OCMS News February 2008

Vista Tips: Speed Up Internet Explorer
Friday, February 29, 2008
If you visit a web page with lots of images (and supporting files like CSS styles and Javascript), then you can have a slower browsing experience. On average, your browser has to make more than 40 requests to the server before it can assemble the complete page. Requesting all the files you need two-at-a-time is going to be slower than requesting 10 files at a time, for example.

You can speed up Internet Explorer by tweaking hidden registry values, thereby enabling your browser to get more files in fewer chunks.

Devil May Cry 4 Complete Walkthrough
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Beating this game was so awesome. Not only does it confirm that Capcom is finally setting this series on a playable track, I can now say I’ve beaten a DMC game. For the next game, they should consider just having boss fight after boss fight, because the bosses are great. It’s a great game, a game that everyone can play, and it’s just beautiful.

Be aggressive, B-E AGGRESSIVE! – it’s true for about all enemies, but mostly for the bosses. The first time you run into Echidna you will be intimidated, but once you realize just jumping up and slashing away is the key, she and most the other bosses are actually easy.

Gigabyte GA-945P-S3 Motherboard Review
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
First and foremost, this review is a long time coming, why? Because, I had to buy a CPU and memory just to test the darn thing. But once I did, I finally got up and running quite quickly. I purchased a Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 and 1 gig of appropriate memory. I then placed this equipment into my favoritest (and my wifes) case, the Antec P180b.

But the board itself is quite affordable for any level of computer builder. Gigabyte has provided us a board that has big time functions but not a big time price. A newer series board with all the bells and whistles for a new operating system (Vista), a host of easy to use BIOS menus and some other extras that you don’t find in more expensive boards. Yes, the GA-945P-S3 is a value at the price.

QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo Station NAS
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The front of the unit has a black mesh door that swings open to reveal the hot-swappable goodness that lay inside. Underneath this door is a status panel that has a reset button, single USB connector, several status LEDs (showing server status, each hard drive’s status, and network usage), and a power button. The power button is similar to ATX-style computers in that you must press and hold it to power down, but it takes close to 10 seconds while the server powers down gracefully.

Opening the unit we can see that this unit has a complex yet compact motherboard with four SATA ports. The case is built rather well, and the machining is impecable, which is even more amazing since the inside is never meant to be user-serviceable. A custom 4-bay drive cage hovers above the motherboard, and the back of the cage sits the SATA connectors. Four SATA cables are nearly routed to this connection point, each of them clearly labeled. On the opposite side of the cage is the power connectors for each drive, which are also clearly labeled 1 through 4.

F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate Walkthrough (PC & Xbox 360)
Monday, February 25, 2008
I know this game was blasted by the critics, and no, had I not played the previous two games, I probably wouldn’t have even known about this one. Yes, you’ll auto-pilot through most of this game if you’ve played the other two, but this is a solid shooter, no one is saying it isn’t. The gunplay is still the strength of this title and if you like a scare or two in your game, this is a decent playthrough. You’ll enjoy the plot and the game is still fun, but don’t expect anything close to innovation.

Keep TWO eyes open for items, not one – the worst thing is to pass over an area where there are good items that you need. Just explore an area before you leave it. *Save big weapons, but don’t save too much – basically, you can have two big guns, like a rocket launcher and the arc, but that means you must have a fully loaded G2A2, or something else. Guns come and go pretty much after each battle, so don’t be too cheap to spend a big gun on a tough fight. *You have grenades, use them – simple as that, don’t forget you have them. If anything, just to scare the enemy.

Put MyComputer on Vista’s Taskbar
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Many of us like to have the quickest possible route to our commonly used folders. Even though nearly everything is accessible via the Start Menu, I like to have one-click access to commonly used items, such as Internet Explorer and My Computer.

The Vista taskbar comes with some neat pre-defined Toolbars (like Quicklaunch and Windows Media Player), but did you know you can create a toolbar from just about any object on your PC? You can add the Computer menu as a folder to have quick access to your drives, shortcuts and network connections. You also like to add my Desktop as a Toolbar, so I can always access stuff on my desktop even if they’re buried under a bunch of open Windows.

Raiders of the Blu Ark
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Some called it a battle. Others a war. But the blue laser thing was more like a tussle…a two year tussle.

HD DVD had Toshiba, the DVD Forum (that sure helped DVD-RAM?) and a few studios that were kinda, maybe, sorta on their side. Oh yeah…and Microsoft.BD had Sony and its string of content owners, Panasonic, the CE industry and a lot of financially grateful production houses.On one side a technology leader who wanted to have a consumer presence.

