The Dude

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Everything posted by The Dude

  1. Hey all, Just thought I'd let you know that COMBATSIM.COM had it's tenth birthday on January 1st, 2007. I sorta forget to mention it, so, well, I'm mentioning it. It has been quite the ride over these last ten years, I must say! The whole thing started out as a result of a small marketing communications company I started back in 1996. Back then, I was a young marketing communications graduate with my own company, so I decided I needed a PC for the business. I walked into a store, decided on the model, but now it was price haggling time. The young salesman wouldn't budge on the price, so I asked him to throw in a copy of EF2000. The salesman agreed and home I went with my purchase. Needless to say, I was smitten with EF2000! Coincidental to my PC purchase, I had decided to get Internet access for my PC. Using my Netscape Navigator version 1, I found the EF2000 message board run by Steve Black of Ocean game publishing. There, I met Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson. Len had a very lenghty web page with tons of info about EF2000. At first I had no intention of making a website about combat sims, I just wanted to find someone fairly close geographically whom I could dial up to with my phone modem and we might play some online coop. Weeks past and no online coop. In the intervening time, I wanted to promote a book I had written and I thought I might create a web page to do just that. I went to the local Piggly Wiggly and found a book called "Creating Cool Web Pages with HTML". It wasn't a big book, just a little thing really. I devoured the book in a few hours and within a few more hours I had created a nice website to promote my book. A few more weeks past and I called Len on the phone and asked him if he wanted to play online coop. He didn't, but he was really interested in my new website. We got to talking and I thought that together---he with his article writing abilities, and me with my web site building and marketing communications skills---we might be able to create a website about combat simulations. The rest, as they say, is history. As is well known, ol' CSIM was the bomb, and the site generated a mountain of cash from banner advertising. At its height, we had five full-time salaried staff and dozens of paid freelance writers. Over the years, over 100 people have written for the site; some got paid, but most wrote voluntarily or in exchange for a review copy of a game or piece of hardware. Things were going great, I was flying writers all over the country and between countries to review games and attend the E3 trade shows. Life was hectic, stressful, but very good. And the glue that kept the whole thing together wasn't me or Len, but Gail, my wife. I just want to reaffirm, as I have done so many times before, that without her, wouldn't have been the success it was. Where was I? Oh yeah, things were going great. Then October of 2000 came I was distressed to see that none of the game companies wanted to buy any advertising for the Christmas season. Oh fcking oh! Without cash, and with humongous monthly expenses in salaries and bandwidth charges, I knew we were in deep doo doo. I appealed to the community for support and used various affiliate program banners, but it wasn't enough to cover our monthly nut. By mid November, leading sites were dropping off the web at an alarming rate, so I made the decision I least wanted to make and made the site pay-to-view. I knew the community on the forums wouldn't like that, but reality bites, and it was either that or shut down the site. I think the fateful day when I went pay was December 29th, 2000 (was it that long ago?). Well! That was the shot heard around the combat simming world. Lots of editorials were written that wrote off the site. We were doomed, they all said. We weren't doomed, we were just hemorrhaging money and needed to staunch the flow! And staunch it we did. Being pay, the amount of bandwidth the site consumed dropped ten fold, and we did have several thousand loyal readers of the site who signed up for monthly subscriptions. And so, the content kept coming. And it got better, IMHO. We published more game and military news in a single day than most sites could do in a week or month. We also ran a full feature article every day. Sure, we'd lost the forum traffic, but overseeing that three-ring circus by myself was not really what I'd call fun. Things continued on until about 2003 and we were still putting out the content. Unfortunately, combat simulations, especially prop and jet simulations just weren't being made in the numbers they used to during the glory days of 1996 to 2000. Then Gail decided she didn't want to work on the site anymore. I was already taking a mental holiday by becoming an electrician, so things were not looking good. I took over the daily content management duties for about four months or so, then decided to stop publishing daily features and military news. I then halted all the subscriptions, moved the site to new servers, and removed the pay-to-view barrier. Now the site was free, but there wasn't to be any more daily, original articles or first-hand news reporting. Luckily, for me, and everyone here, that's about the time Donster stepped up to the plate and offered to do the daily news. I cannot thank Donster enough for the superb job he does finding, editing, and posting the truckloads of useful news and info for we 'Simians to consume on a weekly basis. And what would we do without Donster's Babe Awards and "This Day in History (with Babe Goodness)" and his Joke Threads and just his plain ol' goodly humour? I salute you, Donster And then there's all you guys. You guys have been the reason I've kept on keeping on. Without your friendship this site wouldn't have lasted 2 weeks! Thank you for letting me hang out with you guys. So, here we are, ten years later. Who'd've thunk it!?
  2. <Stans said>You mean like this one?</Stans said> Precisely! There was some audio of Stag giving me hell while we were flying in a two-seater over, I think it was Pearl Harbor. I was jinking all over the place trying not to get shot down and Stag was in the rear-facing seat trying to shoot the bastard I was jinking to avoid. At some point Stag lost patience with me and turned the gun on me, so to speak!
  3. Wait ... what? 21 years? N'ah ... you guys are just foolin', right? I mean, I just went out for smokes ... but then, and this is where things get blurry ... I recall seeing headlights ... bright headlights coming straight at me ... then, everything went dark. <queue alternate universe story by Old Guy and/or Rommel and/or multiple resident authors> But seriously, yeah ... 21 years. Who'd've thunk it, eh? <insert heartwarming montage of 'Simian "cockpit" pics, forum exchanges, and hilarious in-game multiplayer audio.> Good times
  4. In Flanders Fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. — Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
  5. Madman, What ancient internet rock did you have to turn over to find that "Are you a Hoser?" item? Ah, the good ol' days of SCTV. Apparently (according to the torrent mavens I know), it's difficult to find every episode.
