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Topics - Deozaan [ switch to compact view ]

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DC Gamer Club / TIGSource Demake Competition Results
« on: October 06, 2008, 06:42 PM »
The good folks over at The Independent Gaming Source have announced the results of their recent Demake Competition.

If you're like me, you may be wondering what a "demake" is. Well, the word comes from the idea of reversing the process of "a remake" by taking a newer game and "demaking" it into a retro, ~8-bit style game.

The top 3 games are:

Developer's Corner / Universe Project
« on: September 20, 2008, 07:11 PM »
Mouser got me started a gaming project earlier this summer which I'm just calling "Universe" for now. It's a two-dimensional space game heavily inspired by (mouser's personal favorite) Escape Velocity Nova (EV Nova), the Star Control Trilogy (specifically StarCon 2 & StarCon 3), and other space games I've played over the years.


It's still very early in its development--just an alpha demo right now--but at least it's interactive. And that's a lot farther than I ever got with Docoto Defense.

What happened to Docoto Defense, anyway?
In short: It was too overwhelming and I was too unfamiliar with the tools I had.

Most of the time spent while "working on" Docoto Defense I was actually going through broken tutorials and poor documentation. The project was much too ambitious for my skills and I quickly became overwhelmed with all the things I had to do without knowing how to do them. :(

Not to mention that a couple months into the project trying to learn the coding process for TGB I decided to change to TGE, basically starting the process all over again, only to finally revert back to TGB when I found out that TGE was going to be so much harder.

So anyway, it's just an alpha demo right now but I'd love to get feedback on controls and things when I release new builds. I'd really like to get some comments on the blog as direct feedback for each new build, but if you just comment back here that would be fine too.

Other info: Universe is set up to work with DCUpdater to download newest versions. I also have a tiny banner in my signature that links to the site and has the date of the latest update. But if you are the kind of person who would never remember to check back at the site or never run DCUpdater, you can also subscribe to the RSS Feed of all the updates.

In case you missed the link above, the website is

Living Room / I can haz LOLMouser plz?
« on: September 16, 2008, 02:08 AM »
I was just talking in the DonationCoder IRC channel and a rather obvious fact became an epiphany to me! A "mouser" is a cat! How come nobody thought of a LOLCat before where the cat is Mouser? Here's mine:

LOLMouser - Eated Cody 2.jpg

Put words in mouser's mouth, or just keep it DonationCoder themed, and make your own LOLMouser. You can use I Can Haz Cheezburger's LOL Builder if you don't have the tools or pictures to do your own.

Once you've made your LOLMouser, take a screenshot or save the image and upload it to this thread as an attachment so it doesn't steal bandwidth from other sites or mysteriously disappear!

DC Gamer Club / Try out the Spore Prototypes
« on: September 11, 2008, 10:58 PM »
Whether you can't afford it, don't think your computer could handle it, or if you're just plain curious to see what the developers used to prototype the final version of Spore, I'm here to tell you about the 12 prototypes available for download and try out from the Spore website.

Click the picture to download the prototypes.

Spore Prototypes.png

from Joystiq

General Software Discussion / - A Free Virtual PC/WebOS
« on: September 09, 2008, 10:16 PM »
While browsing topics and following links from the 10 Things IT Won't Tell You thread, I came across a mention of this website/service which is currently in public alpha. Here's a small excerpt from the Key Features page:

•  Access your desktop, files, apps and settings from any Internet browser
•  Desktop and apps run without the need for installation or updating
•  Customize your desktop and choose from 20+ available languages
• has chosen the very best available storage service for your precious data - Amazon Web Services
•  5GB professionally hosted and backed-up disk space
•  Many file types can be viewed or edited online with a simple double-click
•  Upload and sync your documents, photos and music easily using the Upload Download Utility, Sync program or FTP
•  Manage smart shortcuts called Tagged Things to Web resources - webmarks (URLs), files, photos, videos, music, products
•  Single sign-on to other services such as Google Docs using My Logins

You also get an e-mail address username(at) and you can easily access your WebOS just by typing in in your browser. It seems like a pretty neat idea to me even if it's not all that useful at this point in time. And by the way, this is being posted from the browser inside my Virtual PC. Connecting.png

Resized screenshot of the desktop: Desktop.png

FULL DISCLOSURE: If you sign up for an account and use my username (Deozaan) as the person who referred you, I get an additional 1GB of storage space. None of the links in this post automatically indicate me as a referrer, so you'd have to manually enter in my e-mail address for me to benefit from you signing up for an account. And I'd sure appreciate it if you did. :D

Yes, it's another Spore topic. This one shows the different iterations for my creature called the Crocidius.

