Category: technology, games and gadgets

Anything technology, PC, phones, gadgets and so on goes here!

Windows 10 – Upgrading an old laptop

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So I took an old laptop I used at university – about 5 or 6 years old but a good model in it’s day, a Dell Latitude E5510 – and decided to use it as a quick ‘test’ run of the Windows 10 upgrade since it hasn’t anything too important and my main PC is being stubborn over actually offering the update.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well really. Thought I’d write up a quick post about a 0xC000000F blue screen error that ended up happening.

I’m about to do a particular repair so will see if it works, but I’ve surmised that the issue is that the default Dell partition table looks like this:

– DellUtility (~40 MB)
– RECOVERY (~8 GB) (Marked as boot)
– OS (~130 GB)

What seems to have occurred is that the actual install proceeded reasonably well, I can see the signs of it being completed such as the presence of the “Windows.old” folder etc. However, what Windows 10 decided to do to facilitate the install is that it saw the boot partition and hijacked its boot to use as its boot sequence.

For some unknown reason, in so doing, it increased the “RECOVERY” partition size by 1 sector – encroaching into the “OS” partition and wrecking its MBR and boot sector. This left many tools, including Windows 10, unable to ascertain the structure of the drive as NTFS. Chkdsk understands the corruption but does not resolve the partition table overlap.

I’m going to manually adjust the recovery partition down and try to repair the MBR from its backup. Let’s see how that goes.

Microsoft – partition management: 0 out of 10 for wrecking my MBR!

For sale – Yugioh cards

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Jinzo Yugioh card

I’m clearing out my old collection of Yugioh cards, there are some good old ones such as Jinzo as well as old staples such as Exiled Force. All my cards are in great condition having been filed or sleeved and there are more than just what are pictured. Some I’m also trying to sell on eBay but if there are any you would like please make a reasonable offer!!!

Examples of a selection of cards:

I’d also be open to doing a bulk sell to a shop or individual, and would be willing to negotiate on price!

Categories: nerd stuff

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Valve and the Steam Universe

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Steam logo

So, the triple-play week of announcements for Valve is done, and we have some things we expected, and some we didn’t. Still no Half-Life 3 though!

I must say, I’m intrigued. SteamOS, combined with a hardware platform (Steam Machine) and an innovative controller, Valve is making an interesting push into the console market. And it’s the right moment, too. I’ve been commenting for a while about how disappointing the “next-gen” consoles are, and how their decision to go with an x86 architecture (except, our outcast, the Wii-U) will lead to almost every game being ported to PC. This is great for me, as I prefer PC gaming, and means I won’t need an XBone or PS4. I’ll stick with my PS3 as 3D blu-ray player and Xbox 360 thanks!

Valve have taken advantage of a weak play by Microsoft and Sony, and can capitalise on something both lack – a great release line up. They’ve clearly been plotting this move for a while, with their gradual move to Linux support and creation of Big Picture mode. It’s all been steps on the way, and quite clever too. When they launch, they’ll have all of their exclusives, Portal, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike and more, as well as the Linux titles. Admittedly, the Linux titles are lacking, for now, but clever collaboration with nVidia have resulted in proper graphical support incoming (see https://developer.nvidia.com/sites/default/files/akamai/gamedev/docs/Porting%20Source%20to%20Linux.pdf), and with this announcement, all the major players are porting or soon will be.

I’m excited to have an opportunity to beta test the console, controller, or both. Whilst I think that I’m not the target market of the Steam Machine (having a PC already) I’d love to be able to tweak it and play around. The controller looks like a proper development, and it genuinely could be the controller us keyboard+mouse wielders have been waiting for.

Check it out here – http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/ – Busy week for Valve – what do you think, worth the go?

– Zuki

Zuki Magic Life Counter launched on Google Play!

