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Messages - steeladept [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Steam: Savior or Slayer of PC Gaming?
« on: August 29, 2011, 05:56 PM »
Thanks for that info Deo, I don't use Steam so I didn't know one way or the other, but that is what I read from the original post I referenced.

Living Room / Re: Goodnight Irene
« on: August 29, 2011, 05:03 PM »
Still begs the question as to why utility lines are still being hung on exposed poles in this day and age. C'mon USA - it's 2011! Let's get these things underground and out of harm's way. If we can drop $1 billion every three days being in Iraq, we can spend a little money here. Make it a project for the military if that will get it funded. Electricity is a strategic resource so it shouldn't be hard to justify it with all the "homeland security" legislation that's been passed. Call it an anti-terrorism measure if that's what it takes to get the ball rolling.
Simple.  Money.  Exposed lines are cheaper to run, cheaper to fix, and cheaper to maintain.  Since this isn't a government project, but rather a private firm.  Even as heavily regulated as it is, it is still considered private and therefore gets no funding from the government.  Therefore, to put everything underground would actually increase prices dramatically, and not JUST for the installation.  Maintenance costs go up as well.  Moreover, believe it or not, there is MORE OFTEN outages related to underground installations than there are for above ground installations.  They may be more exposed, but people generally avoid the above ground ones.  The in-ground installations are subject to all manner of rodent damage, water damage (insulation does break down over time), crushing, etc.  But the single most common cause of in-ground damage is human digging. 

People digging, even when properly permitted, either ignore, or misunderstand where a live line is running and cut it during digging.  I can't tell you how many times contractors cut our lines while putting in septic tanks, sewer lines, or just new buildings while I was in the military as an electrician.  We would mark it, have safety huddles with the contractors, and they STILL would cut lines thinking they were over to one side further than we marked them.  Overhead lines only failed from human interference when someone hit a pole hard enough to drop it completely (it is a funny site to see a pole hanging by the line - and they are strapped on that tight), or does something completely stupid.  Sure, they are more often subject to weather issues, but the lines rarely cause power issues because they are exposed.  It is almost always the fuses to protect the lines or the power stations that are the issue, and those issues occur far less than human intervention issues.

Living Room / Re: Steam: Savior or Slayer of PC Gaming?
« on: August 29, 2011, 04:46 PM »
Wraith, I think in some of your responses you are assuming she is trying to run the same game in multiple places at the same time (hence your references to physical media).  However, I don't read that into it at all, and as long as they are not the same game, there is a HUGE difference in capabilities there.  Running two copies at the same time may be a no-no, but it shouldn't stop you from installing it on one machine while playing a different game on another machine, just because it is the same account.

Living Room / Re: Donation gamer: Games to give
« on: August 29, 2011, 04:37 PM »
Steeladept, Let me have a look what I have on linux - I keep thinking I'll switch so buy the occasional game just to encourage them, but linux remains my secondary OS
Thanks.  I certainly understand it being your secondary OS.  I made it my primary out of a combination of need (in that I can't afford a new OS license - there's more to it that I don't want to get into here) coupled with the desire to learn Linux more thoroughly.  I know I won't learn any more than I have already (which is a fair amount at any rate) without making it my primary OS.  I am also finding Linux distros actually have some of the same 32/64 bit issues Windows does.  All in all, I have decided I like Windows best, but right now that isn't really an option.

Living Room / Re: Centurylink is on CracK
« on: August 29, 2011, 04:26 PM »
I eventually end up getting a split personality, one part fantasizes about beating people to a pulp with a blunt instrument and the other tries to invoke some sanity and rationalizes that it's just low paid mouth-breathers trying to make a living and whatever the issue, it's not worth getting a stroke over.
Nice way to sum it up.  The first half you can't help, the second half is probably closer to the truth of the matter.  Problem is, it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

Living Room / Re: Steam: Savior or Slayer of PC Gaming?
« on: August 29, 2011, 04:22 PM »
Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...
I love this quote as there are so many truths to it in just 2 sentences. 

Unfortunately, Steam, and many companies like them, still seem to believe that the only gamers in a household are the 12-25 year old males.  Couple that with only 2.4 kids/household (in the US) and that makes 1 or less in that market per household on average.  And we ALL know that the US is representative of the world market, right?

