Hole in the sky?

My name is Major.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Hackers - The Movie - My thoughts and comparisons

 


    I've written about Hackers; the 1995 movie starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller, several times in the past. I gave my quick thoughts, explained how it got me excited and let me down, and my interactions with the hackers community before, during and after the film was released. I was driving to Miami today and I was thinking about watching the movie again for the first time in about 5 years, and decided to listen to a podcast about it. I flipped through a few, and all of them were making fun of the movie, saying how horrible it was, and how it was a waste of time for everyone involved. Admittedly the one podcast I listened to all the way to the end, they said they were a little young for the film, had no connection to early 90's culture, and no link to hacking or Macintosh computing from the era. I thought, well, since I have all these connections, and was the original target audience, why not go over it in depth?

The Technology

Let's be perfectly honest: Computers of that time cost a metric fuck-ton. The introductory price of a Macintosh LC II in 1993, with 4MB of RAM, no monitor, no modem or add-ons of any kind, was $1699- or $3095 in today's dollars, allowing for inflation. Add a monitor? No problem, for $399 for the cheapest and smallest 13 inch available. 4MB RAM? Better call Kensington and hand over another $219. Modem? Toss in another $100 for a cheap one. Don't worry, I did the math; the average complete Macintosh Setup from the day cost around $4800 in today's money. Forty-Eight-Hundred.

   

    I use the LC II as an example, because at the time you could run in to an Office Max and this was the budget solution and setup you could expect to be hard sold by some guy in a red shirt making $5 commission per sale. In 1994, the Performa/Centris/Quardra/LC lines became all one computer that ran different variants of the 68040 Motorola processor. For the low, low price of $599, you could interchange your motherboard with the next model up for an almost imperceivably increase in speed and zero functionality. This was a dark time for Mac's, but were a mainstay in school, and their system 7 environment was far more advanced than the Windows 3.1 available at the time. 

    Bottom Line, if you had a PC in your home, it was for the entire house to use. Your parents paid their bills and used it like a word processor, while you played games and got online to talk to friends. 


     The movie Hackers was absolutely full of portable computers. Every character had one, and a nice one with all kinds of options. Let me tell you, no one I knew at the time had a laptop, luggable or portable PC. Especially a Macintosh. Why? The insane cost. In the market for a Powerbook Duo as pictured in the movie? You would have to shell out close $5000 just to get started. Want a bag, modem, or the famous DuoDock to go with it? Get that wallet! The dock alone was $800. No teenager in the 90's just casually had a laptop that could get online with them. Most of the IBM PC Compatible laptops of that time had no sound, grayscale graphics, and very little expandability. 

My Group of Friends, and their Tech


    We had an IBM DOS compatible computer in our house that my parents used, and I got on to BBS's on, all the way from the late 80's to the early 90's. At school it, was all about the Macintosh computers, System 6, and how advanced and friendly they seemed at the time. I begged my parents for one, and every time they looked, it was way out of their price range. I come from a pretty well to do family, for them to say it was out of their price range is kind of a big deal. My sister got a car for her birthday one year, and they said the computer would be more than a used car. My whole life changed when I moved to Florida after my parents divorced, and my grandfather died no sooner did we move. There was an inheritance involved and it was close to $10,000. I didn't have any friends in Florida, but I knew I wanted whatever Macintosh was available at the time. It was 1994, and the Performa's were the newest machine available in Macmall Magazine. I was able to the get the best one in the magazine, with the best monitor, keyboard and modem, no expense spared. I chose the Performa 636CD, and added the optional DOS card, a supra express external 28.8k modem, printer, ergonomic keyboard, speakers, and whatever software looking awesome at the time. It came with a free 100 minutes of America Online in the box. I was ready to go. 

     I met a few people at school who played with computers, one in particular asked me what kind of PC I had, and I told him a Macintosh proudly. He practically begged me to come to his house and see his setup. He only lived a few streets away in a nice neighborhood, and had the aforementioned LC II in his room, with all the bells and whistles, RAM upgrades, and even a scanner, which was kind of rare at the time. He had a commercial grade laser printer, and his previous computer, a Macplus with an external hard drive, was also plugged in as a secondary computer to test HyperCard stacks and whatever else he was working on. Color me impressed. Up until this point, I played games on mine, got on to AOL maybe once a week to use my 20-30 minutes of time I was allowed as it was $1.99 a minute, and played around in the paint program and such. I had no hacking tendencies and really never thought of it. The only time I thought about doing something malicious online was finding a way to get more internet time.

