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Media Center Server

In addition to my Home Server, I also recently built a Windows Media Center server to stream live TV and act as my DVR. I currently do not pay for television, and this allows me to get broadcast television around my apartment without having an antenna on every tv. The server is running Windows 7 Professional, and a couple of media center plugins like Remote Potato and Media Browser. I particularly like Remote Potato, as it allows me to schedule recordings with my phone or any web browser. The build was pretty cheap since I ended up using some spare hardware for this, including hard drives, case, and power supply. Anyway, check out the specs below:

  • MSI AMD FM2-A75MA-E35
  • AMD A6-5400K Trinity 3.6GHz
  • Corsair XMS3 4GB
  • Hauppauge 1213 WinTV-HVR-2250 PCI-E x1 Dual TV Tuner
  • Seagate Barracuda 160GB for OS
  • Seagate Barracuda 1TB for DVR
  • ASPIRE X-Plorer ATXB8KLW-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
  • Thermaltake 450W PSU
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit


How To: Install Steam Games to Other Drives

If you are like me and have a Solid State Drive and a lot of Steam games, you might be wondering how to put most of your games on a typical hard drive while still having a few of your most played games on your SSD. Steam does not officially support installing games on different drives, but it is possible to “trick” it in a way to think games are installed in its drive when they are actually on a different one.

If you know your way around the NTFS file system you could always just set up junction points or symbolic links. For the rest of you, there is a nice utility called “SteamTool Library Manager” that will configure all of that for you. Of course there is always a chance that something could go wrong, so be sure to read up on all the instructions posted at the program’s website.

Hopefully installing games to different drives will be a supported Steam feature in the future, but for now this is a pretty easy way to make it work.



New Teamspeak Server

We have a new Teamspeak server now. In the past we have had been using the Advent Exodus Ventrilo server as well as a Teamspeak server donated to Noobs Paradise by Largo. However the Advent Exodus Vent is generally pretty crowded, and the Noobs Paradise Teamspeak has been unreliable lately. I want to thank both of them for allowing us to use their servers, but its time we got our own.

We are starting out with a basic Teamspeak 3 server, and are watching to see how it goes. If it turns out that we need more slots, the server can be upgraded pretty easily.

You can connect to the server at: ts.neutralx2.com:9999

Alternatively, you can grab the IP below:



Xfire Updating Software

Xfire, the instant messaging/social network service for gamers recently raised $4 Million From Intel Capital, and is now an independent company again. A little over a year ago, Xfire was acquired by Titan Gaming, and since then development on the software has been pretty slow. Client updates have been few and far between, and new game support was outsourced to a team of community volunteers instead of being developed and tested in-house. As a result of the capital injection, Xfire is now flying solo again, and they have some big plans for the software in the future.

They are already testing a beta build of the client that supports in-game rendering for DirectX 10 and 11. This means that Xfire will start working with modern games, allowing you to chat, take screenshots, record video, and broadcast live gameplay all from the Xfire overlay that appears on-top of the game. They are currently testing with World of Warcraft (DX11), The Lord of The Rings Online (DX10/DX11), Dungeons & Dragons (DX10/DX11), and Battlefield 3 (DX10/DX11). If all goes well, expect to see a lot more newer games supporting XIG.

They are also focusing on fixing some of the social network features. Xfire has a network manager feature that allows you to chat on other networks such as AIM, MSN, and Twitter. However since it was first implemented, some of the protocols have changed, creating issues with the Xfire client. Fixes are promised, as well as support for additional networks.

Overall, it seems like it is a good time to be an Xfire user, and they want your feedback. If you currently use Xfire, take a few minutes to complete this survey and let them know how you feel about it.

Now to go download that beta client so I can get Xfire working in Battlefield 3.



The Evolution of Programming Languages

I ran across this image over at Rackspace. I found it somewhat amusing. I especially love the code sample they provide for Java.

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