplayTV had a few defining features, one of which was the ability to share shows between two compatible DVR units, providing both had ethernet sockets. Another feature was the ability to skip adverts completely with the touch of a button. Naturally the TV industry hated the idea and ReplayTV (SonicBlue) was sued because copyright matters more than human rights.

Like Tivo a separate subscription was required for your DVR to receive EPG data

Main Menu

To begin using ReplayTV the best place to start is the Main Menu.  To access the Main Menu, simply hit the menu button at the bottom of the ReplayTV Remote Control.  The main menu screen is available without leaving the current channel.  It pops up as a small section at the bottom of TV screen and presents the following options, most of which are also available directly on the remote control.

  • ReplayTV Guide – This shows the ReplayTV Channels you have created.
  • ReplayTV Zones – ReplayTV Zones are common themes of shows organized together.
  • Channel Guide – Shows a grid-style TV guide for selecting something to watch.
  • Messages – Shows any messages you have received.
  • Find Shows – Search tool to help you find something to watch or record.
  • Setup  – Configuration of the ReplayTV TV Reciever.

ReplayTV’s channel guide is pretty conventional.  It is a Grid style Guide that shows 6 channels down and 1 1/2 hours across.  It also shows the currently selected channel, title, time, and description of the show. One very cool feature is the way it shows your position in the selected show. Rather than showing how much time is remaining, which is pretty useless information,  it tells you how far into the show you are.  For example, on a thirty-minute show that has 10 minutes left, the ReplayTV will say 20 minutes in progress. This is great if what you want to know is how much you have missed.

Rather than organizing the recorded shows into a simple list, ReplayTV decided to use a concept similar to a grid-style guide to organizing the recorded shows. When you select shows to record, whether they are setup to record based on a theme or setup to record a specific show, they appear as a channel in the ReplayTV Guide.

ReplayZones are logical groupings of shows.  For instance, there is a ReplayTV zone for NBC and Cartoon Network, which lets you explore some of the best shows on the channel.  There are also zones for Movies, Comedies and ReplayTV Picks.  The ReplayTV Movies zone shows various movies that are coming to a channel near you organized by category  ReplayTV Sitcoms, shows you comedies organized by audience, such as 17 and over.  Finally, ReplayPicks lists a random show in various categories that you might want to watch.

Also in the ReplayZones screen are two other options, Search and Create a Theme.  Search allows you to search for shows based on a large number of pre-created groupings, such as ratings, or genres.  The Create a Theme option allows you to specify your own keyword searches to use for looking up shows that will be recorded.  You can also specify if the keyword will be compared against actors, directors, titles or part of the description. These themes show up in your ReplayGuide as channels and are great for creating themes for related shows when the title isn’t the same. 

As with all PTV Receivers, there are certain features that separate these boxes from VCR’s   And ReplayTV is no exception. For instance you can pause, rewind and fast forward Live TV.   When you hit pause the box will begin recording to the hard drive.  This happens regardless of whether you are watching Satellite or Cable programs.  Also, whenever you change the channel,  ReplayTV immediately starts recording the new channel.  This means that you can rewind at anytime to the point where you switched to the current channel.  You can also jump backward or forward to live television at the touch of a button. 

Further Information

The Replay Zones menu was redesigned to a more flat and simple appearance

A slideshow composed of various photos can be played back

The Setup menu

Video output settings, The RF output channel can be changed, along with the VGA output standard

Many early HDTV TV’s used either VGA or DVI to display the HD signal, as HDMI was not standardized at this point

Configuring slideshow settings for displaying photos

Multiple ReplayTV units can exist on a network, and a unique name can be used to identify an individual box

Quality settings can be changed, as the DVR captures analog video from its composite input

Parental control settings

Settings can be applied depending on the age rating

Manually setting an IP address

Another view of the network settings

A controversial feature allowing you to skip advert breaks entirely. Other DVRs like Tivo require you to manually fast forward.

Playing back a show, which gives the option to archive to a VCR

Transferring shows to another DVR over the network, I bet the networks would have loved that.

Icon that is displayed when you skip forward in a recorded show

Looks like a hidden test/setting menu

Samsung E800

The Samsung E800 was one of the first generation of Samsung’s slide form factor which is semi-automatic. A gentle push will make the slide mechanism open and close automatically, spec wise it was in line with their other models of the time, with a VGA camera and a 128×160 resolution screen. It’s very similar to the Samsung E600 in terms of specifications, but has a different screen aspect ratio and uses the slide form factor. Memory capacity has been increased, with 19Mb for user storage, and 3Mb reserved for Java apps.

The screen of the device is 128x 160 resolution, and can display up to 5 text lines. The font is standard for Samsung’s phones of the era and is nice and readable, even outside.

Missing however seems to be Bluetooth functionality, with only IrDA being offered for wireless connectivity, alongside 2G GPRS. On the side there is a handsfree connector, intended for use with the optional handfree accessory, you can also connect the D500 external speaker to this connector.

Home screen

The menu system uses a grid-like layout interface, and the numeric keys can be used as shortcuts to access different menu items.

Being one of the first Samsung models to come with a slide form factor, ergonomically the phone is designed to be pushed up withyour on directional buttons, a gentle push is all thats needed for the phone to slide up. The phone is capable of functioning even with the slide down, although you cannot access the camera or numeric functions. The phone automatically locks the front visable buttons when the slide is closed, which prevents accidental operations when the phone is in your pocket, you can still unlock the phone if you need to quickly access or show photos.

