Team Fortress 2: "Meet the…"-Videos

Ever since my friend FeazeR pushed me to get recommended Portal to me by purchasing The Orange Box through Steam (back in 2008), I have been playing Team Fortress 2 here and then (let me check… whoa! 41 hours still!). And since it became free to play last year, you all should be playing it RIGHT NOW. Not because it’s free, but because it’s a great game! There’s a lot of free games out there, but only very few are actually good. I’ve seen people spend more time and money for other games, and I’m like: ?!*”ç%!

The best thing about it is not even the game itself, but the marketing. I’m talking about Valves videos “Meet the Spy“, “Meet the Heavy“, “Meet the Sniper“, “Meet the Engineer“, “Meet the Demoman“, “Meet the Soldier“, “Meet the Scout” and their latest and greatest addition “Meet the Medic“. They’re all available to watch on Valves Team Fortress 2 website. You should definitely check them out.

All we have to do now is wait for the “Meet the Pyro” video as some of you may have already realized jumping out of their seats waving their index finger wanting to correct me in an orderly geeky nerdy fashion that I am obviously missing not just that one last video, but also the fact that there are even more videos not just by Valve but also by the community related to Team Fortress 2. Thank you, I got it. You can sit down now.

Because I think “Meet the Medic” is like I said the latest and greatest of them all (and because most of the time I play as Medic, who by the way isn’t even licensed to practice medicine, did you know?), I’ve embedded it for you below. Make sure to make it fullscreen and a decent volume and enjoy!


Team Fortress 2: Meet the Medic

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Thank you Aaron Collegeman

OK, last silly post for today, promise.

That SharePress plugin worked nicely, and as a side effect, I know have my own app on Facebook! Check it out: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=327187054006218

Isn’t that awesome?! Well, all it does is redirects you to my blog. That’s it. But hey, I created my own Facebook app! You can even find it when searching in the Facebook search bar!

The following is not an add, just a personal recommendation.

In honor to Aaron Collegeman, creator of SharePress, here are the instructions to get it working with your own WordPress: http://aaroncollegeman.com/sharepress/help/how-to-setup-sharepress

I am not affiliated with Aaron in any way, I just think he does a good job ^^

Nevermind the previous post

What I don’t like about NetworkedBlogs is that in Twitter, the link posted is a shortened one, so it does not start with “dikk.org”. My URLs are very short already. Shortening it would save only few characters, and would not promote my blog 😀 Also, when clicking on that link, it displays an own NetworkedBlogs bar at the top.
Also, when it publishes to Facebook, the post looks nice, but depending on the link you click on, it directs you to the NetworkedBlogs page.

So, here’s to two new WordPress plugins!  WP to Twitter and SharePress.

If you can read this, you know it worked.

So about this blog stuff…

Blogs.

Do they still exist?
Are they still relevant?
Do kids these days even know what a blog is?

I mean, it’s all Twitter and Facebook these days, isn’t it? At least it seems to be so for me. But neither of them offers the kind of container for my thoughts as does my good old WordPress blog running on my own domain. That’s why I will still use it, but try out a new syndication tool called NetworkedBlogs, which offers blog-to-facebook and blog-to-twitter publication of my posts.

Oh, I also found this nice Demotivational Poster. Pretty much sums it all up.

(http://www.motifake.com/blogging-demotivational-posters-51231.html)

StarCraft II

So, I’ve been playing StarCraft ever since my friend Yves introduced me to it sometime in 2000 or 2001. We both had the same iBook model (12-inch, the first white one, 500 MHz G3), and StarCraft had this glorious feature called “Spawning” where you could install (spawn) it on as many computers as you wanted using the same serial number, and then play a LAN game together. The spawned installations didn’t require a CD to start, but were limited to play only multiplayer games hosted by the “mother installation” with the same serial number. Good enough for us!

I didn’t realize how popular this game had already become, not to mention how popular it will remain! And I didn’t think I would learn to love it just as much as other people do, because I knew I wasn’t good with RTS games, but boy was I wrong!

Then, in 2007, StarCraft II was announced. And it seemed to take forever for Blizzard to release it. But hey, they could take as long as they pleased, because no matter the development time and money of StarCraft II, it would be selling like cold refreshing lemonade on a hot summers day, once released.

Joystiq.com has reported on leaked details and progress along the way, starting with the announcement in 2007 and ending (well, never really ending, but you can’t report on details and progress once the game is out, can you?) in 2010. I would have linked to all these posts during those three years, but never got around to doing so. Anyway, thanks Joystiq.com!

So, did I buy it when it came out? You bet I did. And it was good (compared to another game that had been in development for over 12 years and isn’t nearly as good, I just bought that one to tell my kids one day: “Yes, I owned it”, and to support the folks who finally got it done and made it become reality).

