03/01/2004

I actually updated something for the site. I bet none of you saw that one coming, eh? Someone e-mailed me asking to post a link to their site, and so, here it is (in all its glory): http://www.feelssogood.tk/.

Uhh... I had a lot of stuff I wanted to write here, but I either:
A.) No longer want to write about it.
or
B.) I forgot what I wanted to write.

So uh... let's see. Let me fill this space by talking about myself, something I am so good at doing. I lost all interest in the site like previously stated; I don't even know if you people are still wasting bandwidth like parasites, since I haven't checked, and the moon fell into my backyard. Well, that last part didn't happen, except for the fact that it did.

Recently, I've formatted my hard disk drive. It's been a huge experience, more so than I thought it'd be. I've learned quite a lot on this quest, and am still learning more. In fact, I'd say in the past week or so, my overall knowledge of computers has tripled. I now know a lot more than before, and when I say before, I don't mean two years before, I mean two weeks before. It's amazing how one can advance so much in such little time.

Things I've learned in the past week: how to handle, hardware wise, IDE cables, jumper settings, the fact that both CD-ROM drives and hard disk drives are pretty much the same thing in the way they connect and the way the computer finds them, and some other hardware stuff. That's only the beginning. I've learned a fair amount about partitioning, the checkdisk command from cmd, more hard disk stuff, recovering data, etc; a lot of stuff. I've learned a lot. Sadly, I didn't learn any programming. That's something I want to do.

In the past week, I've also come to using some new programs and applications that I feel are worth mentioning.

Firefox 0.8: Its initial name was Phoenix (I am not precisely certain if this was the initial name; however, I am certain it was previously called this), its second name was Firebird (more people recognize it by this name), and now, yet again, it has gone through another name change: Firefox. Mozilla Firefox totally trashes Microsoft Internet Explorer in every imaginable way possible, so if you use IE as your primary browser, you should consider trying this one. After using Firefox, you'll feel abused if you go back to IE. Trust me on this one, folks. However, there is one problem with Firefox, and this problem is in every browser that isn't IE: there are certain things on the Internet that only IE supports, or does correctly. This sucks because Firefox is truly the better browser. This means that you'll most likely still need to go back on IE to view certain sites. As I stated earlier, you will feel abused when using IE after tasting the holy apple that is known as Firefox.

Thunderbird 0.5: Thunderbird is basically an Outlook Explorer that doesn't suck. Well, I can't say that, since the two are nearly identical. They both generally do the same thing, only Thunderbird has some stuff that outlook doesn't (a few useful options namely), and that Thunderbird works for Linux (as does Firefox; a fine pair indeed). I stopped using Outlook for my e-mail and switched to Thunderbird, since those small features, while not small, do affect things for me. So Thunderbird > Outlook, just not by much. However, I can't find anything that Outlook can do and Thunderbird cannot; this means there's absolutely no reason to not use Thunderbird.

Partition Magic 8.0: This is also very good, but unlike the two other pieces of software that I mentioned, this one isn't free *cough pirating cough*. Anyway, this is a pretty sleek tool to manage your partitions. If you can't possibly comprehend what the previous sentence stated, then it is a tool to handle the data on your hard disk drives. If you cannot possibly comprehend that last sentence either, then it is a tool to handle your hard drives. If you can't comprehend that sentence either, then uh... it is a tool that does stuff that is good. Really, this tool, while it does make things very simple and offer a fair amount of advanced options as well, isn't something an average Joe would know how to use, despite its simplicity. This is most simply (haha) because not many know about partitions or how to handle them, or why they should even try handling that stuff in the first place. Even so, for those who actually know about partitions, this is quite a nice tool to manage them. As I mentioned earlier, it makes managing partitions straight-to-the-point and simple, while retaining some advanced features for advanced users (ironic, isn't it?). It's also an easy way to access some of these advance features, since I can't seem to do it through Windows.

Stellar Phoenix FAT and NTFS 2.0: Just like the last one I mentioned, this piece of software isn't free. I think it's shareware or something. Moving on, this thing is for recovering data from a corrupted hard disk. You know, that whole corruption thing they seem to do on a regular basis? Yep, when all is lost and you're about to commit suicide, this one may save you. It can recover data from messed up or corrupted hard disks, and it can also recover deleted data (that you deleted because you're a moronic person with no common sense). It's pretty simple, really; you just tell it to scan the hard disk, and it does. Fiddle around with a few options, and you'll scan for even more files (however, it takes like 3 hours, so be prepared when you click on that extra option). Luckily, you can save DAT files to continue from where you scanned, so if you spent 3 hours scanning, you don't have to do that all over again. Other than recovering data, I don't think there's any other use for this one. It's pretty good; I think you should have it around in case Windows messes up and doesn't properly fix your "bad files."

