OCMS News September 2008

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Nova Master 8000dpi Professional Mousepad Review
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
If you attend a lot of LAN parties, then you no doubt have seen all of the “professional-grade” mousepads. Products from Razer and SteelSeries are common at these gatherings, where bragging rights are only as good as your equipment. More companies are getting in on this action, offering new products to keep the gamer in your satisfied. Nova is a new company offering several different gaming-grade mousepads, and we are reviewing their Master mousing surface, which boasts an accuracy of 8000dpi.

Verbatim PhotoSave DVD Review
Friday, September 26, 2008
How many pictures does the average Joe or Jane have on their computer? With the ease of use and availability of today’s digital cameras, people are snapping and storing like there’s no tomorrow. You can easily fill up a hard drive in no time with pictures of your family, friends, vacation, wedding, the honeymoon. Well, maybe not the honeymoon. But if you do, please send me an example.

Verbatim has created the PhotoSave DVD. Verbatim’s PhotoSave DVD allows you to quickly backup and archive up to 2,000* photos stored on your PC or digital camera.

Eagle Eye Movie Review
Friday, September 26, 2008
The modern world is powered by intelligence and many wars have been averted or in some cases, started based on information that was obtained through clandestine means. It is said that nations that posses the ability to gather and control information have a superior tactical advantage and as such vest networks of people and technology are empowered to collect, preserve, and analyze sensitive information.

In the new film “Eagle Eye”, an ordinary man and woman become caught in a web of deception as they become unwilling participants in a game of high stakes.

Shrinking Computing: CPUs, Laptops and Phones
Friday, September 26, 2008
Craig Barrett, Intel’s chairman, wanted everyone to know that the company was just flush with fresh ideas (see photo) so he waved around and talked an itty-bitty something you couldn’t really see. Heck could have been one of his new fishing lures…who’d know? Of course Paul Otellini, Intel Prez, had to show off their huge silicon platters with a gazillion chips on it. To hear him talk you’d think that everything we use everyday would be useless without his chips.

QNAP TS-409U 1U NAS Review
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Nearly every home office or small business needs some sort of central data server, which is one reason why NAS units have been flying off the virutal shelves lately. Many of these networkable storage units are little mini-servers that not only keep your data safe, but offer multimedia capabilities (like TwonkyMedia and iTunes support). Does having a dedicated web server, print server, or BitTorrent server strike your fancy? If so, then you should look at some of these flexible networked appliances.

QNAP has been producing quality networked appliances for a while. One of their most popular products is the TS-409 Pro, which stuffs a whole lot of Linux-embedded servers into one small box. Now QNAP has released a 1U version of this flexible server, which should appeal to small IT shops that need to fit their servers in a rack. Its multimedia capabilities will certainly appeal to the home theater nut, as it allows you to literally have terrabytes of movies instantly available, to create your own video-on-demand service.

How to Protect Your Site from a Google PageRank Drop
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
For the uninitiated, Google ranks all pages on the web with a scale of PR0 to PR10 – higher is better. High PR sites or pages receive most of the traffic for competitive keywords or phrases. Keywords are what surfers type into search engines to find what they’re looking for on the web.

Ranking high in Google for popular keywords can prove very lucrative. It can make the difference whether your website is in the black and producing hourly profits, or a total worthless waste of pixel space. Having a high Google PR is equivalent to having money in the bank, it is that important.

Nerd Fitness: How to Eat Healthier When Online
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We all go through those days when getting away from the computer is just out of the question. There is always some game that has to be finished, a report that is due, or if you are like me you have to finish reviewing some product before the bossman unleashes fiery wrath. The problem is that when we are just sitting here, like I am now, the only exercise you are getting is in your fingers and possibly your brow. And we don’t exactly have a gourmet chef bringing us nutritious meals all day long to eat, with shots of wheat grass to chase it down. No, we eat microwaveable meals and drink soda and energy drinks until before we know it we are so big we can’t even get out the door to reconnect with the outside world.

