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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to fix TF2 crashing to desktop with sound

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Team Fortress 2 is notorious for crashing whilst you are playing the game. In some cases, it will crash to desktop with an error message stating hl2.exe has stopped working. In other cases, the game freezes for a second, loops the sound, and then minimizes itself to desktop without the ability to switch back to it and when this happens you can hear sounds from the game, but other than your desktop, you can't see anything in the game. When this happens, you have to open task manager to forcefully end the team fortress 2 process.

If you are having issues with TF2 crashing to desktop with the error message hl2.exe has stopped working then I recommend you follow these steps:
    Hl2.exe has stopped working
  1. Open steam and go to Library
  2. Right click Team Fortress 2 and click Properties
  3. Click on the Local Files tab and click Verify Integrity of Game Cache
  4. Click on Defragment Cache Files
The above may or may not fix your hl2.exe error.

Now then, if you are having issues with Team Fortress 2 crashing to desktop with sound then the most likely cause of this problem is your graphics card driver crashing. I know this was the case for me and fortunately I discovered a guaranteed fix for this annoying issue. Immediately  after the game freezes and the sound loops, press CTRL + ALT + Delete and follow these steps:
  1. If you are running Windows 7 then Click on Task Manager
  2. Wait for the message that says 'display driver has stopped responding and has recovered'
  3. After that message appears wait 2 to 3 minutes
  4. Now click try to switch to team fortress 2
  5. Wait a couple of minutes and you should be able to see the game once again
Usually after this happens the HUD becomes messed up, but luckily there's a very easy fix for this:
  1. Open the console using the ~ key
  2. Type in hud_reloadscheme 1
  3. That's it!
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

List of TF2 Promo and Craft-only Weapons

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Listed below are Team Fortress 2 weapons obtainable either only by crafting or by buying a game. These weapons do not drop like normal items.

1) The Apoco-Fists

tf2 apoco fists craft
These are a pair of gloves worn by the heavy. This weapon is identical to the default fists, but cause an enemy to explode when they are killed. In other words, killing an enemy with these fists is identical to killing them with an explosive weapon, such as the rocket launcher or the stickybomb launcher.

This weapon is a promotional item that was given in genuine quality to players who pre-ordered Saint Rows: The Third on Steam before November 15, 2011.

The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 7 or 14.28%. To have a chance at crafting this weapon, you will need to obtain a heavy class token, a melee slot token, and 1 scrap metal. The blueprint for this weapon is shown below:

tf2 apoco fists blueprint

2) Three-Rune Blade

Three rune blade tf2 craft
This is a melee weapon used by the scout. It is simply a re-skin of the Boston Basher and has no unique attributes of its own, though, the sound it makes when it hits an enemy is identical to the Eyelander.

This weapon is a promotional item for the game, The Witcher 2, and was awarded in genuine quality to players who preordered the game on Steam before May 17, 2011.

To craft this weapon, you need to own a scout class token, a melee slot token and 1 scrap metal. The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 9 or 11.1%. The formula for crafting this weapon is shown below:

tf2 three rune blade blueprint

3) Sharp Dresser

TF2 Sharp Dresser
This is a melee weapon used by the spy. It is simply a re-skin of the default spy knife and has no unique attributes of its own, however, it is not possible to taunt kill with this weapon it does not utilize the fencing taunt.

This weapon is a promotional item for the game, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and was awarded, along with Dashin' Hashshashin, in genuine quality to players who preordered the game on Steam before November 29, 2011 in the United States and December 1, 2011 for other countries.


To craft this weapon, you need to own a spy class token, a melee slot token and 1 scrap metal. The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 6 or 16.67%. The formula for crafting this weapon is shown below:

tf2 sharp dresser blueprint

4) The Maul

TF2 The MaulThis is a melee weapon used by the pyro. It is simply a re-skin of the Homewrecker and has no unique attributes of its own.

This weapon is a promotional item for the game, Red Faction: Armageddon, and was awarded in genuine quality to players who preordered the game on Steam before June 6, 2011.

To craft this weapon, you need to own a pyro class token, a melee slot token and 1 scrap metal. The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 9 or 11.1%. The formula for crafting this weapon is shown below:


tf2 the maul blueprint

5) Wanga Prick

tf2 wanga prick
This is a melee weapon used by the spy. It is simply a re-skin of the Saharan set knife, Your-Eternal Reward, and has no unique attributes of its own, however, it does not constitute as part of the Saharan spy set. In other words, if you want the reduced decloak sound volume from the set then you must equip Your Eternal Reward as the melee weapon along with the L'Etranger and the Familiar Fez.

