Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

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Payday: The Heist Input Lag – REAL fix for ATI users

September 28, 2014

I’ve got a Lenovo T500 laptop, and bought Payday (1, or The Heist) to play coop with the roommate on the living room gaming PC. So, naturally, I was a bit disappointed to find that my laptop’s dedicated Radeon HD 3650 was giving the game so much trouble. The GPU doesn’t have GPU Compute capabilities, so all the physics work has to be done on the CPU. No problem, I’ve got a Core 2 Duo P9500, about as high as you can get in this PC. But the GPU cannot be upgraded without a whole new PC. Typically, I just leave the integrated Intel graphics enabled, and ATI switched off – I’m not a gamer, so I don’t play many games.

This PC has no trouble playing Portal 2 at max settings and full HD 1920×1200 on my HD laptop display, though… but in Payday, the input lag is so bad, it’s impossible to even navigate the menus with nearly a 600msec delay on all inputs! Move mouse up, half a second later the mouse moves up on screen. Try aiming for menu options when the mouse is so far behind where it’s being moved, you overshoot EVERYTHING, even basic navigation controls on the menus.

Problem: the engine was running at nearly 15 FPS, high enough to be visibly acceptable, but this apparently screws with the engine timing. It has to be near enough to the refresh rate (50hz in my unusual setup, I can’t get it to stay at 60Hz without resetting next time I plug/unplug AC power) that it doesn’t drop frames to sync with the screen.

Solution: axe some quality options. The game has quite possibly the worst graphics configuration page in the industry, allowing only resolution and some texture quality tweaks… but not the stuff that counts that it clearly is incapable of auto-detecting. The flip queue size is a big one, from what I understand – causing the GPU or game engine to queue up too many frames and ignoring input latency.

ATITrayToolsEnter ATI Tray Tools. It lets you change the hidden settings of the driver/platform to squeeze the extra performance needed to run this game smoothly. Install it (defaults), open it, and use the tray icon to set:
3D -> Antialiasing -> Application controlled (“Disabled” would be nice, but only the game has that control for some reason)
3D -> Anisotropic Filtering -> Performance, then “Application Controlled” (I have a feeling that though it greys them out after setting Application Controlled, the Performance option sets some additional settings under the hood as well)
3D -> Texture Preference -> Performance
3D -> Mipmap -> Performance (seeing a trend yet? lol)
3D -> Wait for vertical sync -> Always off (we never, ever want the GPU waiting on anything petty like the screen refresh rate, tearing will never ever happen here on this chip)
3D -> Flip queue size -> 1 – this is my setting right now, though “0” is commonly recommended – play with it and see what gives better performance for you.

In the game:
Texture quality: Low (minimal impact, if you have more GPU RAM than the minimum spec, then you can safely bump this up)
Antialiasing: Off
Anisotropic: Off
V-sync: Off
Streaks: Off (though I can probably turn a few of these back on, as they rely on CPU and not so much GPU)
Light adaption: Off (adaptation, rather? Dunno, but same as above, may be irrelevant)

And now, I went from 15 FPS in the menus to a blistering 50 FPS, and the cursor moves instantly, as does the control in the game.

It’s a damned shame Overkill never even addressed these issues, and everyone in the forums acts like Compatibility Mode (zero effect on mine) or a patched d3d9.dll file (also zero effect, except a blank screen on the second version of the patched file I tried), is some kind of fix that’ll work for anyone. No amount of config file tweaks, patches, or other crap helped until I did these things in ATI Tray Tools.

Windowed mode also helps, but who wants to play the game in a pinhole?

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PSTN digital network – it’s TIME to upgrade past 8KHz!

February 28, 2013

Look, internet. Telecom companies. Cell phone companies. VoIP providers. Get this shit straight. It’s 2013 now. We finally have realistic, viable, mass-market electric cars after decades of failures and false starts. We have a digital powerhouse in every pocket. Blindingly-fast 2 megabyte-per-second download speed is the accepted norm for broadband. TV is all on-demand now. Everyone is streaming their life in real-time on Facebook via their mobile phones.

So why in the FUCK are we still forced to endure 8KHz audio as the “norm” for telephone calls? I can’t even hold back here – that is nothing but bullshit. I don’t even answer phone calls anymore. With the mess of cell phones garbling audio quality and working to uphold that 8KHz piss-poor standard, I find myself spending most of my mental effort on the phone trying to decode the words said by the person on the other end, instead of thinking about the topic at hand. The only thing I ever want to do when I get/make a phone call to someone, is how much longer I must endure this conversation before I can get off the phone again.

