Welcome to the personal blog of Uiaad

  • Uiaad

    In Memory of Paddy

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    It's fair to say if Max was the brains paddy was definitely the face of the pair. With just a glance, this pig could get whatever he wanted. Paddy was also the guard of the herd he was the first to warn of danger (usually a car door) not that Max cared or wheek at the impending feeding time. Everyone who met him always remarked how much of a pretty, beautiful pig he was and right to the end he fought with everything he had. If someone offered to shorten my life by a year for just one more day with these two I would in a heartbeat.

    These two pigs have done more for me in the last 4 and a half years than most humans have my entire life. They came into my life at a time where I was in a lot of physical pain and facing a lot of changes. They were there for me always ready for a cuddle or willing to put up with me being silly. It's fair to say for the last 4 and half years these two have kept me sane.
    Paddy has been my face here for the last I don't know how many years now and at least for the foreseeable future that isn't going to change but I need a little time to heal. There's been a lot that has happened since the start of this year, My sister lost her battle with cancer, then just 5 weeks ago little Max crossed the rainbow bridge and now little paddy has gone to join him. So I will be going away for just a little while but before I go I would like to thank anyone reading this GBAtemp helps me in so many ways a lot of you couldn't even imagine. There are some really special people here and I think you all know who you are.
    As a little thank you for making it through this I would like to share a few photos of both Paddy and Max (and sadly I managed to slip in there somehow ) and remember even small footprints can leave large impressions.

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    Attached Files:

  • Uiaad

    Paddy

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    Just a quick blog to expand what's going on with the pig most of you will look at at least once a day.

    Yesterday lunchtime we gave him a bit of cucumber as a midday snack and he seemed absolutely fine. When his dinner time came around he was not interested one bit in his food - This is a pretty bad sign in a guinea pig as they must constantly have food (and/or hay) going through their digestive system or things can go bad pretty quickly. But no matter what we offered him he just wouldn't accept it.
    About 3 am while my wife was sleeping, I decided to start feeding him Critical Care. It's basically a nutritionally complete powder that you mix with some water and syringe feed every 2 hours. So day or night I'm now around him feeding him this nutritious slurry. We did see a vet earlier today who has prescribed him some painkillers and something to make sure his gut continues to operate as we slowly get him back to solid food.

    Paddy is doing ok and the vet is optimistic that he will pull through and as I say he is doing well if being a bit grumpy. I say a bit grumpy but if you look at a picture of Conker from Conker's bad fur day where he is sitting on the throne with the glass of milk at the start... you will get the gist of the look of pure, unadulterated annoyance he has on his face.

    I'll keep you all updated as things go along
    DinohScene, Louse, ntcc45 and 5 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    I have joined the RGB revolution!

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    Sorry really silly blog post this time, still waiting for one more thing to turn up before the monster blog post can be finished.
    Enjoy the RGB box cutters!
    ntcc45, Silent_Gunner, XAIXER and 5 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    Why Guinea Pigs are Arseholes

    Guinea pigs are arseholes, But it's not really their fault, instinctually they are just arseholes at least to us humans.
    In my last post, I talked about the passing of perhaps the greatest guinea pig to have ever lived, Max. At the time I really didn't feel like going into details on what happened and everything was still rather raw and it really wasn't the place to talk about what ultimately caused his passing.
    There is something you should know about guinea pigs: They are prey animals and any sign of sickness or injury can often see them picked off by a preditor. This especially means that they have a tendency to hide any sickness or injury pretty damn well and that is exactly what Max did this. If Max was in a group of guinea pigs, even at full health I'm pretty sure he would have been voted "guinea pig most likely to be picked off first " because he was just so chilled and relaxed.
    About a year or so ago now, Max hurt his back leg. We took him to the vets and he was on some painkillers for about a couple of months. He was also put on a small dose of a calcium supplement and he finished his course of both and we thought nothing more of it.
    Fast forward to Monday last week and we had gotten him out for a cuddle on Monday evening and we noticed a small amount of blood in his urine so we booked an appointment at the vets expecting that he would have a UTI be put on a course of antibiotics and all would be good. The vet did an ultrasound and found he had a bladder stone. These are pretty bad news for a guinea pig at the best of times, but this one was very different. Rather than just being a small thing, this literally took up 98% of his bladder. After talking with the vet, we decided to operate as there was a pretty high chance of successfully removing the stone and recovery.
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    (SD card for scale)
    All the time he had that stone inside of his bladder, there was absolutely no outward sign of discomfort or pain and he was just Max. After operating his recovery started well, he showed signs of wanting to eat once the anaesthetic had worn of seemed quite bright given all that he had been through, what little vegies he was eating were being supplemented every 2 hours with some critical care (A complete nutrition slurry that keeps their digestive system going). He went back to the vets the next day and had a check-up and another painkiller injection. This night was the worst one, it seemed every time we looked in on him he would get worse and worse. Again back to the vets that morning. After talking to her for just under an hour we came to the decision to let Max go. He had fought hard and so had we, neither of us had had more than an hour or two of sleep in the previous days and we just couldn't watch him waste away in front of our eyes. There were a lot of tears as we both said our final goodbyes to him and Max drifted off to sleep one final time.

