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Maes

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Status Updates posted by Maes

  1. I often get asked by people who seek to upgrade their PC that they need a PC "just for browsing and e-mail". Now, if this was 1996 or even 2000, that would indeed be a trivial requirement. Browsing? Sure, it's all just pure HTML, browsed one page at a time. E-mail? Sure, it's just a dumb e-mail client.

    But today? "Browsing" can mean anything from Flash-laden site, Javascript VMs running in the background of even the most trivial sites, complex MPEG4 video decoding plugins, browsers using DirectX and OpenGL etc. E-mail? That practically means using web-based e-mail "clients" nowadays (who, outside of professionals, still uses a traditional POP/IMAP e-mail client program?). And RAM, oh THE RAM that even a trivial game of Farmville can suck up! You could fit 10 concurrent ZDaemon sessions in there.

    My point is, that browsing has evolved into a deceivingly requirements-heavy endeavour, and a "PC that's good for general-purpose Internet browsing" needs actually to be quite beefy, unless you're an atavist that still uses lynx and w3m, and PINE for e-mail. Thoughts?

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. Bucket

      Bucket

      My netbook plays YT videos with no problem. Loading pages is hardly instantaneous but that shouldn't matter to someone with such low usage requirements.

    3. Maes

      Maes

      Playing back YT videos is a prime example of something that has become deceivingly resource-heavy. A Pentium @ 2.4 GHz is pretty much the bare minimum to play 240p videos seamlessly from within a browser, which is crazy if you think that with such a rig, you can seamlessly play "offline" video files of much higher resolutions, including and exceeding HD content. And yet, just a few years ago, I remember that a Pentium 4 was more than enough to play 240p videos, even within a browser. What the FUCK went wrong?

      And while you could put the blame of the craptastic performance on the sucky flash-based "video players", you would think the introduction of the HTML5 [video] tag would smooth things a bit, since each browser can now have its own, internal, super-optimized (?) player, but no, it actually even got a bit worse on average. ON such old rigs, I find the only acceptable way to watch YT videos is to use a YT downloader app and watch them on an external media player, with about 100x the performance. Seriously, WTF?!

      FWIW, I noticed that CPUs that come with large caches for their classes (e.g. older desktop AMDs vs equivalent Intels, and Centrino Intel CPUs of a given generation) are somewhat more adept at this particular task, including the dual-core Atom N570 CPU in a netbook I recently got for free (that little beast is deceivingly powerful, and capable of running 64-bit Windows 7, with upgraded RAM).

    4. RestlessRodent

      RestlessRodent

      HTML5 video on my browser is slower than watching slides. If I have a current requirement of watching a YouTube video, I use youtube-dl and watch it with mplayer/VLC since that is actually fast.

  2. So I was like, t3h p4wn 4nd t3h h4x, shopping for some NEW and ENHANCED electronic repair gear (irons, desoldering pump, meter) so that I could keep repairing my OLD and OUTDATED stuff. In the big hardware store that sold the shit, there is also a big "recycle your old shit here" bin, where people usually leave broken down appliances. I, on the contrary, often REMOVE stuff from this bin, e.g. boomboxes, computers, drives, monitors, etc.

    So, this time, what was thrown out was an old Pentium 4 machine. Since it was potentially much better than the Pentium 3 crap I snatched in the past, I took it home by removing it from the bin in front of hundreds of people, with all the nonchalance and aplomb of Doombuy as a battle butler (BTW, I forgot to mention the way he picks up stuff nonchalantly, most of the time).

    The motherboard is a VIA EPIA - P4X266 PE11-SA, really early Pentium 4 stuff. Not so old as to retain ISA slots for compatibility (seen that elsewhere, though), but old enough not to have integrated LAN, USB2.0 or SATA, which is a bit of a letdown. Well, typical 2002 vintage.

    Specs:

    • Pentium 4 1.90 GHz (100 MHz FSB)
    • RAM: 256 MB PC2100 DDR (upgraded to 1.5 GB). Mobo only supports PC2100 (DDR 266) speed, but will work with faster DIMMs too.
    • Video card: 4x AGP Riva TNT 32 (I could upgrade it to a Geforce 4 or Ti4200 or even nVidia 5200).
    • Hard disk: WD400 (40 GB), surprisingly with no S.M.A.R.T. errors.
    • 250 W PSU, also has old-style AT power connectors. Hadn't seen that in a while. It functions but it'd better be replaced, especially if I start adding crap.
    The annoying thing with such old mobos is that you have to add a SATA controller and a USB 2.0 card, if you really want to have something usable, but once I add those, I can have something much more useful than a Pentium III. The mobo is OK and functions, but has a couple of blown caps (luckily, away from the CPU area), which I can recap.

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Bucket

      Bucket

      If you want to have a $4000 silk handkerchief just so you can wipe your ass with it, that's your prerogative.

    3. DoomUK

      DoomUK

      Maes said:

      I could upgrade it to a Geforce 4 or Ti4200 or even nVidia 5200

      IIRC the nvidia 5xxx series were pieces of shit and were outperformed by the older GF4 Ti series almost always.

      http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php?card1=138&card2=153

      The difference is pretty negligible in this case, but still.



      ...And yes, I think we should set up a "new computer for Maes" fund.

    4. Maes

      Maes

      But the 5200FX can support GPGPU apps (well, some of them, at least) ;-)

  3. I brought two of my hobbies, tapes and DooM together: I made two cassettes from the albums The Dark Side of Phobos and Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta.

    The Dark Side of Phobos comes in two "disks" but both actually clock at about 92:15, so I used a single TDK Super CDing (Type II, Super Avilyn technology), while I used a humble Sony EF 60 for Delta-Q-Delta which is only 57 minutes or so.

    Both recorded on an Aiwa AD-F330 deck with Dolby B NR.

    1. DuckReconMajor

      DuckReconMajor

      Ugh no kidding. I would always lose the cassettes right after I installed the game, so I was stuck listening to stupid midi music.

  4. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is a piece of shit.

    I "upgraded" from 11-something, and after the "upgrade" it had no USB drivers (so mouse == dead) and no network drivers (so you were pretty much rectally sodomized). It also fucked up the GUI and left the consoles unusable but that might have had something to do with me not using Unity.

    Installing from disk didn't help either: same issues. No USB drivers, no network card drivers. Fuck that fucking shit.

    Edit: kernel version 3.0.24 is fucked up. Version 3.0.23 still has funcitonal USB & Ethernet drivers, but both have no functional ATI display drivers. So, still, fuck that fucking shit.

    1. Show previous comments  26 more
    2. Krispy

      Krispy

      The way I see it with the whole computer/software monopoly thing is that computers are not like products from the past. They all need to be compatible by their very nature. If one company rises above the rest, sure it will jack up prices, but also everything will be compatible. There are pros and cons.

    3. Bucket

      Bucket

      Compatibility is a joke. Microsoft has released thousands of patches to support software, because 3rd-party devs can't be fucked to write proper code. It's become a full-time job for them, and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they look at the 32/64 crossover as a blessing.

    4. Maes

      Maes

      Sodaholic said:

      Why not save up money and buy the more expensive, higher quality hardware instead of blowing your load (of cash) prematurely on some poorly-made sweatshop crap?


      Let's see...

