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10001  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 26, 2008, 03:54:36 PM
Yeah I don't usually display my cloak either. I think really what's lacking is some ability to customize. I wouldn't expect them to go to the lengths they do in City of Heroes (where cape customization is so detailed, it's practically a fun little game in itself), some ability to change the cape style, trim, put some sort of logo on it etc. would be nice and give us a little more ability to feel unique.

I know though they have to focus on Moria and updates, and such. I wouldn't expect them to prioritize "helms being unappealing" and "cloaks being uncustomizable" high on the "to do" list. It still feels better to get it off my chest, so to speak. icon_smile

It's a small beef, it's just they obviously have talented artists (lots of environs in the game still take my breath away). You'd like to see a few helms that people actually want to make visible, and the artists can have their work enjoyed instead of hidden.
10002  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anyone got a Color Laser Printer? on: September 26, 2008, 03:06:16 PM
If it's not a demo model (my local Micro Center only has one in stock apparently), I hope to get this Samsung CLP-315 color laser printer tomorrow. Most important to my sensitive ears, it's supposedly extremely quiet. It's $199.99 (though I've seen it online as cheap as $169.99, I think at TigerDirect), and there's a $50 mail-in rebate going on now.

CLP-315 page at Samsung.
They have a different version called the CLP-315W that supports wireless printing, it's about $50 more I think.

While reviews are pretty good, most seem to indicate the print quality is not top-line razor sharp so whether it would cut the mustard for serious professional use (newsletters etc.) I don't know. For my purposes at home it seems ideal though.

I've been using an ancient Okidata LED printer since about 1997. It works OK but is noisy, and apparently (as a printer designed before USB printing became commonplace) it has trouble handling graphics, maps etc. now that I have to use a parallel-to-USB adapter on my latest computer. I tried fiddling with various settings, but it still tends to cut graphics off and get a "print overrrun" about 1/4 through the page.

I often use Mapquest, Google maps, etc. and even when I could get maps to print on older computers I had, it was frustrating not having color as so many things on maps are highlighted via colors. Heck, even printing some maps from lotro databases in color should be helpful.  icon_smile
10003  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 26, 2008, 04:10:18 AM
As promised, helm wise...

Helm as Broom Head... or is it a sheep head growing out of my head? Or is it the kind of wig some poor lady doling out food at the school cafeteria might wear?  icon_confused

Helm as... upside down teapot?... or is it, upside down goblet? Or maybe a goblet someone mashed through a giant insect?

Thus this gal Just Says No to visible helms...
10004  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Why are there no Warhammer Online Impressions thread? on: September 25, 2008, 10:12:14 PM
Are there any signs of a free trial (7 or 10-day maybe) at some point? Most of what I read here and in reviews/impressions (esp. Gamespy and VE3D takes of late) suggest it wouldn't really suit my PVE focus enough in the long run, but I'd certainly still like to give it a whirl somewhere down the road.
10005  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 25, 2008, 09:15:45 PM
Destructor, if you're willing to mail order (I'm guessing you aren't near a Micro Center retail location), Micro Center seems to have tons of them in stock now. My latest inventory check here in Virginia shows 337  icon_eek at that location. Many of their other locations have 90, 100, 200 or more in stock. But you can mail order from them as well (for mail order it's listed "in stock" and ships in 1-3 days). The only limit is "1 per customer."

XP version

This week I've been using it a lot to show people photos and movies I took during some events on a 4-day vacation (sort of handy at work, our computers don't have speakers for the most part). And my mom enjoyed seeing stuff on its relatively big screen vs. on my Palm or my Zen MP3 player/photo viewer.

One co-worker is very envious, but she might prefer the 6-cell battery. And while I consider the keyboard maybe 2nd best in this 8.9" size range (next to the much costlier, hotter-running HP Mini-Note), people do initially worry the keyboard's too small. I don't think that concern goes away until you actually type on it for a while (and I don't mean typing "now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their" blah blah in a store). I mean, really type something for a few minutes on it.  icon_smile

I'm using it frequently to look up stuff for LOTRO. I know if I played in windowed-mode I could probably pull up my browser on screen, but it's really quite handy to pull up databases and maps on the AA1, and I can practically just plop it in front of my regular 19" monitor to see where I need to go -- which I often need help on in that game.  icon_razz

Of course, it's not something I *need,* I'm just looking for any practical/fun use for it, and it really isn't that hard to find such uses. icon_biggrin
10006  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 25, 2008, 05:49:08 PM
Cripes if you have 2.5 Gold, you're in far better shape and have far more willpower than I ever was/had.  icon_smile We dont' have a smiley that indicates "jealousy."  icon_cool

After some grueling group instances, my 48 Captain finally had about 1.3 gold. But rather than be nice and mail it back to my horse-less 36 Hunter, I blew it all on probably the most expensive 2-handed weapon in the auction house (worth it, but my Hunter cried "foul"  tear) I even sent a thank you in-game mail to the guy who crafted it.

My experience (limited) is most people want to just race their crafting skill to the max and then make high-end stuff. I've tried auctioning lower-end stuff I've crafted and generally there's no interest in them (you'll generally get better quest reward stuff). At the high end though (esp. with unique or one-use recipes) are some really special things. My Captain stumbled on a rash of nice high end bow recipes in Angmar and I've been mailing those to my Hunter (who has woodworking) in hopes I can make those eventually.

There's an L50 guardian in my kin with the highest end woodworking, and he apparently can craft one-shot "acorn summoner whistles" that anyone can use to summon a fellowship member to their side (if the summonee has travel rations). Or at least I think it's woodworking (the "wood carving" animation appears when he's making an acorn).

I am not really "good" at any sort of crafting aside from Prospecting yet, but fwiw I find the crafting easier to grasp and understand in LOTRO than in many other MMOs I've tried. Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa to me had utterly baffling crafting systems. AoC I had a better handle on than those, but I didn't really find it worth my time to pursue much.

