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4001  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / DVD Players on: January 08, 2005, 10:51:21 PM
i bought a Sony DVP-NS415 for a little over $100US a couple years ago and it's been a great.  it's never given me any trouble reading discs, and the picture/audio quality is great.  they've released new models since then, as well as dropped the price, but i'm sure the quality is just the same.  i quick search around the web comes up with a couple nice Sony players that should be in your price range...check out the Sony DVP-NS525 for one that should be right around the $100CAD range Cool
4002  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Which DVD/CD Burning software do you use? on: January 08, 2005, 05:00:38 AM
Newegg has the NEC 3520A in an OEM version with software in three different colors...for an additional $3, they throw in a copy of Roxio EMC Basic.  just look for the ones listed as "OEM w/ software" and you can pick up the drive and Roxio for $67.99 (+$4 s/h).  they're available in beige, silver, and black.

i'm on the verge of buying one myself, but i'm holding off just a little bit longer to see some opinions on the 3520.  i'm sure NEC has made another great drive, but it does use different hardware than the 3500.  i'm waiting to read a few opinions/reviews just to make sure there aren't any kinks to work out.
4003  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Zax's UT2k4 Srvr - Fill server Ngt Fri 4/8! Torrent DVD! on: January 08, 2005, 04:06:23 AM
i just want to say thanks to everyone who showed up to play tonight...was awesome to see the gang back together and kickin' ass.  it's been far too long since we got a good crowd together, and it was great to be playing again.  great games from everyone!
4004  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Zax's UT2k4 Srvr - Fill server Ngt Fri 4/8! Torrent DVD! on: January 08, 2005, 12:11:13 AM
count me in...have been anxiously awaiting a chance to get back in the action Cool
4005  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Halftime Show sucked pure ass on: January 05, 2005, 11:14:11 PM
Quote from: "Xmann"
I purposely did not watch because i would rather eat hot coals than listen to Ashlee Simpson sing.  However, i did catch the last 30 seconds and did anyone else hear what i thought was boos from nearly the entire crowd when it was done?

i think you're right...that definitely sounded like massive booing when she finished.  the first two performers (kelly clarkson and trace adkins) were at least bearable, although the first girl seemed to be having some trouble with her monitor earpiece (after they finally got her a working mic) is quite a bit harder to sing in a situation like that when you can't hear your own voice, but that doesn't justify it all.  ashlee simpson was nothing short of horrible...her voice is awful, she couldn't keep time with her backing track, and her 'dancing' was ridiculous.  maybe the boos will teach them a lesson about either scaling back the show (which few care about anyway), or getting some real performers.
4006  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Your anticipated games of 2005 on: January 05, 2005, 11:03:19 PM
i'm anxiously awaiting the chance to play KotoR 2 and GTA:SA on the PC...and knowing that they're good already doesn't my patience any.  other than those, there's not a lot i'm really excited about.  Republic Commando could be fun, and STALKER has always had potential, but the anticipation for those is nothing like this year with Doom3, HL2, and VTM:BL.  i'll admit that i'm not really up on all the game releases expected for this year though...
4007  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Retail CPU question on: January 05, 2005, 10:46:30 PM
Quote from: "Zitterbacke"
You can get two versions: boxed (with cooler and therefore paste/pad applied), or tray (plain CPU without cooler and paste/pad)

boxed = retail
tray = OEM/white box
4008  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Star Wars Vanity Fair Spread - Everyone on: January 05, 2005, 03:43:52 AM
Quote from: "Greggy_D"
Where's the ghost of Alec Guiness?

he's over on the left, right by lucas...they just made him look more like ewan mcgregor to improve the continuity.
4009  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Retail CPU question on: January 05, 2005, 03:35:09 AM
a "retail" Intel CPU comes with everything you need for the install.  the chip and the heatsink/fan are separate, and the heatsink has a pre-applied thermal pad.  all you have to do is drop the CPU into its socket, lock it down, then clip the HSF into place on top.  the whole process is very simple and you don't need anything that isn't included in the retail box.
4010  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Whats your background?<desktop> on: January 04, 2005, 04:09:37 AM
Quote from: "Thin_J"
Hey disarm, what skin is that you're using for windows and what program is it in? It's nice and clean, and I haven't found anything that looks that nice yet. I use windowblinds, as I find stylexp borks several things on my PC for some reason.

