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Blizzplanet – New Layout Soon

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Back on July, Cesar approached me with an idea of a layout for Blizzplanet. It has taken him longer to get it together due to his busy schedule. However, I’ll install the theme as is.

Originally, when he showed me this theme he was in love with it because it displays well on mobile devices, and it has the latest features. We’ll be experimenting several days until his layout is ready.

Apologies if you see broken stuff, and work-in-progress changes in the meantime.

Heal Lady Sylvanas Contest – Wyvern / Gryphon Hatchling Prize

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Several weeks ago, horror film actress Michele Morrow had surgery a few hours after her visit to Blizzard Entertainment HQ. She told me a few days later about a cute phenomena. Several WoW fans emailed her screenshots of their characters healing Lady Sylvanas in Undercity with bandages.

Note: Michele Morrow (dubbed the Scream Queen of horror films) is known to be interested in the role of Lady Sylvanas in the upcoming Warcraft film, directed by Sam Raimi.

Contest

1. Launch World of Warcraft. Grab some First Aid bandages and heal Lady Sylvanas in Undercity (Horde only). Note: Alliance can just target Echo of Sylvanas and cast a band aid on her. For as long as you are targeting her, and the band aid graphic is playing on the screenshot that counts for this contest.
2. Take a screenshot
3. Submit the screenshot at the following forum thread (use the attachment feature or flickr).

Deadline

February 28, 2012 at 11:59pm EST

Prize

The winner will be able to pick one of these options:

Welcome to Blizzplanet vBulletin Forum

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Eldorian spent several hours and days working on the new Blizzplanet forum. Feel free to register an account, and to help us build a great Blizzard gaming community. Discuss anything about Blizzard, Diablo III, StarCraft II or World of Warcraft.

Upcoming Q&A and giveaways will be launched from within the new forum. You can see the Forum link at the top of the webpage — for future reference.

Medievaldragon Back

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Apologies to everyone who emailed me from October 2-6. My modem — which I got replaced barely three months ago, died during the Diablo III Beta livestream we held last Saturday.

I just got online, reading through email and checking updates on the front page. Eldorian continued with the Diablo III Beta Key giveaway, which I’m thankful for.

Best wishes,

Tom – Medievaldragon

Blizzplanet Server Maintenance

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Eldorian and Mith have been hard at work moving Blizzplanet to another server. There was no problems. They had plans to do it for some time, but had not scheduled when. Today was a good day.

Some things might be broken for a few hours while files, and images are uploaded. DNS was changed too. It may take a while for some people in Europe and Asia to access Blizzplanet, but no longer than 36 hours.

NVIDIA Teases New Flagship GeForce Graphics Card Reveal on Mar.24.2011

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NVIDIA is teasing their next big graphic card will be unveiled on Thursday, March 24th. It’s said they have been working on this project for a couple of years and the intriguing comment is that whatever it is it’s the best graphic card NVIDIA has ever built. Now — don’t get me wrong, they have some really nice cards right now. What can beat what they have now?

    “Hi, this is Tom Peterson from NVIDIA, and I can’t tell you what’s going on inside this box, right now, but it’s the top secret project we have been working for the past two years.

    It’s our next generation flagship performance graphic card, and if you come back real soon, I’ll tell you the details of not only what’s just inside this box, but what it’s great for and what makes it the best graphics card we have ever built.

    Check back at 6am PDT on Thursday, March 24th for the launch of NVIDIA’s new flagship GeForce graphics card!”

Just a few days ago AMD (ATI) GPU division relations manager Robert Huddy said during an interview with bit-tech:

    ‘It’s funny,’ says AMD’s worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy. ‘We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it’s very clear that the games don’t look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that’s because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad – mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way.’ Huddy says that one of the most common requests he gets from game developers is: ‘Make the API go away.’

Thunderbolt™ Technology: Apple MacBook Pro Leads the Way To Fastest Connection

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Intel unveiled its latest technology breakthrough dubbed Thunderbolt — the fastest data connection with 10Gbit/s transfers in contrast with SATA 3.0 (6 Gbit/s), USB 3.0 and Firewire.

Thunderbolt™ technology carries two protocols: DisplayPort and PCI Express, to connect displays and data devices, respectively.

Apple is the first to introduce Thunderbolt with Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop which is to launch on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

It won’t be too long before PCs adopt the technology. Western Digital and other companies are already collaborating with Intel to develop storage devices using Thunderbolt technology. At these blazing speeds, games will benefit with faster data transfers.

