Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

I Made $100 Billion – In My Spare Time!*

I know that those of you who are familiar with my writings here at Tech – for Everyone have read that title, and are (probably) expecting me to post some scam emails.. Online Lottery Winner!!!, etc.. thinking that I ‘made’ my billions that way. (scroll down)

Or maybe I’ll post samples of the ever popular 419 “Nigerian” scams “Dear Beloved One”, “Private and Confidential”, etc.. As I have – in the past – with my Once Again It’s Time To Play Let’s Count The Typos! game.

But no. Not today. I was not being facetious. I really did win over $102 billion dollars.

See?

100billThree five-spots put me over the top. (The trick is: don’t click on “bet it all” until you have $1,000,000 in the bank. Ha!)

What happened was, I got tired of chess and spider solitaire, and decided to dust off an old fave of mine — video poker. It had been a long time.. and I had forgotten how addicting this timewaster can be. (This game is ancient.. dating back to 2003, or so. But it does work on Vista, and most likely. Win 7.)(Yes folks. 2003 is “ancient” in tech.)

From CNet Editors’ Review:

This video-poker simulation game earns points on several fronts. First off, Draw Poker Gold Edition is tiny and completely free, two big pluses we always appreciate. The game is not graphically intense, but it gets the point across just fine and looks almost identical to the video-poker machines you find in casinos.

If you enjoy playing video-poker machines but don’t like feeding them all those quarters, this game is for you. You can download it from CNet, here.

Today’s quote: ““The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.“ ~ Unknown

* Orig post: 11/28/10

For those who wanted the scam emails..:

"circa 2012?" .. what are they trying to say here?

Please folks, remember. If it has an “!” or a paperclip, and you don’t personally know the Sender? Delete. Unopened.

Q: How did the Post Office get my email?

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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April 12, 2012 Posted by | computers, free software, Gaming, storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections of

A couple weeks back now, I saw a cardboard box on the side of the road (by somebody’s driveway) upon which someone had scrawled F R E E, in black marker, which had what could only be a keyboard protruding out of it.

Since I was in no real hurry, I decided to pull over, stop, and take a quick look, and see what else was in the box.
(One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure – they say.)

Sure enough: it was a keyboard I’d seen; and the box was full of old computer stuff — a couple more keyboards, a joystick, some floppy discs (still in the cellophane), several mice, and other parts and pieces and doodads. A look at the connecting plugs (and the floppies) told me this stuff dated to the first generation of personal computers — and should have been recycled long ago. Absolutely useless.

I was just about to walk away when I noticed that a bit behind the box was a stack of jewel cases. These jewel cases contained CD’s. The CD’s were install discs for —

  • Star Wars X-Wing Alliance
  • B-17
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III
  • F-22 Lightning 2
  • Comanche 3
  • Operation Flashpoint
  • Homeworld
  • and several other games from that era..

Brings back some memories, doesn’t it? (Well, for some of you, anyway.) These games also date from the first generation — and were written in DOS, if you can believe that.
In spite of the fact that these games are too old to play properly on modern machines, I took some of them. Maybe I could get them to work..

There are methods for getting old games to play on modern machines. My How To for that is here, Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated), which sometimes work.

But for several of these titles (um.. most of these titles) they did not, and if I wanted to proceed in my efforts I would have had to start using virtual environments. But instead, I did what I have not done in ages – I went into the T4E Museum Of Computers and pulled down a 1st Generation computer, and “fired it up”.

This bad boy is a Celeron 333 MHz, that has a whopping 64 Megabytes of RAM, a massive 4 Gigabyte hard drive, and runs the smooth and stable Windows 98 Second Edition. (It even has – hold on to your hats, USB ports!)

Ahhh.. the days of AUTOEXEC.BAT. I had almost forgotten..

[a brief aside: Now.. if you have read this far, I feel I have to be a little clearer, and more precise — the actual “first generation of PC’s” — the Pentium 286, 386, and 486 era, did not have “graphical” user interfaces, nor “video games” as we think of them. No “icons”. Instead, you typed in things like “cd c:\programs\lotus\”. What I meant by “1st Gen” was when people started actually buying PC’s to have in their home..]