Phonebook

Contacts are saved to either the phone memory or the SIM card, the storage capacity of up to 1000 on the device, and 250 on the SIM card (depending on the SIM card itself, could be less for older SIM’s. Contacts can also be shared via infrared.

When contacts are saved to the phone memory, you can set picture for individual contacts and can store and manage them into groups (Home, work, friends), of which a specific ringtone can be set for that contact. Up to 10 groups can be set.

Call Records

Call records can be accessed here, and by pressing the green phone button from the home screen. The handset can show the total time spent on the last call, and for all calls made in total.

Network

Call diverts can be managed here, and you can manually select the network to connect to if your SIM card has permission to access it.

Sound Settings

Alert and ringtones can be set here, along with any alert and menu sound the phone is capable of making

Incoming Calls

There are 30 default ringtones, plus 15 additional pre-downloaded ringtones. More can be added using the PC Suite software, which comes with up to 100 ringtone samples that can be transferred over. These are saved to the My Sounds folder.

Messages

SMS message alerts can be repeated until they are read, useful if you are away from the phone for a period of time.

Other Sounds

The handset will make a sound when a key is pressed, or if the slider is moved up or down. The minute minder sounds a beep every minute, allowing you to keep track of how long the call is, useful for pre-paid and customers on a limited call plan.

Messages

Short Messages

SMS messages can be created and sent from here, you also have access to MMS multimedia messages, where ringtones and pictures can be sent. Predictive text is supported for faster texting and the text size can be adjusted for easier readability. EMS is also supported and the phone comes with preloaded graphics that can be sent, ringtones can also be sent but as they are mmf files, they may not be compatible with other handsets, unlike general midi files.

Multimedia messages

MSS Multimedia messages have their own menu item, and pictures and sound files can be attached to a single message. The limit for outgoing messages was 100Kb and incoming messages were limited to 45Kb and up to 150 MMS messages can be saved.

Push Messages

WAP push messages are received here, these messages were typically links to online services and promotions, such as discount ringtones or Java games. Blyk, a short-lived mobile operator used this to push advertising to users as part of its business model.

Preset Messages

You can create and save message templates to be sent later. none have already been created by Samsung, you have to create them yourself.

Voice Mail

Configure the voicemail contact number for your network provider, you can then access voicemail by pressing and holding the 1 key

Broadcast

This is similar to regular SMS messages, but whereas SMS is traditionally used for user-to-user messaging, Cell broadcast is intended to send a single message to a large group of users based on their geographic location. This can be used to alert users to local emergencies or planned outages. These messages would be received and displayed here, but I can’t remember any UK providers taking advantage of this.

Fun Box

WWW Services

The phone’s internet browser supports both WAP and GPRS. Up to 15 bookmarks can be set and a custom URL can be set to load a website.

Media Box

Acts as the phone’s media player, a photo viewer shows pictures that were captured to be viewed and sent. Photos can also be stored in two separate albums.

The images folder is where the phone’s wallpapers are saved, 8 wallpapers are shipped with the phone, and more can be added, either downloaded through the browser or received over MMS or IrDA.

Sounds is where the voice recordings and any downloaded ringtones are saved. 15 sounds come with the phone, and more can be added by downloading via the internet browser, received from MMS or using the PC suite software. The files here can also be set as a ringtone. Ringtones are in the Yamaha MMF format, and use the internal MA-5 sound processor, which is capable of decoding 64 voice polyphonic, MMF files can store MIDI and PCM audio which is evident in some of the ringtones. Some tones can also vibrate the phone in rhythm.

Samsung also offered a multimedia pack, where polyphonic ringtones can wallpapers could be downloaded to the users PC and then transferred to the phone.

JAVA World

Java games can be downloaded and installed from here, two games are preinstalled, SnowBallFight and BubbleSmile. Up to 3Mb can be allocated for Java applications. The PC suite software does not allow for Java applications to be installed to the phone, unless specific software is used, and the phone must be put into a serial download mode.

Organiser

Memo

Notes can be taken and saved to the phone’s memory, text entry is similar to the SMS editor, but you are limited to 100 characters. Notes can be classified as either Scheduler, To Do list, call, or an anniversary. Up to 25 notes can be saved.

Calendar

A calendar that can be used to set reminders and appointments, memos, as described above can be added to each day. A nice touch is a graphic that appears at the top of each month that reflects the month or season, kind of reminds me of the PSP XMB that would change its colour on the month.

To-Do List

Similar to the Memo, lists can be created and saved, with the option to set a date and time for an alert. This is normally intertwined with the calendar.

Clock

Time and date can be set here, along with the time format and the time zone.

Alarm

Up to 3 alarms can be set here with different times, you can set the re-occurrence and the ability for the phone to automatically power on.

Calculator

Conversion

A numeric converter that supports converting currency, Length, Weight, Volume, area or temperature.

Timer

Stopwatch

Camera

The phone has a VGA camera built in with flash and 8x digital zoom. The resolution can be changed to CIF 320×240. Built-in functions include a timer, frames, and effects (sepia, greyscale, negative). There is also a multishot function, when you press the capture key, 6,9 or 15 pictures are taken, and you can select the best picture.

Compression levels can be set from Economy, Normal, Fine and Super Fine)

Phone Settings

Display

Greeting Message

A message can be displayed when the handset is switched on with the default message is shown on the right.

Language

Setting the language and the type of input. As this software was intended for Europe, only common European languages are shown.