[EDIT]Added thumbnail images which link to the corresponding Sporepedia website. And I've been adding more creations in this same thread.[/EDIT]

Unfortunately it only seems to save my final creature from the Cell stage, so it's missing several generations from the Cell stage.

Without further ado, I present:


Hi-Res images of Sproingyzoink
Sproingyzoink Rear.jpg

Gangly Stick:
Gangly Stick.png
Hi-Res image of Gangly Stick
Gangly Stick.jpg

Hi-Res images of Aahzoid
Aahzoid Top.jpg

Aahzoid Pervectium:
Aahzoid Pervectium.png
Hi-Res image of Aahzoid Pervectium
Aahzoid Pervectium.jpg

Hi-Res image of Terrorgator

Hi-Res images of Fearalligator
Fearalligator Rear.jpg

Fearalligator Rex:
Fearalligator Rex.png
Hi-Res images of Fearalligator Rex
Fearalligator Rex.jpg
Fearalligator Rex Rear.jpg

Crocidius (4).png
Hi-Res images of Crocidius
Crocidius Pose.jpg
Crocidius Rear.jpg

Living Room / A heartwarming video with a big kitty!
« on: July 31, 2008, 01:38 AM »
This is so cute!

Read more about this true story at Wikipedia, Snopes, and from the Born Free Foundation (who helped Christian learn to live in the wild). Also, the Born Free website has the uncut ending of the documentary.

DcUpdater / DcUpdater Feature Requests
« on: July 30, 2008, 11:46 PM »
Hi mouser,

I really like DcUpdater. I think it is really useful and a great way to stay updated with DC software. Here are a couple of things I think would help improve the program:

1) Fix file association with .dcupdate so that the following happens when they are opened separately from the program:
  • Either a forwarder file is created (like what happens when you register one with dcuhelper) or the path to the dcupdate file is added to the Extra Update Files list.
  • DcUpdater is run normally.

This way when you open a .dcupdate file, you still see all of the other updates you can check/get and the application is automatically registered in DcUpdater from then on.

2) A commandline method (usable with dcuhelper) to show a dialog box saying no new updates were found. This dialog should require the user to click OK before closing out of the updater completely/automatically.

3) Change the name in the task bar from DcUppdater to something better. I'm a grammar nazi and I can't stand it being spelled like that! I still like DCAppdater (DC Application Updater) that was suggested a year ago when you found out about the Vista problems.

4) Room for a real, detailed description of the application. Maybe when it is clicked it expands a bit, kind of like Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. Along with this, information about the changes in the latest version.

5) A way to filter/sort applications by website, author, or something along those lines. It would be neat to be able to expand or collapse sections for Mouser's Software, Skrommel's 1-Hour Software, etc. This should also be available in the "Available for Installation" tab.

Speaking of which, I also have a question about adding programs to the "Available for Installation" list. I found out I could do that by making a .dcupdate file with the Local version # of "not installed" but how does it know for sure if the application isn't really installed?

For example, if I have 5 applications that all use DcUpdater, and with a download of any software I include .dcupdate files to add the other 4 apps to the Available for Installation list to make it easy for users of my software to find my other great products, is there a way to check to see if DcUpdater already has update files for those apps so it doesn't make DcUpdater think that only 1 of my apps are installed even if the user has 4 of the 5?

How does it currently work with the ones you've got in that list now?

Living Room / Universe Sandbox
« on: July 28, 2008, 03:13 PM »
I found this a couple of days ago from Play This Thing.

Smash planets together, introduce rogue stars, and build new worlds from spinning discs of debris. Fire a moon into a planet or destroy everything you've created with a super massive black hole.

You can simulate and interact with:

* Our solar system: the 8 planets,160+ moons, and hundreds of asteroids
* Nearest 1000 stars to our Sun
* Our local group of galaxies
* An unlimited number of fictional scenarios

Tinker with your creation or sit back and watch the effects of gravity unfold. It's fun, accessible, and easy to use.

It's pretty fun to play around with. The trial version allows you to play around for 60 minutes before locking out some features. I'm not sure what the exact term is, but the software appears to be (required) donationware to me. You can pay whatever you think it's worth to you for a personal license. If your payment is $25 or more then he will send you a pair of Red & Blue 3D glasses which can be used with this software.

Be sure to check out the video!

General Software Discussion / System Restore Trojan?
« on: June 27, 2008, 06:33 PM »
How is this even possible? These are hidden, protected OS files/folders.

System Restore Virus.png

EDIT: Please note that D: is the new drive that has only had the contents of the old drive copied over to it. Though I suppose this quarantine was made before the old drive started failing, and it is just remembering the location the file used to be at.

