Nov 19, 2014

New "old" game from Ron Gilbert: Thimbleweed Park

You know Ron Gilbert, right? Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island? No? Maybe this story isn't for you then. Or maybe it is. A new game in the 80s point 'n click adventure style is coming to you via a Kickstarter project. If the target is reached.

I know the retro style is getting "old". But if you can have a brand new game from the original programmer that made this style so popular, it's something different. New game means, a new story, new characters and new gags that those games was famous for.
To make this happen, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick started a Kickstarter project. The goal is $375.000. While at the time I writing this, with 29 days left about $128.000 are already secured. So this should happen.
The game is announced for Windows, Mac and GNU+Linux. The last is the important one for me. There is a funny option if you back the project with $25. You also get guilt absolution :):
"I pirated Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island when I was a kid and I feel bad!" This reward tier instantly absolves you of all guilt and includes the Thimbleweed Park game. All subsequent tiers also include guilt absolution.
Wow, that is the ultimate relief for the C64 generation, right? :)
If you are innocent like a new born child, you can chose other option, starting from $5. If you pay $20 or more you'll get the game, and with more money , you can get the soundtrack, a physical box, and other items.
If you dare to give $5000, a supporting character in the game will named after you, and you can give it an appearance like you wish. Awesome.

However, you really should back it up. The developers are quite clear on what happens if you don't.

Kickstarter Project Site: Thimbleweed Park

Nov 6, 2014

Why I will buy GTA V for the PS4 while I even had it on PS3

Today I saw a video comparison of the PS3 and the PS4 version. No, the much better graphics, the richer Flora and Fauna, the more living traffic and more realistic pedestrians, not even the real-time mirroring of the surrounding on cars polished coat, made me going to buy it all alone on the PS4.

Look for yourself, technically it's another world. So much more realism.

And still, great graphics is not the essential factor buying the game for the second time, after I played it for a long time on the PS3.
But there are additions to the gameplay, too. Especially that you can play it as a 1st person shooter. Yepp it's coming. There's a video showing the first person mode, too. This makes it a whole new experience to play. Even though I know it's not the same playing GTA from 1st person view, I think it will be awesome.

And there is another tiny reason. It's GTA! And I want this on my new console, too. The PS4 is not backward compatible. And only a few games are interesting for me.
I'll wait to buy a PS4 until Uncharted 4 is released. Together with GTA V / PS4, I'll have reason to turn on the console and don't feel sad to spend a lot of money. Yes, GTA is that important for me. And I'm pretty sure there are more people with the same thinking.

I hate to admit it, as I was infuriated that Rockstar didn't release GTA V for the PS4 first, instead using the last gen PS3, but the company did the right thing.
I bought a new PS3 for GTA V (my old one was damaged 2 years before), and I will buy GTA V on the PS4, too. It has such an impact.

Sep 16, 2014

Amazon's New Europe Strategy?

Party in Europe. The Fire is burning.
Something interesting has happened. Twice in 2-3 weeks.
You know, people in Europe got mad at Amazon many times for waiting too long to get new services announced in the USA. But in the last weeks, the company outposts in Europe, e.g. Germany, has not only offer the FireTV to pro-oder, but also the Fire Phone.

While with the FireTV it was only a matter of time to be announced (let's say 6-12 month?), the Fire Phone wasn't even expected anytime soon. But they all got it wrong, and the press didn't saw that coming. Now wonder if you see how long the Kindle Fire tablet took to take the trip to oversea.

As of now you can pre-order both devices. In Germany the Fire Phone will be available with a contract from T-Mobile exclusively for 1€. Yes, no misspelling. 1 Euro. For a new phone with these tech specs, it's a price attack.
The FireTV pre-order was a huge success. Within 1 day the first contingents were gone. If you order one now, there is no guarantee to get one before January 2015. A special offer for prime customers only pulls 49 Euro from your wallet. Normal price is 99 Euro.

Maybe this shows Amazon that even in Europe there is a demand for this.
How and why theses obvious policy changes are made, is not clear. Everyone was surprised. A few days ago, Amazon made it possible to watch Amazon Instant Video content on normal Android devices. Out of the sudden the app was available.

Looks like Amazon set Europe on Fire.

Sep 11, 2014

Actor Richard Kiel dies at age 74... so sad

Richard Kiel 2.JPG
Richard Kiel 2“ von dejahthoris from Vancouver, Canada - [1].
Licensed under 
CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
I were shocked today to read that actor Richard Kiel died today.
He was widely known for the role of  "Jaws" in 2 James Bond movies together with Roger Moore.
In "The Spy Who Loves Me", and "Moonraker", he quickly got a big fan crowd.
He participated in more TV productions and movies. But never topped the appearance in the 007 movies.

A great actor and the best of the James Bond villains. In fact, he got more sympathies than expected for a "bad guy".

Richard Kiel, we'll never forget!

[via The Guardian]

Sep 7, 2014

Flickr Commons publishing a huge amount of copyright free photos

Take a look at Flickr Commons if you want historic photos with no, or free licenses. Check the remarks on that.

Scene from Fuerth, Germany

You can search for topics and more, and access this huge database. You will find a lot of photos scanned from old documents. Highly important shots, or just random life all around the world. I'm sure if you need to refer to something in the past, this could come handy.

Aug 8, 2014

How To Encrypt an USB Stick or Ext. Drives With GNU+Linux

So, I showed you, in short, how to encrypt your home directory and your swap. That's fine and helps a lot to secure your system. But now and then you want to put data on external drives. No matter if you use an USB stick or an external HDD, the procedures are the same.

First of all you need to determine what drive you want to encrypt. This is very important and choosing the wrong drive can get you in big trouble and losing your data on that drive. That is right. All data will be erased on the drive you chose.
So let's assume our USB Stick is sdb1 which is quite common if you have only 1 internal harddrive and no other drives attached. But double check!

Open a shell and enter sudo cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdb1 - again, you need to replace /dev/sdb1 with your device (could be sdc1, sdd1 etc. but certainly NOT sda1).
You will be asked for a passphrase. Use a good one. You need to remember it everytime you plug in the drive. Without you lose access to all data stored on it. Use special chars, uppercase letters, numbers. Don't use a weak passphrase.
Then go ahead to create a device mapper with sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdb1 nameofdrive where nameofdrive can be replaced with the name you want to give that secure device. You need to enter the passphrase that you chose in the previous step.
Now you need to choose a filesystem. I recommend ext4 for normal distributions. But you can use ext3 or even fat. Since Windows can't decrypt this drive at the moment anyway, you won't get any good if you use fat, but some problems. Use mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/nameofdrive to do so. It can take a while.

Now it is a good time to switch to your GUI and find the drive. Unmount (eject safely) the drive and remove it from your computer. Put it back in. Now if you open the device, a requester will pop up asking you for the password. If you enter the right passphrase, the device will be mounted just like any other drive ready to use as usual.
Here it is, your own secure drive ready to go.