Monday, August 31, 2009

Vanguard Weekend

Generic, relaxing weekend for me. Wish they could all be relatively nice like that. I don't work on Fridays so I do laundry that day while relaxing at the computer, generally playing EQ2. This weekend I got a "late start" due to having an eye appointment at 8:00 in the morning, then deciding I wanted to go to the BN a couple of blocks from the eye doc, but they don't open until 9 and I was done at 8:30, so I browsed the Target next door the the BN 1st. And my old jeans were old and I'd actually tossed out a pair the prior weekend due to having gone through 'em in a rather embarrassing location and not realizing it until I took them off that night, so..... it was a good trip.

And I picked up David Weber's latest book while there and am in process of reading it now. I'll tell you if it's as good as the 1st 2 in the series when I'm done. Not that anyone's reading and caring :P And then I even stopped off at the chiropractor on the way home too, since my back's been mostly good since my surgery last year, but has seemed to go downhill a bit this summer. I was pretty out of alignment -- right leg a half inch shorter than my left, even -- and I felt a lot better after leaving there. And I made it home before 10. Go me!

Started the laundry and launched in to EQ2. Was working my SK through the Lavastorm stuff in order to get to the end of the quest chain that will let me do the "solo shard" quest when the call went out "LFM for Anathema (DD)!" They had a tank and an illusionist, so my SK and Coercer were out, but they were happy to have my warlock, so Gotter Dammerung was logged in. 1st time in that zone for her, so what with all the quests and the Daily Double mission as well as the daily quest for the zone she ended up getting 2 complete AA points as well as 5 platinum. . . in spite of winning not a single drop for anything. We did so well there that we followed it up with a quick Deep Forge run, so... 6 shards in 2 hours. Not bad.

Tried camping back to my SK but it crashed and locked my machine when I did that, so I rebooted and when I was back up and running I decided that I'd rather try a little variety and fired up Vanguard instead.

Yeah, I reinstalled the beast a week or so ago. Some other bloggers were talking about it and I got a little nostalgic. On my previous installation I'd tried the Isle of Dawn but didn't really care for it, so this time I just made a new Thestran Human Dread Knight and worked his starter area. It's only 2 chunks away from a relatively easy level 10 dungeon that drops pretty good blue gear (soulbound though, so I can't farm it on my level 14 paladin and mail it around). But as I was working it I was also chatting with a few people and they all encouraged me to give the IoD another shot, so.....

I actually logged in the druid I have there and she had so many quests in her journal that I just kinda went "um... no" and started a completely new character. Remembering from my beta days that Clerics were well loved, I started on of them. I decided I didn't want to craft or do diplomacy, so I completely ignored those "spheres" and only did the combat quests. It was like night and day from my earlier attempt with the druid. Clear idea of where to go at all times, nice focus, etc. Made it to the final dungeon and was doing all right (clerics kill slow, but they're hard to kill too) but accidentally bit off more mobs than I could chew and ended up respawned outside.

Went back again, figuring on being more careful this time and another cleric was in there trying to solo the place too. We joined up and I mostly tanked and she mostly healed and we ended up finishing all the combat quests together. It's kinda nice really -- as I recall it, the "regular game" doesn't really give you shoulder or head armor until level 20 or so, plus decent masks and jewelry are hard to find too, but the IoD quests fill every slot and with blue or yellow stuff too -- really nice for the level.

So there I am, getting ready to leave the island and head to Veskal's Exchange, since I'm told the URT quests there give the next "good armor" and give good leveling xp as well, but the general IoD chat has several experienced players on lowbie alts stating they *highly* recommend doing level 10 in all 3 spheres before leaving since it doesn't take long and you get far superior items on the island than you can find on the regular game in those levels.

All right, fine! I started the crafting and harvesting, but it was getting on toward 5 pm now and my wife got home and so we went out to dinner and a movie. Saw The Time Traveler's Wife and we both enjoyed it.