Living Room / Re: Donation gamer: Games to give
« on: August 28, 2011, 05:17 PM »
Nevermind.  Turns out her machine is less than 1GHz which is the minimum requirement anyway for Steam.  My linux machine is slightly better (not by much though) but it isn't worth us reimaging our machines just for a few games, even if they are free.  We hope to get a few new machines by the end of the year, though, so if this catches on, we might be a lookin'. :Thmbsup:

As for some even older games, we have a few we can give away.  They are CD based, they are that old, but that doesn't make them any less good.  When I go through them later this month I will try to post them for anyone interested.

Living Room / Re: Donation gamer: Games to give
« on: August 28, 2011, 03:59 PM »
Interesting.  Since you just started this thread yesterday, don't be distraught that you have had so few takers.  I wasn't even online yesterday so I didn't see this till today.  Unfortunately I personally am running Linux now, but my wife's box is Windows.  If she is okay with me putting some games on it I may take you up on Portal and/or Defense Grid.  Want to try a trial first though - as I don't want to try them, find I don't play them and prevent someone else from having the option.  I will let you know though.

What!?  We have a fort?  I thought we let anyone in. :P  That's it, you let out about the secret mouser hiding space now didn't you

Living Room / Re: Centurylink is on CracK
« on: August 28, 2011, 03:31 PM »
I, unfortunately, have been on all sides of that situation from my employer alone.  The "flowcharters" often get fired if they don't prove they went through everything regardless of how idiotic it is - which is rediculous, but true.  The smartest of them tell you that even though even that *can* get them fired and go through it anyway (often, these same guys and girls will skip a few steps ahead to at least save some of the time in the known futile effort).  From the tech support side - well - lets just say it really helps to have friends in the right places to bypass the crap.  And in the customer's seat - complain like a CEO over the littlest things about the entire experience.  Explain it in long winded detail to a manager who is REQUIRED to listen to your complaint.  The longer the better.  As they get bored with the explaination, don't let up...Remember, they HAVE TO listen to the full complaint - it is their job.  It doesn't fix the situation, but it does get you tagged for special consideration so they don't have to listen to it ever again.  Remember, the squeeky wheel gets the grease, and in large enterprises, like everything else this is in triplicate.  Sqeek louder, longer, and no one will want to deal with you.  If they don't want to deal with you, they take special care to make sure they don't have to.  Otherwise they don't care.  Me, I prefer to just switch to smaller companies that actually care when I have the choice.

In general, I have found Telecommunications Companies to be right behind the Entertainment industry when it comes to poor customer service.  That said, there are some good ones and they are almost exclusively regional or smaller that actually have to compete for business.

It was actually Word 365 beta with a scripted browser plugin - he just doesn't want to let on... :P

(Sorry, don't have any ideas on anything that matches that description, just couldn't let it pass by though).

Living Room / Re: Firefox fixes the version number problem
« on: August 23, 2011, 02:21 AM »
Do you think that you know better than the developers that this patch is good or bad for you?

How does the developer know my setup and my system?  He doesn't.  You are looking at this only from the side that the developer knows his own program, and that may be true.  But he doesn't know, and definitely doesn't care, about the intricacies of my system.  Only I do.  What he is patching may already be covered by some other form of protection on my system.  Does he know?  No.  What his patch "fixes" may cause other issues with my system.  Does he know?  No.  Does he care?  Maybe at best.  No, I am responsible for systems under my care, I should have the capability to choose how to run them - not have it forced down my throat.  Do you want to make it install by default?  Fine, but still give me the choice.  Just like the developer has the choice to NOT support older versions (or to charge for that support), I should have the choice NOT to install the newer version.  Taking away that choice is NEVER a good idea.

If Mozilla thinks it is a good idea to become Chrome, fine.  Just don't be surprised as EVERYONE jumps ship to either the original Chrome or something more in line with what they are looking for.  The Mozilla Foundation has completely ignored what made them grow so big in the first place - and in an effort to grow larger, they are abandoning that key segment and going after as a "me too".

Living Room / Re: UK Riots: Have you been affected?
« on: August 11, 2011, 08:38 PM »
I actually bank with Barclays but who do you switch to?
I agree with a lot of what Carol stated here, except for the political hackery - though they are all thugs, I don't agree with the fact that it is one party that pushed it all and the others joined the party.  If that were the case, then there would be a real opposition party.  No, my take is it is two side of the same crooked coin - both pulling away from each other and taking as much from you as they can in the process.

