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Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007, 05:01 pm
Bye bye LJ

Not that I ever post here anyway, but I finally decided that the things I feel compelled to write about online are not really Live Journal material. So, I have started a real blog. This serves a number of purposes:

1. I have far more control over how it works (I have the source code)
2. Its more fun to tweak
3. I can add images without finding a separate place to upload them
4. I don't feel bad writing nerdy things

So, if you want to keep track of what I write (why would you?) you can subscribe to the rss feed at http://captbaritone.no-ip.info

Beware, its going to be alot more about software and coding then my life or me.

P.S. I will still be reading my friend's page, as I like hearing what you all have to say.

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007, 09:55 pm
Cabinet Update

Well, its getting close.

I wish I could post pictures, but I don't have a camera cable :(

Here (for my own reference more then for you, dear reader) is a list of tasks that still need to be completed:

1. T-molding needs to be applied (thats why the edges look so terrible)
2. Fix keyboard input contraption (working on this with my dad)
3. Talk to glass cutter about table-top glass
4. Investigate cutting coin door hole
5. Learn about coin sorting mechanisms
6. Mount top to hinged side
7. ???
8. Profit

The plan is to have an all day open house when this thing is done, so that I can see all you lovely people, and you can play with my new toy. Anyone interested?

Mon, Sep. 17th, 2007, 06:46 pm
Update

The Opera Database is back up.

The cabinet came today!

Sat, Sep. 15th, 2007, 03:31 am
Cabinet was supposed to come today

I waited all day for UPS to come and bring the wood for the MAME cabinet. The bell never rang. It seems, at 3:30 they came by and realized they did not have an apartment number. Now I have to wait until Monday.

I now have the coin slots (with no working coin counter). For now, you will be able to "insert" a coin by pressing the coin return button.

At HSC I purchased an awesomely large red momentary push button switch for the computer power, two fans (which work off the 5 volts from the power supply) and a relay to turn off the amplifier's power when the computer turns off. I have installed the button and the fans.

Emulators working with the front end so far:

MAME
SNES
Playstation 1

Anyone play any playstation games that might still be fun?

Wed, Sep. 5th, 2007, 06:21 pm
Mame Update

The mame project is coming along slowly but surely.

I just got a little coin slot on eBay. It shipped today.

It should look like this:



The kit is shipping tomorrow.

It should look like this:



So now the question: What arcade games are awesome?

Sun, Aug. 19th, 2007, 01:33 am
... looked at me that way in years...

You can't deny, the other side
Don't want to die anymore then we do
What I'm trying to say is don't they pray
to the same god that we do?

And tell me how does god choose
whose prayers does he refuse?


-Tom Waits - "The Day After Tomorrow" (Real Gone)

Wed, Aug. 1st, 2007, 03:08 pm
I am building a Mame arcade cabinet

For a long time I have thought that Mame cabinets where cool and dreamed of having one. However the cost, required storage space of a full upright cabinet, and tools and space required for construction made the practicality of me constructing one in my apartment impossible. However, I have recently done some more research and discovered there is a way I can do it.



The solution has two parts. First, instead of a standard upright arcade console, I will be building a sit-down "cocktail" style cabinet (imagine the Pac-Man console that you sit down at and look down into). Second, instead of buying an old authentic cabinet (expensive) or building one from scratch and plans on the internet (requires carpentering skills and tools which I lack), I am going to purchase a kit from Arcade Depot which will supply me with precut wood which I can assemble (the easy part).



I will be posting copious updates here (as comments) as I progress on this project as a method of organizing all the pieces of the project and with the thought that the lessons I learn and mistakes I make may be valuable to someone else embarking on this same endeavor.





The Setup


Carpentry:


Cabinet: Oak cocktail cabinet kit (pre-cut wood and hardware from) Arcade depot with extra side controller panel (allowing it to play standard horizontal games)
Wood treatment: Some manner of sealant and stain (with the help of Chelsea)
Top glass: Probably untempered (cheaper) glass custom cut from a local glass shop.

Controller Hardware:


Interface: A custom (by my dad) made board which will translate pushed buttons into keystrokes on the PS2 port
Each Player: (each player will have two complete sets of controls, one on the end for vertical games and one on side for horizontal games) Six buttons, an eight way joystick and a credit button (emulates a coin being inserted)
Cabinet buttons: One player and two player start buttons, and an "exit game" button.

Computer Hardware:


Computer: Old(er) computer which is currently acting as a file server for my music and a unused Super Nintendo
Monitor: Huge old 21 inch monitor (which weighs about 300 tons) from my dad. This assumes that it will fit in the cabinet
Speakers: Computer speakers and amplifier (yet to be acquired)

Software:


Operating System: Ubuntu Linux
User interface (used for selecting games): WahCade (a linux clone of MameWah)
Emulators:

  • Mame: Xmame

  • SNES: Snes9x

  • NES: ?


Jukebox (playing mp3s and the like): ?