Friends and the Vibe


     There was no real "Hacking Style" like the movie. That is 100% exaggerated. Even the music and the whole vibe to the movie is so off, it's crazy. Myself and others did take on some of that style and music choice of the movies. I'll explain.

    Each character in the movie has their own computer. A portable of some kind, tailored to their own eccentric natures and unique to them. Well, we didn't have portables, but we sure customized. I brought my PC with me almost everywhere. I had skate stickers all over it, and screwed a handle in the back and sides so I could lug it around easier. My friend mentioned before painted his monitor, keyboard, mouse and PC jet glossy black; He was an expert typist already and didn't need to see the keys. Other friends had various stickers, markers and even graffiti on theirs to reflect their personality. 


     We dressed how we dressed before we starting messing around with computers. How did people dress in the 90's? Well nothing like the people in Hackers. I was in a skater/BMX community in Vermont with my older brothers before I moved to Florida, so already wore clothes and shoes that reflected I was a skater. Rollerblading was super hot at the time, and skateboarding was out. We rarely saw any skateboarders at the park, it was all blades. I met someone who was not in to the Macintosh scene, a neighbor a few streets away who had an Amiga in his room. He could play awesome games, visit BBS's and listen to music on his PC, but not get on AOL like we were doing. I instantly was hooked on Rollerblading, and it became my preferred choice of transportation in 1994. We had chain wallets, Mossimo shirts, and Airwalk shoes. We rollerbladed so much, we both became very good at it, and later competed in competitions around the South Florida area. Remember, this is all before the movie Hackers came out. 

     We went to Macworld Boston in 1994, me and three other guys, rollerbladed in the Subway, met new people and saw new technology. We took disks as booths with the sole purpose to overwrite the information on them and keep the free disk. People had glasses and polo's on, khaki pants and white tennis shoes. No one stood out like us, and we didn't care. We met some other people that were around our age and local and made a weekend of it, and had the times of our lives. 

    It was super rare to know someone that had a personal computer in their room back then. Getting online? Even more rare. That had a Macintosh? 10000000% more rare. My four friends and I were a group, we wanted to know more, we lived and died Macintosh, and hated on the 'IBM Lamerz'. First order of buisness was to find out how to get free internet, because $1.99 per minute was way too fucking much.

Introduction to Hacking

     We had to get online as much as possible. Getting free AOL disks from the kiosk at the Mall or Office Max seemed like the best idea, but 150-1000 minutes free on a new account went faster than you think it would. We needed to be online 24/7. 4-5 months of using the trial accounts worked for a while, and someone we knew even made a utility that generated "Certs" so we didn't even have to go to get the disks from the mall anymore, we could generate them at home. The "Certs" started lasting less and less time, as AOL caught on to people using them for unlimited free trials. It became almost an emergency to find another way to get free AOL, or any kind of internet for that matter. One way was the local area network providers. Basically a company in the area that offered unlimited shitty internet for a cost and did not meter the bandwidth or who was logging in. Peganet was a good option at the time, and for $50 a month you could have unlimited 14.4 baud connections, then use that to log in AOL. Bad news: The price was a little high, the speed was slow, and they only had 10 nodes and we were 4 people alone. To get all online at once and for free was hard to do, and, you still had to have an AOL membership that was active and use their minutes. Makes no sense, but perfect sense at the same time. It was only a matter of time before we discovered carding.

     Our aforementioned friend made a program in Director that would exploit the Zahn method of credit card generation. He got the secret of it from trading files with other in the 'MaCWaReZ' chatroom, and built a small but light program around it. These programs were like gold, and easy to download and use. Some of them even came with detailed instructions and the people that made them frequented the chatroom to help you if you got stuck. A mutual friend worked at Blockbuster provided us with Credit Card numbers and expiration dates from out of the country that were Blockbuster card holders. Bajedo Puerto Rico seems like the one we always used. Input the CC information, the generator would spawn 100 card numbers, load the card number into the next utility someone traded us, it would generate the expiration number and boom, we are off to the races.

     AOL only billed at the end of the trial period, so no matter what, the card would work if everything matched the Zahn method. We would make a new account, spoof a new screen name which would just be different variants of our typical handles, and stay online for 30 days straight without interruption. We would use thousands of minutes at $1.99 a minute. 1000's every single month. This worked perfectly until AOL went to the Unlimited for $29.99 a month subscription service, which we all signed up for. Our introduction to hacking was the necessity to get online as much as we wanted without getting charged an arm and leg. We all had our own dedicated phone lines, so that was a non-issue.

