Recognizing a familiar IP
10/06/07 at 00:28 EST

I've decided to begin implementation on a long-overdue feature addition to the site. I don't foresee a particularly long development time; all the difficult parts are done. On the other hand, don't blame me if the comment system is broken for the next couple days though.

Well, okay, if it is broken, it is entirely my fault. But you know how I love this lax, unprofessional development method, right? Actually, it just occurred to me that I can very easily take a safer development approach, but if I didn't break anything tonight - and I feel safe enough that I didn't - it might provide me with some preemptive real data to use. Not to mention my curiosity.
Tagged under: site
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We've moved!
10/06/03 at 22:12 EST

There are two things wrong with the title today. The first being the implication of a plural staff. No, you need not suffer the monologue of two (or more) people here, that would be too much content for your own good. The second would be the use of the term "moved", since I didn't really move the site at all. I've merely acquired another door. Now those of you who hate bookmarks and rss feeds can acquire your fill of text typed by my fingers for less than half the original required keystrokes in the url. The good people of were kind enough to loan me aw, meaning you can now access the site by going to - isn't that nice and compact? Absolutely.

I have been eagerly playing my restored copy of Pokemon Silver these past days, and have seen more to it than I'd ever imagined. The last time I played a Pokemon game was a good solid decade ago, and when I was but a wee lad I didn't think many thoughts beyond "Gotta catch every Pokemon on the cartridge barring those that must be acquired through other techniques such as trading with peers or expending monetary gains at a casino that targets adults and under-aged minors alike." so a lot of the subtext was missed. Take a moment, that sentence was a big one. Ten years later, different story. I'm recording some of my findings so that I may share them when the time is right. I've only got three badges, give me a rest.

A few days ago I was looking at something or other related to the Sonic the Hedgehog series when I came across a Boss Rush video for the Game Gear version of Sonic 2. Watching Robotnik fly in to catch Sonic as he plummeted to a premature death brought me back to my childhood something fierce. I still had my old Game Gear, nestled in its traveling case, and decided to pull it out. It's probably been about 11 years since I last switched it on, however, so I was not surprised (though disappointed) when turning it on yielded unfavourable results. The AC Adapter and power supply may have been working good as new, but the screen was the opposite, flickering in strange colours and patterns.

Of course, I don't accept something like that as broken until I've taken it apart and made it more broken. Unlike the cruel Gamecube which used four of those damn security screws the Game Gear only uses one, and it's in an easy to reach place. Anybody who isn't a first-time reader will know the drill by now. I, having no understanding of the architecture of the system, popped it open, poked around, took things apart, re-assembled them, took them apart again, re-assembled them correctly, and lo and behold, Columns was working. Since Columns was the guinea pig. Truthfully interested in my 3 sonic games (I'm missing Triple Trouble, for those keeping score) I gave 2 and Chaos a try with complete success. Though the speakers output no sound, the audio still functioned through the headphone jack, so if I feel adventurous, I can likely repair or replace the speaker. Can't get Sonic 1 to work though. Yet. That's another task for another time.

So yeah, accepting things as broken when they don't work is for lazy chumps.
Tagged under: gaming, site
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The Handy Cheapskate's Corner: Save Battery Replacement
10/05/26 at 19:45 EST

That title was something of a mouthful. Hopefully this post won't be.

I have been, and will continue to be poor at updating this site regularly, as it is truly against my nature to make "nonconstructive" posts and I thoroughly believe that the average musings of my life are worth neither recording nor reading. What this boils down to is, when I do post, I'm generally aiming to present something useful that the reader can take away, be it advice, an amusing device, something involving mice, or a painful rhyming vice.

I'm a thrift-shop treasure hunter. This isn't news, and the fact that I picked up a copy of Pokemon Silver and Game and Watch Gallery 2 each for a combined price of about tree fitty is not particularly noteworthy either. But to my dismay, when I booted Pokemon Silver up, I discovered that the save battery on it was dead. This is where our story begins.

I made a brief check on Google to see if there was some miracle technique I could use to magically fix the hardware, and that my saving the game within the first minute wasn't some kind of unexpected null SystemException bug in the game. you know how old games are. Bug-riddled. Kind of like new games, but without patches. At any rate, I pretty much accepted the fact that my cartridge had a dead battery. While I was searching for my harbinger, however, I stumbled across the battery type used in the Pokemon save games. It was a pretty common household Lithium button battery: a CR2025. They run for about 50 cents to a buck fifty online, so of course I could get one from a brick and mortar store for about 6 bucks.