bad news for you then...that's a theme for StyleXP slywink
i've been using StyleXP for almost two years now without any trouble and think it's a great program (and it doesn't hurt that i won a free registration key).  what version have you tried in the past?  they released v2.0 about a year ago, and they've had several updates since then...maybe the latest one would work.

as for the skin, it's just one that i stumbled across a long time ago at this site.  the one i'm using is called Chrome4[XP] 2nd Generation and can be downloaded here.  i really like the theme because it's very compact, clean, and the dark color looks great.  when you download the style, it also comes with several other versions in different colors than black that look pretty good.  finally, it didn't hurt that the same guy made a matching theme for Trillian Pro that i use as well Cool

i took another screenshot with the Start menu open, my Trillian contact list up, and an open window to show the full theme.  you can check it out here
4011  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Whats your background?<desktop> on: January 04, 2005, 12:27:58 AM
i switched my desktop for the first time in about 9 months when HL2 was released.  here's what i'm looking at right now...

(click the pic for a full size image)
4012  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best music download site on: January 03, 2005, 04:20:13 AM
Quote from: "warning"
Quote from: "Xmann"

any that don't require a monthly fee?


not only is iTunes completely free (until you buy something), but they also do not require any personal info for registration to the iTunes Store until you're actually making a purchase.  you can download the software and browse to your hearts content without giving up an info (with the possible exception of an e-mail address...i can't remember anymore).  even if you don't buy anything from iTunes, it's still a great music player and even has quite a few good internet radio stations built in Cool
4013  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best music download site on: January 02, 2005, 06:09:26 PM
Quote from: "dangerballs"
Avoid Sony Connect at all costs.  The software is buggy and the format will only play on Sony products.

i loaded up the Sony Connect software to take advantage of a few free downloads that i had received...i'll agree that it does indeed suck.  their proprietary format will only play with the Sony Connect player or a Sony device, although you can burn the tracks to an audio CD then re-rip them in whatever format you choose.  it's definitely not the best service available though.
4014  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best music download site on: January 02, 2005, 06:08:46 AM
personally, i really like the iTunes service from Apple.  you can download individual songs for $0.99, and you can usually save a little on full albums...most are $9.99 even if they have more than ten songs, but some are more.  they also have 30-second clips of every song available for purchase, and they're the same quality as what you buy (no low-quality samples).  i've been using iTunes to preview a lot of albums before i buy them in the store...being able to hear high-quality 30-second clips of every track on an album is very nice.  to top it all off, the selection is pretty impressive...there are obviously going to be things they don't have, but Apple has done a very good job of getting labels to participate.  i've only gotten a few songs from them, but the quality has always been very good.  it is worth noting that iTunes does use Apple's proprietary AAC format for purchased music, but the iTunes software can burn those (as well as other formats) straight to disc.  if you need mp3s instead of AAC for some reason, you can always burn the AAC files to an audio CD, then rip them back into mp3 format.

aside from the music store features, i've been using the iTunes software to organize my music collection for more than six months now, and organizing a large library of music couldn't be easier.  the ripping features also work well if you want to load up some of your own CDs, and burning audio CDs is quick and easy...create a playlist, click 'Burn,' and you're all set in just a few minutes.  the iTunes software is a free download and is great for playing back music even if you don't buy from them.  i highly recommend checking it out Cool
4015  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Where is the traffic? on: January 02, 2005, 05:46:52 AM
i think sites like this also tend to draw in a lot of college students that are away from their high-speed campus connections right now...
4016  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Windows 98 or Windows XP? on: January 01, 2005, 10:39:38 AM
Quote from: "Raven VII"
On one hand, the system only has 256 MB of RAM, so XP will probably run like a dog on it.

it actually won't run that bad with 256MB of RAM...unless you have an really slow processor to go with it.  i ran WinXP on a P3-733 with 256MB for about a year before i got my new rig and it wasn't bad at all...not noticeably slower than Win2K that was on before i switched to XP, and a hell of a lot more stable than Win98/Me that i was using before that.  when i first switched to XP, i only had 128MB of RAM and performance was still reasonable...the increase to 256 did make a noticeable difference though...
4017  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What's with so many games having "paper sleeves" a on: December 23, 2004, 06:11:12 AM
while i'm definitely a supporter of cd cases over sleeves (even slim cases are good), i don't like the idea of a complete switch over to DVD cases.  as it stands right now, there are a few games that still give you a decent manual or a few other extras in the box.  once every company switches over to DVD-style cases, i think we'd have to officially say goodbye to any kind of significant printed manual.  i'd be perfectly happy with the current small boxes as long as we start getting some kind of case for the CD/DVD inside.
4018  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GTA2 now free on: December 22, 2004, 06:12:30 PM
Quote from: "Zarkon"
300 + megs thougH?  Yow.

