Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Virtual Pool 3 Has Stopped Working [Error 0xc0000005]

Saturday July 11, 2009 6 comments

Before I begin, I should mention that I’m using Windows Vista Home Premium, 32-bit.

So I’ve been dabbling in my old PC games as of late. Namely Virtual Pool 3 – a classic.

I’ve been playing it for a while. But, all of a sudden it stopped working. As soon as I click the game to start playing, I get a message popping up saying “Virtual Pool 3 Has Stopped Working.” After Windows checks for a solution it says…

A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

With no obvious solution being found on the internet, I’m left with writing this blog entry; a plea for help.

For anyone who’s got some programming chops or has some deep understanding of the inner workings of the Windows Vista operating system, I’ve done a little bit of research on the problem.

Going into the Control Panel under Administrative Tools, looking at the Event Viewer, I’ve found a few logs with details about this error. It says I’ve encountered an “exception code 0xc0000005.” To be more specific, here’s exactly what the log entry says…

Faulting application vp3.exe, version, time stamp 0x47e6ca05, faulting module vp3.exe, version, time stamp 0x47e6ca05, exception code 0xc0000005, fault offset 0x003ecb0f, process id 0x1350, application start time 0x01ca028518c059e5.

And, for a touch more information, here’s a screen shot of the debugging information involved with this error. I don’t know if it helps or not, but more info is better than less. (Click the picture for a larger image.)


Each time I try to run Virtual Pool 3, I get this error in the Event Viewer. It’s quite frustrating. I’m usually pretty handy at solving computer problems, but this has got me hacked. I’ve tried all different settings in the “Compatibility” tab. I’ve tried all the options on the Virtual Pool 3 Support Page.

I’ve completely uninstalled the program via Vista Manager, with its Smart Uninstaller which removes all registry entries and any leftover files that may be hanging around after the uninstall procedure.

Still nothing.

So, if there’s anyone out there with more information about this error, I’d be greatly appreciative if you could leave a comment with your suggestions as to how to fix this error! I know this is an old game, but it’s the best pool simulator out there… as far as I know. I’d really like to be able to play it again.

Read a book! It’s good for you.


XBox 360 Error 51-C00DF236 Fixed [Play Videos Offline]

Sunday May 24, 2009 103 comments

The Annoying Introduction

If you’ve found this entry from a search engine, you’re probably at your wits end with trying to solve this issue. You’re trying to play a video file on your XBox 360, but it won’t let you watch it unless you’re signed on to XBox Live.

You attempt to play the video, but unless you’re signed on to XBox Live, you get a message saying you need to download an update in order for the video to play; an update that you’ve already (countless times) downloaded. Well, that’s not exactly the problem. In fact, that’s not the problem at all.

This all has to do with Microsoft’s annoying DRM (Digital Rights Management) practices. I’ll give you my story, and I’m willing to bet yours is similar. I got my first XBox 360 about 4 years ago. It finally died on me a couple months ago. Obviously, a 4 year-old XBox is not under warrantee any longer. So, I went out and bought another one. Kept my hard drive and stuck it on my new XBox.

Now, Microsoft’s sneaky little trick is that they only allow your videos to be played on the original XBox that you set your gamertag up on. Let’s call my original XBox that I purchased 4 years ago “XBox A,” and my new XBox will be called “XBox B.” Each XBox has a unique “Console ID” number. A long string of numbers uniquely identifying your particular XBox.

Because I initially set up my gamertag on XBox A, when I attempted to play videos on XBox B, Microsoft realized that I was playing videos on an “Unauthorized” XBox that I had not originally set my gamertag up on. So, obviously they had to weasel their way into my life and keep me from watching videos in a convenient manner – meaning I had to be signed in to XBox Live in order to watch anything.

That’s not to say there isn’t a fix, because there is. And here’s how to do it…

The Solution

Microsoft has a site where you can “Transfer Content Licenses to a New Console.” It’d be nice if something like this was mentioned on the XBox error message. It could possibly save a lot of anger and frustration.

From this site, you get all the instructions on how to transfer your “license” to watch your own videos on your own XBox! So much for “Digital Rights.” More like Digital TYRANNY! No wonder torrent sites are so popular. All of the content with none of the restrictions.