    He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten, this small little pig will always have the biggest place in my heart


  • Uiaad

    In Memory of Max

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    It's amazing how something so small can occupy so much of your heart, but that's exactly what Max did. A little under 5 years ago Max came into my life and he came into it at just the right time and has helped me through a lot. Every day I could always rely on his smiling face looking at me making me feel just that little bit better. He asked for so little but always gave so much, even when this last year he was battling through his own injury and sickness.
    He was an amazing animal and I know there will never be another one quite like him. He was truly one of a kind and I will always smile when thinking about him, see one of his pictures or videos.
    You may see just a guinea pig, but I see a true companion and friend and he will always live on in my heart and the hearts of those that he met.
    Max, little buddy, we will always miss you.
    Rest well.
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  • Uiaad

    GLaDOS 2014 - 2020

    So back in november 2014 I bought and built my main desktop PC - GLaDOS and tomorrow (or soon thereafter ) she will be powered off for the final time. She's never been the fastest or most stable rig i've ever owned but she has always gotten the job done, sometime even far out stripping my expectations of her.

    GLaDOS Specs ( Base>upgrade>upgrade*)

    4.2GHz AMD FX-4170 > AMD FX-9590
    Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 > Sabertooth 990fx r3.0
    32GB Transcend 1333MHz
    AMD ATI Radeon HD 7950 3GB > Nvidia GTX 790 > Nvidia RTX 2070
    Cooler Master Elite 430 > Phanteks Enthoo Pro
    Xigmatek Aegir Air CPU Cooler > Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R
    Things of note are, in her original case under the motherboard I had engraved the name Caroline - What can I say I'm a bit of a sucker for Portal :wub:

    So tomorrow when the new parts arrive, GLaDOS will be turned off one last time and placed away in the spares cupboard

    The Replacement :

    Intel Core i7 9700K 3.6 GHz (planning on overclocking)
    Gigabyte Z390 AORUS ELITE Motherboard
    Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 32GB 3600MHz
    Nvidia RTX 2070
    Phanteks Enthoo Pro
    Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R
    I don't have a confirmed name for the new system yet there are a few im considering
    • Ziggy
    • Marvin
    • Talkie
    • Homer
    • Guilty Spark
    • Johnny
    • Robbie
    If you have any more suggestion be sure to leave them bellow. I may narrow it down a little more and do a poll on the best name and let 'temp decide haha


    *Storage not included as changes pretty much yearly
  • Uiaad

    The curse gets worse ...

    So again, it's been a couple of weeks since I last did an update and again, I wish it was more of a happy one.

    So, on 29/6 I got rushed into hospital.

    Early Monday morning I was just going about my business before I crawled into bed for the night, I was finishing up watching some YouTube videos while actually working on a script for a YouTube video and I felt fine. I finished up what I was doing checked my blood sugars (6.5 mmol - Perfectly normal) and I crawled into bed and drifted off to sleep about 3:30am.

    An hour later I awoke to the most searing gut pain of my life. " oh god what have I eaten " was the first thing that ran through my head.

    I knew I was going to throw up but at this point I was just trying to put it off for as long as I could. So, I just lay there for a good 15 minutes just holding everything back. The time came where not only was did I know I was going to throw up but the other end needed some attention too. So, I threw back the bed covers and sat up. Mistake number 1. The room started spinning and sweat started pouring off me. But not the " boy I’m really hot " kind of sweat this was ice cold and flowed off me like a river. So, I stand up and lurch over to the bathroom and sit on the toilet, the world spinning around me and manage to get there completely out of breath just in time to catch all my bodily fluids which at this point were mostly blood.

    But not the nice bright red blood this stuff had been a round in my stomach/GI tract for a while and was virtually black. So with blood expelled, still completely out of breath I try and make it back to my bed. I say try to make it to my bed because I didn’t quite make it. Just as I made it into the room before out go the lights and collapse to the side of the bed.

    "Uiaad? are you ok" I hear as I start coming around

    " Yeah I’m fine, just fallen out of bed I’m fine " I have no idea why I said this even still. Only thing I can think of that I opened my eyes and saw the side of my bed and put 2 and 2 together and got 6. All I remember here is her almost screaming " no you haven’t no you haven’t!!!!"

    So, my wife helps me onto the bed and calls an ambulance - We get a rapid responder first who comes in with his kit and checks my blood sugars and they have jumped from 6.5 a couple of hours ago to 27. something and assumes that this is Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).

    Now when I was first diagnosed being diabetic, I did have DKA I had been walking around with blood sugars greater than 20 mmol and when I was admitted to hospital that time the initial measurement was 39.4 mmol - they had absolutely no idea how I was even awake let alone walking and talking. It's not something you forget the feeling of quickly and this was nothing like DKA apart from the high blood sugars. Eventually he takes my temperature (normal) pulse (raised) and blood pressure which is through the floor. You could see the look on his face change from " this is self-inflicted " to "holy shit this guy is on the edge" pillows were taken from behind my head and placed under my feet and a full ambulance called.


    So, I get taken though to Accident and Emergency (ER) where I spend the next 6/7 hours having my blood pressure, temp and blood sugars taken. Blood pressure was going up, temperature was staying the same as it wasn't an issue in the first place and sugars are coming down, but none of this was a surprise as I’m bring pumped full of IV liquids and Insulin. I also had the now famous covid test (cotton swab to the back of the nose) which isn’t as uncomfortable as people make it out to be so you know (came back negative). Now all the while I have been in A&E I have been laying, with my head lower than my heart to improve blood pressure. Well it's been a while now and I really need to pee so I find the controls for the bed and slowly tilt myself flat and everything is fine. So, I sit up and there goes the world again, spinning around me like the tea cups ride and I lay back down and things slowly go back to normal.


