I’ve managed to accomplish something that I’ve wanted to do for years: Bring my 160GB+ library of music with me everywhere. Well, technically, I’m not “bringing” it all with me; I’ve got a better solution.
A couple of months ago, I set up my Amahi-based Linux home server again. I wanted a way to be able to access all of my files remotely. So, with my home VPN connection, I am able to access all of my files while connected through VPN. This is all fine and good, but after relocating all of my music to my server, I wanted to be able to access this music anywhere (which, I could, as long as I was connected through my VPN).
Ampache is described as a “web based audio/video streaming application and file manager allowing you to access your music & videos from anywhere, using almost any internet enabled device.” Awesome, sounds like what I need. So, I got it all set up, with all of my music indexed. There’s only one problem.
While I could access the Ampache server through a web browser while connected via VPN, I wanted to be able to connect to my server without VPN. So, I figured, “No problem! I’ll just forward a port to the local service port, since port 80 is blocked by my ISP.” This, of course, required some manual editing of the service’s httpd conf file (changing the server’s VirtualHost port to an unused port and adding a ServerAlias).
After some misconfigurations and testing, I was finally able to test the connection to the web interface from my phone’s 3G connection. It finally worked. Success!
So, now, I was able to access my music collection on any computer with a web browser. However, I wanted something…more. Luckily, the Android Market provided an app that fulfilled my needs.
Just Player. Okay, this app isn’t the prettiest Music app out there, but you know what? It supports connections to Ampache servers! This is what I needed. Plug in my server address, username and password, and boom! The app begins indexing my Ampache server. With 23,000 songs, over 3G, it did not take as long as I expected. So, with my music now indexed, I decided to try to play something.
Hey, it’s working! It actually sounds good, and there is no stuttering or anything of the sort. Ampache supports transcoding so that you won’t have to download the whole file while playing. Of course, there is no gapless playback, since it takes a second or two to begin playing the next song, but that’s a small sacrifice. I can now access my entire music library remotely on my phone! Now I can erase the ~5GB of music off of my phone’s MicroSD card.
I am very happy with this setup. Now, I can leave all of my music at home where it belongs, but am still able to access it all from anywhere. Isn’t technology great?
Recently, I have had two different friends of mine give their opinions on relationships. Now, I do not claim to be a know-it-all expert on relationships. However, I have been with the same girl for just over 10 years, so I believe that that gives me a bit of credibility in what I have to say.
My first friend (let’s refer to her as “S”) has recently gone through a divorce. S, after having learned from the mistakes made and the situations that happened in her previous marriage/relationship, subscribes to the idea that relationships involve a lot of hard work to keep the relationship alive, and that relationships are two-sided.
My other friend (let’s refer to him as “P”) recently stated that he is choosing to remain single. His reason for this is because of “9 out of 10 acquaintances are in bad relationships with accusations and drama.” P goes on to state that he never wants to be in a situation where he’s stuck with someone who treats him badly and questions his every action; “I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life.”
Let’s address S first. S makes a good point, but I personally believe that she is only half-correct. Relationships are, indeed, two-sided (otherwise, it wouldn’t be a relationship). I do, however, take issue with the statement that relationships “involve a lot of hard work” to keep them alive.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve been with the same girl for just over 10 years. We initially met each other on the internet back in the year 2000 (back in the days where “internet dating” was not normal and was seen as something that could never work out). We shared a common interest (read: we were both obsessed with a certain TV show), which is how we met. We eventually became very good friends. We were IMing all the time and writing each other lengthy emails every day. Eventually, we fell in love. This is where I think that we differ from most normal couples: by the time we fell in love, we already knew each other very well. In our daily conversations and emails, we had already discussed everything under the sun. We really KNEW each other. This is a very vital detail. These days, how many people actually take the time to get to know a person before they start dating? How many people actually discuss EVERYTHING with a person before they start getting involved with the person? Call us crazy or abnormal, but you know what? Maybe we are: crazy about each other. All of the conversations we had were how I was able to know that she was the one for me.
