Archive for January, 2005

January 31st, 2005

Today, being the rabid World of Warcraft gamer that I am, I was checking up on their official site, looking for their next “battlegrounds” preview, an update coming soon, adding a reason to fight in PVP combat and arenas. (right now, PVP, which is player versus player, has no benefits and is for sheer fun)

Disappointed that their new article hasn’t been released yet (Tuesday, Febuary 1st, is two weeks to the day from the last section, whereas the second was posted exactly a month after the first), I remembered that Blizzard deletes irrelevant news postings from time to time.

Interestingly enough, the article about World of Warcraft being off of store shelves has disappeared from the main page and archive pages.

Is it selling again? We will see, it’s still out of stock on the Blizzard store.

I stand corrected. Blizzard’s store is now selling it and has it in stock (not for long, I would guess).

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January 30th, 2005

This post is featured only at Great Big Blog.

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January 22nd, 2005

Unless you have been in the dark for a long time, you have seen many posts about people wanting this or that and they decide to make a petition on some free “petition hosting” service.

Today, I was directed to a petition, so out of bordem, I give you the anti-petition petition.

Utterly worthless. :)

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January 20th, 2005

I know this sounds terrible and all. “Did the game fail?!?” Absolutely NOT. Blizzard has decided to sell the last of the copies of World of Warcraft, which are probably gone by now, until they add more servers. Blizzard is rich. The other day, I was in a mall (me? mall? Yeah, it was with a group and we stopped to eat) and I saw a bunch of Everquest 2 boxes and no mention of World of Warcraft anywhere. It’s completely gone.

I honestly feel sorry for people who chose Everquest 2, as it was generally a failure.

World of Warcraft is expanding, I cannot wait to make level 60 and await further content. It’s a great feeling that Blizzard is selling this game so well. They make money, they have money to spend on the programmers for extra content.

This is good news for us players who are worried about too many players adding to lag. Personally, I haven’t had a bit of lag except one day when my ISP decided it would serve a large helping of packet loss on everyone’s plates for a few hours.


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January 19th, 2005

ATI’s official Linux drivers were released just yesterday or so. The new version is 5.1 (8.8.25 is what they call their Linux version). Enjoy.

As usual, Gentoo was fast at adding them and they are already in portage.

Also, new gentoo-dev-sources are out for us Gentoo users.

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January 19th, 2005

Recently, Google has rel=”nofollow”, where, when added to a URL, Google’s bot will not follow it, which prevents spamming to artificially raise your Google pagerank.

Really, I don’t think anyone will use it. Good idea, however, and easy to tack on rel=”nofollow” to all blog comments. It also probably will not cut down on spam at all, as other engines still follow the links and if one person clicks the link, it’s worth it to them to keep their bots spamming.

a href=”” rel=”nofollow”

In other Google news, Picasa 2 has been released.

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January 19th, 2005

Sometime over the weekend (I was gone Friday-Monday on a ski trip), Counter-Strike: Source updated to add bot support, which were in the beta, but not released until now. Turtle Rock Studios helped VALVe with coding the bots.

It’s kind of annoying when I join a server, see bots filling the rest of the slots, and lag like crazy because the server can’t handle the number of bots. Of the 3 servers I joined today, 3 of them filled with bots. 2 of them lagged badly, cycling from a 75 ping to 300 or so, but don’t quote me on it, my ISP was being weird last night and today.

Bot skills
This is all an account of what I have witnessed, not what the official page says, which is not saying the official page is lying in the least.

To activate bots, use “bot_quota” (e.g. “bot_quota 5″ sets up 5 bots, while “bot_quota fill” fills the servers with bots, removing one per each user connected). Bots have multiple skill levels ranging from easy to expert. (in CS: S’s console, type bot_ then use the down arrow key to check out commands and pressing enter on one without anything on the end to see what it does) There are many commands to adjust how the bots behave, including limiting weapons, following other people or bots, and rushing.

In-game, I assume I was playing against “normal” bots. Playing a few rounds, I had a score of 8 and 0, but on the next map, I was 1 and 2. Bots are realistic in the senses. I once shot a bullet at a friendly bot, but missed him by a few inches on the floor. He turned around for a small amount of time, checking me out from the sound I had made in having a bullet hit an inch from his leg.

They use voice communication. It’s quite funny at the end of the round when one may shout “woohoo!” or congratulate teammates. Communication with them is not a problem, as they let you know if they are rushing, holding back (coordinated, too), or if they hear or sighted an enemy. After having died one round, I saw a bot climbing on a few boxes and another hiding almost flawlessly behind another. Bots are not scripted, they have “minds” of their own, making them compatiable with all maps as far as I know.

