Reporting for duty

Nothing really special happened within the last few days except some nerdy things. The holy equipment for my paladin in WoW is nearly completely epic and I look forward to my first instances as a holy paladin though I have no idea how it actually works because I am a tank since level 25 or something. Probably will I use some non-hero instances to learn before I kick the real shit (yap, yap, yap… the overheal will shine over my healing failures). On the other hand I am busy in WoW with some crafting things that I left on the way while hardcore leveling my paladin. Damn, I hate it when a game turns to a work like thing. I used to start a priest and a warrior for some twinking. The priest plays a little bit lame in low level but the warrior totally rocks and I guess I will play it more often from time to time.

Besides all this were I working on my media center again and it’s in a kind of RC state now. Windows 7 was by far the better choice compared to Linux Mint, though Linux has had a fine performance but due to some screen tearing issues and the complexity that comes into play when using a dual-boot system as a media center, it had to leave the hall. The media center choice itself fell on XBMC. The Windows Media Center is a kind of a rude joke from Microsoft which is absolutely useless in all kinds of ways. The third choice was Moovida but I finally missed some customization features so I switched to XBMC which is more complex in the beginning but very easy to use in the end. I finally made to import all my TV shows correctly to the media library and my movies were found and tagged as well. It’s pretty easy to use and it looks great. I use the standard theme but I guess I’ll give some of the other themes a try in the future.

If you’ll ask yourself what’s up in project “Straight Edge 2.0” can I tell that I follow every rule except the sports rule. Unfortunately. I don’t know when I will do some sport again, probably next week or if everything works perfectly well this week, maybe this weekend. Gladfully am I stuck on a weight around 97kg and it does not increase (Yeah!). So, that’s it for now…

A pain in the ass

…and on the eighth day God created the game industry and he saw that it was good.

…and on the ninth day God gifted the game industry with paranoia and greed and he saw that it was good…

Seriously? As you may know I am a game junkie and I love video games. I have a collection of nearly 1,400 games for different platforms and unfortunately I do not have time to play them all through. So is comes natural that I order a few games here and then like I did two days ago. I found some very cheap offers on Amazon, some games for around six bucks. One of these games was “Peter Jackson’s King Kong”. Though this game does not look nice compared to nowadays standards I really wanted to play this BUT thanks to the paranoia of the gaming industry the game was protected with my so behated copy protection called StarForce. First of all, the game got installed, then you try to start it and receive a message that you have to restart your system to apply and complete the driver installation. What the fuck?

So, ya, I restarted and something that I already expected happened. My Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit ran an automated recovery and failed. After that I decided to choose the last known good configuration and the system booted. So far, so nice. After login I noticed that I wasn’t able to connect to the internet though my network settings were correct and haven’t changed them for a couple of month. I also needed to reboot to apply some new network setting. What the fuck? Why the hell does a copy protection affect my network adapters?

I tried a few different things to fix the problem but nothing really helped. Not even a crack. After finding no solution I decided to simply uninstall the game to get my old running system configuration back. I also uninstalled to StarForce drivers manually to completely ensure that there’s nothing left of this bullshit. Well the game was able to start but it crashed right after starting the campaign. Now, after uninstalling everything my system works perfectly fine again and I wasted six bucks on a game that could have been good and enjoyable but thanks to copy protection mechanisms I wasn’t able to play it nor to enjoy any other game. Ladies and gentlemen of the game industry, do we really need such a strangulation of righteous gamers? Do we, the gamers, truely need to get such a pain in the ass by buying a game? Isn’t it enough to bugfix the game? Do you, the game industry, really need to implenent such factory default bug in your games? I don’t think so.

…and I saw, that it was bad.

Why can’t it all explode?

Today’s like one of the most miserable days since a very long time. Actually I’m not pretty sure why, but I should have stood in bed and kept on sleeping the whole day. Last weekend wasn’t as exciting as I expected it to be because  if you’ve just visited a city like Paris a city like Dresden comes by like a small village in the middle of nowhere. Another horrible thing was that I devastated my media center and it wasn’t running the whole weekend. For some reasons the system was not bootable after I switched over to a single boot system and deleted Linux Mint. I had to install Windows 7 from ground on and on the other hand I had to re-initialise the RAID system where the OS was installed and my bunch of HD movies was stored, so the movies are lost.

