Friday, September 29, 2006

IE 'command line' searches

dwarning: this trick requires a change to the registry. if you're not familiar with backing up the registry, do not try this!

here are some registry entries that make it easy to search common sources from the Internet Explorer (IE) address bar. it's so fast - no mouse required - that I thought I'd share it.

once you have this running, just type the shortcut and your search word into the 'Address' bar at the top of IE and you're searching. I've added a bunch (e.g. to the list), but you can add your own - as long as the site's seach has the right URL format. for example, to look up a word, I simply type "d word" into the IE address bar and I'm taken to the search results for "word."

1. save these registry entries in a new text file with the .reg extension

--- cut this line out - begin ---
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\g]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\q]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\mscom]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\msdn]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\d]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\fr]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\en]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\cd]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\a]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\bt]
---- cut this line out --- end ----------

2. double-click your .reg file - you'll get a prompt asking if you're sure then a message saying that changes were made

3. your virus scanner may ask you to approve the changes to the registry

Public Examples:

g 'terms' - Google search
d 'word' -
q 'symbol' - stock quote
ms 'terms' - search
msdn 'terms' - developer network
en 'french word' - translate to English
fr 'english word' - translate to French
j 'term' - look up in Jargon Dictionary
bt 'term' - search torrents on

when I was at MS, I also used to use these Microsoft Internal Examples:

m - MSW search
o - http://office search
p - mysite on http://office

if you don’t like the abbreviations they’re easy to change — just change the key shortcut for the entry.

remember, if you have IE open, ALT+D is the keyboard shortcut to get to the address bar.

note: don't send your version to people as a .reg file. virus scanners will not like it. you can change the extension to .txt.

update: as deighvan commented, "TweakUI (a free microsoft 'powertoy') does this easily." (thanks for the comment BTW) I'm a fan of TweakUI, and the Power Toys in general (especially Command Prompt Anywhere), but it's not needed if all you want is a few searches.

- the TweakUI Power Toy setting IE searches

Thursday, September 28, 2006

WAR halo wars!

the Halo Wars teaser is amazing...

I'm a big RTS fan, so I'm thrilled that Halo seems to be getting the quality attention that it deserves in the genre.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the zen of robotron

many gamers have enjoyed the classic arcade staple Robotron 2084. now that robotron is available for the xbox 360, a whole new generation is being introduced to the manic game.

robotron is action packed and often frustrating. in fact, there will be times when the game seems unfair. here are some simple truisms that can help save your sanity during games of robotron.

- live and let live?

10. accept that your eyes will lie
the robotron engine allows more than one enemy object to occupy the same space. this means that just because you destroyed the robotron in front of you, you may not be safe when you run forward.

9. accept what you are given
don't expect to get a certain score for each wave. the hulks will destroy many of the people before you can rescue them.

8. it's not over until it's over
even if you destroy all of the robotrons, you may still be killed. there will be times when you are killed at the same time as you destroy the last enemy on the wave. when you spawn, the level will be complete, but you will have lost a life.

7. have faith in your dodging skills
you cannot predict the path of projectiles. for example, the projectiles fired by the enforcers will curve towards you. you can only do your best.

6. the game will not give you time
the grunts will accelerate over time, so there will be occasions when you are going for that one last human and a grunt will accelerate into you.

5. you will not always get better
you must accept that your score will not improve in a linear, or predictable manner. success in robotron is based on the ability to collect people and some levels offer more people than others. this means that you have to except to have good games and bad - based on how successful you are during the waves with more people.

4. accept your fate
there will be lives where you really don't have a chance. a quark or spheroid may kill you before you have time to move out of the centre of the wave.

3. robotron does not respect your plans
you may think that if you clear all enemies other than one grunt, you will have an easy time rescuing all of the remaining people. this will work most of the time. however, there will also be times when that last grunt walks into an electrode - thereby committing suicide and finishing the wave before you have rescued the people.

2. there may not be a way out
on waves such as wave 10, you will be rushed. you may not have an escape route.

1. love your addiction
you will play again.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

XNA spacewar

I recently posted a message about the exciting XNA Game Studio Express release. this is a fantastic move by microsoft that will eventually allow anyone to develop games for the Xbox 360.

as microsoft wrote to XNA Beta participants, "The Microsoft XNA team is pleased to inform you that the Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express (Beta) is now available at the Microsoft Download Center from the following location:"

after you get GSE, you can build the spacewar project and play the game.

- the spacewar title screen

- old school spacewar

- fancy

as for playing spacewar without a keybaoard, a game developer friend of mine who teaches at BCIT, sent me this advice:

it is possible to get Spacewar working with the keyboard by uncommenting the #declare on the first line in gamepadhelper.cs. to make it work with my NVidia card I had to add the line
graphics.AllowMultiSampling = false; after the graphics component declaration on the line:

for more XNA samples, visit