Tuesday, December 23, 2014

About my choice(s) in Operating Systems...

My old desktop that was running a dual-boot of WinXP and Linux Mint recently decided to stop working right. I'm sure it's something simple like a power supply needing to be changed but, it got me thinking about the next desktop computer in my life. It will be something I build for myself this time. No one else is holding the purse strings since I'm no longer a perpetually broke college student. Dell will not be getting my business this time.

Many of my nerdy friends/Army buddies/relatives all want me to go whole-hog with the Linux thing and become a programmer that runs Debian. Well, that sounds nice, guys. Too bad I won't be having too much time to do that with the job that I have nowadays. I need computers that work consistently and are easy to fix when they go FUBAR. Hate on Microsoft all you want, Windows normally fits that bill. (Unless it's Win ME or Vista...) Sometimes, simple is best. Especially when you need the OS for a program that you use to make money, like I will with Xactimate.

All that being said, I find myself with a plethora of choices in operating systems. I've decided to use multiple OS programs, all on their own hot-swappable drives (CRU Data ports are awesome!!!) for the various following reasons. Also, be advised that gaming is not overly important to ANY of these installs except WinXP, which won't be used often. I prefer most of my gaming to be on consoles or portables.


Win XP

This is for the old legacy software that doesn't run so well on newer systems, mostly old games and the programs I used in college for media creation. This OS won't be doing anything else. It probably won't be going online much, either.

Yes, I know I can find ways to trick Win7 into playing games from the Win9x era but, why go through all that trouble for Doom or Chip's Challenge? (And I do have Doom running on Win7 right now with my laptop.)

Win 7
  • General everyday use
  • Business programs, including an Office Suite of some kind...
  • Artistic programs like Photoshop and video editors
  • PC games that were made for something newer than Win XP
  • My various very simple HTML projects (i.e. lists of my music, game and home video collections...)
  • Web-surfing that doesn't involve lots of large file downloads. (Social Media, e-mail, Wikipedia, et al.)
Linux Mint (or some other easy-to-use Linux distro)

This will be for downloading torrents and other things from sites that may not be all that safe. It can also double as general use if/when the Win 7 drive decides to screw up on me. I consider the chances of that to be minor but, there's always a risk.

Also, I'm going to need a live CD of the latest STABLE version of this OS, which as of this writing should be Mint 17, code-named 'Qiana.' I might also just run this from a Live CD instead of installing it on a HDD. I'll explore those options after I return home to New Orleans in a few weeks and set up my new Fortress of Solitude/Mad Scientist Laboratory/Workshop in the Garage.

Apple iOS

Don't worry, this is staying on my iPods and iPad. I wouldn't put this overly simple and limited OS on a real PC. :P

Too bad Apple can't write good Windows software to save their souls. The Windows version of iTunes usually sucks. Also, I want an alternative to iPods for my next .mp3 player. I am told Android devices can do that for me. I'll have to look into that more...

- Lord Publius

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Retro Game hunting in Bakersfield, CA

Even though I am leaving California next month, I am a creature of habit. And I wanted to see if there was a good hunting ground here for old games. If the six local Goodwill locations are any indication, I'd have to say that, despite a few oddities, the hunting here is fairly poor.

Location #1

At the first stop, there were...
  • A collection of PS2 & XBOX consoles, in various states of disrepair...
  • A PS1...
  • Some Guitar Hero controllers no one wanted...
  • A boxed copy of some football game for SEGA Genesis...
  • An arcade machine of Smash T.V., listed for about $900. Don't ask me if it's worth that much or if it worked because I do not know. I wouldn't have had a way to get it home anyway...
  • A small stack of PS2 games, which I raided for some very good condition copies of Burnout Dominator and L.A. Rush. I had a loose disc copy of L.A. Rush already but, the Burnout game was one of the titles still on my want list. Way to go so far, Goodwill...

Location #2

The only thing game-related at this place was an unopened TV Plug'N'Play game with a few sports titles that EA made for the SEGA Genesis in the Mid-90's. Even if it was only $4, I can't say that I really want something like that for my collection. It has no resale value that I know of, either.

Location #3

This small location was almost nothing but books. I did find a few game guides (and picked up one for the PC version of Quake II) but, that's all. Lame.

Location #4

Not a damned thing related to games.

Location #5

Here, we hit some pay dirt... Sort of... I found more Plug'N'Play stuff here but, it was good Plug'N'Play stuff. Namely...

Location #6

Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero items related to games.

And there you have it, folks. Retro-game hunting in Bakersfield. Not overly exciting at all. And this is one of the few reasons I have for missing Maryland. The retro game scene there is alive and vibrant. Here, it's practically non-existent. Glad I'm going home to NOLA in a few weeks...

