The LAN Phenomenon

By Pete | @kingpetey | 05 Oct 2002

You may of heard about LAN parties before, whether its your friends talking about them or from a website but what really is a LAN party? And what do they involve? Well to start with LAN stands for Local Area Network, which for non computer literate people means getting computers and plugging them into each other then getting them to communicate with each other. Once you have some friends and all your computers connected you clearly need some games, some popular titles include HalfLife, Unreal and Quake though there are many other great multiplayer games out there. (post on the gaming forum if you want more help with any games)

People then sit playing games for a couple of days without sleeping and taking massive amounts of cafeen and alcohol. Now you may think why not just do all this online? Well for starters over a network the lag time is practically nothing so people on faster connections wont have a massive advantage over you, secondary LAN parties turn into big social events. In the case of the I series people from all over the UK and Europe meet up at Newbury every 3-4 months and play full on battles with each other for a wide range of games. Though this does come at a price ? entrance is around ?80 however this does guarantee you a decent network connection and the chance to play with almost 1000 other people all on one site.

However not everyone can afford vast amounts of money going round the country to different events so people quite often arrange there own mini LANs of around 15-20 people gathered in some cheap hall some where in the middle of no where. This you can see from the picture below.

Picture submitted by ga.

The hardware is important at all LANs, each person is going to need to bring a pc that they are happy with playing games on, it helps if its already setup with a network card. After that your going to need a switch or a hub and a lot of cables and plenty of power for all those computers! (a shower helps too for all those sweaty players)

Any big quake fans will know that this weekend its Quakecon in America which is now in its 7th year. This is a big chance to meet people you may have played with online before or to talk to the developers of the game. LAN parties maybe an excuse for geeks to show off their latest graphics card rather then their latest car but they are turning into multi million pound businesses so someone must be doing something right!

For more information check out these links:

Hearsay to split

By Pete | @kingpetey | 01 Oct 2002

According to the sun newspaper this morning the band hearsay are to split up. Hearsay were formed out of the hit tv show on ITV which formed the band, soon after they were launched they had to number 1s but since then they have gone down hill and the band formed from their runners up, liberty X are now doing better then them. Though liberty X have had a show start they have come up on top and have scored a number of top10 hits.

Quoted in the Sun newspaper, the band blamed public hostility and the rigours of music industry life for the break-up. This news comes less then 2 years after the band was formed. Trouble started when member Kym Marsh left in February this year, and there was controversy over her replacement. Band member Danny has not made things better, he was quoted in the Sun saying: "Hear'Say was a phenomenon at the time and people have seen us grow and evolve into pop stars. "We were just cleaners and waiters. It's been hard work and the pressure has got too much. "Two months ago we were held up by a gunman and the next day people thought we had made it up as a publicity stunt." Though exact reasons for the bands unsuccessful time is unknown but is probably due to a number of reasons.

The band have not made any proper announcement yet but after todays story somthing will have to be said.

I have been experimenting with linux for over a year now and not always with much luck. Though things seem to be getting better with the quality of the distributions and my elite skills. What people demand out of a operating system is becoming greater and greater, i couldn't have done the things that i now do in linux a year ago as the software clearly wasn't developed enough and in many cases still need developing. In some cases after installing linux today i found i could do more things easier then i would do in windows. For instance i have a couple of DivXs which refused to play in windows which after installing xine played perfectly (i finally got to watch the first episode of series 2 of enterprise) also things like gaim tabbing msn windows stops things from getting too cluttered.

Though as per usual there is a down side which every time i use linux gets smaller. I miss the integration between outlook and msn, and though gaim is a great program it misses little things like showing when people are signing in and flashing on the start bar. Also i miss how xchat doesn't flash or beep when i get messages meaning i have to check back more regularly. Another problem i have found is with icons not displaying properly when i install something, i quite often have to assign a different icon to a program when adding it to the desktop.

Though things are heading in the right direction, I downloaded netscape 7 earlier which is probably the best webbrowser after mozilla. Xine is also another great program that can play all DivXs, MP3s and DVDs - how handy, tho the program needs a few more improvements before its perfect.

Overall I'm going to stick with linux for a while because I think its a great alternative to windows which In some ways is better and in others could do with some improvements.

Greece Bans computer games

By Pete | @kingpetey | 13 Sep 2002

Earlier this month the country of Greece made a law banning all computer games. This includes all computer and console games and those played on such devices as game boys. People have already been fined large amounts of money for being caught playing or owning games. The law applies equally to visitors from abroad: "If you know these things are banned, you should not bring them in," said a commercial liaison at the Greek Embassy in London.

The Greek government introduced the law to help prevent gambling. The Greek police will be responsible for catching anyone playing a game; these people could be fined up to ?60,000 and imprisoned for up to 12 months. The Greek gaming community is still stocked by the decision and may people are angry with the government for enforcing this silly law.

A court case this week came out with a verdict that the law unconstitutional. This will certainly mean the Greek authorities will have a hard time enforcing the law. Many of the gaming community are protesting against this decision and this first court case could set an example for many more to come. A lot of people have come to realize the government was too quick in bringing in this law and had not fully looked at all the consequences to pc and console gamers.

Today it was found out that Shrewsbury 6th form college has blocked the popular chill-out and news portal ImAFish and SSFC have worked closely in the previous term to keep people up to date with important events such as the election but today it was found out that the college computer admin have had enough of ImaFish?s popularity so have blocked the site. Though efforts are being made to give access back to the college the site owners are furious that a proportion of its traffic is being diverted to its proxy server error page.

One pupil told us earlier that his studies may be effected because of this decision ?I tried to get onto ImAFish earlier to use the sites powerful search capabilities which searches multiple search engines, I found to my disappointment that the site had been blocked.?

The creators of the site feel it?s a great shame that this has happened the second day back to college and it was hoping to secure a lot more traffic from the first year students which have just joined the college. What ever happens the site will have to put up a valid argument as to why it should have its site unblocked, one suggestion was to put more academic content on to the site though the creators say already the site is used for academic purposes. These being its search capabilities and the large amount of knowledge held in its articles. ImAFish 5 that was recently launched to try to clean up the image of the site clearly has not worked.

Though its unclear if the SSFC computer admin were just worried about the site being used for non academic purposes or that they were feeling trigger happy is unknown yet. The creators will try their hardest to get the site back to the viewers of the college they will back up all their data first just incase the admin are familiar with BOFHS (