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Zuki Magic Life Counter Icon


Hey everyone! I’d like to announce the successful publishing of my first (of hopefully many) apps to go onto the Google Play store. Just a simple one to get started, it’s a little Magic the Gathering (and similar) life counter app, that is a bit different to the others in that it is designed to be clear, simple and readable for both players – Zuki Magic Life Counter.

It’s very simple, tap the top of one life total to increase it, tap the bottom to decrease it! There’s a reset button, and a small help button. There’s more features to be added as time goes on, but as the first app I’ve actually gone through the Google publishing process with, I wanted to get things moving!

Zuki Magic Life Counter Screenshot

You can see all my apps at this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Zuki
As you can see, there is a free, ad-supported version, and a 69p version that has no advertising. Either way, I appreciate your support 🙂 so please, download and use the app, and give me whatever feedback / ideas for new versions you want!

– Matt “gyaku_zuki” Leebody

Antichamber – You are not here

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Antichamber - Sometimes condescending
One box or two?
One box or two?

Not since Portal have I had this much fun playing a puzzle game. And there is a distinct feel of Portal going on here, with the clean whites, the clever puzzles, a strange gun, and the outlandish physics.

Is Antichamber just another Portal?

I sound dangerously close there to doing Antichamber a disservice – it’s also got its own unique feel to it, quite apart from Portal – no voices at all for one. In fact, for me it almost gives me a retro feel of sitting with a 2D Amiga puzzler; the days where back story and plot, celebrity voices are gone. This game is just puzzle and BGM, and very nice BGM at that. OK, so graphically it isn’t retro – it uses some kind of cell shading on top of the powerful Unreal Engine. It looks superb. All whites, blues, reds, yellows, greens. Bold block colour that stands out well.

The puzzles range from easy as pie to fiendishly difficult, and the game doesn’t give you clues in as much as it taunts you with a kind of “here’s what you learned” quote after each puzzle. It’s a nice touch – and I’m thankful for a puzzle game that pulls out the difficult mind benders, I know that I’ve often been frustrated that puzzle games just didn’t challenge enough to be satisfying. I’m still working out a few of Antichamber’s 😉 and i guess that’s why they can afford to throw in the difficult ones, because you don’t need to solve them all to reach the end.

Forcefields
Forcefields tend to eat blocks
D'oh!
D’oh!

Progress is through upgrading your ‘gun’ through the colours, in order for you to manipulate blocks. The degree to which blocks can be manipulated increases with higher colour levels, meaning that hard blue puzzles might become really easy with green powers, but that some puzzles must be solved to reach the new colour guns ensures you don’t get too easy a time. You don’t get too these new powers either, at one point I got stuck just because I never realised I could DO something.

The game suggests that it is a deeply psychological exploration game, and it feels it sometimes. The goal of the game isn’t really the ‘end’, its to solve all the puzzles, and in that sense, as I’ve said, I haven’t completely done it all.

Sometimes condescending
Sometimes condescending, these messages are your ‘completion percentage’

You can track your progress in this regard by the number of little pictograms / “what you’ve learned” / taunting messages you’ve seen.

The real standout is the non-euclidean nature of the game – the map just doesn’t obey the normal rules of the world. You might turn a corner, look back, and the corridor is gone. You can go up a set of stairs forever. A box open on one side might seem like a Tardis.

Atomic
Atomic ‘things’ are a recurring puzzle element

It’s mind-bending, but very fun. There IS a map, but it’s not as useful as you might think!

All-in-all, if you enjoy puzzle games, it’s highly enjoyable, cheap on Steam, and will definitely give you those frustrating but ultimately rewarding moments. I think I ‘finished’ it in <5 hours, which interestingly raptr was telling me (at the time, close to release I guess) made me only an hour’s playtime from number 1 player on the service, which I guess meant at first it snuck in under the radar. Good job, Epic. No real flaws, good difficulty curve, good total time, graphics, sound, style. If pushed, I’d struggle for a firm reason to dock the final point, but it feels like a 9 out of 10 for me.

– Zuki