Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rubiks Cube, the answer!

If you are anything close to a geek you will have some time or other have pondered on the greatest question known to the geekdom.

How on earth do one solve the Rubik's Cube?

Here is an easy to follow tutorial and now you can bask in the knowledge that you are one up on all your other non-informed geeks!


Easiest 3x3 Rubik's Cube Tutorial You Will Find - The best bloopers are here

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clean up Windows

I'm no longer a Windows user, but my wife's PC is still the only PC ion the house running a legit copy of WinXP Home, so while browsing a bit I came across this site:

http://lifehacker.com/software/lifehacker-top-10/top-10-ways-to-clean-up-your-pc-294189.php

Basically, ten way to clean up your Windows PC. I just scanned through the article and I'm gonna try some of it on the wife's PC just now, but interesting none the less. Have a look, maybe you could help out a Windows buddy and look ubber geeky while smugly commenting that this would never be needed in Linux....
:P

Saturday, August 11, 2007

GL-117

This is one addictive game I'll tell you! I first played it a few years back and installed and started playing it on Thursday and I just love it!

What makes this a winner is that you can make the game as realistic or easy a possible. If you really want to have a bit more realism in targeting, then select the simulation option, if you just want to kill, choose arcade! But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

First things first. Once installed you find that the menu and intro is very basic. A huge "Protest against software patents" message is displayed and then you get to the main menu where on one "page" you get to select the pilot and all the other in game settings. This does not impress much since the menus are very basic and reminds one of a HTML knock up.


Training is extensive and you are greased in all the aspects of piloting skills, ranging from dogfighting to air-to-ground attacks.


Once you have finished training you can head out for some missions, each one more difficult and requiring more skill than the previous. You must first fly a couple of tests to see if you have what it takes or if you need to go back and get some training wheels, and then you fight!


You have three aircraft to choose from with different ammunition. Read the mission briefing to know what to choose. As the game progresses the planes get upgraded to some kick but weapons of mass destruction (better damage points, more maneuverable, better cannons, etc.)


The graphics are nothing to get excited about, very basic, but not bad. I enjoy the game play without some fancy graphical details getting in the way. It reminds one of an arcade game really...
Game play is not bad at all and the bots are smart enough to know when to attack and how to get around to killing you. If you rely solely on your missiles you will fail miserably, so try and become a master gunner from the word go, saving the missiles only for when really needed and you will be a force to be reckoned with!
You have your basic chaff, flares, missiles, throttle and radar. What more could you need to kill some bogeys?

I could not really find a difference between arcade and simulation mode, except that the targets seemed harder to hit. Overall a fun game to play and kill some time with! I finished it on arcade mode in less than two days in on and off playing, so give it a go, you will be back to see if you can get a higher rank!

Scenery is not bad, nice weather effects but still basic compared to other titles.

Some air-to-ground base attack. Again, nothing flashy on the graphics.

Website:
http://www.heptargon.de/gl-117/gl-117.html

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Warzone 2100

So the time has come to give you a review of a strategy game, so brace yourself, get the strategy guides and let blow this joint!

Upon starting the game it looks a bit on the lean side and with only a 20Mb download it doesn't sound too promising.

You setup your display, sound and whatnot and then click the single player campaign. It starts of and the tempo is very slow, so slow that I would think most players would discard the game right there and then, but keep at it, unlock new tech, fight more enemies, it will slowly pick up pace and sooner or later you will be hard pressed to keep everything under control!

This game reminded me allot of the earlier Red Alert games, the GFX is not mind blowing, but it is not that bad either. As strategy games go your only objective is to build a stronger and better army by unlocking different tech upgrades through artifacts that you discover or take over from the enemy. There is very little resource gathering to be done, in fact you only need to build a power plant and oil dereks and that is that. As far as I could figure out after 2 weeks of playing it there is no way to really boost your energy so that it doesn't run out in later missions, a constant nuisance when faced with annihilation and no more tanks can be produced since there is no more or very little power. Secret? Don't just throw your army at the enemy, fight smartly and sparingly and constantly upgrade your forces and repair them for that day of reckoning!

