The Haus

Thursday, October 26, 2000

Pondering the Imponderable

Congratulations, George, you bought yourself another World Series championship. Those of us who are fans of teams that can't make it in this big-money league couldn't be less thrilled.

@Home Strikes Back

An @Home (a cable ISP) user had his account quickly terminated after he posted some @Home documents outlining some of their tech support procedures. Allegedly the documents show how the tech support staff was trained to deal with problems and with refunds. @Home is hiding behind the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming it was "proprietary information." More like "embarrasing information." Thanks Slashdot.

Not that you asked, but this is one of the main reasons I use EZ-Net for my Internet access. I got so sick of other companies assuming I was an idiot when something went wrong, yet never giving me a straight answer. I'm happy to be proven wrong (and I have been many times), but I'm not a moron. I have a Master's degree; I'm relatively well-versed in computer issues. EZ-Net is the first ISP I've ever dealt with that has always been straight-up with me and consistently knows what they're talking about. Even if someone offered faster or cheaper service (and, so far, no one has), I'd stick with them for that reason alone.

Na Pali Patch

Legend Entertainment's Craig Lafferty updated his .plan with word that a patch for the Unreal expansion pack, the Return to Na Pali, should be available today. Here's the scoop:
Barring any unforeseen problems, the patch for Return to Na Pali should be released sometime later today. All that is left is the official sign off (literally) from Infogrames test dept. This patch brings Return to Na Pali, the official mission pack for Unreal developed here at Legend, up to version 226, adding the latest D3D support and the UT interface as the new user interface among other things! I will post a link once I know it is live.
He also added this link which shows how stupid people are.

Diablo II Postmortem

Gamasutra has another in their line of game postmortems, this time talking about Diablo II. The game received mixed reviews, but has sold a million, billion, jillion copies. Like all the postmortems, it makes for an interesting read. Thanks Evil Avatar.

GeForce2 + Budget PC

I was going to post this on Tuesday when I originally saw it, but I forgot. Thankfully Slashdot rattled my memory. Sharky Extreme has posted an article asking the musical question, What happens when you put a GeForce2 GTS in a "value" PC? Their definition of "value" is a Celeron 600 or a Duron 700, still considerably faster than the machines The Master and I have. The article is enlightening, although I wish they would have benchmarked the same systems with older video cards (like, say, a TNT2 Ultra and an original GeForce with SDRAM). That way we'd know if the improvement in framerates justifies the higher price tag, or if we should just find a cheap TNT2 or get a GeForce2 MX.


Yes, kids, there's a new ICQ for Win32 on the loose. This time it's ICQ 2000b Beta 4.60 Build #3278. You can get it from the ICQ downloads page. As with all new ICQ releases, details are extremely sketchy on what is different. I believe that Mirabilis must be close to the record for "software with the longest amount of time in beta."

The Arena

The Arena, an illustrated story loosely based on Quake 3: Arena, has been placed online. This story was the winner in Anna Kang's Doom chess-set contest, and is rather interesting so far. I've had to stop reading myself, since I'm on work time right now :-)

Wednesday, October 25, 2000

KDE2 Review

LinuxPlanet has posted a review of KDE2, the latest version of the popular Linux desktop. The more I read about it, the more I want to pick up the Red Hat RPMs and have a go at it. Thanks Linux Today.

Half-Life Patch

This time, for sure! Sierra has officially released the patch for Half-Life. You can get it in its various incarnations from: 3D Files, Stomped, Shugashack, Evil Avatar, and Blue's News. Naturally, you can also get it through the Half-Life auto-updater. A list of the changes in this patch is available here.

SOF removed from WON

Rick Johnson made a .plan update on the next patch release of SOF, and why it's being delayed:
It is going to take us a bit longer to release this patch. Originally, we were just going to add support for Global Rankings, but due to a mutual decision between Activision and WON, we will be removing WON from SoF. We will be adding GameSpy support, to continue to allow consumers to easily find live games.
I'm surprised at the removal of SOF from WON, but that is their perogative. I wonder if id will be pulling out next. Either way, I assume we'll be seeing some server master updates for GameSpy shortly to handle this new wrinkle in SOF.

Intel and RAMBUS from the Inside

According to this Electronic News article, if you thought it was bad to have Intel ramming RAMBUS down your throat as a consumer, it apparently was infinitely worse to be engineers at Intel who tried to warn their pointy-haired bosses about RAMBUS' shortcomings. This is a very interesting article. It makes me glad the AMD is around to keep the pressure on so those who started this whole debacle will have to pay dearly for it. Not that I'm vindictive or anything :) Thanks Slashdot.

EU: Hackers = Bad

The European Union has proved that they too can craft poorly worded legislation on a subject they cannot comprehend. Of course, they had the help of the U.S. Department of Justice. At any rate, the The Council of Europe's Draft Cybercrime Treaty would make it illegal to be a "hacker". It could make sites like BugTraq (or even something like Bugzilla) illegal. Why do nations find it necessary to write laws without consulting people who actually know what they're talking about? Thanks Slashdot.

Pondering the Imponderable

Whoa! I think I just saw a non-network ad on a UGO website! I may have to have a little sit-down.

The Master comments: I just want to see a UGO ad that doesn't have a lingerie-clad/half-naked women as part of the sell. Somehow, I doubt this will ever happen. I'm especially not appreciating Eeyore's killing glares when she thinks I'm surfing porn and it's just a stupid frigging UGO ad.

A.T. Hun comments: This one didn't have any of that either! Unbelievable. I may have to play the lottery today.

The Master comments: ARRRRGGGHHH!!! Another stupid sexist hunk of *!!!!* banner ad for IGN. I quote: "Deep probing interviews"..."Revealing previews"..." the leg of the gaming industry", all this with a luridly rendered half naked cartoon women. The IGN ad staff could be thrown in prison in some states for this garbage. Jeez . . .

Whither VoodooExtreme?

VoodooExtreme has been offline since the whole GameFan/ debacle started on September 29 (story). I hope Billy found someone at GameFan to practice his martial arts on. I'm sure he's not thrilled that his site has been offline for almost a month now. Evil Avatar got word that the site may be back at midnight. VE has a reputation for being sophomoric, but they always seem to get their hands on some good information, especially from Epic's Tim Sweeney and Verant's (formerly id's) Brian Hook.

Half-Life Already?

Even though Sierra said the Half-Life patch wouldn't be released for about another three hours, it's already popping up on some mirrors. You can snag it from 3D Files or Adrenaline Vault. Thanks Blue.

UPDATE! It seems that the copy on the Adrenaline Vault has, at least temporarily, been removed.


Welp, I blew last night trying to get Linux talking on Green Bay's RoadRunner network. Guess what? I didn't succeed. And, oh, they don't support Linux. However, the tech did admit it was possible to get rr working. Wheee :-)

All this because I want to test some upgrades for The Haus before I apply them. That'll teach me to be a sysadmin.

A.T. Hun comments: I love how RR seems to treat Linux users as criminals who just haven't been caught yet. Then again, they probably have a hard enough time getting tech support people who can identify the WindowsME box in less than three tries, much less ones who know beans from buckshot about Linux.

The Master comments: Unfortunately, a lot of crackers like to use Linux for their misdeeds, since it's got the kind of flexibility needed to do truly inspired network hacking. Linux is also thought of as a server OS, which rr definitely DOESN'T want on their network. I'm amazed they don't have an execution clause for server placement on rr's acceptable use agreement.

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