SimRig Update: More Pedal Mods!

In my previous post about finally building a Sim Racing Rig, I mentioned that I modded the brake pedal by removing the rubber stopper/block that Logitech put in order to simulate progressing brake tension, but the design was poorly thought out as the rubber block/stopper, made it next to impossible to brake fully. Thus I decided to remove it.

Not satisfied with such a simple mod, I wanted to make the Logitech G920 pedals feel a lot better and a lot more responsive, especially in the throttle; I felt the throttle spring is too light and have fine control of throttle a little bit tricky. I also found the stock face plates of the pedals didn’t really feel comfortable as the are a bit too tiny, especially in the throttle, thus I decided to be on the lookout for after market pedal face plates.

Thankfully, as is with most racing wheels for simulators, they are nearly identical to real life counterparts, so you may use after market parts for real cars in the racing wheel and pedals.

I found a cheap enough pedal set, with a long enough throttle to feel comfy and a large enough, rally style brake face plate, that can make it easy for me to do heel toe braking if I need to (which I don’t need so much in F1 games), and it being large enough, makes it very comfortable to brake.

I then decided to switch the stock clutch face plate with the stock throttle face plate, since I bought the after market face plates without the clutch; the stock throttle face plate is large enough for the clutch in my opinion.

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New pedal face plates for the brake and the throttle; used the stock throttle face plate for the clutch.

I then switched the springs from the clutch to the throttle and vice versa; the stock clutch spring had more tension than that of the throttle, and I felt that if when I need to use the clutch, I want it to be pushed down completely and quickly. Whereas the stock throttle spring had little to no tension for me, making it difficult to pepper the throttle to control the speed in corners when trying to lift of. So by switching the springs around, I got the tensions I want for both the clutch and the throttle. (Note: I removed the face plates of both the throttle and clutch in order to work on them)

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The seedy underbelly of the pedals
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Time to mod!
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Prior to opening the bottom to the pedal case, I removed the face plates of both the throttle and the clutch to get access to them
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Removed the housing of the springs
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The bigger and shorter spring was originally for the clutch and the thinner and longer spring was originally from the throttle; did the old switcharoo and the tension for both pedals are perfect for me

After all these, was it worth the time, effort, and expenditure? As with all hobbyists, they would say of course it was without having good tangible evidence as to back up the purchase. Well I do…

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Using DashPi (available for both iOS and Android); might make a separate post on how to use your tablet and phone as dash meters or telemetry

I was just having a quick drive around Monaco where my best time with my personal car setup was a 1:19.231 (I am not the greatest sim racer out there; others easily get 1:13.00s) and shattered it, while not driving really seriously, with a 1:18.897. So, yeah, it was worth it.

What is my next project for the SimRig? I do wanna make 2 dedicated sim dash devices so I don’t always have to use my iPad mini and my Zenfone 2; plus I get to program exactly how I want them to look and what telemetry to collect using readily available programs intended for Arduino. Though I won’t be doing it anytime soon as I don’t have so much time for such projects just yet. But it  will happen sometime.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Logitech G13 Review! I HAVE ALL THE KEYS!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

INTRO:

Not too long ago I bought me a Tecware Haste Deskmat (LINK), and as you can see, and like every desk sized mousepads, it is spread out enough to hold my mouse as well as my keyboard… but suddenly, the downside is that if you are obsessive compulsive like me, you tend to keep things right in the center, thus, having my keyboard in the dead center of my deskmat, there is a lonely left side of the deskmat.

Now… what can I do to fix this problem!? Ah yes, why not get a Logitech G13… that was on sale!

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There we go… left side is no longer lonely!

Yeah… I think it looks better now. Sigh… the problems of an obsessive compulsive geek.

Screw you, first world problems!

Why did I just now get a Logitech G13, and by the pics, a Logitech G13 in the older package. Well, this was on super sale, like 50% off, and at first I always thought this was just a gimmick – but with a %50 percent off from a shop, whatever gimmick it is, so long as the price is right, I am literally sold.

 Let us move on to the actual review!

SPECS:

Color Black
LCD Resolution 160×43
Connection Interface USB
Weight 1.5 lbs

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: <- LOL, I know… who even checks these anymore!?

Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows
Vista 70 MB of available hard disk space
USB port
Internet connection for optional software download

REVIEW: 

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Orignal Front Packaging!

 

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Original Back Packaging!

 

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Instructions and installation disc… who needs these!?