You start out with only your worker trucks and a basic machine gun tank, however as you progress you can unlock the most awesome hovercraft tanks and even cyborgs!

So in short, build your base, research a lot of tech, build your army, strengthen your base and kill the enemy, that about sums it up...

The longer you play the more fun it becomes since you very quickly realize that the enemy is always a tech step ahead of you, showing you what you could expect on the next artifact upgrade, what exactly is the ultimate weapon of this game? Ask me in a few months time since it gets almost impossible in the latter stages to complete the missions!

Quite a punch for a 20Mb download!
Great fun!

Build up that base!

And finally you will have your research center, command center, factory and power plant, now lets fight!

See that plume of smoke above one of the tanks? Evidence of a skirmish! Truck also on it's way to build an oil derek.

ATTACK!

Whoa! Transport missions, cool! Just keep and eye on that mission timer, the transport can only carry 10 units at a time and it takes some time for the reinforcements to arrive!

Badda BOOM! Another one bites the dust! Yup, you saw it, your tanks can gather experience and rank making them, well, leet?

Do not neglect those base defenses! Some surprise party might land nearby and give you a whoopin!

Homepage:
http://wz2100.net/

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Google Earth & Darfur Crisis

I just got this little snippet from a forum I visit and it is quite the example of what Google Earth can be used for!

If you have Google Earth, search for Darfur and zoom in on it. See al those flames? Those are villages destroyed and burned down. Click on of the flames and download additional information.

You will be greeted with testimonials, photos and more info on the conflict that ravished the country. Pretty grim, but what a way to bring news to our doorstep!

I applaud Google for this and I sincerely hope that this kind of "news telling" will really catch on and awaken the general public to what is really going on in the world outside their office or home!

Monday, July 16, 2007

World of Padman

The next game I'm playing is WOP (World Of Padman) and it is a shining example of what Open Source games can be!

This is one of those FPS games you find yourself asking: "Why in the world did they not make this commercial??"

The game oozes style and being a Quake 3 mod the GFX side of things are very well covered. It's even got an intro video! All the bells and whistles!

There are plenty of game types to keep you occupied and happy, from the free-for-all to all sorts of team based assignments.
The game play is again fast (not as fast as Nexuiz though) but the maps are HUGE so it is easy to run around not getting a kill cause you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The weapons are, I think, what makes this game fun!
From a psycho duck melee weapon to the sweetest sniper water blaster! There are only 2 weapons that I can quickly think of that uses conventional ammo, the rest are either water balloons, paint ball guns or some giant water pistol.

Have a look here for some screenshots of the weapons.

Have a browse through the site and take a look at some other screenshots on offer there, I took a couple but the homepage has far better looking screenshots!

I would rate this game very highly and I would venture to say that it will be a hit with all FPS players at any lan party, or to just get a quick frag against a couple of bots...

The game is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, so what are you waiting for??? Get it, try it and fall in love with it!

Stunning environment! If all Open Source games looked like this...

Ooooh, get that armour, you gonna need it!

One of the weapons, the paint ball gun, the equivalent of the machine gun!

What?! Me loosing?! NOOoooo

Close one... dodge those bullets sonny!

Stock up on the ammo, it runs out quite fast when you are at war!

BADDA BOOM!! Betty making herself heard!

Yup, you get special weapons, like these killer ducks send out to hunt me down...

Zey hallo to mine zpecial zniper scope!

Some links:
Website:
http://padworld.myexp.de

Download page:
http://padworld.myexp.de/index.php?files

Online Forum:
http://forum.worldofpadman.com/

I leave you with one last comment:
http://padworld.myexp.de/index.php?files=movies

The manual and intro video, enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Nexuiz!

For obvious reasons I'm going to steer clear of the commercial games and give you a taste of a few open source games and what better one to kick things off than Nexuiz!

Nexuiz is a very fast passed FPS game with bot and multi player support. The bots are a huge plus since not all people like to play online (like me) and they are very clever and at higher levels can give you quite a nasty hiding!

The game is a mix between Quake3 and UT2004 with the gfx a bit more on the Quake side (not as good as UT2004) and the gameplay is explosive!