Antec NeoPower 650 Blue Power Supply Review
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I give to you the Antec Neopower 650 Blue. The high efficiency modular power supply that will get you through hordes of zombies, and then some. The ultimate combination of high power, high efficiency and cool style for today’s high performance PC systems. 650 watts of pure power, with 85% efficiency, cable management, and dedicated circuitry with a super-silent 120mm blue LED fan. Figured out why they call it the 650 Blue yet? I thought you would get it quickly. You’re so smart..

Tips to Organize your Server Room
Sunday, September 21, 2008
If you are looking to get your server room organized in 2008, there are a few key steps to keep in mind while you are going through the process. Your server room houses valuable information for your business and the safety and security of your equipment should be of top concern. In addition, the equipment that you choose should be efficient and safe for long term use.

Zalman CNPS 9500 LED CPU Cooler Review
Saturday, September 20, 2008
When you think cool, you think of Zalman. Or you think of Prince. Either way you have one Killer Chiller. Today my subject is none other than the Zalman CNPS9500. When you take the classic Zalman flower design and combine it with an ultra-quiet fan, a unique heat pipe array, and a little LED bling, you know that you’re going to have the coolest CPU temp in the room, with a little extra flavor.

Any time I get my hands on a Zalman I get that little urge to do an Irish jig. Wooden shoes and all. Oh, wait… that was the Dutch. But you get the idea. Zalman is the first and last name in processor cooling, and today I get the opportunity to test their latest monster, the 9500. While I am a fan of Zalman, I am also a born skeptic, and decided to shove this thing on top of an Intel 2.4Ghz processor and run the crap out of Call of Duty 4 for a little while. Hey, what better way to test a cooler than to punish the processor it’s meant to protect? I love PC masochism.

My Take on Microsoft’s I’m a PC Commercials
Friday, September 19, 2008
Microsoft is now directly responding to Apple’s “buy a mac” commercials with their adament “I’m a PC” commercials. The commercial starts out with a John Hodgman lookalike pretty much demanding an apology from Apple for stereotyping PC users. The commercial then shows people from all walks of life; from cool laid-back twenty-somethings to doctors, students, researchers, and even Bill Gates himself proclaiming that it’s great to be a PC, and we refuse to be cast into a mold.

Nyko Xbox 360 Charge Base Review
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Any self-respecting Boy Scout knows that one should “Always Be Prepared”, and this holds true when playing video games. It has happened to me on more than one occasion that my controllers run out of battery life way before I am ready to put it down. There are several Xbox 360 battery chargers on the market, and I have tried them all. It’s great that you can charge multiple batteries at one time, but you still have to think about and manage your batteries. Why can’t my controllers automatically charge when I’m not using them?

Nyko has come to the rescue once again with their Xbox 360 Charge Base. Not only will this puppy charge your Xbox 360 controller, but it does so without you having to remove the battery!

Protect Your Digital Memories from Disasters
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Having invested so much time in digitizing her photos, Donna wanted to create a fail safe backup and archiving plan. “I found a website, PhotoStorageGuide.com that highlighted the benefits of different archiving and backup solutions. Based on my needs, I chose three options…an external hard drive for backup, DVD’s for archiving, and online storage. My 250GB hard drive came with software which allowed me to set up an automated backup routine daily. DVD’s in multiple copies are still my choice for archiving, and online storage lets me share my photos with family and friends. I feel confident now that, no matter what happens, my family memories are safe.

Lamptron PC Case Handles Reviewed
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
My personal opinion on casemodding is not so much that is has died, more that it has slowed down. This could be that the older kinds of modders (me included) didn’t have all the luxurious items that are available today. We used to make our own LED-fans and CCFLs. We bought those things at specialty electronics stores; back in the day when the blue LEDs were brand new (and sold for 8 dollars). Blue was THE color back then. Although things might have slowed down in that way, the big modding forums still reign supreme and will laugh at my comments here ;) although I’m guilty I too am still on those forums lurking getting ever to hungry to mod on my own again.