 

The first thing you will notice about the packaging is that it is not of the newer runs; this was sold at 50% off from a local shop, most likely a clearance sale of some sort. And even if the box indicates this was one of the earlier runs of the Logitech G13, it is no different, from my understanding, with the later runs with the new packaging. Coupling it with the latest Logitech Gaming Software version, it runs just fine.REVIEW:

As you can see in the above photo of the software, I have the Logitech G600 (Which I never posted a review on… ah well) and the Logitech G13 shown and you can easily add macros or button mapping without affecting the other device. It is nice to note that I got the Logitech G600 mouse last year second hand, effectively saving 50 bucks from the original price (From PHP3,500, I got it for PHP1,200) and I got this Logitech G13 for PHP1,800, which was originally at PHP3,600. Again, I will emphasize,  I don’t go for these gaming peripheral gimmicks; I have always wanted a MMO styled mouse so the Logitech G600 was an easy buy, but I never fall for gimmicks like this Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad, but with that kind of price, even gimmicks I am will to buy.

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The device!

The actual device, as you can see, the wrist rest and the keys are at an angle, to supposedly contour more with our hands natural tendency to curve down. At first, I didn’t think this would be any real comfort as I am already used to my Ducky DK9008 Shine II keyboard being in the normal form factor, without those angles, and still be comfortable. But to my surprise, the angle, the ergonomics of the device is really comfortable. My on gripe with the overall comfort and key placement would be the G20 and G22 keys; they are there to simulate the control and space keys respectively, that is, if you have the default button mapping on the device, and having to reach for G20 to crouch in some games that crouching is not a toggle can be very uncomfortable. So is the space key to jump, I sometimes also remap the space key on the joystick as that feels more comfortable and the exact distance from the WASD keys to the space key in a keyboard. You can always train yourself to get comfortable with it, but it will take time; I was hoping for something a lot easier to get in grips with. And you also have the option to remap the control and space keys in the other G keys, but for me, it is a waste of key real estate for other functions.

Now that we mentioned the joystick, let us now go a little more in depth in that part of the device. The joytick is smooth, but I have yet to find a sensitivity control in the software (if someone knows, comment below), it can simulate, well, a joystick in game, mouse, or any keystroke once you mapped them in the software. I like this as in some games, provided you mapped the WASD keys to the G4, G10, G11, G12 keys (these keys have an indentation so you can easily tell by feel that these are your WASD keys… that is if you mapped them as WASD), and if the game has camera controls apart from the mouse, you can map those camera controls to the joystick and move the camera without having to have you hands reaching awkwardly to the key in the keyboard. This is one of the only things I likes about controllers in console games, you can move the camera with the right analog stick and control your character with the left analog stick.

You can simulate mouse controls with the joystick as well and map the 2 keys along side it as the left and right clicks. You can even push the joystcik down as another button, and in the cases of simulated mouse, it becomes the middle click. Again, you can always remap to a macro or any keystroke you wish. I just find the 2 buttons alongside it being a bit flimsy, and pushing the joystick down for the other button is quite tough; when I try to push it down with my thumb, due to the tiny knob of the stick, the stick tends to move at a direction and not pushing the button when pressure is applied. I tend to use both my thumb and index finger to push the joystick down in the end.

Also of note, the keys are not mechanical; they are membrane keys and I was worried at first if my gamble on getting this even knowing it has membranes keys would make the experience less enjoyable, but honestly, as a person that has used mechanical keys for many, many, years now, I was able to jump right in and had no problems gaming with the membrane keys on this device. I believe the overall shape/ergonomics of the device helped make it easy to game on even with membrane keys. Now, I am not a professional gamer or  twitch gamer; I am mostly a RPG fan, and sure, I do play a good number of FPS, but not so competitively to say that this may replace your keyboard of choice in Counter Strike Global Offensive tournaments. But if you are into RPG/MMORPG heck even platformers or action games, I feel this will be perfect for you.

The keys, as well as the display, can be backlit or not, depending on your preference. But if you’re just gonna blackout your display, then you are missing out on some of the main features of the device. It is RGB in the sense you can choose any color in the software, but you can’t individually choose the colors of of the keys or have a different color of the keys and the display at the same time; it’s one color for all at a time. Except for the profile/macro key, which is red and I will talk about it more later. And I don’t know if it’s because it’s an older run of the Logitech G13, but the keys are a bit darkly lit; I can’t appreciate the backlight of the keys unlike the display. It also doesn’t help the backlight that the keys are at an angle.

If Logitech will make a replacement gamepad in the future, make the joystick know a little bigger like console controllers, and make the G20-22 keys a little easier to reach.

Now, let us talk about the display!

