OCMS News September 2007

A-Data Nobility PD17 2GB Flash Drive Review
Friday, September 28, 2007
There are alot of flash drives available today with several different features. Some focus on portable applications, others on speed, or even ultra-portability. While some of these units have some nifty features, it doesn’t do any good it you don’t have it with you. Many flash drives come with a lanyard, but let’s face it: for most people hanging a lanyard around your neck isn’t a daily ritual.

This is where the ultra-portable flash drives come in. They are so small that you can attach them to things you have with you every day; like your wallet or keychain. A-Data has developed an incredibly small and innovative flash drive that has everything most people need you need (and nothing you don’t).

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Complete Walkthrough
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the tenth game in the Metroid series and is the third (and final) installment in the Metroid Prime trilogy (exclusing the spin-off titles). The game takes place six months after the events in the second installment, Echoes. The new title follows bounty hunter Samus Aran as she assist the Galactic Federation in their fight against the Space Pirates, despite being slowly corrupted by mutagenic Phazon. Here are a few general tips and tricks that will help you through the game. Not only will they help you stay alive longer, but you’ll find hidden items, upgrades and Easter Eggs.

Zalman VF-1000 LED and ZM-RHS88 VGA Heatsink Review
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Since today’s graphics processors are the hottest ever, we are seeing heavier and more robust stock coolers to accompany them. While these stock coolers are much better than the previous generations, they are still only barely adequate to deal with the new level of thermal production. The current GPU king: nVidia’s 8800 line of chips, generate some serious heat and need an equally serious cooling method.

Zalman has released two sister products to augment each other when cooling your 8800 video card. Zalman’s VF-1000 LED is a pure copper cooler that can be used on nearly any video card made within the past 5 years.

The Wait for Halo 3 is Over!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
More than 10,000 retailers have planned events to open their doors at midnight to celebrate the third installment in the billion-dollar Halo franchise. The Best Buy in Bellevue, Washington (just a stone’s throw from the Microsoft campus) hosted one of the biggest parties, featuring contests, and appearances by various celebrities fanatical about the Halo franchise, and OCmodshop was there.

Around 20 minutes before midnight, Bill Gates himself was led out the front doors to do a quick meet and greet with the loyal Halo fans. The media went into an absolute frenzy, and the multitude of camera flashes almost turned the night into day.

Use Check Boxes to Select Files in Vista
Monday, September 24, 2007
Have you ever been confused about which files you’re selecting in Windows Explorer? Has your mouse been so sensitive that you accidentally select more files than you meant to? What about moving files to the wrong directory? The intuitive drag-and-dropability in today’s User Interfaces can make it very easy to manage your files, and can just as easily wreak havoc on your hard drive!

Windows Vista has a new feature in Windows Explorer that is very useful.. checkboxes! Instead of holding down the Ctrl key and clicking a bunch of different files to select them, you can just click the checkboxes… no more accidentally copying the files or getting to the bottom and losing the selection. The only caveat is that it isn’t turned on by default.

OCZ ProXstream 1000W PSU Review
Friday, September 21, 2007
Extreme gamers and hardware enthusiasts are demanding more power from their machines. Quad-core CPUs and multi-GPU setups make for extreme gaming (and extreme heat), and require a solid power supply that can deliver near-nuclear energy for today’s demanding number-crunchers.

There are several 1000 Watt power supply units available today to meet the growing need for this extreme hardware. As Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility”, so you should only trust your expensive components to quality name-brand power supplies. One of the best values you can get today comes from OCZ’s ProXstream 1000W power supply, which is one of the most inexpensive Kilowatt units you can buy today, but has the quality innards that let you sleep well at night.

Easily Fix Lens Distortion with Photoshop
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Lens distortion can be a combination of different factors, and nearly every lens has it. Cheap lenses can have some amount of Chromatic Abberation, which is a purple haze that appears around very bright edges of a highlight. Zoom lenses are also prone to barell distortion, which is the bubble or pincushion effect you see at different zoom lengths. Normally you don’t notice any geometric distortion until you take a photo that has straight horizontal or vertical lines, such as a building, a doorway, or even a product box.