Sorry, S, but how a relationship survives isn’t based upon how much work is put into the relationship. It’s all about finding the right person; finding the person who compliments you perfectly. In all seriousness, my wife and I haven’t ever had to put much effort into our relationship. We just click. We just want to be together. We just work. That’s how a relationship should work; a relationship should work FOR YOU, not you working for the relationship. Working for a relationship is like applying duct tape to a broken pipe; it’ll keep the pipe functioning for a while, but it’ll eventually leak and break again, and be unrepairable.
Now, allow me to address P. Looking at relationship statistics from other people does not determine what will happen if you start a relationship. Why would you want to resign yourself from something that could be the best thing in your life? Yes, it is true that most relationships end in failure, but you know what? It won’t happen if you put in the work of actually getting to know someone. As I previously stated, most people do not take the time to get to know someone before getting involved with that person. If there’s any part of a relationship that “takes work,” it is the part of the relationship that takes place before the relationship actually exists. Put in the work before starting the relationship. It’ll make things much easier.
I do not believe in love at first sight. A relationship that starts based simply upon physical attraction will rarely ever work, and if it does, you’re lucky. This is why I always roll my eyes at Disney princess movies. If you ever want to get seriously involved with someone, take the time to get to know the person. Be their friend first. What if you become their friend but realize that a relationship could never work? Well, you’ve still got yourself a friend.
My point is, friendship is the soil in which true love can grow.
Let me reiterate: I do not claim to be a relationship expert. I say these things based upon what I have seen and what has worked for me. I know that there are many exceptions to what I have said. However, I do believe that if more people took the time to get to know a person before jumping into a relationship, I think that most relationships would actually work, and the divorce rate would not be so high.
This ends this week’s opinion/advice column (ha!). Thank you for taking the time to read this.
As I mentioned in my post about the 3DS, I feel as though my interest in video games has sharply declined over the past year. I recall feeling the same way a year ago, as well. However, when Final Fantasy XIII came out, those feelings went away. Why? It was probably because I found something that I wanted to play. However, that cannot be the correct answer. I own several games that I want to play (Tales of Vesperia, Eternal Sonata, Fable II), but can’t bring myself to play them. I think that this may be due to a general lack of interest in modern gaming.
I say “modern” gaming because, well, I find that I do not have an issue with wanting to play older games. In fact, I’ve been playing through Final Fantasy VIII with my wife over the past couple of weeks, and am planning on playing Final Fantasy VII again sometime after that. And, before Final Fantasy VIII, we played Final Fantasy IV (original SNES version) as well as various old PC adventure games (Kyrandia series, Tex Murphy series, and Space Quest series), all over the past six to twelve months.
So, while I say that my interest in video gaming has declined, I suppose the more correct statement would be to say that my interest in modern gaming has declined. Of course, there are some exceptions to that statement: first-party Nintendo titles, various Wii games, DS games and 3DS games. I find that Nintendo’s systems and games somehow still keep me interested. Is it because Nintendo’s games are generally made to appeal to a younger audience? Actually, while most people think this, I tend to believe that Nintendo’s games are made to appeal to everyone, not just kids. So, this could be an explanation as to why Nintendo’s products are still appealing to me.
Another reason why modern gaming isn’t appealing to me is because of the online aspects of modern gaming. Most games released these days have a major online/multiplayer component. I grew up playing almost entirely single-player games, with the exception of Super Mario Kart and Super Bomberman versus modes. I found the versus modes in those games to be a blast. However, a big reason as to why I found these versus modes to be a blast was because of who I was playing the game with. I could see how online gaming could be fun if you played the game with someone in the same room, but then you would require TWO consoles and TWO copies of the same game. Does local multiplayer even exist anymore in most games? I know that most Nintendo Wii titles have local multiplayer. I suppose just don’t feel like playing a game with someone whom I don’t know or can’t see. This was also a big issue I had with World of Warcraft; while I loved the game (at the time), I just couldn’t get into raiding, which is the major multiplayer component of the game.
