'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets a Name
The Force is an energy field in all living things. It separates us, penetrates us and binds us together. If energy can neither be created or destroyed but merely transferred, why would one think it can be "awakened" or gone to sleep?? C'mon JJ, don't let us down!
Well if I can put on my "nerd glasses" for a second I think I have a theory on that. I mean assuming that Clone Wars cartoon show is still "canon" and hasn't been relegated to the "legends" category (like the expanded universe books/etc. And yes, I watched the whole clone wars series. Nerd.). Clone Wars (the one with 22 minute episodes, got canceled with some open story arcs) had some episodes about the dark side taking over, but out of the this imbalance in the yin/yang relationship resulting in a new generation of force wielders would come about (foreshadowing Luke in other words). There were some really strange episodes in that series. Hard to believe it was for kids.
Anyway I think it ties in with that sort of thing. After all, as the story goes the Jedi were effectively extinct by episode 4. The one admiral (whatever) on the death star called it a some old religion and Luke/Han had never even heard of it. So in the sense that the "chosen one" of Luke Skywalker will be rebooting the entire concept of the Jedi order from scratch and it will go from Vader and the emperor being the primary people left doing anything force-related to Luke's new concepts/re-founding of the light side...I'd say it's actually an intriguing/accurate title. Seems like it's a better title than "the light awakens". That doesn't any more sense than "the force awakens"
Of course, if you want to read too much into it you could say this move is really passing the baton on to a new cast of characters. I mean how much running around/falling/jumping/whatever that original cast do, anyway? I would have expected them to be in this movie about as much as Obi Wan was in episode 4. If you look at it that way it could mean it's "30 years later" (as in, decades after Return of the Jedi) and a generation of new light-side Jedi are taking over. So the force is "awake" in that sense. Lots of new Jedi, lots of new people using the force. I haven't read anything about the new movie, I have no idea if this is remotely accurate.
Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans
I'm getting tired of people using Democracy and Republic interchangeably. And I hope hope you'll believe me davydagger when i say I'm genuinely not trying to troll you so forgive me if I'm inferring more from your post than I should be.
The two terms don't mean the same thing. The US was not created to be a Democracy (and Rome was never a Democracy). Democracies have tendency to degrade into tyrannies is the main reason. As soon as a populace realizes they can vote themselves lots of free money along with that famous "51% can be pee on the cornflakes of 49% of the population" line it's just a slow downward spiral (I believe this is not irreversible though. Nothing is set in stone or inevitable). I don't know who said that originally. Republics are a different thing. They're supposed to have safeguards to prevent or at least slow the slide into tyranny.
I happen to live in California where the flag specifically states Republic in no uncertain terms (by which I mean the flag has the words "CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC in big bold letters). As in elect representatives and they do the government running part full time. In a democracy 100% of population would vote on 100% of the matters affecting the population. How long would that last?
Here's the part of the US constitution, if you're wondering. The entirety of Article 4 is actually really short. The Constitution is an amazingly brilliant document.
Article 4, Section 4
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
You'll note it doesn't what kind of republic the states must be. Louisanna for instance is based on the "Napoleonic Code" while the rest are based on british common law.
Also, the house was supposed to be "for the people" as in something happens (like a terrorist attack) and your average citizen talks to their representative which causes the house to pass a bill "in the heat of the moment". The Senators on the other hand, not nearly as much worried about an upcoming election, can take a slower approach. The idea being the bill either won't get through the senate or at least a more moderate version will eventually emerge. I don't know if that's really the way it's working for us right now. Would the Patriot Act be more radical if not for that house/senate balance? No idea. Point is, that was the idea.
Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans
I disagree with the thesis that silicon valley is in some way "swinging" toward the Republican party. It's more like the writing was on the wall which way the wind was blowing this midterm and the only way to have any influence or say on policy in Washington is via contributions. As in contributed == friend, didn't contribute == not friend. That's all it is. In 8 years (or whatever) when it's swinging the other direction again money will be flowing back the other direction. It's nothing more or less than that. Be on the good side of the people in power. It's the only way to get anything done. A lot of businesses actually contribute to both parties every election cycle, even if one is more heavily contributed to than the other. Just want to be on the good side for the next wind change.
Maybe I'm missing some thing here but it seems like a edit to a local hosts file could resolve this.
Generically, for instance, if the ads injected were coming from ads.comcast.net one could simply add a line to the hosts file:
Wouldn't this prevent the ads from loading to begin with? I mean sure it's a little more difficult on phones and tablets but regular PCs it should be at all difficult to make this edit.
Since I'm apparently in a generous mood, for windows users, open an "administrator command prompt" and paste in the following line. You should be able to save the changes. If not the you might have take off the read-only flag. Sorry, it's been a while since I set it up on a fresh install.
Or do like a real geek and pipe all network traffic coming in to windows through a (properly configured) pfSense virtual machine.
Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?
I was hoping someone would mention the RT-N16 as it's currently my favorite router. I have run tomato, openwrt and actually I bought a second one that just came with DD-WRT already installed (even the PDF manual for download didn't have DD-WRT screenshots or mention in anyway).
I like the N16 because it can run all the hose firmwares and it as two USB ports right next to each other as I could run a laptop hard drive in an enclose off of USB directly (which was a lot more important when 128 gig thumb drives were a lot more than $40 as they are now).
Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop
You didn't really answer the question of "what would you have them do". All they have to do is travel back in time to when they were designing their doc format and make it more open? That the new *X formats are so easily opened in other solutions like OpenOffice seems more like a compliment: the whole point of the new formats was to create an open standard that was not vendor-locked. Until time travel is possible that seems like the only/best solution to your complaint of proprietary formatting.
Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop
As far as I know MS was forced to adapt a more open standard of office document. As a commercial entity it's literally their job to continue working on newer versions. What would you have them do? Do a complete re-write of office 2003 and send it to all existing owners for free? That's reasonable? It makes perfect sense to me to put in the new format in the latest version and make it the default for that version. The complaint I do have is Windows default of hiding file extensions and non-useful errors when a user does try to open a DOCX file (although that would be fixed with a patch and apparently most users don't patch Windows/Office anyway).
Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop
Not to say it would be any easier but there is a "2007 compatibility pack" so that office 2003 can read the new formats (xlsx, docx, pptx, etc). As far as I know said pack doesn't come in through windows update so the users would have to track down the package and install it (I think office 2k3 needs its own service 3 for to work as well). Add to that windows annoying habit of hiding file extensions by default and...well lets just say it's a mess (I install the compatibility pack at work several times a month). I don't blame MS for leaving docx as the default for 2007 and later though since that is the best way to make the new "open" format the default/industry standard. Guess it just depends how long non-updated office 2003 holds out. Which I assume will be much longer than XP. For read-only there's always the various Office "viewers" if the compatibility pack is too much.
Update Your Shelf: BitLit Offers Access To Ebook Versions of Books You Own
I have only just heard of this app so I haven't actually tried it yet. With that in mind I bet you could figure out some hack to make it appear in the pic as if you had written your name when if fact it is just a bit of photography trickery. Something in the physical world to create the illusion in other words. Of course if that were the case I guess people would go to book stores and do this to get free/cheap ebooks. Nobody do that. It was just idea to avoid physically writing in beloved books.
Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?
So I, like many people, want to make my own game. Outside of MATLAB, Visual Basic, and LabVIEW I have no real programming experience. I initially started with Ruby, but after doing my homework decided that if I ever wanted to progress to a game that required some power, I would basically need to learn some form of C anyway. Further digging has led me to C#. The other parts of game design and theory I have covered: I have ~8 years of CAD modeling experience including Maya and Blender; I have a semiprofessional sound studio, an idie album on iTunes, and am adept at creating sound effects/music in a wide variety of programs; I'm familiar with the setbacks and frustration involved with game development — I beta tested DotA for 9ish years; I already have my game idea down on paper (RTS), including growth tables, unit types, unit states, story-lines, etc. I've been planning this out for a year or two; I will be doing this on my own time, by myself, and am prepared for it to take a couple years to finish
I don't have any gaming programming experience and a lot less programming experience than you do already.
You mentioned a lot of details but failed to mention if you'll be targeting a particular platform. For instance: will you release you game for sale/free? Is a mobile version ever a possibility? Will you release it for the "Windows Store"? Steam? Both? Neither? Is this just a hobbie no one else will ever see? A resume bullet point?
Anyway, speaking not as somebody who has done what your describing but merely as someone who did a lot of research into it I would say go to steam and filter the game list to only "Strategy - RTS" genre and start looking at the ones with both an extensive map editors/mod creator and a fairly large community. Try a few out. Pick a favorite. Make sure it's something you can stick with because it will be consuming thousands of hours of your life. This will probably work better if it's a game you're not that familiar with. Thus your learning the game creation bit along side the actual editor/scripting/programming end of it.
Then at least get a version of your game up and going/playable. After creating the most polished version of your laid out game in your engine of choice if you still want to build an engine from scratch with it...well best of luck to you.
Registry Hack Enables Continued Updates For Windows XP
Honestly, I do not need some software to tell me whether it is genuine or not.
I think that was to tell Microsoft if your windows was genuine. The update just happen to provide you with a convenient output window. But really that was secondary...
Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?
"I'm doing some volunteering for a street kids charity in Senegal, West Africa, and they need a new database to store all their information for the kids, and to help the funding organizations like UNICEF. The charity staff have a few computers running Windows 7. Being a die-hard OSS geek I'm more inclined to knock up a MySQL backend with a Django (or similar) front-end and run the whole thing from a reliable VPS. But it needs to be understandable by the non-geeks in the charity — there is no IT expertise here. Is there anything that can allow me to design and edit databases, tables, and forms but doesn't require an MS license?"
I'm not nearly the expert as all the other experts here so maybe someone will explain why this is bad idea. If the database is really small enough it could be handled locally with something like MS Access that it may as well be something that be handled with a SQL front end in HTML to add/edit/delete/view the database details. And for this I personally would use XAMPP portable for windows (no installation required instance of apache/mysql/php).
Store it on dropbox (probably symbolic link that folder back to c:\xampp), setup a a robocopy script to syncronize that directory to a thumb drive (etc) every night at midnight or whatever. For something really fancy create a script to compress the directory to zip file with 7-zip every day/week/month/whatever. Perfect. Done. This way you could move the whole thing to a different PC quite easily, a support person could remotely install and login to that dropbox to synchronize over the whole XAMPP installation for troubleshooting, it's backed up, the world seems flush the MySQL people...and XAMPP is mostly or entirely open source stuff/free-as-in-beer. Other than the initial front end work it seems like the easiest/fastest way to get this all done based on the stated requirements.
Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?
You didn't say directly which OS you're programming on but I'm going to infer it's Linux (common I think with python/open source types). Since one thing I did recently was root my galaxy nexus with the windows-only Wug's Nexus Root Toolkit I would suggest creating something similar to this for Linux. It always seemed strange to me that so many Android rooting tools were windows-exclusive. Doesn't have to be for a galaxy or nexus device obviously, any/all models of android/I'll leave that up to you. This particular root toolkit seems like it would be relatively straight forward to re-create/I don't think it would even take that long and it is actually needed...
I should mention I'm kind of new to android rooting and I have no idea if the equivalent drivers for the various phones exist for Linux as they do for Windows.
How the USPS Killed Digital Mail
Sorry this really seemed like it had to be inserted in here some place...
e-mail, i like. i don't really like the use of the word mail in e-mail. using the same term that we're using for the postal service. i don't see a lot of overlap between these two systems. one of them occurring in digital fiber optic hyperspace. the other a dazed and confused distant branch of the cub scouts. [ laughter and applause ] bumbling around the street in embarrassing shorts and jackets with meaningless patches and victory medals. driving four miles an hour, 20 feet at a time on the wrong side of a mentally handicapped jeep. [ laughter ] i love how the postal system has this financial emotional meltdown every three to five years that their business model from 1630 isn't working anymore. i can't understand how a a 21st century information system based on licking, walking and a random number of pennies is struggling to compete. what is the reason? [ laughter and applause ] so, they always sent the postmaster general -- he always have to make a big speech about what a tough time that they're having. and he comes out and he's freaked out. he's got rings under the eyes, no shave, pulling all-nighters. we can't do it anymore! we've got to go up a penny on the stamps! there's no way ad ! [ laughter ] we're trying to get some breathing room. the cost and the infrastructure. and we're all like -- hey, dude, do whatever you've got to do. we don't give a damn. what is a stamp anyway? we don't even know what it costs. 43, 48, make it a buck. you're going to get there. you have some money left over, buy yourself some pants and a a real car. [ cheers and applause ] it's like, if i could talk to the post office, if i could say if you really want to be helpful to us, just open the letters. read them and e-mail us what it says! thank you very much!
Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware
For the record NT4 with SP 6 and Internet Explorer...I want to say 4 or 5 I don't remember...was incredibly stable and tough (IE added a few new features for making getting on the internet easier). Could not crash that thing no matter what. It really blew my mind having only ever otherwise used 3.1 and 95 at the time. I used it on my home PC for years. Had the latest directx included until well into windows 2000's life actually. I only switched because I had immediate access to XP (I want to say january 2002). Did a lot of gaming on NT4. I really hated to lose that OS. Little things like...USB support and no free defragmenter utility made it difficult to continue to use. It's kind of a nostalgia thing for me at this point...
Anyway NT4 SP1 and NT4 SP6 may as well be two different operating systems. So be specific when you go labeling different Windows this and that, will ya?
Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"
I wanted to agree with that workout for your brain comment but in a different context: A few years ago I was participating in "National Novel Writing Month". Normally I don't try to be creative at all (successfully utilizing Linux in a lengthy project not withstanding) but for the 30 days of November I wrote for four hours a day creatively for the whole month (the goal is 50k words in 30 days. I finished in about 27). About two weeks in I started having some really weird/messed up dreams.
I was thinking about this recently and it occurred to me that if my leg or arm muscles have a burning sensation after a work out at the gym or running seven miles it makes just as much sense for the equivalent to happen to this grossly under-utilized region of my brain. Exercising of this "muscle" that doesn't normally get any exercise should result in some equivalent sensation as a result. I mean it makes sense.
This story also made me wonder about this affect int he context of a good, stimulating TV show like the little-known Damages. I've always thought of it as pretty much as close to a "visual novel" as you'll ever see. It wouldn't surprise me if the same study was done to somebody who just watched a season of Damages straight through with no ads showed the same sort of brain activity as those that just finished a book.
The Rise of Hoax News
Sounds like a Portlandia Skit.
PlayStation 4 Released
I believe you can disable the mic/video camera thing. And even if for some strange reason you can't disable it with a physical switch and/or software option...you can always do what I do and hook the console/tv/etc up to a power strip (or UPS whatever) and power it all off when it's not in use. Saves on power bills too.
Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch
Not to be a downer but I bought a PS3 along with some games and media remote around mid-2012. I was planning to use it for blu-rays and playing netflix but it hasn't turned out that well. It came with Uncharted 3 and I bought a combo pack of 1 and 2. I was going to play the three of them in order to really get the full effect but I never finished the first one. Once I realized I could do comcast on demand as well as netflix on the 360 I bought one of those. Since then the PS3 has been collecting dust.
Right after purchase I did start a thread in my favorite discussion forum with something to the effect of "I bought a PS3 now what?". Ended up with 10+ pages of discussion around what could be done with the thing. Turns out not a lot. I was amazon trying to figure out what games would be good to get for it but all the top 10s I saw were mostly HD remakes of PS2 games.
Maybe I didn't give enough of a chance. And I really wish that comcast thing had come to it so I didn't need a 360 (less than a year old and the [new] 360 is already freezing up on me...haven't even used it for games even once!).
I would at least like to get The Last of Us though I doubt even if it lived up to the hype it would rationalize the cost of the console. At least if I wanted to play a blu-ray some day I'll be able to...
I will say it found and played all themedia on my WHS instantly with no issues.
Battlefield 4 DRM Locking Out Part of North America Until EU Release
Well I hadn't really intended to go all philosophical with it. I was just trying to say I don't get the appeal of owning the latest hot game on the day it's released. I know people well into their thirties who still pre-order all the latest games and stand in line at the game stop to get it day one. That's what I don't get. The point of that. Maybe the mutli-player of the various Call of Duties etc drops over time so you have to get it day one to have the most fun via the largest pool of other players. Also with playing with friends. That's the only reason I can think of.
Personally I don't mind waiting anywhere between two months and 3 years to get a game. The bugs and glitches have to be worked out anyway. Could have said the same for skyrim (I remember the PS3 version at launch wouldn't even play at all). In 18 months will anyone remember the initial problems plaguing the BF4 launch? Will anyone care? Will it be any less fun knowing the there were launch difficulties?
I would like to express what is in MY OPINION the best operating system ever.
First what are my parameters? The best OS should be powerful, compatible with as many hardware devices as possible, and, of course, extremely stable. This OS should be very flexible be user friendly in accessing all these powerful features.
So what are the nominees? Lets see:
BeOS (QNX too)
This is a good one but so few programs not mention losing points on backward compatiblity and not support very many hardware devices. It's a shame Apple killed this one as it was one of the best OS's ever. Just not the best.
Apple Macintosh to OS 9 and seperately OS X
I'm generally not a big Mac user I will concede it is extremely easy to learn pretty much everything you need to do. It's very intuitive. But Mac (to OS 9) doesn't have enough software. And so I hear some of the stability has started to suffer.
Now seperately...OS X. I haven't used this one. At all. I hear it's stable. Very little software though. And backwards compatiblity is quite bad. I read about Mac fans complaining about it all the time.
So not any version of Mac...
Amiga, Atari ST, Something called GeOS, OS/2, Windows pre-Win95...
Yeah ok whatever. These are dead so I'm not counting them. Got it? If it doesn't exist it's not the best, obviously.
Linux w/X-Windows: KDE/GNOME/etc.
Ok these are improving seemingly every other week by leaps and bounds. But last I checked I still had to "mount" my floppy manually and unmount it when I was done. Same with CD-ROMs. Not mention dealing with the "fstab" and something called "proc". And a lot of times thing seem to just not work. I'd much rather have something just work on the first try with a minimum of hassles. Is that too much to ask? So though it may be controversial: Linux/X-Windows - not the best OS ever.
