Thursday, June 28, 2007
It is great to see my PC running at Mach speeds. However, it is funny to see all of this on a simple VGA card with only 2 megabytes of memory. It can only display at 800x600 and is chocking pretty bad on some of the graphics.
If anyone is conversant with Vista's User Experience ratings, my PC is now scoring 5.2 to 5.9 (out of a maximum possible of 6.0) with the exception of the two video ratings-- both of those score at 1.0 (the lowest possible). I have a feeling that will increase when I get the rocking new video card I ordered. ;-)
I may have to pick up a cheap 6.0 PC speaker set, too. This new board is 6.0 compatible and it seems dumb to have my three speaker set plugged into it. We'll see-- sound isn't the most important thing to me.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I ordered the motherboard, CPU, and memory from Newegg.com, which is a California company that always has great prices and quick turn around, but I have to pay sales tax. On the same day and about the same time, I ordered a new video card from CompUSA.com online (I would have bought it or done a pick up from the CompUSA across the street from me, but it closed), which has higher shipping rates but no taxes.
I wanted at least a dual-core CPU. My new laptop at work is dual core, as is my wife's home machine, and I am impressed by the differences that makes in a system. Being a gamer, I like all the power I can get, too. However, when looking at the new motherboards, to service the dual core CPU I had keyed in on, I discovered a subtlety: none of those boards accepted my DDR ram (184-pin) memory chips and I couldn't find any that has an AGP port. Not one. So the 2 GIG of DDR ram I bought just over a year ago cannot be used in any MB I wanted, which is frustrating, and my decent if somewhat low-end AGP video card also couldn't be reused in the new system. Having to purchase brand new memory and a PCI video card, especially when I have perfectly good items already, upped the cost of the upgrade considerably. And smells a little like collusion to me, but I won't go into that now-- that may be a topic for a later blog entry.
I found a great deal on an AMD 64 x2 5600+ 2.8 dual core CPU, an ASUS M2N-E motherboard, and two 1 gig Crucial DDR2 RAM memory sticks from Newegg.com and purchased them. I was going to get a BFG Nvidia 7600 with 256 meg of memory video card too, but then I found an eVGA Nvidia 7600 card with 512meg of memory for the same cost with a $30 mail-in rebate from CompUSA. I prefer Nvidia to ATI even though a lot of sites and people say that ATI is faster because every ATI card I've owned has had some sort of issue-- sometimes due to a stranger flickering and poor polygon refresh, sometimes with program compatibility, other times with the driver updates (or lack thereof). So I stick with Nvidia now and am happy. I've had very good results from both eVGA and BFG lately, so look for their labels now.
Like I said earlier, both orders were placed at virtually the same time on Sunday morning. I used the same credit card to pay for both. I used the same shipping priority and service for both. Yesterday I received my order from Newegg.com and have already installed everything into my case and got it up and running (mostly- some things left to do tonight) using an old PCI video card I had left over. Just today I got the "shipping" email from CompUSA.com that they have filed my order and placed it for shipping tomorrow.
When I called CompUSA today about the order, the guy said that they have to verify everything. Well, my order with Newegg said the same thing. CompUSA guy said that they put the 1-2 business days notice to let you know how long it would take. Well, so did Newegg. The CompUSA guy said they have such high volume that it often takes the full two business days-- and that Sunday didn't count as one. Well, I know that Newegg does huge volume in So Cal, at least, and they counted Sunday as one of the two business days.
I wonder if CompUSA just doesn't hold onto some things on their online site for a couple of days. I've made a total of 3-4 purchases from their online site, and all but one of those has been delayed at least the two business days before the order was formerly placed and often didn't actually get picked up for shipment the next day after the order was finalized. While I am sure I will be happy with the video card when it finally arrives, I will think twice before ordering from CompUSA even if they do have a nice deal on something. I do not like this laissez-faire attitude and the length of time it takes to receive things. Newegg has always done it right and right now. That's how I want it.
