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Showing posts from March, 2016

Internet Devices in my home 1991 - 2016

It must be middle age that has recently inclined me towards nostalgic comparisons of past and present technology.  Last week I was musing about internet speeds but today I got to thinking about the prolifieration of internet connected devices in our home over the last couple of decades. 1991: 0 devices (I hadn't even met my wife at that stage  but I give this date as a zero reference point) (1 adult living in my home, Peak internet speed 0 kb/s) 1996: 1 desktop PC with dial up (2 adults living in my home. Peak Internet Connection speed 28.8kbs) 2001: 1 desktop PC with dial up modem           1 Laptop with dial up modem (2 adults and 2 infants living in my home. Peak internet connection speed 56kb/s ) 2006: 2 desktop PCs with wired broadband            1 laptop with wifi connection to broadband (2 adults 2 children living in my home. Peak internet connection speed 2Mb/s) 2011: 2 desktop PCs with wired broadband           1 Laptop with wifi connection to broadband  

Playing Halo 2 for the first time in 2016

The iconic Halo series has had a poor relationship with the PC. Halo 2 didn't come out for PC until two full years after the Xbox 2006 release and even then it was artificially restricted to those who had upgraded to Microsoft's unpopular Vista operating system. If all that wasn't enough to annoy PC gamers the port was badly optimised and buggy. The game has never been made available as a digital download so it has pretty much been forgotten by the PC community. Yet Halo 2 remains an important milestone in gaming history and I have long intended to play it so I finally bit the bullet last week and did so. The original Halo (Combat Evolved) was important because it showed that first person shooters could work well on consoles and introduced a number of innovations that have become standard to this day (the game pad control scheme, the two weapon carry limit and the recharging health/shield scheme). Halo 2 introduced on-line multi-player with automatic matchmaking  and its

Just Cause 3 breaks the 8Gb ram barrier

If you want to get Just Cause 3 to run smoothly in high quality settings then you need more than 8Gb ram in your PC. I have 12Gb which is enough but even so I still need to be careful not to have too much stuff running in the background in order to play the game. For some reason the games official requirement is only 6Gb but many players have criticised the game for being a poor quality buggy port and adding more ram  solves most of the issues. Whether this is due to bad programming or not the fact remains that you need more than 8Gb ram to get the best experience out of Just Cause 3. This is the first game I have come across that actually needs more than 8Gb. Until fairly recently even 4Gb was enough,  a legacy of the memory limitations of 32 bit Windows but just over a year ago games like Witcher 3 started demanding up to 8Gb. Now it seems even that barrier has been breached. As for Just Cause 3 itself? Once I got it running I liked it a lot. It is very repetitive and the storyli

3Gb download in under 2 minutes

Back in the 1990's I connected to the internet with a 28.8k dial up modem. I remember one one occasion trying to download 20Mbytes of data over this ever so narrow pipeline and it proved such a long and tortuous experience that eventually I had to leave the computer running overnight in order to complete the download.  Yesterday I downloaded a 3Gb file in just under 2 minutes at an average rate 25 M bytes per second. I just had time to browse a couple of web pages before the download was finished. We take it for granted that everything to do with computers has gotten orders of magnitude faster over time but this still strucke me. Three billion bytes is an enormous amount of data. Back in 2000 I bought a computer with a "massive" 10Gb hard drive that managed to serve all of my IT and gaming needs for several years. EDIT: Make that 25 Mbyte per second. Seems I got the math wrong the first time.

Windows Laptop Frustration

It takes so long to boot my Windows laptop that it just isn't worth it any more. I am not talking about the minute or two delay caused by booting from a normal HDD. I am talking about the 10 to 15 minute delay due to Windows updates that seems to be required every time I want to use the laptop. I guess this wouldn't be as much of an issue if used the laptop every day but I don't. I use it perhaps one every two to three weeks in order to give a talk or presentation when I am out of the office. I can assure you from first hand experience that three works worth of accumulated updates makes booting into Windows a slow nightmare. I do have a nice Samsung tablet that I use for normal mobile computing (meetings / email / web browsing) and I even have a HDMI adapter for that tablet but if I am going to an unfamiliar location with untested facilities it is still far safer to bring a windows laptop with old fashioned VGA connector to ensure everything works out. Solutions: 1. B