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Posts posted by syn2083

  1. TKAM is an excellent story. My mother had me read it when I was about 10, to which I didnt appreciate it, then rereading it later I really saw it.. what a wonderful book (not the subject matter, clearly, but the writing).

  2. Well hopefully it helps at least point you in the right direction. Its possible that securom unintentionally helped 'break' it. Weirder things have happened, like the first tech job i had where the vibrations from the computer would actually unseat video cards leading to 'dead like' systems. Sometimes freak stuff happens.


    I would say if issues/the issue follows the drive itself then that would be a decent indication, if its attached to a 'virgin' system and is still not working then there shouldn't be any registry keys or the like recording it as 'violated' or the like. So if you have an ancillary system or a friends or something and its still not working right... regardless of the initiating cause it sounds like the drive itself has lost the battle.

  3. It's basically never legally sound to suggest that a crack is legal unless there is specific evidence holding it up for the specific item in question. When you buy a piece of software, or a movie, etc you do not own the actual content/media. You may possess the physical item that holds the software or movie or item, but beyond that all you have is a license to view/use/display.


    Copyright/Intellectual Property law gets incredibly complex, let alone adding in EULAs which in the case of most software are implicit on install/use and there could be a lot of stuff in there.




    That does a pretty good job of explaining, but by and large, no its not legal to crack or download a cracked/hacked game even if you actually 'own' a disc containing the game.


    The difference between Joe Schmoe cracking an EXE and GoG is that GoG got permission as a company to do so, and shares sales with the company in question.

    • Like 1
  4. Saw Pacific Rim earlier with the wife in IMAX, was surprised how not terrible the story actually was. It wasnt spectacular by any stretch, but it was consistent. Acting was good enough to get you through to the action.


    Overall, predictable but fun. Great action flick if you dont want to have to think much about it. IMAX with the rumble seats was great!



    I don't really see how this applies in this instance. Even a pure analogy standpoint, switching from a house to a dome under water, why would you cease trusting all building companies?


    Nostalgia and human memory are great things, but time serves to erode the harsh light of the moment. We are designed to look at things we enjoy less critically, and fuzz over the details that were poor. Its great for me to say I want a true successor to fallout 1 and 2, but if that is literally built, without taking into consideration how the medium has matured, technology, or improvements to mechanics that were possible/thought of/or considered almost 2 decades ago what good is that?


    Do you want a house built by 1801 standards or 2013? Do you like insulation? Energy Savings? Safety, fire, constructional and foundation improvements? I sure do.



    Newer isn't always better...


    Insulation improvements aside, your average house built in 1801 is typically going to be standing a lot longer than the average house built in 2013 and will be more structurally sound in almost every way, even though the 2013 house will hold it's heat better and be more easily rewired for electricity than it's 1801 counterpart.


    With most things as time goes on there are improvements available. Not often enough these days however are those improvements incorporated without sacrificing something else, and often needlessly (housing construction is a good example of this, though skyrocketing costs of the better materials in relation to your average person's income and the currency (inflation is bad, very bad) has a bit to do with this.). Improvements or not though, all too often some folks are trying to reinvent the wheel.


    With all improvements considered, as far as houses go, I'd generally rather have a house built towards the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th as you'd get the most bang for your buck in materials with such a house and houses built then were still built to last, yet upgrading windows and insulation to modern standards is generally no biggie. And as far as CRPG games go, and all 'improvements' considered, I'd rather have a game from the 90s. There are many more games from that decade that stand the test of time than games of the last decade. Too many of the 'improvements' of modern RPGs (both PnP and CRPG) consist of shallow balance acts at the cost of substance done by folks lacking from imagination.


