* Posts by T_o_u_f_ma_n

37 posts • joined 25 Jul 2013

Ireland looks like it's outpacing Britain in the superfast broadband rollout stakes

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Official announcement from the ministry of propa... communication

Ironically it is always the ministry for communications which promises results within an aggressive 3-4 years time frame yet somehow always fail to deliver the 1st part of the program before said time frame has actually passed. No communication is ever issued when it is clear to all that the plan pathetically failed: the ministry of truth, more like. In Ireland, the former communication monstrosity responsible for delivering the infrastructure, Eircom, sat on its laurels for years ripping off customers with high prices for a rubbish connection (Euro 60 per month for a 2 Mb ADSL or ISDN download speed with mandatory landline back in 2005) while the competition was pushing for fiber and cable connections in the big cities. Sadly if it wasn't for NTL/Chorus/UPC/Virgin (whatever the heck they're called this month) and a couple of smaller ISP, even the greater Dublin or Cork areas would still cry for a decent 20Mb link for home customers.

The UK needn't worry, your rankings are safe. Count on total inability to deliver on plan to mess this up and that's even before our politicians get involved with it.

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Samsung Note 7: Probably the best phone in the world. Yeah – you heard right

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Unhappy

Re: Still using my Note 2

Congratulations on getting Marshmallow working on it: I had failed to locate a suitable replacement for the latest Kitkat 4.4.3 update which was pushed to regular users 2 years ago. Even Cyanogenmod gave up on the Note 2 so I decided to buy a new phone instead. Can you still use the pen and note after the update ?

Sadly Samsung cannot be bothered with releasing security updates for their flagship models after a couple of years so that's why I couldn't be bothered with their hardware this time around, despite the features and the quality. Planned obsolescence and all that jazz... I expect the Note 7 to become unsupported quite quickly which is unacceptable at the Apple-like prices they will sell.

7
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Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

T_o_u_f_ma_n
IT Angle

France has a peculiar approach to integration and the French language is most definitely seen as a vehicle and a proof that one wishes to become French.

The fact that the locals insist on having the language imposed on the rest of the world is however quite retarded. Many countries in Europe actually encourage learning other languages from a young age as the Dutch, Danes, Swedes, etc... could attest and this is probably the most open minded approach in a globalized world. Sadly other countries still struggle with even bilingualism: definitely France, Spain, Italy... and the UK.

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T_o_u_f_ma_n

There is nothing like a couple of batsh*t crazy nationalists stirring up some ol' reliable xenophobia for the entire population of the country they come from to get tagged with the same label.

As if people would call British people racists because of a single refere...oh wait

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Well, when you do something and Trump, Le Pen, Hofer and Wilders praise you - you know, you've done the wrong thing..

FIFY

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Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Hopefully Brexit...

>* I want Ireland out of CTA and into Schengen, which will never happen unless the UK breaks away

> (personal reason).

Sure why not. Could we have that bit of the north of the island back then since you're done with it ?

Thanks a mill'

Lee Prechaun

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2
T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: I don't much care...

If numbers are your concerns, you may want to stop electing politicians who only worry about short term gains for their landlord pals and couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery when it comes to housing and planning. By the way, this isn't a UK only issue: other European governments display the same absence of foresight on these matters and all these issues are local. EU membership or none, the problems will remain, no matter what power and influence on immigration governments pretend they wield.

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Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Two things spring to mind

Well, OK then. If it is a third party generic component, then Samsung should direct the customer to said component manufacturer to obtain an updated driver.

If it is Samsung's own components then it is their responsibility for issuing updated drivers.

In both cases, just pointing the finger at Microsoft isn't terribly helpful, unless MS buggered the driver layers in Windows 10 so badly that neither generic drivers nor Samsung's work any longer.

I was only making the point that Samsung cannot be bothered with updating firmware for their own SoCs in their own (flagship) phones/phablets/tablets that they produce themselves. That shows they have hopeless after sales support for even their best products. The complexity of the product is irrelevant: if they make it, it is their responsibility to support it.

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T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Two things spring to mind

While Samsung often produce great hardware their device support rarely extends beyond the original driver or firmware available at the time of purchase. Based on their support of Android for Galaxy devices, I'd argue the chance of dedicated Windows 10 drivers ever materializing is rather slim: it isn't like Samsung laptops are that common either... They would rather you spend money on some of their newer hardware instead ! "Would you like a Samsung S Tab to replace that ancient laptop you have there ?"

