A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Archive for the ‘Technology and Software’ Category

The Being And Its Predicates

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on February 14, 2008

I hope I’m not becoming boring to everyone with this ‘consciousness is nothing but being such and such system’, but I keep thinking about it and thinking what follows from it.

I mentioned in the previous post, that the physicalist will say that the ‘problematic’ features of consciousness like the qualitative aspect, the subjectivity and the unity of consciousness can’t be found in the description, as the description is a predicate, and those things are nothing but the being of such system to which the predicate can be given.

Based on this, (if needed) the reductive physicalist can give an answer why for example there won’t be consciousness when we are doing calculations on paper of what will happen with some brain system. That is, in the process of calculating what will happen with certain system, by e.g. taking the state of the system at some time, and then figuring out what will happen with the system in the time after that, there is no actual system with actual being, what we are doing is merely calculating the predicates. The predicates are usually not predicates of the system which calculates the predicates. In usual case the predicates are represented in this calculating system, and are not really predicates of that calculating system. Symbols mean predicates, and are not predicates.

Of course, there is another option open. There possibly can be predicates which are predicates of the system which calculates the predicates of another system. If we predicate implementation of some computation to the original system, by building another system which calculates the predicates of that system, we would end up with a system which also has the predicates that certain computation. IF the brain’s BEING (assuming again consciousness as being idea) is related to implementing some computation, that is IF the ontology of the universe is somehow related to ‘implementing certain computation’, then we might expect that doing calculations on paper might BE, and hence be conscious. Or, which is similar, having a computer which will do the calculations, in that case might have being (and consciousness).

If we think of what ‘implementing a computation’ might mean, we will probably go into the discussion of physical systems with parts, that have specific causal structure, something like Chalmer’s “A physical system implements a given computation when the causal structure of the physical system mirrors the formal structure of the computation.” (here). For sure, we don’t want to take a disconnected systems all over the universe, each of which might happen to perform some part of the whole computation, and say that there is some kind of being there. (for some discussion of those issues see my previous posts Can we digitize the brain and retain consciousness and Consciousness and Special Relativity). There are certainly lot of questions, if one goes that way.

I’m more inclined to think that there is some other metaphysical criteria for being (which would answer the question, which of the things we think of as being are actually being?). Saying that calculating what will happen in some brain, will be being on its own, sounds, well… weird to me. I’m more inclined to go with saying that similarly to how when a computer calculates what will happen with a drop of rain the computer will not be a rain, if it calculates what happens with a brain, it will not BE brain (nor have consciousness). The whole idea seems to me to remove the distinction between reality (what is) and fiction.

Related posts:
Consciousness And Being
Disappearing Being (and Consciousness)
Consciousness as Being and Binding Problems

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Posted in Blogging, Consciousness, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Technology and Software | 2 Comments »

Tracking Discussions in the Comments of the Blog Posts

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on February 12, 2008

Sometimes you might forget where did you left your comments, and miss response to that comment. Or you are just interested what people will say in the comments of certain post. One way to do this is to subscribe to the ‘comment feed’ through some feed reader. As I’m not using feed readers (I’ve covered my need to track what is happening in the philosophy blogs through power-blogroll page), I checked what was the way to track comments.

Seems that there are two most popular online comment tracking systems. One is co.mments and the other is coComment. After reading what they provide, coComment seemed as a better choice. Because…

a)it provides a plug-in (extension) for Firefox which catches the cases when you add a comment, so it automatically starts to track that conversation where you added comments (there is also options to add comment without tracking, or to track without adding comments and to add tags to the conversation). On another side co.mments doesn’t provide that. It gives you just a bookmark (which you drag to your bookmarks, or to your bookmarks toolbar), so you need to click to say ‘I want to track comments to this conversation’ (BTW coComment also gives such option)
b)there are some advanced social features in coComment, such that you can make your comments public, people can follow where you comment, you can follow other people, and so on…

Anyway, given those things, I decided to install coComment. Alas, it would be good if it worked in first place. I added several conversations, but the comments were not shown. Or, 5 comments were shown, and there were for example 10 comments. So, I removed coComment, and went to try co.mments. And it worked. And it is simple. After trying it, I don’t even think I need all those bells and whistles from coComment. When you want to track the comments to some post, you just open the post and click the bookmark on your toolbar. When you go to your page, you see something like this. You mark some conversations as read if you want (‘Clear’ button), or remove them altogether.