well, you are downloading a full game...and a fun one at that Cool
4019  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / What the deal with the OEM Software Business Model? on: December 21, 2004, 05:01:02 PM
the biggest advantage to an OEM agreement is the exposure that a developer gains for their product.  think of Windows as the ultimate example.  MS entered into OEM provider agreements for their OS many years ago and it was distributed with virtually every PC sold.  as a result, Windows became the dominant OS in the world.  now people spend money to buy the new version of Windows for their old PC when one is released.  

the same thing also happens on a smaller scale as well.  another example...i received an OEM copy of PowerDVD with my first DVD-ROM drive.  i installed it and really liked the i've been loyal to them for the last 5 years and have paid for upgrades several times.  this also holds true for some games.  you get an OEM game with your soundcard, it generates interest in a developer or series, and they then sell more copies of the game, its sequels, or other projects the company has made.  the system is all about gaining exposure in the marketplace.

it's like Sepiche said as well...some companies will actually greatly discount OEM software for the average user, then make their profits in the corporate market.  by giving software to the average user cheaply, they increase their market share and make it more likely that those same people will use their product again in the future.
4020  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GOAT of the Year Voting: PC edition on: December 21, 2004, 06:45:01 AM
Quote from: "Big Jake"
Oh, but wait! Can I play in offline mode while still having an active internet connection?  (I believe the answer is 'no'.)  Oh, so Steam is now dictating to me my computer usage?  So their software operates/accesses based on their choice, not mine?

Ball back at you.

(You have me short-handed because of my ignorance.  As I refuse to install Steam on my PC, I have no first-hand knowledge, only what I pick up in forums and FAQ's on Steampowered, here,etc)

yes, you can play in offline mode with an active internet connection.  all you have to do is set your firewall to block Steam's access to the internet...same effect as disabling your internet connection, but all other programs will still have net access.

be careful what you're reading...there are a lot of anti-Steam people out there that write things that aren't necessarily true...
4021  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadowman on xp? on: December 20, 2004, 11:12:06 PM
i can't help you get the game running, but i will say that i played it on my N64 and it was a pretty good game at the time...good atmosphere, lots of crazy people, and plenty of killing :twisted:
4022  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Holy Crap! Half-Life 2 Done Quick! on: December 20, 2004, 11:07:46 PM
Quote from: "Console Games Best Player"
Well, I'm pretty good. I can rocket jump so "grav jumping" can't be hard. If I bought it and it took me 3 hours I would scream. Hahaha. But I would go after the other monsters so maybe 10 hours.

some of the shortcuts those guys are taking with grav jumps aren't something you would even know about if you hadn't played the game already to have a clue which direction to go for the exit.  if you play the game as intended, i think it would still be extremely difficult to finish in 10 hours.  i really have no idea how long it lasted me, but i took my time and cleared every area...didn't leave a single Combine trooper, zombie or headcrab alive on way through, and i'd say i spent at least 15-20 hours on the game.
4023  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Wow.. what a haircut on: December 20, 2004, 09:56:00 PM
that really makes me think i need to go somewhere else for my haircuts.  all i get are overweight women who barely look like they know what to do with their own hair, let alone someone elses.  they usually do a decent job though...and they're cheap...

i used to have a great barber that i went to when i was a college undergrad though.  the guy was an ex-military motorcycle enthusiast and worked on bikes when he wasn't cutting hair, and the walls inside his shop were always covered with swimsuit calendars and military pictures.  i walked in for a haircut one day when it was pouring down rain outside, and he told me one of the best things about his job was being able to look out the window of his shop on a rainy day and see all the college girls who forgot to take a umbrella for the walk to class...lots of wet shirts.  he also knew every dive bar and strip club in the area and could tell you which were best.  you just don't get that kind of service from women in a hair salon... Cool
4024  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / GMail Invite search on: December 20, 2004, 09:34:11 PM
it looks like gMail has just decided to send out more invitations again...i got six more today, bringing me to a total of 16 now up for grabs.  if anyone is interested, just send me an e-mail and one of them is yours!
4025  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Home Theatre help needed! Updated 12/23 with purchases! on: December 20, 2004, 09:30:44 PM
Quote from: "ericb"
If you do have to shop the big box then do yourself a favor and avoid Sony and the weird off brands (Technics, etc).  At least go with something like a nicely rated Yamaha.

