OCMS News June 2008

World of Warcraft: Quick Guide to Professions
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Below are the best combination’s for maximum results with professions available in World of Warcraft. I will do a follow-up on Jewelcrafting in the near future. So follow these guidelines and keep an eye on the auction house on your server to find out what is selling and what is not. There is always something selling…

Vantec NexStar MX Dual Drive Enclosure
Saturday, June 28, 2008
If you’re looking for a slim compact SATA drive enclosure, the Vantec NexStar MX is one to consider! Vantec has hit a homerun with this simple, easy to use 2 drive enclosure. The enclosure is barely thicker than 2 drives stacked on top of each other, and only slightly longer. The enclosure is designed to operate as 2 separate drives, or as one larger JBOD drive.

With the prices of storage media coming down, it’s easy to come up with a couple of extra hard drives that you can put to good use. The NexStar MX will easily allow you to expand storage onto your computer via USB. If you’re using a product like Windows Home Server, you can use this drive to easily expand your Server Storage.

WALL*E Movie Review
Friday, June 27, 2008
To be honest, I didn’t put much faith in a movie about a robot who could only say, “Wa-AA-lleee….” Especially one that’s been by himself for 700 years. Then again, the last Pixar release of talking machines wasn’t exactly a stellar production, either. Give me talking rats or talking fish, at least they had personality. But talking cars? C’mon, now. But maybe Pixar learned from its mistake of verbosity in Cars and decided limited dialogue would bring back the luster of Pixar’s blinding three dimensional success. If that’s how WALL*E came about, then kudos to Pixar. WALL*E not only kept me fascinated, it made me giggle throughout and left me sighing.

World of Warcraft Cheat Sheet
Friday, June 27, 2008
When you use chat you can target other people, change chat channels, manage your guild rankings, add or delete people from groups, and let’s not forget the physical portion of the game. You can wave, dance, fart, growl, bark, and charge people. That’s just a few of a couple hundred. So here’s a link to the cheat sheet in PNG format. Print it out, and practice! You’ll be amazed how much more interesting the game is when you know how to do some of these simple chat commands.

Arkanoid DS Review
Friday, June 27, 2008
Arkanoid DS had some promise for arcade game lovers when it was released in Japan earlier this year. For the United States version, Arkanoid DS has lost all of its appeal as a decent arcade title and as a title even worth buying. Might as well go shove your hard-earned twenty bucks into an arcade machine; you’d come away with more satisfaction that running home to play this title.

Taito actually made a peripheral to accompany Arkanoid. They created a paddle controller, which when used in an arcade game, directs your paddle left and right by turning the knob. The addition of this controller made classic arcade gamers wet their panties, but when it was left out of the US version, Square Enix doomed the title. Without this controller, Arkanoid is nothing. In fact, it is pathetic.

American McGee Talks Grimm and Alice Movie
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Recently I got the chance to speak with American McGee, who not only helped create the classics Doom, Doom 2, Quake, and Quake 2 as well as the macabre Alice and the pending Grimm. I want to thank America for taking the time to answer our questions as well as Wendy for making it happen. The game is due to ship on July 31st on Gametap.com

AM: The backgrounds and settings in Grimm vary from episode to episode. Each new episode is based on a different fairy tale – presented by the main character “Grimm”. In every episode he presents a puppet theater of the current-day “light” version of the tale. He then invites you to help him return the tale to a form closer to the original – darker, meaner, and more informative. When finished he presents the “fixed” version in another puppet theater.

How to Get Flash Working on 64-bit Browsers
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Adobe must really want their users to start using Microsoft’s new Silverlight technology (a rich media technology similar to Flash). Adobe has recently released a new version of Flash, and yet there is no version for 64-bit browsers. That means that the person using Vista x64 either has to miss out on the latest websites, or they have to use a 32-bit version of Firefox. Trying to install Adobe onto Internet Explorer (32-bit or 64-bit) seems to work, but users are still met with the infamous “you need to install flash” message.

