Posts Tagged ‘experience’

How to enable Gravis UltraSound in DOSBox for enhanced music experience in DOS programs and Games

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

DOSBox

Gravis UltraSound Classic

 

Gravis UltraSound

Gravis UltraSound or GUS is a sound card for the IBM PC compatible systems.
It was lunched in 1992 and is notable for it's ability to use real-world sound recordings (wavetable) of a musical instruments rather than artificial computer-generated waveforms.
As one of my friends used to say back then: "it sounds like a CD".

To enable GUS in DOSBox all you need to do is:

1. Download the archive with the GUS files from https://alex.pc-freak.net/files/GUS/ULTRASND.zip. Extract the archive (there is already a directory in it so you don't have to create one) preferably where you keep your DOSBox stuff (like Games).

2. Find your DOSBox config file. Depending on the version or host OS, the dosbox conf file is located either inside the user profile folder or inside the same folder as dosbox.exe. In Windows 7 the config file is located at

"C:\Users\Fred\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\dosbox.conf"

where "Fred" is your username.

In GNU/Linux it's in "/home/Fred/.dosbox/dosbox.conf" where "Fred" is your username.

The name of the conf file may also have dosbox version (for example –

"dosbox-0.74.conf").

Open it with a text editor like notepad (Windows) or equvalent for GNU/Linux (vi, Kate, gedit…). Locate "[gus]" section (without the quotes) and edit it so it looks like this:

[gus]
#      gus: Enable the Gravis Ultrasound emulation.
#  gusrate: Sample rate of Ultrasound emulation.
#           Possible values: 44100, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
#  gusbase: The IO base address of the Gravis Ultrasound.
#           Possible values: 240, 220, 260, 280, 2a0, 2c0, 2e0, 300.
#   gusirq: The IRQ number of the Gravis Ultrasound.
#           Possible values: 5, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12.
#   gusdma: The DMA channel of the Gravis Ultrasound.
#           Possible values: 3, 0, 1, 5, 6, 7.
# ultradir: Path to Ultrasound directory. In this directory
#           there should be a MIDI directory that contains
#           the patch files for GUS playback. Patch sets used
#           with Timidity should work fine.

gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=3
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

Then save the dosbox conf file.

3. Start DOSBox and mount "ULTRASND" directory to "C:".

You can do that with

mount c (directory to ULTRASND)

For example if you have extracted the archive in "C:\Games" it has created "C:\Games\ULTRASND" and the command you will have to write in DOSBox is

mount c c:\Games

(example: if your game is in "C:\Games\Heroes2" and your GUS directory is "C:\Games\ULTRSND" (if you have extracted the archive "C:\Games\") then you "mount c c:\Games" and you are set)

or for GNU/Linux if you have extracted the archive in "/home/Fred/Games" it has created "/home/Fred/Games/ULTRASND" and the command you will have to write in DOSBox is

mount c /home/Fred/Games (where "Fred" is your user name).

(example: if your game is in "/home/Fred/Games/Heroes2" and your GUS directory is "/home/Fred/Games/ULTRSND" (if you have extracted the archive" /home/Fred/Games/") in  then you "mount c /home/Fred/Games" and you are set)

You can make this automatic so you don't have to write it everytime by adding this command in the end (bottom) part of your dosbox conf file and save it.

You're practicly ready. All you need to do now is set Gravis UltraSound in your game or application setup (for example with the file "setup.exe") with IO: 240, IRQ 5 and DMA 3. If you prefer you previous sound card you can do that by selecting it again from the setup without disabling GUS from the dosbox conf file.

Happy listening!

Gravis Ultrasound

 

Article written by Alex

Skype remove word completion / Howto Disable spellcheck autocorrect on Mac OS X, Android Phones Tablets and IPhone iOS

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

How-to-disable-auto-correct-on-MacOS-X-android-and-iphone

I've recently upgraded my wife's Mac Book Air Mac OS X release from Mountain Lion to latest available OS X release Yosemite and after upgrade the old version of Skype used for about 3 years without any problems (except camera issues due to mac OS X bug the old post is here) stopped working (did crashed) on Skype launch so I took few minutes to upgrade Skype as well from Skype.com Skype for Mac official download page after the quick and unproblematic Skype re-install, Skype client was back to normal with a shiny new outlook and on a first glimpse all worked like a charm but …

On the next day when I took use of temporary the upgraded Mac Book Air with the fresh new OS X Yosemite and Skype's latest app to to do a quick login with my Skype credentials noticed a very annoying autocorrect (auto spelling)  Skype behavior on any new input text message.