Having said that your point 1. is spot on.

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Ireland's tax arrangements are as clear as a pint of Guinness

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Just get rid of corporation tax

To reform tax on a global level, one would need to also reform company law in multiple locations at the same time. Corporations have the ability to become themselves limited shareholders of shell companies in many different locations by simply paying basic registration fees and listing a few individuals as directors/secretaries. It is fairly cheap for a global corporations to create a network of loosely owned firms which have no other purpose but to reduce their global tax exposure or to hide losses or to hoard cash etc.

The concept of Corporation Tax has not evolved quick enough to deal with what a Corporation was allowed to become.

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Is Dublin becoming as unaffordable as San Francisco?

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: It's not that bad.....

€ 150,000 would get you a nice garden shed in Dublin 2 or Dublin 4 for sure. However I would expect people to be mostly interested in concrete and longer term accommodation.

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T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Dublin getting unaffordable?

Developers are able to bypass mandatory quotas for affordable housing by paying upfront fees to the councils. It is in the interest of the councils to keep prices high so that the locations remain attractive to the wealthier parts of the population and so that amounts of property taxes collected (one of their income source) stay high too.

The massive amount of fire sales which happened between 2009 and 2014 through NAMA were to financial conglomerates which were all too happy to purchase cheap estates in cash at the time when banks would not lend to individuals and families. Now these flats and houses are rented at high yields, pushing prices upwards due to the lack of affordable options.

Added to that the absolute failure of successive governments to plan and build a decent public transport infrastructure covering the whole city (as opposed to a single north south stretch and the city center only) and you have a capital where prices are artificially high and with very poor value for money. It's like 2005 all over again.

Fine Gael and Labour had a shot at fixing the mess after the crash and they absolutely dropped the ball when it comes to housing.

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Pint

TFI Friday

That's how I like my Dabbs... Utterly stark raving mad. Just the way I feel when a web browser refuses to handle even the simplest of webpage for unknown reasons.

Err... Obligatory question... Have you tried Firefox ?

Have a beer

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AVG to flog your web browsing, search history from mid-October

T_o_u_f_ma_n
FAIL

Re: sign of the times

The sad news is that I actually pay for AVG and there is no confirmation that my computer will not get included in that data slurping experiment. However even if it isn't the case I will definitely switch to another paying AV software before the deadline. Bye bye AVG...

3
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Back to school: Six of the smartest cheap 'n' cheerful laptops

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Thumb Up

Re: If you can't afford a mac, don't want a chromebook, then . .

I own a customised version of this baby: the chassis is very nice, rather MacBook like and PC Specialist provide good support. However the touchpad and audio let down the whole package somewhat.

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T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Windows for students: just say no

In 2015 I wouldn't call the £ 750 price tag for a 11" screen, 4GB, 128GB SSD MacBookAir remotely good value for student money though. Despite the build quality and battery life, it has zero upgrade potential because all pieces are soldered and the proposed 128GB of storage is just very limited. Also unless I'm mistaken Applecare support only covers the basics for one year and everything else is optional (and costly).

However there is truly a gap in the cheap laptop market that no Windows laptop currently covers well IMO, hence the success of Chromebooks.

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Ten extreme data centres. OK...nine

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Black Helicopters

If you have nothing to photoshop...

Wasn't that "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" quote on the Utah centre sign famously 'shopped ?

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French say 'non' to Netflix, reveals entertainment report

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Happy

Re: URL?

You must be new here... References to frogs, cheeses, baguettes, garlic and berets are allowed in French matters on El Reg since they merely bring about a just as stereotyped French shrug in reply. As long as the roastbeefs do not invade, nobody carees over there.

Are Netflix programs dubbed in French or subtitled ? Therein might lie the problem...

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Uninstalled Google Photos? Thought your pics safe from slurping? WRONG, bozo

T_o_u_f_ma_n
FAIL

Google like Farcebook succeed at being so opaque about what they do with one's data that users eventually give up trying to rationalise their behaviour. Google Photos which I have not installed on my Android phone now shows as a separate app from my Google+ account (which I hardly use) and contain *some* pictures called "moments" grouped in "collections" which I have NEVER asked for. There is no option to disable these "collections" apart from going through each and everyone of them to delete them. Honestly Google PFO.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

T_o_u_f_ma_n
FAIL

Surely "Gigli" cannot be as bad as these ones ?

