Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Avast just lost me as a customer

For the past 8 or so years I've been using Avast as my free anti virus. But, ever since the last update, I've been getting these really annoying popups advertising other Avast products that you obviously have to pay for. These popups were never there, and now they decided to introduce such an annoyance??

I had a look at the settings, and discovered that you can only disable them if you have the premium version. See below:

See in red in the middle - well done Avast, I'm uninstalling and going someplace else. Also, there goes me recommending it to all my clients as well...

Some titles I'm currently enjoying, and looking forward to

There are a few games that I currently play, but also a few I'm really looking forward to.

Here's what I'm playing these days:

7 Days to Die - The Zombie/Crafting/Survival/Sandbox/FPS/Stealth game that is only still in Alpha, but is extremely fun even in the early state it is. It is ESPECIALLY fun when you do it co-op with a buddy! I blogged about it a few weeks ago, check that post here

Diablo 3 - Patch 2.1 just launched today, and I'm looking forward to jumping back into it. I like how Blizzard has revived the game from the sad state it was before version 2 and Reaper of Souls launched. It's a much better game, and it's getting better with every major update!

GTA 5 - I dusted off the Xbox last weekend and fired up Grand Theft Auto V again, and man that's still a massively fun game. Trevor just took over a strip club as his base of operations, so what's not to like right? This is also a major game that I'm looking forward to launching on the PC - I know I already have it on the Xbox, but I'll definitely get this for PC as well - better graphics (even though I'm seriously impressed with Rockstar for milking the Xbox 360 for all it has - the game looks amazing for such an old system!) and a more densely populated world.

Robocraft - another free to play game on Steam - my buddy told me about this, and the only time I play it is when I join him, but damn what a fun little game! You build your robots from the ground up. You kill the other team's robots. You take over their base. You don't respawn. Lots of fun!

Here's what I'm looking forward to in the upcoming months:

Dragon Age: Inquisition - I loved the first Dragon Age game, and never played the second one (thank goodness, I heard it was terrible!). From what I've seen about the 3rd one though, it looks amazing! I just hope EA doesn't screw it up by adding micro-transactions - in my opinion the bane of all gamers' existence!

GTA 5 for PC - can't wait for this to come to PC - I like my Xbox, but I've always been a PC gamer first!

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor - I'm still a bit skeptical about this one, but it seems interesting... Will keep my eye on it...

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequal - you can play as Claptrap, and you can buttstomp enemies. What's not to look forward to! hehe...

Civilization: Beyond Earth - I've always liked the Civilization games, and this one looks even more awesome! Can't wait for doing "just one more turn" into the night!

Limit Theory - My jaw drops to the ground every time I see what Josh has achieved. The man's a genius! A fully procedural space simulation game with all the bells and whistles! I think I'm even more excited about this one than Star Citizen.

There are so many games coming out in the near future, the 6 I mentioned above are at the top for now though. It's exciting again to be a gamer.

What are you looking forward to?

Diablo 3 patch 2.1 is out

Howdy people, the next major patch for Diablo 3 is out, version 2.1 this time. It introduces a few cool new features, like seasons, leaderboards, greater rifts and even a way to get to the realm the treasure goblins teleport to.

This video by Blizzard themselves summarises it nicely:

Friday, August 22, 2014

How to control your Galaxy Note 3 from your PC

I have a client who asked me to look into how they can provide support to their own clients with Whatsapp, but not have to sit with a phone, and rather do it from a PC, or something similar.

I looked at getting MHL connectors for a phone, connecting that to a PC screen with HDMI connection, and then also adding a bluetooth keyboard for the phone, but that all turned out to be quite a pricey option!

Then I did some searching and got to a solution where you can actually take control of your phone (in my case my Galaxy Note 3) from your PC by using good old TeamViewer! I first thought this isn't possible, but it turns out it is, and I tried it, and it works great!

Here's how:

Obviously you need TeamViewer loaded on your PC - get that from here.

