Archive for April, 2008

It’s a gigantic thing!

I just noticed that Windows Server 2003 has a great way to tell me how incredibly mind-boggling huge my storage space is…:

gigantic!

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Zak McKracken is back! And you can download it for free!

zakmckracken

“”Zak McKracken: between time and space” is an unofficial sequel to the adventure game “Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders” released in 1988. We, the “Artificial Hair Bros.” have devoted our time to create a worthy follow up to this all-time-classic. Capturing the mood and of the original game and creating something new nonetheless.

It’s been a while since Zak’s last adventure. People have forgotten all about our hero who saved humanity from enslavement. His five minutes of fame went by way too quick and the money he earned with his award winning book went down the drains when Zak decided to get his own newspaper off the ground.

But now Zak has to prove his worth once again. Stumbling into his next adventure, Zak gets yet another chance to show the world what real heroes are made of…

Why a sequel to ZakMcKracken?

Zak McKracken is one of the few adventure games that never got a proper sequel. There are no high-res backgrounds and no sweeping soundtrack, this left us with a lot of freedom when we started working on this game.

Handmade backgrounds, elaborate cut-scenes

We think that hand-drawn backgrounds made some of the old adventure games something very special. This is why we decided to keep the gameplay stricly 2D. But Zak:btas isn’t just a pixel-adventure, we have created the scenery and characters in our own graphical style and added 3D cut-scenes to add some diversity.

How long did it take to develop this game?
Work on the project began in 2002. In the beginning starting out as an amateur-game, we soon found ourselves reaching higher levels of quality step by step. By the time we are done 5 years of hard work will lay behind us.

What problems had to be solved when making this game?

One of the biggest challenges has been recruiting a team one could rely on and keeping the members of the team motivated to work on their respective parts. Unfortunately not everyone is motivated and passionate enough to work on a project for free over such a long period of time. But we were lucky enough to find reliable members for each part of development. You really do need a good working team to master a project like this.”

Source: http://www.zak2.org

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Komische Katzen ;)

IMG_0560 
(mhh lecker Ei)

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CHDK – the alternative firmware for many Canon Digital Cameras

“CHDK is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera’s memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.

CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it.”

chdk

Main features:

  • Save images in RAW format
  • Ability to run “Scripts” to automate the camera
  • Live histogram (RGB, blended, luminance and for each RGB channel)
  • Zebra mode (blinking highlights and shadows to show over/under exposed areas)
  • An “always on” full range Battery indicator
  • Ability to turn off automatic dark-frame subtraction
  • a higher compression movie mode, and double the maximum video file size
  • exposure times as long as 65 seconds
  • exposure times as little as 1/10,000 of a second
  • ability to use the USB port for a remote trigger input

Additional features:

  • a depth-of-field (DOF)-calculator
  • File browser
  • Text reader
  • Calendar
  • Some fun tools and games

Source: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_in_Brief

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the definition of "gone fishing"

Because so many people just didn’t understand what I meant with “gone fishing”:

  1. A procedure in which a man hangs his wang out into the red sea with bait in which will track down eggs that look hot and sexy(try not to go for a retarded one).
  2. A sign that tells someone that the person is gone(but they are really doing definition #1).
  3. A women that shoves fish into her vajingo.

Dude, how many times have you gone fishing with her? Go hang a gone fishing sign first. You women have gone fishing too much.

Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gone+fishing

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Student Technology Conference 2008 Agenda

The agenda of this years STC is online. You can take a look here.

stc08agenda

Source: http://www.studentconference.de/Agenda.aspx

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Effective Ways of Theft-Protection

 

Photo-0105

From a local bakery.

Jens Heymann

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Just married.

married

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gone fishing.

yeah. first holidays for 3 years. see you soon.

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SPAM-Bots can decrypt Captchas… ups…

If you thought that those fancy Captchas would serve their purpose of SPAM prevention forever you might want to think again.

