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Topics - Deozaan [ switch to compact view ]

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251
DC Gamer Club / Swift☆Stitch - Pay When You Want Week
« on: January 08, 2012, 07:02 PM »
IT'S PAY WHEN YOU WANT WEEK!
TODAY'S PRICE: $3.50

Every day, a different price! Sometimes it will go up, sometimes it will go down. If you don't like the price, check back tomorrow!
(price changes at midnight UTC, normal price is $7)

Swift☆Stitch is an (almost) switch game, meaning you control it with (almost) only one button. Your ship/car/pod goes in one direction and you hold down a button to make it change directions. You can also press a different button to engage slow-motion mode for a short time. I'm not really sure how to describe it so I'll let Sophie, the creator, explain it:

Swift*Stitch is a game about going fast, taking the right route and trying not to crash into stuff.

Here's a list:
  • 2 Button control
  • 3 Game modes
  • 42 Levels
  • 7 Speed settings
  • Achievements
  • Cool vector graphics
  • Customisable appearance (colourblind friendly!)
  • 8 tune soundtrack by Aeronic
  • DRM-free

And here's a video of the game being played:



Try out the demo and/or buy the game (when you want) at the Swift☆Stitch website.

252
This is a really interesting ~15 minute audio clip from Open Source Conference.

Some time ago, Karen Sandler was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a medical condition in which the heart muscle thickens, greatly increasing the chances of sudden death. A defibrillator implant was recommended. Of rightful curiosity, Karen asked what software ran the implant, and if she could have a look at its source code before entrusting her life to a gamble on its quality. After many a confused look, much finger pointing and buck passing, the buck landed back on her, and the cat was let out of the bag.

Read/listen to the rest of the story here.

253
I read a good essay/rant on passwords today, which was written/posted yesterday. Here's an excerpt:

When i do my hacker thing and connect to a server from a terminal/console/black box with letters in it, it uses public-key cryptography to prove who i am. I have a private key and a public key. The public key can be used to lock boxes in such a way that only my private key can unlock them again. I give out my public key; the server picks some big random number and encrypts it; if i can tell the server what random number it picked, then it knows i have the private key and must be who i say i am.

(Okay, that's still a bit oversimplified. The actual mechanism for how this usually works is pretty cool, if you want to read about it. It has a pretty picture using paint mixing.)

While my key is still protected by a password, the experience is radically different in a few critical ways.

  • It's called a passphrase, not a password. And, indeed, my passphrase(s) tend to be phrases, 50+ characters long, decorated with punctuation in some way that makes sense to me. They're very easy to remember, yet i can't imagine how you'd even approach trying to crack them.
  • I type the passphrase in once, when i boot up my machine. The private key is unlocked for the rest of the session, and it's used automatically when i connect to any server that has the corresponding public key. Logins are instant and seamless; i log in and out of stuff all day long.
  • The passphrase stays on my machine. It's not sent to the server to be double-checked, like virtually all passwords on the Web are. Something like Firesheep simply cannot work; you can't sniff my passphrase out of the air if it's not there to begin with.
  • Even if i connect to server A, and then hop from there to server B, i can defer all the key-checking back to my desktop. Server A doesn't need to have my private key on it to connect somewhere else in my name.
  • You know those SSL certificate warnings? You know how you always ignore them? Yeah, you shouldn't do that. They're the only warning you get that someone might have hijacked the connection to your bank or whatever. It's a shame that browsers have trained most of us to ignore the warnings, because they're the only thing making SSL useful.
  • Anyway, in the case of SSH: the server has its own public key, which it broadcasts to me as part of the login process. The first time i connect to a server, the public key is remembered on my machine. If i ever try to connect again, and the public key is different, the connection stops immediately. It's the same idea as the certificate warnings, except that public keys are supposed to last forever and you don't need to bleed cash to get one, so a changed key is actually a legitimate cause for concern. (Most SSL warnings are about a certificate that the website owner created himself, because getting a signed one is considerably pricey.)
  • And best of all, i can use the same set of keys for any number of servers. Or i can use a separate key for every server. It's entirely up to me. It doesn't matter what my username is on each server. It doesn't matter whether the servers are related in any way. It doesn't even have to be my account; any account can have any number of public keys linked to it, so sharing an account is just a matter of giving it several people's keys.

I think it's a great read, and it even has a section on the stupidity of bank's websites almost requiring you to have an insecure password. Read the rest of it here. But be warned, it does contain some strong language.

I don't know much about encryption, but the essay seems to make some valid points and it makes me wonder why we use passwords instead of having a single private key to handle all that crap for us.

Mozilla is working on a solution called BrowserID, as discussed here, but as pointed out in the initial post, it is tied to your e-mail account, which isn't necessarily desirable.

