On Deck: Metroid

My first experience with Metroid, like many, came with Super Metroid. But it hooked me. I worked my way backwards and played Metroid II, then the original on the NES. Admittedly, I got out of console gaming for a while, and I haven’t touched the Prime or Fusion sagas, but I think it’s time.

That’s not entirely true. I had a Gamecube for a short while in college. I began Metroid Prime, but I actually got stuck very early on, and never finished it. And I, more recently, played some of Metroid: Other M on the Nintendo Wii, but got sidetracked by an avalanche of Xbox 360 games I had been wanting to play. It’s time to get back to some great games. I think on deck for this weekend will be finishing Other M. Then, perhaps I can focus my time on the Metroid Prime trilogy. I have to do something while I pass the time waiting until Halo 4 is released, and the Star Citizen Kickstarter campaign ends!

Why I think people will move "back" from cloud computing

They times… are they really a-changin’? I’m the first person on to any technology band wagon. Yes, I already pre-ordered my WindowsRT tablet. Yes, I pre-ordered the Wii U, and the Ouya. I have a lot of my own data stored in “the cloud” and use multiple cloud computing services. Yes, I’m running the Windows 8 RTM and always have beta versions of OS’s on practically all of my devices. But being a technophile and getting wrapped up in the latest and greatest, doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe all of the hype and buzz words in the industry. Continue reading “Why I think people will move "back" from cloud computing”

Justin.TV requires flash? Use jViewer for Windows Phone 7!

As I’ve discussed before, I’m a big fan of TWiT.TV – I watch several of the shows live, whenever I can. The problem is, all of their live streaming partners, at least right now, use Flash for their video players. This makes it difficult when you want to watch on your Windows Phone 7 device, without having to buy a 3rd party app.

Luckily, TWiT streams, along with thousands of others at any given time, using Justin.TV. jViewer Free solves the problem by allowing you to find the channel and stream it at will! You can even record streams to watch them later! The paid version is ad-free, but the free version is otherwise feature-complete. So check the apps out and enjoy!

How to Shutdown and Restart Windows 8

It’s a basic question, but on current generation hardware, there is no basic answer! On tablets you’ll expect to see power buttons and some of the ‘gestures’ to open menus might make sense, but on a desktop PC, Windows 8 is so different that people are asking how do I shutdown my Windows 8 computer? Well, luckily, it’s not much more difficult than it was to learn that you had to click on Start, to shutdown your computer. Remember, back in 1995, THAT was unintuitive!

The fastest way to shutdown a Windows 8 computer is by bringing up the Charms menu. This can be done by placing the mouse in the lower right hand corner of the screen, OR by using the hotkeys: Windows Key + C. Once the menu pops up in the right hand side, click on Settings, then Power, then you can choose to Shutdown or Restart the computer (other options like Sleep or Hibernate may also be available, depending on your configuration).

It sounds like a lot, but it’s still just a couple of clicks, just like clicking start, then shutdown, then shutdown, again like Windows XP or Windows 7.

Space Above and Beyond – the sci-fi series you DIDN'T watch

As you probably noticed from some recent gaming posts, I was a big fan of Wing Commander growing up. But the Wing Commander movie was boring at best, and the Wing Commander animated series was busy rewriting backstories of characters I already knew and loved.

For the sci-fi geek in me, the best “space fighter-pilot jock” action for my dollar always came from Space Above and Beyond. This TV series constantly gave you the intensity of being in the cockpit, while developing characters and backstories you come to know intimately: the members of the 58th Squadron. Although planned for five seasons, only the first ever aired and the show was prematurely canceled, just like everything else we Sci-Fi fans enjoy. But those 24 episodes are some of my favorite stories ever told, and you can tell they had some higher hopes planned for the series.

I would highly suggest anyone looking to fill that “Wing Commander” shaped whole in their life while waiting for Squadron 42 should take a look at Space Above and Beyond – The Complete Series. It’s not a game, but it is immersive.

How long does the Xbox 360 warrany last: Answer & how to check YOUR warranty!

