Increasing Demand, Networking, and Scanning

If you have been reading this for a while (or you know me) you know I enjoy video games — I wouldn’t call myself a “hard core gamer”, but, I enjoy playing when I have some time to spare. I have been watching the information about the pending release of the Xbox 360 and it appears that Microsoft may have decided to limit the shipped number of units (I have heard 400,000 mentioned?) to artificially increase demand. It has also been mentioned that people who pre-ordered (from places like Gamestop and EBGames) may not get the system as soon as they thought, maybe having to wait months. To make this even more humorous, supposedly some of the games for the 360, from what I have read, are actually being released this week. People might be buying games today or tomorrow that they cannot play for weeks (definitely) or months (maybe?). In my opinion this is a dumb move by Microsoft. With the PS3 possibly still a year away, Microsoft should be getting as much market share as possible now. I had thought about pre-ordering but I am now glad I didn’t. Best Buy has a pre-order right now where I can get a 360 Premium, Madden 2006 (which I don’t care about), and maybe a second controller for $509. This has got to be at least $30 over retail. I have decided to stick to my guns. I may go into a store at 10am on Nov. 22nd to see if I can get a 360, but, I will not pre-order and I will not do a midnight madness event. I will not stand in long lines. I will not play their reindeer games for a system with (as of now) no reviewed games – I don’t even know what game I would want for it and I am not buying a system just to have a system.

More pressing than the 360 (at least to me) is that the networking on my desktop computer at home has been uber-flakey as of late. The symptoms are this: when I first boot up everything works fine. After a relatively short amount of time (5-30 minutes? usually about 10-15) I can no longer get to any web sites on the Internet (i.e., requiring DNS). I can ping anything I have an IP address for. VNC, file sharing, etc. from other machines into the desktop machine works fine. Using my desktop machine I can connect to my router (by IP address). It appears that no name services will works. I have tried all the ipconfig DNS flushing, repairing, renewing, etc. I have tried removing the devices and re-adding it, changing between DHCP and static. I have tried installing a new network adapter. I even went as far as reinstalling the operating system. After I reinstalled the OS it appears to work correctly for a while, but, in the process of reloading software and Microsoft updates it started behaving badly again. I have disabled services that have to do with DNS caching and other networking. I have modified my DNS settings using TCPOptimizer. I am SO frustrated with this and don’t know where to go next. Now, this morning, my primary hard drive appears to be failing. So, I have backed up stuff (agaig, this time to another drive) and am in the process of getting ready to reinstall for the second time in half a week. I will be taking the current disc out completely. I will install the OS and some core software and then making an image of the disc (while the image is still a reasonable size) so I can experiment some more. Dang. Very frustrating.

Finally, I need to get everything back to working correctly because I am going to undertake a relatively large project shortly after Thanksgiving. I will be getting the box of my mom’s recipes and scanning them all in. Ultimately, I hope to have them all scanned well before Christmas and even plan to push them up to Flickr. I have ordered an Epson Perfection 1670 Photo scanner. This scanner seems to get really good reviews, is supposed to have good image quality and be quite fast (USB 2.0). I got a really good deal on it. I may sell it after I finish the project as I generally have very little need for a scanner. Maybe I will teach Deb how to use it and scan in some of our old photos as well.

Enough for now.

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