Here’s how to successfully install Flash on the Vista (32-bit or 64-bit) so it works with all of your browsers.

(Dis)Advantages of Storing on the Internet
Monday, June 23, 2008
Teens, tweens and our kids can’t imagine not being able to go online and immediately have the world at their fingertips.

The concept of physical video/audio/photo production, paper/filing cabinets are difficult for them to fathom. Create the content using ultra-fast, ultra-cheap hardware/software. Put the content up for the world to “enjoy” and share. Make copies and copies of copies.

Fortunately storage is a low-cost commodity because we are producing, using, sharing, storing 6X the content of only a few years ago. Upgrading storage capacity is no big deal and it’s a good thing because content is outstripping our storage capacity.

WoW Made Easy: Locations for Hard-to-Find Items
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Okay ladies and gents. Here’s a follow up on my last WoW blog. I told you that Warcraft is all about supply and demand if you are after the big money. Now here’s a few distributors for you to check out. But remember, the secret is to only put one or two of each item up for auction at a time. Just like in real life, the easier it is to find or make, the less it’s worth. Keep the supply low, and the demand will be high. Then all you have to do is take advantage.

INEO I-NA305J External JBOD Enclosure Review
Saturday, June 21, 2008
With Digital Convergence finally becoming a reality, the first thing we’re all starting to notice is that we NEED more storage. USB Hard Drive Enclosures have been helping fill this void as it’s an easy way to quickly expand the available storage on your computer. By using an extra drive, or purchasing a new one, you can quickly put this into the iNEO Enclosure to add more space to your PC.

iNEO has introduced their I-NA305J Dual Bay JBOD Storage System for SATA Hard Disk Drives. This hard drive enclosure has these useful features:

Get Smart! Movie Review
Friday, June 20, 2008
In the post Cold-War era the focus on national security has changed from focusing on Eastern Block adversaries to terror cells and state sponsored terrorism. For the agents of the ultra secret agency Control, the demise of their arch nemesis KAOS was the signal that they had ceased to be important in the world of today and had shut down when in truth they just went further into a cloak of secrecy and continued their mission.

In the new movie “Get Smart” audiences are given a new interpretation of the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry series that started Don Adams and Barbra Feldon as a pair of secret agents tasked with saving the world.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Walkthrough
Friday, June 20, 2008
I love this game, maybe not the story, but the game is solid. Finally a future game that has future toys, and stealth gameplay that will be par for the course for all games to come. And short, not so complicated levels are quickly becoming the norm in games, and this game shines in that area.

And it’s not like I hate the cutscenes or the nonsense story, it’s just the two steps forward, one step back (maybe step for step). I mean, take half of the dialogue and maybe it all sounds better.

Regardless of what I or anyone else says, if you own a PS3, you also own this game… okay, you at least rent this game, period.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Walkthrough
Thursday, June 19, 2008
We have the entire walkthrough for the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for the Xbox 360 and PC. We take you through Cair Paravel, the Ruins of Cair Paravel, Miraz’s Castle Infiltration, Assault on Miraz’s Castle, Aslon’s How and the Battlefield of Beruna. Here’s a snip…

Once the level has loaded, take control of the Minotaur and head right towards the battlements mission You may take control of playable characters by approaching them and pressing to switch characters While heading right towards the stairs you will likely be attacked by Telmarine soldiers The Minotaur has a special smash attack that can be used to attack a number of…

How to Properly Reboot Your Computer
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Rebooting your computer is the most common first-step remedy for most PC ailments. Rebooting returns all of your computer’s software (and hardware) to a known initial state, which in theory should eliminate fluctuating problems. The issue could be as simple as a software error or as complex as a motherboard or hard drive failure, but you really can’t narrow down the options until you try a few things.

Since you have to take a logical scientific approach to identify the true source of your computer’s problems, you should really eliminate all “unknowns” that could possibly exist when trying to get your computer back to a previous “known” state. For example, there could be some hardware that is “stuck” that causes a Blue Screen of Death, and it won’t fix itself until the card is powered down (i.e. a hard reboot)… all the soft reboots in the world will not fix the problem.

