Saturday, April 9, 2011

Comparing the Competition: Part 3 of 5

Comparing the Competition: Part 3 of 5
The Nintendo Wii is put under the scope for this part of the series.
Included: Glory, Statistics and Tech.
The record breaking Nintendo Wii is the successor to the amazing and popular GameCube.
It is fully backwards-compatible with the super-giant of the sixth generation and features groundbreaking technology such as three-dimensional motion detection and technological specifications. The pricing is and always has been reasonable for the Wii as Nintendo mass produced over 80 million of the machine.

The Wii was released in 2006 as a member of the 7thGen gaming era. Featuring super-tech of the time motion detection, fun games, and full of features, the Wii was quick to compete with the Xbox and PS3. 
Unlike the other two, the Wii has had few major issues and is still in its first revision, making it the only 7thGen console that hasn't been deeply modified since its release. What else would expect from the legendary Nintendo wizards?

Getting down to the dirt...
Nintendo has been shady about the Wii's technical specifications, but it was no surprise to find that the system is one of the least powerful in it's generation. It is estimated to have about 800mhz of CPU power, 300mhz of GPU, 90MB of RAM, 512MB Flash memory for storage, and has built-in Wi-FI, the ability to expand its memory using SD cards, GameCube memory cards, the ability to download updates while in standby mode, and compatibility for digital/optical audio systems, RGB and Component video outputs, and can play standard 12mm DVD size discs as well as the 8mm GameCube discs. It has no DVD/CD compatibility, no HDMI, and limited upgrade potential. Nintendo states that it may make new systems DVD compatible but it is likely they will wait until the 8thGen to do that.

The Nintendo Wii, in spite of its low technical specs, obvious even when playing games, has managed to become one of the best selling game consoles of all time.

Tell me what you think about the Wii.

Friday, March 25, 2011

After Hours of Troubleshooting...

I made the mistake of installing some new software...harmless right? Well, not so much. Turns out many 'computer optimization' programs can actually kill your computer. Well, not exactly kill. But it corrupts your internet settings, making any hooked-in computer all but worthless. Seriously, what good is a computer without Internet? In any case, after hours of troubleshooting, I have solved this issue. I decided I should tell you guys about how I fixed it, since there doesn't seem to be any documentation (that I could find) on the Internet already.
1) The issue begins when any program decides to modify your Services. 
Symptoms of this issue may only appear after rebooting, and often times sooner. 
However, they all share a common denominator... 
When you attempt to connect to the Internet through a browser, the page will idly try to load, often with a spinning buffer wheel, for a couple minutes until you get an "Cannot Connect to Internet" error page.
This is only the first symptom; your entire Internet dies at this point. 

Trying to reboot your modem, router, computer, TCP/IP Protocol, or killing your LAN connection and restarting it will do nothing.

2) When you look under START -> Control Panel -> Network Connections -> LAN (or whatever form of connection you are using), Right+Click the connection you use, and select STATUS. 
The connection has to be running to do this, so if it isn't running, Double Click to start it. 

In the Status window, you will have two tabs: General and Support. 
Under the General tab you will find the status (connected; not connected; connecting; error, etc), how long the connection has been running, and the (usually inaccurate) speed of the connection. 
Under that will be a graphical representation of all Packets sent and received. 
If you are experiencing problems, you may see sent packets and no received packets, or none across the board, or only received packets. 
Either way, there is an issue here that's obvious.
Now, go to the Support tab. You will see the Address Type, IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Default Gateway. There is also a Repair and 'Details...' button. 
Click the Repair button, and let the operation run. 
If there are any errors, specifically a DNS Cannot Be Registered error, you have an issue.

Your IP may or may not appear as and the Type may or may not be "Invalid IP Address."
In any case, the issue is that your computer has lost the ability to interact with your modem/router.
You may also have some other symptoms... You may get a framedyn.dll error when running some programs, specifically WIN/DOS applications, and when trying to troubleshoot you may get an error message saying that the 'Help and Support service is not running...'.
This is the actual issue. Your Services have become tampered with, and they need to be corrected manually.

Click START -> RUN or press STR+R (the Windows key plus R) to open Run, and type services.msc into the box, then press Enter.
Find DHCP Client and Right+Click it, then click Properties. 
Set Startup Type to Automatic, click Apply, then click Start.
Reboot is optional, but may increase chances of success. In either case, go back to your Network Connections and reboot the connection. (Right+Click, Disable... Right+Click, Enable).
If this didn't work, return to the Services and find the DNS Client and repeat the same steps as with the DHCP Client.
Repeat for the Extensible Authentication Protocol Service if you have it.
Also repeat for Help and Support (do this anyway, in any case).
Note: ONLY modify the following Services if they are NOT already running. If they are running, do NOT modify them. Only if they are NOT RUNNING do you modify them. To see if a service is running, look under the Status column.
Repeat for HTTP SSL, Network Connections, Network Location Awareness (NLA), Network Provisioning Service, Plug and Play, Remote Procedure Call (RPC), Remote Procedure Call Locator, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, and you should be done.
Reboot is optional, but may increase chances of success. In either case, go back to your Network Connections and reboot the connection. (Right+Click, Disable... Right+Click, Enable).