To be honest, the only thing I've used by Stardock is the Object Dock, but I just found out from reading this Joystiq article that Stardock doesn't use copy protection measures in any of its games.

In fact, reading that article goes to show you how awesome they are!

As Stardock CEO Brad Wardell explains it, piracy is an issue that "has to be kept in perspective," and in a recent Big Download interview he further played the common sense card, stating that "the people who actually buy games don't want to be inconvenienced or treated like a criminal." Wardell adds that while Sins "definitely" would have sold more had piracy not been an issue, "everyone who buys games knows they could easily have gone out and stolen it if they wanted to."

Just reading that right there makes me want to support the company! And I've been hearing some mighty fine things about their game Sins of a Solar Empire. I may have to get it soon. :)

 :up: :up:

General Software Discussion / NewEgg
« on: June 18, 2008, 06:48 PM »
I ordered a 500GB SATA hard drive from NewEgg. It was Dead On Arrival (DOA). It was making clicking sounds and my computer wouldn't recognize it. But just to be sure I called tech support (India) to verify that it was defective.

I was at first very unhappy with the tech support since it said I had a 13 minute wait and after 15 minutes the first time I was disconnected before talking to anybody, then when I called back I was disconnected again after only 2 minutes. Finally when I called the third time I was on hold for about 20 minutes before someone answered. Someone with an Indian accent. It didn't look pretty.

But I have to say that this was probably the best experience I've had with Indian tech support. His accent wasn't too thick and we got through the troubleshooting steps without much delay and without feeling like he was reading a script. Yes, I'm sure he probably was following a script (I've worked tech support before for Dell and DirecTV--you pretty much always follow a script or you get in trouble), but it didn't seem to me like he was reading everything word for word. In other words, he either knew what he was talking about or was good at rephrasing the script into his own words. Or I guess it was just a really awesome script, but that's unlikely.

So we determined it was DOA, I got my case number, then I referred to NewEgg documentation for how to get an RMA and send it back for a working drive. I saw on the packing slip that I could do the RMA stuff online, went to the website and it said I had to pay shipping to send it back.

I was not happy about that at all!

Nevertheless, I bought the shipping label, printed it out, and shipped the hard drive off. Sometime within the next couple of days I decided to write a customer review on NewEgg for the product. I informed other customers that the drive came defective and mentioned that NewEgg was making me pay to send it back. I also found out that "TigerDirect" and "India" are in the inappropriate words filter for customer reviews. I can understand why they don't allow TigerDirect, but why "India" was a "bad word" is beyond me.

Then I found a form to send an e-mail, and the blurb talked about NewEgg's "Legendary Customer service," (all while cynically thinking, "Legendary? Yeah right!") and proceeded to write an e-mail using my "angry voice" to express my displeasure with having to pay extra to get what I paid for in working condition. I mentioned that I could have bought it from TigerDirect for less, once these extra charges had been placed on there. I got an e-mail back the next day saying sorry for the inconvenience and that the shipping costs would be refunded to my card.

That appeased me but the experience still left a sour taste in my mouth, so to speak. Their reputation had dropped a level, in my book. I still felt a mixture of "Thanks!" and "You're smurfing right you'll be refunding my money!"

I got that e-mail two days ago, on the 16th.

Today I received another e-mail from NewEgg.

Apparently someone in NewEgg Product Support had read my customer review, forwarded my information and the review to someone else who could do something about it, and asked them to correct the error of charging me for shipping. All of his own volition.

That action right there completely restores my faith in NewEgg. Even though the "problem" was already taken care of due to my own complaining, this man has fixed the real problem: removing the bad aftertaste of the experience and restoring (and improving) my faith in NewEgg.

NewEgg: I just have to say this experience was a bit rocky, but in the end I'm a very happy customer!  :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

Living Room / Recaptcha Porn?
« on: June 04, 2008, 03:58 PM »
I was just signing up for a Twitter account and had to type in a ReCaptcha phrase to prove that I'm a human. Well, seems like this one wanted to prove that I'm a man.

Her Booby Recaptcha.jpg

Lately I've been getting into the homebrew scene with my Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS.

A strange thing I've noticed in particular with Wii Homebrew is that files and folders are often sorted by the creation date instead of alphabetically. So if I happen to copy over TyrianWii before Asteroids, then Asteroids is on the bottom.

So what I would like is an application that will just modify the creation dates and timestamp of files and folders to get them to sort alphabetically.

Required features:

1) It should handle both directories and individual files.
2) Ideally it should recurse subdirectories. Or make it very easy to navigate a file system and sort all folders & files in a certain directory.