As to this statement, however, you switch to you.  You store your wealth in precious metals (coins are easiest), especially gold and silver as they are the most common and hence most exchangeable.  You exchange it at spot rate (or as near as possible) for the money to pay for goods where vendors don't accept the metals and use it in place of money in as many places as you can (outside the current paper scam they call currency). When you make money, via normal paper currency, you exchange as much as reasonably possible into these metals and, ideally, store them yourself in a safe place, outside the banking system entirely (and ideally outside the government's reach).  That is the only real move you can make away from banking institutions these days.  Sure they sell the gold (et. al.), but if they want paper money - let them have it.  The governments are going to inflate the value away anyway.  Gold is the only monetary standard that has never deflated or inflated.  It is essentially worth the same today as it was in Roman times over 2000 years ago.

Here's a really odd one (okay, not odd, just not one you think of when beta-testing), but I can't get past the password.  Either I fatfingered it when I set it up, or I just don't remember what it was.  Still, I noticed that there is no way to reset it or retrieve it.

General Software Discussion / Re: too much security?
« on: August 10, 2011, 11:55 AM »
hmm.. one can never have too much security

I disagree here.  Too much security (in my opinion) is any security that is in excess of the minimum security needed to be safe from a risk management perspective.  Security, by design, get's in the way of operation - be it physical, computer, operational, etc.  If it didn't, it wouldn't work, since that is it's purpose.  The problem is too much means you can't function.  Take physical security as an example.  Ever been anywhere where you needed to get in to do your job, but the door was locked and no one had the key?  That is too much security for the issue.  Does  that mean it isn't warranted?  No, there is a lot more to secure that just that job, but it does prevent the job as "collateral damage" of the security it is designed for.  Similarly, a computer security program prevents programs from operating in certain ways. There are legitamate reasons for some of them to operate that way, however.  That means you have to "unlock" the route for the program to function.  This, however, lowers security by allowing the program to run.  Risk management dictates that the security breach probability is very low vs. the program's need to run, so you allow it, but that doesn't change the fact that security is decreased, even if it is only slightly.  In the end, when it comes to computer security, the only real security is the off button, but then the computer will not run at all!

Living Room / Re: Film vs. Movie?
« on: August 10, 2011, 11:42 AM »
I agree with worstje (except for the grain of salt thing  :P).  

If I were to differentiate, however, I would say "film" is technically the media upon which a movie is made.  Therefore, anything put on film, be it pictures, documentaries, movies, even data, would be technically watching a "film".  Movies are a specific type of data that provides entertainment through a single episode of a story retained on film.  This would be different from, say a documentary, a television series, or even a slideshow of generally unrelated pictures.  But differentiating between all that is a very technical description of the language, and in general usage they are interchangable words.

 :-*  Wish this was around when I was in school!  I don't have a need for this type of thing anymore.  Still, big thumbs up to whoever finally approved of and implemented this for those who can use it.

Right.  But as soon as you put the volume up to hear something, then forget about it, you get zapped again.

Plus getting the volume control to come up is a nuisance.  I'd look for an enhanced mixing app with more sophisticated settings if going that route.

Seems like a perfect job for some sort of AHK script or something.  Store default settings and revert back after 15 minutes (or whatever).  Maybe it isn't that easy, but it is an idea....If it turns into a doable project, perhaps an enhancement of the idea is to set a toggle where a second "default" is set to be the alternative setting which can be implemented in a right click dialog or something.

Living Room / Re: Steam: Savior or Slayer of PC Gaming?
« on: August 07, 2011, 10:01 AM »
So is it just me, or do other people have as big a hangup about gaming over the web (and generally consider the whole thing a mistake) as I do?
I am with you 100% on this.  The only difference is I know why I like the media and it goes back to (essentially) what Renegade is getting at.  I already installed it, now let me play it.  I don't want to be forced to connect so you can check that I have a license, I don't care if you want to install updates - maybe I don't, and most of all I don't want to have to connect so you can remove it for me (okay, so this hasn't happened anywhere I know of, but that whole ebook thing with Amazon - it has me more than a little rattled on buying anything digital only.  If I pay for the media and you go bankrupt, or decide you don't want it out there, or whatever; I still have what I bought).

To me, the biggest advantage to online gaming is the streamlining of multiplayer.  I don't play multiplayer for the same reasons listed above (well maybe occasionally on my own LAN, but that is different anyway).  Why should I bother with connecting to anything?  Lastly, what happens if I want to game disconnected (as I normally do?)  Some let you, some don't; but all programs that you truly load from local media do?  NOTE:  I say "truly" so readers don't try to tell me about those where you load setup files that still require a connection to the internet to download and install the rest of the files....That isn't truly a local media load.