You run around the map collecting guns and munition and frag the one that comes in sight, but imagine Quake3 at twice the pace...

You have your campaign mode (more like a "see how far up the ladder you can go") and the usual instant action (bots) and multiplayer options.
Once you played this and head on out for a quick UT2004 death match it will feel like you are playing a RTS instead of a FPS. At first this will probably frustrate the n00bs, but as you skill improve it is non-stop trigger happy action.

The trick is to time your action so that you can get to a weapon, because see, once you picked up a weapon it disappears from the map for a while (like the ammo, adrenalin, etc. on UT2004). So if you are not fast of the trigger and cannot find a weapon fast, you are pretty much cannon fodder!

Once I got the feel for the game I swore off the sissy games like CS and UT2004. This will keep you busy and well entertained for quite a while!

Nexuiz Homepage

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gaming on Linux

Is Linux ready for us gamers?

To for ever clear up the issue of gaming on Linux and answer a few questions gamers might have on the ability of Linux as a gaming platform.

We quite frequently hear that people want to convert to Linux, but gaming is stopping them.
Now to be blunt, most developing houses do not even bother to support Linux and there are only a handful of them that bother to make their games available for Linux. The most noted of these games are the Quake and Unreal Tournament series of games which all work out of the box on Linux.
I have lanned a few times with my Linux UT2004 and there is absolutely nothing holding you back.

Sadly this is one of the exceptions and we really wished more devs would see Linux as an alternative platform with much more users than Apple Mac.

So if you are a hardcore competitive gamer then Linux is not for you, unless your game is available for Linux.

This brings us to the next question, what then is available on Linux?
Seeing there is so little commercial games (with out of the box support) available, what then will I be able to play?

Here there are two options, go for open source games, or go with an emulator like Wine/Cedega to get your favorite game working.

To quickly look at the latter, Wine is the open source emulator/wrapper that tries and help you running all sorts of Windows apps on Linux, while Cedega is more geared for the gaming market.
To use Cedega you will have to pay a fee (annual or monthly depending on your needs), but included in this fee is not only the app, but step by step instructions on getting your favorite game working, and if you struggle, the opportunity to have a very large community at your disposal to help you out.
The reason they charge is because they licensed some of the directX code with Windows and this is why they have much more success with games than Wine, so if you are serious about gaming then this is your choice. They have a HUGE list of supported commercial games.

Wine on the other hand is a hit-and-miss situation. There are a few popular games that work well under it, but they do not go out of their way to add more support for any specific game since Wine is intended for a far greater audience. You do get enough articles on the web on how to get your more favorite games running, but this is usually uncharted waters and if you fail, you are most of the times on your own.
The way about going to use Wine is to use the forum of the distro you chose. They will be the best equipped to help you and you will then KNOW if a game will be able to run in your distro or not.

The last alternative is to use open source games!
Now it is no secret that I am an advocate for open source, so I'll dwell a bit on this section since it is usually not a well covered topic in even the Linux community.

There is a plus and minus to the open source gaming industry, so lets get the negative out of the way and then concentrate on the positive.

Negative:
* Usually the GFX are not up to par
* Many stale projects (lack of funds, devs, interest, etc.)
* Usually not widely supported

The gfx side of things are usually the biggest hurdle any open source project needs to overcome. Good coders are not good artists and to get the right people involved in a project is the biggest challenge of the open source community. There are the exceptions like Americas Army, but even this game looks a bit pale compared to Doom3 and HL2.

Stale projects abound in the industry, a game is not as popular as one would have hoped, the dev lost interest, lack of money to support it and a million other factors can sink a well sailing ship. Go to http://happypenguin.org/ and see how many dead and stale projects there are. Now the whole philosophy behind open source is that anyone can then take over the project or incorporate a few stale ones into something glorious, but sadly that seldom happens.

Because a game does not enjoy a wide audience you get the above result and this is where we as Linux users must do our bid to keep the games we like alive. I have nothing against commercial games, I too have the entire UT series and a couple other titles, but it is essential that we realize that without our support (playing) the games there is no point in developing them. Tune into Linux gaming forums, listen to what seems to be exciting and up your alley and support that game. Register on the boards and make yourself count, this will not only encourage the devs but will help investors to sift the gems from the chaff.

