Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Distractions: UTClassicPack]l[

The other day, as I was investigating my Google Alert hit at Unreal Admin, I ran across this link.

Here's the straight poop:

After months of hard work, and 3 years after the release of the second Classic Pack, the UT Classic Pack ]I[ is now complete! Some fans of the Unreal 1 classics might tell you, "They just don't make them like they used to". The old mapping styles of the first Unreal simply don't exist anymore. This hefty map pack contains thirty-four handpicked classic maps from the original Unreal, converted over to Unreal Tournament manually. Among the conversions are three maps from the GW Press Add-On Level pack - made by official Epic mappers back in the day. This add-on has since been lost and is very hard to come by. Other conversions include earlier works from authors who work for Epic today, along with other popular mappers in the Unreal community. Many people will recognize the names in this list of chosen maps!

I suppose I missed the Second UT Classic Pack, but last year a ran a little side server called "BOT House Old Skewl" consisting of maps from UT 1, which came bundled with my (1999 vintage) Voodoo 3000 video card. I also converted them (poorly) to UT99. Had to because they wouldn't run otherwise.

I loved Unreal 1 back in the day, but truthfully the reason "they just don't make them like they used to" is that the maps sucked ass. For the most part, with exceptions, they're "Battle Boxes" connected by tunnels, teleports, and doors. Ho-hum.

Regardless, or in spite of, all that, I downloaded it anyway and threw together a server called UTClassicPack]I[ Online.

Absolutely zero points for originality on that one. Maybe I should have called it "WARNING: UTClassicPack]I[". Maybe I will but I'll keep it like it is for now.

It's extremely minimalist. 6 players, 10 frags, 5 minutes per game.

Five minutes seems a little austere, but you will understand it when you play these maps. Five minutes is about all you'll be able to take.

And oh yeah... I threw Relics in there. I love Relics. And as always it's LOW GRAVITY.

No Robo-Hinky on this one, though.

I don't expect a lot of traffic on this server but things have been slow so what the Hell. I've only used 80M out of my 5G of disk space and 0.01% of my bandwidth allotment on the GoDaddy server, and I've still got two more years left on the contract. Might as well use it.

If you're a dialup user, the game will be over before you download the files, so I put the Classic Pack here if you want to download it before playing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Booboo Jeebies, Revisited

Oh my, that didn't take long at all...

Like Someone's Walking Over Your Grave

As I have mentioned before, I use (abuse?) Google News Alerts extensively. One of the first was "Gartner says". This particular alert has been very rewarding at work, since upper management has a serious hard-on for whatever comes out of Gartner's corporate pie-hole.

There's the occasional basketball coach or county sheriff coincidentally named "Gartner", but they sponsor so many corporate powwows and dog-and-pony shows that barely a day goes by without a Gartner hit or two.

The latest... and strangest... of the "Gartner says" alerts advise businesses how to leverage a presence in Second Life.

Excuse me? Sounds like there's a Gartner analyst with too much free time on his hands.

Early this year I added an alert for "hinkydink". Shortly thereafter I was deluged with news-ish stories about Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna, an old time Chicago political boss. So I changed the alert to "mrhinkydink". Now I mostly get alerts for that fellow on Daily Kos ( hey, Hink, wanna buy mrhinkydink.com? Make me an offer! ).

But every now and then I get a hit. Today I found this one in my mailbox:

Creepy. Somebody fingered me at Unreal Admin.

In fact at this moment (8:19AM EST 09/10/07) that same link is the Number 2 hit for "mrhinkydink" on Google (first being, of course, our buddy at Daily Kos).

Oddly, my horoscope for today advised me that someone had "more information than I suspected" and that I should "listen to the omens".

This shit gives me the booboo jeebies.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Beware the March of IDEs

Shortly after I started fucking around with sockcheck.c, I got involved with one of those inevitable side projects that starts distracting from the problem at hand.

I decided I needed a decent Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for C/C++ in order to get the project done. Hacking around in jed (I hate vi) just wasn't cutting it.

Then I realized I had gone through this all before.

Twenty years ago next January I got my first "IBM compatible PC". It was a slick dual floppy 8mHz XT with EGA graphics. I bought it from a "friend" and paid about eight hundred bucks for it. The first thing I did was buy the $19.95 Power-C compiler.

Oddly enough, even though it only works on MS DOS, you can still buy it for $19.95.

Then next thing I dad was look for a decent editor. My friend had thrown in a bunch of software, including a text editor from DAK, another company that's still around for no apparent reason whatsoever.

In the 80s DAK sold mostly blank cassette tapes. By the time I got around to buying a PC in 1988 they had moved into the floppy disk business. Their "value add" at the time was including worthless software with their floppies.

And that was where I found "DAK Edit". I used it for all my C hacking until my programs got too large. It seems DAK's programmers had no idea what the "PageUp/Down" keys were for, so you had to hit the Up/Down arrows to navigate through your source code.

The search for a decent editor eventually led to Blackbeard, a decent DOS editor with all the bells and whistles. Blackbeard has passed on. You may be able to find a copy on some of those old BBS file dumps, but don't try to Google for it because some guy named Bill Blackbeard, who, as fate would have it, happens to be an editor, gets all the hits. Only oldtimers seem to remember it now.

In 1990 Borland introduced Turbo C++ 1.0, which was my first exposure to IDEs. It came on a half dozen floppies and shipped with twenty pounds of manuals. I bought it at the low, low introductory price of $99.95.

In 1992 Windows 3.1 came out and later that year Borland produced Borland C++ Professional. At $799, it was out of my price range until they offered a Turbo C++ upgrade for $99.95.

By this time I was writing shareware. Everything I did was written in BC++ and I was clam happy.

