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Messages - logFarm

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General Discussion / Re: I ordered a new Ubuntu HP Laptop ... it's not good
« on: Tuesday 2015-June-16 08:44:13 PM »
Got my refund.

I had a grumpy-fest with ebuyer (not ebay) because the laptop they sold me should have been pre-installed with Ubuntu 14.04 but instead was pre-installed with 12.04.

The problem got worse when it turned out that the hardware was not compatible with 14.04-64bit. Wireless hardware to be specific was not compatible.

ebuyer (not ebay) changed the web page to 12.04 after I sent them screenshots of what was actually installed.

I got the grumps big time after this experience. Forget the fact that I did not recieve what I paid for; I was mainly disappointed that after twenty years of me using and battling with Linux compatibility issues, I find the situation hasn't changed even with the hardware that is supposed to be compatible with Linux.

Manufacturers and hardware designers don't give Linux any priority.

And now tech news report that Microsoft owns your computer's BIOS. Manufacturers can not install a non-Microsoft Operating System without Microsoft's permission.

I am lost with regards what to do about it. I wont be buying another laptop that's for sure.

grumpy, grumpy ...

General Discussion / I ordered a new Ubuntu HP Laptop ... it's not good
« on: Sunday 2015-May-31 01:01:49 PM »
ebuyer (not ebay)

... but what I received is not what I paid for.

I specifically purchased this laptop because I wanted to support a company that was making the effort to sell laptops pre-installed with Linux.

ebuyer not ebay

The confirmation e-mail from ebuyer (not ebay) describes the item that I ordered:

Item: HP 455 Probook Laptop AMD A10- 7300 8GB RAM 1TB HDD 15.6" DVDRW Ubuntu 14.04 - Qty: 1

but the laptop I received has: 7GB RAM and Ubuntu 12.04 as the screen shot below shows.

Other problems

During the configuration process, when the computer first starts up, a hardware/firmware update is downloaded but on reboot the laptop crashes with a screen of text stating: 'kernel panic'

To recover from this:

- reboot and hold the escape key down
- from the menu select: freeDos
- select reset to factory defaults

and go through the configuration process again but this time avoid the firmware update ...

The keyboard has a Microsoft Windows logo button

I get the impression that HP are not taking Linux adoption very seriously but are in-fact just attempting to ship some cheap laptops to some Linux mugs.

You're a Linux user so why don't you just fix it?

Linux users will shrug at the Ubuntu version and ask: why not just upgrade?

... tried that, wont work.

Upgrading from 12.04 on this laptop fails. The laptop reports the failure at the end of the upgrade. After rebooting it is no long possible to log in. User credentials seem to have been removed.

So why not use another computer, download the ISO image for 14.04, burn it to DVD and install Ubuntu from that?

Tried that ... During and after installation of 14.04 I discovered that this laptop's Wifi hardware is not compatible with Ubuntu 14.04.

So the reason why this laptop has been shipped with Ubuntu 12.04 and not 14.04 as advertised is simple: some of the laptop's hardware is not compatible with Ubuntu 14.04.

Applied for an RMA and a refund

Lets not forget that missing gigabyte of RAM that I have paid for.

I want to return this laptop because it is not what I ordered so I have applied for an RMA. I now have to go through the process of telephoning ebuyer (not ebay) before I can return it.

You can apply for an RMA from ebuyer (not ebay) from here:

General Discussion / Started development of a new game
« on: Wednesday 2015-April-29 10:15:30 AM »
started work on a multi-player game:

- the client-server gubbings is working

- a 3D game

- using jMonkeyEngine (

speak soon

wobbegong :: game / Re: wobbegong 3D
« on: Sunday 2015-April-19 03:07:56 PM »

wobbegong :: game / Re: wobbegong 3D
« on: Sunday 2015-April-19 03:05:54 PM »
wobbegong 3D is available for download from:

The idea of the game is the same as the 2D version: collect all of the pink tokens then head for the exit, a blue disc. In wobbegong 3D, the exit has some blue flames rising from it, to make it easier to see from a distance. Complete all maps to complete the game.

The same level designer is included so you can create your own maps.


wobbegong 3D was created using jMonkeyEngine:


There's a Linux version and a Windows version available from and as I do everything with Ubuntu it's safe to say the Linux version works well.

However I don't have a Windows computer so I have not been able to test the Windows version :-/

A friend lent me a Windows Vista laptop but unfortunately the graphics driver on that computer did not support OpenGL 2.

In order to run wobbegong 3D your computer's graphics driver (Windows and Linux) needs to support OpenGL 2 otherwise an UnsupportedOperationException will be generated. This error is harmless to your computer but the game will not run and simply close after displaying this message.

wobbegong :: game / Re: wobbegong 3D
« on: Thursday 2015-April-16 08:21:51 PM »
The idea is: create a 3D version of wobbegong 2D   8)

I've used jMonkey for this (

The original wobbegong was created with lwjgl ( directly but I am eager to use jMonkey more because it makes the developer so productive and removes the hassle of configuring collision and audio in the development environment. jMonkey also packages the software to run on most PC-like platforms as well as Android.