Now the positive:
The positive is that there is literately millions of titles to choose from!
Besides the exciting wide choice it will almost always work on most platforms, Linux, Windows and Mac so you could always arrange it so that at the next lan after fragging each other with CS gets old, to install an open source title and let them all have a go at it!

As of late the open source community has had a boom in the gaming section with titles like Nexuiz, Sauerbraten/Cube2, the porting of popular commercial games (like Doom3) and the likes.

So, to wrap things up, is Linux ready for gaming?
Yes
Is it fit for MY gaming needs?
Well if you are only a recreational gamer, then yes.

Now in the next couple of weeks we will be looking at a few open source games and I'll then give you my humble opinion and a few games to go try out!

Until next time, happy gaming!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wine + e-sword

I have long searched for a Bible program on Linux on the same level of standard as e-sword, the freeware application for windows that has no equal.

After using Bibletime for KDE and looking at some offerings for Gnome I concluded that there is no equal on Linux either and I had to use my wifes PC for Bible study then. (If you never used e-sword you will have no idea how superior it is!)

After looking at the release notes of Ubuntu Christian Edition and reading through their mailing list I saw them getting e-sword running under Wine and that got me really excited, however I have had very limited success with Wine in the past and a couple of searches later I finally got e-sword running on my Gentoo box! Oh the joy!
We must really petition the creator of e-sword to release a Linux version as well!

Now, in as easy to follow steps as possible, here's how I got it running!
  1. First off we need to install wine, I'm not going to go through this since all of us know how to do it.
  2. Download the latest e-sword release here.
  3. Type wine setup785.exe to install e-Sword.
  4. Download the following files and put them in the ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32 directory:
    riched20.dll
    msls31.dll
    Overwrite any existing files.
  5. Open winecfg and set riched20.dll to native for e-sword.exe.



  6. Now cd to ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/e-sword/ and execute:
    wine e-sword.exe
The only problem you will have to install some of the modules, you will unfortunately need a Windows PC for this. Browse to the e-sword installation directory on said machine and copy the *.bbl files you would like to have.

And that is it, small simple and fast, enjoy e-sword on Linux!

Monday, June 04, 2007

KDE4 crash

Just found this on the net:

I received this picture today showing what happens when an application crashes in KDE4. Clearly it uses Beryl to make the pretty, but I have to be honest - if I was working on something and the application happened to crash, literally showing me what happened to x hours of work, I’d probably hang myself.

I don't know, it looks much better than the old "Terminate" button you get or some random crash that you have no idea why it happened....

You decide!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pick your own OOo, there must be one for you!

Now it is no secret that I love Open Source and I'm currently bussy porting all our work to Open Source for one reason:

Cross Platform Compatibility



One of the tools that makes this a little easier is OpenOffice.org, and this article I found makes it almost impossible for you not to use it, because it is available for all the major platforms out there.



Have a look here:



Pick your own OOo, there must be one for you!





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MySQL warns Microsoft on open source credibilty | The Register

MySQL warns Microsoft on open source credibily

Microsoft must work with, not against, open source otherwise it risks sacrificing developer support and credibility among customers - even Windows loyalists.

That's according to the chief executive of a fast growing open source competitor to Microsoft's popular, but closed-source, SQL Server database.

Marten Mickos, MySQL chief executive, told The Register the secret to growth in Microsoft's core Windows franchise lies in working with open source.

According to Mickos: "If you won't work with MySQL, PHP and Ruby then you are lost - that's always been our message."

Microsoft is clearly aware it must ensure open source languages, middleware and applications run just as well on Windows as Windows-only languages, middleware and applications, otherwise open source developers will deploy on Linux.

As such, Microsoft has technology deals with SugarCRM, Zend Technologies, JBoss (now part of Red Hat) and Novell, while it's devised versions of Python and Ruby for the .NET Framework. MySQL, meanwhile, last year joined Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program and developed a Visual Studio plug in for developers building applications for its database.

There's plenty of scope left to help developers using Visual Studio for MySQL and to improve data, analytics and application interoperability between MySQL, SQL Server and other Microsoft server and Office applications.