From Wikipedia:

“A CAPTCHA (IPA: /ˈkæptʃə/) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine that the user is not run by a computer. The process involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen.”

It usually looks something like that:

Captcha

Now the news:

“Websense Security Labs ThreatSeeker™ technology has discovered that spammers in their recent tactics have drawn their attention towards traditional and infamous Hotmail, aka Live Hotmail services after the streamlined Live Mail Anti-CAPTCHA operations. Spammers have managed to create automated bots that are capable of not only signing up and creating random Hotmail accounts, but also use these accounts for spamming purposes from a proper Live Hotmail service.”

hotmailcatpcha-1.7[1]

Source 1: http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Blogs/3063.aspx#
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAPTCHA

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the Quake family tree

If you ever were into egoshooter / games you would come across the different game engines that are used to create games. One of them is the Quake engine which in fact is one of the most successful. This is the “family tree” of the Quake engine:

“Most games rely on enhanced versions of the original Quake engine with better lighting, more complex model support, better netcode and other modifications.”

g2750

Source: Quake

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YAPS progress (epg, sap / sdp, asp.net integration,…)

It’s been some time since I wrote about my little digital video disk recorder project and I think it’s time to wrap up some things. First of all I am using this software myself on a daily basis, having recorded about 1000 recordings in the last 4 months alone tells something. YAPS now is capable of handling multiple users – with each one having their own recordings and play-stop-positions.

Here are the new features in a short list:

  • Electronic Program Guide (EPG) Integration (multiple transponders/streams if you like)
  • Session Announcement Protocol / Session Description Protocol Integration
  • Multi-User support with capability checking
  • Cassini / ASP.NET Integration to allow ASP.NET web applications to run on YAPS
  • WCF Webservice interface to expose video disk recorder internal data (recordings list, event list,…)
  • Automatic and Reoccuring recordings
  • several new graphics
yaps_frontpage

yaps_add_recording

The daily-build system is broken as of now but you can always grab the latest sourcecode from here.

For a complete changelog hit the jump.

Here’s the complete changelog since the last article about yaps:

13.04.2008

  • added %render_automatic_and_reoccuring_recording_table% keyword; the other recording table keywords don’t display automatic/reoccuring events
  • added canAccessOthersRecordings capability and capability handling
  • added %holdingtime%, %comment% and %elapsed_holdingtime% to the Recording/Recorded/AutomaticReoccuringRecording table
  • added %render_currently_running_epg_events_table% keyword

06.04.2008

  • added Session Description Protocol parser
  • added Session Announcement Protocol setting data (SAP_IPAdress, SAP_Port)
  • added Session Announcement Protocol processor
  • bugfix attempt to fix a race condition that leads to no RecordingList rendering and no more recordings…

03.04.2008

  • added WCF Service Host to allow self hosting of data
  • switched to .NET Framework 3.5

23.03.2008

  • added feature that automatic EPG recordings end when they do end on the channel – Event EndTime is used now
  • rewrote Cassini Webserver integration
  • fixed a bug in the Template Processor that caused a display of the runtime as fraction of minutes…

15.03.2008

  • automatic epg recordings are now looking at the channel id and if it’s set they only record events on that channel
  • automatig epg recordings are now looking for a timespan in which they are active
  • recorded listing template processor is now aware of automatic recordings (icon, time rendering)
  • added automatic epg wait icon on recordingslist html page
  • changed automatic epg recording to take the real name from the epg instead of the one that was entered

14.03.2008

  • Recording data structure changed to reflect new “automatic epg based recording” feature
  • added automatic EPG recording feature; based on “AutomaticEPGRecordingKeywords”
  • changed Tuxbox Implementation to show channel ID on Xbox Media Center
  • changed addrecording.html and http vcr command handling (addrecording) to reflect automatic epg recording feature
  • implemented automatic epg based recording; just enter keywords + recordingtime + name + isAutomatic=true –> Automatic recording

13.03.2008

  • changed EPG error handling to only stop listening to EPG events when 25 errors in a row occur
  • changed EPG handling to display new events on unknown service ids