There are just too many other contenders to name...

"Lust. Caution" was a particular artsy fartsy waste of time despite all the awards it got.

"The Mist" still stands as an over acted, poorly scripted, desperate Hollywood attempt at adapting a Stephen King's novel into a horror movie.

I'm still owed about 2 hours of my life watching "Marley & Me" which (for reasons I can only explain by biology) seems to be ranked as a classic tearjerker by most women I know...

Dog is born -> Dog acts silly -> Dog dies... What the f*** is there a need for a movie to tell that ?

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Netflix: Sacre vache! French resistance from the vestibuleurs de consommation

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Another reason for Netflix Difficulty

You can either employ people to dub (often badly) other countries' shows and TV movies into French or hire local actors, production crews and TV presenters to create homegrown programs in French.

Oftentimes the quality of the end product is the same however one solution offers better prospects of employment for a whole industry than the other...

The law is a subsidy in disguise but I don't think the average quality of TV shows would suddenly rise if/when this particular law is repelled. There is an awful lot of cr*p on English spoken TV channels around the world too.

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Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: VLC

I used to swear by VLC on Windows (and I still use it on Android) but it no longer works straight out of the box for me on some rather common formats (Wave for audio, .MP4 for video). Other players handle the files without the audio/video desync or the constant stutter so I've leaned towards MPC-HD and MediaMonkey/Foobar2000 for my needs. I'm not 100% sure what changed or whether I somehow borked my install (and subsequent updates) but I had to abandon VLC as my single goto software for all things audio/video...

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Trollface

Quality vs Convenience

"Well if you cannot tell the difference maybe FLAC isn't for you ?"

More seriously it so depends on the circumstances in which music is listened to.

On a car stereo or through earphones on a busy train commute, arguing over the best quality lossy format versus a standard lossless format is probably pointless. Background noises will probably have a noticeable impact on your listening experience, regardless of the quality of the speakers or earphones involved.

As soon as better listening conditions are taken into account, the difference in quality will become more obvious. To what extend will also depend on the musical styles involved, how trained your ears are to the instruments played or how often you've played the songs in the past.

MP3, AAC, OGG VORBIS were always driven by convenience and concerns over size. Now that broadband Internet access is more common and that portable audio devices have bigger/faster storage space, audio quality can become relevant again... for the ones who care.

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Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Meh

Re: So, for people like me that still get good use out of theirs

While phones + memory cards are an alternative, their absolutely terrible acoustics and dreadful battery lifes make them unsuitable to replace a dedicated portable music player (yet) IMO. My Note 2 + 64GB can hold my music library in .ogg format but even with the excellent Media Monkey I still find my old Cowon S9 to be far superior in sound quality and to last much longer out of one full charge.

The death of the iPod may be just the sign that people have replaced the actual quality of their listening experience with the convenience of carrying one device.

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Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Meh

>UKIP's policy is to trade with the whole world and to allow controlled immigration from the whole >world rather than the current system of giving preference to the EU and allowing the EU to enforce >protectionism against the rest of the world on our behalf. How does that give an outlet to insularity?

The insularity comes from the belief that the UK could achieve better trading terms with the rest of the world as a separate entity than as part of a huge trading block. It might be possible in some cases but other countries might decide that a potential market of 64 million people isn't as interesting as a market worth 550 million people.

As for controlled immigration, it is just an argument for segregation by nationality stemming from xenophobia. If UK companies find better candidates outside of the EU, there is nothing that forces them to give preference to EU candidates. It just happens to be easier to hire nationals from EU countries because of the abolition of visa requirements. The difference in labour rates between EU nations is actually a boon for UK companies since it is as close to free market conditions as they could expect.

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Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro

T_o_u_f_ma_n
FAIL

Re: Still too expensive

Both Microsoft and Apple try to shove their own suite of programs down the throat of their users but somehow the Apple experience is rated higher and people are prepared to justify a little price premium for it. Apple has the advantage of supporting a more limited range of hardware which affords it better control and integration with its software. Still how can someone deal with using iTunes on a daily basis is beyond me: here's one piece of bloatware that I cannot stand and yet appears to be the gateway to all things Apple...