Security

A passcode can be set for when you try to access any photos or sounds on the device. PINs can also be modified here.

Other

Infrared IrDA is supported however you can only use this with a Windows PC with the Samsung PC studio software, or the Samsung PIM & File Manager. You cannot exchange files with another handset, nor can you send and receive files using the default windows IrDA file transfer, you must use the Samsung software. Also, the camera and IrDA cannot be active at the same time, you cannot enter the camera without disabling the IrDA.

Camera Photo’s

A few sample images captured on a sunny day, the image sensor seems to struggle in bright conditions

The camera can also apply different effects, but this can only be done when capturing the image. The effects are in order: Grey, Negative, Sepia, Emboss & Sketch.

Conclusion

Overall it’s a very nice functional phone with a lot of compelling features for the time. It’s slide form factor would become standard for Samsung’s high and mid-range handsets until the release of the Android-based Galaxy series.

Only downside is the lack of Bluetooth, with was beginning to become more common on handsets in this price range, and the Infra-red is limited to PC use only, although the manual mentions the ability to share contact with another Samsung handset. You can’t transfer files with another handset and for PC use, the Samsung PIM software is needed (Version 1 only, V2 has issues initiating transfers)

To Do – Possibly we can try to get GPRS working whilst 2G is still a thing in the UK, and to see if we can upload Java games over Irda, or using a data cable

Nokia 3100

A feature phone designed to appeal to the youth of the time, with its 4096 colour screen (128×128 resolution) and polyphonic ringtones, and featured support of GRPS internet browsing and MultiMedia messages. The phone also features a glow-in-the-dark cover which allows you to find your phone in the dark. As for the display, The screen uses STN technology, which makes it hard to read in the sun, and has a low response rate which can result in ghosting when navigating the menus.

The device lacks a built-in camera, but Nokia provided optional support with the Nokia Fun Camera, which could be connected to the phone’s Pop-Port to transfer photos, which can be sent via MMS.

There is also a lack of FM Radio and MP3 audio support since this was targeted as an entry-level device. There is also no Infrared or Bluetooth, so you will need to purchase a Nokia data cable to connect to your PC. In this mode you can transfer ringtones and wallpapers, and download Java apps to the phone. You can also use the handset as a modem but you are limited to GRPS.

Still the phone enables internet and multimedia message use and is compatible with nearly all of the Java mobile apps

The screens below are captured from the handset itself. Unfortunately, Nokia Series 40 phones cannot take screenshots of their display. Because of the low DPI nature of the screen, there are some screendoor like artifacts that can be seen.

Home Screen

Appears the same as any other Nokia handset from the same era. Some operators may include their own brandings, such as an operator logo or a custom background. This one appears to have the O2 background preinstalled.

Menu

The traditional Nokia interface is used for the handsets menus, but with an updated icon set. The interface is similar to the 6610 and 6230, being Series 40-based.

The directional keys can be used as shortcuts to common menu items, like pressing the up button opens the camera, left will open the SMS message composer.

Speed dialing can be activated by pressing and holding down a key, which will dial out the contact number assigned to it. 1 will always dial out the voicemail number.

Messages

Here you can create and send SMS text messages, or compose one using the built-in templates offered. Received messages can be entered into custom folders for longer-term keeping.
There is also a distribution list for when you want to spam multiple contacts with the same message, you simply enter the numbers to send the message to or select from your phonebook, and your message will be set to multiple recipients. Useful for making an announcement or sending the same message to multiple contacts frequently.

Nokia smart messaging is supported, which allows sending and receiving of ringtones and black/white static images to other supported handsets (commonly Nokia) but also with some Samsung/LG/Motorola. There are 10 templates that have been included with the handset that can be sent.

MMS is supported, which allows for photos and small audio clips to be sent using the phone’s data connection. Up to 100kb can be attached to a single MMS file. As the phone lacks a built-in camera, you would think this would have limited use. But as mentioned earlier Nokia did release a Fun Camera, which was a portable camera that would connect to the phone’s pop-port, pictures can then be imported to the phone where they can be sent.

Sony Ericsson also release something similar to their T68 handset, which is considered the direct competitor to the 3100.

Contacts

The Phonebook can save around 200 entries with a little more being saved to the SIM card. Contacts stored in the phone memory can have additional information assigned to it, such as the email address, home/landline number, fax number, office/work, and a photo of the contact assigned, which will appear on screen when the contact shows. If a contact has multiple numbers assigned to it, the first number entered will be the default contact used.

Call Register

Three lists are stored here, each for received, dialed and missed calls. Each list can save up to 20 entries and will show the date/time of the call. You can also press the green call button from the idle screen to show the recently dialed numbers.

You can also view the call time counters for the last phonecall, and the lifetime calls for the device. This can also be reset at any time.

Profiles

Profiles can be set and configured from there, you can also access this by pressing the power button, located at the top of the handset. Profiles can also be timed so they expire after a set amount of hours, useful when setting the device to be on silent for when you enter a meeting.
The default profiles are General, Silent, Discreet, Loud, Outdoor and Pager.

