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 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 entirely.
  4. Load and change region back to Americas (or what ever your home region is).
  5. Log in to your characters and enjoy!


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.


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.


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.

May 012012

Siskiyou County Office of Education classrooms in Yreka, CA dedicated to those children with special education needs, were vandalized Sunday April 29, 2012, the second time in April. This hits a part of me directly as my wife was a teachers assistant for these children, in these particular classrooms in 2006-2007. My wife says “They were the best classrooms in Yreka” and now they are destroyed. Tens of thousands of dollars in damage to electronic equipment as well as flooding the bathrooms and many other hateful acts. Curriculum’s and other books were destroyed as well. Even though no person directly deserves such acts of hate and rage, these children especially are hurt by this senseless crime. Disconnected from their classroom for, who knows how long, they do not understand why this happened… and neither do I.

Update 02MAY2012: One adult, one juvenile arrested in Jackson Street School vandalism.

Update 03MAY2012: Vandals Trash Classrooms (Video from local TV station)

For the entire month of May 2012, all donations sent to me via this link will go directly to help rebuild the classrooms in Yreka, CA. I will also match 10% of all monies received and contribute to the cause as well. I thank you, in advance, for your support.

Update 02JUN2012: Generous support of my kind readers generated donations of $70! I thank everyone that helped remedy this matter.

Apr 222012

Hover over the links for more back story.

  1. I remember when I purchased a book with instructions on how to get rich for $19.99 by simply writing a book and publishing it.
  2. I remember when phones had cords.
  3. I remember when more then one PC game was released annually at retail stores.
  4. I remember when $20 to fill an 18 gallon gas tank was expensive.
  5. I remember when “apps” were keyed in by hand from a magazine and magnetic storage media was not financially feasible.
  6. I remember when song skipping was an extremely advanced option on car stereo cassette decks.
  7. I remember when Mtv actually played music videos.
  8. I remember when Mtv was better then VH1.
  9. I remember when 64KB of RAM was a lot.
  10. I remember when PC Gamer Magazine was 457 pages.
  11. I remember when was only 1 HTML page.
  12. I remember when people could “dislike” things as well as like them.
  13. I remember when sharing was giving access to physical objects with whom you did not wish to give that object to.
  14. I remember when a hard cover dictionary was the only spell checking option available.
  15. I remember when receiving one email per week from my website visitors was a success.
  16. I remember when receiving 250+ emails per day from my website visitors was a failure.
  17. I remember when 99% of all statistics were completely made up.
  18. I remember when I bought my first new car.
  19. I remember when I wrecked my first new car after only 3 months.
  20. I remember when people used to interact in person.
  21. I remember when I actually looked forward to Christmas.
  22. I remember when cars did not talk back.
  23. I remember when cars started talking.
  24. I remember when pay phones actually existed.
  25. I remember when the world was going to end December 31, 1999.
  26. I remember when the world did not end January 1, 2000.
  27. I remember when connecting to the internet required effort.
  28. I remember when modems actually made noise.
  29. I remember when displaying text as an image on a website was bad.
  30. I remember when displaying text as an image on a website was good.
  31. I remember when Transformers did not suck.
  32. I remember when console game controllers only had one button.
  33. I remember when my car insurance was just as much money per month as my rent.
  34. I remember when being a geek was not cool.
  35. I remember when The Bard’s Tale was released on C-64.
  36. I remember when 16 color graphics was great.
  37. I remember when Diablo was released on PC.
  38. I remember when 640×480 resolution was high res.
  39. I remember when I refused to buy a cell phone because people could call me at any time.
  40. I remember when I broke down on the side of the road which led to a purchased cell phone.
  41. I remember when a small battery installed in a game cartridge to enable saved games was phreaking awesome.
  42. I remember when I read the Dungeons Masters Guide at my leisure.
  43. I remember when Dungeons and Dragons was the root of all evil.
  44. I remember when I bought my first optical mouse and never looked back.
  45. I remember when #wordswereseperatedbyspaces.
  46. I remember when I could write some really good one liners.
  47. I remember when my whole life was in front of me.
  48. I remember when portable music players were 50+ pounds.
  49. I remember when people protested for a reason.
  50. I remember when entire brick and mortar stores were dedicated to PC Gaming.
  51. I remember when movies were only produced in two dimensions.
  52. I remember when I updated my daily diary in 1986 at the age of 14 with weeks of “Boring day” and did not make it to March.
  53. I remember when a 20 mile daily commute from Rosamond, CA to Edwards AFB took one CD worth of music to get there.
  54. I remember when a 30 mile car ride from Corning, CA to Chico, CA and back was an eternity every Saturday.
  55. I remember when a 60 mile car ride from Corning, CA to Redding, CA and back monthly was more punishing then being “sent to my room”.
  56. I remember when a 620 mile U-haul ride from Rosamond, CA to Yreka, CA required only one pee break with cats squalling in their carriers every two seconds.
  57. I remember when video game violence was actually blown out of proportion.
  58. I remember when songs on the radio did not have to censor every other word and those words were actually cuss words.
  59. I remember when robotics was science fiction.
  60. I remember when Stephen King novels were not allowed as high school book report options.
  61. I remember when a 13″ color TV was huge.
  62. I remember when a 21″ CRT computer monitor was gigantic.
  63. I remember when my kitties fit in the palm of my hand.
  64. I remember when Google was only a search engine.
  65. I remember when AltaVista was better then Google.
  66. I remember when people actually retained knowledge instead of just googling it.
  67. I remember when people actually retained incorrect knowledge instead of just googling it.
  68. I remember when I enjoyed using ICQ.
  69. I remember when printers cost more then the ink contained within them.
  70. I remember when a map purchased from a gas station was a better option then asking Siri.
  71. I remember when after work naps were longer then nighttime sleeping.
  72. I remember when I used to be funny.
Mar 132012

