Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Visual Studio Preparing Solution Forever

Today, I believe for the first time, I encountered a situation where Visual Studio 2017 (version 15.9.36) seemed to get stuck on "Preparing Solution". I don't want to call it a "hang", because the progress bar continued to animate, but it was taking a very long time to do whatever it thinks it was doing.

I had just opened the application, then selected my reporting solution, the only one I typically work with. I could see what I normally see, which was the last report I worked on, but in front of this was a small window with "Preparing Solution" and its respective progress bar. However, there were no other controls within this overlay dialog... no OK or CANCEL buttons, and no X to click to close it. From appearances, I simply had no choice but to wait it out.

After several minutes, I became impatient and decided to take action. Luckily, the first thing I tried was the last: I pressed  Alt+F4  (once). The small dialog immediately disappeared and I was left to work with my solution in a normal fashion. I closed and re-opened Visual Studio, but the behavior did not recur this time.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

It Only Took Me 13 Years to Beat Crysis

I was testing some used video cards I recently picked up on eBay, and figured Crysis was as good a game as any to test with... the original, not the remaster. The cards I was testing ranged roughly from GeForce 9800+ GTX to GeForce GTX 580.

Naturally I got a bit caught up in it and played through to the end of the third chapter named "Relic". This is the part where you reach a cemetery, which is to be a landing zone for your extraction. However, there's a small team of nanosuit equipped evil-doers you have to take out first.

It had been a while since my last play of this game, but as soon as I arrived at this location, it hit me that I might not have ever passed this level before. I wasn't completely sure, but I don't really remember any part of the game after this point. Turns out, I was right. This had always been the end of the line for me.

Now I've probably played the first few levels of Crysis a dozen times or more over the years, but I had found the end of this level to be a bit of a challenge, such that I always ended up giving up. Probably after doing this a few times, I must have lost interest, to the extent that I think it just became automatic that I stopped here. Besides, I doubt I had ever really been serious about beating the game. I don't have a great track record when it comes to game completion, after all.

But this time, I felt like I had to break my trend, here and now, so I continued to play. At first, I made the same mistakes at the cemetery that I remember making many times before. I stayed out in the open, and the enemies made light work of me, often one-shot killing me from a distance. It was every bit as frustrating as I remember.

Not sure what made me decide to switch up my strategy, especially since I must not have in any of my previous attempts, but I did, and it paid off. In fact, as many are likely already aware, it's not that hard to pass this section, if you avoid some simple mistakes, like standing around waiting for your enemies to de-cloak so you can shoot at them. This area is just too large and spread out for that to be effective, for me anyway.

Instead, I just made much more use of the cloak, de-cloaking only long enough to take out each enemy one at a time. Additionally, I got a bit better at changing to armor mode before I started shooting, which usually left plenty of energy to re-cloak and enough time to move away. With this strategy, I lurked within the cemetery walls, sticking near cover, and waited for them to come in after me. Remaining still, you can spot their shimmy even when they are also cloaked.

So I played through to the end of the game. Overall I enjoyed it. One thing I didn't enjoy was encountering a bug I never knew existed, which I triggered by not grabbing the TAC gun when I should have. I ended up replaying the entire last level, which I wasn't super pleased to have to do, but it is done now. Yay me. Pride and accomplishment :P

I can't believe it took me 13 years, but I finally beat Crysis... probably not even a very hard game to beat, but some games just have those certain spots where you get tripped up, and sometimes can't seem to get past. Or maybe it's just me.

I've never played either of the sequels, but own them both. I might give them a whirl, and at this rate should finish Crysis 2 by the year 2033, and Crysis 3 by the year 2046. I'll be 75 years old. Hmm.

Monday, January 4, 2016

How to use Dell Recovery Partition Manually with IMAGEX Utility

Get imagex.exe...

   Option 1:
   Download Windows6.1-KB2525084-v2-x64.cab (232KB)
   The file is inside at: \imaging\imagex.exe
   Option 2:
   Download the WAIK from Microsoft (1.66GB)
   The file is inside at: \Neutral.cab\F1_imagex
   Copy it out and rename it to imagex.exe

Boot to something to where you can use imagex.exe with the following command:

   imagex.exe /ref c:\dell\image\factory*.wim /apply c:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 d:\

I had better luck formatting the system partition before applying the image.

If there is sufficient interest in this post, I may flesh it out with more info/instructions on setting up a boot method, etc. Until then, it's assumed people know what they are doing ;)

Props to Brian M.