Settings

Personal Shortcuts: Change what the right selection key performs at the home screen, and customize the Go To menu
Screen saver: Displays and sets the phone screensaver, and how long the screensaver should be displayed
Time and date: Set the phones time and date, if it has not been set by the network
Call: Set the call to divert and waiting options, and if you want your caller ID to be sent
Phone: Change phone-specific settings like the language, automatic keyguard and the delay to lock the keys, Cell info display that show local information provided by the nearest mast, set the phones welcome note, the startup tone and the help text which is displayed after a few seconds when a menu item is highligted.
Display: Change the wallpaper, colour scheme, and operator logo (if one has been setup).
Tone: Set the ringing tone, the message tone and to enable vibration. A unique feature of the phone is it can flash its backlights in rhythm with the ringtone, however this only seems to work for ringtones shipped with the handset, downloaded ringtones will simply flash the backlight on and off.
Enhancement: Which profile to set when a handsfree headset is connected to the phone
Security: set and change the phones security code, and the Sim card PIN code
Lastly, you can restore the factory settings, but this will require the phone security code.

Gallery

To view wallpapers and ringtones that are included with the phone, any that have been downloaded.

Alarm Clock

Set an alarm, only one can be set here but it can be set to repeat daily or weekly. This has its own place in the main menu, rather than being embedded into the Organiser menu on other handsets.

Calendar

A standard calendar is offered, which can be used to add events to each day. Three times of events can be added, Reminder, Call and Birthday

Games

Three games are included: Snake, Beach Rally & Bowling. Optional games that could be downloaded and installed are Bounce, Space Impact, Trail Biker & Chess Puzzle. With under 1MB of user storage you’re limited to the number of games you can download.

There is also an applications menu, but none are included and must be downloaded. Sometimes games that have been downloaded will appear in the applications folder.

Extras

Calculator: Just a standard basic calculator
Countdown Timer: Enter a time to countdown to
Stopwatch: Choose either Split or Lap timing, and view any previous times

Services

The phone’s WAP and internet browser, with pre-set links to download more content like ringtones and wallpapers.
Also a bookmark for Blyk, which was a mobile network that launched in 2007 and was a free mobile network that r would send adverts in the form of SMS text messages which would provide you with free credit. It totally flopped and closed in 2009.

Go To

A menu that lists shortcuts that have been added

Lastly, there is also a dedicated menu for the Sim card application toolkit which will appear if the SIM card is configured to display one.

Dead or Alive

Virtua Fighter with bouncing physics

Released in 1996, Dead or alive was the fighting game created by Tomobou Itagaki, who is known for hating the Tekken game with a passion.

There are some similarities to the Virtua Fighter series of games by Sega, and have the same input controls and move-sets with Punch, Kick and Guard/Hold.

Characters

The character select screen displays basic stats on the characters and some not-so-useful information like the character’s favorite food and their hobbies. Honestly, this looks more like a dating site profile but does add a bit of personality to the fighters.

As with other fighting games, each character has their own unique fighting style which is tailored to their culture, and there are some obvious inspirations with Jann Lee being based off Bruce Lee.

  • Kasumi: The ginger ninja, or runaway shinobi according to the games lore
  • Zack: Dennis Rodman-inspired character who has a kickboxer moveset. The first opponent who stage is set on a tropical beach set at sunset
  • Ryu: Another Ninja, from the game Ninja Gaiden. The third opponent set on a rural Japanese stage with a hut in the background
  • Bayman: A Russian henchman/assassin, the sixth opponent whose stage is set in an aircraft hangar since he is supposed to have a military background
  • Jann Lee: Bruce Lee, similar to Law from Tekken. The fourth opponent and shares a stage with Tina, which is an American downtown highway set at night
  • Tina Armstrong: A wrestler and daughter of Bass Armstrong
  • Gen Fu: Old dude who is a master in Kung Fu, like Wang from Tekken
  • Lei Fang: A Chinese fortune teller turned fighter
  • PlayStation Only
    • Ayane: Kasumi’s half-sister who are rivals. Looks like a feminist
  • Bass Armstrong: Tina’s father, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage crossover

Versions

Dead or Alive was released initially in arcades in 1996, and then ported to home consoles in 1997

Arcade (Original)

The game runs on the Sega Model 2 arcade board and is very similar to Virtua Fighter 2 which also ran on the same board. The control movesets and even the background stages are similar. This version of the game renders its stage background in full 3D, allowing for certain moves that use the background elements like a couple of Ryu’s moves on his stage. There is also a ‘Danger Zone’ around the stage that when your opponent lands on it, will be propelled into the air with a mild explosion, dealing some damage.

Sega Saturn

The game was ported to the Saturn and was the first home port of the game. This version is a mostly faithful conversion of the arcade original, with some changes taking place due to the less capabilities of the Saturn 3D hardware. Still, the Saturn has always done good with fighting games, and Dead Or Alive is no exception to this, yet this version of the game was only released in Japan.

There are a few menu options added, with a Time Attack mode being similar to arcade mode but with the goal of completing rounds in the shortest amount of time. V.S being versus, allowing a second player to fight head to head. Survival mode has you fight against multiple opponents, one at a time, using a single life bar. Kumite is somewhat a sparing mode where you can fight from 30/60/100 opponents which the goal of having the highest winning percentage. Lastly, there is also a standard training mode that lets you practice each character move, and test against opponents’ defensive moves.

Like other Arcade to Saturn conversions, an opening FMV is included which gives a quick montage of the characters.

As the Saturn version of the game was only released in Japan, I would avoid this version and get the original Xbox version instead, which is the same game but with added online play and cleaned-up graphics.

Sony PlayStation

An updated version of the game was released for the PlayStation, which came with updated moves, two new added characters & backgrounds. This is considered a remake of sorts, as the stage background and music have been redesigned and are vastly different compared to the Sega versions. Two new characters have also been added which also feature in the arcade version, Dead or Alive ++, not the Model 2 version.

