Nov 10 2010

It has been a while

I don’t tend to think about this site that often now with the world of Twitter so much simpler and quicker to update. So it has been a pretty long time since I’ve updated. I often have a few ideas of using this as a portfolio of my web design work but then I remember that someone decided to steal the .co.uk from me so that prevents me retaining any exclusivity with the domain. I should have registered it in retrospect but there we go.

So that’s the reason this site isn’t really that active. Maybe something interesting will spur me into creating a post but it’s far from a diary.

Filed Under General,Life

Jul 30 2010

Alien Swarm FREE Valve Game

Valve out of the kindness of their heart (or much more likely a way of getting more people using Steam) have released a free game called Alien Swarm based on the original Unreal 2k4 mod.

The only downside is there is only one seven level mission but due to the games nature it’s very re-playable. It demands team play in anything higher than the Normal difficulty level and even on Normal if you get one lone wolf it can screw your chances of progressing. I think that’s the reason I love it so much, no game is the same because everyone has their own ideas of how to play. Much like Left 4 Dead.

Other notable features of the game are the experience system, array of characters / classes, ton of weapons and the potential for amazing mods thanks to the fully released SDK. Valve have excelled their selves with this but I’m sure the gesture will go in their favour.

I think it’s a phenomenal game and I’m really looking forward to some extra content being released. So give it a try, it’s free and all you need to do is download the Steam client here :)


Jul 28 2010

NetInactivity

This is a little program I created in C# to monitor your network activity and either Sleep or Shut Down your computer based on criteria you set. I built this to solve a simple problem, putting my computer to sleep after a particularly long download, for example a 8GB Steam game download over night or a sizeable browser download both of which have no built in function to do this.

It essentially saves you money by not requiring you to have your computer on throughout the night.

It has been tested in Windows XP 32bit and Windows 7 64bit without issue. If you have any questions or update suggestions or praise please leave a comment below. Thanks.

coming soon, fixing a bug


May 10 2010

Media Temple & My Stupidity

I usually start a post with an image summing the post up but the only thing I could think of was a big middle finger to Media Temple so wasn’t going to bother. Then I Googled Media Temple and found the above on the first page of image search, guess I’m not the only one with some negativity toward them :)

Basically when I first decided to get a more flexible hosting solution I looked at Media Temple. They’re bigged up by designers all around the world and as such people can stumble into thinking they’re the best solution. I did this and I regret it.

I started off with a virtual dedicated server as I was planning to resell hosting, however work got in the way and I never put enough effort into my own plans. As such after about a year of paying $50 per month I decided to go down to their Grid Service which is $20 which works out at about £12 a month, a much better deal I thought at the time.

Recently I decided to look for a cheaper solution £12 a month is not cheap in the grand scheme of things. I was expecting to have to lose some of the perks of having such a great company providing my hosting. I was wrong.

I’ve recently moved over to JustHost.com I get everything I had from Media Temple and more at the grand total of £1.98 per month and better yet it’s a faster server and my web sites are loading noticeably quicker.

I wish I’d done it sooner and saved some more pounds but hey we live and learn don’t we.

Filed Under Web

Feb 3 2010

Sound Card Shenanigans

Sounds cards! With Windows 7 becoming the norm finding a decent sound card has become incredibly difficult. On one hand you’ve got Creative which used to the only choice, but after driver issues and other problems there’s no be all and end all anymore.

This is an overview of my experience which will hopefully help someone because finding the right sound card is no easy task.

I started by trawling Google with search terms like “The best gaming sound card for Windows 7″, “Best high end card for gaming” etc. I eventually narrowed it down to a few choices;

  • Creative X-Fi Titanium
  • Auzentech X-Fi Prelude
  • Xonar D2 / D2X

So next I looked at EAX, how important is it? I found that since Vista EAX is a bit of a hash due to Microsoft dropping Direct Sound 3D since DirectX 10. Creatives and in turn Auzentechs solution is to use Alchemy which basically passes DS3d through OpenAL to the Hardware which can only be described as emulation. Now ASUS can’t actually do EAX through the Hardware due to no X-Fi chip, they emulate the effects through their software.

So to summarise both methods involve some form of emulation, one less intensive than the other.

Lets put EAX aside for a minute and look at sound quality. I’ll start by pointing out I haven’t actually had first hand experience with the X-Fi but I’ve read plenty of stuff from people that have saying that the Xonar has a much more high end sound, we’re talking £300 AMP quality here. The components on the Xonar are top notch and this is where Xonar get the edge. Straight up sound is much better and EAX is supported, so to me this seemed the direction to go.

I initially decided on the D2X which is PCI-Express, thing is it actually has a bridge chip on the card. It’s not native  PCI-E and I noticed boot up time was slower due to this bridge needing to kick in for Windows. My PCI-E slots were in stupid places anyway, the card was way too long and my memory slots blocked all but one slot. So I got to test it but promptly arranged to return the card.

Instead I ordered the D2 which is PCI but other than that is exactly the same card. There is some conflicting information out there saying the D2X is better because it has GX2.0 (the EAX emulation) and overall sounds cleaner. This is untrue, they didn’t retest the D2 with the new drivers. Each card is EXACTLY the same minus the interface.

I’ve spent a good month researching this and I can save you wasting the same amount of time. At the time of writing the Xonar D2/D2X is the better card overall.

Oh and the reason I never got anywhere with the Prelude? Yeah they don’t manufacture them anymore and support for the card isn’t particularly good looking at the forums. If you can get one though, it’s certainly a contender but a more expensive one.

I’ll probably update when I’ve lived with the card a bit longer but so far I’m very happy. Listening to music and playing games is so much more immersive :)

Filed Under General,Tech

Jan 7 2010

High Expectations For Blade & Soul

Blade&Soul is an MMO currently being developed at NCSoft. It has a strong focus on martial arts with fluid reactive gameplay. The combat system appears to be in the same vein as a beat em up and looks incredibly fun :)

A new year and a new game on my radar. I’m not even sure how I came across this one all I know is I want to play this game asap.

You have to watch this video in HD, click here now!

Filed Under Gaming,General

Dec 21 2009

Zombie Bashing At Its Best!

l4d2

Well just when you thought Valve couldn’t get any better at bringing amazing multiplayer experiences to PC gamers they went and released Left 4 Dead 2. Around a year of development time it created quite a storm around online communities for abandoning the original Left 4 Dead and for not having enough of a graphical update. How wrong were they :)

Graphics look more polished, blood and gore is more plentiful and the whole gameplay just feels more exciting from the get go. There is plenty of extra content here to justify it as a sequel a favourite of mine being the Realism mode which as the name suggests makes it feel more realistic with less ammo and better accuracy required to survive.

Oh and who could forget the brilliant inclusion of melee weapons, there’s nothing quite like beheading a zombie with an axe or bashing a clown zombie in the face with a frying pan :lol:

It’s now a regular game in my playing list pushing Left 4 Dead into a dark corner. As sad as that is I don’t feel cheated, this game is a great improvement and I’m sure we’ll see Zoey and gang again soon in the next free campaign Valve are already working on.

Long live Valve :D

Filed Under Gaming,General

Dec 8 2009

No Blog Update Since October!

Well that’s just not on now is it?!

I’ll cook something up soon.

Filed Under General

Oct 26 2009

FREE Photoshop Clouds Brush

clouds

You can download the abr brush file I made for photoshop below, you can use this for any type of work. If you use it a simple thank you would suffice :)

Click Here To Download


Oct 14 2009

Windows Seven Media Player wont play anything!?

If you have an Audigy 2 ZS card running on Windows 7 with the latest drivers installed you may have come across what looks like a codec problem with Windows Media Player not playing anything, MP3s, MPEGs you name it.

Well the solution couldn’t be more annoyingly simple. When you start the Sound manager in Windows 7 if you’re getting a prompt that looks something like this…

audigyzsproblem

Then what you need to do is hit the yes button, for some reason this interferes with Windows Media Player. Whether or not Creative will release drivers that stop this from happening I don’t know, but that’s the fix.

Filed Under Tech