LOTRO's crafting I have a better understanding of, and some of the crafting animations (while understandably repetitive) I do find kinda fun to watch/listen to. Although, when I'm trying to catch up on a skill, I invariably have to make 25-30-35 of something at a time, and then it's time to go watch TV while I'm at the forge...
10007  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 25, 2008, 01:27:21 PM
Taiwan's BenQ earlier in the month (I missed it icon_confused) plans to enter this category with both 8.9" and 10" notebooks. Other than apparently an LED-backlit screen for the 10" model, and maybe having the trackpad buttons in the preferred "below the trackpad" position, it's basically Par for the Course, feature-wise. Or are all the 10" netbooks using LED screens now?  icon_confused

Taiwan's BenQ joins low-cost netbook PC market
"For our new products, we hope we can have about five percent market share in one to two years," BenQ Corp Chief Executive Officer and President Conway Lee told reporters at a news conference, where BenQ displayed its "Joybook Lite" netbooks.

Lee did not give sales and shipment forecasts of its Joybook Lite PC, weighing about 1 kilo, and which has a 10-inch LED-backlit display [the 8.9" model seems to be a "regular" LCD] and a sleek outer shell to attract design-conscious customers.

Various links: (lots of photos)
10008  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 24, 2008, 09:06:59 PM
Maybe, but if I show you some of the ridiculous helms I've had (one looked like a big, ornate, upside down teapot), I think clearly you wouldn't think they looked appealing on a Dwarf, a Hobbit, an Elf, a Man or even a boar.  smirk I'll try to share my "worst helms" pics later if I can track the images down.

It's not unique to LOTRO. AoC has some interesting helms later on, but most early ones basically make you look like Johnny Carson-as-Floyd R. Turbo (you'll probably have to be at least 40 years old to understand that comparison ).  icon_razz

I'm sure Turbine would argue they "fit Tolkien Lore," but I'll bet Tolkien didn't envision people running around with upside down teapots and broom-heads and feather-dusters sticking out of the top of their skulls.  icon_razz In the end, it's not a big deal. I just kinda missed the excitement I've felt in other games (even Diablo II and its clones) when I got a new helm and couldn't wait to wear it. Now the "helm excitement" in lotro is strictly about improved stats, and I keep helm visual disabled on basically all my characters.

I do like that they added a fairly affordable "barbershop" feature while I was away and you can fairly painlessly change hairstyles as the mood fits ya.
10009  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 24, 2008, 06:31:43 PM
Even though it's still a small segment of things, I see more articles wringing hands about netbooks nibbling at the market for "real" notebooks:
“We believe the netbook market is starting to make inroads into the core notebook market as a more price-conscious consumer opts for the cheaper alternative,” he wrote in his Intel note this morning. Intel is addressing the netbook market with its Atom processor, so the company is not being cut out of the food chain; but Rakesh notes that Atom processors sell at much lower price points and carry thinner gross margins. The Atom, he notes, sells for $20-$40 and carries a 45% gross margin, while the Core2Duo sells for $140-$250 and carries a gross margin of 56%.
10010  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - [upgrading Trial to full, retaining trial characters] on: September 24, 2008, 06:16:30 PM

Quote from: Xmann on September 22, 2008, 04:41:58 PM

ok, trial ended today and i want to upgrade my subscription to retail.    however, i want to make sure i upgrade the trial account so i can keep my character and not have to create new.

so when i log onto my account page, it gives me an option to purchase the retail digital version.   is this the correct way to upgrade?   just wondering because i don't see an option to upgrade the account, just to buy the game.
A few threads tackle this question. Some point to this tech support page (below, the URL is a mess, length-wise), and it should guide you through it.

The short answer is yes, you can just buy it digitally. However, make sure you log in with your *trial account login* if you want to keep your trial characters. Do not set up a new account login, or your trial characters won't carry over, is what they seem to say.
How do I convert my Free Trial account to a subscription?


You must purchase a retail copy of LOTRO and have a Retail Product Key in order to convert your free trial to a retail subscription.

You can purchase a Retail Product Key either by linking here [] or by purchasing a retail copy of The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM in a store.

To upgrade your LOTRO trial account once you have a LOTRO Retail Product Key:

   1. Link to our Account Management website:
   2. Wait for the page to fully load and log into it with the same Username and Password that you used to log into your LOTRO trial
   3. Once logged in, click "Activate Product Key"
   4. Enter your Retail Product Key
   5. Click “Submit”
   6. After submitting the Retail Product Key, you will be asked if you want to upgrade your Buddy/Trial subscription. Make sure to choose YES
   7. If you have more than one LOTRO subscription on your account, you will be asked which one you want to upgrade. Make sure you choose the subscription that you want to upgrade

Any characters from your trial account will be converted to your retail subscription.

The 30 free days of LOTRO gameplay begin once a payment method is selected and the LOTRO subscription is activated.
If you need more info, this Search Results page links to a lot of forum threads on converting trial to full:

10011  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 24, 2008, 06:08:58 PM

Quote from: TiLT on September 20, 2008, 04:02:38 PM

Why are you slicing up that poor man's shoulder in the last screenshot? slywink

Georien was trying to cut Verdara's head off to get the cool helm.  icon_twisted

I got a fine quest rewards helm the other day, and it would look cool if not for what looks like a giant broom head mounted on top of it. It's been a common complaint since probably late beta that too many helms look silly/ridiculous/ungainly. Turbine's solution was to let you "disable" viewing of almost everything, but I wish they would just simplify some of the attempts at "helm flourishes" or even let you remove certain "components" from helms.

If I bring it up in chat, nobody disagrees - I always get a lot of chuckles and "oh yeah I haven't enabled helm view since I was level 5" and the like. Of course, a "cool helm design" is entirely subjective, but I can't help thinking if they just told the helm art designers, "Keep it simple," they would see more people enabling helm views in-game.

Xmann, I'll search the official forums and see if I can find an answer for you. I'm sure many others have brought up the "how do I upgrade a trial version and keep my characters" question before.
10012  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Vista (64-bit) freezing at startup on: September 23, 2008, 12:32:03 AM
The situation has been resolved. I thank one and all for suggestions.

