Dangerous life in the fast lane

As a hacker, and as a person who loves to modify electronic devices, I found myself very often in a situation where I was simply measuring my skills wrong. Or in other words, I wanted more than I could handle. Tragic, especially when you have an affinity for expensive electronic devices.

Yesterday I decided to update the radio on my HTC. A very, VERY simple progress. Just download a ZIP file. Copy the ZIP file on your SD card and reboot to bootloader. Piece of cake. Well, normally. My experience and my intuition told me that this will fail for some reason. And it did. Update ran totally fine, no error, nothing wrong. Except one thing, this sodding device just didn’t want to completely reboot. I watched the HTC logo screen for like fifteen minutes.

Normal procedure is to put out the battery, reboot again, try if it boots fine and if that fails, try to flash again and see if this finally works. As expected, it didn’t work. So I tried other radio files, tried to reflash the ROM, but nothing worked, except…

…well, sometimes it’s worth to have a backup. It was quite old, but it managed to get the device back on track. It was this tiny little option that says “Restore bootloader” that fixed it.

Apart from this, I’m currently experimenting a little bit with Android 4 on my Motorola Defy. Without a doubt, Android 4 is the best Android so far, but the whole changes that where made to the architecture and the driver handling is a bloody pain in the ass. Developers could have made so much more progress, but the most of them a stuck on problems like cameras that don’t work or LED flashlights that won’t flash.

One needs to be patient on the other hand. This step in development was necessary and even though a lot of people will complain about late update rollouts for their devices. It’s more than just important for the device generation that will follow and even more important, the Android operating systems that will follow.

Be patient

The last couple of days and my rare time on my evening got wasted by downloads and updates. It’s nice to have the opportunity to download games from platforms like Steam and everything gets automatically updated, but at one certain point it starts to simply suck.

Firstly, when you have TON of games that start updating at the same time with an amount of data far from good and evil.

Patience

Secondly, when those games that try to updates themselves don’t actually update, but prefer to rot in your data stream with 0.0001KBit/s ¬†and the progress bar doesn’t even think about changing.

Last but not least, after everything got finally updated and patched and whatever else was happening, the game does not work as expected. I don’t want to give names, but I had application crashes, performance issues and stuff like that after my odyssey which already stole my last bit of patience.

There’s no final resume in this post. I just wanted to share my wonderful experiences I had the last couple of days.

DiRT 3 shadow errors [SOLVED]

Since the latest update of “Dirt 3” the shadows in split screen mode are a little weird, not to say totally wrong. I’ve added an example picture to show you guys the graphics error. The problem occurs on two different systems. One with moderate graphics setting with a GeForce GTX 560ti and on one system with ultra-settings with a GeForce GTX 580. There are no special settings made inside the driver menu or other weird stuff. I’m also not noticing any other graphic issues in other games.

If there’s someone out there knowing how to get rid of this problem or how to solve this issue, please feel free to contact me via inv4d3r [at] bloodreaver.com

[Update:]

I’ve found the cause for this problem and was able to fix it. The reason for this issue is very simple – Fraps. For some reason does Fraps and DiRT3 no longer work well together in splitscreen mode, so I quit Fraps before actually starting DiRT3. That’s it, nothing special.

What’s happening…?

A short update of what happened and is actually happening right now. First of, I was off to the countryside, the forest to be exact and got a little rest. I’ve been there with my parents and my grand-mother and it was a weekend with simply doing nothing. I took the time to take some pictures of some flowers and the nearby lake. And I also tried to clean my tent, with tiny success.

On the next weekend I’ll be off for a small festival that is going on pretty nearby and I’m going to see bands like Sodom, Vader and the Excrementory Grindfuckers. I haven’t been to a festival for years now and I’m totally longing for that. It’s a very small festival, but my experience tells, this is going to be one hell of a show. Maybe, but just maybe, I’ll do some headbanging. It also depends on my level of alcohol consumption.

Games, I play Tropico 3 and some Crysis 1+2. More Crysis 1 because of the summer I feel more like jungle jungle than city jungle. One side effect of Tropico 3 is, that the music in this game is very intriguing and as soon as my girl-friend enters the room it affects me to dance some merenge or salsa or whatever these latin american dances are called like. Embarrassing, but hey… I’m also a little ashamed that the three year old Crysis 1 still manages it, to bring my system down on its knees. Kudos for that Crytek.

There’ll be some bigger changes in my life coming in September, approved subscribers will get some details on this particular situation in another private post.

The game of the week is off and missing, I know. As soon as I got little bit more into indie gaming again, I’ll give another recommendation.

