Better Late Then Never, ALPHA 0.2 Code uploaded

https://sourceforge.net/projects/bltn/

I have finally uploaded something to sourceforge. After years of being overly-protective about my code, I’ve finally written something that I want to share.

Not because my code is any good, or indeed, robust, or any of those things that code should be, but rather that I really want a task manager that uses all the features of Remember The Milk in a really easy, obvious way. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote one.

This is nowhere near a completed project, the code is just uploaded on the off-chance someone sees it and wants to help. I will keep plodding at the updates as time allows, and with a bit of luck get one working soon!

~BX

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Survival Craft : Tips and Tricks

What Is Survival Craft?

To say that Survival Craft is a Minecraft clone is close, but not entirely accurate. Klauus, the creator, felt that Minecraft wasn’t simply deadly enough. Survival Craft, then, is a game that looks, and in some way feels, like Minecraft (but with better graphics), and allows you to do some of the same things. The difference is that Survival Craft, at it’s heart, is much more deadly. Bulls, cows, packs of wolves, and even the occasional werewolf prowl around at night, meaning that a shelter of some kind isn’t just nice, it’s essential.

The game was also designed to run on mobile devices, such as tablets, and other hand-helds, including the new Kindle Fire. This means that, unlike Minecraft, it is very far advanced along the development path for handhelds, and is designed specifically for them. This makes it a better game for these devices than the current Minecraft offering, which is a little behind the desktop version of Minecraft in features.
Continue reading “Survival Craft : Tips and Tricks”

Restarting Demon threads in Python

Having just spent over an hour trying to find how to do this, here is my contribution to the problem.

Say that you have a thread that you have called start() on, and your run() method terminates with an exception, or quite naturally (for example, your listening to a socket, and it gets disconnected).

Your problem becomes that you now need to be able to re-call that thread to get it started again. However, progmatically, there’s no way of knowing if you have already called .start() on that thread. The thread is no-longer alive, so that doesn’t work. You get this (or similar) error:

raise RuntimeError(“threads can only be started once”)

The answer (at least so far) seems to be that you need to re-initialise the thread. By Placing:

threading.Thread.__init__(self)

At the end of your run() method, you can then call .start() on that thread again to your hearts content.

Now, I have no idea if this is good programming, or if there is a better way of getting this done, but it works for me, and my needs.

~BX

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SimCity 3000 and PlayOnLinux (Wine)

Having just spent some time trying to get some old games working under linux, I managed to get SimCity 3000 working with PlayOnLinux.

It will install using the installer provided quite happily, and then tell you that it won’t run because of security protections.

If you change the Wine version to 1.5.18, it runs quite happily, but you may find (on large screens) that the graphics are a bit off.

Hit “Configure”, then choose the “Wine” tab, followed by “configure wine”, then “Emulate 800×600 Desktop” under “Display”. Save that, then try running Sim City 3000 again.

That should get you a nice working copy of the game.

YMMV, of course.

~BX

PS other commands used before this attempt that may have an affect (Will check later)

sudo sysctl -w vm.mmap_min_addr=0
sudo sysctl -w vm.mmap_min_addr=65536
schedtool -a 0x2 -e playonlinux

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Playstation Update 3.61 : First Adopters

Sony have finally released the long-awaited updated as part of their roll out of the restoration of the Playstation Network (PSN). The only trouble is that demand seems to be outstripping their servers. It appears the best way to update the PS3 at this moment is to download the firmware onto a USB stick, and to update from that. Not only is it quicker (it can take up to 20 mins to download it), many people are experiencing time-outs due to hight demand, so you may not even be able to get it.

The best place to get it, is the playstation blog. There is one section for the EU and one for the USA.

http://www.ps3news.com/PlayStation-3-PSN-News/ps3-firmware-system-software-update-3-61-is-released/

No news yet as to what other updates it may contain, other than the promised security updates from Sony.

It should be noted that in the UK, as of 2:00 am Sunday 15 May, Playstation Network is still not operational. The roll out will begin slowly, and may not have reached the UK. Probably best to go to bed anyways, and try in the morning.

~BlackXanthus

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Openbox on Fedora Configuration How-To

To continue the search for a pretty desktop, I have recently spent some time looking for themes for those lesser-used desktops that actually require some configuration from the user. My first thought was to try FVWM2, having seen the pretty screen shots from FVWM-Crystal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come natively on Fedora, and having tried a few of the packages on the internet, that didn’t seem to get me anywhere. My next step was to try openbox. Precisely what the difference is between fluxbox and openbox no-one seemed to really be able to tell me, other than openbox strives for a more minimalist approach than fluxbox.

This is then my attempt to make a pretty desktop using openbox. Here’s the screenshot:


Openbox running on Fedora 13
Openbox running on Fedora 13


Continue reading “Openbox on Fedora Configuration How-To”

Installing Fedora 11 vs. Installing Windows 7 RC.

I decided, in some fit of madness to upgrade to Fedora 11, and to upgrade to Windows 7 RC on my dual-boot laptop. I thought that I would take advantage of the unaccustomed Generosity of Microsoft with their free version (that is, it’s free untill July next year).

First, let’s start with the upgrade.

Upgrade:

Fedora 11: Surprisingly painless. A small window popped up telling me that the download was available, and all I had to do was to click “Install”. This kicked of the downloading of all the relevant packages. Upon reboot, the computer asked the usuall questions about keyboard and, and then set about upgrading the computer. Job done.

Windows 7 RC: This is to be done from inside vista itself, and much to my surprise relatively painless. It required the extra step of creation of a DVD, but one that was done, it asked the same questions about the keyboard, and upgraded my Vista to Windows 7. This is a VAST improvement of previous upgrades of windows Software. It did also seem to fetch updates from Microsoft, the problem was that as this was done during the process of upgrading, it meant that the process left your computer unusable much longer than Fedora 11.

Experience

Fedora 11: As nothing much has changed on the interface, there was nothing new to report. The improvements meant that a lot more stuff had reached that stage of “Just Worked”. It appears to have solved an intermittent problem with my Wireless Network card, where it would just stop working, so that’s an improvement. Also, the random crashes when using Compiz Fusion seems to have gone as well. As with everything, a new upgrade made me revisit a few old favourites, and discovered that Evolution now allows me to sync with my Google Calendar, I don’t know how long it’s been able to do this, but it’s funky. I can also (using alltray) hide Evolution in my task-bar. Seems to work fine, but we’ll see how it works with more time.

Windows 7 RC.: A big change to the interface has made it somewhat confusing to use. I’m also not sure what the changes are designed to achieve. Having spent a lot of time trying to shift all the things that I have open to the system-tray, it was a surprise to discover that MSN now seems to want to take a place on the task-bar, rather than hiding it’s self away in the system-tray. As ever, IE is back on the Windows 7 version of the quick-launch, but it was a matter of seconds to remove it. Much to my surprise and delight, it appears that Firefox has remained my default web-browser. I guess the court ruling actually did make a few changes. The System Tray is now hidden away in a pop-up box, which for most things is fairly handy, and it’s fairly straight-forward to return things that you want to the sys-tray if you want them (like I use Adolix wall-paper changer to change my wall-paper every minit). By and large, the interface seems to be Vista with a few updates, most of which seem to have been done for “the look of the thing”, rather than for any kind of increase in functionality that I can see. An example is that default setting for the task-bar. In this, you can maximise windows, but not minimise them. We are used to being able to click on the button to raise a window, or to lower a window. This doesn’t seem to be the case in the Windows 7. Another odd thing that has just happened, is I randomly got a large Advert for Garnier appear in the foreground on the right-hand side. This vanished after a few seconds, and seems to be comming from Windows Live Messenger (MSN). That’s a massive invasion of my desktop. I don’t know what triggered it, or where it comes from.. we shall have to wait and see if it comes up again. Another odd thing seems to be that when I minimize firefox, the main windows of Windows Live appears. This could be a bug, so we have to remember that Windows 7 is still in development.

Conclusion

As “Pretty” as Windows 7 is, I think it’s too Much too late. The interface is excessive, and doesn’t seem to add anything to functionality. With the improvements in Fedora 11, the least user-friendly/tech heavy of the linux distro’s, I’m not sure that there’s any way that Microsoft can catch up. Considering that the programs I use for daily use are Firefox, Thunderbirt/Evolution, Open Office, and LaTex, there’s very little that is the pervue of Windows only. With Microsoft’s obsession with only allowing you to connect to Microsoft’s services, which by and large cost money there seems to be very little to come back to windows for. The only game that I play that is Windows-Only is World of Warcraft, and in the current climate that subscription has been cancelled. Of course, the ordinary person will be stuck using Microsoft while Business continue to insist on bying into the Microsoft Madness under the mistaken belief that it will save them on Tech Support Costs. People’s computer training comes mostly through their business and schools so until that changes, I guess Microsoft will hold tight on the world, despite it’s usefullness having been extinquished by their inability to inovate, or find another stream of monetizing to open up their operating system to interoportunity.

~Black Xanthus

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Getting LaTex word count which ignores footnotes

I’ve been wrighting my essays in LaTex every since I discovered that it made footnoting and other various items easier. The one thing it made harder, however, was doing the word-count.

Wanting to know how far through my 5000 word essay I was, I started trying to work out how. Lots of people say things like “Turn it into a pdf and copy it into word”. I’m sorry, but I don’t have that kind of time.

I spent some time searching, and eventually came accross a perl script:

http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~kanmy/software/texWordCount.pl

That I found here:

http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~kanmy/software.html

This was wonderful. Hats off to the guys that wrote it and updated it. However, I needed it to ignore the words in footnotes. They don’t count towards the word count for my theological essays, so I hacked it until it seemed to work. It works even if you include \textit{} to itallicise the book name, which I have to do in my footnotes. If you need it to do more, you will have to hack it yourself.

http://blog.valhalla.jara23.co.uk/?page_id=275

Also, this was a quick hack. It may not work in all cases. If you find it doesn’t, feel free to leave a comment, and I might fix it. Also, the word count has not been verified.

~Black Xanthus

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Free Web Hosting

Now, it’s not often I put up posts that are likely to shoot myself in the foot. I’ve been toying with online services for a very long time, in the vaugue hope that I would make some money. Ideally enough to be able to actually afford the insane plan of going off to join the church.

Being as, so far, my online plans haven’t moved far beyond a few friends, and time being the limiting factor between me and making money, I figured that I’d put this here.

Now, I first must say that I’ve not looked at this place, but It seems to be legit. Especially as I found it’s link while searching the forum for answers.

It’s an add supported, or forum supported free hosting. According to the site, that means that if you are the kind of person that spends a lot of time browsing the forums, you could get some free web-hosting while adding to their knowledge base.

Here’s the link:http://www.trap17.com/free-web-hosting/free-web-hosting.htm

If someone gives it a go, tell me how it works out!

~Black Xanthus

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Installing a new desktop on Ubuntu

If you happen to like windows, then you will love Ubuntu. This distribution seems to adore making things overly complicated for no real reason, and obfuscating the way things should work.

Perhaps it is the way of the future for those that don’t care how their system works. I do. I’m not a big fan of Fedora as a distribution, but at least it allows me to do what I want, the way I want it. That’s the reason I moved to linux away from the glaring lights of Windblows (appart from, of course, games, but that’s another rant).

I thought that I would get round to actually using the Ubuntu install that I put on my laptop on the urging of a workmate, and after 20 minits messing around with it and not getting anywhere I gave up and went back to windows, swareing to bring a Fedora DVD home so I can re-install it. Anyway, being as my memory is terrible, I’ve found myself wondering how I go about installing a desktop on Ubuntu.

Here’s how to do it (don’t blame me. It makes no sense to me either).

To install a desktop of your choice (say, kde or xfce), Ubunty has handily renamed the groups to something memorable: xubuntu-desktop (xfce) or kubuntu-desktop(kde). So if you were wondering why they weren’t showing up in your searches, now you know.

So, open up a Terminal (aplications->accessories->terminal) and sudo /bin/bash to give yourself a real root terminal, like you get on all other grown-up operating systems. (I am told that you can do this by modifiying config files, but I have a life to live).

Then run:

aptitude install xbuntu-desktop

Then wait while it fetches the packages for you.

There do seem to be a lot of nice features in Ubuntu, but it’s irritating habit of hiding things in places that I wouldn’t think to check and it’s horrible orange colourscheme means that I would much rather go elsewhere. That and it’s package management that seems impossible to use from just messing about means that it has a few things left to be desired.

Black Xanthus

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Upgrading Fedora 8 to Fedora 9 (beta)

This article is based on an article by brandon hutchinson

I noticed with some glee (as most geeks do) that Fedora 9 was on the way in 17 days. Could I wait 17 days? I needed to remove the Ubuntu install on my machine, and replace it with one that at least gave me a root terminal when I asked for one, without messing about with removing the security. Ubuntu, I’m told, is very nice, but for older hardware, I’m personally sticking with Fedora.

The idea of downloading another DVD iso, and then burning it to disk, and then going through the rather long upgrade process didn’t please me. It would mean, for a start, not having my machine while it did the upgrade. (One of the things, perhaps, Ubuntu has over Fedora is that the install gives you a virtual version of Ubunty to play with (it’s just not very pretty)).

I thought that there must be a way of upgrading using yum, so I went looking. The key appears to be the fedora-release package. By upgrading this, and then running a yum update everything works smoothly.

So, the steps for doing this are:

  1. download: http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/development/i386/os/Packages/fedora-release-8.93-1.noarch.rpm
    (or navigate to the directory containing the release you want to upgrade too)
  2. Run(as root): rpm -Uvh fedora-release-8.93-1.noarch.rpm
  3. Run(as root): yum update

Note It can take 4 GB to dowload all the files. Ensure that you have enough space in /var to put them. If not, symlink the directory: /var/cache/yum/rawhideto somewhere that does.

Hope that helps,

Black Xanthus

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Ledgend of Zelda Movie: Not a Myth

Yes, that’s right folks,

They have made, or to be more precise, they are in the process of finishing, the Ledgend Of Zelda Movie. Live action, no less.

I’m not quite sure about the Actor, but he’s obviously been chosen for his looks. The plot appears to follow that of the game, and there are little bits and pieces of it that gamer fans will recognise straight away. There is obviously a large reliance on computer graphics, but perhaps, there are a few places where a bit more attention to it might have been more useful.

The realease date of this film is set to be April 1, 2009

This film is obviously an update, and improvement on the previous attempt that can be found relegated here. As you can see, this new version has a lot more effort behind it, and a lot more money. It appears that Ninendo have got their act together and are joining the other successful films that have made the transition to celuloid, like Mario Brothers, the hit film with the music by Roxet.

Enjoy

The film is being made by a small film company called “Rainfall”. There is a music tailer on their website. The kind of thing that gets released as a music video for the backing tracks. This contains some shots of the movie not in the trailer at IGN, it also lists the actors and the producers. There’s obviously a lot of work going into making this, it’s looking good.

Black Xanthus

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