I’ve been using MiniRecorder for quite a long time now and it has served me really well. I ran into an issue though that sometimes the “record-button” trigger wasn’t getting passed on to Minirecorder which meant that after the session I would find that the commentary was gone. Clearly this is a very painful thing for a let’s player so began looking for an alternative.
After some searching I found Recordpad, a small application which has some customizability( a lot less than Audacity), but the benefit of it is that it sends out a beep so you know it started recording. This beep is easily edited out in the editing process and it’s only 0.2 seconds long. The first or second time recording with this application though I ran into this situation, which had me really worried for obvious reasons. I decided to stick with it though and am still using it nearly 2 months later without running into further issues.
So for let’s players who want to record their commentary separately from their in-game audio, I would hold recordpad recommended. The only downside would be that it’s not an opensource application and thus has a price.
My rig has been giving me some slight issues from time to time by seemingly cutting all the power for a split second. It would then just be booting again straight after. The thing was that this only happens very rarely and I haven’t found a way to trigger it. I have tested the CPU, GPU and memory and all performed without any hitch.
So the 3ds has been out for a little while and I have had mine for as long. I must be honest that I currently haven’t used it too much yet considering all the time I’m investing in other games right now, but in total I’ve spent some 15 hours with the console, and 3 hours with an actual 3ds game, so keep that in mind. First of all, the console comes with these AR(Augmented Reality) cards that when detected will show things in 3d which you can move around and play mini games with. That was my first time seeing the 3d and honestly, it took some getting used to, you can’t move the console at all as it’ll break the 3d effect. But it’s a good introduction to what the system can do.
After that I went on to play a bunch of Pokemon: Black, and really felt that the console is really comfy in your hands, compared to my DSi at least. A similar comparison is for example an iPhone 3 and an iPhone 4. The rounded edges of the 3ds really help in that regard. It’s a bit heavier but that doesn’t matter.
So I then recently ordered Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars which is a top-down tactical shooter rpg. It’s probably the most interesting game from the launch lineup and I toyed around with the 3d slider turning it off and on. I actually like that the 3d effect is optional and is there solely to make it looks better and give everything a sense of depth. For example characters and dialog will be in front of the tactical map and menu’s really stand out that way. It’s a surprisingly smooth look and I really dig it, it made me realize that this is the way game should probably work the 3d in though many will probably shove it in your face.
Dragon Age 2
So on to the second topic I wanted to mention which is Dragon Age 2. I previously let know via twitter, an update video and on the blog that stuff wasn’t going too well with it and my copy was at least a week late. It has since been in for a while and I’ve recorded roughly 6 hours of it and I’m having a good time with it. I’ve not uploaded it yet as I’ve still got a bunch of fallout new vegas to upload (and record!) as well as another project that you’ll see in the future. All of these are lengthy projects and will last me several months.
So a while ago I was looking through the top apps for my iPhone and stumbled upon Sleep Cycle, what it said to do is basically wake you at a pleasant moment in the morning. Considering we all hate that standard hard beeping alarm, I figured I’d give it a go and with only costing 99cents, there’s not much to lose.
So what you have to do is disable the phone from going off, or locking and then turning up the volume so you’ll be sure you’ll wake up. So what the app really does is use the iPhone’s ability to sense motion so it can feel when you move when it’s placed on the bed. On the first 2 nights it’s said it’s just making a baseline for you, but it worked perfectly from the get-go. What you do is you set an ultimate waking time and the 30min(by default) before that, you might get waken up. In my case this is between 7 and 7.30am, during this time if you move enough so that you’re in a light sleep state, the alarm will go off, which I’ve set to some of the very soothing default sounds.
I have to say that after using it for 6weeks now, I love this app. It’s continuously waking me up at a pleasant moment and very gently, yet never failing to do so despite me being a heavy sleeper. The only drawbacks to it are that because the sound is on, you’ll hear notifications which to me is e-mails which come in during the night and the fact that you probably need to sleep alone for it to work properly, but I’m not sure on the latter.
The other thing I wanted to talk about in this blog is… Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. I previously played through the GBA’s Golden Sun games and absolutely loved them. They had such character and were solid rpg’s with some puzzle elements, it really simply worked. Now I’ve started playing the new DS game and after the initial 6 hours I can say that it certainly sets itself aside as a Golden Sun game, the dialog, expressions, puzzles and solid fighting are all there and it’s very entertaining to figure out how to get chests or djinn that you’ll see around. If you’re wondering if it’s a worthy successor, I feel pretty confident to say that it is.
