Armagetron Advanced

Hey guys! It’s Ben!

What’s that? Why am I here? (Cause it’s my blog, that’s why!) Well, because I can’t stay away from blogging, and Brenden is probably boring you poor readers to death right now! And no, My Internet has not been fixed, but I can post to GB7., so I’m doing a post about every 2 weeks or so. Before I get into tech, I want to announce 2 things:

  • If Brenden hasn’t told you yet, (tsk tsk) GB7 now has a Facebook page! Feel free to post on out wall anytime at http://www.facebook.com/GeeksBlog7!
  • I also wanted to welcome Zara Rethman into the group! She is the first female writer. The board of administration for GB7 (Me and Brenden Winking smile needed a fancy name) were thinking about Zara joining, and a few days ago, Brenden went ahead and sent her an invitation to join GB7, so now she’s part of the group!

Now that I’ve wasted a few minutes of your life, (Mwahaha! Devil) review time!!! (This was longer on paper…)

Don’t really care about the announcements? Skip to here!

You all know about Tron and all that stuff, right? If not, you are not a geek! (Oh wait, that’s LEGO and Star Wars… Never mind.) Anyways, one of the most famous parts of Tron is the light-cycle racing. Well, I found out about this great tri-platform program called Armagetron Advanced (AA, because typing the whole name is tedious.) TRI-PLATFORM: [Tri-Plat-Form] Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, even though OS X is Linux. In this well-built game, you race around on your light-cycle and try not to be “dumped.” One great thing about AA, is that it has network game functions! This means you can sign in to the server and see a bunch of different games, all with random people from around the world. One thing that is a bit hard to preform, but pays off in the long run, is edit the source code, as AA is open-source. I don’t mean download the source code and make edits to the whole program, I mean opening up a .CFG file and putting in your own data. You can change maps, AI names, game settings and a bunch more! Maps are built in .XML format, so please don’t ask me how to make one, as my last attempt ended in failure.

AA

As seen above, I have version 0.2.8 right now. I haven’t updated in a while, so there may be a newer version. Winking smile

History:

I know, history? Ugh! I hate history! Well, I couldn’t find anywhere else to put this, so I put it here. AA was based off of Tron Legacy, but that was not the first instance of this style of game. According to the readme, the first instance was Blockade from 1976. The first home version was SNAFU for the Intelevision system in 1981 and the next was Surround for the Atari 2600. Either way, the game is great!

I like the game’s menu system and I like the snazzy 3D camera angles, too! There is also a nice little console for you to type commands in. The gameplay is smooth on most operating systems, but I see a major speed-up on Windows as opposed to Ubuntu. (Somewhere from about 100 on Windows and 50 on Ubuntu.)

The whole game is brilliant and I’ll be sure to keep playing for ages to come, and I hope you do too! To grab yourself a copy, go to http://armagetronad.net/.

I want to apologize about the sad state of the blog lately. We hope to get posting again soon, so stay tuned, guys! Smile

-Ben

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My Final Post: How to record audio from a device using Audacity

Hey readers! I am sad to say that I am leaving GB7. Perhaps only for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years, but my Internet that I use now blocks sites like WordPress (Who hosts GB7) and Youtube, so I am unable to keep up with comments and such. I am happy to say that the comment issue seems to have been fixed! Our friends over at WordPress took a look and seemed to know what was going on. I am keeping my profile up on the About Us page and will keep my account active, if I am able to resume blogging. From now on, Brenden Reeves will be our webmaster. If you have questions related to the website, you will now need to direct those to him. I will probably be lurking about the blog at every chance I get, but I won’t be doing much else. I know what your thinking, “Ben, you started the blog, why is it you are the first to leave?” Well, things happen, I guess. Winking smile Keep on keeping on!

Now for the tutorial. I will be showing you how to record audio from a device such as a iPod or in my case, a Nintendo DSi. The device will need a headphone jack in order to do this. You will need:

I’m going to do this step-by-step, cause I like it that way. I can’t stand Kelly Clay’s posts on http://www.lockergnome.com/, she NEVER does step-by-step! Anyways….