Anyway, that’s the fix. You have to go to that site and transfer your license to your new XBox.

Hope this helps!

Videos Have No Sound On XBox 360 [Fixed]

Sunday May 24, 2009 64 comments

So, last night I was trying to watch an AVI video file from a USB flash drive on my XBox 360. For some reason, no matter what I did with the audio settings (on the XBox or the television), I couldn’t get any audio. The video worked fine.

Another strange thing I noticed was that the audio portion of the intro that plays when the XBox is turned on was no longer playing. I still had sound effects on the Dashboard, and games behaved normally. A real puzzler.

I should mention that my XBox is connected to my TV via HDMI. And this brings me to the solution of this issue.

After spending about a half-hour fiddling with the audio settings, I finally determined that it’s got to be something with the HDMI cable. Something to do with audio compatibility. So, I went downstairs and grabbed my HD cables that come with the XBox and hooked it up. Voila! Fully functional sound!

I’m not sure on the details of this, but it probably has something to do with the audio codec configuration and sound compatibility with HDMI. When using the standard HD cables that came with the XBox, the sound works normally.

That’s what I’ve been able to conclude. If you have additional information, leave it in the “Comments” section.

Update as of 7/19/2009

I’ve discovered that actually turning the television off and back on resolves the issue. So, it appears this could be a television issue and not an XBox issue.

An XBox Live Group For Skeptics & Atheists [Free-Thinkers]

Friday December 12, 2008 3 comments

Are you a skeptic? An Atheist? Agnostic? Free-Thinker? Do you love science? Do you appreciate logic and reason? Do you laugh at television “psychics?”

Let me ask you this. Do you love going on “Free For All” rampages on Call Of Duty 4? How about going head-to-head in a Gears Of War death match? Do you love to curb-stomp your enemies into oblivion? How about a friendly game of golf in Tiger Woods PGA Tour?

If you are a skeptic, and you’re on Xbox Live, I have a place for you to go to meet like-minded people. I’ve created a group on MySpace, as well as Facebook, for people like us.

Of course, obviously, this group is pointed toward a narrow audience. But, I think that it’s a good idea.

The group is called Xkeptix. Click the link to join up or take a look. Post your Xbox Live ID after you join.

Tentatively, this group is also on MySpace. I will probably stick with the Facebook location.

Read a book.

UPDATE: The Xkeptix now has an official blog. Check it out!

Can’t Wait For Grand Theft Auto IV? [GTA IV – XBox 360]

Saturday April 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Grand Theft Auto IV’s official release date is Tuesday, April 29th, 2008. You can head down to your local video gaming store at midnight and get your greasy little fingers on a copy of the most anticipated game of the year.

But, if you feel like you can’t wait that long… there is another option, only available to those who’ve hacked their Xbox 360’s firmware. Apparently, someone in the supply chain got their sticky little fingers on a copy about a week before the release date and ripped it, uploading it to various Torrent sites.

If you take a look at the Pirate Bay, they’ve even changed their logo to celebrate… almost like an “early release” party. And from the comments going around, the game is everything it’s been hyped up to be.

The Pirate Bay

So, if you’re hankering for a taste of GTA IV, and you just can’t wait for Tuesday, there are places you can go. The only problem is that you might want to avoid playing on Xbox Live before Tuesday, as, obviously, the game hasn’t actually been released yet!! You wouldn’t want to get banned for life.

Read a book.

What I’ve Learned By Playing Chess

Saturday November 17, 2007 Leave a comment

Chess is such a fascinating game. And what makes it fascinating are the infinite parallels between the game and real life.

Upon learning the game, and journeying on to play against people or computer programs that are much better than yourself, you, if you aren’t careful to study your opponents moves, really almost seem to learn nothing. How can this person be beating me? What am I doing wrong? Everything seems to be working against me! No matter what I do, I fail!

At first, your instinct is to try to learn all of the different “openings,” in hopes that you will see moves that you recognize, and quickly counter them. But just as in life, you can’t memorize the behavior of others and react to every situation in the same way. Nothing is stable in life. Even what appears to be solid and dependable often breaks down under even a slight amount of resistance. So it is in Chess.

