Posted by UnaX in Games
I made a deal with one of my friends as I bought my new HTC One X. It was a rather simple deal really, I would give him the old HTC Desire HD and he would give me his old Xbox 360 Arcade, as he just got a new Xbox 360 Slim 4GB for doing a show somewhere during the Beep 2011 conference in Copenhagen.
It’s been 3 to 4 months since we did the swap and I have yet to actually get the console, as we keep forgetting it, so I’ve been reading up on what I need to do to actually use the console like I want to.
The thing with the Xbox 360 Arcade, is that it only has 256MB of memory on an internal flashcard, which you can’t change. You could splash your money on an official HDD from Microsoft, but that is an expensive solution.
I really want a 320GB HDD, as I will probably fill up it rather quickly with anything from games, demos, music and what not. It seems that it’s not possible to get one for the old Xbox 360 Phat consoles here in Denmark, so I’m going to make one myself. This means that I need to buy a 320GB HDD, I’m going to buy a Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB or to be even more technical a WD3200BEKT. It’s priced at around DKK 400 ($66) and then you’ll need a casing for the HDD, to make it fit on top of the Xbox 360, which is priced at around DKK 120 ($20).
The trick is that you have to flash the firmware on the Western Digital HDD, so that it matches the security bit Microsoft wants to have so that the Xbox 360 will recognise the drive. This is done by following this great guide by InsaneNutter at Digiex, which means that you’ll have a nice 320GB HDD to put into the Xbox 360. This means I’ll be able to play newer games, which you couldn’t due to the measly 256MB of memory on the Xbox 360 Arcade before.
To sum up the difference between doing it yourself and buying a real Microsoft HDD:
320GB Hard Drive HDD for Xbox 360 with shipping to Denmark – DKK800 / $132
320GB Western Digital Scorpio Black 7200 RPM – DKK400 / $66
Xbox 360 Hard Drive Casing Grey – DKK120 / $20
Total: DKK520 / $86
Difference: DKK280 / $46
There is also an added bonus to doing this swap myself, as the original Microsoft HDD is only running at 5.400 RPM and the Scorpio Black is a 7.200 RPM HDD. You could actually splash the money for a Western Digital VelociRaptor drive running at 10.000 RPM, but they are really expensive over here so it’s not an option. I myself have chosen to go for the Scorpio Black as opposed to the Scorpio Blue, which is running at 5.400 RPM, as it’s actually cheaper.
After this change I’ll be able to run the newer games on the Xbox 360 Arcade. But that does not mean that I’m done fiddling with the Xbox, as I want to do some more changes to it before it’s running as I want it to.
Replacing the stock fan:
Many people who’ve had the pleasure of playing around with an Xbox 360 knows that it tends to be a noisy beast. The worst sinner here is the DVD-drive, but it’s not one that you just can change to a normal low-noise variant. But we can do something about the general noise problem with the stock fans inside the Xbox 360. It’s a special made unit, with two fans melded together and it’s running at an amazing 0.8 cubic meters per minute and at 41 db(A) which is loud.
I’m going to swap it out, as I have another hack where I have to go into the Xbox any way, with a Talismoon Whisperfan with nice green LED-lights. According to the manufacturer it’s running at 1.3 cubic meters per minute and at a lower 38 db(A), which is a bit quieter: The new Talismoon Whisper Xbox 360 Replacement Fan moves 58% more air than the original, yet is 7% quieter.
The Whisper Fan is not very expensive, sitting at DKK 140 / $23, so it’s a cheap and painless swap for a lot more airflow and a little less noise. The guide I’ve found to do this swap is this one from 2008 at ExtremeTech. It seems easy enough to follow if you have a little technical know-how and the right tools and as mentioned before I have another hack I want to do where I need to open it up any way.
Installing an xk3y:
Console games are expensive, yes it’s true, and you can save a little money if you have a tainted conciousness or if you simply just want to put your original games onto a HDD, with this little mod-chip, the xk3y. The xk3y is a so-called optical drive emulator, which have the ability to spoof your own DVD-drive. The install procedure is rather complex, so if you don’t have the technical know-how to open a console/computer, connecting your Xbox 360 DVD-drive to your computer an getting the DVD-key from it and so on, that you might want to think about getting someone to do it for you.
