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Failure of my Motherboard’s LAN Port & why I currently despise ResNet

About a week ago, my internet connection died with Windows 7’s network diagnostics suggesting that that the “Ethernet cable is broken or not plugged in”. However after testing the wire and seeing red & orange LEDs flash on the motherboard’s Ethernet port, it was clear that the Ethernet cable wasn’t the problem here.

After trying out the fairly standard set of potential solutions (that I’ve listed below), I was still unable to resolve the problem and had reckoned I’d need to RMA (Return to Manufacturer Authorisation) the motherboard. I should note that the staggering number of results I found on Google and Tom’s Hardware would suggest that the problem isn’t restricted to any particular model or manufacturer.

  1. Testing the LAN Cable
  2. Running Windows 7’s Network Diagnostics
  3. Disabling & Enabling the LAN adapter in Windows 7
  4. Checking status of the LAN Controller in the BIOS
  5. Reinstalling the Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller from the Device Manager
  6. Updating drivers from the included DVD and Asus’ support website

Asus’ support has been excellent, with my support ticket receiving a response within 48 hours and as predicted I was told to RMA the motherboard to either get it repaired or replaced. Despite the fact that I would only need to pay 1 way shipping (to get it to Asus) I decided to simply purchase a $25 PCIe Network Card off TigerDirect instead of continuing with the RMA process which would require me to completely dissemble the computer, wait 7-10 days and then put it back together again.

The card is expected to arrive on August 28th (delivery is delayed due to the Canada Post strike) and I’ll be sure to post an update when it’s installed. If the problem continues to persist, I’ll still have the ability to RMA my motherboard without filing another support ticket but for obvious reasons am hoping that it doesn’t come to that.

Oh, did I mention that I’ve not had internet access in my residence since this problem began? Guess that merits an explanation.

Why I temporarily hate ResNet
During the summer holidays, I have been living on-campus at Innis and so have been using the university’s ResNet connection for internet access. It comes with a fairly lengthy list of Terms and Conditions, but the relevant terms are:

  • Each room comes with a single Ethernet cable to give you access to the internet via ResNet
  • Only one computer can be connected to the network and has to be registered before you can get access. This prevents you from using a network switch or router to circumvent this.
  • No Wireless routers in the residence

This meant that I am unable to simply plug the Ethernet cable into my laptop without de-registering my desktop, which you just can’t seem to do easily. I would imagine that this task would be relatively simple, but it’s been 10 days since I talked to the IT department and filled in the requisite form and I’m still unable to use my laptop to go online. I honestly wont be surprised if my network card arrives before they get around to resolving the problem.

Because this wouldn't be complete without a 'rage face'

So far I’ve been able to manage with the Campus WiFi network, but it’s 2 GB per week bandwidth cap means that that I’m really only able to use it for basic web surfing as anything else will decimate my bandwidth and leave me with just 100MB of monthly 3G data for internet access.

Hunters at Dawn, a little known documentary on the Battle of Longewala

Shiv Aroor‘s uncanny knack of finding news and valuable insights have helped make his blog LiveFist the premier location for things concerning the Indian military. Last month he managed to secure exclusive rights to upload the little known documentary Hunters at Dawn which covers the Indian Air-Force’s decisive involvement in the Battle of Longewala.

For those in need of a bit of background to the battle, look no further than the relevant Wikipedia page

The Battle of Longewala, (December 4 -7 1971) was one of the first major engagements in the Western Sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert of the Rajasthan state in India.

The battle holds the distinction of resulting in one of the largest disproportionate tank casualties since World War II with the destruction / capture of 36 Pakistani tanks to the loss of no Indian tanks.

Read more…

Yes, I am still here

It’s been nearly a month since my last post at ButteredSalami, but fear not I am still here and haven’t abandoned the blog just yet! I’ve been a bit preoccupied this month with getting back into work mode for summer school and looking for a job (hint…hint).

Regardless, I have since returned to GameReplays.org as an Editor (my pseudonym is -Latency) and am currently working on the Battlefield 3 Portal and helping to revamp the Global Writing section which seems to have gone into meltdown over the last few months. For fairly obvious reasons I can’t give out any specific details regarding exactly what we are doing, but things are definitely looking up.

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BF3Nation’s Beta Key Promotion is a Lie

Prominently featured on the homepage of the Battlefield 3 fansite BF3Nation.com is a banner advertising that they have beta keys and that at the time of writing, only 71% remain. This “offer” is in fact a complete lie and a textbook example of the “bait and switch” advertising ploy as these beta keys do not exist and the banner redirects you to a MyOnlineRewards.net page which offers a “free $100 GameSpot gift card towards Battlefield 3″ or equivalent in US$, GB£ etc.

As is the norm for such offers, getting your “free” gift card will require you to hand over your personal information to AscendMedia, the advertising company behind this promotion and complete a number of sponsored offers that will cost you money, require your credit card information and almost certainly result in you being bombarded with advertising for the rest of your life. It’s not clear whether participants will ever actually receive the gift card, but the fact that they have blatantly used deceptive advertising doesn’t lend them much credibility. In a similar vein the justification provided by Dave Kosiba aka WordisMine, the Community Manager & Chief Editor of BF3Nation is equally as insincere:

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GameReplays.org & Content Migration

My first experience of writing on a remotely serious level was as a staff member for GameReplays.org, an online multiplayer community for a wide range of Real-Time Strategy (RTS) and First-Person Shooter (FPS). The site aims to provide assistance to players through strategy guides and helps to foster the e-Sports community through coverage of professional tournaments and frequently organises a range of amateur and professional competitions itself, often with funding and support from game developers / publishers.

I‘ve written in the region of 25,000 words for the site and can attribute much of my development and growth as a writer to my time at GameReplays.org. Due to the nature of my writing, the vast majority of the content has little value to those that didn’t play the game, however I have selected that I believe have a broader value and so are worth migrating over to my blog.

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OnLive Pricing; Deal or No Deal?

Originally written for GameReplays.org and migrated over to Buttered Salami. More information

OnLive is a seriously ambitious attempt to rethink how we view gaming by offering gamers the opportunity to game without a console or gaming PC. All you need is a computer (or the proprietary “MicroController”) an internet connection and the games will be provided over the air. Now as mentioned previously in Fused’s blog: Dark Hearts and Silver Linings, the service has more than its fair share of pros and cons, but that’s not the subject of this article. Put simply, is OnLive actually worth the money?

All OnLive users will need to pay $4.95 a month base subscription fee and then will be able to purchase / rent titles. Whilst the service’s current stable isn’t particularly impressive at the moment, there are a few notable titles:

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Don’t Touch My PC!

Originally written for GameReplays.org and migrated over to Buttered Salami. More information

It’s no secret that a substantial number of PC gamers have felt extremely irritated with the current state of the industry. This irritation has on occasion turned into quite public debacles, the best example being the PC community’s boycott of Modern Warfare 2. So what’s the big deal about? What are PC snobs (like yours truly) so annoyed about

1. “Consolification” of the PC Experience

The PC is an open platform and we like the freedom to customise and fine tune our gameplay experience. Sure you can say that we’re missing out on the “pick-up and go” playability of a console and so should be happy when devolopers cut features. That might work with some, but that mentality won’t get you very far with, lets say, those that hang around ModDB or Crymod.

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