The last reason as to why modern gaming isn’t appealing to me is because of the games. Most games that are released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 these days are violent single-player action games or first person shooter games. I actually hesitate to call these titles “games” because, to me, they aren’t real games. I can’t understand why anyone would want to waste their time and money playing them. Take Homefront, for example. The game got mediocre reviews at best, yet everyone on my Twitter feed was rushing out to buy it. Why? Because it’s a first-person shooter? How does that justify buying a mediocre game? And, after playing the game, they usually complained about how short the game was and how they wished they would have just rented the game. Why is it that crappy first-person shooter games like these sell, other than the fact that they’re popular with the kiddies? Why do people like these games in the first place? I just don’t get it.
I’m an RPG guy. However, I believe that that term has been confused and transformed into something else in modern gaming. Most so-called “RPGs” these days actually aren’t RPGs. Mass Effect is considered to be an RPG. In reality, Mass Effect is simply a third-person shooter with a leveling system. Dragon Age is also considered an RPG when it is actually just a crossover between a hack-n-slash and a real-time strategy game. And Fallout 3/Vegas? Also not an RPG. Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist when it comes to RPGs, but when I think of RPGs, I think of old-school turn-based games like Dragon Warrior/Quest. There’s actually only one modern game that I can think of that has actually been worthy of the RPG label: Lost Odyssey on the Xbox 360. This game is a shining example of how modern RPGs should be made.
I suppose I have made my case as to why modern gaming is not appealing to me. Based upon the current trend in modern gaming, I most likely will not be purchasing the next Xbox or PlayStation console. I most likely will purchase the next Nintendo console, but probably not on launch day (like I did with the Wii, DS, and 3DS) unless there is a game that I have to play.
TL/DR version: Modern gaming sucks (except for Nintendo) and older games rule.
This ends my rant (or whatever this is). Thank you for taking the time to read it. :)
EDIT: ChocoboMoshpit (Twitter, Tumblr) pointed me to an article at Gizmodo that was posted today. The author, Leigh Alexander, discusses the reasons why she no longer loses herself in games. It’s a great read, and she actually hits a few points that I missed when writing this post. You can find the article here. (I had planned to write more in response to this article, but I don’t have the time right now.)
This is actually a good question. My earliest human memory, believe it or not, happened before I was born.
I was in a bathroom. The walls were painted brown or had brown wallpaper. My brother, who was a year old or so, was being bathed in the sink. That’s it.
I remember asking my mother about it, and she said that that happened while she was pregnant with me. No one actually believes that I have that memory, but I do. I don’t know how it is possible, either. Maybe, somehow, I was able to see through my mother’s eyes.
Now, if this memory doesn’t count (for whatever reason) then I do have another very early memory from when I was a baby. I remember being laid down on some sort of table. There was a light above me and a doctor. I…well, let’s just say, I got the doctor a bit wet.
That should answer your question, tumblrbot. :)
I’ve been neglecting my Tumblr over the past few months. I suppose that this could be due to my having started college, but I’ll stop making excuses: I’m just lazy.
I do enjoy writing, but most of the time I’ve got nothing to write about. However, lately, most of my writing efforts have gone towards academic assignments. This probably will not change until the semester is over.
So, now that I have already started writing something, I may as well take the time to actually write about something: the Nintendo 3DS.
Over the past year my interest in video gaming has sharply declined. Companies just aren’t releasing games that I am interested in. I knew that the Nintendo 3DS was coming out soon, so I decided to gather up a bunch of games that I no longer wanted/knew I wouldn’t play and took them to GameStop. I ended up getting about $154 worth of in-store credit, all of which I put towards my preorder of a Nintendo 3DS. I also managed to sell one of my copies of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PlayStation version) for $60 on the CAG Marketplace.
I got the Nintendo 3DS at midnight on Saturday, March 26th (well…technically, it was Sunday at that point). I got the “Aqua” colored version as shown in the picture above. Hey, blue is cool; it’s my favorite color! After my trade-in credit and the $60 I got from Tactics Ogre, I ended up spending only about $35 or so for the console. I had originally planned on just getting the console by itself, but I decided to pick up Rayman 3D along with it.
I initially had no real interest in the 3DS; however, I had been craving a new gadget for quite some time. It appears that my interest in video games has kinda/sorta shifted to gadgets instead, since I seem to be more interested in mobile phones and things like that as of late.
