Amazing delivery times

Three days ago, I finally deceided theat I had to the the OST of my favourite Game, Xenogears. Last year, I bought the OST of Chrono Cross and FFVII through Amazon an had to wait about 3 weeks from order to delivery.

As I really like the Xenogears Soundtrack (no wonder: it’s from Yasunori Mitsuda, the same guy that created to soundtrack for Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger) I did not want to wait this long.

So I gave Animenation a shot. I was surprised when they asked me for a photograph of my credit card for security reasons but I gave it to them anyway. They where satisfied with my picture where I blurred out the mid six digits of the number. I’ve suggested them that I would gladly provide an unaltered picture, if they would provide me with their GPG Public Key.

What was really amazing: Three days after I placed the order, a small package was on my office-desk: The delivery already arrived.

So: What took amazon 3 weeks to do, was done in 3 days by Animenation! Congratulations! I will definitly buy there again!

Fun with Linux and new Hardware

Ooops… what a delay between the last post and this one. I really should post more often or this really gets uninteresting.

However: Recently, I could not resist anymore and bought myself a new desktop PC – initially intended to use at home, but I never could get araound moving it out of the office. One of the reasons may be Richard and our common love in Unreal Tournament which ceratinly works better on a 2.5 GHz P4 with a Radeon 9700 than on my Thinkpad ;-)

Anyway: After having seen KDE 3.1rc3 using TrueType-Fonts with Font-Hinting on my Gentoo-Box at home, I finally deceided that it is time to give linux a shot on this new PC to finally use it for the daily development-work (which I did in jEdit [see below] under Windows on SAMBA-exported directories).

I mean: The time was right: ATI just released a driver for the new Radeon series and I finally wanted to give it a shot.

And I shouldn’t have.

I chose Gentoo as my distribution. One one side because I wanted to see how long the new box takes for compiling the whole stuff I need and on the other side because I really knew that every other distribution will not work as they do not let the user do enough customizing in the installation and they certainly will not recognize my new hardware.

In short: Even installing Gentoo with its always-brand-new software-packages was a time-consuming frustrating thing. Some points:

  • I used the integrated Braodcom NetXtreme Gigabit Chipset on my Asus P4PE mainboard. Unfortunatly the driver is not included in the kernel and on the gentoo-install-cd is no compiler to compile a module matching to the running kernel. My solution was using Knoppix with a /lib copied to the partition I wanted to use for Gentoo. Another one would have been trying to get the kernel-headers used to compile the gentoo-install-kernel and compile the driver on another machine.
  • 2.4.19 does not support the ICH4-integraded IDE-Controller, so I had to install 2.4.20-rc2. I was to lazy to patch in the cool Gentoo-Patches. I will not upgrade the kernel anytime soon as I will certainly forget to re-compile all the modules I had to compile in addition to the ones provided with the kernel.
  • In the first night of using emerge &lt<a lot of stuff>> without sitting in front of the monitor, emerge failed about 10 Minutes after I left when compiling PostgreSQL because of a bug in that ebuild. One night the PC run in vain.
  • The ATI-Drivers did not work for me: When Starting XFree a strange error about fglrx not containing some object-data appeared and X closed down. Possibly, the DRI-Project was of help in at least getting X to work (the current CSV-version seems to support the new Radeon-Chips) – although not very fast and without all the 3D-features I could have. As I am currently not sitting in front of the machine, I could just see X not going down but I could not check if it really works, yet.

    I’ve learned that I will *never again* install linux on anything newer than 6 months old. I really am no crack in setting up Linux and the procedure I had to go through was a pain in the ass. Many times I wanted to give up as with every problem I solved, another one arised.

    Finally, my liking for Gentoo may be another problem. Compiling everything from Source is cool, but on the other hand does not bring that much of a performance improvement and certainly takes time, even more if ebuilds marked for production use are strictly broken and do not compile. As compiling is a time consuming process, I nearly *demand* that it works without myself having to sit in front of the monitor just to fix a compile-problem here ant there as this (nearly) defeats the whole sense of using gentoo instead of LFS

    Anyway: I am looking forward to the evening when I will possibly finally be ready to start using linux productivly.

