Introducing Alan Wake

(This piece was originally written in 2011 as a Facebook note)

About one and a half months back I was browsing the games shelf in a local department store. I happened to come upon a copy of Alan Wake. The price had been considerably lowered. I think the original cost was 50+ EUR, but now it was only 19,95 EUR. Needless to say I bought it.

Alan Wake PC.

I remember that the game received high scores on the gaming press, however, I was not sure about the sales. Definitively not the figures of, say Modern Warfare 2, but not a disaster either. Alan Wake was “No. 1 video game of 2010” on Time Magazine. And I can fully understand, why.

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TV series Pasadena deserves to be put on DVD

Now this thing is an oddball. The TV series Pasadena from 2001. Many times a year I go to check whether it is available as DVD. It is not. But it really should be.

Pasadena was a TV series by Columbia TriStar Television/Sony Pictures Television. It was shown on FOX in 2001 in USA until it was cancelled. It was shown in Finland in 2002. 12 years ago. Actually, Finland was one of the lucky nations where it was possible to watch the whole series on national TV. Lets get one thing straight. Pasadena was an excellent show. It was also critically acclaimed according to Wikipedia. I personally liked the dark atmosphere and suspense of the show. I think there was a bit of a love story involved also, but my memory has faded on that point. It has been, after all, 12 years without a reunion of any kind.

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Installing VMware ESXi 5.5.0 into Zotac Zbox ID90

ESXi 5.5.0 running on Zotac Zbox ID90

Recently I discovered I was running out of resources on my old VMware ESXi host, a Lenovo Thinkpad X201. Because of some security concerns I don’t keep swap enabled. Therefore I need lots of real RAM on the host machine. I also prefer small form factor (as the earlier laptop is).

After a while googling around I came across Zotac Zbox ID90. It’s one of those small form factor PC’s. Relevant specs are: CPU: Intel Core i7 3770T; Chipset: Intel H61 Express; Maximum memory: 16GB. Looks sufficient, I thought. There were, however 2 concerns. I had no idea whether the on-board LAN chips were compatible with ESXi 5.5.0. One would think that if the chipset was from Intel, it would include Intel LAN chips, right? Right? Another issue was support for Intel VT-d technology. There was no way to determine this from the specs provided. I tried asking Zotac support, but they were unable to assist. I don’t blame them, since the only real-world way to determine setup support is to actually install ESXi and see if DirectPath I/O is supported. I decided to take my chances and order Zbox ID90.

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Chair-bombing at work

About a month back or so I got to the office in the morning as usual. I sat down on my office chair. For a while things were as any other morning. Then I started to hear eerie music with a weird male voice-over. I had difficulties locating the source first. I checked under the laptop, behind it, under the table. Then I noticed that the sound came from bottom of my chair.

Trigger mechanism for the office chair.

I took a look and.. just whoa! You cannot make this up. My workmates had rigged my office chair. Ingenious! They had used some USB powered promotional video board to play the weird video file. Then they had removed the power cords, soldered them to a micro switch and attached it to the base of my chair with electrical tape. They told me they had used quite a while in fine-tuning this installation. Good work, it actually worked very nice.

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Payday 2 should have a professional female character

In case you have missed it, Payday 2 is out and it is doing great. I have already logged 100+ hours on it. Overkill Software has promised additional game content as DLCs. There have been rumors of a female character appearing to accompany Dallas, Hoxton, Chains and Wolf.

The businesswoman look I’d like to see in Payday 2 in the future. CC BY 2.0 by Flickr/Victor1558 Continue reading “Payday 2 should have a professional female character”

Xerox laser toner cartridges programmed to fail

A few years back I ran into a problem with a Xerox 7700 laser printer. The print quality had been OK, but suddenly the printer reported that a toner cartridge had to be changed and refused to print anymore. After checking up on prices it seemed like we needed to spend 200 EUR to buy a new cartridge.

I googled around a bit and found out interesting piece of information. It seemed like the toner cartridges had some kind of memory units regarding print counts. Once the counter reaches zero, the cartridge stops printing. At this point I decided to hack the cartridge back to a working state.

1. First I removed the toner cartridge from the printer.

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Sony stole my music

Payday The Heist 1

Usually a the big music corporations accuse people downloading music thieves and such. I want to present you a different story with reversed roles.

Payday is a game a bit similar to Left 4 Dead 2. It includes 4 players, a lot of guns and plenty targets to shoot. The object of the game is not to shoot zombies, but to make big buck heists, bank jobs, HVT extraction, and stuff like that. All in all, very nice game (the sequel, Payday 2 has been released and it is doing great).

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Battlefield 3 multiplayer experience is as delightful as a metric ton of horse shit

 

Seriously Electronic Arts / DICE. I should be saying this nicely, but I can’t and I don’t care anymore. What the fuck is going on with Battlefield 3? How have you managed to make playing the game online such a pain in the ass? Today I decided to play BF3 because it has been a while. I launched EA Origin. Oh, new update, okay. Boom, my credentials were gone from the login screen of Origin. What sense it makes to have a “remember me” box in the client if it actually constantly forgets you?

Another issue, the stupid game launcher. Working on a web browser. Except it mostly is not working. Today it announced I had to install updated plugin to play. I installed. I reinstalled. No dice. I rebooted. Did it work? Nah. Reboot again, reinstall plugin, test Campaign mode. Finally.

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Hello World!

“Hello World” is the iconic and simple program one supposedly makes first when getting known to a new programming language. I’m using that as a topic for the first post of this new blog I’m starting.

I’m starting a new blog about technology and gaming. I’m doing this mostly because I tend to make a lot of esoteric configuration and programming work on Linux. To be honest, good “use it exactly like this and it will work” guides are quite hard to find for the stuff I’m interested in. So, why not publicly document my findings to benefit the community?

There is of course a lot of other stuff than Linux to write about. I’m planning on writing about cool gadgets I personally own. Having used a device some time is the only way to expose all the pitfalls it may include.  The IT magazines don’t usually give such in-depth knowledge that would be essential in making the decision about purchasing stuff.

And then there is gaming. I have played computer and video games since the Commodore 64 came out. As a 5-year old Finnish rascal it was kind of hard to try to load the games from tape drive. Luckily my dad helped by writing a small notebook about how things work. Later I got known to NES, GameBoy, PC and Xbox360, so I consider myself to know my stuff. Maybe not completely inside-out, but at least I’m competent to follow most gaming discussions.

In addition to technical and gaming issues, I will write also about politics, whenever it intersects with the aforementioned topics. However, all my “purely” political pieces can be found from my Finnish blog at http://usvi.puheenvuoro.uusisuomi.fi/ .

I believe in content before form, so for some time the blog will have default layout settings. Once I gain more knowledge about themes and managing WordPress, I’ll probably make some changes to the appearance.

I guess that is enough background information on this blog and myself. It’s time to get to work and publish some actual articles.

28th of August 2013, Janne Paalijärvi