OCMS News December 2008

GMC Noblesse AVC-K1 ‘Muse’ HTPC Case Review
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The GMC Corporation (not to be confused with General Motors in the USA) is a Korean company that has produced some of the most innovative case designs in recent memory. OCmodshop has had a chance to review some of their creations in the past, and each of their designs has provided a good shot in the arm of ingenuity for the PC industry.

The same can be said for the Home Theater PC Market. Now, everyone is jumping onboard with Media Cases, and many of them copy each others features or designs, so that many start to look rather stale in comparisson. If you take a look down the Boom Box (or “Personal Stereo”) aisle of Best Buy, you will see that music systems have changed dramatically in the past decade. Stereo equipment is no longer the sleek black box, but in-your-face designs with custom VFDs and a million flashing lights. Why can’t we have the same look in our Personal Computers?

nMedia 1000B HTPC Case Review
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
If you’ve made the decision to upgrade your life to include a Home Theater PC, then one of the biggest decisions you can make is the case you choose. Within the past few years there have been many cases vying for your living room, and their features vary as much as the internal builds.

One case that looks like a worthy contender is nMedia PC’s 1000B HTPC Case. Not only does this case have a ton of media features, but it has also been selected as the standard case for several HTPC OEMs like AMD’s Maui HTPC.

Gears of War 2 Complete Walkthrough
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
What we should all appreciate about Gears 2 is that the devs did not make it Gears 1 with more stuff. Instead of this game having five berserkers, 20 seeders, and a boss that was just Raam 2.0, the people at Epic said “Gears 1 was Gears 1, Gears 2 will be different.”

Sure, it’s mostly the same game with the cover fighting, but the pacing of this game is 20 times faster than the last. You’ll be deep underground one moment, in a worm, in a haunted mansion-like place, up a snowy mountain, and then fighting a water monster back underground in not a lot of time. There is so much variety that some of it seems tossed in, not very hard, and more than a bit unnecessary, but it does help the game fly along.

Build a PC that Doesn’t Suck for $300
Monday, December 29, 2008
Starting off building a lower budget gaming system is a great option. I have a budget of $300-$350. Remember that you can always upgrade your hardware anytime you get the money to do so. This article is for those who want a gaming system but can not afford the high price hardware that is out there. All hardware mentioned in this article is available on Newegg.com.

Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks Talks About Monsters vs. Aliens
Friday, December 26, 2008
Recently I got the chance to attend a special function with Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks about their upcoming movie “Monsters VS. Aliens”. Katzenberg also went into great details and fielded questions about the new 3D technology that Dreamworks will be making a key point of all future animated and eventually live action films.

The presentation opened with Jeff talking about how the new 3D is a new age in cinema. He equated it to the 1920s moving from silent to talking films and in the 30’s the transition from black and white to color and said it would not only be a better experience for the viewers but it would be the next revolution in film as “it is not your fathers 3D”

Verbatim Color LightScribe DVD+R Media Review
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Verbatim is at it again with a new line of recordable media. This time, we get a variety of colors in the form of the image-etching tool known as LightScribe. Originally they came only in the color “Gold”. I guess it wouldn’t be as flashy to call it “Vomit Yellow”, and now they have one-upped themselves by bringing us four new brilliant colors to make our burned media look that much more vibrant. Now you can have any color of the rainbow you want, as long as you only want Green, Blue, Red, Orange, and Yellow. Here’s some more info on it before I commence the burning.

Antec Veris Multimedia Station Premier Review
Monday, December 22, 2008
We’ve reviewed many Home Theater cases over the years at OCmodshop. Some of them have multimedia features that are seamlessly integrated with the case, while many others are nothing more than standard desktop cases with a fancy front panel. There are several cases I have owned that were awesome, but converting them into Home Theater cases would have been way more trouble than it would be worth. If only there was a way to implement an awesome display and media controls into any case…

Well finally there is a solution! Antec’s Veris Multimedia Station Premium is a front panel that uses the same technology found in most expensive HTPC cases today. As a matter of fact, the innards of this device are by Soundgraph using an implementation of iMon displays. These same displays have been implemented in pretty much every home theater case we’ve reviewed in the past 3 years.

El Pato Responds to Girl Gamers
Monday, December 22, 2008
So, I got a scathing email the other day by a female…gamer…who uh, didn’t like my editorial from like, two months ago where I basically blasted girls in video games. Wow, I didn’t know people still read that thing, I thought that was old news.

Anyways, to make a long story short, the letter, which has worse spelling than my stuff does before I run a spell checker, accused me of being sexist, anti-semitist (yeah, I don’t get it either), a pig, and uh, I got called a fart knocker (I am still laughing).

