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As of 9:29 AM December 25th, 2014,  store.steampowered.com appears to be “offline” according to “isitdownrightnow.com”, as is the ‘steamcommunity.com’ site.

Steampowered is offering a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 (promotion ends December 26 10am Pacific), which along with the usual Christmas registrations and Steam engine downloads and installs, is jamming the “store” servers and overloading the ‘Valve’ network. Many visitors are receiving “503 Service Unavailable” errors when visiting the site via browser or the Steam client.  I was able to successfully download and install the steam engine. Everything else, such as validating purchases via email, and gaming, appears to be very slow, intermittently offline or unavailable.

I’m not a gamer, but I play Skyrim from time to time. At present, it appears that there’s the following issues currently:

  1. May/May not be able to log into the Steam powered store via browser or the steam client.
  2. Email confirmations do not appear to be working (mail server issues?)
  3. Cannot get the list of installed products
  4. The Steampowered store “Blog” is offline/inaccessible.

There may be other issues I can’t detect from here.

 

 

»crosslinked«

While shopping for my new VMWare whitebox, I was bemoaning the fact that 1920×1080 monitors were the only size available for under $300.  To my surprise, I found the ASUS’ ProArt PA248Q monitors for less than $300.  Was it worth the purchase price, or are they just cheap monitors?

Read the full review of the ASUS PA248Q monitor

This question was cobbled together from several common e-mails this week.

Hey, Inetdaemon,  Doesn’t bandwidth solve all network problems with [Skype, Facetime, Vonage, NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube, World of Warcraft (WoW)...], and push my frame rates through the roof in [choose any FPS/MMORPG]?

Answer:  Not so!

Engineers use a measurement called “latency” to measure delay between endpoints in communications systems, including the Internet.  High latency is bad, low latency is good.  High latency indicates a problem between endpoints. This could be you and a friend across Skype, Facetime, Vonage or  anything else.  Problems with ‘delay’ are the real causes of ‘slowness’ and communications problems. More bandwidth will only fix issues with congestion and over-subscription, and only if you can add more bandwidth along the entire path from end-to-end.   More bandwidth can’t do anything about the actual delay from the communications systems, routers, switches and the infrastructure supporting it or delay from the server.  Moreover, if the “internet pipe” at the far end serving the person or site you’re trying to reach is full, their router is busy, or their servers are overloaded, there’s no benefit to upgrading your own service to higher bandwidth.  Given the nature of the Internet, everyone else would also have to upgrade thier Internet connection to make your services faster to every site you use frequently.

Continue Reading about Latency and Delay

Why can’t I buy a basic 4:3 1600×1200 LCD monitor any more for less than $380?

A 1080 monitor is “missing” 120 pixels of vertical resolution.  In practical terms, this means you spend a LOT more time scrolling up and down when you browse the web, write a Microsoft Word document, edit your latest eBook, work on updating your website.

When it comes to computers, I’m a power user.  Lots of applications running, Internet browsers, file transfer applications, e-mail, office applications (Word, PowerPoint and Excel), graphics and website development software, even video conferencing from time to time, all at the same time.  It takes not only a lot of CPU and RAM to run all of this, but it takes a lot of desktop real-estate too, which is why I need high-resolution monitors. The rise of High Definition television (HD or 1080p) and mobile devices has brought about an odd situation.   Six years ago, you could get a 1600×1200 LCD/LED monitor for around $189.  I bought two Samsung monitors at that price.  One of them failed recently, and I went shopping for a new monitor with the same resolution, only to find that I had to choose between medical-industry-grade monitors at $1200+, new monitors at $450+ (if I could find them), refurbished monitors for around $200, or settle for a 1980×1080 monitor.

I was flabbergasted that you just can’t buy a new, standard 1600×1200 monitor these days for under $300.

After some research, I discovered that the people that make monitors aren’t interested in making PC monitors any more. They can take the same materials and produce an HD television at three times the price.  A basic 27-inch 1920×1080 LCD monitor will run you $109 US.  A 27-inch 1920×1080  HD-TV will run you $349 US.   Manufacturers add a tuner component, but otherwise, the HD-TV is the same materials, components, screen-size and electronics. Because it’s an HDTV, you’re willing to pay more and so you do, and the manufacturers realized that at a 250% markup, HD-TV’s are more profitable, so they retooled their factories to turn out 1920×1080 screens for HD-TV’s.  Even better, they can carve up what could have been a $109  27-inch screen into a dozen iPhones, charge $100 for each iPhone screen,  and make at least  600% markup with the same materials and production costs.  Thus, today’s monitor manufacturers see PC monitors as “unprofitable” by comparison to HD-TV’s, mobile phones and tables, so they refuse to put anything more into a PC monitor than is required to get a consumer to buy it.  Since they converted their factories for HD TV’s, they can only crank out 1080 PC monitors now.  Setting up a production line to turn out a 1600×1200 monitor may be possible, but they see making a smaller profit as a financial loss.  Since consumers are unaware that 1600×1200 used… Continue reading

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