(6 comments, 15 posts)
15 years old. I live in Saint Louis. I also love to play sports, games, watch movies, and hang out with friends.
Home page: http://architectlounge.ucoz.com
Posts by Thomas
Battle.net, for those of you who don’t know, is Blizzard’s online matchmaking portal and community for games including the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo series. To put it simply, you can go online with your specific game, whether it be Diablo II or Warcraft III Frozen Throne, and play user-made maps or Blizzard maps with friends. What’s intriguing about Battle.net is the popularity of it. For Warcraft III Frozen Throne, its attendance strictly from Xfire is 16,000 or so per day, making it Xfire’s #6 most played game. For not being updated since 2003, and being made in 1997, I would have to say Battle.net is a very great system.
I personally think Battle.net is good enough to last us another 10 years, but with the release of Diablo III and Starcraft II, some technical and visual updates are of course necessary. Blizzard has not released the dates for the conversion to Battle.net v2.0, but we know it will be soon, with the release of Diablo III (not for sure) and Starcraft II somewhere in 2009, hopefully not much longer! Among some of the features of Battle.net II are:
- Excellent Ping (fast connections)
- Channels and Chat in-game
- Ladders and Rankings, secured against cheating.
- Extended stats, with possibility to see who D/C etc (source)
- Automatic/Anonymous Matchmaking
- Avatars, Images and Icons to represent yourself
- Diablo III Hardcore mode
- Friends/Ignore Lists with advanced management (see accounts below)
- Clan Support
- Automated Tournaments
Here are some screenshots of games that currently use Battle.net:
PlayXpert redefines gaming. How can I justify that statement? PlayXpert was designed for gaming, with gamers in mind. PlayXpert features screen overlay technology on the DirectX level, which creates a user interface that is semi-transparent over the game you are currently playing. This is similar to Xfire, but it comes with so much more. PlayXpert allows a user to never again have to “Alt+Tab” out of game to look up a quest guide, information on a enemy, or chat to other players. PlayXpert allows you to chat with MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, or Xfire in-game. It also features a Google widget installer that you can access without leaving the game, a “Tunes” widget, which has support for Winamp amd iTunes, a Teamspeak widget (which has some support for other VOIP programs), a Diagnostics widget (to check your computers power levels and a built-in process killer), and lastly a GameFaq‘s widget. They also feature a web browser in game, so you can go to your favorite sites without having to leave the game.
Aside from the great general widgets, there are also several widgets exclusive to World of Warcraft. The best WoW helper-sites (Wowwiki, Thottbot, the Armory, and WowHead) are all available in-game thanks to PlayXpert! Now you won’t be shanked while looking up a quest walkthrough anymore!
PlayXpert is an excellent program. For years gamers have been struggling with the very thing that it solves with ease! PlayXpert is also a very sleek program. The interfaces that popup are trimmed to save valuable screen space, and they are easy to use. PlayXpert works alongside the game, and draggable interfaces are what make it so compatible. You define its location, not the computer. However, PlayXpert is currently only in a beta version, so download it at your own risk. PlayXpert is a wonderful tool, a good program, and above all, a good friend when your stuck on quests.
The popular Runescape game, created by Jagex in 2001, has been going quite strong until recently. On December 10, 2007, after years of botters, gold sellers, and hackers messing with the game, Jagex decided to impose a horrifying rule. The rule stated that you could only trade within the market prices set by the Grand Exchange. For example, you cannot trade a certain item of x value for another item of y value if the difference between those two items is greater than 5000 gold. They later repealed this and allowed you to trade up to 30000 difference based upon your quest points. This update made it so you could not give items away, or even worse, you could no longer use botting programs on wimpy characters and then transfer the money to your main character.
