Happy 2020!

Or 1992, for those of us living in an offset in the past.

Somehow this year, I’ve managed to do 119 posts, 1 more than last year. Although a far cry from 2011’s 254 posts. I still have things to write about, it’s just a hard time either making them interesting or trying to see them through to some kind of conclusion other than ‘here is a thing’. type thing. thing.

I’m in Sapporo for the new years, and as this was such a last minute plan, I eneded up just grabbing two bottles of this ‘Niagara’ wine… Proudly made in Hokkadio It’s not the worse champaigne Ive ever had, but it’s too… “grapeie” for my likes. But that is what you get for walking in at 1030pm into a 7-11.

I should make a post or video thing about traveling. I run into so many people that always say they are so ‘envious’ of my travels, and how do I plan and cope… And the truth is that I don’t plan, I just show up, I don’t take all that much with me, as we live in the future now, Amazon is a thing, just as everywhere you can order stuff off the internet or buy mass produced goods anywhere. The only real important things are an Android phone for google translate, and data SIMs for wherever you are going. Places like Japan will have them in the airport, and it’s just best to buy them there.

I know that buying things in the airport is usually the worst, or most expensive option, but in many nations like Japan, where non residents are barred from having a phone number or buying any kind of phone or service, your only real option is the airport, although some of the big chain tourist / tax free chain stores (Sofmap/BIC Camera) are starting to carry travel SIMs, although they are more expensive than the offerings in the airport.

Also don’t panic, relax. If you need ‘things’ check out the exciting world of thrift stores. Go use a coin laundromat. Use google translate to read a local news paper, or gossip rag. Why live in a tower of absolute luxury when you can experience a few seconds amongst the people?

And select some cloud service, and setup your phone and camera to backup to the cloud, just embrace it. If you have your stuff lost/stolen you’ll be devastated to have lost everything, instead of only since your last checkpoint. Rent servers out in the internet. If I lose my phone or laptop, all my data and access is ‘out there’ so I just buy a new machine, remote wipe the old, and move on with my life. Heck I don’t even need to travel with such things, and I can just buy discount/burner cheap models on arriving letting me later gift the machines to other people, and or kids. Not to mention like my rescued i7 makes for an interesting tale at least.

For those with boring office jobs, encourage people to use collaboration tools like Sococo and open people’s eyes to that there “is no here” anymore. And that the sad reality of being constantly connected, and constantly available also means you don’t need to be in the office, everywhere you can get internet is your office.

It’s a small world afterall.

Sourcetrail is now GPL!

Okay, so it actually happened on November 18, 2019 but here we are!

From their blog:

I am happy to announce that all our founding members agreed to turn Sourcetrail, our cross-platform source explorer, into free and open-source software. The source code is now available on GitHub and we aim to fund further development and maintenance via Patreon. In this post I will explain the issues we faced with commercial licensing and why we think this change will improve the situation and benefit everyone.

A Quick Introduction for Newcomers

Sourcetrail is a cross-platform source explorer that helps you get productive on unfamiliar source code. It uses static analysis on C, C++, Java and Python source code and lets you navigate the collected information within a user interface that interactively combines graph visualization and code display.

This is very cool stuff indeed! I quickly downloaded the portable version and pointed it to a copy of Linux 0.10

I have to say the results look pretty good! Granted it doesn’t like the old archaic assembly macros from a quite bygone era, but this makes exploring the source a joy, as you can not only point to functions, but also see what variables / structs that it’ll touch, and it works backwards letting you quickly see what functions use which structs, adding more viability than say something like src2html.

This is going to be a GREAT tool, no doubt for trying to unwind a bunch of the old software I’ve collected over the years (all on CVS!), although I don’t think it’ll allow for something web based, but such is life.

You can support them on Patreon for as little as $5 for this fantastic software. I know they will get my support at the least.

Apparently I’m notable on Gopherspace

I found this map by accident while telling someone what the internet was like before the advent of HTTP. Behold Matt Owen’s handiwork!

And for those who can’t see it…

I have to suspect it’s due to the name, and how long it’s been up. As you can see from the diagram not a lot actually links to there. I think it may also seem like a more ‘significant’ site than it really is, as I put the MSPL documents on there.