14.01.2008

  • fixed holding-time bug

13.01.2008

  • updated neu.png
  • added Holding-Time Handling

12.01.2008

  • added reoccuring event handling in VCRScheduler
  • added reoccuring event handling in HTML page AddRecordings
  • updated years and version numbers
  • bugfixed RecordingsPlayed statistics
  • updated Recordings-Table to reflect status if recording is reoccuring or not
  • added SVG Files for all YAPS graphics

03.01.2008

  • updated solutions to Visual Studio 2008

17.11.2007

  • Added HoldingTime to make “forget to delete a recording” impossible; HoldingTime of 0 is indefinite, everything else means hold n+1 days
  • Changed behaviour of Recordings Streaming: The StopPosition Counter is updated in realtime which means: You don’t have to close a recording to watch it from the current Position
  • added Cassini Wrapper

8.11.2007

  • integration of Cassini v2 into YAPS
  • added some statistics

22.10.2007

  • added a new management data structure to the data structures/Recording.cs that holds a list of UserStopPosition; Each User now has his own LastStoppedPosition for each recording.

08.05.2007

  • added RecordingsThumbnail class to generate a Thumbnail picture for a recording
  • added generateThumbnailFilename to XBMCPlaylistFilesHelper
  • added thumbnail creation and deletion routines to multicast_vcr and others
  • udpating thumbnail when playcounter/position is updated…
  • added “Updating recording…” console output
  • added isRTP property to channelist (default value is false); you can determine if RTP header should be stripped or not for a specific channel

07.05.2007

  • fixed a bug in the /xml/CurrentServiceData section that caused an exception when no EPG data was known
  • added error handling to the EPG Processor Thread; after 25 errors a thread will be shut down

06.05.2007

  • added /cgi-bin/zapto to http handling
  • added /xml/streaminfo to http handling
  • added Name2ServiceID to ChannelAndStationMapper
  • added TuxboxCurrentServiceData structure and handling
  • added /xml/currentservicedata method to http server
  • added /xml/boxinfo method to http server
  • added boxinfo data structure

05.05.2007

  • several changes for debugging purposes to the YAPS multicast processor to debug a specific problem
  • fixed a thread unsafe bug in multicast processor
  • fixed several more thread unsafe things in multicast processor and vcrscheduler
  • changed behaviour: If a streaming client now refuses to accept data packets he will be disconnected after 1 second (until timeshift is implemented)

01.05.2007

  • fixed a bug in VCRScheduler that could lead to a crash on startup (was not threadsafe)

24.04.2007

  • added %rendertransformation($input_url,$xslt_url)% keyword to the TemplateProcessor

21.04.2007

  • fixed a memory leak in the rss generator
  • added TuxBoxServices data structure
  • added tuxbox /xml/services call handler to http processor
  • changed the MulticastEPG source data handling so that the multicastEPG Sources are now stored in the settings.dat.xml (misc settings) file
  • fixed a bug in the EPGProcessor that caused an empty CurrentlyPlayingList
  • added small testing portion
  • fixed some bugs in http server
  • rewrote tuxbox services data structure and handling (helping hand: Andreas Heil)

18.04.2007

  • reimplemented the whole Channel-Name-Picture-ServiceID-MulticastIP-MulticastPort Mapping and created a new data structure and XML file that holds that data
  • added filtering functionality to the EPG Processor that filters only known channel EPG data and discards data for unkown channels
  • fixed the XBMCSyncProcessor bug; I had the file deletion functionality disabled….

