REVIEW: New Super Luigi U October 14, 2013 | Leland Flynn
Troy Baker Channels the Joker October 14, 2013 | Leland Flynn
The Best Thing I Have Ever Made August 24, 2013 | Leland Flynn
It’s So Bad: The Power Glove gets a documentary... July 14, 2013 | Leland Flynn
Arcade Cabinet update July 3, 2013 | Leland Flynn
A New Challenger Appears! X-men vs. Street Fighter CPS2 Arcade... June 24, 2013 | Leland Flynn
Unstoppable Art June 18, 2013 | Leland Flynn
Progress Report 1: PiBoy Advance June 12, 2013 | Leland Flynn
E3 Press Conference/Media Round-Up June 11, 2013 | Leland Flynn
Daring Rescue is a personal project born out of a work assignment to make and end-all, be-all, beat-all toolkit for recovering and repairing computers. I decided that a lot of the work I had done (though not all of it for legal reasons) should be shared with others.
**UPDATE: While I wait for the sourceforge server to propagate I have put up an image of Daring Rescue here:
All tools included are freely available online, I have simply done the work of combining them for you into one maintained image that can be easily copied over to a 16GB thumbdrive. I chose this size because it is relatively inexpensive, provides enough space for all the tools I wanted to include, and leaves a bit of room to grow.
I will be updating the image with new tools, distro releases, and making changes to the bootloaders as I develop the toolkit. I am open to suggestions for tools to include/remove.
You can grab the image from my SourceForge page here and write it to a thumbdrive using the dd command in Linux or an applicable Windows program.
**Remeber that you need at least a 16GB thumbdrive to write this to.
The following is a list of the tools included in the current image:
####Daring Rescue 20130603v00####
Ubuntu 13.04 (32/64)
Ubuntu Server 12.10 (64)
Linux Mint 15 w/Cinnamon (64)
Damn Small Linux (Minimal Linux OS with GUI)
gPXE (PXE Boot OS images from the Internt and other sources)
Tails Linux (Best Effort Anonymous Live Boot Linux)
Kon-Boot v1.1 (Free version)
DIY Data Recovery Tools
Dell OpenManage (For diagnosing Dell devices)
Kali Linux (Penetration Testing Distro)
Acronis AntiMalware Scanner
Clonezilla (Hard Drive Cloner 32/64)
DBAN (Securely Wipe Disks)
Kaspersky AntiVirus Rescue 10
System Rescue CD
OphCrack Vista\XP (Windows password cracker with XP Fast Tables)
Offline NT Password Reset
REMnux (Malware Analysis and reverse engineering)
Corridor Digital have produced yet another epic short fan-film and this time they’re playing out a battle to the death between Link and his shadow (Dark Link). Honestly I think the fight scene could have lasted a bit longer and I thought the setup was a bit too long but overall this is a really fun piece!
Maybe it’s time I did a rundown of my favorite Legend of Zelda fan-made stuff!
I’ve been wanting to build a portable emulation machine for quite a while now and I finally decided to give it a go. I picked up an old GameBoy DMG-01 from my local vintage game shop. The LCD doesn’t work so I got it for about $5 which was great! Plastics online were about $20 which is ridiculous.
Figuring out placement in the GB DMG-01 case for the Raspberry Pi.
I’ll definitely be cutting out the battery compartment as the finished product will have an internal rechargeable 14000 MaH cell pack.
I intend to desolder the USB, CAT5/6, and HDMI ports and extend them with ribbon cables to get the ports where I want them. I’m also gonna use gap filler to fill some of the holes that will no longer be used.
The face buttons will be replaced and holes for 2 more will be added above them ala SNES controls. Likewise I will be installing buttons for the SNES controller shoulder buttons, unsure of placement yet. The sides maybe? Putting them on the back feels awkward.
Going to have to step up the 5v output by the battery pack to 6v for the 2.5 inch LCD that will be replacing the grayscale one. I really wish I could find an OLED display of the same size with a controller that accepts RCA. The Pi can do SPI but I do not have the experience to figure it out myself, nor the ability to write the necessary software to handle it.
Finally the whole thing will be getting a pint job since the case is a bit worn. No idea what the colors should be yet.
More updates soon! Ordering parts now!