Moving on, upon booting up/setting up the 3DS, I popped in Rayman 3D and started playing it for a bit. I must say that I was impressed. The technology behind the “3D” is actually quite impressive, and it actually works. It truly adds depth, not just gimmicks, and it looks really, really good. I know that Rayman 3D is just a port of the Dreamcast version of Rayman 2, but man…it looks good. I don’t know how else to describe it; you just have to see it for yourself.
I can see that the technology in the 3DS has a lot of potential. It will be quite interesting to see what other kind of games are developed for this system. I, personally, am looking forward to the Super Mario game that is supposedly in development as it appears to take a lot of old-school SMB elements and adds them to the gameplay of the newer 3D Mario platformers.
Anyway, I think that the Nintendo 3DS is going to be widely successful, much like the DS was. We just have to wait for the games.
As you may (or may not) have heard, Minecraft is scheduled to enter the beta phase on December 20th. What does this mean? Well, to keep it short and simple, it means:
1. The price will increase. Up until now, the game has been sold at 50% off of the planned price. This means that instead of paying €9.95 for the game, you will have to pay €20.
2. If you wait until after beta begins, your account will not be an Alpha account. All people that purchased Alpha were promised all future updates and expansions for free. This means that, if you wait to buy the game until after beta lands, you will have to pay for future updates and expansions.
To me, it is a no-brainer to go ahead and buy the game while you still can. Not only will you receive the game at a 50% discount, but you will also be entitled to an Alpha account, which allows you to receive all future updates at no extra cost.
If you’re at all interested in Minecraft, do yourself a favor and just buy an Alpha account while you still can. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later.
Alpha accounts can still be purchased right now (until December 20th!) at Minecraft.net.
When the iPad was first announced, I swore that I would not buy one until the second generation device was released. Well, forget that.
I got one. I had a $50 Best Buy gift card, and we happened to have the extra money, so my wife bought me one as an early birthday present.
The thing is pretty slick. The web browser works as well as a full desktop browser (minus flash, of course), and the screen is big enough to be able to see everything clearly. The on-screen keyboard is actually very easy to use. I’m typing this post on it right now, and I can type nearly as fast as I can on a physical keyboard. Speaking of a physical keyboard, I can connect my Apple Wireless Bluetooth keyboard to to his thing. I tried it out and it works perfectly.
The YouTube application on the iPad is very nice, and YouTube videos look very good. The Netflix app is amazing. so is the Twitter app.
I got the 16GB Wifi version. I really couldn’t justify getting anything higher, and i can always using my Nexus One’s wifi hotspot if I wish to use data on the go.
Overall, this device is amazing. Really loving it so far. Time will tell if I will regret buying the first generation iPad, though…but really, I don’t care if the second generation iPad has Facetime or something like that. I wouldn’t use the feature, anyway.
I have recently become fed up with the Information Systems team at my workplace.
The IS team is a team of about 20-30 people. All of these people are supposedly tech-savvy individuals. However, I have determined that they are indeed tech-savvy…by 2003 standards.
I have been with this company for a relatively short period of time. However, during my time here, I have witnessed a couple of horribly stupid and embarrassing tech blunders made by the previously mentioned IS team.
I: Good Idea, Horrible, Idiotic Execution
“Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we implemented a web-based training system? We could cut out the costs of printing up training material. On top of that, it will make training more fun with flashy animated .gifs and embedded .wavs!”
I’m all for web-based training. It’s really the way of the future…when implemented correctly.
So, the geniuses in the IS department set out to accomplish their goal of implementing web-based training. I don’t know how long it took them, but when compliance training season rolled around, they were ready. So, an email was distributed to all company employees informing that the training is now available and must be completed by a certain date.
I go to the intranet and open up the training course. A window pops up containing an error message: “This website requires Internet Explorer 6. Please update your browser.”
Okay, thanks for the advice, Einstein. However, I (and everyone else in the company) am running Internet Explorer 7 or 8! How are we supposed to update our browsers to IE6?! We’re using NEWER versions, yet we are unable to utilize this training because it is hard-coded to allow only IE6 to access the training.
