Here’s a little tip for anyone like me still using Windows Vista who’s having trouble with the system logging/locking you out after a certain period of inactivity (usually 5 or 10 minutes). The two most common culprits for this are the screensaver settings or possible power saving options, both accessible from within the Control Panel. However, what isn’t obvious and what drove me mad trying to find, is that even if you have None selected as your screensaver of choice, it appears Windows still sees fit to still log the user out after the allotted period of time. This despite the fact that the On resume, require logon checkbox is greyed out.
After much headscratching and searching through forums, I eventually discovered that you can prevent Windows automatically presenting you with the login screen after a few minutes of inactivity by reenabling the screensaver, providing an extraordinarily large number and unchecking the On resume, require logon checkbox. No more interrupted video viewing!
I’ve been using Steam for a fair while now, in fact pretty much since the beginning, and have seen the program grow on from its fairly humble origins. There are now hundreds of titles available, including games from big-name publishers and independent game houses alike, and the usual crashes and quirks that afflicted the early releases are pretty much gone. Nevertheless, there are still a number of key areas in which Steam continues to live up to standards, at times making using the system a bit of a nightmare. This is a list of some of those issues which in my eyes prevent Steam from becoming a really top class product, delivering everything the platform really promises. Some of these issues admittedly have their origins outside of Valve’s headquarters, but the way in which they are dealt with only compounds the problems further, for both customers and clients.
Classics of their medium, but which will have a harder time in the future?
In comparison to a medium like cinema, computer games suffer from a particularly poor level of longevity. The vast majority of films can still happily be viewed today, often in an updated format, though keeping to the original production. That isn’t to suggest that films do not become dated, nor that more than just distribution formats are updated in later productions. Only recently I had the privilege of watching a once lost silent Polish film, A Strong Man (Mocny Człowiek), rediscovered in 1997. As there were no hints as to what musical accompaniment was meant to be played with the film, the DVD was released with a modern ambient style, that took a short while to get used to, but actually fit the film’s plot and style rather beautifully. On the whole, however, a film produced fifty years ago can be viewed with much the same clarity today as on the day it was released.
I recently had one of those urges to dig up an old classic and relive some memories when we had a guest over to stay. Worms was one of those games we’d both played when it was new and became instantly hooked. Amazing to think that it was released over a decade ago. At the time of its release, most games needed a bit of memory tinkering to work properly, and although I don’t remember now whether Worms was one of them, getting the game to run under a modern operating system was similarly tricky. To that end I thought I’d write a little guide showing how we managed it.
Free hotspots in your area?
In the last year, I heard how Dublin City Council had given up on plans to run a free, city-wide wireless Internet programme on the grounds that it was against EU regulations, anti-competitive and bad for the consumer. As Ireland currently has some of the slowest and most expensive broadband options available in Europe, it seems obvious how the consumer will benefit from having to continue paying for their poor services. But there could be a nicer alternative to centralised WiFi. In a post much earlier this year, Bruce Schneier generated a lot of debate when he claimed he leaves his wireless network open and unprotected for just about anyone to use. This he considers a common courtesy, and whilst acknowledging the risks, considers them to be largely inflated. As many of the people commenting on his article or reporting about it elsewhere point out, there are risks involved, and as far as many of the people in authority are concerned, his common courtesy leaves him much more culpable. Many ISPs stipulate that sharing a connection in this manner would be a breach of contract, and from a legal perspective infringements undertaken by someone piggybacking the network could result in a rather unwelcome investigation for the owner. Continue reading