Saturday, June 26, 2010

0x8004071c - Google Chrome Installation Error

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It seems I have a copy of Windows 7 in Audit Mode which causes Google Chrome installation to fail and return error code 0x8004071c. Disabling Audit Mode requires some modification in the Windows Registry. It is recommended that an expert or experienced user make the change in the Registry since deleting or modifying certain registry values may cause system instability or errors.


How to Fix 0x8004071c

1. To open Windows Registry, type regedit in the Start Menu search box.
2. Navigate to the keys for your operating system:

Windows 7:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
               Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\State

Windows Vista:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
               Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\State

Windows XP:
HKLM\System\Setup

3. Right-click the following values and select Modify....

Click image to enlarge.
Windows 7:
ImageState

Windows Vista:
ImageState

Windows XP:
AuditInProgress

4. Delete the entry in the Value data textbox.

5. Click OK and close the registry.

After doing these steps, you should be able to install Google Chrome without receiving the 0x8004071c error.

Want to know more about Windows Audit Mode? Click here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Change Windows 7 Logon Screen

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From the same old welcome screen...
Tired of the same, old background image on your Windows 7 logon screen? I know I am. With a simple tweaking in the Windows registry, you can change your Windows 7 logon screen. It may not be as easy as changing your desktop background, but it does not take a genius to do this task.

Since the procedure below requires modifying the Windows registry, please be aware that changing certain registry values could cause system instability, e.g., system crashes and decreased performance. It is recommended that you are aware of what you're doing or at least let an experienced user do the procedures for you.
... to a new welcome screen you like.

How to Change Windows 7 Logon Screen

Part 1: Windows Registry

1. Open the Windows Registry by typing regedit on your Start Menu search box.

2. In the Registry, locate the following key: DKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background

3. Depending on your system, the OEMBackground DWORD value may or may not exist within the Background key. If present, proceed to step 5. If not, right-click on the right pane and select New, then select DWORD (32-bit) Value
Click image to enlarge.
4. Change the name of the value to OEMBackground

5. Right-click OEMBackground, then select Modify....

6. Change the value on the Value data textbox from 0 to 1. 0 signifies welcome screen customization is disabled, while 1 means otherwise.

Alternately, you can download this registry file, CustomScreen.reg, and run it.

Part 2: System32\oobe folder

Now that the hard part is over, let's head to the easy part: the actual changing of the background image.

1. Copy-paste %windir%\system32\oobe\ to the address bar of Windows Explorer. 

2. In the oobe folder, locate or create subfolder info.

3. In the info folder, locate or create backgrounds folder.

4. Paste in the backgrounds folder your desired background image for the welcome screen. 

5. Rename it as backgroundDefault

Make sure the image is in JPG format (*.jpg) and its size is less than 256 kb. The picture will be stretched, fitted, scaled back, or adjusted to your screen resolution.

When everything is done correctly, the change will effect immediately. Switch user or log off to see the change.

With references and images from Within Windows.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Globe Broadband WiFi

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During one of my usual trips to the Globe Telecom Business Center at Ayala Center Cebu to cash out from GCash, I picked up one of their flyers advertising Globe Broadband WiFi. It's the internet plan recommended for multiple Internet users in one place. With a 24-month contract or "lock-in" period, you can get a free WiFi router for your home to share access to the Internet with your family and friends.

You can choose from any of wired broadband plans offered to get a WiFi router for your home:
Internet Only
Priced at only Php 999.00 per month with a Php 500.00 one-time set-up fee, you can already surf the Internet at speeds reaching 1 Mbps.
Internet and Landline Plus
For those who want Internet access bundled with landline, prices start at Php 995.00 to Php 1,995.00, depending on the choice on Internet speed cap. The set-up fee is waived for this plan.
The actual Internet speed may vary depending on computer hardware/software specs, the number of people simultaneously using the connection, and the traffic to the site being visited. Further, some selected areas in the Philippines cannot avail a wired plan and are therefore offered wireless plans but at less surfing speed.

Want to subscribe? Here's how:

The following must be submitted to an authorized Globe representative:
  • A duly signed application form
  • A copy of valid ID
  • Proof of billing
Either submit proof of financial capacity or make a Php 500.00 advance payment.