Logitech Wave Keyboard Review
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
There have been many, many, many different keyboards for personal computers over the years. Ergonomic boards, tough boards, media boards, gaming boards: boards that climb on rocks… and there have been a few that many people like, but they become discontinued and obsoleted in favor of the company’s next generation products.

An answer to the super-ergonomic keyboards are the new “wave” type of keyboards, which appear to be a hybrid between a regular flat keyboard and ergonomic. The keys are usually curved so your fingers don’t have to reach so far to hit the top row of keys, and some are slightly cupped to cradle your finger’s natural position. Logitech enters the fray for your fingertips with their new “Wave” keyboard.

Warcraft Grinding vs. Questing (part 2)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In my last article I discussed the differences between Questing and Grinding to get to level 70. Both have been claimed as the fastest way to level your character. Each one has as many followers as the other. I pride myself on being biased. I have used both methods to get to the top many times, and have found both fault and glory on each path. In this segment, I will guide you through grinding a Human Alliance character to level 70.

9 Steps to Losing Your Ebay Virginity
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Ebay has been getting a lot of attention lately as a way to start your own home-based business or supplement your monthly income. Many articles have been written about what a genius idea this is, and many are geared towards domestic engineers (aka housewives). Unfortunately, these articles lack one important feature: how the heck do you actually do it? For students, singles, moms, dads, grandparents, anyone with half a brain and with “useless” junk around the house, Ebay is a smart move. And finally, here is an article to help you get started. Anyone with a computer, a bank account, and an internet connection can learn to use Ebay to their advantage. Read my how-to and start selling!

Harvest Moon DS Cute Review
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Nothing makes wanna-be farmers more excited than Harvest Moon. Over the years, Harvest Moon has taken one of the strangest simulators ever created (farming? come on…) and turned it into a huge hit.

Two years ago, Harvest Moon came to the DS. There was only one problem for Harvest Moon DS: you had to play as a dude. What if you are a girl and don’t want to start a family with another girl? Don’t want to woo and hit on another girl? Well, then you were screwed. Until now…

ThermalTake V1 CPU Cooler Review
Monday, June 16, 2008
The heatsink knows it’s the most important part of your computer system, so manufacturers cater to this prima dona by adorning it with flashy mirrored copper and flashy aerodynamic designs. Not only do they just look impressive in a windowed case, but they have excellent performance, and manufacturers try to best each other with fancy physics tricks.

Thermaltake knows heatsinks… whether you think their previous products are great or passé. Their decades of experience have boiled down to their latest flagship model, the ThermalTake V1 (not to be confused with Thermalright’s V1 VGA heatsink), which is not only massive, but employs every modern heatsink trick in the book. You’ll find heatpipes, mirrored bases, adjustable fans, efficient aerodynamic designs, and all-copper materials… and it looks like its technology was taken from Area 51.

Interview with Call of Duty 4’s Robert Bowling
Monday, June 16, 2008
RB: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare puts you in the middle of a global conflict that has many sides. From fighting as a US Marine Force Recon in the middle east against a well armed militia force, to fighting as part of the British SAS in Russia or storming a cargoship in the middle of the sea. You’ll also be put in the role of a gunner on an AC-130, beind enemy lines as a 2 man sniper team and a lot of other intense scenarios.

Interview with Jeff Morris of UT3
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I got the chance to speak with Jeff Morris of Epic, Senior producer on Unreal Tournament 3.

I want to thank Jeff and Alex at Highwater for making this interview happen.

GVK: What is the background and setting for the game?

JM: Unreal Tournament 3 takes place in a science fiction universe of fast action and over the top carnage. You start on the planet Taryd, but before long you’ll be seeking your vengeance off planet as well.

New Staff Blogs!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The idea of this blog is to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes on at OCmodshop.com. In addition to more of this meta-info, I and the rest of the staff will be writing mini-reviews.

