Archive for the ‘Off-Topic’ Category

Gordon Freeman Plaza

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

As my roommate and I were walking to the Sin Lab, he noticed this little gem marked up on a school building. This is what you get in an engineering school. Sorry about the poor camera quality.

That is all. JIT article will continue in a few days, they take a while to write.

HLDM Match

Friday, October 28th, 2005

I have been playing CS/HLDM for the past day or two for the first time in quite a while – I forgot how addicting games could be, as I’ve not had time to play them. When I made note of this in #amxmodx, hullu (aka “evilspy”, the man behind Metamod-P) challenged me to an HLDM match.

HLDM was the first real FPS I played online, and from the first day until now my favorite weapon of any game has been the tau cannon, and my favorite map of any game has been crossfire. Naturally, I couldn’t refuse a battle of the Metamod developers. I put up a server (nope – not even running Metamod!) and we played.

Hullu was pretty good. On crossfire he narrowly outplayed me and on stalkyard he mopped the terrain with my corpses. All in all he out shotgun’d, crossbow’d, MP5′d, and tau’d me. Obviously, this means Metamod-P is better than Metamod.

At various points a few other #amxmodx idlers joined in – Bloodmist and Greentryst. Screenshots:
Crossfire
Crossfire
Stalkyard

I have to admit, the best part was HUD messages like these:

BAILOPAN is now a processor vendor!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Check out http://steampowered.com/status/survey.html and scroll down to the Processor Vendor section.

If it’s not there anymore, here is a screenshot:
http://sniperbeamer.de/gallery/displayimage.php?album=5&pos=0

For those of you interested, this is how I’ve done it:
Before clicking Send (or whatever the last button was called) in Steam’s Hardware Survey, I have scrolled down and found out that it was going to send “GenuineIntel” as my processor vendor. So I attached WinDbg to the steam.exe process, and I have entered this command:

.foreach ( place { s -a 0x1 0x10000000 "GenuineIntel" } ) { ea place "LeetBailopan" }

Then, continue the process with
g

And press Send!

Also note that the command I have posted does not append a terminating null character; I don’t know whether the strings need to be fixed-length so I have just chosen something with the same length :)

Gaben rocks!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

As HL Fallout reports Gaben has started touring full-time with his rock band.
His first single is Chasing the Sun.
You should also have a look this photo.

Happy Easter

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

Happy Easter, everyone!

If you didn’t know, Easter is a religious holiday where if Jesus sees his shadow, there are six more weeks of Lent.

thanks I’ll be here all night

Gentoo, AMD64

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

As my harddrive died a few days ago, I’ve been toying around with Linux distributions on my Athlon64 machine. Your mileage may vary, and I’ve run through numerous installations of Gentoo on x86-64 before. However, when I went to install it on my desktop today, the kernel I compiled didn’t boot. When I rebooted, my partition table was zeroed and I had to use gpart to recover it (using the excellent Knoppix).

Looks like I’ll be sticking with Debian for x86-64. I’ve gotten sick of trying to maintain Gentoo on my server (wichita.tcwonline.org, which hosts SourceMod and AMX Mod X) and have sorely missed a dependable package management system. Eventually, when Sarge is released, I will be moving Wichita to Debian 4.0.

So, I’ve also installed a 32bit distro for beta testing, called Xandros. It’s actually quite a nifty package.

The idea behind Xandros is that the OS should be – gasp – user friendly! I know, I know, in the world of Open Source this is virtually unheard of. Xandros makes a considerable and valiant effort, and in my opinion, is one of the best desktop distros of Linux I’ve ever used.

1. The installation was a breeze. Instead of confusing the user with a myriad of options, it kept everything simple. Instead of letting the user choose between eight different (and bad) incomprehensible window managers, it simply uses KDE for everything. Instead of asking which media players the user wants (such as mplayer, xine, xmms, noatun, etc), it simply has an option for “Media Player”. While some users might find this restrictive, I think it’s wonderful. This is how a distribution should be – not a conglomeration of random packages, but a set of packages that work together. The 1CD install’s most difficult portion was configuring the partitions.

2. The bootloader was well done. Other distros have border-line tolerable bootloader displays. While I’m no LILO fan, Xandros makes pretty usage of it and the boot-up process looks very similar to Windows XP. Familiarity is key when making something for migration.

3. The login process and window manager weren’t plastered with random, unnecessary things. Again, this is similar to Windows – a very simple login box.

