Radeon resetting refresh to 85Hz on 144Hz monitor

Seriously AMD, can’t you do something right one fuckin time? Not long ago I had a problem of monitor not waking up when I pressed any key in standby. I had to re-connect DVI cable on my Radeon 7950 in order for screen to wake up. Now I’ve bought a proper gaming monitor from ASUS, the VG248QE monster with 144Hz and 1ms screen. Bought DisplayPort cable for it in order to use newest possible stuff for most problem free experience. Guess what, I have problems again. This one is even worse than occasionally monitor not waking up. Here, it wakes up just fine. Except it then gets stuck in a fuckin fixed 85Hz. If i check refresh rate settings, 85Hz is the highest option I can even select. I have to unplug DisplayPort cable and reconnect it. And then voila, I have a 144Hz monitor again. I usually notice this because either desktop or games just feels weird when it’s in 85Hz.

My main question is, why the fuck is this even happening? It’s not like 144Hz monitors are some mad exotic these days or am I really the only one noticing this issue and the rest of people just play at 85Hz without ever noticing it thinking they run at 144Hz all the time?

And what’s even worse is that I can’t fill in bug report because they are doing maintenance on it. Argh…

Bulova Accutron II 96B213

Here is one of the most amazing quartz watches I’ve seen in my life. In general I’m all for mechanical watches, because they are just the good old school machines, but here and there there are companies that surprise me with modern tech that blends perfectly to their heritage. Bulova has released watches with such movements in their Precisionist models range few years ago, but they were really big and dials were just too busy for my taste with so much stuff going on, it was just too much. But few weeks ago, Bulova introduced the new Accutron II range of watches, a true tribute to their original Accutron from the 1960′s that had a metal tuning fork instead of quartz crystal that we use these days.

What is so special about it? First thing you will notice on the above video is the fact that second hand doesn’t tick like it does on 99,99% of quartz watches. It’s gliding across the dial and that alone gives it such special feel. It will attract the looks with this alone for sure. And while most other watches would drain battery in no time, Bulova quartz watches with Precisionist movement will last for roughly 2-3 years on a single battery. Second thing about it is the fact that it’s incredibly accurate. Some a lot more expensive HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz) watches achieve this with built-in thermal compensation system that adjusts the quartz oscillation relative to the environment temperature, making them incredibly accurate. They are often accurate from +-5 to 10 seconds a year. Most casual consumer quartz watches are accurate within +-15 to 30 seconds a month. Bulova Accutron II models are accurate to +-15 to 20 seconds a year. And they achieve this not by thermal compensation, but with three prong quartz crystal oscillator (regular watches have only two prong quartz crystal) and much higher oscillation frequency. End result? Very accurate watch with a less than one fourth of the HAQ price. HAQ watches are usually around 1500 € where Accutron II models like the 96B213 that I own cost below 350 €.

Bulova 96B213 comes in a really nicely carved and polished stainless steel case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such shapes on any other watch and I must say it looks really nice. On top of it is the domed mineral crystal. While I’d prefer a sapphire, especially on a watch that costs more than 300 €, but still, I forgive them a bit because it looks so nice.

Dial has a mild sunburst effect that changes slightly when you move the watch under the light. It’s nto as strong as the Bulova’s marketing photo suggests, but it still looks really nice. It comes in off white color dial paired with markers without any lume, but they are very legible in anything but absolute darkness. Watch hands are also very nicely made, super legible and they do have lume applied. The downside is that lume isn’t particularly bright which was a bit of a disappointment. Blue second hand doesn’t have the lume, but has a tiny tuning fork on the opposite end which I think it’s a nice touch. Date window and the date numbers are very big, so anyone can see them nicely and they also change rather quickly at the end of the day.

It comes with genuine black leather strap which looks a bit cheap and plasticky on Bulova’s marketing photos (which is strange), but is actually very high quality strap that comes pre-curved in a box so it fits the wrist perfectly straight away. Buckle is a traditional one, made of really chunky piece of stainless steel and again has the Bulova’s tuning fork logo. Nice touch, though it’s not carved into the stainless steel, but rather welded to the buckle. It’s nothing wrong with that, though I’ve noticed threads and my dog’s hair is getting stuck underneath it. Which is a bit annoying.

