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Archive for the ‘Geek Living’ Category

My favourite game? Definitely Super Mario World. I played the whole game a dozens of time. During childhood, a friend and I spent hours and days of playing and were totally happy when we defeated Bowser for the first time… just to find the Star levels a short while later, that were even more harder… 😉 When I was 12 (or around that), I finally bought myself my own Super Nintendo and would sometimes spend a weekend or so to play through the whole game again. 🙂

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The Super Nintendo is still working and it is still fun to play some levels. 🙂 Even more fun to show the rest of the family how to play it! 🙂

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Do you know the computer game / app Bejeweled? In this game you have a board of jewels. The goal is to exchange neighbour jewels in order to get a row or column of (at least) three jewels of one colour. The app is quite nice, but in my opinion not a game I would want to play often.

During a shopping trip I came across the board game version of Bejeweled from Hasbro. Since it was really cheap (just 5€ instead of about 15€ at Amazon. The original price was even higher: about 35€), I bought it. After playing it for some days, I must say that I like the board game much more than the app. The rules are simple, the jewels look quite nice and I really like the switching of jewels and filling up the board again. Despite beeing for children age 8 up, even my four-year old son is able to play the game quite well. And we even play a much longer version: For every row/column of at least three jewels of the same colour you receive a token (up to four tokens for five jewels including one “special” sparkling jewel). In the original version, you win if you have three tokens in three colours. We play until one has three tokens in each of the seven available colours…

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Inside the box was also a download code for the pc version of Bejeweled. The best thing: The code could only be entered until the end of 2013 (even before people complained online that they were not able to enter the code somewhere…). BUT I managed to nevertheless enter the code: You should enter the code on some webpage from Hasbro (even some page from Popcap told you to go to this page). The page was still up, but just had a link to a page from Popcap. Of course: This one was not existing anymore.
But: Some Popcap page (the same saying you should enter your Bejeweled code on the Hasbro page!) said to enter all other codes in “Origin”. So I just tested downloading “Origin” and entering the code there. It was not only working, even better: Once I entered the code, I was even able to CHOOSE between about 5 or 6 different Popcap games (not just Bejeweled). Since I do not really like Bejeweled, I simply took another game. 🙂

So, never ever trust something to not work (even if a page or person says so), if you haven’t searched for another solution than the obvious one. And: Just think outside the box! 🙂

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I bought my new carpet rolled-up in the wrong direction. So I just took the heaviest (but still small) piece I have, my Tektronix oscilloscope. Some old ex-library books where just heavy enough for the corners.

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A few year ago I made a list about all my computers. I thought, it would be nice to make a new one:

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon – Main computer (work and personal)

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3667U, 2 GHz
  • Graphic Card: Intel HD graphics 4000
  • Memory (RAM): 8 GB
  • Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 1x powered USB 2.0, mini-display port, microphone/earphone port, 4-in-1- card reader
  • Onboard storage: 180 GB SSD
  • Wireless: Bluetooth, W-LAN, GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA
  • Display: 14″
  • Weight: 1.36 kg
  • OS: Win 7
  • Mainly used for: backup of Iphone & Itunes library (Itunes), work emails (MS Exchange), personal/work calender (MS Exchange), writing (MS Office, TeXworks), receiving SVN files, simulations (Matlab), online research (Firefox), other personal & work stuff

Lenovo Thinkpad X220 – Work laptop (for simulations)

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2620M
  • Graphic Card: Intel HD graphics
  • Memory (RAM): 8 GB
  • Ports: 3 x USB 2.0 (one powered),  4-in-1- card reader, VGA, display port
  • Onboard storage: 320 GB HDD
  • Wireless/Communication: Ethernet LAN, W-LAN, Bluetooth, UMTS
  • Display: 12.5″
  • Weight: 1.67 kg
  • OS: Ubuntu
  • Mainly used for: receiving SVN files, online research (Firefox) and simulations for work

Streaming (online and DVB-T) / Data / E-Mail PC

  • CPU: Intel Pentium D, 3,2 GHz x 2 (I really need to upgrade the CPU and main board: The CPU fan is just too noisy)
  • Graphic Card: Nvidia GeForce GT630
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB
  • Onboard storage: 240 GB
  • OS: Ubuntu
  • Mainly used for: DVB-T (Kaffeine), online streaming (Firefox), E-Mails (Thunderbird), data storage / backup

Banking PC

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+, 2,21 GHz
  • Graphic Card: Radeon X1900XTX
  • Memory (RAM): 1 GB
  • Onboard storage: 240 GB (SATA)
  • OS: Ubuntu
  • Mainly used for: Online banking (Firefox)

Raspberry Pi – Model  B – Media Center

  • CPU: ARM1176JZF-S (700 MHz)
  • Graphic Card: Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU
  • Memory (SDRAM): 512 MB
  • Ports: 2 USB 2.0
  • Video Output: FBAS, HDMI
  • Audio Output: 3.5mm jack, HDMI
  • Onboard storage: SD / MMC / SDIO card slot
  • Communication: Ethernet LAN
  • OS: Openelec
  • Mainly used for: watching DVD films

And of course various HDDs for backup.

