Well, last night I finally broke down and slapped a fresh install of Vista onto a new drive. Then I immediately remember how much of a pain in the ass getting a fresh install back up to speed really is. So far, I've mainly been messing around my with iTunes library. It's the most annoying thing so far, because the drive that music is currently on seems to be junk. It's a pity, too, because it's a brand-new drive. I suppose putting it into a machine that's constantly locking up and sputtering while data is being written to it didn't help its cause.
The good news is that the system seems much more stable now. So when it can't ready from F:, it doesn't explode, it just says "hey, we can't read this" and stays up. I figure that copying files through the iTunes library consolidation option isn't helping matters, and a more direct copy would probably have more success. But to accomplish that I'll have to manually (or at least via a find and replace) update all of the pointers in iTunes' XML-based library file. Or I could just wipe the library and reimport all the music, but then I lose playlists and ratings, and sorting music and syncing it to iPods becomes a real hassle again. This would all be way easier if I wasn't dealing with 160GB of content.
Beyond that, the next biggest headache will be reinstalling everything I use for audio editing and song writing. FL Studio isn't a huge problem, but the gigs and gigs of VST plugins certainly will be. I'll probably put a rush on this, as there's been talk of doing some writing/recording over the Christmas break.
Lastly, there's e-mail. But that's just reinstalling Thunderbird and copying the settings and e-mail folders over from the old install, I think. Shouldn't be tough, I just haven't done it in awhile.
Reinstalling most of the games that I actually play will be easy. I've already reinstalled Steam, I just need to tell it to download everything again. Hmm... maybe I could just move some of the files out of the old install to save some time there.
Troubleshooting PC issues has probably become one of my least favorite things in the world. Things go wrong for seemingly no reason, and figuring out exactly what's up is usually a supreme pain in the ass. Over the years I've replaced motherboards, painstakingly salvaged data off of failing hard drives, and spent hours staring at a PC that wouldn't POST only to finally realize it was because there was a small spot where the board was grounding out on the case.
So when my current machine started acting up, I just sort of ignored it. I've since bought a MacBook Pro that I use to do all my important computing, leaving the PC as an occasional game machine, but mostly this quad core CPU and Geforce 8800 Ultra are used to run iTunes so I can sync up my iPod to my full library, instead of the small slice of it I keep on my laptop. That's right, it's a $3,000 jukebox.
Unfortunately, it's not even very good at that anymore. For the longest time it was randomly blue-screening, and the error codes just weren't conclusive. Then it was just locking up without actually rebooting. Now, any sort of persistent disk access (like audio playback) seems to stutter and chug from time to time, occasionally locking up all the way. I just threw a new drive in over the weekend, thinking that maybe the drive with all the music on it was acting up. That didn't really change anything. I tried disconnecting the old music drive, thinking it might be failing and dragging everything else down with it. Nope. I stripped it all the way down to just my boot drive, and it locked up within five minutes.
So I think I've got it narrowed down to one of two things. Either my boot drive is slowly failing, or I'm overloading this thing's power supply, which could be causing all sorts of random chaos. It's a 1,000 watt power supply, but I can't really find any realiable way to figure out how much wattage I'm actually using. I guess I'm going to try to clone my boot drive to a different drive and see if the current boot drive is the issue. If that doesn't fix it, I guess I could reformat and reinstall Windows. I'd really rather not do that. At this point, maybe I should just build something super cheap, throw all these big drives in it, and make it a pure media server. But that wouldn't exactly leave me equipped for playing games or making music, which still requires the PC. While I could (and probably should) make the jump to Logic Pro or some other Mac-based sequencing for the music, there's still this whole "oh, yeah, occasionally you might want to review a PC game" thing.
There are certainly times when I think of just dragging it into a Best Buy or whatever and paying someone to fix it... but I'm not that far gone yet. I certainly believe in the whole "my time is worth money" theory, but not with the insane rates they'd probably charge.
So I'm working on an achievement guide for a certain little game that comes out this Friday. Currently sitting here, watching multiplayer bot matches stalemate against a dead controller to see if that's a good way to rack up "rounds played" while you sleep. After a bit of this, I'll check out a couple of other shortcut ideas I have.