I have to admit the idea of autocorrect feature on a system wide scale is great however quick keyboard typers like me who are used to type more than a letter per second use to type so quickly that occasinally you do errors which you're quick to fix but anyhow errors are automatically corrected in a way that you have to retype the whole word quite often which makes your typing a hellish experience. Then the same auto-correct feature becomes a terrible experience and on any device I notice this behavior I tend to remove it immediately.

I remember  the same dictionary auto-spell check / corect behavior was present on my Android run ZTE blade 3 mobile after first Mobile boot and also present on my current iPhone 5 iOS and thus the first thing I did once I start using it is to remove autocorrect (auto spelling) feature and relax the irritation of it.

Just in case if you need to disable Spellcheck auto-correct on Android Phone or Tablet do it from

Settings -> Language & input

android-phone-tablet-disable-autocorrect-spell-check

If you happen to be using also IPhone 5 as me or  Iphone 6 / 7 to disable AutoCorrect feature on SMSes / Skype / Viber and other applications do it from Phone's:

Settings -> General

disable_Turn_off_AutoCorrect_in_IPhone_iOS

Shortly I've noticed that the auto-correct feature does not only mess up your typing in Skype but also in Mail and TweetDeck and generally any open application where you can type on Yosemite.


I've took the time to investigate quickly what was causing the new feature that bugged me so much online and came to this nice little article How to turnoff autocorrect on Mac OS X 10.11 El Captain

As the article revealed to Turn off the autocorrect Mac OS X feature you I have to go:

Finder -> System Preferences

 

stop-skype-autocorrect-annoying-macosx-yosemite-system-preferences-menu-screenshot

Click on Keyboard -> Text
and turn  Autocorrect off by unchecking Correct spelling automatically

stop-skype-autocorrect-annoying-macosx-yosemite-system-preferences-keyboard-menu-screenshot

By doing this autocorrect spelling is disabled for all applications, however for some people it might be handy to leave the correct feature for Mail app or Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word / Excel) etc. and only turn off (disable) the autorrect feature per application side.

You can  do this in the separate Applications (of choise where you need auto spelling) from  Edit Menu under Spelling and Grammer and enable / disableCheck Spelling While Typing

stop-skype-autocorrect-annoying-macosx-yosemite-spelling-and-grammar-menu-screenshot


Tadam Enjoy ! 🙂

 

Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Best old-school turn based strategic game to play on your Android mobile phone

Monday, June 16th, 2014

heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-for-your-mobile-smartphone-android-screenshot

Probably many people which are my age (I'm aged 30 now), spent many days and sleepless nights being totally addicted playing probably one of the most addictive (and in my view greatest strategy game of all time) – Heroes of Might and Magic II (HOMM2).
In that thoughts it will be a great news for you if you're owning smartphone that you can turn-back some nice memories and play (for free) a port of Heroes 2 for Android.

Free Heroes 2 Android port is it is made to support multiple screened devices so game  version could be played on both Android Tablet a tiny screen smart phone or a middle sized mobile. Also Free Heroes 2 mobile port allows you to choose 'The Magnifying glass' option on first game boot, so if you're on a tiny screened mobile you can still zoom by pointing on a game object. Free Heroes 2 Android port is there thanks to Gerhard Stein who is also an author of OpenTyrian mobile phone port and the amazing old computer jump-and-run arcade Commander Keen. Game pointer controls of FHeroes2 are pretty convenient and playing the game is almost as confortable as played with a PC mouse.
Free Heroes 2 is port of Free Heroes 2 engineFree implementation of Heroes of the Might and Magic II engine in SDL and because SDL is platform independent Free Heroes is also available for both Windows / Linux. Maybe here is time too mention that Heroes2 original DOS game works perfectly on any modern Linux distribution when started through DOSBOX DOS emulator.

By default Free Heroes2  has no game campaign support yet. In order to enable campaing support into Free Heroes 2, download FULL Heroes 2 gameput data files to mobile SD card to dir app-data/net.sourceforge.fheroes2 and campaign option will be there too.

heroes_of_might_and_magic_ii_play-on-android-best-strategy-old-game-for-android

Heroes of Might and Magic 2 – The succession Wars (or HEROES2, as it is widely known in Gamers communities) is a turn based strategy game  from year 1996 developed by Jon Van Caneghem by his New World Computing company it was marketed under on the market under brand of 3DO Company. Heroes II was voted the sixth-best PC game of all time by PC Gamer in May 1997. Heroes2 has also a game expansion pack called the Price of Loyalty released in 1997 as well as Heroes of Might and Magic II – Gold – from 1998. The game graphic design looks very beautiful and combined with the soundtrack makes playing it an awesome and calming experience. The game is very notable especially for soundtrack which is all of a beautiful classical music.

Heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-best-games-of-all-time-screenshot-HOMM2
(Picture taken and copyrighted by Wikipedia)

Gameplay

The titular heroes (horse) are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones.

On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-town_castle-sorceress-screenshot

Towns play a central role in the games since they are the primary source of income and new recruits. A typical objective in each game is to capture all enemy towns. Maps may also start with neutral towns, which do not send out heroes but may still be captured by any player. It is therefore possible, and common, to have more towns than players on a map. When captured, a town retains its alignment type, allowing the new owner to create a mixed army. A player or team is eliminated when no towns or heroes are left under their control. Usually the last player or team remaining is the victor.

As heroes visit special locations called obelisks, pieces are removed from a jigsaw puzzle-like map, gradually revealing 'The Ultimate Artifact location to the player. Once found, it confers immense bonuses to the player capable of breaking a stalemate: the grail can be taken back to a town and used to build a special structure, while the ultimate artifact provides the bonuses directly through possession.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-battle-for-castle-screenshot

Whenever a player engages in battle

The game changes from the adventure map display to a combat screen, which is based on either a hexagonal or square grid. In this mode, the game mimics the turn-based tactics genre, as the engaged armies must carry through the battle without the opportunity to reinforce or gracefully retreat. With few exceptions, combat must end with the losing army deserting, being destroyed, or paying a heavy price in gold to surrender. Surrendering allows the player to keep the remaining units intact. Battles can be led army army to army or castles / villages can be fight and (captured) occupied. Owning a town gives your hero daily an income of money later used to buy and upgrade castle buildings.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-ii-the-succession-wars-wizard-castle-building-options-screenshot

Also you your moved heroes could overtake mines producing different goods like minerals, sulfur, gold, emeralds etc. Building different buildings and building war units for army usually cost gold and some kind of resource.

Game Story

Heroes II history continues after Heroes I. Ending of Heroes I results in Lord Morglin Ironfist's victory. In the following years, he has successfully unified the continent of Enroth and secured his rule as king. Upon the king's death, his two sons, Archibald and Roland, vie for the crown. Archibald orchestrates a series of events that lead to Roland's exile. Archibald is then declared the new king, while Roland organizes a resistance. Each alignment is represented by one of the game's two campaigns. Archibald's campaign features the three "evil" town alignments, while Roland's campaign features the three "good" town alignments.

If Archibald is victorious, Roland's rebellion is crushed, and Roland himself is imprisoned in Castle Ironfist, leaving Archibald the uncontested ruler of Enroth. The  ending, however, results in Roland's victory, with Archibald being turned to stone by Roland's court wizard, Tanir.

If you're more interested to play modern games and get some more games modern games more entertaining take a look at Kevin Martin's JoyofAndroid Best Adnroid Games post here.

Enjoy

Evening service and Holy Liturgy in Russian Church st. Nicolas and marriage preparations

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

St-nicolas-russian-church-sofia-bulgaria

Last Saturday evening I and my future wife Svetlana went to get train tickets (Sofia Dobrich), cause next week me and Svetlana will be travelling to Dobrich. Afterwards we went to Russian Church in center of Sofia – St. Nicolas for the evening service and confessed. The evening service was led by Archimandrite Philip who is currently Russian Church's prior.

archimandrite-Philip-russian-church-in-Bulgaria-prior

At the end of Church service there was an oilment, as always being on a Russian Holy Liturgy is astonishing experience. On Sunday morning 2nd February we were in Russian Church again for the Russian Liturgy and we took the holy sacraments as it is proper (according to Orthodox Church tradition the marrying couple should confess and receive the sacraments before marrying in Church). After Church service we went to Church crypt to venerate holy relics of Archimandrate Seraphim Sobolev. A big thing is happening in my life nowdays as I will have marriage this week  on Friday 7-th of February:)

We prepared so far almost everything for marriage. My parents helped with finding a marriage resturant and finding musicians for post marriage restaurant celebration. We also travelled to Asenovgrad to look for Svetlana's  wedding dress and we got one  I bough a marriage suit 2 weeks back and we ordered a marriage rings. There is already agreement with a priest father Vasilij – who will merry us in Church St. Trinity this Friday. Father Vasilij serves in Church "Dormition of Virgin Mary" in Kavarna . We choose father Vasilij to make the Marriage vows for the reason he is nativily Russian speaking (like Svetlana) plus the father is a good example of a true Christian priest. Today the parents of Svetlana (mama Vera and papa Alexander) arrived in the airport in Varna for the marriage (thanks God they had safe flight). Sunday night I send Svetlana to Train Station here in Sofia to make latest preparations for marriage. I will be travelling to Dobrich on Wednesday night 1 day before marriage. The rest of things happening around are not so interesting. In y job in HP work is complicated as usual. On my job I'm learning HPSM (HP Service Manager) and how to open new Changes in system and that's mostly my life these days. When I have time I'm playing OpenTyrian and a couple of nice arcade games on my ZTE Android mobile phone and reading some saint livings on mobile.
 

