Archive for November, 2006

Back in Reality

Lately, I had the opportunity to test “MS Office 2007”, I’d red several articles about it before, so I already knew about ribbons, new looks and blablabla. The looks are truly great, the colors AND icons and… it’s all fitting, there’s rarely anything annoying, but everything’s still styled well. Almost shiny. I have a weakness for exploring new/different GUIs. And leaving menus behind was great, although I don’t understand why some (Office-) programs still have menus, Outlook is mixed, the main window is like before and the message window has ribbons. Maybe they were afraid to go too far? All “core” applications, like Word, are consistent in the use of ribbons. The biggest plus in my book, is the blogging option in Word. Other software I used in the past always had at least one drawback, e.g. Flock pulls all categories from all blogs (when using an account tied to several blogs) and throws them together into one single list, no matter what blog is edited. That makes it hard to select the correct categories for the current blog.

Now it’s time to make a connection with the title, after all joy and excitement, I learned the lesson again, what it really means, when a software is indeed from MS. I always used this wizard (it’s been part of Office for a long time now), which saves all Office settings in one file (for all applications), so all settings can be done once and even after a fresh installation there’s nothing left to do – just run the wizard again, wait a sec, done. That’s a big help and lots of fun, when something’s just fast, easy and really working well. More software could need such a wizard. And I was used to do that. So “it” took its course.

Naturally, I soon started searching for this wizard in Office 2007, in 2003 it was always installed by default. Even the program group existed, only the link to this wizard was missing. I skip the searching for it – my last step was to browse through all options in the setup wizard. Nothing. A quick research on the net showed, that this important program was indeed gone in 2007. The reason was MS’ agenda to promote Vista (again), because Vista offers this functionality to save settings on its own. Therefore it’s removed in Office. Use Vista, or don’t use this fucking wizard. That’s the message the dumb user obviously “should” learn. Wonderful. After the first anger, I still like 2007, but a little less though. Go ahead and count on all these little things that annoy your users until they give up and switch to Vista.

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. – Leia Organa

The ugliest work is often to re-enter all mail accounts in Outlook, save it with exporting this reg key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Outlook

like when using the wizard, only the passwords have to be re-entered after importing.

Just so I won’t need to search for all of them again:

Offical 1.0b patch

Okay, this patch is a joke, reminds me of the official patch for Bloodlines. But it’s the only one…

High Qual Patches, Videos and Sounds

Never played with those.

Team-Gizka

Those are the best patches till this date, again from fans.

Hmmm, giving all the information away already in the title isn’t a good idea. I have to work on that. Okay, while there were few updates the last month, Yadi isn’t dead and will add exciting new features. Of course, the HDD support will also need the IDE interface, besides the HDD itself (too lazy to search for all the links now). Maybe I will redo my channel bouquets some day.

FoC is one of the greatest SW games ever, some small glitches, however, can darken the day.

Well known is the voice sample “Ysalamiri Cage Construction Complete” because it’s played instead of “Enemy Fleet Incoming”, which causes some confusion, until the player knows this. But this is only a minor thing and it can be fixed by tampering with the XML files. It gets more ugly when playing the rebellion, most famous is the problem with the tech level. It’s only possible to reach tech level 5 in Galactic Conquest, by playing a map starting with Tech Level 2 and ignoring any of the settings, setting Level 5 as the starting level, always freezes the game in level 4. Some Galactic Conquest maps start in level 3, those can’t be played with the rebellion in lev 5. The worst bug, because there seems to be no workaround, is a vanishing land fleet, when it’s dragged from the orbit down to the planet spot. Because of this, the planet can’t be conquered and the units remain unavailable.

The other sides don’t have any annoying problems, especially the Zann Consortium, it’s maybe a little too powerful, but that’s not annoying when the ZC is your side. ;) Darth Vader needs a Population Capacity of 3, therefore Darth often stands alone on a planet, until the next landing zone is controlled.

A patch is already coming. Although there are only balancing fixes mentioned instead of bug fixes. I don’t see this as a problem, though. They, hopefully, will do more than what’s listed there.

