Friday, 30 September 2011

Oblivion Re-installed - Finally!

Well, after so many annoying PC issues I finally got Oblivion re-installed.  I expected it to be running a bit better than it is although it's not stuttering and crashing like it was, and I have the same, if not more mods this time.  A great  number of those are merged into my Bashed Patch and they are deactivated anyway so it's not so bad at the moment and a lot are texture replacers.  I have to get around to doing some CS work and cut down the number of armour and incidental mods into a single esp.  Or maybe a couple.

I had one freeze tonight during my first couple of hours of play, but I was able to get out of it with the Task Manager so it wasn't a total pain in the butt.  At least it didn't CTD on exit either.  More than likely the game directory needs to be defragged rather desperately considering the amount to of files I added to it today.  A LOT!

Just a few pics to start with as it's after

Happy getting things back to normal with my PC.   I hope.

This is Chiara, my new character.

Outside my Druid Home.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Disappearing DVD Burner or CDROM

As I mentioned in a recent rant my DVD burner seemed to have died or was MIA..  It wasn't showing in the BIOS or Windows of course, obviously wasn't working and appeared dead as a doornail. Well, I can report that as I suspected, it was a Windows issue and not hardware related.  I fixed it myself with the help of Google and the site mentioned below.

In the Event Viewer I had this error among a number of others related to paging files and of course the missing drive. 

When the problem started I had been looking through my backup discs for files and mods that I need for Oblivion, and other games, after having replaced a dead hard drive.  In between exploring one disc and the next I had plugged in my USB zip drive, copied files from it, then removed it correctly.   It seems Windows thought I wanted to remove the optical drive and not just the zip drive....stupid!

Of course nothing like this is mentioned on the Microsoft pages, but it is a Windows issue and not hardware related.

I'm like a terrier when it comes to researching problems and I found LOTS of complaints, old and recent, about disappearing optical and HDD's in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, but not quite the same as my problem.  Until, I came across this site where it describes exactly what happened to me, but seemingly usually happens in laptops.

I had of course checked the cables but didn't completely unplug them because they were so tightly attached I had trouble getting them out, so I assumed it wasn't caused by loose connections.  This time with a lot of care, I completely unplugged the cables at the drive and motherboard and reseated them and now my drive is showing again in the BIOS and Windows, and most importantly...working.

I posted this here in case anyone else has the same or similar issues.  Last year I had a problem where the drive would only burn at 1x speed and by researching the problem I also managed to fix that issue which was a simple fix.

Here if anyone has the same problem.

Now to get my games installed before anything else goes wrong.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

They Say Bad Things Come In Threes

As the title says.   I just got over my hard dive issue and now my DVD drive has died, or so it seems.

The error messages in the Event Viewer say paging file errors and registry corruption because of other newly installed programs or drivers according to Microsoft's help pages which are next to useless.  And I haven't done anything like that anyway since last week.  I've spent all afternoon into the evening researching and tried every fix I can find including checking the cables, registry edits, uninstalling it and reinstalling and yet Windows doesn't see it and neither does the BIOS.

I was going through all my backup discs looking for a particular old file with no problems, until I plugged in my USB zip drive which has been fine itself.  Then the next DVD I tried in the drive spun up but failed to be read and I had to stick a pin in the hole to get the drawer to open because nothing was working.  All of the discs are fine as I went through them the other day getting ready to reinstall Oblivion which is now in limbo until I either get this one sorted or buy a new drive.  At least they are cheap.

What ticks me off is I have two perfectly good Pioneer drives in a cupboard because they are IDE and my motherboard only has one IDE slot, therefore the current optical drive is SATA.  My boot drive is using the IDE.  The new HDD is SATA though, but I prefer to keep the older drive as the separate boot drive in case of another mishap where I might be without a PC altogether.  That doesn't bear thinking about even for a week.

