For the last week or so I have been having an odd issue connecting to steam on my desktop. For random periods of time, steam cannot connect. However if I wait an hour or so… it connects in just fine. So far the online wisdom is that this has something to do with bad network drivers, but unfortunately nothing has changed on the system in the time it has occurred. So right now I am at a complete loss for this intermittent behavior. Would greatly appreciate any suggestions, especially if some of you have had this issue firing up the steam client… and better yet have found a solution. At this point my plan is to try and dig up the reference driver for my network card and install that, wondering if maybe a windows patch jacked something up.
The odd thing is, steam only hates me sometimes. Last night when I could connect I re-downloaded The Secret World and it was coming down at a peak of 10.5 megabytes per second. It seemed like the download was only being throttled by my disk I/O. Of note… I am really going to have to manually throttle steam because my system was really mostly unusable when it was downloading that fast. The hard drive was going through periods of being busied out by it. Games were completely unplayable during this time, so I am hoping that somewhere in steam there is a maximum speed setting I can ratchet down a bit. It was nice to download 18 gig in 30 minutes though.
Black Screen Blue Logo
Last night the wild goose chase in search of bottles continued, and on the way home I had to hit both Michaels and Hobby Lobby to finish getting the last few of them. So by the time I made it home I was just feeling out of it. I had a bit of trouble with my gaming desktop, and then a bout of the reoccurring steam issues, and by that time I was just mentally drained. I found out the hard way that Cyberpower PC, does the same bullshit that every manufacturer does. Namely tries to put a 350 watt power supply in a PC designed for gaming. I went to install a new video card, and noticed the size of the power supply, and didn’t even bother getting into the case. I did however at that point unhook everything.
After connecting everything back up again, I went to boot the machine and it hung indefinitely on the black screen with the blue windows logo. Thankfully I have a second machine beside this one, and I started furiously googling. Internet consensus is that something was up with the power supply. I had literally not doing anything other than unhook things… so after making sure the power cord was seated well a few times I got another idea. I unhooked absolutely everything from the machine again. This time only hooking up the monitor, mouse, keyboard, network cable and power cord. Sure enough it booted up happily… apparently in the processes I had hooked one too many things to a usb jack on the machine and it did not have enough power to boot.
So the power supply issue is not only critical to getting this newer video card installed, but seemingly for day to day usage as well. I realize it is a numbers game for companies, they try and put the smallest thing in a machine they can get away with. I just don’t understand however why anyone would put something smaller than a 500W supply in a new machine. Ultimately like it did me, it will bite the owner in the ass. Long story short, I have a new Corsair power supply on the way and it should be here on Friday. So I will be playing the swap power supplies game this weekend. Generally speaking I like to pull one power supply with all the wires connected, then disconnect the PSU one connector at a time, replacing it with a connecter from the new one. That way I am certain that nothing gets missed.
All Over the Map
By the time I finally got to where I could start playing games last night… I was like a toddler desperately in need of a nap. Nothing really seemed right, and in truth I should have just gone on to bed. I played a little bit of everything last night, but only a few minutes of each. I mined three or four resource nodes in Landmark, killed Onyxia and did Crown Chemicals in World of Warcraft, fired up Rift long enough to collect the weekly patron gift, played some of “that space game”, and finally spent the most amount of time playing some of “that elder game”. But like Goldilocks, everything was either too this or too that. I should have grabbed my 3DS and went to bed playing some Bravely Default.
The highlight of the evening was the fact that I picked up Chicken Tikka Masala on the way home from my errands from our favorite Indian place… Desi Wok. Even that just didn’t seem right, and I was only able to finish like half of mine. Nights like that suck, where you don’t like the world and you are pretty sure that it doesn’t like you either. Hopefully tonight I won’t have a bunch of running around to do before heading home. I think that combined with the power supply issues are what put me in that mood. What sucks is… I knew I was “in a mood” but I didn’t really know what I could do to snap myself back out of it. I have yet to find my personal slider that allows me to back off on the “pissy” setting.
Corruption of My Youth
I think I have told at least part of this tale, but I never had a chance to “not” be a geek. One of the cool things about being a teachers kid was that at the end of the school year, we got to rifle through the stuff left in kids lockers. The janitors would come through and dump everything out into the hall, and if it was not gone by that evening they would come through with a big dumpster and pitch it all. I felt this was a bit of a consolation prize for being stuck there as my mom cleaned her own room to get ready for summer. Over the years I found many prizes, but none of them were as life changing for me as stumbling across a Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook. Mind you this was when I was in first grade, and upon receiving that book I absolutely obsessed about it. While I didn’t fully understand much of it at the time, I started building games around the things that I found between its covers.
I wanted nothing more than to play a real D&D session… but I grew up deep in the bible belt and the popular consensus was that “D&D” would somehow make you into a mass murderer. So all through elementary school I collected everything I could get my hands on, but had never really played any of it. My parents obviously did not care, but the parents of my best friends at the time were absolute bible thumpers. It was mid way through elementary school that I found another option. Marvel Super Heroes by TSR was in reality a pretty damned crappy game system, but it was completely benign and with the little paper foldouts made it look like a board game and not something akin to D&D. I kept all of the dice and such at my house, and for the most part their parents never questioned what they were doing. I mean funny shaped dice would have been a dead give away… and something worthy of shunning.
As I moved into my High School years I found friends with whom we could pretty much play anything… and we did, so many different systems. While we didn’t really go back and play much D&D other than at conventions… we did play an absolutely silly amount of the Palladium system. The above image is a quick picture I snapped this morning of just a small sampling of the various palladium books I have accumulated. The thing about that system that drew me to it, was the fact that if I or my friends could dream it up… we could find rules to build it. The Rifts setting at the time completely blew me away, and I played it through most of high school. Even though I don’t really play much anymore, because I don’t have a local circle of people to play with… I still pick up the books anytime I find them out and about.
MMOs for the most part have become my new “D&D night”, and it just honestly fits my schedule better. Occasionally I join in games run by friends over one of the various Google hangout pen and paper mods, but that is about as close as I get to the old tabletop experience these days. So many of the things I have been into over the years, probably started with finding that first players handbook. It got me interested in what that was all about, and got me into Time Warp comics for the first time in search of “more”. It was through this connection that I go into Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, and so many other geeky things. While the bible thumpers seemed to think it would steal my soul, more than anything it enflamed my curiosity and creativity. Pen and Paper games taught me it was completely okay to create my own reality. That seems like a skill we could use a lot more of.