After some fiddling the two programs are back to behaving well and the startup troubles are gone.  icon_smile

I think the problem is that CounterSpy upgraded its software to the new version in the background (probably while I was playing LOTRO). And you need to run the setup before it configures properly. So my theory isn't so much the two programs were conflicting - it was that CounterSpy wasn't set up yet and I had to get NOD32 out of the way temporarily to do that. Now I've re-enabled everything (including CounterSpy's Vipre AV), and all's well.
10013  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Vista (64-bit) freezing at startup on: September 22, 2008, 10:22:51 PM
Brendan, I think your question I didn't answer correctly - at some point recently CounterSpy upgraded itself to 3.0, which includes their new anti-virus service. And I'm almost positive now that conflicts with NOD32 (maybe it even detects Nod32 as an AV and blocks it, for all I know).  icon_smile

So thanks, I think you actually got my troubleshooting brain going in the correct direction.

Now I have to figure out if I like CounterSpy's AV enough to stop using NOD32.

Hmm. OK now I'm more confused. CounterSpy 3's own demo says its designed to run alongside AV programs, including NOD32, without problems. icon_confused Guess I gotta keep experimentin'.
10014  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Vista (64-bit) freezing at startup on: September 22, 2008, 10:12:25 PM
Oh. Man. You know what?

I didn't realize this but CounterSpy added a "Vipre anti-virus service" Service to its utility recently, I'm not even sure when. Just noticed that on the System Configuration list. I wonder if it's conflicting with NOD32? I'm going to see if disabling the Vipre lets me run NOD32 without problems.

We'll just say a prayer I just don't screw things up royally.  icon_razz

Or I guess conversely, I can just let CounterSpy be my end all and let NOD32 rot (I'm sure that's CounterSpy's marketing goal icon_neutral)
10015  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Vista (64-bit) freezing at startup on: September 22, 2008, 10:03:06 PM
Ew, thanks. icon_smile I guess I had stumbled into it via Control Panel/Administrative Services but the command line I always forget ("sysinfo" no longer works, I think that's what I often used).

No, I definitely had not installed anything recently (beyond LOTRO updating itself).

OK, it turns out I hadn't fully disabled NOD 32.
10016  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Vista (64-bit) freezing at startup on: September 22, 2008, 09:36:40 PM
So add me to the list of forlorn souls trying to troubleshoot a startup problem. It could be a hard drive problem following a defragmenting run the other day so I won't yell "Vista sucks" just yet, but I am at a loss right now.

And yes, I've run a Hijack This log but I don't really see anything fishy. I have taken a case side off to see if there was any nasty fan buildup (there wasn't, surprisingly enough).

Basically, it boots up, I get to the desktop, and then the hard drive grinds, and it freezes. If I'm lucky, I can get the Start menu to open, or Task Manager, but I can't do anything, no response.

I've tried multiple system restores from a few days ago, but it doesn't help.

I've tried disabling both my anti-virus (NOD32, 64-bit upgraded version) and anti-spyware (CounterSpy), and that enabled me to actually boot up, but then the system doesn't see my cable Internet connection at all. Both programs have been trouble-free for months now.

Right now I'm only able to access the Internet via "Safe Mode with Networking."

After doing a hard drive defrag run the other night I noticed it was booting up slowly the next day (though it would eventually get back to normal). I think something is keeping it from processing startup programs properly, but I just can't figure it out.

After various reboot attempts I got an ominous DOS_type message about the C-drive and it ran chkdsk and seemed to fix a few things (or at least try to). I'm convinced the defragmenter put some files in the wrong place, but I don't have any way of knowing.

Anyway, I really don't know what to do at this point. I've got my Aspire One handy in case I'm no longer able to get Internet access on this.

I do have system recovery discs, or I can run an original system recovery that HP provides [off a separate partition] I don't think it would delete what I have on the drives now, but I'm guessing my various games wouldn't work anymore without a re-install - I'm not playing much though, at least.

Another annoying thing is I stumbled into some way to access the sort of "sysinfo" startup tab XP offered [that gives you a checklist of start programs/processes to enable/disable], but now I can't remember how to get back to it. Driving me crazy, I can't even Google up how I did it.
10017  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 22, 2008, 12:04:26 PM
Here's an interesting tidbit about a Belgian hardware company whose "wireless modules" are destined for the AA1:

Option extends relationship with Acer, shares soar
Belgian business daily De Tijd reported Acer, the world's third biggest PC vendor, would be using Option's wireless modules in Aspire One, a new small laptop.

De Tijd said Aspire One, launched in June, would later this year be the first mini-laptop with an in-built modem and that Acer was marketing it aggressively.
I'm guessing this will be the 3G module, though it doesn't spell that out, per se.

Mentioned that Packard Bell AA1 re-branding of sorts, and this Taiwan article seems to clarify that Acer wants to move their netbooks (AA1, basically) to other brand lines (though afik, Packard Bell is pretty much dead in the U.S., and is a brand they use more in Europe and elsewhere):

Acer expects to achieve revenues of US$20 billion in 2008
In additional news, Acer is also planning to transfer its netbook product lines to after 2-3 years to maintain the Acer brand image of signifying "innovation". The Gateway and Packard Bell brands will be associated with mainstream products, according to sources at the company.
Before I got my AA1, I didn't associate Acer with "innovation," I associated it with "cheap." Actually, price-wise, that's still what I happily associate it with, post AA1.  icon_cool So, I dunno if moving it away from the Acer name sounds smart, if they really intend to do that. I mean, the AA1 is finally giving Acer a "cool" product association for the brand name. I'd build on that, if I were them. But they didn't ask me.  icon_razz
10018  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: September 22, 2008, 03:47:52 AM
My EBGames complimentary Game Informer subscription keeps reaching me with a "THIS IS YOUR LAST ISSUE! UNLESS WE HEAR FROM YOU!" warning cover on it. I figure I'll just let them hang for now.

However, the latest issue has a pretty detailed look at Star Trek Online with lots of interviews (including one with Leonard Nimoy, more focused on J.J. Abrahams' movie).

