M I R A C L E   O N   W E S T W O O D   B L V D .
10-17-'99 / 03:37.04 A.M.

Who knew living so close to school would prove to be a boon? Today, a quick visit by some of my buddies was all that was needed for me to pop the disk in, copy the .txt file, and hustle back home to publish Week 6 Football Picks.

Just when all seemed well, technical difficulties had to put everything in the back burner. First, it was the mouse that had trouble responding. Okay, no problem, a quick visit to the bios and IRQ tweaking fixed that. Secondly, modem refused to connect. All it did was make screeching noises for a few minutes, and disconnect automatically. Okay, fine, I'll just have to ditch the 28.8 for the 14.4... hey, internet's internet, right? Finally after 3 hours of tweaking and troubleshooting, I was online at the meager speed of 14.4 kilobits/sec. Ahh! That's nearly 1/1000th of the bandwith I have at school! Oh well. We all need a dose of humility occasionally, I believe. Anyways, check out the picks here, and by golly you'd better, after all the trouble I've gone through to get this delivered before kickoff on Sunday!! Click.

W E E K   6   D E B A C L E
10-16-'99 / 12:34.14 A.M.

I don't know how to break this news to you fella's... but... Week 6 football picks will be published LATE. Why such a bone headed move by your own webmaster? Because he was bone headed enough that while rushing out the door from the dorm to go home, he left the analysis .txt file on his HD, with only the .html on disk. Let the flames roll. Click!

We are, however, 100% completed with analysis, picks, and locks done. There's just that small problem of me leaving the core information at the dorm room. I will publish them ASAP, and when I say ASAP, I mean ASA-friggin'-P. The best we can hope for (at least unless a miracle of some sort occurs) is enough time to squeeze in Sunday Night and Monday Night Football. Anything preceeding will be merely hindsight. I guess for a change, you'll have most of the scores and results while you read the will-be published picks. They will be posted as-is, with no manipulation. Other than that, I'd just like to apologize for this unforeseen event. I don't know how many of you out there actually read it, but for those that do, it won't happen again.

G E F O R C E   2 5 6    ( T E C H   U P D A T E )
10-13-'99 / 04:54.26 P.M.

Ah, yes, finally, reviews from major hardware sites (Tom's Hardware, to be exact) have started to trickle down to the public. There have been much, much hype behind NVidia's new graphics chip, and the expectations are definitely high after witnessing how successful the TNT line of graphics chips have prospered in the market. Rice World, being a small time site in general, is not recognized by the industry as being qualified to review the product (aw shucks!), therefore I must rely on reading multiple reviews and analysis, subjecting myself to benchmark after benchmark, and decipher what is true and what is false from each reviewer's biases / irregularities. What do I think so far?

The GeForce is overhyped, definitely. It took me a while to comprehend the the jargon behind pixel fill rate and texel fill rate, etc... but so far, based on immature drivers, the only advantage the GeForce has over current cards is its texel fill rate. Basically, what I see it as is the speed at which the card can paint the pixels on the screen with a texture. For those that have read this far, you probably already know what I'm talking about, so I don't think I have to regurgetate information that I think other sites (namely AnandTech) present excellently. So anyways, because the GeForce's texel fill rate is ~480 MegaTexels per second, about 100 megatexels more than the highest current 3D card, it usually ends up at the top of the benchmarks.

Of course, that's what you'd expect, right? So what's the big deal, doesn't the GeForce live up to the hype? Well, what I find very disturbing is that the 480 MTexels/sec. that is vaulting this chip up to the top will end up at the bottom of the pile once other companies start unleashing their product. NVidia stole the early thunder, but S3 and 3dfx will inevitably begin selling, and THEIR fill rate on their respective next-gen. chips are almost TWICE as high!! 3dfx is hinting at staggering fill rates, up to (maybe?) 1 GigaTexel per second! THAT WILL BLOW THE GEFORCE OUT OF THE WATER!

