The Linux Blog


Stuff on my mind as of late…

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 11:48 pm

Ok, so as being one of my unusual posts (or rants), sorry about that. If you’re a first-time visitor, this is an unique post. ;)

Well, I have a few annoyances right now.

Firstly, I am/was trying to sell Final Fantasy XI: Online. Apparently, there’s some small print on the box “not for resale by a prior owner” and probably something in one of the 3-5 license agreements I had to accept to subscribe to the game in the first place. EBay removed it on request of Square Enix (what, they check eBay?) and gave me NO details, effectively leaving me in the dark on my “copyright infringements” or whatever they want to say.

Secondly, stuff disappears from the news. Anyone remember SARS, the anthrax scare, and the mad cow disease scare? I probably forgot to mention something, as the news only covers it as long as it’s “cool” and gets users scared enough to attach themselves to the television all the time. Especially to attract them to “the best news network” – NBC, ABC, and what ever else have you.

I suspect it’s like this throughout the world, but most will probably just bias it to be part of what they might call “American stupidity and naiveity (spelling? ;)).” It’s terrible how much many people have wrong views of the USA and are so prejudiced against Americans. Many people will tell you we are a bunch of propogandists who assume that everyone else must be American or talk like they are American or want to be American.

Hey, we talk less about other nations, on average, than others, simply, I think, because we only border two countries. Mexico isn’t talked about because not much happens there and Canada isn’t because… I don’t know. In europe and such, countries border many, many more and are smaller.


Do you REALLY want Windows XP SP2?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:54 pm

Ok, I have my article back.

Well, I have had a lot of mentions about SP2 lately, so I just decided to blog about it.

It’s one of the most useless patches that Microsoft has released. My reasons are that the only thing that I truely liked about it was the fact that the booting bar changed from green to blue (blue fanatic here). Other than that, all of the "improvements" are aimed at your average “Joe” (I really do pity people who are named Joe and have this unfair discrimination against them… I wonder what the original Joe was like…).

First of all, yes, the blue bar is cool, but it was already blue in the Professional edition of XP. Second is that they finally added a popup blocker to Internet Explorer. This was much needed and desired by most, but they had to mess it up.

Going to the Apple website to download the iPod updater software fails, because Internet Explorer blocked a popup and a "potentially dangerous" download. So, you think to yourself, no problem, I think I will tell it to ignore this one. Ok, so you click ignore this one. Internet Explorer then reloads the page, but nobody at Microsoft though to implement the neat feature that resends the post data. Oops. (e.g. it doesn’t work)

Well, so maybe that idea failed, but surely enabling the firewall by default is good, well, for some. Not for me or about 75% of my friends. So, you then again tell yourself, I will diable it. Ahh! What’s that? There’s a new icon in the taskbar warning you that the firewall is off. No problem yet again, you will disable the icon and get on with your life. Oops, can’t get rid of the icon. In fact, after toying around a bit, you figure out that you cannot disable an antivirus program either, nor can you disable automatic updates, without, of course, getting the icon in your taskbar.

So, it’s not that bad, you don’t mind an icon in the taskbar (well, apparently, you aren’t me ;)). Don’t worry, it’s still "cool" looking :). So what else if icons don’t annoy you? Well, you have wasted 160MB of disk space (in our day, it usually means nothing, especially to those of us who have 250GB hard drives) and boot time is increased dramatically. In fact, some people (sorry, can’t remember how much it added to mine, but this is about accurate) report that their boot time increased by 14 seconds. Amazing.

And if you hold the position of that Service Pack 2 has less security holes, just remember that you can get the same patches for SP2 as for SP1. Also, you may recall that Microsoft is notorious for creating many, many new bugs when adding a small amount of new features.

Not that bad? I suggest that you try it out yourself if you feel so obliged, make your opinion, and let me know about it. Honestly, I am interested in what you think.

By the way, this post was not meant to offend or show a heavy bias. I have fully tested SP2 and people have backed me up in my opinions who are not aligned with Linux as I am. I’m running Gentoo Linux dual booted with Windows XP SP1.

Revision on December 18th at 10:11AM EST:

I have to boot twice into Windows before it actually boots. First time, it just sits there with a blank screen. I reboot and it works. Weird. :(

December 20th:

Also, try and think of Windows XP SP2 from a marketing standpoint. We have already determined it is mostly useless. So what is it good for? Marketing. Maybe someone was sick and tired of Windows. SP2 came out and they said “hold up a minute, they fixed it all!” Then, maybe even a few *NIX users thought “hmm, looks like they fixed something” and reinstalled XP.

It is the ultimate strategy. Microsoft may be corrupt, but they are not stupid.

Here’s the best and longest conclusion:

Do you want Service Pack 2? No.


Do you REALLY want Windows XP SP2?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 2:15 am

If you are reading this, look up on the page :). I have posted the article here.

This article is exclusive to Great Big Blog, check it out here.

It clocks in at 572 words and I think is worth the read (well, that is, with my 2AM brain switched on).

Yes, I am going to bed right now. It’s 2:15AM EST. Goodnight people.


Ok, so Alex removed it from the database. Stay tuned, I will get a copy from Nathan and post it here only.

