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What's the future of RVS? Please check this post and vote!
SFML, Code::Blocks, and MinGW; Configuration/Setup

Here is an easy to follow set of instructions I wrote to help people configure their programming environment for the first time:

INSTALL MinGW "mingw-get-inst-20110802.exe" FROM "" WITH "C++ Compiler Suite" SELECTED TO "C:\MinGW"
INSTALL Code::Blocks "codeblocks-10.05-setup.exe" FROM "" WITH "Full" SELECTED
EXTRACT SFML 1.6 "" FROM "" TO "C:\MinGW\include"
MOVE "C:\MinGW\include\SFML-1.6\include\SFML" TO "C:\MinGW\include"
MOVE FILES WITH EXT ".a" FROM "C:\MinGW\include\SFML-1.6\lib" TO "C:\MinGW\lib"
EXECUTE Code::Blocks
SELECT "Create a new project" THEN SELECT "Console application" THEN SELECT "C++"
SELECT "Project" THEN SELECT "Build options" THEN SELECT "Linker settings"
ADD TO "Link libraries" (most users just need to add "sfml-system", "sfml-window", and "sfml-graphics"; the order does matter)

And, here are some additional tips. If your Code::Blocks program is using an argument driven main function (argv and argc), you can set your runtime arguments via: Project -> "Set programs' arguments". You do not need to re-compile your application if you change arguments, just re-run it. If you would like to test your code quickly, you can press the hotkey "F9" for an instant "Build and run".

Finally, if you would like to run your standalone, release build executable outside of Code::Blocks, you'll need to keep the necessary .DLL files with the application. For a program that uses "sfml-system", "sfml-window", and "sfml-graphics", these .DLL files are necessary (they can be found with SFML or online): libgcc_s_dw2-1, libstdc++-6, sfml-audio, sfml-graphics, sfml-system, sfml-window.

If you need any additional help with SFML, be sure to leave a comment!

Remove Hidden "UpdatusUser" Users Folder

If you're wondering why the latest Nvidia driver installation has left you with a new system user named "UpdatusUser", you are not alone. This "feature" is tied to "NVIDIA Update" (not "NVIDIA System Update"). You can successfully remove the bizarre, forced system user by uninstalling "NVIDIA Update" from Windows 7's "Programs and Features" dialogue. If you have the user account, but do not have "NVIDIA Update" installed, you should try installing the update application (by selecting it as an option during a driver installation), restart your computer, and then uninstall "NVIDIA Update".

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SilenX EFZ-92HA3 Compact Tower Heatsink Review @
Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G USB 3.0 Docking Station Review @ Real World Labs
Dune HD Smart H1 Media Player Review @ MissingRemote
Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 @ LanOC Reviews
Lian Li PC-6 @ Computing on Demand
Lian Li PC6 Case Review @ Ninjalane
ASUS Maximus IV Extreme P67 ROG Motherboard Review @
NZXT HAVIK 140 CPU Cooler Review @ Real World Labs

Using DirectGameKeys to Purchase Battlefield 3

DirectGameKeys, a website that sells "gray market" (Russian-based) video game serial keys, currently is selling Battlefield 3 Origin keys for $24.69 (after coupon "DTC Clan"). So, being the EA-hating, penny pincher that I am, I decided to try their service out. A few things of note. Their website does not use secure HTTP for billing, so either pay with PayPal or use a preloaded debit card (you can get one at a grocery store). When you create an account with them, they will email your password in plain text - do not use a "familiar" password. Also, if you choose to use PayPal, make sure you use FireFox or Internet Explorer (Opera had problems with their processing page) and, confirm that your billing information matches your PayPal. I had problems processing the payment until I updated my billing address from "0000 Top Secret Lane" to my actual address.

It took about ten hours for me to receive my email with a key (although, I paid for the game late at night). Some individuals have gotten their game keys within the hour. In your email you will be given a picture of a retail Battlefield 3 key and three requisite download links (to convert from Russian to English). The links were provided via "megaupload", so I advise using a program like "JDownloader" to make your life easier. Also, be sure to back these files up. The patches are nearly one gigabyte total and are impossible to find anywhere else on the internet (I tried).

Activation is as easy as logging in to your Origin account, clicking on the "gear", and selecting "redeem product code". You should now have "Battlefield 3 - Russia Standard Edition". Once you drop the patch files in the installation directory and run the registry fix, everything should be correctly displayed in English. The game runs correctly! I am only worried about what will happen with future, large updates. Will the English patch files still work?

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Arctic Sound E461 Earphones
Just six months ago, we took a look at Arctic Sound's E361 earphones. They were not only stylish and affordable, but also capable of producing enjoyable, accurate sound. Barely half a year later, Arctic has us taking a look at their newest earphones - the E461. Compared to Arctic's previous product, the E461 costs $27 more (49.95 vs. 22.95), features lower sensitivity and impedance, but has slightly better frequency response...

Upgraded 312 Video LED

Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
Noctua is truly the last word in the industry when it comes to quiet, high-performance air-based cooling products. Three years ago they released the highly regarded NH-U12P heatsink - a unit that was only challenged by the legendary Thermalright and Prolimatech units. Always improving their products, Noctua is once again back at it with a fully redesigned six heatpipe, massive dual fin array tower cooler - the NH-D14 is air...

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XFX WarPAD @ LanOC Reviews

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Fix RAGE PC Performance / Graphics Issues

Just thought I'd throw together a quick, helpful guide for all of the individuals having problems with RAGE - from texture pop-in to image tearing, these fixes help alleviate some of the issues.

Firstly, if you are running an ATI video card, download the new, "RAGE Performance" drivers at AMD.

If you are having massive pop-in and texture loading problems, you might not have a cache folder. Go to "C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local" -> create a folder named...

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SilverStone TS07 USB 3.0 External Drive Enclosure Review @ MissingRemote
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Classified Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
AMD Llano A8-3800 CPU and GIGABYTE A75M-UD2H microATX Motherboard Review @ MissingRemote
Thermaltake Spacecraft VF-I Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Innergie mCube Slim 95 Review @ XSReviews
Sentey Optimus GS-6000 Mid-Tower ATX Computer Case Review @ Tweaknews
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Corsair Carbide 400R Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Arctic Sound E461-BM Earphones @ Computing on Demand

Remove / Delete Locked Registry Keys on Windows 7

If you're having trouble completely removing software like Cygwin, this might help out:

1) Right click on the registry key in question and select "Permissions" from the menu.
2) Click "Advanced".
3) Select the "Owner" tab.
4) In the "Change owner to" pane, highlight your user account.
5) Check "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects".
6) Click "Apply". Your user account should now show in the "Current Owner" box.
7) "OK" out of the two prompts.
8) Right-click on the registry key and "Delete" it - the key should now be removed.


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