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There are some default applets that show time, email, RSS, system monitor, etc. They are not really the best applets, but as usual, what do you expect from stock? The good news is that you can also add applets for the display, but it is getting harder to find good ones. I suggest LCDSirReal. You can also edit the .txt file’s configuration to your liking. It takes trial and error, but if you understand simple programming languages, you’ll understand how to edit this. Plus it has some instructions for you to follow anyway in the .txt file.

Some games like Borderlands 2 and Witcher Enhanced Edition (these are the only games I have seen to have custom applets; I haven’t tested all other games in my Steam Library, yet) have these custom applets in game, as well.

There are 2 circular buttons on each end; the one on the left chooses which applet is to be displayed, and the one on the right controls the LED lights – it just turns it on or off, it doesn’t change the color. That is to be done at the Logitech Gaming Software. And be noted, again, that the LED lights, if chosen to be off, it will turn the LCD display LED and the keys LED all off.

The function of the 4 buttons in between those circular buttons depend on the active applet chosen.

Whereas the 4 larger buttons below the above mentioned buttons (labeled M1-M3 and MR), that happen to be red in illumination, and for now, I can’t seem to find any way to change their color, function as your profile or sub profile selector and macro recorder. Let us expound what I just said there.

M1-M3 can be used to save profiles unto the actual device – this is done by going to the Logitech Gaming Software, and saving a chosen profile to the device. This is useful especially if you plan to go to LAN parties with it and use someone else’s PC without your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software.

However, if you are using you own PC, you can have subprofiles within a profile. Profile-ception, if you will. What I mean is this, as you can see in the following photos, this is my Grim Dawn profile (saved on the PC) showing the button maps of M1, which is used for the main gameplay; M2 on the other hand is used for online parties, such as party chat, party windows, etc.

So, again, as to not confuse you, the M1-M3 can be used to save profiles from your PC to the device, which is handy when you decide to play in LAN parties without your PC and the saved profiles within the Logitech Gaming Software. Also, the M1-M3 can be used as subprofiles within a profile when you are using your own PC or if you have access to your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software as shown above.

Now for the MR, it is used for macro recording; simply press it once, then start recording your macros, and press the MR button once again to either save it or cancel it. Honestly, I haven’t used that functionality, because I rather use the actual macro recorder in the Logitech Gaming Software.

The cable is not braided, but this is a device originally released as early as 2009; but thankfully the cable is thick enough to be sturdy enough and long enough to justify ti being on the left side of your desk.

FUNCTIONALITY:

One of the main uses for this device is of course, gaming! And I must say, at first it took awhile to get used to all the buttons like what I was saying above, that the button 3 buttons, specifically the G20-22 keys, can be a bit fiddly to get used to at first, but now, I am starting to get grips with it. In fact, the funny thing is that I am more used to holding the device than using my keyboard even in non-gaming situations; I also find that my hands are more in tune with the keyboard for typing only again. Before, my left hand is not on the proper home keys, they were on the gamer home keys… you know, the WASD, shift and space bar, as my home keys. And it did slow me down in typing, but then again, that still depends on the person anyway.

In games, especially the RPG’s or action RPG, heck, especially MMORPG, when there are a a lot of hotkeys, spells, weapons, and what not, this device can be very, very, helpful, and coupled with me Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse, I can map so many keys to either device, depending on my preference and honestly, you will be having as much fun, planning how to map both devices in order to get the most out of the gaming experience. I spend at least an hour or 2, just planning out the mapping that I am most comfortable with – and it was all great fun.

I mentioned that this is great for RPG’s, well how about other genres? Well, this can also be very helpful in FPS, again coupled with my G600 mouse, I can map so many things in FPS games – reload, melee, grenade, you name it, I can map it to wherever I feel comfortable with and may be quick to use them in tight situations.

So in a nutshell, I can say this device, with or without a MMO mouse like the G600, can be very useful in many games, not just RPG’s.

Another thing why I picked this up while on super sale was for productivity; much like my G600 mouse, I can map certain keys to the device even when not gaming. For example, I placed the mouse up and down scrolling to the joystick up and down directions, respectively – while browsing some sites, reading some PDF’s, I can just use the joystick.

I also mapped my Adobe products’ hotkeys to the device, coupled again, with my G600, I can do so much work quickly. For those Adobe vets, you can agree with me, even if we use Adobe a lot for some things, we may tend to forget the hotkeys, because each product, no matter how similar they may be like After Effects and Premiere Pro, their hotkeys are quite different, and having to search through the keyboard just to find the right hotkey may slow down post production; and all the more if you just forego the keyboard hotkeys and decide on using the mouse to hover and click on the different functions. Using the G13 to make at least similar keymaps, hotkeys that are close to eachother, can aid in the productivity. And I can assure you, using Lightroom with VSCO Keys (to override the awful hotkeys from stock Lightroom; you may change the hotkeys with VSCO keys) mapped on the G13, I have seen an increase in post production time, and it made editing, at least for me, fun again and not a chore.