Next day I got crafting up to level 6-ish and found that a level 5 crafting quest gives an intermediate chest armor piece for adventuring which would have been really helpful in trying to do the final dungeon, so now I know for future to at least level crafting up to 5 at the same time as my adventuring. . . . Sunday I woke early and couldn't go back to sleep, so I logged in and eventually ended up getting level 10 crafter. The final quest has you fight a little ways in to the final dungeon and I didn't know where I was going, so I hooked up with a Dread Knight and a Sorceror and we pwned through the place. and I found out how to finish the last crafting quest to boot, so now I'm "ready" for future toons to come through the IoD.

I started Diplomacy now and I think I'm level 4, but frankly it's boring the crap out of me, so... not sure if I'll finish that. IIRC, my druid's level 8 diplomat so I may just log her in again and see if I can't finish it up on her instead to see if it's worth bothering with on the cleric.

I also started a new DK and also a sorceror on the IoD and got both to level 5. Not sure if I want to focus on the cleric or not. I'm not terribly impressed with it at level 10, actually, but people in chat say that most classes don't come into their own until about level 20 or so, so... I'll try to work it up to there and see how it goes. As it is, I love my paladin I have left over from the previous install, but she's a "mainland starter" also, and as such I'm thinking of starting a 2nd PLD on the island to see how the gear differences stack up. The "mainland pallie has found some pretty good stuff on the broker, after all, so I'm not really feeling undergeared... except I can't find a helmet or any decent shoulder pauldrons yet. . . .

I took a few screenies but forgot to send them to myself here where I can crop and brighten them, so... no pictures on this post.

And our computer stupidity for the day:

User calls in and says "I'm having an issue with my email."

No biggie, happens all the time. But then she tells me the issue -- She had some email in her inbox and she even just saw it this morning and has a hard copy of it, but now it's disappeared and she wants my help in finding it.

It's not in her deleted items, and hitting the "recover" option shows she hasn't deleted anything since last Thursday as far as the server's concerned, so that leaves us with: She moved it herself.

But no, she insists she didn't do anything to it.

Except she HAD to have moved it. No other option.

Did I mention she's got about 12 pst files and all of them are called "Personal Folders" and each has about 20+ different subfolders?

I showed her how to use Advanced Find and told her good luck. She was still inisisting she hadn't moved it, but.... emails don't randomly disappear from your inbox, especially when you "just saw it this morning."

User error. But will she admit it? Not a chance!


There's another stupid one about incompatibilities of various security programs we have to use and Office 2007, but... I'm out of time and this is a wall of text now as it is, so..... ttfn.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crap! Someone Let Our Secret Out!

Yep.... that pretty much sums up 75% of my job. . . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009


1st call this morning:

"My computer needs to run some updates. Can you log in with admin rights to run them?"

I remote in. I see a "Run Advertised Programs" window that indicates our SMS push went out last night like it was supposed to and updated about 6 background programs. I click the "Close" button. The caller realizes he should actually read what the thing says before calling the helpdesk and hangs up feeling foolish. I didn't use any sarcasm or anything, though I kinda wish I had, since this guy seems to call in every Thursday after our Wednesday night SMS push to ask us to run updates. . . .

My most recent call:

"I just got my computer back from you guys in IT and now I can't get to the internet, it just brings up this [company related] page."

I'm already facepalming at this point since this page is on the frelling internet. Yes, it's a new homepage for the Vista machines than from the XP machines, but c'mon!

So anyway, I tell him that the page is on the internet, so I don't understand why he's saying he can't get to the internet. I tell him to try google to see if he can get there. He tells me that it tells him page can't be displayed. Since I'm not really confident in this guy's ability to type a correct URL, I asked if he'd typed or "just google." He said "Just google."

After he added the .com to the end I hear this shocked "Oh there it goes!"

Uh, dude? That's how you get ANYWHERE on the interwebz if you don't have a pre-provided link. It's reallllllllllly common. . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All kinds of stuff

Where to begin? This is what I get for not posting in a while, eh?