Then, you'll need the Mobile TeamViewer app on your phone as well - here's the one you need. It's called TeamViewer QuickSupport.

The first time you open it up, it will ask you to download and install another app that's apparently needed as well - for my phone it was the QS Add-On: Samsung - get that here. There are several of these available for other manufacturers as well...

Now it's as simple as running the app, and entering the number it gives you on your TeamViewer on your PC. You'll have to allow your PC to connect to your phone, and then you'll get this:

And at the top left, you'll see Remote Control - you'll have to allow it once again on your phone, but that should do it, you now should have control of your phone from our PC. Pretty sweet!

I must say, it works very well. I haven't tested it long term for things like battery usage or the device getting too hot or stuff like that.

I'm also sure plenty of other Android devices will work with it because I saw several QS apps on the Play store. Anyway, enjoy controlling your phone with your pc!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Product Review: D-Link 1360 Wireless Access Point

We recently moved into a new place, which is quite a bit bigger than our previous place, and our study is on the one end of the house, and our main bedroom on the opposite end. My ADSL router's wireless just doesn't reach our bedroom, and I decided to remedy that by getting the D-Link 1360 Access Point, specifically to use as a wireless signal repeater, which according to their website it can do.

It cost just over R400 here in South Africa, which is around $35-$40 for those interested... Anyway, I opened the box, which has a very short network cable, the power supply, a manual (with 3 pages of English) and the two antennas.

According to the manual, you should connect it via the LAN cable to your PC to do the initial setup - you then access the device by either going to http://dlinkap or - doing that for the first time allows you to do the setup for it - you can select from 3 options - one of which is Wireless repeater, which supposedly boosts an existing wifi signal - the sole reason I bought the device.

I used the manual setup option, and it found my existing wireless SSID without a problem, and I entered my password, and the device rebooted.

The first time, it worked ok. Rebooting takes a good few minutes, and after that, my PC connected to my network via the device wirelessly, so I assumed that it is working.

I powered down the device, and moved it to the living room, which is in the middle of the house, and our bedroom is one room over. Switched it on, and it looked like my phone connected to it without a problem, and it actually worked fine in our bedroom - full signal strength. I was impressed. "Was" is the word I want to put my emphasis on in that sentence. When we turned in for the night, I wanted to connect again, but nothing. It kept saying "obtaining IP address" and just didn't get passed that. It did eventually connect to the wireless network, but I couldn't access the internet, and my Note 3 just kept on saying "your internet connection is unstable". The iPad also connected eventually, but didn't work.

I was tired of struggling with the thing, so I went to sleep, hoping I could figure out the next morning. Once again I tried everything. Rebooting, resetting and setting it up again. It's just not working as it should.

I didn't try to use it as an access point or so, but as a wireless repeater it sucks. It's a useless device, and it seems many other on the internet experiences the same issues (serves me right for not properly researching it before buying).

And I thought the fact that my ADSL router is also a D-Link device would make the two "more compatible" with each other, but no such luck. I even tried updating the firmware from D-Link's site - but my device's version is F1, and they only have options on their site for A, B and C.

So, if you plan on buying the D-Link DAP-1360 to use as a wireless range extender, don't. It doesn't work, even with a lot of fiddling. I'm returning mine.

As for a score, since it is not doing what I want it to, a cool 2/10 (the 2 points was pure generosity from my part, it worked for a few minutes at first...)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to get private co-op to work in Far Cry 3

Last night my good buddy and I decided to give Far Cry 3's co-op campaign a chance. We both like the single player game, but haven't played any form of multiplayer on it, and I knew it's got a dedicated co-op set of maps, so we thought what the hell...

We started the game, and discovered we needed to be friends on Uplay first, so we did that, and fired up the game again, and went into the Co-op section, I hosted a private match, invited my friend and that was as easy as that! We got in no problem whatsoever! Damn what a fun experience! Just tons of baddies to kill, and with us chatting and coordinating with voip it was really great!