I feel more hopeful after reading it that you won't be reduced to piloting your Starship around the cosmos looking to "farm" Dilithium Crystals, and that the avatar combat won't reduce you to "grinding Klingons all day" to level. disgust

OTOH, a lot of what they're trying to explain (using the TV show episodes as a loose "template" for content instances, for example) are going to be hard for a lot of gamers to wrap their minds around. And they might end up with something like Pirates of the Burning Sea, which is interesting, and different, and in many ways unique, but also has consolidated servers, and isn't remotely in danger of having the largest player base ever.  icon_neutral Sometimes Being Different = Niche Product, and I doubt Cryptic wants that.
10019  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sacred 2 Gone Gold on: September 21, 2008, 06:35:11 AM
I did get and play Sacred and its expansion quite a bit. I never felt like they really recaptured the addictive "click-splurch" combat of Diablo I/II -- I felt Titan Quest did a better job of recapturing that, especially the Immortal Throne expansion. Of course, since Immortal Throne proved so addictive for me early last year that I got very painful right-wrist tendinitis, had to to wear various wrist braces for months, saw a doctor, and almost looked into getting surgery, I'm not really sure I *want* Sacred 2 to be *that* addictive.  paranoid I think (43) I might be getting too old for clickfest RPG-lites, in terms of my deteriorating limbs.  icon_lol

Anyway, what I loved about Sacred was its relatively non-linearity, huge world, almost like an MMO in some regards. I did find it brutally, almost unfairly difficult in places (something I often run into in European-developed games - they just seem to enjoy punishing gamers).

The GameTrailers trailer is pretty cool. But definitely you can't really judge how combat in a game feels from a video. I want it to be good - we'll see.  icon_smile If I find it remotely entertaining, I'm sure I'll be blabbing here all about it.

The mounts in particular (tigers, what look like rhinos, horses you can leg-kick with etc.) look like a lot of fun:

Everyone can get a variety of horses with bridle, saddle and armor options; each of the classes has its own unique mount (Seraphim gets the Tiger, Shadow Warrior the Hellhound etc.).
10020  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: T-Mobile German 3G for AA1; Gateway model on: September 20, 2008, 05:17:05 PM
Interesting tidbit about T-Mobile Germany's 3G package for AA1:

T-Mobile Germany Acer Aspire One 3G offer: €1 netbook with 2yr HSDPA contract
T-Mobile Germany have announced a deal which will see them selling a heavily-subsidized Acer Aspire One netbook along with 3G WWAN data access.  The setup, which will be internal an HSDPA modem, is similar to that recently announced by Vodafone in the UK, who have an exclusive European deal with Dell to offer 3G versions of the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook.

Acer's been very chatty at the Hungary expo, and this item mentions that as they now own Gateway, they may launch a Gateway-branded netbook next year. This Electronista item dangles the possibility it could have a bigger screen and maybe enter the Wind/EeePC 1000 category (although they may just be whistling in the wind on that ).

Acer to expand Aspire one line, add Gateway netbook
The company, which bought PC maker Gateway last year, will also launch a Gateway-branded netbook, Lanci indicated. While details on either are not known, it is possible the new Aspire ones will have a screen larger than the current offering’s 8.9-inch screen.

Other interesting pieces of information revealed about Acer’s future at the conference included the announcement that a 3G module equipped Aspire one will be available this October, while a WiMAX version will come in 2009. No prices were announced for either model.
10021  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: September 20, 2008, 04:55:46 PM
I finally canceled today. Not so much in disgust, but realizing I'm much happier back in LOTRO, and everyone on my buddy list in AOC seemed to have already quit anyway.

In case others belatedly quitting like me get confused at the account page -- I think once you go into your Account Details page, you'll see a Cancel button near the bottom (you may have to scroll to see it).

They give you a couple drop down menus to show why you're leaving, and then a chance to type some thoughts in. Mine were mainly about (at least my perception/opinion) the lack of enough regions/quests for PVE to keep it interesting in the long run (the upcoming Ymir's Pass might help around 55-60 or so but not much else), and way too much reliance on "reward poster hunts" (I'd stick with the free Dungeon Runners if that's all I wanted in a game) and repeatable quests as a mechanical means to keep leveling.

I know to some extent they're trying so hard to chewing gum-baling wire remedy both the PVE and PVP parts of the game, that they don't seem to be pleasing anyone (except the die hards that start cussing out anyone who criticizes the game at the official boards).

The fact the guy (Godager) who put years into the game is so soured on the experience he's exiting game development altogether, and that Anarchy Online's head guy (and I didn't particularly like AO when I tried it) is taking over did nothing for my confidence this week.

It's all such a shame because the combat, mounts, music, NPC voiceovers, all sorts of stuff, are among (imho) the coolest I've experienced in an MMO. But obviously there's a lot more to a polished MMO than that and even as maybe the last fan of the game here, I'm not sure how it's going to survive the next few months with Warhammer, and WoW and LOTRO expansions gobbling up the player population's interest.
10022  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 20, 2008, 02:52:18 PM
I got to do the infamous Fornost Instance (and, finally get these pesky Rotted Barghest Paws necessary for one of the Captain's 45 Quests  icon_biggrin) with my Kinship last night. Good grief, it took something like 5 hours. I didn't get much experience, if at all, for the actual combat (it's mostly upper 30s stuff) but the quest exp was still helpful, and some rewards were still useful (for my 48 captain).

The infamous paws (sometimes sold at the Auction House for a King's Ransom) were from Barghest about, oh lets say, 4 hours 45 minutes into it.  Roll Eyes I am told Turbine finally added some to the Bree Cave Instance, NW of Bree, just to no longer basically blackmail players into having to do such a grueling instance at a level you get no experience for combat in. I actually got 7 extra paws out of it, so I'm torn between charging, well, a King's Ransom at the auction house (maybe a moot point if they're in that Bree cave now), or saving it my kinship's House in case an up and coming Captain wants to save some frustration.

