Cossack-European Wars by Strategy First

The name Cossack derives from the Turkic word “kazak,” which means “free man” or “adventurer.” Indeed, the Cossack’s life was quite an adventure: this sub-ethnic group was formed and shaped in never-ending wars and conflicts.

From the 16th through the 18* century the Cossacks were one of the most feared peoples. You get to enter that time and become one of the emerging powers of Europe. As far as power goes you can become one of 16 nations. How’s that for variety? But it isn’t over yet because the engine that runs Cossacks game strategy allows you to have up to 8,000 units. Now that’s power both on the battlefield and on the computer. I was impressed with the totally awesome choices of technological advances and what they led to. This is no Warcraft or Red Alert where a few choices (at least it seemed like that) made a lot of head way. You had to choose what you wanted to develop and your choices could cost you your nation. It is difficult to master, but in the mastering you will gain knowledge of history and all that goes with it. You will understand how we came to where we are today. It makes learning fun. You will learn history and you will learn strategy. You have no choice if you wish to win. It is a game that will captivate you with its intricacies.

Killing Clippy and his friends

You know what bothers me? It’s that damn office assistant that Microsoft seems to think that I need forever bothering with his desire to help. I’d like to terminate his butt and I asked some friends about how to do it. I mean as soon as that annoying Office Assistant pops up, we push the X to get rid of him.

Now you can always uncheck the box under Assistant capabilities in Clippy’s Options dialogue. With Microsoft’s persistence he’ll probably find a way around that one. There’s a better way, a permanent way.

If you want to be blessed with an absence of Clippy, just open Windows Explorer and browse to the Microsoft OfficeOfficeActors folder. Right-click and rename the Actors folder. (You can also achieve the same purpose by removing any of the files within the Actors folder that have an .ACT extension—it’s up to you). Now when you open Excel (or other MS Office documents), any task that would have normally triggered the Office Assistant can be performed without his unwelcome bid for a job.

Teach Windows to use RAM right

The vcache is a weird creation of Windows. Once upon a time, the Microsoft Elflords decided that it would be a good idea to split the system memory of the computer into two parts—storage and cache. Storage (RAM) is the data that needs to be available to the programs that are currently running. The cache, referred to as vcache,

is a section of memory that holds disk cache information. The peculiar thing about this is that storage and cache can’t share the same RAM, but they can end up having the same data. Windows does a poor job of flushing out the vcache when it is finished with data and this tends to eat up resources.

By manually controlling the size of its vcache in Windows, we can force it to clean out the cache to make more space, then more programs to stay in memory speeding up the system. The easiest way to do this is to use a free program called Cacheman by Outer Technologies. After downloading and installing Cacheman, there are five cache settings that can be changed.

Minimal Disk Cache

This setting determines the initial size of the disk cache for your system. We recommend setting this to one half the value of the maximal disk cache. There is another approach, in which the user sets this value to the same value as the maximal disk cache (disabling any kind of resizing of the cache by the system). Try both and see which one is better for you. If you don’t notice any difference, use the first method.

Maximal Disk Cache

This setting determines the maximum amount of the disk cache.

To determine the best setting, use the following equation’ System RAM (in megabytes) /8 = Maximal Disk Cache For instance, if you have 128MB of RAM in your system, you should be setting the maximum disk cache to approximately 16MB. Cacheman only accepts values in kilobytes. To determine how many kilobytes are in the megabyte value you are entering, use this equation: Cache in kilobytes ~ Cache in megabytes x 1,024

For example, 16MB is 16,384KB.

Chunk Size

This setting determines how large the allocation table chunks are within the disk cache. A smaller setting allows for a more efficient use of memory, but a larger setting is faster. Usually, the best settings for Chunk Size are 128KB and 256KB. Try both, observe both game and application performance and choose whichever one is best for you. If you don’t notice a difference, go with 256KB.

Name Cache and Directory Cache

These caches determine how much file information is stored within your RAM at any given time. Generally, it’s best to set these to the highest values allowed by Windows (push the sliders all the way to the right). If this causes problems for you, you can set them back to the standard Windows settings: 4,096KB for the name cache and 96KB for the directory cache.