Okay, those that are still with me are undoubtly thinking, "hardware transformation & lighting engine will be what makes the GeForce DA SHIET."... that's not untrue, but then again, T&L is a feature that must be programmed in to be taken advantage of. Your average current generation CPU can crank out 3-5 million triangles per second. GeForce's onboard Graphical Processing Unit (the GPU, which is their trademark name) can push 15 million. Ya, that's right, more than 3 times the most powerful CPU can do. HOWEVER, it's good for nothing if the game you're running ignores that feature, which all current games do. That means, no acceleration for Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 (actually, there are minor due to its OpenGL implementation). Yep, that means if you blow 300 smackers on a GeForce right now and run current games, the pipeline will be painting pixels like mad, faster than any current 3D card..... and the triangle (T&L) engine will be sitting on the couch eating potato chips and watching Sunday Night Football.

Oh, I almost forgot the issue of memory. The GeForce will be shipped in two flavors (much like how the TNT2 was shipped in regular and Ultra), the SD version and DDR version. SD stand for Single Data and DD stands for Double Data Rate. Ever since we were young, we were told bigger is better right? Well, double is certainly bigger than single! The SDRAM of the GeForce will be $100 dollars CHEAPER than the DDR-RAM version. But as the benchmarks show, it will be a SEVERE penalty, and the gap between DDR and SD is very significant when the game begins to tax the video card. Even larger than the gap between TNT2 Ultra and TNT2 regular. This is due to a disappointing 128 bit wide memory bandwidth, which may bottleneck an otherwise powerful graphics chip.

These are just things to consider. Rice World will definitely have a graphics card roundup just before the Christmas shopping season, and then another one during Spring. Thanks for reading this far, for those that did. I spent a long time typing it up, hoping for it to be intuitive. My utopia is a place where techno jargon is not a barrier to a better understanding of fun toys such as hardware. =)

C H A I M B E R L A I N    D E A D
10-13-'99 / 04:54.26 P.M.

Although I am not old enough to remember the days of Wilt Chaimberlain and his 100 point claim to fame game, I do know enough of basketball history (as any half assed fan ought to) to know of the offensive powerhouse known as "The Stilt". Claimed by a heart attack at the age of 63, he will be forever remembered for how he changed the game single handedly, due to his incrediblely versatile athleticism. For a full report, click!

a_wiltchamber.jpg (11933 bytes)-----a_wiltdeal.jpg (15586 bytes)

Rest in peace, big guy.

W E E K   5    P O S T M O R T E M
10-10-'99 / 09:57.11 P.M.

I'd just like to come right out and say it... gawddammit I love watching football! This week was by far the best week of the season so far, in terms of performance wise by teams and the sheer gutsiness of 2 future hall of famer quarterbacks. Kurt Warner and the Rams are the best team in football by far, after squashing the 49ers, re-inflating them, and squashing them again. Dan Marino showed why not only is he the most prolific QB of all time, he just may be the best that has ever played. Being able to step up in the 4th quarter to deliver crunch time was just pure Marino. "Marino" ought to be a word that stands for 4th quarter comeback.

Speaking of comebacks... my gameball goes to Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers. If Marino means 4th quarter comebacks, "Favre" means the sheer will to win. 3 out of 4 weeks the Packers' team leader brought back victory when it seemed it was lost. Tonight, one could say it was just another day at work, but to ordinary folks, it was amazing to see one man spin miracle after miracle week after week. 70 yards... down by 4... completion after completion... even an injury to his right arm couldn't slow down Brett Favre. I can just picture the final play in slow motion. The Buccaneers send in the blitz... Favre's eyes flicked to Antonio Freeman, his all-star wide receiver, and something akin to E.S.P. passes between them. Meanwhile, the wave of linebackers begin their fatal descent upon the entity only known to them as #4.... As the offensive line melts under the heat of the "Sapp", Favre closes his eyes and rockets a spiraling football over the field in a perfect rainbow. Then he eats a face full of dirt as he is leveled by Tampa's howling defense, but not before seeing the ball arch over the goal line and landing, perfectly tucked away in the arms of Freeman and away from the helpless cornerback. Victory snatched from the teeth of the enemy is the sweetest win of all.

