The Fluffshack

Unraveling the world one sock at a time

Reflections on Lethargy, boredom, obsession, loneliness and love.

<.. Moved .. >

Moved to a slightly more private blog.
Only a certain list of friends on Facebook/Google Buzz have access and will see a link to it appear.

April 3rd, 2010 Posted by | Angry | 5 comments

How EA ruined C&C – The Installer

No, I have not played C&C4 yet, though I will soon.

And no, this is not a post analysing in detail the gameplay, estetics, production quality, storyline, etc of the various C&C incarnations and how they have gone to shit since EA toolk over Westwood and then abolished it.

Instead, I am going to simply demonstrate something that very nearly and very completely encapsulates the difference between C&C during Westwood en C&C during EA.

The Installation of the game.

See here first of all, the DOS installer for C&C1

Then see here the DOS installer for Red Alert 1

Now lets look at what we get with C&C3 installer:

C&C3 Install Fail

Its not even in English, i dont even get to choose the language.

EA, FUCK. YOU.

March 29th, 2010 Posted by | Angry, Gaming | one comment

They wont let me pay for it!

Yesterday, Felicia day and the crew of The Guild released a music video which is awesome.
I am a fan of Felicia Day and the Guild, so I want to support them and purchase with actual money the music video and the song itself.

Lets just be clear about this.

I want to pay them with my MONEY

And they wont let me. Retarded, backward, outdated international copyright law is stopping me from actually legally BUYING digital content.

Another example of the ineptitude of current copyright laws by you.

Translation: Your request could not be completed. The item you requested is currently not available in the Itunes store in [?], but is available in the store of [?]. Click on “change store” to see this item.

Another example of the ineptitude of current copyright law by you.

Translation: Your account is only valid for purchases in the Dutch Itunes store. Click OK to go to that store.  – And thank you Apple. for even giving me the option to stay on this page, let alone buy something here.

ScreenHunter_04 Aug. 18 22.31 by you.

FUCK!

How DARE they accuse US, the digiratii, of PIRACY when they themselves cannot get their collective heads out of their asses and ACCOMODATE ME?!

I WOULD PAY FOR THIS DAMN YOU by you.

Just the other day, I had exactly the same experience when I tried to watch the new Ghostbusters game trailer.

So thank you, after getting me exited and nostalgic about Ghostbusters, they deny me a FREE TRAILER. FREE!

So partially out of SPITE, partually out of not actually having ANY OTHER VIABLE OPTION, I torrented the ENTIRE Ghostbusters movie, Blueray rip, in HD

ScreenHunter_05 Aug. 18 22.38 by you.

ScreenHunter_07 Aug. 18 22.39 by you.

ScreenHunter_06 Aug. 18 22.39 by you.

FUCK. YOU. Old Media

Hello thepiratebay.org! 🙂  You are always there for me!

ScreenHunter_02 Aug. 15 17.30 by you.

ScreenHunter_03 Aug. 15 17.31 by you.

I enjoyed it. Then I deleted it.

Pirate Bay logos appearing throughout The Hague, here is one

August 18th, 2009 Posted by | Angry, Social Commentary, Social Media | 2 comments

Broken Hardware Part 3

IMG_3283 by you.

Things are getting desperate. I am really at my wits end now.

A ray of light appeared when I removed the Creative Labs X-Fi soundcard, and other USB peripherals. The thinking was that if it was a power issue, that might help.

Low and behold, there was an improvement. The crashing continued, but was no longer resulting in permanent screen corruption as my previous pics show. Basicly in Mass Effect, the graphics freeze, as usual, but after an alt-ctrl-delete, the game and the graphics will pop back in a playable state.The crashes are also less frequent, and its sometimes possible to play for half an hour or more, without it crashing once.  However, when it does freeze, the freezing seems to come in waves, where the game will freeze every minute or so for period, before becoming more or less playable again for a while.   It doesn’t matter what i do in game though. I just leave it and it will crash eventually, with the characters standing around idely.