    Now if you know me, if there are one thing you take away very quickly is that if I can do something for myself, I will do it for myself and hate asking for help. So, I end up laying there for a good 15 minutes slowly working out how to take a pee, in the end I just cut my losses and press the call nurse button. She eventually brings me two of those card board bottles to pee in and I filled them both. Even she was a little amazed.


    Now since I hadn’t vomited or passed any more blood, I was taken to an isolation ward while they figured out what to do with me. They still weren't sure what was wrong with me at all. Although if they had listened to what medications I was on and connected the dots I probably would have been in and out.


    So now it's around 6pm and I’m in a private room on a ward having liquids being pumped in to me but nothing being done towards an actual diagnosis. Now in this room was nothing entertainment wise. Not a TV nor radio and all I had was a phone that was now on 20% battery being used to communicate with my wife when I could actually connect to the 4g or Wi-Fi network. So, I started to do what IT guys do best. I started to google. Bearing in mind that it's now 6 PM had been up since half 4 having gone to bed at half 3 and not having any of my regular pain killers since 10pm the previous night, Mr nice Uiaad is beginning to slowly disappear and be replaced with someone with no patience what so ever.


    After about 20 minutes of googling I strike gold. I mean this vain of gold stretches the whole length of the mountain. 2 weeks ago, I had been put on a new drug to go on top of my other pain killers. This drug is known to cause stomach ulcers/bleeding on its own, but when it was paired with the naproxen I was also on it was pretty much a certainty when not using something to also reduce the acidity of the stomach and protect it while you’re on it... which I wasn’t.


    So, I call a nurse and ask for some water and but before she leaves ask if I could talk with a Dr and she says that one should be around in a couple of minutes anyway

    So, I wait and he comes around


    " So whats going on?"

    " We think you have a gastro bug "

    " But would that really explain all the bleeding? " I turn on my phone and show him a couple of pages on the BNF (British National Formulary) and some docs from the Mayo Clinic

    " but you're not on Duloxetine or Naproxen "

    I just look at him blank "Ugghhh yes I do " I log in to the app that I use to order my repeat prescription and let him scroll though

    The colour starts to drain from his face as realisation comes

    " I gave the paramedics a hard copy of what I was on, A&E a hard copy of what I was on as well and telling countless dr's what I’m on and the doses. How the flying fuck is this news to you? "

    He was silent for a minute before saying " excuse me " and leaving the room. I was then very quickly given a couple of IV bags that mysteriously started making me feel better not long after that.


    At after this point not, a whole lot happened that would be considered interesting. After those two bags had run though and entered my system my blood pressure finally started coming back up and I was able to walk again and I’d arranged for my wife to bring me some clothes a charger and tablet. But she wasn’t allowed in because of covid and no one would take the stuff to me so I had to walk out IV hanger and all. And may whatever deity bless her she brought me vape too, so I hung around for 10 minutes outside before making my way back.


    After all of this I was taken to a private room in a geriatric ward, I’m 37 lol but I’m pretty sure they were just hedging their bets and it was the only place they could shove me out the way. I had a camera shoved both up and down me (I’ll let you use your imaginations) which found an ulcer in my stomach which caused the bleed but seemed to be healing pretty well. So now I have been taken off the duloxetine and naproxen and it left a big hole in the pain management strategy that my GP hasn’t been able to fill. oh! and I need to go back to the hospital in about 6 weeks to have another camera down to see how things are healing over.


    Anyway, thank you for listening to my TED talk, I have been Uiaad and as always questions and comments are welcome. Hopefully I will do something a little happier next time. I'm thinking perhaps a game review or something ... I have my eye on one or two games ...
    You, Seliph, MicmasH_W and 3 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    So it's been a while.

    So it's been a while since I've really been around. Hope you haven't missed me too much because i'm not back yet.

    There's been a lot going on and not much being done about it.
    if you have read my previous blog from may you will know i had a nerve block. Long story short here, it didn't work. In fact it seems to have made things worse.
    Given that i'm pretty much maxed out on all of my current painkillers there's just no more wiggle room to provide me with any more pain relief. This is where the problem began, i noticed that my mood was shifting to more towards the antagonistic end of the spectrum.
    This did start making an appearance here on temp and irl so i withdrew. I really didn't think it would be for quite so long.
    I've always been the type of person that isn't easily upset and when i do get upset, you will be the last person to know about it. I've always managed to manage my anger internally and usually its a flash in the pan it's over.
    A couple of weeks ago i was put on a new drug with the aim of reducing my pain. and all was well .. for a couple of weeks and it got in my system. Suddenly i would go in to blind rages over nothing and this could last for hours. i became so aggressive it wasn't funny and I couldn't see the changes until i caught myself in the middle of one of these rages an put two and two together. I stopped taking those tablets on saturday. Since sunday i've barely slept. Perhaps 2 or 3 hours at most down to how much pain im in.

    There was a different part her but it got a bit too much.But right now i really just don't know what to do anymore. There doesn't seem to a light tunnel anymore and it just seems that everything i do to try and get my self back on my feet ends with me in a worse place than where i started.

    TLDR :: No idea when i'll be back properly right now

    Take care guys
    You, MicmasH_W, alexander1970 and 1 other person like this.
  • Uiaad

    Apologies and warnings

    Greetings my fine furred guinea pig followers !

    First I want to give a quick apology for my post in the Horizon Zero Dawn thread yesterday and while i don't regret the meaning of my words it could have been put a little bit more eloquently. I was very much stressing about the small operation that i went through today. Which brings me on to the warnings.

