As If You Needed Another Reason to Love Steam

Posted by Dan | Posted in Nerd | Posted on 23-05-2014

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Microsoft: “So we’ve made Windows 8. Basically we took all the elements that made Windows 7 good and crapped over them so spectacularly Vista actually looks like a decent OS by comparison. If you’d like to upgrade it’ll cost you £100, which we’re sure you’ll agree is quite reasonable.”

Steam: “We’ve designed a way to let you play Far Cry 3 at maximum settings on a netbook. For free.”

steam-os-planet-steam-logoIf you own a gaming PC, update to the latest version of Steam immediately. Then dig out a crappy laptop, netbook, home theatre machine or whatever else you have lying around and install Steam on that.

The latest update allows you to stream the game to another device on your network while utilising your gaming PC’s hardware. You don’t even need to install the game on the other device. Consequently I’m now able to lie in bed and play Bioshock Infinite with max settings in 2560 x 1440 on the same netbook which previously struggled to run Monkey Island.

Do it. Do it now.

http://store.steampowered.com/streaming

Must-Have For OS Geeks

Posted by Dan | Posted in Nerd | Posted on 30-06-2011

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If you run more than one operating system on your machine, you’re no doubt aware of the dull default bootloaders that rape your eyesockets every time your machine powers up.

Eyesocket-raping default bootloader

I’ve just discovered BURG (it’s GRUB backwards, and rather loosely stands for “Brand new Unified loadeR from GRUB” — they might as well just call it “Beautify UR GRUB” really). Despite the poor acronym, this is an absolute must-have for any machine running more than one operating system: it brings a much-needed GUI to replace the aged text-only interface.

Here are some screenshots to give you a taste of what it can do:

Big thanks to OMG! Ubuntu! for making me aware of this neat little tool. Click the link to get it and for a simple walkthrough on how to install it.

UPDATE: For Ubuntu 12.04, follow this guide.

Virus Warning: Softwarear (“Powerfull” PC Protection)

Posted by Dan | Posted in Nerd | Posted on 28-12-2010

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Merry Christmas/Happy Hannukah/Hail Krampus/Praise Mithras/[insert other two-word-capitalised-Seasonal Greeting]

What does your family do at Christmas time?  The general tradition in our family is for everyone to get together, eat a lot of turkey, and then go: “Hey Dan, how are you?  Say, I’ve been having some trouble with my PC…” (cue me spending the next two days dismantling machines and pouring the software equivalent of bleach over family members’ hard drives.)

Being both a nerd and a pedant, I do actually take a lot of satisfaction from a repair job well done.  Most of the problems can be fixed with a healthy dose of CCleaner (‘Crap Cleaner’), TuneUp Utilities and Avast! Antivirus.  ((Or, if I can get away with it, a complete format and the latest Ubuntu distro.))  Computers have always been a hobby of mine and I enjoy fixing them, even if it does mean that while the rest of the family are sitting with their feet up sipping Bucks Fizz and playing with their new presents, I’m on my knees cleaning cigarette ash out of my grandmother’s Sony VAIO.

Today I got around to looking at the machine my teenage sister uses.  It was the first rig I built, back when I was 18, and was already well-armed with maintenance and protection software when I gave it to her so it rarely has any problems.  But I have just finished wrestling to the death with one motherbitch of a virus that crept onto the machine, and am now full of both disgust and a little bit of admiration for whoever wrote it.  As part of my catharsis, here is a brief explanation of what it is and exactly how to kill it.

The Motherbitch Virus: Softwarear

The reported problem was “everything is going slowly and it’s making weird noises from inside the case.”  I immediately saw what she meant: just turning the machine on had the CPU fan sounding like it had a dying pigeon stuck inside it, and the machine would intermittently make a weird alien bleeping sound I have never ever heard it make before.  Something weird was going on, and before I went any further I cleaned and re-seated components inside the case in case something had come loose or clogged.  Made no difference.

I booted up and got this message:

I’ll admit, I skimmed it and clicked — expecting Security Centre to pop up.  What I should have noticed from the outset was that Avast! Antivirus had been disabled (the icon to the left, with the red x) and I have never seen that white and green icon on any Windows security thing ever.  And, if you actually read the text, you’ll see the tell-tale sign of a scam: Engrish.  The fact it was a scam became apparent to me when I saw what was brought up:

Read the rest of this entry »

(I can’t be arsed with eBay)

Posted by Dan | Posted in Nerd | Posted on 22-09-2010

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I have a netbook that I’m not using.  Anyone interested?

It’s a “Dan Improved” version of the Samsung NC20 (which is still selling for £400).

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/laptops-portable-pcs/laptops-and-netbooks/samsung-nc20-599510/review?artc_pg=1

“Dan Improved” means:

* Replaced the 1GB of fairly ‘meh’ RAM with 2GB of high-speed Crucial RAM
* Replaced Windows XP Home with Windows 7 Professional (although kept the sticker on, so technically you’ll get the license key to both operating systems)
* Includes a very sexy fitted leather case. By ‘fitted’ I mean you won’t ever need to remove the case as you can still access everything with it on, which makes it nice and durable
* Includes portable, external Samsung DVD drive

Samsung NC20Samsung NC20Samsung NC20

Samsung NC20Samsung NC20

It’s 12.1″, which I found to be an advantage as it meant a bigger, clearer screen and a full-size keyboard. While it’s still incredibly light, take note of the size because I know you can get some stupidly tiny netbooks that are like 8″.

I used it for almost a year, then someone helpfully spilt a drink in it. Luckily it was still in warranty, so I sent it back to Samsung who gave it a new keyboard and motherboard, and a ‘guaranteed to work’ certificate thingy. (In other words: while the chassis is a year old, the stuff inside is practically new. Win. 🙂 )

{They took more than a month before they sent it back to me, so in the meantime I bought a laptop. Hence my reason for selling this; I don’t need it.}

Drop me a message over Twitter if you’re interested. Local nerds/people I actually know will be given preference.

I’m looking for between £300 – £350 for the lot. Considering Win 7 Pro alone is £100 (and you get the XP key on top of that) that’s really not a bad deal. I can also advise on software to get the best performance out of this, and if you let me know what you’ll be using it for I can tailor it to your needs.