4. The package management system is apt. For those of you unfamiliar, apt is the packagement system Debian uses. No other Linux distro has done something comparable, as far as I’ve seen. While Xandros doesn’t have a lot of packages in its apt repository yet, it has huge potential.

5. It felt fast. A default install of Fedora Core 3 on a 2.4GHz machine makes me feel like I’m using Windows 2000 on a 800MHz Celeron. Xandros felt very lightweight. This, of course, is completely anecdotal.

6. Aside from a few framebuffer problems, it just worked. Out of the box, it detected all of my drivers and everything. This is light years ahead of Mandrake, which, get this – didn’t detect my CD ROM drive from its own installer. I am not kidding – the installer said “Could not detect CD ROM drive”. I was able to install it by forcing the CD to use kernel 2.4. However, kernel 2.4 did not support my network card, so when Mandrake finally finished its six CD install, I decided to upgrade the kernel using Mandrake’s own GUI. After selecting the 2.6.9 kernel off the CD and installing it through the package manager, my Mandrake install never booted again. Not even when using the older kernel.

This was a boxed copy of Mandrake 10.0 “Power Pack”.

The only three distributions I can honestly say have impressed me are Debian, Xandros, and Knoppix (note the latter two are based on Debian, and both use KDE).

Next on my list of “Distributions to try” are Yoper and Ubuntu, but as the past few days have been a disaster with regards to my using computers without breaking them, I’m not too eager to start installing operating systems.

Western Analog

Friday, March 18th, 2005

Well, I woke up this morning to the following Windows XP Stop Error:
UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME

Yes, my hard drive had died. I was able to spin it up enough to back up my data, but it won’t stay on for longer than a few minutes before locking up whatever it’s connected to. When I ran a disk check on it, I was getting bad sectors. This explains the odd behaviour my computer has had for months now.

About four years ago I promised myself I’d stop buying Western Digital drives – four died on me. When I got this one, I thought, Maybe they’ve changed over the years. Nope, they still make terrible hardware. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so either, as I can relate a little anecdote.

In the Sin Lab we have a WD hard drive on display which, by the looks of it, was hacked open by a machete. We’ve no idea where it came from, but it appeared one night with the following note: “The problem is here (arrow pointing toward a giant gash)”.

A friend stopped by and said, “the real problem is that they bought a Western Digital drive”. I replied, “No, Western actually ships them like that.” It provoked a laugh from everyone in radius.

Idea of the day: companies should quality test their hardware!

Phew, an Update!

Friday, March 4th, 2005

Well, for the most part, school took a heavy chunk of my time for the past few weeks. It hasn’t been fun, and needless to say, I can’t neglect school work.

I’ve just finished finals (for those of you that know me, my school does not use a semester system, we have three classes in seven week “terms”, with four terms named A-D). Term D starts in twelve days.

I should have a lighter course load next term, but I really don’t know yet. Anyway, I leave for a four day vacation to Maryland, and when I get back, I plan to release some sort of SourceMod package for developing purposes.

I’ve said all along that SourceMod has always been usable, and so far it has. But the state of generic mod development in the world of Valve is very grim, and none of us are very sure of the future Valve is painting towards pluggable modability.

While we’ve done quite a big of work to weasel around design problems in Source, the end result is that Valve is continually changing an undocumented set of buggy rules. While Valve certainly has every right to do this, it means that it will be a while before SourceMod will ever be considered “production, user-friendly stable”. Note, this is coming from a Debian fanatic, so my idea of “stable” is pretty strict – it means good documentation, crash-free, and no drastic changes without prior warning. Valve often releases information when they change important things (such as the server query protocol, which YoMama will now have to rewrite portions of smWeb for), most things are undocumented save for changelog entries or posts to hlcoders/VERC.

A common argument I hear against Valve’s HL2SDK waverings is that “HL1′s SDK took a long time to get where it finally ended”. This is true, however, this means it will likewise take SourceMod a long time to reach this state. Furthermore, the road blocks we’ve hit don’t end at the code level, but with Valve’s attitude toward the problems people have encountered. Many of these problems, such as undocumented changes, occurred with HL1′s SDK even after it stabilized. Although here you could argue that Valve was too busy preparing for Steam and HL2, the end result is that it’s a noted, problematic trend.

Hopefully, over time, these issues will dissolve one way or another. In the meantime, there is a long road ahead for Server Plugins and the HL2SDK.

I’ll be back soon, and hopefully over my break we’ll be able to release some sort of development package.