Anyway, caught some pretty fun screenshots during the instance. Here's some (apologies to dialups, I wanted to keep the images fairly crisp):

To be fair, much of the Kin is playing or interested in Warhammer, but they also seem pretty loyal/addicted to LOTRO. The server was really hopping last night, fwiw.
10023  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 19, 2008, 07:54:53 PM
Something called ChannelWeb has some coverage of Acer execs holding a global press conference in Hungary:

Acer Execs Trumpet Virtues Of Mobility
Gartner says 10 million Netbooks will ship in 2008, but that number will jump to 25 million in 2009, and Aspire One will help position Acer for the coming wave of Netbook adoption. "Notebooks are now becoming the primary PC, and we're now starting to see Netbooks becoming the secondary PC," Lanci said.

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, has been closely watching the industry's transformation from standard desktop technology into all sorts of unique form factors that emphasize smaller sizes and better mobility.

"It's great to see Acer entering this market, because historically they've had high quality products at very aggressive price points, which should help this market segment grow even larger," said Swank.
10024  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 19, 2008, 07:40:09 PM
Packard Bell is launching an 8.9" netbook in November called "dot." Since the company is related to Acer (it seems to sound like they're both subsidiaries of something bigger), the first suspicion might be "rebranding" but Packard Bell execs ballyhoo it as a freshly designed one at least cosmetically though it sounds like the innards are pretty much the standard trappings for this category. As with a growing number of these, there's a slot for an optional 3G module though it's not entirely clear if that'll be available at launch.

Packard Bell Unveils New Netbook Perfect for Socializing [look under Sept. 19 listings at this page below]
*Elegant Black Glossy Cover
*Deliciously Red Design Details
Packard Bell launches "dot" netbook
8.9-inch XP model aimed at families to go on sale in November
"We told our designers and engineers to rethink the netbook, to look at it through the eyes of a family, not a company. The result is the dot."

The popular choice for netbooks of the Intel Atom processor will also be featured in the dot, helping to increase battery life, and there's even room for an extra 6-cell battery should you fancy getting really heavy-duty use from it.

There's a 160GB hard drive for plenty of storage, and its 1GB of RAM should make for a fairly speedy performance. As additional extras, the machine has an optional 3G module for speedier browsing and optional webcam, should you so wish.

The dot is set to be released in Europe in November, starting at around €399/£315.
That's about $578 U.S., though it's not clear if it'll come to the North American market and prices don't generally directly translate like that.
A quick search dug up:

Flickr photo gallery of the Dot:
http:[email protected]/2869143675/
Well, the "delicious red details" seems to refer to the clown-nose red hinges.  Roll Eyes It looks an awful lot like an Acer Aspire One, down to having a full size right shift key and the maligned mouse buttons left and right of the trackpad. So maybe it really *is* just a re-branding.  icon_confused
10025  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: WAR - smooth like a baby's bottom on: September 19, 2008, 02:43:35 AM
I've only played a handful of MMOs at launch -- City of Heroes, LOTRO, Tabula Rasa and Age of Conan. If Warhammer is more in line with the first two there (I consider COH and LOTRO to be the smoothest large-scale launch MMOs I've tried at launch), then color me impressed.  icon_smile
10026  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: September 18, 2008, 12:45:50 PM
I logged back in for the first time in weeks (although I'd reactivated LOTRO, I hadn't canceled AoC yet). Yesterday's patch didn't seem to cause me any problems, although I've read quite a lot of complaints at the forums (crashes, freezes etc.).

The guild I was in had understandably kicked out my L72 warrior at some point. Spawns seemed heavier/thicker in some areas than I remember, but it may just be the lack of players yesterday evening in the PVE areas.

The combat was still as fun and visceral as I remember it, but my quest list was clogged with endless hunt quests (They can put lipstick on a pig by calling them "Wanted Poster" quests, but they are what they are.  disgust), also as I remember it -- and it still bothers me the quest tracker can't have more than one quest up on screen as a time. That was the beginning of my "why don't they do it the way Turbine does it in LOTRO" syndrome (there the quest tracker can show up to 5 on screen at any time, really helpful when you're "multitasking" quests) which eventually led me back there.
10027  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Windows sound problem on: September 18, 2008, 12:37:28 PM
OK, I guess it applies to XP too (that part of the sound settings didn't seem to change from XP to Vista):

Again though, it might not be the prob, it's just what comes up when I try various searches.  icon_neutral
10028  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 18, 2008, 05:28:46 AM
Who said Japan's boring?  icon_smile I just wanted to be clear what market I was babbling about.

And further proof the "General Media" is taking note of these things going crazy in the marketplace... (this one's from Canada). I don't agree with the sentiment expressed by the guy in the story's lead - you'll see what I mean.  icon_razz

Attack of the netbooks
Most people will never notice a small black slab, otherwise known as an Asus Eee PC, quietly chugging along in a lonely corner of an office building. Robert Graham counts on it. The little laptop is busy hacking its way into corporate network traffic--allowing Graham to monitor a company's Internet traffic and possibly snoop passwords and other sensitive data. The device is small and cheap enough--$249 a pop [Eh? What's that? A corporate discount? saywhat]--that Graham doesn't even care if someone grabs or destroys it.

"They're disposable," shrugs Graham, who, as chief executive of Errata Security, gets paid to try to break into corporate networks.
Disposable? DISPOSABLE? Why I oughta...  icon_twisted

And a drop of reality on the notion these things are going as crazy as I seem to suggest:
Although the trend is getting buzz, analysts point out that netbook sales still amount to only a small drop in PC sales overall. IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell predicts net sales of 3.5 million PCs worldwide this year and 5 million next (although those sales could stall if the economy continues to chill). By contrast, all PC shipments worldwide are expected to be 311 million units.
10029  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 18, 2008, 04:55:07 AM
Saw an item about a pretty neat ultra-thin "mini-notebook docking station" (including DVD-ROM drive), that a company called Ban Leong hopes will catch on with owners of Eee PCs, AA1s, Winds etc. This comes in two models. Each has a cooling fan meant to help keep the netbook cool, and an extra hard drive enclosure. The pricier one ($149) incorporates an ultra-thin DVD-RW drive.

