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Showing posts from 2006

Vue 6 Esprit

Amongst several other things that I find to occupy my (free) time, is computer generated imagery. Landscapes and worlds, plantation. Whatever. Ever since I wrote RFS (Random Fractal Surfaces), a DOS-based surface simulation in isometric 3D back in 1988 (!), I have been following the software scene steadilly. Vue d'Esprit was one of the first programs to make a difference and produce some really realistic renderings.

Went to Digital Blasphemy today to see the latest wallpapers there and I read the news that Vue d'Esprit 6 has been released. Just check the video on the web page. It speaks for itself.

I'm sure I will be downloading a trial version very soon, only to play a little bit with it and then just leave it over there, in the corner of my hard disk until the next version arrives :-)

Talking about that RFS, the history of it is quite funny - I've even found a Borland Pascal-based version of it that is supposed to run on Windows written in Nov '93. Crickey! That was…

1 1/3 Thousand Miles from home

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Glad to see vpapanik's post that Thessaloniki is now on high-resolution on Google Earth. Next thing I tried to do is to measure the exact distance from my parent's house to the place I live now.

To my amazement it measured exactly 1,333.33 miles!!! What an amazing number! :-) And, here's the proof:



Of course, if you measure it in kilometers is a rather uninteresting number... Ah, being a mathematician is no fun!

Flight Simulator X

Downloaded the demo a couple of weeks ago and I wasn't impressed to be honest, however since I really like that occassional flight I decided I should go and get the latest version of FS especially since my computer can now afford this kind of "load".

I wasn't wrong. Despite a BSOD that I got when I tried to install it on Vista, FSX is a real treat on WinXP. Everything seems to be working ok, I haven't seen any problems with the two monitor setup or graphics that I have experienced with the demo. Good work beta testers! :-)

I remember the first Flight Simulator that I played in some awful 640x200 graphics probably 20-25 years ago (Check out the history of Flight Simulator here - wikipedia). Since then I probably tried a couple of more versions, never put much effort into it. When I came to England in 2000, MS FS 2000 was out featuring the Concorde! I bought a copy and I remember that I enjoyed it a lot. I also remember flying from Leros to Kos on a Cessna in the mid…

Windows Vista

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Here I am, having been waiting for weeks for the Windows Vista RC1 DVDs to arrive. The beta 2 arrived in July/August but my computer was not poweful enough at the time to install it.

When I lost Titania (see previous post "End of an Era") and upgraded, I've kept a primary partition on my new Hard Disk to install the RC1 later.

Installation
Last night I went through the installation procedure. I ran the installer from within XP and chose the empty partition (V:) to install Vista. So far so good. Soon after, the first BSOD appeared. Oh yes, I was hoping that Vista would have a different way of informing you of problems, but BSOD it is! Memory Management error it said... However, after the reboot the installation resumed and it seemed to be ok.

First boot
First boot, everything looks neat and in order. A few questions about regional settings, computer name and it's ready. The new interface needs a few moments to get used to but it looks nice. Minutes later, a new BSOD - memo…

Art Rage 2

Went looking for Kai again today. What I found this time is Art Rage. A free painting tool for Windows and Mac OS X with a fantastic Soap-like user interface. Downloaded and played with it a little bit. This piece of software is amazing! A true conveyor of Kai's user interface design ideas. Excellent work. Don't miss it.

For serious artists, the $19.95 price tag is basically nothing. Don't forget to check the gallery forums for some amazing examples of true digital art!

I like the moon

The process of rebuilding your computer can be quite interesting sometimes. Here's what I dug out of my black hole storage today (earphones needed):

The Moon Song

Hill- arious!

End of an Era

My wonderful Titania will be put down in a few minutes. Following the hard disk failure (see previous post), I removed the failed HD only to realise that Titania wouldn't start with the other HD on the on-board RAID controller. For a moment, I thought that this was a controller error and maybe my 160Gig drive was ok. But after many tests a) the HD has proved to be gone to meet its maker and b) my RAID IDE controller on my motherboard didn't seem to be very happy controlling disks.

Thus, I decided that four years (!!!) is enough for a Mobo.

[Mobo is a very colloquial term that modders are using to describe motherboards! I found out about this only yesterday and I felt like a modder again! For those of you who missed some episodes of my life, I used to upgrade or change my PC about 3 times a year. Just a couple of HD and one memory upgrade in the last four years don't give me justice. Anyway, I digress again... Time to close this bracket]

Did my market investigation, asked a fe…

Here I am again

Here I am again. No matter how much I want to write to my blog, something always happens and I either forget or just put it off. My friends are looking for me though, so here's my first post for September :-)

Life is getting back to normal... Furniture and bills arrive in the new flat (still no blinds though), things are getting out of the boxes (still a lot of boxes however) and my hard disks are dying an annoying death... See? No change.

Even though I'm probably one of the few people I know that take regular backups, this time I was unprepared. What I hate most, is not that I have lost a hard disk; it is that I don't know what I've lost. And I spend hours thinking what "else" did I have on that disk. Sigh.

What I lost this time was my "black hole" disk. Massive when I bought it, this 160Gb monster had all my mp3s, all the software I downloaded from the net (I don't care much about the contents, I care about the structure and organisation though) …

Back Online

It's been a little over two months without an internet connection at home and I must admit it was really hard. Moving house twice since mid-May was stressful, but not having the ability to check your email, do your banking, read your friends' blogs or even look at your favourite photography web-site was really tough.

Now, that's all in the past! I'm back! With a vengeance. I got my new telephone line installed last week and on Friday my ADSL started working, so I'm enjoying my first weekend after two months with a proper 8-Mbit ADSL connection :-)

Now, I'm off to read Zaf's blog. His first couple of stories, especially the retro game one, look very promising...

Flow

One of the best flash games I've ever seen and played is Flow, a simple yet addictive ameoba-platform-adventure... Eat, Dive and Evolve. Brilliant!

Google SketchUp

For those of you who haven't seen it, please take a look at the Google SketchUp. It is just incredible! Go through the tutorials, build your model, then make sure that you check the "Shadows" functionality along with the integration with Google Earth!

The interface is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive UIs I have ever seen in a 3D modeller. You can draw your dream home in minutes. Then put it on Google Earth, and play with the Sun's position in the sky based on Day of the Year and time. It is such a treat!

Now you can find out if your favourite english pub, will have the sun in the garden on a Sunday afternoon... If the Sun will come out of the clouds, that is...

Tera Firma

When you run out of disk space, double your disks' capacity

This has been my belief for years and when the other day I got the "Disk Full" message, I immediatelly placed an order for two 300Gb Maxtors and an SATA controller. It took me a few days to sort it out - one of them was faulty and had to go back. At last the replacement arrived today and I happilly took the screwdriver and added the disk to the stack of Hard Disks in my computer's box. I now have 1 TeraByte of storage on my main PC alone!!! If you include the NAS, plus the capacity of the laptops then my total quota is over 1.3 Tera...

I took a breath to contemplate this milestone... One TeraByte. One trillion bytes. Eight trillion bits. This is equivalent to 403 million printed pages!

I remember when we used to have 320Kb floppies, or even tapes. The term "MegaByte" was just an amazing thought! Nobody had that! I remember my first hard disk was a 40Mb IDE - and I had waited for months to get that. I…