Archive for January, 2012

Final Fantasy VII Music

1997 was my favorite year in game history. That was the year that Final Fantasy VII came out on the original Sony Playstation. I remember seeing the trailers to that game with that famous opening scene with the train. Back then, that was some amazing graphics.

I had never played a Final Fantasy game up to that point. I have yet to play any other Final Fantasy game that even compares to it. I bought VIII when it came out, and I liked it, but it was missing something. After years of examining my fondnesss for Final Fantasy VII, I've come to the conclusion that what really makes Final Fantasy special is it's confusing story and it's wonderful music. As a side note, I bought FFVII on PSX, PC, and finally on PS3. I didn't complete the game until I played it on PS3 in 2010/2011.

Final Fantasy has a good story, but it was completely confusing. I loved that. It made the game more interesting. FFVIII (which I never completed) also had a confusing plot. I really need to complete it next. Plot for plot, I think that FFVIII is just as good as FFVII. It's hard to tell. One thing is for sure, however, FFVII has the best music. I would say that FFVII has the best music of any game ever. I'm listening to the Piano Collection version of the sound track and  it's amazing. It brings back some great feelings from the game, but it also stands on its own as good quality composition.

I've recently commented that new movies aren't even worth pirating these days. When I think of good movies, I think of movies that came out during the 80's and early 90's. I realize that a lot of this is my own bias, as I was growing up during that time period, but movies today are just terrible. The best movies today come from Pixar. They are about the only movies worth having in a movie collection. I spend most of my movie watching time viewing classics. There's just nothing out there today that really grabs me.

I don't think it's the overuse of special effects or the concentration on 3D technology that makes the movies terrible though. I think it's the lack of quality musical compositions. Think back to some of the best movies, or watch some of the movies that have awesome scores.

Superman 1 - 4 weren't that great, but they had an amazing soundtrack. The original Star Wars trilogy was awesome, but think about the score that went along with it. ET, Jurassic Park, The Godfather, The Last of the Mohicans, Jaw, and many other movies benefited greatly from their music.

I think the same can be said about Final Fantasy VII. You know I read a review of Final Fantasy VII back when it first came out. They gave the music a very low rating. It's funny. I don't play FFVII anymore, but I still listen to the music.

, , ,

No Comments

Global Media Shortcuts in Windows

Many Gnome users may have taken advantage of the global keyboard shortcuts available. I'm in Windows at the moment on a normal keyboard, and I want the same customizable shortcuts. Typically in Linux I'll set Win/Super + P for the play/pause shortcut, Win + Up Arrow for volume up, Win + Down Arrow for volume down, Win + Left Arrow for previous, Win + Right Arrow for next, and Win + M for mute. This removes the need for extra media keys completely, and I really like that feature of Gnome.

Now that I'm in Windows 7, I really miss that ability. I'm looking for a way to do this. If anyone out there knows how to do this, shoot me a comment.

Thanks!

Edit: Eureka! Nevermind on the suggestions. I found a nice little free app that does exactly what I wanted. I was about to try to write one myself, but this one does it well. You can download it here. The app is great. I setup my keys, changed the options to have the app start at windows startup, and set it to close to the system tray. That will confirm that it's always running when I'm in Windows.

»crosslinked«

,

No Comments

Best Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical keyboard are great for gamers. Most people agree that Cherry MX black switches are the best for gamers, as they allow for great double-tapping. As a proponent of the Rosewill RK-9000 keyboard, I suggest checking out the Rosewill RK-9000BL which is the same keyboard but with Cherry MX black switched instead of the standard blues. If you want a rock solid keyboard that's great for gaming, check out the Rosewill RK-9000BL.

,

No Comments

Edwin Jagger DE89 Review

I've written about my experience with double-edge safety razors in the past, but I felt that I should write another post detailing the advantages of the safety razor over the popular multi-bladed razors of today. You could chalk it up to growing old, but I've realized that a lot of the technology of the past was superior to the modern technology. This is especially true when it comes to razors.

Shaving is one of those fascinating things for the young. I remember wondering what it was like to shave when I was a kid. It seemed like fun. As far back as I can remember, my dad used an electric razor. So, when I grew up, that was what I first tried. Electric razors are great when you first buy them. They don't shave as close as other methods but they are at least simple. I found that after a few uses, they more or less just ripped the hairs out rather than cutting them. They also require lots of cleaning and make a mess.