Sick of this crap. Telecom companies, it’s time to upgrade your standards. The standard should be 44.1KHz like it is for everything else. Digital compression (AAC-ELD, maybe?) is within the realm of¬†possibility¬†for all PSTN connections, so why hasn’t any effort been made to phase in a newer standard? We get crystal-clear audio through VoIP connections that aren’t tethered to this arcane 64kbps/8KHz PCM standard. So why the hell can’t we get digital compression between callers? If you’re worried about loss in digital signals over a PSTN connection (i.e. dial-up modems), then just use a lossless compression scheme to fit higher bandwidth into that 64kbps bandwidth! But FFS, don’t keep screwing real people to make old dial-up crap technology happy. You can detect those signals and automatically apply a different compression scheme to them. Look at what Skype does. It automatically adapts to bandwidth needs in real-time during a call. Why can’t you do that for phone calls?

Get with it, because I’m sick of being afraid of picking up the phone and hearing some garbled 8KHz crap.

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Dear OEMs: Please stop pre-installing “Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office System”.

February 9, 2011

Seriously. OK? Stop it. It’s freaking stupid. It just shows how worthless your company’s software-development folks are.

You pre-load Office 2010 or Office 2007, and yet also install Office 2003’s compatibility pack for Office 2007 files? What’s your damn problem? How do you not understand that Office 2007 and 2010 can ALREADY OPEN their own file types? Why do you keep installing “Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office System” on these PCs?

The ONLY thing it can do is cause compatibility PROBLEMS. It’s ONLY supposed to be installed on computers using Office 2003, trying to open a 2007 document (xlsx, docx, pptx, etc.)

p.s.: stop loading computers with BS software nobody wants and will never use, e.g. amazon links, toolbars, Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft Works, Toshiba ConfigFree, Face Recognition, online backup, “PC Health” checkers, blah blah blah.

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Authentec TrueSuite Starter for Windows 7 x86/x64

April 14, 2010

So, Authentec thinks it’s cute to say that they only provide software through OEMs. It’d sure be nice if the OEMs actually lived up to that fairy tale…

I’d recently picked up a DV6000 laptop with a fingerprint swipe. Somehow, Windows Update picked up the driver for it… “ooh wow, a driver, I’m so lucky”, I thought (sarcastically). I knew it needed software. But I tried it anyway… I clicked Start and entered “finger”. Sure enough, 3 results for fingerprint software already installed. What? I hadn’t installed anything…

Turns out, I was dead wrong. The software I’d used in the past for fingerprint login is slow, clunky, and WAY overfeatured for just wanting to use it to log in and geek out friends. It was HP ProtectTools suite that I had on my tablet, and it SUCKED. Slow, slow, slow. Quick to reject a fingerprint but slow to reset/retry, slow to log in, slow to open. This was all different. The software, TrueSuite Starter, is dead simple. It’s FAST. It gets the job done.

I killed ProtectTools on the tablet. But the TrueSuite software wasn’t offered. Huh? So I dug into my new DV and found out where Windows Update saved the downloaded driver. Curious… it stores the whole installation package in a DLL file. No EXE to set it up with. That’s OK. I checked the device IDs, and sure enough, the scanner in my tablet was included as well. So who knows how many other people on the internet might find this useful.

As far as I can tell, this is a package that works for all Authentec brand fingerprinters. Just update the driver for it (notice that it is, in fact, signed… I’m not f*cking with you guys here), and it’ll install the TrueSuite for you in the background (be sure to get rid of any other crap you’ve got installed first!). Then just enter “fingerprint” in your Start search, and bam! Fingerprinty goodness.

Works with the following Device IDs:

USB\VID_08FF&PID_1600
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2500
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2501
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2502
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2503
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2504
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2505
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2506
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2507
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2508
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2509
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250A
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250B
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250C
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250D
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250E
USB\VID_08FF&PID_250F
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2580
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2588
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2589
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258A
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258B
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258C
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258D
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258E
USB\VID_08FF&PID_258F
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2550
USB\VID_08FF&PID_2810

Open your existing (or unknown) biometric device in Device manager, verify the Hardware ID under “details” (it must match one of these!), then Update Driver, “On my computer”… “I’ll pick one”… “Have disk” to the folder you extracted this to… then install!

