Archive forDecember, 2008

Building a virtual server.

The first thing you’ll want to have is a program to run all your virtual machines. I use a free program from Microsoft called “Virtual PC.” There is another popular program called VMware that you might like. I will use Virtual PC in my example as I am more familiar with it. Virtual PC started as a program for linux/Mac for running Windows and other virtual machines without having to restart your computer. It’s a neat tool for many reasons. You can run as many virtual machines as you want on your system, as long as your system can handle it.

Let’s get started. You’ve downloaded and installed the latest Virtual PC version. When you start Virtual PC for the first time, you’ll be looking at a screen similar to this, minus the VMCs I have currently set up:

Virtual PC Console Image

Clinking new will bring you to the “New Virtual Machine Wizard.” The following steps will show you how to set up a virtual machine.

 

  1. Click Next.
  2. Select “Create a Virtual Machine” and click Next.
  3. Create a name for you new virtual machine and click Next.
  4. In the “Operating System” drop down menu, select “Other” and click Next.
  5. Select “Adjust the RAM” and enter the desired amount of RAM into the RAM settings. (I recommend at least 512, but make sure you still have enough RAM for your system to run. Click Next.
  6. Select “A new virtual hard disk” and click Next.
  7. Select how big you want your virtual hard disk to be (I suggest about 10GB for an Ubuntu install, but you might need more depending on what you are wanting to do with Linux).  Pick a name and location for you virtual hard disk and click Next.
  8. Click Finish and you’ve just set up your virtual machine.
Now you need to set up a network adapter for your virtual machine to use. I suggest using the Microsoft Loopback Adapter. It is pretty easy to configure. 
There’s one thing I need to go over before you start using the loopback adapter. First off, the loopback adapter is defaulted to use the IP ’192.168.0.1′. You need to set your router’s ip address to something like ’192.168.1.1′.  This will still allow the Loopback adapter to assign ’192.168.0.1′ and not interfere with your router.
  1. On the host computer, open “Control Panel
  2. Open “Add Hardware
  3. Click Next in the add hardware wizard.
  4. Select “Install the hardware manually selected from a list (advanced)
  5. Scroll down, select “Network adapters” and click Next.
  6. Scroll down, select “Microsoft” from the “Manufacturers” list, select “Microsoft Loopback Adapter” from the “Network Adapter” list and click Next.
  7. Click Finish and you’re down with the first part.
Now that you have your loopback adapter installed, you need to share your computer’s internet connection with the adapter.
  1. Open “Network Connections” (In XP, Network connections can be found in the control panel. In Vista, type ncpa.cpl into the start menu’s search box).
  2. Right click the connection you use to connect to the internet (not the loopback adapter) and click “Properties
  3. Click the “Advanced” tab
  4. Check the option “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet Connection
  5. If you have more than one network adapter, you’ll need to specify which adapter you want to share you connection with. Select the “Loopback Adapter
  6. Click Ok and your virtual server’s network adapter is set up.
Now that we have our network adapter setup, we have to tell our virtual server what network to use.
  1. Open “Virtual Server 2007“.
  2. Select your newly created virtual server and click “Settings“.
  3. Click “Networking” in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, make sure “Microsoft Loopback Adapter” is selected as the adapter.
  5. Click “Ok
Once you have an OS installed on your virtual machine, you’ll need to set the virtual machine’s DNS address to whatever your router IP address is set up to. In my example, I used ’192.168.1.1′.

Tomorrow, I will show you how to install the newest version of Ubuntu on your newly created virtual machine! Enjoy!

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Hak5 review.

I don’t think I’ve done a website review before, but I want to send some props out to the people at Hak5. The people over at Hak5 have put together a nice little episode based show to deliver helpful hints, apps, and anything else you would need for your hacking needs.

I still remember the first time I watched these guys. It was my junior year in high school. I was taking my first computer programming class. I was trying to look up how code a doubly linked list and I stumbled upon Hak5. Don’t ask me how I got there. I watched an episode and instantly fell in love. These guys give practical hacks for you computer to make your computing experience less of a hassle. Each episode is only 45 minutes long. If you can spare 45 minutes a week, I would highly recommending watching the latest episode.

If you guys like their material, make sure to subscribe to their podcast or RSS feeds. You can find a link on their website’s nav bar.

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How to be an expert Left 4 Dead player.