      1. Ofter there is no "more expensive, higher quality hardware": for a lot of products with even an order of magnitude in price rance ($10-$100) you find the same exact components at the board and driver level, and for some things e.g. sound chips, reasonably priced USB controllers, ethernet controllers and wireless cards etc. there is really no choice. It's really hard to convince yourself to shell out any extra cash once you realize that. E.g. the ridiculously highly priced Razer Barracuda soundcard uses the same exact CMedia codec used in many mobos today. Any perceived "better quality" can thus only be psychosomatic or post-purchase rationalization.
      2. For some things ilke network switches, routers etc. the price gap between what's considered "good" and what's considered "normal" far exceeds what you could cover just by "saving up": a Netlink 8-port switch is under $50, the cheapest equivalent CISCO will go near $1000. If you expect to save up for that, good-night: you'll get a switch in 10 Xmases from now.
      3. Even if I shop online, for reasons a and b I'll still end up in the lower-end stuff anyway. In the age of generic chinese hardware, there's really no escaping that, at least not in the low to medium-high market segment. Maybe in the high/high-end one, and even then you've got to be wary of scams.

  5. So, I recently found some pretty good vintage techno records in mint conditions and ridiculously low prices, but had no way to play them, and was really not willing to ruin them with some nasty old turntable from the thrift store or burn good money on some newfangled "USB turntable" or worse yet, get the whole turntable-preamp combo shit.

    So, I borrowed a normal turntable from one of my neighbors, and simply connected it to my Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop's.... mic/line in port and set it up as mic in. Using the mic-in allowed me to get usable signal levels without using a preamp, recorded the signal as it came from the turntable and applied the RIAA equalization curve in software with Audacity. It helps that my laptop happens to have a stereo mic in, though, because of the sharing with the line-in connector.

    The results? Pretty damn good, after I compensated for the mic-in's noise. Much better than what I heard from vinyl rips made with certain USB turntables.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Danarchy

      Danarchy

      I had a friend who did this with his dad's record back in high school. I was never quite sure how he did it. This makes sense.

    3. Shaikoten

      Shaikoten

      It's really supremely easy. All you need is a turntable and an RCA to mini adapter. Works with any stereo equipment, cassettes too.

    4. Maes

      Maes

      I don't know how usual it is to have soundcards which allow stereo recording from the mic in (not from the line in) without forcing you into mono or something like that (I can't adjust the L-R balance when recording, but I do get true stereo recordings from the mic-in), and how many have clean enough mic boosters that can work as phono preamps. Guess I got particularly lucky, especially since it's integrated into a laptop (Sigmatel Audio, in case anyone wonders).

  6. An image is worth a thousand words.

    Top: some generic DVD/DivX/MP3 player currently playing a MP3 CD.

    Middle: Aiwa AD-F330 cassette deck, currently recording from the MP3 player.

    Bottom: some no-brand (well... "Linwood" FX-800) tuner-amp with cassette deck, line in and surprisingly good sound (cassette deck records like shit though).

    Speakers: rescued Yamaha computer speakers from the trash. Built-in shitty IC amp is bust, however the speakers themselves are good 5W 4Ohm affairs, so I wired them to passive and using them with the tuner-amp. Any questions?

    FUN FACT: 10 minutes after posting this, I had to repeat this procedure on the DVD player -_- (it's a different device though).

    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      Csonicgo said:

      Totally disagree. I can do 24bit, 192Khz sound out of mine.


      I'd really like to see how many devices that claim to support such playback/recording rates actually do have real 24-bit DACs that actually perform as such, and don't simply use some algorithmic hack coupled with cheaper components, as is the norm in so many "consumer" grade digital stuff nowadays.

      At least in computer soundcards, even the lowliest AC'97 codec claims to "support 192kHz/24 bit/120 dB SnR", but in practice the few soundcards that actually have DACs/ADCs of that quality tend to be standalone, massive, cost near $100 and have a fuckton of components on board despite using the same exact digital parts as integrated mobo sound. The only difference is the quality of the analog parts. And we're talking about a soundcard alone.

      I don't see how something like this or worse, like this could compare.

    3. Csonicgo

      Csonicgo

      Well, it's not really consumer grade. it's a studio-quality turntable with digital output (NUMARK, around $600 for the lowest model :P) and yes, they sound good. It's no technics, but it's not gonna take a beating.

      It's not ghetto... oh! I can see where this can be a problem. :3

      I did see a technics turntable at the thrift store. I should have picked it up. :(

    4. Maes

      Maes

      Csonicgo said:

      I did see a technics turntable at the thrift store. I should have picked it up. :(


      The trouble with a "real" turntable is that you need the whole package: amp with phono inputs or a preamp with RIAA equalization. It might be possible to bum your way out of this requirement if your pick-up arm has a ceramic cartridge, and do RIAA de-emphasis purely in software, but sound quality is probably going to suck badly.

      USB turntables at least get around this by offering either direct digitization (which I'd avoid, as the components are probably gonna suck and you have no control over the sampling rate or encoding quality), or a normal standard analog (non-Phono) Line Out (which is much more preferable, this way you can connect them to anything with a Line In without using any preamps or de-emphasizers, and you can fully control the recording process)

  7. Even some of the oldest DW members will have a tough time beating THIS amount of oldschool:



    I got this old lady from a thrift store, where she was in good -though not perfect- conditions, along with a couple of old reels containing 60s pop music. After some SERIOUS cleaning, re-greasing and replacing the main drive belt and the worn-out mains cable (yikes!) she worked like a charm -all electronics and main motor appear in order.

    Rubber parts are a bit worn out more due to time than due to use. I was also able to find online service manuals (in German, ach!) and videos of some old farts that knew their shit better than me, and was able to get it to work again without damaging anything :-)

    The only problem seems to be that tracks 1-2 of the tape sound too muffled (you can play tracks 1-2, 3-4 or all 4 togeter) , and upon closer inspection it appears that some of the yellow loctite stuff they used back then has got on the heads, or simply the head is so badly oxidized that no amount of scraping will remove the yellow stain -_-

    Tracks 3-4 sound loud and clear, but all reels I have (well, 2 of them for now) are recorder track 1-2 first, so using tracks 3-4 plays them in reverse. Ouch.

    It's a vacuum tube device in case you wonder, hence the "magic eye" indicator on the front. It also gets pleasantly warm during use -50W idle consumption, take that Greenpeace!-

    I was worried whether the tubes were bust, but so far they seem to hold their own well, and they are common types anyway, so probably I will be able to replace them if needed. It's amazingly how solidly these things were built, mechanically and electrically speaking, so much that a youngster (well, relatively) like me, some 47 years later (it's a 1965 model) can service it and use it. It's also very well furnished with inputs (Radio/Phono/Mic in, loudspeaker out, line out, all in German DIN connectors), and the magic eye indicator shows recording level.

    All in all, it was an interesting restoration mini-project :-) My next step is trying to record stuff on it. I'm curious to see how modern stuff (techno, heavy metal and, why not, video game music) would sound :-p

    1. Show previous comments  28 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      DoomUK said:

      *hiss* *crackle* *muffled music* *hiss* *pop* *crackle*


      Not quite, luckily ;-)

    3. printz

      printz

      This strangely reminds me of TNT.WAD, The so-called New Technology.

    4. Ed

      Ed



      Semi-old school.

  8. After my Athlon 939 mobo died (a combination of latent bad caps and probably some dead transistor), I had ordered a new Athlon II X640 beast, but alas, shipment was stalled for nearly a month and I had other shit to do, so I cancelled the nearly Eur. 500 order (the PC was meant for use in my hometown, which is not everyday as of now).

