Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2002 > First January 2002 Edition

First January 2002 Edition

The first ten days of the year seemed to have gone by so quickly.


I wait eagerly for my DSL equipment, so that I can set up my new Internet service. It promises to be very fast. Even the uploads, limited to 128 Kbps (just twice as fast as the fastest dial-up) is very fast for what I do with it.

The equipment to connect my Windows and Linux boxes to the DSL service is ready. I bought a router/firewall to mask my network from the Internet, since it will be connected all day, every day, with crackers and script babies out there ready to do me through.

I am thinking of taking a half-day off to work on the DSL setup, in case I need to call for help from Frontier—yes, that Frontier, the folks that stiffed me on my Internet service when they and Global Crossing separated last September. Now that the fissure is permanent, Frontier is looking for new customers, and evidently DSL is the enticement.

Mind you, I do not know whether DSL will work in Fairmount. Frontier is my local phone service, too. We tend to be plagued with false calls—where the phone rings just twice, and when you pick up there's nobody on the other end. Most of the lines and equipment in town is pretty old, and I am not sure how my DSL will work here. I will just wait and see.

mozilla on madoka

Until then I do not want to hook up my Windows XP machine to the Internet. For that reason, my Linux server is now a Linux workstation with dial-up. The firewall on my machine is set to high (no incoming pings or probes on any port). I also set up PPP (dial-up) and, for my web browser/e-mail client, Mozilla.

You know, I would think that my computer would run fairly fast with only Linux, GNOME (the visual interface), KPPP (dial-up) and Mozilla running. But unlike Windows, where operating system and visual interface are one, GNOME is a lot of programs running at once on top of Linux. While that's good in one respect—if GNOME crashes it won't take Linux with it—it means a system that runs like cold syrup.

For that reason, Mozilla works arthritically. I have to wait at least fifteen seconds between a double click of my mouse and what that double-click is supposed to produce. I will be glad when I can reconnect my Windows box and Eudora Mail to the Internet again.

return to castle wolfenstein

The one XMas gift I had been looking forward to last year was the computer game Return To Castle Wolfenstein. It is a revival of the game Wolfenstein 3-D, which ten years ago launched the first-person shooter genre that made id Software famous. In fact, it uses id's Quake 3 graphics engine to render its landscapes, interiors and sprites (moving objects such as opponents and weapons).

I could not load the game successfully until I could get a better nVIDIA card and the drivers to run it in XP. After that I tried out the first mission and was impressed with how the game works. I found the environments amazingly realistic, and the enemies annoyingly clever.

I went through the first mission: escape from the castle down the tram into the village, thence into the catacombs to the ruined church and thence to the ruined cathedral to acquire the magic dagger.

Having said this, I have been shot, pummeled, hacked, burned, and dropped to my death many times to make it this far. I had to get used to the 'cleverness' of the soldiers, four kinds of zombie, and the Elite Guard. The last ones are svelte leather-clad women with powerful Sten guns: they are led by a hugh SS chieftain named Helga von Bulow: their job is to guard the church: they move and fight so furiously, that I have to shoot them at a distance or behind a barrier if I wanted to survive to reach the cathedral. The only other deadlier than an Elite Guard is a Fire Zombie, which can spit an intense plume of fire at ten paces.

All said, it's kept me up to the wee hours of the morning. In fact, I will have to restrain myself if I am to stay awake during the following days. And I am not even finished with the game: there are several more missions left to go.

Spoiler: One of the goals of the mission is to eliminate von Bulow. In fact, you won't have to: Her impatience brings about her doom, and for the final part of the mission, you will have to clean up her mess…ooh, such a big mess.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.