Sometimes we have an idea about an article we’d like to put out into the world, but several factors limit this. Writing a review on even a simple product takes many many hours of preparation, research, authoring, editing… and so some articles never make it to the light of day. Sometimes the work vs. benefit ratio of the article makes it so that it’s just not worth writing about a particular subject.

WoW: Grinding vs. Questing
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A question almost as old as WoW itself… What is the best and fastest way to level my character? Now, anyone you ask is going to tell you one of two things: “Grinding is the best way” or “The fastest way is Questing”. I’m here to tell you they are both right.

Anyone who plays Warcraft knows what grinding and questing are. But for those of you who are new or haven’t even started playing yet, here’s a little terminology for you. Questing is the art of doing quests provided in-game for the sole purpose of increasing your character’s experience (or XP) and thereby increasing your character’s level. Grinding is basically killing monsters or mobs that roam the lands of Warcraft and gaining XP and leveling that way. Either technique works well, but it depends on how you go about it as to how fast you level.

“The Incredible Hulk” Movie Review
Friday, June 13, 2008
Anyone familiar with the comic book or the TV series that starred the late Bill Bixby will be familiar with the setup of “The Incredible Hulk,” the new film version of the classic tale by director Louis Leterrier of “The Transporter” fame.

For those of you unfamiliar with the tale, after Dr. Banner (Edward Norton), is exposed to an accidental overdose of Gamma radiation his body chemistry is altered in such a way that he transforms into a large, green, and destructive creature when he is angered.

Naturally, this puts him at odds with the authorities and the military; thus, Banner is forced to live a vagabond existence while he searches for a way to contain his inner rage.

Useful (and useless) Vista keyboard combinations
Friday, June 13, 2008
The “Windows” key (or Start key) was implemented on standard PC keyboards shortly after the release of Windows 95. I suppose Microsoft wanted to increase the Windows brand by implementing two new keys that would open up new features of their operating system. At the time, there were only five new features that the new key opened up, and these weren’t very useful.

For the most part, macros that use the Windows key are unconfigurable, and you must use the macros embedded within the OS. Windows Vista has added new features, allowing you quick shortcuts to some of Vista’s new features (and finally addressing macros that users have been requesting for years).

Kung Fu Panda: The Video Game Review
Friday, June 13, 2008
Kung Fu Panda, the video game, will be enjoyable for those who like other movie-based video games. Relive the plot of the movie with a little bit more interaction.

While the movie is enjoyable by adults and kids, the game’s target audience definitely seems to be children who enjoy simple platformers. Because Kung Fu Panda is similar to any other game based on a movie, I feel that explanations regarding the simple gameplay, blasé animation, and plot line is unnecessary.

River King: Mystic Valley Review (Nintendo DS)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
River King – Mystic Valley is the next installment in the beloved River King series. Unfortunately for fans of the game who own a DS, River King -Mystic Valley is a disappointment. Take one mini game and turn it into an entire game, and that is what River King for the DS has become.

Basic RPG mechanics (battles, leveling up) have disappeared, leaving this edition barely recognizable. For those that enjoy fishing, River King will be a small diversion from the drag of daily life. For gamers looking for a game resembling the traditional River King, you will not find it here.

Summer Sports: Paradise Island Review (Wii)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sick of Wii Sports yet? If you love Wii Sports but have been playing it to death for the last year and a half, Summer Sports: Paradise Island is a welcome alternative. As its name suggests, SS: PI showcases seven new summer-themed games that all take place in a tropical setting. If you’re ready for summer to start and need a fun family or party game, Summer Sports: Paradise Island is a great game to add to your collection.

The game begins when your character checks into the Paradise Island Resort. From there, you have seven different games to choose from.

