Category: technical

Linux Game Sales Count

I propose that when counting the “Linux sales” of a game to reduce the Windows sales of that title by the same amount.

I can’t speak for everyone, but when I purchase a game for Linux (usually via digital download) like these great games which are on sale right now:

when I’m offered links to the Linux version and to the Windows version, I download from the Linux link first but I always download the Windows version immediately after.

I’m uncertain how many people are out there who do the same thing, but I propose reducing the Windows count by a certain amount all the same.

I even bought a Windows netbook (and later returned it) with the intent of wiping Win and replacing with Linux.

VirtualBox Network with XP Guest in Ubuntu Host

This tip refers to VirtualBox 3.0.8 and Ubuntu 9.04.

If you’re anything like me, you might have need of a WinXP install within Ubuntu. In my case, it’s convenient to have a VirtualBox of Windows running for immediate testing of websites (as I build them) so that I can test the sites functionality and appearance within Internet Explorer.

Unfortunately, the default settings of a guest WinXP install don’t allow for networking “out of the box”. But it’s an easy fix!

First, make sure the virtual machine is not already running. Turn it off if it is.

Next, highlight the WinXP virtual machine within the Sun VirtualBox main screen. Click Settings. Select Network. Change the Adapter Type to Intel PRO/1000 T Server (bunchanumbers) then OK and start the virtual machine.

When you boot into the Windows guest, the network should now work.

Adjust World of Goo’s Resolution

World of Goo celebrated it’s first birthday earlier this week. To honor the birthday, 2D Boy, the game’s developers, have priced the game at whatever you want to pay. But you have to act quick as the sale runs out October 19.

Significantly, there is a .deb installer for the game. It runs very well on my old laptop running Ubuntu 9.04.

Back to the topic at hand, can you change the resolution of the game? How about running the game inside a window rather than fullscreen?

Yes you can, and yes you can. Here’s how.

Find the config.txt for the game in

/opt/WorldOfGoo/properties/

You could edit that config.txt if you like, but it’s recommended you copy it to your $HOME directory.

cp /opt/WorldOfGoo/properties/config.txt ~/.WorldOfGoo/

Now you don’t have to sudo the file to edit it. Open up the config.txt that you placed in $HOME/.WorldOfGoo/ (I like to use scite).

scite ~/.WorldOfGoo/config.txt

Starting around line 20 is the Graphics Display area. It looks something like:

<!-- Graphics display -->
 <param name="screen_width" value="800" />
 <param name="screen_height" value="600" />
 <param name="color_depth" value="0" />
 <param name="fullscreen" value="false" />
 <param name="ui_inset" value="10" />

Change the screen_width and screen_height values to whatever you desire. Likewise with the fullscreen option. My config shows I run the game in 800 by 600 resolution in a window.

Next time you launch the game, the settings will have taken effect.

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GMailFS and GSpace

As I’m waiting for the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 to arrive, the one that I ordered December 30 and has an expected delivery date of January 22, I’ve been looking into ways to get the most out of the machine. My first (and as yet, only) concern is the lifespan of the solid state drive. I know, putting the SSD through regular use should yield a few years of use out of the SSD but I don’t put my computer through regular use. Even running Linux on the Mini 9 has me concerned about the log files that Linux generates. So I’ve been looking to touch the SSD as little as possible.

Along the way, I’ve come across an interesting concept. It appears that using the GMail API, one can set up a GMailFS (GMail File System) to read/write files to. Now I won’t go into detail with setting up GMailFS in Ubuntu Linux as it is messy and a pain. Even when I thought I had GMailFS working properly, it wasn’t working properly. It appears that you need to be a Super in order to access the mounted GMailFS drive or you have to go through the steps to assign groups and that’s all a process I didn’t have the patience for.

The GMailFS project isn’t new, it has been around since at least 2005. It just appears that there is no simple .deb package for setting it up (which has the benefit of being stable and easily upgradable). I may have to go step-by-step compiling from source rather than trying the old apt-get approach. Oh, did I mention there was no .deb package? I suppose there is, it just doesn’t work.

And for all the trouble it might take to set up, I’m still not sure if you can save a document and stream it directly to the GMailFS (bypassing the SSD and thus saving it some wear-and-tear) or if the document still saves to the SSD somewhere and then copies over. It would seem that, in theory, one might be able to stream the document from memory and straight to the GMailFS or vice-versa.

GSpace

With that in mind, I came across GSpace. GSpace acts as a kind of FTP client plugin for FireFox that lets you transfer files from your PC and store them in a GMail account. It’s nifty cool and why not take advantage of the 7GB+ of storage that GMail offers.

The downside, it seems that if you transfer too much in a day that you risk the account being locked for 24 hours. Also, as with FTP, the transfer speed is limited by your bandwidth and the bandwidth of the GMail server. The files still must sit on your harddrive in order to transfer them over (no saving directly from a text document to GMail) so you’re still putting wear and tear on the Mini 9’s SSD.

For the time being, at least until I can confirm whether or not GMailFS streams from memory directly to GMail and vice-versa, I’ll be storing my documents in my newly-created GMail account via GSpace.

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