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May 23, 2001 TSS in Austin TX

The Screen Savers in Austin, TX
In a help segment, an audience member asked about preventing other applications from "popping up" while playing a game. In Windows terms, this is called stealing the focus. Leo said it wasn't possible. At this point I wanted to raise my hand to be called on, but I was in my living room, not in Austin. You can use Tweak UI to fix this, and TSS did correct this in a link to an article in the show notes.

Posted by Christy at 10:49 PM

May 22, 2001 What Was That Website Again?

I keep hoping that TSS will more consistently get the websites mentioned in the show into the shownotes, or better yet, flash them onscreen. One of the most common questions on the message boards after the show is: "What was the address for that website?" In today's show, Patrick demonstrated a tip on optimizing your BIOS settings by disabling video BIOS shadowing. The link actually is accessible from the 5.22.2001 show notes, but it is buried three links deep in the article about "make your 3D gaming fly". Here's a direct link to the BIOS Optimization Guide. I will definitely be adding it to my geek links page.

Posted by Christy at 10:44 PM

May 16, 2001 Tribute to Douglas Adams

Tribute to Douglas Adams - I was shocked when I heard last weekend that Douglas Adams had passed away suddenly of a heart attack. In the late '70s, he wrote the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which is required reading for all would-be techies. He was one of the first to combine sci-fi with satire. There was also an Infocom text-based adventure game based on the book. One Christmas back in the mid-'80s, one of my cousins brought the game to play on my family's Commodore 64, and the absurdity of the situations in the game (the contortions you have to go through just to get that damn babelfish!) made it highly memorable. I thought about it a few months ago when Leo mentioned the Infocom emulator for the Palm, Frotz. In that segment, they were showing how to get the old text game Zork on your Palm handheld. I downloaded the Frotz prgram and the Zork database, and noticed how much it was like the Hitchikers game. For whatever reason, it didn't dawn on me until last week to search the internet for the game. After I downloaded it and started playing, memories just came flooding back. I decided to order the Hitchhiker "trilogy" book since it had been so long since I read it. And then by weird coincidence, a few days later, the news comes of Adams's passing. A very great loss.
Download the Frotz Infocom Emulator
Download The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game for Palm Frotz
A caution to those who have not played the game before: It can be frustrating if
you don't complete a necessary action early on in the game (taking the junk mail from the front porch, not feeding the dog, etc.) you will continue on in the game not not die for some time. So save your games often. There are also hints and walk-throughs available on the web if you search for them.

Posted by Christy at 10:41 PM

May 15, 2001 Boot-up Screens and Riot Grrrls

Custom Windows boot-up screens: A caller on the Bootcamp segment had installed the desktop theme for Myst3 and wanted to get rid of the opening splash screen, changing it back to the original Windows Me graphic. I have this theme on my computer, and there is an entry for it under Add/Remove programs. But if that doesn't work, or you have any kind of customized splash screen that you want to get rid of, look for the logo.sys file in the C:\ directory, not in the Windows folder (you need to make sure that you can view hidden files under View, Folder Options). Rename it, move it, or delete it. It is simply a bitmap graphic with particular color depth and dimension specs. When Windows boots, it looks for a logo.sys file in the C:\ folder. If it doesn't find one, it displays the default image. There are also two other related graphic files, logos.sys and logow.sys, located in the C:\WINDOWS folder. These are the "It's now safe to turn off your computer" and "please wait while your computer shuts down" graphics. The Myst3 desktop theme backs these graphics up as logs_bkp.sys and logow_bkp.sys in the same folder, so if the uninstaller doesn't work, you can restore the graphics by changing the filenames. If you want to create your own custom bootup and shutdown splash screens, has an article with instructions on how to do it.

In his top five list segment, Martin asked why they use the "grrl" spelling of "girl" on the internet. This actually does not originate on the internet but comes from the punk rock feminist "riot grrl" movement of the early 90s, and the spelling just makes "girl" sound tougher, as though she is a force to be reckoned with. Patrick probably set Martin straight about that after the show.

In a segment about removing the "browser enhancement" called GoHip, Leo also ranted about an annoying browser plug-in called Bonzi Buddy. Leo said he had trouble getting rid of it on his own computer, eventually having to go into the registry and remove all entries. It appears that the more recent version of Bonzi Buddy does come with an uninstaller. If you have an older version without an
uninstaller, according to PC Hell, you should go to, install the new version of Bonzi Buddy, and then run the uninstaller. I have not tried this myself because I do not want to contaminate my own computer, but if you have tried this fix, send me an email, let me know how it went, and I will post an update to this entry.

Posted by Christy at 10:35 PM

May 09, 2001 Kate Fills In As Cohost

Kate cohosts TSS. Great to see you again, Kate!

Kate demonstrated a good tip for a slight speed improvement to your computer. Here's a link to the article:

Faster PC Identity

Quote of the day - In reference to a news story about one person's forecast of economic disaster for small tech companies if forced to comply with online privacy rules.
Kate: "Dogs and cats, living together..."
For those who don't recognize this quote, go rent the movie Ghostbusters.

