The most token of token gestures

Due to regular disruptions in the Sony PlayStation Network (PSN), Sony have kindly offered to extend my PlayStation Plus membership by one single day.

I know the DDOS attacks on their network weren’t their fault, and I don’t condone the actions of imbeciles with axes to grind. But a PlayStation Plus membership currently costs $69.95AUD. Divide that by 365 days in a year and you get: 0.19 cents. Sorry for messing you around, but here’s 19 cents.

I’m not even going to waste my time typing in that code for 19 cents. So if anyone else wants it, please, have my code, it is (as posted) un-redeemed:

Sony 1 day extension

Thanks, Sony.

Addendum: My VPS provider, Linode, were also under sustained DDOS attack over the Christmas period. I wasn’t aware of this when I sent them a support request wondering why this site was getting rather wobbly, but they explained the situation and I let them deal with it and ride it out. When it was over, I received an email saying that they were sorry for the disruption to service (again, entirely not their fault) – and that they’d credited me $10 on my VPS hosting:

Support Ticket [REDACTED] regarding account ‘[REDACTED]’ has been updated by ‘tkelso’


You recently requested a credit for the downtime that your Linode(s) incurred. First we would like to start by apologizing for the outages and the disruptions the downtime may have caused. As you may already know the downtime was caused by multiple large scale DDoS attacks. We’ve done our best to communicate the details of these attacks on our status page, and we’ll be releasing a full post mortem.

We’ve put various safeguards in place to protect our infrastructure and above all else you, our customer, from being negatively impacted by future attacks. It’s our belief that the considerable protections we’ve leveraged have already been successful in deterring further attempts to disrupt our networks. Because of this we’re now able to precisely calculate the amount of downtime suffered by each Linode.

In accordance with our SLA, each Linode that experienced disruption of service would be entitled to a credit based on its established hourly rate, for however long the downtime occurred outside of the 45 minute window defined by our 99.9% uptime guarantee. However since this was a departure from the standard of reliability you’ve come to expect from us, we’ve chosen to exceed our SLA guarantees. Instead we’ve made an effort to offer reimbursement that demonstrates our appreciation for the patience and understanding you’ve shown, as well as for your continued business. With that in mind, we have applied the following credit to your account for your Linodes in London:


We consider it a privilege to be your hosting provider, and we’ll continue working to ensure that you’re receiving the best service possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to let us know.

Kind Regards,

I didn’t request a credit at all – I just enquired why the site seemed to be up/down/up/down a lot – and they explained the situation and gave me a generous credit instead of a token gesture – which is why Linode have yet again grown in my estimation, and Sony have not.

Mirror’s Edge PhysX Cloth Simulation

I had no idea you could enable cloth simulation like this in Mirror’s Edge on the PC – it looks fantastic! Will have to give it a final run-through before Mirror’s Edge 2 comes out…

Note: NVidia GPU required or the PhysX processing will occur on the CPU and very likely clobber your framerate.


This all works wonderfully, until you get to glass being shot out and the game drops to 1 frame per second. And then you read up on it and set PhysX to run on GPU or Auto rather than CPU, update PhysX, rename PhysX dlls, rename folders to make it use the driver version of PhysX rather than the game version.

I could disable PhysX and it’ll run perfectly – but at this point I’m two hours of debug in and starting to remember why I don’t play games on PC anymore. Because the PC master race is a just a PC, with all its config foibles, glitches and issues. And that’s why I stopped letting it waste my time.

How To: Run Unreal Tournament 2004 via Wine in Linux


Unreal Tournament 2004

I found that I had to make these changes to get the game to work in full-screen mode. Once these changes were made it worked perfectly all the time.

In the registry set the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Wine/DirectInput/MouseWarpOverride = force

In winecfg add checkmarks to the following checkboxes:
Allow DirectX apps to stop the mouse leaving their window
Emulate a virtual desktop (enter your screens native resolution)

In UT2004/System/UT2004.ini in the [Engine.Engine] section:
Uncomment RenderDevice=OpenGLDrv.OpenGLRenderDevice
Comment out your old RenderDevice

In UT2004/System/UT2004.ini in the [WinDrv.WindowsClient] section:
Set your WindowedViewport to your native resolution
Set your FullscreenViewport to your native resolution
Set your MenuViewport to your native resolution

I didn’t have to change the MouseWarpOverride setting to fix the mouse lock issue – simply running in a virtual desktop at my native resolution fixed that. Also, I couldn’t find an “Allow DirectX apps to stop the mouse leaving their window” option in winecfg, so I didn’t do that either. I did need to install lib32-openal to get the sound to play properly though. Once done, it all plays fine under 64-bit Arch Linux using wine-1.7.54.

Hurrah! =D

P.S. There’s a native Linux client for UT2004, but rather than dig about the net finding ancient binaries, symbolic linking libs to pretend I have older versions and patching together a complete set of files from the Windows version I have, I’ve just opted to use wine. Once you’ve done the above setup it all works flawlessly.

A Beginner’s Guide to Joysticks and Fightsticks

I’ve been playing a lot of fighting games and Street Fighter IV recently, and while I’m looking to up my game through practice, I still want to have the right tools for the job – and this means having a good fightstick. I currently have a Mad Catz Tournament Edition (TE) for the Xbox 360 which uses a Sanwa joystick and buttons – and frankly it’s excellent.

However, I’ve been trying to take my new-found fightin’ chops back to some older games like the Street Fighter Alpha series, SNK Vs. Capcom etc, and for that I have an X-Arcade (XA) dual-stick with a PS1/PS2/DC/Gamecube/Wii adapter. While the X-Arcade stick is okay for fighting games, it’s absolutely nowhere near as good as the TE, and quite frankly I perform pretty poorly with it – missing simple shory’s, ‘doukens and supers all over the place.

A MadKatz Tournament Edition fightstick

An X-Arcade Dual Stick joystick

I know I can do these moves consistently on the TE, but I live in a world of fail on the XA i.e. if I flub an ultra on the TE I’m disappointed, but I’m barely able to even make an ultra on the XA. So what’s going on?

Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Joysticks and Fightsticks