Dealing with Friendly Fire

Some friendly tips to avoid friendly fire:
1. Don’t walk in front of people. Especially if they have a hunting rifle or a shotgun.
2. Walk. Who’s in a hurry guys.
3. If you are in front of people, crouch so they can fire over you.
4. Avoid using shotguns when you are behind people (unless you know what you’re doing).
5. Don’t stand on top of people. When you stand on top of someone, either you or the person you are standing on will involuntarily move. This could cause a team fire.

It’s not about kill count guys. It’s about getting to the end with everyone alive.

It’s not hard to be a good team player, you just need to pay attention.

Dealing with witches

Witches are not that hard to beat on any difficulty guys. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Option one:
Have everyone stand very far back from the witch. One person should attack the witch. Once the witch gets up, everyone unload on her. She only has 1000 HP. A few good hits will kill her without any effort.

Option two:
Have one person with the shotgun (auto shotgun preferably) sneak behind the witch. Move up as close as you can and and then shoot her in the face when she turns her face at you. This is how you get the one shot kill on the witch.

Option three:
Sneak by the witch. Most of the time, the witch will be out of your way. Just move around her with your flashlight off. Stay as far away from her as you can. If she looks up, just back up and wait for her to calm down. You might have to go by her one at a time.

If you want practice killing witches, you should run single player on no mercy. On the first part of the movie, just spawn a witch on the roof where you start. You can practice all you want up there without having to worry about hunter, smokers, etc. to spawn a witch, open the console and type “z_spawn witch.” You might need “sv_cheats 1″ set. I’m not 100% sure.

As a little side not, you CAN burn witches (ok, how many of you thought about, “Monty Python’s: The Holy Grail?”), but I wouldn’t unless you are using option one for killing the witch. She dies fast enough that you shouldn’t have to waste a molotov on her.

How to deal with the tank

Tank are a big deal on expert. They have tons of hit points and nasty left jab. One hit from him will send you straight down (after being thrown across the room). There’s two ways I prefer to kill the tank. There’s just two little notes about the tank. His speed is increased as the difficulty goes up. I’m pretty sure anyways. I normally do expert. I ran an easy campaign earlier with some friends and noticed the tank moved to almost a crawl (compared to how fast he was before)!

Option one: (Hard)
People always say to run away from the tank. That’s not always the best idea. When you run away firing, he’ll throw boulders at you. He pretty much hits every time. He has the hacks on. Avoid jumping when he is about to throw. If you jump, you can’t move out of the way of the boulder if he does end up throwing one at you. The best way to avoid a boulder is to jump AFTER he throws the boulder. Once you’ve mastered the art of evading, you can shoot him while evading to kill him over the course of about a minute. Shotguns are great to use on him if you can get close. The 5x damage multiplier is real nice when in close range. This would be the weapon of choice, next to the rifle. The hunting rifle does not do too much damage to him, but it’s decent at damage if you can get a clip or two into him.

When using option one, make sure to use cover to your advantage. Walls, poles. etc. Cover if your friend. Make him climb to get to you. That will give you a few seconds to unload on him. When he does finally climb up, just run, reload, find a new spot to attack him and repeat the process.

Option two: (Medium)
If you can manage to light the tank on fire, just run away from him. On expert, he will live for 45 seconds after being lit. Don’t worry about hitting him. It won’t make him die faster. When he is lit up, it starts a timer. It’s shorter for the easier difficulties. I’m not 100% sure what the timers are though. All you have to do, is run and not get hit using this method. It’s the easiest way to kill him, but it can suck if you get a spawn, or get caught by a smoker/ hunter.

Dealing with swarms

The mobs can do a lot of damage very fast if you don’t know how to handle the attacks. First off, don’t try to advance when a swarm is attacking. Just sit in a corner and melee. That’s the trick to swarms. Sit in a corner, or a protected doorway and melee. You won’t take any damage and you’ll fight off the swarm all the time. This seems to be the big thing for most people. They see a swarm and think they need to kill everything as it’s coming in. Don’t be in a hurry. Open areas are what kill you. When you hear a swarm coming, get next to a wall. When you are in the open, you have a full 360 degrees you need to cover. Missing on zombie means 20 damage. If you put your back to a wall, corner, or hide in a doorway, you reduce the amount of area you have to clear by over half. That makes it a lot easier to stay alive. When you guys are clumped up, it’s even easier to fight off the swarms.

