Monday, September 26, 2011

Minecraft 1.9 Prerelease

There's not much I can say about this one.


I can't get it to run with an acceptable framerate.

Even setting the render distance to Tiny and the graphics to Fast.  I can run 1.8.1 on Far/Fancy.

I have difficulty killing a single cow with a wooden sword.

I think I'll sit out this prerelease and hope it gets fixed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tell me about shit that involves me, OK?

Last summer, apparently, all sorts of stuff happened.  It was being talked about by everyone involved.  Yet I knew nothing about any of it until I heard about it after the fact and wasn't invited to anything.  My own summer was pretty boring.

Then yesterday, I found out for the very first time that apparently it had been planned to have a birthday celebration for one of our friends at a local alcohol-serving establishment.  Today.  A Friday.  When it would be crowded as fuck.  I would be needed to drive people.  The other person who has a car and can drive people wants nothing to do with it, because of a couple reasons, for which he was branded as a douchebag and that assigned as the reason.

So let me get this straight.  A birthday event has been planned for some time now that I'm just finding out that I'll have to drive people to less than 24 hours before it happens?  And if I say no I'll be branded a douchebag regardless of my reasoning?  Fuck that.

Friday is game night.  It's supposed to be fun.  I don't really find sitting in a cramped, presumably smelly bar on a Friday evening fun.

My friend's reasoning:
  • He doesn't want to be in a cramped, presumably smelly bar on a Friday evening.
  • The person celebrating their birthday is in fact his ex-girlfriend.
My reasoning:
  • Same thing about not wanting to be in a cramped, presumably smelly bar on a Friday evening.
  • Being told of an apparent obligation to drive people to an event that had been planned for a while less than 24 hours before having to drive people there.
  • The sheer amount of talking behind my friend's back about him after the fact.  This happens all the time anyway, about pretty much everyone.  I can only presume that shit's being talked about regarding me behind my back as well.  To attribute this to a reason, I give one simple word: females.
  • Since when does anyone ever pay me back for gas these days.
Fuck it, I'm joining a couple other friends for a suitably less cramped evening food experience.  If they want to call me a douchebag, fine, but it won't be true.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Flash Cookie Solution

I'm tired of every single Flash object on the internet adding Flash cookies to my hard drive that can't really be controlled in any way by my browser.  It's a huge privacy concern, since they tend to use them to track you from one video to the next.  I have BetterPrivacy installed, so at least I get notified when they get shitted onto my hard drive, and I can go clean them up; but it gets annoying scrolling through, say, FailBlog on Google Reader and having to delete their Flash cookies every 5 seconds.

Flash has a preference to disallow third party Flash cookies, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.  The only problem: Flash objects can detect that you have third-party cookies disallowed.  Thus, disallowing them is pointless because everything will refuse to work without them enabled.

What Flash needs is a "cookie box".  When a Flash object creates a new cookie, it would go into the box, which would occupy space in your computer's RAM.  Flash would then pop up a notification informing you of this and giving you some options.  One would be to make it session only (this would be the default if you disable the notification), so that when Flash is uninitialized (i.e. you change pages) the cookie will be automatically deleted.  Another would be to allow it to be stored on the hard drive.

While a Flash cookie gets placed in the box, as far as the Flash object that placed it there is concerned, it would act like any other Flash cookie.  However, each Flash object would have a randomly generated UID that gets automatically assigned to the cookies it places in the box, and Flash would only let the object read/write to the cookie with that UID.  This UID would be generated when Flash is instanced, and would thus be different for each Flash object on the page in the case of multiple Flash objects being embedded in the same page.  This would prevent one Flash object from reading the values set by another unless the cookie is allowed, at which point the UID would be erased and it would be stored on the hard drive, where it would have full permissions.

Furthermore, it needs some way of seeing what values are stored in a Flash cookie so the user can determine what's being tracked.  Have this information presented in a read-only fashion to prevent save hacking on Flash games (which you can do anyway with a hex editor...)

Also, there would be the option to whitelist cookies from a specific domain, for instance, Newgrounds.  So that all your game saves automatically get stored to the hard drive.  Whitelists are more secure than blacklists, only n00bs want blacklists (i.e. anyone who uses YesScript instead of NoScript is a n00b)

Local Flash objects (for instance, the game Machinarium, which is written in Flash/ActionScript and thus its save files are Flash cookies) would be given full permissions and would bypass the box.

The main Flash settings.sol would be tweaked so it no longer contains a list of all sites that Flash has loaded on that any site that uses Flash can access.  Browsing habit tracking is already in Flash, no need for any external influence!

