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Half a page of scribbled lines

Half a page of scribbled lines
Dan (from Dan's Remakes) blogs on a variety of subjects such as his freeware games (for Windows, Linux and MacOS X), retro gaming, Linux, games reviews, technology news, humour and anything else that takes his fancy.
Articles: 1, 2, 3


Just-Eat? Just Wait more like!
2008-05-31 09:27:00
The great British take-away! OK, so we know that take-aways aren't exactly the healthy option, but every now and then the temptation is too great and a pizza is the only cure.Being a child of the internet age (well, second childhood anyway) I rather like being able to order and pay for my takeaways online rather than having to hunt out menus, phone the restaurant (how old-fashioned!) and hope that I've got enough cash on me to pay for it.Dominoes Pizza used to be my online take-away of choice, although at the time it was a choice of one. Now, however many companies are vying for our online orders. So alongside established regulars like Dominoes and Pizza Hut (which sadly doesn't deliver to where I live) are newcomers Just-Eat.The Just-Eat service doesn't just provide pizzas. They provide online services for existing local take-away restaurants, so depending on where in the country you live they may provide links to Kebab Shops, Indian Restaurants, Chinese Takeaways or Fish ...
More About: Wait
Arcadia - Test 4 coming soon
2008-05-28 15:15:00
As I said in my previous post I'm updating and polishing some of my existing games before moving on to the new stuff, and Arcadia is the second game to get the treatment.I've had a lot more to do here to get the code up to scratch, but now there are separate Windows and Linux releases of the game (rather than two binaries in one archive), all the graphics are embedded into the game, the joystick code has been updated to include a "deadzone" (required for some analogue joypads), separate DirectX and OpenGL modes for Windows and some other bug fixes and code cleanups.All in all the game isn't in too bad a shape now, so once I've compiled the Windows and MacOS X versions (and uploaded them onto the site) then it'll be on to the next target: RetroVaders.
More About: Test
Dan's Remakes - May Update
2008-05-27 14:31:00
After a quiet couple of months on the remakes front I'm back in business.There have been a couple of issues that I've been wanting to resolve before moving on with newer stuff, one relating to Windows, the other to Windows and Linux.The main one with Windows is to do with BlitzMax and they way it works (or fails to) with some graphics cards. The method I'd been trying of autodetecting what display mode should work (DirectX or OpenGL) doesn't always work - sometimes leaving you with a black screen.I didn't want to have to go back to having two binaries for Windows, so I've set Retro Roids up to accept command-line parameters to force it to use one method or the other. I've also used an MSI installer package to distribute the game, which includes shortcuts for both modes (and for the readme).Hopefully that should sort things out permanently for Windows.The other issue relates to packing games. If RetroRoids is going to work for regular users when installed then the configurat...
More About: Update , Remakes
On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - Episode 1
2008-05-22 00:39:00
I've made no secret of the fact that I use Linux as my OS of choice on my home PC. For me it does what I need, and doesn't get in my way. The only disadvantage I've found is that there is a severe lack of games available, so when a new game supports Linux it tends to be a newsworthy event.Today is such an event.I'm sure you've heard of Penny-Arcade. If not then may I say welcome to our planet, and I hope the cave you were living in was pleasant. It has been no secret that they were developing a game, but what was less well known was what systems it would be released on.Windows, MacOS, XBox Live and. . . . . . Linux.Damn it, they are supporting us! Bless their black and jaded hearts they are supporting us!Download the demo here and see what you think.
More About: Episode , Rain , Episode 1 , Darkness
Ubuntu vs XP - Old Hardware Shootout
2008-05-12 22:22:00
Now that I've upgraded the hard drive in my testbed laptop it is time to do a re-install to get things back to the way I want them.Seeing as I'm setting up the laptop for Dual Booting, this is a good chance to compare the "out of the box" settings for Windows X P versus Ubuntu 7.10."But Windows XP is old hat now!" I hear you cry. Well, not so. In fact Microsoft are targeting XP on the new low-spec laptops such as the Asus Eee PC, system specs that aren't a million miles away from my test laptop.System spec: Toshiba Satellite Pro 2600 @800mhz, 256meg ram, 40gb hd, 1024x768 lcd display, built-in wireless.Working hard drive transferred from older PCOK, so this isn't something that the regular user is going to do very often, but sometimes if you are upgrading your hardware moving the OS may be something you need to do.In my case a hard drive was taken from a working dual-booting laptop, which had been set to boot between Windows XP Service Pack 2 and FreeSpire. On booting the disk...