  6. Happy Independence Day to all my good friends in the USA! Have a great day. Eat lots o' bbq burgers and brahts, 'splode some fireworks, and drink a beer or two for me, eh.
  7. Thanks, Whizzer! I, for one, will be honouring (note the Canadian spelling) this day by donning my favourite toque, saddling up my horse, and hunting the elusive, and yet savage, big horn beavers. Then, I will smuggle some whisky across the border to all my Loyalist American friends, who, sadly, are prohibited from enjoying such basic comforts due to the pervading Puritanical correctness down there. Then, on to Washington to burn down the White House. Finally, I will end this day with a bracing swim across the St. Lawrence river back to my homeland where I will satiate my manly Canadian appetite with a Rocky Mountain-sized pile of poutine slathered in gravy, all while getting a lap dance from a French Canadian stripper.
  8. Nothing more frustrating than a flaky internet connection. Well, there are a few other flaky conditions that might be rather frustrating, but you know what I mean.
  9. Went to upgrade the forum software tonight, and well ... let's just say it didn't go well. Normally, it goes without a hitch, but it crashed hard mid-way through the upgrade. I put a ticket into the folks at Invision Power---the folks who host our forum software---and got ready to turn in for the night. Before I turned in, I sent an email to Donster about the problem and told him I'd update him on the situation when I got up in the morning. As I was about to turn off my PC, I thought I'd check the forum one last time ... but lo and behold, it was back online. From crash to fix was about 10 minutes. We hear a lot of support horror stories on social media these days, so I thought I'd go against the trend and post a thank you to Rhett at Invision who got things back online for us so quickly.
  10. Morning. Happy Friday. High probability of beers later in the afternoon, followed by one or more thin crust bacon and cheese pizzas.
  11. Flew IL-2 Pacific Fighters regularly from its pre-release beta up until the latest Cliffs of Dover came out, as well have been playing ArmA steadily since its initial release. Lately, haven't been flying IL-2 at all, just running and gunning in ArmA3. Mind you, I do fly helicopters in that, so I haven't hung up my HOTAS just yet. The only genre slutting around I've been doing lately was play the Myst series followup called Obduction. I enjoyed it
  12. Well I'll be a sumbitch. I too live in Calgary. All my life, in fact. My dog was rescued from the Stony Reserve on the way to Banff. I work at Mount Royal University, so if you ever want to drop by for a coffee and jaw about classic combat sims, let me know
  13. Hey Force10, Welcome back, even if it's just to say "Hi". Things are pretty quiet around here, but the few who are here are mostly long timers from back in the day. Donster does the news on the main CSIM site and posts regularly here in the forum. Stan's replies to every post, mostly, which is nice. Old Guy, CobraJ, Rommel, and a few of the other old guard make appearances now and then. What have you been up to all these years? Still simming, or have you moved onto other genres of games?
  14. Very sorry for your loss of your Shepherd / Husky. As a dog owner (with no kids) I know how hard that is. First Nation reserve, you say? Your accent is definitely British-y, but do you live in Canada by chance? My dog is a "rescue" from a First Nation's reserve here in Alberta.
  15. CobraJ, I don't have Facebook, but I'll PM him just to let him know that we were talking about him. With luck, we can convince him to share some of those photos here
  16. I'll never forget his voice of "Proteus IV" in the amazing sci-fi movie Demon Seed. RIP, Mr. Vaughn.
  17. As is my custom on Remembrance Day, I'd like to share with you Lt. Col. John McCrae's timeless poem In Flanders Fields. In Flanders fields the poppies grow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. --- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae Flanders Region, Belgium May 3, 1915 As well, I would also like to share what is called the Ode of Remembrance ... They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --- (from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon) Lest we forget.
  18. Ikrananka, Well done, sir! I only skimmed through two of your videos, but was thoroughly impressed. Extremely comprehensive and detailed. I chuckled when you overlayed your taxi and take-off video with the note that viewers should always use a checklist since you had forgotten to extend your flaps before take-off. If I'm not mistaken, the B-17's complexity was the genesis of the very first aircraft checklist for this very problem ... now, that's simulation at its best! LOL. BTW, is that your German Shepherd dog in the first video? Quite a beautiful dog, if it is. Keep up the good work
  19. I absolutely love this video of Frank Stippler racing his MASERATI 250F "PICCOLO" at Monaco's Historic Grand Prix of 2014. The sound of the engine through the gear changes is bloody marvellous, and the way Stippler has to fight the oversteer in every corner is something to behold. Today's Formula 1, with their computerized everything in the cars, has lost the plot, I fear. If only we could go back to this "form factor" but with added safety for the drivers, eh? Take this basic design, but with a carbon fiber monocoque survival cell and impact-resistant fuel bladders and let them race! Yes, you can now punch my old fart's "Let's go back to the good ol' days" card. HAHA!
  20. to all who fought and fell on the beaches 72 years ago today.
  21. Hey all, I just upgraded the forum software to the latest version and there are a few new features. Notably, there is a preview icon on the far right of the new post editor. Click it and you can preview how your post will look in desktop, tablet, and phone displays. I just tried it, but all I got was a blank display ... so maybe not ready for prime time? I do know that the software is still re-indexing all the posts on the forum and that will take many, many hours, so maybe it'll start working. Or, maybe it'll work in different browsers. I'm using Firefox, and I'm too lazy to look at in Chrome, IE, Safari, and the like. Any feedback from y'all would be greatly appreciated. There is a slew of other minor improvements, so if you find things not working like before, sound off here and let me know. ~ The Dude Forum Fuhrer
  22. I shall have you thwone to the fwoor!
  23. Yep. Preview is working now for me, too. Now, am I just not very observant, or is the "Emoticons I've used recently" a new feature in the smiley thingmie?