CCP announced DUST 514 at the EU Game Developer's Conference earlier today. Apparently to be console-only. I'm not real big on FPS games and my console is a PS1 (yes, *1*), so I'm not sure if this will be something I'll get into. But I may, since it looks pretty nice and I will admit that at my last job it was kinda fun to play 4 player free for alls in Halo on the Xbox. So.. we'll see.

Currently reading The Magicians and Mrs. Quent. It's all right, but nothing really that earth shaking. OSC reviewed it last year sometime and indicated he felt the author was kinda playing games with the style of writing, but he loved it all the same. I'm a little more ambiguous on it, but it's certainly engaging enough.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit finished This is Not a Game yesterday. He simply said he enjoyed it and that it felt similar to his own book. Not having read his book, I couldn't say, but I also agree that I enjoyed it. I love Walter Jon Williams, truth be told. He's been one of my favorite authors since high school and reading Voice of the Whirlwind and Hardwired. Huh. Looks like those 2 were re-released in the past couple of years. Kewl. He deserves to be read by lots of people. Lots and lots and lots of people!

I also recently finished The Gods of Amyrantha by Jennifer Fallon. Book 2 of 4 in the series. Apparently it's completely released in Australia, but still slowly making its way to the US. Another one that's been out for a while but only recently in the US is EVE: The Empyrean Age. It was all right, and a lot of the events in the books were sorta "played out" in the game, or at least in videos CCP made, so it was kinda easy to picture scenes in my head while reading that one.

In EQ2 my mystic is level 50 now, but I'm not really wanting to adventure with him much since I just ran through the 50's level content with the dirge. The dirge is 75 (I think I mentioned that before) and I'm not really looking forward to the last 5 levels on her either, though I know I will sooner or later. Before the next expansion in February, at any rate.

In EVE I'm training my 1st "higher than rank 3" skill to level 5 -- Advanced Weapon Upgrades, rank 6. I don't really *need* it right now -- I can fit ships just fine anymore -- but since I will eventually be wanting a Golem and/or Paladin and it's a prereq for them, plus it's the last thing I need for my "Core - Elite" certificate, and IRL is pretty busy right now so letting a skill burn for almost 25 days is more or less what the doctor ordered right now anyway. . . . it's ticking away, slowly but surely. Oddly enough, I've got 3 rank 2 skills in Engineering that I could be doing instead and they'd probably have more immediate effect upon my actual gameplay once I'm back in the game and they'd take the same amount of time as this 1 skill alone, but... I'm doing it anyway. If I eventually want into a Marauder-class ship, but won't train anything over a Rank 2 or 3, then I'll never get there since AWU is rank 6 and any of the battleship skills are rank 8. Of course I'll also need to train Torpedoes for a Golem and Large Energy Turrets for a Paladin. Fortunately, though... I have perfect capacitor skills now, finishing my shield skills is those 3 Engineering skills I mentioned, and I've got perfect (self) armor tank skills and will be perfecting my remote rep capabilities soon enough as well, so.... once I'm in a Marauder the defenses won't be a problem, at least. Too bad I'm only minimally competent with their weapon systems yet, eh?

For a change of pace, I also reinstalled Vanguard a couple of days ago. I'm trying out a Blood Mage this time. It felt kinda weak before level 4, but then got the "hurt them, heal me" spell and it's been smooth going since then. I started it in the high elf racial starting area since I'm most familiar with that one and I don't have to get level 10 crafting and diplomacy plus do a group quest in order to leave the newbie area. Don't get me wrong, their newbie island is really a nice chunk, but I don't like being locked onto it... unless they changed that requirement since it came out, anyway.

Biggest thing I'm not liking about the Blood Mage right now is that each level I get new spells I seem to get 4 or more, so trying to figure out where to put them on my hotbars and such is kinda interesting. The other thing is that the last time I tried the game I installed a custom UI and I remember liking it better, but currently I'm using the default UI and finding it less than stellar, but given my past history of uninstalling the game after a short time, I'm hesitant to take the time to install a new UI, get used to it, and then delete the game again, ya know? Especially since I barely even remember that I previously used a custom UI. As it is... I am questing merrily away, but think I need to run up into Leth Nurae and buy a horse. Running is so frelling sloooooooooooooow.