So could someone--who presumably has more knowledge than me on this subject--tell me why we are using passwords for every single website we visit when we could just be using public-key cryptography to handle the details for us?

254
Living Room / Happy Thanksgiving 2011 (USA)
« on: November 24, 2011, 11:27 AM »
Hi all,

I just wanted to express my gratitude for mouser and the wonderful DC community he has established and kept going all these years. DC has been a great source of knowledge, help, entertainment, and community for me for many years now.

Thanks to everyone for your contributions to this site/community, and again, a special thanks to mouser for starting it all.

:Thmbsup: :-*

255
N.A.N.Y. 2012 / NANY 2012 Release: Flipside
« on: November 14, 2011, 03:29 AM »
    NANY 2012 Entry Information

    Application Name Flipside
    Version 1.2012.01.12
    Short Description A game based on Sean Howard's Game Mechanic #41: Flipside
    Supported OSes Probably only Windows (XP, Vista, 7)
    Web Page http://flip.deozaan.com/
    Download Link * Flipside v1.2012.01.12 Win.zip (2221.88 kB - downloaded 529 times.)
    System Requirements
    • Windows XP/Vista/7
    Version Historyv1.2012.01.12
    - Added team turn indicator to make it clear which team's turn it currently is.
    v1.2011.12.31
    - Fixed bug where killing a unit blocking your path would not allow you to move to the newly available space(s).
    - Special units can now be attacked. Fixed bug that made units always do 2 points of damage. Fixed other various display glitches.

    Previous version history.
    v0.2011.12.31
    - Combat has been implemented for normal units (meaning normal units cannot yet attack special units). Fixed a bug that allowed units to teleport to the opposite board without the help of a special unit.
    - Turns are now enforced. You cannot select a unit that is not on your team. Once a unit has moved or acted it cannot move or act (respectively) again and you cannot move or act with another unit on the same turn. End your turn by pressing the T key. I also made it easier for the special units to flip tiles with a double-right-click.
    v0.2011.12.30
    - Valid moves are now highlighted when a unit is selected. You can only flip tiles when a special unit is selected.
    v0.2011.11.30
    - Flipping tiles now also flips units from one board to the other and special units do not flip sides, nor will normal units flip sides if there is a special unit in the position it would flip sides to.
    v0.2011.11.29
    - Units can now be moved with the mouse. Moves are validated before being completed.
    v0.2011.11.16
    - Units now start at default positions.
    - Created function to reset board to initial colors.
    - Clicking left and right mouse buttons now highlights tiles to be flipped. Double clicking flips them.
    v0.2011.11.15
    - Tile flipping implemented. But it's not really a game yet.
    - Some interactivity but still unplayable.
    v0.2011.11.13
    - Unplayable Pre-Alpha.

    AuthorDeozaan
    Screencast

    Credits


    Description
    The following description was adapted from Sean Howard's Game Mechanic #41: Flipside

    This is a two-player game where both players play at the same keyboard (hotseat multiplayer). It has a very simple premise. You have a single board, where you play on both sides of it simultaneously. Basically, one side tries to kill the other side. Players take turns moving units and attacking each other.

    Flipside Default Setup.png

    But wait, you say, if they are on two different sides of a plane, how do they fight each other? You notice that each side have two different looking units in the corners. They are special units. They cannot be killed, but they also cannot attack either. If they are targeted and hit, they will be pushed back a square in the opposite direction of the attack.

    But if they aren't combat units, what do they do? They can flip specific squares from one side to the other. The unit with a + on his helmet flips all the squares in the same row and column (orthogonally), while the unit with an X on his helmet flips all the tiles going out diagonally from his position. The special units do not change sides at all, ever, but any other unit on a flipped square is moved to the other side regardless of which side he started on, unless of course one of the special units is occupying a tile that a regular unit would flip to.

    Flipside Diagonal Highlights.png Flipside Diagonal Swapped.png Flipside Orthogonal Highlights.png Flipside Orthogonal Swapped.png

    Features
    Hotseat multiplayer.
    The game is portable in the sense that it will work from a portable drive, however, be aware it does create folders/files in the user directory on the PC that need to be manually removed if you care about that.

    Screenshots
    In the description above.

    Instructions
    Left click to select a piece to move, then click within the green squares shown to move it to that position, or left click the unit again to unselect it. You cannot unselect a unit if it has already moved or performed an action.

    Right click to perform an action. Normal units can attack adjacent enemy units (not diagonally).

    Right click with a special unit selected to see which tiles will be flipped by that unit. If you want to flip those tiles, double-right-click. Remember, special units cannot attack. They can only flip tiles and units located on the flipped tiles.