    A good game stands the test of time. And with all of the modern improvements to video gaming available there are very very few things I'd alter in many of the great games of the past such as Baldur's Gate or Planescape Torment (or Chrono Trigger, Link to the Past, Starflight 1/2, nethack, FF6, et al) and they'd mostly if not entirely have to do with improving graphics and UI (namely just higher resolution art (what would have been nice in BG:EE) and better inventory management (something I still have yet to see be done very well in any CRPG excepting WoW (where an addon called 'arkinventory' does the job)). Dragon Age is a good example of a game that, while good on it's own, falls far short of the spiritual successor to the IE games, and is not something I'll be playing again, where I very likely will be playing BG 1/2 and PST at some point again in the future.


    And his analogy does work...




    The portions about houses is relatively moot, that being said. It is not possible to argue that point (structural/test of time). We would need to time travel a few hundred years into the future to be able to do so and that is impossible, clearly.


    Much the same regarding games.


    When they moved from text based to graphical, the air was filled with bemoans of how terrible they had become, and how much was lost from text to rudimentary graphics. The death of us.


    MUDs gave way to the original graphical MMOs, and the likes of EQ AC and DAoC were born (one directly from a company who made commercial MUDs). These days DAoC is either forgotten or maligned but was quite a bright shining star for a very very long time (relatively speaking... software and technology increase the speed clearly).


    Then came WoW. To simple, and to much mass appeal, it lost the core! The core of what they were about, and there was no place for Hardcore MMO. Quest Markers?! Phaw! Well we know how that turned out.


    Every generation makes way for the next. A kid of 10 today, after living a normal life, being handed a psx and diablo1 might think your insane, they might like it, but I feel its safe to postulate that in general they would laugh and go play Call of Whatever the heck 9000.


    As we mature, and become more set in our memory, nostalgia ruminations, and likes we cement certain things. Music is a pretty classic example of something that is hard for general generational acceptance from one to the next.


    Which brings me back home. Just because a Dragon Age exists does not mean that 1, all games are like Dragon Age, 2, all developers are like the developers of Dragon Age, and 3, that we should shun all things new because "its probably just like that Dragon Age thing".


    Correlation != Causation

    Coincidence != Universal Truth


    If OE gave me a good reason to believe that they were incapable of making something in the Spirit of an IE game, then I would have evidence to form an opinion. If some other RPG is not like an IE Spiritual game (which is hard to quantify, but is NOT a carbon copy....) that has nothing to do with OE and their current development.


    Penn and Teller did an excellent episode of Bull$h!t on 'The Good Ole Days' which gets into this mentality fairly well. Improvements, new technology, and matured thinking are not what we should be afraid of. Bad story tellers, bad imagination, and poor planning are. OE has not given me any reason to suspect the latter. If they do, then I will re-evaluate.


    As the market expands, and adds more People (both consumers and creators) we see dilution of the medium. This is normal. Saturation is a real thing. That doesn't mean that all items are then bad, theres just more companies able to be bad in the sea making it appear that way.


    Good Day.

    • Like 2
  6. If it is actually stuck in PIO are you able to see that through device manager?


    The following walkthrough is for hard drives but applies equally to any device in PIO mode: http://techlogon.com/2011/03/28/how-to-fix-hard-drive-stuck-in-pio-mode/


    If it is a PIO issue this should be able to tell us, and if so steps to 'force' it into DMA, seems to work for quite a few people so i hope this does the trick. If not it could be the worst coincidence of all time and just that the DVD drive is actually dying/broken. 


    Not sure what the money situation is but good externals and internals are really cheap these days. Got a great usb3 DVD RW drive thats external not long ago for ~19$

    • Like 1
  7. That sounds terrible terrible terrible..


    I havent run into any real issues with securom stuff i did have in the past however this FAQ has some decent ways to fix a lot of the things you are talking about when it breaks. Most of it is duplicated in win7 so it should be able to fix that as well, beyond that if you install it on a system that wont change, and have nothing like poweriso or the like installed it should be ok.



    • Like 1
  8. I think productivity becomes relative really. If you need to heavily use things like excel style sheets or word docs etc, your better off with either a netbook (if you need ultra portability) or one of the tablets running a more 'common' OS style that has a keyboard, or keyboard dock as others have mentioned.