This looks like a DIY adventure to me. I'm not going to accept this game as "broken" while I possess the means to fix it. So I decided to pop the cartridge open and have a look at the board.

Well, for the past decade and change, Nintendo have been so kind as to use some atrociously non-standard "security" screw designed to keep people out of their technology. The Mintendo Gamecube (infamous for carting around scrub sauce) uses the same damned hardware, but this time I wasn't too eager to drill a gaping hole in anything, so I had to figure out how to open it. It was a tough son of a bitch, and any screwdriver I made out of plastic and fire quickly lost its thread against the might of this one damn screw. So I'm going to impart some more practical advice for anyone out there wanting to get at a GB cartridge without the rare specialty screwdrivers required.

All you need are a pair of pliers and something sharp enough to grind away at plastic. I used a screwdriver for this. What it comes down to, is using a sharp object to widen the hole in which the Nintendo screw rests, wide enough for your pliers to close around the screw. If you've got pliers narrow enough to fit around the screw off the bat, then hooray for you, all you need are pliers. Once you can get the pliers onto the screw, it's just a matter of applying pressure, and twisting that bitch open. With the screw out, the cartridge just slides a tad lengthwise and pops off.

And here's what we find:

Well, minus the save battery. The save battery is a pink-rimmed Maxell 3V CR2025 lithium button battery, but mine was removed before this photo was taken. The battery is connected on both ends by small metal clamps that are either welded or super-glued to the battery's positive and negative sides, because it sure was hell separating the battery from the pins. I ended up breaking the lower (positive) connector, and that led to some hi-jinks of its own. (Author's note: I ended up soldering it back on via a string of solder and a cheap 1 dollar lighter, but the solder snapped off before long. If you have an actual soldering iron, I'm certain the process is easy as hell to repair it.) But as you can see, I finally got the save battery out. At that point, curiosity overwhelmed me. Literally missing a piece of hardware, would the game still work? Let's take the half-cartridge and try to stick it in the Gameboy. Turn it on, see what happens.

The answer? Yes. It still works. I've gutted the cartridge, broken a pin, ripped out a battery, and it still works. Pretty impressive. Well, moving forward, I bought myself a CR2025 battery from ye olde locale photographye shoppe (Black's Photography, but you can get CR2025s at most technology stores, and even department stores with electronics sections) and it was time to put it in. Since I broke one of the pins, it was going to take a bit of extra effort, so to test out the feasibility of the experiment, I held everything together with my hand, sliding the cartridge in my old Game Boy and very awkwardly starting a new game, skipping all the dialog, naming my character, setting the time, wandering outside, saving the game, shutting the Game Boy off, waiting for several seconds, then rebooting, to discover my intact save file. Superb!

All that remained was re-assembling my wrecked-up battery hub:

The end result? I just booted the system up after 20 minutes of power-down (which is much more than the 15 seconds necessary to completely release memory from the system with a nice 12 second buffer) and the adventures of Fagball were still safely recorded and not-corrupt.

Victory has been the end result of this match. Victory in the name of denying defeat through persistence.

Oh, I also made a noteworthy recent purchase:

but I'll explain more on that later. For now I've added the tag just to see if I remember how my site's source code works. I've also been routinely playing my Atari (game library's up to 4, and I've got a walk-through video which can be seen here for now, I'll host it later) as well as the beloved Katamari Forever. I have a history of adoring the Katamari games, and the fifth major installment is no exception. But that will likely be saved for another time.
Tagged under: drumming, gaming, music, site
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Cactus Band and Pre-Natal Days
10/05/09 at 20:43 EST

This year's birthday turned out to be much more eventful than it's been in previous years. Drove down to Guelph Friday night to rest up early for the treasure hunt the next day. I failed to mention this, but I picked up an old Atari 2600 last week and part of the goal yesterday was to locate and acquire the missing pieces necessary to get the ol' wood-grain console running: an adapter to plug the RCA cable into post-1990 TVs and an actual game to play it with, as mine did not come with any. That was rather successful.