    Due to the fact that you may be able to move or perform an action when you don't want to, you will sometimes need to press T to end your turn. Note that you always have to manually end your turn with T after moving a special unit if you don't also want to flip any tiles on that turn. Also note that you can't skip your own turn without doing anything. You must move or perform an action before ending your turn.

    It should also be noted that units benefit from being on the same colored squares and are weakened when standing on opposite colored squares. So a light knight standing on a light square will do more damage and take less damage than a light knight standing on a dark square.

    Installation
    Unzip to location of your preference (see known issues below for directory locations the game might not work in).

    Using the Application
    Run the Flipside.exe file.

    Uninstallation
    Delete the Flipside folder.

    WinXP: Delete the \Documents and Settings\[USER NAME]\Application Data\Craven Entertainment\Flipside\ folder.
    Vista/Win7: Delete the \Users\[USER NAME]\AppData\Roaming\Craven Entertainment\Flipside\ folder.

    Known Issues
    The game will not run properly if the path contains non-ASCII characters. So if your Windows username uses non-ASCII characters, don't try running it on your Desktop or from within other folders in your User directory.[/list]

    256
    DC Gamer Club / Steam Servers Hacked
    « on: November 10, 2011, 05:28 PM »
    Dear Steam Users and Steam Forum Users:

    Our Steam forums were defaced on the evening of Sunday, November 6. We began investigating and found that the intrusion goes beyond the Steam forums.

    We learned that intruders obtained access to a Steam database in addition to the forums. This database contained information including user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. We do not have evidence that encrypted credit card numbers or personally identifying information were taken by the intruders, or that the protection on credit card numbers or passwords was cracked. We are still investigating.

    We don’t have evidence of credit card misuse at this time. Nonetheless you should watch your credit card activity and statements closely.

    While we only know of a few forum accounts that have been compromised, all forum users will be required to change their passwords the next time they login. If you have used your Steam forum password on other accounts you should change those passwords as well.

    We do not know of any compromised Steam accounts, so we are not planning to force a change of Steam account passwords (which are separate from forum passwords). However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to change that as well, especially if it is the same as your Steam forum account password.

    We will reopen the forums as soon as we can.

    I am truly sorry this happened, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

    Gabe.

    257
    Developer's Corner / A Brief Rant On the Future of Interaction Design
    « on: November 09, 2011, 11:32 AM »
    So, here's a Vision Of The Future that's popular right now.



    [. . .]

    As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.

    My problem is the opposite, really — this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible.

    Read the rest.

    258
    DC Gamer Club / Humble Voxatron Debut
    « on: October 31, 2011, 12:31 PM »
    It's not really a bundle since there is only one game (so far). But you know the drill by now.

    Pay what you want for a game and charity. (I wouldn't be surprised if more games or bonuses were added later.)


    259
    DC Gamer Club / Indie Royale - Similar to Humble Indie Bundle
    « on: October 31, 2011, 01:56 AM »
    I was just heading for bed when I noticed nobody has mentioned Indie Royale here on DC yet. Since there are only about 11 hours remaining I thought I should mention it real quick. It's similar to the Humble Indie Bundle.

    http://www.indieroyale.com/

    I'll do a better job of explaining this later. But for now, if you're at all interested, click through to find out more.

    260
    Somebody gifted me a copy of Harvest: Massive Encounter back in July and I was so busy I forgot all about it. I just found it in my Steam Library a couple of days ago and after looking into the details and remembering it was a Tower Defense game I decided to try it out for the first time.


    For those who just want to see and not read.

    Made by Oxeye Game Studio (with a programmer who also works with Mojang on Minecraft), Harvest: Massive Encounter is different from other TD games I've played. There are, by default, 5 game modes:

    Normal - In which endless waves of aliens come to attack your base and you must survive as long as you can and try to beat your own high score. (Also leaderboards.)
    Wave - In which you must defeat 10 waves as quickly as possible. Perhaps also leaderboards and personal high score.
    Rush - In which you must deal 50,000 damage as quickly as possible. Perhaps also leaderboards and personal high score.
    Insane - Like Normal, but harder.
    Creative (i.e. Sandbox) - With lots of different options, and which can be extended or modded using LUA.

    So far I've only played Normal and Sandbox, but here's how the game is different from other TD games I've played before:

    First of all, aliens don't travel along a pre-defined path; they attack from all sides and can destroy any building. This changes the strategy compared to typical TDs where the only strategy is only building placement (to block off paths or create bottlenecks) or when/what to upgrade next. In fact, the more I think about it, I suppose that Harvest is more similar to a simplified RTS. You don't get money just from killing aliens. You need to build harvesters to grab the minerals sitting around on the surface of the planet. Also, there's another resource besides money you have to worry about: Power. Every building you build requires not only money to buy, but power to build and in most cases power needs to be regularly replenished (e.g. your harvester will power down after mining a few times and needs a recharge before it can harvest anymore).