The xk3y sits at DKK 800 / $132 and the tools you need varies depending on which optical drive there is in the Xbox 360 or if you have a Phat or Slim console. As I have (or will have) a Phat console, I’ll need a V2 Toolkit for Xbox Phat, to open it op. The price for one of those is DKK 100 / $16.
Now, the installation of this, as I mentioned, varies a lot depending on which drive you have inside the Xbox, but at the official xk3y forums, you can find a very good video guide made by OzModChips, which will tell you have to install the chip itself.
I’m not certain what I’ll find inside the Xbox 360 Arcade when I actually open it up, but from there I’ll have to find out how to extract the key from the DVD-drive to put it on the xk3y SD-card, so it can emulate my drive.
That is what I’m waiting to do the Xbox 360 Arcade when I finally manage to get it with me (maybe we should drink less will playing World Cup 2010) and I will do some updates, with pictures and such when I actually open up the beast and start customising it.
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Doing anything below will void your warranty.
Any damage to your phone due to any of this is your own responsibility, not mine nor the ROM developers.
Don’t venture into flashing of ROMS if you don’t know what you’re doing.
After HTC decided to push Android version 2.3.7 with HTC Sense 3.5 to my HTC Desire HD, I’ve had major problems with my phone. I do know that I could have just decided not to update, but I like being on the ‘cutting edge’ of it all (so much at the cutting edge as you can be with an older version of the Android OS).
The thing is that it seems HTC Sense 3.5 uses way to much of the precious hardware of my phone for it to work properly, at least if we look at the stock version of Android 2.3.7 and HTC Sense 3.5. That is why I decided to venture into rooting and flashing a custom firmware on my phone.
First of I had to found out how to root the phone and as it is there is no way to permanently root Android 2.3.7 on the HTC Desire HD. Luckily there is something called The Advanced Ace Hack Kit, which allows you to do a temporary root and downgrade the system to 2.3.5 where we get to do a permanent root.
It also installs Fastboot, which is a protocol used to update the flash filesystem via USB, and ClockworkMod Recovery, which replaces the stock recovery console and gives you more options.
It is the latter that is important when you want to install custom ROMS on your phone. It’s actually rather simple going on from here, now it’s just a matter of making a NANDroid backup of your phone from ClockworkMod Recovery and then find the ROM you’d like to experiment with. For the Desire HD I was looking around on the XDA Developers forum and found a few ROMS I’d try out.
Also the andrdcndy blog had a nice list of ROMS to check out.
I decided on trying out IceColdSandwich by LorD ClockaN for my first go, as it was an Android 4.0.3 ROM without HTC Sense. I really wanted to try something new after 1½ year of HTC Sense, so stock Android it was.
I started out with IceColdSandwich 5.5 and it was actually running pretty good. Some people have issues with the camera on the Desire HD with this ROM, but mine seemed to function as it should. I had maybe 1 crash on 5.5, but when update 6.0 came out my phone really started suffering with loads of random crashes, especially when I was on the phone with someone. Also after updating from 5.5 to 6.0 I started having camera issues and the fix provided didn’t help me out. Update 6.1 didn’t really make it better for me, so I started looking around to try something new (again).
Actually I liked IceColdSandwich a lot, but the random crashes was annoying and I really did change from the stock 2.3.7, with Sense 3.5 due to performance problems. Also the fact that there was no Danish T9 was a hassle when most of the communication you do on the phone is in Danish. A random keyboard crash when pressing the buttons L and I after each other didn’t help the impression and you actually do this a lot when writing Danish. Lastly sending and receiving MMS wasn’t possible on the stock messaging app, which meant I didn’t received a nice picture of my two nieces, which my sister sent.
This meant that I took a closer look at CyanogenMod, which is said to be one of the more stable ROM releases. Currently I’m on CyanogenMod 7.1.0 and everything is just running great out of the box. It’s built on Android 2.3.7, but without HTC Sense, which means I get great performance.