**I need help naming this thing! Send me your suggestions!
I’m not one for dogma, nor am I one for religion. I mean that in every sense in which it might be understood. Currently I refer to the dogma and religiosity many people in the tech world harbor for their platforms of choice. These subsets of a larger, tech oriented culture bicker over what company makes the best widget and why that one arguing point clearly makes them superior in all ways to all challengers.
Not only are these debates vapid they are in their own way, a bit depraved. Even worse than that, they are fucking tiresome.
I am not above it all either. I have found myself on more than one occasion arguing with friends and colleagues about how much better my Android device is compared to their iPhone. What’s most frustrating is that while I am spouting these statements, listening to my opponent build their defenses, and searching for a crack in the wall of their dogmatic beliefs I can distinctly remember thinking that this is all so stupid. Sam Harris would have something interesting to say here I am certain.
Don’t misunderstand, I respect that certain platforms provide distinct advantages over others. Hell, I make my part-time Internet bones writing about these very things. But, I recognize that the devices you prefer to use are just that; personal preference. Over the past few years I have engaged in serious open debate about these things less and less and tried to take each new device or experience on its own. Sure my personal preference is along for the ride but I only use it to highlight how a device made me feel. I prefer not to push my preference on others. That said I do take a particular joy in applying Poe’s law to water cooler discussions at work about the merits of Apple vs. Google. Taunting the bears can be fun sometimes.
Now that I’ve finished roughing out my future book on the philosophy of technology writing I’d like to talk about my experiences using a Mac over this past weekend as a practical virgin to the environment. I work in the medical IT field and there are a fair number of Doctors out there who insist on filling their offices with Apple products because they think they’re pretty. Of course, they are right. Now I do not have much experience in the world of Mac OS X, so it is not uncommon for me to hand work off to other techs whom have a deeper understanding of the OS and hardware. It was for that reason that my boss handed me the MacBook that I am typing this on. The intent being that I might get a bit more comfortable with the hardware, software, and OS.
I’m writing this from a MacBook 5,1. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor clocked at 2GHz with a 3MB L2 cache and 8GB of RAM. Not too bad at all really.
In a word, the hardware is luxurious. I have used a lot of laptops over the years and my daily driver when I’m away from my desktop is an Asus. It is one of the best constructed PC laptops I have ever used. It is not even close in aesthetics and design when comparing it to the MacBook. It certainly beats it in specs and kills it in price (by about $1000 dollars less when both were new) but the MacBook is really just a beautiful device.
I am one of those weirdos that you might see at a computer store perusing laptops, closing the lids, and then torqueing them to see how much they flex. I’m not joking; this is a really good way to tell just how cheap the laptop is. I was really very impressed by how rigid the body of this machine felt. It is sturdy, rugged, and yet elegant. Turning the machine around in my hands to inspect the ports and bottom I found a curious latch that popped open to reveal the battery and the hard drive, both could be replaced easily. Hell even the cover plate was made of the same aluminum as the body.
The LCD panel on the machine is absolutely stunning as well. I can certainly see why I’ve always heard that if you want to do graphical work you should buy a Mac. Everything is considerably more crisp and vibrant on this panel. I watched a few HD movie trailers to get a sense of how rapidly refreshing images looked and never once noticed an artifact, stutter, or tear. This likely has as much to do with the proprietary video drivers as it does the panel though. Honestly my favorite example of the quality of this panel comes when reading or editing text. I write a lot as you might have gathered and have been on the fence about upgrading my desktop from my now 5 year old LCDs. I am no longer on the fence.
On the same topic of writing I do have a significant gripe, albeit a personal one. I find the spacing of the keyboard to be excellent but, the keys are simply too mushy for me. I prefer a bit more tactile feedback when typing. I’m not saying that my ideal laptop would have an IBM Model M built into it (though that wouldn’t be far off), but I don’t want the keys to give at the slightest tap. I would also have preferred a backlit keyboard but I hear that is an option on the Pro models.
Another issue I have found is that when using the machine on anything other than a perfectly flat surface, say a lap for instance, the machine becomes extremely hot. Hot enough that I had to stop writing in bed on the thing. Along with this I have found the amount of noise that the fans produce to be a serious deterrent. I certainly hope this is not such an issue with the later models because it is quite distracting. Enough so that my wife actually commented on it while I was reading the news.