This update, along with the destruction of the wilderness, was a huge blow below the belt to all Runescape users. Jagex lost a lot of its players, nearly cutting its attendance every day in half. They needed something big to strike back, and they delivered! On July 1, 2008, a High Definition version of Runescape was released to members only in the beta stage. The graphics are noticeably different from the previous version. On July 14, 2008, it was released to free players as well as members. This has not returned Runescape to it’s full glory, but it is a step in the right direction. Runescape has never been on “par” so-to-say with games such as World of Warcraft, and has gotten much criticism for it’s so called childish gameplay, but with recent updates Runescape has turned into a more mature game.
So, if you have quit Runescape because of recent updates, or are looking for a versatile MMO to play in your downtime, it’s definitely worth a checking out.
HomestarRunner is a wonderful site that caught my eye many years ago. When I first discovered the site, the graphics were on par with Pong. Over the years it has developed into what we it now is today. After a very long break from this site, I returned only to find a million new games, stories, and great new graphics! When I used to regularly visit it, there were a few games, extra videos, and a weekly Strong Bad email. The basis for this site is a group of 11 characters who are the only apparent residents of a town. The original producers Mike Chapman and Craig Zobel created HomestarRunner in 1996, and later in 1999 Mike’s brother Matt joined the crew to assist in the production of the site itself.
The site itself has 6 main sections: Toons, Games, Characters, Downloads, Store, and Email. Toons consists of a collection of random flash videos put together for any reason whatsoever. The videos range from exploits of an R-Rated movie by Strong Bad to the famous Teen Girl Squad episodes. But even more famous than TGS is the weekly Strong Bad Email. This is one of the original features of the website that many remember from years ago. There are also many games like Peasant’s Quest and Trogdor. Most of the games originated from previous Strong Bad Emails. A lot of these games are purposefully horrific looking, to impose an old school feeling to them. They are rather fun to play, however. Peasant’s Quest is perhaps the most famous of the games on HomestarRunner. You are a peasant whos cottage has been burninated by Trogdor. You must walk around and become a hero by acquiring items and typing “look” and “search”, etc, to be allowed up the mountain before your impending doom. The Character’s section just gives a video description of each character presented by themselves. Downloads is where you can get all of you Homestarrunner sounds for your computers and desktop icons and such. You can get into the “secret” section by clicking on the “0.00 dollars” in the “$” area, dragging the credit card into the slot at the top-right, and typing in 5675 as the pin code. The Store is an external link where you can buy t-shirts, hoodies, dvds, posters, and many more things to keep the website going! All of the merchandise also originates from toons on the site. The Email section is where you can email them with questions, or complements, and also for the F.A.Q. of the site.
HomestarRunner is a wonderful site that makes me laugh everytime I visit it. Its definitely worth checking out whether you have an hour or ten minutes. Most of the toons run under 3 minutes if you don’t have much time to watch.
iSketch is simple: it’s basically MMOpictionary. After selecting a username, you log on. Unfortunately you cannot save usernames and see highscores as of yet. Every account is technically a guest. At first glance of the server list, they are all the same save the number. However, if you continue to browse, you can join certain rooms dedicated to books, animals, time periods, and various languages. iSketch’s variety of languages is English and French, but also has single rooms for Turkish, Dutch, Spanish, and many more! It also contains chat rooms user created that vary from cybering to casual chat.
The actual iSketch experience is good. The chat rooms are full at 10 users, and everybody takes a turn out of the 10 rounds to draw a word. The first person to guess it correctly wins 10 points ,the 2nd 9, and etc. Usually only about 3 or 4 of the people actually correctly guess the word, because the drawings are user made. No words are allowed in the picture obviously, but you can give hints with a handy hint button, or simply skip the word altogether if you are chosen as the artist. As a drawer, the more correct guesses of your word, the more points you receive. After 10 rounds, the winner will get his name rotating up in the sky with fireworks going off. No awards or ranks yet, just recognition within the channel.