I earlier today was wondering who owned all the domains around let’s playing and as it turns out, a bunch of them are still free. I suppose it’s not that well known, and many people still know it as a “walkthrough” but the term let’s play is one that’s staying and growing atleast. So in this search I found that Holland Casino (a dutch casino as you might have guessed) has letsplay.info and a whole series of other “letsplay” domain names, I guess they ran a campaign with that.
Currently letsplay.info goes nowhere but has recently been extended so nobody’s going to touch that for a while. On the other hand I noticed that letsplays.nl and letsplays.info were free and hey, those seem kind of neat. So I grabbed those and if I feel like it, I might do something with letsplays.info, a collection of well, information on let’s plays, perhaps dedicated to tutorials or something. Maybe get some let’s players together to post helpful stuff or so.
For now I’ve just redirected them to this site(though the .info goes to the tutorial).
On a side-note, I know that I’ve not updated the Completed page in a while, I’ll be doing that in the upcoming days hopefully. I am still not really happy with how I just slapped those logo’s together, but I fail to see a good way of doing it, if you have any thoughts, please let me know.
So I’m kind of interested in network security and therefore exploits and botnets are things I often read about. Many people are not at all aware of what is going on on the internet with exploits and happily just buy an anti-virus package and think they’re safe. I’m convinced that that’s not the solution at all but that’s another topic all together. I figured that I would talk about some of the botnets alone that are going around recently(some though, have been around for many years).
So what is a botnet even you may be wondering. A botnet is a term for a group of computers, home and office machines and high performance servers that have been exploited and are now listening to a central server(called Command & Control, C&C.). Then at the C&C the owner can issue commands to take down sites or machines, you’ve probably heard of a site going down, it was probably because of a botnet. You’ve probably heard of some kind of internet worm or virus going around and spreading, they’ve made news over in The Netherlands at least. Those are just some examples of exploits going around to (often) recruit for botnets so that they can be used to send spam, take down a site, steal your information such as passwords or simply spread to more machines. It’s kind of typical to see that the amount of attacks my company’s servers receive are much higher during working days than during the weekend for example.
Recently the IMDDOS botnet was in the news all over the tech sites and even some more regular newspages. This was because this botnet is very commercially selling it’s services to take down sites, ranging in price from free to $1500/year which is actually really cheap for most botnet software, most of such software costs many thousands of dollars to purchase. Now IMDDOS is a very rapidly expanding botnet, mostly in China and other asian countries but there have been a number of infections all over the world. The actual growing rate has been reported to be 10.000 machines per day for this botnet alone.
So IMDDOS is actually a very classic botnet other than it’s commercial approach, there are some cool concepts going around in the world of botnets as since the launch of twitter several have switched from the traditional IRC channels(Chat software) to using twitter to regulate themselves. Now I think it’s quite an interesting and cool way of controlling the botnet and the techniques used in some of them aren’t actually that hard to understand. One thing that a control method such as twitter has though is that it allows the person to essentially walk up to a company and extort money from them or take down their business with the push of a button. If you’re thinking “Why don’t the Administrators just block the traffic?”, sadly it’s nigh-on impossible to really block it without an expensive device costing several tens of thousands of dollars and that’s not something most companies can afford to spend on the off-chance that it happens to them.
The problems of these botnets is often that they’re nearly impossible to destroy as they have many command servers spread all over the world, there have been many instances of people talking to many internet and hosting providers and lawyers for several years to arrange a day to take all the servers offline, rendering the botnet useless, only for them to miss one or two servers and seeing the botnet being back to full operating stature within 24hours. It’s not some kid sitting in his mom’s basement, it’s actually very organized and there is a lot of money going around in the underworld.
Another interesting factor among these bots is that they’re highly competitive, even going so far as to wage wars on eachother and actually attack eachother. A good example of this and probably the best known too is if your PC has been infected with the rampant Zeus trojan and manage to get infected by SpyEye, another big name, it might even remove or convert the Zeus infection to weaken it’s competition.
So perhaps it’d be a good word of advice to not simply trust your antivirus and pay attention to what you’re doing and what is being installed on your machine as anti-virus software often gets a miserable detection rate against the stuff you really don’t want on your system. There are other more effective measures you can take instead.
I had been thinking of setting up a forum for a little while as youtube just doesn’t always cut it. Information goes everywhere and isn’t really searchable. Especially so since I’ve got a very nice group of commenters and others I talk to, some on a nigh on daily basis. So now there’s a place where we all can talk and have some fun while we’re at it. Plus to be honest it’s kind of fun to have a place of your own and to improve it.