Posted by Christy at 03:25 PM

May 08, 2001 Holy Censors!

(Chose your own G-rated expletive)
, those TSS editors can be such prudes! To them it seems that mere mention of an illegal drug equals profanity. On Wednesday's show, Kate (current Extended Play host and former TSS host) was showing Leo "The Sims" game with the house party expansion pack. She had the game set for techno music, and the people in the game looked as though they were at a rave. Depending on whether you saw the live show or a repeat, Leo either said "Where's the ecstasy?" or "Where's the ________?" In the edited version it looked pretty lame when Kate responds to his comment, because the viewer has no idea what he said.

The censors did the same thing to Patrick a few weeks ago when Patrick was interviewing a guest from Wild Tangent, an online Java-based game site. The guest described how the first level of the game would be free, but then you would have to pay to get the other levels. Patrick observed, "It's like online gaming crack; the first taste is always free." Later on the repeat, "crack" was edited out. The over-eager censors on TSS should keep in mind that this makes the host look lame, because the missing word is not bleeped, just replaced with dead air. Also, if they are really so desperate to protect kids from corruptive influences, they should also edit out such evil phrases as "spam", "spyware" and "Windows ME".

Posted by Christy at 10:30 PM

May 03, 2001 Wu Tang Name Generator

The shownotes for this show and yesterday's seem to be missing on the TSS site. The notes for 5.1.2001 also seemed to be missing too, but I was able to locate them. See previous entry (5/1/2001).
Leo interviewed John Seeley Brown, formerly of Xerox Parc. He demonstrated a novel site map at Inxight. Definitely worth checking out. I really liked Jessica's featured site, Wu Tang name generator, but maybe that's because my Wu Tang name turned out to be Cybernetic Tiger. Cool.

Quote of the day: Leo and Pat discussed the court case against the inventors of DeCSS, the code invented to decrypt DVDs, originally so they could be played on Linux. But it can also be used to illegally copy DVDs. One of the lawyers for the government had the audacity to compare DeCSS code to "terrorist software that would bring a jumbo jet out of the sky killing hundreds". Incredulous, our hosts responded "Exsqueeze me, wheat did you say? I corn barley ear you."

Runner-up quote of the day: During a segment about creating an auto-run CD, Leo removes a CD from the drive too soon and causes the conputer to blue-screen. Leo apologizes for ejecting too soon. Patrick rephrases it to "premature ejection"

Posted by Christy at 10:20 PM

May 02, 2001 Art & Technology

Art&Technology: I went to the "Points of Departure show at SFMOMA and I highly recommend it. But then, it was a given that I would like it, being a technology enthusiast and art fan.

Geek Library: In this segment about the sci-fi book Ringworld, Patrick made reference to Zaphod Beeblebrox. For those who don't know, this is a character in Douglas Adams' book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a must-read for any would-be techie.

Posted by Christy at 10:15 PM

May 01, 2001 Another fun one

Quote of the day - In the opening news segment, Leo rants about how bad tech support is, keeping you on hold for hours.
Patrick: "Why do you think I became a geek?"
And as Leo said, "Exactly!"
That's how I got into computers. Years ago when I upgraded my computer to Windows 95 from 3.1, I wasted so much time with tech support for my SCSI CD-ROM drive that I embarked on learning how to take care of it myself. I think the computer hardware and software companies owe TSS some money for all the
tech support that the show has saved them.

Second quote of the day: Patrick has served up some very strong coffee to Leo. Leo sips it just off-camera, utters a cartoonish "Whoa!" and then later states "I like my coffee like I like my women: strong and bitter."

Installing a fan on an Athlon processor segment: It's great that they finally decided to do this segment. I'm looking to build my own new Athlon-based system later this year, but became very unsure about doing it myself when the hardware master himself, Patrick, managed to damage two processor while
building UGM 3.0 last February. They explained that one was damaged when the power was turned on without a heatsink installed. The other was damaged by attempting to install the fan in the wrong orientation. Tonight they showed exactly how that happened, and how to prevent the same thing from happening gain.

In summary, line up the wide gap on the fan with the wide part of the socket.

I nearly fell off my chair laughing during the Silicon Spin promo segment where the <SARCASM> vivacious </SARCASM> John C. Dvorak comes on to promote his show which immediately follows TSS. In the shot of Dvorak, they put a live shot of Leo on the monitor behind, but with a kaleidoscope/funhouse mirror distortion effect. Never missing an opportunity, Leo begins to contort behind the serious Dvorak, making hilarious twisting movements. It gets even funnier when the camera feed cuts back to Leo in the studio and you see just how contorted he's getting. Leo was definitely wearing the right shirt for this stunt.

Leo: "I didn't hear a word he (Dvorak) said."

The shownotes for this episode seem to have been misplaced. You can't find them in the shownotes archive section. I belive I manged to find them here:
5.1.2001 shownotes.

Note to TSS sound engineer: I love the effects you put in the show, but I think we could really do without the barfing sound.

Posted by Christy at 10:10 PM