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From the Mouth of Madness:
loonyboi 2000

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
Vol. 2, Issue 13
February 22, 2000



I was quite happy with the OS up to this point, and was mildly going about my business, when I noticed that my ISDN modem was only using one channel. Uh oh. So, I punched in some init strings (Viva Hayes compatible modems!) and reconnected to my ISP. Again, only one channel (64k instead of 128k). I called 3Com’s tech support, and spent a good hour or so with one of their representatives trying every known init string to force the modem to use both channels...to no avail. It was most definitely Windows 2000 that was the problem – not the modem itself. I checked out the help system (since the manual obviously was useless to me) and went through several different troubleshooters with no luck.

It turns out that while Windows 2000 recognizes my modem as the “Courier I-Modem ISDN Ext. PnP” it wasn’t letting me configure it for ISDN use. See, my modem is a great one. It’s a full-featured ISDN modem, but it’s also everything else – 56k, 28.8, etc. And Windows 2000 seems to think that it’s just a regular modem. Yeesh. So, I tried using other drivers that were recognized as ISDN modems, but it just wasn’t happening. Oh well.

Ultimately, I decided to use that computer on my network that I was using as a printer/file server as my Internet proxy. That computer (which is running Windows 9x) is the one with the modem installed, and thanks to Sygate, I can use it to auto-dial to the Internet whenever a computer on the network makes a request. Plus, I’m running some kickass firewall software for added security.

So that’s my beef with the OS, but besides that, I’m quite pleased with it. A few things have crashed, most notably Photoshop, but the system hasn’t given me any problems, and I’m at long last freed from the shackles of Windows 9x’ system resources, which could be crippling at times. Plus, thanks to the fact that it’s got DirectX 7, almost all of my games run on it (be sure to grab the software compatibility update from Windows Update – it adds support for a ton of games).

Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament both run great, as both clients, and dedicated servers (and that improved multitasking means I can realistically run a dedicated server in the background while working and not notice any major system slowdowns). Windows 2000 is a bit more complicated for a lot of things, but it’s not nearly as complex as any Linux distribution (which is either a good or bad thing depending on your point of view) and is a good, solid OS. Would I recommend it for the mass market? Hell, no. But if you play a lot of games and work on the same computer, it’s the only way to go.

The continual install/uninstall cycle that I put most computers through eventually takes its toll on the system. Programs, and particularly games, tend to leave excess crap in your system registry, and this can really screw up your system. Windows 2000 handles this far better than Windows 9x, and for that alone it gets the thumbs up from me.

Now of course, I’ve only been using it for a few days. Get back to me in six months and see if I’m still pleased with it, but so far, it’s been a good (but not perfect) upgrade experience.


- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames.



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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. From the Mouth of Madness is © 2000 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you strange, strange lad you.