Although I almost always prefer to have a physical copy of the games I own, Steam generally works pretty well and has some nifty features. About the only downside is that you have to download the games, which can be a pain for large files or if you have a slow connection. Steam can also be annoying as it sits in the system tray and uses a bit of resources. Overall, though, it's the best system of its kind.
It wasn't that Armada 2526 was horrible, it was just that it did nothing better than any other game. It tried to offer real time battles like SotS, but SotS did it better. It tried to offer planetary development like GalCiv, but GalCiv did it better. And so on. Ironically, the one area where it COULD have beat the other games - by offering PBEM play - it never even tried! As a PBEM game, it could have been a winner! Overall, it just displayed a mediocre design. But who knows, maybe with an expansion or two, it might flower into something better? That's what happened with SotS.
As for mech books, you've got me there. I've only read one such book (forget the name; wouldn't recommend it anyway). If you do find something good, be sure to let me know!
I saw the announcement for World of Tanks the other day but didn't know what to make of it either. I am always suspicious of funny trailers that don't tell you much about the game. It could be good, but I am still suspicious. I think I'll stick with Red Orchestra for the moment.
Spybot is only good in a supplementary role to an AV program. I recommend McAfee's Internet Security Suite for general protection (about $50 for a year). Never had a problem while using it (knock on wood or thanks to St. Isidore of Seville [patron saint of the internet]). There are some free AV programs out there, but I can't comment to their reliability (however, I have heard good things about AVG). Regardless, glad to have you back! :salute:
For me, screenshots of Sins are kept in AppData/Local/Ironclad Games/Sins of a Solar Empire/Screenshots. I got Sins through Impulse, so it might be different if you have a physical copy. Hope this helps!
GalCiv II: Twilight of the Arnor is the best. I think SD is offering that one with the rest of the expansions in one package, Ultimate Edition or something like that. That is probably the best bet (its what I purchased).