Anyway, I at least I know the order is finally placed and, if it is picked up this evening and shipped from CompUSA's nearest state shipping yard, I should have it by Friday. I sure hope so, I would hate to get the machine up and running with all this speed and power using a crappy, five year old PCI card. That would mean no gaming for me this weekend, most likely.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Now the Vice President thinks he can claim he is not part of the Executive Branch of the government and that, although they created and passed the laws that are putting them in trouble right now, they weren't meant to be included in it. Hello? If you didn't intend to include your own offices, shouldn't you have stated that in the law you passed and then amended and passed again a few years later? If I claimed something similar on, say, murder, I would be laughed out of the courts and sent to jail.
And that is what gets me so fired up-- these two do these things and then expect that we're too stupid to know better. That they can just continue looking us in the eye and lying to us and get away with it. And, apparently, they are right.
Looking back on it, President Clinton getting a blow job and lying about it seems rather tame, yet we impeached him (but did not kick him out of office) over it. President Bush and his regime has done far worse. Why don't we impeach and remove him?
I simply cannot imagine that the majority of Republicans are proud to have this man as the head of their party. Most of the Republicans I know are very bright, involved people; they must be disgusted at how this Republican is thumbing his nose at everyone, themselves included.
I have contacted my Senators and Representative and asked them to propose Impeachment proceedings. I cannot in good conscience support this current government. I recommend that, if you feel the same, you do likewise.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Kheldians are, to this game, as Superman is to the rest of the DC Universe. They have more inherent powers, more abilities, and more uses than the average archetype within the game. However, also like Superman, they have a strong weakness in the form of Voids and Quantums, a type of villain that is all too common and one which, even at levels well-below that of the Kheldian, can kick its ass.
One of the things that makes the Kheldian archetype so interesting is two power selections you get before and at level 20. You create a normal "human" hero as you see fit and you get the powers available to the Kheldian from which to chose. You begin play as a normal hero does, except that you already have the travel power Flight available. At around level 12 you can select the "Bright Nova" form, which changes your shape to a "flying squid" and grants you awesomely powerful ranged attacks. However, this is at the cost of any defense and/or damage resistance at all. Since I chose a Peacebringer, and the powers I can select from are mostly melee and ranged, I chose not to take Bright Nova. I felt I was a powerful enough ranged attacker as it is.
However, at level 20, the Peacebringer can select the "White Dwarf" power. This grants the Kheldian a form that is a "tank" class; meaning that it is entirely melee based, draws a lot of aggression from foes, has high hit points and armor/defense, and is a good friend to any class that is weak in melee combat (like Controllers, Blasters, Defenders).
I got the idea for a character called White Seraphim. Mary, a poor girl who is mentally unbalanced but in a positive way, believes that, when the Khedian Peacebringer appears to her as a bright ball of glowing white light, it is an Angel sent from God. The Kheldian/Angel asks to merge with her so that she may be made more than she was. Her strong Faith and belief this is a gift from God allows her to merge easily with the Kheldian. She uses her abilities as she believes a Seraphim (a type of Angel typically associated with being the combat arm of the angelic order) would, to rid Paragon City of the evils which infect it.
White Seraphim-original form
I finally reached level 20 with the character this evening and had the exciting opportunity to take the White Dwarf form. I figured, if I get requests for team-ups, this makes me more valuable. If the team needs a "blaster," my original form does a very good job (but is not as vulnerable or as low-hit point as a typical Blaster). However, if the group needs a front-line Tank-type character, I can suffice in that role as well.
Now, the form does sort of destroy the 'beautiful girl with wings' look I had going before, but it is a strong front-line character and I can already see some huge benefits to it.
White Seraphim-White Dwarf form (in case you are wondering, they are naturally somewhat see-through)
I only just took the power and haven't completely tested it out, but it has 3 melee attacks, an AOE taunt, a self-heal, and teleportation as its means of fast travel. The TP travel will take some getting used to, but the other abilities are all ones I've used before on my other Tankers and Scrappers.
So, now, I can really fit in any way possible. At higher levels still, my Kheldian will get a couple of Control powers and a self- and other-heal, will be able to raise itself from the dead, and a huge AOE energy attack that, I'm told, is wicked to see.
I know I've been talking a bit about WoW lately, but rest assured-- I am still playing CoH and loving it. And this new character really pleases me both from a roleplaying and "fun" perspective.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The G8 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these 8 countries represent about 65% of the world's economy.
