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Half-Life 2 Gameplay

Okay, this one actually has a semi-decent story behind it. 🙂

I bought Half-Life 2 the DAY it was introduced to market way back on November 16, 2004. I was so happy to get it, save for one problem.

The stupid game didn't work correctly on my computer because it was just too slow.

Bummer.

Fast-forward three years later.

I have a newer, better, faster computer. And I remember I bought the game 3 years old. So I installed it, and..

..it ran perfect.

Oh wow.. so cool. I finally got to play this game.

And it seriously kicks ass in all the right places. Great great game. 🙂

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mean mean stride

Title of this entry is a lyric from a song I've always liked where its title is of a character in a book released back in 1876.

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i ♥ gps

If I haven't said it enough times, I love GPS. Truly.

Case in point:

I was driving back from Inverness yesterday and was approaching the part of I-75 where you can opt to stay on it or break off on to I-275. There was some night construction going on. The right two lanes were blocked off completely. Traffic was backed up for at least a mile.

Seeing all the stopped traffic ahead, I took the nearest exit, instructed my GPS to avoid the highway, then plotted a route home.

I'm sure I avoided at least 30 to 45 minutes of sitting in traffic doing nothing.

GPS rules once again. 🙂

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feather pedal express

Something I did other than avoid traffic with the GPS was purposely drive 60mph on I-75. The speed limit is 70mph, but at 60 you get much higher mileage.

Usually the fuel gauge needle is just under full whenever I come back from Inverness, but this time it didn't budge. I kept my speed at 60mph on the interstate and did not let my tachometer go over 2500rpm when I was doing in-town driving. It really works.

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cold(?)

The filters in my air conditioner hadn't been cleaned for some time (if ever), so I cleaned them out and whoa.. now it cools better than it ever did. It did so well I thought we were having a cold snap (no joke, I really thought that).

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more on the new beast PC

I'm likin' my newly built PC. Truly. I played Counter-Strike Condition Zero at full 1680x1050 resolution with absolutely no problems whatsoever. The video action was as smooth as silk. Very impressive. As I write this I'm downloading Half Life 2 (I bought it thru Steam a while back) to see if I can run that the same way I can run CS:CZ.

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screencast vibrations

For the latest DVD I did for work I encountered a very annoying problem. This video presentation was almost all screencast style, meaning the video you see is of a computer's desktop GUI. On a computer monitor, the preview looked fine, but on a traditional 525-line scan CRT television there was this absolutely irritating vibration on video playback. It looked exactly like an interlacing problem.

When I researched this on the internet I found absolutely no information that would help me, so I had to figure out what the problem was.

Fortunately I found out what was going on. On creation of the MPEG file, the frame type was set to "lower field first". I changed it to simply "frame based" and ta-da, all vibrations disappeared.

Now I can screencast anything and it will look proper on a regular DVD player attached to a traditional television.

Boo-yah. 🙂

there's a new beast in town

It's a bit after one in the morning as I write this. Since yesterday evening I've been setting up my new computer.

The result: It all works so far.

I was happiest when I first saw the coolant fan spin up on the Intel Core 2 Duo. I knew then that both the processor and the motherboard were in good shape and not fried. 🙂

Okay, now I have to explain that.

Years ago when I built my first PC, I fried the motherboard and the processor on first boot. Yes, me, the guy who's supposed to be a mental giant on computers. How could I tell it was fried? From the stench of failure, i.e. a burnt processor. If you've never smelled the odor of a burnt proc, I don't recommend that you do. It's fairly nasty.

So anyway, the whole thing is working. I have the majority of my apps installed in this thing, but I'm not done just yet because there are still several to go.

However, as far as the hardware goes, here's what I'm now enjoying:

Accurate color.

For some reason, the Albatron vid card, while good, never displayed color correctly. I would have to set my DVD player to "bright" mode just to show movies correctly. With the EVGA I have now I can properly set it to "theater" and it looks near-perfect. Star Wars Episode III (a great test for any video card) looks awesome.

Super-silent hard drive.

This is the first hard drive I've ever used where I literally cannot hear it. This is a good thing, and no, I'm not going deaf. The Western Digital SATA drive is definitely doing the job.

Smooth apps

Okay, here's my initial impression of the Intel Core 2 Duo. It's not that I'm necessarily running apps faster. Granted, they do execute better and a little quicker. The thing I really notice is that I can do more. I have a DVD playing in another window as I write this. Previously, if I was typing anything in a window while a DVD was playing, the video would chop up here and there. Very annoying. Right now I have no chop whatsoever - and that's cool.

Put it this way: I can be doing just about anything (web browsing, blogging, chatting, etc), have a separate DVD playing in a window next to whatever I'm doing and not worry about whether the computer can handle it.

Later on today after some sleep I'm going to put this beast to the test and do some DVD video rendering. That's what I got this whole setup for to begin with.

We'll see if the Duo Core can live up to its name. 🙂

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