24 February 2010

Fun with roguelikes on an old Palm

Nothing Unix related this time, however I unearthed a Tungsten T from the depths of my "ancient electronics" cabinet. Due to the device being too limited in terms of free dynamic memory, there was nothing really productive I could do on it; it choked and reset itself on something as harmless as opening a PDF file with PalmPDF. It makes a nice audio and video player however and can cope with a few not too demanding games.

Like Pocket City :-)

However I was even more interested in role playing games and it wasn't long until I discovered Roguelikes for PalmOS. The project hosts ports of Rogue, Larn and Moria.

By default, iRogue looks awful, no colors and such. The porter knew that too and added support for graphical tiles, of which I found none for download. So I created a tileset myself.

Aaah, that looks much better! Unfortunately the project was abandoned six weeks ago and is up for adoption, and nobody reacted to my mail with the tileset attached, so I'm putting the .prc file up for download here.

Wizard mode is too easily accessible in this port. For fun, I went for it and when I died, I decided to respawn undead. Then I created the Amulet of Yendor and left the dungeon.

With a predictable result.

And here comes kMoria.

I found the Moria port more fun and challenging. Getting color support is as easy as installing the included sample kMoriaColorDB.prc file to your palm and enabling color in the game prefs.

On this alpha version of the game, I had problems switching back to the big font, and that's why everything looks a bit tiny here. Furios, I decided to attack the next random person.

Which was no good idea.

On to more gaming.

No, this is not another roguelike, but a port of the C64 emulator Frodo. I really like the onscreen keyboard and that you can add common BASIC commands to the menu.

Smashin' blocks to jiggy three-channel SID music.

Palm OS was never a very open platform, but the usual Open Source suspects are there. What I like about the device is its big screen and the ease of getting software onto it. Give me a modern Linux based tablet that fits in a palm too and has decent connectivity, and I call it an upgrade.

18 January 2010

German license plate - 40 years of Unix

I found a license plate generator online and as you probably guessed, this was the result:

This is actually a valid German license plate (Unna county in Northrhine-Westfalia, just around the corner from here) and it is very likely already taken (two-digit numbers are rare, except for motorcycle plates; this is a full-size car plate however).

I occasionally spot geek license plates; here in Bochum, several BO-FH's are on the road, and some guy from M√ľnster who regularly parks two streets away has a MS-FT plate.

14 January 2010

dritune updated to v0.02

I just updated dritune, a CLI interface for setting DRI driver options, to 0.02. This is a bugfix release with enhanced error handling and there is also a .deb package available now for easy installation. More here.

09 January 2010

YaKuake - Instant terminal for KDE

YaKuake is for you if you ever wished for summoning a customizable terminal with a single keypress. Being in KDE extragear, it is most likely contained in your repositories. To check it out, install the yakuake package and start it from the K Menu.

Once it is started, press F12 to show/hide the Yakuake terminal. Nice and practical, isn't it? What makes this application even better is that it supports splitting the view, as well as detaching of inline shells into separate tabs, which is similar in behavior to the console-based screen, tmux or dvtm window managers.

All functionality is (also) accessible via keyboard shortcuts. To split the view horizontally/vertically, press CTRL-SHIFT-T and CTRL-SHIFT-L, respectively. Create a new tab with CTRL-SHIFT-N. You can close shells using CTRL-SHIFT-R, or by logging out of that shell using CTRL-D or the exit command.

Navigation is straightforward. You can cycle through the shells within a split view using CTRL-SHIFT-Up/Down, and go through tabs with SHIFT-Left/Right. CTRL-SHIFT-Left/Right lets you move a tab to another position.

As with every shell related application, I consider it crucial to customize the settings to my likings and requirements for a streamlined workflow. You might want to increase YaKuake's height to make better use of your screen estate. I also set the application to not stay open when it loses focus, so I can click somewhere and have it out of the way. I also activate the "highlight terminals when they are activated" thing, which is very useful in splitscreen. You can access the settings by clicking the little down arrow on the right of YaKuake's "bottom bar".