    So today underwent a nerve block delivered by a guided injection into my nerves in my neck and the space where the disc lays. I actually had one of these along long time ago now or so it seems atleast and completely forgot what it was like. Initially once the right nerve had been find (and the needle was still in there it felt like the hole upper left side of my back and shoulder and throbbing and on fire, not just on fire but it felt like it was a supernova exploding there. Once the agents were injected it soon calmed down and my arm turned to ice and was pretty much numb for the next 8 hours. Trying to use my left arm was pretty much like playing surgery simulator I just had the broad strokes of moment and my arm felt lighter that it actually was so fun was had by all ... specially trying to pick up my ticket on the bus ... i missed twice ... but for now at least that has faded and has been replaced by the mother of all headaches.

    This is probably going to be cycling for the next couple of weeks while my body adjusts to the nerve block, So I am probably going to be just slightly more grumpy and antagonistic but I will do my best to try and keep this to an absolute minimum.

    But it is a bit of a relief to not have them all at once ... altho the numbness has been quite a while now as i found a moderate dose of Naproxen seemed to keep it at bay.

    Anyway if you have any questions or comments as usual i will do my best to try and answer them

    Next blog I'm kinda torn on what do do ... I'm tempted to finish the birth of the Amiga or do something about an old UK children's TV show or maybe it will just be something completely different
    You, alexander1970, IncredulousP and 4 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    A wild blog appears !!!!

    Just a quick blog today. I really am trying to do my best just to keep active and about at the moment and just have one or two things i'd like to talk about before I head off for the night.

    Firstly, after the 12th i may be a little more quiet than usual. Basically my appointment has come through for me to have a nerve block. This is a guided injection in my spine to more or less numb the surrounding nerves. This should reduce the pain I'm in but other symptoms will remain and its only a short term solution. It will wear off within about 9 months and with each injection i have it will last shorter and shorter. Hopefully they will be able to figure something out. Would be the 12 th tho wouldnt it ? 1 day after Ori and the will of the wisps is released :cry:

    I've been thinking alot lately about my early work on the original xbox scene, emulation and why i left public projects pretty much completely. Now im got gonna mention my previous names or projects I worked on but i just want to kinda put out there why i stopped in the first place.
    I always found working on that stuff quite fun and challenging. As a person im not me if i'm not working on something or other. And working on those sort of things, especially back then it really could be quite challenging. But then the project you are working on gets popular and it starts. "whens it out " "when's the next release ?" when when bloody when. I started at first just ignoring it. but as time wore on you couldn't sit in a chatroom without someone asking. so then you start banning them and some idiot gives out your email address and bam inbox full of just the one question. I just got sick of it. No matter where i went that one question was always there. It's not like i was doing this for fame or money, i was supposed to be doing it for fun and it just wasn't any more. So one day I just vanished. Every so often i will come across someone talking about me and it's always kinda strange " remember when XXX did this. whatever happened to him?" i just smile to myself and move on

    Anyway I'm gonna go and garb some sleep while i can ... next week could get a little challenging haha
    You, IncredulousP, RyuShinobi500 and 3 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake ( Rant Warning)

    Final Fantasy 7 holds a special place in people's hearts, especially Europeans as it was their first* Final Fantasy. It came along at the a time when we were moving away from sprite based games and into the realms of polygons. At the time it had everything you wanted in an RPG, wonderful graphics, a fabulous story and amazing music. Back in the day it was rare to hear a bad word said about it. Back in the day of the PS2 there were even whispers on the wind of a FF7 remake. Fans have wanted it for such a long time now. It was inevitable that one day it would come to, Square Enix would mad not to, but, and this is a big but, they absolutely had to get it right.

    I see people asking " why not 8 " or "why not 9" And the answer to that is that they probably will in time, but Final Fantasy 7 was one of the games that defined the Playstation and cemented Sony as a serious player in the console market. Had the N64 been CD based maybe all this would have been a very different story.

    Square Enix knew they had a mammoth task in front of them as well as appeasing old fans of Final Fantasy 7 they needed to draw new fans in to the fold and to try and recapture the magic of the original. Have they been successful in doing this? Well I guess we are going to have to wait until April 10th to find out, but in my opinion they are certainly on the right track based on everything I have seen and read since it was announced. A lot of people seem to criticize Square Enix for making the game 'Episodic' to that I say a couple of things. When it was announced I think episodic was perhaps was a poor choice of words or if not said officially ( I honestly cannot remember) it was misconstrued what was meant (possibly by pundits trying to generate more click for their content). Final Fantasy 7 on it's own is a big game. You can easily sink 80 hours in to it and not see or experience everything and lets not forget the other games and media in the Final Fantasy 7 compilation.* To stand any chance of doing the source any justice at all, it had to be split up into parts. There is no escaping given what leaps in technology we have seen in gaming since the initial release and Square Enix wanting to not only remain true to the original, but expanding it, adding content back into the game that had to be cut either for technical or time constraints.

    Another comment I see a lot is " oh its not turn based" to them I say it's 2020 and while I'm not saying that turn based games have no place in 2020,I love to play turn based games on a regular basis, but we have come along way since 1997. Back then it was all technical limitations and sticking to broadly what had come before with previous entries and introducing new system and elements. If you don't enjoy the more action focused gameplay then hey, they have a turn based mode just for you and if that still isn't enough you can just head on over to steam and pick up a copy of the Remaster of Final Fantasy 7* Throw the Remako mod on it maybe a add a character model/texture mod for good measure maybe one of the retranslation patches .