Madden NFL 09 Strategy Guide
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The main thing to fix is how you let the CPU quarterback throw off his back foot on any play. I’m sure Madden himself would say, “Now he should have never thrown that ball off his back foot, boom!”

Is it too much to ask for players to walk into a game with both teams on an equal field and the players decide the game, rather than sliders, scripting, and animations? I have been a loyal fan for many years, but other than crazy games against other gamers, I’m starting to understand why many people have long lost faith in the Madden franchise for not offering enough innovation. Madden 09 is just NCAA 09 in new packaging and some glitter to make it look better. For next year, please try to make a game that better reflects the NFL.

Changing the Internet Weather
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
If you hear the communications and Internet service providers the Internet will soon freeze over because of all of the content YOU are sending around to just everyone! Gee the Beijing Olympics and NBC and every country’s leading TV operation sent out video streams 24×7 to the four corners of the globe and surprise…

It not only didn’t freeze over but billions of people got their version of the Olympics. In fact if you went online and used your search engine for oh say Olympics 2008 + Japan, you can still get the events from the Japanese perspective. It was/is so cool. A great way to blow a weekend. Surfing to the various countries web sites and watching the Olympics again and again and…well you get the picture.

Interview with Call of Duty 5’s Rich Farrelly
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
OCMS: What is the background and setting for the game?

The game is set in World War 2 during the final brutal days of conflict. It covers the stories of two squads, one from the Russian Red Army and one from the US Marines as they close in on the final objectives of the war.

OCMS: What can you tell us about the A.I. in the game? I have heard that they will hide in the grass, set ambushes, and do suicide attacks?

They will certainly do all of those things and more. When we were designing the gameplay for the new Pacific Theater content, we realized that the existing Call of Duty AI just didn’t feel right in the new environments. After a quite bit of research we learned that the Imperial Japanese Army fought in a completely different way than their European counterparts. We spent a great deal of effort integrating these new tactics into the existing AI. The results were great, it completely changed the way the game felt and how players approached it.

X-Gene HTPC Case Review
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sometimes I get those new hardware for review, and my first thought is “what the Hell?”. This is one of those times. I bring to you the X-Gen HTPC Mid Case. I was so wary of this case, I didn’t even have a witty story to go with it. I don’t like the models that lay flat. They remind me too much of the old Tandys. They look way too nostalgic to be interpreted as an aggressive machine. So I put it to the back of the line so I didn’t have to write about it until all the other stuff was out of the way. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m a complete D-Bag. That’s okay, I’ve got other friends aside from you.

What is Wrong with Girl Gaming
Friday, September 12, 2008
Girl Gaming is a joke.

I’m not against girls in video games. I actually have sat and encouraged it. Every girl I ever date I am trying to make into a gamer, and I know, just like these girls that are spreading the movement that if you just give them a chance, video games are a great recreation. Having the opposite sex involved in a Halo tournament is wonderful…especially if they kick my ass. But let’s get something straight, I get my ass kicked by women just as I do by men. There is no difference.

Pinnacle Video Transfer Review
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Pinnacle Video Transfer is the latest way turn analog video to digital video almost unattended. Simply plug in your relic camcorder via the Audio/Video jacks, connect a USB-enabled device such as a Flash Drive, select your mode of video quality, press record on the Video Transfer, and press play on your camcorder. The video transfers in H.264 Mpeg4 video at a 720×480 resolution. At 30 frames per second. That means no dropped frames and high quality video every time.

How to Stop Spammers on your Blog
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Blogs are now an extremely popular and important part of the internet. Millions of people blog every day. As blogs have evolved over the years, so has the commenting system. Now anyone can make comments on a particular blog posting. As blog commenting has grown more popular, so has spam commenting. In this newsletter, we’ll go over why comments are a great form of feedback for your blog, how they help the credibility of your content, what spam comments are and how to prevent them from happening.

Tim O’Neil Interview: Spiderman Web of Shadows
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Tim O’Neil / Lead Gameplay Programmer of the pending Spider-Man Web of Shadows game was kind enough to answer our questions.