I've gotten the hang of Donkey Kong Jr and its hilarious artwork, but the third iteration of stage 3 moves too fast to be enjoyed. Damn timing windows are smaller than the number of people who will read this sentence.

News almost rivaling the quality of goodness above was that I'd finally found a copy of TMNT4: Turtles in Time for the SNES. I didn't have much cash on me, but was able to haggle about 31% of the price away, picking it up for $20. That was another treasured find.

Less exciting, I was present at Porcupine Tree's 2010 Toronto gig, and heard the The Incident album for the first time. It had its moments, its ups and its downs, but I firmly believe that had I been familiar with the music I would have been into it more: this was evident when songs from Deadwing, Fear of a Blank Planet and Anesthetize came on. There was some joy in familiarity there, and I thoroughly enjoyed such performances as "Way Out of Here".

Today proved pretty constructive as well; I've further tuned my bike brakes, so they actually stop the bike now. Hopefully with this improvement I won't get hit by any more cars. Using the drill I got for Easter (yes, you read that correctly: power tools for religious holidays is how my family rolls) I was able to install some mending brackets into my Gamecube's chassis, so it can handle the weight of the scotch mints inside it. It's nice to make use of the handle the way it was meant to be used, rather than babying the unit.

I'm finally in the market for a electronic drum kit. I've been eying the Roland v3 drum series, and the Internet has revealed a few resellers in proximity to me, but I'm now burdened with the communication aspect of it, which I never do well on: the merchants I am in communication with are almost always bad at communicating back.

Fingers crossed, drumsticks at the ready, and Rock Band 2 filling the void in the meantime.
Tagged under: gaming, life
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Scrub sauce
10/04/21 at 22:08 EST

I was doing the dishes moments ago. With my forearms submerged in soapy water and a cloth clutched in one hand, I couldn't help laughing at the dishes in the sink:

This might need explaining.

I bought a Gamecube a few months back in part to have an inexpensive toy to play around with, but primarily because I wanted some kind of nerdy lunch box that went beyond Prinnies. Unfortunately there isn't a great deal of volume inside a Gamecube, so I re-purposed it as a candy jar. Turns out, the Gamecube is useful for more than just playing video games and holding candy.

Sparing the unnecessary details, there was a leftover container of scrub sauce from Scrubway at work on Friday that I offered to take home and consume, in an effort to reduce food waste. Being as I am, I forgot about my obligation and left the container of scrub sauce at work when I went home. For the better, I suppose, since the container it was in was rather flimsy and leak-prone, and I needed a solid holding unit to transport the container safely, so that the damage would be minimal if it did in fact leak. Of course, I had the perfect tool for the job.

Long story short: I placed the sauce container in the Gamecube, biked home, retrieved the container, and voila: container leaked all over the Gamecube's innards, but was still salvageable. No mess in my backpack, to boot.

I'd say Nintendo makes pretty solid products.
Tagged under: gaming, life
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First Celebration of SUNGOD Day
10/04/20 at 23:21 EST

Making a quick post while I still can today. Just wanted to wish all the sun worshipers out there a happy 420 Pray To SUNGOD Everyday Day before I bring the night's festivities to a close. Got some junk food and a silly movie I don't understand about robo geishas called ROBOGEISHA.

I fixed(ish) my bike brakes and my bones have healed so keep on shinin' SUNGOD, and I'll keep on making the most of your blessings.
Tagged under: life
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February and March 2010, Abridged
10/04/05 at 20:12 EST

I've been flirting with the idea of making use of this site again, not as a coding exercise but as the original intention of the whole project: a web log. The problem I'm facing with that is one or several issues consisting of:

a) My lack of conviction in keeping to any of my projects
b) My unwillingness or lack of vanity necessary to believe that my life interests other people
c) My naivety regarding the fact that some people do actually find this sort of thing interesting, or at the very least, want something to read while they are bored in class or at work.

What ultimately brought upon my effort to update this site is summarized and paraphrased below:

19:42 {@awpkun} I just got hit by a car
19:43 {@Remmy} blog about it awp

Now, I'll touch on that later once I've brought everyone up to speed in a quick abridged version of what I've been up to for the last two months.

New job as a software tester has been going well. I'm learning a lot of things as expected, both directly applicable to working (read: useful stuff) and regarding office politics and the silliness that goes on behind the bureaucracy (which, thankfully, I've needed to outsource to experience). Overall, I've been enjoying it quite a bit.