    0000006872.jpg
    What my base usually looks like. i.e. a mess, and getting overrun.

    To make matters even more difficult, you can't just build a power plant to get an extra supply of power. The power plants generate electricity which then must be transported by hopping from node to node (called Energy Links) to reach its destination. This transportation process takes time, and requires careful planning of your Energy Links. For example, if you've got a defense tower on the outer edges of your base and it runs out of power, it will be useless until it gets some charge back in it. But that's not as simple as it seems, since a unit of power traveling down the nodes toward the defense tower can be grabbed by anything else that needs it along the way, essentially preventing the defense tower at the end of the line from ever getting any power.

    0000006871.jpg
    What someone's base who knows what they're doing looks like.

    Now that I've made it seem really hard, rest assured that there are ways to curb the difficulty. You can set up specific routes for power to travel and of course you can build power plants closer to the places that need it. You can also change game speed at any time from paused/stopped (during which time you can still look around and build things), slow motion, normal speed, double speed, and quadruple speed. Or, to put it more succinctly: 0x, 0.5x (?), 1x, 2x, and 4x. And don't forget to click the Attack Priorities button to customize which tower types should give which aliens the highest (or lowest) priority.

    0000006873.jpg
    Attack Priorities

    Due to the nature of Harvest's resource management, you can't just hunker down in one place and wait for the enemy to arrive--which is pretty much how all other TD games work--you constantly need to build more power plants and expand your base outward for more minerals. This while the enemy waves are becoming more and more difficult. And as you build toward the edges of the map, the map expands further in that direction.

    It sounds very complex and yet the rules are fairly simple. There are basically only 5 buildings you can build: Solar Plant, Energy Link, Harvester, Defense Tower, Missile Turret. None of these can be upgraded except for the Missile Turret, which can be converted into a multi-rocket launcher called the Tempest Turret with EMP-like effects (visual only?) or a super-long range multi-rocket launcher called the Eagle Cruiser Turret that will sometimes fire at aliens before you can even see them on screen.

    It's kind of hard to explain, and I think it sounds very difficult the way I'm explaining it, but it's pretty easy to grasp the basic concepts after a round or two of the game, and then the challenge of devising a good strategy comes next. I still don't feel like I have a good strategy, but there's always Sandbox mode to let me experiment.

    And speaking of Sandbox mode, as I mentioned, the game is moddable with LUA so you can download mods from the community (here's a mod recommended by one of the game's programmers: Doublevil's Tower Defense Mode which makes it more like a traditional TD game) or you can even create your own mods to customize buildings or create new ones, etc.

    All in all, Harvest seems to be deep, fun, and challenging. And though I haven't tried it, I imagine it would even run pretty well on less-powerful machines such as netbooks.

    You can buy it for $10 from Oxeye Games or on Steam, and perhaps other digital distributors as well.  I recommend it, but if you're still not convinced, by all means try out the demo before buying it. :Thmbsup:

    261
    Codecademy looks to be an interesting website for learning how to code. It has an interactive "shell" built right into the site to allow you to code as you are given instruction.


    Learn to code

    Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code. It's interactive, fun, and you can do it with your friends.

    Program Websites and More

    Learning with Codecademy will put you on the path to building great websites, games, and apps.

    Learn with Friends

    Keep tabs on your friends' progress and make sure you're learning more - faster!

    Track and Share Your Progress

    Start learning - and don't stop. See how fast you're learning and stay motivated.


    262
    Hi folks,

    I just recently installed Windows XP Pro SP3 on both my netbook and an old desktop PC. The netbook installation worked without problems, but the desktop PC installation won't allow me to use Windows Update. I just get redirected to the following page:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2497281

    It tells me I can't use Windows Update unless I've got Service Pack 3. But I just installed SP3 and my PC tells me I've got SP3. I followed the steps there it tells me to do if I have SP3 and I'm getting that message and it doesn't help. I still can't use Windows Update.

    Any suggestions?

    263
    Living Room / Yet Another Help-Me-Build-a-New-Computer Thread
    « on: July 21, 2011, 03:23 PM »
    Hi folks,

    My current PC feels like a centipede that's on it's last leg. I've had numerous problems with it over the years and just this month I've had yet another a hard drive failure and 1 stick of RAM failed. This old single core 2.24 Ghz AMD, with 1 GB RAM, using Windows 7 has been driving me crazy. It's been sooooooooooo sllloooooooow!

