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News from September 2004

So many FF7s.

Final Fantasy VII
Yep, you guessed it. They're making another FF7 spin-off game, this time starring Vincent. It's called Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus, and will not be produced for the cell phone market, unlike the FF7 Shinra game. It will be a playable game, unlike Advent Children, but they're not releasing if this is going to be an RPG yet. Not a whole lot of details are known, but you can check out the logo and one piece of propaganda.


Well, I'm getting sick of all these spinoffs, personally. I don't find myself interested in any of them, and although I liked Vincent, I still don't want to buy this one. I'm concerned with maybe playing through the original FF7 once more, not with getting all the money to play/watch the spinoffs. Discuss!

Firefox 1.0 Preview Release

Caves of Narshe Site News

If you haven’t been following my updates on it so far, you’ve almost certainly heard of Firefox by now anyway. That won’t deter me from my usual milestone upgrade-o-push, though.

Though the new Firefox 1.0 Preview Release isn’t as packed with landmark new features as previous editions, the focus has largely been on fixing bugs and improving stability, along with minor enhancements for improved convenience. The bookmarks manager now has a folder pane on the left, for instance, and bookmark icons are much less prone to disappear over time. The default theme which drew much criticism on the initial release of Firefox 0.9 is greatly improved. In addition, there are a number of enhancements designed to prevent spoofing of browser windows and secure sites: the location bar is now highlighted and shows a lock icon on secure sites, and the status bar security area shows the host name to ensure you’re in the right place. By default, the status bar can no longer be hidden in popup windows.

One of the more interesting new features is the addition of Live Bookmarks, which allow you to keep track of news sites, blogs etc. which provide a syndication service. Look for the RSS icon on the right of the status bar to see where this is available. I may even work on hooking up CoN news or recent posts at some point, since there’s basic functionality for it built into the board. Also look out for the new find toolbar, which replaces the familiar old find dialog, searches while you type and includes the ability to highlight your search term in the document.

The popup blocker has been improved, and now allows user-requested popups to open during page load, as well as being better at blocking unrequested popups (though it doesn’t seem to work properly with the popular TBE extension, which probably needs updating). A Windows XP SP2-style information bar now appears when popups or extension installations are blocked, or when plugins are needed to display a page. While these are good for new users, I personally found the popup notification bar to be irritating; thankfully, it can be disabled very easily.

I know I say it every time there’s a new Firefox release, but this really is the best one yet, and a great excuse to try an alternative browser if you’ve never stepped away from Internet Explorer — the browser being able to update itself for future milestone releases is certainly a very promising feature in terms of ease of use.

If Firefox isn’t for you, you might consider trying Opera or the old Mozilla "1.x" Suite before heading back to Internet Explorer. If you’re determined to stick with IE or one of its variants, it’s a very good idea to make sure you have Windows XP Service Pack 2 installed, which provides security enhancements and, at last, popup blocking. It’s important to note, though, that there’s no way to obtain this IE update on anything other than Windows XP. There is also no improvement to Web standards support either, which is our main platform for bullying you all into changing browser, including the now pretty basic functionality of displaying PNG images correctly; it’s understood that this probably won’t even be improved in the next major release of Internet Explorer, which has been comfirmed only to be in production for the next version of Windows, codename “Longhorn”. In other words: don’t expect anything new from IE for a long time, if ever, and only if you’re prepared to shell out for a new OS. It’s also unlikely that future optional CoN styles will be available for Internet Explorer, if you care about that sort of thing.

If you want a Mozilla e-mail client to go with your Firefox browser, the excellent Thunderbird 0.8 was released at the same time as Firefox 1.0PR, now featuring the ability to import Outlook and Outlook Express messages, as well as store messages from POP3 accounts in a single inbox.

Posted in: CoN Site News

Recurring Forum Issues

Caves of Narshe Site News
A few of you have e-mailed us about the recurring problem with the forums, where a white screen appears instead of the proper forum page, with some SQL and a response "error 28 from table handler".

This is caused by the configuration of our Web host allowing the disk to fill up. We're told that this occurs when other users of the hosting provider use the site backup option in their control panel. We're also told that it won't be disabled, because it would be inconvenient for users not to be able to back up their sites.

Apparently it's not at all inconvenient that users can't use their site much of the time...

Anyway, rest assured that we'll be badgering the host incessantly about sorting this out, or they'll be losing our business before too long. In the mean time, please do keep letting us know when the error occurs, so that we can track how serious the problem is (although obviously it's better that not every member e-mails us: perhaps the folks in chat at the time could arrange for one person to send the e-mail). Keep the subject line "SQL Error" (change the '+' in the default subject to a space, if it's there) so we can filter the messages nicely.

Thanks for your patience, folks.
Posted in: CoN Site News

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