 

Nikwi Deluxe a top quality Freeware Debian / Ubuntu Linux Jump and Run Arcade Game

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Nikwi Deluxe Linux arcade game Freeware game main screen screenshot

Nikwi Deluxe is another good quality jump and run game for Linux

The main actor you play with is a (Dexter like) looking kid who has to collect all candy items on the level screen. The game graphics are quite a good level if compared to the most Linux jump and run games. Nikwi Deluxe Freeware Game GNU / Linux game

Your game hero is not equipped with any weapon or (jump over the enemies like in Maries) and you not haven't got any mean to kill enemies, but you have to always avoid them. There are some funny looking crawl (birds) shitting from the above every now and then, if you're hit by a the bird's droplet you die. The game has 30 levels and after each level succesful completion you're provided with a password that can be used as a "Save Game" like if you quit from game and on next game run you would like to start directly from the last game level you reachedNikwi Deluxe is another good quality jump and run game for Linux

nikwi deluxe Linux level screenshot

The only game downfall is the missing music as well as the not too brilliant sound. To boost my game experience, however put some background music and give the game a try 😉

W3 total Cache a nice wordpress “all in one” wordpress Caching plugin

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

w3 total cache logo wordpress speed up w3tc

In my recent question of looking for best ways to optimize my wordpress blog, as well as other wordpress based websites, I’m managing I’ve come across a great plugin called W3 Total Cache or W3TC as it’s widely known among wordpress geeks.

The full caching wordpress solution in face of W3TC is already actively deployed among many major wordpress powered websites, to name a few:
stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com

I gave a try W3 Total Cache and was amazed about the rich caching functionality it provides. Having the W3TC plugin installed adds a whole menu on the left wordpress admin panel reading Performance , clicking on it shows a menu with thorough choices on numerous things which deal with the running of wordpress on the server.
Here is a screenshot on the menus W3 Total Cache provides:

w3 total cache whole wordpress caching pages and sql solution

The plugin has support for html caching, sql caching, CDN, CSS and Javascript compress & minify etc.
To test the plugin adequately I disabled HyperCache and Db Cache . My observations is that with W3TC wordpress renders php and the overall user experience and download times in wordpress are better. Therefore I’ll probably use only W3 Total Cache as a cacher for wordpress installs.
Besides that I had some issues on some wordpress based websites with the Db Cache SQL caching.
On these websites after enabling Db Cache, suddenly page edditing of the created existing pages started returning empty pages. This could be due to the fact that these wordpress based websites was customly tailered and many code was wiped out, however it could also be a Db Cache bug. So to conclude W3TC is the perfect solution for wordpress caching 😉

How to clear Squid Proxy Cache on Debian and Ubuntu

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Squid proxy cache clear logo

It was necessery to clean up some squid cache for some proxy users on a Debian host. Until now I’ve used to run only custom build Squid server on Slackware Linux.

Thus I was curious if Debian guys were smart enough to implement a proxy cache cleaning option as an option to be passed on to squid’s init script.

Honestly I was quite suprised squid clear cache option is not there;

squid-cache:~# /etc/init.d/squid3
Usage: /etc/init.d/squid3 {start|stop|reload|force-reload|restart}
squid-cache:/#

As it was not embedded into init script I still hoped, there might be some Debian way to do the proxy cache clearing, so I spend some 10 minutes checking online as well as checked in squid3‘s manual just to find there is no specific command or Debian accepted way to clean squid’s cache.

Since I couldn’t find any Debian specific, way I did it the old fashioned way 😉 (deleted directory/file structures in /var/spool/squid3/* and used squid’s -z option, to recreate the swap directories.

Here is how:

squid-cache:~# /etc/init.d/squid3 stop;
squid-cache:~# rm -Rf /var/spool/squid3/*;
squid-cache:~# squid3 -z; /etc/init.d/squid3 start

Finally I was quite amazed to realize, there was not even a crontab script to periodically clear and re-create proxy cache.