To demonstrate what I mean, just take into account the approximate number of possible games of Chess that could be played. Leaving out a lot of the complicated math involved, there are more possible games of Chess that could be played than there are atoms in the Universe!! To be exact, there are approximately 1080 atoms in the Universe. That’s a 10 with 80 zero’s after it. A pretty staggering number.

Now, let’s compare that with how many games that are possible in Chess. A guy by the name of Claude Shannon, an Informational Theorist, calculated the number of possible games to right around 10120!!! This, along with the 1043 possible positions! Astounding! You can read more about it here.

A number that size is practically unimaginable. Now, just imagine trying to remember each move for that many games! It’s impossible. And I believe that this is where it is more important to learn basic principles and ideas of the game, rather than positions.

Just as one could never, in a million lifetimes, become intimately familiar with every inch of the Universe, no one could become intimately familiar with every possible game of Chess. It’s theory that’s important. Not exactness of memorization.

You could even relate this to the battle between Creationism and Evolution. Creationists basically base every single idea that they have on the Bible. Memorization of quotes and verses – similar to trying to memorize the myriad of openings. “The Bible says this, and so that’s what I believe, no matter what.” Evolutionists, on the other hand, rely heavily on theory, the consensus of the scientific community. What has been shown to work in the past. Ideas that have stood the test of time. And, of course, experimentation.

Let’s say, for example, someone with a Creationist mindset plays Chess against an Evolutionist, and they maintain their mindset as concerning their beliefs of the origins of life – they apply those attitudes and propensities to playing this game.

The Creationist will play his game very strictly, according to very narrow rules. Do this always in this situation. This is the method in which the Bible teaches. “Knights always respond to such-and-such a position by doing such-and-such,” or, “always move your Queen like this,” etc. People were created by God, and that’s all you need to know.

The Evolutionist, on the other hand, plays very methodically, testing the waters. Where does the evidence point? What has worked in the past? Does what I’m about to do have a solid foundation behind it? His game grows; it evolves. He doesn’t rely on strict rules to govern his play. More importantly, his ideas change as the situation changes. “In past games, moving my Queen like this, in this type of situation, pretty much always worked out poorly,” or, “I’ve always been taught to move my center pawns out early, but in this situation, it would not be a good idea,” etc. How can I change my current playing philosophy to fit more in line with what works? Playing dogmatically is a horrible idea.

Another important thing I’ve learned is that taking risks is necessary. Of course it is impossible to know exactly what your opponent will do, but when you see a good opportunity, taking a risk is almost necessary. And how could this be more like life? The greatest rewards come from taking the greatest risks.

Then there’s the planning aspect. Making moves without any reason behind them, without any future plan is sure to prove devastating against an attentive opponent. You wouldn’t buy a stock without looking into it, just picking randomly. You wouldn’t buy a house just by driving by and saying, “I’ll take it.” And you wouldn’t move your Queen to d5 just because you felt like it.

That’s about all I’m going to get into right now. I think you’ve got the idea of what I’m saying here. Maybe I’ll write a little more about this later.

Read a book. Play/learn Chess.

Categories: All, Chess, Games, Life, Philosophy, Religion

Finally Beat "Gears Of War" [How To Defeat Raam]

Saturday December 16, 2006 27 comments

So yeah, I finally beat “Gears Of War” the other day (on casual mode). It felt pretty satisfying since Raam killed me probably 40+ times before I beat him. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Well, for anyone else who’s having the same problem, here’s how I did it…

The key to it, at least for me, is to grab the Torque Bow in the train car before opening the door that leads you to Raam. I’ve found that you can’t strike him while he’s got the swarm of Kryll around him. So, basically what you do is hit him with the Torque Bow, and when it explodes, the Kryll will scatter. Then unload on him with whatever weapon you want. The Kryll will swarm back around him after a few seconds, so you’ll have to use the bow at least 4 or 5 times against him. Don’t miss.

That’s pretty much it. Just make sure you stay in the light because the Kryll will destroy you as soon as you step foot into the shadows.

So yeah, that’s it. I’m just wondering if I’m going to be able to beat this game on Insane difficulty.

Read a book.

Categories: All, Games, Hacks/Tricks