I take Saturday off from writing and other creative work so I can play games and spend time with family. So Sunday is an important day for me. I need to write my Escapist columnI could write it sooner, but I’ve been burned too many times with news stories that changed over the weekend., edit the Diecast for Monday, and (ideally) also write a post for Sunday. So naturally Sunday is when Everything Always Goes Wrong.
I just needed to write. To write, I wanted my music. But my speakers weren’t working. Like, Windows audio mixer claimed they were. You could see the little bars jumping up and down as the audio played. The drivers were working. There didn’t seem to be any software problems. So, unplugged cable, right? I mean, I’d just untangled my computer from the Oculus Rift Octopus (Ocupus?) so I could have my second monitor back. Obviously I must have jostled a cable loose somewhere.
Well, that was a sound enough theory, and I spent over half an hour as a believer in that idea. I crawled under the desk, wiggled the jack, tried the other jack, tried the front panel jack, tried the other front panel jack, then back to the first, cleaned off some dust, and repeated the whole process again. I tried my headphones in the jacks. I cranked every volume slider on the machineWindows 7 is completely idiotic about volume sliders. The program itself usually has its own volume slider, but then Windows assigns it another slider on top of that one. And then there’s a slider for the device in question, and another slider for general system-wide volume. And of course Windows seems to randomize ALL OF THEM after every reboot. just to make sure. I ran the diagnostics which gave me helpful suggestions like “Make sure the computer is plugged in”.
I was really pissed at the end of this. Aside from wasting all my timeI’d long since lost interest in writing my column, and now I was in a state where I couldn’t do anything else until I’d SOLVED THIS PROBLEM. it was actually painful. The floor is hard, and you have to crawl way under the desk to reach the computer, and every jack-change required me to stand up, crawl under the desk, then crawl back out and fiddle with things. After 45 minutes of this my knees and back were in agony.
I figured this would hurt less if I wasn’t kneeling on so many cables, so I tried to untangle the cable-nest and clean that up. But I needed more slack in one of the cables. Without looking up from my work, I absent-mindedly reached out to pull the PC a bit closer. However, I’d removed the side panel during my investigation, so instead of grabbing the case my hand went inside and I stuck my ring finger into the biggest, meanest fan available. This ripped a sizable hole in my fingertip. In a fit of atavistic rage I smacked the side of the case, which released a cloud of dust resembling the output of a smoke bomb, which – because I had just emptied my lungs cursing – was quickly sucked into my airways and sinuses. It’s been 24 hours since then, and my immune system continues to wage a war of self-harm over this.
So I gave up. I stopped the bleeding, bandaged the wound, I plugged in a USB headset dongle, plugged my speakers into that, and went back to work.
Fine. You win. Jerk.
 I could write it sooner, but I’ve been burned too many times with news stories that changed over the weekend.
 Windows 7 is completely idiotic about volume sliders. The program itself usually has its own volume slider, but then Windows assigns it another slider on top of that one. And then there’s a slider for the device in question, and another slider for general system-wide volume. And of course Windows seems to randomize ALL OF THEM after every reboot.
 I’d long since lost interest in writing my column, and now I was in a state where I couldn’t do anything else until I’d SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.
A Telltale Autopsy
What lessons can we learn from the abrupt demise of this once-impressive games studio?
Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3
Yeah, this game is a classic. But the story is idiotic, incoherent, thematically confused, and patronizing.
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
So what happens when a SOFTWARE engineer tries to review hardware? This. This happens.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.