It’s a beautiful watch with really special quartz movement. It is a bit expensive to most people who aren’t into watches, but considering there are watches that cost 1500 € with nearly the same functionality, I’d say it’s a great value. And we haven’t even plowed into the Rolex territory with prices beyond 10.000 € or the likes of Patek Philippe that can cost even over 6 digit price figures. In Euros :) So yeah, like I said, great value.

Some more info and specifications:

Brand: Bulova
Model: 96B213
Movement: Accutron Precisionist
Accuracy: +- 15-20 seconds/year (estimated)
Dial color: off white with sunburst effect
Crystal type: Edge domed mineral crystal
Case material: stainless steel
Strap: non textured genuine black leather
Water resistance: 3 bar (30m or nearly 100 ft)
Power source: battery

Boycott Ubisoft

I’ve been wanting to write this for quite a while, but remained limited to forum rants only. This time I’m going “big”.

We all remember Ubisoft from the olden days. It was a game developer and publisher devoted to PC gamers with really good games and they also published several really good games like Far Cry, Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind etc. I loved their games and I still own many of them (retail versions and also on GOG). Until something changed. They’ve became obsessed with protection of their games with all the wrong methods. First it was moronic StarForce protection that was known to cause idiotic problems with stuff not even related to game protected with it. Then they ditched it after the outrage by the gamers. Then they focused on what was even worse than StarForce. Their horrible always connected protection.

And that was the moment where I’ve decided not to buy a single game from them ever again from that point on. The games were unplayable on release day, because all the gamers connecting to their crap server simply DoS-ed it and with no connection, no playing. WTF!? What was even worse, when you did login to the game, started playing, connection was lost because of their crap servers and you were thrown out of the game, because no connection meant a non functional game. Thumbs up for that lads at Ubisoft.

And then they released their Uplay. A yet another game client in a line of many clients. Steam was first, fair enough. Then it was Origin. Fair enough, EA has been pushing it for a while even before the Steam with EA Downloader (EADM) which wasn’t the best thing out there, but since it wasn’t enforced to use it (you could install the game without it), I was fine with it. But we seriously don’t need the friggin’ third one. And it wouldn’t be such a problem as such if it wasn’t running on top of existing client. So, if you buy a game on Steam, you have to run Steam and also Uplay. WHY!? If you also release the damn game on Steam, use only their friggin’ framework. They also have copy protections, so why the need to run clients on top of other clients. Idiotic.

People who PAID for the games have to deal with all this nonsense. Guess how life was terrifyingly complicated for pirates who downloaded the game for free? Absolutely no problems. They games worked from first minute, they didn’t have to deal with stupid always connected nonsense back then and they still don’t have to deal with shitty Uplay. That’s a great reward for anyone who decides to actually pay for your shit Ubisoft.

And then there is their arrogance and faking of game graphics quality. Last one on the wall is Watch_Dogs. The game is filled with bugs, stuffed with stupid Uplay and worst of all, the graphics for PC were purposely and deliberately dumbed down to pathetic levels. And it doesn’t look anything like it was presented in teasers and trailers and in E3 show.

And this line of text snapped from their game code from Watch_Dogs shows how much they really care about PC gamers…


And then they have thrown out a large number of next gen effects that actually made the game really impressive looking and i wanted to buy it just because of that. So I could wander around Chicago in all the graphics beauty. It would be the first Ubisoft game I even considered buying after a long time boycott. Just to first find out about bugs and later on about this crap they pulled with graphics. So I just dropped it from my wishlist immediately.

Lets start with comparison of Watch_Dogs (2014) game with Mafia (2002). Pay attention that there are 12 years in between both games. There is no excuse not to include such “details” into a modern game if a game from more than decade ago has it. I know what it is, it’s the NVIDIA PhysX bullcrap Ubisoft decided to use to “improve” things. The “improvements” for everyone else are limited to quality of a game from year 1998…

And then there is what they showed us in trailers and E3 and what we actually got…

And this presentation:

You can just dream on to ever see such graphics on PC, especially not if you use AMD Radeon graphic card well capable of rendering full DirectX 11 feature set. That also includes the hyped HBAO which can just as easily be rendered on any Radeon.