Speaking in the wake of claims in Fortune by Microsoft's legal team that Linux and open source infringe on 235 of the company's patents, Mickos suggested, though, that Microsoft isn't going far enough in its efforts with open source, and that this will cost the company dearly.

"I don't think you can say Microsoft is pragmatic on open source - it's religious. It's categorical in a way it shouldn't be, and it's harming them," Mickos said.

"You must never lose the trust of the customer [even] customers who are not using open source. They are looking at Microsoft and asking: 'why are you doing that?' People have a sense of fairness, and you don't want to get hurt.

"It hurts their credibility with customers. The question that arises is if Microsoft is ready to sue Linux for patent infringement, what says they won't sue a customer? As an end user, I'd be worried if I was using a vendor that threatens to sue me."

MySQL is certainly leveraging the Microsoft fear factor. With 700 partners in the systems integrator, VAR and ISV markets, Mickos's company is promising that - unlike Microsoft - it won't end up competing with them, should they develop a lucrative business. Some 60 per cent of MySQL revenue comes form the embedded market, with partners OEMing MySQL's database.

"We are sticking to the knitting - the database," Mickos promised. ®


Now hows that for a wake up call, considering that most of the internet runs from Open Source programs, so in order to keep developers you will need to accommodate them!
Something to brew over...

Friday, May 18, 2007

OpenMoko running on the Neo1973

Meeting OpenMoko running on the Neo1973



All I can say is "WOW!" As soon as this phone becomes available on our shores I'm getting myself one. Come to think of it, I might just get one from overseas...



Have a look here as well http://openmoko.org/ . This is definately going in the right direction, can you imagine having a phone almost like a PC, upgrading it, installing Open Source apps on it? It almost seems to good to be true!



Pinch me the moment you can get them commercially!





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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Transfer directories between computers using SSH and tar at Johnny Chadda .se

Transfer directories between computers using SSH and tar at Johnny Chadda .se

Now here is a usefull tip for all us Linux ssh lovers:

When I need to transfer lots of files or directories between computers, I usually use tar and ssh together. Last time I used it however, I realized that perhaps not everyone knows how to do this.

The procedure is very simple, and a full command could look something like this:

tar -cf - directory/ | ssh my.other.computer tar -xf - -C /destination/

Simple huh? If you want compression, just add z for gzip or j for bzip2 to both tar statements. This could be necessary if you are planning to do this over slow lines.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last few fishing memories...

I ended my fishing vacation with a trip to a nearby town with a lovely caravan park next to the river.

At first it seemed as if there was nothing noteworthy in these waters (first time I fished them), but then someone pointed me to a nearby dam wall about 5km along a dirt road. I spend most of the first few hours wondering what was so special about this spot, it is beautiful, abundant wildlife, deep enough and seems like there is plenty of fish, but none of my attempts were greeted with enthusiasm by the fish!

Here there be dragons!

After about three hours of enjoying the scenery, the fish suddenly started feeding and it was a frenzy! Almost all our rods (4 in total) went on the run at once! And after failing to land a few and switching to heavier gear, we soon realized "there be dragons here!"

Monsters I tell you, the smallest carp I caught was 3kg, the largest well over 8kg. Some of the fish were so strong that I couldn't land them, they would just take the line and head south for the winter, no stopping them. One of the rods got pulled into the water and I had to go swimming after it.


As if on cue the fish stopped feeding and was dead quiet! Just goes to show how important it is to know your gear and be able to get it back in the water as quickly as possible! The feeding time was from 17:00 to about 19:00. I spend a bit of time in the night (till 21:00) but no pick-ups what so ever. I called it the day after finally understanding the heartbeat of this great pool! Get here early, before sunrise, and then again as the sun sets. I confirmed this with some park rangers and they also told me the same.

What an experience, I will definitely visit these waters again and next time I will put out a boily to see what monsters I can land!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS

I just received Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (long term support) from a friend and gave it a spin. He ordered it from the website and gave it to me after trying it out and failing to get the hang of Linux (he is still a Linux noob.)
This is not the latest release but is backed by a 3 year support for desktops and 5 years for servers. Some institutions will definitely benefit from this, only one or two other distros offer the same support.