And to add to even more Gopher madness, he’s written an excellent client! You can find it here: http://www.jaruzel.com/gopher/gopher-client-browser-for-windows

I have to say that first impressions are pretty great. Although looking at the page makes me realize just how much is broken, and cruft. Kind of a sad state I’ve ended up in, since I moved my BBS to VMware, where the disk subsequently corrupted beyond hope. I don’t know if many ever used it, but I guess out of spite of my NT 3.1 VM still being operational, I ought to. Just as I probably should move my blog back to a machine I own to get it fully under my control as the outsourcing thing has really been volatile this year.

Speaking of gopher, there is even a gopher app on the MS Store, aptly titled Simple Gopher Client, by Shipwreck Software.

Although it follows in the tradition of every click getting it’s own pane type client, which does make going through your history easier ,but it ends up looking a bit cluttered. I preferred the ‘web browser’ type paradigm myself, but by the time that became common place, that HTTP thing took off, seeing it was not only entirely free, but the fine folks over at Mosaic had added inline images.

Merry Christmas

From my daughter

It’s been a trying year, and despite the HKPF’s best efforts to make it a terrible one, we won’t let them. If anything the events of the year just make family and friends all the more precious, just is our time with them.

There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done, and that list of could of, should have builds.. Its tough. In spite of it all I’ve still managed to do my own “out reach” helping kids where I can help with internships, books, food or even a shoulder to cry.

It’s been a trying year. But life, it goes on.

So Merry Christmas to all!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the office

Not a peripheral was stirring, not even a mouse;
The new motherboard was strewn on the floor in dismay,
In hopes that this crap Jingsha board would finally work;

The processors were nestled all snug in their sockets,
While visions of posting danced in their heads;
But motherboard back in her antistatic bag, and I in my cap,
Had just settled on giving this thing a long winter’s dirt nap…

Contents of the box

On the surface this board seemed like quit the bargain. The Jingsha x79 dual socket board features 8 memory slots unlike the 4 in the Huananzhi board allowing me to go from 64GB of RAM to 128GB! In addition the board also has a native M.2 storage slot! All for the low low price of around $100 USD!

Neat!

While I did find that upgrading my power supply to the bigger 850 watts which certainly didn’t hurt stability, I thought that it’d be more than enough power for this new board.

And I kind of liked the idea of having a management engine that might out for ‘lights out’ when I’m traveling.

But no, it was nothing but grief. Most of the time I was stuck with error 99 which apparently has something to do with not enough power on the PCI bus? Granted I was rocking my RTX-2070, but it was running fine in the Huananzhi! Putting in the lowest & dumbest video card I had got it to boot windows up, quickly followed up with a crash.

IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL

Now for the best part, I pull the disks, as I’ve had this install going from my old Mac Pro, so maybe the HAL is stale or something else is going on like that old bootcamp error. So I make an install USB stick, with NO customizations, using the Microsoft tool. AKA stock.

And I get the same crash.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

What the Fuck. I don’t even know. Considering it’s crashing on install media it’s clearly the boards fault. The processors worked fine in the old board, and putting them back along with the memory and it’s working fine again. Something is wrong with the board.

So back into the bag, back into the box, and onto the shelf. Can’t say I’m such a happy elf.

Anyway it’s getting late. I’m off home, but a quick stop to the grocery store to try to remember how to make eggnog or something to at least make me forget this wasted sideline.

Curse of the Azure Bonds

A while ago I’d mentioned that as part of a large MS-DOS gaming upload to archive.org the old SSI ‘gold box’ games were online, including CotAB. What is more interesting is that while digging around for Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures, I found Simeon Pilgrim’s work on decompiling the old MS-DOS EXE, and converting it to run in .NET!

Yes, that’s right it’s all in C# You can find the project & downloads over on github.

This is nothing short of amazing!

The engine suffers many limitations from supporting 8bit machines, although they did uplift the graphics, music and sound although they didn’t increase the overall sizes. And the engine on the PC side was written in PASCAL of all things. I mean it was the hip language of the era, and well C is just too portable and reliable. The later SSI games were C++ apparently.

That said, for MS-DOS purists and those wanting to be legit, the old SSI AD&D games are on sale over on GOG, broken up into a few collections.

With collection 2 being the gold box editions, featuring:

  • POOL OF RADIANCE
  • CURSE OF THE AZURE BONDS
  • HILLSFAR
  • SECRET OF THE SILVER BLADES
  • POOLS OF DARKNESS
  • GATEWAY TO THE SAVAGE FRONTIER
  • TREASURES OF THE SAVAGE FRONTIER
  • FORGOTTEN REALMS UNLIMITED ADVENTURES

Which is a bargain at $3.39 USD!

