Friday, 19 August 2016

No Mans Sky Must Stop Punishing The Player

I found a crashed ship with more storage slots and weapons than mine on a crashed planet. I rushed over in excitement and quickly chose the option to transfer my inventory.

If it doesn't work out I'll just transfer it back to mine, right? Wrong. My ship immediately vanished and then the damage became apparent. I needed a ton of Heridium but my planet didn't have any. At least the few meters worth of range I had on the most toxic planet I had found so far didn't have any. 

I could only walk for a few seconds before having to run back to the ship before my systems shut down due to toxicity. 

I spent ages dismantling stuff only to find that if I didn't have enough slots in either my exosuit or my ship that I wouldn't get the Heridium I was looking for. I'd then have to reload my save and clear space again. 

I only had 2 saves to pick from, if I'd had more then I'd just have gone back to before I got to the planet I later named Toxic Shathole and avoided the fucking thing all together. 

Eventually after dumping most of the ship systems, add ons to my exosuit and weapon, I had enough Heridium to take off. I had no deflector shield but I didn't need that to take off.

I then took off and exploded because I hit a giant floating rock which was about 10m above my ship and I had no deflector shield... How much fucking pain do I have to go through!

I then had to reload my save and go through the miserable inventory management trial and error randomly appearing/disappearing dismantled material tasks again. Then I shot the massive floating lump of copper above my ship to pieces (jumping back into my ship every 30 seconds to recover from toxicity) and eventually took off. 

I think that took all about 3 hours. I don't have a lot of time to play games, and I object to having 3 hours of it dedicated to working around shitty inventory, save state and planet creation systems. Randomised planet stuff is fine, but some need to have a bit of thought put into them to ensure that some of the treasure found on them can be taken away and used without 3 hours worth of chores. 

A longer list of accessible save states, a better way of handling inventory, and keeping some important planets to story progression from game breaking toxicity and sparseness would be great. I paid £50 for this game on the ps store and I think I deserve better.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

vCenter 5.5 to 6.0 upgrade woes

When upgrading from vCenter 5.5 U2 to 6.0 U1, I got hit first off with "Error applying transforms. Verify that the specified transform paths are valid", which I think was error 1603.  This aborted the uninstall phase at the first product, so a reboot got my vCenter back up and running again.

The issue was caused by the msi transform location noted in the registry (a temp folder), which no longer existed. 

The fix is just to clear out the Transforms key contents in the registry, which forces the Windows installer to use defaults instead.  See a similar article on it here.

Next up, the TSE who couldn't help me with the first issue, suggested that I use SSO credentials for both parts of the vCenter install.  This failed right at the end of the install phase, and after automatically ripping out all the v6 components, I had to restore my vCenter from backup.

I strongly advise using local Windows administrator credentials for this part.  I did that and the rest of the install worked as expected for me.  Hope this is of use to someone else searching for the same problem.

Monday, 25 November 2013

TVii coming to Europe in a different guise?

I had my monthly tantrum at not being able to use TVii and decided to direct it this time at Nintendo Customer Services.  Here is the rather interesting reply:

Dear Le Gazman,

Thank you for your email regarding the Nintendo Wii U.

We can confirm that there are plans to release a service similar to TVii within Europe. The full details of this will be announced in the near future. To keep up to date with future announcements you can check our website and sign up for the Club Nintendo newsletters.

We hope you continue to enjoy Nintendo products.

If you have any further questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards

Yene Tikur
Your Nintendo UK Team
0845 60 50 247

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

SQL Server Express High CPU Utilization

If you've got a SQL Express VM which has sqlsvr.exe maxing out the CPU regularly, you could do worse than tweak your CPU configuration.  SQL Express is limited to 1 CPU or 4 cores, so if your VM is setup with 2 sockets, SQL will only a ever use one of them.

Tweak the VM settings to use 1 socket and just add cores to spread the SQL load.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Why does Nintendo hate me?

Do nintendo genuinely despise their customers? Do they devise their online strategy to deliberately extort them? Are they inept? Or am I missing something?

At every turn nintendo seem to make the online experience just plain stupifying. Take the eShop - I paid for loads of VC games on Wii but can't re-download them on my Wii U. There is a workaround, but for that to work for me I need to go back in time with some extra money and persuade my 2012 self not to trade my Wii in for a Wii U. I would then have to perform a bizarre transfer process because my purchases were tied to my console and not the email address I had to use to pay for them all. So unless I happen upon a crazy wild eyed scientist with a flying DeLorean, my games are gone forever. I can still see them on my SD card in Wii mode though, which serves as some additional salt in the wound.