X-oom Podcast Studio Review
Sunday, December 21, 2008
And all you have to do to be a part of it all is to simply own one. But what about those people that want to take it a step further? There are bloggers all around the world wanting to get their word out, and what better way to do it than the net? And what better format than audio. You spurt your random nonsense into a microphone, send that crap to cyberspace, and every person on the planet with an internet connection has access. And the peeps over at X-OOM have the studio to help you make your dreams of being a world-wide-blabbermouth come true. Today I’m checking out X-OOM’s Podcast Studio, and I’ll check out the joys of podcasting for myself. But first, check out the info:

How to Speed up Windows Explorer in Vista
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Windows Vista of course, has lots of extra features, which usually means you need a faster computer to keep the same speed as the previous generation. One of the most basic things people do with their comptuers is browse for files using Explorer. Sometimes you can think your comptuer is really slow, because Explorer is busy getting video or photo thumbnails, or doing other automatic things to “make your life easier”.

Explorer can be made to display faster if you toggle some of these optional features off. The result of these tweaks mean your Vista computer will only work faster, at a cost of some eye candy.

Combat Arms Game Card giveaway contest winners!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Combat Arms giveaway contest ended last night at midnight, and the 3 winners have been selected and emailed.

The One Internet Marketing Lesson You Must Lean
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Coming from a professional background in education I have always known the importance of information. How it can change and enrich one’s life for the better. It’s a general consensus that has proven itself again and again. So much so, that it’s a given fact, information and knowledge can lead to the very good things in life.

However, it wasn’t until I became a professional online marketer that I realized how effective information can truly be in achieving your goals. Even the smallest bit of marketing information can have life changing effects on those who put it into practice. The results have totally astounded me.

Make Money From Blogging: Getting Started
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Believe it or not, but it’s actually possible to make money from blogging. One teenager has, in fact, earned $5,000 a month just from making posts on his blog! Of course, not every blogger is this lucky. It does take some skill, and some luck to make money from blogging. What it also takes is some knowledge of how exactly to generate income just by posting blogs. In this newsletter, we will go over three specific methods of making money on your blog: Adsense, Pay Per Lead, and Affiliate Links.

So how exactly to I make money on my blog?

Wrath of El Pato: Spike’s 2003 Video Game Awards Suck
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Yeah, anyone else remember how bad these things are? Lets just go through 2004 and see how bad these were. I’m gonna skim through the awards for the following years, but this one I want to tear apart. This one I want to go in depth. Why? Because the boss nailed me to a chair and made me watch the stupid stuff. This is worse than Dr. Quinn Medicine woman, trust me, it is BAD.

The awards were hyped in an Ad campaign by famed SNL Alumni David Spade, who said award shows suck and he didn’t want to MC it. Then they said that it was just awards and no bullstuff.

TeknMotion PulseWave PC Gaming Headset Review
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Seriously, PC gamers expect a lot from their audio, and frankly most of the headsets catered to gamers just don’t deliver. Either they are ultra-expensive headphones geared towards the audio enthusiast, or barely mediocre communication headsets with underachieving positional sound. Many gaming headsets also lack in one critical area: the bass. Many PC gamers are playing First Person Shooters, which usually involve more explosions than a Michael Bay flick. Where’s the Bass?

TeknMotion has your bass, with buttloads to spare. Their PulseWave headset is built for PC gamers primarially, as it sports positional 7.1 surround sound, bass vibration, dancing LED lights, and a removeable microphone… and it can be used with your MP3 player or audio system, too.

BudgetGadget 5.1 USB Sound Card Review
Monday, December 15, 2008
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I love nerdy little gadgets. I’ve gone through my period of USB-powered missile launchers and night vision webcams. I moved on to bigger toys, audio and video hardware that seem to take up tons of room. So much so that I have a shelf next to my desk specifically for my toys and tools. Seriously, this crap takes up a lot of room. So when I came across this website called BudgetGadgets.com, I was immediately enthralled. You know the expression about the kid in the candy store? A geek on a gadget website is the same damned thing. And that is where today’s toy comes from.

It’s a little like the Dollar Tree, if you’ve ever shopped there. Things are inexpensive and fun, but if you’re not careful you’ll wind up with a cart full of stuff you don’t need and a nice little chunk taken out of your bank account. So I settled for one single gadget. It’s called USB Sound. It’s a 6 channel USB powered audio controller. It supports 32KHz, 44.1KHz, and 48KHz sampling in digital and analog recording as well as in digital/analog playback.