    No one is going to force you to buy and play the Remake. If your not sure what to expect the wait. Wait for the reviews to come out or the price to drop. Yes I agree that timed exclusivity is a silly practice but as gamers we shoulder much worse practices in the industry*.

    What I'm trying to say at the end of all this is games are meant to be enjoyed. I'm if Square Enix really wanted to fleece us they would have just shoehorned microtransactions or loot boxes in à la EA. They really want, No have to get this right. A game this high priority failing could easily spell the end of Square Enix, at least as we know them today. It's not just a game, it's their reputation, their future and their legacy.

    Do I agree with a lot of the YouTubers out there that FF7R is gonna be a 10/10? No not in the slightest, mainly because as I have said in the past I don't think any game should be able to attain 10/10 ( And i feel scoring games like this is rather arbitrary ). The thing to remember about YouTube is that you if you over hype something or run it into the ground your gonna get more clicks. And more clicks means more money. It's in their interest to form strong opinions even just outwardly for clicks. The demo for me is pretty solid and like any other game has its flaws, for example, i found myself wrestling with the controller trying to find the correct button to issue a command, this tho is probably a me problem more than the game. The battle with the guard scorpion seemed a little grindy. It was more of a war of attrition than having to plan and attack, but then again this is very early game where you haven't got many options in terms of magic, summons and abilities.

    Just don't be down on a game because it is different. Yes its not the same style Final Fantasy as it was 24 years ago, but hey, its not 1996. If we just play the same old things over and over our tastes are never going to evolve. It's a lot like when you are a kid and hate certain foods and love others. Now when i was a kid I loved white chocolate ( IT IS NOT CHOCOLATE!!!) and hated many vegetables but as i have grown my pallet has changed and I utterly detest white chocolate and find a lot of veggies (barring brussel sprouts and asparagus ) quite acceptable. Now i'm not gonna force anyone to play anything i like to prove a point but just give it a chance. If you don't like it you don't like it say you don't like it and move along. Don't go spitting half chewed veggies in my face because you think I shouldn't like it

    Regardless on how things end up, the original game will always be special for me and its not going anywhere, If i want to go back and play the original just as I remembered it, i can. Final Fantasy 7 really did come at a time where everything was changing for me. Technoclogy was changing, the world was changing, I was changing and it will always be one of those games along with Breath of Fire 3, Suikoden, Suikoden 2 that i will always remember and hold close to my heart. Mainly because they were there for me when people weren't . Hopefully the remake will bring the world I once adventured across, alive once again and it will become a favorite too.


    * We did get Mystic Quest but without the FF branding associated with it, and well Mystic Quest ( tho i actually like the game for what it is )
    * Before Crisis (jp only), Crisis Core, Advent Children, Dirge of cerberus and On a way to a smile (book)
    * I personally thought this was a bit of a missed opportunity to do a little more work on FF7 maybe tidy up the graphics a little more and do a few nips and tucks to the translation
    * I'm looking at you Microtransactions and loot boxes in full priced games
  • Uiaad

    happy birthday ...

    ... keyboard
    [​IMG]

    1 year old today !


    For a relatively cheap keyboard this is fantastic.
    Good array of lighting options, great sounding and great tactile feedback on the keys.
    Could not really ask for more to be honest
    You, IncredulousP, plasturion and 4 others like this.
  • Uiaad

    Amiga 1200 Update

    o I felt that I should get this update done so you know where the Amiga is right now and what still needs to be done, I will try and keep everything in the order that it happened tho one or two things may get moved around a little due to my bad memory. :D


    The very first thing I had to sort out was power. At this point I didn't know if the machine had any signs of life. Now the Amiga needs 3 power rails. +12, -12, and 5 Volts great I thought, and I headed off to eBay and ordered a switch mode power supply for £12 from China. The next problem is the connector. You see the Amiga range uses a proprietary square 5 pin din connector. So off to the interwebs I went. I quickly found that there is 1 person still producing these connectors .... great! not so great was the price of getting it to me. The connector itself cost only £8 but shipping was another £16 and I wasn't about to spend £24 for a connector. Another Option would have been to Change it to a round pin din connector whats 100% compatible with the connectors on the motherboard. It would have required desoldering the current connector and soldering in a new one. It would have been a pretty cheap and easy job to do, but would have ended up in a non-standard amiga. Another option at least for testing would have just to have been to solder the connections directly to the testing points. Again, this would have would have been non-standard but it would have bought me some time while I found an alternative. but in the end, I managed to find someone selling a broken amiga 500 power supply which I figured I could either completely repair or just use the connector from. The power supply inside had been butchered beyond all repair when I got it. looked like someone had just been poking around with a soldering iron. but I had the connector and the power supply on the way do time to play the waiting game. I would have preferred hungry hungry hippos but beggars can't be choosers


    Then a package arrived. I wasn't expecting it but it turned up. I opened it and in there was a modern Amiga power supply and there was an invoice too for a second I thought that maybe I had started sleepwalking again and had ordered one ... then I looked at the name on the invoice ... it was SweetieLover70 again! This was a 60 Euro power supply, so after thanking him over and over again and chewing him out I did what needed to be done and plugged it in, plugged in the comp video and I held my breath ...