More About: Hardware
Random stuff from my week
2008-05-10 11:47:00
This has been quite a busy week, both at work and at home. Having to children at home keeps you busy at the best of times, starting to prepare for the new baby (due date October 21 folks!) is keeping us in a permanent state of panic.Work has been busier than usual. Last week was spent on a fast-track Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Planning, Implementing and Maintaining course (Microsoft 2279B and 2282A). Since I've spent the last year or so battling with our current AD setup most of this was pretty familiar, but it is nice to get an insight into the less well used aspects of AD, and also to see the new features for AD 2003. Now all that remains it to persuade my boss to buy the licenses to upgrade our AD controllers to Windows Server 2003.This week has been varied at work (to say the least). We had a major crash on our main editorial server (running on Solaris) that took a little while to sort out. The problem looks like it was either caused by the network card or by so...
More About: Linux , Windows X , Blogging , Random , Stuff
100% Clean award guaranteed by SOFTPEDIA
2008-04-30 21:22:00
Not that there should have been any doubts, but now it's official: all my Mac OS X games are 100% Spyware, Adware, Trojan and Virus free.Thank you SOFTPEDIA.
More About: Clean , Award
Mac shares on Server 2003
2008-04-23 18:47:00
Todays challenge was to get file sharing working for Mac OS 9 clients on our new Windows 2003 server.Installing "Services for Macintosh" is straight forward, and as such I won't go into that here (if you are stuck at this point then here is a hint for you: in "Add / Remove Programs" there is a "Windows Components" section, you install it from there).Once it was installed, I created a new Macintosh share (and received a warning that the share would be created as read-only for mac clients).But when trying to browse to the server from the Macs - I couldn't see the server at all.The reason for this turns out to be simple. We have two onboard network adapters on the server, but are only using one of them. The AppleTalk network protocol will only work against a single card in the machine, and it had associated itself with the wrong one. Ticking the "Accept inbound connections on this adapter" checkbox in the "Appletalk Network Protocol" on the active card (and selecting the correct Ap...
More About: Server , Shares
Adventures with Ubuntu
2008-04-18 14:57:00
Seeing as my Ubuntu CDs had arrived, I decided to see how the Toshiba would run with it.First problem - installation. The install routine needs over 350 meg of ram to be able to run (!). I found this hard to believe - but three hours into trying to install via the desktop shortcut on the live CD I'm forced to agree. It doesn't work.Since I still wanted to see Ubuntu running from a proper install on the laptop I downloaded the "Alternative Install" ISO which has a text mode installer. This works fine - in fact the only long winded part of it was waiting for the files to copy. FreeSpire took around half-an-hour to install, Ubuntu has taken that long already and is still going (and this is without installing any updates).Select and install softwarePlease wait...Well, that took some time. Over an hour for the install, and that's without any updates. But, at least it's now in and working, right?Well, nearly.After rebooting and logging in as my new user I received an error that...
More About: Linux , Adventures
Things that make you smile
2008-04-14 12:28:00
Sometimes it is the smaller things in life that make you smile, such as receiving a batch of free Ubuntu install / live CDs from Canonical.It still amazes me that a company is willing to send out free CDs (and to pay the postage themselves too). Not only that, but they've added in a batch of Ubuntu stickers this time too.Neat!I'll be having a play with Ubuntu 7.10 later on this week, and handing out free CDs to friends and colleagues too.
More About: Linux , Freebies , Smile , Make
Net Neutrality is ?A Load of Bollocks?
2008-04-14 12:08:00
According to Neil Berkett, the new CEO of Virgin Media , ?This net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks.? Mr Berkett followed this by stating that Virgin Media is already in negotiations with content providers (such as the BBC) to provide their media faster. For a fee, of course.Those companies that refuse this commercial blackmail will find the "Information Superhighway" becomes the "Information Bus Lane."Sometimes you wonder why CEOs are allowed to speak in public. The last time I saw this level of idiocy was from the then head of Ratners jewellery stores, Gerald Ratner. You may well be saying to yourself at this point, "Ratners? Who?"Back in the 1980s Ratners sold "value" jewellery from high-street stores and were very successful. In fact, they had over 2,000 stores across the UK, and were making huge profits. The business was seen as one of the UK's great success stories.That was until Gerald Ratner opened his mouth at an Institute of Directors (IoD) Conference in 1991.So suc...