Moving down to the palm rest and trackpad area I have a lot of good to say and just a tiny complaint. This is by far the best trackpad I have ever used. Aside from specific instances I have not really had any need or want of an external mouse. The navigation gestures are superb, in fact I intend to buy a Magic Trackpad soon for my Linux desktop and setup custom gestures on it. And the scrolling, god dammit the scrolling is perfect. Reading through long articles, editing blog posts, and browsing through PDFs is actually kind of fun. I would hesitate to use the Jobsian “magical” here simply because it’s silly but, it is certainly an excellent feeling.
My issue with this section is minor in a way but still very important. The palm rest hurts to use for any more than 5 minutes. I regularly find myself moving my hands away from the keyboard and taking breaks even as I write this. Clearly this portion was fashioned from welded razor blades that were cooled with the tears of perfect children. This is very obviously an intentional design flaw that was made in the name of aesthetic. And while the MacBook is beautiful, you simply should not sacrifice substance for style. I need my laptop to not hurt me when I’m typing for hours on end.
The Operating System
I expected to be really impressed with the OS. My Mac-faithful friends and co-workers have hyped it to me for years. Of course I indulge every chance I get to poke fun at them when they complain about some Mac specific issue to me. “But I thought they ‘just worked‘!?” is a favorite sarcastic response of mine.
I was not impressed overall but I do not mean this as a slight. Apple has built a really great window manager on top of a modified XNU Kernel. In fact I would go so far as to say it is one of the best *NIX window managers out there. I found no significant issues with the kernel and was pleasantly surprised to find that Darwin is even open source via the Apple Public Source License! I compiled my fair share of custom kernels in my Gentoo Linux fanboy days and even though I do not do it much anymore I still find that sort of access comforting. If only the entire OS were open-source. Apple could really contribute some excellent work to the tech community.
The OS X GUI is really quite responsive, even on this last-gen hardware. Animations are fluid and nice to look at but never distracting. Moving windows around rapidly never seemed to produce any screen tearing or artifacting for me. Of course solid graphics drivers account for much of this but without a decent rendering engine a good driver isn’t worth much in user interface land.
I also noticed subtle flourishes here and there. For example I was filling out a registration form in an application and I missed a field. After clicking submit rather than beat me over the head with the mistake the field box was ringed in a soft red color. I appreciated how simple and elegant of a solution this was to drawing my attention to the issue. Elegant is, I think not a bad way to describe the GUI overall.
Coming from Linux I have a particular love for the command line. I was happy to see that the OS comes with almost all of the commands and applications I know and love built-in, as any respectable workstation oriented *NIX variant should. I even found a nifty tool to let me drop down a command like the debug console in a game ala Guake in Linux.
My only real issues with the window manager environment are the file manager (Finder) and full screen apps.
The file manager is a bit of a personal gripe I suppose as I find the organizational philosophy to be jarring. I honestly had difficulty finding system directories and anything that wasn’t already displayed for me in the left-hand sidebar. I found it completely unintuitive to use, and I have used many a file manager in my time with many different ideas of how to display and organize files.
Full screening applications in Mac are exactly that. The app takes up the full screen, no context bar at the top (until you mouse over it) and no app launcher at the bottom. I believe this was a design choice when the “iOSification” of OS X began a few years ago. I hear it is much more apparent in Mountain Lion, the latest OS X release. Again there was a bit of a learning curve here, using the trackpad gestures makes navigating through full screened apps a bit easier to do but it still doesn’t feel as functional as most other OSes. Even Windows!
I have been using this Mac to handle my day-to-day routine, read news, write articles, watch videos, and assist a few clients, and I have to say I have enjoyed it. I can see why the Mac fanboys can be so overzealous. The hardware has thoroughly impressed me to the point that I am considering purchasing a Mac as my next laptop solely for the elegant aesthetic and quality of the build. That said, if they do with the MacBook line what they have done with the Air line (soldered RAM/Hard Drives to the motherboard) they will lose me as a potential customer forever.
The OS was very nice to look at and every bit as functional and capable as Windows or the best of the myriad Linux distress out there. I had my issues with some of the design choices with core software; enough that if I ever do buy a MacBook it will very likely be dual booting to Linux distro.
The MacBook is a wonderful machine and a pleasure to use. Is it for me? Perhaps. Am I converted? Not really?