To craft this weapon, you need to own a spy class token, a melee slot token and 1 scrap metal. The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 6 or 16.67%. The formula for crafting this weapon is shown below:

tf2 wanga prick blueprint

6) Unarmed Combat

TF2 Unarmed Combat
This is a melee weapon used by the scout. It is simply a re-skin of the Special Delivery melee weapon, the Holy Mackerel, and has no unique attributes of its own, however, it does not constitute as part of the Special Delivery set. In other words, if you want the increased health from the set then you must equip the Holy Mackerel as the melee weapon along with the Shortstop, Mad Milk and the Milkman. Also, this weapon displays the phrase 'ARM KILL!' instead of 'FISH KILL!' when an enemy is killed by it.

To craft this weapon, you need to own a scout class token, a melee slot token and 1 scrap metal. The chance of obtaining this item from crafting is 1 in 9 or 11.1%. The formula for crafting this weapon is shown below:

TF2 unarmed combat formula
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

How to increase Testosterone levels naturally

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Testosterone is a very important hormone for maintaining masculine features. Not only does it help you build muscle, lose weight, but it also acts as a natural antidepressant. Furthermore, testosterone increases confidence as well as drive. If you have more than 5 of the following symptoms then chances are you have low testosterone:

    Testosterone Structure
  • Difficult to lose weight, especially in the belly area
  • Difficult to gain muscle
  • Low or complete diminished libido (lack of sexual desire)
  • Erection problems
  • Low confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Lack of pleasure in daily activities
  • Poor sleep quality
Luckily, there are a number of different ways to increase testosterone naturally before having to resort to testosterone replacement therapy, which in many cases renders you sterile. Also, TRT is not a cure, rather it's an ongoing treatment that you will have to stay on for the rest of your life, unless of course you like having low testosterone.

1) Zinc

Zinc is very important for testosterone. Not only does it help produce testosterone in the body, but it also reduces estrogen by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, aromatase.

Zinc also increases sperm count and quality. Foods high in zinc include oysters, nuts and seeds, liver, seafood and poultry. You can also supplement with Zinc. I highly recommend L-OptiZinc as this is the most bioavailable zinc formulation out there.

2) Reduce body fat

Body fat is notorious for causing low levels of testosterone. It doesn't matter if your body is producing vast amounts of testosterone because body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen, the hormone responsible for feminine characteristics. 

3) Vitamin D

Vitamin D is extremely important not only for testosterone production, but also for many other functions in your body. Higher Vitamin D levels have been linked to higher testosterone levels. 

In today's busy lifestyle it's often difficult to get sufficient Vitamin D from the Sun alone. In fact, the Vitamin D your body produces may actually be useless as a study found that showering less than 48 hours after exposing your skin to the Sun lowers Vitamin D. This is because it takes about 48 hours or 2 whole days for the Vitamin D that was produced to be absorbed through your skin.

Of course, many of us are not going to go 48 hours without showering so if you want to keep your Vitamin D levels high then I recommend you supplement with at least 5000 IU Vitamin D3 everyday.

4) Panax Ginseng

You may have heard of this herb before, but you probably haven't heard that this herb can increase testosterone levels. It's true, in a study where rats were treated with 1% and 5% Panax Ginseng for 60 days, the rats that were given 5% Panax Ginseng showed a significant increase in testosterone levels. Furthermore, the rats were able to eat more without gaining any extra weight.

There are many brands of Panax Ginseng to choose from, but the one I recommend for both quality and value is NOW Foods Panax Ginseng.

5) Get enough sleep

Sleep is very important for producing testosterone. Without adequate sleep your testosterone production plummets. In fact, getting only five hours of sleep decreases testosterone levels by 10% to 15%. It is therefore imperative that you try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep everyday. 

If you are having trouble falling asleep or just have poor quality sleep then you can take some herbs and supplements that help with sleep
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Green tea for motivation

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Green tea motivationGreen tea is associated with many health benefits including reducing heart disease, reducing bad cholesterol, and aiding in weight loss. But one benefit of drinking green tea that I was not expecting was the increased motivation aspect.

I've been an avid black tea drinker for as long as I can remember, but black tea does not have much of an effect on me, in fact I only drink black tea because of habit and because I like the taste. In the morning I usually drink coffee to give me a slight motivation boost, but one day I wondered if green tea would be better for a motivation boost given that it increases dopamine levels in the brain in several ways.

