Mafia 2 Demo Review

This is a review of the demo of Mafia 2, released on the 10th of August on Steam for the PC.

First Impressions

Mafia 2 is the long awaited sequel to the 2002 Illusion Softworks (now 2k Czech) classic Mafia. It was first announced in August 2007 touting “benchmark-setting visual quality and action that you expect to see only in Hollywood movies”, since then it has had a few delays and some features have reportedly been removed.

The PC version of the game is a Steam exclusive, as is the demo that I will be reviewing, installation was fairly easy however the installation of the latest PhysX runtime caused an issue with PhysX on the target machine that I will explain later.

The demo takes place during a mission in the 50s where you must take out a mobster known as “The Fat Man”, you start out in a safe house answering a call detailing the mission and what you must do, once you leave the house you get to explore a small section of the city for 10 minutes (12:30 minutes if you die at least twice it seems) while heading to the warehouse.

Continue reading Mafia 2 Demo Review

Apache Worker MPM, mod_fcgid and ISPManager issues

Tonight I changed over from Apache MPM Prefork to Worker MPM, after learning this is generally supported by ISPManager that I run, I had already changed to using mod_fcgid for PHP, but hadn’t removed mod_php as this was going to do as I run Debian and it has to be one or the other, installation was fairly simple until I was greeted by an apache error upon first run:

Starting web server: apache2Syntax error on line 6 of /etc/apache2/conf.d/phpmyadmin.conf:
Invalid command 'php_admin_value', perhaps misspelled or defined by a module not included in the server configuration
 failed!

I quickly learned that this is because fcgi doesn’t support the php_admin_value command, so I went into phpmyadmin.conf and commented out those lines, I was then shown the same error by squirrelmail.conf, so I did the same and the server was able to start.

Continue reading Apache Worker MPM, mod_fcgid and ISPManager issues

D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.34b03 Beta

D-Link has released the 1.34b03 Beta firmware for the DIR-655 router.

Changelog:

Disabling the SecureSpot feature, the router will not query Bsecure when the feature is disabled
Statistics will not clear under “Status>Statistics”

The first fix was available in the previous firmware 1.34b02, I have found it stops connections that people have noticed the router give to the Bsecure servers when SecureSpot is not running. The second fix addresses a bug that appeared in that firmware causing the statistics page to report ridiculously high stats.

Using this firmware is at your own risk and will most likely void your warranty if something goes wrong.

Download:

D-Link DIR-655 1.34b03 Beta Firmware
or download from D-Link
MD5: 15644CB5660A27E7DC3EAF2CEA785CC7

D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.34b02 Beta and SharePort 3.0

Update 22-04-2010: D-Link have released the 1.34b03 firmware that fixes an issue with the statistics page for this firmware. Get it here.

D-Link has released the 1.34b02 Beta firmware for the DIR-655 router.

Changelog:

This code addresses disabling the SecureSpot feature.
The router will not query Bsecure when the feature is disabled.

Using this firmware is at your own risk and will most likely void your warranty if something goes wrong.

Download:

D-Link DIR-655 1.34b02 Beta Firmware
or download from D-Link
MD5: DBE6A2D2628894B3253024111307735E

D-Link has also released SharePort version 3.0 for Mac OSX and Windows.

There doesn’t appear to be a changelog but I will add one if it appears.
Add a comment below with any results you have regarding these.

Download:

SharePort 3.0 Windows
or download from D-Link
MD5: D42166F5E46E6AAA845BDC4B42EFAE32

SharePort 3.0 Mac OSX
or download from D-Link
MD5: 30B1B71D1CADC69B5C5EB4D39247F38D

The Saboteur Review

This review took a little longer than it should have.

First Impressions

At first I wasn’t too excited about the game, it looked interesting and the style was something different but I wasn’t expecting this game to really change much when it comes to a sandbox game. I only saw 2 reviews about this game before buying it and they were generally positive, they were reviewing the PS3 version however this is the PC version, I was expecting to have the usual PC issues but not as many as I eventually did.