My previous experience with maintaning an office Squid proxy cache has prooved, that periodic cache clean ups are very helpful, especially to resolve issues with cached unreslovable DNS entries in the server.
Clearing up squid cache every week or something, guarantees that failure to resolve certain hosts at certain times would not stay unresolvable like forever 😉

In that manner of thougths, I decided to put the following crontab which will twice a month clear up proxy’s cache, to possibly solve some failed squid DNS issues.

squid-cache:~# crontab -u root -l > file;
echo '00 04 12,26 * * /etc/init.d/squid3 stop; rm -Rf /var/spool/squid3/*; squid3 -z; /etc/init.d/squid3 start >/dev/null 2>&1'
>> file; crontab file

By the way, implementing the squid clear cache in Debian and Ubuntu ‘s init scripts and putting a periodic proxy clear up cron, seems like a feature worthy to be proposed to the distro developers and hopefully be embbed in some of the upcoming distro releases 😉

How to load custom Kernel (tun) module in CentOS and RHEL Linux

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

kernel module load on boot in CentOS and Fedora

Just recently it was necessery to load up a tun kernel module on few CentOS Linux servers.

I’m using Debian on daily basis, and everybody that had even little of experience with Debian should already be aware about the existence of the handy:
/etc/modules file.
On Debian to enable a certain kernel module to load up on Linux boot, all necessery is to just place the kernel module name in /etc/modules.
For example loading the tun tunneling kernel module I issue the command:

debian:~# echo tun >> /etc/modules

I wondered if CentOS, also supports /etc/modules as it was necessery now to add this tun module to load up on CentOS’s boot.
After a bit of research I’ve figured out CentOS does not have support for adding modules names in /etc/modules , anyhow after consulting CentOS documentation on http://www.centos.org/docs/5/html/Deployment_Guide-en-US/s1-kernel-modules-persistant.html , I found CentOS and RHEL use /etc/rc.modules instead of Debian’s /etc/modules to load up any custom kernel modules not loaded by default during system boot.

Therefore instructing the RHEL Linux to load up my desired tun module in kernel on next boot was as easy as executing:

[root@centos ~]# echo 'modprobe tun' >> /etc/rc.modules
[root@centos ~]# chmod +x /etc/rc.modules

Now on next boot CentOS will load up the tun module in kernel. Achiving the same module load up is also possible through /etc/rc.local , but it’s not recommended way as /etc/rc.local would load up the kernel module after all of the rest init boot scripts complete and therefore will load up the module slightly later, at the final boot stage.

How to enable output compression (gzipfile content compression) in nginx webserver

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I have recently installed and configured a Debian Linux server with nginx
. Since then I’ve been testing around different ways to optimize the nginx performance.

In my nginx quest, one of the most crucial settings which dramatically improved the end client performance was enabling the so called output compression which in Apache based servers is also known as content gzip compression .
In Apache webservers the content gzip compression is provided by a server module called mod_deflate .

The output compression nginx settings saves a lot of bandwidth and though it adds up a bit more load to the server, the plain text files like html, xml, js and css’s download time reduces drasticly as they’re streamed to the browser in gzip compressed format.
This little improvement in download speed also does impact the overall end user browser experience and therefore improves the browsing speed experience with websites.

If you have already had experience nginx you already know it is a bit fastidious and you have to be very careful with it’s configuration, however thanksfully enabling the gzip compression was actually rather easier than I thought.

Here is what I added in my nginx config to enable output compression:

## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

Important note here is that need to add this code in the nginx configuration block starting with:

http {
....
## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

In order to load the gzip output compression as a next step you need to restart the nginx server, either by it’s init script if you use one or by killing the old nginx server instances and starting up the nginx server binary again:
I personally use an init script, so restarting nginx for me is done via the cmd:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/nginx restart
Restarting nginx: nginx.

Now to test if the output gzip compression is enabled for nginx, you can simply use telnet

hipo@linux:~$ telnet your-nginx-webserver-domain.com 80
Escape character is '^]'.

After the Escape character is set ‘^]’ appears on your screen type in the blank space:

HEAD / HTTP/1.0

and press enter twice.
The output which should follow should look like:


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The whole transaction with telnet command issued and the nginx webserver output should look like so:

hipo@linux:~$ telnet your-nginx-webserver-domain.com 80
Trying xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx...
Connected to your-nginx-webserver-domain.com
.Escape character is '^]'.
HEAD / HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The important message in the returned output which confirms your nginx output compression is properly configured is:

Vary: Accept-Encoding

If this message is returned by your nginx server, this means your nginx now will distribute it’s content to it’s clients in compressed format and apart from the browsing boost a lot of server and client bandwitdth will be saved.