DOWNLOAD -> LINK <- DOWNLOAD (Updated 2/22/2013)

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Hey, marketing geeks! Double branding sucks.

February 14, 2010

Linksys by Cisco. Pelco by Schneider Electric. Even APC by Schneider Electric. And now as I look at a bottle of water, I see “Crystal Geyser by CG Roxane”. This all friggin’ sucks, and you marketing geeks probably want to know how it’s impacting your brand image.

Badly. When I see “by” in the name, I don’t think “ouh, so these guys made it”. I think “Oh, so their parent company didn’t think they were getting enough attention, so they slapped their name on it”. That, in turn, means that the brand itself isn’t important, just the mega-corporation after the “by”. Probably also the same reason HD-DVD failed – take an existing, recognizable logo, and tack something onto it (“HD” with a few “waves”). In this case, take an existing brand, and tack another name onto it. Cisco did it first with that “Linksys by Cisco” crap, but they took it WAY too far, even to the point of changing the linksys.com domain into a redirect to linksysbycisco.com – blatantly trying to shove that into peoples’ minds. Here’s a hint, NOBODY is ever going to tell someone to go buy a “Linksys by Cisco” router. Doing that just dilutes the brand name image and next thing you know, people will end up buying a Netgear instead of a Linksys by Cisco.

Schneider Electric? Talk about a fucking mess. Okay, so Pelco, possibly the most recognized name in video surveillance systems. APC, the most recognized name in power management systems. They get bought by some no-name company whose name doesn’t even reflect technology. Schneider Electric. And they know their name sucks. So what do they do? They want to attach their name to each of them, then slap the modified logo on EVERYTHING involving the two companies. Pelco by Schneider Electric, APC by Schneider Electric. What’s this tell me? It only serves to tell me that Schneider Electric has serious self-confidence issues… and perhaps that their shareholders need a little extra ego-stroking. It’s pure bullshit, and yes… I see all these things when I see the word “by” in a company name.

Now, it’s acceptable to put a company name in a product name. I see no problem with that. Microsoft Office, for example, works just fine. But you rarely see the word “by” in these names, probably because “by” implies that massive douchebaggery is afoot in the boardroom. But for god’s sake, it must take an ego the size of Texas to slap this kind of double-branding shit on a company’s name. What the hell.

Needless to say, I avoid these brands solely due to their name, due to the fact that I want to avoid supporting such douche boardroom decisions. Perhaps with enough people avoiding these brands, they’ll see that their brand is failing, and some marketing nut will suggest that they change their brand again – back to what it was. And maybe, by some act of God, that suggestion will be implemented, and we’ll once again see Linksys, Pelco, or APC standing on their own as respectable companies.

edit: And it seems I’m not the only one.

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Hey, Godaddy! This is why you’re losing customers.

January 12, 2010
Pending Account Change

Pending Account Change

This is why. “Pending Account Change”. Make a simple change to your hosting account, like moving to a different server (something that’s usually done transparently), and the action becomes not only painfully intrusive, but ridiculously slow, and it makes you totally unable to access the hosting control panel at all until it deems the action “completed”!

Worst part – and the particular deal-breaker – is that the action actually completed TWENTY THREE HOURS AGO. I requested that the Windows hosting be switched to Linux (via the web interface, hence no interaction with demented support reps) and that completed about 4 hours later that same night. Even 4 hours is a ridiculous amount of time to wait for something like this. Now, I’m still locked out 23 hours later.

Why 23? I don’t know. I called up GoDaddy support earlier today (and it was a relatively pleasant experience except for the wacky hold music) and the rep told me it would take “24 hours” to complete the action after the time it actually… you know… completed. Whatever. 24 hours it is.

The root of the problem I’m having is that I can’t seem to access any sort of error or diagnostic information from the site. Could you imagine why? By a call I had previously made with GoDaddy support, I was told that – yes – error messages are a feature of deluxe hosting packages, not the Economy one the site is using. wat.

Needless to say, THIS organization will not be renewing their web hosting with GoDaddy.

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Tip: These results do not include the word…

September 29, 2009

I’m fucking the “These results do not include the word…” feature of Google.

Tip: This blog post does not include the word “HATING”.

Suck it, Google.