MacOS 10.2.2

MacOS X 10.2.2 has just been released. As always there is a document describing what’s changed. It’s unexplicable to me why they have not fixed the bug with Mac Mail not recognizing the IMAP-Folder-Prefix, leading to IMAP-Folders not being displayed. Apple itself suggests quite a stupid workaround: Create another dummy-accout and the folders will be displayed.

After all just setting the IMAP-Folder-Prefix in the Account-Properties to “INBOX” does help in most of the cases without having the user to create a dummy account. Anyway: This is clearly a bug and should be fixed by Apple. I don’t know why the did not.

Xenogears – Yepp. I like it

This seems to be becoming more game-centered than I intended… However:

Yesterday I did another lengthy session with Kingdom Hearts on my video-beamer and after not being able to kill the boss in Atlantica (Ursula, it’s name), remembering the frustrating hours used up for my tries to kill the fish-boss in “Zelda – Majoras Mask”, I switched my playstation off, entered the Xenogears-CD and turned it on again.

The next 7 hours where most interesting. I began playing just after Fei and his crew where shot down by Bart when fleeing from the attack against Kislev when I arrived at the Thames fleet. From there I played until the fight against bishop Stone in his gear where I screwed up and deceided that two o clock in the morning is a good time to stop playin anyway (why must this always happen to me in fights after a long cut-scene without a chance to save after having seen it? Square should consider giving the possibility to skip a scene if you at least have seen it once).

All Squaresoft RPG’s (with the exception of Kingdom Hearts) have a good deep story, but Xenogears has the best of them. I remember lively when the whole plot araund the Ethos, something the player fears for the whole game, got revealed to Billy. It’s jsut great.

If you find the game somwhere, consider buying it. It’s just great. I would even suggest you to import an americain PS just for Xenogears as the game was never released here in Europe (I’ve imported mine for CronoCross which too is great but not nearly as great as Xenogears).

Why I like jEdit

jEdit is a texteditor written in Java. Actually it’s not just a texteditor – it’s the texteditor. It combines the usage-guidelines known of other programs running under Windows or windows-like environements with the functionality (as an editor, not as a newsreader webbrowser filemanager «insert whatever else emacs can do) of Emacs.

When you download the current release (you can easily take the current 4.1pre-Release – even the CVS-Snapshot is stable enough for production use [at least for me]) and install it via the provided installer, you will get quite a simple looking UI. So the first thing to to is to load the PlugIn-Manager and to download and install whatever you need. Then restart the program and begin with the configuration-session…

On the screenshot, you can see many of the features I like about jEdit:

  • The cool look&feel (install the L&F-Plugin and chose the Metouia-Look to get mine).
  • The File-Browser always open on the left side. You have to select it under Global Options/Docking to get it sticking at the left side.
  • The search-bar which even supports regular expressions
  • The split-view. I am currently looking at the same file, but chaning this is a matter of selecting another tab (install the BufferTabs-Plugin to get those) in one of the views.
  • The color-scheme of the editfield. I really like having bright text on a dark background. It’s so much easier to read.
  • The yellow triangle marks in the gutter of the editfield are for folding the sourcecode. Click them and the associated block will be folded.

Please give jEdit a chance even though it’s written in Java: The thing is extremly feature-loaden and really fast. Trust me!

Kingdom Hearts

Yesterday evening I played another round of Square’s newest RPG, Kingdom Hearts and I have to admit, this is the first Square RPG which I don’t really like. Although it’s from the same team as the Final Fantasy Series, it’s more like Zelda than FF. With one difference: The camera sucks. When playing an action RPG like Zelda, it’s important to have your characters always in view and to know where you will be jumping to. Unfortunatly the camera in KH is quite buggy and thus you run into situations where you cannot see where to jump next. Rotating the screen does not work either as it’s quite jumpy and seems to know better what the user wants than the user does…

And: What I like best about the FF series (at least the newer games) or even more in Xenogears, is the complex story in those games. Unfortnuatly, KH’s story is soooo obvious and simple. And finally to the battle-system: As I said, it’s like Zelda. But in Zelda there is only Link to take care of. In KH, it’s three characters. Two of them are controlled by the KI and they have a tendency to senslessly use Ethers and Potions all the time which would not be that a big problem if only those where not that expensive to get…

After all, the only two things I like in the game are its graphics and its sound effects.

I hope, Xenosaga comes out soon…