Photoshop CS 8.0: Yes, that is correct; the legendary Photoshop has finally updated, and it's officially out now on store shelves. Photoshop CS is an upgrade to Photoshop 7.0, thus it is better. As to what precisely they changed, I've no clue. I haven't actually checked to see all the new stuff. I can assure you, however, that you will want this. You want it. You need it. You can't possibly live without it.

WinRAR 3.30: There really doesn't have to be anything said about this. It's the best archiving compression whatever thing in the world; nothing comes close. In addition to being able to unpack pretty much any compressed file, it can create both zip and rar files, which are really the only ones you need to create. It's also pretty fast. Needless to say, it's the best at what it does. It's stones better than that WinZIP. You also have to buy this, though.

Now for some quick stuff. TGTSoft StyleXP is a must; if you use Windows XP, then you can't breathe without this. You need it installed, and you need the CoughDrop theme. It's impossible to continue life without it. Nero is obviously good at burning CDs; if you need to make a custom data disc, then Nero's the best out there. It is no longer nearly as complex as before, and it has a large amount of useful mini-tools to help the elderly and mentally disabled. Alcohol 120% is good at ripping images from PSX games and actually having them work on the emulator, while also good at burning images to a disc in its original state. Basically, if you need to burn or rip RAW disc images that are entirely untouched by the program doing the burning or ripping, then Alcohol is for you. WinISO is great for looking inside of disc image files and generally managing them; you can even create your own!

That's enough about software; now for games... well, truth be told, I haven't played games for a long time. Why, you ask? Because I've been way too busy with the whole format ordeal that took place with my computer. I had to deal with a corrupted hard disk, transfering data and creating backups, etc. So I barely had time to touch the new stack of games I've managed to amass.

I have played Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles however, and I can say one thing safely: it ranges from decent to good in single player, and is exceptionally good in multiplayer. It's fine if you have no friends like yours truly, and would still like to purchase this game. However, don't expect much from it, since it was mostly designed to be enjoyed with others. It's still very playable alone, though.

The whole controller ordeal, while most likely sorted out now, I'll bring to your attention: to play more than single player, you need a GBA and a GBA-to-GC connection for EACH PERSON. Indeed, that is correct; you need two things to play with your friends. Now I understand that your friends are already supposed to have these things, but it's still pretty bad, because, you know, they sometimes don't. No one I know has a GBA, although this isn't stating much, since I don't know anyone.

Moving on, for single player, you can use a GC controller. In fact, while in single player, you can use both a GC controller and a GBA; one for playing the game, and the other to display your stats and a mini-map.

Co-op multiplayer games like these were very, very, very rare back in the days of the SNES, and it used to be that just this feature alone made the worst game ever an instant classic. Even today, we don't have many co-op multiplayer games such as this one (Action RPGs). Just Action RPGs altogether aren't very common anymore. So by itself, the multiplayer is quite enjoyable. The game is truly designed to support multiplay, even to the aspect of "jump-in-and-play," which, while not done too well, is done well enough to make it less painful when a newcomer wants to join. So yeah, a new player can join at any time.

The GBAs? Why are they needed? Apparently, Squaresoft thought that we were incapable of waiting for someone else to check through their menu screen, so they made all menus take place in the GBA (only works for multiplayer). You still can't move while in a menu, and things are almost worse because of this, since everything else around you is moving. You can't pause and look through your menus, either. If you pause, it pauses the menus, too. Rather idiotic, since bosses can be rather difficult and you may need some time glancing at your menus to plan a strategy with your friends. That, or they just wanted to get more money (personally, I vote for the latter). I'm not saying that the GBA sucks, but what I am trying to convey is, it would've been nice of them to have the GBA as an optional accessory, but still retain the controllers. It would be a benefit in itself to purchase a GBA so that you can do the whole "manage your menus" through it, but not everyone is fortunate enough for this, thus limiting a lot of people who can be having fun with the game in multiplayer right now.

The game's good, there's no doubt about it. However, it's definitely not the greatest thing in the world; the only thing that makes it special is how great the multiplayer flows.

Games I have in my stack that I need to play: Monkey Ball 1 and 2 (yes, I do realize that these were released ages ago), Pac-Man World 2 (I've no idea why I got this one...), R-Type Final (this is what the gaming industry should be aiming for; bringing these type of games back), Chaos Legion (I am aware that it is claimed to be bad by many, but meh, Capcom made it and the game doesn't look too horrible). Right, that was rather unorganized; here are the games I need to play without the little annoying stuff to annoy you:

Monkey Ball
Monkey Ball 2
Pac-Man World 2
R-Type Final
Chaos Legion.

I have countless more games on the way, some old, some new, so I'll be pretty busy. This is certainly a large post, and the update wasn't a walk in the park, either. I admit that the posts are easier, despite how much text you see on the screen right now. It all flows together nicely, but linking tons of stuff doesn't.

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