One last thing

The information on this post is based on the flyer I obtained. Eventually, the info may no longer be accurate. Hence, it is best to check out the Globe Broadband official page. You can also call Globe at (02)730-1000 for Globe Landline and 211 for Globe/TM mobile for more details.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Games for Intel GMA 4500

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When you ask people what games run on Intel integrated graphic cards, they will most probably recommend buying NVidia or ATI dedicated video cards instead. From the term 'integrated,' itself, it's understood that such a graphic card borrows memory and CPU processing power from the system RAM, whereas dedicated video cards have memory and processing power entirely devoted for graphics and gaming. But there is still hope for those stuck with Intel cards, which they dub as Graphics Media Accelerators (GMA). I've played these games before with an integrated card, specifically Intel GMA 4500, and still got a decent gaming experience.

Before I bought ATI Radeon HD4670, this used to be my PC hardware build/specs:
  • CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 4500
  • RAM: 1 Gig DDR2 800Mhz
  • Operating System: Windows XP
Such specs certainly do not match any expensive gaming rigs but it can still play recent games, as long as certain graphics settings are adjusted.  These games are hardcore games, not just any casual game on the Internet.

Games for Intel GMA 4500
Gears of War
Left 4 Dead
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblvion


Prince of Persia
Call of Duty 4
Modern Warfare
Call of Duty
Modern Warfare 2









































Optimize Gaming  Performance

Below are some tips on how to speed up game performance even on such low-end hardware.


Optimized settings. Some games provide an optimized settings option that lets the game to automatically choose the best settings for you.

Virtual memory. Make sure Windows has allocated enough virtual memory. Virtual memory, or paging file, is an area on the hard disk that Windows uses as if it were RAM.

Enough hard disk space. Similarly, you must have ample remaining space on your hard disk after installation. I recommend to free up space of at least 10% of your disk's total capacity.

Updated drivers. A driver in simpler terms is a software that allows interaction with the hardware such as the video card.  Updating drivers usually fixes issues and speeds up system performance. Download Intel graphics drivers here.

OS choice. Choosing what operating system to use is sometimes decided on how much RAM you have. With only 1 gb of RAM, Windows XP is best. With 2 gb or more, your computer can handle later operating systems that require more memory.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

D'oh in Japanese

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Every Homer Simpson fan knows the famous catchphrase Homer blurts out whenever he ends up embarrassed or undergoes ill luck, the "d'oh!". This saying has become so popular that it even has a definition in the Oxford English Dictionary:
Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish. Also (usu. mildly derogatory): implying that another person has said or done something foolish.
There are a lot of Homer moments when you'll just roll on the floor laughing as he says d'oh. I'm sure you'll laugh just as hard when he says it in Japanese.


The video above is part of Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo, where the Simpsons family spend their vacation in Japan. Naturally the father and son duo, Homer and Bart, instigate trouble which consequently lead them to spend time in jail where they learn Japanese culture. As he shows off what he learned to Lisa by making an origami crane out of their last one-million yen bill, the wind blows it off out of reach. This causes him to d'oh in Japanese.

What Homer really said was shimatta-baka-ni which can be roughly translated as "damn it stupidly". The actual translation of d'oh in Japanese however is dottsu, written in hiragana as どっ! Not convinced? Here's proof.

Looking Back: Kinect was hinted at D5 Conference

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Kinect sensor device
Remember when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were interviewed together at the same stage? Such a historic event, called the D5 Conference, happened in 2005 and one of the things they talked about is the three-dimensional (3D) interface for personal computers (PC) and post-PC devices. In particular, there are certain hints that Microsoft founder Bill Gates mentioned in the discussion that certainly points to the Kinect for Xbox 360.

Kinect, for those who do not know, is a peripheral/add-on/accessory to Microsoft's gaming platform, Xbox 360. Initially dubbed Project Natal, Kinect allows user interaction with the video game platform without using traditional controllers for gaming and entertainment experience. Instead it utilizes a natural user interface that uses body gestures, spoken commands, and object recognition. The product was first publicly introduced on June 2009 and is set for a November 2010 release date.

So what does Kinect have to do with a discussion that happened about five years ago? Well you need to know what was actually discussed in the interview, so watch the video below. Alternately, there's also a partial transcript that I've taken from AllThingsD website.




Transcript

(Walter Mossberg) Walt : In the offing in the next four or five years, is it possible there’s a new paradigm for organizing the user interface of the personal computer?

