Black Viper

http://www.blackviper.com/about/

Coming Soon – Windows Services Updates and Website Improvements

 Articles, News, Random Ramblings, Web Site Updates, Windows Services  Comments Off on Coming Soon – Windows Services Updates and Website Improvements
Apr 172015
 

Due to a successful start of my GoFundMe Campaign, in the coming weeks, I will make a solid pass through all Windows Services as well as Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Service Configurations.

Soon, I will also enable the ability to register and login so my readers may post comments directly on my guides.

For now, you can offer feedback in the way of sending a webcam video to me, shooting off an email or let me know via my Twitch.tv Live Stream chat.

I have also begun correcting errors in presentation (I bumped up the table font size and made the website wider to display more information) as well as correct grammar/spelling errors.

Stay tuned! Much more to come!

Lots of Achievements for Diablo 3 Season 3 Gone? Why? An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment

 Articles, Gaming, News, Random Ramblings, The Rant  Comments Off on Lots of Achievements for Diablo 3 Season 3 Gone? Why? An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment
Apr 132015
 

This text is mostly from my original post on the official Diablo 3 forums. It is replicated here for the general internet community to see: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/16952355725

Update: April 17, 2015

Tyvalir commented on my post and Blizzard is listening! The “Open Letter” is now closed. :) Direct Link.

04/16/2015 11:00 AM Posted by Tyvalir

Great feedback! You all have my thanks for sharing your perspectives so constructively here. Even fifteen pages later, I can see that most responses are on topic and respectful in their tone. *insert applause*

I’m still parsing through and collecting all of the ideas presented in this thread (since there’s a lot of good stuff here). By all means, please continue this discussion and I’ll make sure your feedback gets in front of the right folks.

Great feedback! You all have my thanks for sharing your perspectives so constructively here. Even fifteen pages later, I can see that most responses are on topic and respectful in their tone. *insert applause*

I’m still parsing through and collecting all of the ideas presented in this thread (since there’s a lot of good stuff here). By all means, please continue this discussion and I’ll make sure your feedback gets in front of the right folks.

TLDNR: Cutting out all the original achievements (class, explore, event, boss and monster kills, etc) is not the way to spark interest in Season 3. It excludes a massive amount of the player base shooting for “The Achievement Point Leaderboards” in a season.

The long post:
Update: Confirmed on page 6 on the forum thread that this is not a bug:

04/13/2015 12:55 AM Posted by TheTias

The 2.2 PTR’s “Season 3″ had the same achievements as we have now. That is, all of the regular achievements had been removed on the PTR just as they are removed on Live.

Thank you for the information and time required to reply. I wish I would have actually known this before Friday when Season 3 officially started. I would have began my campaign of “get answers” much, much sooner! :)
This also, with out a doubt, confirms that this is “not a bug”. Now I want to know “why” as the title of this thread states.

And to continue with the original information:

I played season 1 and 2 only for the season achievement point leaderboards (even though “starting over” was fun, to a point).
My career/non-season achievement score is 7200 or 98%.

Season 1 – I ended at #217 on the Americas Achievement list (because it was 11 weeks).
Season 2 – I ended at #304 on the Americas Achievement list (because it was only 7 weeks).
Season 3… Why try?

With the Season 2 Achievement point leaderboard
#1 had 8280 points.
#1000 had 4910.
8280 – 4910 = 3370
3370 / 10 = 337
The top and the bottom are separated by 337 different possible achievements available.

While in Season 3:
970 is the maximum amount of points available.
79 total achievements possible.
How is this even close to being considered “better” for their main gaming base and the largest segment of revenue? I fail to understand.
I am not asking to make it “easier” to get on a leaderboard. I am asking to keep it the way it was as it was a great system that allowed a much larger player base with a massive variety on play styles to have a shot at getting listed and did nothing to reduce the amount of top tier players fighting for the top. A win for all!

Oddly enough, I read the blog post as “We added a whole lot of achievements for Season 3, so enjoy!”
Instead of “We now made the only thing casuals can go for completely invalid in Season 3!”

From the Season 3 now live blog post: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/18710109/season-3-now-live-4-10-2015
And I quote:

“And that’s not all! We’ve also completely re-worked previous Seasonal Achievements to focus more on the challenging accomplishments you can achieve during a Season. There are 100 new Seasonal Achievements altogether in normal and Hardcore, giving you plenty of new challenges to take on this Season.

