Ok, so I didn’t really want to bother with writing up a blog post like this, but there are just too many momentous things – technology news-wise – around this date that need to be mentioned.  Probably the main reason I feel compelled to blog about some of these happenings is because most of the friends I hang around with (locally) have no idea about them, nor do they seem to care.

Perhaps you, the non-Vancouverite friend (or random Internet visitor) will care, though.  I hope you do.

First off, the most exciting tech-related news item for me:

1. MASS EFFECT 2 LAUNCH (Jan 26th, 2010).

Commander Shepard uncovers the fate of the Protheans in Mass Effect 1
(courtesy of my 4-year old Dell Inspiron 9300 on lowest graphical settings)

Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to the highly successful, highly acclaimed game for the PC and Xbox 360.  I played ME:1 and I loved it.  It’s possibly my favorite video game ever, but only because of the wonderful story telling and use of visuals, camera angles, music, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so excited about Mass Effect 2, since I’m not going to be playing it anytime soon.  I’m telling myself that I’ll probably play this game in a year, maybe two, because that’s the soonest I can envision myself buying a new computer that could do this title some graphical justice (i.e. run it with good graphics performance/quality).

It’s still good to know that Mass Effect 2 has been released, though, albeit with significant launch day issues (for the Downloadable Content).  I’m actually disappointed with how Bioware and EA have let this happened, but I’m more disappointed with how they’re handling it (i.e. with minimal communication to the end user).  If I were them, I would get Bioware to promise the development of brand new content specifically for the purpose of placating the customers who’ve had their launch day experience soured by unavailable DLC and account linking craziness.  Sure, it would be a significant expenditure of resources and manpower, but even just a small token of added content would go a long ways with jaded fans (no Bioware pun intended) 😛  And yes, depending on how many people were affected, it might be worth it to go to such a length to restore the reputation of customer satisfaction in Bioware products.  Again, I’m just surprised by the sparse and seemingly redundant communication that’s coming through on Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 tech support forums.  If I were in PR in that company, I would be in crisis mode!  Instead, there seems to be only one developer who’s posted only two meaningful entries since the 26th, with no other employees responding in the threads (to at least show that Bioware or EA cares about their disgruntled customers!)  Especially considering that users are reporting being on the phone lines for over an hour, simply trying to get their accounts linked.  Or worse yet, being inexplicably dropped from their online help chat queues after waiting for half an hour or more.  Repeatedly, like 3 or 4 times in a row.

Sorry, I hope that wasn’t too repetitive.  I’m just really frustrated by this for some reason.  It seems like a bad business decision.

2. APPLE’S “iTablet” LAUNCH (Jan 27th, 2010).

This has definitely been the most hyped up tech news item on the Internet in recent weeks.  Word on the street is that Apple is going to unveil a new product in the form of a tablet computer at their special event this Wednesday.  I’m not going to buy one of these iTablet’s (or whatever it ends up being called), but I’m definitely curious about it.  I don’t think it will change the way the public interacts with media as much as the iPod Touch and iPhone(s) have, simply because adoption rates won’t be as high for a tablet computer compared to a smartphone (due to the greater cost and the dearth of tablet computers in use).  But I think it might start a change that leads to more tablet-like devices becoming mainstream – assuming this product launch comes close to being “the most important thing” that Steve Jobs has ever done, as he has claimed.

BONUS ITEM: Google Chrome browser (Jan 25th 2010).

I downloaded and installed it today on my 4-year old, Dell Inspiron laptop (Pentium-M 1.6GHz single core, 2GB RAM).  I’ve taken this long to try it because I’ve heard it’s multi-threaded in the sense that each tab can get it’s own process, and I’ve heard that it runs better on newer systems with faster hardware.  But lo and behold, it runs very smoothly on my single core system as well.  And it DOES seem pretty fast!  Granted, I’m only using it for light browsing, as in fewer than 10 tabs open at once (my Firefox is running about 8 windows right now, with 2-6 tabs in each window – and that’s only on my reduced/”lite” Firefox profile!).  But Google Chrome does seem pretty cool.  I’ve already installed the Mouse Strokes extension for it, and have my most used mouse gestures set up for the browser.  And I’m writing this blog post in Google Chrome.

Anyways, my apologies to those readers who were completely uninterested in what I had to say.  Hopefully you liked the first line of each item, though!  And the pretty picture 😛

* Minor edits (in red) were made a couple hours after posting (“Paulman’s Tech News – Jan 27th 2010”).  I just realized that Google Chrome just released their 4.0 version on Monday, January 25th.  That means that I’m using a tech-news worthy build of Google Chrome (and I didn’t realize it)!

So there you go.  Three tech news stories.  Three consecutive days.