And as a good thing  you have a public RSS feed in the form – http://co.mments.com/people/tgjorgoski;feed (where tgjorgoski is my username), which you can add to your blog if you have one, so that other people can see where you commented also. If you want to check, I added the RSS widget for that feed to this blog in the left-side column of my blog.

For WordPress, you go to to your Presentation options, then to the Widgets, drag/drop RSS widget to your side bar, click on the ‘configure’ part of that button, and add the RSS url there.
For Blogger, in the Template , click ‘add a page element’ in the side bar, choose the Feed element, and then set the feed URL.

If you leave lot of comments, and want a way to track them, I think you should try co.mments.

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Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software | 3 Comments »

Thinking Without Language

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on December 14, 2007

On Splintered Mind, Eric Schwitzgebel has a very interesting post about the relation between rationality or consciousness and language. He cites an example given in a paper by Andre Roch Lecours and Yves Joanette. It is very interesting story, please go to Eric’s place and read it first if you haven’t already.

Eric is very careful not to read too much from the “single anecdote transmitted second-hand”, but to me the conclusion from the anecdote seems pretty straightforward, and sensible.

First, wouldn’t it be hard to give a new name to a phenomenon, if we can’t think about the phenomenon without actually having words for it?

Think of the IQ tests (if you have solved one), and some of those problems with figures. When one thinks of which figure doesn’t fit, or something like that, what we do are things like rotating the figure in our minds (excuse my French), or imagining the mirror figure, or something like that. That is surely thinking and conscious act, and it doesn’t seem that it is done in language.

Take also playing of chess. A good chess player, might simply see that some move is wrong, without actually being able to explain or put into words why the move is wrong. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t aware that the move is wrong, he is fully conscious that the move is wrong, just it shows that his thinking is not done on linguistic level. Even simple tracking in the mind of the moves which are on the table doesn’t have to be correlated with words. I can be aware of the possibility of moves as such, without having words for them.

But why those “voices in our heads” then? What is their function, if we don’t think in terms of language?

Here is my thought on this…

The language is practice in the community, it is so very present that we are probably unaware just how much of our practices are related to language. Every informing, asking, expressing opinion, promising, threating, joking, and so on as social practices are related to language.  It is no wonder then, that we think of our experience in the world in terms of those practices, or to use the ‘language game’ metaphor, because we play language games so much, when we encounter different things, we tend to think  in terms of the possibilities that they relate to this playing a language games.

I want to relate this with the known phenomenon of how playing other games affect us.

Here are some examples Wired’s article Real World Doesn’t Use a Joystick:

Here is just one example, check the posts for more…

Taylor also said that after reviewing Quake III he had trouble getting his mind out of the game. “I’d play it, then walk out into the office corridor and realize I was looking at my co-workers as potential targets,” said Taylor. “I was so used to killing anything that moved.”

I think this is particularly interesting example related to the issue at hand:

Any addictive game can have a similar effect: The more someone plays, the more likely they are to stay mentally inside even afterward. And immersive games like Electronic Arts’ The Sims are frequently to blame, given the countless hours players put into them.  “When I played (it) a lot,” said Laura Martin, a devotee of the game, “I remember thinking, ‘What percent of my bladder is full?’ to decide if it was time to head to the bathroom.”

As I read this it says that Laura started to think in terms of the game which she was playing a lot. It is true that she used language to express what she thought, but I think that is just a consequence of necessity to express her thinking some way. Of course, without type of experiments done by Eric (and even with them) it is hard to solve this.