    Frustrated, I picked up the "best" components I could find amongst my recovered junk PCs. After some tinkering, here's my new desktop "beast":

    • Pentium III @ 1000 MHz
    • Jama M7693V motherboard. In case you're not familiar with it, it's one of the least well designed and most unsupported VIA KT133-based mobos ever made :-p
    • 640 MB of PC-133 SDRAM (probably worth a fortune on eBay).
    • SATA 500 GB HD (ha! You didn't expect that!) hooked to...
    • ...some noname Fasttrak 378-based SATA RAID controller. Had to slipstream special drivers into an XP installation to get it to work.
    • Some nVidia FX 5200-based graphics card with 128 MB of RAM. It's an AGP 4x card forced to work at AGP 2x because of the extra crappiness of this mobo -_-. This results in some interesting behavior: stuff that relies on just using a lot of onboard memory/rendering bling works fine, stuff that requires too much geometry pushing from the CPU to the graphics card is a real dog.
    • 3Com TX 10/100 Ethernet adapter, for extra awesome or something.
    It's not actually a bad gaming system: it plays Doom 3, Battlefield 1942, World of Goo, GZDoom, etc. its only sore point is that some MPEg4 videos don't seem to play smoothly, and flash-based players are nearly unusable inside a browser, because they require so much more raw CPU horsepower. But in any case...hey, it was almost free, and it has a vast new hard disk to play with ;-)

    1. Show previous comments  25 more
    2. Doom Marine

      Doom Marine

      You made zero sense, please stop posting.

    3. Justince

      Justince

      Doom Marine said:

      You'd be surprised how much money talent can earn.


      A little gem you picked up giving blowjobs on campus?

    4. DuckReconMajor

      DuckReconMajor

      Doom Marine said:

      Wrong pothead, the PC came from 2 years of working my ass off in research labs. Some companies like Amgen pay $3000 for 10 week's work. You'd be surprised how much money talent can earn.

      I actually get paid to ski, I work and teach, so daddy shelled out nada. It's called work ethic and having a brain... which is way over your head.

      Looks like someone's trying to compensate for lack of pot.

  9. I'm usually not one to take personal interest in others' personal endeavours, but in the case of friend of mine that is dead-set on having her "online business", due to my professional background, I can't just turn a blind eye.

    Don't get me wrong, if someone has a good idea for a viable business or enterprise of any kind, and personally possesses (or can acquire) the know-how to put it to fruition, that's fine with me.

    However, there are exceptions to that.

    Take for example a friend of mine, who has lived a significant amount of time in the USA for studies, and became enthralled with the American Dream, sort of, or at least with the "do businesses everywhere" and "do business at all cost" mentality, at least the way she perceived it. For this reason, she wants to start her own "online business".

    As for her actual finances, let's say that she can get by without working, and so she can dedicate herself to starting an online business. Please understand that I can't be more detail-specific for anonymization reasons.

    Now, as I said before, having business spirit and initiative is all right and well, however IMHO she's going about it in the wrong way.

    I think the best way to describe the problem is that she's stuck with
    these guys as a hosting service. For those familiar with the name, you know what comes with it.

    For those that don't know, let's say that it's a cult-like, MLM-like, walled garden type of host that puports to be "not just a host, but a business", and she bought into it completely.

    IMHO that's $300 a year down the drain, for a hosting service that lock its users into a rigid, early-90s restrictive and primitive CMS, a "walled garden" marketing model aimed at milking its own members, a cult-like, almost evangelical zeal-like indoctrination only rivaled by Apple, and an insistence on meta-marketing cheap tricks that are utterly outdated, like keyword-based SEO, googlebombing, affiliate marketing etc. etc. It seems to be back in the 90s at the "good" times of the first dot-com bubble all over again!

    It's nearly impossible to talk her out of following their cult-like "marketing advice", and the problem is that she has bought so much into it, that she focuses more on keyword-based SEO, affiliate marketing bulk e-mail etc. than actually promoting herself and her works, and she won't take any criticism directed at that "infallible" (for true believers) business model, which bases much of its presence
    on shills, affiliates and googlebombing its own reviews.

    Only that it just doesn't seem to fly. In one year of buying their crap, she has ended up with an ugly 90s website full of google ads, cheap keyword tricks aimed at "getting more traffic" at whatever cost, etc. and she seldom dedicates any time at actually promoting her line of work. IMHO using that as her main website actually hurts her efforts, since it looks just like a cybersquatter's (and that host I'm talking about actually encourages this sort of "business") but I honestly can't believe this can fly.

    Anybody has had similar experiences? How could I talk her out of it? (Not that I haven't tried, but it's like talking to a religious zealot).

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      Best of luck to your friend, I hope he gets a better headstart with the real deal, rather than getting trapped in dot-com bubble schemes that are dead and buried. The problem with my friend is that she didn't understand that a business, even if online, must be about something you can do well and that sells. Scraping the bottom of the barrel by trying to outsmart google by diverting keyword searches ain't where it's at.

    3. deathbringer

      deathbringer

      Why am I having visions of that Simpsons where Homer decides to start an Internet Business?

      Still I suppose she does at least know what the internet is

    4. Maes

      Maes

      deathbringer said:

      Why am I having visions of that Simpsons where Homer decides to start an Internet Business?


      Because that's exactly the target group of that company, and their basic "business" premise feels like a bad revival of the 90s.

      deathbringer said:

      Still I suppose she does at least know what the internet is


      Yes, but not enough to "get" how some things work, and the problem is that this company she's stuck with try their best to "protect" their members from mainstream, modern website construction and general web management techniques (and from any external criticism/doubt at their "infallibility", most importantly). Put simply, she won't actually learn anything useful about the Internet that is also valid outside that walled garden. Tell me what serious host, in this day and age, doesn't let you just yank a bunch of files from your computer and drop them in an FTP directory that "faces" the web. Even more hilarious is when she (and other scamees) tries to "compare" her host with just about any normal, run-of-the-mill host that offers all those "un-business"-like stuff like FTP, Wordpress, Joomla, phpBB etc.

  10. ...so here are mine:

    Al Bundy
    Bobby Fischer
    Bonvi
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Bronson
    Clint Eastwood
    Elias Petropoulos
    Jeremy Clarkson
    Maddox
    My Dad
    Steven Seagal
    Vittorio Gassmann

    So that next time you know who you're dealing with.

    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Megalyth

      Megalyth

      Spike Spiegel

    3. Danarchy

      Danarchy

      Frank Zappa
      Carl Sagan
      The Beatles
      Devin Townsend
      Trent Reznor
      Conan O'Brien

    4. Alfonzo

      Alfonzo

      Withnail
      ...& I
      Garth Marenghi
      Karl Bushby
      Terry Gilliam
      Arthur Dent
      Dr. Horrible
      Robert Zimmerman
      Rowan Atkinson
      Anthony Minghella...

      And only five of these are fictional!

      Frank Zappa

      Oh go on, then! Where would we be without our patron saint of Portuguese smelt fisherman?

  11. I'm sure Hellbent will love it:

    The shitty blasting of the Chocolate

    EXTREEEEEME!!11!!