More About: Net Neutrality , Load
Weapon Brown - Blockhead's War
2008-04-13 12:14:00
You may have heard of Jason Yungbluth. In the world of comics he is the definition of a twisted genius. Between his own self-published Deep Fried comics, web cartoons, work on Mad Magazine, not to mention work for DC Comics he is certainly heading in the right direction to becoming a cartooning superstar.So what has brought on this unsolicited outpouring of admiration towards Jason? Two words: Weapon Brown .As parodies go, Weapon Brown is nothing short of a work of genius. A post-apocalyptic take on Charles M Schultz's creation that somehow manages to seamlessly blend an Akira / Mad Max style world with grown-up versions of the Peanuts gang.You can get hold of the first collection of Weapon Brown stories from Jason's website. I did ages ago, and still find myself going back for another read.So what is Blockhead's War going to bring to the table? Well, let's let the man himself explain: Having exhausted all the possibilities of spoofing the inhabitants of the Peanuts com...
Quiet in here, isn't it?
2008-04-13 10:50:00
Regular readers (hello both of you) have probably been wondering why things have been so quiet here (and pretty silent on the Dan's Remakes site too).Well, the curse of the hobbyist known as "Real Life " has been very much in evidence lately. After dealing with work and home, hobby stuff has had to take a very distant third place.Well, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and after tomorrow things should be a bit more settled which should give me some time to get back into blogging, and programming too.I'll also (hopefully) soon be back in the position where I have access to a Mac so I can compile some updates for MacOS X.
More About: Blogging , Quiet
FreeSpire 2.0.8 - First Impressions
2008-04-04 09:17:00
Regular readers may remember my quest to find the perfect GNU/Linux for my elderly HP OmniBook XE (40 gb hard drive, 156 meg RAM, running at a cracking 450mhz). I have tried a few different distros with varying levels of success - Green OS being the closest so far.I've been playing with XP on the beast too - which worked surprisingly well on the limited hardware and memory.Recently I went back to try a current version of Freespire, which like Green OS is based on Ubuntu. I've had limited success with Ubuntu itself, but strangely enough distros based on it seem to work well.Freespire is no exception. I'd decided to set the laptop to dual boot between XP and Freespire in case everything went tits up. I'd given Freespire a dry run on an old Dell PC which I'd had lying around.If you do a default install (and take over the entire disk) then the install is entirely painless, and slightly easier than installing Windows XP.Setting up a dual boot on FreeSpire through was less strai...
More About: Wireless , First Impressions , Impressions
You'll Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany
2008-03-27 15:13:00
Obi Wan could well have had the yahoo message board for SCOXQ.PK (formerly known as SCOX) in mind when he spoke the immortal line about Mos Eiseley.If you want a good example of idiocy and grade A lunacy then pop on over and have a read. Just don't take anything said on there at face value.Somehow the message board has degenerated into a Linux vs Windows flame fest - with each side just as bad as the other. According to one side Linux is the best, Windows is evil. According to the others Linux is broken beyond repair whilst Windows is perfect.You've just got to hope that no-one takes this collection of pond-scum from the bottom of the gene pool seriously as they aren't doing anyone any favours.Lets face it, it is entirely possible to run Linux full-time these days without worrying about recompiling the kernel when you reconfigure your hardware. That hasn't been true for nearly a decade (if not longer). Most hardware works as well in Linux as it does in Windows, which is act...
More About: Microsoft , Open Source , Find , Scum , Hive
Cavern Lander - Tech Demo 1
2008-03-25 12:38:00
Over the Easter weekend I've had a browse through the code for "Cavern Lander ", which started as an experiment with the RetroRoids code to see how much work it would take to add in gravity effects.I'd got it to a point where it pretty much worked before a large dose of the curse of the hobby programmer known as "real life" stepped in and curtailed my coding activities for a couple of weeks.To get myself back up to speed I decided to pick up the code again - and after sorting out some niggling bugs and cleaning the code up further I'd got a stable code-base to build the game on.I'm not counting this as a proper demo release purely because the game is so early in its development - but as a technical demo to see how a gravity game would work I think it does its job quite well.The initial feedback has been positive too so I'll spend some more time on the game over the next couple of weeks and see what I end up with.The game itself plays a bit like a cross between Lander, Thrust and...