Then we have the MS Windows line
Win9x (Windows from 95 to Me)
This one gets lots of points for things like backwards capatibility in software and the incredible large ranging variety of supported hardware. It's also much more flexible in ways few even experts know about (using an "alternative shell" is insanely easy to setup). But loses on the stability front. Very, very easy to lock up the system. One program fails and you have to reboot. So not the best OS ever.
Finally we come to the MS Windows version called NT. This includes NT 4 (only with service pack 6), Windows 2000 and XP
Now NT is going to actually score quite high on the list. Not "the" list. My list. Most peolpe seem to regard NT 4 with quite a lot of hostility. But I'm convinced they're thinking of the initial releases of the OS. Which is quite bad, yes. But with MS Internet Explorer and service pack 6 it's incredible. An amazing assortment of software is compatible. I'd estimate it will run something like 98% of the Win9x software non-game titles. And it is also REALLY stable. When you compare 9x to it, well 9x seems like a tonka toy compared to a real truck to me. It's just hard to compare. It also beneifits from having much of the features so beloved by UNIX fans and has many UNIX utilities ported over to it. But this one still loses out from a lack of support for a lot of hardware, USB, and any DirectX support after version 5.
Then there's Windows NT 5.1 (a.k.a. XP)
Now this I'm going to say is a close second place. Very close. An incredible amount of both stability, power, and binary compatibility. All the benefits of the 9x line while maintaining all the features of NT. The compatiblity wizard also helps it along if you just have to get the old copy of Fallout to work. Unfortunately not all programs work even with the compatiblity wizard. Important programs like ez cd creator version 4 (i'd pay $100 for a new version? hah!). So though very close, not the best OS ever.
So where does this leave us?
Windows 2000...I choose you ...
I know this would cause so many people to fall out of their chairs. But by my criteria of being a real OS, not dead, maximum binary compatibilty, backwards compatiblity AND USB and directx. Well mostly directx, I guess some games still don't run on it. But if I had the choice of any OS in existance that's what I would choose. I actually know a former Linux user who switched to Windows 2000. Still maintaining the stability of NT 4 while still adding all the things I would wish NT would have. It really is the perfect OS.
Now some may make arguments with this assessment. No, I don't want to hear about the Mac's many windows emulators. Nor do I care for "Lindows" or Windows binary compatiblity via Wine. The simple fact is Linux/X-Windows isn't user-friendly enough nor does it have enough software. And Mac (X), though great, also a lack of new software, games, wide hardware support, and backward compatiblity on the binary side.
Some still may disagree. Not like I care. This just seems the answer to me.
After all this it my sound funny to hear that I am actually using XP right now. This is simply because I don't have windows 2000. Or I would be using it. And XP does actually have one or two things 2k didn't. XP is still second place in my book though. Just too much sacrafice on the stability side. And yes I have the service pack.
These last couple days i haven't done too much. Seems to be the same everyday. Try to a chapter i the game book, watch tv, eat dinner, play neocron til 2:30 or 3am, sleep, repeat. Not very exciting. Lately I have been talking to my friend through instant message chat though. So there's that. Still not very exciting.
So looks like war over hear. I always here what sounds like low flying helicopters and jets flying over head. I know something's in the works. President is still saying he's not considering war. But obviously he's only kidding about that. All the preperations are falling into place.
One thing that annoys me? War protesters. Actually I wrote about this already on day two but i pushed submit the wrong way so it didn't get posted. I have yet to hear a single logical argument against a war in iraq. A single one.
Or sure I've heard plenty of "evil, evil bush" and "IT's all for oil!!!". That isn't an argument though. Even i could come up with better than that. And I'm generally speaking a "hawk".
Some are afraid of a draft. Most of these are inelegible so i don't think they care that much. Care for family members i'm sure. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say there IS NOT currently a draft nor will there EVER BE a draft in the near future at least. It would be political suicide. Not going to happen.
Further more few of them have any credibility because very VERY very few of them spoke up during that bombing of Yugoslavia to ouste old what's-his-name, slobodan or whatever. No Hollywood psyho-path drug addicts, no berkley protesters, no body. Except the conservatives. So when somebody who really servers ousting is the target and these same people are all of a sudden all "bi-lateral" this and "use the UN" that. Why weren't they saying this during Yugoslavia?? Hypocrites! And that's one war that deserved protesters.
So apparently the rule goes if it's your party's president that starts the war don't protest, if it's the other party fight it tooth-and-nail? Hah!
It's the same thing with our beloved governor of california. He sells state policy the highest bidder, lets companies pollute the environment for the right amount of money, and STILL these people vote for him. California is the worste state in the whole country because of him and only him. And in 4 years will be much, much worse.
Ok tell me if this makes sense to you. The state is in massive debt. The state gets its income from taxes on corporations. The state passes more laws HOSTILE to business. How does ths RAISE revenue?!? If your main source of income are corporations how is chaising them out of the state going to help you?! Same thing for jobs. If unemployment is so high, and even the state government is down-sizing (when these people in charge of california's government start down-sizing it you KNOW we're in trouble) who else is going to hire beside business?? So why would you be HOSTILE to the very you're DEPENDING ON for revenue and to provide jobs?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Is it just me or what? I mean I don't get it. If you lower taxes and regulations on business maybe more will come to california. You'll be getting less per company but you'll be getting revenue from more of them. So revenue will be up.
And I'm sorry eventually cigarette taxes aren't going to help you. Seems like exploitation of the smoker people anyway. Taking advantage of their addiction. All the smart ones will start buying from indian reservations and across state lines anyway. Good reason to quit though, your sales tax isn't going to fund such a currupt government as californias.
And now a new series formy joural...
BEST WEB SITE....EVER
Today's best site ever...
What makes this one so great? It has every possible utility for every possible tweak to your OS you can think of. But that's not the best part. The best part is all those tweaks you had no idea even existed. I mainly use the Windows part but I have noticed lately there's a linux section.