Gears of War 2 Coming in November!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Providing a dramatic close to Microsoft’s 2008 Game Developers Conference keynote address, lead designer Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games announced that the heroic saga of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad will continue exclusively on Xbox 360 this fall withGears of War 2.

This highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster Gears of War delves deeper into humanity’s struggle for survival against the nightmarish Locust Horde, and takes the high-definition visuals to a whole new level.

Cyberlink YouCam Adds Fun to IM
Friday, February 15, 2008
Using the software as we originally purchased it for – for video IMing – it really lets your imagination go wild because you can quickly add a wide range of emotion effects, frames, filters and distortions. It’s an easy click for either of them to add fun emotions or apply a frame to their live webcam video such as targets, hearts, gifts, “feelings”. Distortions are a little disturbing when they occasionally video IM me at the office (yes we got a copy as well but more for business conversations).

Solve file copy problems: Tweak Vista’s “auto-tuning” network
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Once again, Microsoft thinks it can solve all of your problems by being smarter than you are. Unfortunately, some of the “automatic tuning” features of Vista can yield in lower performance.

One of Vista’s features tries to change the network’s receive window on-the-fly to adapt to changing network conditions. If you’ve been experiencing lower network throughput when transferring large files or experience weird network disconnects, then you can try disabling Vista’s auto-tuning network feature.

Sam & Max Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
If someone ever asks you for a game that is a cross between Resident Evil and Ren and Stimpy, this is the game you would show them. The Resident Evil similarities are not only in the brain-eating ravers, but also in how the gameplay is puzzle-based. Long time followers of the series will need no confirmation of what to expect, but new players will find a lot to enjoy in this short romp through a day in the life of dry-humor spewing freelance police.

Have TV Viewers Been Lost to the Internets?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The pro writers are back writing. The pro producers are back producing. The pro owners are back doing whatever they do. The pro consumers are … on the Web surfing and when the mood strikes them channel surfing on TV. People around the globe and across the age groups are finding they have more news, information, entertainment options — professional, semi-professional and sloppy amateur. They like the new diversity and options.

The writers’ strike was all about giving their members a “fairer” proportion of the growing volume of online content. Since it appeared to be a prolonged affair Tellywood focused a lot of attention and money on indie films at Sundance. At the same time more than a few analysts wondered aloud if there might be a mass migration from TV to online videos and folks would be less than enthused in returning to the family room set.

Noctua NF-B9 92mm Fan Preview
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Noctua has had some great success with their innovative PC case fans, and now they are introducing their first 92mm fan, dubbed the NF-B9.

The box contains several items to mount the unit and customize its performance. The fan is colored with Noctua’s signature brown and flesh theme, and the 3-pin fan is sleeved with black mesh to reduce kinking and ensure a long cord life. In addition to normal mounting screws are four vibration compensators, which are plastic pins that act similar to rubber or silicon grommets to help prevent vibration transfer between the fan and a PC case.

SteelSeries Ikari Laser Pro Gaming Mouse
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Gaming mice are getting serious… what once was marketed as a niche novelty item is now taken seriously as professional sports equipment.

Most gaming mice have a core set of common features that PC gamers look for. These rodents usually feature notched scroll wheels, high DPI, on-the-fly sensitivity changes, macro ability, and onboard memory just to start. Most manufacturers seem to think that more features translates into a better gaming mouse, but this isn’t true at all. Having too much granularity or complicated features can slow down the PC gamer when timing is absolutely critical.

To this end, SteelSeries enters the professional gaming mouse arena with their Ikari Laser Professional Gaming Mouse. Instead of fancy lights and other gimicks, the Ikari focuses on build quality and no-nonsense features.

PhysX By nVidia: A New Era of Gaming?
Monday, February 04, 2008
Remember 3dfx? They pioneered the first hardware-accelerated 3d cards for PC games (an area which nVidia now dominates). At one time, 3dfx’s Voodoo cards were in the same position as Ageia’s PhysX boards. It was difficult for the average PC user to justify a $250 purchase for a cards that used a proprietary API and supported only a handful of games. For the hardcore gamers, these cards were a no-brainer because they transformed the PC into a legitimate gaming platform.

As PC games have become more realistic and complicated, there has been a need for advanced processing of physics. A dedicated processor for game physics allow developers to have more particles and more life-like explosions and realistic damage calculations.

Confirmed: nVidia Aquires Ageia
Monday, February 04, 2008
nVidia today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AGEIA Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in gaming physics technology. AGEIA’s PhysX software is widely adopted with more than 140 PhysX-based games shipping or in development on Sony Playstation3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii and Gaming PCs. AGEIA physics software is pervasive with over 10,000 registered and active users of the PhysX SDK.