Verbatim TuneBoard Speaker Keyboard Review
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I love music. I have more music than I know what to do with. Everything from Ludacris to Dean Martin graces the hard drive of my iPod and the shelves of my CD rack. I listen to music when I write and when I’m cleaning. I even take my MP3 player to work when I can get away with it. But being able to play music from a keyboard? A keyboard with built-in speakers and music controls that totally negate the need for bulky desktop speakers? I’m all for that. In fact, I find that freaking awesome.

Verbatim has reached out and touched us once again by playing the heartstrings of the media-loving consumer at large. The Verbatim TuneBoard seems like a music lover’s dream. But don’t take my word for it. Well, actually, please do take my word for it. This thing is pretty damned cool looking. But will that be good enough to make it to the final round? This is the world of technology, folks. Beauty gets you nowhere unless you have the marble sack to get the job done. So today I am going to take this keyboard apart, screw by screw and solder joint by chip to make sure that the quality is perfect. Verbatim, I hope you wore clean underwear today, because you are about to get pantsed.

Nyko Wing Classic Controller for Nintendo Wii
Saturday, December 13, 2008
These classic games don’t play well (or at all) using Nintendo’s new-fangled motion-sensitive controllers. You either have to use the ugly Gamecube controllers or Nintendo’s Classic Controller extension for the Wiimote. There are a few glaring problems with the Classic Controller. For one: it isn’t very ergonomic at all, and two: it is wired and must be tethered to the Wiimote.

Nyko once again swoops in and saves the day with their Wing Wireless Classic Controller for Nintendo Wii. Not only is this controller more comfortable, but is completely wireless!

Eagle Technology Neptor Wii Shotgun Review
Friday, December 12, 2008
The Nintendo Wii has resurrected the old ‘light gun’ gameplay of yesteryear. The formula has worked so well that several companies (including Nintendo) have unleashed specialized gun grips for the Wii controllers. Some of these controllers are better than others, depending on the features of the game, but gun grips do increase the fun in certain shooters.

Until now, consumers have had to deal with grips that feel similar to pistols or crossbows, but what about a shotgun or machine gun? Eagle Technology has released their Neptor Shotgun grip for the Nintendo Wii, which lets you hold your controllers like a Tommygun-weilding mobster.

Nyko Charge Base 2 for Playstation 3
Thursday, December 11, 2008
There is one critical feature that the Playstation 3 doesn’t have, and that is removeable batteries for its Sixaxis controllers. Even though the batteries last as long as the Xbox 360 controllers (about 30 hours), the only way to charge them is through a USB cable… and we all know that this can be a slow, painful process. Gamers can continue to play while their controller is tethered to its USB lifeline, but many consoles are in the living room and many people will need a 20-foot USB cable to sit on the couch.

Nyko, as always, has a better solution to charge your Playstation 3 controllers. Their Charge Base 2 can charge 2 Sixaxis controllers at the same time, and doesn’t require awkways USB cables or connection to the host console. Nyko’s other chargers usually come with custom batteries, but since the PS3’s controllers are internal, they had to come up with another solution…

Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ Review
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Let’s face it: shooting zombies are fun. Maybe it’s because we all secretly want to go Postal at some point, and can hide behind the moral mask that these humanoids aren’t real humans. There’s no moral ambiguity: you have to shoot your former colleague in the head or become zombie chow. There are lots of games tap into our guity pleasures; otherwise games like Resident Evil and Left4Dead wouldn’t be so popular. Heck, Capcom basically buit their empire on zombie carcasses.

Everyone needs to be ready for the inevitable zombie apocalypse; even little kids. That’s why publisher Destineer has released Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ.

A Guide to Xbox 360 Overheating and Repair
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The Xbox 360 is one of the most popular gaming consoles on the market. It is capable of rendering incredible graphics, providing online group game play, head-to-head game play and wonderfully immersive environments. However, the console is also prone to numerous issues. Owning an Xbox 360 console can be enjoyable, but it can also be frustrating and maddening, especially when you understand that Microsoft will do little to nothing to help in the case of errors due to manufacturer defects.

Verbatim Recharge & Go Wireless Mouse Review
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
How scary are the rodents of the future? Mice that can shoot lasers with advanced precision from a single eye. They have no fear and invade homes by the millions across the country. Around the world, even. And, they are wireless. But weren’t mice always wireless? The disease-spreading kind were, but Verbatim’s Recharge/Go wireless laser mouse is a picture of the advances we have made toward making wires a thing of the past.