I've heard of something for linux or possibly mac called a Poke that would change the date, but I'm not sure what it is or how it works, and I'm on Windows XP, so it's not an option for me.

I just formatted my wife's laptop and installed a nice, fresh copy of Windows XP SP2. Everything went great and smooth and it was really nice to clean all that crap off her system.

Naturally one of the first things I did once the install was complete was go to Windows Update to get all the latest updates. The only thing listed there was Service Pack 3, so I downloaded and installed it. Everything went smoothly without a hitch. It installed and told me to reboot, so I did. When the system loaded back up I went back to Windows Update to get any remaining updates. There were 12 of them. I selected them all and told it to download and install. Everything downloaded but when it came time to install, I got the message "Some updates were not installed" which really meant "None of the updates were installed."

Figuring it to be a strange glitch, I rebooted the computer and tried again. Same result. I tried doing them one at a time. Same result. Only high priority updates. Same result. I tried many different combinations but they all have the same result.

And I'm not alone.

So if you're thinking of doing a fresh install of Windows XP SP2, just be aware that you'll have to install every update since then manually, since Windows Update only lists SP3, at least until this is fixed.

Mirc Script Pack / Installation
« on: April 12, 2008, 07:23 PM »
Um, so how exactly do you install these mIRC scripts and use them?

DC Gamer Club / Lava Gauntlet - A Sauerbraten Map by Deozaan
« on: April 11, 2008, 02:47 PM »
First of all, if you don't know what Sauerbraten is, read more about it (and how to join the DonationCoder server) on this thread. Now then, onto the details of my map:

Lava Gauntlet
A Sauerbraten map by Deozaan
v1.04 5/16/2008

Sauerbraten Corner View with Lighting.png

This is a relatively small map that is good for hectic deathmatch. A wide availability of powerful weapons (and Quad Damage powerups!) as well as a few death traps ensure that you will die a lot. But don't worry too much about dying, because everyone else will be dying too! If you can survive the lava obstacle course, you will be rewarded with an increase of 50 health points, which last permanently through the entire match! If you see someone else trying to navigate the obstacle course, be sure to pull out your rocket launchers and grab a quad damage to blast them to smithereens!

FULL download: 26MB (Custom Music)
LITE download: 150KB (No Music)


Screenshots from versions before 1.03 are now at the bottom of the post.

Sauerbraten Blue Base Entrance.png
Glowing Blue Base Entrance

Sauerbraten Green Armor Glows in Red Base.png
Green Armor Glowing in Red Base

Sauerbraten Red Base Glows.png
Glowing Red Base

Sauerbraten Red Sniper Area Lit Up.png
One Way Wall Sniper Area Lit Up


  • Gave the map a name: Lava Gauntlet
  • Minor texture changes
  • Minor lighting changes


  • Ammunition has been reorganized to make it less easy to get the most powerful weapon right away.
  • Some retexturing has been done.
  • Unused portions of the map which were outside of the "arena" boundaries have been removed.
  • Subtle lens flares have been added to help you know where to aim to kill the snipers behind one-way-walls.
  • Lighting!
    • The chosen skybox is a nighttime scene, so the entire map is a little darker. Blue and Red Bases, however, glow with color to highlight their entrances and pathways.
    • The lighting probably needs more work, but it should be very playable at this point.


  • Fall-through lava death traps have been made smaller because people seemed unable to remember to avoid them.
    • Remember folks, yellow stripes mean caution.
  • Another common cause of death was that snipers would jump off the sniper balconies into the lava death traps. Yellow stripe textures have now been added to sniper ledges where jumping off may result in a fiery death.
  • Reduced Chain gun ammo availability in starting bases.
  • Added a quick escape from the Permanent Health Boost lava obstacle course. If you made it that far you deserve an easy way out.
  • Added teleports back into the arena in the chance someone manages to legitimately get stuck outside.
  • Various retexturing done to help add clarity and visibility to what is where.
  • Just for mouser: Added an extra sniping position in each base using the cheapest of cheaps: One-way walls. Interestingly enough, the only weapons that actually travel through the one-way walls (if you're in the right position) are the Rocket Launcher and the Sniper Crossbow.
  • Added a couple more spawn points.
  • Removed the Super Mario Bros. techno remix from the custom song list. I like the song but it was getting annoying on the map. This means that the FULL Download has been updated to this version, since the song is no longer a necessary part of the download.


  • Added a few more weapons, armors, and health packs around the level.
  • Added bases for Capture the Flag mode.
  • Added cfg file for map which currently adds the following features:
    • Makes sure correct textures show up when the map is loaded.
    • Uses a custom skybox. (socksky/nightball)
    • Custom music track list.
  • Added support for DCUpdater. (packages/deozaan/deozaan.dcupdate)
  • Screenshot now shows when loading map.