February was a slow month, but it was in February that the scales of economic application of finances eventually tipped and I dove full-board into retro gaming. Since my arrival at my new apartment I've acquired an array of retro gaming consoles and games, and have been steadily building my collection of classics both of my childhood and of what my childhood missed out on. The newest members of the family are Donkey Kong 64 and Final Fight, but I've been really enjoying the classic Sonic the Hedgehog series. I'd say it was in good time with the upcoming release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, but last I checked that was a) an episodic (read: incomplete) release, and b) not releasing for another half-year or so. Bollocks to that. I'll also take a picture of the redecoration of my room brought upon by the acquisition of a 1990's Squaresoft title when I'm feeling up to it.

I have been to see the fathers of black metal, the tr00est of tr00 kvlt, Norwegian Black Metal monsters Immortal. I'll upload pics and re-encode the video of the new album's titular piece, "All Shall Fall" to match the expected formatting used by the Videos section.

A pet project of mine that has been in secret development for nearly two years received a private, beta release in March. I'm going to leave the details on this one scarce for now, but as it nears completion, I'll probably leak some more information on that. I'll have to create a Projects section of the site as well, also to accommodate my upcoming TWEWY script hack. Don't get your hopes up, it'll be years before I have anything for that.

I was up to visit my family this past weekend, which was nice - it was the first time I'd been up to Elliot Lake when the house up there was in a livable state. It was quite a treat to be able to go up there and not spend two hours doing manual labour only to turn around and return home immediately after. Also got to smash a TV. Again, video later. Too sore (read: lazy) and hungry (read: lazy) for that now.

The brakes on my bike have been quite poor for a long time now. I've known this, and figured I'd have them fixed eventually. As for the question of before or after I get hit by a car as a result of poor brakes, that question was answered. Luckily I knew two seconds beforehand that I was going to be T-boned by that car eagerly crossing into the intersection so I was able to brace myself for impact, roll graciously along the hood of the car, and not crack my skull open upon hitting the pavement below.

In the aftermath, I did what any gentleman would do: I picked myself and my bike up, confirmed that the car of the man who struck me was not damaged, biked home, and cracked open a beer while talking to friends about how stupid I am.

The role adrenaline plays in this sort of thing is something that fascinates me. It took only a second for enough adrenaline to build up in my system to prevent any sort of pain from being felt until long after I was hit: nothing hurt until I was three quarters of the way home, a good three or four minutes after the fact.

At any rate, I seem to have lost my train of thought. I'm going to go play-test the games I bought (you can never be too sure) and then cook dinner. Until next time, unless the next accident kills me.
Tagged under: gaming, life, work
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What's That? Make a REAL Post?
10/01/20 at 22:08 EST

Layers of digital dust have accumulated on my RSS feed - what have I been doing? I was at the home page, looking over my "successful" attempt to break post #37 using an injection in post #38, when my eyes fell to post #36's comments on my TWEWY hack, which ended in speculation.

Yes, I've succeeded in writing a patcher - in fact, the day after #36 was written, I'd developed a patcher that can take a LEGAL digital copy of TWEWY (tested PAL, may work with NTSC/U and NTSC/J but those are untested at present) and re-write the game script with the file I am/was developing. I've gotten around working with the script pretty well, but the process is extremely slow, and took perhaps a hearty 12 hours to re-write just the first day, excluding all UI elements, some of which I do not know how to hack. I imagine I could easily edit the script handler within the game to allow greater control of dialog, but I see it strictly as exploratory at present; I certainly do not have that kind of time to burn any more.

What with getting a job and all.


(It's a real job, too!)

On an unrelated note, it's high time I logged a few more hours into Torchlight. I'll update various page(s) of this website sooner or later, but I haven't done anything interesting in a while so don't have high hopes for anything.
Tagged under: gaming, life, work
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Don't Mind Me or My Broken Code (Continued)

10/01/20 at 20:34 EST

Okay let's try another injection.

Rats. More specifically, requires a bit of esoteric post-processing effort in order to be dangerous. Looks like my concerns are extremely implementation-specific and require substantial neglect to be abused.
Tagged under: work
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Hey I succeeded in breaking this
Tagged under: work
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