For example on the utilities there one that will turn normal DOS batch files into an EXE file. There's also one to make multiple EXEs into one EXE. Haven't quite figured out what I would use that for, but I had no idea it was possible before I found that site. And it's updated like everyday. So if you're the kind of person who actually uses MS Power Toys... You're incomplete without shellcity.net. And even if you're not into MS power toys you're sure to find something of use.
Today I talked more to friend mentioned yesterday, watched TV, and made a real honest effor to make progress in the game programming book. Then started playing the game, neocron. I hope that wasn't too intense :)
Well it's really late and I don't feel like writing any more so perhaps tomorrow more of that pop-culture thing.
So I watched some TV, read some of that book, chatted a little, downloaded some files and finally got signed up and started playing neocron. Ok actually I signed up yesterday.
Overall a fun experience. So far seems very very much like beta 4, what little I played of that. Except everything seems to work the way it's supposed to. Mostly. Although the game did crash at least 3 times in a few hours. I played that game so much already I start to wonder what those that are playing it for the first time think of it.
I hope that wasn't too exciting for anyone. Not sure why I keep saying that. Not like anyone reading this. So I guess I'll continue...
Tonight I would like to talk what is really really my top favorite show ever. It's this basic cable show called The Shield. Perhaps you've heard of it? The lead actor, Micheal Chitles or something like that, beat Martin Sheen (you know, from The West Wing) for best actor at the Emmy Awards. The channel is FX. This is a very "gritty" police drama. Makes NYPD Blue look like Dragnet from the 60's... They got to air stuff I never thought I'd see on commercial TV. Obviously they can't do some of the stuff that HBO can do. But damn did they get away with a lot.
This show had the guts to have episodes with things like black market cigarettes and the local mexican-american organization effectively tying the hands of anybody and everybody try to put a dangerous criminal who happened to be mexican in jail (the show takes place in L.A.). To say the least, very, very gutsy.
The first 2 or so episodes are actually quite different from the rest. The first season was only 13 episodes (I have them all on tape). But every episode is very very good to say the least. It's the kinda show every episode make ya say "I can't believe he said that!" or "How can they show him doing that?!". The main character he's kind of a crooked cop. He hangs out with this group of other cops in a back room of the department planning the various escapades. He does bad stuff, grossly unconstitutional/illegal things, but they're always with a good intention behind it. Ok except maybe when he helped the hooker cover up the accidental shooting of a Jon. That was just so her baby wouldn't be taken away from her. Which perhaps that's what the hooker deserved. But anyway. In the very first episode he has to kill another cop who was about to testify against the group in court. This was to save himself and the group from going to jail. Ok that one was iffy too. But for the most part he really is the protagonist. Definately this how is a worthy heir for all those people turning the channel in disgust after seeing the latest season of The Sapranos. Which I saw some of on DVD at one point. I can see why it was so popular. This season though, well you saw it right? Now very good at all.
That's it for now I suppose. I'm glad I'm back in the habbit again.
But lets see what haven't I started on? Haven't strated the A+ book I wanted to get through, haven't started reviewing excel/access books, haven't worked on my LiteStep web site, and have all but stopped on my game programming book. But at least I started that one.
What have I done? I did learn a lot about my LEAF router. Wasn't easy either. I also did learn some good game stuff.
And today I signed up for the retail version of a game I spent months beta testing (pre-release software is tested in a development phase known as beta, which is usually preceded by the alpha stage. The game is Neocron. An 'online-only RPG'. Really what that means is the servers are online 24/7 so the world doesn't go away when you quit playing. I developed some good relationships with a few people. Some which haven't even been playing since july but i still talk to them through instant messaging. It was rather frustrating trying to report bugs and what-not due to the lack of communication from the company developing the game. But when the servers were we made our own fun.
Kinda got off point there didn't I? Well I activated my account. I have six weeks free. Online RPGs such as this one usually charge a subscription fee per month to keep it going. And by that I mean they all charge a fee ranging anywhere from $10 to $15 but usually you get 4 weeks free with the cost of buying the game and in this case since it was just released two on top of that. It has kind of a learning curve but if you were to find some good people to venture and chat with you can have a lot of fun. Which I suppose is true of all such online-only RPGs but I happened to fall in with this one.
Yesterday I also managed to squeeze Windows 2000 pro onto a 200mhz machine with only 32 megs of ram. For those who don't speek in such terms that's about like windows95 on a 486 with 8 megs of ram. Ok perhaps that's no better. It's like a tiny pick up truck trying to tow a really large cargo truck. I may be able to do it but it'll be very very slow and won't do it very well. On top of this I'm running what's called a dedicated server for this game (I think I mentioned before) called Neverwinter Nights. Windows (the 9x series too not just NT derivatives) has this thing called a page file. Basically it's the computer pretending part of the hard drive is actually RAM. The game server can't run without using up part of the page file so as long as the server is running even if it's not in use the hard drive just sits there and accesses. Which isn't good.
I have to connect this computer to my main comptuer through a serial port. This is because this puny 200mhz machine can't take network cards. But finally connecting windows 2000 to xp via the "dial up" has managed to put it on the network. Sort of. I actually want it connected to the leaf firewall/router/dhcp server and not my machine but there's not much i can do at the moment.
So obviously I haven't done too much so far this vacation. I would like to set out some sort of schedule for myself. For example do a chapter of the game programming book, followed by a chapter of the A+ book, followed by, perhaps if I feel like it a pages from lord of the rings which i would like to finish reading. Then finally I'll play some games and work on my router. At least I'll have accomplished something this way.
Also today a friend of mine who lives many miles away finally got an instant messenger account and we started talking. She wants me to go to some ski place several hundred miles away and snowboard for a few days. I was hesitating because, well you've seen how I spend my days. Ok perhaps that's an argument in favor of going. I still think I'd like to work on finding a job which is hard to do while pretending to know how to snow board and trying not to break my neck. And i'm hesitating...well there's a lot of reasons i'm hesitating, it's complicated. Actually this friend of mine, she's a lesbian. I realize to you enlightened city people this is no big deal. And it's not to me either really it's just that i grew up in a really small, more conservative that average town and am not accustomed to that sort of thing. Actually she grew up there too. But she likes to talk about sex, which, how is a normal health adult male of at the age of 24 supposed to react to that? And sometimes she acts a little bizarely. Which I usually shrug off with a "must be a lesbian thing". And another minor note, we seem to be polar oppisites, personality-wise. She's wild, crazy, stay-up-all-night-drinking while i'm stay up late because of a bad habit to do so and go to bed. Yet some how she still seems to want to be around me. Am I really so charismatic even lesbians seem to graviate toward me? Why hasn't this applied to other people? Sometimes i really wonder what she sees in me she keep e-mailing. I mean i do have some kind of a sense of humor, you only see once you get to know me. But man. So I chatted with her for what must have been close to an hour. She must really need someone to snowboard with...