CONCLUSION:

Okay, I have yapped on why I didn’t buy this device when it was grand spanking new back in the day, and what changed my mind ultimately; I also talked about the device itself and what I use it for. So, overall, what do I think of it?

Well, it is almost obvious that I love this device by the way I talked about it above. But do I recommend it? I do! BUT NOT AT FULL PRICE. If you can find one used at good condition, or luck out like me, getting a brand new one for half the price, do get it. I will also note, based from my readings, the Logitech G13 on the original packaging compared to the new packaging really has no difference functionally. You are just more assured that the G13 with the newer package is of a more recent run, but again, from my readings, no difference. In fact, my Logitech G600 was second hand, so it was part of the earlier runs, but I had no problems whatsoever with it.

So again, I love this device, but I will only recommend it to my friends, if they can find one for a decent price. It will still be a gimmick to me at full price, but with half the price, I was sold, and I am impressed.

Wow, this was a longer review than I anticipated… hope you guys find this enojyable to read and helpful.

Til next time! PEACE!

-o-

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Review on the Tecware Haste XXL Mousepad/Mousemat/Deskmat

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

I have reverted to using my DSLR for taking photos of products for review as I have been getting complaints when I just lazily use my smartphone camera. So, there, better photos coming up!

-o-

It is no surprise to many that I am techie; techie in the sense that I like computers and audio gear – I am not as good when it comes to smartphones; that is to say, I own Android phones, but I need a lot of research before buying and tweaking them. It is not like computers where I know it by heart.

With that out of the way, I know a lot of brands for computer components. From GPUs, RAM, to even those that make custom sleeved cables. I know my stuff… And I am confident about that.

To my surprise, and honestly, my embarrassment, is that I didn’t realize, for all these years, there was a company here in the Philippines that make radiators for water cooling and actually out source them to other countries.

Okay, there are other facilities that are here in the Philippines that make items that are exported, sure, like other countries, but those facilities are owned by big name companies of other countries. So, this one, is really from the Philippines.

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Check out more of their radiators HERE!

And to think that I know watercooling parts and have heard of Black Ice radiators over and over again and not knowing it was made here – boy is my face red.

Then a few days ago I was still hell bent on looking for a simple designed extended mousepad/deskmat. I honestly DO NOT like the over the top design of Razer Goliathus (And I simply don’t like Razer products; overpriced pieces of poorly made accessories – no hating on me. I am entitled to my own opinion. And if you say it is because I can’t afford it… I owned a lot of Razer stuff and died on me. PLUS. Look at my system! You honestly think I can’t afford a keyboard, mouse, or headset from them!? Heck, I even bought a Razer Mouse Bungee even if it is technically useless! *rages on*).

Then I saw Corsair’s MM200 extended edition; it was nice… it wasn’t truly the pure black I wanted as it had a long yellow line on the bottom and their logo there, too. The drawback? It had no stitched ends. So it is prone to fraying. That is the reason why I wanted to change my current mousepad from Roccat (Taito) because it was already fraying. And I said to myself, if I were to buy a new mousepad, I have to make sure it had stitched ends. That’s what was good about Razer, but it just had to go OVER the top with their designs and the heavy use of GREEN. (Like everyone has a green build… There are more blue builds than green according to stats of modded PCs!)

Then their is wonderfully designed, still not pure black, but closest to the minimalist design I was looking for was also from Corsair, the Corsair CGMM200 extended, but again like the regular MM200, it is prone to fraying. Sigh…

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I would love to represent TekSyndicate with this deskmat; even if isn’t pure black, representing them would be great! Find more products HERE and join the TekSyndicate community HERE!

I am a fan of Logan from TekSyndicate way back in his days at TigerDirect and RazeTheWorld (Which I was also a forum member) and he was selling this awesome deskmat with their burning earth logo; sure it ain’t pure black, but to represent TekSyndicate with a nearly minimalist design is great! Sadly, I live in the Philippines so ordering from his store would have me ending up to pay for nearly 50 bucks. As much as I want to represent, it was too much for a piece of cloth. If only they had a partner to resell their mousepad/mousemats/deskmats here without having to worry about the price of shipping (maybe just raise the overall price a touch but not as much as it would be to ship it here), then without a moments breath, I will buy the TekSyndicate Burning Earth Logo Deskmat. Hands down.

