Category Archives: Computers

Installing Galacticraft

My child units have been asking me to install the Galacticraft Minecraft mod for many months. While we have lived in Minecraft for 3+ years, I had never installed any mods and had no idea how to. So I started reading.

The Galacticraft wiki and forums have a lot of info, but skip a few steps that are probably obvious to non-noobs.  So here is a step-by-step guide to installing both Galacticraft server and client for Minecraft mod noobs like myself.

First the server. We run multiple worlds (listening on different ports) on an iMac running OS X 10.10. All worlds use Minecraft 1.8.7.

  1. Start with a new world because an existing world will not have the necessary ores. Just make a new, empty directory.
  2. Download the latest Forge.
  3. Download Galacticraft for 1.7.10. 1.8.x fails to run because it cannot find the CPW package.
  4. Run the Forge installer. Select server. This downloads Minecraft 1.7.10.
  5. Make the mods directory and move all of the Galacticraft jars into it.
  6. Modify the startup script to call the Forge jar instead of the Minecraft jar.
  7. Edit Change the MOTD. Optionally change gamemode to creative to make the game more playable for younger players.
  8. Run the startup script.

Then the client. The kids run Minecraft on Windows 8.1 machines.

  1. Make a backup of ${appdata}/.minecraft.
  2. Download Forge. Beware of deceptive ads on the download page.
  3. Download Galacticraft.
  4. Run the Forge installer. Select client.
  5. Make the mod directory and move all of the Galacticraft jars into it.
  6. Launch Minecraft and select the Forge profile.
  7. Select multiplayer. Add a new server with the correct IP:port.
  8. Open the Galaticraft wiki on a second device for easy reference.
  9. Join the world.

Dead Kindle Voyage, resolution

On Saturday, I finally asked Amazon customer service to call me, which they did about 10 seconds after I clicked ok. Pretty amazing. Unfortunately, tier 1 and tier 2 customer support were clearly following a script and would not skip any steps. Paraphrasing…

After a few minutes of What does it do? What is on the screen? etc. the real diagnosis begins. Please hold power button for 40 seconds. I already tried that, many times, without success. Ok, but please try it now, I will tell you when to release. Ok. Did it work? No, still stuck on the screensaver. Please charge the Kindle for 15-30 minutes, I will wait for you. I have already gone through several full charge/discharge cycles. Please charge the Kindle. Ok. 20 minutes later. Please press the power button now. Did it work? No.

After over 30 minutes on the phone, tier 2 finally declared my Kindle dead and they would send out another one. But wait, we’re not done yet. To confirm your identity, please tell me the last four digits of the credit card you used to purchase the Kindle. Uh, I use several cards but I soon found the correct card. I need to mail a return mailing label to your wife’s email address [to whom the Kindle is registered]. What is her email address? Oy, she has a long email address, success after 5 attempts. Please verify you received it. Hold on, I need to find a machine I can use to read my wife’s email. Confirmed.

The new Kindle arrived on Monday, already registered to my wife’s account. Again, very impressive. Now I just need to return the dead one.

Amazon’s reply to my dead Kindle Voyage email

Wow, can this really be Amazon’s boilerplate response email? First, I said “my Kindle Voyage does not boot” along with the order number in my email but that became my “Kindle Fire’s volume” in their reply.

And then there is the rest of the message. Current phish from Nigeria has better grammar and style than this. I cannot believe Amazon has not provided their customer service representatives with better content.

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Dead Kindle Voyage

Our latest Kindle, a Voyage, died after only 4 months. Amazingly, our 1st gen Kindle still works.

The Voyage will not boot and only displays one of the built-in screensaver images


But the image is corrupted at the bottom, lines of non-refreshed pixels:


This is an odd way for such a simple device to die. I am guessing the images are stored in flash not ROM so maybe the memory is corrupted? If the display is broken, it should still boot but not refresh those rows. Going to ask Amazon for a warranty replacement.

EyeTV 3.6.8 removes support for Game Capture HD

Elgato silently removed support for their own Game Capture HD in the latest version of EyeTV, 3.6.8. This is not mentioned in their release notes so I found out the hard way after upgrading. Elgato, why did you remove support and remove it without warning!?

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But they were nice enough to provide a KB article about this with a link to download 3.6.7. I hope they change their minds in 3.6.9 otherwise I will be stuck at 3.6.7.

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Gammaridean amphipods @ Bing

This was yesterday’s Bing background. Amazing. Utterly alien looking. I always wonder how/why stunning color patterns evolved. Some creatures like earthworms and cockroaches, have very little to no visual embellishment. While peacocks, these amphipods and many other life forms have very intricate patterns.