 I never liked the SATA DVD drive anyway as it's slower than IDE takes ages to read a DVD and open and close.  A  minor thing but annoying.  I might look into buying an IDE adaptor so I can use the other drives which were very expensive at the time I bought them and are just doing nothing.

Thankfully, even though I can't install anything else now I do have one game installed that I can play, and the only one that's got me enthralled at the moment which is Age of Conan if you hadn't guessed, but I'll have to do something about it ASAP as Skyrim is coming and I've also decided to get Deus Ex:Human Revolution.

Hopefully I don't have to reinstall windows again soon because I'll be up the proverbial creek without a paddle and funds are tight at the moment.  I only did it last week after I got the new hard drive.

Whatever the third "mini" disaster is I hope it's not PC related.  In all the years I've been using PC's I've never, ever had hardware failure so I guess I've been pretty lucky.  I don't mind if my mouse gives up the ghost as I've got a new spare anyway and I got a new keyboard recently because half the letters were worn off from playing games.  And the all important sprint key (Shift) was broken.   XD.

Progress in Age of Conan

I've reached level 41 and thoroughly enjoying this game.   Last night half a dozen other players plus myself got together and did several group quests which was just awesome.   Those Vanir Raiders and piles of undead never had a chance.  I was also asked to join a large guild called The House of Winterfall which is really nice.

I'm also learning crafting now.  Gems, weaving and a lot of other great things.  Still saving every coin for a horsey, but I've got a way to go yet.  I'm about halfway there and I don't buy anything I don't have to so I can do it.

Here are some latest shots.  I wish I could take more action pics but it's too hard without dying although I only have to quickly press F11, but I usually forget in the rush of it all.

This is a Boss statue in a dungeon full of other huge statues almost as big and which I had to kill by myself because the entrance was blocked as soon as I entered.  They came in pairs but were pretty easy actually.  Not so much for the Boss.  She was inactive at first as shown here:

And here I am when it activated.  I died pretty quickly as it surprised me and got in a few good hits and spells before I got over the shock and fumbling for my weapon.....literally.  I left the dungeon after that as I have to come back anyway after I complete a quest for an NPC in there.  I'll be ready this time.   It doesn't help when she summons minions either, but you have to ignore them otherwise they respawn.  They are more of an annoyance or distraction than anything as they don't do a lot of damage if you keep moving.

Khemi Harbour in the desert land of Stygia.  Absolutely beautiful architecture in the style of Egypt.  I was swimming across the harbour because I refused to pay for a boat trip which is why the water is rippling.  I'm saving my coins.

White lions.  These are way below my level and they don't attack which is why their names are white.  But, on entering the next valley I found more thinking they were the same and not noticing their RED names.  I was rushed by three at once so I ran for my life.  They were almost my level so three at once was a bit too risky.

Just posing with my excellent great axe.   There are huge brown bears in the area but not too close.

Dark, dank sewers full of snakes, bandits, crocodiles and other assorted nasties.  I've been there several times on two quests, cleared everything but the boss who had what I needed and kept getting the better of me.  He calls half a dozen trained crocodiles to help him when his health drops to a certain level, the coward, which is when I died.  Now I've been back and had my revenge.

This is what I was after, as well as part of a treasure map.  Meet Princess.  I was doing a quest for Fabio, yes that's his  He wanted me to rescue the love of his life who had been taken by bandits, but failed to mention it was a little dog.  I'm not doing the rest of his quest because he's going to stick me with a scroll that he originally stole from a necromancer and he wants me to destroy it.  Trouble is it summons several undead at random intervals until it's destroyed and that gets old after awhile.  I had to retrieve the thing for him to begin with to break a curse.   I can't do the rest of the quest as I can't enter that particular dungeon as a free player.  Plus, it would be extra hard as it's a group encounter.

In the belly of the snake.  I had to find an aspirant to the Temple of Set for his brother.  The followers of Set worship snakes...big snakes.  The guy, not the guard standing there, ended up in the belly of the red snake and it's seen as being "chosen" if the snake accepts you as it's dinner.  I'll pass on that one thanks.