I would have appreciated it if… Alex… would have given me a copy by e-mail or something instead of just placing it for trash. Good thing Nathan was smart and set a deleted flag to 1 instead of fully pruning. :) Oh well, staff hates me, not my fault.

Stay tuned, I have the article and am fixing a few mistakes in it.


NO Connection in Steam Status to Patch Release

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 4:29 pm

I’m sick and tired of the majority of people talking about the Steam server status.

Many people are talking about a ‘drop’ on the bandwidth numbers right before a patch is released. This is nonsense. There is NO connection between bandwidth and when VALVe decides to release a patch. The only way there would be is if VALVe shut the servers down before applying the patch, which they do not do.

What do you think people will do? Nobody knows when a patch will come out for a game, so what do they do? They get some kind of ’sign’ from the all-knowing Gabe Newell (founder of VALVe)? Sure, let’s believe that, so they all sign off of steam just to make the bandwidth page register a dip in the amount of bandwidth. Insane.

Thanks, no connection, move along. Rant alert. Stupid community (well, in some aspects).

Apparently, I have the John C. Dvorak disease. (he uses a lot of bold when his articles are printed in PC Magazine)

Half-Life 2 Overhyped in a Different Way?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:12 pm

Previously, I posted about Halo 2 being overhyped.

Now, I’m posting the other side. Half-Life 2 was overhyped by some.

This isn’t in the same way as Halo 2, which was mainly the complaints as follow. The game engine was horribly optimized for the computer. You can’t get the graphics engine to render anything anywhere near 30fps for anything on the source engine at full details.

The way that Half-Life 2 was overhyped was simple. People expected it to be twice as good as the next best game out there (assuming it’s the best game out there, which it is to me). People saw the E3 2004 (or 2003, not as impressive, but close) videos. They followed all the rumors (wow, what a ride). They stayed up all night (3AM EST) just to play the game after wiping their hard drive clean, defragging, jumped 2 and 1/2 times, screamed a high F#, and tapping the letters “WOOT OMG OMG OMG” 3 times.

Mainly, the problem with the E3 2004 videos being released was that they are no more and no less than proof of concept videos. There are no guarantees that anything you see in them (and they weren’t meant to be publicized the way they were), not even the physics or the gun the player was using. People became disappointed when a few scenes never happened in the game.

The leak of the beta version was a fall for many, as they downloaded the workable compiled version and played it. They spoiled much of the story, thought it was supposed to be different, etc.

Many rumors were abroad about the ending, when it would be released, what guns you would have (according to the beta; from what I hear, some were added and some removed), what levels you would play (ditto), and more nonsense of the such.

People were upset that the game didn’t finish off the series (actually, not many people were, but this is yet another point). Hopefully, they won’t fool around and will get right to work on Half-Life 3, which many people are already talking about.

Basically, the more you followed Half-Life 2 and the ups and downs, the more you were disappointed. Personally, I followed it closely, but not too close. I have yet to finish the game, but it’s the best FPS (First Person Shooter) game I’ve ever played. I’m loving every minute of it.


Halo 2 Over-hyped?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 10:57 pm

Well, as I said I would notify you about heavy opinions, I’m doing so.

Halo 2 is overly hyped. The graphics don’t look that much better (they can’t, the xbox is static, can’t upgrade, can’t put better graphics on), Halo’s (1) story was pretty good and such, but it didn’t have a few things:

1) Weapon choices, which, from what I have read, doesn’t improve much in Halo 2. Yes, you get more, but do you get the range you do in Counter-Strike?
2) Graphics – simply put, an Xbox can’t handle the level of detail that the Source engine pumps out (Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2, Half-Life: Source, etc.)
3) Gameplay (Xbox only) is pitiful on a controller. Try turning with a joystick and then with a mouse. Which one is easier?
4) It’s published by Microsoft (personal bias :))
5) Microsoft is squeezing people to buy Xboxes who don’t want to wait for Halo 2 on PC (yes, I will buy Halo 2 on PC when it comes out in a few years just to try it)


6) Graphics were OK for PC. Relative to the performance, it was horrible, but that aside, they were ok.
7) Halo had a good story line (did I mention this already?). Single player was fun to play through. Multiplayer is fun to have jeep wars. Vehicles are not rampant like in Battlefield 1942, which is a plus.

Half-Life 2, on the other hand, looks very promising:

1) Weapon choices. Manipulator. (more guns than in Halo 2 as well as far as I know)
2) Graphics are amazing
3) Physics are amazing
3) Gameplay is amazing, no joysticks unless you want it
4) VALVe != Microsoft


5) No console support (maybe this is a good thing, we don’t have to annihilate all the poor people using consoles)

At the time of the writing, neither game was released yet. I have seen Halo 2 and Half-Life 2 trailers.

P.S. I think Halo 2 should be a decent game and would like to play the PC port whenever it comes out. Halo’s engine was, however, terribly ported and runs awful.


Thanks to Spaceman Spiff of the Shary Forums, who apparently is reading the manual, there are 18 weapons in Halo 2, which is enough to put my ‘not enough’ weapons point in the garbage can, ignore it (that is, if he is correct in his saying).

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