Question: IS folks, do you test this stuff before implementing it? You of all people should know that the whole company is using IE7/8. You’re the folks that roll out the updates. You’re the folks that implemented this stupid, outdated training system that thinks that the newest IE version is 6! Are you guys really that dense?! Really?
Their fix: They didn’t fix it. They made a DVD of the training courses which were just static images and audio. People had to schedule times to go and watch the DVD, then go onto the intranet to accept the training acknowledgment. So much for the amazing web-based training.
It has been over six months since this blunder. I just checked the intranet and all that they have added is a note stating that the training requires Internet Explorer 6. Great to know that you guys have fixed the issue…
II: Help Us Help You
“We know that a lot of users are getting a ton of spam in their inboxes. To date, our efforts to reduce the amount of spam users are receiving has been largely unsuccessful. Let’s change the spam filter to a new one and have them forward their spam to us so that we can review it and fine-tune our filter accordingly. Yes, this will surely help us in our battle against spam!”
Great idea. Get a better grasp of what spam is getting through the filters and tune accordingly. Simple, right?
The IS guys started doing this a year ago. I forward every spam email I get to them. I have since day one. However, I feel that I am just wasting my time. Not only am I receiving more spam, but legitimate business email is now being flagged as spam and being blocked. What gives?!
Why can an email containing words describing male and female genitalia and enhancement pills get through your filters with ease, while emails that are from legitimate customers get blocked? Heck, emails that I send to myself from my Gmail often are flagged as spam! Great job, IS team. I don’t know what the heck you’re doing, but keep it up. You’re single-handedly creating the world’s first reverse-spam filter. Filter out all legitimate emails while letting all of the spam go through. You IS guys each deserve a medal made out of aluminum foil.
Their fix: Changing filters and having users forward their spam to the Spam Inbox was supposedly their fix for a problem that was already out of control. However, implementing this change has made the problem even worse.
C’mon, you guys. I have seriously never seen a spam filter this bad. Why aren’t you doing what you said that you would do? I alone have forwarded enough to help you “fine-tune” your filters, yet it seems that you are doing nothing about it. It’s just getting worse!
My advice: You need to move away from this Microsoft proprietary network that you’re running and move to something more secure. There are open-source alternatives to every server you’re running. They will run better and do the job more efficiently. On top of all of this, your costs will go down because most, if not all, of this software is free.
I doubt that you guys will actually do it. I doubt any if you know anything about Linux. But what are you guys going to do when support ends for Windows XP? It may not end for a while, but it will someday. And when that day comes, then what? Volume license Windows Vista? 7? Good luck with that. Your Dell workstations barely run XP as it is.
I once applied for a position with you IS guys, but you rejected me. Now I see why: I’m much smarter than you guys will ever be.
I’ve been wanting to actually take the time to play some of the PC games that I purchased over the insane Black Friday/Christmas sales that went on. However, my Windows 7 install is just so slow. I have no such issue with slowness under Mac OS X, which I am dual-booting on the same hardware and have had installed longer than Windows 7.
Fully knowing that I would need to reinstall Windows to fix the slowness, I decided to humor myself and do a search for “optimize windows 7” on Google. The first result is a page on Microsoft’s website:
After reading this page, I became disgusted. These “fixes” are like using band-aids to fix a broken vase.
The tone I’m getting from this article is that Microsoft believes that the slowdown is the fault of the PC and not their OS. So, it’s the PC’s fault for the slowdown? It’s how they’re designed? Microsoft, you’re still refusing to take the blame for a design flaw that has plagued Windows for the past 20 years?
If it’s really the fault of the PC, why, then, don’t I get these slowdown problems while running Mac OS X or Linux on the SAME HARDWARE?
Microsoft, you need to wake up. You need to fix this problem. Stop releasing remixes of Windows 2000 and actually release something that will WORK for the long haul. I don’t want to have to reformat and reinstall your stupid OS every 3 to 6 months just so that I can take full advantage of the hardware in my computer.
Windows shouldn’t have this problem. Mac OS X and Linux don’t.