Mantis man.  He has a name but I can't remember what is was now.  He's part of a quest and friendly which is just as well.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Musical Reminiscing

As you may know, if you've read my other posts here, a couple of weeks ago my hard drive died and I had to buy a replacement.   This isn't about that as such but besides my current addiction to Age of Conan, I haven't installed any other games and have been revisiting my huge music collection.

I have around 200 or so vinyl LP's and something like ten years ago I converted a lot of them to MP3's and burned them to cd's for my own use because many were just impossible to get on CD even from overseas.  Since then though I have been able to get the rarer ones on CD even having to import a few of them.

It was a long and painful process using a good turntable and my PC to edit and convert them and I didn't so all of them of course, only the hard to get ones.  I don't think that's illegal as I have the originals...or I hope not now I've mentioned it here.  Whatever...  I still have the LP's in their original sleeves and covers in perfect condition and many are probably worth a lot of $$.  There used to be a lot more than 200, probably double that number, and I also had a huge collection of singles but I gave away a lot of them and others were "appropriated' at parties or just got lost in moving house, never returned after lending, etc.

Anyway, to the main point.  I don't currently own a stereo system (or the turntable) as I use my PC for everything entertainment related and I gave away the one I did have to my brother.  Since we don't speak anymore due to unresolved family conflicts I'll never see that again, but I don't really care as my PC does everything I need.

I wonder if anyone reading this has heard of Sixto Rodriguez.  He's a very underrated artist from the 80's and as far as I know is still performing somewhere in the world.  His songs speak of conflict and real issues and he's much like Bob Dylan in many ways.

I tried to find songs with him actually performing and managed to find a couple of decent videos.

This one is called Inner City Blues.

Crucify Your Mind.

After listening to Rodriguez' music I started on Bob Dylan. No-one ever said I don't have a wide range of musical tastes...XD. From metal, reggae, some pop, electronic, punk, some classical, and more....but no rap or country. I don't know which of those last two I hate more.

These last three are from the album Desire and every song on that album brings tears to my eyes.  Not depressed tears or sadness, but a deep feeling for his lyrics.

This is called Sara, one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I'm a Scorpio as well.

Romance in Durango

And I imagine a lot of people will know Hurricane which is a true story about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man unjustly tried for something he didn't do because of his colour. The lyrics speak for themselves.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Door to Door Sales People.....Pains In The Ass

OK....I've got a temper and a sarcastic streak and usually it's slow to boil, but when it out.

I do not suffer fools and I DO NOT suffer door to door sales people who compete with each other to get one to change their utilities companies...electricity, gas, phone etc..   I don't get these type of phone calls because I'm unlisted and it's against company policies....or I bloody well hope it is because anyone ringing me about the type of thing I'm about to describe won't know what hit them.   And it won't just be the sound of the phone being slammed down in their ear.

A few months ago one of these sales people caught me at a bad time when I wasn't feeling so well and talked me into changing electricity companies for a pathetic extra discount that came to less than $50 spread over a year.   I don't know why, but I must have agreed just to get rid of him because he wasn't going otherwise and I didn't feel up to my usual "Not interested.  Go away," before he could launch into his speech.

We are billed on utilities quarterly by default, but other arrangements can be made like monthly, depending on the company.   I elect to have my phone and internet billed on a monthly's not so much of a shock.  Actually, I have a card that I use to pay it at the Post Office before the bill even comes which is handy.

Anyway, back to the electricity company.......luckily there was a 10 day cooling off period and I let them know I was staying with the supplier I'd been with for years and years and from whom I already get a discount.   OK...that one was reasonably easily fixed and not too traumatic and annoying.