This version of wobbegong has taken three weeks so far. There's still a few things to do ... testing for example ... and the maps. I am using exactly the same map-reading mechanism as I used with wobbegong 2D so maps are just a bunch of locations written to a JSON text file.

All of the objects in this game have collision detection using jMonkey's BulletAppState. This has an interesting effect when the map initialises. For the 2D version of the game I deliberately overlapped bricks. If I use the same maps with this 3D version, the overlapping causes objects to bounce as they collide. On slower computers, such as mine, there is a bit of frame dropping for about fifteen seconds until the bricks and balls land.

I'm finding it a lot of fun to play so I hope you will too when it's released, within in the next seven days.

wobbegong :: game / wobbegong 3D
« on: Thursday 2015-April-16 07:54:53 PM »
Nearly ready to release a 3D version of wobbegong.

Password Maker :: application / Does what it says on the packet
« on: Sunday 2015-March-29 07:40:44 PM »
Password Maker is an Android application that creates
15-character-long passwords made up from random characters, either:

- numbers only               :: 3452345 ...
- letters only             :: werdfHG ...
- numbers and letters      :: Hfs56j8 ...
- all keyboard characters   :: Jh$56*" ...

The user has the option to have the application remember the new
password. These remembered passwords can be viewed from the REMEMBERED

From the REMEMBERED   tab the user can add/edit a brief comment to a
password or delete passwords.

The OLD PASSWORD tab allows the user to add existing passwords they
would like the REMEMBERED tab to save.

I personally find this application very useful since I do a lot of
work on-line with various web pages that require user names and

I ask anyone who uses this application to add a lock facility to their
device. All Android devices have the option to require a pin number or
password to unlock them.

Write down your new passwords so if you lose your device you will
still have them. Then, if you lose your device, you can visit the web
sites, etc and immediately change those passwords.

Writing down your new passwords does go again the grain of current
security advice but I am suggesting they be written down in something
that you can lock away.

wobbegong is a 2D game created using the Lightweight Java Game Library

I could have used jMonkey to create this game since jMonkey is a whole
development environment wrapped around lwjgl but I wanted to use lwjgl

First thing I needed to do was configure NetBeans to create a lwjgl

Then find out how:

- to display a blank window
- draw shapes
- add textures

I subscribed to: 'thebennybox' youtube channel ::

followed the pong tutorial just to get over many of the lwjgl newbie

I intended to create a 2D game where the user can create their own
maps. The plan was to create text files listing the coordinates of
game objects. The game would read these map files and display the game

Having used XML before on other projects, I knew I wanted to use
something else. Brief research brought JSON to the fore as a prime

I downloaded the source code from this site ::

In my lwjgl NetBeans project, I created a separate package and added
all the JSON classes, just downloaded, to it.

Audio was another challenge. Downloaded the code from here ::

created a whole new NetBeans project for the jcraft files. The project
looks like this:


Then, clean and build.

Import the JOGG project into your game as a library:

right-click > Projects > Libraries > Add project (button)

Even with the learning and configuration stated above, I was able to
complete the game with a level editor in eight weeks.

The level designer

The level designer is written using Java2D. It lets the user click an
object-type-button, tap the map grid and place that game-object.

Crl+s saves the coordinates of all the map objects to a text file in
the form of JSON.

Save your new map in the gameDir directory and edit the list-of-maps
file, adding your new map-name to it.

Self Storage Unit Size Calculator :: application / In the early days
« on: Sunday 2015-March-29 02:47:35 PM »
In my early days I rented a storage unit from a self storage company
in Reading UK and signed an agreement so I could use the unit as a
'work shop'. From my point of view, this was only intended to be a
temporary arrangement but I worked from that cold, noisy, insect and
rodent ridden metal hole for ten years and I would still be there too
if ... [1] 

Based on conversations I had with the staff who sat on that facility's
reception, I came up with my first Android application idea which
calculates the size of a self storage unit based on the contents of
the user's house.

Being able to ask (Steve [on reception]) opinions and advice about the
basic methods they use to calculate a customer's self storage unit
size, was extremely useful.

It took a year to complete mostly because this was my first Android

It has gone through many iterations.

I created a Java Applet that does the same thing which took about two
months and then rewrote the Android application based on what I
learned from the Java Applet.


The manager of the self storage facility was stealing.

I reported his thieving to the self storage company's head office who
then counter accused me of doing something that breached my rental
contract with them.

That-manager also tried to get his own back by using Google Play to
give my 'Self Storage Unit Size Calculator' Android app an one star
review along with a derogatory comment.