I bought it, but… (and I deserve many slaps in the face for this) only played about 5 rounds of it. And only the first single player mission. Yeah.

Many circumstances and lack of motivation and nostalgia for the original prevented me from getting into StarCraft II. But hey, maybe now during my vacation I can finally find some time for it. Anyway, if you are looking for a great game in this slow-release-month, go get it! You don’t even have to leave your chair, it’s available as digital download.

XBOX 360 died and resurrected

Now that the brief excitement about The Beatles becoming available on iTunes is over, I have your full attention to tell you the story of my resurrected XBOX 360 and the outstanding telephone support from Microsoft (though it had nothing to do with the resurrection).

So on November 12, 2010, my XBOX 360 caught a common “disease” like so many other consoles of that model before: three of the four lights on the front were lit red, indicating a general hardware error, better known as The Red Ring of Death. Of course that name didn’t come from Microsoft, but it was born out of the masses that experienced this error. I myself had only heard about this behaviour, but had never seen it happen anywhere. Then again, having to do with failing hardware almost every day, I had thought about the possibility that it might happen to my XBOX 360 as well, but hoped it would never do so.

I’m not gonna go into detail here. You can google this, look it up on Wikipedia, watch videos on Youtube, etc. I don’t blame anyone, because mistakes happen, or to be more precise: shit happens. I welcome Microsofts decision to extend the warranty of every single console of that specific model on this planet, therefore standing up and indirectly saying: “Yes, we fucked up.” Because nobody deserves my respect more than somebody who admits failure. Admitting failure is not a bad thing (like this guy demonstrates), but staying down and not tackling a failure is failure.

So I thought about replacing my XBOX 360 with a new slim model, not only because it would make less noise in our living room, but also because I thought about going all the way and getting a Kinect bundle. But that would involve spending a lot of money, which wouldn’t hurt my wallet that much, but still it would have been a considerable amount. So I dug up my receipt to find out, if the date of purchase lied more than 3 years in the past. Interestingly enough, my receipt said September 22, 2007, exactly 3 weeks outside the extended warranty.

“Tough luck”, I thought to myself, but tried out the online selfservice anyway. Entering my consoles serial number, it told me the warranty had expired in February 2009. That must mean it was lying around in stock somewhere at GameStop, waiting to go through point of sale, but the warranty clock was already ticking, despite not being in any customers hands already. The website told me, that if I disagree with this date, I could call customer service. So I did.

After a bit of number punching and waiting in line, I was greeted by Carsten. Knowing how it is to be in his position, I explained my situation in a clear and non-angry manner. Like expected, he looked up some of my information, said that he understands that my situation is frustrating, and explained that there is no wiggle room, even if it’s only 3 weeks. Fair enough, I asked him about the price of a repair and also how to transfer my data to a new console, should I purchase one. And this is where I give thumbs up to him and the supporters at Microsoft. Carsten was able to answer all my questions, give me exact numbers for anything to do with money and/or gigabytes, and remain relaxed all the way!

After this, I decided to look up a few auctions of classic XBOX 360 like mine, that would potentially cost less than a repair. But shortly after that, I was sure to find countless guides and tricks on youtube that showed how to repair a RRoD. Some of them were detailed, others were not. Some of them suggested opening the console and replacing the thermal paste and some screws, others did not. But all of the methods involved overheating at least the graphics processor in some way.

So I opened it up, staying grounded all the time (unlike all other electro-stupid people on the videos). Grounding yourself is important, dudes! Of course I broke the warranty seal, but it was worth it. At first, I just wanted to open and prepare my XBOX for thermal grease replacement, which I planned to get later. But after that and concluding from all the videos and different guides I had looked at, I decided to just go ahead and try overheating it without replacing the thermal paste, while the case was open. Sureley enough, that seemed to have sufficient effect already because after overheating (two red lights) and cooling off again, the green lights returned and my resurrected XBOX 360 proudly output the bold startup sequence on our 5.1 surround system and 47-inch TV!

Sweet!

I still have no idea what happened, but because hot material expands, I guess the overheating was to refasten some wire connection on the board that had broken, pushing and bonding it together again. Anyway, I’m glad it worked, though I have a bad feeling that this might only be a temporary fix. Let’s see what the future holds!

Intermittent Awesomeness

Did you miss my “This Week in Awesomeness” post this week? You know why? Because there wasn’t one!

First, although I would like to put out such a post every week, it depends entirely on my mood. This is my blog, I run it. To witness even more egoism, go to The Best Page in the Universe.

Second, not every week something awesome happens. Wait, actually it does. But not everything is worth blogging about. Your opinion on this may differ, but consider the fact that fighting Zombies is a lot more fun and always awesome.