Month: April 2014

The Atari Landfill

I remember reading about this a long, long time ago. For some reason, it was mentioned in a magazine or something that I was reading. Maybe I was reading about the collapse of Atari, or it could have been mentioned while reading about the collapse of the Sega console. I believe the two went down similarly – being that both invested too much into a single game that flopped or something. Either way, IGN has been shooting out newsletter emails reporting that the urban legend around Atari’s landfill is confirmed true. Apparently, they are out there observing an Xbox documentary crew who’s having the site dug up to see if the horde of dump-truck-dropped Atari stuff is actually out there.

Considering the money it takes to hire dump-trucks to carry all of that Atari merchandise to a desert, where a hole probably had to have been dug, and then filled with cement – it makes you wonder why Atari didn’t just tell everyone “hey, here’s free Atari crap for anyone who wants it … you just gotta come get it yourself.”

Then again, Xbox’s new TV group and IGN wouldn’t have anything to make a big uproar about. I did have the unfortunate experience of playing E.T. on Atari, however. I’d say Atari wouldn’t have been too hard pressed just to convince everyone to bury it in their own back yards and cement it in for at least some pleasure. IGN says it wasn’t actually the worst game ever made, but I can’t agree. It is still the worst game I’ve ever played. Anyway. Here’s IGN’s latest article about it, if you’re interested. You can even see Naomi Kyle playing the game in one of the embedded videos and being just as frustrated as I was back when I used to play it on my Atari.

Ubuntu Software Center: ‘Available from the “main” source’

For anyone who comes across this problem, which I did tonight on my laptop, you may want to first try closing Software Center and re-opening it. Several suggestions on askubuntu.com and other results from searches online mentioned removing entries from the source lists and so forth. As I said, just closing and re-opening solved the problem where it happened to me. I’m not going to assume this is something new, as people asking about it on those sites when I searched it were experiencing it with 12.04. I never experienced it in 12.04 and have only experienced it once so far on one machine running 14.04.

What occurred was when clicking on an application in the Software Center I was shown no reviews or info for the application, but instead only the message Available from the “main” source with a button saying Use This Source where Install would normally be.

TES Anthology and Steam

Up until yesterday, my Steam account was practically unused. After building a new PC and purchasing The Elder Scrolls: Anthology, I was forced to use it in order to play Skyrim. Like most people probably did, I searched for any possible way to avoid having to use Steam in order to play Skyrim, but I found myself agreeing with some opinions of it being harmless. What I didn’t realize was how it actually would be useful for Morrowind and Oblivion.

I installed all five games in order, starting with Arena. With the exception of lacking DirectX 9.0c for Oblivion, Skyrim was the only game whose installation didn’t go blissfully uninterrupted – if you would consider the Steam process an interruption. I installed the games last night and decided to get on and play them today. Starting with Morrowind, I was blown away at how I was prompted for a disk to be in the drive in order for the game to run. I’ve played Morrowind in the past and done so with a No-CD crack in order to avoid having to insert my disk every time I wanted to play. So, I ventured to the net to find it now and found it was impossible to find a website that looked legit and non-harm-intending, and what websites I did try the waters with and actually downloaded what they were hosting – ended up being patches to run on my original exe opposed to a already patched one. No thanks.

So, I did insert Morrowind and Oblivion disks long enough to make sure both games booted up without hiccups, but I winded up closing both and running Skyrim. Being that the CD-check has an anti-piracy motive, and that Steam is the anti-piracy strategy for Skyrim, I wasn’t surprised to find it didn’t require the disk to be in the drive. I did, however, find both Morrowind and Oblivion listed in my games in Steam. So, I decided to install them. What do I find? I can run both games inside of Steam without the disk. Maybe I overlooked something in some info about this Anthology set, but I never saw it mentioned anywhere that installing the games via Steam as opposed to the traditional manner would alleviate the disk-check annoyance.

Well, I thought it was worth a blog post to mention it. If you have the Anthology or plan on getting it, it’s best to install Skyrim first, because Morrowind and Oblivion are included in your Steam library after you enter the license key that is required to install Skyrim. Then, you can run either game freely without the need for the disk.

Oh yeah. Steam would have dealt with my DirectX problem for Oblivion for me, also. Not that it was all that much trouble. I just admire the ease of being able to hit Install and Play without worrying about the little things.

The Linux Hurdle

Okay. After talking with a co-worker yesterday about why he should install Linux on his somewhat-antiquated Vista-ran laptop, I ran into road blocks. He’s pretty reluctant to heed my suggestion and even dip his toes, let alone jump in head-first.

I’ve tried to make points of why I like Linux better than Windows. However, the truth is that I don’t consider Linux a replacement for Windows. It’s like driving vehicles. I drive my smaller compact car almost everyday, because it’s more convenient for typical day travelling and it gets better gas-mileage. So, why do I keep my pick-up truck? It’s a gas guzzler, and depending on the time and place it can be impossible to find a parking spot. Still, if I have to haul something or traverse tougher terrain that requires a vehicle with more clearance or four-wheel drive, my truck is there to save the day. In this case, my compact car is Linux and my truck is Windows. Linux will almost always get the job done, typically faster and with less hassle, while Windows is there to provide any crucial services that Linux just can’t do.

Being that my co-worker’s laptop hard-drive is fairly full, he’s running Vista and he says he has never de-fragged his hard-drive, I’d bet that I can boot up, check my emails, pay a couple of bills, shut down and boot back up to my work space in Linux before he even reaches his desktop for the first time in Vista. And my Linux setup has been installed for nearly two years now. Though, I’d say a fresh install of Linux wouldn’t do it any better. The same can’t be said for Windows.

But like I said, I’m not saying throw Windows out the window. I’m just saying make use of the tools available to you. What’s the point of booting into Windows to do generic tasks that end up taking far longer to complete than they necessarily have to? After all, the less you use Windows, the longer it takes to slow down. Of course, good practices and regular maintenance can help keep Windows running as good as possible. But when you can minimize the amount of work necessary in those respects as well, it makes no sense not to at least dip your toes in. And the sales pitch is spot on: Linux is free, it is generally designed to boot alongside of Windows and it is fairly easy to remove it and revert back to just having Windows if you decide you don’t wish to keep it.

I hope my co-worker comes to the decision of giving Linux a shot. After all, I never used Linux once until two years ago when I decided that testing out a freely available OS seemed like a fun endeavour. It ended up causing me to change up my routine permanently.