Sadly… that isn’t the case.

Much like my previous post about searching for a chair, my search continued, to the point where I thought, hey, I will just buy the TekSyndicate deskmat when I go the States for vacation later this year.

Then out of nowhere, like the chair in my previous post, I found this… a Tecware Haste XXL mousemat/deskmat.

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From a Filipino company named Tecware. Surprised by the quality! Check em out HERE!

To clarify my segue about the Black Ice radiators being made by a local company, Tecware is also a local company that has been around for quite a while and are making cheap, quality built, PC chassis; and quite recently extended mousepads.

It is nearly everything I wanted; I say nearly because I wish they hadn’t added the “Haste” branding on the mouse pad. The little label on the side of the deskmat with their company logo and name on, I feel is enough and makes it even more minimalist if it were the only one. But I am now just nitpicking.

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Along side my old, unwashed for a year, Roccat Taito MidSize 3mm mousepad.

Just like my (worn and dirty; last washed a year ago) Roccat Taito mousepad, it has rubber base that is non slip, but unlike my Roccat Taito, this mouse is stitched on the ends to prevent fraying and has a water resistant surface that is like the Aorus Thunder P3 Gaming Deskmat – I remember JayzTwoCents feature that deskmat once and mentioned it was water resistant for accidental spill of your drink and was easily cleaned by using window cleaners like Windex or something. If this could also be cleaned with Windex that would be great, but if not, this is fully washable anyways.

It certainly makes the desk look a lot cleaner, I get to place my phone on the deskmat (I can also put it on my Roccat Taito but it does take a bit of real estate away), heck any gadget, and it won’t look cluttered or have the fear of the device getting scratched or something.

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Initial size check
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With the keyboard and mouse housed; ignore dusty desk…

Immediately upon using it, believe or not, there are some people like me that will notice a difference in a mouse pad if it is good quality, etc. This one was just like my Roccat Taito, it was an easy transition – it had a little smoother (maybe because I didn’t clean my Roccat Taito in a year), so there is a false sense of an increase in pulling rate of the mouse that I just lowered the speed down down 100dpi (originall at 1000dpi, now 900dpi). Apart from that, it was like any other good mousepad/mousemat/deskmat I ever used that was great quality.

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Even the packaging is nice!

Overall, I am surprised by the amount I paid for a great deskmat that nearly had all the minimalist feel I want in it (I just want that “Haste” branding gone, or at least be placed like the label on the side with their company logo on it. Heck even the packaging isn’t a cheap box or something. It is good packaging and not on a freakin’ blister pack! Hello other companies! Don’t use blister packs! They injure people!

So, if you’re in the country, and in need of a minimalist deskmat that isn’t as over the top as Razer’s extended deskmats, then do look at this from Tecware. For php500 (roughly 12 bucks), this is the definition of bang for the buck!

Now time for some shameless glamour shots:

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There yah go! PEACE!

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Bloatware… Everywhere.

So much bloatware, I can’t even…

Let us first define what a bloatware is, even though I am sure most of you already know what they are and how annoying they can be:

Bloatware is simply a software that is overpacked with features and therefore slow or unwieldy; software that is inefficiently designed and occupies an excessive amount of memory or disk space. – Wiktionary

These are preloaded software from manufacturer’s of, more famously, Android smartphones. Take in for instance, ASUS Zenfone 2: It’s version of Android firmware is loaded with unnecessary software/applications that simply takes up space and, honestly, the software’s/application’s “usefulness” is anything but. I had to remove them to retrieve lost space and free up the phone’s processes for software/applications that do serve its useful purposes.

This, of course, is not limited to smartphones. Heck, it all started for me with laptops or prebuilt PC’s (nope, not my PC… it was my friends’. I have always custom built my PCs) that come from, let us say, Dell, Acer, ASUS (again), Lenovo, etc.

Back then, they weren’t so much of a hassle, a couple here and there, some even quite useful indeed. But if that wasn’t your cup of tea, you can easily uninstall them.

I remember when I used to buy laptops or netbooks, out of necessity thanks to school/hospital reports, and I had the option of having a Windows OS, Linux OS, or none at all – the latter, obviously, I had to provide the OS myself, usually I would go for a Linux distro online. But nowadays, most of the laptops that are being sold, or at least what I have noticed since Windows 8.1, or preloaded with a Windows OS (recently, of course, Windows 10) and you no longer have options of either Linux or no OS at all.

