Quest for the forgotten code

Recently, I have been going through my old software, looking for some code I know I have written in a day. During this endeavor I have discovered several projects I completely forgotten. I don’t know why I have abandoned them, but whatever the cause was, I am going to share what I found with you. Bear (beer) with me, please. (Screenshots pending)

HiME/Otome Player
Music player I developed back in high school. Started off as WIndrok (Amarok for Wndows clone), ended as HiME/Otome Player (a nod to Mai HiME anime). Quite feature complete (playback, database, playlists, last.fm integration, mini mode etc.), but with completely outdated UI.

ICS Calendar Sync
Software I written to sync my multiple Google Calendar with my Windows Mobile 6 device. It worked great, but currently I see no use to it.

Vapor
Private Steam alternative for old games. You insert CD/DVD, it copies the games and stores it on a local server. You can connect to it afterwards, and install games without optical disk. Working, but I had no time to create huge database of games to rip.

DropCMD
Weird little piece of software which allowed for simplified remote access to remote machine through Dropbox file synchronization.

And, that is all for now. I got quite nostalgic.

Zooooombie…

I don’t know why, but I decided to revive my blog once again, although I fear that I will fail again and will stop updating it quite soon, leaving it zombiefied, rather than fully alive.

But I hope I am wrong, because I have a lot on my mind, and I feel I will feel better when I after I share what I feel with you.

Pathfinding problems

Lately I have been working my small project (made just for fun), a hex-grid based strategy game. One of the biggest problems I’ve encountered was checking if unit has enough movement points left to move to a specific hex.

For two days I was trying to design an algorithm that would check if unit can go from hex A to hex B in real time – i.e when you move mouse over the battlefield. I’ve tried a lot of algorithms, recursive and non-recursive, I’ve searched the web. Still, nothing.

Until I’ve started up HoMM 2 (or, to be exact, FreeHeroes on my tablet), and… bingo! I understood that I should not try to find if unit can go from hex A to hex B. I should instead move the unit and see where it can go, and store that information. 15 minutes of coding later units moved on the battlefield as they should.

Notification ads? Hell no, however…

There is a lot of hate on the Internets now about Notification ads in some Android applications. And I must say I don’t like the idea (I would never use this kind of ads in my app), but the way some users react is way too harsh.

Here is a quote I found, that describes general attitude towards Notification ads:

“Immediate downrate of app, angry email to the dev, and uninstall of app.”

I can understand the anger – no one likes ads in general – but sending angry mail to the developer? Really? Why not send a mail when you like an app, or you found a bug – instead of posting “FC on Galaxy Tab” comment on Market, so I have no way of contacting user and finding the cause of the crash,

Another problem is, most of the users want all of the apps to be free – especially Android apps. I can understand it very well – I search for free apps myself – but I know that developing an app for any device or OS costs time and money. If you are not hired to write an app and/or live in the country where you can sell apps (here, in Poland, I can’t) – ads (in app, Notification ads) are the only way you can get some of the time and money you invested back.

In the end, I must say I understand developers using Notification ads – even if I don’t like them. And because of that, I will not use apps that have these kind of ads. It is as simple as that – I don’t like, I don’t use. There is no free alternative – I pay or create my own. But I won’t run around and scream “These stupid developers want to make money”.

Oh God, I think I have written enough.

Chinese tablet battery problems

For over 6 months I’ve been a happy user of Chinese manufactured Android tablet, HaiPad M701-R based on Telechips TCC8902 core.

I was happy – but I was disappointed with one thing – battery life. I had to turn off the device completely very often (using built in hardware switch) – because the device had broken sleep mechanism, and was draining battery like crazy (even on upgraded 2.3 firmware).

I got around 6hr standby time max (with WiFi radio off) – and this was when device was not used at all – even less than my MSI Wind U100 with new 7.2Ah battery running with WiFi on (this may not be the best comparison, but I hope you understand the reason for my disappointment).

Few day ago, while I was browsing slatedroid.com forum, I found a guide that mentioned recalibrating battery as remedy for short battery life – and to my surprise, it worked incredibly well.

From 6hr standby time, I managed to get 17hr, half of that time with WiFi radio on. I have not measured run time while browsing/watching movies (I don’t think I will be a lot better than before calibration), but now I know that I don’t have to turn my tablet off when I don’t use it.

These &^%$# patches!

I hate game patches. Especially 2.4GB big ones.

Recently, I play a lot of computer games. I have bought most of them in summer sales in different shops (most of them on Steam Summer Sale).

