Republican Convention: Day 2

Security is starting to be beefed up more if you could imagine that around Madison Square Garden. I arrived at Penn Station about 6:45 this morning and there was a much stronger police presence. I also saw some secret service agents in Penn Station which I hadn’t seen earlier. As I came out onto 7th Ave. from the main entrance you also noticed more officers and more Sanitation trucks. They are using them to block of sections of the street. They are also keeping a more vigilant eye on pedestrians now. I walked out of the building to take pictures of the very low flying Coast Guard helicopter that had been circling for an hour or so. During that time I walked through one of the barricades to get to a Starbucks. When I came out with my Iced Quad Venti Latte I decided to take a couple of shots since I was at the corner of MSG. After the second picture I gained the attention of the police officers nearby, who promptly inquired what I was doing. My reply was “Just getting a coffee and taking some pictures”, at which point I was escorted towards my building. So things are definitely getting much tighter around here I can only imagine what Thursday will bring. Well enjoy the pictures I shot today on my Moblog.


Republican Convention

Well anticipating a nightmare trying to get to one of my clients today which are situated two blocks from Madison Square Garden I decided to take the early train out of White Plains at 5:59am. When I got into Grand Central I noticed that security wasn’t as heavy as it has been over the past couple of weeks which surprised me since the Republican Convention kicks off today. When I got off the shuttle train at Times Square that’s when the police presence became evident. They watched everyone getting of the shuttle and boarding trains at going downtown to Penn Station. When I got off at 28th St. since I didn’t want to deal with the barrage of policemen at Penn Station I was surprised at the police presence and the barricades that were put up. They have concrete dividers and fences up all around the Garden and nearby streets. I happen to have a letter that should get me into my clients building since they are within the blocked off area. Since I got in early I was actually able to get up close to the garden and snap some pictures with my Cannon 10D. They actually came out pretty good and they will be posted on the “Moblog“ section. You can reach the Moblog section by clicking the link above in the menubar. I decided to situate myself right next to a cop so that I wouldn’t have to worry about one walking up to me and asking me what I was doing. The cop I was next to watched me open my bag and take the camera out, at which point he asked me who I was with as if I was affiliated with some news agency. I just let him know I was working locally and decided to take some pictures. He was pretty cool about it and we chatted a bit about all the mad hours he and his fellow officers had been putting in over the past week or so. I was speaking with the president of the company I am visiting today when I noticed outside of his windows what seemed to be a sniper perch on top of the Rotunda at the Garden. I decided to climb out the window onto a type of patio area and take some pictures with my telephoto lens. Under close inspection of the photos it seems as if it’s more of a coffee hangout rather than a security detail. If I was one of the delegates attending this I would want these guys watching the surrounding building windows rather than chilling. So enjoy the pictures, I will venture out during lunch and take some more pictures, it may be a little tougher though I noticed from the window that they are limiting foot traffic near the garden.

Site Imporvements!

I have just finished a lot of background coding to the site. I have also upgraded the software used to create the main Blog. I went with a commercial program over the open source alternatives for its vast feature set and support. The software I went with is ExpressionEngine made by pMachine. If you’re looking to create a Blog you have to give this software a look at it is a great piece of software. The forums have been updated so log in and give them a whirl. I will try to complete the “Photo Album” section over the next week. Once that is finished I will complete the family & friends section which will be password protected.

Check back over the next couple of days, due to the frequent post that will be made here. One of my largest clients is 2 blocks from Madison Square Garden. There building is in the blocked off zone, so it will be interesting to see the troubles I have to get trough and get to their building. There was already a large police and security presence there last week. I can only imagine what it will be like with the Republican Convention in full swing. I will bring my Cannon 10D along and snap pictures off and send them directly from the site.

Well, let me go for now to continue coding. And check back for all the changes coming.


Website Relocated

Well it is somewhat relocated, still in the same location just on a different box. When I decided to add a forum to this website, I ran into one real big problem. It ran fine locally, however when I tried to access features of it over the Internet from a remote site it would just hang. At first I thought it was a security problem with Windows 2003 Webserver Edition. So I built a new box with Fedora and Apache and low and behold the same problem. At that point I focused on my firewall which has an intrusion detection module and sure enough that was the culprit. On a previous version of the forum software I am using there was a vulnerability, so to protect my web servers from being compromised it was dropping those requests automatically. So after turning those rules off on the firewall all was operating properly. So I guess I could have left it on the other box and all would have been fine. However, the new box is a dual processor box running on Linux so it should be able to handle a lot more requests due to the low overhead without breaking a sweat.

