Friday, March 19, 2010


How To Download Unmetered Content From Steam

This is a bit off-topic but I know a lot of developers like to play games (and why not, after all that’s what computers are for!)

If you buy and download games via Steam using the Steam client, you can do this so that the downloaded content does not add to your download limit (i.e. as an unmetered download). Why use Steam? Well, games are often cheaper than the shelf price, you can get pre-release content, and they often have great specials on older games.

The precise details will vary slightly depending on your location and which ISP you are with. The instructions here will be for Australia and Telstra, but they will work for other ISPs such as iinet and westnet etc. I’ll note the points at which you will need specific information.

Step 1: Download and install the Steam Client. You obviously need to do this if you want to use this service!

  • You will obviously need to create an account if you wish to purchase games through Steam.
  • After installing the Steam client, you will need to opt in to the beta client program (to get the version that allows changing the preferred content server).
  • * Goto View->Settings->Downloads and set your download region to ‘Australia – NSW (Telstra)’

NOTE: If you are with another ISP, then this needs to be set accordingly (for westnet use ‘Australia – WA (3FL)’, not sure about others. Contact your ISP). NOTE: just performing this step alone won’t guarantee content is downloaded unmetered.

  • You may have to delete (or rename) the ClientRegistry.blob file located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam and log back in again.
  • Exit Steam.

Step 2: Download and install SteamWatch 3 (ignore the fact that the page title is SteamWatch 2!). Choose the GameArena servers (doesn’t really matter as we will be editing the config anyway)

  • SteamWatch watches process ‘Steam’ on port 27030 and blocks all access except to those IP address contained in it’s ‘white list’. We need to use SteamWatch because just setting a preferred content server (in the step above) does not prevent Steam deciding to use other servers as well as/or instead of your preferred server.
  • Right-click the SteamWatch tray icon and select ‘Edit SteamWatchSettings.xml’
  • * Change the list of allowed Steam content server IP addresses to (NOTE: this will obviously depend on your ISP):
  • <!--List of IP addresses to allow-->
    <!—GameArena servers (for Telstra) -->

NOTE: The 3FL content server IP addresses are - -

Then re-start Steam. It’s best to start a download and then pause it and then check to make sure the download is unmetered.

[One thing to note; the local Steam server obviously has to have the content on it. Also, you may find that connections are more reliable at off-peak times.]

I also added the following ports to my router's firewall:

  • 27000-27050 TCP
  • 4380 TCP

Thursday, March 11, 2010



Being something of a Luddite, I have yet to get my head fully around the cloud business model: is it simply a hyped technology or is this the future of computing? Call me an old cynic but it seems that it is more to do with a push to a licensing revenue model than meeting an actual business demand. The major software vendors have been fully aware for over a decade that there comes a limit to what a customer is willing to pay for upgrades that don’t really give them anything they need.

It’s certainly an interesting time. But does it make sense to be making the shift to cloud based computing? Mobile applications syncing to remote location are hardly new wiz-bang technology. High availability and auto-failover I can understand but scalability is perhaps a little harder…

Azure is a relatively recent entry into the cloud offerings, and as such there are no doubt a few fine details to work out. According to recent information, SQL Azure is not yet ready for:

  • Large OLTP/DSS systems
  • Tier 1, mission critical apps

Now while there is obviously something to be said for getting into a new market by starting small, one would have thought that the businesses that would most benefit from the cloud’s economy of scale and find it a cost effective, and therefore attractive, proposition would be precisely those with large OLTP systems.

On a side note, I also can’t help notice that the current price of data transfer is 3 times more expensive in Australasia/Asia (this will hopefully change?):

Data transfers = $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB - ($0.30 in / $0.45 out / GB in Asia)*

So I guess I’m waiting for someone to show me the light and help me grok the cloud. Anyone?

Monday, March 08, 2010


T4 Toolbox

At last week’s Perth .NET User Group meeting Dave and Michael demonstrated some of the new features present in Visual Studio 2010. One of the things Michael talked about was the T4 template support.

If you are interested in the T4 code generation capabilities, you might be interested in the T4 Toolbox up on codeplex:

T4 Toolbox is a set of ready-to-use code generators and T4 extensions for Visual Studio. Quickly build powerful C# or VB templates that generate multiple output files or simply use existing templates for LINQ to SQL, Entity Framework and more.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Windows 7: 90 Million and Counting…

A few days ago, Microsoft officials went to press saying that 90 million copies of Windows 7 have been sold to date. That’s a huge result! But not all together surprising, as Windows 7 is so much more pleasant to interact with than Vista [makes you wonder why no-one in charge could spot that Vista was so lacklustre!].

I’ve recently been playing with the speech recognition functionality built in Windows 7 (all versions). Despite owning only a fairly cheap headset, the results are very impressive. I'm not sure I could use it every day (although I did use it to write this), but it makes a welcome break from the mouse and keyboard. If you had a RSI or similar injury, then it might make using the computer considerably easier.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Perth .NET UG Meeting: What’s New in Visual Studio 2010 – Dave Gardner and Michael Minutillo

Join us at the Perth .NET User Group Thurs, March 4th where Michael Minutillo and Dave Gardner will present a session on many of the new features in Visual Studio 2010, due to be released in April with a host of new and enhanced functionality. The improvements range from minor tweaks to major new features. In this hands-on session they will demonstrate the new code editor, better multi-monitor support, IntelliSense improvements, new debugging tools, ASP.NET v4 and Web deployment enhancements, and built-in support for MEF, T4 support, and MVC2

  • TOPIC:   What's New in Visual Studio 2010
  • DATE:    Thursday, March 4th, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
  • VENUE:  Excom, Ground Floor, 23 Barrack Street, Perth
  • COST:    Free. All welcome

This session coincides with the recent RC release of Visual Studio 2010 and also the forthcoming release of Dave, Michael and Nick's VS2010 book.


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