    1. Show previous comments  12 more
    2. SyntherAugustus

      SyntherAugustus

      Crappy blowjob Mansion

    3. Khorus

      Khorus

      Fabulous convenience store Farmer

      heh

    4. Vaporizer

      Vaporizer

      Some WWII WAD ideas:
      The church of kristus 1942
      Heinrich Himmler might be whiffing the Pathetic of Worm Training
      Stalin Helicopter slaying
      The hillbilly WWII of the Disney
      The crappy bleeding of the WWII

      Steam powered trolling in the altar of Liam
      Rising Retarded dehumanizing
      Disturbing jail World Cup
      Trippy jail of Hippo
      The infested tomb of Bazooka
      Omegamer Tetris running
      Gez Square Dancing cleaving Collection


      And finally... Vaporizer's mapping of the Rad. It took too long. And it's not even cool. Shit.

  12. Time for an AVGN-like review from THIS angry gamer!!! ARGGGGH!!!

    So, during my MS-DOS games I had stumbled upon the PC conversion of what was considered the "best Amiga beat-em up" game of all times, Body Blows.

    It was NOT the best fighting game on the PC by any means, but at least
    it was decent: it was fast paced, had smooth scrolling, colorful graphics, and whereas the Amiga had a typical all-digitized soundtrack and sound effects, the PC version had been blessed with an original AdLib soundtrack, which IMHO is one of the best of its kind. The man behind that PC conversion, Gary Simmons, also created an innovative audio system that managed to create full, rich sound from the humble OPL2 FM chip, including full speech synthesis and sound effects without the use of digitized samples. Granted, some voices sounded robotic or too artificial, but it just added to the uniqueness.

    The controls were unlike those of any fighter game to date: single button attacks, and every attack or special move was in the form of "hold fire + a direction" so that gave you a total of 8 possible moves while on the ground (there were some very hard ones you could pull when airborne). My guess was that they chose this unusual control scheme to accomodate for the large -then- Amiga userbase, which mostly used single-button joysticks. It was workable, but felt somewhat stiff.

    A real bummer was that "super specials" such as fireballs were CHARGE moves, so you had to keep down the fire button for a full 3 seconds, while the CPU was a cheating bastard and could pull such moves instantly. Still, the game was very easy if you didn't have mercy mode on (to avoid cheap rehits on a fallen opponent) up to the last boss, who never fell down and had zero pain reactions. Still, it could be challenging if you chose "weak" characters and avoided cheap rehits.

    Anyway, by reading Amiga Report back in the day I was informed of a sequel named "Body Blows Galactic" on the Amiga, of which there was never a PC conversion, and which was pretty much the same game engine but with different characters.

    However, soon after Team 17 released a blob called "Ultimate Body Blows", which was a sort of mishmash between Body Blows and Body Blows Galactic, and which was also ported to the PC.

    It seemed interesting...after all you got like 24 or so characters to choose from, and hey, it probably used the same kick-ass game engine and sound system from the original, right? However I never really played it until now, when I decided to give it a try in DOSBOX...

    And boy, what a miserable piece that was.

    For one, Gary Simmons (the guy that ported the original game) wasn't involved in the production of this one. That's a bad sign right there. Gone was his kick-ass sound system, his configuration system, his smooth game engine, and even his custom in-game data compression (the original Body Blows was barely 1.6 MB on disk, Ultimate Body Blows skyrocketed to 5.76 MB, so it SHOULD be better, at more than thrice the size, right?

    Well...instead of an FM sound system, they used a modtracker-like system, but let me assure you, this ain't no Epic Megagames or One Must Fall. You only got a cryptic choice of "SBLASTER" and "ULTRASND" when running the exe (no autodetection, and the game doesn't even save configuration), and a shitty slideshow where you see the characters' bio sheets, which however has been reduced in resolution and blurred so much that they're unreadable. WTF.

    On to the game, you get some scratchy, mono, 8-bit mixed "music" that has nothing to do with the Amiga, and the whole game sports a "whooping" 6 tracks, including the "intro". How the FUCK could they fuck this up so badly? It really blows my mind....I can't compare it readily to the Amiga/CD32 version but it just might be that the PC Body Blows had a better soundtrack anyway, so I'm bit biased here. But still....

    Then, the controls: there are no reconfigurable keys as in the original, and no visible options for joysticks, so I suppose they work by autodetection, which I'm sure will suck ass because of buggy autocalibration. A fighting game that doesn't let you reconfigure the
    base controls (or even hint at which they are). Great.

    In any case, the controls are hardcoded to an awkwards ESDC skewed "diamond" pattern (yes, I'm not making this up) and the sole attack button is "J".

    You can't realize how bad this is until you try playing it: there's no way you can comfortably place your hand in that configuration unless you have dog246's freaky fingers, and your're forced to pinch the lone fire button unless you have really tiny hands. Secondly, because there are no keys mapped to diagonal attacks like in the original Body Blows, you can't perform a quarter of your available moves, and jumping diagonally is a chore. I don't know what would happen with a joystick or D-pad plugged in (perhaps that's the only way it's meant to be played) but with just the keyboard it's simply unplayable, unlike its predecessor, which was the exact same fucking game engine.

    I must say, very few sequels have disappointed me as much as Ultimate Body Blows :-(

  13. Keeping up with my tradition of being ghetto and shit, I recently found two pieces of "new" furniture and a TV.

    The furniture:

    • A white work table, thrown out from an office clearing near my workplace. Not exactly brand new, but MUCH better and more professional than what I had at home (my sister's old teen room desk).
    • A heavy-duty low table on wheels, suitable for TVs and heavy machinery. The frame on that fucking thing is made of 2-inch wide metal beams and has two inch-thick wood panels. Heavy stuff, weighs a ton, can probably handle two. Very rough-cut in appearance, it sure ain't an IKEA cutesy table for use with your new iMac, but who cares.
    I "convinced" a friend with a van to help me carry them home. I also found a lot of old swivel chairs, which I cannibalized for spare wheels (mine's were broken). Good catch ;-)

    The TV:

    I was returning home last night and noticed someone had left out an old Sony Trinitron 24" color TV set, with stereo 4-speaker sound :-p

    Took it in just to check what state it was in, the very least it could be cannibalized for components. But, lo' and behold, it turned on. Checked out everything: TV Tuner... OK. Remote sensor...OK. Picture...OK. Audio...OK. Body/chassis...perfect. No strange smells, no weird noises. It was in perfect working order. The only issues were that it was dirty, dusty and the A/V inputs in the rear were rusty (probably they were never used). No idea why whoever threw it out did so, unless he thought it wasn't "posh" enough for him and his new 48" LCD TV anymore...

    No problem, with some scrubbing and polishing it was just like new, and the perfect addition for my "new" TV table. The only problem with that TV is that it only has CVBS (composite) video inputs and a memory of only 18 channels (seems to be a late 80s/early 90s model), but neither is a problem: it's by far the best "junk" TV I ever found, and the biggest I've ever owned ;-)

    Hurray for being ghetto!

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. ReFracture

      ReFracture

      Reminds me of a B&W TV a friend had that literally only accepted screws on the back where you would connect the wires for an antennae.. he had some weird cluster fuck of cables setting it up so that his VCR was connected to it so he could plug other things in.

    3. Chow Yun Thin

      Chow Yun Thin

      Something that annoys me greatly is when I see what seems to be a perfectly good TV out on the street, but when I go to examine it the power wire's been cut off. Why do people do that? You obviously didn't want the TV by putting it out on the street, so what do you care if someone else decides to take it home? Is it some sort of "I-don't-want-it-and-nobody-else-can-too" logic that you have to follow up on?

