SSD pt 2

So its been a little while since I installed the SSD in my main PC. It has been said before, but the difference is definitely noticeable. My previous boot disk was a Seagate Momentus XT. This disk has 4GB (8GB on later models) of NAND flash which is used as an automatically managed cache for the drive. That was a quick drive. But a good SSD, properly configured is worlds away. The multitasking ability of a solid state drive was the first thing I noticed. Windows says its still starting up, not a problem, launch chrome or outlook and its ready in the blink of an eye regardless. Startup times are a little better for me, but I do run a heap of services and startup programs. The Samsung software is excellent, and aids even first time SSD users with correct setup. The drive also lets you create additional over provisioning to lengthen the service life of the disk.

Ok, enough praise of the mighty SSD, back to enjoying it.

Steam issues

I was recently playing DotA 2 with some friends on Steam. We has a short interval between matches, in which I closed the game. Upon my return I noticed that DotA 2 was trying to update, and failing. “Alright” I thought, “I will just restart steam”. This was followed by ” I will just restart my machine”. Neither of these attempts to get steam to straighten up and fly right worked. To make matters worse, Steam was now refusing to start at all, getting stuck on a ‘searching for updates’ notification.
So I began to go through my usual method when Steam has a hiccup, called a ‘regeneration’. This involves deleting your entire Steam install, except for your SteamApps folder and the Steam.exe. Launching Steam again seemed to be proving fruitful, as it downloaded all the necessary files, and updated. Only it got stuck on the same ‘searching for updates’ followed by ‘Steam must be connected to the internet’ blah blah blah.
By this point I had spent 2 evenings and a good few hours trying to fix the situation.
The fix came completely by accident. Whilst trying to replace files from my working version from my laptop, I right clicked on the Steam.exe file, and was heading down the context menu to select cut to put it somewhere safe while I continued with my experimental fixes. I missed cut, and hit ‘Run as Administrator’.
It worked.
I wasted hours, when a right click and run as admin would have fixed it.

TLDR – If Steam is refusing to update, try right click – run as admin first!

MCM London

Had an interesting weekend in London visiting the MCM Expo. The costumes people had made were amazing, the stalls interesting, and the artists and writers engaging and enthusiastic. Also, it was easily the friendliest group of 15 000 people I have been in the middle of. No barging or rudeness  just polite excuse mes and sorrys. A fun weekend, I shall be going again!

P.S. Pocky sticks are amazing snacks, if you ever see them, you should try them!

Digital download madness

So a certain popular video games publisher has made their  newest game available digitally, but only through their own system, not through steam. I refuse to install another piece of software to launch games from, the reason I love steam is that it is everything in one place !

The second half of this madness is that it is a full £10 more to digitally download the software direct from the developer, than it is to order a physical copy delivered to my door.



Valves and Windows

I have recently decided that in the few moments of spare time I have to enjoy video games, I will re-visit the Half Life series. I have never played Half Life 2: Episode 2, so I’m giving that a shot. I would love to have time to replay the whole saga from the very beginning, Half Life is one of the fondest memories I have from my gaming childhood.

But I digress, I write to share with you a excellent tip that will allow you to play your favourite Valve game in a borderless window. Borderless windows are great in that they can be moved from screen to screen on a multi-monitor setup (You do have more than one monitor…..right?) , and they also allow you easy access to programs running in the background (Skype, Chrome etc.)

It is as simple as adding a line of text to your launch options in steam. Right click on the Valve game of your choice, choose properties, then launch options. The magic text is:

-window -noborder -novid       [ The -novid is not essential, but is another of my favourite Valve tips, it skips the Valve intro video]

And that’s it ! Enjoy !

Humble pie

Go there now. Get some fantastic games, and help developers and charity.
They even give you keys so you can unlock the games on steam as well as the DRM free game and soundtrack downloads.
Buy it now.
Feel a little smug about it (its ok, its for charity).

Oh, and ‘amnesia: the dark descent’ is terrifying, still a good game though.