What was the official Ubisoft response to this ridiculous downgrade?

“The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we’ve set out to achieve,” Ubisoft wrote. “We test and optimise our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality.

“The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons, including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality.

Ok Ubisoft, should I spell you the word BUUUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLSHIIIIIIITTTTTTT ? Dedicated to getting most out of each platform? Really? How is it making a 2014 game look worse than it was showcased back in friggin’ 2012 a dedication of any sort? Why wouldn’t you just admit it was deliberately downgraded in graphics quality so that even current gen modern consoles wouldn’t look bad compared to what PC can do? After all Ubisoft is lately primarily a console only developer and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was actually true (and I strongly believe it is). Can’t see any other explanation for it.

And the game doesn’t contain “some old, unused render settings”, because you friggin’ removed it entirely. “deactivated for variety of reasons, including impacts on visual fidelity…”. It sure does affect it indeed. In a fuckin’ negative way. It looks like shit because of it. They’ve even added a line “This is PC only, who cares”. And then they have the balls to release such statement for the outrage by everyone who paid fuckin’ 49,99 € for this joke they call a game. Or 69,99 € for some sort of shitty digital “deluxe” version. Get fuckin’ serious Ubisoft.

I really don’t know what we gamers have to do to sober up these briefcase carrying tie wearing morons who don’t give a shit about gamers. Those gamers who made Ubisoft into what they are today. That’s right, like in so many cases, PC gamers build your company and now you’re screwing them without any Vaseline. Just because we don’t like stupid consoles, that doesn’t mean we are all bunch of thieves who steal every single game released. Having over 300 games on Steam, over 120 on GOG, over 10 games on Origin and over 50 retail physical discs. Yes, I’m a fucking thief.

Yet, I still refuse to buy any Ubisoft game because of everything I’ve said above. And I’ve been this way since their release of always connected crap. They have canceled it, yet their lame attitude was so bad I’ve decided to entirely boycott them. And not in a way that I’d still play their game obtained from warez scene. No, I ignore their stuff entirely. Like it doesn’t even exist for me. And more people should follow my example. You’ll soon notice you don’t really miss their games at all, because there are so many other still honest developers and publishers who deserve your money more. And they also release just as good if not a lot better games. When I say EA also falls into this group of good developers, you can see I am dead serious.

We don’t need your shit. Think about your marketing strategy again and once you make it right again, I’ll be the first one to write praises and compliments and not just piss over the Ubisoft name and logo. Yes, I will write about that if it ever happens. And I’ll be all mister positive. But with their current direction I just don’t see it happening in my lifetime…

Until then, Ubisoft, F & U.

Paint.NET 4.0 released!

Paint.NET has been my favorite image editing tool for years. And after ages long development cycle (lets face it, it’s developed by a single person as far as I remember, so I’m not gonna blame them for that). Interface wise it hasn’t change much and if I’m honest, there is no need for that. But it has gained few extra settings, a bit re-arranged GUI and many under the hood features like GPU hardware acceleration for effects. And best of all, it’s free. If you don’t need all the features of Adobe Photoshop, but you need a capable image editing power tool, this is it. It’s simple to use, has all the features average or even power user will need and it just works. And I love it because of that. It’s a must have app for any PC.


Peggle Deluxe for Free!

This time around, EA is giving away PopCap’s Peggle Deluxe. It’s a puzzle game where you have to take down various objects on a predefined “playground” with limited number of balls. Sort of like a blend of Breakout, Worms and Scorched. It’s a bit old and doesn’t look as awesome as some of the latest PopCap games, but it’s still fun to play.


Offer will last till 5th August 2014.

Enjoy! :)

Plants vs Zombies Game of The Year Edition for Free

Wow, EA at it again. In a positive way! After free Battlefield 3, here comes the all time classic Plants vs Zombies. A cartoonish 2D arcade game with plants defending the garden against zombies. And it’s WAY better than their latest 3D Garden Warfare nonsense. That one is nowhere near as good as this original. And best of all, it even works on Windows tablets with full touch control. I’m playing it all the time on my ACER Iconia W4.