So I switched to Gillette Sensors. This was one of the first multi-bladed razors, and I liked the results. I would get ingrown hairs and slight irritation, but I was younger then and it didn't bother me that much.

Then I started losing my hair, and I promised myself at an early age that if I ever started going bald that I would help the process along and just start shaving my head. So I started shaving myhead. My hair is very thin on top now but the sides are still rather thick, which makes shaving difficult in those areas at times.

The problem with shaving your head is that ingrown hairs suck on your head. So that problem became a major issue for me. I started reading around and found that the cause of the ingrown hairs was the type of razor I was using.

Multi-bladed razors were advertised as having the ability to raise the hair up before cutting it. This process causes the hair to be cut below the top of the skin. When the hair grows back, it can sometimes grown back into the skin at an angle, especially in areas where the grain of the hair goes in various directions. I have this problem on the back and front of my neck. If I let these hairs grow out, I would have an areas of curly hair.

So I switched to a double-edged safety razor back in September, and I've had great results.

Advantages

Safety razors are good solid tools. The one I bought is chrome and very solid. It is a Edwin Jagger DE89. It is the first and probably the only safety razor I'll ever buy. I bought it, a bar of shaving soap, 100 blades, and a badger hair brush for around $50. That sounds like a high price for a razor, but I've not had to spend another dime on shaving equipment since then and I won't have to buy anything for at least another year. The soap lasts a long time and costs $1.00 a bar. I'm still using the same bar after more than four months. I've only used around 20 blades or so. One hundred blades costs around $9. I still have a lot of blades and they should last me another year or two. Ten bucks for enough blades to last you over a year is awesome, especially if you've ever bought a 4-pack of MachIII or Fusion blades. So cost is a major advantage with the double-edge.

Another advantage is the shaving experience. I take my time. I pay close attention to the shaving process, and it's relaxing. To me, it turned shaving from a chore into a rewarding activity.  I lather up my face, make a single pass with the grain, wash it off, lather again, make another pass against the grain, wash it off, and then do the same thing for my head. I get a super close shave.

I also don't have a problem with ingrown hairs like I used to. I rarely cut myself. There was one occasion when I was shaving my upper lip sideways and ended up cutting my lip a bit, but that was my fault. I don't shave my upper lip very often, and normally keep a Van Dyck. So I wasn't very used to shaving there. Other than that, I get very little nicks from shaving with a double edge. The main thing is to keep your face wet, your razor wet, add lots of lather, and don't press on the razor. Also, take your time.

Disadvantages

"Take your time" leads me to the one and only disadvantage of shaving with a double-edge razor. It takes longer. Shaving with a multi-bladed razor is really fast. With a double-edge you need to take your time and concentrate on what you are doing more. Some people won't like this, but I very much enjoy the added time. I usually take around 10 - 15 minutes to shave my face and head. I always finish it off with an aftershave lotion (non-alcohol-based).

Conclusion

Like old keyboards, old razors are just better than their modern equivalents. You don't have to buy an old razor though. There are plenty of manufacturers still making double-edge razors. The Edwin Jagger DE89 was the razor I selected after much shopping online, and I have been very pleased with it. The weight makes it feel like a knife through butter when you first shave with it. You may be used to pressing down with a Mach III or Fusion razor. With the Edwin Jagger it'll feel like you are just letting it cut the hair for you at first. I was very happy with it from the beginning, and it hasn't let me down since. I strong recommend it. There are many good double-edge razors on the market, but I know you can't go wrong with the Edwin Jagger DE89.

, ,

No Comments

Best Godaddy Alternative Registrar

Many of you may be die-hard GoDaddy users. GoDaddy's support of the SOPA has led many people to start looking for a new registrar, including myself. After a boycott, GoDaddy broke away from its support of SOPA. However, their initial support for the legislation was enough to turn me away. I do not plan to do any further business with them and will be slowly migrating my existing sites over to another registrar as time goes by.

In my search for a GoDaddy alternative, I found that I really like NameCheap.com. They offer good rates on domain transfers and registration. I also like their control panel much better than GoDaddy. They don't have as much up-selling going on when you register a domain. I always found that annoying about GoDaddy. I also didn't care for GoDaddy's domain manager. Once, I tried out GoDaddy's Windows hosting as well. It was terrible. So if you are looking for a viable alternative to GoDaddy, you should definitely give NameCheap.com a try.