The Recharge comes in a black and green box wrapped around blister packaging. It’s a very eye-catching array of colors that grabs you from its perch on the shelf. And why don’t more people use matte black with glossy pictures on their boxes? All the big gaming companies do it, why don’t the little guys? It would actually cost less in the long run to leave it matte and just put a little bit of gloss on it. Packaging is the seller when it comes to store shelves, people.

Noctua NH-U12P Heatsink Review
Sunday, December 07, 2008
It seems like everyone and their mother has a heatsink out now. Companies known for their graphics cards, power supply moguls, and case manufacturers have all had their go at making the latest and greatest heatsink. And most of the time, the ugliest. And now someone else wants to put their chilly mark on the cooling industry. Actually, it’s a whole freaking country. They call themselves Noctua, and they want to show us that Austrians are as cool as the rest of us.

My test product this friendly afternoon is the NH-U12P from the good people at Noctua. It boasts the quality of sound-optimized premium components, including the new NF-P12 fan which has been specially designed for high air pressure and flow. The fan even has Vortex-Control Notches, a proclaimed psychoacoustic optimization that enables maximum airflow without sacrificing your peace and quiet.

Call of Duty: World at War Walkthrough
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Eh, WWII is officially over after this game. This was a great game, good as could be for a material more overdone than the obligatory holiday romantic comedy.

This is a great game worth a play at the very least, but it must be by far the best WWII game ever, maybe only challenged by CoD2.

Black Friday Relapse and Spike TV
Thursday, December 04, 2008
So the Xbox 360 kicked ass during Black Friday. That’s surprising. A few months ago I said that the reason Sony was selling better than Microsoft simply was because everyone already had an Xbox. No one had a PS3, and if you look at the numbers, there is no way the PS3 is ever going to catch up.

So with that being said, I am very surprised about it. I felt that the 360 was already saturated in the market and now Microsoft was concentrating on the games. Well apparently a few people decided to invest in the cheaper console. This doesn’t really help Sony at all, as they have been at least making a half-ass attempt at digging themselves outta the hole they put themselves in.

Megaman-a-thon part 1: Megaman
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Here we go. Every few days I am going to do another Megaman review until I can actually get all them reviewed. For the record, all games are reviewed in the order they are released.

I don’t think many people played this game as the first Megaman. Most of the gaming public started with Megaman 2, then found the original and played it. The original was kinda tucked away in a corner. The horribly bad box art didn’t really help it much either. It had some dude that looked like an alien holding his gun like a senile soldier and squatting like he is gonna crap nuts and bolts.

Understanding the Red Ring (Xbox 360)
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The Xbox 360 has been plagued with problems, seemingly from the first day after its release. While the console undoubtedly has numerous high-tech components hidden within its confines, it also houses the potential for devastating problems. The 3 red light error, affectionately termed the Red Ring of Death, or simply RROD, by gamers, has been the most pervasive issue to strike the console.

However, the 1 red light error also has a high level of incidence. Keeping that console running is the only way that you can ensure your considerable investment is worth it, not to mention being able to actually play games. What is the 3 red light error? What is the 1 red light error? Can you repair these issues without compromising the integrity of your console?

Combat Arms Game Card Giveaway Contest
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
[OC]ModShop and Nexon are giving away gamecards for use in the new ‘Combat Arms’ online shooter.

For those of you who don’t know, Combat Arms is an online game that is absolutely free to play. You can upgrade your weapons and equipment by purchasing in-game items with real money… and since we know you’re all cheap bastards we’re giving you the money!

First prize: $50 game card Second Prize: $25 game card Third Prize: $10 game card

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic Revew
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
The PC gaming industry has seen many graphics chips come and go. Companies like 3dfx, S3, Trident, Intel, nVidia, ATI and others have tapped into the gaming industry and have produced 3d accellerators for the PC, and most of them have gone. There are only two major players in the PC graphics industry: nVidia and ATI.

These two graphics juggernauts unveil new products every year, which effectively doubles the effective processing power over the previous generation. This ruthless competition is both good and bad news for consumers: Good in that faster technology becomes cheaper, and we have many options. Bad in that the expensive video card you just purchased will remain bleeding edge for only a few months.

The latest battle comes just in time for the 2008 holiday season. ATI’s 4800 series goes up against nVidia’s GTX line of cards. Sapphire is one of the more well-known manufacturers of ATI-based video cards, and they have a secret weapon in the world of single-GPU video cards. Their 4870 Toxic video card not only comes pre-overclocked, but is stacked with 512MB of the fastest GDDR5 memory, which is certainly enough for today’s gamer.