In the computer stupidities department....

Lady calls and says "I moved things around on my desk and now I can't print anymore!"

Various questions later we find out that she unplugged her printer from the wall and it has no power. She hadn't even LOOKED at the printer, just assumed it was a problem on her pc from moving it.

Next: Lady gets new PC with dual monitor setup, but complains she can't get her mouse to move on to the 2nd monitor. I remote in, right-click the desktop, hit personalize, display settings, click on monitor #2 and check the "use this as primary" box and voila! She's fixed!

Good gravy, I knew how to fix display issues when I was 16 and I hated windows then and still liked to use dos commands at the time. . . . Of course... on the one hand, I wish people'd be a little more proactive on fixing their own machines, yet when they do and mess it up worse then we complain that the know nothing users shouldn't be poking around on their machines, so.... guess I can't have it both ways, plus if they don't do that and then let me fix it then I have job security, right?

Still and all, I do kinda wish I could post some signs like this around here:

Too much?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Games and other Computer Silliness

It's been an interesting weekend. To me, anyway ;-)

So far as games go... I got my dirge to level 75 in EQ2, but I'm a little bored of the high end content right now, so I went back to work more on my Mystic. He's my lowest level character at 46. The xp curve is, IMO, way too fast in the lower levels anymore and yet I'm loathe to turn off the combat xp either, even though killing green heroic mobs was netting me 1.7% xp per kill. 2 arrow greens were netting 1.3% and tbh I didn't pay attention to the 1 arrow or no arrow ones. I got a few more AA's and am now nearly up t the full 51 needed to "complete" the melee spec. The last 2 points to go are a minor damage upgrade to one of my CA's and the other takes the additional damage proc from 20% chance to 25%. I've got the "Chieftan" endline and it seem I'm usually in the "rage state" when soloing anymore and thus have +35 haste and 35% double attack more or less all the time.

It's kind of odd to me though.... I know the mystic is different from the inquisitor, and yet when I play I seem to keep thinking that since they're both melee priests there should be more similarities. As an example, I'm completely used to the quizzie's "steadfast" ability which prevents interrupts, so when trying to heal myself when I have 4 heroic mobs pounding on me and getting interrupted was . . .not really a surprise so much as "unexpectedly annoying." And why it should be unexpected when the biggest reason I stopped playing my fury was due to the interrupts (and furies cast MUCH faster than mystics) is beyond me.

So anyway... my mystic is now level 49 with 49 AA's. Still have to finish Steamfont Mountains and I haven't even looked at Everfrost or Lavastorm yet. I'm thinking that once I get to those zones I will shut off the combat xp and see what I get from simply questing. Since this is my only "good" healer I've been doing the Tunare deity, but I'm thinking of swapping him over to Rodcet Nife instead. Time will tell on that. I still have to play my 80's to fund everything, ya know?

So far as EVE goes, I've run a mission or 2, sold off the loot I've accumulated over the past month or so in Jita and have been practicing scanning as well. I haven't found anymore sites in hisec, only wormholes. I've gone in and scanned down sites in the interior, but since they only take 3-5 minutes to find and the WH's all have had other ships and POS's in them, I haven't felt like it would really be worthwhile to come back in a combat ship and try to solo the sites, since I'd be easily scanned out myself. I have been surprised though ... each WH I've gone through has had an afk pilot in a frigate sitting on the 0.0 side. In 1 WH there was a Curse that went though at the same time as I did, and he killed the frig sitting there and podded the pilot as well, in the other I saw no active ships, and I'll admit I was tempted to come back in a combat vessel just to get that frig kill, but by the same token.... where's the fun in popping an afk ship?

Yes, I just said that -- my goal in EVE isn't just to get killmails... it's to have fun, and killing an afk ship isn't fun, so I didn't do it.

In the computer world.... just had a call with a guy complaining his computer doesn't work. Asked him what the error was and instead of answering the question he simply kept asking if I wanted his barcode (used to ID the thing so I can remote into it). I told him that no, I didn't want the barcode yet, I wanted to know the error. Took 4 tries before he finally told me the error -- his computer is locked by someone else.