Everyone's Personality

Each person was good at something. I was good with the creation of OneClick pallets and editing and stealing other people's code and programs and using ResEdit to repurpose them for our use. The "Hell" tools that people used on macs that were basically ports of AOLHell from Windows 3.1 were remade in OneClick. The one that I was known for was WhiteHell. I spent weeks on end finding out ways to change the boot up screen, the backgrounds, icons and logos of the Finder operating system so we could put whatever we want there. My best friend who was great at coding loved to make things from scratch and had been coding and making HyperCard stacks since say 1. We had one friend who had access to servers of different types, and used an IBM PC as his main computer so we had multiple ways to read and store information. Another friend had a full music setup in his house, all MIDI based craziness hooked up to Roland Keyboards and was able to make MOD and MIDI files on the fly with professional software and hardware. My father was the owner of a Radio Shack franchise in town, so we could always get parts or anything we needed easily and quickly with zero cost. I had one friend that used a 286 PC that was a hand-me-down from years before, that had a 9 inch amber gas plasma display and a 9600 baud modem. He was a super fast typer, was on BBS websites locally and all across Florida constantly. He traded files with people overseas and from other states, and had a amazing library of text files and small DOS programs that could help you get free long distance calls, make Phreak boxes and so on. This same person was a fucking wizard at stealing things. David Blaine level slight of hand and thievery skills. He was very introverted but was also very interested in anything that was dangerous or highly illegal. Need some RAM? Give him a 12pk of beer and a smile and he will grab some at the mall for you. Super amazing resource. 

The Movie Comes Out



     My closest friend decided he did not want to watch the movie. The trailer had a young kid with VR glasses on, there were attractive women, and stylish night clubs. It was obviously a super glamorized version of the lift we were living. I did have an attractive girlfriend, but she wanted nothing to do with computers. Getting a date was hard as a nerd who spent 90% of their time on a computer and the other 10% rollerblading. I ended up going to the movies to watch it with my friend that owned the Amiga. He was the furthest away from being a PC user and hacker, but had all the access to the professional audio equipment. His dad made his own beer, and he had insane speakers that were modular to take to parties. Before we knew what a modern DJ looked like, he was it. Hooking up his computer to a giant amp and house speakers to play his newest mods, or in some instances, even early MP3's. We both LOVED the movie. We talked about it to our friends and hyped it up over all. I went to the mall the next weekend and bought the soundtrack, the Fat of the Land Prodigy album, and changed what I was wearing almost immediately to be more edgy. I knew the movie was not the reality of a Macintosh soft-hacker from south Florida, but holy shit, I wanted it to be. Before this movie came along, Pump Up The Volume was the song of our people.

     I wanted to go to NY City. I was under the impression that this mystical place had a whole culture where people went by their user name and were "In the business". I spray painted my walls and brushed up on coding. I even further customized my computer's boot screen. I even distributed an early version of the backgrounds featured in the movie that I made in photoshop to the AOL download message boards. The movie came out on VHS, and I was the only one of my group that was interested in watching it. I know it's fantasy guys, but it's so close. Take the VR shit out of it. The stylized version of the net, take that out too. Those backgrounds and desktops are so similar to ours. We do the little customizations to our setups, and we even rollerbladed. The similarities were too hard to pass off as a coincidence, and at the end of the day, I desired to know how Hackers was made.

    I got older. The DVD was released with zero special features. I bought the Laser Disc online for $4, it was the Deluxe version that was letterboxes. I finally had something that was close to the movie theatre version, and not some pan-and-scan bullshit. I paused the movie and would capture little details. I found out through a fan website on Geocities that the movie was filmed in Pinewood studios at the same time as another film at the time. The person had pictures of the lobby cards and even had a copy of the script signed by the actors. I had to have more. I emailed people that had anything to do with the movie, found out cast members names and found their AOL screen names and sent them direct messages. I got little details here and there. Above all, I wanted the address to Cyberdelia, the club from the movie. I learned from a low level grip/lighting person over AIM that the majority of the movie was filmed in London. All the indoor shots, schools, apartments, bedrooms, clubs and so on were all purpose built sets made in the UK. My hopes of every finding Cyberdelia were gone. I know from watching the movie that SOME of it had to have been filmed in NYC. Grand Central Station? I could go there. I wanted little details no one knew. Meanwhile, I picked up the second and third iterations of the soundtrack at the mall in the bargain bin for $2 each at FYE.

     I taught myself HTML and made several fan sites about movies I liked, and begged for more information. 