Bill: One of the things that’s been anticipated for a long time is when 3D comes into that interface. And there was a lot of experimentation, sites on the Internet where you’d kind of walk around and meet people, but in fact, the richness, the speed, it just didn’t sustain itself. Now we’re starting to see with some of the mapping stuff, a few of the sites, that the quality of that graphics, the tools and things, are getting to the point where 3D can really come in. So I’d definitely say that when you go to a store, bookstore, you’ll be able to see the books lined up, you know, the way you might be interested in or lined up the way they are in the real store.

So 3D is a way of organizing things, particularly as we’re getting much more media information on the computer, a lot more choices, a lot more navigation than we’ve ever had before. And we can take that into this communications world where the PC is playing a much more central role, kind of taking over what was the PBX, sort of one of the last mainframes in the business environment. That will be a big change that will come to it. And as we get natural input, that will cause a change. … Software is doing vision and so, you know, imagine a game machine where you’re just going to pick up the bat and swing it or the tennis racket and swing it.

Walt: We have one of those.

(Kara Swisher) Kara: Yeah. Wii.

Bill: No, that’s not it. You can’t pick up your tennis racket. And swing it.

Bill: You can’t sit there with your friends and do those natural things. That’s a 3D positional device. This is video recognition.

Kara: Steve? I know you’re working on something, it’s going to be beautiful, we’ll see it soon.

Walt: And you can’t talk about it.

Steve: Yeah.

Walt: Bill discusses all his secret plans. You don’t discuss any.

Steve: I know, it’s not fair. But I think the question is a very simple one, which is how much of the really revolutionary things people are going to do in the next five years are done on the PCs or how much of it is really focused on the post-PC devices. And there’s a real temptation to focus it on the post-PC devices because it’s a clean slate and because they’re more focused devices and because, you know, they don’t have the legacy of these zillions of apps that have to run in zillions of markets.

And so I think there’s going to be tremendous revolution, you know, in the experiences of the post-PC devices. Now, the question is how much to do in the PCs. And I think I’m sure Microsoft is–we’re working on some really cool stuff, but some of it has to be tempered a little bit because you do have, you know, these tens of millions, in our case, or hundreds of millions in Bill’s case, users that are familiar with something that, you know, they don’t want a car with six wheels. They like the car with four wheels. They don’t want to drive with a joystick. They like the steering wheel.

And so, you know, you have to, as Bill was saying, in some cases, you have to augment what exists there and in some cases, you can replace things. But I think the radical rethinking of things is going to happen in a lot of these post-PC devices.

A New UI Paradigm

Bill Gates believes that 3D interfaces have long been anticipated and will be the next big thing in the coming years. As he had said, just imagine actually being in the virtual world, doing the walking and other physical actions, instead of just controlling an avatar in your computer. To make it clear, you control a Mii character when playing on the Nintendo Wii. But with Kinect, you will feel like you're controlling yourself instead. Your physical and virtual existence becomes one in Kinect.

What is Missing

Obviously there is something missing from Kinect that fulfills Bill's thoughts for the 3D future: the holographic interface. With Kinect, the computer only sees us doing the actions ourselves, but for us to actually interact with the virtual object just as Tony Stark does, now that's something else.


If Kinect becomes successful... (and I think it will be.)

I know Kinect is only limited to the console Xbox 360. But I'm guessing if this becomes widely accepted by the public, it would be natural for Microsoft to redirect its focus to a 3D interface for the personal computer itself. It is indeed the birth of the next generation gaming and computing, far beyond what Apple and its touch interface (of iPad and iPhone) hope to accomplish. (Sorry Apple fanboys, the truth must be told.)

Optimize Your Blog For Search Engine Results

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If you want your blog posts to place first in search results of Google, Yahoo or Bing, you need to optimize your blog. One particular optimization is modifying what must appear in search results should your posts be indexed by search engines. But why is that? It's because post titles that match closer to the search term rank better.

As a nice example, taken from TycoonBlogger: if you search for make money online, you'll get these results:
Click image to enlarge.
If you'll notice, the top result is a blog with a Blogspot domain, the second still a blog with its own domain, and the third an article from About.com, a more popular website known as a source of information and advice. So how can a blog that is only a subdomain place first? It's because it's a perfect match to the search term.  Similarly, if you want your blog posts place as close to the top as possible, you need to have a close match to terms people likely search for. That also means you need to remove your blog title from the search results.