Sure, this is a business deal, a package, a contract, or whatever you have it, much like in the old days when IBM PCs would usually just come in Windows, but at least back then Windows was great and had little to absolutely NO bloatware, since it really didn’t exist back then.

When I used to buy laptops or netbooks without an OS, there was no bloatware of course. Having to provide the OS yourself frees oneself from the atrocities of those bloatware… or worse, the reservoir of viruses, a preloaded Norton or McAfee antivirus, that is simply a bitch to uninstall at times.

I know the layman may benefit from all this, but trust me, the other, more tech-savvy individual, that knows his/her way around regedit, C++, and the like, will find the bloatware’s “useful” features is nothing but a marketing bait that eats your needed device’s RAM or Processing power for something that you can do on your own if you are willing to just do a few commands here and there.

This has become my concern lately partly due to the fact that I had to setup my sister’s new laptop that she will be using for her hospital work; I wanted her to buy a laptop without an OS to avoid bloatware and I would more control on how things are being installed. But alas, as we were shopping for her new laptop earlier, they were all preinstalled with Windows.

My sister’s new Acer E 14 laptop. For more info and complete specs on this machine, go here: http://www.elnstore.com/acer-E5-473-30N5-core-i3-4005u

Everyone knows that I tried Windows 10 on my netbook, because there was no way I will subject my main system to Windows 10 when I had setup Windows 8.1 the way I want it to function based on my work ethic. As I was testing Windows 10 on my netbook, much to my dismay, there was so much data tracking Microsoft hardcoded on the OS. From the way I type and if I use touch screen devices where I can wright with a stylus or the like, it will also want to track that and report it to Microsoft. Excuse my language, but that is simply bullshit. I am tired of NSA trying to get everything about me, let alone having Microsoft do the same exact thing.

I love Linux, but there are still some programs I use, like Adobe, that are still Windows and Mac exclusives. I can use WINE or the like in Linux but sometimes the performance takes a big hit. So I am still using Windows for such programs.

Having enough experience on Windows 10 with my netbook and finding many ways to block data tracking by the evil faceless overlords of Microsoft, I was able to apply the same fixes to my sister’s laptop so they won’t take anything from her… for the most part. Who knows, Microsoft may have done more shit on the code of Windows 10 that I simply deactivated some of the data tracking parts of the OS. I may have simply barely scratched the surface. But for now, that is still good enough for me and my sister.

Of course. I wasn’t able to do all those without first removing the darn bloatware. I use CCleaner for cleaning the OS’ registry, temp files, etc., as well as use it for uninstalling programs. It took me an hour to remove all the bloatware! And trust me, reading the names and running a few of the bloatware, they really were not useful.

I know I can’t break a business/marketing deal that Microsoft has with most laptop/netbook/PC distributors/manufacturers and most of those devices will ship with Windows (again, in the IBM PC days, Windows is really a great thing to have along your device), but with how much Windows has changed akin to being a super secret spy that is just a few digits away from knowing your social security number, and let us not forget those manfacturer’s bloatware, I can’t help but wish the option of either having Linux or no OS at all is still available for those who know the cons of having Windows preinstalled in their machines.

But that is wishful thinking.

And if I just spend an hour or 2 with a new laptop/netbook/PC with preinstalled Windows 10 or bloatware, I can get it to run the way I want it to run. It is just a shame that I have to go to great lengths to do so.

Sigh…

Anyways, til next time!

PEACE!

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System Shocked to See You Again

When System Shock Enhanced Edition was first announced for GoG, I was happy yet saddened because it wasn’t immediately released for Steam, my preferred platform, I had to wait a month for it to be available in Steam. But I knew the wait will be worth it. And when it finally hit Steam a few days ago, I didn’t hesitate to purchase it right then and there, plus with a 20% off at that time, I was all the more willing to buy it.

System Shock was one of those DOS games that stay with you… and with it’s sibling, System Shock 2, it gave me, a computer geek who likes tinkering with programming languages, who is in love with the thought of the future and the technology it promises, together, those two games threw in a cyberpunk universe, filled with all the tech I want, the feeling of being a cool cyberpunk hacker that can also wield a gun or two, puzzles that only computer geeks will really appreciate (anyone can solve them, they aren’t too hard, but a computer geek will see the tiny details that make them smile), and a lot more.

Both games stuck with me, but if we are talking about DOS games that I will forever love, it is System Shock. Playing it nowadays, however, is hard even with DOSBox; I have gotten so used to mouselook controls, or simply, modern PC first person controls. SO, having to replay it is difficult. Plus no support for higher resolution doesn’t make things any better.

