The Upgrade Chronicles, Part 5
In any event, I finally got a good stable system. May none of you ever know the pain of a less than gentle upgrade. I learned there is this thing known as ďIRQ SharingĒ which, while XP doesnít seem to think itís a big deal, many others seem to disagree, especially if the sharing is done with your video card. Sure enough, my DXR3 card, which at least looked like the cause of the problem before, was sharing an IRQ with my GeForce3 card. To make things worse, some of the BSOD errors I continued to get were, according to people on Google Groups, symptoms of faulty RAM.
So I took two drastic steps. First, I pulled out the DXR3 card again. I know I can do things like fiddle with IRQ settings and such but I donít need a DVD decoder right now, I need a stable system, what with QuakeCon and all. Then I traded in my RAM. The shop I used, Systek, doesnít keep PC2700 in stock but they were willing to let me try a stick of PC2100 for the night. Didnít matter much Ė according to what Iíve read and indeed according to what Iíve experienced, the SiS 745 chipset doesnít work any faster with PC2700.
I havenít had any BSODís since and for now Iím sufficiently satisfied that the system is stable. It may have been the IRQís, it may have been the RAM, it may have been both. In any event Iím happy and since the RAM was cheaper, I pocketed an extra $14. Rock.
Night before last I did walk in and my system was off for some reason (I didnít turn it off or shut it down) but I think that was my cats being shitheads and running too close near loose plugs.
QuakeCon was fun. It always is. However, this year it was somewhat akin to Christmas vs. Anticipation of Christmas. Bringing a PC into the BYOC was fun. Playing in the BYOC was fun. Nearly throwing my back out lugging a 21" monitor around was not fun. When I was playing, I was thinking I should be out and about visiting vendors. When I was doing that, I was wishing I was in the BYOC playing.
We got there Wednesday night - myself, Moe, my cousin Richard and a friend Moe was using to help lug stuff. When we got there they told us the line was shut down for the evening. This meant that we had lugged our PC's there for no reason. It also meant Moe possibly might not get in to the BYOC (since she got off work at 5) or that I might not be able to save her a spot. I checked in the next morning and placed a nice sign reserving her a space next to me. People avoided that spot but I'm the kind of guy who has anxiety attacks when I save a spot for people at movie theaters. Moe got off early that day and we got her all set up.
The highlights included of course the Carmack speech. This year's theme - the prediction that by the end of next year PC's will be used for television computer graphics work (the words "Pixar" and "Renderman" were mentioned about a hundred times) and the notion that at some point graphics engines will be so good that the need to scrap them and rewrite them will be no more (again, Renderman has apparently been added on to for some 10 years now). The only thing that nagged me was the fact that Carmack's wife, one Anna Kang, runs Fountainhead, and they would tend to profit from this notion. On the one hand Carmack's speech was just that, a speech. On the other hand if his prophecies are self fulfilling then his wife would win. I dunno...
I saw the DOOM III theater and wow - it's looking really really good. Of course, so far all we've seen have been concept footage, so it was almost disappointing to let the mystique go away and see it really is a game after all. I thought the same of the N64 Zelda game. It's kinda like Independence Day, it was a more interesting movie before we saw the aliens (Contact avoided this nicely). Still, the demo gave me a headache - they had their 5.1 setup turned up to 11 and I wasn't smart like Moe - she put her fingers in her ears.
I met up with some guys from TSN, an online radio network, that Moe had arranged to met up with while there. I admit, I didn't know what to think about TSN at first. Due to the premise (listening to people talk about people play games) and their lack of an outwardly obvious profit motive I had likened them to the equivalent of me broadcasting a radio station out of the back of a van - neat for my own purposes but practically useless. However in talking to them I started to understand a lot more. The existence of $100K tournaments really is bringing multiplayer gaming into the realm of legitimate competitions and these competitions will need coverage. It's no sillier than ESPN. These guys are starting out small out of humilty and also a desire to gain credibility. As online gaming becomes bigger and the LAN party a more common affair, these guys will probably see themselves in more and more situations.
Another trend I noticed was there were a lot more women this year. In 1999, women were more or less non existant. There were a lot more in 2001 and the best explanation I can think of is The SIMS, that and the law of averages (as gaming becomes more popular, a larger number of women get interested). Of course, since a lot of computer geek guys look like trolls, a lot of computer geek women tend to look this way for the same reason - however, I noticed a lot more "normal" looking women this year, most of whom didn't look like they were drug to the affair. Don't get me wrong - this was a convention of self admitted geeks (one girl's shirt read "Talk Nerdy to Me") but it's nice to see people you at least consider normal, and not embarassing.
There is of course some more to talk about (hit up the aforementioned Moe's page for a scary pirate incident - and not the one that comes to mind with computers) but that retty much covers it. Lots of playing, lots of schmoozing, and of course I now have a greater drive to program games.
On a related note though my fabulous wife got me a 40X burner and I can run Nero again, so that's a Good Thing. Also, I got to visit a Fry's - those things are fucking huge!
And now I don't feel so bad about not sending in my warranty card.