I don’t know why I’m finding so much fun things on GOG, but here we are. In other news I got a new $99 USD dual Xeon board, although it seems to have some weird mystery issues including a ’99’ power issue, and when it does boot even the install media for Windows 10 bluescreens. Sad.

We Can Remember your electric sheep for you Wholesale, prices start at $8.99

Somehow I missed it, that GOG had managed to snag the rights right after November 2019, and released the most excellent Westwood studio’s version of Blade Runner! It’s currently on sale for $8.99!

Also included is a bunch of concept art from the film!

Naturally it’s using ScummVM to run the game, instead of the horribly broken Windows 95 specific executables from 22 years ago.

While starting up the game it dumps this:

Blade Runner

    From the dark recesses of David Leary's imagination comes a game unlike any
    other. Blade Runner immerses you in the underbelly of future Los Angeles.             
    Right from the start, the story pulls you in with graphic descriptions of a
    grandmother doing the shimmy in her underwear, child molestation, brutal
    cold-blooded slaying of innocent animals, vomiting on desks, staring at a
    woman's ass, the list goes on. And when the game starts, the real fun begins -   shoot down-on-their-luck homeless people and toss them into a dumpster. Watch
    with sadistic glee as a dog gets blown into chunky, bloody, bits by an
    explosive, and even murder a shy little girl who loves you. If you think 
    David Leary is sick, and you like sick, this is THE game for you.

    JW: Don't forget the wasting of helpless mutated cripples in the underground.
    It's such a beautiful thing!

    DL: Go ahead.  Just keep beating that snarling pit bull...ignore the foam
    around his jaws. There's room on the top shelf of my fridge for at least one
    more head... - Psychotic Dave

    MG: Is David Leary a self-respecting human or is he powered by rechargeable
    batteries?

    JM: Chrome...is that what that is?
    JM: It's hard to imagine that thing on either a car or a horse.
    MG: McCoy! What a witty chap...
    JM: He keeps me chuckling non-stop!

    JM: That McCoy--he's one funny guy! Jet-black fire truck, hehehehe...

NEAT!

Christmas came early!

Iv’e been in Japan the last 10 days, but upon my return to Hong Kong this little 9kg box was eagerly awaiting me!

I know that ‘unboxing’ donation videos are quite popular, but I thought I’d do the blog equivalent. I don’t want to ‘out’ the sender, although I did email them back a big THANKS, although I didn’t get a reply. Maybe it’s an email thing but I wanted to tell them THANKS again!

To start is a bunch of loose CD’s including old SDK’s, and the infamous Windows 2000 RC1 set including Dec Alpha builds of workstation & server. Also in there is Beta 3 of Windows 98! Cool!

In the box was also Back Office 45, Visual C++ 6.0, a sealed copy of Windows 2000 Server, Visual Studio 2005 Standard and Expression Studio 2.

I’ve always loved this, it’s NT 4.0 and all the good bits of 1997, like Exchange 5.5 & IIS 4.0! Also in there is a copy of Outlook 2000, so this is a much later build/packaging of Back Office 4.5 . I’ve always wondered how many if any Back Office purchasers ever used SNA Server. I’ve seen it something exclusively used in real enterprises that have site licenses anyways.

Visual C 6.0 is the last x86 compiler that was ‘pure’ before the .NET invasion. Although you can with a bit of work get 2003 and onward to build for strict Win32, but who wants to work? This is getting increasingly hard to find, and getting far more expensive. But it’s great to have this in retail in the box again! (I used to have this and Visual Studio 97/6.0).

It almost feels wrong to break the seal on this, although I’ll probably do an active directory deployment eventually now that I have machines running in the USA, Hong Kong, and Japan.

I’m super thankful for all of this, and if anyone else wants to send me their ‘old / obsolete junk’ drop me a line!

Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut Digital Classic Edition: Now on giveaway

You can find this over on gog. I remember the original that I had on the commodore 64, it was super tough (well for a kid), although I do remember chasing mutant rabbits through some farm, along with all the text being in a book, because the disks were simply too small back then.

But it was the inspiration for the later Fallout. Nice to see how it’s managed to get out from under the control of a dead & collapsed studio.

You can find it here: https://www.gog.com/#giveaway