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torinraven Blog

Been an eventful year

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It's been a long time since I've signed on to Gamespot. That hasn't been due to a lack of interest, but rathera lack of time. Back in early June, our bottom two floors flooded, requiring the almost complete remodel of much of our house. We've just finished up with all of the remodel a week or so ago. The same day that we had the flood, we learned that we're going to be having a baby (we've since learned that it is going to be a son). These two factors as well as life in general have kept me busy for quite a while. I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. It'll be good to get a breather before my boy is born

What a twit

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I'm back finally, with about a week and a half before my next trip. It's good being this busy, and I'm thankful for the good work, but it'll be nice to unwind some.

I got RC1 of Windows 7. I have to say that I'm quite impressed in its performance over Vista. With fresh installs, Windows 7 is performing about 30% faster than Vista was, putting it pretty much on par with XP in terms of speed. I'm going to keep doing some more testing, but I think I may actually pick this one up when it is released. It's great that Microsoft was generous and made this RC valid until June 2010. I've even got good drivers for all my devices!

On a sadder note, I've discovered Twitter. Let the endless microblogging commence!

On the road again...

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I'm back out on the road again, and once more will not be on here much, if at all, for the next couple of weeks. I should be back sometime after the first week of May. Hope all is well with everyone

Things are looking up!

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I realize I haven't written much lately, but there is nothing to complain about right now. In fact, things are going reallywell. I don't want to jinx myself with too many details, but suffice to say, I'm really happy.

I've gotten some great games lately, like World of Goo, Left 4 Dead, and Empire: Total War, which have been taking up a lot of my time.

A lot of the rest of my free time is spent watching Monk with my wife (We just discovered that show a few weeks ago, so we have like seven seasons to catch up on). That show is fantastic! We're also redoing our kitchen, so that takes up a good portion of our weekends, but it's coming out really nice so far, so I'm happy with the results and don't mind the work.

I think of how things were five years ago before I moved out here, and it's been a world of difference. I'm glad I made the move

Caught in a Loop

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I'm stuck in a loop today:

  1. When my nose gets stuffy, my ears plug up and I get a headache
  2. When the stuffiness begins to subside, I sneeze
  3. When I sneeze, my nose bleeds
  4. When the bleeding stops, my nose gets stuffy

If I block the sneeze, my nose gets stuffy

If I blow my nose, I get a nosebleed and then it stuffs up

-+Gasps for Breath+-

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Hey everyone! It looks like we are mostly done with the first phase of the transition/consolidation phase, so I actually may get something akin to free time for a little while.

Basically, what's been happening is this: our company had been looking to be sold and shed some of our debt load, and some of the primary lein holders were balking at the sale, so in October, we entered into bankruptcy court under a Chapter 363 filing for the purpose ofexpediting the sale process. What this allowed us to do was to tell the primary lein holders to get on board for the sale or pi$$ off. Part of the bankruptcy process allowed us to reject any and all leases deemed invalid. We determined that if we closeda coupleof our corporate offices, we would be able to save a very sizeable amount of money in rent and other overhead. One of the offices was able to be closed without incident (thus why I was in Detroit a couple of times over the last few months), but we needed to ramp up our operations here to make up for the loss of the other office. This has meant a hiring bonanza inour office, where we needed to create new spaces for people to work (thus, our department needed to coordinate the setup of the new spaces, as well as the installation of new wiring and networking equipment) and the transfer of equipment from the closing offices to our existing office.

I just got back from traveling to the other office for the past week to begin shutdown of the big office, so phase two is complete. At last it appears that I am done with late nights and traveling for the next month or so, so I will be able to devote more time to GS once again. I'm going to do my best to catch up, but since I spent most of last month away from here, I may just have to jump back in where I can. It's good to see you all again

Lost in Operations

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Our company is in the midst of a massive restrcturing and I'm working overtime, so consequently I am going to be away from GS for a few more weeks. I will return when I can, probably after the beginning of March. See you all again then

Just stay home

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What is it with some people that they refuse to call out no matter what? I have a coworker who has only taken 2 sick days in the last three years. He's been sick dozens of times, though. Most recently, he managed to come down with bronchitis last week. As usual, he was here all week, coughing on everything, and wonder of wonders, I began coughing friday night. This continued all day saturday and by Sunday, it was full-blown bronchitis.