Hunters

Hunters are not the tough to deal with. I think you guys pretty much know what to do here. Just make sure you get hunters off your party members fast. Just melee them once. This will cause him to stagger away, giving you enough time to put a few bullets into him.

Boomers

If you can kill the boomer before he gets to you, that’s wonderful. If not, you’ll have to make sure and melee him away from your party members before killing him. If you kill him too close and he explodes on you, or if he spits on you, don’t panic. Just get in a corner on use your swarm tactics. The other players need to get in front of him and melee and shoot the zombies that are coming in.

Smokers

Smokers can either be very easy, or very hard. It all depends on the situation. There’s not much I can say here other than help your party members. If you see a smoker grab him, melee the caught party member. This will free him. When you are caught, you can escape if you melee fast enough. You will hit the tongue off you. This is kind of hard to time when you first try it. Once you get it down, you can avoid most smoker holds. Don’t always go for the smoker. You might team fire. Get your teammate off the smoker, then worry about him. Just use some judgment is all I can say.

I hope some of this helps you guys enjoy L4D more. This is a great game!

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It’s been a while!

Wow it’s been a while since I posted a blog! You’d think I would want to use the web space I have a little more. Whenever I have a want to blog, I am usually driving, or with a certain beautiful someone. I’ll be driving and have these weird, off the wall thoughts. By the time I get home, or to a computer, the thought is gone. I should really write my thoughts down for a week. Maybe I shouldn’t actually. I think I might scare some people! It’s not that I think of evil things all the time, it’s more over that you would be scared that I think about that kind of thing. I was walking to the Library the other night and I thought to myself, “Whose cruel idea was it to have an ‘s’ in lisp?” Then I start thinking about the universe. How big is infinity? Think about it. Can you imagine infinity?

Anyway, let’s get on with the blog. I just found a really nice 4 CD music set that I am very interested in. It’s called “Classic In Modern. 1000% The Best of the Best Music Collection.” The CD has various artists playing classical pieces with a modern feel to it. One of my favorite tunes on the CD is ” La Dance Du Sable” (Sabre Dance). This particular arrangement is nice because it has the bass line of an 80′s rock song with a guitar melody and a trumpet as a counter melody. Then out of left field comes these majestic sound bells. Ass odd as it sounds, the song is very tasteful. Maybe if I can my music player up and running, I can put it up on my website. When I stopped working on it, I was pretty much done. All I need to do was actually tweak the data structure for the XML. I wanted to support playlists a little better, but I didn’t setup playlists in my original design. I had to recode half the file. I also need to look into the legalities of this. I’m not sure if it’s legal to put music on my website. I don’t make money off this site, I have the files secure so people can’t download them, but I’m not sure if the fair use policy will cover me in this case.

I’ve been tinkering around with Vista over the last few weeks. I have to say, I love Vista more and more every day. I likes Vista when it first came out of the box. There were a few bugs, but nothing that I really cared about. All my software worked, and my hardware was all up to par. I know a lot of people don’t like Vista, but it is really nice to use if you have a system that can support it. Windows 7 looks to be promising too. It’s going to have the look of Vista without all the DRM that slows Vista down. DRM only hurts those who use the programs legally. The people who pirate software do pirate software. You’ll never stop that. Why make everyone else pay? It’s like with Apple and the iPod. I don’t want to use iTunes to manage my iPod. I hate iTunes. I am more of a Windows Media Player Guy. Mostly because I have an external drive that I have all my music on.

I only put a few albums on my laptop because I don’t have a huge drive on here. I only put a 100GB drive in here when I built this because I wanted the 7.2k RPM drive. I could have slapped in a 200 GB drive, but would have been cut to a 5.4k RPM drive. For the most part, 100 GB is plenty. I just have to watch what I put on here. Right now, I am up to 70 GB used, so I need to do some major cleanup. I usually try to keep at least 50% of my drive free.

Anyway, I use WMP because I can browse my music by folders, so I can browse what’s currently on my computer, or I can browse what’s on my external when I have it plugged in. In iTunes, you would just see a master list of all the songs I have associated with iTunes. With an iPod, I have to use iTunes to upload music. You can’t just transfer the files onto the iPod like you can with a Zune. When you plug a Zune into your computer, you can open the Zune like a flash drive and copy music to the device. Simple and fast. Apple just has to make everything difficult. What a bunch of jerks! Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple. They have decent hardware and a decent OS, but you over pay buying with them.

Well, I am going to call it a night. Thanks for listening!

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