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top Announces Linux Support

Tapewolf Re:GOG discovers DOSBOX works on Linux (78 comments)

No offense, but that's a kind of dumb assumption. They explicitly state that they make the games compatible with modern systems. With a large portion of their catalog being 16-bit, and 64-bit OSes not able to load 16-bit apps, they *need* to be wrapping the games in emulators or the like.

Yes, the original game files - or very close, minimally-patched versions - are in there. However, the vast majority of their customer base wouldn't be able to do anything with those game files. Even if they were, it wouldn't be the simple and user-friendly experience that it is today.

Yeah, I appreciate that but I think you may have missed something in my post. I know exactly why they've done what they did and for the majority of cases it's a very good idea. But if you want to play the game in its original format, you are SOL.

Right now, you buy a game - you get a choice of downloading a Windows version or a Mac version. Would it have killed them to have had a third option to download the DOS version of the game? It would be a damn sight smaller than the bloaty thing I had to download.

I think what really pissed me off was the fact that they had deleted the original EXE files instead of just leaving them around for people who needed them.

top Announces Linux Support

Tapewolf Re:GOG discovers DOSBOX works on Linux (78 comments)

It's a little more complicated than that.

They have big all-in-one installer .exes that setup a full environment for the games.

This. I bought the Kyrandia series about a month ago, and after faffing around with WINE to extract the games - which was not fun because it only drew half the installer and I had to guess what it was trying to tell me - I found that they didn't actually include the bloody game program at all, just the data files and a scummvm installation of unknown provenance.

Yes, it does make it easier for someone without a DOS background to get the games up and running, I can't fault them for that. But I would much preferred to have had the option to get just the bare installation files so that I could play the actual game on the platform of my choosing. After all, I had assumed I was buying the original game, rather than some weird, dicked-about version of it :P


Are the Hard-to-Exploit Bugs In LZO Compression Algorithm Just Hype?

Tapewolf Re:Kernel bloat (65 comments)

Why should the Linux kernel have a compression algorithm in it?

Because it needs to compress and decompress things.

The kernel image is usually compressed anyway, then you've got things like page compression for zram, in-filesystem compression support - heck, BTRFS uses LZO! I think some network layer stuff like PPP supports header compression, and all that's only the things I'm vaguely aware of.

about a month ago

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

Tapewolf Re:More Republican garbage (133 comments)

Government control over production and mass media isn't a left wing concept? You should coulda fooled me!

If you travel far enough to the left or to the right, you end up in the same place.

about a month ago

BlackBerry Back In Profit

Tapewolf Re:Blackberry - only vendor serious about security (67 comments)

Certainly they were - the old Blackberry OS was FIPS-certified. At the time, about 3 years ago, it was the only phone platform we could find that matched the government security requirements the company I worked for needed for a tender, and that was unfortunate, because the old OS is shit and horrific to program against.

I do not know if the QNX-based OS was ever secured as tightly as OS7.

about a month ago

Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

Tapewolf Re:Sure, let me know (116 comments)

How about SM911? It's bias-compatible.

about a month and a half ago

Mesa 10.2 Improves Linux's Open-Source Graphics Drivers

Tapewolf Re:Still relevant nowadays? (58 comments)

Never heard of 'In Watermelon Sugar' before. It was weirdly beautiful.

about a month and a half ago

SanDisk Announces 4TB SSD, Plans For 8TB Next Year

Tapewolf Re:Oh goody (264 comments)

If you only write infrequently (use for image editing) and then backup storage - how many years would the SSD maintain values?

If the drive is powered down, I wouldn't bet on it lasting the year. Intel only seem to guarantee up to 3 months without power for their drives:

Note also that the retention is said to go downwards as P/E cycles are used up. For me, I think they make great system drives, but I don't use them for anything precious.

about 3 months ago

Why Should Game Stories Make Sense?

Tapewolf Re:I just like interesting games (169 comments)

Replaying Morrowind at the moment. The plot and the worldbuilding in that is really what makes it for me. Not least the religious texts about Vivec... mind-bogglingly bizarre yet seemingly strung together with some otherworldly logic of their own.

System Shock 1 I found to be quite well-thought out too. It would have worked without the plot and background, and indeed there was even an option to turn it off. But without the text or audio logs strewn about depicting the fall of the station in poignant detail, it wouldn't have been nearly as memorable.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Tapewolf Watkins tape echo (702 comments)

I believe these were marketed as 'Guild' or something in the US. Mine came off ebay about a decade ago and appears to be one of the first all-transistor models, cira 1966 or so. I believe it's the oldest piece of equipment that I use regularly - I also have an Akai 210GX which I use occasionally.
Most of my studio equipment is from the late 1980s or early-mid 1990s, when open-reel technology had reached its peak (microprocessor control, built-in DBX noise reduction etc).

about 3 months ago

Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

Tapewolf Re:Is anyone actually stuck on Snow Leopard? (241 comments)

I'm not sure you can actually get Lion anymore. I waited too long on Snow Leopard, and once Mountain Lion came out, that was the only upgrade offered, despite the fact it wouldn't run on the 2007 hardware. I bit the bullet and upgraded the hardware. I also considered ditching it at that point, but there are still a couple of pieces of software I need OSX for with no Linux equivalent and the win32 port doesn't run in WINE.

about 5 months ago

FFmpeg's VP9 Decoder Faster Than Google's

Tapewolf Re:Faster is not necessarily better: Quality matte (101 comments)

So, is the quality of the output equivalent or has it suffered due to compromises due to the speed increase?