    I've been saving up for several months now and I just checked some prices and I think I have enough to buy a really nice new PC now. And if not now, then most likely by next month I will. Or hopefully really soon anyway. So I figured this would be a good time to start talking specifics and get educated and some feedback on the different components and what really matters these days (this computer is from 2006 and is single core, so... yeah a lot has changed).

    I'm somewhat budget conscious but I do need a fairly powerful machine as I am a gamer and I also like to fiddle around with VMs and 3D rendering, etc. I also don't want to be miserable again in 2 years with a sluggish machine, so I'd like this thing to be as future-ready as possible so I can go 5 to 6 (or 7!) years before upgrading again. That said, here's my list of components I'm thinking of, along with questions and options. Please respond and suggestions and feedback.

    UPDATE: Okay I just placed the order for the initial build:

    Case: $90 for COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP.
    PSU: $120 for LEPA G500-MA 500W 80 PLUS Gold Certified Modular.
    MOBO: $155 for MSI Z68A-GD55 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX.
    CPU: $315 for Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core.
    RAM: $61 for CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800).

    That totals about $716 with some promo codes and $25 in NewEgg Gift Cards. But there's also $50 of mail-in-rebates.

    Discussion about other parts below:

    GPU: ASUS EAH6850 DC/2DIS/1GD5/V2 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16.

    Possibly outdated info: This is one area where I'm not exactly sure what to do. Typically I get nVidia GeForce cards, but earlier this year some folks here on DC said that ATI/AMD GPUs tend to be more compatible with Intel CPUs, so I guess just buy an ATI card in the similar price range as the nVidia I had on my list? I typically stick with EVGA brand cards, too, but it seems they don't make any ATI GPUs. So are there specific brands I should avoid or that are known for reliability and quality? Please suggest some GPUs. For comparison/price range, I was considering at the EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 for about $150 (before $20 mail in rebate). But since I'm going for the $100 less CPU, I could spend a little more on the GPU if it's worth it. Ideally I'd like to keep it at around $150 but definitely no more than $200 unless there's a really, really, really good reason to go for it.

    Monitor(s): Recycled.

    HDDs: I'd like to get a 2 TB HDD or two but those are about $100 each so they can wait.

    SDD: I'd really like to get an SSD for the OS drive but 64 GB still seems too small for me and they're still a bit on the expensive side (I don't like spending more than $100 on a drive). I'll probably end up with a 64 GB SSD but it can wait a little while longer.

    Sound card: I'm no audiophile so onboard sound will do.

    Keyboard/Mouse: Recycled from current PC.

    DVD: Recycled. Current DVD drive is IDE so I will probably need to get a SATA one. Might as well get one that can do Blu-Ray playback, too, but this can also wait. I'll just use a USB drive or USB-connected DVD drive to install the OS with.

    WiFi: I'd like to get a Wireless N card so I'm open to suggestions but if I have to I can probably just recycle my current PC's WiFi card.

    Aftermarket Cooler: I've probably not going to push the limits of overclocking but I figure I might as well make use of the overclocking abilities, so I'll probably want an aftermarket cooler eventually.

    All-in-One Media Card Reader: Yeah, that's one thing that I could really use around here.

    UPS: A power outage/brown out recently fried one of my hard drives and possible a stick of RAM, so a UPS would be very useful.



    Anything else I'm forgetting? :-\

    264
    I'm currently researching Aquaponicsw (the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics) and a website has cited a source that I just can't find. FYI I'm doing this purely to satisfy my own interests/curiosity, so it's not like I'm in the field or doing it for an assignment.

    This is the info I have:

    a paper by Dr. Steven Summerfelt (of the well-known Freshwater Institute on the East Coast), titled "Summerfelt et al. 1993. continuous culture & selective harvest. Techniques for Modern Aquaculture, p 581-595.PDF" This is a paper on CMSGH (Continuous Mixed Stocking, Graded Harvesting), which explains how you can raise double the amount of fish (or more) in a single tank with a special easy-to-use stocking and harvesting method."

    With that info I was able to find a reference to it near the bottom of page 41 from the Freshwater Institute's publication list here (PDF):

    Summerfelt, S. T., Hankins, J. A., Summerfelt, S. R., & Heinen, J. M. (1993). Modeling continuous culture with periodic stocking and selective harvesting to measure the effect on productivity and biomass capacity of fish culture systems. Paper presented at the Techniques for Modern Aquaculture, St. Joseph, MI

    My problem is that I don't know how to find the actual paper itself and read it. Do any of you more scholarly types have resources or suggestions or ideas on how to get this paper?