(Sometime in February or March, 2008)

  • Initial Release. Level layout and item placement nearly finalized.

DC Gamer Club / Saga - An MMO RTS
« on: April 05, 2008, 02:29 PM »
I just noticed that today's Game Giveaway of the Day is Saga.

Saga is an online, persistent Real-Time Strategy game (MMO RTS). It can be registered for $20 but doesn't have monthly fees. It's one of those games where you can optionally spend real money for booster packs or items in game.

SAGA is a persistent world RTS in an epic fantasy setting. Players collect troops, build armies, conquer new lands and build up kingdoms, complete with resource collection, city building and peasant management. SAGA’s features include massive armies, multiplayer questing, guild wars, espionage, and an auction house for trading troops and spells.

SAGA has no subscription fees. Players pay as little or as much as they decide, by purchasing ‘booster packs’ of random troops and spells, which are traded and customized to create the strategic army of choice for each player. Give Away Of The Day Subscribers start with 10 Free booster packs, which would normally be sold for $29.95. Your account will be credited with the bonus products only if you register on this page, while the promotion lasts.

These free accounts will have all game options available with the exception of trading and hardcore PvP battles (you can still PvP in scrimmage mode, a battle type that does not permanently damage your city).

I haven't played it yet, but it actually looks pretty cool.

Be sure to download it today and register it today at this website. Also, if you need convincing to just try it, be sure to watch the video.

Living Room / Computer will not start!
« on: March 28, 2008, 03:52 PM »
Turning off my computer is a gamble these days, and the risk is higher and higher every time. For Spring Break I took it with me to visit my family and I haven't been able to get it to start since coming back home on Easter. I turn it on and it beeps at me a few times and then shuts off.

So here are the details:

I have an Abit AX8 K8T890 motherboard. It has two LED digits that show what it's doing when it starts up. The numbers and codes and their meaning can be found here: Award BIOS POST Codes.

When the computer is off, the digits show 0.0. When I turn it on it starts going through some numbers at the bottom of the codes list on that site I linked. It goes through a couple really fast, but I manage to see 8.3. then it flashes FF then just 2. for about a second. Then it goes to 8.3. then 8.b. and that's where it stays until it beeps a few times, flashes FF and sits on 2. for half a second then goes back to 0.0.

So the strange thing is that it seems to shut itself down during the bootup process when it goes to F.F. then 2. for a second before resuming the POST codes. In fact, even the fans and hard drives and anything that was making noise goes silent (unpowered) while it is showing the 2.

There's also a red LED on the motherboard that lights up when the system is on, and it turns off during that second.

So I'm wondering exactly what the post code means. Since 8.b. means "AGP voltage ready" does it mean that it shuts down on 8.b. because that's where it failed, or did it successfully complete 8.b. and get stuck on the next part of the POST? The next part would logically be "8.C. - 3VDUAL voltage ready" if it goes in order.

So I guess my question is, is it failing at 8.b. or at 8.c.?

To me, 8.b. doesn't make much sense because my motherboard doesn't have an AGP slot. So unless it's talking about some other kind of AGP, that doesn't make any sense at all for that to be failing.

But if it's 8.c., and the 3V DUAL voltage is failing, I guess that could make sense. If it's a power issue that could explain why it seems to have a temporary power failure in the middle of booting up, and could also explain why it only happens when I shut the computer down.

Eventually I've been able to get it to start by trying lots of times and wiggling wires around inside, but I'm not sure if I just got lucky when it started or if the wire wiggling made any difference. This time, though, I haven't been able to get it started since I began trying on Tuesday.

As for troubleshooting: I've cleared the CMOS, I've removed everything but CPU and PSU (and mobo of course) and it still has the problem. I just got the PSU last year when the last one failed. One concern I have, but I'm not sure how much of an issue it is, is that this PSU is only 350 watt and my old one was 400w or 450w. This problem has been happening sporadically over several months and I'm not really sure when it began. It is possible it began when I got this PSU but I can't say for sure.

When it first started up, I'd usually only see the problem happen if the power went out. i.e. If there was a complete interruption of power. I'd usually just have to unplug and replug the power cord and flick the power switch to get it to start up again. But lately (as in the past few months) if the power goes out or I turn off the surge protector due to going on an extended trip, it will take hours to get up again. This last time, days, and it's still not up. :(

Any tips?

