OCMS News October 2007

Never Enough Storage for Media Center
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I, like many Home Theater PC owners, simply don’t have enough storage. Even though Terabyte hard drives are available (and somewhat affordable), I still don’t have enough. I have a dedicated seperate drive for music, one for Recorded TV, another one for movies, another for photos, and another for High-Definition content… and that’s just ONE of my Media Centers!

The physical limitations of the drive also makes organizing difficult. I could mix my high-definition movies with my normal Divx and X-vid movies, but I don’t have a drive large enough to accomodate both. Sure, I could make a simple JBOD array to make them a logical letter, but this will be a never-ending process of adding more drives to my box until it is as noisy as a construction site.

Always Start an App in Administrator Mode (Vista)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Older utilities that aren’t Vista-aware may not run in Administrator mode when running on Windows Vista. Therefore, when you go to run a program (an installation program, for example), the Operating System may tell you that you are not authorized to do so. Many utilities need to be run in Administrator mode in order to function properly.

All shortcuts in Windows Vista have a special settable property that will allow the application to run as Administrator.

Keeley Hazell Launches ‘The Simpsons’ Game in London
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Keeley Hazell launched EA Games “The Simpsons Game” at the London Games Festival. A huge inflatable Homer was erected in front of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. The Simpsons Game will be released in all game formats on November 2nd.

After the unveiling Keeley retreated to a recreation of “The Simpson’s” living room where she played the game and answered questions from journalists.

The Basics of RAID
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The word RAID sounds like it might describe something Marines conduct in Fallujah, or a can of what all roaches fear, but it is simply an acronym that stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. Depending on who you talk to, the letter “I” can stand for either independent or inexpensive, but in my opinion independent is more appropriate, and far less subjective.

How to use the X-Arcade Tankstick on the Xbox 360
Monday, October 29, 2007
Extreme retro gamers have discovered that a quality arcade stick delivers a true “arcade feel” to their classic video games. The X-Arcade Tankstick is currently the king of the hill, and has several adapters for use on all popular consoles… except the Xbox 360. X-Arcade has been working hard to get an Xbox 360 adapter for their arcade controllers, but unfortunately Microsoft has complete control over which vendors can manufacture peripherals for the Xbox 360.

It’s not possible for companies to hack a controller, but there is a way to get your X-Arcade products to work on the Xbox 360…

Pinnacle PCTV HD PCI Video Capture Card Review
Friday, October 26, 2007
If you use a Home Theater PC, then you’re no doubt familiar with the many PVR and HDTV cards available. Although Windows Media Center supports 2 PVR cards plus an over-the-air HDTV card, it would be nice if there were a single card that integrated all of these technologies into a single card.

Pinnacle has introduced their PCTV HD video capture card for the PC that not only integrates standard-definition decoding and FM radio, but OTA (over-the-air) HD receiption, in addition to QAM (unencrypted HDTV over cable). Pinnacle also claims full Media Center compliance for Windows XP and Vista. All of these features on a single card will certainly pique the interests of any home theater enthusiast, who have been looking for such a card for years.

Hades H1 3200dpi Gaming Mouse Review
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Hardcore PC Gamers are serious about the equipment they use. If they weren’t, then there would be no market for “extreme” gaming peripherals like gaming mice and gaming keyboards. Several vendors have introduced better products in the past few years that cater to the “professional gamer”. The computer mouse, once thought to never use much bandwidth, now require USB 2.0’s high polling rate to deliver the fast motion necessary.

Hades is new to the computer peripheral market, and has introduced their H1 Professional Gaming Mouse, which they boast as “the most advanced optical gaming mouse in the world”. They are going to have some serious competition with the more established kids on the block, Razer, Logitech and Microsoft. The feature list of the Hades H1 seems in-line with other gaming mouse products.

Flash Memory… Nothing Less Than World Domination!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
We’re gathering so much information our minds can’t sort, file, hold it anymore. We’ve abandon physical filing cabinets for digital storage – hard drive, optical, flash. We’ve become so used to tapping into our content that having all of it buried inside a desktop computer doesn’t satisfy us.