    ... it booted, not only to the insert disk screen but to the Amiga OS* GREAT! mission accomplished right? Nope we are just getting started!
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    Next, I needed a mouse. I could just about remember how to get around Amiga OS using keyboard shortcuts but it’s no replacement for a good old mouse. Sadly, those on eBay you were looking at a good £25 - 40 for a classic tank style mouse or even 3rd party mice. I knew the pinouts of the DB9 and did consider making my own for a couple of days and was just about to start the design when I came across a person selling a db9 to PS2 adapter great! only £12 too ordered it hooked in a ps2 mouse and way I went. At this point I had a quick look around the hard drive there was the usual suspects a couple of games but most of it was office and multimedia software ... and a new problem appeared! A lot of the software on there was in German and the machine had been expanded with an Accelerator card but was missing the ram.


    And this is where things sat for a while. My understanding of German being rather basic (despite the GCSE in the subject) I could navigate the menus but that was about it and the lack of ram meant that I couldn't boot much. I did acquire a known working floppy from eBay for £1 it was a demo disc and the floppy drive after a bit of encouragement did boot.

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    It was at this point I started putting floppies from my collection in to the drive ... the results were not great. but what can you expect from 20 year old floppy disks ? I did open a couple of the disks up and looked to be either damaged or had stuff growing on them - so I just threw them away - It's a shame but there is still a little bit of hope of seeing some of my cracktros ... but that is for another blog.


    Not long after checking the disks I attempted to boot from the HD again and I got the dreaded click of death. Damn - Oh well at least the ram isn't a pressing issue any more - I still have hope of fixing this drive one day but need a 44 pin IDE to usb /sata but again this is something for much further down the line.


    So now I needed to replace the hard drive. This wasn't a big problem. I had 2 choices I could go with a compact flash adapter or I could go with an IDE to SD card adapter. After much umming and ahhing I chose to go with the SD card. Writing data isn’t going to be a major thing long term and the media is much cheaper and easier to find. I ordered the Adapter from Amiga kit (along with the RGB scart cable for a better picture) and began to make me an amiga image.


    Oh boy is this the fun part. I ended up reading so many tutorials about getting Amiga OS 3.1 on a large hard drive. The problem is the largest natively the Amiga uses a very different file system from FAT32 or NTFS supported a max of 4gb partitions (FastFileSystem). Now there are newer file systems that have been developed like PFS but the kickstart rom still know how to handle them. Now I could have just upgraded the kickstarts to 3.1.4, but at £40 for just the licence that just wasn't on the cards. WinUAE is really my saviour here as it allowed me to play around and get things set up and create an image that the amiga could use. After 3 long weeks of relearning how the amiga worked I had an image that booted. The boot partition was small (100mb) and loaded Amiga OS then have the other partitions as PFS ... this worked but caused more problems. Without a long and lengthy explanation, the solution what ended up happening, how things now work is that the amiga starts loading but gets to a point where it loads the drivers for PFS then resets keeping the drivers resident in memory and reboots and loads in to the OS. The big problem is when booted and loaded I’m left with 88kb of ram to play with from 2mb :/ I could barely open preferences let alone run a file manager or game

    I eventually managed to source some ram (not from fleabay this time) and ended up with 16 MB + 2mb on board chip ram. With this done I headed back to Emu for the next stage – Games. The problem with having an accelerated Amiga is just that, its accelerated. Playing games from floppy disks can be a bit hit and miss due to this.

    The Amiga architecture is built on accurate timings and introducing an accelerator board messes with this precision. Thankfully the internet has us covered with WHDload. Hard drives in the past weren’t uncommon but not common enough for a lot of developers to add installers or the installers don’t work with newer versions of Amiga OS. WHDload was created to fill this void. While not a single loader, it’s a series of specifically tailored installers that allow games to run from a hard penis drive. A lot of work has gone in to it over the years and while it doesn’t cover all games it covers a huge library of games from the 500 through to the CD32 and CDTV. And then I realised there are some games that I wanted to play again that haven’t got WHDload installers because they are PD games.

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    Enter the Gotek Floppy emulator. I actually managed to snag one from fleabay for £10. It was “broken” but that’s because a flash of the Flash Floppy firmware failed and the guy didn’t know how to fix it – it was literally a 10-minute fix. Gotek Floppy Emulator if you’re not familiar with it is a replacement for the floppy drive that you can use a usb stick to load floppy disk images (ADF). The problem with with it is – It replaces the floppy drive :/ well that’s not the problem it’s that the interface, screen and two buttons are just inside where you would put in a floppy disk. This problem I fixed by moving the screen to the top of the Amiga and installing a rotary encoder to select the disk image. But it looked a real mess so I had a friend print me up a small enclosure for them for me trading the secrets of my dark art of making amiga images.



    Whew!! I think that’s about it for what's happened so far … and now on to what I still need to do


    Most important thing that needs doing is that it needs to be recapped. It’s a 30-year-old machine now and i've noticed that there are one or two graphical problems that are hard to explain but is definitely caused by a bad cap or two. Sadly, this isn’t something I can do for myself at the moment as I don’t have a hot air workstation at the moment. So, at some point in the not too distant future I will need to send him away to be recapped. It’s not really that expensive although if I had the equipment it would have cost me at most £15. However not having the equipment raises it to around £40 or so.

    For this next one I need you to settle down and put away you pitchforks… I will be painting this Amiga. The main case will be a metallic red and the keys black with new decals applied. It will also get a new silver coloured metal case badge and the embossed Amiga logo will be painted white. This will be done sometime in the summer when I can leave things outside.

