Friday, January 8, 2010
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) build 5512 was released to manufacturing on April 21, 2008, and Microsoft planned to make it available to the general public on April 29, 2008 via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. However, due to a compatibility issue with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System, the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 was delayed. A feature set overview has been posted by Microsoft and details new features available separately as standalone updates to Windows XP, as well as features backported from Windows Vista, such as black hole router detection, Network access Protection, and Windows Imaging Component. Microsoft is reporting that over 1,000 fixes have been packed into SP3 along with some performance improvements as well. Internet Explorer 7 is not included as part of SP3.
- Bootable ISO file
- Unattended setup
- Pre-Activated, so you don't need any activation trick.
- CD-KEY (original Volume License Key) is integrated so you don't have to enter anything. SO YOU CAN USE AUTOMATIC UPDATES!
New features :
- Black hole router detection
- Network Access Protection
- Credentials security service provider
- Descriptive security options control panel
- Enhanced security for Administrator and Service policy entries
- Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module
- Installing without needing a Product Key during Setup
A full list of new and integrated features is available on the Microsoft website.
With the release of SP3, retail and OEM versions of Windows XP with service pack 3 slipstreamed into them can be installed and run with full functionality for 30 days without a product key, after which time the user will be prompted to enter a valid key and activate the installation. Volume license versions still require entering a product key.
Microsoft noted SP3 can be installed on systems with Internet Explorer version 6 as well as version 7; and similarly Windows Media Player 9 Series or Windows Media Player versions 10 or 11. Although service packs have, until now, been cumulative, installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 requires that the PC must at least be running Windows XP with Service Pack 1 installed. However, it is possible to slipstream SP3 into the Windows XP setup files at any service pack level including the original RTM version without any errors or issues. Slipstreaming into Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is not supported. SP3 does contain operating system component updates for Windows XP Media Center Edition and for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition including security updates for .NET Framework versions 1.0 and 1.1 which are included in these Windows XP SKUs. However it does not include update rollups for the Windows Media Center app. in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. It also omits Windows Media Player 10 security updates although Windows Media Player 10 is included in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.
There are a total of 1,073 fixes in Service Pack 3.
OPERATING SYSTEM l 600MB l MU
Labels: Operating System
Monday, December 14, 2009
Quake III Arena (also known as Quake 3; abbreviated as Q3A or Q3), is a multiplayerfirst-person shooter computer and video game released on December 2, 1999. The game was developed by id Software and featured music composed by Sonic Mayhem and Front Line Assembly. Quake III Arena is the third in the series and differs from previous games in the series by excluding a traditional single-player element and focusing on multi-player action. The single-player is instead played against computer controlled bots in a similar style to Unreal Tournament.
Notable features of Quake 3 include the minimalist design, lacking rarely used items and features, the extensive customizability of player settings such as field of view, texture detail and enemy model, and advanced movement features such as strafe-jumping that give more speed with greater skill in contrast to the digital, all or nothing design of many computer games.
Unlike its predecessors, Q3A does not have a plot-based single-player campaign. Instead, it simulates the multiplayer experience with computer controlled players known as bots (see Bots below).
The game's story is brief - 'the greatest warriors of all time fight for the amusement of a race called the Vadrigar in the Arena Eternal.' The introduction video shows the abduction of such a warrior, Sarge, while making a last stand. Continuity with prior games in theQuake series and even Doom is maintained by the inclusion of player models related to those earlier games as well as biographical information included on characters in the manual, a familiar mixture of gothic and technological map architecture and specific equipment; for example, the Quad Damage power-up, the infamous rocket launcher and the BFG super-weapon.
In Quake III Arena the player progresses through tiers of maps, combating different bot characters that increase in difficulty, from Crash (at Tier 0) to Xaero (at Tier 7). While deathmatch maps are designed for up to 16 players, tournament maps are designed for duels between 2 players and in the single-player game could be considered as 'boss battles'.