This version also includes the training, Kumite, Survival and Vs modes.

Arcade (Dead Or Alive++)

Another arcade version was released, this time on the PlayStation-based ZN arcade board, and shared a lot of similarities with the PlayStation home release. Each fighter has 4 different costumes to choose from, and a tag match mode has been added. New characters, Bass Armstong and Ayane have been added to this version.

Xbox

This version was based of the original Sega Saturn release but takes advantage of the Xbox hardware. However, id say it pales graphically compared to the Model 2 version which features full 3D background objects, whilst the Xbox version features the static 2D backgrounds (no moving objects in the background, but some textures are animated) the Saturn uses. Still the character’s models and textures are more detailed, and Xbox Live support is included in this port of the game to allow online multiplayer. This has since been shut down following Microsoft discontinuing support for original Xbox Live titles in 2010.

Still, you miss out on Bass Armstrong and Ayane which is an odd omission.

This version of the game is playable on the Xbox One and Series consoles and can be brought online. You can also play on the Xbox 360 with a compatible hard drive.

Conclusion

Dead Or Alive came at a very hard time for Tecmo, who was facing bankruptcy prior to the release, hence the name of Dead Or Alive.

Dead Or Alive would be followed up in 1999, with the release of Dead or Alive 2 for the Dreamcast, and the PlayStation 2. It would be the last game released for the arcades. Future installments would be released on the Xbox exclusively, before returning to multiplatform with Dead or Alive 5.

Netgem TV Games

Not to be outdone by Youview, Netgem has decided to add a few games to their Freeview TV service. These games can be accessed directly from the TV Guide and are played using the remote control.

A new Games tab can be seen from the main menu, taking you directly to a selection of games on offer, all of which are free (for now, unless they decide to implement pay to play like Sky did)
Like the Youview games they are similar in scope to the Newgrounds Adobe Flash games of the time, but rendered in HD and played using the remote control.

Car Rush

Very similar to Outrun where you have to steer a car around the track with the objective to get to the finish line within the time limit, avoiding the obstacles and navigating the bending track.

Rowing 2 Sculls Challenge

A rowing game where you have to press the OK button when your boat passes over a green circle to boost. No steering or button mashing required, you just press a single button. Despite this timing is crucial, especially on the later levels, it also does not help the framerate takes a hit the more opponents there are on screen, and the remote isn’t exactly tactile so you have to compensate by pressing earlier.

Watercraft RUSH

Well its just Car Rush but with water. I guess this is similar in concept to Nintendo’s Wave Rush, or Namco’s Aqua Jet.

Slalom Ski Simulator

This ones a bitch to play, mainly due to the uneven frame rate which makes it difficult to anticipate the distance of the upcoming flag. Again its similar to , Cool Boarders, 1080 Snowboarding or Ski Free, where you have to steer and pass through the flags in order to progress to the next level.
Very difficult as mentioned above due to the framerate and unresponsive controls, could be remedied by having three lives instead of a game over every time you miss a flag.

Galatic Maze

Set in space, you have to guide your ship using the arrow keys to navigate through the gaps. If you ship hits a wall, it is destroyed and the game is over, you only get one life.

Street Basketball

A basketball games where you have to press the Ok button when the basketball indicator reaches in the middle, this game is reliant on your reaction time. Although you can select your character, I don’t think it has any affect on the game play itself.

Christmas Rush

Here you have to guide Santa around the obstacle in order to collect the dropped gifts. A star can be collected with will allow Santa to move faster

City Block

Build a city block, trying to keep it as straight as possible by pressing the OK button. You have to drop the block in the centre of the screen to get the best score.

Nugget Seeker Adventure

Like DigDug, you have to mine your way through the level, collecting the gold nuggets whilst avoiding the enemy diggers who will attack.

Pac-Rat

Pacman with rats

Radioactive Ball

Objective here is to split the ball by pressing the Ok button, but you have to avoid the balls landing on you, which is easier said than done. I think the end goal is to make the balls as small as possible, but I’ve never managed to get past the first level.

Snake

Your typical snake game, eat/collect the dots to increase your score and the size of your snake.

Skeet Challenge

A game where you need to aim and shoot the onscreen skeets, very difficult to aim and score.

Duck Shooter

A duck hunt clone, also this one has the controls intended for a PC keyboard, as it references using the spacebar to shoot. Different birds move at faster speeds which makes it harder to aim and shoot. You also get a bonus for how quick it takes to shoot a duck.

Flags Maniac

A flag memory/knowledge games where you have to match the country to their respective flag.

Solitaire

It’s a solitaire game alright

Ric Tac Toe

You can adjust the grid size from three options 3×3, 5×5 or 7×7. Two players can play, but you have to use the same remote and take turns.

Master Checkers

A checkers game

2048 cuteness edition

Similar to that 2048 game on PlayWorks but with a bunch of animals and that damn ukulele music in the background that sounds like your watching a makeup tutorial.

Goose Game

Objective is to throw the dice with the aim of getting to the finish line first. Upto two players can play, and upto 6 players can be on screen at one, with the remaining being controlled by the CPU. This is one of the best games available on the service purley for the simple gameplay.

Snakes & Ladders

Classic snakes and ladders game, can be played upto 2 players, with 6 players in total being controlled by the CPU.

