Computer, Fitness, Rechnerkram, Videospiele

Yet another week

This week was actually quite eventful even so it doesn’t feel like it.

I started in my first race. After training for it for a couple of months, I did the 6000m in 28:36.9 minutes. That was in the best 2000 of I think 14.000 runners. It was fun but was weird that I was I overtaking all the time people and some people started walking after a couple of hundred meters. And the organiser already created blocks for different finishing times so that slow people are more in the back and fast in the front.

I also started converting a book in PDF-form to epub and mobi. My old workflow was using markdown and pandoc. Now I am trying asciidoc. That seems to be a better choice because it has built-in support for sidebars etc. The book is quite long and it will take some time. But it is kind of a job, so I have to find the time for it even so I have no fixed deadline.

In Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, a very fun RPG for the Nintendo DS, I am playing for the last months I am finally close to the end. I skipped side quests because I just want to finish it. I played it long enough. It is a really fun game but I am now at 22h play time and needed like 2 or 3 months for it. I cannot see how I will finish a Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy at that pace. Anyway, it is really fun. Nice story, cute graphics, the combat system is ok-ish and very timing based. I don’t like the special attacks which are kind of mini-games and I don’t choose them by power but at how good I am in executing them. A very expensive powerful attack that is poorly executed does far less damage as something weaker that is executed well. And I don’t want to start exercising them. I could see that I would have done that 10 or 20 years ago when I had time for games but now I just want to see the story. Right now I am only two end bosses away from the ending I think. I hope my characters are powerful enough and I don’t need any grinding anymore. The next game will probably the classic Castlevania or maybe Circle of the Moon or so. But that games saving sucks for a mobile game :/ Playing Mother 2 (Earthbound) or Mother 3 would be nice as well but I think I need a break from JRPGs for now.

And at last I found 411. A tool by Etsy for getting alerts on results in an elastic search database. I am using a log server with logstash, elastic search and kibana. And this tool allows me to generate queries, executes them via cron and then sends me a mail if they get results. And all this with a nice GUI 1. But I will try elastalert by yelp as well. This doesn’t have a nice interface but also allows to get messages when certain message volumes change. Like when the denies of the firewall suddenly increase by a lot for example.

That’s it for this post. Subscribe to the feed if you want to get informed about new ones 🙂

  1. not the query generation though

Computer, General, Rechnerkram, Retrozirkel, RPG, Videospiele

I didn’t blog in quite a while

So, I noticed that I didn’t blog in quite a while and I need to change this. As always with a re-try in blogging I switched my blog (this time from static to wordpress) for reasons. I think I will never be happy with what is out there and I do not have the time to even think about writing something of my own. This post is quite personal – a bit about my diet and sports, my linux-travellings, retrogaming and pen&paper-RPGs.

What else is up with me recently. Well, after reading a book called “Fettlogik überwinden1 by Nadja Hermann I decided that I have to do something against being overweight. I was still far from adiposity but I never would have wanted to get that far. I didn’t already like that I had to start L-size-t-shirts and that my pants-sizes increased but I didn’t bring up my will to do something against it. After reading that book my mindset changed. I lost 10kg2 in ca. 3 months and build up some muscles as well. Now I officially ended the diet but I still want to get down to a weight that I am jacked. Thus I still have to do something about it but after 3 months I already don’t want to count calories anymore and weigh all the food I eat. I am trying now intermittent fasting in a 16/8-rhythm. 16 hours of fasting a day (from 10pm to 2pm) and 8 hours of feeding. Last week I definitely snacked too much in the feeding time, this week I’ll try to reduce that.

In addition my sports-activities radically changed. A couple of years ago I went up to four times a week to karate-training. But after I got a minor injury in a competition, then my second child was born and so I didn’t went to training at all for ca 2.5 years. In the meantime I tried several bodyweight-programs but nothing for very long. And half a year ago I started going to Karate-training again once a week. Shortly after starting the diet though this completely changed. Now I am going to training twice a week, I go running 2-3 times a week and do bodyweight-training two or three times a week. Thus it is now 5-6 times a week sports for me and sometimes even on every day while one day involves very light training. I kind of have to make now training plans for myself. This whole thing takes up a lot of time even when my running/bodyweight-sessions are only 30-90 minutes3. This also means that I do not have that much time doing something else in my leisure time. I am not sure yet how I feel about this. My body likes it and it is better than watching Netflix and reading Twitter all evening.