Sometimes there are a lot of immature people that join the channels who spam it up and/or take their draw turn writing vulgar words, and since there is no registered user system, the effect of booting them does nothing. Overall though, iSketch is fun. It is a great way to waste your time on the internet, with no strings attached! A lot of games require multiple visits to maintain your score, or at least are very competitive (WoW, need I say more?). This simple game is very entertaining, at no cost, with no time determined commitment.
Today I will be reviewing my favorite way to protect my computer, Zone Alarm Pro. Zone Alarm has been with me for a few years now, and every time I use it I like it more and more. This small firewall has saved me from countless Trojans and malicious files that would have otherwise rendered my computer dead. I underestimated it, and so many people that make that mistake will see the true benefits of this cheap program!
Zone Alarm was created initially by Zone Lab’s but was bought by Check Point in 2003. It has only been compatible with Windows XP until recently in 2008 they updated Zone Alarm to 7.1, allowing the program to be compatible with 32-bit Vista only. Zone Alarm’s main purpose is to provide an effective firewall for your computer, allowing or denying no file without your decision. Whenever you boot up a new file or possibly a malicious file, they stop it momentarily until you allow or deny access using a handy pop-up. This means that there is no possible for a program to receive access and harm your computer or send files to the internet without your permission.Zone Alarm also allows for complete program control, allowing you to choose what level of trust you think is appropriate for each program. 1 being restricted, and 3 being full access to your computer. You can also choose to kill the program, which allows no access whatsoever, preventing any threat that program might bring to your computer.
The long awaited Part 2 of PST. The second tutorial is: Blending two images together on top of each other, an example would be a television screen and the sea, as used in this tutorial. As I started this tutorial, I saw that the main purpose was not to add an effect, but rather just simply combine what you already have at your disposal together into a single image. For this tutorial you need to find two, not one, images. To follow the tutorial correctly, you want to find a great picture of a television from the same angle as a landscape or a family photo because the two pictures will be overlayed upon each other. Chad Neuman, the creator of this tutorial, wants to express the feeling of an image on a Television that is being displayed realistically. I once again browsed Google, and found this. I thought that this was a great head on view that would be easy to work with. I then simply found another picture from the same angle. After saving both of the pictures to my hard drive (so as not to leech bandwidth from their sites) I opened up my trusty photoshop.
Once you open both pictures in Photoshop, drag the larger photo (the one that will be on the inside of the screen) onto the picture of the television. First, you want to make sure that your tv screen is transparent. You do this simply by selecting the magic wand tool and clicking on the white part of the television screen layer. The flaw in this is, following the tutorial you are left with a locked background layer. An easy way to fix it is to simply duplicate the television layer (ctrl + j) and then use your magic wand tool to select the white, and then press the delete button. If for some reason this does not work, you can use the marquee tool to select portions and delete them individually. Now, you completely ignore the original background layer, making background copy your television layer, and layer 1 your scenery picture. Hide the background layer by clicking on the eye. When you drag your scenery picture on top of your TV screen picture, chances are it is gigantic or very small. To resize it, press ctrl + t on your keyboard and use the corners to expand or shrink the image. I explained it because in the tutorial it assumes you already have the corners on the picture selected, which may not be the case. As you work on step 9, you want to make sure that when you select the pen tool that you have the shape layer feature enabled. After that, it is VERY self explanatory. Once you finish, you may notice the image being slightly dark. This is cured by selecting a very light image, as the author did. I finished following his tutorial exactly with this. However, after careful inspection one can see that the image is not very pleasing to the eye, and so I had to adjust. Anyone reading this and working through the tutorial should note there are ways to fix darkening of an image. I prefer to set the layer to normal, duplicating, making the duplicated overlay, lowering it to around 33%, and erasing the darkest parts using a 20 soft pxl eraser. After those adjustments I ended up with this fabulous image.
In conclusion, Chad Neuman did an excellent job creating this tutorial. It was very easy to follow, yet most of his tutorial had only to do with the image he used, instead of the tutorial being applicable to any image. I thank him for his time and effort he put into it, and I also thank Photoshop Tutorials for their wonderful tutorials.
