Hobbies (Gaming part I)


I’m going to review the games I’ve been playing.

In the approximate order I acquired them, these are my hobbies:

Reading, movies, writing, listening to music, Meccano, playing a musical instrument, RPG gaming, computers (in general), programming, PC gaming, photography, knife making, leatherworking.

Depending how I’m feeling, I jump around to whatever hobby appeals to me at the time. Right now it’s writing. 🙂

I won’t go through the history of my gaming (gah, i don’t think i’d want to read that myself 🙂 Speed history: burnt out on text adventures/RPG style games, didn’t really like side scrollers (although Impossible Mission and Lemmings was interesting), I liked simulation games (Simcity and the other Maxis games).

I’m a big fan of empire building games, from simple to complex. I like d Galactic Empire Builder on the C64 so much, I added AI to it, and eventually ported it to a Palmpilot.

Ok, rabbit hole 🙂 This is what the C64 version looks like. I installed a C64 emulator and found the game.

Should be a darker background and more colour.I don’t know what it is about the game I’m fascinated with, but I also have the basic of a Windows version. I wrote it in Tcl/Tk. I think I’m gonna have to work on it again. I still have the Palmpilot code I wrote and all the enhancements I I wrote for it (Adjustable AI, Orbital ships, etc.). I have the start of a Pebble watch version of the game …

I have a version I started in python. Looks like this:

I need to get back to it. Again, one of those hobbies that strikes me..

Eddie Van Halen

Given the nunber of music posts I’ve written, I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t post on this subject.

My mind was changed when he first got married and they showed “Valarie and Eddie at home” He was sitting on the couch playing an acoustic guitar, and I saw that he was good. ‘Course then he lied through his teeth saying the groupies were over. For some reason thought they didn’t have long as a married couple. I was surprised when I found out they were married 26 years.

Full discloser: He wasn’t my favourite guitarist. At first I thought he was too flashy (a la Jimi Hendrix teeth picking the guitar but not showing any other skill than that).

Van Halen’s firt album is great. Shows off his talent, blah blah. But then the rest of the Van Halen albums came out. Each invidiually sucked in their own way.

C’mon fanboys (or girls) listen to the first album, and then ANY of the other albums. They are too commercial. Don’t even come close to showing off his talent.

Frankly I’m surprised he didn’t want to put out a solo album of guitar work.

The list of people who invented tapping is long. Sure, he took it to a technically proficient level. But Billy Shehan does the same thing on bass.

And Tina S. plays “Eruption” like is was a plain ordinary daily dump.

Just sayin’

Who is my favourite guitarist. I have a few for different reasons. For Blues style, Robin, Trower, Stevie Ray Vaugn, Rory Gallagher

For that “boogie shuffle rhythm” Johnny Cash or Marc Bolan

For technical profiency and for a guitar lead that “fits” the song. Ritchie Blackmore, Ace Frehley-ish, Tony Iommi, Kelly Johnson, Samantha Fish. A few others

So my list of NOT the best guitarists who are and will ever be forever in the whole universe, goes like this: Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen.

Yup, not a popular opinon, but I go by good output, not the hype.

Sure. Prove me wrong… I’m waiting…


At work we’ve been using a configuration management system called Ansible. Great software, but not that name. Unfortunately the name comes from a book I won’t name, because the author is a racist homophobe.

Yeah that guy.

Orson Scott Card.

Don’t take my word for it. Google it. I’m ashamed that he claims to be an SF author.  I will not ready anything he has written. Obviously his views will permeate the work.

As my friend, Julie would say… Onwards.

With Ansible, you  can configure Linux systems to your liking. You do ALL the work upfront. But, when you are done, you have an idempotent configuration “script” (YAML but close enough).  It’s exactly what you want, because you have to do  every step the way you want it. No shortcuts.

This brings me to assembly as a language.  You get to control every single thing your program does because you have to write every single step yourself. Logic errors are rare because you have to think at a much lower level. Sure syntax errors will happen. Worst case scenario, your compiler (in this case your assembler) will catch it. Middle case, your syntaxy highlighting editor will catch it. Best case YOU catch it. 🙂

So i’ve been wanting to get back into assembly. Way back when I bought a copy of  QuickC/QuickAssembler 2.51. But it was infected. I could never use it. It was expensive at the time, and getting it replaced was going to be more expensive.

After my dosbox experience, I thought  why not install it  under dosbox. QC251 wasn’t that hard to find.

the img files were not as bad to deal with as i’d been reading. Find a virtual floppy driver, mount an disk1.img as  A: copy disk1 files over, do the same thing for disk2.img, and disk3.img

mount that disk A: in dosbox, run the setup. Woila! you have QuickC/QuickAssembler ready to go after answering some questions.

I was so happy with results I had to write this. 🙂

Does this age me? Sure, don’t effing care. 🙂















Text Editors – Part II

I mentioned the Amiga, because of Commodore inept executives, everything Commodore went belly up.

’nuff said about that.

The editor I used to use on it was called Cygnus Ed. It’s probably considered primitive by today’s standards, but it was a lot better than the one that came stock on the Amiga OS.


Although you could do quite a bit with it if you took the time to learn it.

I was a Vi user, and by extension Vim. At first I used the ‘Z’ editor that came with the Manx C Compiler, but it was vanilla Vi. You get spoiled using Vim, but by the time it was usable on the Amiga, I’d already moved on to  OS/2 based computers.

I miss my Amiga though. I’ve wanted to dabble in WinUAE off and on over the last few years, but the effort doesn’t seem worth it.

One of the things that surprised me when the Amiga was going the way of the dodo is that Amiga users drifted to Windows 95 as opposed to OS/2. They were very vocal about how much better Amiga’s were than Microsoft’s OS. And then a good number of them turned into hypocrits.

I went with OS/2. I miss that OS too, but probably not as much as the Amiga.

Next up, digging into DOS editors.











Text Editors – Rabbit Hole #3

All that talk about non-volatile ram, got me thinking about ramdisks again. I know friends of mine will groan if they read this. I was a big fan of ramdisks.

I can hear the whispers already (SSD’s dude!). I’ll let you guys do the benchmarking, but ramdisks are 10x faster.

Now that I had the ramdisk bug… again, I set out to look for one. There are some free ones, some paid. I wanted all the features possible so I  ended up going with Radeon’s RAMdisk.

I set the windows temp variables to my R: drive.  It’s set to save changes to it automatically in the background, and it loads on boot.

Almost the same as non-volatile ram.

The machine I’m typing this on as 32gb, so i put 10gb to the ram disk. a few things are running, Chrome, Blizzard client, Steam client, WordPress desktop, some background utils: Malwarebytes, Nvidia settings, Gaming mouse util. i have about 10gb free ram left.

I’ll test this baseline config and see where it goes. puttng ISO’s there temporarily sounds like a good use


I ended up putting the google chrome cache and code-cache into the ramdisk. Now that windows supports symlinks it was much easier to do.

Bottom line is it makes chrome lightning fast. and the ramdisk driver takes care of the issue of surviving a reboot.

I was happy enough with the results that I decided to do the same thing on the Linux side.

The process is Linux specific of course (create the ramdisk, add it to fstab, move the cache/code-cache/etc. to the ramdisk, create the symlinks, add a systemd service to call a bash file to do the save and restore on the ramdisk.

It’s even faster under Linux because that OS is just more efficient out of the box.

All this because I want to go on about the wonders of my  current favourite coding environment.

Stay tuned. 🙂