Nintendo can't plead ignorance on this because they know I downloaded a Luigi's Mansion screensaver in 2002. It says so under my club nintendo account history. They know what Gamecube and DS games I registered for VIP points, they know what I've downloaded on my Wii, Wii U and 3DS but they have setup a system which refuses to acknowledge past purchases when it suits them to do so.

Not learning my lesson, I recently bought some VC games on Wii U to tide me over until some proper games that I want to play come along. I fancied playing Punch-Out!! on my 3DS while I took a poop tonight so went to download it. That'll be another £4.49 please. What?! I only paid 30p for it on Wii U! I also paid about £20 for it on NES about 25yrs ago. Nintendo keep stiffing me for the same handful of games each time I buy new hardware. The only comparison I have is with the Star Wars films, which I stopped re-buying after their first issue on DVD.

Compare that with Apple's system. If I buy a game on my iPad its already waiting on my iPhone by the time I pick it up to check. If I buy a new device, all my content is there waiting for me when I log in. Sony's system is very similar, where if you buy a PSOne classic on your PS3 you can download it on your PSP or Vita for free.  Those are joined up systems that have been designed with a positive user experience in mind.

Thankfully nintendo have listened to reason and ditched the ridiculous rule that you couldn't buy adult-themed content until after most people (adults included) had gone to bed. It's gone now thankfully, but who could EVER have thought that was a good idea?

Nintendo came late to the online party but they've learned nothing from what the competition was doing while they waited. That "online curfew" on the Wii U is a mistake they could have gotten away with making 10yrs ago, but not now. I was genuinely dumbfounded by its introduction in 2012.

I still can't work the stupid Wii U GUI and I'm not sure I'll ever have enough controllers to play all the mini-games in Nintendoland, despite having spent a small fortune already. I've been hailing the nintendo difference for 4 decades now but I'm pretty sure unless things change quickly that the love affair will soon be over. I'm fed up being taken for a numpty and nintendo seem to be playing the same old tricks again and again.

UPDATE: Nintendo know full well what I've bought, but just can't be bothered giving me my games on Wii U. This is from their own website when I login. Looks like most of my VC purchases are in there:

My Registered Games & Systems
87 Items Sort by: Items per page:

Wii Street U powered by Google
registered: 16/02/2013 Claim Stars for this download.

 Paper Mario: Sticker Star
registered: 25/12/2012

 Nintendo Land
registered: 25/12/2012

 3D Classics Kid Icarus
registered: 21/12/2012 Claim Stars for this download.

registered: 30/11/2012

 New Super Mario Bros. U
registered: 30/11/2012

 ZombiU Premium Pack (Black)
registered: 30/11/2012

 New Super Mario Bros. 2
registered: 19/08/2012

 Super Mario Land™ 2: 6 Golden Coins™
registered: 28/06/2012

 Super Mario Land™
registered: 22/06/2012

 Kid Icarus: Uprising
registered: 24/03/2012

 Donkey Kong Country Returns
registered: 09/03/2012

 Resident Evil™ Revelations
registered: 31/01/2012

 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Limited Edition Pack (Game + CD + Wii Remote Plus)
registered: 25/12/2011

registered: 25/12/2011

 Nintendo Letter Box
registered: 22/12/2011 Claim Stars for this download.

registered: 15/12/2011 Claim Stars for this download.

 Star Fox 64 3D
registered: 25/09/2011

 Monster Hunter Tri
registered: 23/08/2011

registered: 11/08/2011

 Nintendo Video
registered: 13/07/2011 Claim Stars for this download.

 Pok√©dex™ 3D
registered: 08/07/2011 Claim Stars for this download.

 nintendogs + cats: Golden Retriever & New Friends
registered: 07/07/2011

 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
registered: 28/06/2011

 Nintendo 3DS
registered: 28/06/2011

 3D Classics Excitebike™
registered: 28/06/2011 Claim Stars for this download.