    If you really only need something more like emails, and basic basic basic word processing, a real tablet could work fine, then its just a matter of finding one you like best and can utilize the fastest with an OSKB. Really the best option in that case is to, if possible, get to something like a best buy and just try some out for a while. Hands on experience is pretty key with these I have found. 


    Some tablets that I read of that sounded awesome I hated when I got to a store. Turns out one I really really like is the sony tablet, they do a horrendous job of marketing it though: http://discover.store.sony.com/tablet/#intro


    Its really cool, and with stuff like one-note for not intensive things it works really well. I use it more as a general tool (control the tv/receiver/takes notes/write important stuff down/light surfing/watch stuff) things like that. In my job it wouldnt be that great productivity wise, but generally good.


    So, with the meandering, really it can come down to personal preference, and if you use/need to use certain applications or software (eg MS branded stuff, or Apple, etc).

  9. Mmm first builds. Mine involved the p3 coppermine and a heatsink put on backwards back when lips on the bottoms of heatsinks were still a thing.. Damn box wouldnt get past the ram check before freezing. Thankfully no lasting damage!


    My friend on the other hand.. he built his at our computer shop at school where the teacher decided it would be funny to put his finger near the turned on computer's cpu.. not on it, but near.. one static discharge arc later, lots of swearing and finger holding, and a cloud of smoke later and my friend was out a computer..

  10. I really don't believe they said that they were going to re-create BG/IWD. A game with the same style and type as those, the same story style and pacing, similar *but modern* mechanics, and a very intricate decision and conversation system... Sounds pretty right on.





    The thing that worries me the most about "paying homage," "spiritual successor," and other such terms is that Dragon Age was supposed to be just that, and while it's not a bad game in and of itself it's definitely no IE game.


    As it stands I can't help shake the feeling that the game we're eventually going to get will end up being more DA:O and less BG/PST/IWD.


    ... "supposed to be"... :)


    When someone makes a house from wood that they claim is a well-built house, and it falls over under its own weight, that doesn't get me doubting that someone else trying to construct a wooden house is somehow going to fail.



    True, but wooden houses are a dime a dozen, BG spiritual successors are not.


    Now if someone's underwater dome collapsed would you then equally trust the next guy's dome to not, or might you be a little more wary?




    I don't really see how this applies in this instance. Even a pure analogy standpoint, switching from a house to a dome under water, why would you cease trusting all building companies?


    Nostalgia and human memory are great things, but time serves to erode the harsh light of the moment. We are designed to look at things we enjoy less critically, and fuzz over the details that were poor. Its great for me to say I want a true successor to fallout 1 and 2, but if that is literally built, without taking into consideration how the medium has matured, technology, or improvements to mechanics that were possible/thought of/or considered almost 2 decades ago what good is that?


    Do you want a house built by 1801 standards or 2013? Do you like insulation? Energy Savings? Safety, fire, constructional and foundation improvements? I sure do.


    So whatever core improvements and adjustments that a team like obsidian can think of, or have learned through years of trial and error... well great, lets take advantage of that wisdom and skill.

    • Like 1
  11. AP was a fantastic game actually. Mechanically it was ok bordering on really good. But we all know that.


    Story wise it was fantastic, and RPG mechanics were excellent. I loved the story and dialogue. We all know obsidian can write, but their range and skill really showed in this one. Clearly outside of their normal territory they crafted an immense diverse story that hooked me from go.


    If not a specific sequel I would love to see an RPG crafted in the spy thriller setting again. Heck make it in the style of an IE game, the story and setting would still rock and you could do some really neat things with that setup.