Blazingly Fast Data Transfer Combines with HD Display Connectivity to Enable New Usages and Peripheral Devices

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Thunderbolt™ technology is a new high-speed PC connection technology that runs at 10Gbps.

  • Thunderbolt technology supports both data and display on a single cable, enabling greater simplicity, flexibility and new and exciting ways to use a PC.
  • Apple* is the first customer to offer Thunderbolt technology, coming first on its new line of MacBook* Pro laptops.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 24, 2011 – Intel Corporation today announced the availability of Thunderbolt™ technology, a new high-speed PC connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple’s new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers.

Wait Less. Do More.

The vision for Thunderbolt technology (formerly codenamed “Light Peak”) is to move media faster, simplify connections between devices, and foster new and exciting ways to build and use PCs. Combining high-speed data and HD video connections together onto a single cable is instrumental to achieving that vision. Thunderbolt technology delivers this via two communications methods, or protocols — PCI Express* for data transfer and DisplayPort* for displays. PCI Express has the flexibility to connect to almost any type of device, and DisplayPort can drive greater than 1080p resolution displays and up to eight channels of audio simultaneously. Thunderbolt technology is compatible with existing DisplayPort displays and adapters. All Thunderbolt technology devices share a common connector, and let individuals simply daisy-chain their devices one after another, connected by electrical or optical cables.

Thunderbolt technology is designed to meet the demands of serious HD media creators. For example, videographers can unleash their creativity using high-bandwidth audio and video capture/mixing devices, and get both low latency and highly-accurate time synchronization for real-time processing. At 10Gbps, larger media files are transferred faster so there’s less time spent waiting to watch and edit videos. Data can be backed up and restored quicker, so there’s less waiting for archived content. For mobile PC users, it means having a single connector on their ultra-thin laptop that extends their high-speed media and HD display capabilities at home or in the office. Thunderbolt technology is complementary to other I/O technologies that Intel continues to support.

“Working with HD media is one of the most demanding things people do with their PCs,” said Mooly Eden, general manager, PC Client Group, Intel. “With Thunderbolt technology, Intel has delivered innovative technology to help professionals and consumers work faster and more easily with their growing collection of media content, from music to HD movies. We’ve taken the vision of simple, fast transfer of content between PCs and devices, and made it a reality.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Intel to bring the groundbreaking Thunderbolt technology to Mac users,” said Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering. “With ultra-fast transfer speeds, support for high-resolution displays and compatibility with existing I/O technologies, Thunderbolt is a breakthrough for the entire industry and we think developers are going to have a blast with it.”

Thunderbolt technology is powered by an Intel controller chip, and uses a small connector suitable for mobile devices that will be included in products supporting the technology. Several innovative companies have announced Thunderbolt technology-based products, or currently plan to support Thunderbolt technology in upcoming products, including Aja*, Apogee*, Avid*, Blackmagic*, LaCie*, Promise*, and Western Digital*. Intel is working with the industry on a range of Thunderbolt technology-enabled products including computers, displays, storage devices, audio/video devices, cameras, docking stations and more.

Medievaldragon’s Whereabouts and Musings

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Today, I am putting aside Blizzard gaming news in this post to kinda update all these loyal fans who visit Blizzplanet. By the way, Blizzplanet recently turned 9 years. Happy Birthday!

I have read a lot of emails in the past year from many of you who do care about me. Especially those who have followed my situation since December 2009. I remember posting about my apartment issues just prior to the New Year’s Eve. However, I’m shy at heart and felt a bit embarrassed the first months.

All the encouragement and great words some of you have shared with me over the past months via email or chat is very appreciated. Recently, someone told me he launched a Runic Games fansite inspired by me. That’s cool [it could have been a Blizzard fansite, dude ... j/k]

I feel I do owe all of these fans a update on my whereabouts and musings. It’s now been a year since my last update on personal life matters. I would be more comfortable talking about this in a forum, but Eldorian and Mith haven’t installed one [rises fist to the sky and threatens the wrath of doom]. Thus, I’ll use the website’s front page to express my thoughts and summarize this year in progress.

Sadly, on June 18, 2010, the landlord managed to somehow convince a judge to evict me from the apartment I lived for the past thirteen years in the Bronx, New York.

The sad part of that story is that … I never owed rent. We kept paying the full rent ($1,018 / month). Just a couple months after we were evicted, I heard from our neighbor the landlord was trying to rent him our former apartment for $1,500. I’m not sure how legal it is to rise a controlled rent to that high, or how legal it is to evict a disabled woman on SSI. I guess, it’s up to divine justice down the road.

Some might not believe this, but ever since June 18, 2010 — I have been living in a shelter for the Homeless. That’s 8 months. For someone age 39, that’s kinda touching rock bottom.