By default, blogs made in Blogspot have the default format in search results:

Blog Title: Post Title

See all those unnecessary "Conan Hughes" before the post titles?
Click image to enlarge.
You can confirm this by looking at your internet browser's title bar. Bloggers may want to display just the post title instead for three reasons:
  • As I've said before, post titles that match closer to the search term rank better. Your blog name appearing within the search results lowers your posts' ranks.
  • Second, search results are bound to limited character length. When exceeded, the title is truncated and may sometimes become unclear. Blog titles only make search results longer.
  • Third, people want to search for a specific term. Showing the blog title along is somewhat unnecessary.

How to Modify your Blog for Search Engine Results

To modify what the page title of your posts should be, you need to edit your blog's HMTL.

For Blogger,
  1. From your dashboard, choose the blog you wish to modify and click Design.
  2. Under the Design tab are links. Select Edit HMTL.
On the HTML code you need to find

<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>

Replace it with the following:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'>
<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> ~ <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>

Understanding the Code

Of course there are people out there curious as to how the replacement code above works. As to what title will be displayed, the browser will have two choices depending on what page you are within your blog. If you are at the homepage, the browser will display your blog title. When you are viewing a subpage/post, what will be displayed in the title bar (and more importantly in search results) is the name of your post followed by the tilde sign (~) and then your blog title.

The Last Step: Patience

If your blog is already indexed in searches, then you will need to wait until the search engines re-index your blog and adjust the results to the recent changes you made. This will take some time so just relax and wait.

Reference: BloggerPlugins.org

Michelangelo's Secret Message to God

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It's God versus Science once again. This time, Science has placed a secret image right in God's face itself. Two American neuroscientists reportedly discovered a well-disguised drawing of a human brain in "Separation of Light from Darkness," by Renaissance painter Michelangelo.
The Separation of Light from Darkness is one of the panels in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts scenes from the Book of Genesis, specifically the first day of Creation when God separated the light from the darkness. The hidden brain image is found in the depiction of God's neck and chin.

Separation of Light from Darkness
Click image to enlarge.
This stunt by Michelangelo is said to be a hidden attack to the Church, which at his time was aggressively oppressing people supporting the advancement of science. Openly showing off scientific information in front of a dominating enemy would have been a mistake, hence the hidden image. 

Michelangelo was not only a painter but also a talented anatomist known for dissecting cadavers, something that is considered unholy. That said, concealing within his own painting some scientific knowledge wouldn't be so hard, according to the neuroscientists Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo of John Hopkins University School of Medicine. They propose this attack is a reference to the Michelangelo's growing belief that ordinary Christians are able to communicate with God without much help needed from the Church. Talk about separation of light (representing God) from darkness (representing the Church).

Some would say why can't God (through his Church) and Science just stop fighting and make up and hug instead. Science is meant to explain the why and God the how, right? Truth be told I personally think it's over for God. Science can do both, eventually.

If there's a reader there infuriated with what I just said, go ahead and rant in the comments corner.

With images and quotes taken from the Telegraph report.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Annoying Orange: Mystery Guest

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The internet sensation Annoying Orange has a new episode this week, even though mostly a teaser to the next Annoying Orange video, Annoying Orange gets an Upgrade, to be released next week. It seems the makers of this web series has chosen an idea repeatedly suggested by us fans. And it's going to happen next Friday. Annoying Orange will be meeting a mystery guest head-on.

Only Two Funny Lines

There are only two funny lines to compensate for the episode being a cliffhanger though. But still, they're catchy.

Orange (at the moon with Pear): Hey Pear, I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation.

Orange (destroying a skyscraper): Whoa, laser eyes!

Guess who's the Guest?

Who's your bet for this mysterious guest? Mine is Homer Simpson. Though highly unlikely, it will be hilarious if the two meet and try to annoy each other and then say "D'oh!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Certified Text Twist Addict: 1 Million Points Achieved

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After three months of leisurely playing Text Twist Turbo on my cellphone, I finally reached a million points. Had I been playing nonstop, the time to get such score would have been shorter. Nonetheless I proclaim myself a certified Text Twist addict.

Text Twist Turbo, a mobile version of Text Twist, is a word puzzle game that displays 7 jumbled letters the player must 'twist' and form 3-to-7-letter words. Solving the seven-letter word lets player proceed to the next level.