Also not answering 360 chat requests from people who probably want to ask me incredibly specific questions about said game that I can't answer until tomorrow. Got a message from a guy that just said "pirate much?" I love the assumption that anyone playing a game early is OBVIOUSLY a horrific pirate. Knuckleheads!
So I've been trying to get in a good, long SOCOM session for the past five days or so, now, and I've still been unable to do so. If the player stats on my account are correct (and they're not), I've played around five games since it launched. The rest of the time was spent looking at screens that say "NETWORK INITIALIZATION FAILED" or "UNABLE TO CONNECT" or some other variant of the same.
Even when I manage to get connected to a game after weeding through the totally unecessary "channels" setup, that's no guarantee that I'll actually get into the game. More than once I've greened up, joined in, and gotten stuck as a spectator for multiple rounds.
Right now I'm thinking that I'll spend another day or two attempting to get in some serious SOCOM time with hopes of writing a review, but after that, I may have to forego a full review, write up something on the current state of the game (effectively unplayable), and move on to something else.
I hope Punch-Out!! is more than just a nostalgia trip. I don't need King Hippo in order to have a good time. They could have just put Glass Joe and Bald Bull in it and filled the rest with new fighters. I'd be OK with that.
Nintendo should revive Echo Delta while they're at it. Sorry if that seems random. The original S&P and Echo Delta were both shown at the same Space World convention in Japan, so one always makes me think of the other. I remember Echo Delta--which was canceled even though it was essentially finished--as being a pretty good little underwater shooter type thing on the N64.
Oh, and totally indifferent about the new DS, at least until they come up with some insane game that utilizes both cameras in a unique way. Even then, it doesn't immediately seem like a must-have, even considering my insane hardware urges.
Total whirlwind week this week. I was in Los Angeles for four hours on Tuesday doing an episode of Bonus Round, had some special guests over on Wednesday morning (I believe you'll be able to see and hear the results of said visit tomorrow), and then I rushed into SF for the aforementioned dark room and video games. You'll get to see an interview shot in said poorly-lit room in early November.
Holy crap, it's October already.
Holy crap, we leave for Tokyo on Monday morning! That means that by Tuesday night, Tokyo time, I will have done the following:
Played Guitar Freaks
Eaten a beef bowl from the... I believe it's called "Don Don."
Played Tekken 6
Looked at airsoft guns
Considered buying several Transformers
Inadvertently ended up in the pornography section of a store that also sells anime-themed figurines
Drank a Pocari Sweat
Drank an Aquarius
Drank a C.C. Lemon
Drank another C.C. Lemon
Informed Ryan that he is not to purchase C.C. Grape if he sees it (do they even still make it?)
Seen something wholly confusing on Japanese television
Lament about how I should really try to learn the language
Between here and Thanksgiving lie some pretty amazing games and, I assume, a lot of late nights as we play and review the games we feel you absolutely must know about. Can't wait. It's easy to complain about how much work there is and everything, but I totally live for this time of year.
It took me an hour or two of fumbling around until I got a feel for it, but I'm really liking Warhammer so far. The Public Quest stuff is smart and fun, and all the achievements and titles and little stuff that keeps unlocking is interesting, too.
I really feel like the beginning of the game could be a little more clear about things, though. Aside from reviewing Auto Assault, I don't think I've played an MMO since I gave up on World of Warcraft, and that was a loooong time ago. A lot of my MMO skills came back pretty quickly, but the game could probably use a little more hand-holding up front.
Actually, it could use some more instruction about trade skills, too. That stuff (I went salvaging/talisman making) is just sort of thrown out there without much guidance. Maybe I need to dig through the in-game help function and it'll have details there. Seems like the Tome of Knowledge should have more about the mechanics of the game, maybe? It seems to have just about everything else you'd want to know.
Also, they split a couple of servers yesterday to deal with high populations on some of the "old" servers. Instead of doing, like, free character transfers or whatever, they cloned all the characters between the servers. So I was left with a level 5 Marauder on two servers. Faced with the choice of waiting in a server queue for 30 minutes or playing immediately, I decided to try out the new server. Played that for several hours, and now I don't want to go back to my original server--which is a bummer, because I think most of the people I hit that server to play with are probably going to stay there. Oh well.
The new server was also mad empty. I was doing a Public Quest by myself last night. Hopefully once the new servers aren't so new they'll get some more players.