Even if you have an excellent lens with little distortion, you may take a photo where the perspective isn’t quite right. You may have intended to get a forward shot of a sign a few feet above you, but unless you have a ladder you’ll never be able to get a straight shot at it.

Matrox DualHead2Go Digital Edition Review
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Multi-monitor desktops are starting to become more commonplace as LCD panels and powerful graphics cards get more inexpensive. Not only can you have more workspace when browsing multiple web pages, but you can further enhance your workflow by having several related windows open on different monitors.

There are a few annoying problems with using Windows’ built-in multi-monitor support. For one, the taskbar doesn’t span all of your monitors; cramming all of your open items onto one display. Most games are not multi-monitor aware, either, so playing ultra-widescreen games across multiple monitors hasn’t been possible – that is until you use one of Matrox’s external multi-head adapters. Matrox has now unveiled one of their latest products, the DualHead2Go Digital Edition, which opens up a whole new world of work and gaming possibilities.

Corsair Flash Padlock 2GB USB Drive Review
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Some USB drives use various methods to secure the precious data on the memory stick, but these software methods only logically lock the drive or encrypt its contents. One of the problems with a software method is that the protection can be circumvented by using another OS or running a password-checking program.

Corsair has delivered an answer to this problem with their Padlock line of USB flash drives. These drives use a physical numeric keypad, combined with a hardware mechanism to lock or unlock the drive before use. Once locked, no computer will be able to use it, regardless of the platform. The hardware protects the drive at its lowest level, so not even a drive letter is mapped.

How to Install Ineternet Information Services on Windows Vista
Monday, September 17, 2007
If you are a developer using ASP.NET, one of the first things you’ll want to install on Vista is IIS (internet information server). Keep in mind that your version of Vista may not come with IIS. I’m using Vista Ultimate edition.

First, go to Control Panel, and then click on Programs. You’ll see a link for “Turn Windows features on or off”

What To Do When Your Digital Camera Has Hot Pixels
Monday, September 17, 2007
So, you just bought that thousand-dollar digital camera with full manual control to unlock the artist within. You play with the new features, and take some long exposure night shots and are horrified to see a bright spot in the same locaiton on every picture. No, you haven’t discovered a new star… it’s the infamous hot pixel, and unfortunately, it’s a fact of life.

Don’t panic, and don’t return your new camera to the store. Your CCD is not defective, and understanding what they are will help you cope. Nearly every camera I own has a couple, and the ones that don’t eventually will at some point. They really aren’t a problem unless it’s smack dab in the middle of the photo, and they appear no matter what your ISO rating is.

Bloggers: The New PR Machine
Friday, September 14, 2007
It was a quiet, friendly dinner with an industry analyst with no hidden agenda, no placement plan of attack. Simply an opportunity to get to know each other and understand how we could help his firm, him and ultimately…our client. He recounted his recent visit to a large, multi-division firm in the PC/CE industry. His disdain for the PR people was a little too painfully apparent. He listed their shortcomings:

Sam & Max Season 2 Preview
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I had a chance to sit down with the great folks at TellTale games, who wanted to show off the work they’ve done on Sam & Max: Season Two. The lovely Emily Morganti was seated next to the demo laptop, and several of the key developers and program managers were also present, interjecting comments as Emily showed me the demo. At the table were Dave Grossman, the Design Director, and David Bogan, the Art Director for Sam & Max.

Sam & Max are coming back for a second season of warm, melty episodic goodness, thanks to Telltale’s tireless development team and our good friends at GameTap. Like the groundbreaking Season One, Sam & Max will appear in several small installments, which will be released semi-monthly. Each game features the same sharp wit as the previous season, and a funny mystery for our crime-fighting duo to solve.

CoolIT Freezone CPU Cooler Review
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Extreme overclockers are always looking for bleeding-edge ways to get every once from their hardware. They use powerful fans, extensive water-cooling setups, and even thermoelectric plates to make sure their rigs run reliably, even when pushed beyond the intended performance envelope. Recently, hardware manufacturers have been producing “all-in-one” watercooling devices, which are easy to install, and don’t require the extensive hassle of traditional modular watercooling systems.