N F L   W E E K   5
10-09-'99 / 12:15.30 P.M.

Yes, just as you expect from the U.S. Postal Service, you can expect Rice World to deliver every week, on schedule and never late (well, maybe a little), our weekly football picks. We here are self proclaimed experts that believe we know everything there is about the sport and how it works. Then again, none of us are over 20 years of age.....

Anyways, this week our guest writer kurupt has decided to take a little "break" from this column. However, he stuck around long enough last week to become our new WEEK FIVE ASS OF THE WEEK! If you want a clear visual (oh yeah... and the football analysis too), click!

T H E   D I S T A N C E    T O   H E R E
10-08-'99 / 01:38.04 A.M.

Recently, I aquired a copy of Live's 4th album, titled The Distance To Here. Hence, I have posted my first album review, and I consider it quite a crappy job. Heh heh... anyways, for those not interested in reading my gibberish, I highly recommend this album for not just die-hard Live fans, but alternative fans in general. For those that will read it (true-blue Rice World'ers... people that the world needs more of!), click!

C H R I S T I N A   R U B S   M E   T H E   R I G H T   W A Y
10-07-'99 / 06:16.69 P.M.

Gerry here: Well, I finally finished my Christina Aguilera review. Go ahead and read it if you like, but I know most you probably won't. Click!

In other news:

- Rice is training for the Quake 3 tour at this very moment. He's currently learning to navigate w/ a helmet over his eyes, letting the Force guide him. So please don't pester him. The fate of the universe (a T-shirt) hinges on his success.

- Baseball playoffs are happening right now. Can anyone honestly say they care? Anyways, here's my pick for the World Series: Atlanta vs. Yankees, w/ Atlanta being the 1999 World Champions.

- DOUBLE JEOPARDY is #1 movie right now. What the hell. The premise sounds so stupid! Ashley Judd looks good though. I'm eagerly anticipating watching THREE KINGS, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube. It's been getting rave reviews.

- So LA doesn't have a football team. So what? No one ever goes. Not if it's at the Collesium and there are gangstas everywhere you turn. What LA has to do is find some good land and make a start of the art facility. Tear down stuff if you have to. The NFL = big bucks.

- I can't do the quote of the update anymore, since I'm fresh outta material. It'll be Rice's dept. once again.

- Am I the only one who thinks Melissa Joan Hart is ugly? Damn, she's posing seductively on all these magazines. It's making me sick. It's also making the owners of SABRINA: THE TEENAGE WITCH sick. I've heard they're contemplating firing her for being so whorey.

- kurupt, our guest picker from last week, is this week's ASS OF THE WEEK! We all bow down to his superb ability to predict football game outcomes! None narrowly missed going perfect and being the LONG SCHLONGED STUD OF THE WEEK.

- I'll be back w/ a better update next time. Until then, let's start hearing recommendations for my 20 Most Beautiful TV Stars article. I don't watch enough TV to have adequate credentials, so I'm taking any suggestions.

Thanks guys.

Q 3 A   T O U R    B U S   @   U C L A
10-07-'99 / 06:14.00 P.M.

Wh00p! While idlely surfing around on the 'net after class, I came upon a piece of tidbit that hinted the Quake 3 Arena tour bus was headed our way! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, look back in the archives for the news update on 8/28/'99.

This is definitely good news for me. =) I am a big fan of Quake, and have lived and died in all 3 series. The way the bus works is this: fans line up outside the bus, which acts as a station. Inside are eight Athlon machines and 8 people play at a time. The winner (whoever hits 20 frags first) gets a free Q3A t-shirt! Count on me being there that day. If you're in the UCLA area, by all means drop by! I'd like to meet some of the Rice World visitors that lurk and never post message or send me e-mail. Heh heh... or am I being too optimistic? =P

H O U S T O N ,   Y O U    H A V E   A   P R O B L E M
10-06-'99 / 10:53.57 A.M.