Sometimes they have good teamwork with other players, having a bunch grouped together, just like humans do, and sometimes, they are pitiful in the area, scattered, like humans do. I’ve gone against 5 bots at once and died after getting only a few shots off. Other times, I have gone against bot after bot after bot, maybe I died, maybe I didn’t, but they were not all packed together nor working together.

If there is a window in the way, they will shoot it out before reaching it, which is more human and saves time.

Do bots appear to be hacking?
Surprisingly, my answer is mostly a no. They do not always headshot you and watching one, you see that they might appear to be wallhacking, as they do a fair amount of following someone who is behind a wall, but not flawlessly and sometimes, movement behind walls is just randomized and not following anyone back there, but out of suspicion that there is a person behind it. (say, they hear footsteps in the general direction and are “guessing” their location)

Lag issues
I’m not sure if they create many lag issues, so just test it on your server before leaving them on all the time.

Great job on the AI, VALVe. Great job improving it from Condition Zero as well.

Check out this screenshot of today’s play (Click to enlarge):

Counter-Strike: Source Score Screenshot

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January 17th, 2005

Symantec’s remote management tool is getting its first major facelift in more than a year, with added platform support and a new security scheme.

Symantec’s pcAnywhere 11.5, due the first part of December, lets administrators manage servers or end users’ workstations without having to be physically present. With the pcAnywhere running as a host on a machine, the IT staffer can run a client program from anywhere in the world and do anything from update the latest security patch to executing a program.

Full article.

Large corporations notice Linux.

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January 11th, 2005

Maybe your computer is old and outdated and just can’t squeeze the latest games in even on low quality and you don’t have the money to upgrade or maybe you’re a rabid gamer who wants the best performance on the newest games, it doesn’t matter. You could even be bored and want to do something “exciting” and “extreme” or other. Whatever the reason, overclocking is most definitely the way to go.

The primary thing to consider is whether or not your computer supports CPU/RAM/AGP overclocking. You probably already know the answer if you built your own, which is mostly a yes. If you have a computer like a Dell or Gateway or other main retail brands, you can mostly forget about overclocking. Generally, you will get the best bang for your buck with custom built machines. Don’t worry, if you cannot overclock your CPU or RAM, your graphics card is most likely still eligible.

There is a large range of differences per manufacturer, so bear with me and don’t fret if there are minor anomalies to what I say, as I am mostly accustomed to Abit motherboards, Intel processors (meaning Abit Intel motherboards), and ATI graphics cards.

Before attempting an overclock, please note that once you overclock, you void your warranty on most processors, RAM, and graphics cards. Temperature monitors are extremely helpful, as you know when you have gone too far.

As for cooling methods, Thermaltake makes great copper heatsinks (I have a Spark 7+ Xaser Edition for my Pentium 4; semi-loud, not bad). Arctic Silver 5 is about the best thermal grease out there. Buy a large tube, as you need quite a bit for all of your needs (northbridge, CPU, graphics card, and anything else you wish to put a heatsink on). For GPUs (graphics processing unit), you want an ATI/NVIDIA Silencer (make sure to buy the one for your card and made by Arctic Cooling), which is not only extremely silent, but most push all air directly out the back of the computer and cools the card’s RAM, which most stock cooling doesn’t do. The northbridge cooler is usually sufficient, but if it isn’t, there isn’t really a wide variety avalable, so just pick one out or remount the one you have with the Arctic Silver 5 paste. All of this will cost you a nice bundle, but is well worth it.

Kicking off with overclocking your CPU, RAM, and AGP bus, you will want to get into your BIOS menu (if you don’t know how, you probably need to ask a tech-savvy person to attempt this for you or just press either F2 or Delete. Usually, there will be a message telling you which key to press.). Keeping in mind that the directions are generalized, you will need to find a menu that looks similar to the one below, most likely the label containing the words “soft” or “CPU” or other related words dealing with the subject.

BIOS Screenshot

Once you find the screen, set the CPU Operating Speed to “User Defined.”

BIOS Screenshot

Next, adjust the clock to your liking. Don’t touch any of the ratios unless you know what you are doing. This overclocks your AGP bus, CPU speed, and RAM all at the same time, according to the ratio specified. Below, you can see the estimated CPU clock change when you step up the speed. Some BIOSes and processors have the ability to change the multiplier directly, use it wisely. An unrealistic example is that a 100MHz processor might be 20MHz core with a multiplier of 5. 20*5=100. Take caution in overclocking, as you do not want to go too far with it as being unstable. Raise the clock one notch at a time and make sure it boots at the least, every once in a while, use a tool to test stability. I suggest memtest 86 to test your RAM stability, compiling for CPU, and ATITool or RivaTuner for your AGP bus. Raising the clock without touching the voltage, depending on your chip and cooling, should take you fairly far, while not raising temperatures dramatically. After you can no longer keep it stable at default voltages, proceed to set the power supply to User Defined, using extreme caution, as this can easily damage your chip, or leave it as it is if you are uncomfortable. Make sure it boots stable after adjusting the voltage and ensure that your temperatures are not near dangerous levels. Continue to raise the clocks one step at a time, but me much more careful. Continuing to raise voltages is extremely dangerous and should only be done if you really do know what you’re getting into.

