Long ago, I came to the conclusion that The Sims was designed for Someone Else. I don’t know who. Hottentots, perhaps.
I played through The Sims 3 with awe, respect…and profound boredom. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and if God is kind I’ll never have to play it again this side of Purgatory.
Meanwhile, I’ve been returning to Prototype. I like Prototype. I also liked it when it was called Spider-Man 2 and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. If a game is worth playing once, it’s worth playing two more times with different character models.
Games are all about wish-fulfillment and power fantasies. Some people are content to wield their mighty power to get three gems in a row. Others would prefer to jump 10 stories in the air and punch a helicopter out of the sky. If you have the opportunity to do the latter, I have no idea why you’d choose to do the former, but people are strange.
It’s getting almost impossible to be a fully equipped techie. There’s always another new gadget threatening to leave you behind, even if you’ve already got a desktop PC, laptop, netbook, home WLAN, game console, e-book reader, smart phone, iPod, GPS, portable DVD, digicam, DSLR, HDTV, HD camcorder, Blu-ray, DVR, dish, and surround-sound home theater.
What’s next? Media phones.
Nope, they’re not smart phones. We’ve already got that. Media phones are next-gen landline phones tethered to broadband Internet service in a home or office. Typically, they have cordless handsets for voice calls and a fairly large (8-inch or so) touch screen. Built-in DSL or Wi-Fi provides fast, always-on Internet access. VoIP can provide cheap long-distance calling. Like conventional phones, media phones needn’t be booted or shut down.
With 802.11n Draft 2.0 routers becoming as common as Storm Troopers at Comic-Con, manufacturers need a feature that sets their product apart from the crowd. Like many of its competitors, Belkin added a second radio to its N+ Wireless Router—but this one is used for a very different purpose.
Rather than operating on a separate frequency (to separate audio and video streams from more mundane data), the second 2.4GHz radio on Belkin’s router establishes a guest network that limits clients to Internet access. Belkin’s web interface provides extremely limited access to this second radio’s settings: You can turn this radio on or off, change its SSID and passphrase, and choose between WPA/WPA2 pre-shared key or “Hotel Style” security.
As the summer wanes, the days get shorter, and the wind starts hinting of fall, you’ll naturally ask, what’s hawt in curriculum this year? Forget sex ed and intelligent design, the latest educational brawl is copyright!
Curriculums are being shipped to thousands of schools across America to teach our children all about intellectual property—every lesson plan authored by a lobbying group or industry association. It’s even legally required now in California’s famously overfunded schools.
I’m pretty into this copyright thing, but I still try to drop by the real world on occasion, just to see how it’s going. In real life, schools are struggling with larger classes and fewer resources. Now, instead of music or art (or my favorite elective, ninjutsu), we’re going to have our overworked teachers inculcating children about one side or the other of the copyfight? Great.
When we reviewed the first Killer network card (Holiday 2006), we found that the meager performance gains it offered couldn’t justify its $250 price tag. Now Killer’s back with the new Xeno, a PCI Express design that costs $100 less than the original card, but it still doesn’t offer much benefit for the price.
The Killer’s big promise with the Xeno is that it will improve your ping in games by offloading network overhead from your CPU to a dedicated processor on the board. To test this claim, we set up two identical test beds in the Lab. Then we joined the same Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead servers and followed the same players in spectator mode while measuring the ping and frame rate on each system at identical intervals, using Fraps. In this test, we measured a fairly consistent ping difference of 5ms in favor of the Xeno, which is in line with what we measured in 2006.
When can a file encapsulate more than one type of data? When it’s a metafile, wrapper, or container file. You might think of a container file as a package or envelope in which other files are housed. Zip files, which can contain documents, photos, videos, software programs, and many other types of files, are one type of container that you encounter frequently.