I also changed operating systems in the meantime. You might remember me posting about Manjaro, Arch and Fedora. In the meantime used Qubes for a couple of months. It was great and probably secure but it had its flaws. For one I couldn’t get my optical drive working in the way I need it to because of technical limitations because of the security features of Qubes. And there was always a bit of a mental overhead where I want/have to do what. So I abandoned it. But I didn’t want to fiddle that much because my amount of free time is limited and so I gave Ubuntu another try. After my pretty bad experiences with 15.10, 16.04 is great. I installed it, the installer supports now even full disk encryption, and everything worked. No fiddling, nothing. It just worked. And it is still working. I am enjoying Unity4, play around with some other stuff and have so far no problems at all. I am surprised. This is the most Mac-like experience I ever had with Linux.

Podcasting is happening not a lot lately. Japanbezug, a German podcast about Japan I was doing, just needs too much time per episode. I don’t see me doing anything with it in the next months or even years. EMUI, the podcast accompanying this blog, is not doing anything either. I just don’t feel like podcasting at the moment. But I miss doing regular Retrozirkel-episodes. This has more to do with scheduling issues. The next episode will come.

I expanded my retrogames-collection by some nice titles and bought a GB Boy Colour. A Gameboy Color-clone with a backlit-screen. It is really excellent.

And I found a way to organize my collection better. Gameboy and Gameboy Advance-games are now in binders and I use the sheets used by trading card gamers to put the games in the binder. 9 GB-games per page or 18 GBA-games. For my NDS-games I find nice boxes by Hori which hold 24 games per box.

Right now I am playing Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. A really nice RPG where you play Mario, Luigi and Bowser. But where I liked in the past when games were long, it is now a bit harder. Usually I play now only while commuting and so it is like 20-30 minutes per day. Luckily this game has a lot of save points but after 3-4 weeks playing I am like only half way through the game. I am already thinking about what to play next. Maybe Castlevania 1 or Super Mario Bros. 2 Lost Levels? Or will take the plunge into the Metroidvania-world and start playing Castlevania: Circle of the Moon? I also have a lot of Zelda- and Advance Wars games I like to play. Problems I didn’t have a decade ago when I could play several hours a day…sometimes it sucks to be an adult 😉

And now to the last topic: pen&paper-RPGs. Thanks to a very good friend I was part in a short L5R-campaign with some great people. It was really fun. But I had to trade the biweekly RPG-sessions to have another day of karate-training in the week. And I want to get better in karate and go to competitions. Maybe I’ll find the time to play or run a one-shot from time to time. Especially since I found out about a couple of japanese RPGs that were translated to English which have some great concepts. I really want to play those. And I miss playing Shadowrun. At least I can read Shadowrun-novels again since the old ones get re-released as ebooks and from time to time a new one appears. My favorite of the re-released ones is Burning Bright5 and from the new ones it is Shaken: No Job to Small. I can recommend both and I think even non-Shadowrun-fans might like them.

This post is now more than long enough and I won’t write about to-do-lists and minimalism. Maybe I post later about those. We will see. Have a nice day.

  1. Conquer fat logics

  2. ca. 20 pounds

  3. Karate is always longer: 90 minutes training + the ways to the dojo, changing and showering. So it is more like 3 – 4 hours.

  4. the default desktop environment

  5. The Bug City-novel

Opinion, Retrozirkel, Videospiele

Was ist Retro?

Wie der geneigte Leser weiß, bin ich Mitglied des Podcasts Retrozirkel. Ein Podcast in dem wir zu dritt pro Folge über ein altes Videospiel sprechen. Ein Retrospiel sozusagen. Bisher waren das in der Regel Spiele aus der 8- und 16-Bit-Ära, also etwa bis 1994. Trotzdem stellt sich die Frage ab wann ein Videospiel retro ist.
Die Retronauts haben die Regel, dass Retro ist was 10 Jahre und älter ist. So ist es inzwischen auch zu einer Folge zum Nintendo DS gekommen, der 2004 auf den Markt kam. Gerade las ich, dass der Sega Saturn seinen 20. feiert. Die PlayStation (PS1) ist auch so alt. Die PlayStation 2 (PS2) ist aus der 6. Konsolengeneration und hat 15 Jahre auf dem Buckel und wenn ich auf den Handheldmarkt gucke hat der Gameboy Advance (GBA) 14 Jahre hinter sich.

Interessanterweise würde ich den Gameboy Advance eher als retro bezeichnen als Saturn und PS1 und erst recht im Vergleich zur PS2. Die Spiele sind in der Regel 2D und “3D”-Spiele sehen eher nach dem Mode 7. Der GBA war für mich immer ein tragbares Super Nintedo1. Und dadurch fühlt sich das alles mehr retro an, als die Spiele einer PS1.