    265
    Hi folks,

    I've recently had an idea for a web service that I think many people would find very useful. However, due to the nature of the service, I'm not sure I could (or even want to) get away with charging people to use it. On the other hand, I would like to monetize it if possible and I think it may eventually get a lot of traffic. So that leads me to consider putting up ads on the site.

    Does anybody here have experience with advertisements as a source of income? I'm not expecting to get rich off of the revenue, or even live off of it, but it would be nice to know I could make an extra $50 a month or so (depending on traffic) just from putting some ads on the site.

    Opinions? Insights? Feedback is appreciated.

    266
    Living Room / RESOLVED: Halp! BSOD during boot up.
    « on: June 29, 2011, 04:22 AM »
    EDIT: This issue has been resolved.

    I had a power outage today and when I restarted my PC it had a BSOD during the boot up process and then restarted itself. It restarts itself before I even have a chance to read a single thing on the BSOD.

    It then defaults to repair my PC, but when I select that option it takes about 20 minutes to display a background image and my mouse cursor and then nothing else seems to happen.

    I also tried booting from the Windows 7 installation disk and selecting "Repair" but when it brings up the dialog for me to select which Windows 7 Installation to repair it shows a little dialog saying "Searching for Windows 7 Installations" and it does that for a really long time until there's a graphical glitch and nothing responds, with the exception of me being able to move the mouse cursor around the screen (but clicking on stuff doesn't do anything).

    I tried booting into a Parted Magic Live CD but it tells me it can't do anything to the disk and that I need to run chkdsk /f in Windows. But I can't get to the command prompt for Windows. I then tried Safe Mode with Command Prompt but it also BSODs during the boot up process.

    Now I'm in an Ubuntu Live CD and I ran Disk Utility and did the "Check Filesystem" option for this drive and it instantly tells me that the filesystem is clean and all is good. But if I try to mount the volume it also tells me there's a problem with the NTFS filesystem and I need to run chkdsk /f from Windows. Here's the exact message:

    Error mounting: mount exited with exit code 13: ntfs_attr_pread_i: ntfs_pread failed: Input/output error
    Failed to read NTFS $Bitmap: Input/output error
    NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it's a
    SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows
    then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very
    important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate
    it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g.
    /dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the 'dmraid' documentation
    for more details.

    A few things of note: I'm not using it in a RAID. During the Windows 7 Repair thingy, when it lists the drive it says the partition size is 0 MB. I can't just pop it into another computer here for two reasons:

    • This is the only PC that has (had?) Windows on it.
    • This is a SATA drive and only this PC is compatible with SATA drives. I don't have a drive dock or (working) external enclosure.

    The only tools I have to work with (software-wise) are Windows 7 boot CD, and Live CDs of Parted Magic or Ubuntu (10.04 and 10.10).

    Any suggestions on how I can get this fixed with what I have?

    267
    Living Room / When Piracy is Harmful
    « on: June 25, 2011, 09:22 AM »
    We get a lot of posts here on DC complaining about how software piracy often leads to a better product (e.g. no stupid, unskippable adverts/warning scenes on DVDs/Blu-Rays, no rootkit-esque or performance-killing DRM on video games, or the ability to listen to your music how, when, and where you want, etc.), and how it often doesn't really harm the respective industry in quite the way or magnitude the industry likes to claim it does.

    But here's a case in which piracy has actually harmed Indie Stone, an independent game development studio, as well as the legitimate customers who bought the game. Indie Stone explains in a blog post entitled "Sorry, we've had to take the game down for the day" (note that it's actually been down for quite a few days now):

    Pirates have made a version of the game that auto-downloads Project Zomboid from our server whenever the player clicks an ‘update’ button.

    We’ve always turned a blind eye to pirate copies, even on occasion recommending people who had problems with the legit version try a pirate version until the issues are resolved. We realise the potential viral benefits of pirate copies, and while obviously we’d prefer people to purchase our issue is not with those.

    However, these ‘auto updating’ versions of the game could screw us completely. We have a cloud based distribution model, where the files are copied all over the world and are served to players on request, which means we are charged money for people downloading the game. Whether piracy actually amounts to lost sales we’re not going to get into. The possibility that it raises awareness and promotes the game cannot be ignored, but the difference is offline versions on torrents, which we’ve been largely unconcerned about, do not cost us real money, only potential money, and even then we can’t really guess at what the net effect is. Likewise people who download the game through our website only download it when there is a new version, so once every week or so. These new pirate copies have an ‘update now’ button which will download the game every time it’s clicked, potentially every time the game is run by everyone using it.