So far, I can’t really say anything bad about CyanogenMod, as it just works. No random crashes at all and after installing the the different Google Apps (gapps), which you can find here, it started out being just as I wanted it. It even automatically installed all my apps from the market without any other interaction from me than asking.
If you click the CyanogenMod logo below, you can see two screenshots from the ‘About phone’ part in the settings menu and see these from my phone for the two above mentioned ROMS.
I might return to the blog with more updates as I experiment with custom ROMS.
, CloclworkMod Recovery
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Posted by UnaX in News
I’ve said it before, but I might as well state it again. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to work on having a blog, but to be honest there is not really anything interesting going on in my life. At least not something that warrants regular updates of a blog.
I’ve been trying a few different things with this site, to make regular updates:
Writing about my life:
I tried this, I really did. And while my life is interesting enough in itself, at least from my point of view, it’s just not interesting enough to sustain a place in the every growing blogosphere. I didn’t want to end up like one of those people keeping a blog with no readers, just to keep a blog. Writing about how I was shopping and decided to go for sliced bread instead of non-sliced bread and so on. It doesn’t make sense to me to keep on writing, if that is the premise.
Writing about football:
‘Having a blog where I write about one of your biggest passions? Sign me up!’ That could have been what I was saying when I got this brilliant idea. I do love football and writing about all the small things that happened with FC København was indeed an interesting time for me. Little did I realise how much work there actually is in trying to maintain a blog with updated information, writing pre-match reports, finding the best odds at different bookmakers, scouring the net for information about players who are injured or who got enough penalty points for their last yellow card and so forth.
Combine all the work with having to write it all up in a mix of passion, seriousness and being funny enough for people to stop by, was simply no fun for me.
Writing about Linux/Ubuntu
I did try this for a short while, with guides and such, but also that ended up being rather boring for me. You see, it’s fun as hell to make stuff work and look right in Ubuntu. That is one of the things I love about it, compared to Windows (No! This is not because I want to start a discussion about which OS is the best and why). Documenting it while I write was fun too, but at some point I got everything I need working in Ubuntu. This meant that I stopped using it, because the challenge was gone. I still have it installed, but it’s becoming rarer and rarer that I choose that as the boot option in GRUB.
I guess you can thank, amongst others, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Europa Universalis III: Chronicles, Sengoku and now Crusader Kings II for that. All these games are time sinks for me and since I’ve bought most of these on Steam, that happens in Windows. Simple, really.
If I sit down now and look back at the vast amount of posts I did in 2011, and here I mean all five of them, I realise that I simply can’t do this any more. At least not in such an effect that it’s supposed to be on the front page of the domain. That is why, I’ll try and move this blog to a subdirectory (You remember me saying that before?) and then put something else up.
So now the question is, what to put on a very well SEO optimised domain? A domain that makes ridiculous and pointless blog articles show up on Google News deserves something better than ramblings of a mad man.
I have some ideas in mind and one of them is actually a blog, but a type of blog where I’d like to start all over again. After reading a lot of Rock, Paper Shotgun, I’m walking around with some thoughts in my head about doing something like that. Not exactly the same, but make a blog where I write about the games I try. I.e. if I play Football Manager 2012, I’ll update about that, assuming the role of the manager in question. While playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’d write about the adventures of my Sith Juggernaut or Imperial Agent. Playing one of the more dynasty powered games like Sengoku or Crusader Kings II, I could write a chronicle about the dynasty while I play.
I feel this way of writing would give me a lot less pressure of doing loads of meaningful updates, but I’d be able to just give a short update about players signed, children born into the dynasty, bosses killed and such. So a gaming blog on my own premises is what I’m think about.
It might actually happen this time! Who knows?
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Posted by UnaX in Linux, Ubuntu
After growing a bit tired of the regular Gnome interface I thought that I would spice it all up by trying to ad a dock to hold all my launchers and such. This made me go search for all kinds of different possibilities and as always the Ubuntu Forums is a great place to start looking for something. Never have I met a community which is so friendly and eager to help when you have some trouble with a component or maybe need advise to figure out what you should do.