Last week another one turns up from a different company offering a measly, so called competitive discount and I don't know what else because I cut him off at the pass and told him to go away.   I'm not interested.   He was still talking as I shut my front door and trying to get me to open it again.   He was one step away from having the police called to remove him when he gave up.   Just because everyone else in my street is taking up the offer, which is utter rubbish by the way, doesn't mean I want it. 

There must have been something suspect about this particular guy as my dog growled at him and she usually welcomes people, anyone in fact, with a big doggy grin, as long as I'm present and all is calm.   Not that these people get inside my front door....Oh no....I'd never get rid of them.  Much like certain youths who peddle their bicycles around and wear black and white.  Come to think about it I haven't seen any of them for some time, but they are easy enough to discourage.....usually.

So, today tops the cake.  I'm on my way out to an appointment, car and house keys in hand, closing and locking the front door to my house, and I see a guy with a clipboard heading up my driveway AND wearing the logo of a well known ELECTRICITY company on his jumper.  He starts to talk and shows his ID, I say I'm on my way out, he ignores me and tries to go into his spiel, I say STOP I'm not interested I'm busy so go away, he continues and ignores me.    By this time I'm fuming.

I don't swear (most times) or need to threaten to get my point across, but this guy really made my blood come to steaming point.  He goes on with the "everyone in the street is changing over for an initial discount and you'll see the benefit if you'll listen."   He totally ignored me and that I was going out, not interested and getting angrier and angrier.  I wanted him off the property before I left which is why I didn't just jump in my car and storm off down the road.  Not that he had a reason to come back and I did check his ID, but it's the principle.

Another thing that's really irritating is these people are all outsourced and don't speak English well enough to get their point across and don't know when to take no for an answer.  I'm not having a go at people's ethnicity or language or anything else, but I can't often understand what they are saying, let alone agree in good faith to change my utility companies or anything else.  I hate having to ask several times what a person said in a conversation I DON'T want to have, and I don't like being rude unless there's no other option.

To be fair I imagine they are told by their employers to push and push, or at least that's the impression I get because they just will not give up until the point of verbal violence or in some case I'd bet, physical violence is threatened.  At least when they come to the door there's more chance of understanding them, but over the phone....that's frigging hopeless.

Next one who comes my way selling anything, trying to get me to switch companies, or anything else will feel the results of the frustration the last three caused me.   It's still got me agitated and that happened a couple of hours ago.  But then I did stay up until the early hours in Hyboria so I have self inflicted weariness and "got out of bed on the wrong side" syndrome.

Then again, I'm finding as I get older I have less tolerance and patience than I used to have for bullshit.   Actually, it's a good thing most times as more and more I'm finding being a nice and civilized person gets you nowhere in this world.  I just wish it hadn't taken so long...XD.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

PC Back in Action

This is just a quick post which I will elaborate on soonish, but finally I have my PC back in action.  Well, it has been for two days but the first thing I downloaded (which took nearly all that time) was Age of Conan and I played it for around 6-7 hours last night. 

It's a bit of a drag setting things up as I like them and copying stuff I use regularly from backups so I'm taking my time.  Which means Oblivion may or may not be installed and playable (ie fully modded) until later in the week or maybe longer.  

Anyway, now I have a new Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black SATA-III, 7200rpm, 64MB HDD, and I also got a new graphics card which is ASUS GTX550 Ti  Direct CU (which means a 20% extra cooling unit.)    Haven't even given it a workout yet.... the only game installed is Age of Conan and I actually forgot to try it in high graphics which was impossible previously....massive slideshow.   I also had to get a new Thermaltake PSU....for the power!

Back later with more.  Still installing and sorting through backups.

Friday, 9 September 2011

And Once Again - Gmods

This discussion is still going strong and certain things have been discovered that are just incredible.  There are so many lies and utter bullshit coming from Kreisher at Gmods that it's unbelievable.  We are not stupid Kreisher, and we won't stand by and let you steal our work for your gain.

Interested people who care about their mods, images, textual works, and indeed the whole modding community should continue reading the the ongoing thread at Tesnexus which is, at this time numbers 21 pages.