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I bought a new DVB-T stick (my old one was so old, that it is not even supported by Windows anymore… I think even under XP it was not possible to use). I bought a really cheap one: I don’t watch TV that often and normally the online streams are enough. But sometimes there are no online streams at all or they are not live or the connection gets lost. So a cheap one is really fine. I am really happy that the one I chose (CSL DVB-T Stick with a Realtek-Chip) is functioning also under Ubuntu (and, of course, also under Win 7), since my streaming PC (connected to the TV) runs with Ubuntu. 🙂 Installation was (surprisingly) simple: With my last stick, it even took some effort to make it run under Win, but under Linux? Not possible at all!

I just installed Kaffeine (compared to the Win Software on the Stick-DVD (TotalMedia), it is so much nicer to use) and followed the steps under https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DVB-T_%28USB%29. On the page you can also find an instruction, if you card is not (generally) supported. My Stick was not on the list, so I recommend you to first try the following steps:

Get the required packages:

$ sudo apt-get install git linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential patchutils libproc-processtable-perl

Fetch source code:

$ git clone git://linuxtv.org/media_build.git

Change to the directory created before:

$ cd media_build

Compile the code (takes some time):

$ ./build

Install the compiled code:

sudo make install

Restart your system. Start Kaffeine, select an appropriate Source and search for the channels.

 

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I wanted to structure the computers I have and use a bit better:

I have a Thinkpad X220 from work with Ubuntu for working stuff.
(Of course there is also my desktop pc at work…)

Then I have a Thinkpad X1 Carbon: This is the computer I usually use. I use it for personal stuff, work related stuff, it has Itunes, Exchange (from work) with my work-mails and (most important) my calender (work/personal) and some other programs I use.

I have a Desktop PC with Ubuntu for data storage and email storage (I have one mail account I access directly on my iphone, I can access the others ones from this PC).

I have a Raspberry Pi (Modell B) with Openelec as a media computer: It has a backup of my DVD collection. Openelec is quite nice: It offers a nice menu where you see the movies, some short description and so on and you can control it with the xbmc iphone app directly from the phone. The only thing missing is “standard” webbrowser:
I have satellit tv in my flat, but don’t want to have a receiver. I also do not watch much the normal tv program (the few things I watch are also available online directly from the television transmitters). At the moment I just watch the stuff on my Thinkpad, but I got the idea that I could simply take my data storage desktop PC, connect it to the TV and use it also for streaming from the television transmitter websites. On the Raspberr Pi streaming is difficult: You get problems with the usually necessary (for streaming) Flash Player and I also read that it is too slow for really using it for streaming. Also my Wii U did not have the necessary version of the Flash Player, so it was also not possible to use it for this kind of application.

Last but not least: My old media-computer: It was used for watching DVDs and other media before I got my Raspberry Pi. I havent’t really used it afterwards. But now I will install Ubuntu on this one an will use it purely for online banking. I havent’t used online banking up to now because of the security risks there… But I mean: The bank will nevertheless store your informations and transfers somewhere, so this point against online banking is out… The next thing: Trojaners could access your online banking account or someone could hack into it: If I use one pc purely for online banking, only type in the adress manually, don’t click any links, the risks are minimized. Of course: Use a strong password and change it often. 🙂

But for using desktop and old-media pc, I had to “repair” them (okay, if you call fixing the CMOS checksum error a repair 😉 ) and change some components: I exchanged the graphic cards (the desktop/streaming PC needs to be connected to the TV now and I wanted to use the HDMI port of the old media PC’s graphic card), bought a new PCI Wlan Card (put this in the desktop/streaming PC and the old one from there in the old media PC).

Really a fun evening. 🙂 Everything is functioning as it should and I did not get any problem (at least so far, the desktop/streaming PC is finished, but I have to install Ubuntu on the media PC which shouldn’t cause any problems).

/Update: Everything is finished and working as it should. Although… I should really update the mainboard and RAM of the desktop/streaming PC: Streaming is functioning, but a bit slow (or was it just because I tested it with ARD where a WM game is shown and too many people are watching?! I will test tomorrow again…)

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IDE Belt

This IDE belt is adjustable in length and has a very nice width (at least for me): You can buy it at www.getdigital.de

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