 Kirby TV Channel
registered: 23/06/2011

 Super Mario Galaxy 2
registered: 26/06/2010

 Super Mario Kart™
registered: 02/04/2010

 Muscle March
registered: 20/03/2010

 The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
registered: 25/12/2009

 BBC iPlayer
registered: 18/11/2009

 Today and Tomorrow Channel
registered: 09/09/2009

 Flipnote Studio
registered: 14/08/2009

 Mario Kart Wii
registered: 29/06/2009

registered: 29/06/2009

 Elite Beat Agents
registered: 16/05/2009

 Rhythm Paradise
registered: 08/05/2009

registered: 01/05/2009

 WarioWare: Snapped!
registered: 01/05/2009

 Nintendo DSi Browser
registered: 01/05/2009

 Super Punch-Out!!™
registered: 26/03/2009

 Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain?
registered: 19/07/2008

 Nintendo Channel
registered: 30/05/2008

 Wii Fit
registered: 02/05/2008

 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
registered: 01/01/2008

 Blades of Steel™
registered: 27/12/2007

 Resident Evil : The Umbrella Chronicles
registered: 26/12/2007

 Lylat Wars™
registered: 26/12/2007

 Bomberman® '93
registered: 18/12/2007

 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time™
registered: 18/12/2007

 Link's Crossbow Training
registered: 12/12/2007

 Photo Channel
registered: 11/12/2007

 Super Mario Galaxy
registered: 23/11/2007

 Super Mario Bros.™ 3
registered: 12/11/2007

 Mii Contest Channel
registered: 12/11/2007

 Sin and Punishment
registered: 28/09/2007

 Ninja Gaiden™
registered: 21/09/2007

 Super Mario Bros.™: The Lost Levels™
registered: 19/09/2007

 Super Paper Mario
registered: 14/09/2007

 Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
registered: 24/07/2007

 Big Brain Academy for Wii
registered: 24/07/2007

 Paper Mario™
registered: 14/07/2007

 Super Mario Bros. 2™
registered: 26/05/2007

 Excite Truck
registered: 05/05/2007

 The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
registered: 31/03/2007

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®
registered: 19/03/2007

 Everybody Votes Channel
registered: 14/02/2007

 WarioWare: Smooth Moves
registered: 20/01/2007

 Super Mario Bros.™
registered: 12/01/2007

 Internet Channel
registered: 22/12/2006

 Sonic the Hedgehog™
registered: 20/12/2006

 Wii Sports
registered: 08/12/2006

 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
registered: 08/12/2006

registered: 08/12/2006

 Mario Kart DS
registered: 26/11/2005

 Advance Wars: Dual Strike
registered: 18/11/2005

 Super Mario 64 DS
registered: 27/06/2005

 Yoshi Touch & Go
registered: 27/06/2005

 Nintendo DS
registered: 27/06/2005

 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
registered: 07/05/2003

 Metroid Prime
registered: 21/03/2003

 Super Mario Sunshine
registered: 15/11/2002

 Luigi's Mansion
registered: 01/07/2002

 Super Smash Bros. Melee
registered: 01/07/2002

 Wave Race: Blue Storm
registered: 01/07/2002

 Nintendo GameCube
registered: 29/06/2002

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Migrate Exchange 2010 URL's from .local to public ones

From 2015 you won't be able to get an SSL certificate for a .local domain name. If you're looking to buy a 5yr certificate like me, then that's going to cause you some issues. Here's how to work around it...

First of all, import your new SSL certificate by creating a CSR without your .local addresses, and process it on your CA's website. Once you have your certificates, complete the process in IIS and then Exchange.

To get the thumbprint, run the following command and note the new and the old thumbprint (the expiry dates may help if there are a lot of them):

Get-ExchangeCertificate | fl

If you redirect users from HTTP to HTTPS then it won't work from EMC and you'll have to use the following command in EMS to switch IIS over to the new certificate:

Enable-ExchangeCertificate -Thumbprint -Services "IIS" –DoNotRequireSSL

If for any reason you have to switch IIS back to the old one, then just run the above, but use the old thumbprint instead.

Now that IIS is using the new certificate which doesn't include your .local addresses, you are going to get errors in Outlook when it tries to do things like sync the OAB. You'll need to force the following 3 URL's to the same as your external ones.