  12. I have just built my new computer and put everything together :) It was my first build and putting it together was kind of a puzzle. But I'm really proud :D


    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB, 7200rpm, 64MB, 2TB

    SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Kit, TLC, 120GB

    GPU: Club 3D HD 7950 ‘13Series

    CPU: Intel Core i7 3820 BOX, 3.6GHz

    RAM: Kingston HyperX Beast, 4x4GB, DDR3-1866

    Mainboard: Asus Sabertooth X79

    Case: Cooler Master HAF X RC-942-KKN1

    PSU: Club 3D CSP-D850CB, 850 Watt

    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B5ST


    Congrats on the build! The first is usually tough, but once you start its hard to go back! Typically you get a much higher quality system for less money too. Nice looking setup, how do you like that case?

  13. Recently caught up with the deadly hollows series, Kim Harrison is an excellent writer. I quite enjoy the alternate history melding fantasy to modern day. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys magic, vampires, werewolves, and demons (not really religious context at all). Its a fantastic series.


    Going to get the final WoT book soon, kept putting off reading it, but it should be fun!


    Recently re-read the extended version of the stand, every few years I go back to it, such a classic story. Up to date on my game of thrones, but it gets more and more tedius, he has fallen into character creep very deeply... Been a while since I read much sci-fi but I always enjoyed the old star wars books *pre yuuzan vong - found that story line kinda silly*


    Anyway, what is everyone else reading, or excited to read these days? Always happy to learn of new series or books to read.

    • Like 5
  14. Technical FAQ


    Purpose: To help answer and diagnose simple technical issues you may run across and not yet know how to fix or understand.


    Always remember to be careful and cautious when doing any work with a computer or system, physically or logically. I/We are not responsible or liable for any issues/damage/problems/data loss that arise  as a result of the use of this guide or comments therein. Any software or companies suggested as a utility or helpful resource are done so based on personal opinion and as a helpful starting point for making your own decisions regarding use.


    Above all, if you are really unsure of something do not attempt it without proper research and/or asking someone who does know what they are doing. Secondly before any major system work ALWAYS perform a backup. Any loss of data or content as a result of not properly creating a backup of some kind is your responsibility.


    System Image Backup:


    With the above said a couple of options for creating a system image or backup are;


    • http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx  Very stable and consistent backup utility that is free for use. It does not do incremental backups, but otherwise is a very easy to use application and can be largely automated. Previous personal use with it was fine, and it was very easy to use.
    •  http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/index.html Very stable with more backup options (differential/incremental, etc) but not quite as universally compatible, still a great option for simple backups.

    It is important to get into the habit of creating backups regularly. Even if you have never had an issue or lost data, it only takes one time before you realize the error and wish you had. With the cost of storage these days there is really no reason not to. Once you have a backup seriously consider getting some extra DVDs, or a portable HDD used only for image burning.


    If you do not want to create a system image, windows restore points or the windows backup utility are also decent options (restore being a much softer backup). At least a weekly backup is preferable to no backup, at worst you lose a week, instead of weeks/months/years/decades of work.


    Fresh Windows install common application loader, and start button/menu re-addition to windows 8:




    This is an invaluable website for a clean install, or as the need arises. The premise is simple, select the applications or components you want or need to install on your computer (everything from Chrome to the latest Java to Steam, AVG and Notepad++ along with much much more). Once selected click on get installer and it auto installs all of the programs for you. The only downside is non customized installations but can save you a lot of time installing all of these applications. The installers will remember the software selection as well, so you can save it for use later, or as a template installer.


    For windows 8 Start button/menu install the Classic Start utility. You will now have a customizable start button/menu again and it auto sets to load to the desktop cutting out charms.


    Windows 8 PC Refresh/Re-Install:


    Windows 8 provides the option to ‘refresh’ the PC by bringing the computer back to an almost fresh install state. The benefit here is that you will retain all of the files and downloads pictures etc you have, while reverting to default windows files and setup. Note that this WILL require you to reinstall programs, but you wont lose specific data files as just mentioned.