- Lord Publius

iPads won't replace dedicated portable gaming devices

I hear a lot of talk about iPads (and other tablet PC's) somehow supplanting a dedicated portable gaming machine like the 3DS or the PS Vita. I've also heard that same jive about tablets replacing desktop and laptop PC's too. And something tells me that those folks have never heard any cautionary tales about trying to predict the future...

It's also strikingly similar to how PC gamers (who usually call themselves the 'PC master race') keep swearing that every new generation of consoles will be the last. They've been saying that crap since at least the era of Nintendo 64, SEGA Saturn and PS1. It's 20 years later now and we have Nintendo WiiU, Microsoft XBOX ONE and PS4. See why predicting the future is a fool's errand, guys?

Anyway, enough of the rant. I have an iPad, 3DS and PS Vita. Therefore, I will make the comparison right here and now. It's not all bad news for the iPad and its ilk. The iPad is great for games that require or make good use of touch controls (i.e. puzzle games like Bejeweled) or good use of the gyroscopic motion controls. (i.e racing games specifically made or adapted for the iPad.)

However, I wouldn't want to play too many other game genres on that platform. I tried Sonic the Hedgehog on an iPad at the Apple Store when I bought mine this past summer. The touchscreen controls used for the d-pad and the jump button were horribly unresponsive. There also didn't seem to be a way to input the level select code at the title screen, either. I've noticed that problem a LOT with the various ports of Sonic the Hedgehog to newer platforms in recent years. WTF, SEGA?! At least they made it as simple as pushing the X button in the new 3D version of that classic game that you can download to the 3DS portable from the Nintendo eShop.

If there is one advantage that iPad does have over dedicated devices like the 3DS and PS Vita, it's having a MUCH larger touchscreen. Playing puzzlers like Bejeweled on that tablet computer is as easy and fun as you wish your prom date was back in the day. I have several Bejeweled games for the original DS as well. Even on the larger DSiXL model, it just doesn't compare to an iPad.

All that being said though, would you want to play a first-person shooter on one of those over-priced portable computers with a fancy interface? I don't. In fact, I don't really want to play any game that requires precise control on that device. The touchscreens in existence now just don't compare to joypads, action buttons and analog joysticks. (Yes, I know I can buy controllers for an iPad. However, that does make the device LESS than portable.) Like I said earlier though, racing games seem to work well on an iPad. If SEGA can port Crazy Taxi to the iPad and make it a quite enjoyable experience, then I see promise in that area.

Of course, there is also the 'triple threat' of reasons why I personally won't be trading my 3DS or PS Vita for an iPad... And these reasons are likely to be major factors in why Apple iOS & Google Android will not be chasing Nintendo & Sony out of the portable market.

1.) The 3D effects on 3DS...

I love the stereoscopic effects of the 3DS screen. They add an all new dimension of fun to Mario, Zelda, Kirby and racing games that, so far, I'm not getting anywhere else. Nintendo may not be pushing that feature as much as they did when the machine first went on sale but, I still see it as one of the major selling points. It's certainly one of my favorite things about the device.

2.) Speaking of Mario, Zelda and Kirby... 

Are we going to see any 1st-party Nintendo games on a touchscreen tablet anytime soon? Not unless Nintendo makes one. Same goes for Sony with their great 1st party titles. (BTW Nintendo, I'd like to see a 3DS type of device with a screen as large as my iPad Mini someday. That would be awesome.)

There are also games I want to play that only one of these platforms can even handle, like the sequel to the Atari arcade classic Tempest called TxK. It was specifically made for the original version of the PS Vita because its programmer, Llamasoft's Jeff Minter (who's no fan of the iOS platform), loved the technology behind its OLED display.

It was worth getting a PS Vita just to play that game. It's trippy as all Hell, just as a good Tempest sequel should be... And I have to admit that I am curious about how it would look on the iPad. The screen on mine is pretty damned bright and crisp. The newer models are probably even better. Who knows, maybe a port can be done? Interested Jeff?

3.) The dedicated portable gaming devices are a LOT cheaper...

***EDITOR'S NOTE: All of these prices came from the manufacturer's website or the site of a major games retailer on 8 Dec 2014.***

MSRP of the lone 2DS model - $129.99

Most Expensive 3DS model (New 3DSXL) - $249.00

Most Expensive PS Vita model - $199.99, including a copy of Borderlands 2 as a pack-in game.

Cheapest new Apple iPad - $399 for a iPad mini 3 with 16GB of internal memory.