      I guess I'd be less annoyed if the power wire could be replaced, but I don't think I'll be doing that unless I get some urge to cannibalize TVs for parts.

    4. Planky

      Planky

      I cut the cable off any electrical stuff I turf if its unsafe...

      Other potential reason if its outside for any length of time, it may get wet and then some muppet thinks "Awesome new tv!" Plugs in and boom.

  14. I've been spending the last weeks using *nix-based OSes, be it Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, and even OSX. I hardly log into Windows anymore. I even rejoiced when I made my ASUSTek WL167g wireless card work in Debian (therefore embracing it over Ubuntu for use in my shitty PIII junk PCs with parts made in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam by HebrewJewAlbanianTurkAmerican agents).

    THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT, I'M TELLING YA!

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Jodwin

      Jodwin

      Bank said:

      My god you think so much of yourself.

      This is what I've been thinking for years.

    3. Maes

      Maes

      You just proved my point.

    4. esselfortium

      esselfortium

      Ha ha, what a story Mark.

  15. Yes, it's not a joke. I've been given a long-unused Power Mac G4 (last time it was powered on was in 2001, and only has 1400 hours logged on its main hard disk).

    It was in, well, pretty much 2001 condition: still had Mac OS 9 on it, and an ancient installation of X (10.0.1). It was a shock to see "Internet Explorer for Mac 5.5" after all those years, which BTW crashed every so often so it was utterly useless for browsing anything but the most basic websites.

    Other specs:

    • PowerPC G4 @ 733 MHz
    • 128 MB SDRAM (took it to 640 MB)
    • 40 GB HD (added a second 20 GB one)
    • Digidesign Audiomedia III audio interface (it belonged to a musician)
    • Geforce 2 Graphics
    • ZIP 250 drive
    • USB floppy
    Its owner is a musician/composer who had bought in in the US a decade ago, and only really used it for a year or so, and then it just caught dust. I was also given the software that went with it (mostly music old Mac OS 9 sound and music packages such as ProTools 4 and others), an old copy of Microsoft Word for Mac etc.

    Anyway, seeing how OSX 10.0.4 was practically useless, and Mac OS 9 even more so, I installed Tiger on it (10.4).

    Some quick likes and dislikes:

    Likes:
    • The interface is indeed clean and intuitive, and you always have a UNIX-like command line for some of the most complex tasks
    • The application dock and unified menu bar are actually awesome.
    • The case design is awesome. I wish all those PCs I've worked with had such a clever system to mount the mobo and other components. It's not that hard to do, and simplifies maintenance a lot. Then again, why should it be made to open to the right?
    • System tools are actually useful and well integrated.
    • The DMG disk image system is pretty solid as a distribution way. Installing programs is tons easier than on Linux, and even easier and cleaner than Windows.
    • Networking and interoperability with Windows and Linux proved rock-solid. I was even able to slogin/scp stuff and access shares with little effort.
    • Making whole-disk backups is easy, thanks to DMGs. I installed Tiger on the 20 GB disk, backed up the original OS 9 volume to a small dmg, then cloned Tiger to the OS 9 Volume. Booted just fine, and all with system tools (well...ok, I used SuperDuper too). All that with the OS running, not with a Ghost-like boot tool.
    • It's very stable, and starts up very rapidly compared to a similarly-rigged PC using either Windows or Linux.
    Dislikes:
    • The lack of forward compatibility really shows. It's frustrating as hell to find a cool app that you need/like and discover it only works on Intel or in Leopard (OSX 10.5) and higher. Being spoiled from Windows' extreme backwards compatibility and even Linux's LSB applications, that's a major bummer. Even if you want to keep using it, you'll have to jump through hoops and be much more of a tech geek than the average Mac user probably is. Pretty weak long-term investment protection, if you ask me.
    • No native NTFS support. WTF. OK, I found a third party utility that enabled it seamlessly but still, for an OS that came out in 2005....
    • Single button mouse with no mousewheel. OK, the rig is a bit old and wheels weren't as standard back then. OK, I know that "right click" is command + click and that "middle click" is alt+ click and that you can plug in any USB mouse (which I did), but the OSX GUI itself works MUCH better with a standard mouse, unless you're seldom going to use the context menus (which I need frequently). I expected much better adaptation to single-button mouse use, at least from the basic OS itself.
    • USB ports. For an expensive computer with a big case that has no PS/2 ports, having just TWO USB 1.1 ports is really too little, even by 2000/2001 standards. Good thing that you can at least daisychain the keyboard and mouse, but then you will have little current for the second USB port on the keyboard: most USB flash drives won't work if attached there due to lack of current.
    • Drivers. Some stuff is really poorly supported: there are no OSX drivers for the Audiomedia PCI III audio interface (or at least not public ones), while some stuff like e.g. the drivers and suite for an Asus USB Wi-Fi card were quite inferior to the Windows counterpart, let alone that I had to do just as much driver hunting.
    • Performance and quality of available software is extremely uneven. Theoretically, it should be pretty much on par with a contemporary Pentium III, and most of the time it is. Some things seem to work smoother, while some are implemented pretty poorly. E.g. the GUI is indeed much smoother than Windows or Linux on similar PC hardware, but it's impossible to watch Youtube videos with the thing. Flash ANIMATIONS work smoothly though, but mpeg4 streams...nope. VLC players works wonders though.
    • Audio output is of surprisingly low quality, and it's headphone-level only. There may be a line-out bypass, didn't really check, but as it is it sounds incredibly muffled. The single case speaker is a nice touch, though.
    • Memory management seems to be far weaker than on Linux and Windows. Available RAM plummets pretty quickly just with 1-2 Safari or Firefox tabs, but that might just be a problem with those apps.
    • Limited choice of hardware when it comes to video cards/bootable disk controllers: I'd like to put more powerful video cards and SATA controllers in it, but I have to search for specific ones and/or flash them with special firmware. I guess that Intel based Macs will be less of a problem.
    • PSU. That 25V power line is pure bullshit, and that ATX-like connector fuels false hopes :-p Then again I read it's possible to rig a standard ATX PSU to work with it, if you can live without the Mac Display port...
    So, any ideas of how I could put it to good use, besides having a fancy desktop? :-p

    1. Show previous comments  11 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      destx and Jonathan use Macs too, as I found out the hard way.

    3. DuckReconMajor

      DuckReconMajor

      kristus said:

      Mac's are the devil.

      except Big Mac's. i luv the'm.

    4. GooberMan

      GooberMan

      Technician said:

      Am I the only fag here to use a mac on a consistent day to day basis? And I'm not talking complete fossils either.

      I work on Macs. OSX 10.6.4. Don't ask me what animal that means.

      kristus said:

      Mac's are the devil.

      And I agree with that statement.

  16. ...without everybody and the cat throwing a fit.

    Let's see how many exposed nerves Doomworld has, and how many I've mercilessly hit so far :-p

    Next, a poll about the people who have most grudges against me ;-)

    BRING IT ON!!!

    1. Show previous comments  47 more
    2. Danarchy

      Danarchy

      As do I, because if I hear it one more time, I'm going to slap you across the internet.

    3. Xeros612

      Xeros612

      Slap him? Please. If anything, you should throw a brick at him through the internet; much more effective.

    4. Doom Marine

      Doom Marine

      Maes said:

      I find the minority of votes on the "Rooster and Hens speech" options to be most disturbing.

      lol I like the Rooster and Hen Speech, keep on doing what you're doing, don't let anyone tell you otherwise

    1. Show previous comments  17 more
    2. Bucket

      Bucket

      Incidentally, what manner of human had a semblance of a personal telecommunications device?