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In 20 Years, We’re All Going To Realize This Apple Ad Defined a Generation

After seeing the last Apple commercial, I wondered what other people thought. Sadly, I came across this: In 20 Years, We’re All Going To Realize This Apple Ad Is Nuts. I cannot tell if the author is:

  1. trolling.
  2. biased because he is an anti-Apple fanboy.
  3. just utterly clueless.

The subtitle should be, “In 5 minutes, we’re all going to realize this author is nuts.” Here is his mind bogglingly misguided article:

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“The experience of a product” is correct. We know a product does not feel anything, thus the implied sentence is “The experience of a product by a person”.

His core point of “people actively turn away from life to engage with their technology” is easily dissectible point by point:

A woman closes her eyes on the subway to soak in electronic music.

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People listen to music in different ways. Sometimes with thousands of other fans, sometimes in solitude at home, and yes, sometimes via headphones in public. The author’s implication is that Apple is responsible for turning people into anti-social music consumers. Walkman? Or maybe the author thinks all music should be externalized because everybody on that subway train should share the experience. Boombox?

The listener is not turning away from people to interact with technology. The technology is irrelevant. The objet de désir is the music, regardless of how it is delivered. And how does the author know she is listening to electronic music? She could be listening to [gasp] an analog cello solo. Music is not electronic merely because it is delivered by a digital device.

A room of students looks down at their desks instead of at their teacher.

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I do not know what school the author went to, but in every school I have seen, students work on problems in class. They do not merely sit there and listen to a teacher lecture all day. These students are clearly working on something and (conveniently omitted by the author) enthusiastically raise their hands once they have completed the task or solved the problem. Note, these are chalkboards, not iPads:

A parent and child cuddle, focused on a screen that’s so powerful it illuminates the kid’s face.

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 02.42.15A candle would similarly illuminate the child’s face. The author is clearly desperate now and taking details out of context. The point of the scene, which the author shows a shot of but neglects to discuss, is the child’s reaction. As a father of three, I know that wonderment well and it never ceases to amaze me. Also, the screen is not all that bright considering the darkness of the room.

A couple kisses in the rain, then immediately turn away to look at a phone.

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Wow, really? This is when I began to wonder if the author is a complete idiot. Has the author never possessed a camera, let alone a phone with a camera? The couple is taking a photo of themselves together. Like, duh. Again, the author must think that Apple (and theoretically any company with a product that has an imager) must be evil for enabling people to capture a moment of their lives, during which they are ignoring the world around them.

A tourist opts to FaceTime instead of bathing in visceral, smoky yakitori.

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Again, the author takes a point in time out of context and neglects to mention that the tourist was showing live video of the yakitori to his friend via FaceTime; something that was not possible for the masses until very recently.

The author also left out the next two segments which show [more gasps] plenty of inter-human interaction. Then again, both show people fixated on content sourced from a Mac so I am surprised the author did not slam them too.

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The amazing thing about this Apple commercial is that it is not about Apple. You can substitute a Google, Samsung, or Microsoft device into every scene. The experience may be different (better or worse is up to personal taste), but the functionality would be similar. As I said in my previous post about this commercial, technology, sufficiently perfected, seamlessly becomes a part of our lives. Suddenly, we can do things that seem perfectly natural but were not possible a short time ago. We do not become brainiacs though Google, Wolfram and Siri help us answer questions a lot faster. We cannot transport to another planet but FaceTime, Hangout and Skype let us interact with somebody on the other side of our planet near instantaneously. If somebody so chooses, they could stay at home and play Minion Rush all day without interacting with anybody. But if these devices did not exist, that person would have found something else to do alone.

After writing this, I realized that the author is probably all three…  a clueless, fanboy troll. What a sad life he must lead if he actually believes what he wrote. I hope he doesn’t and wrote that article just to drive up hits.

Waze 3.7.2 dimming bug

Waze 3.6 was very stable.

Waze 3.7 crashed frustratingly often. They redesigned the alerts, with a popup on the top, a close button on the right that appears after a few seconds, and a dimmed display that highlights the location of the alert. All good, except that Waze would almost always crash whenever an alert popped up. And immediately crash on restart until the alert no longer displayed, probably when it was out of range.

Waze 3.7.2 no longer crashes with alerts, but they introduced a new bug. The display now dims with the highlight on or near my current location even if there is no alert. Only the main menu and report buttons work. I cannot scroll or zoom. Are they testing before release?

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