Each time I boot a new version of a distro I'm amazed at how far Linux has come, and in recent times it has come in leaps and bounds, the kernel, KDE, Gnome and a myriad of applications has come of age and really makes Linux an enjoyable experience! I really think Linux is ready for the main desktop stage, with KDE 4 around the corner and who knows what in the new kernel releases there is only good things to come.


Lets get back to Ubuntu and firstly take a look at the offerings on the CD.

If you load it under Windows you get a part of the OpenCD with open source applications to install, Gimp, Firefox and whatnot, and if you click on the desktop screenshot you get a brief introduction into Ubuntu. A very nice touch indeed! It send out a positive message, willing someone into giving Ubuntu a try.



Boot up the CD and get a Grub menu to choose the boot parameters. Note the “safe graphics mode”, this has helped me a lot on some difficult hardware setups (laptops) and is definitely an A+ for ease of use.



Once booted you are put into a Gnome based LiveCD environment and immediately you will notice the strange looking desktop icon, one is for the installation, okay, but the other one? Open it and see to how great a length the developers of Ubuntu has gone to make this as user friendly and feature packed distro as possible!



Yup, a folder full of promotional goodness! From Nelson Mandella explaining the meaning of 'ubuntu' to presentations on the operating system, fliers, logos, etc. a very nice touch indeed! You can use the LiveCD and do a Ubuntu/Kubuntu presentation! Now that is smart marketing.


Now before some of us go and faint, lets get on with the installation...


Six easy steps, that is all it takes. There are other distro that also follow a similar installation method and this, to me, is the most fail safe way of getting the OS installed. No way you can mess this up, just answer a few very simple questions and your set!



Now lets restart and see what we get.

Once restarted we are presented with gdm, log in and you again see the familiar gnome desktop.



I'm not going to go into what packages are installed by default since this has become rather irrelevant with the package managers of late, Ubuntu sporting over 10 000 packages to choose from, just about anything you may need for every task and some more.


Onto the package manager, Synaptec.



As we know there are a few installation mediums used in Linux today with RPM, deb and source being the most common. Ubuntu, being a Debian offshoot, uses Debian package management. The plus of this is that it is a solid and well tested medium.

Open up Synaptic ("Add/Remove" under the applications menu), easy enough, click the corresponding application and install, what could be more difficult? It even has the option to show you unsupported and commercial packages. You will need this to get those DVDs working, very well thought out and could not be easier to use.


Now onto personal preferences. I will probably never get used to the 'sudo' environment. It seems all too easy that one could make a mistake, seeing the sudo and user password is the same. I know it can be configured otherwise, but tell that to a Linux newbie. Also, no SElinux support, or maybe I overlooked it? Seeing this is a LTS version I would thought it would be considered default. People who are going to use this will probably be serious users in the business sector (for the support on offrer) and one would think you are going to give them the most easy to use distro, yes, but also the most secure. I feel Fedora and SuSE is a bit better options on this front. Something Ubuntu developers should maybe consider looking into making a permanent feature?


This is a very solid and well supported distro, well worth the try, even in the business sector. The road to being rated the most popular distro on various forums and discussion boards across the Internet has not been without its hick-ups, but the Ubuntu forums are informative and the wiki is also well maintained to iron out any problems there might arise. There is also documentation, electronic and paperback, available and I would love seeing Ubuntu replacing Red Hat as the preferred choice for Linux courses at varsities and colleges.


No wonder people are speculating that Ubuntu is starting to take over where Red Hat failed in the business sector. You HAVE to try this distro, easily a 8,5/10.


I usually test a distro for a week or so, but under the circumstances and seeing that I have no Internet connection atm to try out more features, you will have to be satisfied with this very brief look into Ubuntu. I'll see if I can get a review of Fedora 6 up since I have it installed and have enjoyed testing it, just need a few screenshots to complement the review but I have trouble getting it to bot from the CD in the virtual environment. If nothing else works I'll have to borrow a few from Osdir.com.


Until next time, happy Linuxing!

Enjoy some videos after reading the blog!

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