Until last week I was staying at home, where I have decent internet connection (24Mbps), I did not have any problems – I’ve purchased a game, installed it and all the patches, and played.

Last Monday I’ve arrived at place I’ll be spending most of my summer vacation. I have a decent PC here, so I took several games with me – Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (retail, “EA classics” edition) and Frontlines: Fuel of War (Steam backup) among the others.

I have installed them, and I tried to play a little.

I tried. Instead of just “letting me play”, battlefield started downloading 2.4GB patch, with fixes related mostly to multiplayer part. 2.4GB, on 1Mbps connection, shared with 3 other PCs in the house. Frontlines, on the other hand, said that game is only installed in 58% – when total game size is 12.4GB.

My question is: Why? Why do I need to install a patch? Why did Steam backup only 58% of my game?

I just want to have a little fun, and watching download progress bar is as fun as watching a damn progress bar.

If only the weather were better…

PS. Today it is! Screw you, Battlefield, I’m going to read books in the garden!

Multiple monitors + old (USB) KVM + Windows 7 Solution

Recently I had problems with my old KVM switch. I have two machines hooked up to my KVM – one dual monitor WIndows 7 PC, and Linux HTPC. When I switched KVM outputs, my windows machine always acted like the non-KVM connected monitor has been blasted into oblivion, breaking my two monitor configuration.

Only way I found to get my settings back was to use “Screen Resolution – Detect Display” button – but this process was slow and very inefficient.

I’ve searched the net for answers, only to find that Windows 7 does this "by design”.

So, after uncle Google has failed me, I decided to sit down and deal with the problem myself. It took me about an hour, but now I can proudly present to you, one and magnificent, ultimate, old-KVM dual-monitor anti-configuration-breaking tool – KVM Display Detect.

KVM Display Detect download (free, of course)

How does it work? It simply scans your USB ports looking for HID devices. When you change output on old KVM, you disconnect your USB mouse. After you change it back – you reconnect it. KVMDD waits for this signal, and after detecting it, it runs system utility to force display re-enumeration. Simple, and works well.

Online La… Gaming

I recently started playing my new Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit online. I rarely play games online, and that because of one fact – I lame at racers, shooters and every other multiplayer-capable game. And because of that, I don’t like online/multiplayer games.

To my surprise, I really like playing NFS:HP online. Playing with other people make races more fun and challenging.

But there is one things that I really hate about playing NFS:HP online – people that disconnect during a race. I know that sometimes you can’t finish race, but there is no need and reason to disconnect after wrecking other players, or just after start. It is just completely not fair, and ruins others pleasure and fun.

And yes, I know I lame at NFS, and this is just my excuse.

Trough the tunnels

Several days ago, I got two gifts for st. Nicolas Day. Metro 2034 book by Dmitry Glukhovsky and Metro 2033 game for PC. And since then, I spend my free time in Russian metro, killing humans, mutants and trying not to get too scared.

And when I say scared, I mean it. Especially the game – if played in a dark room, with headphones on, it really makes me shiver. Atmosphere of the book is there and you can feel that from every tunnel something evil gazes at you, and your fears are lurking in the corners of each station.

I don’t know, if anyone else had the same experience with the game and/or the book, but I must say – they made a great impression on me.

That is all for now. I think.

The pipes are calling me*.

*If you read the book, you know what I am talking about.

I don’t believe it.

Month ago, I got from my girlfriend and (used) iPhone 2G. At first, main motivation was to develop software for iOS, but when I realized that I have to pay $99 to Apple and actually own a Mac, I just started to use iPhone as main second phone. And soon, I found out that I use it more than I use my Samsung Galaxy Spica.

As I started using iPhone, I started using iTunes to sync music with it, managing my music, and repairing artwork.

Now, I use iTunes as my main music player, and I’m looking more and more into buying actual Mac.

The irony is, I always hated Macs and everything related. And, probably, I still do. I like Windows a lot, I know how to administrate it, I know how to repair nearly any Windows-related problem I encounter.

The thing is, I miss some kind of Mac simplicity. Mac is easy, Mac is intuitive (sort of). You can’t change a lot of things, many apps cost a lot, and you have to actually buy a computer to use it, but, for everyday simple tasks, I feel that Mac will perform better than Windows (of Linux) based machine.

And now, I really want a Mac.

Oh, crap. I’ve said it. Now, I’ll have to live with the consequences.

 

Sent from my pure Windows and Microsoft-based machine.