What you need to get started

     To be a Macintosh Hacker in the 90's you needed a certain set of lucky things happen to you:

  • Have nice or wealthy parents that had 5k +++ to throw away on a computer for you
  • Have nice or wealthy parents that were willing to keep your computer upgraded
  • Have parents that were willing to give you freedom and access to some kind of money
  • Be lucky enough to be allowed to have this car-priced piece of equipment in your room
  • Lived in a heavily populated area to meet people with the same circumstances or a way to meet those people online, or both
  • Pray that they also used Macintosh computers, had access to some way to get online, or trade files with you
  • Had friends or resources that were willing to research or help you in some way, and introduced you to hacking, warez rooms, or some kind of entry level coding
  • Had student access to school Macintosh computers that could be sourced for parts
  • Have friends with wildly different sets of skills that span across multiple different operating systems and computer types
  • A basic understanding of how computers worked and communicated with each other








Monday, December 14, 2020

The_Col_Sanders is the best twitch channel on the internet



https://www.twitch.tv/the_col_sanders


Learn how to cook, and laugh,  and play some Overwatch with a classically trained chef.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

1080p @ 240hz or 4k @ 100hz - Which is better? (For Overwatch)

 

That's my dog.  

     Recently I've been finding myself wondering.. which is better? 1080p? 4k? 60hz? 100hz? Regular aspect ratio or ultra wide? Well I did some research using all the real equipment I have in my house, across three home computer gaming setup.

The Computers Being Used
Son's Gaming Rig
i7 8700 Air cooled
16GB 2666mhz ram
GTX 1070ti stock
Samsung 34inch QLED Ultrawide 100hz2k or 4k60
Wife's Gaming Rig
i7 10700k stock clocks Water Cooled
16GB 3000mhz ram
RTX 2070 Super stock
Dual Monitors Samsung 27in 4k100hz UHD and 60hz 1080p Viewsonic
My Gaming Rig
i7 8700k Overclocked to 5ghz Water Cooled
32GB 2666mhz ram
RTX 2080 OC
Dual Monitors Acer Predator 272B 240hz 1080p, and 42in 4k60hz Samsung QLED Frame

Details on PC Configurations
All the setups can run Overwatch at full tilt, as you don't really need a super computer to get high FPS out of it. I had some concerns with my son's computer, but it was Freesync enabled so locked in at 100fps/hz with zero issues. All three computers are pre-built from Bestbuy, have been looked over, and have a few tweaks as far as power consumption and cooling profiles. In the case of my computer, I was running benchmarks on it all the time, so it's heavily tweaked.

Game Reactions

240hz @ 1080p Gsync
My normal setup, I play Overwatch almost every day for at least an hour on the Acer Predator Monitor and RTX 2080. Everything is on epic settings, Gsync turned on, and it's constantly pegged at 240fps without any issue. Zero screen tearing and response is insane and ultra accurate. I've been playing a lot of Ashe lately and I can attribute my aim and play style around having great tools to do the job. It's not blurry when I turn, the sharpness of picture is exactly how I like it. No perceptible mouse or input lag. 

60hz @ 4k No Gsync
42in Samsung Frame above my 240hz monitor, epic settings, with V-sync enabled to take down that tearing. Turning around makes everything really blurry. There is no way as Ashe I can flick shot anything to make this work. I switched characters that did not have as much fine movement, and even tried Widow. Widow was more playable as you take a little longer on the shots. The clarity of the image from 3 feet away from the monitor is great, but I see little difference in the 1080p vs 4k at this distance. Overall, this is not the ideal playing experience for a DPS character with tons of jerky movement. Noticable input lag. 

100hz @ 2k Ultrawide Freesync
Another Samsung monitor, this time the new 34inch QLED with Freesync. Right off the bat, the zooming on the sides of the monitor in my peripheral vison, which can only be described as a tunnel effect, is distracting, but kind of novelty and I'm enjoying it. Only the slightest small tearing at the top of 100hz when turning or shaking the mouse fast. Definitely playable with a DPS but I feel like I'm watching a movie of myself playing slightly slower than normal. Only when a ton of things were happening close to me did I feel like it was getting away from and I felt dizzy from the blur. This monitor is amazing obviously, and the visual clarity side of it, and the richness of colors is really great. Very small amount of input lag, but it could be my imagination at this point. Poor GTX 1070 really at it's limit here, but stayed at 100hz with a few settings turned down to High. 

60hz @ 4k Ultrawide Freesync
Had to take some settings down to get this to work on the QLED monitor on my son's rig, everything on medium/high. Tearing is unavoidable. The decrease in graphic quality is noticable but not distracting. It's like playing the Samsung frame with more blur and tear. Could be slightly better on a higher end video card, but I doubt it. Not enjoyable at all. 