I had – also – almost forgotten how slow, and incapable these machines, and Windows 98 were/are. And how many hurdles you had to jump through to get a graphics adapter to work. Can you believe there are people out there advocating going back and running Windows 98.. because Microsoft OSes “have become too ‘bloated’, slow, and unresponsive”? And I still see people who take pains to set their machines to have the “classic” look (spartan) shown above.

Sorry.. I am long-winded today. Back to the story. So installed some of these old games (or, tried to) and went through multiple (slow) reboots, a couple of BSOD‘s, etc., and I came away from it all with one word at the forefront of my mind –> LAME.

I hurried back to my 64-bit Win machine, used my wireless mouse to double-click the icon for Call of Duty Black Ops, and chuckled as I realized my machine has twice as much RAM as the the old PC has hard drive. And my game looks like this..

So there you have it: LAME vs less-lame. The old and the new. Night and day.

I really had forgotten Windows 98. I remembered it being better.. somehow. And the games too. I thought they were “cool”… and I suppose they were. In their day. Now? LAME. (I could only stand to play Heroes for a few minutes.. It was a bit like watching Pong.)

Related reading:

* It is time to face facts and finally dump Windows XP.

* A trip back to the land of Mega

Sorry if I angered anyone. That was not my intent. The above is just my “humble opinion”. My point is, we have evolved and advanced — and the past is, frequently, nostalgia at best. (Again, MHO.)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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June 16, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech | , , , , , | 12 Comments

How To Play Your Steam Games Offline

This tutorial is for those folks who, like me, have no interest in online ‘deathmatches’, but prefer to play their games against the computer in Single-player mode. Or .. otherwise do not like Steam. I have not had time to try this yet myself, but a reliable source told me it works. Source ~ It is posted on the Call of Duty Black Ops forum.

[note: this applies to games you own.. and are in your Steam “library”.]

Offline Mode allows you to play games through Steam without reconnecting to the Steam Network every time you wish to play – this is particularly useful if you do not plan on playing over the internet and would prefer not to download new updates for your single-player games.

1) Start Steam online – make sure the Remember my password box on the login window is checked.

2) Verify that all game files are completely updated – you can see the update status for a game under the Library section (when the game shows as 100% – Ready it is ready to be played in Offline Mode).

3) Launch the game you would like to play offline to verify that there are no further updates to download – shut down the game and return to Steam once you have confirmed that the game can be played.

[NOTE: Mine never showed “100% Ready”, and I had to download an 8012.4 MB file (which I believe is the entire DVD contents) to complete the update process referenced in Step 3.]

4) Go to Steam > Library then right click on Call of Duty: Black Ops and select Properties. In the Updates tab, choose Do not automatically update this game under Automatic updates.

5) Go to Steam > Settings to ensure the Don’t save account credentials on this computer option is not selected.

6) From the main Steam window, go to the Steam menu and select Go Offline.

7) Click Restart in Offline Mode to restart Steam in Offline Mode.”

And, yes, I am going to implement this mucho muy mas pronto. I am not a fan of Steam, and successfully managed to avoid it for years — until my favorite game title, Call of Duty, required Steam to install.

Call me an old dinosaur if you want, but I do not enjoy running around arenas, getting knifed in gun battles and sniped by campers — and trying to guess if what just killed me was a hack, a bot, or a lucky/good player. I leave online gaming (and Steam tracking everything I do..) to the teenagers-of-all-ages, gladly!

My sincere and profound thanks and regards to the person who alerted me to this. (You know who you are.)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 5, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, how to, Internet, PC, privacy, software, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)

5 6 Methods For Getting Old Programs To Run On New Computers

This article is an updated and improved version of  Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help!, a “reader question” article that has proven quite popular. It seems quite a few people want their 12-year old, 16-bit, Gen 1 games to play on latest generation, 64-bit machines, (I don’t blame them) but it doesn’t always work. Here are some tips for solving the problem. They are in the appropriate order, IMHO. (These work in Vista as well.)