Grand Theft auto, on the other hand, still gives corruption, again, only after a while sometimes, but no longer the pixel mess. It will corrupt the textures in game, then freeze, then crash out to the desktop. GTA is more consistent in crashing that Mass Effect though, at this point.

Stuff I have tried since the last post:

– Took the PC appart and running on the table.  More or less excludes shorting with the case.
– Memtest86, turned up nothing (remember hte memory is suspect because its one of the few common components across the old and the new hardware)
– Removed 3 of the 4 RAM, no effect
– Replaced the Keyboard and Mouse with a different keyboard and mouse, no effect
– Reconnected the old PSU, no effect

IMG_3285 by you.

I have been going over how the PSU stuff is suppose to work, still thinking its a power issue.
The new 800watt PSU I got (Gigabyte Odin Pro) is a very good PSU, good reviews, and is know to deliver well on the voltage and amps. It has 4 separate dedicated +12v “rails”, two of which can deliver 28amps, more than enough for this setup.   Now I have been running Speedfan, and besides measuring temperature, it can give a readout on Voltage.

IMG_3272 by you.

Now here is the worrying part. It shows 11.35v on the 12v readout. Way too little. However, the BIOS itself, when I boot into it, is telling me the 12v is at 12.04, which is spot on. I did read that software indications of voltage are unreliable. Regardless, I reconnected the old 650watt no-name PSU, and its giving me the same readout in Speedfan, and in the BIOS slightly higher, 12.152v

IMG_3313 by you.

The whole thing still smells of a power issue. The way people on forums seem to have described power-related issues seems spot on with what I am having here. But it may just be confirmation bias of course.

There are 2 approaches I can take at this point. The first is to reinstall Windows, in this case Vista, again. I cant be sure Windows 7 is not at least a part of the problem, even though I doubt it because the problems started on Vista originally. I need to get my hands on a version with a valid key, but I think I know where, my original key didnt seem to work anymore as you know. I think I know where.

IMG_3310 by you.

The other path is to continue digging into the power issue. I have seen several forum examples of people that had similar instability, that they managed to solve by upping the voltage of components ever so slightly. The CPU and/or the RAM for example. I may try this, there are certain margins that we can play in safely. I am not convinced either PSU is not performing well, but to really confirm it, I would need a multi-meter, which I dont have. I may buy one, its generally usefull to have around anyway.

IMG_3311 by you.

I still have not heard back from the shop about my 295 card. I am assuming they have not recieved a replacement yet. I will call them tomorrow.  I may explain this whole thing to them, but I suspect they will give me the usual shopping list of things I have already tried.

And the very last thing I want to do is bring the parts round to them to have a look at. Its a logistical nightmare.

June 29th, 2009 Posted by | Angry, Gadgets, Tech | 3 comments

A fist full of broken hardware

The last 4 days have been nightmarish. As in, the worst kind of hardware upgrade nightmare.

IMG_3187 by you.

It started early last week, when I started getting serious issues playing Mass effect. The graphics driver would suddenly crash and reset, causing an interruption and minimizing the game. Windows would restart the driver, generate a popup, and then I could keep playing.
This started to get progressively worse, as after the first crash, the in-game graphics would slowly start to corrupt. Textures would start to go missing, geometric shapes would start to get out of sync, and lighting effects would go haywire. Tried the newest Nvidia drivers, no effect.

IMG_3195 by you.
The 8800 even failed in dos mode.

IMG_3196 by you.
My old card, the 8800GTX
Now I was already considering getting a better card, as I was not impressed by the performance of Mass Effect, and my Nvidia 8800GTX was getting on a bit, now over 2 years old.
So I went out and got myself the new Nvidia 295, which is basicly a duel-core version of a 260.
Its the most powerful card on the market today.
I also saw that the quad-core Intel 775’s where down to some nice prices, so I also pickup up the 3Ghz version, the q9650. I knew my mainboard, the Asus Striker Extreme, should be able to use it.

IMG_3186 by you.