Ban Leong introduces eGear Mini Notebook Docking Kit
The ePA series is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems and work perfectly with Ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) e.g. Asus eePC, Acer Aspire One. HP Mini-Note, Packard Bell Easynote, Lenovo Ideapad, Dell Inspiron Mini etc.

The ePA-106 comes with a high performance fan to deliver quiet cooling so that users no longer worry about their UMPCs getting overheated. The ePA-108, on the other hand, comes with a slim DVD-RW SuperMulti Optical Drive. In addition, both models come with a spare 2.5” SATA HDD enclosure enabling users’ UMPCs to have a larger storage capacity of up to 320GB for all their important data. They also include USB 2.0 ports for a high speed data transfer.

The new eGear Mini Notebook Docking Kit line consists of the following models:
[$49]*ePA-106: Comes with slim 2.5” SATA HDD enclosure with quiet cooling fan. Available in black and white.
[$149]*ePA-108: Comes with slim 2.5” SATA HDD enclosure with DVD-RW SuperMulti Optical Drive. Available in black only.

On the more boring side, I saw a Taiwan newspaper article talking about sales in this category in Japan, fwiw:

Asustek expects Eee PCs to help challenge top-five notebook vendor spot in Japan
...Asustek Computer sold 85,000 Eee PCs in Japan in the first half of this year. In July the company shipped 45,000 units and in August 58,000, bringing total shipments to 188,000 units for the first eight months in 2008, according to a Japanese-language Business Computer News (BCN) report.

The company's 8.9-inch Eee PC901-X and 7-inch Eee PC 4G-X took the first and second spots in the market for PCs priced below 100,000 Yen (US$946.52), and the two models' combined sales accounted for 70.5% of all the PCs that were listed, noted the report.

Acer's Aspire one accounted for 9% of sales to take the number three spot, while Micro-Star International's U100 accounted for 8% and took fourth place. Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) Mini-Note was ranked number six.
10030  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Windows sound problem on: September 18, 2008, 04:44:56 AM
If you're using Vista, maybe something caused the default "Start Navigation" navigation option to turn back on?

How to Make Windows Vista Less Annoying
Disable the Irritating Click Sounds

Have you ever noticed that every time you open a folder in Vista, or click on a link in Internet Explorer, an irritating click sound plays in your speakers? You might have thought your mouse was getting more vocal, but it's actually just an annoying sound effect that's enabled by default. A few quick steps later, you can have that annoyance disabled... just look under Sound in Control Panel, and turn off the sound for "Start Navigation."
That's the only possibility I've been able to dig up.

My whole life (career even) seems focused on Internet searches now, so I always dig a challenge.  icon_smile
10031  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: $^&@^$@$# Warhammer on: September 18, 2008, 03:04:24 AM
Yes, pre-order and/or collector's edition head starts are all the crazy rage now, the norm even. Even Auto Assault did it.  icon_razz Actually, in AA's case, I bought a $10 pre-order box so I could try it for a couple days before the game went live (and then I didn't buy it until it was going for $8.88 clearance later on). If I'd thought about it, I probably would've done it for Warhammer.

Mythic is lauding EA's ability to pile-drive retail boxes everywhere, and that probably includes getting it into everyone's hands before they can even play. I guess that's a good thing.  icon_neutral
10032  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 17, 2008, 07:34:43 PM
I don't know if this is a big revelation (probably was mentioned somewhere before), but Turbine confirmed MoM will add 2 character slots per server (so, 7 total on each):
10033  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: [Amazon] Band of Brothers blu-ray pre-order $59.95 on: September 17, 2008, 06:11:39 PM
You can always play up the DTS sound, digital remastering, picture-in-picture commentary from the real men of Easy Company and the "interactive field guide" among other features. More specifically on the field guide:
-Interactive field guide, featuring timeline, maps, soldier profiles and much more in "In the Field With The Men of Easy Company."

I'm not saying your beloved will be impressed, or even care icon_razz, but it does seem more than just a repackaging.

I wish it included some information on "The Pacific," which is a similar mini-series by HBO focusing on U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater in WWII (there's no Stephen Ambrose book source material in this case).
I haven't heard much information about it recently, but it's supposedly due next year.

I was a huge fan of BoB, both the book and the mini-series. I signed up for HBO solely so I could watch it back in 2001 (Cox Cable inexplicably decided to "dump" all of its premium subscribers and then make you re-sign, in 2002, and I never did re-up for HBO).

The series is really intertwined with my memories of 9-11 because the first two episodes aired back to back on Sept. 9 and 10. I worked all night at my newspaper editor job Monday night, watched episode 2 (which I had videotaped) probably to about 2 or 3 a.m. on Sept. 11 and then of course I woke up all the horrors of that day.

I hung out at HBO's official forums for the mini-series for quite some time in 2001-2. And I always get a treat out of seeing how many cast members still show up in TV series (Damian Lewis and Ron Livingston in particular, but I recall seeing Neal McDonough, Matthew Settle, Donnie Wahlberg, Frank John Hughes on various shows and movies, and Rick Gomez (Lutz) did some amusing VW commercials some years ago. OK, that's it for my nostalgia.  icon_smile

I'm afraid I still have a kludgy CRT TV, and no Blu-Ray player but I would certainly jump at this if I did.
10034  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Age of Conan producer/game director quits Funcom on: September 17, 2008, 12:48:14 PM
Yikes! I wonder how Funcom's going to spin this one.  eek

Funcom co-founder quits, "dissatisfied" with Age of Conan
Gaute Godager, one of the original co-founders of the company, said that he was dissatisfied with parts of the game, and that it was now time to hand control of the popular MMO over to a new team member.

"I have done my very best making this fabulous game, but I have concluded there are elements which I am dissatisfied with," said Godager.

"I have decided to act on this, and as a result I have chosen to leave Funcom."
I know we have an ocean of AoC threads, thought this was worth highlighting.

To avoid confusion though, this is *not* Funcom product manager Erling Ellingsen, whose face is probably more familiar from interviews and cheesy photo spreads (like so, But Ellingsen is more a marketing type.

Massively also has a cheesy photo of Godager in happier times...
His replacement is Craig Morrison, who's held the same position with Anarchy Online for several years prior to this change.