System Shock 2, has modern controls, and has mods to make it look better than it did when it first came out, so there was no problems ever replaying it.

So, when the Enhanced Edition mentioned that it had support for higher resolutions (albeit 1024×768 max, but you can add a custom resolution…), mouselook, and key remapping, I was certainly happy with it.

I was reading a lot these past few days so I didn’t immediately play the game as soon as I bought it; I just started last night, and to my surprise and delight, the keybinding, mouselook sensitivity, and custom resolutions were not in the in game menu. I had to go to the games .ini and .cfg files and edit it. I LOVE THAT!

Editing the controls.cfg using Notepad ++ just to change key bindings. I love it!

Like I said, I am a tinker, I love using Visual Studios or even simple as Notepad++, play around with C++, Obj C, JAVA, etc; I love modding my games, I love editing my regedit, etc; so when something as simple as changing the key bindings, the mouse sensitivity, etc, one needs to open .ini or .cfg files, I go gaga over it. It fits the game perfectly!

The key remapping is a Godsend because, I use a Logitech G600; I can simply bind the key of certain controls for the game for my mouse and I don’t have to lift my fingers of the main movement keys (WASD… you know). It’s these little things that, we take for granted, but if you have the right peripherals, it means the world to you; yes I can bind keys for my mouse to match the default keys of the game, but that entails me making a new profile in Logitech’s program, and sadly, that program only has a limited amount of profiles to be saved… sure, I can export and import, but all the hassle… editing the .ini or .cfg may also be a hassle, but it is only done once, and it feels WAY better that way.

I like replicating things they are supposed to be, but let me tell you, the filters for the game, that can be found in the sshock.ini file, even if set to best, doesn’t exaggerate the graphics. It still have its slight pixelated charm. But makes the words so much easier on the eyes. It also makes the environment textures nicer. Again, not exaggerating it away from the original charm. Furthermore on the graphics, it isn’t overhauled. The enemy sprites are just as bad as they were back in the day, but that’s alright; again, I am not one for the graphics, I am there for the story and gameplay mainly. As you can see in the following images:

Taken from Gamespot
Taken from PCGamer

In game screen grab; as you can see, I changed the resolution to 1920×1080 and used the Best Filter… it looks easier on the eyes.

Another screen grab; same resolution and filter. Textures are better.
Last screen grab in game; same resolution and filter. The one downside with using higher custom resolutions, apart from the possibility of crashing, is the words in the dialogue/data box are spaced at really wide to accommodate the higher resolutions.

For the resolution, the max is 1024×768, way better than the DOS at 320×200; but you can use a custom resolution, also found in the sshock.ini file. Be wary, any resolution higher than 1024×768 may cause the game to crash at certain points.

Editing sshock.ini using Notepad ++; the boxes show where you can edit the visual filters and make custom resolutions

Also the videos in the game will not be stretched to whatever resolution you choose. Just something to take note of.

This is a complex game in terms of controls; there are so much on the screen, and so much controls to know. Something as simple as crouching will has 3 separate buttons. There is, like its sibling, have a sense of momentum when running or even just walking; that is to say, if you run straight, and let go of the controls, you character will slow down to a stop gradually, like in real life… not an immediate stop. Something, again, to take note of.

Overall, it is a great Enhanced Edition for those additions. Having to be able to play this on modern systems is enough incentive to play this game honestly, but those tiny additions makes the biggest difference.

It still has the same tension that it gave me when I was a young boy, and to see it next to my copy of System Shock 2 in Steam, makes my heart warm. Add my BioShock collection, then the collection is complete… for now.

I happy with what the guys at Night Dive Studios did to bring this to modern systems. READ CAREFULLY, I said, modern systems, not modern age per se. That means, it is still, in all it’s pixelated glory, left in tact and will not please those “graphics buffs” out there, it is not perfect for the modern age of gaming. Even with the additions to make it easier to play today, it still won’t be loved by newer generations, only those who have fond memories of this game. But it will run smoothly on modern systems.

And with that, if you remember this game, played the second game, a bit curious, and RPG/FPS fan, or whatever, DO PICK THIS UP! It is available in GoG and Steam! Still 20% in Steam at the time of this writing.

If you want to purchase it in GoG, CLICK HERE!

If you want Steam, like I do, CLICK HERE!

Now it is time for me to return to Citadel.

PEACE!

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All visual content featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement intended. If you own rights to any of the images and do not wish them to appear on this site, please contact me here to promptly remove upon receipt of notification.

Rockin’ at 16gigs of RAM again!