Lost Planet: Colonies Edition Review (PC, Xbox 360)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The screenshot on the poster is not a mistake: that is actually a naked Frank West (from Dead Rising) playing a multiplayer map in the frozen tundra! Frank is one of the new playable character models in the latest edition of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. This new edition also gives you serveral enhanced single-player modes, many online gameplay modes, four new maps, new supercharged weapons, environments, and enemies!

The updated game is titled “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition: Colonies Edition” and is the same groundbreaking gameplay that was released for the PC and Xbox 360 last year, but has a ton of new fun features thrown in. A few new modes have been added to the single-player campaign, which can make playing through the short campaign a nice diversion again.

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs DVD Review
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The second of the straight to DVD Futurama movies, “Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs” has arrived and it comes loaded with laughs.

Picking up shortly after the end of the previous film, “Bender’s Big Score”, the people of our universe are in fear of what the new inter-dimensional rift will mean to them and there are those that predict an end to everything is coming soon.

Back at the Planetary Express Office, life is pretty much as it always is with one exception, Fry (Billy West), has a new girlfriend named Colleen (Brittany Murphy), and is doing well in his new relationship.

Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick Review
Monday, June 09, 2008
Recently I was handed a Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick to use on my new Dell Desktop. At first glance, I was amazed that you can tune HDTV signals with a USB device that was so small. The Pinnacle HDTV Pro Stick comes with the following items in the package:

If you have a laptop, then you have an HDTV-capable display, so why can’t you watch free over-the-air HDTV on it? Most laptops today have a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, and the minimum laptop resolution I’ve seen is equivilent to 720p. If you take your laptop on the road, then it makes sense to keep a HDTV tuner ready, because who wants to deal with crappy hotel cable?

Space Ace comes to BluRay
Monday, June 09, 2008
If you are a fan of arcade games, especially those that have the tendency to empty your pockets quicker than a trophy wife, the fact that a classic like Space Ace is now available in Blu-Ray format is a dream come true.

Space Ace has made the jump to the powerful PS3 and the graphics are cleaner because of it. Some graininess from the original production is still present, but overall the animation sequences are like watching a high-quality Anastasia (which, coincidentally, Don Bluth worked on).

Interview with World in Conflict: Soviet Assault’s Magnus Jansén
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Recently, we got the inside work on World in Conflict: Soviet Assault from Magnus “Soundboy” Jansén, Lead Game Designer on the follow up to the smash Cold War strategy game. I want to thank Matt and Magnus for making this happen. GVK: What is the background and setting for the game?

MJ: World in Conflict: Soviet Assault takes place in the late 1980s and depicts a “what if” scenario where the Soviet Union invades Europe and the United States. In the game, NATO and USA join forces to fight the Soviet army in a series of battles that range from the American farmlands and metropolises to small Norwegian fishing villages.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Review
Saturday, June 07, 2008
After delighting fans on the PC the game has finally come to the PS 3 and X-Box 360 Consoles.

Players can also alter their load out in a specific class. For example, the human soldier can have a machine gun, rocket launcher, shotgun, or other weapons as their primary weapon. When you need to get down and dirty, the machine gun is often my default choice as between this and my grenades and heavy explosive charges; I can often do what I need to. When the tide of battle changes, I often sacrifice some speed for a rocket launcher, which enables me to destroy large vehicles and defenses from afar.

Devices Aren’t Enough
Friday, June 06, 2008
Maybe because our kids attended the same high school as Jobs and Woz they can’t imagine things as barbaric as communications using dial-up modems. They laugh when they see the photos of the Motorola brick. The idea that they would have to search out a pay phone or wait to call someone until they can use the home phone seems … ridiculous.

Especially when they have their flip and slider phone in their pocket. The cellphone for millions has gone beyond being trendy. It is a necessity – a means of staying in touch with friends and family, added safety and security. Growth came rapidly because people could stay in touch on the go:

Play World of Warcraft for Free with WoWscape
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
But one game heralded the age of MMORPG, and still remains at the top. The World of Warcraft. It has the power to engulf your mind in a world of fantasy creatures and fantastic worlds. With several races to choose from and over a million players from around the world logging in to battle, Warcraft has staked its claim as the leader in online gaming. And you too can experience their “World”, for a mere $15.00 per month, plus the cost of the game.