60hz @ 1080p No Gsync
This is a horrible gaming experience. I played Overwatch on a 1080p 60hz monitor for almost a year and was dizzy after 30 minutes of playing. This is a better experience than I remember from those days, as this monitor is made for design and is from Viewsonic. The picture looks good for 1080p, and the colors are really rich and accurate. Smearing at the edges. Turning the mouse quickly makes me want to vomit. Played 2 rounds as Lucio and I could feel myself getting the hang of it. Very noticeable input lag.

100hz @ 4k Freesync
This is a very playable experience. I'm close to the monitor, like the Predator 240hz panel, so no distance variable there. The image is just so clear, surprisingly clear and beautiful. No tearing unless I'm really slamming the mouse back and forth quickly. Played several games as Lucio and Moira, then switched to Junk Rat and lobbed some bombs around and chilled out. Blurry when a lot going on and things blowing up, but rock solid at 100hz and never moved with the RTX 2070s. I found myself getting use to the lower frame rate, but avoided playing Ashe as it was making me dizzy when I turned the mouse too much. Again, like watching a movie playback of myself playing on youtube. I could definitely get use to this. Played for an hour or more.

The Results

From Best to Worst
1) 240hz @ 1080p. By far the best experience. Felt closer to the game and I literally play better. Zero blue. No input lag. Picture could be sharper. Acer makes a good monitor.
2) 100hz @ 2k Ultrawide. This was really fun to play and felt great. Ultrawide gaming is fun and different. If this monitor was 144hz, I would 100% almost want this as my daily driver. 
3) 4k @ 100hz. Such detail, I really didn't know existed. Everything just looked so clear. For a game I've played for over 1000 hours, I didn't know it could look this good, and I'm seeing details I missed before. Almost a tie with the Ultra Wide. 

Final Thoughts
I would like to play 144hz @ 1440p and see the middle ground. My friend from work has a 1080p panel that is design built for gaming- 1080p @ 144hz and I would like to try that. I'm really wondering if the 144hz is the sweet spot. 100hz 4k shocked me at how good it was, and I'm guess a 3080 would be needed for 4k@240hz for any game. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Baulder’s Gate 3.. cheat?

Baulder’s Gate 3 Boulder Trick

 I was having an issue beating up on the ogre trying to bang in the old house, where you interrupt them about to make a half ogre. Here: https://youtu.be/X89MAXFcnvU

Right to the left of here is a small cliff side with several “Loose Boulders” I noticed you could throw them extremely far, so my plan was to get a few and wing them at the giant titty ogre when she comes out one-shorting my party.

I knocked on the door and boom, here comes Bertha, full pissed off having interrupted their disgusting coitus. I tossed the first boulder but she was right on top of me as I did it. It only did like.. 5 damage with a 70% chance to hit. The boulder fell right back next to me. 

I then picked up the boulder an unlimited amount of times and threw it on her until she was dead. No extra turns needed, just keep throwing the boulder to do infinite damage based on what kind of time you have. You never have to end the turn or do anything except click on the boulder, select throw; and do it a ton of times. If she (big tits ogre bitch) is inside the house and you attempt this, for whatever reason this causes the ogre to get stuck in the ceiling unable to take actions until you kill her. If you use multiple boulders, they will stack up and the enemy will be magically Levite’s one boulder-height with every toss.. and yes you can climb on said levitating boulders to get to places you would not be able to normally. 

So I got curious. What else can I kill with a boulder? The mega spider thing with like 200hP? No problem. Bosses? Child’s play. As long as they want to get close enough you can kill them all in one turn. Throw boulder, walk up next to them and just keep picking it up and throwing it over and over. Never fails. All those knolls in the hillside nearby? No problem, however one of them fell through the world and started spinning a thousand miles per hour. Mileage may vary. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Fast internet.. will it get me in trouble?


     Let's call it boredom. I wanted to see how fast I could download a file, as I have pretty good internet and wanted to see how fast it would actually go. For the record I have 1.2gb Fiber both up and down, I'm 2 feet from the source cable, and my cord is less than a foot long coming out of the router. Different speed tests has me clocked all over the place, but here is an example from 1 minute ago from that ookla website, download packets from Miami, the closest major city.  



     My wife is watching the debates on sling, and my son is upstairs hacking the planet. I could run this 100 times and get wildy different results so I just went with the first one. 


