Monthly Archives: January 2011

Installing Crunchbang 10 Statler r20110105 on Piggybacker

Crunchbang Statler on Piggybacker

Crunchbang Statler on Piggybacker

Well, as much as I’ve been loving Crunchbang 9.04.01 on Piggybacker, I’ve been hankering to work with a Debian-based distro for a while. (I plan to migrate Limited Edition over to Aptosid, or maybe vanilla Debian + KDE4 with Sid repositories, and I want to have at least some practice with Debian before then.) So, upon hearing of a new release of Crunchbang Statler that was at a pretty usable point, I downloaded the ISO and got to installing it.

Statler’s install screens are pretty self-explanatory, and the install process took about half an hour, which is pretty good time considering that everything is written to a crotchety and uber-slow CF card. The only real bump in the install process was when I forgot to explicitly tell Crunchbang to use my swap partition, so it of course didn’t use it (apparently I’m already too used to automation!). I took the easy way out and just reinstalled rather than fiddling with /etc/fstab.

After booting into my new Statler install (with a working swap partition this time 😛 ), a startup script popped up to help with the inevitable post-install customizations. Among other things, it allows you to enhance your default install with OpenOffice.org, Java runtime libraries, the Liquorix/Zen kernel (a more bleeding-edge and potentially better kernel, but I’ve not noticed a difference), XFCE side-by-side with Openbox, printer support, and development tools. It is a really nice touch that I would absolutely love to see in other distributions (especially the option to install OpenOffice.org).

I immediately took to Statler’s default theme, mostly because it is much easier to read in bright conditions (like near a window) than the 9.04.01 theme. The scrollbars are way harder to see, but that’s why we have keyboard shorcuts, right? Also, I’m not really a fan of Chrome, so I installed Iceweasel (a.k.a. Firefox).

I only had minor annoyances with the install, like having to manually alter some shortcuts and having some applications (including Firefox) not showing up in the main menu, but the Alt-F2 shortcut is keeping me happy in the meantime. Overall, Statler seems much more polished and visually appealing than 9.04.01, and it has proven very stable and workable as my mobile workstation.

UBERSTIX Ate My Homework…

I’ve been quiet on the blog front for a while now, even in the post-holiday season. The reason? UBERSTIX.

I got an UBERSTIX kit for Christmas, and though I didn’t open it for a few weeks, once I did, I couldn’t leave it alone!

UBERSTIX are like ultra-LEGOs, and even work together with LEGOs (and K’Nex, and Erector sets…) to make things that no single system could do alone. UBERSTIX encourages modifying their pieces when you need to (nail clippers are perfect for this), and they have instructions for many of their models on their website. Best of all, they encourage recycling and re-purposing everyday items that they fit with, like popsicle sticks, plastic water bottles, McDonald’s drinking straws, and Starbucks paper cups.

Also, I recently stumbled across Arduino: The Documentary, a great film about the origins and development of Arduino, and it got me excited about hardware hacking. I’ve been struggling with learning Linux and programming, as I don’t really yet know what specific areas I should focus on. Thinking about tools like Arduino and UBERSTIX makes me hopeful that I can do interesting real-world things by learning Linux and how to code. I mean, just look at the Makerbot — I would love to make engineering and construction tools like that.

So while I haven’t exactly been a busy beaver with my posting on BG, I am doing a lot of mental heavy-lifting by trying to direct my enthusiasm in a useful direction. I look forward to shortly resuming a (semi-)regular posting schedule. In the meantime, happy hacking!

2010 In Review

Some General Figures

Technically, Becoming A Glider has been around since 25 June 2010, so it’s really only a half-year in review, but who’s counting? I made 67 posts with a total of 86 images, getting a total of 3,032 pageviews and 23 comments. That comes out to about 505 pageviews a month, or 17 a day.

Top 5 Posts of 2010

Speaking subjectively, the BSD vs. Linux post seems to have kick-started interest in my blog, or at least shot me up in the ranks of Google :mrgreen: . My post about Inconsolata seems to be popular, both because of the font and because of the bug that it causes in KDE.

Top 5 Referrers of 2010

About a third of the WP.com referrals were for the Python tag, with a smattering of about twenty other tags. Most of the referrals from K.Mandla’s blog were from various comments I’ve made there. Alpha Inventions is an intriguing RSS aggregator that grabs whatever the freshest posts are in your fields of interest, displaying them fullscreen so you can comment on the newest posts as they come.

In Summary

I think BG has had a great start in 2010, and I look forward to 2011 being even better. I plan on posting more about Linux internals in the near future as I put together Linux From Scratch, and my Python posts will resume as soon as I pick up Python again. I’m also hoping to do more reviews of various Linux programs and distros I run across, as well as reviews of Linux resources I’ve found helpful. Apparently, I should also pick up BSD 😛 .

Happy New Year, and Happy Hacking!

Review: ADoM 1.1.1 for Linux

ADoM 1.1.1 Title Screen

ADoM 1.1.1 Title Screen

Ancient Domains of Mystery by Thomas Biskup is one of my favorite games of all time, and fortunately it available as a native Linux application, as well as Windows, DOS, and Mac OS X. ADoM is a roguelike game in the vein of Rogue, NetHack, and Angband. Unfortunately, it has not been actively developed since 2002, and is only available as a closed-source binary, but it has more than held its own regardless.

Installing ADoM for a single user is a simple affair — there’s a more complicated process to set up ADoM for all users of a machine, but the only real ‘advantage’ is global high score, since ADoM isn’t multiplayer. Instructions come with the download that detail both methods, but here is how I set up ADoM as a single-user install:

  • Unpack the .tar.gz into /usr/games
  • Move the files out of the folder, or make /usr/bin/adom part of your $PATH
  • Open a terminal (make sure it is at least 77×25!)
  • Test if it has installed correctly by typing adom
  • If you see the title screen loading, you’ve met with success!

Before you play, you’ll want to at least skim all three of the readme/manual files included with ADoM (also readable in-game), if for no other reason than to learn the basic keyboard commands, which differ from most (if not all) other roguelikes in the details.

What Not To Do

What *Not* To Do!

ADoM has two major bugs worth mentioning: First, ADoM will expand to fill your terminal, no matter how large. Huge terminals means huge maps, which means much, much harder gameplay for no real added benefit (i.e., you’ll get lost and starve to death on the first level). Don’t repeat my mistake of running ADoM in a 186×58 Yakuake terminal 😛 . Second, don’t pick any of the “Skilled” talents (you’ll see what I mean) in the beginning of the game, as it will crash the game without creating a character. Supposedly fixed, it still affects the current DOS, Windows, and Linux releases.

ADoM stands apart from all other roguelikes I’ve played because of the world map. The world map allows for an amazing amount of flexibility in gameplay, but it also deeply involves the player in the intricate storyline. One of your first choices in the game is to decide whether to save a chaos-infected carpenter or to defeat an evil druid, but you can also try to kill a roaming brigand (or go south to join the outlaws instead), save a young girl’s dog from a insect-infested cave, visit a mysterious cave to the northwest that gets harder with each monster you kill — and each choice makes you wonder whether it was the right one.

I wish there were more games like ADoM out there, with a deep and complex world (and not just a deep and complex dungeon) for me to explore. But until something comparable shows up, the endlessly replayable ADoM will be occupying my spare time — just as it has for the last eight years.