The results of the web analysis are quite interesting. First of all, our email server is very popular. The web interface alone is getting hit as many as 980 times a day! Considering that most of our biggest users are connecting using the IMAP4 or POP3 interface, that is pretty astounding. Many of those hits are script kiddies (wanna be hackers who use real hackers code to attack sites) attacking our site attempting to gain access to our server. SGL is about as popular as I had expected. Its most popular day in the last two months came after eleven days of no updates ending on March 20th with a large update. On that day, 78 people looked at the site. As far as sites go, that isn’t all that big, but it is awfully encouraging to think that all those people were waiting for a llama update.
Anne has taken over as the second most popular feature on the site. It would appear that about 1/4 of our readership goes directly to her Bio page to get the latest on her life abroad. So, kudos to Anne for being such a huge draw on our humble site.
Joe was very excited about being named our Llama of the Month. I moved all of March’s updates over to the archive page since April has already been such a busy month.
I was hunting around online this morning and discovered a web site that explained what needed to be done so that The Sims would run on Windows 2000 Professional (our loyal readers will remember all of the effort and expense that was gone through to make it work on Linux at Christmas). So, I told Dominica and she was really excited because the Linux version does not allow you to download extra skins and objects from the Maxis website (because they don’t recognize you as a Sims user) or to install the expansion packs (which is pretty silly because they are losing all kinds of money – the expansion packs are $30 each.) We went to Electronics Boutique in Pyramid Mall and picked up the Sims to give it a try first thing. It was late in the day so we only had enough time to get it installed. The Sims works beautifully on Windows 2000 (at least with the latest software updates from Microsoft,) I have no idea why Maxis does not support it on that platform. Not only does it work – but because (we assume) of support for the Creative EAX Environmental Effects, the sound and music is really phenominal – the best that I have ever heard in a video game. The surround effects are great. We immediately downloaded all of the optional skins and objects and tried them out. Already the game is a bit more interesting. We are very excited because tomorrow we are going to get the expansion packs (House Party, Living Large, Hot Date and the new Vacation.) House Party is, we think, mostly a bunch of additional music, skins and simple things designed to flush out the original game a little bit and add some basic features that weren’t finished. It mostly adds to social interactions. Living Large, we are guessing, is the most important add on adding significant functionality to the game – they claim that it doubles the game. Hot Date adds tons of social interaction capabilities as well as a way to create a “downtown” area where your Sims can go outside of the home. In the original game and the first two expansion packs, there was no way for your Sim to do anything outside or the house. They would go to work and return home but you could only interact with them while they were home. Lots of romantic situations are added. Vacation is brand new – this week I think – and seems to be the least interesting of the expansion packs (but we will see, won’t we) giving your Sims somewhere to go on vacation. Not much new functionality, though.
While we were at EB, Loopy managed to find a used copy of Empire Earth for $20. Eric will be SO jealous. I think that I won’t tell him and let him just read it here first. Eric, if you are reading this, go to the mall and look at EB for a used copy of EE. Another one is bound to show up sometime. EE is destined to become the next big multi-player game of the Llama House. Age of Empires 2 has been so good for so long, it is almost time to move on to bigger and better games. We have played a little EE and it is really incredible. We have all been kind of holding off on really getting into it while we have waited for our new computers to arrive. But I think that everyone is getting pretty anxious to play it. Eric loved it when he tried it out. Loopy has been dying to play it. Min and I have had it since Christmas (we have each other a copy for Christmas) but have had little time to play it. Min has played the Sims mostly and I have been too busy to play anything except for the occasional game of AoE2.
There was a little snow falling today. This is three days in a row that there has been a little bit of snow here in Central NY. Min is getting upset because the more that it snows, the longer it is going to take me to get my car out of storage. I need to get moving on that, we are running out of cars.
Loopy is headed north today to North Bay. He is going to visit Miranda and to take her to her prom (I guess they call it a “formal” or something. Loopy sent me to get his suit drycleaned the other day.
It is going to be a busy weekend in the Llama House. My aunt, uncle and two cousins are coming here on Saturday to see the house and to pick up that computer. Nate and Bob have some friends coming to visit us from Buffalo that, I guess, are spending the weekend. Josh mentioned something about coming down this way as well. But I don’t think that he is. Dominica took Monday and Tuesday off from work. Perfect timing since she will be able to play the Sims for four straight days now!
Loopy and I have been revisiting the computers that we are building. I know that I have been talking about this for a while, but we are really doing it. I am waiting for April 22 to roll around because SuSE is releasing version 8.0 of their operating system and that is the one that I want to use so I am waiting until then to buy the components to make sure that I am getting all of the latest technologies and prices. Loopy is sticking with the Soyo Dragon+ based system while I am going to move to the more experimental KT333 system from Soltek. The memory is a little faster but a lot more expensive. My total price from start to finish is going to be $1345 not including any CD or DVD drives. I will deal with getting those later. I have spares that I can make do with for now. You can always pick up something for $20 or so if you need to. $310 of that price is the sound system which replaces the built in sound card and adds a fully Digital 5.1 surround speaker system. So you can do without spending that money easily. I have put together a list of components that you can use to make the same system as me (as of right now) or to make a more moderate system. The moderate system came in at $550 for everything not including the CD or DVD drive. But again, take one from an old computer, bum one off a friend, etc.
Component Scott's System Price Moderate System Price
Speakers Creative Inspire 5700 $230 None $0
Sound Creative Audigy X-Gamer $80 Built In $0
Graphics PNY GeForce4 Ti4400 $250 GeForce4 MX420 $90
Case Antech $100 Antech $60
MainBoard Soltek KT333 $125 Giga-byte KT333 $90
Processor AMD Athlon XP 1900+ $160 AMD Athlon XP 1800+ $130
Memory 512MB 333MHz Corsair $220 256MB 333MHz Kingston $82
Hard Drives 2x Maxtor 40GB 133 $180 1x Maxtor 40GB 133 $90
Total $1345 $550
So, as you can see. It isn’t very expensive to put together an awfully nice system. There is even more money to be saved if you cut out some of the expandability features of the moderate system here. For example, the Athlon XP 1700+ processor on a KT266A mainboard will be almost as fast as this one and save you an additional $50 if you shop around. If you don’t need a 3D accelerator card then you can save another $60 or more on that card. Memory on a less expensive board is less as well, maybe as much as $70 less. These cost savings will slow down your machine but as long as you get a quality board of a KT266A or KT333 chipset, then you have almost unlimited possibilities for enhancements when you decide to spend the money.
While researching stuff online, I discovered that RIT in Rochester allows students to enter their grad programs without first obtaining an undergraduate degree. So, Loopy and I are looking into their Master’s programs in Information Technology. Loopy wants to get a degree in video game programming from there to jump start his career.
I almost forgot about our web site of the day. Nate is familiar with this one. Check out all the different kinds of cheeses at www.CHEESE.com. Nate and I have tried to get email address here for years and it never worked. I think that this site was abandoned three years ago and no one has bothered to take it down yet. But it is still here provided much needed information about cheese.