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February 1, 1999 -- Previous Mailbag

It's zipping, the modern way...

From: Dark Wind
Subject: Auto-Updating can be a pain

This is partially sparked from the other letters in your mailbag, so here goes..

I -HATE- games that only have an auto-update feature. I was at a LAN party a few weeks ago, and we were played Need for Speed 3. That game ONLY has an auto-update, they don't distribute zipped patches. I had a 'net connection, (it was my LAN :-)) so I had the update. however, there were 3 people who didn't even have 'net accounts, and didn't have updated games.

Just how was I supposed to distribute the patch to them? As much as I tried, I couldn't get it to them, despite my PC being less than 10 feet away from them. I didn't want the hassle of having to set up MY net access on all their PCs, and having to throw my modem around into all of their PCs.

Half-Life was similar, but we didn't play much of that because there's only deathmatch. (Where's the co-op play?)

Hopefully the game companies can see this and start distributing zipped patches again!

Yeah, but can you operate it manually...

From: Blood
Subject: Solutions for Dunkirk (Autoupdating)

Your readers (especially Dunkirk) who dislike autoupdating will be interested in a program called InCtrl4. In an article in the latest PC Magazine "Utilities" section, they say this program keeps track of all changes to the file system and registry, and even keeps snapshots of your system before the changes so you can compare! People who don't want to pick up the issue should head over to the URL they give,

In search of the sweet spot

From: Palandar
Subject: Mailbag

I guess Halo 4 and Myth Rashkin just aren't dedicated readers of your service. Otherwise, they would know that both Thief The Dark Project and TRIBES have been listed numerous times on your page. I've seen information in mailbag, links to previews, links to reviews, etc.

I suspect the problem is that these two weren't interested in the games when you had links available. By the time they became interested, the links were already archived. In other words, they're running behind the curve. <grin>

It also appears that these two games haven't undergone the instant need for bug fixes that many games have...thus, fewer headlines. Amazing coincidence that a lack of problems and fixes leads to less coverage on the news sites. Developers should always release games with a few bugs for the extra news coverage. <wink>

I'd worry about the AntiKungFu after that crack...

From: legLess
Subject: theAntiELVIS is a Thief Pansy

theAntiELVIS sezs: Main Complaint [about Thief]: The missions shouldn't end when you reach your objective - you should have to get back out with the goods.

He's obviously a wimp. If he'd pull his butt out of that "normal" difficulty and into "hard" or "expert" he'd see that those levels *do* require one to exit with the loot.

The Quake III Arena AVI Ate My CapsLock

From: Toby Harcombe
Subject: q3arena

I d/led this (got a cable modem - took 2 min!!). I just (please excuse the crudeness) came in my pants!!!! IT LOOKS FRIKKIN AMAZING!!!!!!!! CURVED SURFACES, LIVING ENVIRONMENTS, MIRRORS!!!!! OMG!!!!! WTF ARE THEY DOING AT ID SOFTWARE?!?!?!? WHAT ALIEN TECHNOLOGY HAVE THEY STOLEN FROM THE US GOVERNMENT?!?!?!? (CANADA KICKS ASS, eh?)

Now about that damn Publisher's Clearing House

From: Adam Gifford
Subject: PVGS legality

The pvgs is probably completely legal, but the more important issue I think is whether or not it is ethical. I mean, the stated fees & prizes were $45 to enter and a $500 prize.

at this rate you need 12 people to pay the $45, and I suspect you would have a lot more(although with this entry fee you might not).

if 100 people joined, that would be $4500 total, of which 4000 I would assume go to the PVGS, while only 500 would be distributed as prize.

I didn't get a chance to read up on this, but the other possibility is that it is a one time fee of 45, and 500 for the top prize in any of multiple tournaments. In this case it would seem to be a pyramid type scheme. Every tournament would need new people to join to finance the winnings for the top players (who would probably win fairly often).

I personally would have nothing to do with any competition that had an entry fee of more than $5.

Paradigm Shift

From: Axident
Subject: SHIFT Key

I actually use the shift key for left strafing and since playing TRIBES I've invented quite a new swearwords to be used at those times when you just stop moving. They'd better bring out a patch for thing, 'cause apart from that glitch TRIBES rocks, polkas, waltzes and tangos.

Obviously a born problem solver...

From: Cliff Ray
No Subject

Looking at the option to remove the SHIFT key, I also have 12 sets of WIN95 keys if anyone wants them.

Old dogs anonymous

From: fRy
Subject: Pinky Support Group

I can't say I wish to be in the pinky support group, but I think it should be well known that there are a lot of +mlook people out here who need love, too.

Ever since Quake I -must- hold down the right mouse button (used to be for mlook)

Perhaps you'll start a revolution for people who can't break old doom/quake habits.