The weapons are balanced by role, with each weapon having advantages in certain situations such as at long-range or fired around a corner; the BFG is an exception to this as a super-weapon. Weapon balance was achieved by examining earlier games in the series,Quake and Quake II as well as extensive play testing with well-known players such as Thresh. In the first Quake the rocket launcher was so effective that it dominated entire deathmatches while the rocket launcher in Quake II so weak that it was sometimes ignored. The rocket launcher in Quake III is effective but not overpowering, allowing it to be countered in many situations.
Weapons appear as level items, spawning at regular intervals in set locations on the map. If a player dies all their weapons are lost and they receive the spawn weapons for the current map, usually the gauntlet and machine gun. Players also drop the weapon they were using when killed, which other players can then pick up.
Quake III Arena was specifically designed for multiplayer, the game allows players whose computers are connected by a network or to the internet, to play against each other in real time. It uses a client-server architecture that requires all players' clients to connect to a server. Q3A's focus on multiplayer gameplay spawned a lively community, similar to Quakeworld, that is active to this day.
During early March 1999, ATI leaked the internal hardware vendor (IHV) copy of the game. This was a functional version of the engine with a textured level and working guns. The IHV contained all the weapons that would make it into the final game although most were not fully modelled; a chainsaw and grappling hook were also in the IHV but did not make it into the final release. Many of the sounds that would make it into the final release were also included.
After the IHV fiasco id Software released a beta of Quake III called Q3Test on April 24, 1999. Q3Test started with version 1.05 and included three levels that would be included in the final release: dm7, dm17, and q3tourney2. Id software continued to update Q3Test up until version 1.11.
Unlike most other games released at the time—including its primary competitor,Unreal Tournament—, Quake 3 requires an OpenGL-compliant graphics accelerator to run. The game does not include a software renderer. The graphical technology of the game is based tightly around a "shader" system where the appearance of many surfaces can be defined in text files referred to as "shader scripts." Shaders are described and rendered as several layers, each layer contains a texture, a "blend mode" which determines how to superimpose it over the previous layer and texture orientation modes such as environment mapping, scrolling, and rotation. These features can readily be seen within the game with many bright and active surfaces in each map and even on character models. The shader system goes beyond visual appearance, defining the contents of volumes (e.g. a water volume is defined by applying a water shader to its surfaces), light emission and which sound to play when a volume is trodden upon. In order to assist calculation of these shaders, Quake III implements a specific fast inverse square root function, which attracted a significant amount of attention in the game development community for its clever use of integer operations.
Quake 3 also introduced spline-based curved surfaces in addition to planar volumes, which are responsible for many of the surfaces present within the game.
The original version of Quake 3 provided support for models animated using vertex animation with attachment tags (known as the .md3format), allowing models to maintain separate torso and leg animations and hold weapons. Quake 3 is one of the first games where the third-person model is able to look up and down and around as the head, torso and legs are separate.
In-game videos all use a proprietary format called "RoQ", which was originally created by Graeme Devine, the designer of Quake 3, for the game The 11th Hour. Internally RoQ uses vector quantization to encode video and DPCM to encode audio. While the format itself is proprietary it was successfully reverse-engineered in 2001, and the actual RoQ decoder is present in the Quake 3 source code release. RoQ has seen little use outside games based on the Quake 3 or Doom 3 engines, but is supported by several video players (such asMPlayer) and a handful of third-party encoders exist.
Other visual features include volumetric fog, mirrors, portals, decals, and wave-form vertex distortion.
Quake 3's sound system outputs to two channels using a looping output buffer, mixed from 96 tracks with stereo spatialization andDoppler effect. All of the sound mixing is done within the engine, which can create problems for licensees hoping to implement EAX orsurround sound support. Several popular effects such as echoes are also absent.
A major flaw of the sound system is that the mixer isn't given its own thread, so if the game stalls for too long (particularly while navigating the menus or connecting to a server), the small output buffer will begin to loop, a very noticeable artifact. This problem was also present in the Doom 3, Quake, and Quake II engines.