The truth is that the low end Apple packages have become more attractive and affordable lately compared with what PC OEM can offer at nearly the same price: battery life, screen quality, weight and integration with other pieces of branded hardware definitely show Apple as leader.

Users may not be concerned with what OS their machine runs but when the OS becomes an hindrance to doing basic stuff then suddenly a 100 quid more for a little piece of mind or ease of use seems like a trivial expense, especially for parents. Microsoft truly killed a whole upgrade cycle when introducing Windows "hate" and I can see Apple earning some market shares as a result of that.

Still I'm unlikely to switch as long as a decent video game rig from Apple costs an extra 1,000 quid more than a Windows PC.

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YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Fine

I think you overestimate the sensibilities of the average Internet user. Unless the other video websites you mention get a significant edge on Youtube feature wise, I cannot see a massive transfer of users happening.

There are ample amounts of people who put up with corporate trash on TV, radio and yes on the Internet too. It is actually quite amazing what people put up with when they think they use a superior service or product (e.g. Farcebook, Gmail, Flash, etc...)

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NSA: Inside the FIVE-EYED VAMPIRE SQUID of the INTERNET

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Black Helicopters

Hilarious

Ah sure Ireland is safe from all that... If the country had strong trade ties with the UK, some form of historical dissidence within its population or was hosting several US IT multinationals then yeah I would be concerned.

Hang on...

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Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Am I the last person on Earth...

There isn't much money to be made out of a web browser. Ask Opera. If there was a premium version of FF available, what features would it include ? Since it is already ad-free (so far), the Mozilla foundation can only rely on donations and revenue from ads via searches to keep itself going.

It's the perennial question: how to make enough money from Free Software to sustain the organisation without losing its ethos ? How can the Mozilla foundation stay independent from monetary influence by bigger players while still staying solvent ?

0
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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Conservative

Actually wasn't that comment about being "conservative" made by the interviewer ?

No matter how "passionate" users might be about the interface they were forced to use for nearly 20 years (!), one could hardly expect them to suddenly welcome such a sharp learning curve when they're trying to get their daily job done. Very few people care about the OS version they run on their computer as long as it doesn't get in the way of simple tasks: sadly getting in the way is exactly what Metro does. And please do not tell me to amend the registry or install an add on to disable parts of the interface. How does that even make sense to people who use mostly MS Office and Internet Explorer at work and have been doing so (by no choice of their own) for years ?

I tried installing "Dropbox" on Windows 8.1 after downloading the installer from the Dropbox website. It would get stuck on "Initialising" for several minutes... Only after I searched on Google did I learn that one had to install it from the Windows Store. Would Microsoft expect all users to figure that one out ? If it has to be installed a specific way, maybe signalling that to the user would help...

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Xenon: Bitmap Brothers' (mega)blast from the past

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Thumb Up

Classic games from a classy act

The Bitmap Brothers alongside a few other software houses like Thalion and Psygnosis were truly pushing the limits of what Atari and Amiga machines could produce. I have great memories of playing Xenon 2, Gods and Speedball 2 on my Atari 520 ST for hours. The attention to details and the quality of the end products were just amazing considering the limited capabilities of the hardware/software at their disposal. It wasn't just the graphics and the music, it was also the smart gameplay and sweet difficulty curve built in these games that made them so memorable.

The Chaos Engine came out just as Atari were fading away and PC games started taking over: it was the end of an era since it would take years (in my book) for PC hardware and software to truly match that golden age of gaming.

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French novel falls foul of Apple's breast inspectors

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: And this is censored......

In the case you mention, it was self censorship on the part of the publishers according to the writers of South Park who got involved in the game development. I agree with you that it is very odd but again Europe is still a very fragmented market where laws on abortion for instance differ greatly. I'm not sure that everyone in Ireland or Spain would get the jokes... But then again whoever buys a South Park game or video should really be aware of the content.

As far as banning a show of breasts on a book cover, it just seems really OTT. Anybody walking into a museum would be able to get exposure to women's bodies in various degrees of nakedness through sculptures, paintings and other pieces of art. Hardly the same material as your average Max Hardcore hard back cover magazine.