Conclusion

So its a good start and a nice addition for Netgem’s TV service, but the main let-down is the lack of horse power from the hardware. I’m not sure what SoC Netgem use but it seems to struggle with the more demanding games. The main issue is the remote, this just not designed for gaming with its stiff keys and hollow build quality, a wireless controller might be a better addition.

Telewest Broadband 2004 Guide

In late 2003, Telewest revised its EPG user interface once again, this time using a more uniform look across the different sections of the service. An electric blue background is now used and the design language follows a cube/box style menu interface, a departure from the list view we are typically accustomed to. In a way is similar to the Metro interface Microsoft had popularised on Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8.

The first release was distributed in 2004, with another release following in 2005 which traded the Front Row PPV functionality with the Teleport VOD service. This was an early Video On Demand service offered by Telewest, similar in concept to what we have today with Netflix but was the replacement of Pay-Per-View movies and events.

As with previous software releases, the interface is written using the Liberate TV navigator middleware, and commonly ran on a Pace Di1000/2000 or 4000 series of set-top-boxes. Scientific Atlanta was also another set-top vendor that Telewest had used with their Explorer 4000DVB. Also, a new silver remote has been provided to new customers, and existing customers if they requested a replacement, this remote bares a resemblance to the Sky remote and has the ability to control the TV volume and power functions.

Along with the new software, the information channel (on channel 890) was amended to showcase the new interface and how to access basic features of the TV service.

TV Guide

The interface employs a box design which was a departure from the previous software version, as well as the typical interfaces used by Sky Digital at the time. The user controls the cursor (Yellow bounding box) and uses this to highlight a menu item to select it. The cursor always starts off in the middle square, allowing the user to use the arrow/directional pad to quickly select an item. Number keys can also be used for shortcuts, even though numbers are not displayed. On the TV Guide example above, pressing 1 would list the Sports channels, pressing 2 would display general channels, 3 for movies, 4 for news, etc…

A reminder can be set during a program for a future event, useful to set a VCR or DVD recorder

A confirmation the reminder has been set

Reminders that have been set will appear in the Reminders section of the TV Guide

Pressing the info button will bring up a short synopsis of the program

On older remotes you can adjust the volume control of the STB output, newer remotes will just use the TV volume control

Viewing a favorite channel

Help

Pressing the help button on the remote brings up a small dialogue box that explains how to navigate the user interface, and how to perform specific tasks.

Pay Per View

Interactive

Interactive microsites were one of the main attractions to cable, and Telewest digital TV platform was built around the functionality of interactive service that could be accessed through the service.

Help information for the various interactive categories

Settings

The main settings window

Parental Control

PIN control was brought forward from the previous software, again the user can control access to specific channels and place restrictions on programs by ratings.

Display & Audio

Amending display and audio settings like the picture output size (toggle between 4:3 or 16:9, with additional two options for letterbox or full-screen for 4:3)

Favorite Channels

Setting channels to be a favorite, there appears to be no specific limit for favorite channels compared to Sky, which was restricted to 20 and later 50 favorite channels.

Teleport VoD

Telewest launched its VoD services in 2005 and began rolling them out across the country. This replaces the Front Row NVOD service which operated in a similar manner to Sky Box Office.

Teleport On-Demand home, with teleport Replay being a catch-up-like service to view programs previously broadcast in the last few days. A useful service since PVR’s were not that common back then.

Selecting a program to play, and entering a PIN to play a restricted or a chargeable program. Everything here is in a list view as opposed to the boxset-like view we are commonly used to.

As the Telewest remote lacks the typical speed controls, you have to use the colour buttons on the remote instead. The Teleport program can be paused, and rewound or fast-forward like a regular DVD or PVR.

Conclusion

Reception to the interface design was mostly positive, with it reflecting Telewest new brand design and identity. This would match their Blueyonder branding for their broadband service and internet portal. This interface was also brought forward to ntl customers following the merger of both companies, with ntl being introduced to the TV Drive PVR.

This interface would later be replaced by the Virgin Media UK2 guide, which would be the final overall until the introduction of Tivo in 2010.

Software update discussion

Ridge Racer V

One of the launch titles for the PlayStation 2, Sony’s follow-up to the popular PlayStation. Like the first Ridge Racer, this was one of the first games developed and released for the PlayStation 2 and was built from the ground up for that console. Ridge Racer V brought us 60fps which was a staple of the arcade versions but was something that the home console versions had always lacked. Although Namco did treat us to a 60fps build of the original Ridge Racer that was bundled as a bound for Ridge Racer Type 4, a lot of sacrifices had to be made in order to reach that frame rate. RRV gives us an insight as to what the PS2 is capable of, and what to expect from a new generation of racing games.

Although it seems Namco has forgotten to count, with Ridge Racer V being the fifth console installment, it’s not counting the three arcade titles, plus you have Ridge Racer 6 which was released in the same year. The numbering scheme is about as inconsistent s as Microsoft’s

Ouch, you could cut yourself on those jaggies (look at the neck)

Oh and no Reiko, instead she was replaced by Ai Fukami (Fuck-a-me) who appears in the intro. Unlike the R4 intro, the cars don’t stop for Ai as they did for Reiko.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhQhZyNKqhM

Straight away you will notice how sleek the menu and navigation system are compared to previous titles, borrowing design concepts from Tokyo Racer Drift which was released on the Dreamcast. Each menu selection plays its own quick animation which gives a nice touch to the game, and reminds me of the menu icons from the original WipEout that was created by the Designers Republic.

