Doom Rediscovered

February 23, 2007

If you’ve been following my blog you already know I recently acquired a used IBM T60 laptop with Vista Ultimate. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you also know Vista keeps surpassing my expectations. Tonight I decided to test out a popular and “modern” PC game. I think everyone can agree that (at the time of this posting) Doom3 is a modern and popular game. It’s probably not the most sophisticated, but I don’t own a ‘gaming’ laptop I just want to see what the average gamer should expect. ..And, to be honest I just wanted to see if Vista would crash. Almost any game sent my old XP laptop straight to the Blue Screen of Death or into horribly jerky game play.

Now, I typically play video games while I’m waiting for long downloads and don’t want to be distracted. For example, I’m coding some software and I need to download an SDK. My mind is full of the code, and I don’t want to lose that. Playing a video game, for some reason, doesn’t disrupt that memory. In fact, if I don’t play a game I might get distracted and switch my focus to something else.

So to make this test realistic I opened a ton of other apps. One instance of Visual Studio, about 10 Internet Explorer windows, Windows Mail, Windows Calendar, started a file download and tuned in some Eminem on Windows Media Center (it seemed like Doom3 material).

Then I clicked the little Doom3 icon and, to my amazement, I could play in high definition faster than my XBox plays Halo 2. And that was with all the software I listed above running in the background. To be honest, I don’t think Windows noticed Doom3 was running. I suspect my nifty FireGL card had something to do with it, and I’m sure my 3GB of 667Mhz SO-DIMM’s did help with those large texture maps…but seriously, this wasn’t an expensive laptop.

Anywayz, I love playing games again. Now I’ll never be bored or get distracted while I’m waiting for a download, compiler, etc. It’s nice being able to truly multitask, and it’s nice that my audio from Windows Media comes through during game play. I usually prefer listening to my music over the game’s soundtrack.

So, here’s a screenshot of some yummy Doom 3 carnage. Looking at the picture I chose made me wonder…Is this type of thing wrong to enjoy?

Turnpikes and toll roads are some of the jewels that litter the East Coast landscape. Today I found myself compelled to study the etymology of the word Turnpike. I figured there would be an interesting story behind it, and there was.

First I tried pulling the word apart in my mind, but the only pikes I knew of were those ill tempered fish with big teeth and Pike of Pikes Peak. I figured a Turnpike didn’t have anything to do with those, so I assumed it was simply more backwards Yankee New England gibberish and decided to Wiki it (I am a self proclaimed Wikiwhore).

Turns out Turnpike is simply an outmoded term for toll road, the word originates from a long stick (which they called a pike) that was held across the road which was raised or turned aside when the traveler paid the toll.

Modern turnpikes don’t use sticks, and they don’t turn anything. We use traffic gates, and they go up and down. Before EZ-Pass this made sense, but now I think the term turnpike has out lived its usefulness. It’s lingering in our vocabulary today only because somebody lacks the balls to suggest deprecating it.

Maybe I stand alone here on this one, but I think “toll road” is much more easily understood and recognized by a much larger percentage of the population.

I think they should change the name…OR BRING BACK THE STICKS!!!

For more reading on the wonder and majesty of Turnpikes checkout this link…

WiMo Vista Woes?

February 17, 2007

For a while now I’ve been using a Motorola Q Smartphone (they run that Windows Mobile thingy). I have a love-hate relationship with my phone, but I’ve been told this is healthy and normal. I might spend most my time on the device playing old Nintendo games while I’m standing in lines…but it makes me smile 🙂

A great Smartphone perk is having all your photos, audio, calendar, email, etc. ‘synced’ on your phone (kindof like an iPod). No, it doesn’t talk to iTunes, Microsoft has their own software. Until recently everybody synced their phones and PDAs using ActiveSync. Recently Vista’s Windows Mobile Device Center replaced the aging ActiveSync. Having just recently moved to Vista I was excited to try out the new upgrade.

I plugged my Q into my laptop and… … … NOTHING! Instead of being greeted by a successful chirp and Sync NOTHING HAPPENED!!! I was outraged (I hate it when they waste my time with new bugs in old functionality).

Finally around 2am I figured out what went wrong. It turns out Vista wouldn’t talk to my phone because it wasn’t initiating the conversation. My phone didn’t have a Sync “partnership” with my Vista laptop.

I found success by…

1) Opening ActiveSync on my phone.
2) Going to Options then Settings and deleting the partnership listed there.
3) Rebooting the phone and plugging it into the laptop.

This caused Vista to see the phone and create a new partnership.

Since getting Vista in the mood to Sync took so much charming I decided to blog about my experience in the hope that I might save some other poor sucker from suffering the same miserable experience.

If you’re not a WiMo user I apologize for what I’m sure was a boring blog entry…but this needed to be said!