I should've seen this one coming

From: Craig Wessel
Subject: Pinky Debate

Blue, if you're stuck having to hold down shift with your pinky, no WONDER you can't beat Romero ;)

So who's literal-minded?

From: Mr. White
Subject: Mailbag response to the literal-minded

Counter to the intuition of one of your readers, it is possible to boil a pot of coffee with a hot sewing needle. Granted, it's not easy. First, the pot and needle must represent a perfectly closed system, or the pot will dissipate its heat faster than the needle can supply it. Also, the needle must continually supply energy to the system, or you will simply end up with a cold needle. However, if you can make these provisions, a 500 degree sewing needle will boil coffee quite well.

I write this to reiterate the theoretical legitimacy of Chris Simpson's concern with the Rage 128 chip--that, placed inside a computer, it would boil water. Of course, Sol Rujeedawa is probably still right to say "it's simply not gonna happen--" one, because Chris's computer is not a perfectly self-contained system, and two, because of the more basic and undercutting fact that it is not filled with water--but certainly not because it is unthinkable to boil coffee with a sewing needle. On theoretical grounds at least, Chris' observation still stands.

Yeah, but what about snot?

From: Bruce Geryk
Subject: Kind of irrelevant...

...but I thought I'd send a correction regarding this post:
From: Rob "Hobbes" Walsh Subject: Freezing skin

I'd like to make a correction. Skin does NOT freeze in 15 seconds at minus forty. Gimme a break. I recently went skiing in Montana and the wind chill made it minus sixty at the top of the mountain - I skied the whole day with my unhappy nose sticking out of my bundle o' clothes. Not to mention parts of my cheeks... So anyway, skin doesn't freeze in 15 seconds

Mr. Walsh is misinformed. If the wind chill were, say, -5 C, but the temperature were above freezing, water would not freeze. If you put a thermometer out in these conditions, it would register the actual temp and not the wind chill. "Wind chill" is a term that refers to how wind contributes to the body's physiological perception of the temperature, in the form of cold receptors. For example, if you touch your face in different places with a piece of ice, you will get different perceptions of cold, depending on the density of cold receptors on that part of your face. I don't know how wind chill is calculated (ask a meteorologist) but wind isn't going to change the _actual_ temperature, which is simply a measure of molecular motion.

Sorry for the irrelevant nature of this message, but flip comments about science always annoy me.

Bruce Geryk
MD/PhD candidate
University of Illinois School of Medicine and Department of Biochemistry University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign


From: theAntiELVIS
Subject: JazzBone doesn't get it

That blank space is there for us, man! Sure Blue could fill it up and completely urbanize his site - but he left that empty space so our mice would have an area in which they can run, play, and generally gambol. That space is like Central Park, an oasis of calm in a sea of nerve-wracking game tension. Sometimes I just skip down there for a little rest when all the hardware comparisons and demo announcements get to be TOO MUCH AND I JUST WANT TO TAKE A GUN AND....

Well, you get my point. Personally, I'd like to thank Blue for NOT filling that spot with yet another pimp sign for Loonygames or JediKnight.Net (has anyone ever actually used that link?), or some advertising banner that is only designed to put money in his pocket. Or, worse, yet another video card story. Papa Blue's taking care of us game Smurfs, watching out for our cramped little psyches by providing a little open space in which to mentally recreate.

Thanks, man. We all appreciate it. And hopefully that's the last word on that damned empty space.

Oh, and personally, OOTB is the FIRST place I go to on the page. I vote for putting it at the top. Besides, it's the only place we get word of Mrs. Blue, who I have heard is sort of a cross between Xena and Zsa Zsa, and it doesn't get much better than that. I mean, they could both slap my ass around and make me like it.


From: David Chase
Subject: Blank space

We've all patiently watched as the blank space at the bottom of the page has grown. We've wondered what the reason was, but trusting you implicitly we figured it was for a good cause.

However in the past couple months I've seen the problem mentioned at least twice in the Mailbag with no retort whatsoever from you. What is up? We all notice the new space yet you cavalierly (sp?) act as if nothing strange is afoot.

What is the space for? Is it a conspiracy? Is it a landing pad for aliens? The truth is out there, Blue. Help us find it...

PS - if you refuse to respond to this message we will brand you as an alien and drown you.

Whew... I thought you meant the browser cookies

From: Michael Work
Subject: About those cookies...

My brother just got home from class, which means nothing to you, except for the fact that he brought home two boxes of Girl Scout cookies: one box of Thin Mints, and one box of Samoas. Just to let you know that I'm on your side, I'm going to eat these here Thin Mints, and I ain't touchin' those tainted-by-coconut Samoas.

Oh yeah, and keep up the good work! (You must get so tired of hearing that. And you must get tired also of people saying that you must get so tired of hearing that. And so on.)