i wanted a HT setup but was on a tight budget about a year and half ago and picked up a Kenwood HTiB  system (HTB-505) from BB that is great for what i paid ($500 system clearanced down to $350).  could i have done better with separate components?  yes...but not for <$500.  i think it's a much better quality system than most HTiB sets because it's actually a collection of Kenwood components that can all be bought compact space-saver speakers or combined Receiver/DVD player to ruin things.  unfortunately, a quick look a Kenwood's website makes it look like their HTiB setups are now custom gear just for the set...and quality has probably taken a hit.  i'm extremely pleased with my purchase though, and i think it's very possible to get a decent HT system without spending a fortune.  just stay away from the $200 or less systems you see at every chain store these days...

for what it's worth, Onkyo also makes good HTiB sets...probably some of the best you can get without putting together your own.  my brother spent about $800 on an Onkyo 6.1 set and it's amazing.  it can be done Cool

one last comment...listening to a system in-store is damn near useless unless you go to a high-end shop that actually has a decent listening room.  listening to speakers sitting on a shelf in the middle of a noisy store is completely different than hearing them in your home.  wherever you choose to buy, make sure they have a return policy that will allow you to bring anything back if you're not happy with how it sounds when you get home.
4026  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Anyone have doubts of EA's intent to corner/destroy pcgaming on: December 20, 2004, 09:10:43 PM
Quote from: "jpinard"
Fuzzballx - EA woudl NEVER had allowed the go ahead developement of those simulation games becasue there's not enough profit in it.  GUARENTEED.

for what it's worth, EA was the publisher for the Jane's series of military sims back in the day.  those were without a doubt the best sims of their time and their gameplay still holds up very well today (although they look pretty dated).
4027  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Music that you miss. on: December 20, 2004, 09:04:41 PM
Quote from: "Thin_J"
Also.. Smashing Pumpkins. I don't follow them close enough to know if they're actually broken up or not, but the last time someone mentioned them it was a rumor that they were gone. I like their stuff. I have Gish and their Rotten Apples in my car right alongside the Alice-in-Chains stuff.

Smashing Pumpkins were great in their prime...Siamese Dream is one of my favorite rock albums of all time, but i really think they started to go downhill with their last couple efforts.  they were like a totally different band with Adore, but managed to get a little bit of the old sound back with Machina (their last album).  in my mind, Melloncollie & the Infinite Sadness was the last really great album that they released...and their last great tour.  i saw SP on the Infinite Sadness tour back in '96 and they put on an amazing high-energy arena rock show.  i saw them again a few years on their final tour for Machina before breaking up (in 2000), and it was like a different band...compared to a few years earlier, they really sounded bad.  i'll never forget when they played 'Cherub Rock' and you couldn't even tell what song they were playing at unforgettable guitar intro and riff that was unrecognizable until Corgan started singing.  that pretty much summed up the show...and left me with a bit of a sour opinion on the final days of the Pumpkins.  i would have loved to have the old band back again, but something was missing in their later years...
4028  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / How do you clean your computer case? on: December 20, 2004, 08:50:25 PM
i'm just going to echo what the other guys have said...canned air every few months is the easiest thing to do.  use it to blow off all the heatsings, fans, and other components, then pick out any big dustballs...i don't usually have enough of a mess to need a vacuum.  i have one filter in the front of my case that slides out, then i just blow it out with compressed air.  because it's all just dust, air is usually all it takes, although i will use a dry rag to wipe off the outside of my case...have to see my reflection in the shiny black finish of my Antec Sonata Cool
4029  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Are You Done With Your Christmas Shopping??? on: December 20, 2004, 04:13:01 PM
i have a few more things to take care of, but none of them are anything that i'll have any trouble getting at the last minute.  i always have something that waits until the last minute, but it all works out in the end Cool
4030  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Integrated Video Card Question on: December 20, 2004, 04:09:56 PM
it is possible, although you need to make sure you computer has an AGP slot on the motherboard (i think most recent boards with integrated video do).  if there isn't an AGP slot, then you could still use a PCI video card, but it has become pretty difficult, if not impossible, to find a decent card that is still available in PCI.  in any case, all you have to do is install the new video card and disable the onboard video in the BIOS. everything should work after that.
4031  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Holy Crap! Half-Life 2 Done Quick! on: December 20, 2004, 06:29:00 AM
those guys do some pretty cool things, but if you watch the videos closely, they're cheating a little bit.  the footage isn't from one continuous run through a chapter.  instead, they play each section (from one load to the next), then splice them together...meaning that they don't have to worry about having much life left before entering the next zone.  there are a few times that one guy is near death at the end of a zone, then you jump into the next area with full health again.  does it make some of the moves any less impressive?  not really, but i'd be more impressed by a continuous run than one that is spliced together...
4032  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: December 18, 2004, 02:48:09 AM
Quote from: "stiffler"
Quote from: "CrayolaSmoker"
Sorry.  I'm a nursing student.  It's getting to the point where parts is parts.  Don't bat an eye unless it's grossly infected or bizarrely shaped.