The food is sometimes really bad. Other time’s it’s edible. No cooking facilties. It has to be picked downstairs at the shelter’s cafeteria three times a day. I still had a job while in the shelter, and acquired a 4G wireless modem service to stay online. That’s how I update Blizzplanet. On September 21, 2010, my job came to an end.

It was an amazing two years since October 6, 2008 when I got hired at the press room of the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris. I think it’s the first time I get a job without applying to it. The company came to me in person and offered the job position. While I disliked a few things in the final months, I do have to thank them for the opportunity. At least I did get to thank them a few times while we still kept in contact in good terms.

I have been unemployed nigh five months. It’s not easy to find a job with some physical limitations. Standing all day long is not an option, so that limits the amount of job types I can apply for.

Since November, I have been attending a job search program specific for people with physical limitations. Kinda took them too long (3 months) to assess my skills via tests. Today, I finally finished that phase with a vocational specialist. Apparently, I don’t qualify for state training because they found I am very capable already for a job in my job range: Computer Tech (Repairs/Build), Web Content Manager, Data Entry.

Starting next week, I will undergo a one or two weeks job interview training, followed by two intense weeks of job search assisted by a job developer. I guess I haven’t been so optimistic in the past five months. Things look good. Once I get a job, I will be assisted by the state to get an apartment where I will pay a 30-50 percent for a year or two while I get back on my feet. So yea, looks promising. ETA: a month from now I might have a job, and move out of the shelter if things go well. I’m open to options if you have a job opening in New York City, though, before my job developer gets me something (for as long as it’s on the books).

How do you survive all these months hitting rock bottom? Sometimes something as simple as those emails you have been sending me the past months does the trick. Eldorian, Mith and Miaari have been very supportive keeping Blizzplanet afloat when I’m down. Many thanks guys. I must also thank all of you who have purchased WoW, Starcraft II and Diablo III T-shirts for the past two years. Especially these past five months since I became unemployed. That’s my main income nowadays.

Inspiration is a nice way to reinforce one’s moral. Fantasy is the driving force to make reality possible. An idea combined with action can change the world. An idea by itself can be inspiring. If you don’t know where I am getting at, well, the characters of Warcraft, and StarCraft (Thrall, Varian, Jim Raynor, Garona, Zeratul, Jaina, and others) — these stories about people with life hardships, and impossible odds overcome are inspiring. In real life, we do live our own hardships.

Thanks Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Brian Kindregan and James Waugh for inspiring stories. Jim Raynor is the man. Marvel Digital Comics has also been a great read: Thor, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, The Avengers, and other titles. Spider-Man who is also jobless, and stretching his pennies to the max to survive, yet continuing his selfless hero gig.

Each of us have tough personal problems, and heavy weights on our shoulders. I say: We persevere, and don’t give up. We keep fighting the good fight, and live life meaningfully regardless of how grim things around us may be, hoping tomorrow it will be a bit better than today, a day at a time.

Hope I can tell a different story, in upcoming weeks, now informing I have a job and a stable housing.

Blizzplanet Downtime Hopefully Over

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We have had some random downtime in the past few weeks. Mith and Eldorian tried to figure out what the problem was, considering the system and addons are pretty good. Hosting didn’t find any issues in the logs each time we reached them.

Seems the old site was somehow still operational to some degree and was hogging resources like crazy. The old site’s files have been completely removed. So, crossing fingers, server performance should be smooth and nice from this moment forward.

ExpressionEngine ain’t very good unless you have a buffed up server setup with loads of RAM according to what I have heard. Even so, I recall bad experiences while I was staff at the foreign network who used it in all sites. I ain’t going to miss the laggy page loads. Good riddance to ExpressionEngine.

If you experience lag from now on, or notice problems while visiting Blizzplanet, feel free to tell us to investigate and resolve it.

Blizzplanet Blue Tracker For Our Mobile App Offline

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Apologies to those who follow us through the Blizzplanet App (iPhone/iPad and Mobile Android). We know many of you love the Blizzard Blue Post tracker, a new feature introduced a few months ago (by Mith), as the app page’s feedback says.

However, a few days ago prior to the launch of Cataclysm, Blizzard officially launched the new World of Warcraft website, and their forum coding changed some. After I alerted Mith, he tweaked it to continue providing the Blue Tracker service to our mobile visitors, but within a few minutes Blizzard Web Team changed the coding again. Mith determined it was a sign the Web Team was still running maintenance.

The Blue Tracker will be back in a few days once we are sure everything is settled.

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