    I will also eventually get a PCMCIA ethernet card so i can transfer files backwards and forwards a little easier especially since im planning on a couple of amiga projects

    And of course, I’m still looking for a good quality Joystick, preferably a Zipstick or Competition pro but really any good quality micro switched Joystick will do.


    And that’s about it. When its penised and recapped that will be the amiga complete. I mean there are a few minor things like case screws that I need to replace but that is so minor its barely worth mentioning.


    For my next blog I think I will be doing something different and getting away from Commodore C= for a while. if you have any suggestions let me know ! As always if you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can



    * I use Amiga OS rather than Workbench - as it’s like calling Windows 10 Desktop. Workbench is the metaphor the interface rather than its actual name. Although it was very very common back in the day to call it that it seems it’s no longer acceptable :rolleyes:
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  • Uiaad

    Commodore : The final years

    Commodore made some fabulous music and Lionel Richie should be very proud machines. The PET, VIC-20, C64, Amiga*, but one of their major problems is that they couldn't learn from their mistakes. Today we will be focusing on the later end of the timeline where quality control and thought in products had been thrown out and replaced with anything that could generate money as quickly as possible with the smallest amount of effort.


    Part 1: Standing on the shoulders of giants

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    The Commodore 64 GS (Game System)


    What is it?: It's an 8 bit games 'console' based on the popular C64 computer.
    Release date: 1990
    Format: Cartridge



    Now when I say based on, I mean it IS a C64 with no keyboard and no ability to hook up a tape or disc drive. This is where the fun begins. As we all know a console is only as good as the games that it comes with. One of the ‘killer games’ of the time for the C64 was Terminator 2 and to this day still a pretty big deal for the C64. But the problem is it was also released for the GS. How is that a problem you ask? Well lazy developers/publishers is the answer, as you couldn’t actually play the game on the GS as it was a direct port from the C64 with no changes and this game requires you to press 1 to start so you couldn't play it as you needed to use a keyboard get past the title screen. Also, the games cost £40 and there weren't many specially coded games for the system, just the same games you could buy on tape for 7.99(or less by this time) on tape repackaged on a cartridge and flogged for 40 notes. It's also important to note this is the same year that the SNES was released in Japan! Needless to say, it completely bombed most of those bought were returned to Commodore and they were turned back into C64s




    Part 2 : Second verse same as the first

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    CDTV (Commodore Dynamic Total Vision)



    What is it?: In Commodore's own words it’s a home multimedia entertainment and video games system.
    Release Date: 1991
    Format: Compact Disc




    Having not learned a single thing from the C64 GS, Commodore unveiled the CDTV. It's an Amiga 500 with a CD-ROM drive and no floppy drive or keyboard. This machine was a probably responsible partly for the CDI and “home multimedia” explosion and faired just about as well. Although the machine was built on solid hardware sadly the market for a multimedia system was just not there at this point. We lacked the experience and the technology to truly drive multimedia revolution at this point. No one was quite sure where this would fit in in the home. Does it belong in the office or the living room? Is it something for the business person or the family? They just didn't know and no one at the time knew so they attempted to cater to everyone and no one was pleased.
    Another problem with the system is that although solid, the Amiga 500 was discontinued and obsolete. Many people still loved the hardware but why would they drop ££499 ($999 in the USA) for essentially a A500 with a CD ROM drive and few original titles that used the CDROM?
    Like the GS, the CDTV's library was mostly comprised of software already available to the Amiga 500 with some straight ports, while some offered some slightly better graphics and sound. The remainder were just crapware and educational titles.
    A floppy drive and keyboard were also available for CDTV to turn it in to what equated to a A500+ but that came with problems too. The 500+ changed a few things including the OS (aka Kickstart ROMS) and moving from OCS (Original Chip Set) to ECS (Enhanced Chip Set). This created quite a lot of incompatibilities with some older games which would just end up crashing ( This was an issue for all later Amigas had ) but there was a solution at hand you could downgrade your Temporarily using the ReloKick - This software loaded in the old version of the Kickstart rom in to memory, allowing the running of games that were incompatible with the new version.
    During the time that these machines were sold, Commodore actually wanted to distance themselves from the Amiga branding and pushed for them to be displayed away from the 'computer' sections of stores. Which really didn’t help matters and just pushed people away from buying the system as most stores who would bow down to commodores demands ended up with the system at the back of the store with HiFi equipment and hidden from public gaze




    Part 3: The final nail

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    Commodore Amiga CD32


    What is it?: It's a 32-bit CD based games console
    Release date: 1993
    Format: Compact Disc



    Before we dive in to the main bulk of this this is something we need to get out the way first. A lot of people attribute this as the first 32-bit CD based games system. Sadly, this is only a half truth. In fact, the first 32-bit CD based games system has to the FM Towns Marty**, but that was never released in the west so, the CD32 can proudly say it was the 32-bit CD based games system in the west.
    Like the CDTV and C64 GS, the CD32 is essentially an Amiga 1200 in a new form factor with a CD ROM drive. It suffered from exactly the same problems as the previous machines. The games were quick ports of existing Amiga games, usually with CD soundtracks and some FMV thrown in for good measure. This time it wasn’t as simple as connecting a CD drive to the Amiga 1200. With a little time though ways were found around this by emulating the Akiko Chip, but an add-on CD drive was in development which included a breakout board which fitted in the trapdoor of the Amiga 1200 with an Akiko chip. Only 2 of the drives are still known to exist, but sadly the expansion board has been lost to time.
    The CD32 was actually quite successful in the UK initially. With over 50% of CDROM market belonging to Commodore, beating out both the Sega MEGA CD and the PC-CD ROM markets. To further this, a hardware add on was released that allowed the playback of MPEG video, turning the CD32 into a VCD playback machine.
    The CD32 was also used to run interactive museum exhibits at the London Transport Museum as well as being used in arcade machines (9 original games are known to exist).
    But this is where things soured for Commodore. Although the CD32 had been released in the Canada and promised to be released in the USA in 1994 there was a problem. Commodore had lost a lawsuit and it was time to pay up. Sadly, at this point they simply didn’t have the funds to do so. A Federal judge placed an injunction against Commodore forbidding them from importing anything in the United States and with their consoles being produced in the Philippines they only had one option. The blindfold was put on and the last cigarette was smoked, Commodore filed for bankruptcy and that was that.