Progress



To Do



  • movies previews

  • Get Nintendo USB game pads working

  • Get PS2 button controller

  • Find optimal six key layout (and which buttons are which)

  • Find jukebox software

  • Discover how to have WahCade launch jukebox

  • Discover how to exit jukebox with "exit emulator" button

  • Make it so that the action buttons cannot combine to send meta (exp: ctrl+key) key combos

  • Pare down the game list

  • Find a way to adjust volume

  • Find out why games run fast... FIX IT

  • Figure out how to properly search for games with wahcade (currently you have to type the whole name of the game)

  • decide which button should be select for wahcade (acton 1?)



Completed Tasks



  • Operating system with working sound and wireless keyboard

  • WahCade working (with xmame and snes9x

  • xmame working

  • xmame displays vertical games rotated

  • Snes9x working

  • Working prototype joystick in cardboard box using temporary USB keyboard hack (keyboard hack to be replaced by custom made board)

  • Find out how to have button which closes emulators but does not close WahCade (as Esc does now)

Sat, Jun. 30th, 2007, 08:36 pm
Awesome Things 4

Awesome Thing:
Emulating old(er) console video games on computers



Explanation: Using freely available emulators (Software which does what a hardware console used to do) and ROMS (copies of the actual data from the cartridges) which you can download from many peer to peer networks (bit torrent), you can temporarily turn your computer into a SNES, or N64 (or other console) with a fully loaded library of all the games you ever (never) played. Drop a few dollars on a USB gamepad or two and its like Junior High all over again.

How it Works:
1. Find the ROM for the game you want to play (a simple search on http://thepiratebay.org/ will turn up huge packages of ROMS for any system you want)

2. Download am emulator for the system your game runs on:
Here are list of emulators I use:
Windows:
SNES: ZNES
Nintendo 64: Project 64

OS X:
SNES: Snex9x

3. (optional) Buy a gamepad or two and pulg them in.

I own two Saiteck P2600 Rumble Pads which I picked up at Comp USA on a whim for 25 bucks each. They work great (without any installation) on both my MacBook and PC. However I was never able to get the rumble feature to work with my emulators (but then again, I never really tried).



If you got these, plug them in before starting your emulator.

3. Install the emulator you are going to use (if needed) and open the ROM file for your game using that emulator. You may need to configure your controls in one of the emulator's setup panels.


If anyone wants to set this up on their computer, just let me know and I will write up a more specific guide for your game and system.

Future Awesome Things:

Sat, Jun. 30th, 2007, 07:34 pm
Awesome Things 3 (My Torrent Setup)

Awesome Thing:
My Torrent Setup

Explanation: I do most of my internet surfing on my laptop from places which are not my home (School, Chelsea's house). But I often want to download torrents which will take several hours to download (who wants to keep their laptop open for that long?) This is how I got around it:

1. I have a computer in my living room with my large hard drives running Windows XP 24/7. It is always on, and is always running two important programs. uTorrent (which downloads and uploads torrents) and Bulletproof ftp server(which allows me to transfer files to and from that computer).

2. On my MacBook (which I use to interact with the interent) I have both Firefox and Transmit (which allows me to transfer files to and from other computers).

3. Transmit can create "droplets" which are little programs that, when called to run on a file, upload that file to a specified FTP server.

How it works:

1. I have told Firefox that when I download a .torrent file, I want it to open that file with a droplet called "torrent droplet".

2. "torrent droplet" calls Transmit to connect to the Bulletproof FTP server running on my living room server computer and upload the .torrent file to a specific directory.

3. uTorrent has a feature where it can "watch" a certain directory (folder) and if a new .torrent file appears there, it will automatically start downloading it.

In short: I click a file, it gets uploaded to a folder on my computer at home where uTorrent sees it and starts downloading the file. When I get home, the file I wanted to download has beat me by several hours.



Future Awesome Things:

Sat, Jun. 30th, 2007, 07:32 pm
Awesome things 2

Awesome Thing:
Google Reader



Explanation: When you are bored on the internet do you have a list of websites that you check? (bbc.org, cragislist free stuff, postsecret.org, fazed.org, The music section of the NY Times) Would you like to be able to read them all in one place, and be sure to never miss a headline? Then Google Reader is for you. If you already have a gmail or other google account then you are already registered for Google Reader. You can find it here or under the "more" link at the top of your other google account.

How it works: Once you are logged in to Google reader you can add subscriptions (feeds) to it in a few different ways. 1. You can browse through its organized list of websites. 2. You can browse to the website you want to add, and copy its url, and then paste it into Google Reader's "Add Subscription" box. 3. Many browsers will detect when the site you are visiting has an RSS feed (the machine readable version of the page that google reader gets its data from) and displays a little icon in the URL field (you have no doubt seen this before):



When you click on this Firefox will allow you to choose which "Feed Reader" to add the page to. Google Reader should be one option. Once you have your subscriptions lined up, you can breeze through all the news headlines (ususally with a short descriptive paragraph for each articles) very quickly, and all in once place.

Here are some pages I use it to read:
http://www.postsecret.org
http://www.digg.org
http://www.downloadsquad.com
http://www.fazed.org
http://www.boingboing.net
http://www.overheardinnewyork.com
http://www.foundmagazine.com

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