17.04.2007

  • added the multicastedEPGProcessor Implementation, does maintain a CurrentlyRunning List but is not used yet (Implementation just for leak and stability testing)
  • added new Channel/StationID mapping data structure

13.04.2007

  • removed JMS/DVB subproject
  • several changes to the JMS/EPG subproject to make JMS/DVB obsolete
  • working EPG implementation (not yet activated) — need to get working

02.04.2007

  • now displaying associated username instead of IP address in the http logfile
  • added EPG Processor startup to YAPS.cs

01.04.2007

30.03.2007

  • fixed a bug in the XBMC Playlist File branch; XBMC Playlistfiles respect now a port number setting != default port 80

29.03.2007

  • changed multicast behaviour: we don’t use RTP from now on; there’s just plain UDP
  • added new EPG test data
  • fixed a bug in multicast_vcr
  • fixed DeleteRecordings; did not work for several versions – you can now delete scheduled recordings
  • fixed a bug in the ConsoleOutputLogger that leads to a “Collection was modified after the enumerator was instantiated.” exception when the logoutput is accessed while it’s written

Source 1: http://www.dotnetcommunity.de/yaps/yaps_daily_source.zip
Source 2: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,71a24ec5-8576-4fe6-b5f5-8607017e5f00.aspx

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free IP-TV (includes many german channels) Zattoo

Since joost doesn’t give you that much choice there are several other IP services – like Zattoo:

“Zattoo is live TV on your PC – it’s the football game as you chat, the news as you email, and your favorite soap as you pay your bills. Zattoo is also TV when you don’t have a TV – it’s the channels you want, when you want, where you want.”

1

That’s almost every german public service channel is available… whuuuuuuu!

Source: http://zattoo.com/

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when you need a great (free) binary diff tool for Windows

When you’re in need of a tool that shows you the differences between two binary (non-text) files you probably would like to take a look at AptDiff.

aptdiff

“AptDiff is a visual text / binary files comparison and merging utility for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista.  It is highly useful for software developers, web designers and other professionals.

AptDiff features a double-pane view that allows for side-by-side comparisons, with customizable color-coding indicating whether each line/byte is added, deleted, or changed.  AptDiff can also export the side-by-side comparison to a nicely formatted HTML page for publishing on the web.

AptDiff can be installed on FLASH or other portable drives.  All user configurations are saved in the movable drive.  You can carry AptDiff with you wherever your travels or business take you and run it on almost any computer.”

Source: http://www.aptedit.com/aptdiff.htm

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Geeks & Nerds

Last month while attending the CeBIT I was looking around in exhibition hall 6 at United Internet and discovered some nice advertising products.

Photo-0104

On my interest I got the reply: “Are you a nerd?”

My answer: “Truly, I hope not anymore. But I’ll take one of each.” Too bad they are no stickers.

Some things will haunt you forever, won’t they?

Jens Heymann

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Thinking in big dimensions

Do you know what is pictured below?

Photo-0102 Photo-0103

Well, this menacing-looking package contains 2000ml shower gel. I guess, that will last a while…

Jens Heymann

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German Microsoft Student Technology Conference 08 announced!

“Das Datum steht fest: Unsere STC 2008 findet am 15.05.2008 statt!

Wir laden Dich herzlich nach Berlin ein und freuen uns auf einen tollen Tag mit Dir! Es erwartet Dich eine tolle Location, spannende Vorträge und Austausch mit Microsoft-Experten und –Ansprechpartnern, so dass Du ganz im Sinne des Networkings Deiner Karriere auf die Beine helfen kannst.

Zudem hast Du hier die Chance mit zu verfolgen, welches Imagine Cup Team im Software Design die deutsche Fahne beim internationalen Finale in Paris vertreten wird. Der Imagine Cup ist der weltweit größte Technologiewettbewerb für Schüler und Studierende – alle Infos zum Wettbewerb findest Du unter www.imaginecup.info.”

stc08

Stattfinden wird die STC dieses Jahr in der Kalkscheune in Berlin.

Source 1: http://www.studentconference.de
Source 2: STC 2007
Source 3: http://www.kalkscheune.de/

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International Forza Club Association

Besides my own project called “Forzaclans.com” (which is on hold right now) there are several other cool projects available for the forza community. One of which is the International Forza Club Association.

ifcra

Source 1: www.forzaclans.com
Source 2: http://www.ifcaracing.com/

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