At the recent summit of the G8, an addendum item involved these countries pledging 60 billion US dollars of aid to Africa, to help fight disease and HIV/AIDS. While Bono may not think that is enough, it is still 60 billion more than was earmarked before and certainly no drop in the bucket. What disappoints me is that the US is pegged to provide $30 billion of that total.
Now, granted, that the US has the largest economy of any of those 8 countries. However, Germany and Japan in particular have strong, thriving economies and Canada, UK, France, and Italy are no slouches—they just don't have the same population as we do. Russia's economy comes and goes, but they are still pretty solid. So why is the US taking half of the burden?
When the world asks for UN help or peacekeepers to assist them, they are really asking for US assistance. Why is this?
When the December tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, America barely gave anything to it, in comparison to how we react to many of the crises around the globe—yet we gave more than any other country even in our reticence to send aid!
I am reminded of the story The Open Boat, by Stephen Crane, wherein a group of four men are trapped in a small boat. The four men struggle to reach shore after their ship sinks. Each of the three men uses the refrain, "Can you spell me?" to the oiler, who is the biggest and strongest and is not injured. They need him to take part of their turn at the oars as they row to shore.
However, once they get close to shore, and devise a plan to reach it from the boat through the rocky shallows and pounding surf, the only man who doesn't succeed is the oiler—all his efforts to get them close to shore on the behalf of those with him cause him not to have the strength or energy left to swim to shore when their small dingy capsizes.
I am starting to wonder if America is the oiler. Everyone expects us to bail them out, to be the world's police force, and to be the savior of their particular cause. And we do, as we feel it is our place to be that shining example of what is good and right in the world (even if what we think is good and right seems to have undergone a dramatic shift recently). And each time we do, we spread our armies a little thinner, our economy gets a little weaker, and more of our jobs go offshore and overseas.
Our economy right now is a house of cards. The situation with the so-called war on terror has weakened our strength, our resolve, and our economy in further ways (most especially by the rocketing costs of oil). We have record deficits in nearly every area of the economy. Our moral cache has taken a huge beating since turning our attention from terrorists to Iran specifically. Our so-called allies in France and Russia are constantly undermining our world position and funding those things we have asked them not to (including Iran, North Korea, China, and other rogue nations).
I think it is time for America to look inward. We have many problems here in this country that we are not addressing; homelessness, violence, environmental issues, continuing racial tensions, an economy on the brink of collapse, partisanship, and a judicial system that is running amok. We need to take four years and be more insular. We need to go back to the days of FDR and JFK and create public works or create a sweeping plan that can create jobs, reinvigorate our economy, change the direction of the country, and invest in our future. Something that we can accept the help of the other nations with, if they wish to participate in it, but that we keep primarily here, creating jobs, excitement, and a willingness to invest in our own ingenuity and resolve.
Maybe that plan is simply new road construction, new dams, building more nuclear power plants across the nation, and/or re-doing the levee systems in various places in the country. Maybe that plan is putting a man in orbit around Mars by 2020 or putting a small colony on the bottom of the ocean or up on the moon. Maybe the plan is something global that we simply do primarily at home (like maybe creating desalination plants and agricultural reform to Africa, or bringing the rest of the Americas into the 21 st century and helping them to become more of a factor in the world's economy, similar to the Panama Canal project).
I do not know what it is, but we need to focus for a time on ourselves and seek to solve some of the rampant problems plaguing the homeland. We need to stay out of world politics for a while and let the rest of the world take care of each other. By doing so, maybe the rest of the world will also learn not to rely so much on us.
Now, obviously, we cannot withdraw in a day from all of the things we have our fingers in now, but we can limit our interactions slowly and reallocate money, time, and labor elsewhere over the course of a year or two.
Iraq? We freed them from a tyrant and gave them the building blocks to democracy. It is now up to the people of Iraq to decide if that freedom is worth defending. Until they take up arms against the insurgents themselves, rather than aiding and abetting them, we cannot win there. But, if they do, our capitalistic society will happily move into a free, safe Iraq to make a profit.
North Korea? Why are they so focused on us? They want our money and our business. They look south and see how much a difference it has made to South Korea and they want that. All we need to say is this, "Stop your human rights violations, stop this posturing, open your borders to mutual trade, and our companies will gladly move in and boost your economy. It is that simple. That's capitalism." And then leave. Let them figure it out. Let other nations help them if they have problems along the way. Something similar can be said and done for every other conflict and crises around the globe.