As always, our philosophy when creating Achievements is that they should require time and effort to obtain. The Conquests and Season-exclusive Achievements available in Season 3 reflect this idea. While some may be achieved through normal play, you’ll find that some require creativity and dedication if you want to complete them!”

As always“?!?!? This one completely cracks me up… As always when creating Achievements…
Since when? Four hours ago? Does “As always” at Blizzard really mean four hours, just like Soon™ means forever?
Most of the bold can be translated to mean “Casual gamers need not apply”.

Sure, Blizzard wants to create challenging new achievements… while deleting almost every single one that we have been earning since the game came out and when Seasons started? What?

I cannot get to the top of any class on the leaderboards Greater Rift completion solo or in group (I do not play public games and have zero pro-gamer friends) on Americas leaderboards, even though I probably play a lot more than most people like to label “Casuals”.

My best character in Season 2 made it to Solo Greater Rift 34… after seven weeks. I did not even get the Season 2 Greater Rift Conquest… for 10 points… LOL!

Why did Blizzard completely exclude a vast amount of their player base from Season 3?
I get that a lot of “post retail” added stuff has been massive amounts of experiments, but this is ridiculous.

Do they seriously think “Casuals” are going to continue at all with Seasons now?
400 points did take little time to get (ya, I admit a bit too easy) for the Season 1 and 2 “rewards”, but now for Season 3, it may take weeks instead of hours.
Does Blizzard really think that getting “Season 3 only items to drop” four months early is an incentive, just to delete another redundant character in an already crowded character list and start all over again, no longer even using the items earned?

Isn’t getting all the achievements and hitting at least one leaderboard the “end game” draw?
It was for me!

I must say that I liked having the 1000 players listed on the leaderboard separated by four thousand points instead of ten (or maybe even zero) at Seasons end.
I can only see Season 3 ending in two weeks for me. Why make it end in seven weeks as Season 2 did, or as one developer already said: four months? (Thanks Spluncy for the link):

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/16860296547?page=3#56

The Season 3 Achievements are also pro-group to the max. In other words, a player that normally plays with three other people can leave the group, do a solo level 40 Greater Rift, get all of the solo Greater Rift achievements in 14 minutes and 59 seconds for 240 points and then continue playing in a group.

This is broken. Period.

The leaderboards will be completely taken up by people playing 23 hours a day for a week or two and then locked out of for everyone else for the rest of the season, slated for at least four months.

Seriously.

Blizzard, please reconsider this action for Season 4.
Don’t kill the genre for me after 19 years of dedication.

I have always lurked the Diablo 3 forums and laughed at the silly rage quit noobs trying to get their point across and I am not one of them. I will continue playing, but not as intently as I would like.

– Signed, a long time PC Vanilla to ROS player completely irritated.
Look at my post count (at the time of the original post, it was two). I don’t troll forums. I post when something is really broken
I have been playing Blizzard games since December 31, 1996.
Go ahead, Google what release date that was… I dare you.

Black Viper from www.blackviper.com

A Request for my Dedicated Readers Over the Last 16 Years.

 Articles, News, Random Ramblings, Web Site Updates  Comments Off on A Request for my Dedicated Readers Over the Last 16 Years.
Apr 042015
 

Donations:

What is New? – As of September 2014, I am no longer employed (after 4 years with the company). While over 5,000+ people visit this site daily and I have helped millions with my information, I rarely get a note of thanks or a donation. As such, it would be greatly appreciated if you would dig down deep, even $5 US dollars helps a lot and donate to keep the wheels turning. I wish to thank you, kind reader, in advance for your generosity.

If you cannot or are not willing to donate: Follow my Twitch stream or Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Following or Subscribing will allow me to become a partner and have more options available.

GoFundMe link: http://www.gofundme.com/blackviper-com

GoFundMe also has the option of remaining “Anonymous” in the respect that your name will not be displayed on the campaign page as public information along with the donation amount. I still have the ability to thank you personally for your contribution via email proxy.

GoFundMe Text, posted April 7, 2015:

Starting in 1999, I began www.blackviper.com as a personal project to learn about how the web worked and meet people. It turned into much more (article from 2002) What Is The Purpose of BlackViper.com?

I also have a passion for performance and removing unneeded, often memory hogging and CPU cycle stealing processes.

I began optimizing Microsoft Windows 2000 and realized people were actually using my information I posted. From that point on, I continued updating through Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and learning more and more about how computers worked, but it has come at a price.