I told him to reboot it. /rolleyes

Or last night ... it's 5:00 and we get off at 5:20, but with end of day stuff and I have to take the van we use for onsite stuff back to the garage and stuff, so I normally get off the phone at 5:00, but just as I'm hitting the button to log off the phone it rings.... so I answer it. Lady says "I need to install some drivers for my new firewire card.

People..... at the end of the day, you do NOT call the helpdesk and ask to install ANYTHING! Especially when the answer to the question "Okay, do you have the card installed already?" is "no."

Because it won't work. Hardware 1st, then software.

But she didn't believe me, so I ended up having to remote in, log in with my admin rights and show her "Oh look, installation failed due to NO HARDWARE ON THE SYSTEM NEEDS THE STUFF!!!!!!!!" Complete waste of everyone's time. I did manage to get our van back to the garage before closing, at least, but it was a near thing.

I also had a fun call yesterday from the guy who "knew" he'd saved a file he'd been working on for hours in the default temp folder for email attachments, and since we're locked down hard here he couldn't get to that folder in order to open the file again in order to save it somewhere else. Of course he'd saved it in his My Documents folder which he has complete access to. . . . .

Sometimes ya just wanna reach through the phone and strangle them, ya know?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scanning in EVE

So, I took my 2nd stab at scanning yesterday. 1st attempt was in a 0.5 system with pretty low traffic. 1st scan attempt at lowest strength gave me 3 warpable hits and 1 weak hit. I bookmarked the 3 good ones and launched more probes in order to pinpoint the last spot. I'm faster now than on my 1st try, I guess, but I'm still not "quick" by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I put a couple of scan strength rigs on my Anathema and started using Sister's probes for their innately stronger scan, and I think that helped, becuz I was quite noticeably (to myself) faster.

Anyway, the final hit turned out to be a 4/10 Guristas plex.

I don't know max ship sizes or anything, so I decided to go in with my Vengeance assault frigate. No mids, but you don't need tackle in PvE, and it's got a great armor tank, good damage and range with T2 lasers and Scorch S ammo, it's decently quick with an AB, and it's cap stable even with the armor repper and AB running too.

So... I decided to hit the 4/10 1st. I warped in and there's a whole lotta ships there, but nothing bigger than a cruiser. I don't know how the aggro mechanics work or anything, but when a bunch of ships auto-aggroed me I targeted them back and went to work. With the Scorch I've got about a 15 km optimal and 18 km effective range. As I was mocing in to range though, a lot of missiles started coming in from the cruisers. My shields melted, which is not unexpected as it's an armor-tanked ship, but then even with the repper on the armor still seemed to be dropping rather precipitously.

As this was my 1st "real combat" in an armor ship, I got worried and decided to warp out. But by the time I aligned my armor was already going up faster than down, so I tried to cancel the warp but was too slow. So yeah, I warped back in as fast as I could and, well..... it took a while. The frigate all popped in 2-3 volleys, but the cruisers took some killing. I tried getting in closer and switching to multifrequency crystals, but with my AB on and orbiting at 3km in order to get a 5km orbit inside the MF's optimal I was outrunning my own tracking. I tried closer orbits without the AB on also, but still didn't seem to hit much, so I ended up going back to about an 8km orbit and using the Scorch. I was still inder their guns and going 890-ish m/s made it so that even light missiles were only doing about 11 damage to me. Even with 8 cruisers trying to kill me, I was sitting at full armor the whole time with the repper on. That was kinda nice, really.

After the ships were all gone I switched to the MF again and took out the structures. Nothing dropped in the 1st room, but I didn't really expect it to either.

2nd room was more or less the same as the 1st, but destroying the structures netted me a nice Pith-C Kinetic Shield Amp and an 8th Tier Overseer drop.

From there it was off to the other combat sites. 1st one had 3 or 4 small waves and they died easy and the structures didn't drop anything. 2nd one had many waves. They just kept coming. Finally a single ship appeared -- faction spawn! Dread Guristas Killer. I got 1000 faction heavy missiles off that ship, plus a semi-rare DG tag. Woot!