This game seems polished at first, the animations are smooth and it has great atmosphere, the controls are easy enough to handle and the story starts off as expected, a little cheesy, but bearable.

Continue reading The Saboteur Review

Age Of Empires 2 in VMWare

Ever since I ran Hidden & Dangerous Deluxe in a VMWare Windows XP machine in order to get around Windows 7 and Vista incompatibilities I have wondered what other games this would work with and how to get it working a little easier.

I haven’t played Age Of Empires 2 or the Conquerors expansion in a while so I was surprised when after installing it and starting my first game I ended up with strange colour issues, eg, red grass and purple water, the game would also crash occasionally when trying out different compatibility modes. So I tried my Windows Vista laptop, but the same thing happened with it, I tried using Wine on my linux laptop but 9 times out of 10 it causes x.org to crash and other times it just ran too slowly.

I had since deleted my VMWare virtual machine, so I looked for a quicker option and came across this to quickly convert an XP mode virtual machine to a working VMware image usable in the free VMWare Player, in total it took about 15 minutes to get up and running and at no cost other than a Windows 7 license that can use XP Mode.

The game works fine out of the box, here’s an example:


That example was for the expansion pack but it also works fine without.

Grand Theft Auto 4 Review

We all like to relax sometimes, so here is the first of many game reviews.

First Impressions

First impressions were great, as a PS3 owner with an embarrassingly low amount of games I was ready to buy it on its first day of release, the reviews that I read praised the game for… everything, surely no game is perfect enough to score 10 out of 10 in every category?

I first started playing once I got my copy of the game fresh from eBay; the game was familiar and it was easy getting back into the GTA style gameplay. However my first issue occurred when in the opening cinematic and first missions I found myself completely blanking out when anything regarding the character’s story was involved, it just wasn’t interesting to me, but I was willing to overlook it.

Continue reading Grand Theft Auto 4 Review

Downgrade D-Link DIR-655 1.3x Firmware

I have been debating whether or not I should put this up, however after much testing I have concluded that it is safe, it works and many other people have used this method, it goes without saying that this is still quite dangerous to do as nobody knows why D-Link doesn’t allow the downgrade to take place and they may believe it can cause bricked routers.

There is firmware floating around that allows a D-Link DIR-655 to downgrade to pre-1.3x firmware (and also to other countries’ firmware), here are the results of my testing:

First I factory reset my router, it was running the 1.33NA b01 firmware, then I firmware upgraded it to the DIR655A4_FW131RUB10 firmware file that I will make available at the end, this is a modified version of an official Russian firmware, (apparently 2 bytes is all that has been changed).

D-link DIR-655 Downgrade 1
The first step, upgrade to the RU firmware

Once this was complete I was running the modified firmware, as you can see it is still in English.

D-link DIR-655 Downgrade 2
Here I am running the modified firmware

Then I was free to upgrade/downgrade to any firmware I wished, so I decided to try the official Australian Firmware 1.21 and this worked perfectly.

D-link DIR-655 Downgrade 3
Back on the Australian firmware

Here is the chklst.txt info on the firmware to prove it downgraded successfully.

D-link DIR-655 Downgrade 4
chklst.txt of AU firmware

You can download the modified firmware below:

Modified RU DIR-655 firmware

D-Link DIR-655 1.33NA Firmware final released

D-Link have been quick to release new versions of the 1.33NA firmware recently, now they have released the final 1.33NA version.

In my experience it is one of the better versions of the 1.3x firmware family, here is the changelog:

  • Fixed: Correct HNAP issue.
  • Fixed: DNS relay issue ( WAN Slowdown )
  • Added: Advanced DNS descriptions

Remember this cannot be downgraded by official means to anything pre-1.3x or other international firmwares, however you can always try the unofficial way.

You can download it here:

D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.33NA
or download from D-Link