  1. Start up the device and get to the file or menu with the audio you wish to record.
  2. Insert the line-in cord in the headphone jack of the device and in the microphone jack of your computer.
  3. Download and install Audacity by using the link above or by clicking here.
  4. Open Audacity and make sure the drop-menu to the right of the microphone icon on the second-to-last bar says “Primary sound capture”
  5. Click the large record button and start the media on the device. Wait until that finishes and stop recording by clicking the stop button.
  6. Trim the un-wanted parts by clicking and holding on the large window before the media and after and pressing delete.
  7. Go into File –> Export and save as a WAV, MP3, WMA or your desired format.

There you go! If you want, feel free to use some effects on the audio. I like the “Wahwah” effect. Audacity has tons of great tools for you to use on your music and audio, try them all out! Smile

This is Ben High, for his last blog post for awhile, signing off. Good bye, community! I hope to return to you soon, so stay tuned and try to act excited about iOS posts from Brenden. Winking smile

-Ben High

Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox

If you use the Internet, which you are now, you want a fast an simple Internet browser. In this post, I will cover Safari, Chrome, IE and Firefox.

Internet Explorer (IE)

I would not recommend using IE 9 at all. It slows your system down, it crashes and it’s slow. The first thing I did on the Internet was go and get a new browser (Chrome, of course) Here’s my default IE screen:

IE9

As you can see, it is a basic browser. I like the fact that it blends into the top-level window (which I’ll get into in a minute) like MirandaIM or some other Windows 7 program. Other than that, I dislike IE completely.

Google Chrome

This is my favorite browser and used by both writers here on GB7! It is the fastest I’ve used, has a top-level theme, a great home page, apps and extensions, sugar, spice and everything nice! If you look back in the archive, you should see tutorials and app reviews for Chrome!

Google Chrome

It has apps and some extensions. The picture in the background is a bit ominous, but I like it. A great thing about Google Chrome is that you can customize it with themes. These not only change the home screen, but also change the top-level window style.

Top-Level Window Style on Google Chrome

I would use this for a browser any time!

Apple Safari

This browser is usually for Macintosh, but also has a Windows version. Unlike Chrome and IE, it does not have a top-level window style.

Apple Safari

I haven’t gotten a chance to use this browser very much, but the style is very nice. I like the top bar for the simplicity, but I would still use Chrome over this.

Mozilla Firefox

This is the first open-source browser I have used, and I like the style of it. It has a top-level window style, but isn’t as flashy as Chrome’s.

Firefox

I use this browser on our home computer, because it is connected to dial-up (the really slow Internet connection that nobody likes.) It’s a nice browser. Here’s the top-level window:

Top-level window theme on Firefox

(6 pictures… not done yet!!)

Comparison:

These are the four main choices for a browser. I didn’t go into much detail up there, so I’ve made a table of features!

IE Chrome Firefox Safari
Local Home page x check x x
Apps x check x x
Extensions x check check x
Free check check check check
Top-level window themes x check x x
Downloadable themes x check check x

It’s all about choices. As you can see, Google Chrome has a yes on everything while others stumbled. Especially IE and Safari. Well, that’s all I have for now! And now the image count. Drumroll please.

Da da da da da da da da da da da da da da…

30 IMAGES!! (Man this will take a while to upload.) That’s 3 times Brenden’s record of 10! HA!! Winking smile The war is on!

-Ben

Now it’s your turn!

Hey guys! I decided to let you guys decide what I should do a post on next! Of course, you guys were able to request before now, but if you were unsure about it, now you know that you can request a post! Please keep in mind that the comments won’t show up for a while, and I’m unable to check the comments on a weekend, so only post once. Winking smile I’ve contacted WordPress about this problem and I’m waiting for a reply back, so I’ll have to deal with it in the meantime. Of course, there are some limitations on what you can request. Here they are:

  • Must have something to do with tech. After all, that’s what the blog is about, right?
  • Let’s keep it appropriate for the younger audience. You all have been so great on this so far!
  • I don’t do any iOS or OS X tutorials, as I don’t own an iOS device and don’t really like OS X.
  • The request must not break any copyrights or be a system hack of any type. These are illegal and I’m going to have to be ultra careful as-is if SOPA passes.
  • It’s best if you ask for a review on an open-source software or OS.