I've posted about this at other forums, yet the only people who seem to take it seriously are the people at Tesnexus and a very few others.  If others don't take it seriously that's their problem and should not complain if their work is appropriated by a leech, especially when they were notified.   I do however give kudos to "loder", the Admin/Owner at Mods Reloaded when he found out about it and took it seriously. He very quickly set in motion a redirect so any traffic coming there from Gmods will get an error page and redirect back to Gmods.

Kudos also to all the modders, and DarkOne the owner of Tesnexus and it's family of sites, who also got together to try and get this Kreisher person shut down.  Bandwidth leeching has now stopped due to Gmods being put on the Blacklist at Tesnexus by DarkOne and further action will be taken if he doesn't stop.

However, we know he has been reading the threads.  I saw his name there today when I was reading the latest posts and yet in this interview conducted by Sepherose, he denies following the thread despite that DarkOne can check his account activity and what he looks at, among other blatant lies.  I don't know how Sepherose put up with Kreisher's crap for an hour, when he could actually get a word in between the rambling and garbage, but I listened to the whole thing.  The last third is the most telling.

Oh and by the way, we modders are trolls for not rallying to his cause according to "Mr" Kreisher.  How about you get back under your bridge and leave us alone.

This is audio only.

There's also this warning at Youtube from Sepherose posted before the interview.

Then there's this interview which mentions making money from mods among other things that will interest modders, for example how mods are so hard to install, they can ruin your game and give you malware and viruses.  Predictably, he denied saying these things, and even knowing about some of it, which is another lie. He's just been caught out and doesn't know how to get out of it. Like a politician.

While we all know there are other sites that have tried this kind of thing in the past, they haven't survived for long. Gmods is an example to others that modders won't stand for this while there's something that can be done to shut them down. I personally have no doubt they will continue with their dirty tactics, but they will be caught eventually now that people are watching. The most stupid thing Kreisher did was to announce his poison scheme in public and thinking we would be OK with it.

I have my mods hosted at several places...Mods Reloaded, TES Alliance, Tesnexus and Planet Elder Scrolls. Of those I'm thinking seriously about removing them from PES because I don't know if they will take this seriously and as Kreicher says, "there are other mods sites." The others have already taken precautions, or know about this scam.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Update Re Hard Drive Disaster

Well, I should be up and running again on the weekend.  I'm awaiting the courier to deliver a new Western Digital 1TB HDD which was on special at $89 Australian.   I'm also getting a new graphics card so I can play Skyrim when it arrives on our shores.  I've pre-ordered it and EBGames has a special offer so I'll get these extras all for $88 which is cheaper than a lot of new games alone with no extras, and cheaper than the Collectors Edition which has almost the same extras.

  •  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Game
  • Skyrim Steelbook
  • 100 Page A5 Skyrim Debossed Notebook
  • Premium Physical Map
  • 4 Collectable Art Cards

The first thing I'll be downloading, after getting my computer back together, re-installing Windows and all essentials is Age of Conan Unchained.  As I updated in my previous post about the deceased hard drive, I found out that my hard won level 34 character is safe and waiting on the AOC servers.  What a relief.   How I miss you Sorrel,  lol,  and all the beauty of the game world, not to mention getting revenge on enemies I had no hope of killing a few levels back.

I'm getting a bit stir crazy without access to my game, music and video files.  I don't have room on the drive I currently have in as it's only an old 40GB drive, but at least I get to use the Internet.  The one saving grace is this time I have everything well and truly backed up, unlike last time the blasted thing died.  Lesson learned, but I was able to get most of it back.  The important stuff anyway.  I never did trust it after if failed once, but I did hope for a longer life than 2 years...give or take a month.