I told the storage company head office about this but their response
was to threatened me with prosecution for spoiling their reputation (I
still have their threatening e-mails).

That-manager's one star review and comment was instantly removed,
presumably because of pressure from head office.

Eventually a head-office-bloke came to seem me. He told me his name
but claimed he didn't have a business card (when I asked for one).

The head-office-bloke proceeded to accuse me of 'sleeping in a chair'
which was against their rules and therefore I should leave.

This was their counter argument to me-telling-them that one of their
managers is not only stealing from them but also stealing from their
customers (and the rest of it [2]).

I suggested that we both (me and head-office-bloke) go downstairs and
speak to a customer I knew that-manager had stolen from, (that
customer had told me about the theft). The head-office-bloke said he
didn't want to do that.

I *recorded* this conversation between me and head-office-bloke and
because I knew my tape recorder was recording, I prompted him to
answer the following questions:

- do you think that-manager's thieving from your company is a problem?
:: he replied: no

- do you think that-manager's thieving from your customers is a
problem? :: he replied: no

- your manager give my application an one star review on Google Play
and a derogatory comment, because I reported him for thieving; do you
see that as a problem :: he replied: 'he removed it when we told him
to so no'

My instinct to have a tape recorder, batteries charged and readily at
hand, proved wise I think.


The rest of it:

- recreational-drug storage

- entering customer storage units because a customer has forgotten to
lock their storage unit door

I believe I witnessed these activities simply because I spent most of
my life their, drinking coffee and coding. I became part of the
furniture. This meant that-manager and a few of his staff became
complacent with what they did and what they said when I was near by.

For example: If I ever notice that any-customer had forgotten to lock
their unit, I would tell the staff at the front-desk about it so they
could contact the customer who could come back to their unit and
properly lock their door; customers use their own padlocks.

Then I saw what that-manager and his staff did with that information:

- the staff clicks a check-box on their computer desktop which turns
that storage unit's alarm off

- one or more of the staff then open that unlocked-unit to explore its
contents without the logs showing that the door has been opened,
because they just turned the alarm off

grey hat :: game / 'Grey Hat' was my second game
« on: Sunday 2015-March-29 10:40:45 AM »
'Grey Hat' was my second game written for Android created using
Java2D. The first version took a long time to finish, about eighteen

The idea behind the game is to create an interesting game-storyline
based around the banker problems and scandals of 2007.

The original version had a title sound track, a few seconds created
with Linux Multimedia Studio.

All the sprites where created using Blender and Gimp.

Completing quests players had to read a lot of text dialog. To make
this less boring I made use of Android's Text To Speach facility.

The game has a mini-map, an inventory and some building mechanisms.

The trouble with the first version was that *my* usage of Java2D was
very slow on most Android devices. I had a Nexus 7 on-which the game
ran (in my mind) beautifully but then there was the dreaded different
Android screen sizes that caused problems too.

I created a PC version, more specifically a Java Applet. It had all
the same quests (and typos) with a lot of other features, the main one
being: multi player

so players could see each other, move about and interact with

The Java Applet version, in my opinion was much more fun because:

- there are a lot of different items that exist and can be picked up
- many different things can be built
- a few team-play activities
- all items in the game have a life-time
- most things can be repaired

the java applet version took three months to create.

I then decided it was time to investigate OpenGL and created 'Debris
Field'. Conjuring the knowledge I had gained from that, I converted
Java2D 'Grey Hat' to an Android OpenGL game.

I *still* need to work on compatibility with different screen sizes.

Debris Field :: game / Practical Android 4 Games Development by J. F. DiMarzio
« on: Saturday 2015-March-28 06:05:37 PM »
I read this book to get a handle on OpenGL and OpenGL for Android:
Practical Android 4 Games Development by J. F. DiMarzio

It definitely got me started and 'Debris Field' was the result.

I ran with the example code but as a result 'Debris Field' didn't have
a design and so suffers from some poor game play.

It has gone through a few iterations, I layering-on what I hoped
would-be improved features and better sprites. The sprites were
improved a little bit and perhaps the new features added a little bit
to the game play but in the end, because I never started with a game
design, 'Debris Field', in its current form has reached its limit.

Bubbles In A Cage :: game / jMonkey
« on: Saturday 2015-March-28 05:32:32 PM »
Bubbles In A Cage is another game created using the jMonkeyEngine (, Cube Cracker was also created with jMonkey.

Bubbles In A Cage took a day to get up and running and not much longer to export an Android version using jMonkey and then upload it to Google Play.

The original Bubbles In A Cage was my first game, created for Android using Java2D instead of OpenGL.

Java2D is lovely to use.

The trouble I had with Java2D on Android was the different screen sizes of Android devices. To be honest I still have that trouble, even with OpenGL but jMonkey seems to take care of that for you.

Put simply, jMonkey rocks !!

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