Unless, that is, you are one of the thousands of people who are members of WoWscape.net.

Windows Vista Trivia You Never Knew
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Windows Vista has had an interesting reception by the technology community, to say the least. People either like it or they hate it, or they think it is O.K. The road to Vista was several years in the making, and there are lots of interesting stories and tidbits about the OS that most people don’t know. We have a collection of very interesting tidbits about Vista (some of which we discovered ourselves).

You can have all the ladies crowd around you at the next geek party by sharing your infinite knowledge of Windows Vista Trivia. Trust me. If it doesn’t work, then dinner is on me…

On to the trivia!

Pinnacle Studio 12 Review
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The number one consumer video editing software, Pinnacle Studio has been enhanced with a new range of features and capabilities to meet the needs of first time and advanced videographers. The new Pinnacle Studio 12 includes more than 25 new features and more than a dozen capabilities requested by present users.

The new version includes Pinnacle Montage, an innovative tool that puts high-end compositing and animation effects in the hands of consumers. It also includes more titles, DVD menus and templates as well as professional audio/video controls and a complete high definition workflow capabilities with Blu-ray authoring in the advanced versions of Studio 12.

QNAP Q35s Automatic Backup Station
Monday, June 02, 2008
First off, let’s have a little background on our subject. The QNAP QBack-35S Automatic File Backup Station is an encrypted data backup center designed for people who want a little more security for their data. Namely, an AES 256-bit data encryption. QBack-35S is a 3.5” single SATA drive external enclosure which is compatible with major hard disk drive brands. It supports up to 1TB capacity, USB 2.0, and eSATA high-speed data transfer. It offers hands-free and real-time automatic file backup along with Email backup. Four backup modes are provided including auto-sync backup, instant backup, one-touch-button backup, and schedule backup.

Wings Season 6 DVD Review
Monday, June 02, 2008
Get set to laugh as the classic sixth season of Wings has arrived from Paramount Home Entertainment. Set on Nantucket Island, the series followed the exploits of Sandpiper Airlines, a small one plane operation that commutes between the Island and Boston as well as other points of interest. The airline is owned by Joe Hackett (Timothy Daly), who is a stickler for details and a solid if unexciting individual.

Interview with Haze’s Rob Yescombe
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Recently I got the chance to speak with Rob Yescombe from Free Radical, Screenwriter on the hot new PS 3 Shooter Haze. I got the chance to play an early version of the game at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, and Rob was kind enough to take the time to update me on what gamers can look forward to from this hot new titles.

GVK: What is the background and setting for the game?

RY: Haze is set in 2048. There’s a war going on in a region of South America where a bunch of evil skanky-ass malevolent rebels called The Promise Hand are trying to overthrow the government. Thankfully, a private military company (PMC) called Mantel Global industries is sending in its forces to iron things out. Now, mantel is a media-savvy company, and they don’t want the bad press of one of their soldiers getting killed or hurt. So, they give all their soldiers a ‘miracle nutritional supplement’ called Nectar. It makes the troops tougher, smart and faster. Basically everything they want and need to be on a battlefield.

Haze Review (Playstation 3)
Sunday, June 01, 2008
In the year 2048, The Mantel Corporation is waging an all out war for the freedom of civilization. At least that is the company line they are putting forth as they send legions of drug enhanced soldiers into the jungles of South America to bring down the rebel opposition.

In the new game HAZE, players take on the role of a Sgt Shane Carpenter who is tasked with leading a squad against the rebel leader, a man dubious named Skin Coat. I want to say at the outset that the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, did not return several calls and e-mails for more information and review materials for the game. We were able to get a pre-release interview for the game, but since then, no further information was passed along, so I had to rely on Gamefly to provide the game for review and did not have an outlet to get explanations or clarifications for questions I had with the game and its performance.