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Welcome to my blog and personal website covering programming, gaming, the Internet, cars, me and everything in between.

There have been 6,683,010 visitors to my site since April 11th, 2004.

Left 4 Dead 2

I have been enjoying my time playing Left 4 Dead 2. I was originally skeptical about how much better or different it could be. While the idea is the same, the game is a lot better. Especially the sounds, they did a really good job making the environment sound real and authentic.

There are also new special infected which adds some much needed variety to the series. The melee weapons are new as well and particularly fun. My favorite thus far is the katana and the fire axe.

The game is also harder than the original, I haven’t tried it on expert yet but I’d imagine it is pretty intense. My favorite campaign thus far has been the Hard Rain campaign. The storm in it is really well done, the sounds being a big part of it. The AI is just as annoying as in the first game, if not more, so of course try and fill out your team with all human players whenever possible.

The versus mode has some nice new touches that I like. In particular the new progress indicators so you know how far you’ve actually gotten in the level. Plus the new special infected adds some much needed variety when playing as the infected.

I still think that they should have offered some sort of discount if you bought the previous game. Since there was supposed to be a lot more free DLC for the first game than there actually was.

My final verdict though is that L4D2 is a solid game that is a lot of fun.

Posted on: Dec 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm - (435) comments.

Windows 7 Calculator

I found that in Windows 7 the Windows Calculator has gotten some new features. And one of them is actually really cool (at least to me). They've added a programmer and a statistics mode to the standard and scientific modes.

If you do a lot of work with hardware or low level software, it is actually pretty handy. I don't know if this was in Vista but it also can do unit conversions and date comparisons now too.

Posted on: Nov 28, 2009 at 10:53 am - (10) comments.

LAME 32/64 Bit Build Comparison

I've voiced my support for the 64-bit transition on Windows before. Whenever I can run native 64-bit software in Windows, I try. I downloaded the source code for LAME 3.98 off their website which also includes build support for 64-bit.

I compiled the 64-bit Windows version without any difficulty. However compared to the 32-bit 3.97 version I have used previously, I saw a 5x slow down. That wasn't very promising so I decided to do some more testing.

When running the 32-bit build without the assembly optimizations, it ran about 3x slower than 3.97. And with the assembly optimizations it ran about 3.6x slower. The results were surprising, I did some preliminary searching on Google for anyone reporting a slow down between the two versions and I couldn't find anything.

I did find some people saying the 64-bit version gave them about a 10% speed increase. The reason the 64-bit is slower is probably related to why the 32-bit version was slow as well. I don't know enough about the way the program was coded right now to determine why this is. In this instance I would have thought that the extra CPU registers would have improved the program performance.

In conclusion the most surprising thing is that regardless of the build architecture, the newer version was performing worse.

Posted on: Jul 22, 2009 at 12:14 am - (1) comments.

C++ HtmlHelp() Function Crashes With IE8

Apparently there is a new issue with Microsoft’s HTML help system if you have Internet Explorer 8. If your program opens the help using the HtmlHelp call, when you go to exit, there is an access violation in ExitProcess.

This is a known issue as of mid-May that appears yet to be patched. However there is a work around, before the program exits if you manually unload the module the problem is avoided. In native Win32 apps, you can run this code in the WM_DESTROY message. The code to unload the module is shown below.

HMODULE hItssDll = GetModuleHandle(_T("itss.dll"));
if (hItssDll != 0)

I have not tested some older programs to see if they exhibit the crash, this issue was encountered with new development.

Posted on: Jun 4, 2009 at 9:46 am - (0) comments.

Star Trek 11

So the first official trailer for the new Star Trek film, Star Trek 11 (Watch it here) has been released. It has been a long time since I’ve blogged about Star Trek, 3 years in fact. Not since the last Star Trek series ended.

My feelings are mixed in regards to the new movie. The trailer certainly makes the story look cool, however if you even some cursory research on the plot it goes downhill from there. Apparently the movie is about time travel, which has me worried. Time travel is the absolute fall back plot device in the Sci-Fi genre. Time travel has been done effectively by Star Trek. The TNG series finale used it very well and is still a classic episode. The DS9 two-parter called "Past Tense" also used time travel effectively. The reason I worry now though is that the first movie in the “new age” of Star Trek and they pulled out time travel on their first try.

From my last post on the finale of Enterprise, I said Star Trek needed some time off and new people behind it. Both of which has happened now, the only question is will they screw it up or not. I will of course go see the movie regardless and am holding back major judgment until I see it. As long as Star Trek doesn’t go all OC in space like Stargate is headed, I won’t be exceptionally disappointed.

Posted on: Nov 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm - (0) comments.

Episode Organizer 3.0 2008 Status Report

While it has been a long time since I've posted about this program, development has been restarted on the Episode Organizer. A big side project frequently gets preempted by life so it has been a long process.

However I am proud to announce that a version is getting close to being released. It has been undergoing testing lately and is coming together. We have an updater program and a central database that has a lot of elist data in it. 64-bit Windows and Linux support is also now available.

There are but a handful of things standing in the way of us and a general release:

1. More extensive GUI testing
2. The web server side that will allow you to download data from the master db needs to be finished
3. The website that will allow wiki style editing of elists in the database

The new internal database provided by SQLite is much faster than using the Access DB (not to mention cross platform) and the regular expression engine is now from wxWidgets and is very quick which will cut down analysis times.

Now the 3.0 GUI will not have all of the features that the 2.x family had, those features will be slowly added in future releases. Most of the missing features are non-critical functions such as searching. But we’ve also added some very useful ones like a permanent ignore list. If there is a file that keeps annoying you in a folder with videos you can add it to the ignore list and the Episode Organizer won't even bother with it.

Finally I would like to show off some screenshots of the new program: screenshots of 3.0

As for when the release will be made? I won't even bother to speculate, honestly I would like it to be no later than the end of the year but it just depends on what happens, there are only two of us working on it after all.

Posted on: Sep 9, 2008 at 4:09 pm - (0) comments.

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