    3. Maes

      Maes

      Philnemba said:

      its written by Maes so it was bound to be confusing as fuck.


      Consider it something that is aimed at directly ticking off specific people, an "inside joke" if you wish. As such, it won't make a great read for most people, but the intended recipients will "tune" right in ;-)

    4. Craigs

      Craigs

      printz said:

      Ox means asshole in my language. Be careful...


      You really are an ox.

  17. ...writing this on Windows 7 Ultimate x86, Greek edition.

    OK, so it's not a bad OS (nobody said it was). I put it to some "stress tests" of my typical daily usage patterns.

    So, to be "fair" to my old Windows XP installation, I took a old IDE 40 GB Maxtor HD and slapped 7 on it. The rest of the hardware is:

    • Athlon 64 3200+ (x86 mode, soz)
    • ASUS K8V-X mobo with Socket 745.
    • 1 GB of DDR-400 RAM
    • ATI Radeon X1650 w/512 MB
    • Integrated VIA AC'97 audio
    • Generic BT878-based TV capture card
    • Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-WP01GS wireless PCI card
    Granted, not top notch hardware (it was OK and great value for money in 2005 though) but since Windoze 7 proponents claim that [sic]Windows 7 runs just as well as XP on the same hardware[/sic] and [sic]much better than Vista does, at least[/sic], it only seemed fair not to artificially give Windows 7 any advantages.

    So, the good things:
    • The installation was quicker, considering how larger the OS itself is. Windows XP's installer has some lower time cap at about 15-20 minutes with an average of 30-40, which I've never been able to significantly see improving over 10 years of installing the thing. I always felt there was something fishy about it.
    • The Aero interface is heavy, but luckily you can have a "near classic" look.
    • Some things like Explorer do indeed work better and less ambiguously than their XP counterpart. In any case, adjusting to the new interface is a no-brainer.
    • Most stuff that relies on raw CPU power alone doesn't appear to be slowed down, and some operations may actually be faster from a computing point of view.
    • Compared to Vista Ultimate, the driver support is much better. After installation I did have no audio or wireless drivers, and of course no webcam (Vimicron VC0343) or TV capture card drivers), however ethernet worked (also, 7 has out-of-the-box VIA chipset drivers, unlike XP, so I guess SATA installation would work without SATA driver floppies)
    • After I plugged the ethernet cable in and got connectivity, Windows Update found drivers for everything save the Webcam and TV Card. I got the camera's from the manufacturer's site the usual way (for Vista) and for the TV card I got some generic "refurbished" BT878 drivers. They both worked good enough for VirtualDub's capture to work (with audio).
    • Seems more stable under circumstances that lock up XP e.g. an unreadable floppy or CD/DVD.
    • It seems able to hold up roughly as many applications as you can under XP with the same amount of RAM, and almost as fast. So it's not a dramatic change like e.g. installing Windows 95 on a 386 with 4 MB RAM, at least not on a machine of that class. With less than 1 GB though, I'd doubt it. Not that it's easy to even BUY a machine with less than 1 GB today
    • Some optimizations/tricks used on XP work on 7 too, so you can add some extra functionality like e.g. opening commandlines in context menus or disabling some useless services (OTOH, there are more useless services to disable).
    • Compatibility with application and multimedia stuff that I use (mostly Winamp, CCCP codec pak, Eclipse/Java SDK, C#Develop/.NET SDK, VirtualDub, PSP, Gimp, various disk and programming utliities0 etc. was very good.
    • They seem to have sorted out the dreadful WPA/WPA2 connectivity problems that plagued Vista.
    The bad:
    • Much, MUCH higher disk I/O. In fact, I think that slowdown -if any- comes mainly from this. Even after I disabled SuperFetch and any other caching services, it just seems to use the hard disk a LOT more than XP, even when the RAM should be nowhere near full. I guess they somehow made Windows' ridiculous swapping policy even MORE ridiculous. So far, I've never managed to actually get e.g. Linux to actually swap out memory on multi-GB setups, but Windows, in all of its flavours, will swap out very pessimistically at ridicolously low thresholds. I guess that can't be helped. The machine was literally begging on its knees for an extra GB or even 512 MB of RAM, or at least a faster HD/SCSI/SATA interface.
    • Possibly because of frequent disk I/O, I got frequent audio breaks whenever I moved windows or opened up a lot of stuff. It seems much easier to break sound timers/buffers under 7 by stressing the UI.
    • Speaking of audio....yup, the default mixer sucks ass. I never thought I'd prefer using third-party mixers over Windows's.
    • The new default locations for program files, user docs etc. appear internationalized in the UI e.g. "Application Files" becomes "Αρχεία Εφαρμογών" whenever you pick it from browsing dialogs and the such. Now, in "legacy" application the names usually get transparently localized to "Program Files" and work, but sometimes they don't, or they break non-unicode file handling. This problem is only likely to affect users of international versions, though.
    • When searching for drivers, there's a duality: sometimes there are no 7-specific drivers and you must select either Vista or XP ones, but sometimes both might work, which can become confusing, especially when they DON'T come with the same set of utilities (e.g. with the Gigabyte AirCruiser drivers, if you install the Vista set you can't use Gigabyte's wireless manager utilities, but with XP you'll get an "unsigned driver" warning).
    So all in all, would I recommend it for a machine of this class? With MORE RAM, yes. The OS just eats up more of it even when it's not apparently used. Otherwise, it works just as well as XP for daily work, sometimes even better. For lower end machines though, that overhead would become unacceptable and the overall experience would be MUCH inferior compared to XP. 1 GB is pretty much just a notch below the "sweet spot" (notice how I relate it more to RAM than CPU power, if anything).

    What will be interesting, would be to run a typical 3DMark03 benchmark with the drivers Windows 7 automatically installed vs ATIs (WinXP SP3 gets about 8000 3DMarks on the same HW)

    1. Show previous comments  5 more
    2. Bucket

      Bucket

      It's also using idle time to defragment the drive.

    3. Planky

      Planky

      When I first switched to Windows 7 the constant disk activity drove me nuts, I didn't know what it was doing.

      Fix? I blacked out the hdd led.

    4. ReFracture

      ReFracture

      I found Windows 7 to run noticeably better when I used my 500GB sata compared to my old 200GB IDE.

      People love to say Windows 7 can run on most machines that can run XP, but honestly, I wouldn't bother on anything that doesn't have at LEAST 2 gigs of ram.

      I don't have a whole lot of HDD activity, or at least I don't seem to, but I have 4 gigs of ram so..

  18. I need to get a new laptop for my sister, but she has the (understandable) requirement that I yank out preinstalled Vista and/or 7 out of it, and install XP.

    I can understand, I did the same with my Dell Inspiron 1720, actually I chose it precisely because it had (and still has) full XP support by the manufacturer.

    But now, one year later, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find XP drivers. E.g. Dell has no XP downloads at all for the Dell Inspiron 1750 (and several other models), while others like HP "hide" the XP drivers inside the Vista/7 section, and even claim that the driver package will NOT work with XP (while it has all the infs, files and readmes).

    Even getting a download for a simple query such as "HM55 Intel Chipset drivers for Windows XP" on INTEL'S FUCKING WEBSITE is cryptic. In the best of cases, you're on for some serious driver hunting. In the worst case, it just won't work with XP, period.