Speaking of long chat sessions. Let me recount my days of yore on the old AOL. Back in the good old days of verison 2.0 when you paid a subscription by the hour (and where I lived made a long-distance phone call just to connect). Wasn't a whole lot I could do at the time. I only had a 386 with 4 megs of memory running windows 3.1. I did happen to have some quite memorable chat sessions a few times and form some close relationships with some penpals. I remember once staying up quite well into the morning chatting with another a guy and this women for hours and hours in this private room. For some reason the three of us all had this chemistry we could make each other laugh hysterically. I really wish I'd kept the chat log so I could go back and read and post it some place. I was just so funny. My stomach was actualy aching from laughing so hard.
And to continue...
My other favorite show is, or was, "Whose Line is it Anyway?". It seems to have lost something lately. But in it's prime it was extremely good. The phrase "the cat!" still manages to bring a smirk to my face. You can still catch re-runs on the family channel at 10pm. At least you could, I haven't checked in a while. Unfortunately family channel doesn't play all the episodes, because apparently even late at night it's still the family channel. Perhaps after a while some other cable channel will get the re-runs and they'll show all those episodes in all their unfettered glory. Till then I'll just have to keep whining and complaining...
This won't be hard because my life is rather boring. Christmas eve I worked on my router all day. Very exciting, I realize. Christmas I drove down to be with my mom's family in the san francisco bay area. My mom's mom was there. She's deteriorating quite rapidly. Looks like this will be grandma's last christmas.
I won't be summarizing what I got for christmas because I can hardly believe it and I don't think I am worthy of such gifts. I am very very grateful for all that I got, I just feel I am unworthy of so many.
Thursday I came back from the bay area. When i got home I decided to go spend a gift certificate I got at a local computer store (Fry's, it's a west coast operation). I saw an 80 gig hard drive for $100, which in itself is quite good, and it even came with a $50 rebate, which is even better. So that would be 160 gigs for only $100. There were also selling a 200 gig for more than $300 so I'd say it was a quite good price. Unfortunately I could only buy one both because it would $200 at the register and it was a one-per-customer offer and it was too late to beg someone to drive down there and but a second one for me (it was late). 80 gigs should more than suffice though anyway. Besides if I add that to my existing 30 gig drive that's already more than 100 gigs.
And today I went to buy a new TV for my dad. A 19 inch for only $90. He seemed happy. And of course I bought more stuff. Just a wimpy $40 UPS (battery backup) and a "cd-rom emulator". Finally, no more searching forever in vain for that one CD. And no, I don't pirate.
Now I'd like to describe some of my favorite popular culture in a segment I like to call...
One of my favorite popular shows is the simpsons. This show never ceases to amaze me. How many shows can you say "i've been watching this since I was in 5th grade". I mean this show not only has running in-jokes for the long-time fans but new in-jokes that are backward compatible with the old ones! If you know the show well enough, there's a simpson quote for every situation in your life. And cleverness of it is so amazing. Even something as simple as one man saying "hey you lets fight!" and as a replay a second man saying "them's fighten words!". Or Homer's "ixnay on the..", er, pig-lanten for "ash tray". Amazing they can get away with that. Or even Lisa's response to bart when bart says "her hair smells like fruit loops" to which Lisa replies "I eat froot loops for *breakfast*". And the famous one-liners and moments just shy of the cut to commercial. And finally if you don't watch that show much or at all possibly the best episode ever made, or in the top 5 anyway, is the one where the family gets hired by what turns out to be a james bond super-villian that homer some how aids in this villian killing james bond and seizing the east coast. It was quite a great episode.
As for video games there is one quite lost and long-forgotten-by-most game called fallout. It is very ver much like a movie. But lone enough it could be a novel. Extremely fun, addictive, and humorous at times. I like the pure non-linear form it took. You can be physically weak but very carismatic in succeeding through the game, or you can be very strong but not very intelligent and just brute-force your way through. You can also be a villian. Go around killing vendors and have people run at the mere site of you. Or a hero of course. It's pretty old. Only a Pentium 90 and windows 95 are required (not dos, thank god). Also it's one-player-only. It has quite the cult following and still man many fan sites and fan fiction.
Lastly, for tonight anyway, is this wierd show I some how found one night called cowboy bebop. This is actually close to being my new favorite show. It's a japanese animated series on the cartoon network at midnight. Some how there's really something about this show. I'm not sure what it is.
This is all for tonight. And it's only 2am (horrah). Hopefully this is the start of many more to come.
Today I went out a while looking for christmas presents. Which was fun. Well not really. Streets aren't as crowded as usual it seems like. Which makes for better parking but shows the sluggishness of the economy.
I also worked more on my router. I've learned a lot tryin gto do this sort of thing but I'm not sure I'm all that much closer then I was when I started. I think I am starting to ask the right questions though. Which is a positive step.
I'm not sure where I got all this patience from. Most people, a LARGE majority, would have given up long ago and just put down the $50 for an infinately easier out-of-the-box setup. Although one of those probably wouldn't be assigning IPs via a serial port. Or would be capable of being accessible through SSH. At least ports would be easily opened.
Finally tonight I started to do the next hour from the game book. But didn't finish. I really should have started it sooner. But I'll do it tomorrow.
I hope this log isn't too exciting for whomever's reading this. Just take it in in short bursts... :)
My new(er) long-term goal for my network setup is now:
- enable SSH for router so I can control it from afar and
- setup pppd and allocate IP addresses over the serial port to another computer.