Writing third-party Flash cookies would be completely disallowed as well.  Flash objects would only be allowed to set cookies for the domain the Flash object is loaded from.  So if I embed a YouTube video on my blog, the YouTube player would only be allowed to set cookies for  Reading Flash cookies would be limited to one of two possible secure cases: The URL the Flash object is embedded on, and the URL the Flash object actually exists on.  This would mean that any YouTube video I embed here would be allowed to read cookies for and  This would allow their player to hierarchically prefer the volume cookie set on an external site that their player is embedded on over the one for their site, for instance.  It would also let the user manually specify this preference.  Flash embedded on a secure page (HTTPS) would be limited to reading and writing cookies set only from the secure site, and unsecure (HTTP) sites wouldn't even know the cookies for secure sites exist.

At any time, the user should be able to pull up a dialog within Flash that will show the cookies stored both in the box and on their hard drive, and this dialog would allow the user to delete any cookie.

Last but not least, Flash objects should no longer be allowed to set cookies when the object is deinitialized.  I've had to delete so many Flash tracking cookies that got placed when I navigated away from a page with a Flash object.

All of this needs to be implemented in a way that isn't detectable or preventable by Flash objects.  This is designed to let the code that places the tracking cookies think everything is working their way when in fact the user isn't being tracked at all because the cookie gets deleted when they navigate away, and if they can detect or work around the system, it's pointless.  This system, if implemented as designed, would put the user in control of how information about their browsing habits, even when "anonymously" gathered, is used.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Guitar Hero Woes

After I got the two functional guitar controllers from a friend and hardwired the GH3 Kramer, I went about my merry way playing the game.  I'm still nowhere near the level I was at previously, but I've managed to knock a few 5*s and FCs off of the list of stuff I was close to, including a 5* of B.Y.O.B. Expert Bass for my second Full Game 5*, and in the process accomplishing my goal of FG5*-ing Guitar Hero World Tour on Expert Bass with at least 50% FCs.

Just recently, that Kramer has started having its fret buttons flicker.  I've been trying to narrow down the cause, but every time I think I'm close to figuring it out, it happens in some other circumstance entirely.  It seems to be related to when I strum and whammy near-simultaneously, as I normally do on long notes within star power phrases.  The result of this is that the long note in question gets hit and then instantly dropped.

But that's not entirely it.  For a while it seemed like it only did it whenever Blue or Orange were involved.  But then it started happening on Red, Yellow, and Green.  I opened it up and checked my hardwiring job.  Everything still looked good, though I adjusted the blue wire a bit (it was looser than the others) and repositioned the electrical tape.  It still flickers and insta-drops long notes, though.

At one point, it seemed like it would happen consistently if I twisted the neck in a weird way, but that went away as quickly as it came.

Regardless of anything, what I'm left with is an unreliable GH3 Kramer and a GH2 SG whose strum bar bounces back up and causes an overstrum.

This is all relevant because I was with CAINE last night wandering around our local Wal-Mart after midnight and happened upon three copies of Guitar Hero 5 for PS2 with the guitar in the games section for $20.  Unfortunately, I only had about $14, so I put it back, but I was forgetting about my check card which has the money for what was once the New Case Fundraiser that I had the progress bar over on the right for a while back.  I've kind of been spending that money ($20 or so of it bought me a TracFone card recently), so...  I think I'll go back there and nab one of those copies of GH5.  Hell, I could grab two of them, sell the extra copy of GH5 to Gamestop, and have two completely untouched guitar controllers. (and a game full of tracks to sightread)

I have confidence it'll still be there, they had multiple copies and who the hell else is buying shit for the PlayStation 2 these days?

Much later edit: Picked up one GH5+guitar bundle.  A friend wants to go halfsies on another, where I get the guitar and he gets the game and pays me $10, so I'll be doing that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Minecraft 1.8 Prerelease

Since Minecraft 1.8 was officially leaked (and branded as a prerelease), I totally downloaded it (from here).  So far, it has not disappointed.  Take note, Terraria.

Now, rather than food replenishing your health directly, your health regenerates.  You have a hunger meter.  When it's full, you're well fed, and as it goes down, you get hungrier.  The speed at which it goes down seems to be reasonable.  Food items now replenish your hunger meter rather than directly replenishing your health.  When you are well fed, your health will regenerate.  To eat food, you must now hold down the right click button while it's selected in your hotbar.

Also, when you kill things (even animals) you now get experience orbs, which fill the bar above your hotbar.  I've filled mine once and nothing happened other than that it emptied and started filling again.

Animals will now run away from you if you attack them.  This is quite fun, as nothing is quite like hunting down and slaying your prey so you can reap the rewards.  Notch has also noted that as an unforseen side effect of this, when wolves attack sheep in the wild, the sheep will run away from the wolves, which is also pretty cool.

I disagree with using the term "mob" to refer to a single enemy.  Look up the word "mob" in the dictionary, you'll see that it refers to a large group.  Stop using it incorrectly, internet.