Diablo 3 Multiboxing: Possible Or Not?

In short, yes! Controlling 2 to 4 characters in Diablo 3 is possible with 2 to 4 seperate accounts, game purchases and free mouse replication software, but is it practical?

Unfortunately, the answer is no for the average gamer, including me at this time.

I just tried this using Input Director and Desktop + Laptop (on board graphics) running at same resolution (1366 x 768) using two beta accounts (wife and my account) and created two new characters.

The reason multiboxing Diablo 3 Beta is not practical is the systems become unsynced with relation to each other very quickly. In town, moving around is fine. Either “clicking” each move or holding down the mouse button (though clicking seems to work better) functions as expected. However, when getting into a fight and waiting for the resources to load (sound, spell effects, etc) the systems become unsynced and the characters start to run off in different parallels in relation to the master. With no follow command, getting them synced back up is as “easy” as running into a corner wall and waiting for them to stack on top of each other, but upon moving from that spot, the characters will still be just a little bit off. A pixel here or there adds up quick and they will become out of sync again. Let us not even factor in the latency as, regardless of systems, it will not be the “same” across all computers at the exact same moment for any extended period of time, once again making the characters not synced. The character in game also goes “just beyond” where clicked to move. As a result, the characters may not sync up due to different angles of arriving at the same location.

Even with the laptop running minimum GFX settings, it could not keep up with the desktop. This should not come as a surprise, but a current high end gaming PC with 4 virtual machines may struggle keeping everything synced up (I would say an I7 EE, 16GB RAM, SSD’s, 2 or more nVidia 500 series probably would work) and completely stutter free at all times. I do not have a system with such high end specs to test, so I had to only test what I have available. As such, unless 4 systems have the same high end specs (or at least way beyond what is required to run a single instance of Diablo 3 very smoothly), quad-boxing or even dual-boxing, is and will be, difficult to pull off for the average gamer. I would venture a guess that multiboxing is beyond average to start with, though. :)

With loot not being shared between party members (drops only show for the character that can pick it up), this makes looting difficult through trash monsters but still feasible for boss drops. Money (gold) is automatically picked up if the character is in range, but that range is still pretty small and gold does not drop in the same spot for all characters.

I really looked forward to multiboxing in D3 as I enjoyed it in WoW. I also spent a lot of time to run D2 on 8 systems over 10 years ago just for the “extras” it offered. However, having mules sit in town (level 1 characters going to Hell difficulty) is very different then controlling all those characters at the same time. For a good laugh, here is a guide and my findings I drafted in 2001 for Diablo 2 Muling.

When I dual-boxed for a long time with WoW, I used in game macros and was accused of “botting” often. It was fun for me overcoming aspects of the game while still controlling all characters… and that is the key.

“Botting” is mixed in with multiboxers more often then I can stomach. What is the difference in pressing one key on a keyboard and having it replicated across 4 computers verse having 4 keyboards very close to each other and stretching my fingers to hit “1” at the same time? “Botting” is automation! Having a character complete multiple tasks (traveling, killing, looting, crafting, vendoring) while the person “controlling” said character is at school/work/beach/sleep/etc. When I did not tell my characters to do something, they did nothing. That is not “botting”, that is multiboxing.

