(How to open blocked ports to play steam games at the end of the post)

I was really excited about the residence that I chose in Lyon, because the website said that it would have unlimited adsl internet. I was really looking forward to playing euro TF2 gathers with an amazing ping. When I arrived, though, the internet wasn’t working at all! The first night was very difficult sans internet.

I’m proud to say that I am almost certain that I was the only person to arrive with their own cat5/ethernet cord! You definitely learn a lot from going to LAN parties! When the internet finally did work, Steam still wouldn’t load for me. A week later, it miraculously let me login and use steam friends, which was nice, because I really missed all of my gaming friends. I wanted to say hello to them over ventrilo, but I wasn’t able to reach any servers- the American one I used to frequent or even the European one used for gathers. I went to a couple of websites to check which ports I had open, and the only was essentially 80, which is used for surfing the web.

I got the phone number of the network admin, and he answered my first phone call and gave me his email address, but it didn’t work at all when I tried to contact him to ask him to open a few ports for my MAC address. I tried to call him again to clarify his email address, but he started ignoring my calls, which left me without many options.

When I first arrived I tried connecting to my canadian university’s vpn through the Cisco vpn client, but the port to run that program was blocked, too. One of my friends told me about the VPN service Perfect Privacy, but it was a bit too pricey for my tastes.

I did some searching, and I came across Strong VPN and it has been really great. I checked out a couple of cheaper VPN services, but they would take days to answer my questions, whereas I would receive a response from Strong VPN within minutes. I am paying $45 for 3 months (no set-up fee special). I have been able to play TF2 again, and it felt absolutely amazing to play it for the first time in almost 2 weeks; I definitely felt a surge of adrenaline pumping through my veins; it’s funny how you lose that sensation when you play it everyday. I have to play with a ping of 100 which is not ideal, but it’s better than no gaming at all. I am happy to be getting better download speeds for torrents when running the VPN.

I would definitely recommend paying for a VPN service if you are also a gamer or geek who wants ultimate internet freedom; there are tons of VPN companies out there, so check around, and see which one offers servers located near you 🙂

Note: a prior post describing the basics of pickups ^^

I have been sick the past couple of weeks>< but to make the time go by I have been playing a lot of TF2 european PUGs (pick up games). My highlander teammate, Lopert, told me about it, and it has been a lot of fun playing with the euros! The euro community is a lot larger than the north american one with at least 200 extra idlers in their IRC channel… and I’m not going to lie- it is interesting to hear the great variety of accents!

What is really cool about the european system is that you can choose to play medic before the game even starts; in fact, it seems like hardly anyone ever wants to play medic in the euro PUGs, so it is a great way to practice your medicing skills ^^ It also keeps a page of stats that keeps track of the number of PUGs you play.

The admins also seem to put a lot of time into this system. They are able to rate each player based on what they perceive the person’s skill level to be for various classes, and they input the information into the bot, so that it can make fairer teams. Luckily this information is kept private so that no one can get offended that perhaps they received a lower rating for a particular class.

Links + Basic Info:

North American-

Una bella canzone…

December 26, 2008

Hope everyone had a very nice Christmas ^^ I was really happy to see my Nonna (Italian Grandma) yesterday. I was able to speak with her so much better in italian, just from practicing and listening to TeamSpeak on the italian TF2 server that I love, n!Gage.

Here is a song by the italian dj, Gigi D’Agostino that I am currently in love with:
L’Amour toujours (I’ll fly with you)

Click here to listen to an absolutely fantastic remix.