One way green tea boosts dopamine levels is that it is a COMT inhibitor. COMT is a natural enzyme found in our brains that degrades several motivational neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Green tea contains catechins, a natural flavonol and antioxidant. Catechins act as COMT inhibitors as well as MAO-A and MAO-B inhibitors. Monoamine oxidase type B degrades dopamine so by inhibiting MAO-B as well as COMT, green tea raises dopamine levels in two different mechanisms. But it doesn't stop there, green tea also contains L-Theanine, a psychoactive amino acid that increases dopamine and GABA levels in the brain.

I started drinking green tea about 2 weeks ago and already I'm feeling more motivated to do productive tasks. It's much easier for me to work on a task and finish it. I also don't procrastinate as much I did in the past and believe me I am a heavy procrastinator. One thing that I really like about this increased motivation is that it feels natural, unlike the forced motivation of amphetamines I can stop doing whatever it is I'm doing and do something else.

I only drank one bag of green tea a day. I tried drinking two bags of green tea once, but I felt no different than if I had drank only one. I am more than certain the effect is cumulative as I did not get any increased motivation the first couple of days of drinking green tea.

The brand I used was St. Dalfour organic original Green Tea. You can get it for free by using the link I gave you. It gives you $5 your first order from that site, you just have to pay for shipping.

You can also take green tea extract, which contains significantly more catechins than the regular green tea bags, which would result in a higher COMT and MAO-B inhibition, thus increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain to an even higher amount. I find the regular green tea bags to work just fine for me when it comes to increased motivation, however, green tea extract will also provide many other benefits such as increased weight loss when compared to green tea bags.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

How to use your PS3 controller as an Xbox 360 controller

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PS3 Controller on PC
Keyboard and mouse gaming is great for certain games, but some games, like racing games for example, are better enjoyed with a controller.

If you have an Xbox 360 controller then it's as simple as plugging it into your Windows-based PC via USB cable and using it. If you have a PS3 controller, however, then it's a different scenario.

Luckily, there's a program called MotioninJoy which lets you use your PS3 controller on your PC. You can download it here.

After you download it, simply follow these instructions to get it up and running:
  1. Download MotioninJoy
  2. Extract the archive anywhere
  3. Run the setup file
  4. Run DS3 Tool
  5. Driver manager
  6. Connect the PS3 controller to your PC via USB cable
  7. Select the port that showed up after you connected your PS3 controller
  8. Click Load Driver
  9. Click on profiles
  10. Make sure the mode selected is Xinput-Default Xbox 360 controller emulator
  11. Now you can use your PS3 controller as though it's an Xbox 360 controller
You can also use your controller wirelessly if you have a Bluetooth adapter. It only costs $2 if you don't have one. If have a Bluetooth adapter and you want to use your controller wirelessly then follow these instructions:
  1. Connect your Bluetooth adapter to your PC
  2. Click on the Bluetooth pair tab
  3. Click Pair now
  4. Remove the USB cable from your PS3
  5. You should now be able to use your controller wirelessly
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Top 5 Herbs & Supplements for Sleep and Relaxation

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If you're having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep at night then you definitely should not go the pharmaceutical way as those drugs develop tolerance quickly and you can even get physically addicted to them. The pharmaceutical drugs are for short-term use only. Long-term use of those drugs will have negative consequences on your body's ability to sleep. For example, the drug Zolpidem, or Ambien, is a popular option for treating insomnia.

Zolpidem is actually not a very good choice for improving sleep quality. This drug is great for initiating sleep, but is poor at maintaining sleep as its half-life is only 2 to 3 hours. Taking this drug continuously for a month may result in a tolerance build up and a horrible withdrawal. The effects of withdrawal from this particular drug may include insomnia, seizures, benzodiazepine-like withdrawal symptoms, and others.

Aside from Zolpidem, there are many pharmaceutical drugs intended to treat insomnia, like Benzodiazepines, Non-benzodiazepines, Alcohol, Opioids, Antidepressants, and Antihistamines, however none of these are intended for long-term use and some, like Alcohol and Opioids, actually harm sleep quality.

Herbs and supplements, on the other hand, are great for long-term use and many of the herbs do not develop tolerance or develop very little. They are also not physically addictive, unless of course you abuse them and take an absurd amount.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 herbs and supplements for relaxing and falling asleep.