    Apologies for everyone who’s purchased the game, but this has the potential to cost some of the development funds we’ve made so far, and we can’t risk it. We may be overreacting. But we have no idea of the numbers that could be involved and since an auto-updating pirate version effectively removes any need to buy the game and suggests they are ‘in it for the long haul’ if they are playing the version for numerous updates, we can’t count on ‘try before you buy’ sale conversions from them.

    Not only is this instance of piracy causing real monetary harm to the developers, but it also has interfered with legitimate customers since the only way Indie Stone could stop the rampant downloading of the official version was to completely remove it. So now anybody who paid for it can't even download it. At least not until Indie Stone get some sort of mandatory authentication implemented to download it, which sadly results in at least two undesirable things:

    1. It places one more obstacle between legitimate customers and the product they purchased.
    2. It forces Indie Stone to take time away from developing the game to prevent pirates from costing them real money.

    Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that these guys actually seem to have an agreeable position on piracy in general, as quoted above, and reiterated in their FAQ:

    Don’t be down on piracy

    We’re not. We’ve said repeatedly that we understand why people pirated the game. With no PayPal options, for a start, there was literally no way for anyone without a credit card to play the game until the demo came out. And until the demo came out there was no way for anyone to try the game to see if it was ‘their cup of tea’. We respect their wishes to try the game before buying, and beyond the leaking of our private test version to 4chan (a betrayal of trust from within the tester group) and the fact that our hands have been forced twice now to release a buggier and less polished game publicly due to piracy issues, we have no ill feeling toward those pirating the game or those distributing the pirated copies of the game. We’re mainly glad that people feel it’s worthy of pirating.

    By the way, the game is called Project Zomboid, and it's really interesting. You should check it out and buy it if it looks appealing to you. It costs £5, which is about $8.

    268
    DC Gamer Club / Proun - Pay What You Want (Donationware) Game
    « on: June 24, 2011, 07:42 PM »
    What is Proun?
    Proun is a strange racing game in a world of geometric objects and large coloured surfaces. You avoid obstacles by rotating around a cable in order to gain as much speed as possible. There is no up or down; there is only the cable to which you are attached.

    What does Pay what you want mean?
    It means that you can set your own price for Proun! If you like Proun, then you can pay what you think it is worth. If you don't want to pay for the game, then you can just download it for free. You can also first download the game for free to try it, and then pay for it after you have decided what you think it is worth.

    Why is Proun released as Pay what you want?
    Because it is a very fair way to pay for something, and because I want as many people as possible to enjoy Proun. At the same time, I hope people who like Proun will support me in making more games! Some of my next projects are really weird, so some support to get those started would be awesome! For further explanation, please read this blogpost.



    http://proun-game.com/

    2011-06-24_00003.jpg

    My opinion: It's not a game I see myself spending a lot of time with. I personally find the music annoying, but I'm not a fan of jazz/blues/big band music. The concept is unique enough, yet quite a bit different from what I thought it was from the videos. All-in-all it's an interesting game but in my opinion the novelty wears off pretty quickly. The price is right, though. :Thmbsup:

    269
    Developer's Corner / How To Program Independent Games
    « on: June 24, 2011, 05:14 PM »
    Jonathan Blow, perhaps best known for making Braid, gives an interesting talk on programming.

    http://the-witness.net/news/?p=1004

    To me, an inexperienced programmer, the things he said generally make a lot of sense but I hadn't realized them before. I think these things can be applied to programming in general and not just to making games.

    A few interesting points he makes:

    • Optimization is usually bad.
    • Using the right data structure(s) is about optimization, therefore it is usually bad.
    • One parameter/metric which people generally forget to take into consideration when thinking of optimization is the limited resource known as time. i.e. minimizing the amount of your life you spend implementing a feature or working on a project is more important than saving a few CPU cycles.

    270
    I've been building a NewEgg wishlist for a new computer I'm saving up for, and I've been drooling over the new Core i7 2600K ever since I heard about it a few months ago. But dang! It's nearly 1/3 of the entire build cost just for the CPU!

    So today I decided to look at the Core i5 2500K and compare the two. According to NewEgg's Details pages on the two CPUs, there are only three differences between the two:

    The Core i7 has
    • Hyperthreading support
    • 2MB more (8MB total) for the L3 cache
    • 0.1 Ghz faster clock speed

    Is it really worth almost $100 more just for that? Is there more to it that I'm not seeing or thinking about? E.g. does the i7 overclock a lot higher or with more stability than the i5?

    I went to Tom's Hardware to compare the two and of course in most cases the i7 performs better, but is it really going to be that big of a boost to justify the extra cost?

    My uses for the PC would be as a gaming machine, as well as a media server (probably just music but possibly video), as well as some (relatively) lowpoly 3D modeling, and of course having a zillion tabs open in my browser. Possibly all at the same time.