Quake 3 uses a "snapshot" system to relay information about game "frames" to the client over UDP. The server updates object interaction at a fixed rate independent of the rate clients update the server with their actions and then attempts to send the state of all objects at that moment (the current server frame) to each client. The server attempts to omit as much information as possible about each frame, relaying only differences from the last frame the client confirmed as received (Delta encoding). All data packets are compressed by Huffman codingwith static pre-calculated frequency data to reduce bandwidth use even further.
Quake 3 also integrated a relatively elaborate cheat-protection system called "pure server." Any client connecting to a pure server automatically has pure mode enabled, and while pure mode is enabled only files within data packs can be accessed. Clients are disconnected if their data packs fail one of several integrity checks. The cgame.qvm file, with its high potential for cheat-related modification, is subject to additional integrity checks. Developers must manually deactivate pure server to test maps or mods that are not in data packs using the .pk3 file format. Later versions supplemented pure server with PunkBuster support, though all the hooks to it are absent from the source code release because PunkBuster is closed source software and including support for it in the source code release would have caused any redistributors/reusers of the code to violate the GPL.
Quake 3 uses a virtual machine to control object behavior on the server, effects and prediction on the client and the user interface. This presents many advantages as mod authors do not need to worry about crashing the entire game with bad code, clients could show more advanced effects and game menus than was possible in Quake II and the user interface for mods was entirely customizable.
Virtual machine files are developed in ANSI C, using LCC to compile them to a 32-bit RISC pseudo-assembly format. A tool called q3asmthen converts them to QVM files, which are multi-segmented files consisting of static data and instructions based on a reduced set of the input opcodes. Unless operations which require a specific endianness are used, a QVM file will run the same on any platform supported by Quake 3.
The virtual machine also contained bytecode compilers for the x86 and PowerPC architectures, executing QVM instructions via aninterpreter.
Quake III Arena features an advanced AI with five difficulty levels which can accommodate both a beginner and an advanced player, though they usually do not pose a challenge to high-tier or competitive players.
Each bot has its own, often humorous, 'personality', expressed as scripted lines that are triggered to simulate real player chat. If the player were to type certain phrases the bots may respond, typing "You bore me" might cause one of the bots to reply "You should have been here 3 hours ago!". Each bot has a number of alternative lines to reduce the repetition of bot chatter.
The Gladiator bots from Quake II were ported to Quake III and incorporated into the game by its creator - Mr. Elusive. Bot chat lines were written by R. A. Salvatore, Seven Swords and Steve Winter. Xaero, the hardest opponent in the game, was based on the Gladiator bot Zero. The bot Hunter appears on magazine covers in the later id game Doom 3.
On August 19, 2005, id Software released the complete source code for Quake III Arena under the GNU General Public License, as they have for most of their prior engines. As before, the engine, but not the content such as textures and models, were released, so that anyone who wishes to build the game from source will still need an original copy of the game to play it as intended.
A project called Open Arena creates open content and bundles it with the engine as a standalone Quake 3 release. Open Arena uses theioquake3 engine, which is focused on bug fixes, sound and graphical improvements.
An expansion pack titled Quake III: Team Arena was released in December 2000 by id Software. It focused on team gameplay through new game modes and new weapons, items, and player models. Team Arena was criticized, as its additions were long overdue and had already been implemented by fan modifications. A few years later Quake III: Gold was released, including the original Quake III Arena and the Team Arena expansion pack bundled together.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The current struggle between IT security and computer hackers is reaching crisis point. Corporate dependency on computers and the Internet as well as the rapid spread of broadband into more households has resulted in a feeding ground for hackers around the world. Estimated damage costs are now making their way into the billions. The need for some good advice is long overdue.
* Presents unique, UK based, insider information on hacking and security from someone who has operated on both sides of the divide
* Develops a populist seam within a hot IT area: security
* Shows readers how and why hacking is made possible, whilst suggesting ways to avoid being a victim of it
* Written in a dynamic, conversational, yet knowledgeable, style
* Filled with information and anecdotal evidence aimed at IT professionals and those with a more general interest.
Defeating the Hacker allows the reader to learn how to protect their computer systems with advice from someone who knows how to break into them.