 

PS: I’m looking for some nice headphones at the moment and I focused several models made by AKG, anything you would recommend? Or maybe a totally different manufacturer?

Game of the week #1/2011 – Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light

So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the very first “Game of the week” post and it starts with a really tough decision that I had to make, a neck and neck if you want. If I want I could have done three games in one single post, but there’s only per week and after a strong battle with me, myself and I the winner is “Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light”

As you may know, the Tomb Raider franchise is at its end for years now and it was a tough job for every game developing studio to create a new Tomb Raider that the gamer will find attractive. For me personally the last three games “Anniversary”, “Legend” and “Underworld” are good games, but that’s it, good and nothing special. Something nice to entertain but nothing remarkable at all though. The Lara Croft franchise is different, the whole gameplay is different, you play in isometric viewpoint instead of third-person for example. The whole presentation is up to date and does not feel like a three years behind game like the Tomb Raider franchise, where the presentation was okay but nothing that gave a total blast. The basic idea of “The Guardian of Light” is pretty much the same to “Tomb Raider”, you walk through some ancient ruins, capture some artifacts, fight some evil guys and solve riddles with levers and buttons. “The Guardian of Light” puts more attention and love for detail into the riddles, there’s also a fine usage of realistic physics in the game which makes the game up-to-date and the riddles itself more fun.

Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light

The game has one j0ker card that kicks it directly in the front row of the game with the highest fun factor – the co-op mode. When you play the single player mode you start the game in front of a temple, and a Maya warrior named Totec tells you about the dangers inside, gives you his weapon and the adventure starts without him. In co-op mode another player can play Totec and both, Lara and Totec, have to work together to get through the very well designed levels. Totec mainly uses his shield for blocking attacks or pushing Lara to higher located levels and Lara has got a grappling hook to swing around or Totec can use a tightrope to reach some places that are barely reachable. I only played the local co-op with a friend of mine by using the Xbox controller for Windows and I can say nothing about the online mode, but I would say that it’s necessary to have direct voice communication when you play the game in co-op for the first time, because some riddles demand it.

The game itself is very well balanced, the riddles need some brainpower but they never get frustating. The ingame fights are claiming but not too tough, the dodge ability will soon become your best friend if there’s enough room to dodge off some range attacks. There are a lot of challenges and achievements to unlock in the game that will give a long time motivation to play the game or even to replay it for several times. “Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light” for PC is only available on Steam and costs around 14,99EUR. That’s a fair price for a game that is able to catch you for a long time. For more information about the story just follow the links the below.

Links:

Official Website

Wikipedia entry

UPDATE

Today’s morning did I find out, that there’s a new DLC for “Lara Croft and The Guardian Light” available. You can join the game with Kane & Lynch of the same titled game. This DLC is for free, you can also buy another one with figures from “The Legacy of Kain” games.

Mission 14 accomplished

Because I don’t like old systems and can’t stand it if something does not work correctly or how it should be, I wasted nearly my whole weekend in Fedora 13 and 14. The Pulse server in Fedora 13 was buggy in a way, I don’t know why or what exactly changed, my Soundblaster cards gave me nothing than a stupid crackling sound. Without pulse and alsa only the sound worked correct but I was only able to set it all up in stereo only, which makes no sense on a 5.1 system. Another thing that was very annoying, that I was not able to do a clean install of Fedora 14, this issue got fixed after I rearranged the partition table of the system harddisk drive. Finally I was able to do the clean install and I don’t why and how but pulse was working correctly and I was even able to setup the whole thing to work in a 5.1 mode, where Fedora 13 gave me the crackling sound. That was in the night from Sunday to Monday and after a few hours of working with Fedora 14, I can say that the system itself is nothing brand new. It offers some nice little features like an updated KDE version and a new system settings page, but overall this is the most boring update since I got into the Fedora thing a few years ago. Another thing that I noticed is, that this version of Fedora is the most unstable version by now, it mainly crashes while using yum or in my case yumex.

Problemiwigo

Unfortunately did I mess up the bloodreaver gallery application here on this website. I did a simple auto-update and after this simple update was I standing there with a much more complex problem. The Piwigo gallery application needed MySQL 5.x as a minimum requirement and at the moment the whole webserver has got a MySQL database version 4.1.2. I also did not find a solution to do a downgrade or better said, I haven’t found the nerve or the time to fix it. I finally switched over to Coppermine, which will hopefully serve me well, and re-uploaded most of the pictures that were content of the old gallery. A few pictures are still missing, mainly in the photography category, but they’ll be uploaded later.