Living Room / Kodak (Complaint)
« on: February 27, 2008, 09:20 PM »
Last June my wife and I bought a digital camera. A Kodak EasyShare. Relative to our income, it was very expensive. In July I used the camera to record a video of the local fireworks show. (Naturally the battery died just before the finale!) Sometime in August we realized that the video recording mode didn't work anymore. The camera uses a wheel to select which mode to go in, and I noticed a correlation that the mode on the opposite end of the wheel didn't work either.

As it got nearer to the holidays and we knew we'd want to take pictures when visiting family, I began to contact technical support. I went to the website, navigated the interactive troubleshooting guide (ITG), found and followed the troubleshooting steps that best matched my problem (i.e. didn't really match my problem at all), then finally, at the suggestion of the ITG, filled out an e-mail form asking for more assistance.

I got an automated response saying they'd try to get back to me in 24 hours. Well, eight days (192 hours) later I got a response telling me to go to the website and use the ITG to isolate my problem, and if it needed to be sent in for repairs the ITG would allow me to fill out a form for that. This was upsetting not only because I'd already tried that over a week ago, but also because there was no way for me to use the e-mail form without first using the interactive troubleshooting guide first! As part of the e-mail they received when my form was sent in, it said "Troubleshooting Guide: Yes" indicating that I'd e-mailed them through the ITG!

So I e-mailed back reminding them about the aforementioned facts and telling them that there was no troubleshooting steps that matched my problem and there was no option to fill out a form for repair. I also began to complain about it taking 8 days only to receive a worthless response and explained my problem in more detail. Furthermore I "firmly requested" that if they suggest once again to me that I use the ITG that they take 30 seconds and help me find something that matched my problem because I was seemingly incapable of doing it myself.

This time they did get back to me within a more reasonable time frame, apologized for the delay, and unhelpfully told me that I should call customer service for more assistance. I dreaded what that would be like so I put it off for about a month.

Finally I called and they told me to take the same stupid troubleshooting steps I did 1.5 months prior using the ITG. Thankfully they were short, and simple, but unfortunately still ineffective. When that didn't work they gave me an RMA # and transferred me to a recorded message with instructions on where and how to send the package. The recorded message was long winded and at times difficult to hear. And the company I was sending the camera to in order to be repaired was not called Kodak. It was called Teleplan International. But I couldn't make out what the voice was saying so I pressed a button to get it to repeat the message 3-4 times to try and hear the company name (which was near the end of the instructions, and after several attempts I still didn't get it right)! Trying to understand the recording alone probably took 20 minutes! Finally I gave up out of frustration and hung up the phone, only to go to my computer and realize they sent me an e-mail with all that information! ARGH! Why didn't they just smurfing tell me they were going to e-mail me all the smurfing information!

Once again I put off actually sending the camera off because it said it could take about two weeks and it was nearly Christmas.

Christmas with the family was quite enjoyable but we couldn't record any videos!  :mad:

We got back from the trip and mailed the camera (on our dime!) to the repair center. After over 3 weeks it came back. I opened the box to test it out and immediately noticed a few things:

1. It's got really dirty, dirty fingerprints/smudges all over it.
2. There's a really big, deep scratch on the camera.
3. There appears to be a large speck of dust on the screen. I figure it's a piece of cardboard and try to blow it off. It sticks. I try to wipe it off. It sticks. To my great dismay, I realize that it is under the glass! There's no getting rid of it!

Despite my increasing anger I decide to make sure that all the camera modes work. Well, hey! At least they got something right! Video mode now works and records. I snap a few short videos, watch them, go to delete them, and I see some other pictures on the camera.

There are two photos taken at Wal-Mart of nothing in particular. "That's strange," I thought, "I don't remember taking these pictures." The more I thought about it and looked at the photos the more I realized that 1) the photos are taken from behind a counter where only employees would go, and 2) I've never taken the camera to Wal-Mart (it was purchased brand new at Best Buy), as the nearest one is about 25 minutes away in another town. I begin wondering what part of the repair process involves taking the camera to Wal-Mart to snap photos and simultaneously thinking of what I'm going to say when I e-mail Kodak to let them know about the sorry state the camera has been returned in.

I ended up writing this:

I received my camera back today. As promised, the functionality been repaired. Thank you for that!

Now the bad news:

The camera has dirty smudges all over the casing, which is also scratched, it has specks of dust and dirt behind the glass (meaning they cannot be wiped away because they are on the inside of the glass!) and there are even pictures on the internal memory that were taken behind a counter at Wal-Mart, where only employees would be. (This camera was purchased at Best Buy and has never entered a Wal-Mart under our care.)

Does the repair process somehow involve taking the camera to Wal-Mart to snap photos of nothing in particular?

