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 ).