Whilst the game gives the appearance of reflections, they are not real-time but the game casts generic reflections of trees onto the car to simulate it. This is affected by your car’s position on the track, steer to the left and on the edge of the track and you can see the reflection of trees on your car, even if that part of the track has no trees at all. I guess real-time reflections were beyond the scope of the PS2 at the time of release, or Namco didn’t have enough time to implement this.
Speaking of graphics, you will know how aliased the cars are in addition to the track objects. The PS2 had an unconventional form of AA which took developers some time to get used to and as a result, some games have bad aliasing due to how their field scanning is implemented, as the games run exclusively in interlaced mode. I’m not sure if later releases (Greatest Hits, Platinum in Europe) fix this, or if it’s fixed in the Arcade Battle version.

Race Modes

GP Selection Screen

Grand Prix

Like in R4, RRV features its own unique Grand Prix. This is a departure from one we saw in R4 with the four teams being missing along with their managers can choose your own team name and colour but that’s it. As for the cars, we have a choice of different car manufacturers and models, including Danver & Himmel. These are fictional brands that are used throughout the Ridge Racer, and possibly in Namco’s other games.
Each car has its own unique stats, including top speed, acceleration, handling and control style (Grip or Drift).

Standard Basis GP: Consists of four rounds of different courses, at first you must place 4th or higher to progress to the next found, then 3rd, then 2nd and then 1st for the last race. Winning this GP will unlock a new car based on the machine you have chosen to race with which can then be used in the Extra GP’s. You will also win a trophy, which can be viewed later in the game.
Alternatively known as Frontal GP in Normal difficulty and Fountain GP in Hard mode.

Extra Heroic GP: Tracks have been shuffled around, finish standings are the same as the basis GP, only you now race on the extra car you unlocked.
Known as Bravely GP in normal, and Spartan GP on hard difficulty.

Extra Blast GP: This series uses a sudden death type of gameplay, where if the clock timer runs out, then you are ejected from the race. As you race you will pass through checkpoints which extend the time. If you are familiar with the arcade versions of Ridge racer this will seem familiar to you. For these races, you will still need to satisfy the qualifying rank to progress. Known as Gale Gp in normal, and Tornado GP on hard.

Extra Knight GP: These tracks are now completed in reverse mode.
Also known as Balon GP on normal, and Duke GP on hard.

Extra Throne GP: You race on the airport oval track, with your car being equipped with an oval engine. This is a single long near-circle-shaped track similar to the Rage Racer tracks. Top speed is the priority here.
Known as Monarch GP on normal and Tyrant GP on hard difficulty.

Maxim class: This is unlocked by beating the Tyrant GP on hard difficulty, which opens up the Ultimate GP.

Music track selection screen

Duel

Unlocked later in the game, it’s a 1 vs 1 mode against another opponent. When you beat them, you unlock their car which can then be used in the extra GP.

Time Attack

The goal here is to beat the rival times and come in first, which will unlock that rival for challenge dal. This will also increase your car standing number.

Car selection screen

Other Modes

  • Design: Similar in concept to the decal feature in R4, you can customize the colour and patterns on your team’s car. Here you can only change the colour combinations.
  • Garage: View cars that you have unlocked by winning the GP races with that car, along with any unlocked engines.
  • Records: Best lap times and the player names for time attack mode

Courses

In GP Mode, a quick tour of the race track is played

RRV included a brand new set of courses, most of which are based on the original course from the original Ridge Racer game, But these new courses are interlinked somewhat, with many taking place within Ridge City but branching out into different paths that take you into a different direction, with some leading you into the main downtown whilst others take you onto the highway. The tracks are fixed, it’s not an open world like Burnout paradise, instead different paths are blocked off depending on which track you select, very similar to how it functioned in Rage Racer and Ridge Racer Type 4.
Speaking of which, none of the tracks featured in those games appear in Ridge Racer V, only the track from the first arcade game, or which many of the RRV tracks are based around.

Despite this, you get a good feel of the Ridge Racer city,
Some tracks can be raced at different times of day, such as Day, evening & night. Unlike the first Ridge racer game where the sun will set or rise during the race which results in a day/night cycle, The sky will remain constant through the race, giving the game a realistic passage of time. This is the case even with the 99 trial.

  • Park Town: Probably the first track in RRV you will race if you follow the Grand Prix, this starts off the same as Above The City but then branches out to a different track which gives an alternative view of Ridge City, of which the scenery consists of high-rise building. A tram/monorail system can be seen in some parts of the track.
  • Outer Pass: This track looks a lot like the original track from Ridge Racer judging from the course map, but it’s set using the background roads that we can finally race in. It starts off on the bottom road where you can see the onpass ramp for Park Town and Sunny Beech before it leads to its own side of the tunnel. Towards the end it branches back to the original track before diverting back to its own path. A few sharp turns make this track more challenging and there’s an extra turn where the seaside part is.
  • Above the City: Starts off the same as park town but branches to its own path, again filled with buildings and highways, although there are a few parts of open grass and trees, it’s clear there’s less scenery diversity than in R4.
  • Bayside Line: One of the longest tracks in the game, complete with sharp turns. This one takes you out near the highway and then branches back to the start of Outer Pass.
  • Greenfield: The advanced track from the original Ridge Racer, now updated with modern visuals.
  • Sunny Beach: It’s the original track that we all know and love, only now its been modernized 7 years later, and has been remastered of sorts. Compared to the original there’s been a few changes with different skyscrapers and building placement, and minor changes to the shops opposite the beach area where the first checkpoint resides. Sadly the Pac-Man easter egg no longer appears in the building at night.
  • Airport Oval: Unlike other tracks, this one takes place independent of the other tracks, it’s a large oval-shaped track designed for top speeds, although there is a sharp turn that will require a drift, depending on your car. Since the other tracks feature low-flying airplanes, it can be assumed this is the Ridge City airport.