Now, CoolIT has entered the fray with a new type of water-cooling unit with their Freezone CPU Cooler. Unlike traditional systems, the Freezone does not use a radiator, but uses a proprietary “chiller”, which uses multiple TECs (peltier plates) to cool the liquid coolant, essentially refrigerating the liquid without a compressor (as expensive phase-change coolers use). This system provides greater thermal efficiency and increased reliability, and is easier to install than full-sized water-cooling kits.

Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition Review
Monday, September 10, 2007
As the name suggests, the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition improves over their previous model with the replacement of analog VGA to completely digital DVI, both for input and output. This new unit will still take regular VGA as a source, and outputs to three different monitors. To add even more flexibility, you can mix and match monitors however you wish: not all of your monitors have to be digital. Your multi-monitor setup can include 2 analog monitors and a digital LCD panel, a 3-LCD setup, or any other combination. If you can’t scrounge together 3 monitors, then don’t worry: the unit will also function as a DualHead2Go, and you can add another monitor later.

CoolIt Systems PCI Cooling Booster Review
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Most PCI and other expansion cards do not generate alot of heat, and therefore are overlooked when cooling your computer system. Today’s multimedia and home theater systems include high performance TV tuners, video capture, and high-performance sound cards that do tend to get quite warm, and could benefit from additional cooling. Even many video cards could use some extra help, as the tiny OEM heatsinks are either underpowered or fail.

If you want some additional cooling insurance, then CoolIT has the solution for you. Their PCI Cooling Booster product is intended to fit right over the PCI bay of most motherboards, thereby providing additional airflow between your expansion cards and cooling their internal components.

CoolIT Systems RAM Cooling Fan Review
Friday, September 07, 2007
Active RAM cooling is no longer in the realm of the hard-core overclocker; it is virtually essential to maintain performance on modern hardware.

CoolIT Systems has recently burst onto the aftermarket computer component market with innovative products designed to cool your rig down. Their RAM Fan is intended to address the problem of hot memory while having over the “minimum requirement of flair”. The extra airflow doesn’t just cool your memory modules; the cool the surrounding voltage regulators and chipsets, which only improves overclockabiliy, stability, and longevity.

Resize Partitions for Free with Windows Vista
Friday, September 07, 2007
Windows Vista includes a built-in functionality in Disk Management to shrink and expand partitions. No more 3rd party utilities needed!

To get to this utility, open up Control Panel, and type in partition into the search box.. you’ll immediately see the link show up:

Tech Tip: Turn off Headers and Footers in IE when Printing
Thursday, September 06, 2007
The headers and footers that always print along with the page when printing a page can be irritating. I know very well what page it was I printed, so it’s not useful to me to show the URL at the bottom of the page.

If you want to turn the headers off just for a one-time print, you can use the Print Preview window, and then click the button to “Turn headers and footers on or off”, shown below.

Complete BioShock Walkthrough (PC & Xbox 360)
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
This “genetically enhanced” first-person shooter lets you do things never before possible in the genre: turn everything into a weapon, biologically mod your body with plasmids, hack devices and systems, upgrade your weapons and craft new ammo variants, and experiment with different battle techniques in an incredibly unique underwater city.

The game focuses on a secret underwater city named Rapture, created by a rich philanthropist by the name of Andrew Ryan. Andrew has the goal of creating a utopian society where the great and powerful would not be constrained by the poor, and where the world’s elite could live without being bound by morality, government, or religion.

Tech Tip: Print Selected Text From Your Web Browser
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
When surfing the internet you undoubtedly will come across great information you want to print out. When printing from the internet you don’t have to waste paper and ink printing out the entire site page with images and advertisements. Just print out the information you want.

Highlight the specific information you want to print out with your mouse:

VisionTek Radeon X1300 PCI Video Card Review
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Yes, you read that right. A video card that uses the classic PCI bus: all 33Mhz of it. VisionTek has offered a few unique options with the ATI graphics chips they use. They are the only manufacturer of a Radeon X1600XT with an AGP flavor, and now this X1300 with PCI interface.

The Radeon X1300 was designed to be a PCI Express graphics chip, and VisionTek has ported it to the classic PCI bus. I wondered why anyone would even bother doing this, since there are already tons of AGP and PCI-Express versions of the X1300 with both 256 and 512MB of memory. There are a few reasons why a classic PCI card might be handy, especially for compact Home Theater PC, which would benefit from a low profile video card.