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

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is set in New York City and at the outset of the game Venom learns how to clone his own symbiote to infect others which in turn causes Spider-man to be re-infected with the Black Suit symbiote. This event triggers a massive invasion where NYC is overrun by symbiote-infected minions of Venom and Spider-man along with a few of his friends (and enemies) is left to face off against this alien army.

7 Things Great Webpages Have
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Wouldn’t you like to know the main ingredients for creating a superior webpage? What basic elements you must have if you want a solidly designed webpage? A webpage that will stand out and be noticed by your visitors. One that will keep those visitors returning to your site, again and again. An effective webpage that is 95% better than most of the other pages on the Net.

Madden NFL 09 Review
Monday, September 08, 2008
Players can select from all 32 NFL teams and are able to select variables such as stadium, weather conditions as well as a to play a quick match or an entire season.

Gameplay is standard for what fans have come to expect from Madden and in a nice new feature, the game will adapt to your changing skill level and will set an appropriate challenge for a specific player’s skill. This will change as players gain more experience with the game.

Ultra Grid Case Review
Monday, September 08, 2008
We’ve all been there. That first computer that everyone builds themselves. It’s built on a McDonald’s employee budget and a dream to make all your gamer friends envious. And they will be. But sinking hundreds of dollars into new hardware won’t get you envied if your case looks like you picked it up out of a “free box” at Goodwill. You can have the most powerful engine on the planet, but you slap that shiznit in a Pinto and all you’re getting is laughs from the homies.

So how can you pimp your ride without breaking your bank? Well, you could steal it, and stick with the whole gangsta theme I seem to have going here. Or you could visit Ultra Products and check out their latest and greatest. Today I have the Grid ATX Mid-Tower Case, and this is my ride…

Pirates of the Burning Seas @ PAX 08
Saturday, September 06, 2008
As I roamed around PAX I came across a booth that was full pirates passing out shirts to those who were playing the demo of their game. I really wanted the one that said “Support Piracy”, so I ventured over to the table to take a test spin. Flying Labs was the name of the company that owned the game, Pirates of the Burning Seas, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Creative Director for some inside info on the latest MMORPG out there. His name was Chris Pramas, and he was very proud of what he had accomplished.

We Review and Grade PAX 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I went to E3…errrr PAX. To be honest, the show has come a long ways in five years from when it was in that insanely small venue from the first two years. I played a lot of games, talked to a lot of people, and ate a lot of Cliff Bars. Overall, my impression on the show itself was mixed. It’s obvious the people at Penny-Arcade are gods now, and they put everything they had into it. In execution though, there was so much that could have been done that was simply out of Gabe and Tycho’s hands.

G4’s Adam Sessler Off-Camera
Friday, September 05, 2008
The Penny Arcade Expo has been compared to the virtually-defunct E3, having grown to an immense size within 5 years. The proof of this growth is how much attention PAX 08 received form large media outlets like G4 TV. Xplay’s Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb were out on the show floor taking interviews with all the big names, and were constantly surrounded by their own entourage.

Warhammer Online Hands-On
Friday, September 05, 2008
Following the footsteps of World of Warcraft comes yet another MMORPG to grace the hard drive of your computer. For the casual gamer in all of us comes Warhammer Online. But is Warhammer simply a second-hand remake of Warcraft, or will it pack a mighty enough punch to make MMO history?

Blending PVP and PVE, Warhammer invites you to quest in their world and go from being a lowly peasant to a mighty knight. Quests can stretch across zones, sometimes seeming to take forever to finally accomplish. But unlike many other online games the quests go beyond the kill and collect then book it to your quest-giver. Warhammer blends unique private quests with extravagant public quests.

Gears of War 2 Hands-On
Friday, September 05, 2008
If for no other reason, you should have been at PAX this year simply to play the game that is sure to be a monster success. Gears of War 2 was unleashed on us as a fully playable demo on the show floor. After a long, long wait I finally got my turn at the “Gears”, and I was far from disappointed. A fan of the original GoW, I was more than happy to stand in line for my opportunity to take this game for a test drive.