    Start-Up / Boot cleanup:


    A lot of programs like to insert items into startup, a lot of them are extra drains on resources for things like version checking or updates. To disable these items pull up the start button and in the search box type in msconfig.exe then hit enter.


    MSConfig gives you a lot of different options for your system. This can be a very helpful little utility, but also very dangerous if you play around in the wrong areas. The only 2 places you should really bother with are the Boot and Startup tabs.


    •  Boot Tab, controls  multi boot loading (EG if you dual boot windowsXP and 7 for instance) and you can control things like time to select, default OS, etc. Also, and sometimes more importantly, the ability to turn on safe boot, with options (eg minimal, networking) and boot logs which can help very much in identifying problems with an unstable system. Just remember to turn off safe mode when you are finished!
    •  Startup Tab, basically exactly what it sounds like. Lists the items that are launched on startup and gives you the ability to disable them (uncheck the checkbox)

    Another good option is to periodically go through your installed programs list and remove anything you no longer use or was not what you thought it might be.


    Firewall / Antivirus:


    Over the years firewall and anti-virus apps have come a long way, and there are quite a few great free options. Here are some of the offerings you may come across, most of these are combo these days (both firewall and AV rolled into one) though typically you need to pay for a bundle.



    Anti Virus:

    It is really important to make sure you have protection installed early and updated often. Much like backups it pays to not have an issue or lose data, or have your identity or credit cards compromised.


    Weird windows problems or crashing:


    A useful tool to record problems or crashes is actually one built into windows, psr.exe To open it, go to the start -> search and type in psr.exe click on the record button and perform the steps that lead to the problem. When you are done it will ask where to save the zip file, choose a location. Inside the zip file is an mht file, which opens in internet explorer. It will give you a screen by screen recap of what you did, where you clicked, and what happened along with some information about the OS, the program being used, and versions therein. This can be a great help when diagnosing a problem, or trying to figure out what is happening.


    A lot of issues can crop up from bad/missing/corrupt windows files or protected items, luckily there is a built in application to help find and fix these. Open a command prompt and type in

    sfc /SCANNOW 

    This will scan protected and core files to ensure integrity and operation. If any are missing it will attempt to repair them. (Can take a while to perform)


    Some issues arise from newer drivers or application packages, you can try to use older versions which sometimes can be difficult to find. A couple useful websites to use in this instance:



    With that said though, just as many, if not more issues can be caused by OLD drivers, so be sure that you regularly check for updates  to your system drivers.


    I would caution against downloading .dll files by themselves, if you have a missing or corrupt dll file. There are a lot of websites with dll downloads, but it is best if you perform a re-install of the application which uses/installed the dll in the first place.


    If you absolutely need to do it you will likely need to register the dll, or may need to un-register and re-register the new one. To do so open the start button and type in cmd, right click on the cmd.exe that appears and select run as administrator.


    In the new window to register a dll (tell the OS that the dll exists, in a specific location, for application use) type the following:

    regsvr32 “path\to\dll\nameof.dll”      eg    regsvr32 “c:\users\myuser\dekstop\abc.dll”

    To unregister a dll (forget it):

    regsvr32 /u nameof.dll

    Some useful websites with vast technical knowledge and help:


    Don’t be afraid to use google, it has saved me many times and can be an excellent resource for finding information on bugs or error codes you come across.




    Hardware issues can be difficult to diagnose, especially with little or no experience dealing with it. If you are really unsure or timid ask for help! Provide as much detail as possible, and be friendly, people will help you out!


    A key thing to keep in mind, or plan, is a good power supply. The power supply is the most important non glamorous piece of equipment in your machine. If it is poorly built, or weak, or provides uneven power you can easily blow your system, or cause intermittent and nearly impossible to troubleshoot problems. DO NOT SKIMP on the power supply.