Now I must say that the basic forum is up but there will be changes I’ll be making over time, user ranks/groups and some small UI options that I think would make it look even better than it does currently. I still need a nice looking forum banner picture though. But mostly I want to run it in a way where you guys will be able to say “Look Aeterna.. we really need feature A or B.” and then I can look into it. So a community driven process.
Starting in the afternoon of monday sept 13th, this website become unreachable with an error stating “Error establishing connection with database.”. Now this is a fairly self explanatory error and I checked my webhoster’s control panel to see if I could still access the database, I could not, the server wouldn’t respond to database arguments. So I then contacted my webhost about it and they ensured me that they would have it fixed very quickly. Then time just passed and by the next morning it was still down and I had heard nothing, no update, no reason…
So then on tuesday I decided to call them. The support employee was actually helpful and explained that the server was up and running and thus the data was secure but it wouldn’t respond over it’s service port. I then suggested that they could give me a database dump(all the data within the database) and I could run it on another server and that’d help me get rid of this problem. So the guy said okay to that and that he’d e-mail it to me that day…
Finally it’s wednesday and I still hadn’t heard anything, while the problem persisted. In the morning I finally e-mailed them about it as they didn’t pick up the phone. At the end of the day I got an answer back stating that they had asked the engineers for the dump, but they hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I then asked for an estimation and apparently none could be given… So after work I decided I’d start looking for another webhosting provider. It was a bit sour as I had paid 6months in advance at the last hoster..
So thursday morning I had made a choice and called the new hoster to check the tech-level of the support and stated I’d want to test the site out with a DNS record pointing to their server. I got someone on the line who said it was no problem and I sent in the request for the account. They then called to make sure(another employee must’ve seen the request first) and I explained briefly and got the account. The fact that they checked was very promising. So then I ran a couple of tests and it all seemed to work well, and it seems faster too. I then asked my old provider to send me the authorization token to transfer the domain over to the new host and luckily they sent me that within 2 hours, so they can do something right!
And that’s pretty much the status now, the transfer is queued (it takes 5days for .nl domains) but the site’s running on the new hosting provider which I’m feeling much better about. Though it sucks that I basically threw money away on their services, on paper they did look very good and professional. As a sidenote: I’ve still not received that database content from them, if I hadn’t switched the site’d still be unavailable right now.
If you’re a let’s player and you use both fraps and audacity to record the game and the commentary seperately like I do, you’ll probably know of the real drawback that has. Namely the fact that you have to manually sync up the video and audio files as you have to start the audacity recording beforehand. Now this has always bothered me very much as I wanted it to match up perfectly, which took quite some time. I received a private message from xIntenso over at gameanyone saying that he has written a small application that’ll help with recording.
This application he’s named MiniRecorder and what it does is it lets you define a button(which you will want to set to your fraps record button) and you can then simply go to your game and hit your fraps button. Because MiniRecorder is running it’ll tell Audacity to start recording at the very same time. This then results in the same length being recorded at all times. This has essentially reduced my editing time to mere minutes. So how to use this application then? It’s simple enough, all you really have to do is set the record key, a sound file if you want to play one when you start recording and finally the Hz at which to record. Then press Save Settings and you’re done. You can set it to start at windows startup so you can’t forget to run it if you want to.
It also has crash “support” built-in so it’ll play a loud beep if audacity hangs or crashes so you won’t lose any commentary while you otherwise would’ve recorded away.
It’s a small application, but it’s a blessing in my eyes. If you want to download it, click the link: MiniRecorderFinal.
To give you a little background information I previously had to plug in my pc’s ethernet cable in my ps3 to get updates and grab downloadable titles from the store. Now this wasn’t at all a problem really as I had to plug over my toslink and dvi cables anyways. Some days ago I decided that it would just be easier to add a switch and it’d be worth the price of admission. Imagine the laziness there…
So I had a quick look around on my favorite tech comparison sites and quickly found the cheap and well-rated Netgear GS605. It’s only a 5port switch but that’s absolutely fine for me, even for future use. And the important thing was that it seemed reliable and supports 1Gbp/s, but that’s no shock in the year 2010.
So this now means that I’ll always have the updates for games I’m playing and I’ll be signed in to the PSN much more frequently. Speaking of… I had to have a look at the psn with the recent release of Scott Pilgrim of which I had watched some footage which seemed like a bunch of fun. So I bought that and I’ve only played a little of it but it seems very enjoyable, you just have to love the homage to all the parts of classic games.