Download Day took place on June 17th, 2008. Throughout the 24 hour period there were an average of over 8 MILLION downloads. According to Mozilla those 8 million downloads in a single day is more than the total amount of Firefox downloads in history. Although the number of participants in this event is very outstanding, was the actual 7.14 mb of data worth the download? An inside look of the brand new Firefox 3 shows that everything they previewed in the beta and on the website came through remarkably well. The features are near perfect and a huge upgrade from it’s child Firefox 2. Firefox 3 is a breakthrough in browsers, this time clearly outdoing Internet Explorer and other browsers such as Opera. Firefox is moving up the charts, and the people can thank Mozilla for that.
There are very many helpful and amazing features that, after a few days of testing, have proved to be essential to my Firefox experience. First is the new toolbar, nicknamed the Awesome Bar. Basically, you type in a keyword, and it gives you all possible results in a drop down menu that are relevant to that keyword. It becomes increasingly helpful when you can’t simply remember the website you visited yesterday, but you do of course remember the actual content the website contained. I love this toolbar because it is too confusing to bookmark every single site you go across that you wish to view daily. This tool is a great toolbar (no pun intended) that helps keep your bars clutter free and your day just a bit less hectic! This amazing feature is probably the most helpful, but there are many others that deserve a mention. The second most useful tool added to Firefox 3 is the advanced malware protection. This protection is a huge step up from Firefox 2, letting there be a smart list of possible internet attacks being updated every second! This is another step in the direction of perfect protection. This time around Firefox 3 delivers a killing blow with a full screen message blocking possibly dangerous websites that can infest your computer. The virus defense Firefox 3 offers works with your anti-virus program as well! It lets the program know when your downloading something, and automatically scans the file, making sure there is nothing harmful contained within it! I for one am ecstatic about this improvement to the already wonderful browser. The new security measures Mozilla has taken to ensure our safety is a very important part to our internet lives. A few other minor updates that are worth noting are the One click bookmark (which allows faster bookmarking of sites if you are in a hurry), Integrated parental controls, and Full screen zoom and navigation. These provide for an all around better Firefox experience.
I have used Firefox for many years now, and from many of my friends whose first experience with Firefox is Firefox 3, their opinion of the web browser is void of criticism and critique. Firefox again does not disappoint the public, and held true to their word. I want to thank Mozilla and specifically the creators of Firefox for this wonderful, versatile browser!
Giveaway of the Day is a site devoted to putting free software into hands of people both young and old. The software, which ranges from $9.00 to $50.00 or higher, is completely free and available for download over a 24 period. After that period is up, the program is no longer available for download. Also, after the period is up, you aren’t allowed to install it, so you must activate the program in the 24 time slot. The reason it is unable to install is that they have a 24 hour key associated with the file. They do this to ensure that no one shares the files, and only those that have directly downloaded the software can install it. They also might not allow the free software to receive updates, which is certainly a dilemma. The reason that companies put their shareware software on GotD is for public exposure, hoping to have downloaders tell friends about their product.
The software that Giveaway of the Day provides is varied every day. Some days there may be a game, various converters, 3d screensavers, or even photo organizer applications. Every day there is something different. The programs are usually not mainstream, and will not be recognized immediately. No Photoshop or Microsoft Word 2007 will be found at Giveaway of the Day, but it certainly does offer amazing programs for absolutely no cost at all! Make sure to check them out.
For you newcomers, we have just recently changed our theme to Daily32 by DailyBlogTips. Pxl_Buzzard has been working very hard for about three weeks editing it, to ensure it to be bug free. However, bugs are unavoidable, so we would love you to test out our new theme, and post any comments, critique, or any bugs that you may find while browsing the blog. Thanks very much!
- Thomas, Japanerd, and Pxl_Buzzard
And thank you WordPress, for making this beautiful blog software.