This awesome deal will last till 2014-06-16. Make sure you grab it because it’s just awesome! Only on EA Origin.

Have fun!

Smart watches obsession

Like me, you have most probably noticed obsession with smart watches from all major hardware vendors. Samsung is desperately trying to sell us their smart watch(es), people are speculating Apple is designing their iWatch for ages, there are bunch of kickstarters with smart bracelets, hell even Razer and Nike made one. The question here is, do we even want or better, need one?

I love technology as I’m surrounded with it on all ends. One PC, a laptop, Windows tablet, Android smart phone and I’m also surrounded by watches that I also totally love to use. So, naturally I should be the first one to love these gizmos. But I really don’t. Not yet in their current form.

Why? Let me guide you through a couple of reasons…

What exactly are smart watches? Because currently, they are neither. Smart or watch. What makes them “smart”? The fact that they display you a notification of a received SMS on a phone that you have in your pocket? Or an e-mail? People always back this feature up with excuse that you can’t always take a smart phone out of your pocket during a meeting or some other business activity where it’s not polite to play with your phone. Great. You get a notification for an SMS or e-mail. But, aren’t SMS messages and e-mails, by their core design, well, designed to remain on your phone even if you don’t notice them at first, so you can basically read them AFTER the meeting? What good is it to know that you’ve received an e-mail if you can’t bloody read it because the phone is in your pocket and you’re not suppose to take it out? And yes, I know some “smart watches” display first few lines of SMS or e-mail, but still, you are on a meeting where you most likely can’t leave anyway. So, knowing something during a meeting or knowing the same info after the meeting makes absolutely no difference to the end result. If you’re expecting something important, like your girlfriend/wife giving birth to a baby, you won’t even bother silencing your phone in the first place (I know I wouldn’t). So there goes that “smart” part of these watches out of the window. Besides, looking at your watch (they don’t know it’s “smart” one) too regularly during meeting or other similar activity would give impression to others that you’re bored to death and you’re just counting down the minutes till you can leave. Might be even worse than poking your phone around…

The other part is being a watch. For example, quartz watches from Citizen using solar power from Eco-Drive are superior time keeping devices. Or solar powered Casio G-Shocks. They display time, day and date with absolute precision, especially those atomic models. And because they are solar, they require zero maintenance and last forever. Can smart watches do that? Nope.

Next thing wrong about them is that you can’t possibly use them for voice communication. Talking into a watch for voice commands might look cool for a closed group of friends who might joke around that you’re 007 (James Bond), but for other 99% of people, you’ll just end up looking like a dork who’s talking to his watch. And actually using them as a phone would make you look even more dorky.

And what’s up with all the biometrics collection. Body temperature, heart rate, fingerprints, what’s next, our rectum temperature probe and retina scanner? Exhaled CO2 emissions? Seriously? How would any of it be useful for anything other than strictly medical use only when necessarily required by the patient? It’s not that far away from stamping our credit card PIN on our forehead and hand over all our private data to the insurance companies. It’s not that bad here in Slovenia, but I know life insurance is absolutely mad in the US of A even now, without all these gadgets being massively used, imagine what would it be if they could gather all this data. And they’d love to get their hands on all your health biometrics, trust me on that. It’s hell awaiting to erupt and people aren’t even aware of it. No, I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists, but I still find this a bit concerning in general.

For now I’ll stick with good old “dumb” watches that only tell the time, day and date. Or just the first one. And keep my smartphone dedicated for the rest of the tasks. If you want something different, sort of smart watch looking but without the crappy actual smart watch part, throw an eye at Phosphor World Time or Touch Time watches. They are curved and use e-ink to display time. They look pretty cool. Or the mad CST-01 from  Central Standard Timing (CST) e-ink bracelets. Thinnest ever watches ever to be made in the whole world that use super thin rechargeable battery that lasts for a whole month after a 20 minute charge. Sure, it only displays time, but it’s really good at doing that. And keep the rest of the tasks to your existing smart phone.