CounterStrike: Source

Well I started my day yesterday by preloading ‘The Source’ through Valve’s Steam network. It downloaded fairly quickly over my broadband connection. All and all I believe the total download time was somewhere in the range of about 20 minutes or so. Then the anticipation began the official kick off for the second stage of beta testers was slated for 10pm EST. This group comprised of Condition Zero users and those who had keys from their ATI/Half-Life2 bundles. I never thought I would see the day that I would actually be able to use that key and get product for it. I had that bundle for well over a year now and it was quit an adventure having to locate it after all this time. The first set of beta testing was reserved for those who belong to Valve’s cybercafe community. Once my preload went from ‘Coming Soon’ to playable I was excited and ready to go only to be disappointed. My disappointment was from the fact that Valve’s steam network was so overwhelmed that I was starring at messages for the next hour that their network was to busy handle my request. So now the waiting game began, when was I going to be able to give thing a test drive? We’ll at 11pm I was connected to their network only to be further disappointed. My next disappointment came from not being able to find an open server. All the servers were full and I’m not talking about an 8 or 16 player server. I am talking about 50 player servers were packed and no one was dropping off for fear of not getting back on. After some server list refreshing I found an open slot on a server. Now let me preface by saying I have been playing CounterStrike for well over 3 years on and off and I consider it the best online game period bar none. That being said ‘The Source’ had a lot to live up to in my eyes and it meet and far surpassed any expectations I might have had. Now mind you that this is beta software and there are some physics issues which I will discuss further later in this ranting. Well I was greeted by my tried and true Dust map at least it has the same name. This was CounterStrike on steroids bearing a super model’s stunning beauty and finesse. The graphics and detail was just jaw dropping and I was running at 1600×1200 with all my video settings maxed on a GeForce 6800 Ultra. I don’t know how else to describe the initial experience, I just couldn’t believe this was possible for CounterStrike.

The movement takes a little getting used to and some of the physics of the game are of in this beta version. What I mean by physics is how characters move and how guns fire. For instance when you jump, you jump much higher than you would in CounterStrike 1.6 and you kind of come down a little slow almost as if the gravity at had been turned down. Also some guns recoil are off like the Auto-Sniper there is basically no recoil evident (Have fun with that tip). You now have objects which can be moved around such as barrels, paint buckets, cans. You can move them by bumping into them or shooting them. Also be careful of bottles while you sneak around, step on one of these and you just gave your position away. My biggest gripe with CounterStrike was with flashbangs. It always seemed to disorient the person throwing it and his own team rather than the enemy. After ‘The Source’ flashbangs are my new best friend, I just wish I could hold more than two. These things pack a wallop now, you still have to be careful around yourself and teammates but they do what they do in real life now to your enemies. They completely blind you and send your ears ringing. If you get nailed by one of these with a enemy close at hand your toast as in ‘The quarterback is toast’ sorry for the Die Hard reference. You can’t tell which way is up and when your vision starts to come back it’s all blurry and out of focus.

I’ll post more of my findings on my forum which can be accessed from the menubar above. Also I put up a dedicated Source server last night, if you need a server to play in try ‘PC-Doc’s CS Source’, the IP for the server is:

Doom3 a non-event

Don’t get me wrong the game is spectacular and the graphics are gorgeous. The single player mode will have you sitting on the edge of your seat for hours…days…weeks most likely. This game has been highly anticipated for the past couple of years. I pre-ordered my copy a week ago and my NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra will be here tomorrow. I am currently playing it on a tricked out, water cooled Athlon 64 3400+ system with a Radeon 9800XT. When I got my call that my copy reached the store I raced out and picked up. After installing the 3 CDs needed to play the game I was greeted with an amazing display of graphics and smooth game play. After two or three hours glued to my screen I decided to go give multiplayer mode a try. Most of everything I play is multiplayer such as CounterStrike, Halo, BF1942, BF Vietnam, Unreal 2004 to name a few. So I was really psyched to take this awesome display of graphics and game play to the next level. Well to my astonishment DOOM3 Multiplayer hmmm… how do I say this…. SUCKS!!!!! Even on low ping servers with only 4 people the lag and the jitter make it unplayable at best. If I were ID I would have added multiplayer as a patch after they worked out the problems, because problems abound to no end. This would have been the game of the year as far as I am concerned if it were not for the multiplayer issues. If Half Life 2 comes out with as good graphics and superior multiplayer mode ie.. CounterStrike2 they will best game of the year hands down. That’s just my opinion I could be wrong.