People now want their content with them all the time. Teens, tweens and Gen Xers are the worst (we know we have two). Sitting and thinking to them is a terrible thing.Give ‘em two minutes of silence and they talk like Emperor Ming…

Complete Portal Walkthrough: IT ARE KAKE!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
For the most part, this game is fairly linear. There will be places that you can’t get to. This usually involves solving a puzzle. Sometimes it’s easier to shoot a portal through a door. Sometimes you have to do it the hard way. The best I can tell you is to keep at it. Really, you shouldn’t have to read this guide for every level. The game is fairly straightforward. The only level I had any problem with was level 18 (They didn’t fully explain the concept you need to use in the last room of this level, so I was stuck). But now, I am thinking with portals!

Something else to note is that you can’t place a portal on moving concrete. When concrete starts to move, any portal that was on it will disappear. Keep this in mind, as some of the Advanced Rooms exploit this fact.

The Orange Box’s Portal (Review for PC & Xbox 360)
Friday, October 19, 2007
Portal is one of those rare examples that demonstrate video games as an artform. The geniuses at Valve have created a game that inspires a new way of thinking, a compelling storyline, and gives us a glimpse of the larger world that is the Half-Life universe. Portal is one of the innovative games in Valve’s “The Orange Box” package which includes Half-Life 2, HL2 Episode One and Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Portal is available by itself via Steam if you have a PC.

You wake up in a white sterile environment enclosed in a glass cage. A computerized voice (the same one on “The Orange Box” TV commercials) tells you that you are part of an experiment and you will be let loose shortly. Your first “portal” then appears inside your transparent prison, and you can see another exit outside your cage. You immediately get a sense that these two spinning ellipses are connected gateways, as you can see a mirror image of yourself from the outside gateway.

OCZ ATV 4GB USB Flash Drive Review
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In America we know that excess is never enough. The technology industry provides us with portable solid-state disks that can hold every Atari 2600 cartridge ever created, and that still isn’t enough. We take these little gadgets with us everywhere, and I should know as I’ve destroyed more USB drives than the company’s Quality Control department.

OCZ is here to save the day with their ATV line of Flash drives. Not only is it completely waterproof, but its squishy rubber coating makes it so impact-resistant that it actually bounces. On top of all that, this drive comes in large 4GB and 8GB capacities and utilizes dual-channel technology.

Kingston Shows Off High-Performance Memory @ WCG07
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Many PC enthusiasts are already familiar with Kingston, primarially as a source of name-brand “value” memory that doesn’t suck. Their ValueRAM is only one of their product lines, and Kingston is bringing new RAM and Flash products to the table to compete with the likes of OCZ, Corsair, and Crucial. Kingston was showing off their new wares at the World Cyber Games in Seattle, and I had a chance to chat with them about their new products.

Enable 4GB of RAM with Windows Vista
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Four Gigabytes is a lot of RAM for a workstation or gaming machine, but the industry has pretty much forced us into using this much (especially if you’re a heavy user of Virtual PC). Most applications today are 32-bit and only address 2GB of RAM at a time (like Photoshop), but we need more memory for all the other running goodies that are memory-starved. Even though Vista runs on 1GB of RAM, 2GB is alot better, and 4GB will unleash its potential.

Unfortunately, users of the 32-bit flavors of Vista have to run through some hoops to see all of the new RAM they’ve upgraded to. Even then, they may not see all of the RAM available because of various hardware issues. This article addresses various methods so you can utilize that massive amount of memory.

Logitech z-5300e THX-Certified 5.1 Speakers
Monday, October 15, 2007
Personal Computers are no longer the beige office machines of yesteryear: they are serious entertainment appliances capable of delivering a great home theater or gaming experience. Those serious about the sound their PC produces will certainly have a high-quality sound card and great set of speakers. While a separate amp and speaker separates may be overkill for the average gamer (particularly in the price department), there are several speaker sets that can deliver a satisfying soundscape.