     I then tried to download some test files from various sites, but their hosting is awful and could not keep up with what I'm throwing down. The best I got was 10.4mbps. I decided to do something LEGAL. I'm going to partially download a movie file from a torrent. A movie that I've already paid to own a copy of. Go here to read the legality of downloading a copy of media book or movie that you already own. For the record, I bought the movie Bladerunner 2049 when it was first available digitally, I'm a huge fan, and own the first edition signed of "Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep". Previously, my wife has given me shit for downloading torrented movies, as they send you an email, whether you owned the game/movie/book or not, they don't know, they just sent the email anyways. 

     I'm not going to post screen shots of the download, but let's just say, I documented a 31.7mbps download from a torrent of said movie, and stopped the download at 17%. I selected delete data and torrent, and went on my merry way. I never downloaded the whole file. The real experiement, which I'm not sure I want to know or not, is whether we get the email of death in the morning for legally downloading a movie I already own, and I get yelled at by my wife. Of course I saved a screen shot of me only downloading 17% of the file. Of course I'm playing with fire, and by fire, I mean the consequences of an irate wife who has warned me several times before not to do this exact thing.

    But.. I had to know. 

*Edit*
It did not get me in trouble. Not sure why, but my wife is not mad at me.. for this. 


Thursday, January 16, 2020

PodCast of the Month: The Pink House Tapes


Deep Learning Neural Net AI Summons the Ghost of Ric Flair


Yeah so what I made this blog too. I'm bored.

Love text adventure games. Huge fan. Ever since Zork and Dragon Riders of Pern on C64 I have been a huge fan. Still dabble in some BBS Door games once in a while still. This game really got my interest. Check out the link where I steer the AI to strange places and see what will happen.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Why the Apple $1000 Monitor Stand is fine by me



     Over-engineered aluminum stand: $1000. Let's not forget the optional $200 VESA mount of you want to connect to something else.. you do have a choice, let's not forget about that.


     It's connected to a $6000 monitor. Yes you heard that right; Apple's professional monitor offering cost's more than a used car. It's 6k(ish), HDR compatible, and some of the most accurate colors and blacks you will see in a monitor.. but $6000.

     The customer for both of the products above is not the same customer that buys a mid range to low end Macbook pro. This customer is not going to buy the new Mac Pro cheese grater without the dual video card option and 128 GB of ram, they are going all the way, because they have the money to spend, and why the the fuck not. This is not marketed towards college kids trying to make music or basic graphic design.. no way. Is Apple going to piss off some people with a $1000 mount? Sure. But they were never trying to be attractive to that particular consumer anyways. 

Video Card Upgrade Progression - When to upgrade


     When is it time to upgrade? What exactly do you need, how much to spend, how much ram... the list goes on. I was reading a post on r/nvidia subreddit, and I saw a small trend: people posting pictures of their video card purchases through progression. A few posts it seemed like 5 or more years went by, but the majority, only 1 or 2 years max. One picture in question:


   Two cards from the same release generation, and another card, the RTX 2080TI being the new hotness. Back to the original question.. when is it time to upgrade? I put together a small list of questions I ask myself around what I think would be upgrade time.

1) Do you play games? 
2) Can you not play the game you want to play in the resolution and/or frame rate that you would like?
3) Can your monitor support various functions of an upgraded video card?
4) Can your current hardware handle a new video card without bottleneck issues?
5) How much money would you like to spend?

     At right about question 4, I think you would tell yourself you are due for an upgrade. Do you play games? Not that playing games is required for needing a video card, you could use enhanced graphical capabilities for a number of work related reasons, alas, the majority of people buying these cards are using them for gaming. Sometimes you buy a game, a good recent game that needs a little more horsepower. Your current card seems to groan under the pressure and frame rate suffers, rendering it all buy unplayable. The quick and easy solution is to buy a new video card. Questions 3 & 4 seem to be very related, so lets keep them in the same bucket. If your existing hardware is not compatible, upgrading is off the table. An old crusty CPU that is 5+ years old may hold you back in the gaming department, and using that same 1080-60hz monitor may not be the best choice to take advantage of your new buttery smooth frames.

     My suggestion? Buy something a little better than you need that has solid cooling and reviews. My video cards typically outlast my computer setup in most cases. There is no reason why a computer/video card can't last 5+ years in today's market playing triple-A titles how they were meant to be played. In the market for $500, trust me, just save a little bit more and get the next step up. You may not see the difference right away, but you just saved yourself an upgrade down the line.




Monday, June 3, 2019

Elder Scrolls Online Disk Space Issues


     I'm downloading this game, after not having played it since closed beta. My wife saw an advertisement for the new expansion and wanted to try it. While waiting for it to download, I googled random things about the install process as I typically do when downloading something new. 85 GB needed for new install? Not too bad for a modern game, on par with what I have seen. Clicking links and reading on the forums, people complained of it needing, much, much more. So I cancelled the download, and monitored it closely this time around. Note: I have ultra fast fiber optic internet so the download is quick, so it was not too big of a deal. What did I find out?