Tell me, which one would you be buying for your kids as their new toy this Christmas? Bet it ain't the iPad...

Oh, and some form of physical media for the games is the norm for the dedicated gaming devices. You aren't forced to download everything and just hope that it will still be on the servers when you buy the next ridiculously over-priced iPad that Apple decides to release. That's a huge plus for me and many other gamers. We like having something we can hold in our hand when we spend money on a game. There are some games that you have to download (like TxK up there) but, those downloads are either games from independent companies that can't afford the costs of physical copies sold at retail or old classics ported to a download service.

The iPad and other tablets do have their uses. I use mine everyday to surf Facebook and read news articles at work during my breaks and lunch. However, I don't use it for games very often. The reason why is because I'd either have to have it connected to a reliable high-speed wi-fi network (which I don't always have access to) or use iTunes while the tablet is plugged into one of my computers. I prefer NOT to use iTunes whenever possible. Apple never could write good versions of their software for Windows and they don't write ANYTHING for Linux so, I'm kinda screwed there. However, any rant I may have about iTunes will have to wait for another post.

- Lord Publius






Wednesday, December 17, 2014

North Korea can kiss my cock

Today, we have a few pics showing what I think of 'Dear Leader'...




And about that 'nuclear program' he has...










Seriously though, I'm not overly impressed with his country's military...



Congratulations, fat ass. When are you due? :P



Ya know, I bet a lot of starving people in your country would like to be invited to that buffet...



I'm sure they'd also LOVE  a cake machine too...




Just when you thought Justin Beiber couldn't possibly get MORE Homosexual...


Lolz... Time to lose some weight, guy....



And that ain't gonna help...




Got your own Dependopotamus, I see...




As if we really needed MORE evidence of Communism's failures...



Seriously, this fucking fat ass needs a bullet or two... Or 447...







No, Mr. Soetoro, I expect you to die!!! :P



And just because I never could get enough of making fun of ANY politician...



Kiss my cock, Kim. Kiss it like you know you love it...

- Lord Publius

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

About the CIA torturing terrorists...

All the methods for 'enhanced interrogation' being described in the press are usually ineffective. I have a better idea and will now describe it in the simplest way possible.

HOW TO MAKE HAJJI TALK

1.) Have the most evil S.O.B. in Uncle Sam's employ walk up to Hajji with a large, menacing-looking KA-BAR.

2.) Have said evil S.O.B. calmly inform the Hajji that we want *insert information here* and that he will give it to us.

3.) If Hajji refuses, said evil SOB will then politely inform Hajji that he either talks or we cut off his balls.

4a.) If Hajji refuses to co-operate, proceed with taking his balls. It would be preferable to do this in front of his co-horts so that they know we mean business.

4b.) If Hajji does co-operate, inform him that we will verify his information. If it is correct, he keeps his 2 best friends. If the information is Bullshit, we come back for his balls and make him wear them as earrings.

And if all that doesn't work, you might as well hack the Hajji bastard to death with that KA-BAR. Preferably, this will also be done in front of his co-horts. That way, they all know we mean business.

If this seems inhumane to anyone out there then, you're right. Considering that we are talking about terrorists here, I do not think of them as being worthy of ethical consideration. You lose any claim to being treated as Human when you act like an inhuman monster that deliberately attacks innocent civilians. I have spoken.

- Lord Publius

Saturday, December 6, 2014

About the USS Venture...

This is a post for the Trekkies out there.

About the USS Venture and those extra phaser emitters on the nacelles... Yeah, how exactly did that work?

If you don't know what I'm referring to, here's a picture of the ship in question:






















Does anyone know HOW exactly those phaser emitters on the nacelles would work WITHOUT seriously interfering with the normal operations of those nacelles?

It's a foregone conclusion that the phasers won't be firing when the ship is at warp but, how are t
hey transmitting the phaser energy to those emitters? It can't be through the Power Transfer Conduits coming from the Dilithium Crystal chamber in Main Engineering...

There must have been quite an extensive refit to get the necessary EPS power taps to that part of the ship... The pre-existing ones probably would have been a little too busy powering the warp coils. That, and you don't want there to be a place where the plasma energy supplying those coils can be bled off when the ship is trying to travel at warp. That would be bad. As in 'nacelles probably explode and take the ship with it' kinda bad...


Anyway, if somebody knows, please tell me. Memory Alpha hasn't been overly helpful. I'd hate to think was just done to make the ship look even more bad-ass... Or just because the model used for Venture in DS9 was a re-use of the Enterprise-D model from TNG after it was modified for the future scenes in All Good Things...

- Lord Publius