After hunting around, I came up with three different alternatives I would try Docky, AWN and CairoDock.
So far I’ve been playing around with Docky and AWN, but am still waiting to try me luck with CairoDock. I’ll share how you install AWN (as that is how far I’ve gotten with my project so far) and also look at how easy (or not) I found it:
At first I had problems with getting more than one dock in AWN, which I really couldn’t understand. I had seen several nice screenshots of other peoples user interfaces and they had somehow managed to get it done, but no matter what I did in the settings, I just couldn’t figure out what to do. After some searching however, I did manage to find a post that gave me the possibility to do exactly what I wanted.
I did however mean that I had to make sure that I got rid of the old installation of AWN, as it wasn’t available in the regular Ubuntu repositories. You need to use the AWN from the AWN-testing PPA.
First you remove the one you might have installed already by opening your terminal and entering the following:
sudo apt-get remove avant-window-navigator avant-window-navigator-data awn-settings awn-applets-c-core libawn1 vala-awn && sudo apt-get autoremove
This removes the core packages that AWN is using and by adding the ‘sudo apt-get autoremove’ you remove all the unused dependencies too, so you don’t have any unused packages that might conflict when you are going to install the AWN trunk.
Now we have to add the AWN-testing repository, so we get the possibility to install it and also update later on:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:awn-testing/ppa
Now do an update to allow you to get the contents of the PPA:
sudo apt-get update
Now we have all the packages we need avalible to play around with AWN, so now we execute the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-trunk avant-window-navigator-data-trunk python-awn-trunk awn-settings-trunk awn-applets-python-core-trunk python-awn-extras-trunk awn-applets-python-extras-trunk awn-applets-c-core-trunk awn-applets-c-extras-trunk
Now we’re almost done installing AWN, but to make the different helpers work, we have to install DockManager which luckily is included in the PPA for AWN:
sudo apt-get install dockmanager-daemon dockmanager
With this last install, we now got everything we can to start playing around with AWN. Simply start up Avant Window Navigator from your menu by clicking ‘Applications’ -> ‘Accessories’ -> ‘Avant Window Navigator’. This gives you a standard bar, with a few things on it. The standard launchers you’ll have is the AWN control panel, a terminal, Firefox and Rythmbox.
I’ve made a little slideshow you can where you can see the five different settings tabs you have available in the AWN settings, simply start it by clicking the AWN logo below:
It is here you make the action that is setting up AWN to your needs. You can chose all the usual things that are available for such an application, amongst others the size of the icons, the orientation of the bar (do you want the dock in the bottom, the top or maybe even on the side?), the style of how the dock acts and so on. It is also here that you decide what helpers and applets that you want to run on your docks.
Below you see my main dock, which has no unusual applets or anything on it. It’s just a standard dock with the currently running applications:
As I mentioned it’s not very interesting, but the only thing I do from this is launch applications and swap between them and as you can see I’m still in the progress of setting them up. Thus, I’ve not gotten very far with it, but I’m still working on it and I will show you the progress in a later post when I’ve made my final decision on what dock to run.
I have added another dock so far, this one is containing some of the different informations I like to have at hand when using my computer. It’s nothing special, but still I find it useful so far:
As you can see I have a gMail applet running that shows when I get new mail (the star shows that I actually have unread mails). Next to it I have the notification area, that show when someone message me, Gwibber and the likes. I like knowing how the weather is, even though I’m sat right next to a window looking out and I can tell you right now that I’m having some connectivity issues as it’s most definitely not 5 degrees Celsius and sunshine outside. I’ve also added a network monitor, which underlines my connectivity issues, as there is no traffic what so ever going on at the moment. Finally the date and time, which has become essential for me as I need to know when I have to go to bed…
That is my current set-up after playing with AWN for 30 minutes time (not counting all the time it took me to find out that I needed the AWN-testing PPA) and as you can see it’s all very basic and simple so far. It will probably evolve later on when I’ve gotten more comfortable with it, but I think it’s rather simple to find the helpers I’ve needed for now. I can’t yet tell how hard it is to find special applets and helpers yet, but I will chime in when I know.
