Archive for April, 2006

For some months now, WLM (Windows Live Messenger) has been in beta testing. Since everywhere everyone tells how cool it is and that you have to use it/they can’t wait for it, I decided to write something about it, too. One of the new features are the so called "Shared Folders" (SF) if there are any others, I don’t know, because I remove all the ads with a-patch. :P No seriously, there are more, at least one important other NEW feature is sending of actual offline messages – that’s cool! Before that, only some sort of "workaround" was available through messenger plus, but the client sending the "offline" message had to be online. But let’s talk again about the SF.

Now, what makes the WLM SF tick? Sometimes I’m using Sysinternals RootkitRevealer, it can find methods used by actual rootkits to hide themselves from the user and from other software, like virus scanners. Because it’s only giving results of found rootkit methods, not every hit means there actually is a real rootkit on the computer. NTFS metadata, for example, is in general "Hidden from Windows API", which means it is visible in the MFT and in the directory index, but not for the API.

WLM uses NTFS journaling for this feature (stored as "\$Extend\$UsnJrnl:$J:$DATA"), thus, the WLM can detect changes in the shared files AND that’s why all parts of the sharing folders metadata stuff is reported by the RootkitRevealer…

In addition, each time WLM is launched, an accompanying service is started. Check for the "Messenger Sharing USN Journal Reader service". Check your system event logs for a whole series of entries each time WLM is used. A further disadvantage of "\$Extend\$UsnJrnl:$J:$DATA" is, that this is getting heavily fragmented after a short while. Soon it’s spread over the whole partition and many other files are fragmented as well, because of the many small pieces, "\$Extend\$UsnJrnl:$J:$DATA" consists of.

Another very annoying thing is the "line-bug", most long-time chats end in some sort of chaos, when no < br > is made at the end. All text is just stuck together. And, when that happens, smilies don’t work anymore AND in file transfers links are "damaged", also the transfer bar is missing.

Summary: I don’t like where this _chat client_ is going – an extra service running for it, heavily fragmented drive slowing everything down, it’s overkill. Most of its users just want to send text messages. My biggest fear is, that this thing is almost final and won’t change anymore. They should at least publish a tool to get rid of the metadata…

And for useful new options: they should enhance the client, that the user can choose his own login servers, since there are very often login troubles. The tool MSNServersX/WLMServers offers this kind of functionality, but WLM could need native support for this.

Now I’m done. ;)

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HL: Episode One

Yes, finally a date! EO will begin preloading on Steam next week and June 1st is the day when it’s playable. :)

That’s a link to a list of music videos on YouTube.

Since I can’t live with the state any longer, my foobar currently is in, I gotta do something (no, my foobar’s not fubar <- worst joke ever).

Some of the main ingredients I’m adding now:

foo_browser, foo_out_ks.dll (Kernel Streaming), foo_uie_albumart.dll (Picture shown, for Columns GUI), foo_osd (shows the current song + info), foo_uie_trackinfo.dll (Info about the track!), also don’t forget to check the wiki for most components.

Notes: In 0.9.1 the compatibility for output plugins changed, so a new kernel streaming is needed, the previous link is correct.

And now let’s see what can be done with the stuff above.

To be concluded.

Watch some new ingame screenshots. It’s still months before release.

Interested in the Silent hill movie? MTV was broadcasting a sneak preview. The wmv file has 11,4 MB and plays 7 minutes.

The mod oldblivion will convert pixel and vertex shaders from 2.0 to version 1.1 – this should speed things up.

foobar 0.9.1

0.9.1

  • Faster Ogg Vorbis tag editing.
  • Official ASIO support (downloadable separately).
  • Improved compatibility with buggy soundcard drivers.
  • Added DSP preset switching functionality.
  • Workedaround buttons display problems on Windows 2000.
  • Improved "random" button action with album/directory shuffle.
  • Added WMA playback support.

Download.

TR:Legend

First: This game is great (even though the install screen shows a stupid "you have to use the newest and latest and best Nvidia GPU to enjoy this game" message).

I started with part one and stopped when part three came out. The "new" TR installments were little more than mission packs but were published, of course, as full price sequels. The last game was the worst part ever – LC was moving like a piece of wood. And her agility was the most important part of the game. The thing that made it fun playing, at least for me.

After playing the demo, I decided to take a look at the final. And I can recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the series in the beginning but lost interest later on. There isn’t much to say about it, it’s like part one with fresh graphics. Okay there is more, but that describes the most important point.

Some scenes were clearly "inspired" by the game "Indigo Prophecy", small action sequences, where the player’s sole job is to push direction buttons at the right time. And of course the magnetic throw-thingie is the equivalent to Indy’s whip.

I’ve tried this version on a PC with a Logitech MX 900 mouse, but it didn’t even show the settings window, there is none. I wonder, because this mouse is still listed as supported in this version. After reverting to Setpoint 2.41 everything was fine again. Why am I still installing updates? WHY?

New again.

Change Log

Following is a list of new features:

  • New flags in outpost.ini to control rules auto update settings

The following issues are fixed (only significant ones are listed):

  • New presets for system rules and basic applications
  • Outpost Plug-in SDK updated
  • Third-party plug-ins updated to be compatible with Outpost 3.51
  • Rules Wizard prompt was displayed too slowly
  • Interface and localization issues
  • Sometimes CPU load reached 100 % on Win98
  • Some Anti-Spyware plug-in issues
  • Some presets issues
  • A lot of stability and usability improvements have been implemented.

Read more, or download this.

Foxit Reader 1.3.1621

Because I really hate Adobe Acrobat Reader (slow, slow and SLOW), I’m using Foxit Reader, it’s freeware and small + fast. Reading PDF files with far less waiting. Download.

VLC 0.8.5 Test 3

This EaW Mod adds new ships (e.g. Super Star Destroyer) and plans to add ships which should have been in the game all along. Think of the TIE Interceptor or B-Wing fighters. I really missed these!