I could've hacked away forever on BC++, but '95 rolled around and MS DOS was, like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, history. In 1997 I gave in and bought Microsoft Visual C++, which I still have and still use.

Except recently all of my hacking has been on Linux.

If you run a Linux distribution that comes with the Synaptic Package Manager, don't waste your time searching for "IDE" or even "integrated". The only thing that shows up is eclipse.

Eclipse is fine. In fact it's damn near wonderful. But the version that Debian 4.0 supports leaves much to be desired. Go to www.eclipse.org and get the most recent version. Then go to (ugh) www.java.com and get the highest version you can find that isn't 1.6 (easier said than done). The GNU Java VM that ships with Debian doesn't play well with eclipse.

If you don't believe me, install it and try to insert a colon while you're inside eclipse. It'll crash and burn.

After I finally got the www.eclipse.org version installed & configured the sockcheck.c project started to cook. I hacked away on it for a weekend. The following Monday I decided to fire up Xvnc4 and work on it during lunch.



It turns out Xvnc4 & eclipse don't play well together.

In fact the only way I could get it to run remotely was to start an ssh session with X forwarding and run eclipse through Cygwin-X.

Slow, but it didn't crash.

I worked like this for a few days and then stumbled upon this page. There were IDEs I had never heard of. Sockcheck went to the back burner again while I tested alternatives.

So far anjuta seems to be the winner. It doesn't require Java (I hate Java), doesn't crash Xvnc4, and ships with Debian 4.0 (although it is impossible to find by searching using the aforementioned search terms).

Unfortunately, the latest version (2.2.1 - Debian ships with 1.4.something) will not compile. It demands versions of gnome and GTK+ that only ship with the "unstable" version of Debian.

So now my side project is installing Debian "lenny" on a VM to compile the new version.

It never ends.

Monday, September 03, 2007

SOCKS Fucking

The updates went well. There were no issues at all. I got out of bed at around 6:15AM and no one was on either server, so I nailed it.

I spent most of the rest of the morning on my current project, fucking around with anonymous SOCKS proxy servers. Several weeks ago I ran across sockcheck.c and started hacking away at it.

Proxies have been the bane of my existence for the last ten years. It started when the company I used to consult for sent me to a class on Microsoft Proxy Server 1.0. After that, proxy servers became my problem.

1.0 was a piece of crap that was soon replaced by Proxy 2.0. Proxy 2.0 was yet another a piece of dookie until Microsoft rewrote the whole damned turd pile and decided to call it Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 (or ISA Server 2000, as we poor IT folk know it).

Of course that was a piece of shit as well and was replaced four years later by ISA Server 2004.

And continuing their anal expulsive tradition last year Microsoft shat out ISA Server 2006. At the moment the next version is just now beginning to poke its little turtle head out of Microsoft's ass and will be delivered, complete with a new name (which escapes me at the moment) sometime in '08.

While Microsoft was exercising its bowels over the years I spread out, transferring my mad proxy skillz to SQUID, Dante, and mod_proxy for Apache.

Except for Dante, all these products are variations on the original CERN http proxy. That is, they are basically Web servers that take http and ftp requests for other Web servers. Those requests are stored (cached) to disk and wait to be fetched by the next user, who hopefully experiences a faster retrieval time since the request is served locally.

Dante is a SOCKS server. SOCKS servers don't typically cache Web requests and can proxy much, much more than http and ftp. The catch is the client program must know how to deal with a SOCKS proxy server. This must be built in to the software itself or additional software needs to be used in order to socksify the client program.

Unfortunately, 99% of Web traffic (that isn't SPAM) is http. As a result SOCKS servers tended to fall out of style outside of their traditional Unix environments.

But they persisted for years. In fact in the '90s anonymous SOCKS proxies were a bit of a problem, since they were used to distribute SPAM. This problem was so bad most major ISPs went on a search & destroy mission to eradicate them. And they did a fairly good job.

They still exist, but most won't proxy SMTP mail anymore. No matter, the SPAMmers have gone on to bigger and better things.

If you like anonymity and you don't like having your IP address known, SOCKS proxies are the way to go. Problem is, they are hard to find. Once found, they need to be tested.

And that's what got me interested in sockcheck.c.

I have been collecting SOCKS IP addresses and I've learned some interesting things I will be sharing with you about the state of anonymous SOCKS proxies in the 21st century.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Even More Debian Updates In Store

Debian has released yet another kernel upgrade that will affect both BOT House and Experimental II. This update has also made it's way into the Ubuntu tree and it's going to take down Mrs. Hinky's computer as well.

Lady Dink has been running Ubuntu 6.06 LTS for over a year on a refurb all-in-one IBM NetVista similar in speed & capacity to the EXP II server.

It has run flawlessly all this time and updates have never beeen an issue, but since she runs the same RaLink wireless NIC as EXP II, I expect the same problems (although, thinking back on it, she has had several kernel upgrades in the past year with no NIC problems whatsoever - perhaps that particular driver is in the Ubuntu tree).

Mrs. D. was a latecomer to the 21st century. We've been married 23 years (as of September 4th), and for two decades she has stared at the back of my head while I hacked away at my various projects.

She realized last year she needed the Internet and email to survive.

Her little Ubuntu box resides in a corner of the kitchen and when she's not cranking out batches of her award winning peanut butter fudge or Norwegian Almond Nut Bars she diddles away at the computer writing emails to her various relatives or to our Worthless Kid, who is attending "college" at the Moody Bible Institute, studying Creationology and Faith-Based Logic.

Since this is a three day weekend (I never understood why the USA decided to celebrate May Day in September), I may do the maintenance early tomorrow. BOT House shouldn't be an issue, but EXP II may be down for a couple of hours.