, ,

No Comments

Rosewill RK-9000 Review 2

After a day of using the RK-9000, I can say that it is definitely the best keyboard I've ever typed on. The couple of problems I had with it in part 1 of my review have cleared up. There have been no more issues with sticking keys, and I've gotten used to the smaller keyboard size. The smaller size has actually increased my typing dexterity and speed.

I've been using http://typeracer.com to calculate my overall WPM speed. I started our around 58, which is a bit low for me. Since then, I've brought my average typing speed up to around 75wpm which is about the same as my Unicomp average. However, I've spiked on some races with 89wpm, and it's not uncommon for me to hit over 80wpm in a race. This is faster than my Unicomp speeds. I think the speeds will gradually increase as I become more accustomed to using the RK-9000.

Overall, this may be the best $100 my sister has ever spent on me. The keyboard is an absolute joy.

, ,

No Comments

Big Brother Google

1984 came and went, and it turned out that Orwell's version of the future didn't come to pass, at least on the date he foretold. Privacy is a huge issue on the internet and sometimes there's a grey line when it comes with gathering user data. Google recently announced that it will be consolidating all the data it tracks about you across all of its products. It does this with the best intentions, both for you and for itself, but this can be a dangerous power that I'm not sure I trust Google with.

It isn't that I have anything against Google or that I have anything to hide myself. However, Google having this amount of data can be very hazardous with our government in the state that it's in. There's way too many tyrannical laws being passed through Congress these days. The government has given itself way too much power and we're just waiting around for the executive to be elected that will make full use of this power.

Google's data collection may be great for their ad revenue plans, but the chance of the government deciding that it wants access to any or all of that data is what upsets me. Google should reconsider the amount of data it retains from it's users. This is essential to eliminating the "big brother" factor.

No Comments

Rosewill RK-9000 Review 1

Well, as promised, I will be reviewing the Rosewill RK-9000 mechanical keyboard. However, I will be doing the review in multiple parts. This is the initial review of the keyboard.

I just received it via UPS and I was too excited to video the unboxing. So, I'll not be doing that. Let's start with the pros of this keyboard.

Pros

This is perhaps the best keyboard I've ever typed on. If not the best, then it's right up there with my Unicomp Endurapro and my friend Lynn's WASD keyboard. The Cherry MX blue switches are very nice. This is the first keyboard I've owned with blue switches. They are responsive and loud. I wanted a quieter keyboard, but much of the loudness of this keyboard comes from bottoming out. It's actually relatively quiet if you learn to not bottom out. I find that the hardest key for me to not bottom out is the space bar, and it's very loud when bottoming out.

The keyboard is slightly smaller than my Unicomp, which places the keys closer together. This will be listed as a con as well, but I should point out that it will probably make the keyboard a bit faster to type on. It actually has a real good action for my hands. I find that I don't have to stretch my fingers nearly as far to type on it. So this is both a pro and a con. The con being that I have to get used to it.

The overall action of the keys is very pleasing. They are light compared to my Unicomp, and they require less of a keypress distance. I'm going to spend a lot of time practicing to not bottom out the keys. There's a very noticeable difference in the sound, when they aren't bottoming out. I'm usually a very powerful typer. My uncle commented that I sounded like I was going to push the keys through the bottom of his laptop, when I was working on it. If you are forceful with your typing, the blue switches will be a good switch on which to practice lighter typing.

The LED lock indicators on this keyboard are a nice blue color and are easy to see. The keyboard is 100% mechanical, unlike the Corsair Vengeance K90 which uses rubber dome keys for the F keys, the macro G keys, and the group of keys right above the arrow keys (insert, home, page up, etc).

The font used for the lettering on this keyboard is very pleasant. The letters are largish. The bracket keys are very distinct. For a programmer this is actually important. The square braces have a wider look than most keyboards. This makes it easy to distinguish them from the normal parenthesis keys. However, most programmers know where these keys are located, so it's not really a big deal. I just thought it was nice that you could tell what the keys are better.

The red metal base plate is a nice touch. It adds contrast to the keyboard and makes a rather dull keyboard actually look unique. The detachable mini USB cord is a nice touch as well. As an aside, I think that it would be awesome if this keyboard could function as a wireless bluetooth device and charge through the detachable USB cable, similar to a PS3 controller. I would love to see this as an option for a keyboard, but I've not seen one yet. The USB cable is very sturdy. Rosewill ships these keyboards with both a USB and a PS2 cable, both connect to the same mini USB port on the keyboard. I connected mine via PS2 because I wanted to try out the full NKRO (n-key rollover) of the keyboard. This means that every key on the keyboard can be pressed at once, and it will send to the OS. This keyboard does, in fact, have NKRO, and it works very well.