BIOS Screenshot

Once you find a good, stable speed, set it back a notch or two just to be safe. The overclocking process can last for quite a while, but be safe in the beginning so that later on, when overclocking the GPU, you don’t get crashes from the CPU and mistake them for GPU crashes. Later on, you may fine tune it if you so choose.

BIOS Screenshot

Now that you have finished overclocking the RAM, CPU, and AGP bus, we can proceed to the graphics card. Some cards can gain by leaps and bounds (usually the base models without any extra names. E.g. 5600 or 9600), while others gain in tiny strides (5600 GT, 9600 XT). If you have a base card, chances are high that you can flash it to another level and keep it stable. Before doing that, however, we must overclock using software. RivaTuner users, please follow as closely as possible, as my NVIDIA card is currently “abroad” and I may revise this to help you out later. Note that NVIDIA users may use ATITool and ATI users may use RivaTuner.

Personally, I was able to gain about 20MHz core from my X800 XT PE with stock cooling, but I have not tried with my new ATI Silencer 4.

There are two types of clocks when looking at your graphics card. First, there is the memory clock, which is simply RAM and is what will perk up those frames per second the most. Lastly, there is the core speed, which is simply the processing unit for the card. In the future, also expect to have physics calculators built in to your graphics card.

ATITool makes overclocking easy with just a few setting adjustments. Depending on what card you have, you can easily set it to find your clock fast and easily. Basically, ATITool raises the clock slowly with a rendering window open searching for artifacts as the clock rises. Artifacts are errors by the graphics card caused when it’s running too fast or too hot. After installing, head over to the options and set your fan (if applicable) to run at the speeds you wish. Enter under the “Artifact Scanning” tab something like the picture below. Please also take heed to any warnings received on startup. For instance, mine warns me to turn off temporal anti-aliasing, as it says that it will cause artifacts for the tests and I will not reach my full overclocking potential with it enabled (can enable after finding clocks).

Artifact Scanning

Next, you want to fine tune any other options that may be of use to you and then go back to the main view. Personally, I always begin by overclocking the core first. So, click “find max core” and let it do its job. If you set up the menu as I have, it should find a good, stable core within 30 minutes or so. You will notice that it uses a heat-up phase to warm the card up. You may click either the left or right mouse buttons to shorten or lengthen the phase to your content. Once you find your maximum core (with your current heating and so on), write the number down, set to default, and find the maximum memory. Once you find that, set them both to your overclocked speeds, find the core using the button again, but this time preserving settings and then finding the memory again. After you finish all that, note your clocks (you can save a profile to load if you wish) and check out the BIOS page.

I recommend only attempting to flash your BIOS if your card is able to make it to the clocks specified on the page (make sure to download the correct one) or specified by you using the “advanced” link on some of them. I also warn that it is best to have a PCI card handy in the event that your other card will not boot on reboot, this way, you run off the PCI card and re-flash your card. Be careful not to download the wrong BIOS or download one with the clocks being too high. The X800 PRO can also be flashed to unlock four more pipelines as well as a very large overclock.

A great guide to flashing your graphics card’s bios may be found here at TechPowerUp.

If, after following this guide, you are unsatisfied with your results, water cooling is always the best solution for the best clocks, though it is on the expensive side. Before you go with that, however, just remount everything by removing all paste and applying a thin-ish layer of Arctic Silver 5. Enjoy!

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January 11th, 2005

Gross and Chao have been routinely calculating earthquakes’ effects in changing the Earth’s rotation in both length-of- day as well as changes in Earth’s gravitational field. They also study changes in polar motion that is shifting the North Pole. The “mean North pole” was shifted by about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in the direction of 145 degrees East Longitude. This shift east is continuing a long-term seismic trend identified in previous studies.

They also found the earthquake decreased the length of day by 2.68 microseconds. Physically this is like a spinning skater drawing arms closer to the body resulting in a faster spin. The quake also affected the Earth’s shape. They found Earth’s oblateness (flattening on the top and bulging at the equator) decreased by a small amount. It decreased about one part in 10 billion, continuing the trend of earthquakes making Earth less oblate.


I remember someone mentioning the effect the day after the earthquake happened, but I just now found the story (Slashdot ;) ). Maybe in my lifetime, I will live a full day longer thanks to this earthquake. Though, I don’t think we were willing to sacrifice all those people just to live a day longer.

Maybe the global temperatures will drop by .000001F, effectively causing an ice age due to this lack of sun.

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