And the 3rd site was crap again. Ah well.

Headed back to base and got into the Anathema again, and scanned a different system. Got 2 hits I had to scan down -- a hacking site and an archaeology site.

Back to base and equipped a Drake with a codebreaker and an analyzer and headed out. Hit the archaeology site 1st. Opened 2 containers -- 1 was empty and the other had some crap salvage in it. Then on to the hacking site. Opened the 1st container and 3 frigs spawned. I had full heavy missiles on, but with a TP I still 1-shot each of them. 1st container was empy too :'( 2nd and 3rd containers had datacores, decryptors, spare parts, electronic links, and. . .um. . something else I don't remember . . . in them. It was a fun morning. Not as profitable as running L4's would have been, but it was more fun, so.. . .score this one a win!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August Already?

Where does the time go?

Busy week, so only managed a couple of hours of EQ2 on the weekend. Sold a semi-expensive master spell, though, so my plat total is back into "modest" as opposed to "dang, I'm broke!" Should have a research assistant master ready for my coercer tonight too, so I'll have to remember to log in and get it and start something else, I suppose.

In the "EVE Metagame" one of my corpmates posted who in our small corp of 7 characters (6 players) has the most SP in any given training section. Surprisingly, I was highest in the mechanic section, even though I only have about 1.4 million SP there. Yeah, my corp is Caldari shield tankers, and I guess it shows. Thing was, though.. . he just said who had the most, not who had how many or whatever, so I took everyone's limited API's and plugged them into EVEMon and listed out the whole shebang for everyone. Some surprising results, really, though only internal to the corp, I would think, so I won't bore you with them here. Still, there were some general trends I found fascinating.

For example. in the Corporate Leadership section, we all have minimal anchoring skills for secure cans, but the CEO actually has gone a little farther. And since the CEO wants to be our Fleet Commander all the time, he's got tons of Leadership skills to use the warfare links when he's flying command ships also. For drones, we're all in a very narrow SP range, indicating that's about how far you gotta go to be able to use 5 Tech 2 drones and we've gone there and no farther. Stuff like that.

As to RL stuff, one of my aunts died last week so we drove up to Idaho for the funeral on Friday. Waking the kids up early so we could get there made for some crabby kids and a rather stressful drive. We got them a nice lunch before coming back, hoiping it would knock them out, but.. they just kept picking on each other and fighting the whole way until I made my wife drive and I got in the back to separate them. and then suddenly they all fell asleep now that they couldn't keep each other awake anymore. Go figure

Anyway, it was a nice service, and I saw lots of family I haven't seen in 15-20 years, so it was a nice enough day overall. Saturday I took my kids to a new waterpark that was opened this summer. My son has a fear of waterslides for some reason (in spite of the fact that the last pool we went to had a full sized one and he went on it at least 20 times), so he spent the whole time there in the wading pool and lazy river, but the girls both tried every slide at least once, and then repeated slides down their favorites. After 3 hours, though, they were cold, in spite of it being 95 degrees and sunny. I spent the whole time there under an umbrella and still managed to get a light sunburn on my arms. No idea how, but such is life.

Anyway, that's my boring post for today. Only "stupid computer" thing for today is that the print server went down and the 1st call we got about it, right after I said "I'll notify the server guys so they can start working on it" asked me "Do you have a timeframe for when it will be fixed?"

HELLO! I just told you I'm not going to be the one fixing it, so how would I know?

But of course we have to be polite, though I'll admit I was a bit blunt and thus replied "How would I have such a thing? I just told you I'll notify the server team, but how long it takes them is up to them." She seemed a bit taken aback, but . . geez. EVERY time we have an outage, the 1st question is ALWAYS "When will it be fixed?" And guess what question we do not, can not, and never will have an answer to? It's frelling annoying!

And I'm shutting up now becuz I have to take this newly imaged PC across the hall to the dropoff/pickup office so that the lady it belongs to can come get it.