More About: Tech , Demo
Yesterday's Pizza
2008-03-24 11:03:00
Here I am, enjoying that "morning after" feeling. Actually I don't feel too bad all things considered, eating the remains of yesterday's pizza has helped me feel a bit more human.Yes, I was out and about last night, experiencing our Great British "pub culture" first hand.Its been a while since I've hit the town, and to say it was a bit unfamiliar was an understatement. One thing that I did notice was that at the venerable age of 34 I was the oldest person by a clear ten years in some of the bars (and that is including the bar staff too).I think that I've finally accepted the fact that I have now officially become an old fart.Clue number 1: I hated the music.Clue number 2: I didn't recognise any of the songs.Clue number 3: I found myself complaining about the price of things ("A drink costs HOW MUCH?!?").Clue number 4: Realising that I was one of the oldest people in some of the bars.Clue number 5: Even though the outside temperature was below zero, I was one of the few p...
More About: Pizza
Boxer Hockey
2008-03-19 21:08:00
I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Boxer Hockey is a seriously strange web comic with some amazing art work.I've been reading it pretty much since it started - and although it is still fairly irregularly published it tends to be well worth the wait.There are quite a few strips in the archive, so if you haven't already seen it then now is a pretty good time to start.
Fun with a Sun
2008-03-18 13:15:00
One of the joys of working in I.T. is the sheer variety of tasks that can await you.Today I've had the pleasure (ahem) of dealing with a disk upgrade on a Sun A1000 raid controller, connected to a Sun Ultra 60 running Solaris 8.On paper the job is straight-forward. Simply add the new disks into the array, use them as a raid 5 set, configure a new partition in the new container and adjust the vfstab to mount the new partition at the correct point on the system.Easy, no?Stage 1 was started last night. To check how our raid was currently set up we went to check the Raid Array Manager software that comes with the A1000. Not installed. How about disksuite them? Nope. Not installed either.We couldn't locate the Solaris 8 install CDs but found the Raid Array Manager install CDs so we installed that, and as per the instructions halted and re-booted using "boot -r". And heres where the fun begins.Now it couldn't see the existing partitions on the Raid, even though the Raid Array Ma...
Taking the Rough with the Smooth - Version 2
2008-03-17 21:07:00
This is partly a replacement and partly a follow-up article to Taking the Rough with the Smooth , as the original doesn't really get across what I wanted to say, or more importantly, why I felt the need to say it.Not long before I wrote that article I'd received my first piece of hate mail. In the couple of years I've been publishing software online (since 2002 in fact) I've been lucky in that the correspondence I've had from users has been positive, even from those who've had problems. So this one came as a nasty surprise.I'm not going to repeat the email in question, but needless to say it was far from encouraging or constructive. When people contact me with problems, I usually go out of my way to help resolve their issues. More out of habit than inclination I did the same here. I thanked the sender for taking the time to get in touch, explained some of the points he had raised and promised an updated release which would fix another issue that he'd had.Needless to say I d...
More About: Version
RetroRoids - Games4Mac Game of the Week
2008-03-16 23:52:00
I've just had a nice surprise courtesy of Game s 4Mac - a German MacOS games site. Retro Roids has been named as their "Spiel der Woche" (which roughly translates as Game of the Week ).Wow! Fame at last!
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
2008-03-16 22:10:00
There had been a few things that I was going to write about this weekend, but the dreaded "man-flu" kept me feeling sorry for myself and away from my keyboard, so here is a late weekend update of the posts that would have been.Star Trek: Of Gods and Men - Episode 2I was lucky enough to get an early viewing of the second episode and, I've got to say, I enjoyed it. I'm still not sure about the shaky-cam look to it as it doesn't really fit in with Star Trek, but that aside it is well worth a view. There will be a full review (with screen captures) later on this week.Site Traffic UpdateWell, far from getting banned from Google (although this site currently has a Google Page Rank of zero) I've ended up with a traffic increase, but not from T2000. In fact, I've not seen a single hit from their site. No, in a surprisingly ironic twist all my additional traffic has come from Google, to some of my earlier posts. And rather than doubling my traffic, it has nearly quadrupled it! I t...
More About: Sunday , Retro , Afternoon
Dead and Dying
2008-03-15 11:59:00
I was going to post something about the PIN for Google Adsense arriving in the post today, but, to be honest, I really don't feel up to it today.I've got that wonderfully grotty feeling that my wife sympathetically refers to as "Man Flu". So with that in mind I'm off to take some more flu medicine and sniffle in a pathetic manner, whilst I wait for it to take effect.
More About: Dead , Dying
Things to do on your day off #1 - Reconfigure Your Network
2008-03-14 10:49:00
Around this time last year I invested in a cheap-and-cheerful Dynamode BR-6004 Wireless Router and a LinkSys wireless PCI network card. This was to allow my children to access the internet from their bedroom without me having to run cables through the house.The downside to this was the built-in four port hub. For some reason there was a noticeable delay when accessing the internet when directly wired in to the hub. This meant that for browsing the web the my kids PC felt faster than the directly wired one.I'd never found a way around this, but as the actual download speeds were OK it was something I was willing to put up with.There were some other issues with the router. One of them was that you had to run Internet Explorer in order to configure the modem. FireFox or Konqueror just wouldn't work correctly with it.None of this was reason enough to ditch it so I've stuck with it, albeit slightly annoyed that the kids had a better browsing experience than I did, and I was payin...
More About: Networking , Networks , Network , Things
Stranger than fiction
2008-03-13 22:39:00
You just can't make this stuff up. Apparently a women in Kansas spent so long on the toilet that her body molded itself to the seat.From the article:The case drew nationwide attention after Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the Ness City woman?s skin had grown around the seat in the two years she apparently was in the bathroom.?We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital,? Whipple said. ?The hospital removed it.?And they say that men spend too long on the can. . . . .
More About: Fiction
Rant Time!
2008-03-13 21:50:00
Those of us in the UK will be aware of this, but for those of you who are not from our fair land we've just had the annual celebration during which the Government finds new and exciting ways to devalue our currency. This is known as "The Budget ."The tax on fuel has, of course, been increased. This will inevitably cause the price of all other consumer goods to rise too as the cost of transporting and manufacturing them increases.Apparently this is the Governments way of safeguarding the environment. I guess what they mean by that is that eventually no-one will be able to afford to buy anything and will starve to death. After the population has been reduced enough there will be less people to produce pollution.Result!
More About: Time , Fuel , Rant
Taking the rough with the smooth
2008-03-13 09:08:00
Blogging gives you a whole lot of freedom. As someone who, in real life, works for a newspaper (albeit in an I.T. role at present) I can appreciate the fact that as a blogger I have complete editorial control over what I publish.Admittedly there have always been ways of doing this. A couple of years ago I could have started a fanzine which, if I was lucky, would have reached a hundred or so people a month. With a blog I can reach that many people in a day.It is the same with programming. Back in the day (pre-internet) most of the stuff I create would have ended up either being sold through the small-ads of a computer magazine or via a budget software company. It would have reached maybe a couple of thousand players. Publishing it myself for free doesn't make me any money, but on the other hand has reached many thousands of people.One of the high-spots of doing this is getting positive feedback, either in comments or via email. I've had my fair share of both, but don't let ...
More About: Smooth , Taking
Keyword Frenzy
2008-03-11 21:29:00
Hello.You may be wondering about the large number of keywords for this post.Well, there is a reason for that.I'm trying to see if more keywords means more hits to this entry. Usually I'm fairly frugal about how many labels I add to each post, so I'm curious to see if that strategy is a good one or not.It is worth noting that the most labels you can have is 20.The results, as usual, will follow.P.S. - While you are here why not have a look around - maybe you'll find something you like?
More About: Google , Website , Spam , Traffic , Keyword
SQL Induced Brain Death part 2
2008-03-11 16:56:00
I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and thankfully this time it wasn't an oncoming train.I've finally managed to get the correct data out in a usable format and generate the reports that our accounts department required (reconciling the net number of newspapers sold, grouped by route to market and taking into account discounts and returning the correct revenues). The SQL query used is a bit of a beast (and takes half-an-hour to run) but it at least returns the correct result set.Now I can sit down quietly and have a head-ache!
More About: Death , Part , Brain , Sybase
SQL Induced Brain Death
2008-03-10 19:36:00
It isn't too often I find myself praising Microsoft 's software, but when it comes to SQL, Microsoft's admin tools reign supreme (although MySQL's tools are catching up).Sadly, today I've been using Sybase 's SQL server, which although it is a good database product, it stinks big time when it comes to the management tools.So this afternoon has felt a bit like stepping back in time ten years, to a time when all SQL code was written by hand instead of dragging links in a graphical environment, and testing the results meant exporting a text file for another program to deal with.Sigh.This makes dealing with complex queries more of a hassle than it needs to be, and accounts for the feeling of brain death that I'm now enjoying.
More About: Death , Brain
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