I’m going to try to fill all the requests that fit the guidelines above, but I might have some problems on non-free software or OSes. (Excluding Windows, of course.) I’m going to try to get my Tandy 1400 HD fixed and do a review on that. Me and my friend went out in my garage (which probably isn’t helping the fact that it doesn’t work) and tried to get the system to boot up. We flipped the switch… nothing happened. He tried plugging it in, but I think we were plugging it in the wrong power supply. Anyways, I’ll keep you posted on that situation.

Also, if you guys have a computer emergency that has something to do with the technical side of things, or you just have a question, email me at pack5guy@yahoo.com. I check it every time I’m online, and when my friend tells me he’s sent me something. I can give you free tech support, but I don’t know everything, so I might have an issue. You can also ask me questions about Linux or Windows, as well as coding in the Python language. Smile

-Ben

Dear Readers…

I wanted to thank everybody for all of the positive feedback I’ve been getting on my blog posts, especially the MirandaIM post. Before Wednesday, Blender’s post had the most feedback, all positive. When I went in and allowed all the posts in my “Spam” folder, they were all addressed to the MirandaIM post! I was shocked at how much you guys liked the very short article. I made that article before I knew that people actually read my blog, and didn’t think it was very much. I never expected so much feedback on it! I am pleased to read all the comments and seeing them all positive comments, and I hope that in the year ahead, I continue creating articles that you guys like! I’m facing a rather scary threat from SOPA, but neither of us are posting any piracy, at least not consciously. I’m sure this bill can be defeated, but why go into that right now? The last thing I need here is bad news! Anyways, I get a ton of comments stating that you guys stumbled upon the website by luck and found that it has good content on it. I’m still working on getting videos up here, and will get that done soon! Like I’ve said, I’m still working out the bugs of the website, so please don’t repost comments if they don’t show up immediately. Smile Again, thanks a ton and the next year will produce more content that I hope you find useful and informative! If you have a knack for blogging yourself, but really don’t feel like going through the steps of making a blog, please drop me a line at pack5guy@yahoo.com letting me know you want to join, and a short article about a program or device that amuses you. If I find the article well-written and to-the-point, I’ll email you back. From there, expect an invitation to the site in your inbox! 2012, here we come!

-Ben

Geek VS. Nerd: The Difference

I hate it when people call me a nerd. I hate it when people call other geeks nerds. Why do I hate it so much? Well, when someone says geek, I think of a person with knowledge of computers and how they operate. The term “geek” to me is someone who knows a lot about computers and is willing to assist someone if they have a computer question or problem. If someone says nerd, I think of some guy with an Xbox who sits around and plays weird games all day long. There’s a huge difference. That’s why I call it Geeks Blog or GB7, not Nerds Blog or NB7. Just thought you might like to know! Smile

Also wanted to give a big shout-out to all the readers that commented such nice things on my posts! Sorry I don’t have enough time to reply to everybody. I’m trying to fix that comment bug, but there’s not much I can do right now, so stay tuned! Winking smile

-Ben

DOSBox

If you have used MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) and have switched to Windows, you might be missing some of those old games you used to play on DOS. Sure you could install them (or try to at least) on Windows and probably end up with a crashed computer, or you could use what is called DOSBox. It is a free program that allows you to install and use DOS programs, including games! It is only at version 0.74, but it’s going to get better. You can even run Windows 3.1 in DOSBox, that is, if you want to. You have to use a certain command to mount the folder with your games in it. This is my command:

mount C: C:\dosgames\

I store my games and programs for DOS in the folder dosgames at the root of my hard drive. You can add this line of code to your “AUTOEXEC.BAT” file, which is actually just part of your settings, which is one thing that needs completed. This is what I see when I start DOSBox:

DOSBox default screen

Pretty nifty, no? DOSBox has so many great features, it would take so long to get into them all, but since I’m in a battle on how many pictures you can cram into a post, I will go into the ones I know.

IMGMOUNT

This is an interesting feature of DOSBox. You can mount .IMG files to use for files or to boot from. An IMG file is a Virtual Floppy Image, mostly used in emulators and virtual machine host applications, such as Virtual PC, VMWare or VirtualBox. You have to do a little something special to get the file in DOSBox, but it’s worth it.