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Big Brother

Re: re: hate for ID

I find it quite ironic that Britain has this historical hate of ID cards while every corner of every street in the country is constantly under CCTV surveillance. Surely if the people are truly free to do what they want, they wouldn't authorise everyone to film their whereabouts ? Who's worried about having their picture on a laminated card when a quick scan through the last hour of CCTV footage can positively track you around the place ? Never have I been feeling more spied on that when transferring through Heathrow and getting very nearly anal-probed by the security staff there... It's like not having an ID card is seen as the last bastion of privacy in a country where there is scarcely any left in the first place.

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Thumb Down

Sorry can't agree there...

Are we truly discussing buy/sell transactions made by human beings here or the billions of transactions done by bots in milliseconds over the tiniest of price difference ? Bubbles do exist as a result of both human and automated agents following trends like sheep. Theories and models in economics always try to come up with some rationalised excuses for the behaviours of the masses but usually miss out on a key element of human psychology: imitation. If raising a tax on transactions is the only way to have agents say "Hang on a sec..." or stop buying/selling en masse for short term gains, it should be supported. Any FTT that redirects some of the revenue of said speculation (as gambling is commonly known in financial circles) to state coffers is ought to be welcomed with open arms.

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In defence of defenestration: Microsoft MUST hurl Gates from the Windows

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Always a PC

Unless a sizeable share of companies still running XP / Office '97 decides to either completely switch to a different OS / Productivity Suite (which is time/money consuming) or to give up entirely on getting support from Microsoft by not upgrading (which is risky and potentially expensive from a security point of view), Microsoft still has THAT potential population of users to get upgrade money from. So financially Microsoft still has a captive audience which (willingly or not) is likely to spend money on their products. Maybe some will not upgrade but companies are scared of losing application support and/or spending money re-training users on new systems so a majority will. Whether said products actually improve the business is sadly irrelevant once a client is stuck in the upgrade-because-of-obsolecence cycle...

While this is a lucrative cycle to be stuck in for MS, they haven't been able to ring-fence another market just as well or leverage their desktop advantage into other areas: they've lost the lead pretty much in anything else they attempted to breach in and that is what makes investors uneasy. While they can afford to mess up in the short term because of their deep pockets, they seem to have lost the technological lead and that could cost them dearly in the next 5 years. They may not fade away as quickly as RIM-Blackberry, but Microsoft seem to be quite a dysfunctional entity nowadays (and not just because of Ballmer / Gates) so they would need to be successful in "something else" than just desktop to satisfy their shareholders and guarantee their long term survival.

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

T_o_u_f_ma_n

Re: Cd wallets

I also found that CD wallets were the most sensible way to deal with the ever increasing size of my collection a few years ago. Obviously I would have loved to keep all the cases and display them on shelves library style but it just proved too bulky once I reached 200 plus CDs. Jewel cases just add a lot of extra plastic to your collection for no convenience at all in return. One cannot compare the ease of carrying a wallet around with physically moving a shelf and all its content. Plus as SeanEllis pointed out, they're dirt cheap.

Converting all actual CDs to FLAC (for archiving) and Ogg Vorbis (for mobile audio) however is just taking a little longer than I would have liked... I would recommend dbpoweramp and EAC on Windows to whoever wishes to deal with such massive undertaking but ripping an entire CD collection is by no means a quick venture.

0
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Unreal: Epic’s would-be Doom... er... Quake killer

T_o_u_f_ma_n
Happy

Re: re Half Life

Half Life was in a league of its own and I played it back to back with Unreal around 2000 / 2001. There are more sustained action sequences in Unreal than Half Life and the storyline is delivered in less subtle ways. Half life truly grabs you straight from the introduction and never lets go !

Both had memorable atmospheres though and Unreal's music and sounds were truly fitting of the otherwordly settings. Apart from the aforementioned "tunnel" sequence, my best memories of Unreal involve the Dark Arena where one faces a titan for the first time, visiting the Skaarj infested human ship, the build up to reaching Nali Castle and finally seeing and entering the mothership a the end. As far as single player FPS are concerned, both games are benchmarks for me. Both spawned great multiplayer games. I never got into the more basic FPS like Serious Sam or more complex games like Deus Ex.

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