We took our dinner break, and when we got back, the game didn't want to load. It just kept on saying "can't join game". What a huge pain this turned out to be - the only thing that changed since 30 minutes before that, was we now both had level 10 characters instead of brand new players.

We hit Google, and saw all kinds of nasty stuff about others experiencing the same thing, and Ubisoft not responding on any of it wherever someone asks on the official forums. And why would they, they're probably now too focused on Far Cry 4 anyway...

One thing that a lot of people kept mentioning was that it might be caused by additional network adapters - for example, a lot of people suggested removing stuff like Hamachi and the like. We tried that. We even disabled both our public Windows Firewalls. I tried connecting to the internet with a different ISP. My friend did too. I restarted the game 20 times. Nothing worked, and it was frustrating as hell!

We went on to try a public co-op match, and that worked without a problem (what's up with that??). Same goes for regular multiplayer (I got slaughtered by the way) - but not a PRIVATE co-op match - Can't join game it says the whole time.

Then I thought about the whole Borderlands 2 Online Lagging issue I got a fix for - I even blogged about how to go about doing that here - it basically comes down to using Teamviewer to set up a VPN between you and your friend, and then once that is up and running, playing the game as you normally would.

My friend said he doubt that this would fix the problem, since everyone everywhere mentions to disable such things. We were about to finally call it quits and give up, until I said to him "Dude, just humor me - let's get the Teamviewer VPN going and try it one last time".

So we did.

And it worked. It freaking worked! Instantly he could join my private co-op game in Far Cry 3. We played the train mission. And then the sniping challenge. It was glorious! I won, because I'm the better sniper of course. Also, it made me feel quite a lot better blowing the pirates' heads off! I cannot believe it actually worked - the exact opposite of what everyone was saying online.

So, if you and your buddy aren't getting connected on a private co-op match, get a Teamviewer VPN going - Click here to see how we did that for Borderlands 2 - once that's up and running, try again. Chances are it might just work!

Ahh the joys of it all!

Anyway, enjoy all the shooting co-op goodness Far Cry 3 has to offer, it's a blast!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Having Headset and Speakers connected at the same time, and easily switching between them

Ok, that was a long title for this post hehe - here's a nice little trick I just figured out. I have a headset that I generally use when playing games or watching movies and I don't want to bother the wife. But, it's always a pain, because I have to plug in the headset (yes I'm that lazy) when I want to use it, and then unplug it again when I want to switch back to my speakers.

In the "Sound" control panel option you can easily switch between the two, so what I did was create a shortcut to Sound, and I connected a unique shortcut to it, so now it's as simple as hitting the shortcut at any time, and then setting whichever device I want as the default.

Now, my headset, the Steelseries Siberia V2 USB came with it's own USB sound card, so I'm not sure if this will work if you just connect a headset to your front audio jacks (maybe leave a comment and inform us about that if you want). So, in Sound, it shows up as a separate device.

Here are the steps:

Go to the Control Panel, and find the Sound icon:

Right-click on that, and click on Create Shortcut - it will appear as if nothing happens, but on your Desktop there will now be a Shortcut to Sound. Go find it...

Once you've found it, right click on that, and click Properties at the bottom, which should open up this screen:

See there in the middle it says Shortcut Key - go there, and simply hit the buttons you want to assign the shortcut to (mine, for example, is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+] ).

Now, whenever I want to switch, I just hit my shortcut, and this will pop up:

As you can see, I have two sets of speakers - the one is my regular on-board sound card (Realtek) and the other one is the USB sound card that came with my headset. Only my headset has a mic, so in the above shot the little phone icon is there because of that (default communications device), and my normal Speakers are set as the Default Device.

If I want to switch to my headset, I simply right-click on the top one, and click on "Set as default device":

Now all sound will come through the headset. If you want to switch back to the normal speakers, simply do the same for the speakers and you'll be good to go!

Did you know the difference between headphones and headset - it's called a "headSET" when the headphones has a mic as well - otherwise it's just headphones :)