One product vying for your home entertainment dollars is Logitech, who have been developing quality PC accessories for years. Their previous generations of computer speakers have won many awards, and one of their most proven sets is the Z-5300e THX Certified 5.1 Speaker System. THX certification means that you’re not just getting Logitech’s word on it, but also George Lucas’ seal-of-approval that these speakers deliver.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Review
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Phantom Hourglass is the sequel to the hit-and-miss Gamecube title “Windwaker”. If you didn’t get around to playing Windwaker because you hated Gamecube or were disgusted at Link’s child-like characteristics, there is a catch up story at the beginning to bring you to the present. However, if you thought the graphics for Windwaker were lame, get over it and quit being a sissy because this entry is worth it. Dust off your DS and put away your Pokemon and gazillion “take-care-of-a-pet-‘cause-my-mom-won’t-buy-me-one” games… it is about time for a fun, well-made adventure game.

CoolIT Product Giveaway Contest!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
[OC]ModShop is at it again! We’ve teamed up with CoolIT and are giving away three great CoolIT PC cooling products. All you have to do is answer our low-sodium fat-free Quooling Quiz! It’s fun and it’s free… and you might get some “cool” stuff!

1) What is the proper pronunciation of Aluminum? a. Al-u-MIN-ee-um b. Al-oooo-mi-num c. Jim-naaa-si-um d. aye-em-we-todd-did

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Walkthrough
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
After the game’s opening cutscene, take the opportunity to wander around the area and get used to using the Touch Screen instead of the traditional D-pad. This will be how you control Link through the majority of the game. When you touch the screen, the closer youtouch to Link, the slower he’ll move. Touch on the edges of the touch screen to make him move at his fastest.

Also take this opportunity to learn how to mark the Map. Hit the Menu icon in the lower-left of the touchscreen, and click the Map icon. Making sure the Memo icon is flashing, practice marking the screen, then removing the marks with the Erase icon.

Valve Unpeels The Orange Box
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Valve was at the World Cyber Games 07, and they were heavily pushing “The Orange Box” for both the PC and Xbox 360. Not only did the Valve booth feature Half-Life 2 Episode 2 on huge 30-inch PC monitors, but they had several stations where people could experience Team Fortress 2’s multiplayer capabilities. I had a chance to chat with some of the folks at Valve, who answered some questions about the game and its new technical prowess.

The Orange Box ships Tuesday at midnight for both the Xbox 360 and PC, and is one of the most anticipated titles this year. The PC version is available via Steam, so there’s no need to go stand in line for it. Although there is no “Orange Box” listing on your Steam account, all of the seperates will be listed as available when you purchase The Orange Box online.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Hands-On
Monday, October 08, 2007
Razer’s Taranchula gaming keyboard is easily one of the PC gamer’s favorite gaming peripherals, and Razer has built on this success with the new Lycossa Gaming Keyboard.

The previous Taranchula was unique in that it offered backlighting on the keys that gamers use most: the standard WASD keys used for movement. This new keyboard has a nice blue backlight on every single one of its keys, making gaming (or computing) in the dark much easier. In addition, Lycosa’s keytops have a rubberized coating, which not only gives the keyboard a more comforable feel, but helps keep your sweaty fingertips securely on the buttons.

Razer Piranha Gaming Headset Hands-On
Monday, October 08, 2007
Razer’s new Piranha gaming headset is the successor to their popular Barracuda headphones. The Piranha focuses on high-fidelity rather than Barracuda’s surround technology, so this new headset is stereo only.

The Piranha features in-line controls to adjust the headset volume, and there is a button to mute the microphone. The headphones have a frequency range of 18 – 22,000 Hz with an impedance of 32 ohms. The headphones are not a complete around-the-ear, but the foam pads so seal your ears to eliminate most background noise.

Razer Lachesis Gaming Mouse Hands-On
Monday, October 08, 2007
Razer’s Lachesis is probably the most advanced and precise gaming mouse ever devised. It uses the brand new 3G Laser Sensor, which brings true 4000dpi precision to your desktop or games by enabling movement speeds of up to 5 times that of a typical gaming mouse (at 800dpi).

Additionally, all nine of Lachesis’ buttons are programmable and has 32KB of onboard memory. It also features 1000Hz Ultrapolling for a 1ms response time. The mouse also features on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment, so you can vary the actual dpi setting (in 125dpi increments). The mouse also has nice professional touches like Zero-Acoustic Ultraslick Teflon feet and a gold-plated USB plug.