- ESO says it requires 85 for install.
- The above fact is final install after cleanup and patches. I found this to be accurate within 10 gigs. Not bad.
- The core game is 58.5 GB, the main patch is 56.8 GB, and the final patch was right around 16 GB. That's 131 GB. 
-When the last patch is applied, a clean up process happens in the background, leaving the install back at a modest 87GB.
- If you have a 120GB solid state drive that you have and you want to install this game on it, well, don't. You wont have the space for the game to work with. Install it on the main drive and copy the Zenimax folder over when its done and you should have no issues. 

Hope this helps. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Demon of Steel (1987) (Anime)



Hey! Let's watch strange anime together on youtube for free. I'm currently watching this, and so should you. So far I dig it.

Press F to pay respects [Game of Thrones]

Well this explains a lot. [Apex Legends]



When you get shot once by something trivial and it feels like there is multiple bullets shooting you?
When you duck around cover or close a door, and then you get shot afterwards?
When damage seems to accumulate when you got shot a few seconds ago?
Feel like your running through quicksand?

     Anyways, see above for the average network lag, Apex being the worst in class, no surprise there. Their forums range from, "I can't seem to shoot anyone", to "Why do I die with purple armor on by one pistol shot.", and other magical comments. Sorry, I'm going to pour gas on this unoptimized piece of garbage. I'm glad its losing popularity.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Cable Management

Inside your computer? You should give a shit.



Outside your computer? Who gives a fuck. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Apex Legends... I don't like it.


Above is a logo I found on Google images


Reasons why I think Apex Legends is crap:

1) I'm just not a fan of the style of game.
Don't get me wrong, 10 years ago I most likely would get super in to a game like this. I tried Fortnite and PugG. I could  not get in to it at all. Something about not knowing if the guy is on your team or your friend? No clear path to winning. Very seldom winning or killing at all, just being dead and playing over and over until you win the frag lottery and possibly kill a few people and very rarely, win a game. Not my cup of tea,

2) Entry Level difficulty is too hard.
I started Fortnite as a 20 year vet of first person shooters at a competitive level, and i was getting my ass handed to me for weeks. This game is no different. You drop in, search around for some guns, and someone clicks on that one single black pixel from 50 miles away and its game over. 9 out of 10 games you die before you fire a shot, and you have no idea how they pulled it off... until you do it yourself. The last game I played, I dropped in, found a pistol, thought i may have seen someone an impossible distance away and emptied the clip in his direction. Kill. My 4th kill actually in 20 levels. In what game do you get to level 20 and killing your 4th person MILES away is some kind of achievement?

3) I saw someone that was level 89, had zero kills.
What the actual fuck you Origin scumbags. You made someone play 89 levels of this game, baiting them along with loot boxes and some cosmetic upgrade, and they have never even killed someone? What is the point of this game? grab guns and loot and die; over and over and you better get used to it.

4) Winning a game is over 250 to 1 against you.
Why play a game you can't even have a chance to win unless you just put hundreds of hours in?

5) Good players with money get discouraged. 
I consider myself a better than average gamer, especially first person shooter games. I play competitive Overwatch and CODBO4 quite often, and hardly miss a AAA game ever. I spend lots of money on gaming, both in the actual software, and hardware to play. Software developers design games hoping I will like them, as I have disposable income and a penchant to spend it on stupid games. Well Apex Legends, I wont be following my impulses and spend money on your game for the above reason, I'm discouraged. I can't win. I can hardly ever get a kill. I can't do anything I want to do, unless I play 24 hours straight and all the stars align. I can't get a good team because the match making system had a few gears missing. I've uninstalled your garbage cash-grab of a game and I will not be playing it ever again.

6) You have to pay money to access other characters.
I would willingly pay for a game that puts everyone on the same level playing field. This game is not one of them. Yes its pay to play, no it's really not that bad.. but it is. Any game that gives an advantage to paying customer is a shit game, period. No, I don't care to argue this point, its how I feel and that's it.

Reasons why Apex Legends is not crap:

1) It's free.
2) Graphics are not horrible, can play on potato systems as well.
3) It's popular?


I'm sure you're asking yourself, well if you don't like this game, you like other games. Which games are those? Why do you like or dislike them?