    What the fuck is going on here? I hate to be crying "wolf" and "there must be a conspiracy to actively phase out/kill XP", but it sure does seem like it.

    1. Show previous comments  17 more
    2. AndrewB

      AndrewB

      I bought a $300 Compaq netbook brand new just before christmas and it came preinstalled with XP. I was extremely happy about this.

    3. Bucket

      Bucket

      neubejiita said:

      My University where I study now has Windows XP Core 2 duo machines with Terminal Services or something like that. I am a OpenSUSE user ATM, but at least Windows XP is still supported. I plugged in a Parallel port ZIP drive into Windows XP SP3 once and it was autodetected and setup automagically so I could recover data off the 100MB disk. Would Windows 7 do that?

      But Windows 7 really is quite fast when you turn off unnecessary services. It is really good and runs games way faster than Vista Ultimate.

      Hopefully you took the data and copied it onto a CD, or some other kind of media that hasn't been obsolete for ten years.

    4. Maes

      Maes

      AndrewB said:

      I bought a $300 Compaq netbook brand new just before christmas and it came preinstalled with XP. I was extremely happy about this.


      Heh at least they had the sanity NOT to preinstall Vista on those, too.

  19. OK, so in this new house of mine, I used to have this big-ass three-seater couch. Very confy stuff, slept in it several times instead of my bed, and used it for uhm...more personal acts too.

    However that couch was a sort of a medium-term loan, and knew it. It belonged to a guy who has a furniture upholstery store next to me, and is related to my house owner. The couch was already in the house when I first rented it, and we agreed to keep it in there as it was convenient for both (I needed a couch, he had nowhere to put it in his house or shop).

    However now, after 7 months of me being here, he decided he wants it back...so after haphazardly managing to find a day where I could move it and not have to work (ended up on a saturday morning) I cleared up my house's corridors and halls to allow for carrying it outside (it was two pieces, and I have very narrow corridors).

    Anyway, he was kind enough to give me two old leather chair in lieu of the couch...confy enough for TV but not for other stuff.

    The WTF? He said he wanted it back for his "personal use"...OK fair enough, it was his to begin with.

    But then he said he wanted to re-upholster it...OK, reasonable. The upholstery was an old blue, stained and torn affair (I used a red cover), and his job is to re-upholster old furniture anyway.

    So one day I go check out the shop to see what's he's doing..he had ripped the whole fucking couch open, torn and thrown away all of the old upholstery and foam filling/paddig, and had also heavily modified the remaining wooden frame.

    All in all, between labour, his time, my time, new materials costs and design considerations, he could as well leave the old couch alone, build a new frame himself, and upholster/pad it from scratch. Or just get a new couch and leave this one alone, sheeesh.

    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      Use3D said:

      So what's his name?


      The couch's? Couch.

      bytor said:

      Maes was feeling heartsick for the couch that left him.

      So he goes to visit it.

      Imagine his scream when he sees the shocking horror once known as his beloved couch.


      Well, it wasn't mine to begin with and it's not hard to find second-hand ghetto ocuches around here (even though this one was a pretty good one). The WTF is how the guy who owned it essentially rebuilt it from scratch, to a point that there was absolutely no purpose in taking it from me. He wasted my time, his time, and his money, and unless he finishes what he started, he's left with no couch for now. Then again he has done other impulsive stuff in the past, so....

    3. Danarchy

      Danarchy

      Ha! My couch was GIVEN to me, so I'll be keeping it as long as I can. Unfortunately, I have to keep it in the garage right now, because it is too big for either of the rooms I'm using right now.

    4. printz

      printz

      Offtopic, but could fit the thread title: Danarchy, your avatar (and wall of text below) looks just like Creaphis's. Makes me expect a snarky over-lucid post.

  20. As the oldschool and ghetto chap that I am, I have/have had several items that served me well for a long time -and some still do-. This is also part of the reason why I expect anything I buy to be good enough to last me a long time -alas, not the "hip" thing to do in these sad times!-

    I only include items that I bought/received as a present/found which have been with me for a considerable amount of time.

    My Bianchi EROS mountain bike

    History: it was my first MB (though not my first bike), having got it in 1992 or so. I used it for 5-6 years straight, then abandoned, then restored. I've had older bikes than that (especially in Italy) as well as newer ones, but they either broke down or had to be left behind.

    Status: Still newly restored, I am currently using it as a viable car alternative (vs. gas & parking issues).

    My first 486 DX/40 PC.

    History: it was my first true PC (discounting the Casio PB100/110s). I basically lived my whole puberty through it, since 1994. It got upgraded from 4 MB to 8 MB, overclocked to 50 MHz, received two Sound Blasters and 2 CD-ROM units and a second HD, and kept using it up to late 2003 for Dooming, playing OMF, emulator, and even printing documents through Windows 3.1 and a Dot Matrix printer (!) and even for learning Pascal, until I finally moved in my new Compaq Laptop and my current Athlon 3200+ desktop. Even then, I migrated its HD contents. Whatever I say about it will be too little.

    Status: It's currently packaged in my basement, still operational from what I gather. I donated its original 14" SVGA monitor (I have better 15" ones) but I still have its original keyboard and mouse, and all of its manuals. I'd still tinker with it if I hadn't better (Pentium class) machines with which to relive my 90s fantasies :-p Fun fact: I never installed Windows 95 on it. It went with DOS and Win 3.1 to the "end".

    Casio PB-100 and PB-110 pocket "PCs".

    History: those little gems were both bought by my father in 1983, and are responsible for me learning how to program in Basic when he gave them to me, in 1986. They were pretty limited, more like a programmable scientific calculator, but still pretty cool. Used continuously until 1999, until the PB-110 malfunctioned, and the PB-100 died after spraying too much contact cleaner on its keyboard :-(

    Status: the PB-110 is dismantled and disassembled since looong ago, but the PB-100 is still whole, but locks up when turned on. I keep it in hopes that one day I will be able to make it come back...

    Sharp EL-5120 scientific calculator

    History:Bought in late 1999 to replace the jammed PB-100, which it did greatly. I finished university with it, and it was on my side through lectures, labs, numerical verifications, programming assignments, hex editing/debugging etc. I can't recall how many times I reprogrammed it to do something specific to give me some advantage in some domain-specific calculations when preparing for some exam.

    Status: Still have it, but I don't find as much use for it now as I did in the past, though this could change.

    Amstrad 21" Color TV

    A nice, big 21" CRT TV with great picture, which has been through a lot.

    History: I bought it in late 2002 as part of a limited 50-piece stock for a good price (120 Euros back then). I had literally camped out of the mall to catch the opening time, I sprinted inside and still it was among the last 10 pieces :-S Anyway, I carried it by bus and hand to my home (30 KG, FTW!!!) and it served well ever since....it traveled with me back to Greece from Italy in 2004, it then was used by my sister for 2 years in her studio home, then in my parents' bedroom, and now it's my main TV again. It has been hooked with my laptop, game consoles, VCRs, DVD players, Digicam, DivX player, DVB receivers.
    Status: Now used as my main TV in my new home, hooked to a Famiclone, a "Vii" clone, a DivX player and a DVB receiver, and still going strong.