Morrison had a post introducing himself to players:

Godager throwing his hands up and saying "this won't work. I give up!" is... I don't know what to liken it to. I guess it's like if Jack Emmert had thrown up his hands after City of Heroes had been out a few months and said, "I'm dissatisfied with City of Heroes. I give up!"

While I'd probably have more respect for Godager if he gutted it out and found a way to make said elements "satisfying," I can't help thinking there must be something ugly going on behind the scenes there, esp. with the Funcom stock falling into a black hole (from $55 to $8 per share, as various news sites have pointed out), for him to throw in the towel in such a public fashion. Normally, if you're "bought out," a condition is to keep mouth closed as you exit, certainly not the case here.

The timing seems bizarre as they are finally getting the ballyhooed, revamped PVP system into place today I believe (or perhaps tomorrow) after some delays.

I stilll have affection for the game's combat, mounts, environments, sounds (I may have returned to LOTRO but I miss AoC's heavy use of well voice-acted NPC dialog, and visceral combat sounds) and some of its more interesting quests. I also think it has too many remaining hardware bugs, not enough different zones at the various levels to adventure in (it's a bad sign when you have to "wait in line" for quests at a certain level because everybody your level is doing the same things in the same zone), too many hunt quests (it almost rivals Dungeon Runners in that respect), a kludgy interface and UI, and seems to think "M-rating" means "Nipples everywhere!" rather than "let's do interesting quests that old farts might find interesting." icon_neutral And of course PVP is nothing like what people were hyped up to expect (this week's update might finally make a dent in that, if it works properly).
10035  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 17, 2008, 04:12:01 AM
Here's another round of blah-blah-blahs related to the AA1, albeit very heavily weighted to the Linux version side of things...

Four new mini-laptops -- which is smallest, lightest, best? [caveat: these are only the Linux versions of each, fwiw]
We pit mini-notebooks from Acer, Asus, HP and Sylvania against each other. Who's the final winner?;844696373;pp;1;fp;2;fpid;2
I hate to kill the Suspense, so I've put their Final Verdict in spoilers below. But you probably have an idea.  slywink
Spoiler for Hiden:
"Only Acer's Aspire One was just right, balancing size and weight with price and performance. It may not be the smallest or lightest, but it's the one I want to take on my next road trip because it runs for five hours [He means the 6-cell version-bj] on a charge while doing so many things well at the right price."

Acer Aspire One is I4U Top 100 Gift Tip #28 [no, don't ask me what the first 27 are, I don't want to know! icon_razz]
For Whom:
For loved ones who like to surf the web on the sofa or on the go. College kids will like the Aspire One as well as your mom or dad.

The Good:
Highly portable
Great price

The Bad:
Difficult to upgrade

New Contest: Suggest Trackur Improvements & You Could Win a Netbook! [A Linux Acer Aspire One, that is]
*However, I don't know what the heck Trackur is, and you probably want to read the fine print before you even consider it. I think it's run by Evil Marketing Types.  icon_twisted

Foresight Linux Goes Mobile
Foresight Linux's development team just rolled out a mobile version of their distribution. This new release is no lightweight at 530MB, but it does offer a whole range of functionality and pre-installed software along with a Gnome desktop that was specially created for smaller displays.

The Foresight Mobile has been tested on both the Asus Eee PC and Intel Classmate PC, so it can be safe to assume that this latest distribution package will run just fine on the MSI Wind and Acer Aspire One as well.
10036  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 16, 2008, 05:02:58 PM
I've had the same experience in certain regions on the El... (I never spell it right) server. Angmar is practically overflowing with players much of the time, esp. in the 45-50 areas. I think part of that right now may be people trying to hit the level cap before Mines of Moria releases.

However, sometimes the Misty Mountains (as it was last night) are completely deserted. I've got quests I might never complete there because it's so hard to recruit one player to help in MM, much less a full fellowship. I started telling jokes in the LFF channel because I knew I was the only player there.  icon_razz

And the whole past weekend I was unable to start or latch on a team in the mid 40s. Part of is how important minstrels and guardians are to high level teams (most of the LFM messages are very specific, and Captains seem rarely if ever specifically sought out).

But, prior to the weekend, I'd had a lot of fun on various fellowships for several days. So while I reserve the right to kvetch (I'm sure if I shared these observations on the official forums, the responses would be along the lines of "Don'T HATE on LoTRO! You're just a LOSER playing on a LOSER SERVER!" or something else constructive disgust), I don't want to generalize or lose hope based on a couple bad days. I still enjoy the game. I just wish players used the LFF tools more (the drop down quest menus, the short "ad" you can type in etc.).

My rambling point is it's really hard to see any consistency in Fellowship-ness or availability/presence of other players. It varies a lot by day of the week, time of the day, What Other Hot Happening MMOs are out there (no doubt the Wow expansion and Warhammer Online are going to gobble away some LOTRO players, but I'm not one of them  icon_razz) etc. My own impressions of the El... server in terms of player population vary wildly.
10037  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Help me to get RON to run on: September 16, 2008, 01:57:35 AM
The only suggestion I could think of is to check if there's an option to run it in "windowed" mode. Maybe that would keep it from being chopped off, though it might be too small on the screen to be playable.  icon_confused

I saw a YouTube video that purports to show Rise of Nations on an Eee PC but it's hard to tell what model:
10038  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 16, 2008, 01:41:32 AM
I've no clue who "Zombie Columbus" is (a member of LOTRO's dev team, and apparently head of the team developing the new Rune-Keeper class), but he posted a pretty interesting attempt at a "Rune-Keeper mini-FAQ."

Rune-keeper Mini-FAQ
I’m worried that no one at Turbine [has] considered the lore of the Rune-keeper.
Lore consideration has been part of the classes design since day one. Since I was first asked to head the development of the class, keeping the class grounded in Tolkien’s work has been a high priority. Actually, the lore was a great help in deciding what he could and couldn’t do, which helped focus the gameplay design choices. On a personal level, I am very proud of the result and believe that playing the class in game is fun, exciting and less lore jarring then most fear.