Retro ist für mich 2D-Graphik. Vielleicht liegt es einfach daran, dass die 3. und 4. Generation meine Kindheit war. Die 5. Generation kenne ich nur von Freunden als ich Jugendlicher war und habe ich selber übersprungen. Mal abgesehen davon, dass die Graphik in der PlayStation-Ära heutzutage schwer verdaulich ist für mich. Die 3D-Graphik der PlayStation ist für mich so ein wenig wie die 2D-Graphik des Atari 2600. Beide sind nicht so pralle gealtert. Während ich NES-Spiele heute noch locker zocken kann, tue ich mich bei Atari 2600-Spielen schwer. Und wenn ich ein PlayStation-Spiel einlege muss es schon verdammt gut sein wie Final Fantasy VII oder Graphik haben, die eher pixelig ist wie bei Final Fantasy Tactics. Selbst Spiele, die ich wirklich viel gespielt habe wie Soul Blade, lassen meine Zehennägel ein wenig kräuseln. Das wird wieder ausgemacht, sich kurz daran erinnert, dass die In-Game-Graphik vom Nachfolger Soul Calibur, besser aussah als das vorgerenderte Intro von Soul Blade und Soul Calibur 22 eingelegt.

Aber tue ich den Spielen da nicht unrecht? Ist das nicht auch alles retro und sollte genauso Beachtung finden? Vermutlich schon, aber irgendwie würde es mir “einfacher” fallen ein Metroid Fusion (2002) im Retrozirkel zu besprechen, als ein Final Fantasy VII (1997) oder Super Mario 64 (1996). Und das einfach nur weil es sich mehr retro “anfühlt”. Nun gut, jetzt geh ich erst mal wieder ein wenig Megaman X für die nächste Folge spielen.

  1. Und bis heute trauere ich dem Fakt nach, dass Super Metroid nie portiert wurde im Gegensatz zu Super Mario World und Zelda 3

  2. Mein Favorit in der Reihe.

Computer, General, Rechnerkram, Retrozirkel, Videospiele

My virtual videogame shelf

I felt the need to track my old video games and I wanted to be able to do it from my smartphone and my computer. After a bit of search, I had the idea to do it with a wordpress-blog. I know that at least one other person (Hi @streakmachine) wants to do something similar, I thought it might be a good idea to explain what I am doing.

I am using a recent WordPress. The theme I am using is called Market.
The plugins I have installed are:

  • Antispam Bee (against spam obviously without sending all data the US)
  • Archivist (for a better archive-site)
  • QuickCache (if more people than expected should be interested in the site
  • Then I created categories for each console I want to track games for. Other interesting data I want to easily filter for I add via tags.
    The title of the article is the name of the game. If it is a Japanese game it depends on which name I usually use when I talk about a game. Often this is the US-title and if it is a Japanese-game where I use the US-title usually I just add (Japanese).
    For each article I use now the following boilerplate text:
    Japanese Name: The Japanese name in Kana and Kanji with a translation.
    Other Names: Some games have different names per region which are commonly known. For example Seiken Densetsu is known as Final Fantasy Adventure in the US and as Mystic Quest in Europe.
    Release Date: YYYY-MM-DD
    Code: There is a code on Nintendo-modules that identify them
    Packaging: Do I own the packaging?
    Manual: Do I own the manual
    Battery Date: YYYY-MM – if the module has a battery it is useful to know how old is approximately
    Condition: I am not sure yet how I want to quantify the condition of the module, manual and packaging
    Genre: Which genre is the game part of. The genre is used also as a tag.
    Rating in tests: How was the game rated? I try to add the Famitsu-, IGN- and Video Games-rating (the last one is my favorite German videogame-magazine from back in the day)
    Personal Rating: a rating from 0-5 in .5-steps if I have a opinion
    Completed: Did I finish the game. Also added as a tag. Now you can see my pile of shame and I can think if I really need that other game.
    Wikipedia-article: A link to the English Wikipedia-article
    Language Skills: Which language skills are needed. More a service for other people
    Notes: Some personal notes which can grow up to a blog-article in its own rights

    Then I add some tags, usually the genre and whether I completed the game or not. Maybe I should add the release year. I add this because I can search then easier for it.

    With my iPhone I make a square picture of the module, packaging and manual. I add the picture with the size 300×300 to the article as a feature picture via the iPhone-app from WordPress and put the picture on top of the article. The feature picture is needed to show it on the front page.