1) Turn off “hardware acceleration”. A common cause of errors and “playability issues” is the old games’ use (or lack of) of hardware “acceleration”, which is referring to the “video card”, or more accurately, the graphics driver. Most graphics drivers allow you to turn off the hardware acceleration (which may resolve your issue).
Click Start in the lower left corner of Windows.
Click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
Click the Troubleshoot tab, and then click Change Settings.Move the Hardware Acceleration slider until it is one notch to the right of None. This is the basic acceleration setting.
Click OK twice, and then close the window.
Restart the computer.

[you can also get there via the graphic adapter’s Properties in Device Manager]

Graph_Acc

[Note: Change Settings will be disabled if the graphics card drivers do not support disabling hardware acceleration. You may need to check the video card manufacturer’s website, and download the latest driver.]

2) You may need set the troublesome games to launch in “Compatibility Mode”, and tell them to run under Windows XP SP2. This article, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/compatibility-tricks-for-old-programs-new-machines/ shows you how. The “Compat Mode” section is about half way down the page.

3) You might need to try repeating Step 2, but this time install directly to your C:\ drive (by default, Windows will install programs to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files(x86) folder) using the “Custom install” option during set up. This will eliminate some of the Permissions issues that keep older programs from running correctly.

4) You may also – if the game is old enough – need to turn off all but one CPU core. This is called “setting the affinity”. Also see, Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines. If this resolves your issue, the article includes a download for a tool to make this setting ‘stick’.

5) For really old, DOS-based games, install DOSBox. DOSBox is a great tool, especially for old games. I would suggest reading the tutorial, here: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/DOSBoxShortcuts#Windows

6) Though I view this as a bit of a ‘last resort’, you can install a “virtual machine” and run the game in there.
* If you have the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate edition of Windows 7, you can download XP Modewhich is really Virtual PC – for free. If you have other editions of Windows, grab Virtual PC 2007 from the same place.
* Perhaps a better alternative is using VMWare Server (free), from www.vmware.com/products/server. I have read that the VMWare handles the hardware acceleration better.

In both cases, you’ll have to supply the copy of (old) Windows yourself, and install it (into the “virtual machine”) from scratch.

… I hate to say, but it is possible that you may try all these things and get unsatisfactory results. I keep an old Pentium II machine (Windows 98) around just for playing those old games (which I wouldn’t dream of connecting to the Internet!). The games play best on the hardware/OS of their day. You might need to do the same. Or.. say goodbye to your old friends.

Progress!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 25, 2011 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, device drivers, Gaming, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks, Virtual Machine, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

HIB

Some of you may have looked at today’s title, and wondered. I know I would’ve. What on earth is a “HIB”?

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings

I learned of HIB when a (younger.. but it’s not hard to be younger than ‘ole Tech Paul) reader told me about a highly rated game they were quite enthused about, called Braid.

Which it turns out, is available as part of a rather interesting online deal.. the “HIB”

The Humble Indie Bundle #2

Pay what you want. If you bought these five games separately, it would cost around $85 but we’re letting you set the price!
All of the games work great on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

We don’t use DRM. When you buy these games, they are yours. Feel free to play them without an Internet connection, back them up, and install them on all of your Macs and PCs freely. There is no time-limit on your downloads.

You can support charity. Choose exactly how your purchase money is divided: Between the game developers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or the Child’s Play Charity. Also, if you like this deal, a tip to the Humble Bundle itself would be much appreciated!

This “HIB” is one of the Internet’s hot little ‘secrets’.

So, I thank my reader (you know who you are) for passing this along.

Check it out here. (Time is limited.)

Set your own price. Help charity. Braid is included. Hard to beat that.

Related: The 40 most anticipated games of 2011 (photos)

Reminder: We are in prime cybercrime season. Let’s be careful out there and exercise a double dose of Paranoid Common Sense. (And if you missed it, be sure to see Beware “The Twelve Scams of Christmas”)

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 18, 2010 Posted by | Gaming, News, shopping for | Leave a comment

I Made Over $100 Billion Yesterday.