It also looks like someone tried (and perhaps succeeded) in peeling back the sticker with the serial number on it.

The Service Report says the failure was "Pwr-No power" and the fix was to "Replace Part." I have to admit my ignorance in the matters of repairing cameras, but that doesn't sound like what the problem was to me. If this is a refurbished model and the sticker was placed on it to give us the impression that it is indeed the very camera we purchased, I feel that is very misleading and unethical.

The smudges can be cleaned and the pictures erased, but I have to express my displeasure in the state the camera was returned in. We bought this brand new for over $200 and took excellent care of it. We didn't even remove the clear sticker that covers the screen so that it would stay clean and unscratched. We always kept it in a protective case when not in use.

But within two months it malfunctioned and our only choice was to ship it for repairs, which shipping we had to pay for, and now it has been returned in this state! I am very unhappy that after the great care we took with our camera, it looks like it's been handled for two weeks by a 10 year old child.

The next day I received a "reply" to my complaint. I put reply in quotes because it was a blank message, aside from my original complaint and a standard signature saying if I want to reply to be sure to include any previous e-mail history. I thought perhaps there was a mistake and I'd receive a real reply soon. That did not happen. So 4 days later as I was becoming even more angry, I replied to their "reply" and said "A blank message is not a very good response!" and e-mailed that off.

I got a reply about how they understand my concern and know that "this can be very frustrating" on my part. The stressed the importance of feedback to Kodak and thanked me for taking the time to share my "comments" about the status of my camera, and encouraged me to let them know if I had any other suggestions or comment. They assured me that my comments were "going to be seen by the right people" and that I "can be rest assured" that my voice has been heard.

Then they basically said "Whoa! That's not our fault!" by telling me to contact Teleplan International repair center directly by phone. Personally I think that's THEIR job, since they are the ones who subcontract the repair work to the shoddy repair center. They also politely reminded me that if I wanted to send my camera back to the repair center, and if it was within 45 days from when I received my camera back, I would need to send it back to the place that mistreated my camera for repeat repair! I would not be charged for the repair cost, but shipping and insurance would probably be my responsibility again! Then they told me to go to that stupid ITG again to use the form I could never find to set up the process of repairing my camera again.

That was February 2nd and by that time I was just so frustrated and angry that I came to the conclusion that I should just cut my losses and accept the scratch and the crap under the glass just to be rid of their ineptness. I can't imagine how it would be worth it to send it back and get more Wal-Mart photos, more dirty fingerprints/smudges over it, and more scratches just in the hope of getting that stuff out from behind the glass.

So what do you think? Should I cut my losses or complain some more to them and demand a camera in exquisite condition like the one I paid for and sent in?

DC Gamer Club / Instant Action
« on: February 21, 2008, 05:50 PM »
There's a new gaming website called Instant Action that lets you play multiplayer 3D games in real-time in your web browser. It uses a browser add-on but I think it's cross-platform because it's all in the browser.

Anyway, it's in a pseudo closed beta right now. I was accepted into the beta and anyone I invite will also be accepted. There are only four games to choose from for now but at least two of them are kind of fun, depending on your play style. The reason why I only say two is because I haven't yet tried the other two in a multiplayer setting.

If you'd like to check it out and play with me (and other DC members) express your desire here and/or send me a PM with an e-mail address I can send the invitation to.

If anyone's heard of Marble Blast Ultra or Think Tanks (made by GarageGames), those are the two games I said are fun for sure.

Please note that this offer is for current DC Members. If you found this post from a search somewhere and came here looking for free goodies, then this may not be the place for that.

Living Room / Sleep is killing my mouse
« on: February 21, 2008, 01:49 PM »
After mouser posted that entry about putting your computer into sleep mode or hibernation to save power and reduce startup times, I set my PC to do just that.

I set it up to go into sleep mode because in hibernate mode it takes longer to boot up and shut down. Anyway, it's been working great all this time up until yesterday.

Yesterday I woke up my computer and the mouse didn't work. I jiggled the cord and reseated the cables to make sure it was plugged in still. When that didn't work I rebooted. When that didn't work I shut the computer down and reseated the cables again. When that didn't work I removed the USB to PS2 adapter and plugged it directly into the USB port with the PC on. Windows made the little bleepy noise to indicate a USB device had been plugged and in a few seconds the mouse was working again. Problem solved, right?


Now every time I resume from sleep mode I have to unplug my mouse and plug it back into the USB port to get it to work. What can I do to get my mouse back permanently?

It's a Logitech TrackMan Wheel and I've never installed any drivers for it because it doesn't have any special buttons and has always worked just fine without them. I have Windows XP SP2. I have no idea what might have changed to cause this device to stop working.

Living Room / More Dangerous Products for Children from China!
« on: February 15, 2008, 07:24 PM »
A 10-year old boy finds a razor blade in a Pokemon themed Valentine's Day sucker.

I always thought the razor blade stories were urban legends for Halloween. This razor blade is embedded in the hardened candy and sealed in a wrapper!

Pokemon Sucker.png

Read about it and watch the video here.

Living Room / 64 Bit CPU - Is it worth it?
« on: January 18, 2008, 05:39 PM »
I did a quick search on the topic and found that there have been similar threads about 64-bit software, but with so many recent threads about building a new PC I've got to ask: Is it really worth it to get a 64-bit CPU?

In mid-2005 I bought the computer I'm currently using. If I recall correctly, this was before dual core processors were available or else they were prohibitively expensive. I decided to go with a 64-bit processor (AMD Athlon 64 3500+) for that "improved" performance.

Once all my computer parts arrived and the PC was built I very quickly found out that nothing had really been designed for 64-bit CPUs and I was actually an early-ish adopter! To me it felt like the CPU was wasted because though there was Windows XP 64-bit, there were virtually no drivers and no software designed for 64-bit architecture. I was forced to "downgrade" from XP64 to regular old XP just to get my hardware to work.

Now it's 2.5 years later and there's Vista 64-bit, with more drivers, but I still don't see much benefit of a 64-bit system other than the potential to use more than 4GB of RAM. And while the idea of >4GB of RAM is indeed a dreamy dream, I've got 2GB and I'm doing just fine with that.

To get back to the question: Is it worth it to get a 64-bit CPU or would you be better off looking for multicore processors? Or both? Is there really any actual, present, and noticeable benefit in using a 64-bit CPU?

Living Room / POWDER - A Roguelike RPG
« on: January 18, 2008, 05:08 PM »
I just came across a roguelike today called POWDER. It was originally designed as a homebrew game for Nintendo Game Boy Advance but has been "ported" to Nintendo DS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, with the source code available under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus license.

POWDER is a roguelike developed specifically for the Gameboy Advance (GBA). It is not a port of an existing roguelike as the controls of the GBA are very different from the traditional keyboard, and the screen imposes some additional limitations. It is built around replayability and long term ergonomics, not short term learning. It uses actual graphic tiles (16x16) rather than the traditional characters. You may wish it didn't as I drew the tiles and am not an artist.

I created POWDER for one simple reason: I wanted a roguelike on my GBA. The standard RPGs were annoying me with endless battle screens against weak enemies to unfold a drug induced plotline. I wanted a game I could just jump into, and start killing things. Having had more hours than I'd care to log playing Nethack, ADOM, and the Diablos, I knew the exact type of game I wanted. The problem was I didn't see anyone publishing it any time soon.

What is a "roguelike"?
To understand POWDER, you should first understand roguelikes. "Roguelike" is a term applied to a wide variety of games which share a common inspiration from the game Rogue. A non-exhaustive list of such games would be: ADOM, Nethack, Crawl, Diablo (I & II), Moria, and Angband. My apologies to the many excellent roguelikes I didn't list. What characterizes these games? The exact specifications are a matter of debate - indeed, I may receive hate mail for including Diablo - but I shall try to write a few:

    * Tactical play. The unit of action is based on the individual adventurer. The game is not twitch oriented (like Quake, rewarding reflexes & well trained actions) nor is it strategy oriented (like Civilizations or Warcraft, requiring working on the large picture)
    * Based in Hack and Slash. A roguelike isn't primarily about plot development or telling a story. It is about killing things and acquiring treasure.
    * Random games. A roguelike is a dungeon crawler where no two games are the same. The maps are different, the items are different, there are no guaranteed win paths.
    * Permadeath. You die, that is it. No restoring a savegame. Good roguelikes delete your save game after loading them. This is compensated by the replayability of the game.
    * Complex interactions of properties. While the commands for a roguelike are simple, the potential interactions are not. My favourite example is equipping a silver ring as a weapon in order to damage a creature vulnerable to silver, but not one's other weapons. [Editor: This matches the Hack branch of the roguelike tree, not the Angband branch]
    * Steam rolling monsters. If a critter is in your way, and weak, you shouldn't even notice it is there.

For more information about roguelikes, there is the Rogue Basin, a Wiki documenting this genre:

The screenshots are from older versions and the default graphic tileset has just been updated, made by a fan known as Akoi Meexx. It's worth a try if you enjoyed any of the games mentioned or Castle of the Winds as mentioned in The Best Games You've Never Played.


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