    271
    DC Gamer Club / Terraria
    « on: May 15, 2011, 11:16 PM »
    Dig, fight, explore, build! Nothing is impossible in this action-packed adventure game. The world is your canvas and the ground itself is your paint.

    Terraria can possibly be described as a 2D mashup of Metroidw, Castlevaniaw, and Minecraftw, but has influences from many other games.

    ss11.png
    (click to enlarge)


    If the video is too boring for you, the action really picks up at around 3:32.

    Terraria should be available on Steam for $10 USD on Monday, May 16th (which is today).

    272
    Living Room / Google Chrome Hacked, Sandbox Escaped
    « on: May 11, 2011, 02:39 AM »
    One reason new users have been flocking to Google Chrome is the promise of improved security. Its internal Flash plug-in has been repeatedly been patched prior to the old-style NPAPI version for other browsers, it's plugged in to Google's malicious link-checking service in the cloud, and its sandbox has proved impenetrable for more than two years.

    Now, VUPEN's research team has successfully exploited Google Chrome and escaped its sandbox. In the proof-of-concept video you'll see the Windows 7 cursors spin with activity while Chrome sits quietly in the background, blissfully unaware of what's about to occur. Yes, it's only Calculator that opens at the end, but that's not the point -- a malicious payload could have been triggered just as easily.

    Maybe this explains why my PC is suddenly calculating 5318008 upside down? :huh:

    273
    DC Gamer Club / Space Pirates and Zombies
    « on: May 11, 2011, 12:11 AM »
    Space Pirates and Zombies (AKA SPaZ) is a space exploration/conquer game similar to EV Nova, or Starscape. If you like those game, then you need to check out SPaZ. I just played through the demo, which took me just under 2 hours and I think it's really fun! I could have finished the demo faster than that but I was having too much fun doing non-essential stuff.

    If the game looks interesting to you you can see more info on the Space Pirates and Zombies website and you can also pre-order it for 25% off now on Impulse.

    Space Pirates and Zombies is a mix of the deep old school space adventure genre with modern physics, action and graphics technology.

    • 33 ships to research, build, outfit and pilot
    • 70 unique components to discover to customize ship performance
    • Totally physics based combat system
    • Explore a persistent randomly generated galaxy containing hundreds of star systems
    • Freedom to explore the galaxy and take on challenges at your own pace
    • Aid, flee, or exploit the warring factions in each star system
    • Change the balance of power in any system by interacting with its unique event system that responds to player activity
    • Carefully spend your hard earned research points on hundreds of upgrades across 15 categories

    Here's a screenshot and some videos if you're a "show-me" type person:

    Screen_15.jpg







    And here's a review, which is basically some guy playing through the first half of an early version of the demo.





    The narrator of the game has a new preview up of the beta version (which you can play if you pre-order on Impulse):


    274
    The way I use the forums might be a bit odd. I pretty much only use the Unread Posts link (my bookmark is straight to that link!) so I can see what's changed since I last checked. I don't go looking into specific sections. In fact, I hardly pay attention to what section anything is in except for when I'm creating my own posts.

    But ever since the DC server upgrade a couple months ago my own posts that I've just made will often show up in the Unread Posts. How can it be unread when I wrote it? But it gets worse. Even if I click on them to view them, or if I check the box and select "Mark selected posts as read" they will often still show up for in the unread posts. Eventually after trying multiple times it will "stick" and no longer show up on my unread posts list. I haven't been able to work out exactly what the pattern is, but it seems to be based more on time than the number of times I try to mark it as read. That is, if it's been a couple minutes since I made the post, then marking it as read will usually stick. But if I just made a post within the past 60 seconds then marking it as read is usually a fruitless endeavor.

    It doesn't happen every time, but it happens often enough that it's become very annoying. Am I the only person experiencing this? I've been bugging mouser on IRC to fix it for a while but he doesn't know what's wrong.

    Unread Posts.png

    275
    Sony has finally come clean about the "external intrusion" that has caused the company to take down the PlayStation Network service, and the news is almost as bad as it can possibly get. The hackers have all your personal information, although Sony is still unsure about whether your credit card data is safe. Everything else on file when it comes to your account is in the hands of the hackers.

    In other words, Sony's security has failed in a spectacular fashion, and we're just now finding out about it. In both practical and PR terms, this is a worst-case scenario.

    What did they get?

    Here is the data that Sony is sure has been compromised if you have a PlayStation Network Account:

    • Your name
    • Your address (city, state, and zip)
    • Country
    • E-mail address
    • Birthday
    • PSN password and login name

    There's also a good chance that credit card details (except security code) were made available as well. Read the rest of the article on Ars Technica.


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