    Part 4 : The funeral


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    Something went on for a while after and now has be calved up and sold to the highest bidder but has yet to rise from its grave in any meaningful way. The sad fact is by 1990 Commodore was done. Most of its talented engineers had jumped ship and left for pastures new. The finances were in a bad shape and commodore bosses just didn't know which way to turn. Given the choices of creating something new, squeeze out the C65 prototype with few engineers who really knew what they were doing and having very limited resources or trying to new life out of old systems for less and find.
    It’s funny to think the end of Commodore International could have sparked a new beginning for Commodore UK with David Pleasance at the helm trying to save at least the Amiga brand with at least 2 products that could have revolutionised and complimented the current range of Amigas. But sadly, his attempts were met with a lot of backstabbing from former Commodore International staff which led not only to the demise of both the Commodore and Amiga brands but the demise of a Chinese manufacturing company.
    It is important to say that there really is no one reason why Commodore failed, there are a lot of factors to consider. Things are rarely black and white as to why they go the way they do. What I have briefly outlined here is just a few of the events that led up to their demise from the customer's perspective. I've never really delved much into the business side, who knows maybe I will one day but I’m not really a business guy. I imaging given the characters involved there was a lot of greed, backstabbing and betrayal.





    As always please feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer. My next blog will probably end up being an update on how I’m getting on with my Amiga 1200, what's been happening with it and how close it is to being fully functioning again. Not gonna lie there have been a couple of roadblocks on this and a couple of crappy ebay sellers.





    *The Original Amiga wasn't actually developed by Commodore, but by Amiga Incorporated (Formerly Hi-Toro ) a bunch of ex-atari and activision staff that wanted to make a games console that would blow our minds - which they did, with Commodore's help do but this is a story for another day and also the story of how it was almost the Atari Amiga.

    ** This one of those Atari Jaguar moments which sees this topic even today be argued about (what can I say Commodore Fanboys do still exist haha) but the CD32's 68EC020 is 32-bit both internally and externally. Whereas the 386SX in the FM Towns Marty is only 32-bit internally with 16-bit bus externally. In my opinion this is rather nit-picky but important to note all the same
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  • Uiaad

    A GBAtemp Mystery

    Before I start I would just like to say a big thank you to whoever has done this and it has to be one of you guys and I just don't know who.

    So as you may have noticed I've been more than a little quiet around here of late. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff both physically and mentally and struggling to come to terms with what's been going on. A long story very very short I've been told that there is nothing currently they can do for me medically long term. This means I will probably never be able to return to work or lead a 'normal' life. Just typing that has me tears again, somehow making it feel more real. Short term there is the option of having a nerve block, this is an injection in the spine around the affected area that will numb the nerve but the more of them I have the less effective they become and shorter they last.

    To be honest I feel completely lost as to what to do with my life, but this isn't why I'm here today.

    So this morning I woke up and checked my emails as normal, just making sure there is nothing that needed my attention urgently and i was greeted with this :
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    Ok I thought, and I followed the link ( after checking for phishing ) and I was dumped to Ko-fi page, i was expecting to see that someone had given me the default £3 nope.
    They had donated £103
    I sat there for a moment wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me. Nope £103.
    To say I am shocked at this is an understatement.

    Now I set up My Ko-fi page for youtube/twitch but never published the link there because lately, I just haven't been in the frame of mind to have made any videos/streams and the only place I have a link to my page is in my signature here, which I added more for symmetry of the signature than the hope of anyone actually using it.

    This really couldn't have come at a better time. Not for me but for my guinea pig Max. Recently we noticed he was dragging his back legs around the cage rather than actually using them to walk. It turns out that he has managed to injure his back leg so its easier for him to drag both of his legs around rather than try and walk on 3 legs, he has been given painkillers for the next couple of months while it heals up and is also being given daily extra vitamin C and calcium. But while we were at the vets he did a full check up on him and found that his back teeth had grown over the back of his mouth ( ill spare you the pictures of what this looks like ) but that would eventually stop him from eating. This means that they will need have a small operation to have the teeth clipped back and filed down, this has its risks he's a small animal and they dont do with sedatives and anesthetics, but it's better to take the risk now while his is still strong and still eating than to wait till he's stopped and is a lot weaker. He was booked in regardless for the operation for tuesday It was going to have been a huge financial struggle to find the money to pay for it but now it's been taken care of.

    There just aren't the words to say how thankful I am to whichever one of you donated that money. It really does mean a lot. I really would like to thank whichever one of you it was properly. If you don't want to come forward publicly please PM me because I really would like to thank you personally.
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