We’ll limit our discussion here to media container formats. A pure container file specifies how the data is stored, but it doesn’t necessarily know how it was compressed or encoded or even what is required to play back those files. This can lead to confusion when dealing with container files wrapped around media because there’s a chance that the media player you’re using is capable of opening the container but not equipped with the algorithm required to decode the files inside. Although a container can theoretically hold any type of data, most are optimized during development to wrap around particular data groups, e.g., digital audio for music; static images for digital photographs; or digital video interleaved with digital audio, plus subtitles, closed-caption information, and chapter data for movies. Container formats that support video also include the information required to synchronize the various data streams in the file during playback.
The Cooler Master Storm Sniper, with its matte-black, mesh-covered shell and blue-glowing fans, looks like a prop from a sci-fi movie, the kind where cyber-soldiers rush into a building and start furiously hacking its defenses. And that’s awesome. It’s large for a midtower case, and looks even larger than it is, thanks to bowed-out side panels and feet that raise the bottom of the case an inch above the ground.
The Storm line is all about sturdiness, style, and portability—Cooler Master is apparently targeting LAN gamers—which it delivers. At 22.7 inches tall, 22.3 inches deep, 10 inches wide, and weighing in at more than 23 pounds, the Sniper is big-boned, but with sturdy handles on top, surprisingly luggable.
The Mesh bezels run from the bottom of the front panel all the way to the top, and the top panel has black mesh between its sturdy steel handles. The side panels are steel and bulge outward. The left side-panel has a large window covered by black mesh, to allow for air flow, and contains mounts for one 20cm or two 12cm fans.
My system keeps freezing. The cursor doesn’t move and Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn’t bring up Task Manager. The system won’t respond to anything. It either spontaneously reboots or I have to shut down manually. Checking the event log does not show any system errors. Is there another location for a system error log?
This system has a 1,600MHz bus-speed processor and memory. Intel does not have a single stick of compatible 1,600MHz RAM in its compatible memory list. I asked its tech support about this but have not received a response. How can a manufacturer claim to have a board with a 1,600MHz FSB yet not have compatible memory?
This build consists of an Intel DX48BT2 Extreme mobo, a QX9770 quad-core CPU, two XFX GeForce 9800 GPUs, two 2GB Corsair DDR2/1600 modules, and a Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W PSU, all running XP SP3. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Corsair is best known for its memory and power supplies, but recently the company has taken to rebadging excellent OEM products for retail. First came a rebadged edition of Samsung’s blazing-fast 256GB MLC solid state drive. Now Corsair is continuing the trend by scooping up Asetek’s all-in-one liquid CPU cooler and rebranding it as the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50. It’s not just a straight-up rebadge. According to Corsair, it worked with Asetek to modify the latter’s OEM-only version, adopting a universal design and reportedly improving performance. We can’t verify how Corsair’s H50 compares to the OEM version, as the OEM version isn’t available for consumer purchase.
We were more interested to see how the H50 did against CoolIt’s similarly priced Domino (reviewed June 2009). Like the Domino, the Corsair H50 consists of a CPU heat exchanger/pump unit that fits atop the CPU and is connected to a radiator, which mounts in place of your case’s rear 12cm fan. The H50 includes its own 12cm fan, which sits between the radiator and the case wall and pulls air through the radiator fins. The pump uses a three-pin power lead, which needs to plug into the CPU fan power port on the motherboard, and the 12cm fan, confusingly, has a four-pin connector, which plugs into any other fan control port. We originally tried running the pump off a direct-power Molex and the fan off the CPU PWM port, but saw miserable performance. Only after reversing the two did we achieve the expected performance.
My 6-year-old computer is extremely slow and sometimes takes 20 minutes just to start up. The other day it caught a virus, which masqueraded as a firewall and installed itself onto my computer, changing the background to a picture that said I have spyware on my computer. I tried to open my virus-scan program (AOL) but it would not open. I have tried everything I can think of. I took out my hard drive so that it could not get to my files. Now, I have to use my son’s computer for emails. He is a big gamer so it’s really hard to get in the time to use it. Should I wait for Windows 7 to come out before getting a new computer?