On Thursday I swapped out the Nvidia cards, and had a good night of play on the new 295. But it was obvious how much of a bottleneck the CPU was now.
The next night, I swapped out the CPU. However, imagine my suprise when the Quad core didnt play nice at all. The PC would not boot at all with it in there. Under the assumption it was lack of having the correct microcode for the new CPU, I downloaded the last BIOS file, and flashed it with the EZ-Flash tool in the Bios.
That was the last time my Striker Extreme ever booted.
I am clueless about what went wrong. It was the correct Bios file, and a perfectly normal and supported means of flashing.

So Saterday I went back to the shop, and got myself an Asus P5Q Deluxe mainboard.
After putting it all back together again, I let the original Vista installation boot up.
It actually dealt with all the changes quite well.
Tried mass effect, and while it ran very smoothly now, as expected, within minutes I got pretty bad texture and vexel corruption. So not exactly the same problem as with the old card, but quite similar.
Supreme Commander ran smoothly and without any corruption, but would suddenly crash out without warning.
I ran into an additional problem with Vista. Because i had changed so many bits of hardware, it now said i needed to re-activate it. But when I tried this, it said the key was already in use. Rather strange, considering this was a volume-license key and already in use by my laptop and several other computers i am aware of. Volume license keys should be able to be used multiple times.

IMG_3164 by you.
New card: the Nvidia 295GTX duel core

IMG_3188 by you.New board: The Asus P5Q Deluxe

By this point, I was suspecting the driver-instability, if that is indeed what it was, may well be down to windows. Coupled with the activation issue, I decided to take the opertunity and install Windows 7, RC build 1700. Once this was installed, I went about getting the games back on. Mass effect needed to be re-downloaded, so I gave GTAIV a try. This was on the default drivers supplied with Windows 7.
Much to my disappointment, I got severe texture and shading corruption again, similair to what i had in Mass effect.

IMG_3193 by you.

I have tried various combination’s of drivers now, but the largest difference has been when I have turned off multi-core rendering in the Nvidia control panel. The problems are there clearly with just 1 core, but with 2 cores on GTA crashes almost immediately. I tried some Left 4 Dead, which crashed on 2 cores, but ran reasonably well on 1 core. Most distressingly, is that sometimes when it crashes, for example in Supreme Commander, it shows a bad-pixel pattern over the screen, not just in 3D, but also on the 2D Windows desktop.

IMG_3191 by you.


Supreme Commander with pixel snow inside the game, and even on Windows desktop

Mass effect goes crazy with duel cores on, vexel nightmare. With just a single core on for rendering, it only(!) freezes every 5 minutes.
So I am more or less out of ideas. My suspicion is that my new card is as broken as my old card. And the old card is very broken, as even in the boot screen it showed vertical red lines across the screen, probably indicating fried memory or something else bad.
We already threw out the original box of the 295, but its got a 3 year warranty, so I should be able to get it repaired, or get a replacement. I am hoping for the latter.

Maybe I will think of something else to try tomorrow, but it looks like i will be going back to the shop soon.

June 14th, 2009 Posted by | Angry, Gadgets, Tech | 2 comments

Domino’s screwing me

Domino’s – Menukaart.

What the FUCK is up with Domino’s Pizza in Leidschendam?!
(for the spiders’ benefit, I am talking about the Filiaal Leidschendam, Damplein 16
070-3275959)

First I found out, at 10:05pm that they are not longer open till 11:00pm, as they have been for the 7 years I have lived here, but till 10:00pm. Then today I get charged 10.50 euros for a Medium Hot and Spicy, while 3 weeks ago, it was 9.50, again, as it had been for years.

And of course the delivery guy swears its never been different.

I usually have a 10 euro note on me, so that was always convenient for Pizza + tip. Now its not only a slower transaction at the door, due to the change having to be counted out, it inconvenieces me to have a single note, plus 50 cents lying around perpetually.

Fuck this.

August 28th, 2008 Posted by | Angry, Uncategorized | one comment