It probably just means the reference implementation wasn't optimized very much.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

Tapewolf Re:An oddball solution (299 comments)

A couple of additional points: I use Rosegarden for the performance, partly because I can stick it on a laptop if I ever do some kind of live show, but also because SONAR was very temperamental about synchronizing to an external source. Rosegarden has had a tendency to flip out on occasion (I've sent patches), but it never, ever drifts the way SONAR would.

The other thing I should perhaps have clarified is that I mix down to 1/4" because I've often had problems with the audio glitching during digitization (and it was even worse in Windows). If I mixed it directly into the computer, Murphy's law says the take would glitch. Whereas if it's mixed to tape, I can go back and re-digitize it. It also means that I can go back and re-digitize the tape in some future format if need be.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

Tapewolf An oddball solution (299 comments)

I do a lot of MIDI composition. Cakewalk was the first piece of MIDI software which I was really able to get to grips with, originally in Windows 3.1. I run an old version of SONAR now, under WINE. I use that for composing, but then export it into Rosegarden for recording. I did most of this in Windows until 7 came along and broke the 4x4 USB MIDI interface I was using - it was easier just to stay in Linux from that point on.

For sound generation, I use hardware, mostly rackmount syntheszers. You can find these second hand on ebay quite a lot - the Roland JV series are pretty good general-purpose sound sources for starting out. They have the advantage that they are completely OS-agnostic, and apart from some weirdos like the Creamware ASB or the Receptor, they don't require online activation and they also won't die the year after the maker goes bust because OSX or Windows broke some API it uses. If you must use VSTs, Rosegarden and a couple of other packages will act as a VST host, probably using bits of WINE to do so. The MUSE Receptor does this as a hardware device (again, using a modified version of WINE) but although a Linux device, it is up to the hilt in DRM and remarkably expensive for what it is.

Where it gets unusual is recording and tracking. I record quick demos of the piece using Audacity, but for the real thing I track it onto tape, using a timecode track to control the sequencer. This isn't a legacy system, it was a deliberate decision because I wanted to get some idea of how things were done before Protools became widespread.

If I didn't do it that way, I'd either be looking at using a standalone DAW such as an Alesis HD24, or Ardour. I few years ago I scored a TASCAM 1" 24-track machine, and before that I was using a pair of synchronized 8-track machines, but to be honest that was a royal pain. I mix the 24-track tape down to a 1/4" stereo machine, and digitize the stereo master from that. I also have a 24-channel JoeCo recorder which I use to take digital safety masters of the multitracks.

I am well aware that this is a weird thing to do in this day and age, but I figured I may as well throw it into the pot. In any case, there are people like Slugbug and Freelove Fenner who do the whole thing completely in the analogue domain, but that's not really what the question was.

about 6 months ago

Government Lab Uses Smartphones To Measure Gamma Ray Exposure

Tapewolf Re:Digital camera elements (105 comments)

I've always wondered why we can't do simple infrared or ultraviolet examinations of things with our smart phones.

I have a sneaky suspicion it's because not all clothing is opaque in those spectra, but I like neat science toys, and wish my phone was a little more tricorderish.

Actually, many digital cameras will pick up infra-red. Try sticking a remote control in front of one - depends on the camera, but a lot of them will show it lighting up.

about 6 months ago

Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta

Tapewolf Re:Why nVidia only? (211 comments)

Q: What are the SteamOS Hardware Requirements?

A: NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon)

about 7 months ago

Cisco Releases Open Source "Binary Module" For H.264 In WebRTC

Tapewolf Re:Misconceptions (95 comments)

As I understand it from reading the article and the comments, Cisco will subsidize the patent licenses if you use the binary. If you prefer, you can use the source code, but then you will have to deal with the patent licensing yourself.

"Nathan – We will select licensing terms that allow for this code to be used in commercial products as well as open source projects. In order for Cisco to be responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints. This gives the community the best of all worlds – a team can choose to use the source code, in which case the team is responsible for paying all applicable license fees, or the team can use the binary module distributed by Cisco, in which case Cisco will cover the MPEG LA licensing fees. Hope that answers the first part of your question – Nadee, Cisco PR "

about 9 months ago


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