In order for me to have legal access to all Microsoft OS’s for me to do my testing, an MSDN subscription costs ~$700 a year. Multiply that by 16 and you have a large burden that I have carried for a long time. For those not wanting to whip out the calculator, the total is $11,200.

I also maintained a separate internet connection from 2000 up to 2005 while I was hosting the entire domain from my house, maintaining all servers and learning the hard way what it really takes to keep a resource online on the internet.  I never had any advertising on the site from 1999 to 2007 due to my feeling that my work was a hobby and I should not get paid for it. This varied in cost from $80 to $130 a month for five years, or on average $100 a month/$1200 a year or $6000 in that time span.

From 2002 to 2009, I was in a variety of traditional media outlets to include various magazines, radio shows as well as two live TV shows: Black Viper In The Media

None of them I was actually paid for and did not ask for any money.

In 2005, I moved closer to my family. I was unemployed for two years.

My savings disappeared and I began working for minimum wage in a small town for three years, not even taking home enough to pay for the house payment. During this time, I used high interest credit cards to pay income tax and fill in the gaps, while still keeping my website updated as much as I could afford to do.

From 2007 to date, I have paid my hosting provider a sum of $105 a month/$1260 a year to keep the domain up and running with high up time and massive bandwidth availability. Something that I could not do on my own. This price alone is ~$12,000. I have also swallowed my pride and stooped down to having Google advertising on my site and every time I see an ad displayed, I cringe deep down.

Since very few IT jobs are in the local, Northern California area and minimum wage was just not cutting it, in 2010, I started with a company traveling full-time. Usually, I was only home 24 hours in a 7 day period (I flew out on Sunday and flew home on Saturday… rinse repeat).

In September 2014, I was part of a layoff due to a contract renegotiation and my job disappeared.

In October 2014, I decided to purchase an SSL certificate to allow website visitors to login using the verified and secure method of HTTPS. The certificate is $400 a year. It will expire in six months.

Now, I am fully in deep with credit card debt, but still have over 5,000 visitors per day and millions of page views in the last year alone, yet I am struggling to keep the electricity on. I love helping people for free, but it is getting harder and harder to keep going.

In 2014, my server reports 1,410,582 unique visitors with 6,945,408 pages served.

As a contrast, Google reports 1,999,329 pages served in 2014. In other words, less than a third of all pages served I get revenue via ad income.

From May 2007 to April 2015, Google reports 39,458,195 pages served… and that is only reporting those that have ads/JavaScript enabled.

Just counting the expenses that I have accounted for on this page, ignoring my free time (thousands upon thousands of hours) and various other expenses related to the domain (P.O. Box fees for people to contact me via snail mail), hits a grand total of $29,600!

My minimum credit card payments each month across four different maxed out cards is $988.

The campaign total that I am asking to raise ($36,000) is the amount I have outstanding on my credit cards as of April 2015.

The only thing I ask is to get back to where I was when I was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 1998: credit card debit free.

Thank you, kind reader, for getting this far.

– Charles “Black Viper” Sparks

Update on April 13, 2015:

In order to give back to the internet community as a whole and an effort on my part to reach my goal, I will state this:

If I reach my GoFundMe campaign goal of $36,000 US, I will release all content posted on www.blackviper.com, to include all images and text, past present and future, into the public domain.
This means, I will not claim any Copyright on any and all images, including my install guides, or any text that I have drafted for Windows Services!
This action, I feel, is the best way to give back to everyone that I have helped as well as, I feel, an amount of money I never, ever would have thought possible to earn with my “hobby” website.
I thank you, in advance, for your generosity!
-Black Viper of www.blackviper.com

Please share this page on Facebook to get the word out! https://www.facebook.com/pages/wwwblackvipercom/108675855165

As of September 2014, I am no longer employed (after 4 years with the company). Off and on, I use credit cards (with…

Posted by www.blackviper.com on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

If I have helped you, please take a few seconds to donate via PayPal using your credit card, an existing account, or create a new one. International donations are also accepted via PayPal (converted to $US).

All donations will:

  • Help pay for hosting charges.
  • My time used to provide this free information.
  • I am currently unemployed. Any money will help keep this domain going.

If you do not desire to use PayPal, you may contact me at the postal address listed on the Contact BV page.

Paypal:




Oct 012014
 

Since Windows 10 Technical Preview has been released, I wanted to kick out this update.

The Windows 10 Services Configurations have been updated to include Windows 10 Technical Preview with Default and Safe configurations online.