Lately I’ve really become a fan of Mac OS X. I have it installed (Hackintosh) on my laptop dual-booting along with Windows 7. I’ve always been a fan of Microsoft Windows, but lately, I just haven’t enjoyed using Windows. Sure, I use it for gaming…but that’s about it. Everything else I can do in Mac OS X, and do it better and faster.
My main problem with every Windows OS is that the installation slows down (or “rot”) so much over time. I’ve had my Windows 7 install on this laptop for a little over 6 months and it’s become so slow that it’s almost unusable. I usually practice a mantra of reinstalling Windows every 6 months due to this problem, but I really don’t feel like messing with it this time. I’m just tired of it. I’ve done my “maintenance” of defragmenting the hard drive when it needs it. I don’t have a bunch of garbage starting up at boot. None of it helped. This “rotting” has been a problem with every Windows OS in existence and Microsoft STILL has not fixed this terrible problem.
I think part of the problem is due to NTFS not being a journaled filesystem. Fragments happen. Who knows what else happens. Defragmentations do not fix whatever garbage is slowing things down.
I’ve had my Snow Leopard install on this PC for longer than my Windows 7 install and it is still running smoothly. No crashes or kernel panics ever since I got all the right kexts installed.
I think the only way Microsoft will be able to fix the OS and actually make it usable for the long haul is to rewrite the kernel and filesystem. NT is no longer “new technology”. Microsoft needs to “pull an Apple” and just rewrite it all. Yes, it’ll break compatibility even more, but they will benefit from it all in the end.
The sad truth is that Windows, in its’ current state, is a sad and tired old OS. It needs to die and be reborn, but I doubt Microsoft has the guts to actually do it.
I grew up playing RPGs. It’s my favorite genre of video games. However, the genre began to change once the PlayStation era ended. With a few exceptions, RPGs as I love them have been absent for nearly a decade.
However, over the past decade, a new form of RPG rose to prominence. This is the MMORPG.
I find that this genre of RPG brings back some of what I loved about 90s-era RPGs:
- Equipment is important again. Most modern RPGs severely simplify the whole equipment system, usually limiting your characters to a single weapon slot and one or two accessories. MMORPGs bring back shields, helmets, armor, gloves, and even throw in more equipment slots on top of that.
- Less linearity, more exploring. Most modern RPGs completely lack a world map, limiting you to a single path with maybe a few forks in the road. MMORPGs, generally, throw you into this huge world where you can go almost anywhere and do almost anything within your power, very reminiscent of the Dragon Warrior/Quest games.
- Character classes. These days, most characters in RPGs do not have a specific class or job. Usually you can shape each of your characters to be able to do anything or everything. MMORPGs are heavily class-based, limiting your character to the class they have chosen. It is a classic RPG mechanic that I find to be fun and keeps things interesting.
There one more classic mechanic that makes its’ return in MMORPGs:
- Dungeons, with an end boss. While I love this mechanic in classic RPGs, for me, it falls apart in MMORPGs. In classic RPGs, there are things called “save points”. They let you save your progress and take a break from the game. In MMORPGs? No such thing. If you’re going to do a dungeon, you better have 2-4 hours of uninterrupted play time because once you start, there’s no going back unless you want to be a jerk and leave your group hanging when they need you.
That being said, I do love MMORPGs…up to a certain point.
I used to be a hardcore gamer. These days, however, I find myself as mostly a casual gamer. I don’t have the patience to use 2-4 hours of my evening after having worked all day to play a dungeon, especially without interruption.
Believe me; I would love to, but I just can’t.
I find myself playing these MMORPGs and loving every minute of it. I could find myself playing in 2-4 hour sittings. But you know what? During these sittings, I can play at my own pace. I can take as many breaks as I want. I can change to whatever character I want to play. And, most importantly, I can choose when to stop playing.
Unfortunately, this is a classic RPG mechanic that will, most likely, never make it into an MMORPG when it comes to dungeons. This mechanic is already built into most MMORPGs, but it just doesn’t work in dungeons.
Dungeons are not catered to casual players. This is why, no matter how much I love an MMORPG, it will always lose me at endgame.