Does this *FOOT* the bill? (har har!)

bad toenails are nothing...try something more like a toe without a nail that has turned hard and black from gangrene, has pus leaking out of a non-healing ulcer on the side, and smells rotten enough that you can recognize the problem by stench alone as soon as you walk in the room.  one nasty toenail is nothing...  :wink:
4033  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: December 17, 2004, 08:20:38 PM
advertisement for a "personal lubricant" in france...
4034  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Need some help with a power supply... on: December 17, 2004, 08:07:49 PM
biyobi is right...not all PSUs have an On/Off switch.  they maintain a minimal current to the motherboard even when they're "off" and are activated when the entire system is turned on.  in that case (which is very common), you have to make sure the PSU, mobo, and case switch are all connected correctly so that it all powers up together.  there won't be a direct connection betwee the front panel and the PSU...a signal travels through the mobo to turn everything on.
4035  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / For parents: How old to watch Lord of the Rings? on: December 17, 2004, 08:03:32 PM
Quote from: "MrZubbleWump"
At what age is it safe to watch "The Wiggles"?

i think the Wiggles are in a unique position of being something that your kids should only watch when they're too young to understand just how disturbing those guys are.  start early if they absolutely have to see it, then stop before they're old enough to remember...
4036  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best. Strongbad E-mail. Ever. on: December 17, 2004, 07:59:47 PM
and don't forget about the amazing Trogdor the Burninator video game Cool
4037  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / GMail Invite search on: December 17, 2004, 07:55:28 PM
Quote from: "jcaramis"
On a funny note, I have never used the account for anything except some random emailings to friends while away from home (my webhosting's webmail bites) however I logged in for the first time in 2 weeks and found 26 Spam Messages.  At least google was good enough to put the emails from the people they sold my address to directly to the spam box.

i doubt Google had anything to do with the spam though.  it's extremely common for spammers to used automated systems that send junk to thousands of address variations without actually knowing if any of them are real...some get through to real people, some don't.  no matter how closely you guard your address, it's virtually impossible to keep a spammer for stumbling across it at some point :\
4038  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Looking for the following older flight sims. on: December 16, 2004, 11:47:39 PM
heh...good luck on those.  i've been looking for a copy of Longbow2 for a long time and haven't found one with the manual that someone was willing to give up for a reasonable price.  i was actually bidding for one on eBay that ended this morning and lost...started at $4, but jumped to a final price of $29 in the last 3 minutes.  that's what seems to happen every time i'm interested, and i can't justify paying $30 for the game when i could just play the original Longbow some more.  there's some guy over there right now who seems to be buying them up in the $20 range and then re-auctioning them with a minimum price of about $40.  if you're willing to pay that price, you can pick one up on eBay right now though...
4039  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / PC Gaming version: Shut up! It IS time to reveal your GOTY on: December 16, 2004, 08:57:16 PM
it comes down to a match-up between Unreal Tournament 2004 and Half-Life 2 for me.  both a great games, and HL2 is definitely my single-player game of the year.  i have to give overall GOTY rights to UT2K4 in the end though.  no other game this year has sucked me in for the hours of blissful carnage that i've experience with UT...and i still have every bit as much fun as the day i first played the pre-release demo Cool
4040  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GOAT of the Year Voting: PC edition on: December 16, 2004, 04:21:40 PM
my vote goes to Spiderman 2...didn't even have to think about it.  the rest of those games are actually considered pretty damn good by a large portion of the gaming public, but Spiderman 2 was a slap in the face of PC gamers.  giving us a mediocre kiddy version the game, while still advertising it the same as the much better console versions, was an unforgivable move.
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