Now the main problem with this goal is the amount of space on a floppy disk. I tried all day today to get a hard drive setup on the floppy but the instructions are out-dated or wrong or something because it simply didn't work. So some how I have to fit a whole bunch more files on this disk. Maybe I can really cut the fat. Or something.
As for other then that, well I'm working on it. I'm going to do a little shopping tomorrow. And, uh, that's about it. Alright this was way too short. But it doesn't matter. I gotta go to bed.
Today I didn't do too much or really go any place. A little linux router here, a little attempt at setting up a neverwinter nights server there. I finally 'poked' the right holes in my firewall so others can connect and we can play the game together. I never thought it was going to happen either. It only took...a few hours. I mean sure I could just go "buy" a normal device type firewall and use a fancy interface to open ports on my firewall. Sure I could do that. Sure that might be easier then pouring over out-dated how-tos and other help documents and dealing with sarcastic people on mailing lists. But what would I ... learn? Not sure I'm learning anything useful from this at the moment. I may have though.
Today a book I had ordered a few days ago, on game programming, arrived. The estimate was to arrive Dec. 24th. But it got here early. So at least I can something else to what I can do this vacation. So I made it an hour into that. The book is "teach yourself game programming in 24 hours". I spent a gift certificate on it and i hope it is good. One of the main reasons I bought it was because it the final section of the book it goes into how to make one of my favorite all time games, Missile Command. Or rather one with a close resemblance called "Meteor Defense". But it's the same basic concept. It's been kind of a far off dream of mine to make a game like that since I first played it (through that "microsoft classic" package of games from a few years ago...on a mac; hah!).
My latest goal for my firewall would be to run it through SSH (secure shell) and have it giving IP addresses through a connection to the serial port. This computer running through the serial port would then be running either NT 4 or Windows 2000 server, I'm not sure which, and through that any number of game servers. Like NWN, an old game few have heard of called ground control, and possibly dues ex. Although this other computer I'm thinking of is only a 200Mhz with 32 megs of ram and already seems on it's last legs. Now if I actually get that working it'll really seem amazing.
well I guess that's all for now. So good night to whatever wierd people may actually be reading this.
Then at 8:00 I saw the new lord of the rings movie. I haven't read the book version of this one (something I was planning for this vacation) but I think I liked this movie. Obviously an incredible amount of work. And even some humor. This movie brings me to my next rant.
It's become obvious to me movies such as this are less about holding to true to a book or even getting the general spirit or gist. It's all about what they can sell. I read this review ya see, by Roger Ebert. He says the books really revolve around the two hobbits and so the movie is that much less enjoyable since it's so unfaithful in that area. But I say you should expect it. Because a large part of this movie is all about selling movie related products. The most important of which, from what I can tell, are video games. Who would want to play a game based on a couple hobbits?? Especially when there are such dungons and dragons-related figures as the bow and dual sword bear elf, the dwarf with the double-bladed axe, the long sword-bearing human, the magic staff-weilding wizard and all the rest. So of course the emphasis is not going to be on those characters. And besides that who would want a poster, action figure, or anything else of a couple hobbits? Seems like the elf and gandolph are MADE for action figures. No crummy old hobbits. I mean all they do is run away and hold onto a ring, weilding there ugly feet. Of course this is expected. In movies like this there's not extra income from bilbo hold a pepsi can or gandolph wearing Nikes. So this is the next best thing. This is the new product placement.
I can't believe vacation is alread a week in. I mean wow. I'd like to make a game some day. Seriously. I ordered a book on how to do it that might actually start at a more bottom level. Of course I have one of the best game making development kits ever made.
Neverwinter Nights. In my view this game is simply a game-making developer's kit with large sample of what's possible so you can learn the game. But it's really there so you for making and downloading modules. And of course a large emphasis on multiplayer games. So why should I try to make a game from scratch if I have this great resource? Is that rhetorical? Well I'll answer it anyway. First I haven't been able to put in the time to finish Neverwinter so I feel like I know the game well enough I could start making modules. And second I think it would be fun to do at least some basic games. Like a block puzzle type game, and a astroid clone, space invaders, and of course my favorite of the old classics a Missile Command-like game. And besides with neverwinter I could write a real complicated, artsy plot with a moral and message and other crap like that. Maybe. I guess this is all for now. I have some other things brewing but you got to save something for later, right?
So today wasn't all that productive. I did buy one christmas present though. I also worked on my router. I'm using this old computer as my firewall/dhcp server/NAT etc. It's called LEAF or LRP or whatever. I was trying to both connect to it via terminal so I could unhook both the monitor and keyboard indefinately and then also hook up another computer via null modem cable and have it assigned an IP that way instead of through ethernet. It's a long story. Anyway I haven't been able to do it yet but another day and I'm sure I will have it done.
Of course I should be looking for a job. I think I will make an effort at that tomorrow. Get my resume together etc.
Wow. 2am and this is really short. After that screw up last night I'm not too excited about writing tonight. I'll do a better one tomorrow probably. Tomorrow I'm seeing the new lord of the rings movie. I hope it's better than the first one. I'm sure it will be.
Today I drove back from Placerville (yes the one from that poll a while back). On the way I stopped in to see a former employer I'm still friends with. That took a few hours. Then I stopped at a book store (borders) for a little while and looked at programming books as I like to do. Then finally I went home back here, sacramento, to my room-that-used-to-be-a-closet. I decided I was going to re-arrange everything and move in a superior desk (couldn't get much worse than the one I had).
That brings me up to now. I worked on my room almost non-stop from 4:00 to now, 2:30am. And I'm still not done.
What have I thought about lately? Hmmmm. Well There's whether or not to take another semester of college. I have been doing it a while now. Too long really. There are things I could over this vacation such as:
- Work on website to make it popular, using that to put up a resume.
- Modify my desktop via LiteStep (a great program by the way).
- Play as many games as often as possible including but not limited to the new online game Neocron. I beta tested that game for like 6 months. I had a lot of fun and became close to some this clan I helped form.
- Put as much effort as possible into finding a job. I mean a real job. Maybe I can get a job and still do some of this other stuff.
Alright so these are a few things I could think about. There's also keeping up with this journal thing all the time. I always need as much practice writing as I can get.
