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Gaming Definitions for the Masses Part 2

August 23, 2008 Written by Anthony Severino

Written by LinuxGuru
We all love dictionaries and encyclopedias

We all love dictionaries and encyclopedias

Ok everyone, the time has come again for some more definitions from yours truly! Before we begin, I’d like us all to say this in unison:


Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, check out some new learnage!

NPD Group

NPD Group

You ever find yourself glancing at those sales articles, wondering what the hell “NPD” is? Here’s the low-down:

The NPD Group, Inc. (formerly National Purchase Diary) is a leading global market research company founded in 1967 and provides consumer and retail information to manufacturers and retailers. Using actual sales data from retailers and distributors as well as consumer-reported purchasing behavior, NPD offers consumer panel and retail sales tracking services, special reports, modeling and analytics, and custom research. Covered industries include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, home improvement, housewares, imaging, information technology, movies, music, software, toys, video games and wireless.

The NPD Group is headquarted in Port Washington, NY with offices across the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and across the European Union.

The company’s Chief Executive officer is Tod Johnson.

Various type of transistors

Various types of transistors

Next, I bet some of you’ve given some thought to those technical editorials about the processors and graphics chips in computers and consoles. One of the frequently mentioned terms is “transistors”. Generally it’s considered that the more there are, the more processing and computing power that device would be endowed with. Here’s a chunk of info to chew on regarding “transistors”:

In electronics, a transistor is a semiconductor device commonly used to amplify or switch electronic signals. A transistor is made of a solid piece of a semiconductor material, with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor’s terminals changes the current flowing through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled current can be much larger than the controlling current, the transistor provides amplification of a signal. The transistor is the fundamental building block of modern electronic devices, and is used in radio, telephone, computer and other electronic systems. Some transistors are packaged individually but most are found in integrated circuits.

You've heard about them. They're in almost everything

You've heard about them; they're in almost everything

Heatsink. Sound familiar? They’re in virtually every medium to large-sized electronic device out there, and here’s a brief explanation on their function and purpose:

Heat sinks function by efficiently transferring thermal energy (“heat”) from an object at high temperature to a second object at a lower temperature with a much greater heat capacity. This rapid transfer of thermal energy quickly brings the first object into thermal equilibrium with the second, lowering the temperature of the first object, fulfilling the heat sink’s role as a cooling device. Efficient function of a heat sink relies on rapid transfer of thermal energy from the first object to the heat sink, and the heat sink to the second object.

The most common design of a heat sink is a metal device with many fins. The high thermal conductivity of the metal combined with its large surface area result in the rapid transfer of thermal energy to the surrounding, cooler, air. This cools the heat sink and whatever it is in direct thermal contact with. Use of fluids (for example coolants in refrigeration) and thermal interface material (in cooling electronic devices) ensures good transfer of thermal energy to the heat sink. Similarly a fan may improve the transfer of thermal energy from the heat sink to the air.

Do the Dew

Do the Dew

Mountain Dew is gamer juice. It fuels our way of life, our attitudes, our Attention Deficit Disorders, and our superhuman reflexes.


– Carbonated water
– High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
– Concentrated orange juice and other natural flavors
– Citric acid
– Sodium benzoate (preserves freshness)
– Caffeine (55.2 mg per 12 oz. [approx 355ml])
– Sodium citrate
– Gum arabic
– Erythorbic acid (preserves freshness)
– Calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)
– Brominated vegetable oil
– Yellow 5

Nothin' but blue skies, do I see...

Nothin but blue skies, do I see...

They’re a recent addition to games, and they make the sun and sky feel so much more realistic and help give off the impression that the digital world you’re virtually traipsing around in seems…’alive’.

What am I referring to? ‘God rays’, of course! That’s the current and oft-spoken term for what are REALLY ‘Crepuscular Rays’.

Read ’em and weep!

Crepuscular rays, in atmospheric optics, also known as sun rays, God’s rays, or the Fingers of God, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds or between other objects, are diverging columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those being dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Various airborne compounds scatter the sunlight and make these rays visible, due to diffraction, reflection, and scattering.

Crepuscular rays are near-parallel, but appear to diverge because of linear perspective. They often occur when objects such as mountain peaks or clouds partially shadow the sun’s rays like a cloud cover. There are three primary forms of crepuscular rays:
Rays of light penetrating holes in low clouds (also called “Jacob’s Ladder”).
Beams of light diverging from behind a cloud.
Pale, pinkish or reddish rays that radiate from below the horizon. These are often mistaken for light pillars.

The rays of the second and third types, in some cases, may extend across the sky and appear to converge at the antisolar point, which is the point on the sky sphere directly opposite the sun, and they are called anticrepuscular rays. Like crepuscular rays, they are parallel shafts of sunlight from holes in the clouds, and their apparently odd directions are a perspective effect.

Crepuscular and anticrepuscular rays behave in the same manner. Crepuscular rays are usually red or yellow in appearance because the atmosphere acts as a giant lens, which refracts low sunset rays into long curved paths that pass through up to 40 times as much air as rays from a high midday sun. Particles in the air scatter short wavelength blue and green rays much more strongly than longer wavelength yellow and red.

Crepuscular rays can also occasionally be viewed underwater, particularly in arctic areas appearing from ice shelfs or cracks in the ice.