All Windows 10 Services Pages will be updated to include the latest information in due time (and a lot of it).

Enjoy!

Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement Bug Fix

 Articles, Gaming, News, Random Ramblings, Software  Comments Off on Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement Bug Fix
Aug 272014
 

With the release of Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 on August 26, 2014, a bug was introduced with people logging in and having no Achievements displayed. Blizzard employees acknowledged this bug, but their “easy fix” did not work for either my wife or I.

Well, I have a fix:

Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement fix:

  1. In the battle.net launcher, change region to Europe (this is assuming you are playing on Americas. If not, change to an alternate region).
  2. Create character there and log into it.
  3. After fully logging in, exit game and battle.net entirely.
  4. Load battle.net and change region back to Americas (or what ever your home region is).
  5. Log in to your characters and enjoy!

-BV

Sep 262013
 

Since Windows 8.1 is just around the corner, I wanted to kick out this update before it happens.

The Windows 8.1 Services Configurations have been updated to include Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro as well as Windows 8.1 Enterprise with Default and Safe configurations online. Windows 8.1 Preview has been replaced with this update.

All Windows 8.1 Services Pages will be updated to include the latest information in due time (and a lot of it).

Enjoy!

Having Poor Frame Rate With Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.5 During Maghda Encounter? I Have A Quick Fix!

 Articles, Gaming, News, Random Ramblings, Software  Comments Off on Having Poor Frame Rate With Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.5 During Maghda Encounter? I Have A Quick Fix!
Nov 052012
 

TLDNR Give Me The Fix Now:

Having poor frame rate with diablo 3 patch 1.0.5 during Maghda Encounter? I have a quick fix!

Simply make…

c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\D3Debug.txt

Read-only by right clicking the file, selecting properties, then check “Read-only” under Attributes.

Introduction

Two days ago, during the Maghda Encounter with Diablo 3 on my Hardcore Character, I had extremely poor frame rates which ultimately killed my character due to less than 5 FPS with periods of no updates for many seconds.

I was pissed. I blamed it on my computer and an extended play session, even though I never encountered any issues before.

Today, I fired up an old Hardcore Witch Doctor that was level 9 and decided to give it a go.

Once again, I walked into Maghdas Chamber (after gaining eight levels) and even the movie stuttered. A rapid death I suffered.

Now, I am really pissed.

Look, Look, and Look Some More

I did the standard issue things, farted with video settings and nothing would fix it.

I then wandered off to c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III while I had a capped character playing normal and defeated Maghda. The frame rate issue was still present and I noticed that D3Debug.txt in the root folder of the Diablo 3 install directory was gaining in size… rapidly. The log looks a bit like this:

2012.11.05 17:56:24.245951000 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246137300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246417300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246651300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246808300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246948300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247087300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247260300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247428300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group

The above cut and paste is not even a full second of data. I quickly concluded it was a sound issue (SOUND_SNO group… duh?) so I thought a very quick fix would be to just plain disable sound.

Wrong!

Disabling sound did not fix the issue. What was the next thing I did?

I made c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\D3Debug.txt read-only by right clicking the file, selecting properties, then check “Read-only” under Attributes.

I went back to town with a portal before surfing the install directory, so I just hopped back into the portal and the frame rate was fine. I then created a new game and went back to kill her and, even though the FPS went from around 90 to 80… it was indeed possible to complete the encounter.

It is a known issue with Blizzard and I hope it is patched tomorrow, but for those that cannot wait and are basically stuck, give this a go… it just might fix it.

As a side note, after this is fixed by Blizzard, you should put the D3Debug.txt back to read/write.

How can I install or uninstall services in Windows 8?

 FAQ, Services FAQ, Windows 8 FAQ  Comments Off on How can I install or uninstall services in Windows 8?
Oct 052012
 

Several services in Windows 8 have the ability to be uninstalled. You can add or remove these services by:

  1. Head to Start (Windows Key)
  2. Type Control Panel (or enough letters so it appears in the results)
  3. Select Control Panel (under Results)
  4. Select Programs
  5. Select Programs and Features
  6. Select Turn Windows Features on or off
Or
  1. Head to Start (Windows Key)
  2. Right Click an EMPTY area
  3. Select All Apps (bottom right)
  4. Select Control Panel (under Windows System)
  5. Select Programs
  6. Select Programs and Features
  7. Select Turn Windows Features on or off
I have found that the following Windows 8 Services can be installed or uninstalled: