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Topics - Deozaan [ switch to compact view ]

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I always felt people were overreacting a bit about the Windows 10 telemetry features. "Sure, it's a bit concerning," I thought, "but it's not that difficult to go into the settings to disable the most invasive stuff." Boy was I wrong!

Microsoft has released instructions on how to "manage connections from Windows operating system components to Microsoft services," and it's a doozy!

Not only is it incredibly long and complicated, but it involves a lot of registry editing and other advanced configuration.

DC Gamer Club / GOG Summer Sale Begins
« on: June 08, 2016, 12:26 PM »
I usually don't post about huge sales anymore, since I figure most people who are interested are probably already aware of them, but this time GOG is doing something like what you might see Steam do for a Summer sale.

First of all, and totally unlike Steam, you can get a free copy of System Shock 2 for simply visiting their site using the Galaxy Client.

Secondly--and this is the part more like Steam--you can earn XP and badges from completing certain tasks. But again unlike Steam, this will earn you actual free games instead of just stupid wallpapers or emoticons like it would on Steam. The first one you can get, meaning the one you will most likely be able to qualify for, is Spelunky

Check this page to see your progress and ways to earn XP for free (as opposed to earning XP from buying games during the sale):

Joel Spolsky recently announced on his blog that Fog Creek Software have just launched the public beta of HyperDev.

HyperDev is going to be the fastest way to bang out code and get it running on the internet. We want to eliminate 100% of the complicated administrative details around getting code up and running on a website. The best way to explain that is with a little tour.

Step one. You go to

Boom. Your new website is already running. You have your own private virtual machine (well, really it’s a container but you don’t have to care about that or know what that means) running on the internet at its own, custom URL which you can already give people and they can already go to it and see the simple code we started you out with.

All that happened just because you went to

Notice what you DIDN’T do.

  • You didn’t make an account.
  • You didn’t use Git. Or any version control, really.
  • You didn’t deal with name servers.
  • You didn’t sign up with a hosting provider.
  • You didn’t provision a server.
  • You didn’t install an operating system or a LAMP stack or Node or operating systems or anything.
  • You didn’t configure the server.
  • You didn’t figure out how to integrate and deploy your code.

You just went to Try it now!

Be sure to read the rest of the blog post for more details, especially this important caveat:

Literally every change you make is instantly saved, uploaded to the server, the server is restarted with the new code, and your browser is refreshed, all within half a second.


“What if I literally type ‘DELETE * FROM USERS’ on my way to typing ‘WHERE id=9283’, do I lose all my user data?”

Erm… yes. Don’t do that. This doesn’t come up that often, to be honest, and we’re going to add the world’s simplest “branch” feature so that optionally you can have a “dev” and “live” branch, but for now, yeah, you’d be surprised at how well this works in practice even though in theory it sounds terrifying.

Announcement blog post here: http://www.joelonsof...tems/2016/05/30.html

GOG just announced GOG Connect, where you can link your Steam account with your GOG account to get DRM-free access to eligible titles from your Steam library.

It seems the "eligible titles" are time-limited and will change every so often, so be sure not to procrastinate in linking your accounts.

Screenshot Captor / Feature request: Hold Spacebar to pan image
« on: May 18, 2016, 05:35 PM »
A nice feature found in other image editing software is the "hand" to grab and pan the image around when it doesn't all fit on one screen (whether due to being zoomed in or not being zoomed out enough). A common shortcut to enable this panning feature is the spacebar. That is, while spacebar is held, clicking and dragging the image should "grab" it to pan it around. Once the spacebar is let go, your previously selected tool should be active again.

I would love to have this hold-spacebar-to-pan feature in SC, please!

Over the past few months my interest in P2P/decentralized systems has really been piqued.

One thing that has continued to puzzle me, however, is this: How do these applications know how to find each other without some sort of centralized server to connect to and register themselves with? And how would one prevent that single point of failure from keeping peers/nodes from connecting to each other?

Living Room / Custom dice for board games, etc.
« on: April 26, 2016, 10:16 PM »

I've recently been playing with the idea of having some custom dice made, but I have some fairly specific needs that don't seem to be covered by anything I can find in my searches for companies/sites that will make custom dice. I'm wondering if anyone here knows something I've been unable to find or has suggestions for me.

Here are my needs:

  • Normal, six-sided die.
  • Each side of the die has a different image/design (not numbers or pips).
  • Each side of the die has a different color.

And that's about it. None of the services that laser-etch the dice seem to allow for an option to make each face a different color. So that seems to leave me only with the option to buy blank dice and label each face with stickers.

I can find plenty of blank dice for sale on Amazon, but every single result for stickers are just dots (circles) instead of square stickers. If I have to resort to stickers, I'd really like to get square (preferably with rounded corners) stickers to cover as much of the face as possible. Any square stickers I find anywhere are not sized appropriately for dice, which usually seem to be 16mm3.

I'd also be glad to hear suggestions on how to make the stickers more permanent, i.e., keep them from peeling off or having the image worn away. Or if you have other ideas or suggestions for getting custom dice made other than blanks+stickers, I'd be glad to hear that as well.


Living Room / Did my Android tablet unencrypt itself?
« on: April 02, 2016, 02:12 PM »
I enabled full, system-wide encryption on my tablet about a year ago in an attempt to keep my data more secure. This has the side-effect of requiring me to enter my pattern before the device will even boot up. I don't often restart my tablet, so that never really bothered me.

But the past few times I have restarted my tablet I noticed that it didn't prompt me to enter my pattern before booting up into the OS. I dismissed it as me doing things by muscle memory and just not remembering having entered my pattern at the prompt. But after having that feeling like it wasn't asking me for the past several times, I finally decided to conscientiously restart it to find out if it was in fact asking me for my pattern to unlock the device.

It is no longer asking me for my pattern to unlock the device before it will boot into the OS. The question now is, why not? And the follow up questions: What does this mean about the device's encryption? Did it unencrypt itself? Did it just stop asking to unlock at boot because it asks again at the OS login screen?

General Software Discussion / Run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows
« on: April 01, 2016, 03:52 PM »
You can now run Bash scripts, Linux command-line tools like sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows. You can also access your Windows filesystem from within Bash allowing you to work on the same set of files using your preferred Windows tools or Linux command-line tools

Here's an article that discusses in detail some of the theory and methods behind cameras in 2D games. I'd seen it quite a while ago, perhaps when it was first published last May, but I recently rediscovered it and thought it was worth sharing. What surprised me most about it is that complex camera systems in games mostly seem to come down to just a few simple (but clever) tricks, but when combined it results in quite elegant behavior.

A few years ago mouser posted about a video analyzing the camera behavior in Super Mario World. While hearing it explained while seeing the game was interesting, I found this newer article to be much more useful in seeing how things work because the areas of interest are visualized for us, like so:


It's a fairly long article, but it goes into some really useful detail analyzing how many popular/classic games have designed their camera system to allow the player to see important information in the game.

Highly recommended.

Hi folks,

I use a ton of forwarders. Seriously a ton! I have somewhere between 600-700 of them. I use forwarders like other people use maildrop or mailinator. Anyway, I recently changed hosting companies for my websites/domains, and I had the weird experience of my websites not working until I updated the DNS entries for the domains, but my email working fine until I updated the DNS entries.

So now my websites are working fine, but any email sent to what are called "add-on" domains in cPanel just bounce. Whether they're forwarders or an actual mailbox. Here's the error I'm getting in the bounce email:

Remote host said:
550-The mail server could not deliver mail to [email address].  The
550-account or domain may not exist, they may be blacklisted, or missing the
550 proper dns entries.

Note that all my forwarders are working just fine for my primary domain. It's just the add-on domains which can't seem to accept any email whatsoever.

I'm hoping the folks here at DC can help me figure this out because so far technical support at my host hasn't been very useful for this particular issue. I was super-ultra happy with my new host until this issue came up. But if it can't be solved I may need to find other hosting. Forwarders are that important to me. They fixed it!  :Thmbsup:

Non-Windows Software / Remix OS for PC Beta Launch
« on: March 01, 2016, 12:37 PM »
Remix OS for PC is a custom flavor of Android designed for a traditional desktop/laptop experience. It has the equivalent of the start menu, task bar, tray, and notification/action center. It also allows app windowing and running multiple apps simultaneously.

More details about Remix OS in general can be found here:

Details and downloads for Remix OS for PC can be found here:

Remis OS was also briefly mentioned previously on DC here.

Amazon Lumberyard is a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.

By starting game projects with Lumberyard, you can spend more of your time creating great gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building a game engine and managing server infrastructure.

How did they develop a AAA game engine out of nowhere? Well... they cheated a little. :)

Lumberyard's core engine technology is based on Crytek's CryEngine. Amazon licensed the German studio's engine and got "full, unencumbered access to the technology" to build upon, says Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games.

However, Lumberyard represents a branch of that tech, and the company is replacing or upgrading many of CryEngine's systems. Future versions of CryEngine and Lumberyard will continue to diverge.


At public beta launch, Lumberyard already has components that are not based on CryEngine. Aside from adding the AWS SDK to the engine -- allowing for native C++ access to its services -- Amazon has also brought in new low-latency networking code based on what Double Helix, the Southern California studio it acquired in 2014, developed for Xbox One fighting game Killer Instinct.

Living Room / Keybase and the Keybase Filesystem (KBFS)
« on: February 05, 2016, 01:10 PM »
This is something I don't fully understand, so it's hard for me to summarize it or find the shortest relevant quote to share with you. Sorry.

Keybase sounds a little bit like a filesystem similar to IPFS, but with encryption built-in and made super easy. You don't have to know someone's Keybase account info to connect with them. You can create encrypted, shared files/folders with someone who doesn't even have a Keybase account. If you only know them on Twitter, you can use their Twitter account name, and Keybase will allow them (and you?) to link the Twitter handle to their Keybase account (when they finally create one).

For more info, check out this page on Keybase, which is more colorful and has lots of pictures and visually pleasing things and is written by someone who knows what they're talking about:

It has public directories shared with everyone as well as private ones, shared with no one or only the people you select.

Quote related to Public directories:

Public, signed directories for everyone in the world

You can now write data in a very special place:


Every file you write in there is signed. There's no manual signing process, no taring or gzipping, no detached sigs. Instead, everything in this folder appears as plaintext files on everyone's computers. You can even open /keybase/public/yourname in your Finder or Explorer and drag things in.

Quote related to Private directories:

But there's more!

Keybase mounts end-to-end encrypted folders in /keybase/private.


This is your own encrypted folder, just for you:


And here's a folder only you and I can read. You don't have to create this folder, it implicitly exists.


Again, maybe you know me on twitter, and prefer to assert that:


These folders are encrypted using only your device-specific keys and mine.

The Keybase servers do not have private keys that can read this data. Nor can they inject any public keys into this process, to trick you into encrypting for extra parties. Your and my key additions and removals are signed by us into a public merkle tree, which in turn is hashed into the Bitcoin block chain to prevent a forking attack.

And more about sharing with people who don't even use Keybase (yet):

Frictionless sharing

Soon, you'll be able to throw data into /keybase/private/yourname,[email protected], even if that Twitter user hasn't joined Keybase yet. Your app will encrypt just for you and then awake and rekey in the background when that Twitter user joins and announces a key.

And it may even answer the question about signing code which was asked by f0dder a few days ago:

Encryption's a pleasure...but what about verifying some source code release or announcement online? Keybase to the rescue; files, messages, streams: all can be signed, encrypted, decrypted, verified, with a keybase username.

Verifying a signature from someone you don't know will summarize all their public accounts and check them for you to make sure the signatures match up.

DC Gamer Club / "Early Access" games come to GOG
« on: January 28, 2016, 04:17 PM »
GOG just announced that they're now selling some "Early Access" games which are still in development:

Excellent hand-picked games, 14-day refund policy, always DRM-free.
We want to be the home of games that are both excellent and really worth your time.

In today's gaming world, we're seeing more and more titles that become hits before development dwindles down. We want to give you a way to enjoy what these games have to offer, a way that's comfortable and fair to you — the way: that means evaluating each and every game, a 14-day no-questions-asked refund policy, and more.

Some may be (understandably) wary of buying an unfinished product, especially given some of the poor results we've seen from Steam's Early Access program. But GOG thinks things will be different for them:

The way.
First and foremost: we're hand-picking only the games we can truly stand behind. Offering a selection of the most promising titles, and those most highly requested on the Community Wishlist, is our way of avoiding bloat and ensuring that every game will be worth your time.

It takes some confidence to discover games that are still being shaped — and to build that trust, every game in development comes with a simple refund policy: 14 days, no questions asked. It doesn't matter if you're having technical issues, if you don't think the game is sufficiently fleshed out, or if it simply doesn't click with you — all games in development can be returned for any reason within 14 days of purchase.

The GOG Galaxy client should also come in handy for games in development. It lets you control updates manually if you want, while the rollback feature allows you to easily restore any earlier version of your game if an update breaks something or makes unwanted changes. For games in development, rollback will also track and create historical snapshots throughout a game's development. That means you can always revisit any point in a game's history — for fun, or for science.

Just before I found out about this announcement, I was just thinking to myself that I wish I didn't have to update my Early Access games to be able to play them on Steam. One in particular, ARK: Survival Evolved, has frequent updates of about 20GB. I'd like to be able to play it occasionally without having to download such a huge update, due to my ISP giving me a data cap. I was thinking maybe they could have multiple deployment branches where one version is only updated, say, once per month, while you could opt-in to a faster branch that is updated weekly (or whatever their normal update schedule is). That problem is solved from the get-go in GOG's Games In Development program. :Thmbsup:

I also like the idea that it in some cases it will no longer be necessary to purchase a game on Steam to get access to it while it's in development. I have a pretty large Steam library, but more and more I'm disliking Steam (for various reasons) and opting for GOG and other DRM-free options. I quite like GOG and their new GOG Galaxy client. It seems like it has most of the benefits/convenience of the Steam client, without most of the drawbacks.

Anyway, for more info about GOG's Games In Development, including info about the first titles to be included in the program, see the link below:

There's a new browser called Brave in town which is focused on solving the awful situation with advertisers (malvertisers) through two steps:

1. Block intrusive ads natively. No ad blocking extension needed.
2. Built-in micro-payment system (via Bitcoin?) so you can easily support the websites you visit and/or disable the non-intrusive ads.

It's your device. It's your time.
So make it your Internet. The new Brave browser blocks all the greed and ugliness on
the Web that slows you down and invades your privacy. Then
we put clean ads back, to fund website owners and Brave
users alike. Users can spend their funds to go ad-free
on their favorite sites.

Speed comparison video:

Brave is also focused on security/privacy with the following features:

  • Brave blocks harmful advertising
  • Brave redirects sites to HTTPS
  • Brave blocks Tracking Pixels and Tracking Cookies

There's also a relatively short writeup about the purpose of Brave, but I'm having trouble picking out a self-contained segment to include as a quote, so just read it all yourself:

DC Gamer Club /'s MS-DOS Games Library - Over 2,500 Games
« on: January 18, 2016, 03:31 PM »
I just discovered this a few days ago. The Internet Archive ( has over 2,500 MS-DOS games, which can all be downloaded or played in your browser, for free. :Thmbsup: MS-DOS Library.png

Pretty much every DOS game I can remember playing as a child is there, only this time they're full versions instead of the shareware demos. :)

Combined with's Internet Arcade (a collection of MAME/Arcade games) and the Console Living Room, you should be able to keep yourself occupied for quite some time.

Living Room / Smart TVs now "smart" enough for malware
« on: January 11, 2016, 08:53 PM »
Personally, I would much prefer a "dumb" display than a smart TV.

If a TV can surf the web, it can be hijacked or pick up malware.

Read more at the link:


Yet another reason why I'm never ever ever ever ever disabling my ad blocker:

For the past few weeks, has been forcing visitors to disable ad blockers if they want to read its content. Visitors to the site with Adblock or uBlock enabled are told they must disable it if they wish to see any Forbes content. Thanks to Forbes’ interstitial ad and quote of the day, Google caching doesn’t capture data properly, either.

What sets Forbes apart, in this case, is that it didn’t just force visitors to disable ad blocking — it actively served them malware as soon as they did.

Read more info at the link below:


DC Gamer Club / ShinyLoot shutting down
« on: January 07, 2016, 04:21 PM »
I got an email today informing me that ShinyLoot is shutting down operations this year:

Today we are making a public announcement to confirm what some of you have speculated over the past few months. ShinyLoot will, in the near future, begin the process of shutting down as a digital distribution service. With this email we will outline our thinking that led to this decision and what you can expect as a customer. We have always strived for transparency in our operations and we feel that you deserve as much information as possible, with as much warning as possible.

Every customer will be provided ample time to download their game libraries and use any remaining credits. As such, there are two important dates to keep in mind. The last date that purchases will be allowed is January 31st, 2016. After this date, all remaining credits will be forfeited. The last date we will be active for downloads, support, or general operational matters is March 17, 2016. We feel this is a fair balance between allowing access to files from our servers and the financial and time cost to us in maintaining operations.

With that out of the way, we would like to go into the reasons why we are following this course of action, our future as a business, and how we got to this point.

We started ShinyLoot with the goal of promoting independent and medium sized publishers through primarily DRM-free offerings using a trait discovery system. Although many games have received thousands of additional views through our service, we never really converted those views into a high enough sales rate. Between the lack of performance and the looming large investment required to continue growing, our motivation has gradually waned.

Both founding members of ShinyLoot have slowly lost the drive and passion we used to break into the market. It became clear that the long hours needed to see ShinyLoot thrive would not be ending anytime soon. Stress started to play a role in both of our lives and we sacrificed other ventures to make this work. So we took a break for most of 2015 to try to reignite the spark with our most recent sale in November, but it simply didn't last. And in that time, the market has grown even more competitive. At this point, we simply don't think managing ShinyLoot as a digital distributor is a significant addition to the gaming community nor the right course of action for us personally or professionally. There are simply too many services that provide an equal or better substitute for our offerings.

As for what that means in the future, we have been in talks with a few companies and individuals to transition ownership of ShinyLoot elsewhere. Nothing ever materialized that made sense, either because of how it affected us, you, our publishers and developers, or all of the above. We have continued to try to do everything the "right way", and that does limit our options. So we will maintain rights to the domain and perhaps try to transition into something that is purely discovery based, without the retail aspect, as that seemed to be our biggest benefit to the gaming community.

So this is where we are at. We know that it's not a great message to receive at the end of the year, and it's not one that's easy for us to deliver. We hope that you understand our decision, and we would be happy to talk with any of you if you would like to respond. Please keep in mind that responses may be delayed depending on the quantity of replies we receive. We wish you a Happy New Year and that this may be only a small hiccup in an otherwise great 2016 for you.


Chris and Sood (ShinyLoot Staff)

TL;DR version is: Download/redeem your purchased games before the middle of March.

Classic Duke Nukem games will be removed from GOG's catalog for the new year. So they're offering the games on sale for up to 90% off (about $2.50 for all 4 games). See the quote below (emphasis added):

The Duke. Men want to be him, women want to be with him. The manliest of men, the ultimate male role model. He's been kicking ass on for years, but on December 31 2015, Duke has to step out to get more bubble gum. On that day, all Duke Nukem games on will be removed from our catalog, but we are in talks with the new rightsholders to bring them back as swiftly as possible. That's why we bid you a farewell for now, Duke: with every Duke Nukem game at 90% off as a bundle, or -75% individually.


With the start of the new year, Dragonshpere will no longer be a free game on due to new publisher agreements. If you haven't claimed a copy for yourself, make sure to do so by December 31, 22:59 PM GMT - afterwards the game will be regularly priced at $5.99.

Get the Duke Nukem games here, and get the free Dragonsphere game here.

DC Gamer Club / Free Game Worms Forts: Under Siege
« on: December 14, 2015, 09:02 PM »
GOG is offering Worms Forts: Under Siege for free for the next ~56 hours. Other games in the Worms franchise and other games by Team 17 are also on sale:

I noticed for the past month or two that ScreenshotCaptor no longer would work when I pressed PrintScreen. Instead, I'd get a notification that my screenshot was saved to my OneDrive. No matter how I configured ScreenshotCaptor, I couldn't get it to take a screenshot using PrintScreen as a hotkey.

Weird. :huh:

After finally mentioning the problem to mouser today, he quickly found a link with some suggestions that led to a solution. The solution is pretty simple: Right-click the OneDrive icon in your tray, select Settings, click on the "Auto save" tab, and uncheck the "Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive." Click the OK button and then close/restart OneDrive.


That last step of shutting down OneDrive is imperative. It's not enough to just disable the setting. OneDrive must be shut down completely and optionally restarted if you want OneDrive to do its OneDrive stuff.

If restarting OneDrive doesn't do it for you, then I have read that a reboot will do the trick.

DC Gamer Club /'s mystery gifts return
« on: December 02, 2015, 11:22 AM » is having another big sale with deals changing every few days. Also returning is the mystery game, which was a pinata in the last sale, where you pay $3 for a game worth between $10-35 which is not listed in the current sales.

Did anyone find out last time if you got to find out what it was before deciding to keep it or gift it to someone else?

Living Room / A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities
« on: November 24, 2015, 03:58 PM »
If you’re coming into this relatively new, or even if you need a little brush-up, let me state: Steve Meretzky has earned the title of “Game God” several times over, having been at the center of the early zenith of computer games in the 1980s and persisting, even thriving, in the years since. He continues to work in the industry, still doing game design, 35 years since he started out as a tester at what would become Infocom.

But more than that – besides writing a large amount of game classics in the Interactive Fiction realm, he also was an incredibly good historian and archivist, saving everything.


When we finally connected during production (as it turned out, we lived within 10 miles of each other), Steve showed me his collection of items he had from the days of Infocom (which spanned from roughly 1981 through to the company’s eventual closing and absorption by Activision in the early 1990s).


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