I know I've whinged and moaned about Oblivion on this blog, but I think it becomes a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder with that game.  However, it's going to take a day and a half (slight exaggeration, but not by much) to get it back to how I want it with all the texture replacers, mods, utilities and all.  Plus, I can't wait to see it with the new graphics card.  It looked pretty darn good before, but I'm anticipating a massive improvement.  I still have all my saves so my characters are safe.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Further Info Re

Found this today.  Since I had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than grieve for my hard drive and games.

It's a video from Kreisher apologizing for stealing content from other sites, including Tesnexus.  Of course he doesn't put it in those terms but that's exactly what it is.

It's repetitive and goes on and on for nearly 7 minutes so I zoned out halfway through.

I also found links to other sites like Bioware who also have complaints about the site and their practices as well as a heap of promotional pages for Gmod itself.

This site is poison.  Stay away unless you want malware, content without the author's permission and an inability to access your files if they find their way there.  According to the Bioware page at least one mod has the wrong authors's name so how would the correct person be able to access the file to update or
anything else.  It seems emails and requests to have content removed or for info go unanswered.

Site owner's need to be aware of bandwidth leeching as well as mentioned in the Tesnexus threads linked in my earlier post here

I can't even access the site at all unless I allow it temporarily with NoScript (for Firefox)so it must be pretty script heavy.  All I get is a blank page with the NoScript logo.  That's a no no in my book.

Although we can't do much about most sites that do the same thing with user made mods, and they are everywhere,  I can't believe these people had the gall to come to the main mods sites and tell people what they are doing, and that they think they are in the right.

Dead Hard Drive - Again!

I just can't believe this happened today.  My hard drive, which "bricked" itself last year due to faulty firmware from Seagate (original not updated by me) has done it again.

No warnings, even though I have S.M.A.R.T turned on in the BIOS, yet when I exited a game I was playing and tried to view some screen shots I'd taken Windows politely informed me that all data on the drive had been lost.

Then after that I couldn't even access the drive because Windows no longer "sees" it.  I had a hell of a time just to get the computer to boot back into Windows so now I can't shut it down in case it does it again, because it's looking for the drive and can't find it, I imagine.

Luckily, all my important data is backed up, but I'm pretty annoyed that I just hit level 34 in Age of Conan and I imagine that is all gone.  I don't know if that info is stored on their servers, but I doubt it.

UPDATE:  I found out my AOC character is safe on the servers...whew!!!  I don't have to do it all again so soon.

Anyway, I have no idea how long it will take before I can get this REPLACED, not repaired like last time, thank you Seagate.   It's still only just under warranty.

Ironically, my boot drive is nearly 10 years old and still going strong, yet the big drive I use for games, music, video and general entertainment is DEAD.

I guess the old saying "they don't make them like they used to" still applies.

I am not a happy camper. 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Age of Conan- More Screen shots

I'm seriously thinking about subscribing to this game, but I want to play a bit more first.  It's still keeping me up at night and is getting better and better as I level up.  

I so want one of the tiger mounts as I see them pass by and hear them growling.  There are several variations, including the orange and black, besides the one in my screen shot.

Click to enlarge is desired 

Maigrets Battle Dogs - Rocky and Spike

My latest mod uploaded yesterday to Tesnexus and today at TES Alliance.  Planet Elder Scrolls seems to have some uploading issues at the moment and according to their forums has been going on for awhile.

The resources in this and my other mods are NOT to be used for the morally bereft so called "adult" mods featuring animals.  You people disgust me.

Screen shots.  Click to enlarge if so desired.

 - A Warning To Oblivion and Other Modders

This is a warning to Oblivion modders and more than likely other games from Bethesda and other developers. There's a site called using suspect and underhanded methods to mine content from the major and other mod sites for use on their site. It's also possible that they expect to make money from these files which is strictly against the EULA.

For further information see this thread at Tesnexus and modders should check if their work and personal information has made it to and have it removed.

The site also suspiciously wants to install software on your computer which is something browsers should be careful of.

Here are the other topics I couldn't find before and one from the Torchlight modding community.