5) Melatonin

Melatonin for Sleep
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for telling our bodies that it's time for sleep. With the invention of light bulbs and other artificial sources of light came a problem; melatonin secretion was stopped. You see, Humans follow a circadian rhythm where they sleep at night and awake in the morning, however, the way the body knows when it is night time or not is by judging the amount of light in the environment; when it's dark, it's nighttime, when it's bright, it's morning. Light bulbs hindered this by causing the environment to always be bright and effectively stopping Melatonin secretion; without Melatonin, the body does not know when it's time for it to sleep. It is easy to develop insomnia by having insufficient Melatonin secretion at night.

Aside from sleep, some of Melatonin's other benefits include:
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Stimulating the Immune system
  • Helping prevent cancer
You can supplement with two different versions of melatonin, instant-release and timed-release. Generally, timed-release is better than the instant-release because melatonin has a short half-life of 35 to 50 minutes. Timed-release melatonin offers a smoother, longer-lasting effect.

Do not take more than 6 mg of Melatonin at a time otherwise you may wake up feeling not well rested and fatigued.

4) L-Theanine

Green tea theanineFound in green tea and black tea, this amino acid is great for relaxation, focus and stress reduction. When taken together with caffeine this combo will provide heightened alertness without the jittery feel of caffeine. Taken in low doses, this compound will reduce stress while simultaneously improving mood and cognition in a synergistic manner with caffeine.

Taken in high doses, however, it becomes a great sleeping aid by increasing GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.

L-Theanine works best when taken with melatonin as L-Theanine itself does not induce sleep.

You can also take L-Theanine in the morning with your coffee. It will work in a synergistic manner with caffeine to reduce stress, improve mood as well as cognition.

I personally found Doctor's Best Suntheanine L-Theanine to have the most noticable effect on me. It contains 150 mg of a patented form of L-Theanine, Suntheanine. I must admit the effects of Suntheanine were much more noticable than the regular L-Theanine.. It felt like someone had taken a weight off of my head. Stressful situations were much more manageable. My social anxiety as well as my general anxiety was significantly reduced.

3) Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha for Sleep
I actually did a review on Ashwagandha here. The most noticable effect from this herb was the sedation and relaxation it had on me. About 30 minutes after taking it I became very tired and sleepy. It usually takes me 30 to 60 minutes to fall asleep, but with Ashwagandha I can fall asleep in less than 10 minutes.

Before I started taking Ashwaganadha I would wake up 1-3 times during sleep and what this means is that I was not getting quality sleep. If you wake up a lot during sleep then what happens is you don't get the proper rest you need and you actually end up sleeping longer. Deep sleep is what we all need in order to get rested as well as get one very important hormone released into our body, human growth hormone. This hormone is very important in building muscle, stimulating the immune system, but more importantly losing weight. Yes, HGH does in fact make you lose fat weight and put on muscle simultaneously.

So, Ashwagandha can in fact help you lose weight indirectly by allowing you to get the deep sleep your body requires. Furthermore, Ashwagandha also regulates thyroid function. The thyroid gland is what controls your body's metabolism rate. A higher metabolism rate results in more fat loss. Therefore, Ashwagandha not only helps you lose weight by indirectly stimulating more HGH release, but it also regulates thyroid function which maintains a healthy metabolism necessary for fat loss. Ashwagandha has many other benefits, some of which include:
  • Increased Libido
  • Increased energy
  • Improved memory
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced stress
There are many Ashwagandha products out there, but the one I used was Jarrow Formulas Sensoril extract. Jarrow Formulas has a high percentage of Withanolides extract, a minimum of 8%. Withanolides are one of the active compounds found in Ashwagandha and so the higher the amount of Withanolides, the more likely the product will work. And this goes for the majority of herbs out there; the higher the amount of the active compounds, the more likely the herb is going to have an effect on you.

Now Foods also sells Ashwagandha extract with a minimum of 4.5% Withanolides. The difference between the two is not big, but Now Foods offers 450 mg of Ashwagandha root-only extract in one capsule whereas Jarrow Formulas offers 225 mg of roots and leaves extract. Remember though, Jarrow has a minimum of 8% Withanolides so it contains 18 mg of Withanolides whereas Now Foods has a minimum of 4.5% which would entail 20.25 mg of Withanolides.

I recommend getting the Jarrow Formulas Ashwagandha if and only if you are looking for enhanced sleep quality. If you are looking for enhanced sleep quality as well possibly getting some other benefits from Ashwagandha then I recommend getting Now Foods Ashwagandha extract.

2) Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa for Sleep and relaxation
My absolutely favorite herb. This herb is just amazing. The amount of benefits this herb gives is unreal. Here are just some of the many benefits this herb provides:
  • Enhanced sleep quality
  • Enhanced memory
  • Enhanced concentration
  • Enhanced cognitive function
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Reduced stress
  • Antioxidant properties
Many of us have trouble remembering simple everyday things, like where we put the keys, if we turned off the stove or not, or did I take my pill(s) today? Bacopa not only enhances short-term and long-term memory, but it also enhances working memory.

The night I took Bacopa was the best sleep I have ever gotten in the past 4 years. Bacopa just took me out. I was able to reduce my sleep hours from 10 hours to only 8 hours of sleep. Also, my dreams were very intense and vivid and upon waking up I could actually remember what happened in my dreams.

I only took one caplet of Himalaya Herbal Healthcare bacopa, which contains 66.5 mg of the known active ingredients. I can only wonder what would have happened if I took a more potent source, like Planetary Herbals, which contains 90 mg of the active ingredients.

Bacopa, for me at least, was very potent. I only recommend you use this product if you are really having trouble falling asleep or getting some quality sleep because this herb will make you sleep like a baby. I do not recommend taking this herb if you have work or school in the morning or anything that you have to be at before a certain time because you might just sleep through your alarm clock. However, when you wake up you'll feel very well rested and energized and ready to get on with your day.

1) Valeriana officinalis

Valerian Root Sleep
Valeriana officinalis is one of the most potent herbs for treating insomnia and enhancing overall sleep quality. Aside from its positive effects on sleep, Valeriana provides many other benefits including:

  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Reduced Tension
  • Reduced Excitability
  • Reduced Stress

Not only that, it also sedates agitated individuals while stimulating fatigued individuals. It is thought that this herb brings a balance to the system.

Valeriana is very useful for people who have trouble falling asleep and is also very useful to those who wake up during sleep. Waking up during sleep reduces the amount of deep sleep your body gets which means you don't get the adequate rest you need so you wake up feeling fatigued and sleepy.

Several of my friends and family members swear by Valeriana for enhancing sleep quality. I personally find Valeriana to have the most effect on my sleep out of all the above mentioned herbs and supplements, as do my friends and family.

I take Now Foods Valerian Root everyday and it doesn't seem to have lost any efficacy, in fact, I think the longer I took Valerian Root the better the effects were.

What's best about it is there are no dependence issues; if one day I do not want to take a capsule I'll be able to sleep just fine without it, but of course not as well as I would have had I taken it.

Bonus: All-In-One sleep formula

If you want to take all the above mentioned herbs and supplements, but don't want to take 5 pills at a time then I recommend getting Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM. Though it does not contain Bacopa, it provides all the mentioned herbs and supplements and more.
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Monday, August 06, 2012

Domino's Pizza August 2012 Coupon Code

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Dominos Pizza Coupon half off
Domino's Pizza is having a limited-time offer where you can get 50% off any pizza if you order it online.

Simply enter the code 50OFF when you check out and you'll instantly receive half off the pizza price. This offer extends from August 6 to 12.

Enjoy!
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Friday, August 03, 2012

How to fix no sound from YouTube in Google Chrome

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Chrome no sound YouTubeI recently had a problem where I could not get any sound to play when I was watching YouTube videos or playing flash games in Google Chrome. Other browsers, like FireFox and Opera worked fine. The cause of this bug comes from the newest flash player, version 11.3. This bug was really annoying because I had tried many solutions, but none had worked until I tried disabling all, but one of the flash player plugins.

I noticed that I had 3 different flash player plugins running in Google Chrome and thought that 1 should be enough. So I decided to disable 2 of the flash player plugins and leave one running and it worked! I had fixed my issue with no sound from Google Chrome when watching YouTube videos.

The Solution

  1. Open a new tab and navigate to chrome://plugins/
  2. At the top right, click on +Details
  3. Scroll down until you see Flash
  4. Disable all the flash player plugins, but the one with the directory Macromed\Flash\NPSWF32_11_3_300_268.dll
  5. Open a new tab and go to YouTube
  6. Watch a video and you should be able to hear sound
  7. Enjoy
Tired of having to search Google for problems like these and clicking through many links just to find the solution? Then go to http://www.ifixwiki.com/, a community-run website dedicated to providing solutions to problems, issues, and errors that occur in everyday situations from software like Windows 7 to hardware like a bicycle.
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