In A Few Hours.

In My Spare Time.

I know that those of you who are familiar with my writings here at Tech – for Everyone have read that title, and are (probably) expecting me to post some scam emails.. Online Lottery Winner!!!, etc.. thinking that I ‘made’ my billions that way

Or maybe I’ll post samples of the ever popular 419 “Nigerian” scams “Dear Beloved One”, “Private and Confidential”, etc.. As I have – in the past – with my Once Again It’s Time To Play Let’s Count The Typos! game.

But no. Not today. I was not being facetious. I really did win over $102 billion dollars.

See?

100bill

Three five-spots put me over the top. (The trick is: don't click on "bet it all" until you have $1,000,000 in the bank. Ha!)

What happened was, I got tired of chess and spider solitaire, and decided to dust off an old fave of mine — video poker. It had been a long time.. and I had forgotten how addicting this timewaster can be. (This game is ancient.. dating back to 2003, or so. But it does work on Vista, and most likely. Win 7.)(Yes folks. 2003 is “ancient” in tech.)

From CNet Editors’ Review:

This video-poker simulation game earns points on several fronts. First off, Draw Poker Gold Edition is tiny and completely free, two big pluses we always appreciate. The game is not graphically intense, but it gets the point across just fine and looks almost identical to the video-poker machines you find in casinos.

If you enjoy playing video-poker machines but don’t like feeding them all those quarters, this game is for you. You can download it from CNet, here.

[note: Yes, I did post a Sunday Beauty this week. It’s below. (or, click here,Sunday Beauty XIX.)]

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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November 28, 2010 Posted by | computers, free software, Gaming, Microsoft, PC, Windows | , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Way Of Learning – Video Games In School

New York Launches Public School Curriculum Based on Playing Games

The first American school with a curriculum built around gaming principles, Quest to Learn (aka “Q2L”) may be at the forefront of a learning revolution—and some think the timing is right. New York City education officials hope that the new school can represent the tip of a “transformative” revolution, according to Metropolis.

Games have long played a role in classrooms, but next month marks the launch of the first U.S. public school curriculum based entirely on game-inspired learning. Select sixth graders can look forward to playing video games such as “Little Big Planet” and “Civilization,” as well as non-digital games ranging from role-playing scenarios to board games and card games.

Each of the 20 to 25 children per class will have access to a laptop and, rather than studying individual subjects, will attend four 90-minute periods a day devoted to curriculum “domains” like Codeworlds (a combination of math and English) and the Way Things Work (math and science). Each domain concludes with a two-week test that is called—borrowing from video parlance—a “Boss Level.”

Now folks, when I first read about this (it was brought to my attention by an alert reader) I have to say I had an immediate knee-jerk negative reaction. For one thing, I was jealous — we did not receive grades for playing games when I was in the 6th Grade. (Unless you count dodgeball in P.E.)

And for another thing, I thought about all the hand-wringing and media-generated fear over “video game addiction“, as well as a certain campaign that’s been telling us violent video games are turning our kids into killers. And I laughed at the irony.
(We humans are so full of contradictions, no?)

But as I thought more about it, I could start to see the possibilities of using our new technologies in a way that engages our kids and encourages learning. I have never been a 6th Grade teacher in New York City and I readily admit I have absolutely zero clue (none, zip, nada) as to the challenges they face.

I have absolutely no idea if this “teach-by-play” idea could be just what the doctor ordered, or turn out to be some “dumbing down” farce. At this point it’s an untried experiment. I am reluctant anytime we use kids in experiments – naturally – but on the other side of that coin, I am disgusted by our apparent modern trend of graduating kids who can’t read, or think critically, and who lack basic skills like making change.

Something has to be done, it seems to me: could this be it?

For more on Q2L, click on the “Metropolis” link.
And, here’s Popular Science’s write up: New York Launches Public School Curriculum Based on Playing Games

Related: College Courses on Twitter, ’Guitar Hero’ — Dumb or Smart Trend?

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 17, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments