I write serious blog entries as well as nonsense. Different opinions welcomenegative feedback without any reason not so much. Feel free to comment in any way that is okay with GBAtemp rules.

  • KleinesSinchen

    Tempy in pearler beads / heat fuse beads

    It has been a long time since I made the last pictures with the beads. The idea I still have is way too much work to get it done right now so instead I built Tempy.

    Thanks at @shaunj66 for the permission to upload the picture.

    Look at the picture with some distance if you have a large screen as it is really low-res. A better resolution would be an enormous effort.
    Tempy.JPG
  • KleinesSinchen

    (2|3)DS(i)(XL) chargers

    Ahem. Yes, I have too many 3DS chargers.

    Charger.JPG

    Serious comment: There habe been a lot of complaints when Nintendo introduced the (old) 3DS XL for not including an AC adapter – with "sold separately" note on the packaging. I think this – opposed to the proprietary connector instead of micro-USB – was a good decision. Manufacturers should stop including chargers with every device! I got the majority of my consoles used and very cheap… and therefore almost each one of them came with its own adapter.

    This blog is a meant as a reply to Chary's status: https://gbatemp.net/members/chary.315373/#profile-post-127682
    @Chary I would gladly give you one. Sadly Nintendo made another crap decision: No wide input range. Every stupid phone and laptop charger comes with 90-250V, 50-60Hz input range since what feels forever. Perhaps they thought: "Who would ever want to use a handheld console on vacation? Don't need that feature in the charger."
  • KleinesSinchen

    Sinchen joined the “Doki Doki Literature Club!”

    Another blog entry by LittleSinchen almost nobody will read because of tl;dr. Who cares? Not me. Of course, I could upload an entry saying: “Yeah, I have more than 5000 likes!” (a number others surpassed easily without contributing much) and would probably get more attention for this than for investing some hours in reading a visual novel and writing about it.

    After having seen the blog entry by TomRannd [one hell of an experience], I couldn’t help myself and searched for this visual novel. This brought up the Wikipedia article as well as several YouTube videos (did not watch any) with warnings on how disturbing and dangerous and whatever negative the game is. Warnings everywhere. Enough warnings. More than enough. Really. Don’t play! Don’t do it! DANGER! WARNING!

    Okay… I guess. May I develop my own opinion now after this metric ton of warnings?


    Preliminary remark:

    “The game is unsuitable for children and people who are easily disturbed.” The official website goes a bit in detail and calls the full warning a minor spoiler saying it is a horror game and topics include depression, anxiety and suicide.
    I personally don’t give anything on “spoilers” or whatever. Quite the contrary: Before watching a movie, reading a book or playing a game I want to know what is in there and if it is potentially worth my time. So if you’re part of the majority and think knowing certain details in advance “spoils” something (and consider playing Doki Doki Literature Club!), you should stop reading my text at this point. This is my only concession to the spoiler topic. Below the following line I will naturally talk about plot details including endings and not use the spoiler-tags as they are intended. I will provide a complete summary!
    these tags are quite useful as a method of structuring a text or provide semi-off-topic information.
    Useful for better readability. Though not needed much this time.







    Overview/plot/summary:

    The game starts like any generic visual novel, the protagonist being a boy at school surrounded by nice manga girls:
    • Sayori (Always happy, clumsy childhood friend who gets the protagonist into joining the club)
    • Yuri (Shy girl with hidden fantasies)
    • Natsuki (Deliberately aggressive, small girl hiding her uncertainty)
    • Monika (Club president, can’t make up with her at first)
    Decisions (and mostly the poems you “write” by selecting words that you think one of the girls likes) change with which girl you will have to do the most. The game isn’t spectacular at this. Painfully mediocre. Can’t get more cliche than that. And I think this is on purpose. But this boring phase is too long.
    This shallow topic (and the cliche visual novel gameplay) changes when the protagonist’s childhood friend tells that she has been depressive her whole life. Shortly after that she confesses to be in love with you, the player. No matter what you decided in the game, no matter if you accept becoming her boyfriend or not: The next in-game day you find Sayori having committed suicide by hanging herself.

    Audio and video distorts a bit, then it starts getting interesting:
    The protagonist states that he can’t go back in time and decide differently because it’s not like in a game. The game erases all your save files (but the persistent data containing you reached the false ending) and removes Sayori’s file from the game directory. The love for detail here is stunning: It even behaves like a 3DS on restoring a Pokemon save file… If you try to restore your saves, it says they’re corrupted and Monika appears, calls you silly and says you’re trying to cheat. Sayori is gone “forever”. The title screen shows a garbled mess at the place where she was.

    You can now start a new game after “The End”. The topic is the same: Joining the literature club and getting in touch with a girl. This time the game glitches a lot, shows garbled characters and the girls behave a lot more aggressive. Occasional fourth wall breaks. I chose a path with Yuri on the second play-through (You have to do all paths in the first playthrough before Sayori’s suicide. The game keeps track of this in the persistent file even after mercilessly removing you save states). As said, the game glitches a lot and plays some distorted music and strange visuals to make it feel creepy. Out of nowhere Yuri commits suicide as well by stabbing herself with a knife.
    The protagonist stands still there and “listens” to the dead Yuri saying garbled characters for two days (day night transition is visible, blood coagulates and changes color).

    Finally Monika appears and does not just break the fourth wall a bit: She removes it altogether, like a bulldozer. I must admit that the game shocked me for a minute when she did not only call me “Sinchen” but said my real first name I never told the game. That was a startling feeling until I realized that the Python script must have fetched the Windows username. Silly me…
    Monika admits she manipulated the game, is aware of it being a game and made the other girls commit suicide. She did all this just to have the player love her instead of the others (there are no choices that would allow that – there is no Monika-path in the game). A console appears where Python commands are typed in that delete the character files of the two remaining girls so that all that remains is “Just Monika” (and the player she loves so much).
    In order to continue you have to remove Monika as well. The game glitches out completely this time, she complains, denounces you but admits her selfish mistake eventually, restores the other girls (all three!) and on the last (very short) play-through you get the good, real ending.

    My opinion on the game and the topic:
    I would say it is very well done (as said, the first part is too long). The game is not a masterpiece but still I enjoyed it. About the abundance of warnings: I have to admit, that it can induce fear with the distortions if you’re susceptible to that kind of things. But I’ve seen much worse in literature, movies and games. The only thing that really struck me was pulling my real first name seemingly from the void. What startles a person cannot be foreseen.
    For me Mother 3 on the Game Boy Advance was a much more disturbing experience although the system is technically so very limited with visuals and audio. The only time I had tears in my eyes playing a game. Many people would say: How can a Game Boy game have such an impact on you? I don’t know. But it did.
    As for the unsuitable for children: Yes, very young children should stay away from “Doki Doki Literature Club!”. It is very likely they will not grasp the messages anyway (and get startled by the brutal images nevertheless).
    The depressive and anxious people… Now, I am both. I have been suffering from depression for the majority of my life and have to deal with frequent panic attacks. And I liked the game just because it contains those topics. Depression (and the possible final result suicide) should be discussed and not tabooed. And after all a computer can’t do anything to me. If something becomes unbearable I turn the computer off.

    If I had teenage children, I would give this game to them to show that teenagers might want to commit suicide because of lovesickness, because of feeling useless – or even cumbersome. It would be a thing I would want play WITH my teenage children in order to talk about these topics before they have similar problems in real life.
    I don’t like it when a bunch of warnings tells parents to protect their children from whatever. Hiding disturbing content from children/teenagers does not work. Period. You can install stupid, useless and easy to circumvent parental control software (and if it’s not easy to circumvent, your kids will use a friend’s device). You can forbid. You can be strict in any way trying to “protect” your kids from the world outside – just to learn on the very first occasion that it didn’t work and the child was confronted with disturbing content without telling you at first (because of being afraid from you for not obeying). Electronics never have been and hopefully never will be a babysitter.
    Instead of the above method, you could just invest time and show them the world outside isn’t all positive. Granted, it takes a lot of patience, time and energy. Your children should be worth spending much time with them! Take them and their problems seriously and do not leave them alone in their rooms for 98% of the time. (Yes, I know what I’m talking about… I have seen it – the end result of the electronic babysitter and protecting-by-forbidding method of upbringing a child – multiple times).

    The age rating… well I’m not a fan of age ratings. The 13 mentioned in the game sounds reasonable. It always depends on the child. As a caring parent you should know what your child can handle. Such material is a great starting point to discuss psychological conditions and suicide – and the fourth wall breaking by modifying files on the actual computer (limited to the game and its save data of course!) is ingenious. That way it includes a lesson about what arbitrary software (malware) might do to a computer and therefore your personal data.

