Steam Update Fuxored Company of Heroes

Okay well now I can join the ranks of people who have had problems with Steam. Apparently there was a Steam update to Company of Heroes on Sep 27. For some reason, the update didn’t work properly (in my case, it may have failed because I ran out of disk space), and since then I’ve been getting those unhelpful “game is unavailable, try again later” messages whenever I try to launch the game.

I did some Googling and did all the things everyone suggested, including deleting a blob file, validating the cache files, deleting game content and re-downloading, etc. Eventually I found a COH forum message ( from someone stating that he had found some Event Log error messages generated by Company of Heroes from something called “SideBySide,” and that after installing a Microsoft VC++ patch, the problem was fixed. Lo and behold, that fixed my problem, too. Score one for the gaming community, zero for the gaming industry.

Update: The patch also trashes the radio chatter voices. Another forum thread directed me to switch languages to Spanish (or whatever) and then back to English, and then it re-downloads the correct files and it works again.

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes

Here’s another exciting post about gaming! I finally gotten tired of Oblivion, by the way. I never actually completed the game, but I got to the part where you have to protect the Emperor’s son from the invading horde in the city while he goes to light the Dragonfires, which I assume is somewhere near the end of the story. I kept getting killed by the invading hordes so I just started wandering aimlessly around the countryside. :) (I had the most success with a Redguard warrior, by the way.)

After that I played Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Painkiller for a while. Painkiller was fun but it’s pretty repetitive. Once you explore all the levels (which I thought were some of the best-designed levels I’ve seen in forever) there’s not much else to do.

Recently I’ve been playing Company of Heroes, which I downloaded from Steam. It’s yet another real-time strategy game, and it has the same basic gameplay as every other RTS game, but it’s got some nifty graphics and sound effects (and a lot of swearing, woo!) I’ve never been a huge fan of RTS games, because I find it sort of frustrating to keep track of all the units and resources on the map, and I usually get creamed by the computer AI, but this one is fun. I expect I’ll get tired of it pretty quickly, though. For one thing, there is a pretty substantial time investment to play it.

One odd thing about Company of Heroes is the juxtaposition of the fun gameplay and the guilt-inducing cut scenes. During the game, it’s great fun to blow up people and watch them go flying through the air, but when you watch the solemn “war is hell” cut scenes, you kind of feel guilty about having so much fun playing a war game.

Suntrust On Notice

I would just like to state for the record that Suntrust’s web developers SUCK. They’ve added a “Please wait while we validate your sign-on information” page that comes up after the login form. It advances from there to the main page only after some kind of mysterious Javascript redirect (yes, Javascript is apparently now required to login to Suntrust banking) that is buried in a series of hopelessly convoluted spaghetti libraries. I have no earthly idea how to get past it programmatically. I can only assume this disgustingly messy Javascript was the result of some kind of Highly Paid Consultant activity. Yack.

Well I Bombed The Civics Quiz

I missed 14 of the 60 questions on this ”simple” civics quiz (spotted on United Conservatives of Virginia), which would have barely gotten me a D back when I was in high school (which is roughly the grade I typically got in government classes, come to think of it). I got killed on the topics of philosophers and economics. (“Keynesian economists”? Are you freakin’ kidding me?) On the plus side, three or four years ago I probably would have gotten like 3/4 of it wrong.

On Ahmadinejad Speaking at Columbia

President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks at Columbia University

Despite speaking what most Americans felt, it was indeed very rude of Columbia president Lee Bollinger to insult his invited guest in the manner he did. I’m sure it was great fun for the audience, but I don’t really see what it accomplished, other than giving Ahmadinejad an opportunity to play the victim. I can only assume that Bollinger thought it would make more of a statement to say those things to the Iranian leader’s face, rather than in a forgettable press release. As it was, Ahmadinejad came off sounding like more of an intellectual than the president of Columbia University.

As for giving Ahmadinejad a platform for his propaganda, we as Americans are smart enough to recognize and discard propaganda. Haha, just kidding. But sometimes it can be instructive to hear it first-hand. I actually found it very enlightening to read through the entire transcript of Ahmadinejad’s remarks. You should too. It goes far, far beyond anything the media or bloggers have “reported” about his speech. Of course I shouldn’t have to remind you not to form your opinions on world affairs based on 4-second entertainment news and pundit show sound bites, though. As an educated voter, you already know that, right?

P.S. One has to marvel at the irony of Virginia conservatives making fun of Ahmadinejad’s position on homosexuals.

Expressing 10.Seconds

Regarding Extension Method Practices. The author wrote, “I can use this method [C# 3.0 extension methods] to express 10.Seconds.” I’m all for improving a programming language, but I’m sorry — if you need to write “10.Seconds” in a C# program, you are in the wrong language. Go back to Ruby, you damn hippy. And btw, you aren’t “expressing,” you’re just “typing.”

Software Entropy

I learned a new gimmicky programming phrase today: Software Entropy. Entropy is a physics term that describes “disorder” (or something like that). Now rather than saying, “As a codebase gets older, it gets more and more messed up,” which is something everyone already knows, the young programmers out of consulting school are rephrasing it as, “Beware of Software Entropy.” Now you too can impress the pointy-haired bosses and charge more fees.

Against The Grain

As I did last year, I’ve got to go against the grain today. Along with all the somber “we won’t forget” posts, and the partisan “we’re still at war” posts, consider this: We should take time, especially on this media-sensationalized day, to remember the victims of all terrorist attacks around the world, both foreign and domestic. And while you’re “always remembering,” don’t forget that lots of Americans have died in terrorist attacks that didn’t occur on 9/11, and those families deserve every bit as much sensationalized attention as the 9/11 families, and you and I are largely ignoring their unintended and almost certainly undesired sacrifices.

On That Ad

Just for the record, I don’t like But seriously, how is their attack ad against General Petraeus any different from any number of other attack ads from any number of other lobbying organizations? Isn’t this the free political speech we wanted in the U.S.? Aren’t we happy that anyone can voice their opinion in a full page NY Times ad? Wasn’t it just days ago that conservative bloggers grudgingly accepted the decision that Daily Kos could talk politics without government regulation? And wasn’t it not too long ago that we all celebrated the Supreme Court decision to allow political “issue ads” again? Is this a case of “be careful what you wish for?”

P.S. One of the conservative hive mind talking point of the day seems to be, “We question’s patriotism.” (The other is the way over-used logical fallacy, “If Democrats don’t condemn this, they must support it.”) It’s everywhere. Well, on QandO and Captain’s Quarters at least. I say question away. We just watched Letters From Iwo Jima this past weekend at Casa Krehbiel. One of the cool things about America is that, unlike Imperial Japan, it’s not against the law to be unpatriotic. You can have whatever opinion you want (if you’ve got enough money, that is).