    This doesn't mean you need a lot of power, it means you need quality power. Stick to good name brands (OCZ, CoolerMaster, Corsair, Antec, EVGA, etc) If in doubt, do some research! Also you want to, these days, find one with an 80 PLUS rating. This on a very basic level means that you get more bang for your buck. In the conversion of power, and loss of power as heat (any heat generated is lost power, eg lost dollars) a unit with an 80 PLUS rating (with various sub tiers) means the unit will pure convert at least 80% of the power drawn to usable system power. The better the tier ( going from Bronze to Gold for instance) the better the conversion and the less power lost. YMMV on actual cost savings but on bigger rigs, or multiple run 24/7 it can add up over time.


    Make sure that you regularly clean your system out as well (once every month or 3). You can use something like a can of air to do it and its pretty fast. If you do not, dust buildup can create 2 problems. The first being insulation. As dust accumulates it insulates the areas it is in contact with, and this is bad news for a computer. It will begin to increase the temperature of those components and create extra wear and tear on them, shortening lifespan or creating heat related crashes or hangs, and general slowdowns. The second issue, while less likely these days, is creating a short between components. Due to newer technology and shielding this is less likely, but still something to keep in mind. Two components with voltage that normally should never interact could become linked in the right circumstances, and fry some components.


    As a side note, NEVER EVER blow on your components (ala old NES cartridges) or into a connection slot. While you may get rid of some dust, you are also sending a wave of watery saliva into the components which at the least can cause corrosion if nothing else.


    Whenever you install, remove, or troubleshoot a component be sure that you unplug the system before hand and use an anti static strap (you can find them all over the place – officemax staples, online, etc). Never remove or install components into a live (on/plugged in) system. While the board itself may not carry a charge, if there is dust buildup it can hold a slight static charge and create a short/arc and ruin that shiny new GPU.


    If you have problems with your system booting, or crashing and it seems to be hardware related be smart. Start with a bare system (cpu/ram/video card and no HDDs/accessories) and work your way up installing one component at a time until you get a failure. If the issue is present with nothing but the 3 previously mentioned bare components, it is likely one of those three, start with a different video card (if possible) and ram.

    Make sure all fans on the case or components are spinning, and clean them of any blockages (using something like the can of air and perhaps some Q-Tips). Never clean your system with any form of liquid or a vacuum or anything like that.




    These days there are a lot of people with HD capable monitors/TVs and decent AV receivers. If you have these but are perplexed as to how to get the best picture and audio its not that hard.


    To get true DD/DTS audio from media files  (not games) you will need to have an optical or coaxial digital audio connection or HDMI output from your computer (either onboard, or sound card based) to a device that likewise has these connections (receiver).



    It’s quite easy these days to simply just pass your audio through your video card to your listening/watching device (provided it uses hdmi). My normal media viewing setup passes my video and audio through HDMI out of my videocard to my receiver. I get my movies (DVDs/BluRays/Rips Ive collected) in DD/DTS and have excellent picture. (GTX 460)


    This is where the ‘fun’ begins. Configuring for true DD/DTS pass-through is a walkthrough in itself but in the end is not terribly hard. There are two main, great, guides/walkthroughs on how to do this:


    These days most TVs have HDMI input, and further can easily handle the way a computer outputs video, so hook it up and have a blast!

    One interesting thing to note, if you have get a DVI to HDMI conversion cable, most newer video cards can output audio from the video card to a TV/etc from this connection. (YMMV)


    For DD/DTS in video games, you will need a sound card capable of using something like Dolby Digital Live!/DTS Connect. To decode this. An example of these are:




    That concludes the FAQ for the time being. Many thanks to the originator of the first FAQ version, and the various sites and forums listed in this guide for all of the help over the years.


    Attached is the XP version of this FAQ WinXPFAQ.pdf - Many Thanks to Metadigital who wrote the original (XP) version!

    • Like 2
  15. Star dates could work, or we can go with the insane metric time system, or simply abolish AM/PM and base time solely on a rotation scale of the earth on its axis, and crossed by the orbit around the sun!


    Or, just keep time as it is.. either way. ;)

    • Like 1
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