    The last thing to mention is the archive-page which I create with the Archivist-plug in. The games are sorted by console and within that by alphabet. The entries look like this:

    [archivist query=”category_name=CATEGORY-SLUG&orderby=name&order=asc”]

    That’s it I think. It seems to work but at one point I’d like to add better photos. I can now easily search the games, have a look which I have, can see which I did not yet complete etc.

    Opinion, Videospiele

    Heldinnen Yay, Hot Pants Nay

    Gerade habe ich einen Blick in Sa・Ga2 geworfen, ein Rollenspiel von SquareEnix für den Nintendo DS, das auf dem gleichnamigen GameBoy-Spiel basiert 1. Am Anfang des Spiels muss man sich einen Charakter bauen. Dafür hat man mehrere Klassen zur Auswahl: Mensch männlich/weiblich, Mutant männlich/weiblich, Roboter und diverse Monster. Ich fand es damals und heute super, dass man auch weibliche Charaktere zur Auswahl hat. Und damit ist es den meisten Spielen voraus, da ist der Hauptheld in der Regel männlich.

    Beim Game Boy sahen die Modelle folgendermaßen aus:

    Screenshot Final Fantasy Legend 2 Game Boy

    Nun gut, man kann sich überlegen, dass die Frauen hier auch eher keine Bekleidung an den Beinen haben. Aber richtig klar ist das nicht, mein damals elf- oder zwölfjähriger Kopf2 kam jedenfalls nicht auf die Idee.

    Im DS-Remake sind die Frau und die Mutantin jedenfalls eindeutig gekleidet. Hot Pants und Minirock. Die anderen Modelle, die zur Auswahl stehen machen es nicht besser3. Das gesamte Spiel sieht eher so aus, als ob es für Kinder gemacht ist.

    Screenshots der weiblichen Charaktere in Sa・Ga2

    Warum werden in einem Rollenspiel die weiblichen Spielfiguren mit so einem Outfit versehen? Ist das notwendig? Man könnte sie doch auch in normale Hosen, Röcke, was auch immer stecken? Warum wird schon Kindern gezeigt, dass coole Frauen, und so sind wohl die Helden in Videospielen einzustufen, gefälligst in kurzen Klamotten rumzulaufen haben?

    1. In den USA ist es als Final Fantasy Legend 2 bekannt, in Europa ist es meines Wissens nach nie erschienen.

    2. Eins der Spiele mit denen ich Englisch lernte

    3. Hinweis: man kann die Charaktere “umfärben”, so dass es PoC werden. Das sind die Standardmodelle, die angeboten werden.

    Retrozirkel, Videospiele

    WhereAmI.txt – “a solution to the replay but never finish an RPG”-problem

    When we are honest, we all know the problem. We start an adventure-like game be it an RPG or a Metroidvania-style game and in the middle of the game we stop playing it. Hours and hours put into it but something else comes along and we just stop playing. Then a couple of months later, we pick it up again and ask: “What the hell am I supposed to do?”

    We have no idea where we are, what we have to do and sometimes even what our characters can do. I might have found a solution for me: WhereAmI.txt

    It is a little text-file sitting in my dropbox and when I stop playing, I use either a Drafts-action to append my current whereabouts and tasks to that file or just a text-editor.

    Right now I am playing Final Fantasy IV Advance, and I need to grind, buy some stuff and then go to the next dungeon. Thus my last entry looks like this:

    # Final Fantasy IV Advance 2014-02-09
    After Dwarven Castle, on my way to the Tower of Babil
    ## Tasks
    - Grind to mid-30s - level 40 (in the dwarve cave is a well that restores HP/MP)
    - Try to get 2x Flame Mail in Dwarven Castle for 30k each
    - After that [Tower of Babil](

    So, I am using markdown-syntax for formatting the file. It is still my favorite way to mark up plain text. First heading level one, name of the game and the date of the entry. Since I am always appending because it is faster, and I know myself and won’t tidy up the file all the time, the date is important. YYYY-MM-DD as entry-date for easier searchability.

    After that a heading level 2 “Tasks”
    That’s what I am up to right now. I need to grind and those are my target levels because I think that those might be the right ones to not get directly fried in the next dungeon. Some expensive gear I want to get and which I surely forget about after a couple of weeks and last my next destination. And for making my live easier to get back into the game, with a link to the walkthrough in the StrategyWiki. I will need it because I won’t remember each and every detail.

    That’s my easy to go solution. I think it works but I have no idea how it will scale to games like Final Fantasy V or VI with the extensive job-system in V and the spell-learning system in VI which actually allows each character to learn each spell. It should work. Maybe I have to link back in the file to previous entries for that to work better.