    Sony Ericcson K750 phone

    History: When I got that little nifty phone in late 2006 little did I know how versatile it would be. It's not as old as the other stuff I mentioned, and yet it's my more long-lasting cell phone up to this day. Unlike a lot of hi-end phones that don't get exploited to their fullest, I used EVERYTHING from its camera (over 2000 pics taken), to MP3 player, loaded it with 2 GB of videos, 100s of Java games, and it has been with me through graduation and even my army service, including allowing me to read my gmail while on a field drill away from civilization. I even used it as a GPRS modem as of lately. I have bought a replacement battery to keep it functioning.
    Status: still with me and my main phone. It wasn't cheap (about 200 Eur) but even today I can't find anything that's actually better for a lower price. Even modern phones in the 100-150 Eur range can't hold a candle to it.

    1. Show previous comments  15 more
    2. GreyGhost

      GreyGhost

      If we're including stuff that's not used regularly - here's a couple of relics I dug out of the garage, both owned since new.


      Sheen M-1200 Micro Computer - from the late 70's.


      Super Sketch drawing tablet - from the mid 80's.

      (Thumbnails are linked to higher-res (1600x1200) images)

    3. Nuxius

      Nuxius

      I still have my Atari VCS (aka 2600) with a bunch of games. I know my dad still has his old Commodore 64.

    4. deathbringer

      deathbringer

      Hmm, thats still regularly used... my Fuji Finepix digital camera. Cost about 80 quid in around 2002... 2 megapixels which is enough for me, and in "fine detail" it kicks the ass of a 6 megapixel one my mum gave me... AND takes pictures when you press the button with no delay to focus.
      I suspect when it finally dies i'll be having a "they don't make 'em like they used to!" moment whilst spunking a ton of money on several mid-range new ones that turn out to be nowhere near as good or conveninent.
      Oh and it can get over 1100 pictures on a gig ** card.

      I also have a Megadrive gotten in around 1991 (Sonic 1 was definitley out... Sonic 2 wasn't, come to think of it it was probably Christmas 91). It's not been switched on for years though but i bet it'd work first time!

      I also have an original Game Boy gotten in about 1995 (the very end before the newer ones started to appear) but that's also lain unused for ages.

      Oh i do have a circa 2000 Rip PMP300 MP3 player, all of 32mb of storage! Enough for maybe 9 tracks on 92kbps (back in the day you actually had to concentrate on choosing a balanced bitrate and not just rip whole CD's at 225 or something). The battery cover is loose but if you hold it shut you can get a glimpse of my musical tastes of the time... the Sex Pistols and Sham 69 feature heavily i imagine.

      Not owned from new... well my car is a 1991 Toyota Corrola EX (11 grand new!) that my dad got for 250 "just because", and that was in immaculate condition (it isn't now). He gave it to me for nothing when i started a new job and it runs great, though there's some quite large rust patches coming through now.

      I also have a laser printer from probably the early 2000's that i saved from a skip at my old work. It was "broken" but actually needed a new drum cartridge... which was 56 quid. All my uni work was printed on it, and much more besides, and i've not had to change the toner yet!

  21. I got one of those cheapo MP3 players with an FM modulator from a chinese street peddler.

    Real cheap stuff, but feature laden: plugs into the car's cigar plug, can read SD cards or USB keys, and sends audio through any FM frequency.

    Surprisingly, it sounds pretty good despite the modulation, and even comes with a remote control. All this for 11 Euro, and with a cheapo 8 GB flash drive, it can fill at least 4 iPod's asses and one iPhone's with concrete but I'm digressing...

    In any case, I wanted to try how it would code with a home environment, since the specs say it has a max range of 10 m (unlikely, unless you find a very clean free frequency) so I powered it up with a portable power source, and turned on all radios in the house... dude, that was trippy. It was like having your very own MP3 radio station. Sure beats those "Wi Fi audio broadcasting systems" cost wise.

  22. OK, new batch "arrived" today: I only got one box ( a weird P-II 300 MHz stocky box which included an extra parallel port on an ISA card, a SCSI controller, a weird VGA with a 2-row 15-pin output), and a FUCKTON of PC-133 128 MB memory sticks and 20 GB HDs...all in perfect working order. Plus a whole bunch of S3 Trio3D's in AGP, a CT-made TNT2 and various cables, PSUs etc...

    I'm too tired to even document them properly. Trying to install XP on a n 8 GB SCSI disc I had laying around, just for kicks.

    Just a WTF: I disassembled and cleaned & lubed the PSU of the P-II b0x, which is a weird 230W model with a belly fan (though just a 140 mm one). The WTF is that the fan was mounted BACKWARDS so it had been actually sucking air from the outside and forcing hot air (and a lot of dust and grime) into the rest of the housing for years. I just shook my head in disgust, cleaned that shit up and mounted it back properly. Still, the thing is EXTREMELY noisy.

    1. Csonicgo

      Csonicgo

      I would love to have two 256MB PC133 sticks.

    2. DuckReconMajor

      DuckReconMajor

      Maes said:

      FUCKTON

      Those were great memory sticks.

  23. Because my neighbor with whom I share my internet connection went on a vacation and decided to disconnect our shared wireless router without teliing me so, I was left without internet at home for nearly 15 days. Not much of a problem, since I was on vacation too, most of the time.

    However, I felt the need for a cheap on-demand backup. I had used an ADSM (3G) connection in the past, but that required paying a fixed monthly contract. I needed something cheap enough to be discarded, not bound to contracts, and with decent BW.

    After seeing a ton of bullshit in the market, I stumbled upon this gem:

    Wind Mobile Greece has a plan for "Free 2 Go" cardphones that allowed "unlimited" calls and SMS to other F2G cardphones, AND 100 MB of monthly internet traffic, all that for free, each month. This is tons better than what other mobile providers offer, and can be extended to an "unlimited data" plan with a 7-day temporary booster, if needed. No contracts, no anything.

    As of now, I'm typing this from my laptop, using my Sony-Ericsson K750i mobile as a GPRS modem. Works OK, speeds are in the 5-6 KB/sec zone (as with a dial up), and overall seems a pretty good deal if you REALLY need a backup solution to be at least able to read emails without paying ridicolous amounts of money per KB. If used in a 3G phone, it should give 3G speeds too, but GPRS is fine for forums and wikis, as well as e-mail.

    I will also try and see if Ubuntu can also dial this fucker up.

    1. exp(x)

      exp(x)

      I tethered several Verizon Motorola phones in Ubuntu a couple years ago, so it is doable.

    2. Maes

      Maes

      Yup. It works just fine in Ubuntu too, and will less hassle (no driver hunting, I just popped it in and it recognized it as a modem and as a memory device).

      People usually complain about paying tons of money for phones they don't fully use, but I definitively have pushed this K750i to its limits in those 4 years I have it, and it's still a lot better than all these "convenient offer" shitty phones my phone company proposes me every now and then.

  24. Take that, Georgef551! ;-)



    1. Show previous comments  5 more
    2. Maes

      Maes

      Patrick said:

      how do you make these?


      We talked about it on MSN, but for everyone reading this, here's how I started:

      Make your own lava lamp.

      but the real deal is this one:

      Retro's basic formula.

      If you have a thing for tinkering like me, you'll find this quite easy: I popped out 3 of them in just 2 weeks, working mainly on weekends.

      Sure, there was some trial and error and by and large, the recipe works.

    3. Patrick

      Patrick

      This looks wicked cool and oddly like you're growing some nightmarish creature ...

    4. deathbringer

      deathbringer

      I used to have a lava lamp but as the heating in our house is so wank i mainly used it as a heat source in winter. Actually i better go and buy 20 more before they stop production.

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