I hope this could answer a few questions on how to play around with AWN and start your own journey into nice docks in Ubuntu. Feel free to comment, point me towards better alternatives or what not, as I’m always open to some constructive criticism and suggestions.
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Today Canonical announced that they’re going to merge the two editions of Ubuntu, Ubuntu Desktop Edition and Ubuntu Netbook Edition into one edition which will be known as Ubuntu.
This means that Ubuntu is changing back from the change they made in 2005, with the release of Ubuntu Server Edition, and making it more simple than it can be for new users of the operating system. According to Gerry Carr at Canonical, this is happening as they’ve reached the point where it doesn’t matter on what form factor you’re running Ubuntu on as the user interface will run just as well.
One of the reasons behind this is of course that from Ubuntu 11.04 (Oneric Ocelot), Unity will be the new default shell. Unity was originally developed for Ubuntu Netbook Edition, but apparently they feel that we’re at a point where it’ll work equally well on a netbook, laptop or a desktop computer.
The question will now stand whether or not this will mean that Gnome will, at some point, be removed entirely from Ubuntu or will continue to live on as an option (without installing it yourself). At least it might seem that with the focus on getting Unity up to scratch, Gnome might suffer on Ubuntu. Only time will tell.
I’m not really sure about this change from Gnome to Unity as the standard shell, as I’ve had nothing but trouble with Unity myself. No matter if I’ve been working with it in the Ubuntu Desktop Edition or when I was playing around with the Ubuntu Netbook Edition. For some reason it just didn’t seem right for me and it made me frustrated and I ended up switching back to comforts of Gnome. That said, I’ve never been very good at playing around with user interfaces (which my upcoming post about installing AWN as docks might show), so some people might not agree with me on this.
However, this doesn’t mean that Canonical have lost the fight about creating a good operating system for netbooks and according to Gerry Carr, the download figures for the Netbook Edition have been booming, but as mentioned earlier in the post there is no longer a need for several different editions.
Ubuntu Server Edition will live on as a separate edition of Ubuntu, but will also undergo a slight name change to make it all a little more simple, and will from now on be known as Ubuntu Server.
From my point of view it’ll be interesting if this change of names and reduction, or merge if you want, of editions will make more people willing to try the jump away from Windows and OSX and plunge into the wonderful world of Linux.
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Posted by UnaX in News
…to the devil. Or the be more precise, I’ve decided to add Google AdSense to my blog and forum. I’ve always been against ads, but at some point I had to realise that generating a little income would be a good idea. It’s not like this website have loads and loads of visitors, but I still feel that it’s an opportunity I should take as I would love for the site and forum to be self sustainable. I’ve decided to go with nothing but text ads, as I feel these are the least intrusive when you’re reading blog posts or scanning a forum.
This is a short update as nothing new has really happened of late, but I thought the fact that I’ve decided to have ads was a big enough change for it to merit an update.
As a short teaser, I can tell you that I’m in the process of customising my Ubuntu 10.10 install with AWN docks and I might just decide to make an update about that very soon. Also the fact that I have to reinstall XBMC Live on my Shuttle XS35GT might provide some information on setting up such a thing.
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Posted by UnaX in Games
When a region in the fantastic game NationStates dies, especially one of the older and most powerful ones, someone will always try to steal the glory of it all. It’s a sad fact that Gatesville has run it’s course, ending in Gates the God deciding to eject and ban all the members of Gatesville, moving himself to the Pacific lodging a message about coming there to die. Many years of fighting against the World Assembly (the former United Nations) and their attempts to force laws, acts and other evil things over the heads of poor countries, is over.
Or is it? Despite this sad decision by Gates the God, some of the nations from the former Gatesville has decided to make a stance, to keep on the fight against the evil of the World Assembly. My great nation, The Holy Thiefdom of Hrotsijka, have decided to do this from the comforts of the Holy Moosean Empire, where 42 other nations from the former Gatesville have gathered to continue the fight. We’re trying and will continue to do so!