Additional Notes

This is one of the games that insist on funning in 480i mode (or 440i mode, PS2 games use this weird resolution) and trying to force it to 480p using GSMode results in only half the screen being rendered, as such there is no official way to run this game in progressive mode.
It’s a shame because this game has some bad aliasing, and could benefit better from progressive scan. Even the lap timer suffers from noticeable interlacing effects.

The game does not fare better with emulation either, with various texture and shading issues in PCSX2, and even had issues running in Sony’s official PS2 emulators on the PS3 and PS4. Supposedly this is due to how Namco implemented the texturing and shading for these games:
https://github.com/PCSX2/pcsx2/issues/2427#issuecomment-590020696
https://github.com/PCSX2/pcsx2/issues/3278
The intro sequence is also messed up and requires switching between hardware and software rendering modes in order to display.

Saving to a memory card larger than 8MB may take a while to read and write. With a 128Mb card it took a minute to save the game. I’m not sure if replacing the MCM IOP driver could help with this, or just break/corrupt the file entirely.

Conclusion

Whilst in some regard it’s a step back from Ridge Race Type 4 with the reduction of cars, tracks and the story mode, you have to take in mind the game was possibly developed in a short timeframe that R4 had, and Namco’s desire to have is a launch title for the PS2, the 1999 copyright date is very telling of this and one of the few games on the PS2 to have this copyright date. As a launch title it makes a huge splash with its high resolution, 60fps gameplay, and the intro sequence with Ai, possibly the highest poly model on the PS2.
But this would be the only installment of Ridge Racer for the PlayStation 2 whilst the original PlayStation enjoy four mainline Ridge Racer titles, the PS2 would only have RRV and R: Racing Evolution which is more of a spinoff rather than a follow-up game. It wouldn’t be until 2004 that a proper followup to Ridge Racer would be released for the PlayStation Portable. And even then, it’s considered a compilation game rather than a true sequel. Ridge Racer 6 for the Xbox 360 would be the proper sequel with unique tracks. As for why only one title? Possibly due to higher budgets required for PS2 development and the popularity of sim racing games like Gran Turismo. Hopefully we get another proper Ridge Racer titles from Namco at some point in the future.

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

An update to Windows XP Media Center, again intended for OEM use. Very little has changed on the desktop side with most of the enhancements being done to the Media Center program. Again this version was intended solely for OEMs, so only OEM-type product keys can be used. When installing on an OEM system, like my Dell XPS Gen5, activation was automatic and I don’t remember it prompting for a product key. On VMWare, it’s a different story with it being locked out of the OS on the initial boot-up.

Some issues may occur regarding product activation since this is a Dell OEM copy, to get around this:
Spam F8 upon boot up
Select Start in Command Prompt
When the Command prompt window appears, enter ‘explorer’ and wait for the setup prompt to finish, this will reboot the PC automatically

Version Information

ComponentVersion
Internet Explorer6.0.2800.1106.xpsp11.020828-1920
Outlook Express6.00.2800.1106
Windows Media Player9.00.00.3005
Windows Messenger4.7.0041
Windows Movie Maker1.1.2427.1

The desktop remains the same as a default Windows XP, with the only noticeable difference being the Media Center icon on the Start Menu. A new Online Spotlight option is now present, This would take you to an online website, displayed within the Media Center application (possibly using the Internet Explorer engine) that would have provided further information with using Media Center.

Play DVD

The main DVD player, again we have difficulties playing DVD discs due to the lack of hardware MPEG2 decoder. You would think they would support software rendering by now.

My Videos

Videos stored in the My Videos folder are located and played back here. This does not include Recorded TV, which has its own section. Video playback requires a supported graphics card that will provide acceleration, that VMWare (Or its driver) does not support.

My Pictures

Similar has before, photos can be displayed as a single image or as part of a slideshow. Media center supports the common file formats and will display images from the My Pictures folder, or the Shared Pictures

My TV

TV functionality is still a mystery, as my DVB-T tuner adaptor is still not recognized by the Media Center Application. From looking at the help files, Media Center has full PVR functionality with the ability to schedule recordings, pause live TV & rewind. You can now watch TV in slow motion, which is useful for sports events or frame by frame to check if anything has been missed (or for any subliminal messages).
As with the previous version, you can configure the TV source to be through an antenna, using a satellite or a cable feed. The latter two probably need a set-top box along with an infrared blaster to control it.
Pay-Per-View also appears to be supported, but I’m unsure how this is implemented. Possibly it interacts with your cable box’s PPV application?
As for the TV listings, as Microsoft has killed off the EPG servers we are unable to load any channel listings.

My Music

Little here has changed compared to the previous version. Music stored in the My Music folder can be played or organized into a playlist, and played through the media center application.

More Programs

Additional programs that integrate into Media Center are displayed here, which can include games or links to the website. Dell has bundled a few WildTangent games that are intended to be played using the Media Center remote.

Otto: The objective is to turn all of the squares into your colour, whilst avoiding the enemies.

Gem Master: Similar to Sega Columns, clear the board by matching three or more colours together

Shutting down within media center