Terrible thing today too is the fucked up weather outside. Dark, grey, pale and cloudy and no god damn summer in sight. I wanted to start off with gym today but I only made it to the bathroom where I picked up my toothbrush put it back and wandered back to bed. Though I am motivated to go to gym I am able to make it to the gym. I feel like I am stuck in a vicious circle and I can’t the portal which I have to break to get out of it. Seriously, I want to make some sport but I can’t get it done. Once again, tomorrow will be another try because I am pretty, pretty sure that I will not find the willpower in the evening today to grab my bag and go to the gym.

Two is one too much

Unfortunately do I have to say good-bye to Linux Mint and an open source media center solution. Though I was pretty excited about the overall performance of the system I have to finally admit that the media performance completely failed. Full HD movies in 1080p are stuttering and nearly every movie has some ugly tearing and vsync problems. I took a bunch of example movies, and this bunch included mainly those movies with the worst performance under Linux, and they were running surprisingly much better and of course fluently under Windows 7.

Media Influence

In the end it’s the better decision because of one simple reason- dual boot is everything but not user friendly. So I will switch back to one single system which will be Windows 7 that will handle all the movie, picture, network sharing and gaming stuff. Though it’s a nice system that I really would like to keep on using I have to abandon Linux Mint and ban it from my disk. Well, I have this bunch of hardware that rests in my closet and my cellar that will be waken up in the future and I am pretty sure it’s going to be a Linux Mint system.

Another choice was to switch to Fedora but in the end I still have the dual boot problem. If I want to watch a movie I have to boot into Linux and if I want to play a game I have to boot into Windows and as you can see, this is lame and unnecessarily stressing and with this setup on our media center PC my girl-friend will become furious pretty soon. All that she wants is to watch some episodes of “Crank Yankers” and not to do some deep diving into computer sciences.

Lazy edging

Seriously, I became pretty lazy within the last days after my vacation. Though I am glad that I can keep my new “low” weight and I am willed to do everything in a sports way to hold it that way I wasn’t able to trick my inner ratfink and make it off to gym for a nice training session or to the park to do a jog. I awoke everyday since Monday at 04:00am to the ring of my alarm clock and I really wanted to go to gym BUT I was actually too tired to do so. Well, I guess I just need one normal session at the gym in the evening, just to lick some sweat and blood and I’ll be able to kick off in the very early morning.

Well, finally I can say at least that everything else in project “Straight edge 2.0” works perfectly fine and there were no rule breaks until now. Okay, okay, okay, okay… there was  this small cupcake this one day but though it was extremely sweet and felt like it holds galleons of calories it wasn’t such a serious sin like the ones in the past. You might remember the two beers right after the start of the first straight edge project. So, this week will pass without sports BUT I promise to do better in the future, next week to be exact.

And then there was darkness

There’s something like a curse on me when it comes to Linux installations because nearly every setup I have done in the nearby past was made twice by me. The same happens to my media center. As you may know I was searching for a solution with my vsync problem while watching movies and other videos. After hours of research and being pretty hopeless and without any other idea for soluting my problem I decided to uninstall the Nvidia graphics driver and rebooting the system. I guess you know what happened next – RIGHT – NOTHING. I got a simple black screen.

Lost in a bouquet

According to the fact that it was a kind of late and I didn’t wanted to search the root of the problem I decided to reinstall the whole system by using my old /home partition. Well, well, well, that thought was nice but Linux Mint thought differently. First of all the install routine was not able to write into the existing partitions so I had to rearrange the whole system disk with a third-party software. After that the installer told me that he still was not able to write or delete conflicting system files. The solution was to format my old home directory (d’oh). Now the installer was able to start and run the setup routine. The previous problem solving took me nearly one and a half hour. So, the setup was running until the progress bar showed me 93% and then it told me that it was unable to write GRUB into /dev/sda. Actually I don’t have a /dev/sda or a /dev/sdb neither. The solution was to delete /dev/sda and /dev/sdb before running the whole setup routine in a terminal session, the installer was then able to see the correct order and names of my hard drives. Yep, another hour wasted…

Finally I made it to get the whole system running again and the system is running a way better then it was before. nvidia-settings will be applied automatically on startup, I can use screenlets and the whole booting progress is much faster (don’t know what was wrong before). I also decided to let the system install the nvidia proprietary driver and not to install it manually with a “whatever-setting”. So vsync is now enabled by default BUT it still does not work in video playback, but it’s only a matter of time until I find a solution for that problem.