The LA forums are worth visiting too, I don’t like the forums software there, but I guess LA knows what they are doing…

Most people use Windows with admin accounts even when those privileges aren’t necessary, when they are surfing, writing a letter… The main reason is, it’s just to uncomfortable to use unprivileged user accounts. But why bother anyway? That’s easy, with an admin account, all executed processes have admin rights too, which becomes ugly when viruses take advantage of it. This script gives the user an easy enough tool to use an unprivileged user account and still get the job done. It’s almost similar to Linux’ solution with sudo.

Goodbye WU

Keeping XP up-to-date is essential and mostly annoying. Windows Update has its own drawbacks, one of the biggest is the problem that an online connection is necessary to get access to the security patches. Depending on the available connection speed a fresh (and still unpatched) installed machine is online for hours, until everything is updated, more than time enough to become infected. Also, who wants to download the same patches again and again? Even for several PCs? It saves lots of bandwidth to just download everything once and then use it from the local ressources. This is always of advantage, when it’s even possible to update the offline updates too (once a month after patchday, for example).

It’s like some kind of a small and easy own Update Server, without a real Update Server, which is overkill for a few PCs. This script offers the described functionality. The current version of the offline update is 3.02.

It can even create Iso images for easy deployment. It can be discussed in the appropriate forums.

Nefarius

The hero was travelling the desert, far west from Braga (Gothic 3),when he met a Watermage named Nefarius. This guy wanted to accompany the hero to an ancient tomb, somewhere near “dead trees” (or so). After travelling through a valley with lots of jackals, and a gargoyle, the cave entrance to the tomb was reached.

Sidenote, with “partymembers” it’s often possible to use simple commands like “wait here” or “follow me”, to avoid having them killed by the first monster that comes along. The AI is very bad and usually doesn’t survive the smallest foe. So it’s important to leave them behind, clear the area and come back – it’s not only that the character is gone, but also all related quests will fail.

When the cave entrance to the tomb is reached, the mage will ask the hero to clear the cave first. Now the big mistake: The hero, in this case, asked the mage to wait… After clearing out the cave and returning to Nefarius, XP was gained (for the clearing) but he didn’t leave the spot. After the monsters (Minecrawlers) were gone, the option “follow me” was no longer available. So great. Fantastic.

Now it’s impossible to solve this quest…

The hero will have to continue the game, hoping that there will be no further disadvantages throughout the game, because Nefarius will officially stay a partymember – always waiting on that exact same spot…

Volume Activation

Everyone always wanted to know this. Nuff said?

Patch #1

Nice fixes:

Totally redone the way AI Misc & Combat speech were managed to avoid a lot of stuttering

Haha, A LOT of stuttering. :D

Indestructible shields are now really indestructible

NIIIIICE. :P

Fixed a bug that could occur when saving a game at the end of level 12_A. The chain that allows you to exit from that part of the level won’t be shortened (unusable) if you reload at this point

Nasty one!

Fixed when pressing E multiple time in certain conditions would quicksave the game

Damn, now people have to use the real quicksave button…

Fixed lockpicking becoming a weapon (melee animations played)

Almost the same thing… Okay, those were the most stupid interesting ones.

That’s what it’s probably called. My last entry “feeds” was suddenly removed after it was already online for some minutes. After I re-opened the editor, it was saved as draft, but incomplete. After the next refresh the draft was gone and it was published again… Categories I had deleted were present again. Server backups?

Feeds

Because lots of time passed by, I tried again some podcast tools (for downloading feeds automatically), it’s still as desastrous as it was x month ago. After testing 5 different programs, I gave up. Most of them crash instantaneously (still beta) or are butt-ugly and miss vital functionality.  I’m now using Thunderbird. TB works and offers more and is really free, in more than one way.

Just added:

http://www.spreeblick.com/podcast/feed/rss2

http://spreeblick.com/category/toni-mahoni/feed/rss2

http://spreeblick.com/trackback/category/podcast/feed

http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cr+cre+ctv-latest.rss

http://feeds.feedburner.com/yeastradio

http://wolfgangrudolph.de/cczwei.xml (despite the horrible last episode, not giving up on them yet)

http://fireflytalk.libsyn.com/rss (this feed is chaos, no ordering by date possible)

Some things are still missing, I will give it some thought.

