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Category: Software

Fallout 3 Fails to Launch on Windows 8

This morning, I discovered that Fallout 3 would fail to launch after clicking ‘Play’ on the launcher. This is the first time I’ve tried playing Fallout 3 since moving to Windows 8.

The solution is actually quite easy: install Games for Windows Live. This can be acquired here. Install it, sign in with your Live ID, and Fallout 3 will run just fine.

New Windows Checksum Utility

Last night, as I was downloading an update to VLC Player, I was thinking that most people I know don’t know what checksums are for, let alone how to verify one.

So, I fired up Visual Studio and got started designing a simple form that will let’s you drag-and-drop a file onto it, then displays the MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-256 checksums.

Coding went pretty quickly, as the .Net Framework has most of the functionality built into it already. Now, I just need to make the checksums selectable, so that users can copy-and-paste the checksums, and clean up the UI a bit.

Presently, CheckSumer RC1 is available for download as a portable .exe (a zipped version also is up there). I will be creating an installer that ensures the proper .Net Framework (currently 4.0) is installed on the user’s system.

CheckSumer is licensed under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.

Building a New Home Server: Introduction

I am currently in the planning stages of building a new home server to replace my HP MediaSmart EX470 and the rack-mounted boxes in my lab. I am confident that I can build a machine that performs all of my lab duties, as well as the functions of my home server (account synchronization, serving media, storing computer backups).

I plan on installing VMWare vSphere Hypervisor on the machine and installing the following VMs:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – act as a domain controller for the home network
  • pfSense – router/firewall for the home network, as well as a VPN provider (site-to-site and road-warrior)
  • something to serve up Active Directory-protected shares (individual user network spaces and computer backup repository) and public/anonymous read-only shares (media)
  • various Linux VMs for lab purposes

I plan on posting more parts as this comes along and will cover topics including hardware selection, software selection (for the NAS part), and configuration.

New Computer Setup – October 2013

Get yourself a new computer recently? Here’s what I recommend doing before you start using it:

Head on over to This site lets you pick from popular free applications and gives you an installer that downloads and installs your selected programs without you having to do anything. The programs that I recommend are:

  • Web Browsers: Chrome

Google Chrome is becoming a memory hog, but I can’t get myself to switch to Mozilla Firefox, as I keep having issues with it. If you’ve got more that 4 GB of RAM, you should be fine.

  • Media: VLC and iTunes (only if you have an iPhone/iPod)

VLC is the only media player you’ll ever need (except for playing Blu-Rays).

  • Runtimes: .NET, Silverlight (for Netflix), and Java (only if you need it)

Avoid Java if you can, as it has security vulnerabilities almost every month. At a bare minimum, disable it in your web browser.

  • Documents: Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a fast, easy-to-use, and secure PDF viewer. The latest version will even let you create PDFs.

  • Developer Tools: Notepad++

An outstanding text editor. I use it for coding and looking at all kinds of files. You may not need this one, but if you are a power user, you’ll want it.

  • Other: Steam (assuming you’re a gamer)
  • Utilities: TeamViewer (if I give you tech support) and Classic Start (only if you’re running Windows 8)

I use TeamViewer to remotely access my friends’ and family’s computers when they need tech support. If you’re one of these, then download it.

Classic Start brings the Start Button back to Windows 8.

  • Compression: 7-Zip

While I am a die-hard WinRAR fan, this is the next best thing and is free.


I am currently loving BitDefender Free, which is light on resources and works very well. Download and install.

Mumble Channel Viewer JSON URI

If you’re using MumPI to allow the Mumble Channel Viewer plugins to see your Mumble server, you’ll eventually be asked for the JSON URI.

This is what you should use:


My java.desktop File

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Oracle Java
GenericName=Java VM
Comment=Run Java Archives
Exec=java -jar %U


Sliding Messaging Pro

After recently making the switch from iPhone to the world of Android, I found that doing some of the things I am used to (such as applying different notification sounds to each contact) is not as easy as it was on iOS. In fact, on my HTC One, I had to actually install a different messaging app to do this. Luckily, there are a great number of feature-filled SMS programs. The one I am currently using is Sliding Messaging Pro, which was a contender in the All About Android Arena a few weeks ago.

My only issue with the app was that the Individual Notification Settings weren’t saving. After my Google searching failed me, I contacted the developer, who responded quickly and told me that I had to uncheck the “Save to External SD Card” setting in Advanced Settings. This makes sense, as my HTC One does not have an external SD card. Now, everything is working nicely and I have a pretty awesome SMS interface.

Switchable/Hybrid Graphics and Linux Mint 14

I decided yesterday to take the plunge and move my laptop (HP dv6t Quad with an Intel i7, 8GB RAM, AMD 6770M and Intel graphics) from dual-booting to Linux only. I had been using Linux Mint 14 as a secondary OS on my desktop for a while and really liked what I saw. So, I grabbed the install disc and booted it up.

As usual, the install went without a hitch. I ran all the updates and then went to go install the proprietary AMD/ATI graphics driver (which is now done via “Software Sources” in the Preferences menu). That’s where everything went to hell. Xorg failed to start after rebooting, leaving me at text-based login. Not that I mind playing on the command-line, but vim hardly meets my needs as an IDE and it’s going to be really hard to debug graphical applications that way. So, I began my search. After piecing sources together, here’s what got me running:

First, we need to add the PPA from xorg-edgers so that we can install the ATI/AMD Catalyst Driver 13.1 without having to build it ourselves. The PPA works with Ubuntu 13.04, 12.10, 12.04, Linux Mint 14 and 13.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Next, we can install the driver itself. While I highly recommend doing this just after running updates (and before breaking Xorg), it still works from the command-line after the broken drivers have already been installed.

sudo apt-get install fglrx

Now, everything I’ve read says that you need to remove the PPA before restarting, but nothing says why (if you know, please comment below).

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa 
sudo apt-get update

Finally, give the system a reboot. Everything should be working smoothly now… at least until the next Xorg update.

Upgrading to WordPress 3.4.2 Leaves Site in Maintenance Mode

Just a heads up for those of you running your own WordPress blogs…

I just ran the automatic update to the latest version of WordPress and it left my site in maintenance mode. Upon SSHing into my server, I noticed that a file, .maintenance, had been added to the root. Deleting this file returned the site to normal.

Coding Apologies

I’ve been having some issues with my network, which–knock on wood–seem to be resolved. Obviously, this has been distracting me from getting any coding done. I’ll get back to it, I promise.

I’ll work on RogueRunner a bit tomorrow and SCTorrent some this weekend (although I’ve found myself in a research portion of it’s development). phpNetManager is currently on-hold until the other developer gets settled after a move.