Let the pictures walk…

Earlier than I actually thought I could finalize my new media center and it’s now up and running. Like I mentioned in a few posts before it’s a dual-boot system running Windows 7 as a “gaming system” and Linux Mint as the real movie and multimedia plattform. The Linux system itself uses to play everything that I tried, even HD movies with nearly no lags. Well, nearly, I noticed a little disturbing vsync problem while watching videos. It’s more noticable in HD movies than it’s in normal SD movies. By now I haven’t found a solution for that but the Ubuntu/Mint community is very huge and I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one with this issue. As soon as I have found solution, I will post it right here in this blog.

I also checked the gaming performance under Windows 7 with Devil May Cry 4 and Street Fighter IV. DMC4 runs at an average FPS of 45 with AA at 8 and AF at 8. The details are mainly set to super high. This is a satisfying result according to the fact that there’s “only” a GeForce 9800GT Green Edition with 512MB video RAM inside the system. I guess, I don’t have to mention that I run the games at a full HD resolution. The Benchmark results of SFIV are pretty similiar to ones I got in DMC4. I’m pretty sure that I’ll do some more benchmarks within the next days and check the performance. Till now I am very happy with the new system and it was a good choice to move the hardware to a new chassis that is not that noisy than the one before…

We’re reaching multimedia, baby!

After being away in beautiful France for nearly two and recharging my batteries and simply staying away from everything that looks like complex work on a machine simply called computer I built up my new media center after getting back home. And of course catching enough sleep. The hardware moved from my old ‘I-don’t-know-the-exact-name’ case to a Thermaltake Element S VK60001W2Z case which is much quieter than the one before and can hold much more hard drives. On the final stage the case will hold nine hard drives with an overall capacity of something around 4 – 5 TB.

The media center was built for two things. First it’s a simple media center for listening to music, watching movies and pictures or simply surfing the web. Got it? Yap… Secondly does this PC replace a game console. Thanks to the fact that Xbox 360 controllers also work on Windows very well I can play a lot of games while lying on the couch. Well, of course I will I use other game controllers as well because I’m gaming nerd I have special controllers for every game genre.

For gaming I use Windows 7 Pro 64bit as operating system and for the whole multimedia thing my choice fell on Linux Mint because it’s pretty lightweight, got a great multimedia performance and I just like the overall file handling under linux because I can arrange a variety of disks much more comfortable.

The hardware itself is not very luxurious but will fit the matters. It’s an AMD 9550 CPU built on a Gigabyte DDR2 motherboard stuffed with 4GB RAM. The graphics accelerator is a Gainward 9800GT and the sound will be put out through a cool SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium. By now there’s only stereo output because I don’t have a surround speaker system but this will follow within the next two or three month. I am going to stuff the machine with multimedia content within the next days and then I will finally see how it works and give it a review right here in this blog.

Straight edge 2.0

I am sorry that I didn’t wrote for such a long time and that I did not spread out any news considering my straight edge project and how it will continue. First things first, I was on vacation in France for the last two weaks, while being there I decided to continue living with my straight edge rules that exist till now. I don’t want to make any bigger changes because I think that the rules are good in the way they are now. Maybe I will change some things in the future and I’m still thinking about adding one or two new rules but it should not become too complex in the end.

I also have to admit that I was not following my rules as tightly as I have done it before I was on vacation. The reason for this is simple. When I am on vacation and when I have the rare opportunity to have some time on my own and with my beloved girl I don’t want to live like a monk. Well, of course I didn’t touch any alcohol or cigarettes and anything like that but when it comes to nutrition I had to try one or two desserts. But, hey dudes!!! I was in France and I had to experience the whole entired french cuisine.

But now straight edge continues for 12 month and and the weight I want to reach is now set to 90kg (198,41 lbs). Today I have something around 98kg so my weight did not increase drastically while being away. The deadline for 90kg is 1. October 2010, so there’s a lot of sports to do and to chose food wisely. There will be no exceptions in food like I mentioned them in a post a while ago. Everything will stay like it is now. Seven simple rules to follow and nothing else.