For that million-point milestone, I was expecting some kind of award or achievement recognition since there are accomplishments such as Super Fast (solving a seven letter word within five seconds) and Basic Genius (solving a total of 1000 words in Basic puzzle). But for those also wanting to hit that score, you may be disappointed; nothing is there to be had. Even way before 250,000 points you can already gain all the awards.

So I had to ask myself what to do next. Well for one I still play the game when bored or to mentally tire myself to sleep. Further still, it won't hurt to try and reach a billion points.

Lessons To Learn From Blogging

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Blog with a smile on your face.
Anyone who has been blogging for more than a year is bound to learn a thing or two. Be it in terms of writing and blogging skills or regarding blog traffic and money opportunities, any lessons learned must be considered seriously for the future as a blogger.

Too Many Voices Deafen the Crowd

No matter how many possible viewers there might be in the Internet, the websites they're likely going to visit fall under these categories: popular, credible, professional. This is one such problem bloggers encounter right from the moment they set up a fresh blog; how can they be heard when too many voices have already stood out wise and strong? The search for unique content has become a challenge. Along with it is bringing in a sense of professionalism and credibility for every post published.

When Money Thoughts Hinder the Love of Blogging

Bloggers have to face it at some point: the blogosphere is over-saturated. There are hardly any money opportunities found huge enough to become main sources of income. The fact that many people start blogging with income in mind has caused them to back away some months after. Money is just as hard to earn from blogging as you would on any other jobs.

Blog for Fun Instead

What bloggers need to think is that to blog is to write for interest and fun. The love for blogging must come in first before anything else. Without the passion, blogging becomes just about any other job people are forced to land in for the sake of money. That is not the point of blogging.

Importance and Expression of a Blogger's Self

A fellow blogger has thought of being useful to society for such contribution as promoting Mental Health Awareness. No matter how little help it gives, a well-intended blogging can bring that sense of accomplishment to the blogger.

Learning for Life

Says Oscar Wilde, "Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." Nonetheless, it also means life is constant learning. When blogging becomes part of that life, bloggers learn to improve their writing skills and become aware of what the world is interested in.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Globe Tattoo Software Upgrade

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I just upgraded the firmware of my Globe Tattoo USB Modem. The only major difference is the new "dashboard" software which now displays a Call button in its toolbar. Well at least I can finally set aside one permanent phone SIM on my computer that's not only useful for Internet, but SMS and calls as well.

The model I upgraded was Huawei E1552 and I did all upgrade procedures on Windows 7 operating system without a problem. When done correctly, the process should not take more than 30 minutes. Despite reports that there are problems regarding reliability and stability when using the USB modem on Windows OS's other than XP, I have yet to experience any. But to be safe, if you're planning to buy a USB modem, at least look for models with "Windows Vista / 7 compatible" stickers.
No Internet speed increase

I was expecting that there might be, even if just a little, an increase in Internet speed after the upgrade. But nope, I didn't notice any improvement. The speed largely depends on your physical location and time of the day.

Open line USB modems remain open line

One reason I hesitated to upgrade is if, when upgraded, my USB modem would lock back and become limited to Globe Tattoo SIM's only. It turns out I worried for nothing since my USB modem remained open line.

Where can I download the firmware/software updates?

You can see all the available updates for your Globe Tattoo USB Modem at Globe's official tattoo software upgrade page. The updates are only available for the following Huawei models: E1552, E160, E160E, E156G, E220.

Where can I find guides for the software upgrade?

Globe provides an extensive upgrade guide with accompanying images. Though made for Windows XP, instructions are still applicable when upgrading on later Windows operating systems.

ImmortalTxt20: Globe Text with No Expiry

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With no recent announcements on whether the promo will be extended further, it's time to think back on our expenses on ImmortalTxt20, a Globe text promo that offers 75 texts to Globe/TM and 10 texts to other networks for only Php 20.00 and without expiry.

How to register to ImmortalTxt20?

Registration is done by texting Immortal20 to 8888

Is ImmortalTxt20 worth it?

Globe may have misled you into thinking so. Quoted from their official FAQ's page:
The price of ImmortalTxt has increased from P10 to P20 because of the new and improved components of the promo - it now has 75 texts to Globe/TM and 10 texts to other networks...
In any practical sense, this new promo is neither improved nor better. Globe subscribers are better off with normal load and/or Immortal Call+. Here are why:

If you send messages to other networks often, normal load is best for you. With ImmortalTxt20 having only 10 messages available for Php 20.00, that means you spend Php 2.00 for each message sent. Whereas on using normal load you only spend Php 1.00 per message.