EDIT:  There is one exception I have to this though - If I can download a full install onto my own media and still use it independent of the seller's site (or internet connection after the download/install for that matter), then I don't have a problem with that - it is only with these sites that try to get you to use them AS YOUR MEDIA that scares the hell out of me.

Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: August 05, 2011, 08:14 PM »
Okay, to add my 2 bits.  SJ brought up a good point - if the main penalty is due to spinup/spindown, then an SSD shouldn't be affected WRT MTBF issues.  There is still that nasty penalty that f0dder eluded to, a change as small as one bit requires all drives to be rewritten to (read data -> change bit -> recalculate parity -> write data+new parity) which will take it's toll on the write-life of an SSD, but that shouldn't change it's MTBF, just it's lifespan, if you will.

As to SJ's question on why Mean Time Between Failure -

Granted statistics isn't my thing ... But if the MTBF for a given drive is 3,000 hours, then for 3 drives it should still be 3,000 hrs. Or is this just the Murphy's Law More moving parts... argument? <-I'll buy that - as it appeals to my cynical side (hehe)).
You have the essence of it.  MTBF measures any failure within the system.  The more parts, the more pieces there are to fail, and the more failures there will be - eventually.  This does NOT measure the severity of a failure or even provide a directly useful measure of lifespan, since most failures will occur as the device ages, but it does give a good idea of the expected quality.  The correlation is that lower MTBF means it will fail sooner, and while that may statistically be the case, it doesn't mean that any one device (or system in this case) will last longer than any other one.  It just means the one with the lower MTBF is statistically more likely to fail before the one with the higher MTBF.

Example cancelled - Can't find the formula's other than calculus that I don't want to get into....

One failure of MTBF Marketing is that redundant systems automatically have a lower MTBF even though they are actually more reliable (because they are redundant and can be fixed without loosing system operability).  This is not a knock on the measure, but on the usurped use of the measurement for marketing purposes.  Further research proved this false.  Redundancy is one way to reduce MTBF at the expense of complexity since MTBF looks at the system holistically. 

General Software Discussion / Re: Dot Net - a wrong step by MS?
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:35 PM »
I tend to agree with wraith on this one, particularly since the glaringly obvious (to me) was neatly sidestepped in all those articles.  That is Azure.  Microsoft is, in my opinion, betting the farm on Azure.  That is where they expect all new development to go to, and where they will point their Windows Store for applications moving forward.  Windows Azure is ALL ABOUT .NET.  In fact, IIRC, you can't target Azure with any languages that are not .Net.  This plays in well with the HTML5/JavaScript story as the client is little more than a connection device to the service.  This is the move to the TV-like appliance pundits claim the computer needs to become.  Why?  I don't know, but those same pundits are enamored with Apple and the AppStore/iTunes concept - and the masses seem to follow that lead.  I truly believe that Microsoft is doing a two pronged approach - let Windows live as long as possible, but marginalize it before the competition does.  If you switch, eh, fine.  If you don't switch, you get these extra bonuses to connect to Azure (whatever they decide those bonuses are - single signon and instant connection are two that come to mind as likely).  It is not unlike their Live! offerings now, on steroids.  At least that is what I am seeing/guessing.

what options it showed on old machine) and was wondering the same, what difference the one Mhz might make...
Only about 1 million waves per second  :P 

In reality though, I think it would just depend on the monitor used.  The frequency generator probably is tuned for different voltage/frequencies and it makes it easier to manufacture a "world-wide" compliant generator at 59MHz vs. 60MHz (or vise-versa).  Or it could be something as silly as the difference between 1000kb and 1MB in computer terms - Effectively the same for most people, but definitely different amounts.

Looks like you are right.  I don't think I have any of that speed, but I will look.  I might be mistaken...been a while since I looked at it myself.


No problem.  We do have a tendency to go far afield here and there.  Glad it helped provoke thought.

Does anyone have 4-8gb of ddr2 desktop ram (in 2gb or 4gb sticks), sitting unused in a box somewhere that they might be willing to send along?

Maybe.  What kind of ddr2 ram?  I think I have some PC2-5300 sticks, but I will have to check when I get home.  Will that work, or do you need other speeds?

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