Hardware macros are not really “automation” unless it is doing much more then mashing three buttons. Using my G-19 keyboard to “macro” actions is pretty trivial. I played a (fairly) recent MMO that did not monitor hardware macro actions (like WoW does). As such, I made a macro button to constantly mash “1 2 3″ every 15ms. The game lasted right around 7 days for me as it made things extremely easy. How was I killing monsters before I macroed that action? Using three fingers to mash 1 2 3 and thus using those actions every cooldown anyway.

The interesting aspect (and general thought) about multiboxing is that the person somehow becames super rich in game. That is not correct for me as I purchase the standard stuff that everyone else does (example being epic flying, enchant them all up) and, in effect, I had 4 times the loot and 4 times the in game cost (as well as the wallet MMO monthly fee drain). As far as I am concerned… that makes single character controllers and I even.

People also do not understand that, as a whole, multiboxers are still behind the power curve as far as game content is concerned. Sure, in any given time period, Diablo 3 multiboxers would have “4 times” the chance that a good item drops, but 4 people have that same chance and probably completing content above the level of the multiboxer anyway (hell vs inferno for example) and getting items “worth more” and also much easier…

Multiboxing is work… hard work. :) Even though it may not be practical, I wish that I could find a way to make a single high end gaming system capable of running D3 in 4 VM’s manifest as I still want to do it upon Diablo 3’s release. :)

Jan 272012

In Mid February, I will retire from World of Warcraft. My 10 Horde characters are now at max level cap (85) and I cannot find anything else to do to keep my interest. I have done most achievements on my main Priest and experienced every character class at cap over the last 8 years with over 700+ days /played time across all characters. I have raided with guildies, I have pugged easy as well as difficult instances and trained many people on the in’s and out’s of the game. Now it is time to move forward.

I have since wandered over to Star Wars: The Old Republic and enjoying my time there on Soresu PVE server. I am also the GM of “Republic Exiles” with close friends and family. To say hi, just whisper BlackViper or BlackViperen in-game.

It pains me to let WoW go, but after spending around $1440 on a single account over the years, I had to stop sometime. SWTOR is basically a stopgap until Diablo 3 release as I will be playing that game exclusively.

Thank you, kind reader, for all of your support with my gaming habits over the years, but it is time to say farewell to a game that is #1 no matter how you judge it, but has just worn thin for me.

Have fun… that is what it is all about.


Jan 072012


Starting during my Junior year of High School, a television series that struck a cord with me aired on TV. A series like no other. One that understands the timeless struggles of youth and one that embedded itself in my consciousness for so long. With hormones racing, emotions random and ever changing, adolescence is anything but easy.

My Drama

After a full 21 years, I finally finish my comedy/drama series I started watching my Junior year in High School: The Wonder Years. Even though it is set in the late 60’s and early 70’s, it features events and moments in life that are experienced by all. A diary of love, hate, confusion and misinformation that lives in all of us. Episodes that chronicle the love of the girl next door, ones that involve the craziness of a sister, reaching out to validate her opinion of life, and time slots that outline the joy of the first car, the fear of change and the thrill of adventure of breaking out of the foothold life bestows on us. 6 seasons of fun and at the time… taking 6 years to absorb.

The Delay

In 1990, a lot of things happened in my life. After only 2 seasons of my beloved picture box theater presentation, I graduated from High School. I moved out of my parents dwelling on my own and due to the income I was receiving at the time… I could not afford cable. After joining the military and spending a wonderful spell in Southern CA as a contractor, one thing was always in the back of my mind: What eventually happened with Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years?


One fine day, my wife casually mentioned that Netflix had The Wonder Years available for streaming. After 114 episodes displayed on various devices (one that actually broke at the end of one episode and is no longer even working) in the last several months, I finally witnessed how it all turned out. I watched from the couch at home, streaming via the PS3 console. I watched in various airports, viewing the episodes on my phone. I watched with my laptop with video out directed to the hotels TV. Tonight, the end arrived. Several tears were shed. A closing moment passed. An epic adventure fulfilled. The end arrived. A time that makes me saddened. A time that makes me happy it is over. A time… I will never forget.

In Closing

Goodbye Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper… You have inspired my youth as well as my middle age. Just a few days shy of the ripe age of 40, you have made one man happy for your efforts in conveying a story all of us can relate.

