Showing posts from January, 2015

How to Make LibreOffice Look Awesome

If reading my last post has gotten you jumping on the LibreOffice train, you may be finding yourself thinking right now: “Eww, that thing looks like Office 97!” Because, well…yeah, it kinda does. While a UI overhaul is a frequent topic for discussion in LibreOffice circles, to date the makers of the software have been reluctant to incorporate any significant updates to the office suite’s look and feel. But this is open source software. It exists on your terms, not the other way around. While the default configuration may be none too adventurous, it’s actually relatively simple to shake things up for yourself and get a pretty radically different-looking office suite. You could even clone the basic appearance of recent versions of Microsoft Office if you like. Here’s how it’s done:

LibreOffice 4.4 running on Windows 8.1
Disable rulers when you aren’t using them

Having rulers surrounding your document can be great whenever you need to get a feel for real-world size or just general precision…

Who Needs Microsoft Office Anymore?

I’m not being facetious, that’s a legitimate question. There’s no doubt that Microsoft Office has been king of word processors and slide presentations pretty much since the beginning. Office was what put Microsoft on the map in the early days. However, it’s also well-known to fall a little on the pricey side, so it’s no surprise that as time has gone on and technology has matured we’ve seen more and more cheap or free alternatives crop up. Initially these alternatives weren’t even worth the money you saved, but by now a few true competitors have emerged, such as Google Docs or OpenOffice and its fork, LibreOffice. While in terms of plain feature comparison Microsoft Office still takes the cake hands-down, not everyone uses an office suite the same way, and many consumers end up paying mostly for features they’ll never even use. So I ask the question: who needs Microsoft Office anymore? Well, let’s find out.

Pop quiz: what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of …

Port Forwarding – What, Why, and How (Tutorial)

Technology imitates life. Even in cases when it wouldn’t necessarily have to, it often does. It’s just what comes naturally to both the people making the technology and the people using it. But just because some aspect of technology is functionally similar to what you and I already know and experience every day doesn’t mean it’s immediately obvious precisely how, or how to use it, or even why we’d want to. Port Forwarding is an excellent example of this kind of scenario.

While the name may sound intimidating to anyone not familiar with networking, it actually follows a pretty simple principle, and has a variety of uses such as:

Improving internet speed (in some cases)Running a dedicated game server over WiFiAccessing home streaming solutions (e.g. NVIDIA GameStream) from anywhere in the worldAnd more!
Sound interesting? Great. But how does any of that apply to a real-world, practical equivalent, you ask? Well, to understand that, think of your house address. Let’s say you live in an apar…

Why Videogames are the Ultimate Art Form

It’s long been debated whether videogames count as a legitimate form of art or not. Early on the size and average age of any given game’s audience and the limitations of the hardware it ran on made gaming easy to dismiss as just a line of toys. But today things are a bit different. Gamers have grown up and the games have grown with them. Major new releases eclipse movie premiers. Production budgets number in the tens of millions, and many high-profile actors lend their voices and motion captures to videogame performances. Yet for all its success, the gaming industry still hasn’t been able to definitively end the videogames-are-art debate. Some developers have tried by going ‘cinematic’ and reducing the amount of player involvement in a game and painting everything in a gray color pallette so you know it’s dead serious. But while this approach may take after art in a way, these kinds of mainstream titles are not really what prove gaming’s worth as an art form. By and large Hollywood ha…

Edge Engine Splash — Now Available from ThinkBoxly

Right from the start I said 2015 would be a big year for ThinkBoxly, and here’s another piece of evidence to prove it. I’ve already mentioned Simple Display Scaler, the first actual product to bear the ThinkBoxly name, but that was last year. This year Simple Display Scaler has been updated and integrated into a larger project: Edge Engine, the ‘version 1.0′ if you will of Yugen::Engine, a previously featured ThinkBoxly Project.

If all that makes your head spin a little bit, well, don’t worry about the history. What matters is that ThinkBoxly Projects is now growing in a big way with the advent of Edge Engine, a modular framework of key code and assets built on GameMaker: Studio, designed to be a powerful, easy-to-use augmentation of the base IDE. What this means is that if you’re aiming to make a game with GameMaker, you won’t have to program the basics for yourself. All games need things like a display scaler, a menu, and many other things that, though necessary, can get in the way o…

5 Games to Look Forward to in 2015

Why hello there, 2015. It’s nice to meet you. I think we’re going to be great friends.

It’s almost strange to see the number 15 on all the calendars of the world, but not for the usual reason. Sure, it’s hard to believe and a little sobering to think the only Year 2014 the world will ever see has already come and gone, but at least for me 2015 is a little different. Lots of interesting things will be happening around here that directly tie in to my personal life, but besides that, my favorite hobby—gaming—is shaping up to be pretty awesome. This is the year next-gen really becomes current-gen, when we finally get to see what our new consoles are capable of doing and get to experience the awe that comes only once a decade or so when we’re truly blown away by what we see happening on our screens (before the magic fades, the current ceiling of realism becomes the floor, and everyone starts pining for the next wave of consoles while the ‘PC Master Race’ moans about how they’re being held b…