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Portables (Games)

Journal: Incredible - SNES Emulated on GameBoy Advance!

Journal by GoRK

I just discovered that a SNES emulator for the GBA that will apparently run at "Playable" speeds is currently in development and fairly close to an initial release by none other than Loopy, the fellow who brought us PocketNES, the absolutely incredible NES emulator. PocketNES was the reason I bought a GBA in the first place.

There is apparently a video demo floating around out there somewhere, but I was unable to locate it. The emulator runs without sound (at least currently). Porting games is one thing, but it's quite amazing that that a system with such similar capabilities and specifications can be emulated on the GBA with all the extra things that have to happen to make things work. Take a look at the specifications:

SNES CPU 16-Bit CPU - 3.58mhz
GBA CPU 32-Bit ARM - 16.7 mhz

SNES Work RAM 128 Kb (CPU internal)
GBA Work RAM 256 Kbyte (external to CPU)

SNES Video RAM 16Kb (CPU internal)
GBA Video Ram 32 Kbyte + 96 Kbyte VRAM (in CPU)

SNES Total Colors 32,768
GBA Total Colors 32,768

SNES Onscreen Colors 256
GBA Onscreen Colors 511 (character mode)

SNES Colors in Bitmap Mode 256
GBA Colors in Bitmap Mode 32,768

SNES Resolution 256x224 (512x448 hires)
GBA Resolution 240x160 fixed

SNES Sprites 128 Max size 64x64
GBA Sprites 128 Max size 64x64

SNES Scrolling H, V, Diag
GBA Scrolling H, V, Diag

SNES Sound 8-bit 8 channel Sony
GBA Sound 8-bit 2 channel + GBC sound

SNES SRAM Available
GBA SRAM Available

SNES Max Cart Size 48mbit (6MB)
GBA Max Cart Size 256mbit (32MB) (Flash carts to 128MB with bank switching)

Update!

I found the video. You can get it here -- while the link stays up anyway...

User Journal

Journal: Spam is getting desperate!

Journal by GoRK

Well, it looks like the spammers are getting desperate as the filters are getting better and better. Despite receiving on the order of >300 spams per day to my various accounts, here's a sample of a spam that still manages to make it through the filters:

Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 00:20:59 +0000
From: Nifepezil
Subject: Gork, with my little helper my life becomes so sweet :)
To: Gork

Hey, !

Deborah is here :) 89 . I felt so lonely every day - but today everything has changed.

759923888220267
with my little helper my life becomes so sweet :)

614609363648
we, women, deserve it :)

I hope to meet you among us :)

Deborah

Boy howdy! I hope this is a misdirected spy communique because it sure as hell is a shitty advertisement for whatever it is that I'm being sold. Spamassassin rocks!

User Journal

Journal: Dimensional Warp Generator Needed

Journal by GoRK

Generally the message begins something like this:

Hello,

I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Upon arriving here my dimensional warp generator stopped working. I trusted a company here by the name of LLC Lasers to repair my Generation 3 52 4350A watch unit, and they fled on me. I am going to need a new DWG unit, prefereably the rechargeable AMD wrist watch model with the GRC79 induction motor, four I80200 warp stabilizers, 512GB of SRAM and the menu driven GUI with front panel XID display.

What follows is generally a way to contact the spammer either by email, postal mail, fax, or in-person meeting.

I have gotten an increasing number of these lately in various forms. I told my friends about them because they were so funny, and everyone has been forwarding me different forms of the message for a couple weeks. I have amassed quite a few different versions now, but I can't figure out what the hell the scam is. Does anyone know? Apparently this message has been going around for a number of years, but I haven't been able to find anything about it. I thought snopes would have had something, but they are no help.

The only thing I can think of is that some fool might get excited about it and, believing that such a device actually exists, attempt to contact the spammer to purchase some advanced technology at which point a regular con ensues. Ie. money given up front; scammer run away.

The other side of the coin is to theorize like this:

If time travel is to ever exist, then the likelyhood that someone will get stuck in the past at some point is almost certainly approaching a 100% probability. Now, if this were the case, then a person's best course of action would be to contact the largest number of people in the most historically inconspicuous manner possible. I think that spamming millions of people through e-mail is definately the right way to go about finding a replacement device of some sort. The possibility (however small) that this whole thing is actually true does actually exist! Poor guy. What a terrible time to be stuck in...

Games

Journal: Videogame Vertigo 2

Journal by GoRK

I have played videogames since I was a little kid. My folks had gotten a ColecoVision as an upgrade to their aging pong machine about the same time I could start to play some of the games, and so it began. I have owned a lot of the console systems since then and played a good number of computer games. I'm good at a lot of games and bad at others, though I haven't ever really played a game I couldn't finish if I really wanted to. I was playing a new game the other day when I realized that there are a lot of games that I really hate for one very strange reason: You can die by falling into infinite nothingness.

In real life, I'm not scared of heights. I can lean through the bars on top of the Empire State Building and look straight down. In video games, I can handle falling off of a building. I can handle falling into molten lava. I can handle climbing all the way to the top of some insurmountable peak and falling off just to do it all again. But I simply hate falling into infinite nothingness in a video game. It irks me to no end. I clamp up in Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine whenever I have to play one of those levels where you have to balance on narrow beams while you hop from block to dissolving block. I get sweaty hands so bad when playing Super Monkey Ball Jr. that I have to keep pausing it and drying my hands and the GameBoy.

Maybe the game companies could put some sort of option to add a floor in any game where it is possible die by falling into some infinite void. Instead of falling into a void, you would fall a short distance into a spike pit where you would be impaled instead. That would be better for people like me. Call it "Videogame Vertigo" if you want. I have it, and the current rash of 3D games give me the creeps. Won't someone put some warning labels on these packages?

Slashback

Journal: My Experiences with Kite Photography

Journal by GoRK

Some of you may remember the article that Slashdot ran recently on Kite Aerial Photography. Many times I read about something cool thinking "oh hey that'd be a neat thing to get into," but never have I actually done anything about it until this time.

To make a long story short, my friends and I built a photography rig and got some kites large enough to lift it and have been flying and taking photos for a couple of months. It's a fun hobby that (for me anyway) blends the correct amount of technical wizardry with being outdoors in the sun. You start on almost any budget and there's always something new to try (video, stereo photography, panoramics, etc.)

I recently took the rig and kites with me on a trip to Hawaii and flew at a few locations on Maui. I am very proud of the shots, even though I'm by no means an accomplished kite flyer or photographer.

Please have a look at the website that I have put up with photos and info about what my friends and I are doing. There is a lot more that I intend to put up when I next get around to it. I'd be very interested to hear your comments. You can post here or there if you feel so inclined.

And, by the way, if you read the slashdot article and thought that kite photography would be a fun thing to try and have since forgotten about it, go back and DO IT. You will not regret it (unless maybe you drop a nice digital camera a few hundred feet like we did...)

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach

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