Thanks for a good time.

-Black Viper

Jan 022012


TLDNR: Follow me on Facebook (Tweets are connected) or Twitter to get rapid location updates.

Starting today, I will be Tweeting my current location. This will not be flooded with “at grocery store” or “stuck at red light”, though, so if you are looking for that kind of pointless information… ya will have to wander somewhere else.

Due to my current employment, I am in a different city almost ever week (and sometimes several cities). This is also not mentioning the fact that I travel through many airports on my way to the final destination.

One City, Two City, Three City More!

In 2011, I successfully flew on 90+ airplanes, gained 52,000+ flight miles (ignoring my current Award Mile Count) and was in major cities like (this is only a small list off of the top of my head in no particular order):

Major Airports

This should go without saying that I have spent a big chunk of my time in 2011 at several airports scattered around the US, to include: MFR, SFO, RNO, DEN, LAX, SLC, IAH and ORD.

So, Why Now?

Why have I not mentioned this before today? Well, in all honesty, I have always taken the position of “separating my career with my internet self”. This basically means that I do not talk about work on my website. However, in recent history, I have had pretty boring jobs. :) Now, with myself hopping on 2 to 6 planes a week, I have something to talk about. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, however you wish to look at it), I will still be refraining from “Ranting” about my job or what I am doing at a particular moment.

So What Will You Tweet?

Actually, I have not figured out the details, yet. I pretty much decided that I was going to give this a trial run a couple days ago as something to write about on the domain. Needless to say, I have not determined what I will say, however, I may not have “exact” location (like eating here or walking there), but for now, will identify what city and airport I currently am located in.

The following hashtag will now be used #BlackViperCom for Tweeted Locations and Website Updates.

What Can I Do?

Lots! I am not the adventurous type, so you can reply to my location tweet and let me know what cool places I should visit, must see locations, etc! Nothing like having a person living in the area give recommendations on places to visit rather then just randomly searching for something on Google Maps and hope it is good.

How Can I Get Involved?

Easy: Follow me on Facebook (Tweets are connected) or Twitter and get rapid location updates.

Dec 262011

Don’t like ads?

Me neither. If you are a registered member and logged into this section of my domain (not the unconverted content), you will not see ads. If you use this feature and I have helped you, consider a donation. With that said, my income from ad placements have been cut in half since offering this feature to my users. Even $5 helps a lot and if 20 visitors donated in a month, my hosting providers fees would be reduced or non-existent. $5, $10, or whatever you can afford are acceptable. Free content costs me money and lots of time and for this holiday season, I request your support. Thank you, kind reader, for listening.
From my family to yours: Have a save and Happy Holiday Season.

Donation not your thing?

You can help me financially bringing a car up to speeed for the 2012 racing season: Here is what you can do to help:

I am offering three ways that you can become a sponsor of Black Viper Racing and “The Racing Tech”:

Update 01MAY2012: I have removed the option to sponsor Black Viper Racing via PayPal as my current work schedule does not provide a method to reliably be on the track. As such, I wish to thank my current sponsors for their support and their money has been refunded. If you wish to sponsor my efforts, you may consider a general donation.


Sponsor Stickers

Sponsor Stickers will appear like this on the 2012 season car

You may purchase a bumper sticker sized personal name plate for only $20 which is good for the entire 2012 season. This option is for individuals that desire to sponsor my efforts, but do not have a business they would like to promote. I will personally email you via the account on file with PayPal and thank you as well as ask what name, if any, you would like to have on your personalized name plate to be placed on my current race car.

For Companies:

Sponsor Stickers

Sponsor Stickers will appear like this on the 2012 season car

For companies, I offer the option to purchase two bumper sticker sized name plate for only $50 which is good for the entire 2012 season. This option is for businesses that desire to sponsor my efforts and have a company they would like to promote as well as a website. I will personally email you via the account on file with PayPal and thank you as well as ask what name and website, if any, you would like to have on your personalized name plate to be placed on my current race car. The bumper sticker sized plate will be the name of your business and your companies website (domain) address. Businesses will also have a spot on my sponsorship page with a short description of their company’s product offerings as well as a link to their website.

Roll your own amount:

If the official sponsorship amounts are too low or too high, you may “roll your own” amount with the button above. Based upon donation amount, I will send a personal note of thanks, place your name on my sponsors page and/or include your name on my car!

Which ever method you choose, you will be supporting me in my efforts to get a geek on the dirt track. I thank you in advance for your support!