What a day. Midterm elections in the US and 2 years PT (and in 2 days Firefox 1.0 Final becomes 2 years old too). Hard to believe it’s been that long, ain’t it? I also noticed, that I kept in touch with the roots of this blog (yes, all this time…), the quality hasn’t increa… uhm – didn’t get worse a bit! :) A tough goal to accomplish these days!

Many things happened. Troika closed its doors, the KotOR II patches didn’t help and HL² got better and better. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Fallen Convergence Add-On release kept moving and moving (but it’s free), the missing patches by Troika got taken up by big fans of the game, supplying it with fixes till this day. Star Wars Empire at War was released and burned lots of my free time (still does)…

Then march 2006 came, the first month I really started filling this thing with useless helpful information. I also realize now, that it’s a very bad idea to give numbers to entries, because it’s necessary to memorize them, or re-check it for every “sequel”. foobar 0.9 is final and the series, which should show how to tweak it, never reaches a level that is of any help to anyone. More broken dreams. EaW is patched to 1.03, at least. Also Ubuntu is mentioned for the first time. But I can’t remember that I installed it back then. I still got Fedora Core. AND I’ve just rediscovered links to podcasting software, my, I searched for this stuff! In march I also discovered that it’s way too easy to finish the EaW campaign.

April was the Oblivion month. And I wrote the first WLM entry. The mistake with numbers also infests the Oblivion entries. Much to learn I still have. The best entry this month was “The Scary Text”.

In May I mention the first and (so far) last book I’ve red. But this only means I spend so much time on reading books, that I can’t blog about it… And I started posting lots of screenshots. Wanted to do this again, but I was too lazy for all the uploading. The final Oblivion patch re-introduces a bug that was fixed in the previous beta patch (still at large).

Since June it’s clear that DX10 will be Vista only, I really forgot that. Episode One is on the table for gaming. The letter from Branwen is still an annoying mystery to me. Overall, June was more quiet – in this blog.

Next Month, July, the Abit AV8 was torturing me (works fine since then). The Logitech UltraX ultimatively gives up (still need to trash it) and I learn to fix common annoyances in Ubuntu. A new Yadi Snapshot is released and wasn’t updated so far. The green monitor issue takes place. My Emperor is invisible.

In August Cheney’s got a gun (great song), the EP2 teasers appear in Steam and everywhere else, I learn to love my sudo powers and youtube vids fit in the blog although pictures are cut off. With buying a wireless mouse, that works 7 weeks with one battery set instead of 2 days, I’ve made a good decision. Shatner is Kirk. Uaahhhh, first Dark Messiah pictures, along comes the demo.

September returns the fantastic cut scenes from Wing Commander III in one movie (but I’m missing the landing scenes). BSG Webisodes go online. Haha, just looking at the graph of success. :D Tags are everything around here.

Flock shows it’s abilities as a great blogging aid in October, when WP was to annoying to even try (became faster since then). I start listening to Firefly podcasts, which gives me the great opportunity to listen to 12 months in a row. Obviously not remembering my previous entry, I notice once again, that DX10 is Vista only, but the second is better written and clears up the rumors around 9.0 L. Grub is making me mad again (I hate you Grub). Star Trek Enhances is not that Enhanced as everyone would have expected.

So much for the mashup of 2 years. Great moment to be depressed, as clearly nothing important nor much happened (at least not here). Good thing to know. Makes sense to do a summary. But living without expectations has its pros too. It’s not all bad, that’s what I’m trying to say.

From the very beginning to this day, one thing hasn’t changed around here – I had and I have no idea what this blog is good for or which direction it should go. So there’s much opportunity lying around everywhere and big chances to build on. :P And this entry has to go live before the seventh is over. Otherwise it would be 2 years and a day. Or even more.

The renowned magazine PT now got word from its sources, that ordering it from Amazon.de results in this mail:

Wir gruessen Sie ganz herzlich. Zu Ihrer Amazon.de-Bestellung gibt es Neuigkeiten.

Der folgende Titel ist leider nicht lieferbar:

“Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (internationale Version) ”

Dieser Artikel musste aus Ihrer Bestellung gestrichen werden.

Translation: we won’t sell it to you, we don’t have it, we have no idea why it was in our shop in the first place and we needed almost a week to notice that. Fantastic. Even more fantastic, that this was probably triggered by this fact and they just made this response up instead.