A new region called Gatesville has emerged from the ashes, but let me warn you straight away! The new Gatesville (which I won’t link to) was created seconds before the old members of the original region could do it, by a puppet nation called The Confederacy of Gate Fences Make Gates, clearly indicated by the measly 26 million inhabitants in the puny country. This shows us that this is a nation merely created to ride the former glory, respect and name of Gatesville. Not cool!
Enough about all that and let’s talk a little about some of the new features added to NationStates during this ‘Feature February’ as Max Berry calls it. Firstly I’ll talk about the new trophy icons, which were added on the 5th of February. It looks like this (taken directly from the country profile of the glorious Hrotsijka):
To put it simply, these trophy icons shows how your country fares in the daily world census updates and as you can see Hrotsijka has done neither good nor bad during the first 19 days of this feature. I could sum it up a little by saying that we’re amongst the top 10% in the world in the ‘Most Cultured’ category, in the top 5% in the ‘Most Beautiful Environments’ and the one that makes fearsome leader Maxim Gromyko most proud: in the top 5% in the ‘Highest Police Ratios’ category!
It’s a fun new feature, which shows the efforts of how your country fares, instead of just being placed on a list. As Max Berry puts it: ‘For many years, the World Census has ranked nations. Eight, in fact. Eight years and a bit. But the glory (or shame) has been fleeting. You’re ranked, then forgotten. Who was #1 yesterday? Which scale is your best? Nobody knows.’. And I can only say that I agree, it was about time that we saw a change like this, so Max I salute you! It is great that you get to show of exactly how you were placed in a census and I know that you’re all jealous…
But this is not all that has changed, because as of the 20th of February we’ve gotten a nice new feature that adds graphs to our nation profiles. This means that we now get a graphical representation of different statistics, as an example I give you the leading causes of death in Hrotsijka:
This is a neat feature, that gives leaders of nations a better overview of what is going on within the nation, but also gives some nice and quirky information that you can ponder. For instance, I’m wondering how 6% of deaths in Hrotsijka happens when people get lost in the wilderness. I do know that it’s a massive nation, with it’s 10.314 billion inhabitants, but it seems like many people tend to be morons!
As if these two new and wonderful changes to the game, Max claims that they’re not done doing changes this fantastic ‘Feature February’: ‘And Feature February isn’t done yet! There’s one big new feature still to come! ‘. I guess all we can do is sit down and wait to see what the big new feature will be, I have my fingers crossed for something so big that it’s going to blow my mind! Like maps of countries or something like that, a feature I would love to see.
To sum up this massive post about one of my favourite browser based past times I’m still enjoying playing this great game, even 7 years after signing up. Seven years of playing NationStates and I’m still thrilled about getting a new issue that will change my country, still amazed that my citizens pay a flat 95% income tax without complaining and wondering when I get the two issues that will allow me to enter a custom nation capital and religion. Also, I’ve added a sidebar widget which shows the latest RSS feed updates from my glorious Hrotsijka, so you all can see what is going on.
, Holy Moosean Empire
, World Assembly
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Posted by UnaX in Misc
The time keeps slipping and suddenly we have no idea of where we are… Or something like that. At least this is another way of saying that an update was needed.
It’s been a busy few months after getting a job and thus it makes it rather hard to even think about this website. So another pointless update about the futility of mankind and all that.
I small update can be made however and that is that I’ve been working on making a new website with a friend, for the new fan section at PARKEN stadium. It can be found at s12.dk and is in Danish, so enjoy
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Posted by UnaX in Misc
So, let’s update this bastard! We’ll do it short, nice and hard.
To sum up what has been going on lately, could be summarized in one single word: Nothing. It seems that getting a job is a tad harder than first anticipated, so currently I’m walking around thinking about starting studying again. After all it might be better to claim that you’re an software architect instead of being a computer science major. It seems that people don’t know what they want when searching for new employees…
Ah well, update, update, UPDATE!
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In anticipation to the upcoming Cataclysm expansion to World of Warcraft, Wowhead.com has an exclusive interview with the key system designer at Blizzard, Ghostcrawler.
You can read the interview here. Ghostcrawler is always good fun and we even get the answer to the very important question ‘Where’s our moose?!’
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