A couple or so days ago, I was having very strange errors in my system; having tested everything, I concluded that it was my 2 sticks or RAM that is causing the problem… having to run 1 of the 2 suspected sticks alone in my system for troubleshooting, it won’t even boot POST. Thus, I had to remove 2 sticks of 4gb G Skill Sniper 1600 1.25v out of my system and leave the remaining 2 to fend off for themselves at 8gb dual channel.

8gb 1600mhz RAM is enough for most people… but, I am not like most people. I do video editing in Premiere Pro and After Effects; I do a lot of photo editing with Lightroom, Photoshop, and Illustrator; I game a lot. In short, I need 16gb of RAM.

Having originally bought these sticks of RAM 2 or so years ago, I was starting to worry if they will still carry these items in local stores or local online stores… Of course, like in the old days or buying SDRAM, as long as you have the same frequency, latency, voltage, you are pretty much okay if you mix and match brands/models, but apart from performance, I am much into the aesthetics as well. Having the same exact model will ease my obsessive compulsive b*tching on how it doesn’t match.

Thankfully, there was ONE online shop that still carry it locally. If it didn’t I either have to order it from the States or sell my old RAM and buy new ones. The latter was also a good option, but come on, I still have to find a buyer, sell it for dirt cheap and nothing in return of investment, making me spend a lot more on 4 new sticks of RAM instead of just looking for 2 replacement sticks.

I’ve got mail!
Here they are!

So, needless to say, I bought it, and 2 days of running in 8gb later, it came through the mail, and just like that, I am back at 16gb (4x4gb) 1600mhz dual channel. It doesn’t look any different performance wise to the layman, but when it comes down to heavy processes, these bad boys running at 16gb will surely help. And if you use a lot of After Effects… “effects”… then you know that it will really help especially in the RAM preview.

Together with its new siblings… Rockin’ 16gb once again!
G Skill Sniper 16gb (4x4gb) 1600mhz 1.25v (raised to 1.3volts due to my mobo not running it at 1.25volts) at dual channel. Lasted 2 days with just 8gb RAM; it is great to be back up at 16gb!

It just feels great that nowadays, in this country, we need not rely too much on waiting months on end just to get a part from the States or other countries. Most enthusiast parts are now available here in the Philippines. And most of the sellers I am actually a regular customer and are good friends with… however, this was the first time I bought from this guy, but seeing how it was hassle free, like all the others, I will surely order from him again if ever I need something.

So that is all for now… PEACE!

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SHODAN Windows Startup

*NOTE: The video above was just taken with my smartphone; I am not going to bring out my DSLR just to record a short video like this…*

Most people should know by now that I am a huge System Shock fan. I love both games, but the first game has shown its age gameplay and graphics wise. However, like in my previous post, the good guys at Night Dive Studios released an enhanced edition of the first game, aptly named, System Shock Enhanced Edition, available in GOG.com. I am waiting for the Steam version since that is  where I have a digital copy of the second game.

With that said, when I set out to replace my previous Q6600 build with my current i7 3770 build, I wanted to name my new build “SHODAN”; yes, I name all my PC builds.

It was a homage to my favorite game and I knew that this current build will become a greater beast than the build prior to it. So, I wanted to give it a name that can encapsulate that vision. And SHODAN was certainly it.

Without spoiling too much for those who have yet to play the games, Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, or SHODAN for short, is the main antagonist of the series; an artificial intelligence gone rogue. That’s it. I won’t say anymore than that.

But I knew, naming it SHODAN wasn’t enough… I wanted to add in an audioclip for start up with her voice, however, since Windows 8 (I run Windows 8.1), there have been no startup fanfares for “security” reasons. And it took me this long to make this because, a) I was lazy to type scripts/codes and then trouble shoot it to run the way I want to and b) I just wasn’t inspired enough to do so.

With the release of the enhanced edition, that gave me much needed high and pushed me to finally make a simple script/code to make it run the way I envisioned it.

Sure it may really only be an 8 second script, but it took me over 4 hours just troubleshooting and editing to make it run the way you see in the video now.

I don’t always code for simple programs, plus it was never my major, as my career path is that of the medical field, so it is understandable that I make a lot of mistakes typing codes and warrants the long number of hours to troubleshoot and edit.

But in the end, for me, it was worth it.

It may only be 8 seconds and only seen during startup (unless I make it run again), something like this, as simple as this, makes me happy. And how I made it, without any real lectures in coding (I just read a ton of books before when I was younger and experimenting), makes it all the more special.

Anyways, that’s it for now…

PEACE!

UPDATE:

I have updated my script to have bluescreens of death and graphical error screens alongside SHODAN.

Check the video below!

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