Classic Gaming: Deuteros for the Amiga

Deuteros is one of those games I vividly remember from my game-playing days on the Amiga. Due to the number of games available I guess I played it for a few weeks, then dropped it. Amiga emulators for the PC now give me the chance to play the game again, without dragging the old hardware out of the loft.

The emulator I chose was WinUAE and setting it up is pretty easy once you’ve acquired the Kickstart ROM. After that, another search will give you disk images of the actual game. Deuteros had a custom save disk & I couldn’t get it to work through the emulator… however, WinUAE can simply Snapshot the entire (virtual Amiga) memory to a PC file; perfect!

One thing I’d forgotten was how hard Deuteros got when the Methanoids started attacking. In fact, I don’t have the patience to balance my resources so perfectly, just to create enough battle drones. Instead, I decided to cheat.. but only to bypass the mind-numbing drone production process.

In the Amiga days there was the Action Replay which was a bit of hardware you could attach. This had a button that would freeze the game and allow you to tinker with the memory, etc. With the Amiga emulator running on a PC we have access to the memory through PC applications.. which is when I found Poke from http://codefromthe70s.org/

Poke is just what you need when you’re searching for values in memory which you don’t the value of. When the number of drones on a ship in Deuteros is 20, the actual value in memory isn’t 20.. it’s something else. This renders lots of memory searching applications useless. But Poke can take a snapshot of the processes memory address space, then you play the game a bit longer and then tell Poke to search for memory locations that have Remained the Same / Changed / Increased / Decreased. Easy! After a number of passes you’ll end up with the memory location you’re looking for.

Optimus OLED Mini-Keyboard.. Why Not Use a PDA Instead?

I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the Optimus OLED Mini-keybaord. If not, head over to HardOCP forums for some nice pictures.

Basically it consists of three customisable buttons on the end of a USB cable. These buttons are small OLED screens that can display pretty much anything. At the end of the day, it’s a nice thing to have but I was thinking most of us have a PDA kicking around (I use the Mio 168 for GPS)… how about hooking the PDA up to display stuff piped over from your PC??

The touchscreen on the PDA could accept user input.. perhaps to page over to another set of displays. I could imagine it’d be pretty useful whilst gaming; no need to tab out and check who’s just emailed you. Same goes for CPU temps etc etc.

Has anyone spotted anything like this for PocketPC? If there’s a market for a 3-button OLED keyboard, then surely there’s a market for someone writing a wizzy app to display this kind of info on a PDA. Drop me an email (via the contact page) if you know of anything.

Power Meter Plus v1.1 Beta Released

After some user feedback it now features messages to warn you of critical battery levels and when you switch from one type of power to another. It does this in an unobtrusive way.. unlike the standard Windows power meter! ;-)

You can also define a threshold for when your battery is effectively full, because some laptops stick at around 98%. This meant that when charging, the power meter remained on the screen indefinitely.

Let me know if you have any bugs (or feature requests) to report and I’ll get them fixed ASAP. But don’t ask me for a version for Dell laptops which warns you when your battery is about to explode :-D

Wander over to the Power Meter Plus page for the download.

Power Meter Plus – Reviewed in the Bangkok Post

After just getting back from my holidays I was really really chuffed with this review of Power Meter Plus which appeared in the Bangkok Post. If anyone has a copy of the paper edition which they can scan in and email me then I’d really appreciate seeing it :-D

http://bangkokpost.com/160806_Database/16Aug2006_datacol13.php

DSR Drop Problem – Solved??

During a conversation with USRobotics tech support they noticed that the Initialisation String I was trying was wrong.

The string they asked me to try instead was &S1. After using that, the modem carries detecting caller ID between calls. This now appears in the modem log:

– Interpreted response: Ring
– DSR state changed, But is currently high, Ignoring.
– Recv: <cr><lf>RING<cr><lf>
– Interpreted response: Ring

I’m waiting for confirmation from someone else who was experiencing the same issue before I close the support call with USR, but the results from my side are really promising :-)

[Update – Hmmm, this is still causing me (and others) problems. There’s a thread at Hexus discussing the attempts at making it work. I need to get my a.ss in gear and start posting the debug logs :-o ]

Email as an RSS Feed

This is useful if you’d like to be notified of new mail in a POP3 account that you either don’t want to monitor manually, or you can’t monitor because of restricted access to your home email.

Since doing an RSS feed of Caller Id was so easy I thought I’d code this up too, but Ryan Grove has already coded MailFeed. It took me a little while to get it all working, mainly because of PEAR for PHP.

Here are the steps I went throug to get it working:

  • Prerequisite: LAMP/WAMP (with PHP) up and working
  • Install PEAR.. there’s a great guide on this by Harry Fuecks
  • Once PEAR is working, install the Mail_Mime package (using the command ‘pear install Mail_Mime’)
  • Copy over the MailFeed script and modify it’s parameters to connect to your POP3/IMAP/NNTP mailbox. The syntax of the imap_open method was useful to me when I was wondering what parameters to set for my POP3 account.

That’s your lot.. you should now be able to connect to your home server remotely and view an RSS feed of your POP3 inbox.

DSR Drop Problem

After a bit of testing with the Caller ID RSS feed I found that a bit later, the modem wasn’t responding to incoming calls. The modem log had a line in it reporting:

“DSR drop while monitoring for calls”

This has been mentioned before on the net on some forums, but no resolution was found. There were a few suggestions…

http://hardware.mcse.ms/archive64-2006-1-274058.html

Hopefully adding the following initialisation string to the modem’s extra settings will do the trick:

AT&S0 (0=zero) [this should force DSR to remain on]

If anyone knows of another solution, please get in touch.

[Update 1 – using this initialisation string made no difference.. after taking a voice call & hanging up, the modem stops monitoring for calls. I’ve raised this with US Robotics tech support so I’ll see what they say]

[Update 2 – Hats off to USR tech support; they got back to me straight away saying that the initialisation string should be AT&S0=0 .. I’ll be giving that a try tonight! :-)]

[Update 3 – That setting didn’t make any difference and the issue has been escallated to USR’s 2nd line support. I’ve yet to hear anything back from them]

[Update 4 – 2nd line support noticed that the initialisation string was incorrect. It should read &S0. That did the trick for me & I’ll post a full description in a new blog entry]

[Update 5 – Ooops! I posted the wrong value.. it should read &S1 ]