How will the Rune-keepers DPS compare to the Hunter or Champion?
As stated in the dev diary, the rune-keeper is designed to be a primary DPS class. Expect the damage he can deal out to be in the same ballpark as those two. Much as the Hunter and Champion are different yet comparable, the Rune-keeper will have is own strengths and weaknesses. The Rune-keepers biggest difference is that it takes more time to ramp up to full effect, due to his DoT (damage over time) based gameplay. The best example of this is the Writ of Fire skill. Using it puts a DoT on a foe, but using it a second and third time will upgrade that DoT up to full damage. After that, occasional uses of the skill will be required to maintain the DoT at full strength.

What about healing? Will my Minstrel be useless?
Minstrels will not be useless, but they will no longer be the only primary healer. Much as with damage, the Rune-keeper will be healing comparable amounts as the Minstrel, but in different ways. The Rune-keeper will do some things better and some things worse then the Minstrel. The Rune-keeper’s emphasis is on maintenance and HoTs (heal over time), with his quick heals lacking compared to the Minstrel. Like DPS, it will take time to get all of his HoTs pulsing.

CC? But that’s what Burglars and Lore-masters are supposed to do!
That wasn’t a question, but I know what you are saying. The design of the Rune-keeper was interesting because when Battle attuned (as most solo players will likely be) there are no good heals to get you out of a bind. This, coupled with his light armour and lack of a shield, made adding some form of CC important to keep soloing viable. However, since the Rune-keeper is not a CC class, any skills that were added needed to be low potency and not very useful during group play. With those design goals in mind, I made the few CC skills that he does have. Shocking Touch, from the dev diary, is a good example. It dazes, but for a short amount of time and only at melee range, and pulls Attunement towards the Steady state. This skill works very well while soloing, but not terribly useful during group play, since the Rune-keeper will usually try to be a distance from the fighting.

Heals and DPS on one character? You sir, are mad!
Just about every LOTRO class has multiple roles it can fill if geared, traited and played particular ways, the Rune-keeper is no different. Like those other classes, the Rune-keeper has stops in place that keep him from being multiple roles at the same time. In fact, the stops for the Rune-keeper are more extreme then other classes we’ve done this with. Consider the Minstrel swapping from War-speech to healing (1 toggle) or a Champion dropping from Fervor to Glory stance (1 toggle). The Rune-keeper will require multiple skill plays to go from fully Battle Attuned to Healing, and if not properly traited, will not be able to dish out as much healing or damage as others.

Will Elves be able to use the same runes as Dwarves?
There is no mechanical difference between the two races. There was some thought of doing this, but it was decided not to make the initial race choice (a choice that cannot be changed later) significantly impact a player’s gameplay style.

Will Rune-stones really be the only weapon? Where do they come from?
Yes. You will be auto-attacking in melee with them. The Rune-stones will not allow the Rune-keeper to block, but parrying is possible. Rune-stones will be able to be crafted by Jewelers and be found in loot, boss drops and as quest reward.
I think part of the reason for all the flame wars (at the official forums) over this class is fear, and lack of precise information. I can understand Turbine not wanting to reveal too much too soon in terms of the expansion, but LOTRO has has no new classes since launch. You gotta expect players to be nervous about how new character types change the mix, impact other character types, etc.

10039  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 15, 2008, 09:20:47 PM
That's cool, hope you find our posts enlightening or amusing.  icon_smile

Hey, I hadn't been paying attention to this LG X110. Cosmetically, it's just a re-branded MSI Wind -- however, they apparently plan to offer 3G and GPS "modules" built-in as options, and that seems to be the main differentiator. Prices (at least U.S. equivalents) are a bit steep if you want the module stuff though, it looks like $699 or thereabouts?

Hands-on with LG's X110 netbook: HSDPA, GPS and a price to match

If you're as unhip as I am, you're scratching your head and saying "What the Sam Heck is HSDPA???" It's apparently just a fancy pants term for this 3G stuff:
HSDPA, short for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, is a new protocol for mobile telephone data transmission. It is known as a 3.5G (G stands for generation) technology. Essentially, the standard will provide download speeds on a mobile phone equivalent to an ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) line in a home, removing any limitations placed on the use of your phone by a slow connection. It is an evolution and improvement on W-CDMA, or Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, a 3G protocol. HSDPA improves the data transfer rate by a factor of at least five over W-CDMA. HSDPA can achieve theoretical data transmission speeds of 8-10 Mbps (megabits per second). Though any data can be transmitted, applications with high data demands such as video and streaming music are the focus of HSDPA.
So, in other words, HSDPA is a fancy way of saying 3G, and will improve on W-CDMA while being roughly the same as ADSL. Simple! Ugh! If I read any more acronyms or gobbledygook initials, I'll scream!  retard

I guess HSDPA could be prounced "Hussedpa!" icon_razz
10040  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Your First PC on: September 15, 2008, 01:10:41 PM
I was never able to pull the trigger on Commodore stuff although I recall often looking at them longingly in catalog stores (Best, C.W. Bell etc.). My mom did buy an Atari 800, but we never really did much with it (about 1982).

My brother owned a Kaypro II "portable" (more like lugging a loaded suitcase) text-only CP/M computer for years in the mid 1980s.

I still own a 1987 Amstrad (UK) green-screen word processing system that used proprietary 3" disk cartridges, a "disk-based" CP/M system (no internal storage of any kind) and the world's loudest dot matrix printer. It was still notable for bridging me from my trusty Smith-Corona into word processing and some crude green-screen computer games, and I used it heavily from 1987 to that First PC in late 1992. The Amstrad's still in my closet. The best thing I can say about that one is that if the Apocalypse ever comes and some virus destroys every PC on the planet, I'll still be able to plug that sucker in and at least write, even if the printer is enough to cause deafness if you don't leave the room.  icon_razz It's not something I ever had to troubleshoot - it was as reliable as a toaster oven.  icon_neutral

Then again, I'm not sure I still have that dot matrix paper with the perforated, holed stripes on the side. So maybe it wouldn't save me afterall.  icon_razz

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