Immortal Call+ vs ImmortalTxt20

As for Immortal Call+ versus ImmortalTxt20, the previous is more worth its value. Immortal Call+ not only gives you 5 minutes of call but also 50 text messages to Globe/TM users. The SMS cost ratio,

Php 15.00 / 50 text messages = Php 0.30 per message

may be higher than ImmortalTxt20 (Php 0.27 per message), but it's actually more worth its value thanks to the 5 minutes of call. 

In conclusion, you're better off registering to Immortal Call+ instead and set aside Php 10.00 for messages to other networks. 

No Expiry? Not really...

Don't forget there's a catch in using both Immortal promos of Globe: the maintaining balance of Php 5.00 regular load. Not only it is hefty, but it also means you need to buy regular load every now and then. The no expiry feature is not exactly something to be happy about because the maintaining balance itself does expire.

Left 4 Dead 2 LAN (Offline)

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Those who like to play the original Left 4 Dead with their friends locally, ergo without an Internet connection, may also want to play the sequel Left 4 Dead 2 on a local area network (LAN) as well. I've created a guide on how to host and join a local game session without relying on Steam or any other online game matchmakers.

 

Update (February 7, 2012)

Almost two years have passed since I created this guide and a lot of game updates have been pushed through by Valve since then. As a possible fix to recent multiplayer connection problems, create a shortcut for Left 4 Dead 2.

Open the shortcut’s properties, proceed to Shortcut tab and add the following at the end of the Target field: –insecure. Click Apply/OK to save the new setting.

CaptureEvery time you run Left 4 Dead 2, you should do so by using this modified shortcut. The guide below will not work if you don’t use the shortcut.

After following the steps above, run the game. You will then need to enable the developer console. Optionally, you can also enable automatic detection of LAN games for convenience to those who will join your hosted game. Here's how:

How to enable Developer Console:

1. At the game main menu, click Options.
2. Click Keyboard/Mouse.
3. Click Allow Developer Console and select Enabled.

Left 4 Dead 2 main menu with console open.
Click image to enlarge.
How to automatically detect LAN games:

1. At the game main menu, click Options.
2. Click Multiplayer.
3. Click Automatically Discover LAN Games and select Enabled.

With all the necessary settings set up, it's now time to host a game.

How to create or host a Left 4 Dead 2 local (LAN) game:

1. Open the Developer Console by pressing ` on your keyboard. (It is the key below Esc.)
2. Type sv_lan 1 then press Enter.
3. Type sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0 then press Enter.
4. In the console, type map then press Space.
5. Right after you press Space all the playable maps will be displayed.
6. Use your keyboard arrows to scroll to your desired map.
7. Press Enter.

Basically the command to create a local game is this:
map nameOfMapHere gameType

An example of a map is this c5m1_waterfront. c5 stands for campaign five, m1 for chapter/map one, and waterfront the corresponding name. Those with The Passing campaign, the campaign code assignment is c6.

List of all Left 4 Dead 2 maps:

Dead Center:
c1m1_hotel   c1m2_streets
c1m3_mall    c1m4_atrium

The Passing:
c6m1_riverbank   c6m2_bedlam   c6m1_port

Dark Carnival:
c2m1_highway   c2m2_fairgrounds   c2m3_coaster
c2m4_barns     c2m5_concert

Swamp Fever:
c3m1_plankcountry   c3m2_swamp
c3m3_shantytown     c3m4_plantation

Hard Rain:
c4m1_milltown_a   c4m2_sugarmill_a   c4m3_sugarmill_b
c4m4_milltown_b   c4m5_milltown_escape

The Parish:
c5m1_waterfront   c5m2_park c5m3_cemetery
c5m4_quarter      c5m5_bridge

List of all game modes:

campaign   scavenge   realism
survival   versus     mutation

If the gameType is left blank, the hosted game will default to a campaign game with normal difficulty. To choose another mode, just type in the console the game mode after the map name.

Example: map c1m4_atrium realism

How to join a LAN game:

When the game is created, the remaining thing to do is to let other players join the game. If Automatically Discover LAN Games is enabled, Steam Group Servers may appear in the main menu which players can use to join your game.

Alternately, the console command to join is connect hostIPAdresshere.