    Lastly: The technical presentation

    This did not convince me. Granted, I ran the game on an absolutely lowest-end computer (Windows 10 tablet) with a pathetic Atom CPU from 2018. But let’s be honest here: A visual novel game does little more than presenting mostly static images, printing text in a box while background music plays. It shouldn’t be a challenge even for a 20 year old low-end computer to do this. Don’t get me wrong: My tablet ran the game flawlessly. But it got warm and had about 30% CPU usage on one core when this program was idly sitting there.

    Is it my pathetic excuse of a computer? Or my lack of Windows knowledge? Or does Ren’Py require more power than I assumed? No idea. I’m always pretty astonished when modern applications need way more RAM, HDD/SSD space, CPU/GPU power than similar looking older things that worked flawlessly on computers two orders of magnitude weaker.
    FEF1, E1ite007, VinsCool and 5 others like this.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Wii Remote Fail (and Sinchen Fail)

    Hardly did I play some video games in the last few months. And when I did, it were mostly easy things not requiring thinking (2D Mario, old Zelda games for the 100th time, Tetris). For months my most used Wii Remote (no Motion Plus) made me angry: For no apparent reason that thing often turned off with fully charged batteries.
    Sinchen: “Loose connection?”
    It turned on right away when pressing a button or sometimes after reinserting the batteries. It got worse over time and the remote could only be used with the classic controller (no movement on the remote itself). Some days ago it didn’t turn on anymore no matter what.

    See how far I’ve come? Rather than troubleshooting (or maybe just grabbing another Wii Remote) I grumbled about the loose connection anytime using the Wii. I forgot to take photos, but there wasn’t much to see anyway. A look on the PCB showed nothing interesting at first. A bit of corrosion on the spring (battery contact). And for some reason there wasn’t reliable continuity from the battery contacts to the solder joints (through hole). The solder joints did not look extremely bad or something but not really good either. Some flux, some leaded solder, a reflow and less than three minutes later the Wii Remote turned on again.

    Does anybody have an idea why I didn’t attempt to fix this right away? I mean: The solder joints in question are the main power connectors and have to accept some force each time inserting the batteries. These are big connections. It’s not hard to solder a thing that looks as big as a medicine ball compared to µ-soldering SMD components. Moaning about the failing connection for weeks surely was way less effective than repairing it.

    skull_1f480.png right-anger-bubble_1f5ef-fe0f.png cloud-with-lightning_1f329-fe0f.png

    LittleSinchen, you get a grade F for this. My life is just a pile of
  • KleinesSinchen

    Starter battery failure (pictures about 1.5MB)

    This Monday I was forced to go to the grocery store. I hate it with passion, but even a LittleSinchen has to eat and since the shops don’t sell a big amount in one shot anymore I’m forced to go more often or visit more shops at the same day.

    One of the rare occasions that I use a car. Carrying a bunch of food and water crates without the car is a bit hard. So I sat down at the driver’s seat and turned the key. Preignite and start. The starter motor made a sad and slow: “Murph, murph, murph.” Preignite again… “Murph, murph, murph. Murph. Muuuurph. Mu. And nothing more. I had seen it coming. Despite being fully charged the old "Starting Bull" battery had more and more problems starting the old TDI Diesel engine in cold state during the last few weeks. The once energetic bull has been become an old, weak ox.
    01.jpg

    Sinchen: “:shit:!! As if shopping for food wasn’t bad enough. Now this.”

    I went to the attic and took a spare starter battery as well as the jumper cable from the trunk.

    Starter Motor: “MURRRFMURRRFMURRRF!!!”
    Engine: “WROOOM! Bang, bang, bang…”

    (Those old TDI can sound like throwing a bunch of stones on a big steel sheet on cold start)​
    So I could do my shopping.

    A bit rainy and snowy in the last days – today no rainfall, so I decided to replace the failed thing. I’ve done it before on cars from the 1980s and early 1990s. Takes roughly five minutes to replace a battery. WRONG! Volkswagen, what did you do? What is all that crap? A bracket above the battery? A plastic cover for the head lamps must be removed to get to the large mounting screw a the bottom? Some insulation wrapped around and closed on the weirdest possible location? Wiring harness above the battery?
    02.jpg 03.jpg 04.jpg

    It took me about 45 minutes to replace a stupid starter battery. I thought a Golf IV from 1999 would not cause any trouble with that. At least the thing is now in and the engine starts again.
    05.jpg

    Cars are weird. I love my bicycle.

    Edit:
    Two new pictures – how it should look like.

    Mercedes-Benz W124 (1989)
    06.jpg

    Volkswagen Jetta II (1984)
    07.jpg
  • KleinesSinchen

    Too dumb to use Retroarch (partially rant)

    Sorry for the bad writing style. Much frustration but not much time and effort went into this text:

    Today I, LittleSinchen, decided to make more out of my PlayStation Classic. It’s a decent computer running Linux, so why not use one of the readily available automatic tools for adding functionality? After searching I learned that Bleemsync has been superseded by Project Eris.
    Installation is pretty straightforward:
    • Extract the ZIP to a FAT32 formatted USB drive labeled with SONY, plug in, turn on, wait less than five minutes→ Done!
    • Backup drive, reformat to exFAT, restore backup, put ROMs in appropriate folders.
    Then the problem begins:
    After selecting Emulation Station on the menu it finds and lists all the ROMs and sorts them by system. Fine. None of them started. Black screen → ROM selection menu. Oh well. No Retroarch cores available. Seriously? I downloaded the package and they did not put any cores in?
    Well, easy fix, download manually. Wait… It still does not work! Start Retroarch itself, select content and core from the list and the games start. Retroarch offers 36591 options (or some more), neither of them seems helpful. I spent so much time trying to figure things out that I lost all interest in actually playing a game.
    Emulation Station again: Now it loads games?! At least sometimes. How do I get back to the frontend menu after starting a game? (Start)+(Select) opens a menu… but it is the complex Retroarch menu itself.
    • Everything has a bad bilinear filter enabled. Somewhere must be an option to get rid of this. Either have no filter (big pixels) or some actually working HQ-thing (if enough computing power).
    • Game Boy Advance has the wrong aspect ratio. Huh? %”§&$/
    • (Start)+(Select) opens the menu (as said above). How do I input (Start)+(Select)+(A)+(B) for saving in Link’s Awakening?
    • At least I can now play Conker’s Bad Fur Day without taking the rare, expensive cart out. This thing has more power than a Wii and the emulation core will be more modern. Right? NO! I got graphical glitches the very moment it should have rendered the characters in the intro cutscene and the bar (in game file selection). Argh!
    pile-of-poo_1f4a9.png pile-of-poo_1f4a9.png pile-of-poo_1f4a9.png

    On the positive side: The emulation cores seem to work. Retroarch did not crash. This is more than I got from it any time before. On the 3DS it just went ARM11 crash.

    I wanted to play some games with this console – not configure an LDAP-server. I’m too dumb to use Retroarch. But why is this such a problem? Have some standalone emulators:
    Choose emulator →choose ROM → play game. Hotkey for settings, savestate menu and exit menu. Easy.


    You know what? So many people say the Wii is not good enough anymore. A Wii is cheap, has some very good emulators and is VERY easy to use. Not replacing my Wii as an emulation machine anytime soon.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
  • KleinesSinchen

    I hate it, but I WILL learn it – Sinchen does Android modding

    Since last Friday I learned a lot about Android. Got two very cheap Sony smartphones: Xperia Z (Yuga, 2013) and Xperia Z3 Compact (Aries, 2014, glass on the back completely busted). What now? Turn them on – what else? The Z has Android 5.1 and Z3C has 6.0.1. Pretty old, useless and man… what a load of crapware preinstalled. Not only the usual Google Play rubbish but also what feels like a hundred Sony applications, Facebook and whatnot.
    abfalleimer.gif
    But a miracle occurred: Unlike the previous experimentation phones these models are actually on some lists of supported devices for TWRP and LineageOS. Wohoooo! Yes. This is gonna be easy: Just follow some guide on XDA developers or similar (which will surely be as easy, noob-proof and step-by-step as our beloved 3ds.hacks.guide) and within an hour I will make a brand new phone out of the Z3C.
    Nope! Think again, LittleSinchen.

    I will not go into all the details here. I tried flashing the official LineageOS package from within TWRP (which was an easy install) and was greeted with:
    E3004: This package is for device: Z3C; this device is .
    “Update TWRP to some unofficial version!” said the internet. And this gave:
    E3004: This package is for device: Z3C; this device is Aries

    How nice!
    So let’s try the recovery from LineageOS. Maybe this works better… Bad idea. I started LineageOS recovery and got a black screen. And from there on my poor phone would only show the splash animation of the starting stock ROM – wavy white lines on blue background – for all eternity. It looked like this:
    0_Z_Bootscreen.JPG (This is the other phone, the Xperia Z)
    Geez. Why is this such a problem? I never had such problems when replacing the Windows version that came with a PC with a newer Windows or with Linux.
    Feeling defeated. So ends my first step into the world of custom ROMs on Android phones: Fully bricked. I’m not that dumb. I did everything as told on guides and it just would not work. I can read and follow guides. I never software-bricked anything before by accident. Why won’t that stupid phones cooperate? This makes me angry!
    smilie_girl_130.gif
    But fret not: Sinchen does not give up easily. I summoned the mighty powers of the great Flashtool to restore the phone to the previous state wiping all traces of the ill-fated tries and learned a very important lesson for my “work” on GBAtemp: Now I know why so many people want to go “back to stock”, “start from scratch” and “uninstall CFW” – because it works on Android phones. Unlike the gaming consoles there is an intended way of reinstalling the stock operating system in case of software-brick. Going back to stock and trying again is actually a good idea on phones!

    Now with confidence that Flashtool will undo my damage (if any) I removed that check in the install script and voila: TWRP installed LineageOS 17.1 and my 2014 phone is now running Android 10 without Google Apps, Sony Apps and other BS Apps. And it is super fast. If the back plate (about €20 – will not buy for now) wasn’t broken it would be next to perfect. This is why the above picture shows the other phone. The Z3C will hopefully never see the stock ROM again.

    Pictures: (Homescreen screenshot, Settings screenshot showing Android version and phone model, broken back plate, but good screen)
    (The pictures are compressed to about 650KB altogether, should be safe to click on them with slow internet connection)
    1_Screenshot_Xperia_Z3C.jpg 2_Screenshot_Settings.png 5_Back_glass_completely_broken.JPG 4_Screen_looking_good.JPG




    =============
    Android phones/tablets, listen up! I don’t like you, but I will learn to control you.
    You will not get away with treating me like I was a moron. You will obey my orders!
    =============




    ===================
    The other phone, Xperia Z, has no official LineageOS support anymore. I downloaded a package with the Wayback machine but failed to install it (“ZIP file corrupt” it said). The phone bricked as well because all the guides told me to install TWRP as boot (which makes no sense to me as the phone will always boot to TWRP and not the main OS). Hoping installation of LineageOS would restore boot to something sensible I tried it and got the ZIP corrupted message ending up with TWRP and nothing else.

    Flashtool to the rescue… I will try again someday. Anybody got an idea on that?

    Edit:
    The Xperia Z (Yuga) is now running LineageOS 16 (Android 9), patchlevel October 2019. The last official LineageOS 15 (Android 8) was from Februaray 2020 but I could not get it to install because of the "ZIP corrupt" message. I really would have preferred the official image over this one – but at least this one installed. The problem was the micro-SD. For some reason using another one allowed installing the unofficial version despite both µSDs are working fine and have been checked with F3. Seems the file I got from the Wayback Machine is really corrupted. Downloaded it multiple times → same md5sum, same problem.
    Anyway, as the following picture shows: My experiment is finished. Another two perfectly working devices lying around for nobody to use.

    In fact I do know somebody probably needing a 4G/LTE compatible smartphone in the near future… but due to stupid reasons I can't possibly explain in this blog entry (stubbornness, offended pride), I can't give it to them. No good deed goes unpunished… had to learn that lesson the hard way (once again).
    Yuga_Android9.JPG


    If you made it through this text: Thanks for reading.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Good weather – Rant with a lot of pictures (9MB)

    In response to @Azerus_Kun’s blog post Rant on heat


    Let's say it right away: I’m sick of these stupid equations:
    Heat, sun, drought = Good weather.
    Cold, rain, humidity = Bad weather.

    This makes no sense at all. Rather than ranting over and over with words only I let my interview partner speak for themselves (in the form of picture). My interview partner is seriously ill: The forest.

    I scaled down the photos a bit but more scaling down or compression would destroy the impression so a warning to people with slow connection: Together the pictures have almost 9MB. Don’t click on all the thumbnails if you’re concerned about data volume or waiting time.

    Using the stupid equations above I can say: We had “good” weather in the last three summers in a row in Germany for many weeks. Heat, drought, no rain. The result:

    01_Inside.JPG Couldn't see the sky from the same point last year.

    06_A_Path.JPG 07_The_trees_just_died.JPG This is how the path next to these trees looked right after they died this year.

    02_Outside.JPG 05_Some_More.JPG This goes on and on to the right and to the left but is masked by still living leaf trees.

    03_Big_Dead_Trees.JPG 04_Big_Dead_Trees.JPG Very large pines. It was impossible to see the sky from that point as well a two years ago.

    08_Some_More_From_The_outside.JPG It started on the edge and is eating itself through the woods

    09_There_is_supposed_to_be_water_here.JPG 10_and_here.JPG There is supposed to be some water here. In more than 30 years I've never seen that rivulet dry out.

    11_I_am_supposed_to_be_standing_up_the_knees_in_the_water_from_where_I_took_that_picture.JPG At the point where I took this picture, I should be standing in floating water up to the knees.


    Right next to the village where I life is this seriously ill forest. And it is one of the better places in the region. If I used my car to drive around a bit I could have taken much worse pictures. Maybe I will do this some time.


    This is not the result of good weather. It's horrible weather. Most important for people is: "I don't want to get wet when going outside, so rain is bad." The heat does not bother them. Of course not. Why should it? Driving around pedal to the metal with a 300HP engine in a 2 ton heavy SUV with loudly blowing air condition they're not remotely interested in how hot it is.
    You, Scott_pilgrim, defunct32 and 4 others like this.
  • KleinesSinchen

    What do Wii have here? (photo compressed to 300kb)

    Wii Remote Plus in colors of Mario characters. They look so cool. Love them!

    Wii_Remotes_Special_Edition.JPG

    What stands out on this picture is that the Yoshi version is missing the Wii Remote Jacket (RVL-022). It is not really missing. It just needs a bath (and currently lies in water with mild soap) because… because it stinks. YUCK! Just got the package with the Yoshi remote and it seems the previous owner already gave the rubber thing a bath – but in perfume.
    smilie_girl_155.gif

    Why? This is the second time I got a used item for my video game collection that stinks like a whole perfumery. The other one being a strategy guide of an SNES game in a big box. Again: Why? Why would anybody use odorous substances on a video game related thing (controller, console, book, optical disc, cartridge)? That makes no sense. What makes this worse: I can't stand things like this. The only smell I want is smelling nothing at all!
    People, don't do that! Don't make your stuff stink and sell it afterwards.
    smilie_wut_112.gif ← Sinchen

    Thanks for reading.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Got away (fiction/story)

    [First time writing a story in English. I’m not satisfied with it but still wanted to upload it. I guess almost nobody is gonna read it anyway. Keep in mind: THIS IS A COMPLETELY FICTIONAL STORY! I don’t condone violence in real life.]

    This was a hard day. One of those days… one of those days when you don’t know if there is gonna be a tomorrow – let alone a tomorrow worth living. There have been multiple incidents which I barely survived as a free person. Lucky for me nobody yet got a DNA sample of me – at least in a way they can be positive it can be traced back to me. Frequently changing the rest of the identity in a reliable way is possible, but not a cheap thing do to.
    Evading the pursuers has burned up my family’s complete heritage. Giving up my parent’s home a few years ago when I got into focus (again) as an adult was a hard but inevitable decision. You can call me Anis. It is not my real name – but my name doesn’t matter.
    When I was a child there was a thing called “democracy”. People elected parliaments and presidents and any form of government. Sounds crazy. But that is how it was. Gradually that system was replaced by something totalitarian. Elections stayed for a good while, but there was no choice because party A said and did the same as party B or C. Nobody wanted to hear that. They called anybody uttering warnings about permanent and surveillance all-over a lunatic. The more totalitarian the regime became, the more the majority was convinced that it had been this way since the beginning of time – and that it was more or less like blasphemy to question it. Even talking about it, saying the words “surveillance” or “totalitarian” or “regime” is enough to get arrested now.

    I developed some strategies to go undetected for some minutes if desperately needed. And the fortune my family owned was helpful as well. Some bribe money here and there gave me the possibility to access the infallible, inerrable databases DATA-MAIN and DATA-CONTROL with write permissions for a single minute. Such a onetime sub-root code is usually enough to change “reality” – or should I say how the reality has been recorded to the central computers. Officially such a thing does not exist. Even the admins of the two giant clusters do not have access rights to both systems. Both clusters control each other (which rules out any error) and nobody has access rights to both (which rules out manipulation). But it is not true. Of course not. How would anyone from the government adjust the recordings if needed?

    My family had been wealthy and I’m the last one in the family tree. And now I’m broke. No way to ever do that again. And I wasted my last sub-root code. Really. Wasted. It was avoidable. But I’m only human. A simple woman on the run for decades. At some point mistakes happen. What happened? I drank from a bottle of water, got some water into the airway and choked. It was already dark outside, and I thought I was alone – but that wasn’t true. There was a watchdog: middle rank. He heard me coughing. He approached smirking and said: “What do we have here? A clear case of ML! With that extreme cough I’ve no choice. You’ll get the treatment you need in hospital.” Then he grabbed this metal rod ending with the crown symbol and the letters ML which they use to mark people who had been caught coughing – by burning their skin. This is done to separate sick people from the healthy ones; to protect the health of the general public.

    The buzzing sound of the battery powered strong heating element in that rod gave me a surge of adrenaline. That man was about to end my life as I knew it. I would never, ever be free again. Trying to discuss this was a waste of time. Nobody would believe the coughing was caused by water instead of some pathogenic organism. And the burned marks of the crown and “ML” would never go away. In the first second it was clear: Me or him! Only one of us could survive freely. Not an easy thing. He was a lot bigger and stronger than me. In a direct confrontation he would have had the upper hand in two seconds. But the watchdogs are not used to any form of resistance. They expect anybody to just obey their orders. That is their weak point and it was my only chance. The metal was already glowing red from the heat. He was about to burn the skin on my forehead. And he enjoyed it. What a sadistic guy. His blatant sadism salved my conscience for what I was about to do. I was about to end a life. Not by physically killing the body of this man of course. If my plan worked we would switch roles.

    The only thing I could do to beat such a strong enemy was using a tiny pyrotechnic device containing magnesium powder and potassium perchlorate to stun him with the bright light. This thing is always readily available in my pants pocket. And it worked. The shock of being blinded gave me the chance to grab the rod. Without even thinking about it, I took it and burned his forehead “engraving” the crown and the ML into his skin forever. The pain made him helpless. Did he even know the meaning of the symbols he burned into so many innocent people? Did he even know how everything started? How “harmless” and “with good intention” it was at first? Doubt it. He cried in pain and anger and shouted “HELP!” into his pocket computer. In about two minutes other watchdogs would appear, search for me and torture me to death – if they felt like doing so.

    What could I do to prevent this? Adjust reality. “Nelly?” I said to my computer. Nelly is the most advanced AI system that can run locally and offline. Nobody knows of her existence. The group that built her is long dead. “I can hear you.” answered Nelly, “That was close, Anis. I can adjust the videos taken with cameras here in DATA-MAIN and DATA-CONTROL and make that man loose his watchdog rank. Once his former colleagues arrive they will arrest him instead of you. They will have no choice.”
    “Thank you, Nelly.” I said. She is just like a good friend. And the last friend I have. As far as a machine is able to come close to a human awareness. In addition to that nobody but an AI is able to adjust the database in a single minute. Since something like Nelly does not exist (nor do one-time sub-root codes) and DATA-MAIN and DATA-CONTROL are infallible, everything in the database is unquestionable by definition. Even trying to question the databases is reason enough to send someone into the nuthouse forever.

    Nelly changed the video data and removed any evidence from both databases that this man had ever been a watchdog. I ran away but only thirty meters behind some bushes. When his former colleagues arrived one of them called: “What happened Marco?” while getting out of the car. As soon as the two other watchdogs approached him, their pocket computers started an alarm sound. I pointed Nelly’s camera at the screens. She was able to read it to me despite the distance: “Counterfeit uniform, counterfeit ID, counterfeit…”
    “You are under arrest, Mr. nameless.” uttered the second of the newly arrived men.
    “Have you gone mad, Jeffrey??” screamed the guy on the floor that wanted to burn me. “That is not funny. That stupid bitch burned me with my own rod and got away. She can’t be far.”
    Both looked around. One of them must have seen me. Despite that he looked onto his screen and stated businesslike: “No woman has been in this place for two hours.”
    “Jeffrey!!” shouted the guy that looked so sadistic only minutes ago. More and more panic came into his voice. He finally understood that he attacked somebody more powerful than him. “We are friends since childhood! We drank a few beers together yesterday! You can’t do this to me!!
    “I don’t know you.” said Jeffrey and put handcuffs on him.

    Two minutes later they were gone. I was alone. Darkness and cold the only things around me. Nelly beeped. “He will describe your appearance. Somebody might actually look for you” she said. “I suggest you throw these clothes away and cut off your hair. You should also make a cut on your face which will leave a scar.”

    That was it. I got away. And I still know where to get another code but without any valuable belonging left, my contact person in the data processing center will rather sell me to the watchdogs than help me out. If anything like that happens again… I’m doomed. For now I got away.
    Scott_pilgrim, E1ite007, IC_ and 3 others like this.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Is there a customizable browser for Android supporting add-ons?

    Frustration: I’m once again fighting with Android. This time not low-level with locked bootloaders, missing root access and non-deletable "System Apps", but high level; as basic as it can get: The web browser.

    I tried Firefox, Opera and even downloaded Chrome (Pfui! Bah!) for some minutes. The result: All browsers start with an extremely bloated page containing ads and “news”. Latest Firefox only supports a handful of add-ons and I could not find any add-on support in Opera and Chrome (Why??).

    It seems to me that the browsers offer less and less options for turning off annoying “features” I don’t want. Even adding and removing(!) search engines is a hassle. Firefox was the one that won last year when I set up a browser for my mum on the phone. Firefox won since there is always about:config, right? No. Not anymore! Latest Firefox for Android doesn’t allow that (only nightly/dev versions).

    I do not want to go further into detail what options were missing, but all browsers are unbearable.
    ========

    Long story short: Is there any browser for Android devices without BS but with a lot of customization possibilities and add-on support? I would be grateful for any constructive ideas.
    Bonus question: Does anybody know why the mobile versions of major browsers differ so much when compared to the desktop counterparts and why they seem like butchered ports lacking so much functionality?

    Edit:
    Also tried Vivaldi → Same problems.
    alexander1970 and Mr. Looigi like this.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Falcon Punch; nothing more, nothing less

    Really nothing more to say. Falcon Punch.

    Falcon.jpg

    Wow. That was my shortest blog entry.
  • KleinesSinchen

    Another big "WHAT?!" moment

    Today I revived an old hobby of mine: Playing around with old computers.

    Just recently I got a big beast; an old tower computer. (If anybody wants a picture of that thing I can upload one tomorrow.)

    I hooked the computer up on a monitor, connected a keyboard and after some unsatisfied beeping it booted the BIOS. K5 Processor 133Mhz, 32MB EDO-RAM, (dead) Dallas Clock Chip. Only one HDD connected with only about 200MB. The hard disk started spinning -- and stopped -- started again and stopped. A few times it did this and finally did nothing more.

    Sinchen: "What is wrong with the HDD? Now where is my screwdriver? Time to get that piece of sh.. data storage medium out of there!"

    Felt like a mallet on the head: (Pictures together 1.3MB)
    HDD1.JPG HDD2.JPG

    One missing screw, bent PCB and the power connector was just loosely pushed against the contacts.

    WHAT?!
    Seriously, what do people do with their things??

    Edit:
    Pictures of the RTC chip

    DS_12887A_1.JPG DS_12887A_2.JPG
  • KleinesSinchen

    Nice Wii U package (600kb pictures)

    Got a new Wii U. And it came with a lot of stuff. Something was wrong with it. Can you see it? What is wrong with that picture? Look closely:
    WiiU1.JPG

    WiiU2.JPG

    Now… what is that? A shopping cart chip?
    WiiU3.JPG

    What does this useless thing have to do with a Wii U? Nothing of course. Except for where it was: …inside the optical drive. This time I knew before that there was something inside (I even knew what it was before). This was an easy fix thanks to ifixit.com. Unscrew and disassemble the Wii U. Disconnect front panel, disconnect drive. Then open the drive and grab the chip with tweezers. Connect the drive to test it.
    And luckily I had a bunch of useless FIFA 20xx discs for testing. Wii and Wii U discs worked without trouble.

    Everything put back together… and now I have my third Wii U.

    Edit:
    Not on the photo: Super Mario Maker download version is installed (legit)
  • KleinesSinchen

    Repairing – And this time it is…… A PHONE

    Repairing things is just awesome. I love it! So much better than always having the "latest and greatest". In my previous blog entry I ranted about Android, locked bootloaders and slowly taking all the legitimate owner's rights. I still dislike Android phones (and all devices not giving full access). But that is not a reason for not fixing a damaged device and prolonging its lifetime. One of the phones (Huawei Y7 2017) mentioned in the previous entry had the "Spiderman App" on the screen. I got an LCD/touch/frame assembly for a reasonable price and fixing it was not that hard. The hardest part was getting the battery out of the old frame. Why such STRONG adhesive and why on almost the full surface? Even after carefully heating it with hot air it was a nightmare to remove.

    Mainboard, buttons, rumble motor… all the components were pretty easy to remove and to insert into the new frame. Just connect a few ribbons and it's a nice phone again. Hopefully I can make someone happy with that.

    What makes me happy is that practicing electronics repair seems to show a little improvement on my skills.



    (Each picture compressed to about 300kb - should be save to click on them even with slow connection)

    Bad screen assembly:

    Bad_LCD_Assembly.JPG

    And the repaired phone:
    Repaired_Phone.JPG

    Thanks for reading