Sometimes you need to get a little help from the service center. It’s okay, that happens. But before you call Xbox Support, it’s nice to know if your console is under warranty. The standard warranty for a brand new Xbox 360 is one year. You can check your warranty status at myservice.xbox.com.

A whole host of other questions, regarding the Xbox 360 warranty, are answered by Xbox Support.

Star Citizen – Squadron 42 – crowdfunding has begun!

As I mentioned last week, Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts was going to announce a new game. And as I predicted, it was big. A hybrid of a game, one that we probably won’t see for at least 2 more years. And it breaks down in to two parts. The first part is a single player campaign: Squadron 42. If the full version of the game launches, you’ll be able to skip this right by, if you want… but most players will complete a massive story line driven campaign, which is primarily single player. I say “primarily,” because during his GDC presentation, Chris announced that he wanted to implement real-time “drop-in / drop-out” multiplayer, where people on your friends list can jump in, perhaps at your request, and help you complete a difficult mission. The Squadron 42 story arc is designed to be branching and expansive, just like every prior Wing Commander game. The specifics have not been detailed, what enemy we’ll be fighting is still a bit of a mystery.

The online part of Star Citizen will allow you to be a merchant, a mercenary, a pirate, or even continue your life in signing up for more tours of war, or being recalled to active duty. As the universe expands, players to successfully achieve certain goals can have pieces of the universe named after them. You could even design and sell some of your own ships at some point! The game allows so much creativity, and such a wide-ranging experience, almost anybody could find something to enjoy.

Roberts has already stated that this game will be designed for the PC, and is going to push the limits of the platform like they’ve never been pushed before. He wasn’t completely opposed to consoles, but with this generation as stagnant as it has gotten, it’s made him decide to set off on this mission to prove that PC gaming isn’t dead, nor is the Space-Sim genre, and the players who support space-sim’s on PC’s certainly aren’t dead, either!

Now comes the hard part. All of this will only come true, he can only be proven right, if we help. Star Citizen has begun a Crowd Funding Campaign, on their own website, taking sites like KickStarter and IndieGoGo out of the mix. And their goals are lofty. $2 million to complete Squadron 42’s campaign, and around $5 million to get the full on Star-Citizen, persistent, real time Wing Commander universe, online experience. There are various rewards and tiers, like we’re used to seeing on crowd funding sites. I haven’t decided on the amount, yet, but I know for a fact I am going in on this. Wing Commander is the game that made me a PC gamer for such a long time. Hopefully another Chris Roberts game makes PC gaming relevant to me once more. You can bet I’ll be on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com and making my donations.

Did you know there was a Microsoft Community?

Answers.Microsoft.com serves as a community hub for most of Microsoft’s products. It’s a great place for those who need help to get it, and those willing to take a little time and offer some expertise can volunteer their assistance! Whether you want to know about Office (even for Mac), Windows Phone, viruses and malware, even just the latest on Windows itself, the community is there to answer your questions 24 hours a day. I’m just beginning to get more active, there, and hope to see you around!

Outlook asking for password: "Welcome Back to…"

Since I didn’t have an app for you this week, how about a special edition of “From The Help Desk.” Today is a problem we’re seeing, live and “on the ground” right now. Outlook users are getting a pop up window, prompting them for their credentials. The Window would say “Welcome Back to servername…” Even if you enter your credentials correctly (DOMAINUSERNAME & password), you then receive an error message that Exchange isn’t responding.

The bad news: this is not something the Outlook user can fix. The good news: it is very easy for your server administrator to fix.

All I did, as the server administrator, was log in to the server, and click Start, then Run then typed: services.msc. Then, the easiest thing for someone new to administering an Exchange server to do is to is look for servers with a Startup Type of Automatic but with a Blank status and start them. I was able to quickly see that the Microsoft Exchange Information Store and Microsoft Exchange System Attendant were not started on the server. Once I started those two services, I had the users close and re-open their Outlook clients. Issue resolved.

The precise cause is, as yet, undetermined, but this happened on multiple Windows Small Business Server computers over the last few days.