We need to focus on ourselves, solve some internal, home-grown issues, and then reemerge stronger than ever to lead the world. Until we do so, we will constantly be spelling the other nations a little bit. Otherwise, if/when our boat overturns and we are forced to swim to shore, we may not have the strength to make it.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I apologize for any miscommunication on my part.
If they are bugs the game masters will make that call and collect the data for our testers. Technical support does not do that, we exist only to your game running on your computer. If the game Masters did not collect any bug data then the bug you report may be an intended change to the game, in which case you can access the forums to let your opinion heard about the changes.
If you already reported this to the game masters that's all that needs to be done as they will make the call about whether to report it as a bug. Any changes you want to see can be made as suggestions on the forums.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I have two technical issues for Druids while shape shifted:
1. I have a Druid character (Lorent, on The Scryers server) who has the cat form. The Cat form, as you know, has increased movement capabilities.
However, when I enter the Deeprun Tram area or just after getting off of a Gryphon, the extra speed is not evident until I reach the tunnel exiting the
tram or for about 10 second after riding a gryphon. I think that, if I change forms (gryphon) or I am still in cat form, that my speed should not
be diminished while in the Deeprun tram area or shortly after getting off a gryphon.
2. When I am in a shape shifted form and reach a gryphon master and click once to bring up the gryphon master's dialog box, a second time to bring up
the flight path dialog box, and then a third time to select where I want to go, I should be automatically shape shifted back to a form that can ride the
gryphon as it is readily apparent that is the task I want to do. I should not receive yet another dialog box that informs me I cannot do that task while
Thank you for contacting Blizzard Entertainment Technical Support. My name is Tom and I will be assisting you today.
I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.
For World of Warcraft the preferred method of reporting issues with the game is through our in game support Game Masters. If you are unfamiliar with how to contact them you can find the information here: http://www.blizzard.com/support/wowGM/?id=agm01257p
If you are unable to contact a Game Master a bug forum has also been set up as an alternative. That forum is located here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/board.html?forumId=10023&sid=1
While I cannot guarantee a response, I can assure you the report will be read and investigated. Thanks again for taking the time to help us identify and resolve issues like this.
Contact the game masters within the game and present your issue. They will tell you whether they can assist you with the issue. If they cannot, they will provide you with a ticket number and an email address and phone number where you can call to get further support on the problem. Make sure to include your support ticket number on all correspondence with the company so that your issue can be tracked properly.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I'm having fun. I have created a Druid who is by far my favorite character, but I also have a Warrior and a Paladin to play around with as well (all on The Scryers, a Roleplaying server). I am thinking of creating a Mage and a Hunter here shortly, just to see how much I like them.
The cartoony nature of the graphics is visually appealing but a bit over the top. What stands out to me is that the game almost never needs to load. I play City of Heroes (CoH) pretty often, and I love that game, but you have to load for every zone change and instance. I am very curious how they programmed the game to so rarely need to load.
It is funny because, when people think of City of Heroes and put a mental image in their heads, I'm willing to bet that it is predominantly what the graphics in WoW look like. Whereas the CoH graphics are very realistic and natural.
I also did the 10 day trial on Dungeons & Dragons Online (ddo.com) at around the same time as the trial for this game. I truly loved the graphics on that one; very realistic and richly detailed. I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite DnD things personified in the game. However, in the end, the fact that it was the Eberron campaign setting turned me off. I like the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk campaign settings, I enjoy the classes and prestige classes in the core systems, and I like to have the standard races available. So not having some of my favorite classes and races turned me off a bit.
Anyway, my time in WoW has been fun. My Druid is up to about 27 and is going strong. I have focused on the Feral qualities and abilities, minimally on casting (really only on the buff and healing spells). I really enjoy shape changing into the Bear, Sea Lion, and Cat forms. My only complaint is that I cannot use potions while changed, which leads to my death a little more often than I should be defeated.
For as much fun as I am having in WoW, CoH is having a double XP weekend June 15 through June 17 and I need to level up my Kheldian a few levels (hopefully to 20 and the next new form). So this coming weekend is all set for super heroes!