If this didn't work, Google your issue. There are some other methods and fixes that are very different from these that may work. While rebooting your modem, router, and computer will not fix this specific issue right away, I recommend it just in case it's something else. Reboot once you get the Internet working again, and test it out.

Comment with results, issues, etc.

Sincerely, Psychy
Please repost to other sites to help get this fix to more people! :) Thanks

Editor's Note:
This post relates to legitimate programs which carelessly change your computer's settings. Viruses may have a similar effect, but are a much different issue. We will be posting a more refined version of this (and all our other posts, for the sake of consistency) within the next few days. Site operations will be stilted and buggy for awhile, so please be patient, and report any major errors you find, if you wish. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comparing the Competition

Part Two of Five
The infamous Xbox 360--the gamer's game system. Microsoft entered the gaming market back in 2001 with the original Xbox, a gaming masterpiece ahead of its time. The image of the hardcore gamer was embedded inside of this machine, and by the time it was taken off the market in 2006, it had sold an incredible 24 million units. 
Its successor, the Xbox 360, carried on the legacy with cutting-edge graphics, an easy to use interface, and high title games like Halo 3 with its legendary gameplay. 

To date, the gaming giant has sold an incredible 50 million units. The redesigned Slim model which replaced the bulkier and meltdown prone "fat" model was released in June and July, 2010. This model, pictured above, features better processing, graphics, memory, built-in Wi-Fi, and a redesigned disc-bay, among other upgrades. 

Getting down to the dirt
The Xbox 360 S model, which we will be looking at, features an amazing 3.2ghz processor, 512mb of GDDR3 RAM running at 700mhz, a 500mhz Xenos GPU optimized for gaming, support for HDMI (no downstream support), digital audio, and built-in WiFi. The Slim features a single DVD/CD high speed drive, 5 USB ports including a custom port designed for the Kinect, and a removable 250gb hard drive (with versions as low as 20gb.) The low budget models only have 4gb internal memory but can be expanded with the 250gb hard drive. 

The Xbox supports Netflix, Zune, CD and DVD playback as well as an immense DLC store, with everything from TV shows to full size games available. To purchase items you need to buy Microsoft Points, either with a credit card, or a pre-paid card sold in thousands of chain-stores across the country. To play online one must purchase a XBox Live Gold Membership, in either 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or 12 month inclements. The price for membership was raised about 5$ in 2011, with the 12 month membership now costing 65$.

In the end, the Xbox 360 is indeed the gamer's paradise. However, it comes at a cost. Most consoles die after 2-3 years of use, and replacing them can cost anywhere between 200~400$. Also, the controllers are known to wear out, with battery packs falling out or disconnecting.
The disc drives on older models tend to lock up after awhile. The newer models seem to have corrected all of these issues, however, it will be another year or two before we can know the lifespan of these machines.

With multimedia support, online stores, streaming content, and HD gaming, the Slim is one of the best consoles around. Brand name games exclusive to the Xbox include Gears of War and the Halo series, both of which are highly popular and expected to be developed for ages.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Comparing the Competition

Part One of Five
The famed Sony PS3 was released in the US in November of 2006. By the 2nd month, over 2 million consoles had been sold. eBay pre-sales reached 17k$ on the day of release, with prices over the week staying at 2000$ and eventually bottoming out at 1000$ as in-store stocks continued to plummet.
A debate rages on about whether the Xbox 360 or PS3 Slims are the best for the hardcore gamer. In reality, the 360 is easy to use and features brand-name games, but the PS3 is far more technical, making it a hardcore, more mature version of the 360.
In 2009, the Slim model was released, following waves of controversy and rumors. The new Slim solved many of the problems the older, 'fat' models were prone to. 
The new PS3 Slim features a smaller, more compact design, better cooling dynamics, better energy efficiency, and is much quieter than the fat models. 
However, the Slim also sacrifices some loading speed, graphics, and processing capabilities.

Getting down to the dirt...
Getting down to the dirt, all PS3s feature a Cell microprocessor which often runs at an amazing 3.2ghz and features optimization for multimedia and 3D computing, making it optimal for gaming. The GPU is a nVidia RSX 550mhz running at 40nm [2], an XDR and GDDR3 extreme RAM, each with 256mb, and support for both HDMI and Composite outputs.
All PS3s also feature Bluetooth, Wifi, downstream HDMI support, high-speed Ethernet ports, USB ports, and support for hard drive upgrades.
The lowest memory model on the market has an impressive 120gb and the highest has an easy 320gb, costing on average 100$ more.

PS3 also features many brand name games--recommended to be played on the PS3--free online access, video, music, and game stores with plenty of downloadable content, and a ton of features and options for customizabliity. Such titles as Killzone, Gran Turismo, and the massive 256-player FPS, MAG, are all PS3 exclusive. Many titles popular on other consoles, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor are also available. 

All in all, the PS3 seems to be a high end system for low end budgets. Also, the PS3 is predicted to have over a ten-year lifespan, making it a good investment in the long run.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Contrast...

In contrast to the last post...
Gamers out there, what's your opinion on the COD vs Halo debate?
Honestly, I prefer Halo, but I'd like to hear your opinions.
Video related.