Wrong way to import files into DOSBOX

Right way to import IMG files into DOSBOX

As you can see, it’s kind of advanced, but now that I’ve mounted that, I can do this!

What I do with my spare time

It’s Windows 1! No? Lame…

Anyways, that’s how you do it.

BOOT

This command does just what it says it does, boots. You can load in .IMG files and I think .RAR and .VHD files, too! This is how it works:

BOOT

Yes, it’s the right command, but it has an issue booting .VHD files, so I’m just going to close DOSBox. If you guys caught it, I’m trying to boot into OS/2. If you don’t know what that is, it’s older than you.

(Right now, I’m at the record of 5 pictures! Not done yet!)

Additional features

DOSBox comes with some other features, like a keymapper and movie recording! Here’s a picture of that keymapper I was talking about:

DOSBox keymapper

Nice? Well, that’s all there is to know about DOSBox for now, so I’ll end us off with a screenshot of what I use DOSBox most for:

Windows 3 in DOSBox

Smile Thanks for reading guys! I have reached a new record for the blog, 7 images! Have fun catching up, Brenden! Winking smile

-Ben

Ubuntu Tutorial: How to personalize Ubuntu–Part 1

Hey guys!

I did a review on Ubuntu about a month ago and promised a tutorial or two, so here’s one on how to personalize your Ubuntu Desktop! Of course, you will need to have installed Ubuntu or use it on a LiveCD. After you have booted into Ubuntu, continue reading!

1: Window ribbon style

Unlike Windows or Mac, Ubuntu lets you change the top bar style to fit your preferences! This is how you do it:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and click “Change Desktop Background”
  2. Click the “Theme”tab.
  3. You will be presented with a list of themes for you to use.

You can also use some other themes you find on the Internet to change it up a bit!

2: Window ribbon button position

This is a bit harder, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake!

  1. On the desktop, press ALT+F2 and type “gconf–editor” in the box that appears. Click “Ok”.
  2. Navigate to apps—> Metacity –> General
  3. On the right, you will see a list. Navigate to “button_layout”

Now you can change the button layout. Check the help text below it for more info.

3: Templates

This had me stumped for so long. But, I have it down now! Here’s how you do it!

  1. Go into the Ubuntu Software Center and download and install Ubuntu Tweak.
  2. Open Ubuntu Tweak and navigate to “Manage Templates”
  3. On the right, move all of the items from the right of the screen to the left.

That’s how it’s done!

I’m going to go ahead and end this part of the tutorial right here, so thanks for reading and I’ll have a part 2 up pretty soon! Smile

-Ben

GPX CD Home Music System

The GPX CD Home Music System is a very nice addition to the hardware here at my base for GB7. I always have my PC plugged into it for auxiliary purposes. I don’t have very many exciting CDs, but I like to open the chamber just for the fun of it. Here’s a picture of the base system:

GPX CD Home Music System base

At first glance, it’s a bit oddly shaped. It attaches to 2 speakers, which I keep at both sides of my laptop’s screen.

Home office

It has 3 modes: CD, Radio and AUX. It has 2 input slots (One for left, one for right) on the back and the basic AUX in slot on the left (See first picture.) It also has a headphone jack, which makes some sense after thinking about it. One of the best things about this thing is the CD chamber. It slides up to reveal the CD slot! It is awesome! It also comes with a nice little remote:

GPX Remote

There is one flaw, the light. It is a bright blue light. I sleep in the same room as my home office is in, so I have to live with the blue light every night, which is ok, but may get a little annoying at first. You can find these on eBay or Amazon. This came as a Christmas present, so I have no clue where to buy it from, so try eBay and Amazon first! Smile

I’ve wanted to do this for the past 3 minutes: Cat faceDog faceGoatSnailTurtleBlack SheepBunny

Had to do that! Winking smile

Ben

New Poll: Do I need more bloggers?

This is a question I’m asking myself and  I’ve decided to ask you guys, too! I’m not getting much content from my other blogger and I have not had a chance to make much content myself, so… Do I need more bloggers?