Before I made the changes I ran the following commands so that I could make a note of the old URL's in case anything went wrong. Note the old Internal URL's or better still, capture the screen:

Get-ClientAccessServer -Identity |fl

Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Identity "EWS (Default Web Site)" |fl

Get-OABVirtualDirectory |fl

Set Autodiscover Internal URL:

Set-ClientAccessServer -Identity –AutodiscoverServiceInternalUri https://your.public.address/Autodiscover/Autodiscover.xml

Set Exchange Web Services Internal URL:

Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Identity "SERVERNAME\EWS (Default Web Site)" -InternalUrl https://your.public.address/ews/exchange.asmx

Set Offline Address Book Internal URL:

Set-OABVirtualDirectory -Identity "https://your.public.address/OAB

Once complete, several guides say to click Recycle in IIS>Application Pools>MS Exchange Autodiscover, but that didn't work for me. I just stopped and started MSExchangeAutodiscoverAppPool instead.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Wii U first impressions


I've never been particularly confused by a new console before, but even upon plugging in the Wii U it had me wondering. My first question was where is the optical audio output - there isn't one, so it's plain old DPLII for me until I buy another AV receiver. There are two power supplies, one for the console and one for the remote. I realised just how necessary that was this weekend when I had to charge it 4 times. The Gamepad has lots of potential but it also uses a lot of juice.

So you'd be better off using the Pro Controller instead then? It comes bundled at a fair old price with the ZombiU pack after all, but you can't use it with the game. Nor can you use it with New Super Mario Bros U, a game which is surely crying out for a traditional controller. I just don't get it - why bother releasing it? You can use a 5yr old Wii remote but you cant use the brand new Pro Controller that everyone is talking about. The Wii U Gamepad offers absolutely nothing in the main game and just replicates what you see on screen for the most part. I grudge using all that battery life when the Pro Controller would do just as good if not better a job. It's probably a better bit of kit than the XBox 360 controller so Nintendo need to get their act together and make sure their own software supports it.

The Gamepad is well built and the charging dock is a good idea, especially given the battery life, which is similar too if not a little better than a 3DS.


I still not sure I understand the OS yet either. You don't seem to be able to control it at all from the Gamepad. You get a very nice looking wara wara plaza on the TV screen, but if you can't control from the Gamepad. You can switch it over to the Gamepad screen, but that puts the basic one on the big screen.  I could be wrong on this one but I just don't find any of this very intuitive.

Miiverse is a genuine innovation and could really add a lot to a game. It doesn't seem possible to filter comments/spoilers about the particular level you're on, which could come in really handy if you get stuck. There aren't any filter or search options but hopefully that'll come. The Web Browser and YouTube apps are the best I've seen on any console. These 3 apps are really well done. The eShop is really good too, nintendo's best effort to date. The pricing is shocking though, for its retail downloads. They need to find a way to match high street if not online retail pricing for it to be worthwhile. I'd love to download Nintendoland straight from the eShop but not for 50 quid!

Next up is the overscan setting. Bizarrely it's an option in the eShop and Miiverse but they haven't taken the obvious step of just doing it once in the OS's TV settings. The games themselves don't seem to suffer but the wara wara plaza look stupid as lots of elements are placed in the outer edges of the screen and therefor get cut off. Ive had my Pioneer HDTV for over 5yrs and have never had a problem with any HD device until Wii U came along. There doesn't seem to be a system wide option for this but hopefully like my other 2 concerns above, it shouldn't take much to fix this.


I've only played two games so far - New Super Mario Bros Wii U and ZombiU.  ZombiU takes quite a while to get going and focuses more on survival horror creating a sense of foreboding.  It's much more about exploration and survival than a straight up zombie massacre like Left 4 Dead.  It works though, and the more you play it the better it gets.  The later missions like the Community Nursery are genuinely terrifying and put me in mind of Silent Hill.

New Super Mario Bros Wii U is gorgeous.  I never thought Mario in HD would look so good, but if his 2D outing is anything to go by, we are in for a treat when he next appears in 3D.  It's the usual side-scrolling stuff, but it does benefit from the addition of Miiverse.  The Gamepad is wasted by purely mirroring the onscreen action, no doubt leading to a lot of unnecessary battery drain.  I'd rather it just switched off to save battery life or presented something else onscreen instead.


I haven't fully got to know it yet but I know the Wii U going to do well and deliver me the kind of magical gaming experiences that only Nintendo can create. They just need to iron out the creases quickly before they put off too many people. I also hope they continue to develop the GUI the same way Microsoft have with their dashboard. Wii barely changed at all throughout its entire lifespan, but I don't think Nintendo can stand still again this time.