Endemen appear to burn up when the sun comes out.  I went out exploring again after the first night, and found two Ender Pearls and a tree missing some blocks.  Creepy~~~~  I have no idea what the Ender Pearls are used for.  Killing an Enderman yielded an Ender Pearl as well, and they drop at a fairly high rate, but only one per drop.  I don't know if this is just because of the pre-release nature of the update, but Endermen seem to make zombie sounds.  Hopefully they don't pick up player-placed blocks.  Also, they don't drop the block they're holding when you kill them.

Chickens and Cows now drop food (Raw Chicken and Raw Beef, respectively) when killed, in addition to their old drops (feathers and leather, respectively).  These can be cooked like any previous food.  Food now stacks, by the way.  Cookies now stack past 8 (presumably to 64, I only currently have 32, having found two skeleton dungeons each with one Cocoa Bean).  I have yet to see how this affects Mushroom Soup, which needs to return a bowl when used.

Incomplete food reference:
  • Raw Fish restores one hunger.
  • Bread and Cooked Fish restore two hunger.
  • Cooked Chicken restores three hunger.
  • Steak restores four hunger.
Killing a zombie now nets you Rotten Flesh, instead of feathers.  It can't be cooked in a furnace, but if eaten, it replenishes a bit of your hunger bar, and it turns green (indicating you're poisoned).  I used one to return to a well-fed state and saw my health go up rather than down.  This gives a reason to hunt and kill zombies, and build drowning traps on zombie dungeons.  I have yet to find a spider dungeon in the world I generated for the test.

The spot I chose for a house happened to be next to a pile of gravel that when mined through led to one of the brand new terrain features: a ravine.  I haven't explored this ravine much, but it looks cool.  I seem to be sufficing on an endless supply of charcoal (smelt one wood using two sticks to make one, and you can continually turn one charcoal into eight after that by smelting more wood, which of course is a renewable resource).

Bows have been reworked slightly.  If you just right click and release immediately to fire, you're not going to get a lot of range.  Hold right click down for a while to charge the shot.  Not only will it go farther, I believe it will also deal more damage.

The new dynamic lighting is very well done.  Torches give off an orange-ish glow (with a slight flicker), and the night sky has a blue-ish white glow.  It definitely looks better than before, and adds a lot more to the atmosphere.  I have yet to find anything that gives a different-colored glow, but I haven't explored much.

Running around the world I generated, I found two skeleton dungeons in relatively short order.  One was connected to the ravine right behind my house, and the other far underground, but I tunneled diagonally down to it from my house.  Sadly, you don't get any experience for breaking a monster spawner.

Options-wise, you can now change the FOV, up to a maximum of 110, which it calls "Quake Pro".  The brightness is also adjustable, and defaults to "Moody".  In the controls section, the Attack and Use item commands (left and right click) can now be changed, and there's finally a configurable control for listing players on a multiplayer server.

When making the world to test out this update, I ran across the new world generation options: You can now choose whether or not your world is Survival or Creative.  Creative enables flying, instant mining, and infinite blocks, and Survival is what you're used to if you've never played on Peaceful prior to this update.  The world seed option is still present, but slightly buried.  Also, there was a greyed out button for "World Type", which I guess means there will be more terrain generators to generate different types of worlds in the future.

There is also one new achievement, which requires Monster Hunter.  To get it, you must kill a skeleton from more than 50 meters away with an arrow.  Fairly doable if you have the high ground and some terrain separation (so it can't run for you).  Also more easily doable in multiplayer, just get a friend to shoot one four times, then lure it suitably far away and you fire the killing shot.

Also, now pressing F3 will reveal your world seed, which is handy in case you get an awesome world and want to let others experience it first-hand.  I didn't enter a specific seed for the world I generated, so it ended up being -4562346595972390193

I've spent several hours now playing the pre-release update, and I totally like it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Minecraft Wiki tweak

The column on the right side of every. single. fucking. page. that squishes the page content together and makes everything difficult to read finally annoyed me enough that I made a style in Stylish that gets rid of it.

Since it's rather simple, I'll just paste it here, and anyone who wants it can just hit "Write New Style" in Stylish, paste it in, give it a name, and save it.
@namespace url(; @-moz-document domain('') { #bodyContent2.en { margin-right: auto !important; } #curse-panel { display: none !important; } }

Friday, September 2, 2011

Holy crap, post draft backlog

I've got 21 draft posts sitting here that I started varying lengths of time ago.  Some I know I won't bother with finishing up and posting, as they need images and I don't really feel like going through the trouble of obtaining images for them, but others I think I'll finish up and post here in the near future.

So, what you can look forward to:
  • A few game reviews
  • A food review (that I still need to actually write)
  • Some other stuff
Short post is short.