Overwatch.
The good: Games are quick, you can re-spawn without restarting the game, its forgiving with mistakes, changing characters is encouraged, games are quick and rewarding. The bad: Matchmaking can be horrible, when new characters are introduced you can love to hate them, competitive sticks you with certain characters and the pressure to play them.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4.
The good: Quick rewarding games, entertaining graphics and death animations, quick re-spawn, easy on new players, even newbs will get their first kill in their first game and not after 89 levels of playing. The bad: There is some pay to play to unlock other characters. I've paid for the game, now time to pay some more? No thanks. I think this game is amazing, play it all the time, but that bothers me quite a bit.

Anthem.
The good: Have you seen this game? It's magic to the eyes, and in your pants. Controls are legit as fuck, gun play is amazing for an MMO. The Bad: Repetitive. Not enough to do. Not a super balanced game, but is fun and replayable. Say what you will, but this game has REAL potential. Some updates could fix it.

Destiny 2.
The good: First person shooter MMO done right. You can survive, you can kill with the big boys right out of the gate. Lots to do for the first 40 levels or so. Visuals are top notch for a game a few years old. The bad: It's on easy mode. You can be horrible at any game and manage to putz around and kill things, complete missions and advance the narrative. Playing raid content costs money, which for this kind of game is not that much and may be worth it. has repetition issues, but I like this game very much even though I don't play it as often.

TLDR; Apex Legends can kiss my ass, it's not rewarding and too hard, and other games are much better. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blockbuster's Last Store Closes: Thoughts


     The last movie to be rented, in the last Blockbuster franchise open, was "This is the End". Fitting isn't it.

     I think they had a pretty good run. Let's take a quick trip down memory lane, explore the awesome things I remember about our popular rental store in a pros and cons(?) mash-up.

     God, where to start. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Vermont, that had no Blockbuster franchise available. Not that I could not watch the commercials on Sci-fi, and dream about the ultimate selection of games and movies available for just a few measly dollars. I shortly thereafter moved to Florida.


     It was a production really. My father would announce we are going out to eat or get ice cream at Ben & Jerry's down the street, and hit the Blockbuster and pick up some movies after dinner. He never really cared about how many movies or games, or combination of both that I picked up, and he even let me grab some candy and soda to take with me. To complete a really good night you had to finish up at Blockbuster.


     When we got home it would be a movie night. My parents would sit in front of the big TV in the living room, while I would go and park in front of the smaller one in my bedroom and watch the crappy movies I just rented. I was never interested in mainstream movies, so I always rented the worst B movies- sandals and sorcerer flicks I could get my hands on. Real crap.


     Deathstalker was the best kind of shit there was to watch. There was at least four of them I can remember without doing research. There was nudity. Sometimes the main character was the same, sometimes not. More nudity, and extreme violence. My parents would ask me what I rented, and I would always tell them something like, "The Secret Garden", or "Drop Dead Fred". Old movies at the Blockbuster by my house were $1.00 for three days. Three days! What a deal.

     Other local rental places were popular in pockets around town. One particular rental establishment was called Prime Time Video, and honestly, was much better than your average Blockbuster rental store. Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures or video of Prime Time Video, as it closed several years ago. They had a Game Trader section where you can sell your old games and get a new one for a decent price. Popcorn was free, and they had arcade machines and vending machine all over the place. Movies played on TVs around the store and you could test any video game you want to buy on one of their provided consoles in the game area. They were the only place I ever went to that had rare, obscure and PC games for sale and for rent in the same place. Prime Time Video: A relic of the past that will be missed.

     I will conclude this drunken rant with the following: Don't forget the rental places that first introduced you to certain movies and video games. Before Netflix and Google existed, you had to read the back of the box to make a choice of what you wanted to watch. God help me I can remember the carpet at Camelot Video in Cape Coral had special carpet that glowed under blacklight, and had movie-film-popcorn pattern to it.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fignobbins. (Krull 1983)


     In the movie Krull, There is a part of the movie when the main characters are having some friendly banter. 

Ergo: If I had my wish I'd be out of this gloomy place right away. If I really had my wish I'd be sitting on top of a gooseberry pie as big as a mountain. No, that's a bit greedy. I'll settle for one as big as a house.
Titch: I'd wish for a puppy.
Ergo: Only one puppy? If you're wishing why not wish for a hundred?
Titch: Only want one.
Ergo: Well that's a foolish wish. And you Rell, what would you wish for?
Rell the Cyclops: Fignobbins.


I submitted a correction to IMDB to fix the quote.



My brother and I watched this movie as a child and I'm 100% sure that's what he says. He and I have talked about this at length.

Someone posted it on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1lgpsl/in_the_movie_krull_when_asked_what_he_wants_more/

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