Obsessions (Pt. I)

I hate having slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Most recently I went through a few months of World of Warcraft addiction. I’ve gotten over that (haven’t logged in for well over a month now) thanks mainly to the fact that I was pissing Jitka off and letting work slide, but I also got pretty fed up with the inane banter in the chat box (well, at least on the Bronzebeard server). It got to the point where I was asking myself (out loud), “WTF is so LOL about that?” every ten seconds. And, for the love of whatever overlords lord over Azeroth, how the hell does one type when one states ROTFLMAO? LOL is more than sufficient.

See what I mean? It was definitely necessary to give up. Having said that, My discs, instruction manual and account are up for grabs – CZK 1400. You may not get the free 30 days that comes with the store-bought version, but my level 43 night elf druid (Bronzebeard server) his mount, mastery of skinning and mining skills (the only two real money-makers, IMO – well that and knowing how to play the buy and sell game at the auction house) and sizeable stash of gold is more than enough to help beginners level up with good gear at all times (in case you don’t know, the game has a great mailing system that allows players to mail gear and cash to their alternative characters). I’ve also got a level 10 warrior on the same server, and a level 10 rogue and level 14 mage on the Stormrage server.

Anyway, with WoW out of my system, I got back into first-person shooters because unlike MMORPGs, it’s easy to pause them when necessary, or get up and walk away from them. There’s also the fact that you don’t have to deal with lag, server crashes or scheduled updates (though to me these were more like annoyances than serious issues). Speaking of FPS’, this is a pretty exciting week for Half-Life and Half-Life 2 fans. We finally get to know what happens after the cliffhanger ending of Half-Life 2 when Half-Life 2:Episode 1 (supposedly) hits the shelves this Friday. I got my copy reserved at the local Gamehouse (with a CZK 100 discount for doing so, though I’d gladly pay 2 to 3 times the retail price for the game, which is supposedly only a 5 to 6 hour adventure – the story, the graphics, the whole thing absolutely rocks!).

In spite of all this FPS enjoyment, it’s not really an obsession. No, my latest obsession has two parts: system optimization and computer case cooling.

First the optimization. My Norton Security Suite and Firewall are now up for grabs (for the right price, natch). This’ll make for bad ad copy, but here goes… Norton’s great at what it does – keeps your system safe and clean, but man does it ever slow things down at the same time. It’s a behemoth even when it’s somewhat stripped down. Without going into detail (which I don’t think I’d do all that well anyway), here’s how to keep your PC or laptop running fast and safe: download the freeware versions of AVG antivirus, the ZoneAlarm firewall, AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy, CCleaner (cleans out all kinds of temporary files and junk left behind from surfing and removing programs; you run it by right-clicking your recycle bin), and OO Defrag (or Diskeeper or any other disk defragmenting program, though the Windows defragmenter is not bad in its own right). Then google “how to make (your operating system) work/boot/shut down faster” – there are tons of great articles on this out there.

I was stunned at how much faster everything, especially boot up times, went after I dumped Norton and got all that freeware. My PC starts up so fast that it practically skips the blue “welcome” screen before the desktop appears.

Next up is case cooling, which I’ll continue with tomorrow – if you’re in Prague and on the market for a PC or parts then this will likely be of interest to you as I discovered that alzasoft is no longer the king when it comes to low prices – in fact, it’s gotten a bit lazy in checking its competitors’ prices and beating them… but more on that tomorrow.

Oh, and one more thing – I can’t let a blog entry that mentions Half-Life go without directing all Half-Life 2 players to Concerned, an amazing, LOL-funny (at least to anyone who’s played the game) web comic that tells the tale of City 17 before Gordon Freeman’s arrival. It’s full of in-jokes and spoilers, so obviously it’s best to be read after having played the game.

May 29, 08:36 (Filed under: Personal )

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