I called out yesterday because I was sick, didn't want to spread it to others, and wanted medication, and was given a guilt trip about calling out. WTH is that about?!? I am now on a regimen of antibiotics, steroids, an inhaler, nose drops, cough drops, and cough syrup. Guess what? I'm doing a lot better now than he is, and I've had it less than half as long. If he'd call out in the first place, he wouldn't be spreading this to others and wouldn't be costing me money to get prescriptions filled.

No more tears

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I am growing really tired of hearing people complain about games and calling them broken when their hardware can't run the game. This is a PC, not a console. If you want to buy hardware once every five years and be able to run every game that comes out, you should buy a console. PC games on the other hand require periodic upgrades to your system (about once every year or two); not because the games are bad, but rather because the designers are constantly traying to push the boundaries of what is possible. This translates into better graphics, more going on on the screen at once, ambient movement, etc. All of this takes extra computing power to calculate, so consequently you need better and better hardware to run things at full detail levels. At the same time, this means that PC games quickly eclipse console games, especially in the arena of draw distances and the amount going on onscreen at once.

Space sims are an excellent example to look at. This genre has always had some of the prettiest graphics out there (at least until current-gen shooters) for one simple reason...There's not a lot actually happening, so the graphics can be ramped up on ships and planets and such without a loss of framerate. Compare that environment with the lush moving jungles of Crysis and you quickly see where the power goes.

I'm not trying to knock those who are running older rigs and know they have reduced gameplaying capacity and plan their gaming accordingly; they know what to expect and deal with it without complaint. The one's I'm referring to are the ones who have a single core processor, 256 MB nvidia 5-series video card and 512 mb of ram and b!tch because they can't run Fallout 3.

Now, I will be the first to admit that PC upgrades are costly. I tend to spend $200+ a year to keep my system pretty up to date (I've spent $600 in the past six months to replace mobo, RAM, CPU, and GPU). The upside to this is that my old parts don't go to waste. I keep family and friends supplied with hardware I've outgrown, and they're happy because they get free hardware upgrades that more than meet their needs.

There are two simple rules which will allow better gaming bliss: 1) Know your hardware and its limitations. Run a benchmarking program like 3dmark and watch it performing its tests. You will usually be able to see where your hardware is weakest and where it is strongest. If you see that soft shadows bring your system to its knees, then simplify the shadows in your game. 2) Upgrade within the same family. If you have an ATI chipset on your motherboard, buy an ATI GPU. This allows not only for running multiple gpus but also helps maintain synergy amongst your components

I guess I don't really have a point to this rant; I'm just sick of people blaming programmers for their own woes. I hate to chase anyone away from the PC as a gaming patform, but if you are unwilling to devote the time and effort to know your system and how to make games run well on it, then perhaps you should try a console instead. At least that way you can be certain that if you have an Xbox 360, you can play any Xbox 360 game.

I apologize if I offended anyone with this rant. That was not my intent. I just had to get that off my chest.

Where has all the flavor gone?

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So, as some of you know, I began the dreaded diet this week. It was long overdue, and I am looking forward to the weight loss, but at the same time I am somewhat saddened, because I have become quite the food lover (it's not about the excessive number of calories, but about all of the new flavors I was tasting).

A few weeks ago, I had some blood work done, becuase I was getting some of the symptoms of diabetes. Thankfully my sugar levels are fine, so I am not diabetic, but I did learn that my triglycerides were high. Not just high or really high, but atrociously high. I might as well have had sausage grease flowing through my veins. I need to drop those levels NOW.

So the decision is made to get back on a diet, start exercising again, and take fish oil supplements. My wife and I are on the Weight Watchers Core Plan. This plan worked well a few years ago. I dropped 45 pounds in 6 months, and all was great; then I quit smoking. I fell off the diet wagon, and over the course of a couple years, I put all the weight back on and them some.

While the core plan is effective for losing the weight, I think I'm going to have to find another solution for longtime results. What I think I am going to do is to follow the core plan until I get back down around 200. Once I reach that point, I will start to incorporate a wider range of foods back into my diet. At that point, portion control and dietary balance will be they keys to long-term success.

I've still got some kinks to work out, as I am actually taking in too few calories now, but I'm down 9 lbs so far, and motivated to keep going. I just need to keep my spirits high, and remember that this will only help me.

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