Good time for a tangent. Usually I take some class that requires writing, I do some writing and about half way through the semester I "get my groove back" or whatever and I'm actually a really good writer. But as soon as the class is over I stop writing and, er, loose my "groove". So I'd like to keep writing all through the break and even beyond if I can so I'll be all warmed-up and highly, uh, grooved or whatever for a class. Or job that requires writing maybe.
And I do like writing. I don't think I really ever have quite as much fun as I do when I'm writing in my "groove". So why I don't do it more often I don't know. Because I should.
Alright I'm not sure what else I can babble on about now. Except I should mention to myself I was supposed to e-mail a teacher friend of mine to tell her I can drop off a tape of hers should had wanted me to give to her (she was having me tape star trek: voyager.
Ok lets see what else...? Well there's my website. You can always (I think) find it at http://come.to/litesteplog/. Of course I haven't actually updated it in a quite a while. But I'm going to sart this vacation. Probably. I would like to write a bunch of content and re-design the whole site before updating it. Maybe I'll put a new-and-improved coming soon thing up or something. I dunno. Anyway I guess this it for me log for tonight. So technically I guess I'll have two journals for today unless tomorrow's journal is also at 2:30 in the morning in which case not then. Oh look it's like 3am. I think that means I should go to bed. So to whomever wierd person trolling through other people's journals reading this goodnight. And these will get better. Promise.
So why NT 4 ya ask? Isn't Microsoft the root of all evil (or whatever) ya say? First off stop saying that, commie. Second of all NT 4 is actually a pretty good OS (believe it or not).
Here's the story behind my praise of NT 4. About 1999 the family 133Mhz Aptiva was starting to be a little aged so I decided to start building my own computer. It was going to be a long-term project but my family pitched in at Christmas and I built it that winter 2000. Well I didn't have an operating system at that moment. I wasn't going to use Linux because my hardware wasn't really compatible and since there really wasn't really a way to run IE at the time Netscape really killed Linux as an option at the time (Netscape's quality or lack there of is another journal entry entirely). So a hard-core Linux friend of mine who was forced to buy Visual Basic for a college class gave me his copy of NT 4 that came with it.
Perhaps I should explain my computer experience up to that moment. I had ONLY used Windows 95 and maybe a little 98 at the local college but that's about it. Ok so I had taken intermediate DOS and UNIX classes, but for the most part I was Windows only. I had actually managed to dual-boot Linux and Windows 95 on the Aptiva. Which was not easy at all. At the time I had a real OS re-install phobia going on. To summarize the way I was computer-wise in word or two you might say I was 95% GUI-Centric.
So I finally finish my new computer (450Mhz AMD K6-2) and set out to install NT 4. This was not easy. It takes quite a while too. This apparently one of the first releases (it came with SP 1, that'd date it around 1996 or so). And if the install fails for some reason there's no choice but to wipe it and start again. Finally I get it installed. But then I can't get it connected to the Internet. I finally did some sort of trick with the terminal-popping-up-at-connect setting. Once I some how did that I downloaded IE and used the connect wizard. Which worked fantastically. Then I downloaded the latest service pack 6.
Now this is where the OS is actually good. With IE 4+ and SP 6. Don't talk about NT 4 unless it's with those two items. NT 4 should be synonymous with "NT 4/IE 4+/SP 6".
NT 4 ran all my software, did Internet browsing, even had POSIX compatibility in case I needed it for some reason. And this little-known utility called the RAS dialer for connecting and disconnecting from the command line (dial up that is). It has a lot of ports of UNIX utilities, which is quite nice. It comes with Cron and a text file compare program too. And push and pop. Althought I've never really figured what to use those for. Must have to do with scripting.
NT 4 is amazingly stable. Once you get it to work learn some of its idiosyncrasies. For example some times I would finally get it installed and some service would fail to load so I would have a large number dialog boxes popping up all over the place. Another one is in changing a setting like change "static IP address" to "DHCP/automatically assigned IP address". Nothing comes up telling you to restart the computer but it hasn't yet taken effect. Simply logging out and back will effectively apply that change. If this is documented I've never seen it, I just learned from experience. Another one is when networking. Another computer can only connect to the NT 4 machine via a username created on the NT 4 machine if you first login to that user LOCALLY on the NT machine. Then others on the network can use your shared folders etc. I also had to figure this out on my own. I'm only talking about a two or three computer network through a cheap hub, not a big commercial deal.
As for as stability this thing called "Dr. Watson" pops up whenever a program fails and gracefully only closes that one program. And he always manages to detect a crashed program right away and tell you at which point the program would close. This is quite a step up for a Windows 95 user who would have to restart the whole computer when a program crashes. And blue screens for silly reasons or no reason? Non-existant. It's actually an ACCOMPLISHMENT to get blue screen of death on NT 4. That's how hard/rare it is.
So yes, I do still consider myself a fan of NT 4. Of course, I have since started using Windows XP. But that's only because of how cheap I found it. I'm not going to tell how cheap or where I bought it though. XP is pretty stable, but no NT 4.
I should probably mention the incredible amount of patience I've had to exhibit in using NT 4. I just considered it not much choice because like I said I wasn't about to go buy a new copy of Windows (or pirate) and Linux wasn't an option. But I doubt 99% of the population would have put up what I was willing to put up with. In my 2+ years of NT 4 usage I was re-installing constantly. Which I would imagine can only be a positive thing. Right? This also helped me to develop my back up system. Exporting all my browser favorites for example for later importing after the re-install.
The only things I don't like about it was the lack of games I could play. For the most part it was ok. Back when UO was still special I could play that, and other minor games like Civ 2 and a few others. This is because SP 6 only officially ads support for DirectX 5. Which brings me to the perhaps dumb question of whether or not something like Wine could be made NT 4 since Wine apparently works with DirectX 8, while NT 4 does not.
Now if only I could re-install XP that way. Stupid activation.
Well I must be one of the few people left still singing the praises of NT 4. I think Windows 2000 (i.e. NT 5) effectively followed up on NT 4. I've used Windows 2000 very very little and I've heard much positive things about it. And really XP is simply NT 5.1, a relatively slight revision of 2000.