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Sunday, May 30, 2004


Crazyness from the US

I was reading Slashdot, as you do, when I came accross two hilarious things.

The first was a comment where somebody pointed out that if you take the famous line "Somebody set up us the bomb" backwards, you get pretty much "Bomb the US, upset somebody."

The second, is a Slashdot article about how in the 60's, the secret unlock code on all the minuteman nuclear ICBMs was set to... 00000000. Apparently this was to prevent the unlock code from interfering the launch of the nuclear missile, in case the order to launch it was given.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004



I was surfing the net when I visited the website of Frank Klepacki on a whim. For those of you that don't recognize his name, he's the brilliant composer behind many popular games such as Command & Conquer.

Imagine my surprise to find that he had full length high quality versions of many of his songs (Certainly all the Command & Conquer ones) on his website, playable through a flash player!

Being me, I instantly decided I must have these songs for myself. I began by using a packetsniffer to find out where the flash script was grabbing the files from. It turned out they were all stored in a directory on his webserver, in a filename such as "277.fk". Upon downloading this file and cracking it open with a hex editor, the letters FWS was to be found in the header... a bit of googling determined that these were SWF files.

I fired up the files in Flash Player, and they were indeed SWF files... an SWF extractor confirmed the presence of an MP3 file within the SWF file, however the program wasn't up to the task of extracting the file. After some more googling I turned up a trial of an SWF extractor that I hadn't already expired the trial period of, and was able to extract the MP3 file.

Turns out they're 128kbit stereo MP3 files, certainly high enough quality to store and listen to! I'll be extracting the MP3s from all my favourite songs for my collection. At last, I have high quality versions of the songs, not the crap low-quality versions that actually shipped with the games! (They were 22khz 8-bit)

Sunday, May 23, 2004


17" OLED displays from Samsung

Yeah, I know I'm a few days late with this news, but it's still wowing me.

Samsung has announced a 17" OLED display, destined for the market by next year (2005). I've been considering getting a 17" LCD, but high cost and the lack of low response times has really left me iffy. As a gamer, response times are critical to me; I've tried games on 25ms displays, but found the motion blur to be excessive. There are 16ms (and now 12ms) models available, but at much higher costs, and they still don't entirely solve the problem But here Samsung comes along with a 17" OLED display, promising to solve the motion blur issue entirely. Apparently OLED display response times are not measured in milliseconds like LCDs, but in microseconds. They're also supposed to be MUCH cheaper than LCDs to manufacture, and a third the thickness to boot.

There are down sides lurking in my mind, however... For one, it has yet to be explained what the lifespan of these OLED displays are. The O in OLED displays stands for organic, and OLEDs tend to dim as they age. This is getting better, but Samsung hasn't mentioned the half-life (time before the display is at half the brightness) for their displays... Hopefully it's at least a few years! There is also cost. OLED displays are much cheaper to manufacture, but that's before the marketing department gets a say. Can you imagine? Technically superior to LCDs in nearly every way, don't you think they'll TRY to charge MORE than LCDs? While we should be seeing them at a fraction the cost of LCD displays, we might end up seeing them at twice the cost.

Regardless of the down sides, this news certainly caught my eye. One of those things would be PERFECT for first person gaming. I must have one.


B Movie, machinima, it's got it all!

Sorry if I go a bit off-track here by welcoming anybody who stumbles across this, my new blog. I've often wished I could post thoughts and cool stuff I've found, but maintaining a website is a hassle (I know, I've maintained a large one). So, welcome, hope you enjoy.

Now, back on topic to this post, I just watched an odd B movie called Max Knight: Ultra Spy. Yeah, it's cheesy as hell, but there was one scene that caught my attention. The main character gets sucked into the internet, and suddenly an ultra-low-polygon representation of him shows up in what looks like... Could it be... Xen from Half-Life? At first I thought, no, couldn't be. Until they start TALKING about Half-Life. Apparently the main character isn't much of a gamer, as he states "Aww, I hate this game, I never got past level one." Level one, the introduction.

Despite the overall crapitude of the movie, this particular scene was entertaining. It was the best Half-Life machinima I've ever seen, complete with custom models for the characters, and custom animations. Certainly entertaining... Enough so that I wish I'd had a capture of it. If you see it somewhere, by all means keep an eye out for the scene, it's near the end of the film.

And so, I bid you adieu, from my first blog post.

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