World Cyber Games 2007 Gallery
Monday, October 08, 2007
[OC]ModShop was at the World Cyber Games 2007 in Seattle. We took lots of photos from the show floor, the tournaments, and booth babes. We also got photos of the brand new products that vendors were debuting at the event.

Samsung and ThermalTake had by far the most new products to show (and the largest booths), but Razer was debuting some brand new mice and gaming audio products. There was even a “RockBand” stage where gamers/performers could try out the new musical Xbox 360 game. Sapphire was showing off their ATI-based video cards, and of course we have shots of all the lovely ladies of WCG07.

Sunday, October 07, 2007
For Only the Second Time in The History of the Tournament, The American Team Claims the Title of Planet’s Best Gaming Nation! Team USA shocked the rest of the world as it won the overall team title at the World Cyber Games Grand Final in Seattle. Competing against more than 700 gamers from a record 74 countries, the United States overcame the stiffest competition in World Cyber Games history to capture the gold. It is the United States second team title and first since the 2005 WCG Grand Final in Singapore. In claiming the title, the Americans won three gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal in 12 PC and Xbox 360 titles. Korea and Brazil each earned two gold medals while Germany had one gold, one silver and three bronze. The result was a huge disappointment for the heavily favored and defending world champion Korean team who have dominated professional gaming since its inception.

[OC]ModShop’s World Cyber Games 2007 Coverage
Friday, October 05, 2007
This years World Cyber Games (WCG) Grand Final will feature more than 700 gamers from 70 countries converging in Seattle, Washington USA.

The official slogan Beyond the Game signifies the WCGs commitment to harmony and building friendships among the worlds youth through e-Sports. During the competitions and cultural events, the players from around the world unify under a common bond that doesnt have language and cultural barriers.

A Look Inside Corsair’s HX620W Power Supply
Friday, October 05, 2007
Corsair has been known among PC enthusiasts as one of the best suppliers of high performance memory products for many years. Many companies are starting to broaden their product lines to include their own brands of power supplies, cases, and other equipment. To this end, Corsair has partnered with Seasonic (also known for their quality power supply units since the 1980s) to deliver a quality computer power supply with the Corsair name behind it, the HX620.

The fact is that the Corsair HX620W power supply should appeal to most PC enthusiasts, as it delivers more than enough power, even with SLI setups that require hundreds of watts of electricity. Add into the mix that this unit boasts greater than 80% efficiency, a five-year warranty, a quiet modular design and you’ll find one interested geek.

Worst 11 Computer Technologies of All Time
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The computer industry has grown immensely within the past twenty years. The home comptuer has grown from a room full of vacuum tubes to a small powerful consumer device that is almost ubiquitous in today’s society. Even a modern cell phone has more processing power than the Apollo Moon Lander!

There have been many, many products that have greatly propelled the industry forward, and a few serious blunders along the way. Here is our list of some of the worst technologies that either left us scratching our heads, threw the industry into a backwards spin, or just plain sucked. We now present the top 11 Worst PC Technologies.

Gears of War for the PC!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
“Gears of War,” a Games for Windows title, features the amazing tactical action and multiplayer excitement found in the critically acclaimed “Gears of War” for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system that sold more than 3.5 million units, and a variety of all-new content, including three new multiplayer maps, a new multiplayer game type, Game Editor, five new campaign chapters and DirectX 10 support.

Complete Halo 3 Walkthrough
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Welcome to the biggest game of all time, so far. What more can I say? I cannot add or take away from the experience for anyone. There’s nothing more to say. It is like playing a movie though, whatever that means.

I will say that I was one of those few who got the Limited Edition version, though I didn’t have to buy mine. Yes, it was scratched, but at least the game worked fine. It is the first limited edition game I own, and the extras were fine, and I liked the little book included. Plus, the box just looks great.

Also, I will have to say that I have not made this guide with any intentions to include multiplayer info. It’s basically a whole other monster that would need its own guide.

6 Tools to Help Recover Your Data
Monday, October 01, 2007
I don’t think I have to say that data loss is everyone’s nightmare. At home, data loss could mean years worth of photos, videos, financials, and documents lost. In business, data loss means money out the window. Many times, however, you want to recover data, but you don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees that data recovery companies charge ($150-$250/hour). Let me introduce you to some free data recovery tools.