Example: connect 123.123.123.123
Steam Group Servers (at the bottom center) appears when it detects a game.
Click image to enlarge.
When clicked, you will then proceed to this window that lists all available games.
Click image to enlarge.
Determining the host's IP address:

Determining your local IP address can be tricky when you're connected to the Internet, so it's best to stay offline when hosting a game. Anyway, the game host must type net_status in the developer console. Some data will appear afterwards. You will need to look for a phrase similar to this: "Net status for host 11.111.11.11:" The numbers that appear on that phrase is the host's IP address.

Other notes and info:

This offline LAN game guide does not require Hamachi, Garena, or Steam. However, I suppose the version of the game installed on all computers must be the same.

Make sure Left 4 Dead 2 is added to the firewall exemption.

sv_allow_lobby_connect_only
If set, players may only join this server from matchmaking lobby, and may not connect directly.

sv_lan ( def. "0" )
If set, server is a lan server ( no heartbeat, no authentication, no non-class C addresses ).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Super Surf: Globe Unlimited Internet

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Many are confused with what Super Surf is because of a promo both similar in name and service, Surf All Day. So to make it clear, Super Surf gives you the unlimited access to any website using Globe Tattoo USB modem (or an open line USB modem) or Internet-capable mobile phone. All Day Surf is a mobile internet service giving you access to specific mobile websites only.

Globe Super Surf: All Day Unlimited Internet.
Click image to enlarge.

Registration is done only through SMS. Please be aware this promo is only available to Globe Tattoo prepaid and Globe prepaid subscribers. Unfortunately, Globe postpaid subscribers cannot register to this service.

How To Register:
  1. Simply text the keyword SuperSurf50 to 8888. This provides you 1 day unlimited Internet access. Alternately, you can also send the keyword SuperSurf220 to 8888 for 5 days unlimited access to the Internet.
  2. If registration is successful, you will receive an SMS accordingly. You can also check your subscription status by texting SuperSurf STATUS to 8888.
  3. You will receive an SMS notifying you if your subscription is about to expire. By then you will have to register again to the service. If not, you will be charged the regular rate of Php 5.00 per 15 minutes of Internet access.
When you do the math, SuperSurf220 is actually cheaper than SuperSurf50, with the previous only amounting to just Php 44.00 per day. For heavy internet users, having to register everyday can be a hassle too, hence SuperSurf220 as a better option.

A maintaining/remaining load balance of Php 5.00 is needed to be able to use Super Surf.

For more info, you can check out Globe Tattoo's official website or text SuperSurfHelp to 8888 on your mobile phone.

Important! Read my new post regarding the 1 gigabyte daily limit for this service.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Annoying Orange is Dead!

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Yep, he is dead. But no, he's still alive. Annoying Orange died this year but he will be dead 43 years from now. Orange died but it is unclear if it is the annoying one. Confused much? Just check out this week's episode of Annoying Orange: Back to the Fruiture!


As for this episode's fruity question of the week, it's not just where I'd travel back in time if possible, but also when. If the temporal paradox do not apply in the time-space continuum, then I'd like to go back to my past and correct as many mistakes to alter my present for the better, even if only a little.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why the iPad does not have Handwriting Recognition

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Without the stylus wand,
there's really no magic.
Quoted from a USAToday recap of Steve Jobs in the D8 interview:
On tablets and the creation of the recently-released iPad, Jobs says Apple tried to reimagine the device because handwriting on it was doomed to fail. "We said if you need a stylus you've already failed," Jobs says.
With the Apple Newton, they did fail. Even worse with the Inkwell and hence the transition to multitouch technology. Apparently experience has taught them not to tinker with handwriting recognition any longer. Maybe Jobs' latest device is, after all, not that "magical", having lacked a feature I really consider essential for tablet devices.



When questioned about a network issue, one of his responses was:
You can bet we're doing everything we know how to do
I interpret that as Apple having inferior research and development. It is as if like they're just exaggerating the features they currently have to cover up the missing, and probably more important, features of tech devices.

Is Apple really changing the way we perceive computing? Yes, but with the iPad it is for the worse. In a writer's review for the iPad as a writing tool for example, he says you either need to adjust to its limits or wait for a hardware upgrade and updated software if the current iPad fails to live up to your expectations. If the latter happens for handwriting recognition, the iPad would be so cool for everyone. If not, we're stuck with iPad's rather inaccurate virtual keyboard.