The normal keyboard height adjustment feet (or legs, can't remember the term) on the bottom are perfect. Some people have suggested that these are too short, but I find their height to be perfect for my typing. In fact, I've often found that most keyboards are too low when the feet are collapsed and too high when they are extended. This keyboard seems to have been built with the sweet spot in mind. I love it.

Typing on this keyboard is a dream. I've been coming up with new things to say in this post just so I can type on it more. It's giving me a nice chance to check it out. It's not all good though, as I'm about to point out.

Cons

There are at least two things about this keyboard that I didn't care for right away, but both of these issues may go away with time.

First of all, the keys are closer together than I'm used to, as I describe earlier. The ctrl, win, and alt keys are smaller than usual, especially the ctrl key. This places these keys in an abnormal position for me. I'm sure I'll soon get used to them, but this has presented a problem with alt + tab. I have a problem getting my left thumb over to the alt key without looking. Like I said, this keyboard is a little bit smaller than your normal keyboard.

Lastly, I've had a couple of incidents with stuck keys. The "A" key and the "T" both have stuck, once each. I was unable to replicate the issue, and I think that it's just a case of the switches getting broke in. I'll report more about this issue in a later review, but I don't think this is going to be an ongoing thing. I've been using the keyboard for about two hours now and that's only happened those two times. Plus, that only happened within the first 10 minutes of typing on it.

Conclusion

This is by far a better keyboard than many higher priced keyboards. I returned a Corsair Vengeance K90 to get this keyboard, and I'm glad I did. The K90 had a nice back light on the keys and some very well designed media keys, but the macro software was lacking which made the macro keys a terrible "feature", and there were other issues that I wrote about in my review of that keyboard. This keyboard is more like what I was looking for. It's a joy to type on and it just works. It doesn't have extras like a back light or media keys, but it makes up for that in build quality and performance. Since I'm going to be using this keyboard in Linux primarily later on anyway, I can say that the media keys aren't that big of a deal. I usually set up keyboard shortcuts in Linux that perform the volume, play, and pause functions. The main thing I wanted was a good quality keyboard, and this is definitely it. If you are coming from a rubber dome keyboard, this will feel completely different. It will take a day or two to get fully used to it, but after that, you won't turn back. These things are a dream to type on.

, ,

No Comments

Reset a WordPress password

I'll make this post short and sweet. Let's say you've forgotten your login for a WordPress site. To reset the password to something new, you can simply use a SQL query. If you have access to PHPMyadmin or the MySQL command line, this is really straight forward.

From PHPMyAdmin, open the database for the WordPress installation. If you don't know which database to use, check out your wp-config.php file inside your main WordPress installation folder. You'll find constants defined in that file for your database name and database user. Once you've found the database, you can execute a SQL statement by clicking the SQL button. In there, type:

 
UPDATE wp_user SET user_pass = MD5("yourpassword") WHERE user_login = "admin";

That's assuming that your username is "admin". Change it to whatever username you are using. Once you run that SQL statement, your password will be set to whatever you put in "yourpassword". Both the username and password need to be quoted in the SQL statement.

To do the same thing in the MySQL command line, connect to the database with:

mysql -u<username> -p

Substitute <username> with your actual username from the wp-config.php file.
You will be prompted for a password. Use the password from the wp-config.php file.
Once you are logged into the mysql command problem type:

USE <databaseName>

Substitute the actual database name from the wp-config.php file.
Finally, type the update statement above and hit enter.

After you've updated the table via SQL, you should be able to login to your WordPress installation.

, ,

No Comments

Don’t Save Your Password

It's common practice for software developers to put options in their programs to save password. Web browsers allow one to save passwords. This is terrible functionality to have built into any program. Passwords are there for a reason. They are there to keep others out and let you in. Saving passwords in your browser is a terrible habit to start. This is especially true with a laptop.

If your computer is stolen, the thief not only has a nice new toy, they also have access to anything you have saved on the laptop. All one has to do to access passwords on your browser is open up the browser options and manage stored passwords.

There's also the factor of forgetting your own passwords. Saving your password makes in much more likely that you'll forget the password.

There's no real good reason to store your password. Storing passwords is not only a lazy practice, it is also a terrible "feature" of any software.

No Comments