It seems Los Angeles was never destined to be a football city. Even back in the days when the L.A. Raiders and the L.A. Rams dominated the local broadcasting channels on weekends, they stunk up the screen and we all watched it for the opposing team and the scrolling scores of other games. Just today, it was announced that Houston has won the rights to the 32nd franchise for the NFL, set to launch in 2002. In addition, the league will expand from six divisions to eight. I think that's a good idea. I mean, what's up with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC East anyway?

Hm... I guess I still feel a little bad that Houston got the team instead of L.A.... I mean, ... hm, I don't know what I mean. Just that... erm... I just feel..... ah, I will shut up now.

T U E S D A Y   M O R N I N G   R I C E
10-05-'99 / 7:37.36 A.M.


Ahh, what better way to start off a fabulous day with a smile? The weather outside is nearly perfect, and I have just had 11 hours of slumber. The clicker was that I woke up to a Buffalo victory over Miami! Having fallen asleep last night at 8, the last play I saw was Gabe Northern's fumble recovery for a touchdown. For the current five minutes, life is good...

On the CPU front of the industry, a few stirs have been sighted from this past stagnent month or so. Intel's Coppermine chip, running on a 0.18 micron die w/ 256 Kb full speed L2 cache is set to hit the shelves Oct. 25th. That means current PIII's prices will sink and soon, it will be a good time to pick the 550 and 600 MHz chips. AMD (Intel's arch nemesis) has lifted the curtains to their Athlon 700 MHz. Unless you have been oblivious to your surroundings lately, you know that the Athlon is a highly touted chip, not only on Rice World, but every other major publishing house out there also. Of course, the only reason why the Athlons are not mainstream yet is because of shoddy motherboard support.

A quick analogy: a CPU is the brain of a system, while the motherboard is the body. Albert Einstein's preserved brain would be useless without an effective body to hold it. Basically, the Athlon is Einstein's brain, and the various Athlon motherboards are like Rosanne's body. What we're all waiting for is a Heidi Klum body, or... for those that prefer the other sex (open to interpretation), a Brad Pitt body. Okay, the buck stops here. This is getting me sick. The good news is that ASUS is in the middle of producing an Athlon motherboard. Asus, long known for their high quality and stability in their products, is the sign that a light exists at the end of the tunnel. Various reports have leaked that it is already completed and on sale, and for those that are interested in an Athlon, the ASUS K7M may be the way to go.

In the server arena, both Intel and AMD have named their chips... both which I find quite amusing. Remember the Merced? Call it the Itanium. AMD's super secret K8? Now, it is the Sledge Hammer. I hope the next generation CPU's aren't called the HELIUM or the GOLDEN AXE.... please!

Going to head off for some breakfast now. Cheers! =)

N E T S C A P E   4 . 7
10-04-'99 / 11:43.47 A.M.

This update is for you version creep freaks. You know who you are, monitoring every single version of your favorite applications and snatching them the moment they are released (guilty as charged!). Netscape's 4.7 has been out for a while, but in beta. Now it is final, and for all I know, it only includes minor bug fixes from 4.61... click!

Then again, at the other extreme, there are the people still using Internet Explorer (IE) 3.0 on the original Win 95. Yeah, you guys know who you are too, you people that still use Winamp v1.88... heh heh. =)

M O N D A Y   M O R N I N G   R I C E
10-04-'99 / 08:19.25 A.M.

Today is the first day that I have been bitterly reminded of how much I detest Monday mornings. The fact that class starts in 40 minutes only adds salt upon my wounds. Regardless, I think I've made an ass of myself once again in the football picks column. However, I believe that every team that let me down had a very good chance of winning. Of course, Minnesota raped me once more, for the third straight week, nonetheless. Tampa Bay could've came back... if Trent Dilfer wasn't the quarterback. Tennesse goofed a two point conversion. Kansas City was not able to score after the first quarter, and allowed three unanswered touchdowns. Miraculously, the Bears threw a last second touchdown to beat the Saints 14-10. Wow. I believe I am more bitter than I think I am! It's okay... it's just an article... sigh...

I have to go to class now.... must... force... self... diligence...!!