For what is worth, I know the feeling, as after long playing of Tony Hawk Pro Skater, when I was moving through the world I was thinking of the possibilities to grind on most ‘grindable’ things I was seeing. (For the record, in real life, I haven’t even try to skate. Also haven’t kill people.)
So, I guess you get the general idea, that the playing of the games affects what kind of possibilities we think of when we look at the world, and that because of playing the language game A LOT, we are inclined to think in terms of this (something like ‘what I would say to describe this situation’. Again, I use language here, but you get the point).

And, while at this, here is another way that things from the games can spill to our ‘real life’… Daily Bits has a post about Top 6 Bizarre Online Gaming Incidents.

Posted in Games, Philosophy | 6 Comments »

How to Download a Streaming Audio

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on November 22, 2007

There are lot of free streaming audio and video lectures on the net, be it on philosophical or other things. Currence recently reported of free audio lectures related to Wittgenstein for example.

But what to do, if you want to download those things for listening offline, for example on your iPod or similar device, and there is no link for downloading (you might want to try first if simply right clicking on the link and ‘save as’ or ‘save link as’ option work) ?

If it is a flash player (like they use on YouTube, Google Video, etc…) you can check my previous post about extracting the audio from those kinds of videos.

If it is “old-school” streaming audio however, you need to do following (as far as I know, this doesn’t work for real-audio and real-video! (.ram, .ra files)).

  • Download and install VLC Media Player. It is a free media player, which can handle most of video types. It has lot of functionality, which isn’t found in other media players, but that is another story…
  • Find the URL of the streaming audio that you want to download. For example, on this page, under “Wittgenstein’s unsolved problem: How to be guided by a rule”, the link to the quick-time lecture is this: http://gandalf.aksis.uib.no:554/wab/w-konferanse/hintikka07/hintikka2-red.mov . (If you get an embedded player, try right clicking on the player, and check if there is ‘Properties’ or some similar option. It should give you the URL there.)
  • Start VLC Media Player. Go to File->Open Network Stream. We are in the ‘Open…’ dialog.
  • Choose the HTTP/HTTPS/FTP/MMS option, and enter the URL of the stream in the URL text box. (In our example that would be the URL that I mentioned up there in bold)
  • In the same dialog, in the bottom, turn on “Stream/Save” check box, and press Settings…
  • The ‘Stream output’ Dialog should appear. Turn on the “File” checkbox, and then click the Browse button. In the ‘Save as’ dialog go to the folder where you want to save the audio, then write the name you want to give to the file in the File Name text field (e.g. test.mp4), and press Save.
  • In the ‘Stream output’ Dialog, in the part about encapsulation method choose what kind of the target file type you want (in our example “mp4“). Also, turn on the Audio Codec option, choose the codec (e.g. ‘mpga’) from the drop down list, and choose the other options (I went with 128kbps and 2 channels, and it worked OK with this options). Click OK.
  • We are back in the ‘Open…’ dialog. Just click OK. You should see the player starting to count the time. Given the example we mentioned, it says that it will be finished in an hour, and in the specified place you will have your ‘test.mp4’ media file.

BTW, you can use this way to extract the audio from the streaming videos also.

Posted in Links, Technology and Software | 5 Comments »

Shameless LCMS Promotion

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on May 6, 2007

I pointed few times that I work in the company called Xyleme, and that one of our products is a learning content management system.

Learning content management system is a software system (client/server/web access type of thing) that allows for learning content creation (alone or distributed, with possibility to assign some work to subject matter experts), content reuse (same content linked in multiple materials, so you only change on one place), search and versioning, publishing the content in different types (like web courses or all kind of different printed materials), assessment of students through questions when they visit the web-course, etc…

As I was part of the development of the product and it’s conception from the day 0 (and put lot of sweat, blood and brain cells into it), I’m proud of the results. To see why, here is a link to the demonstration of the product that was put on web those days.

Posted in Personal, Technology and Software | Leave a Comment »

Few Quick Searches For Firefox And IE

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on April 5, 2007

Probably you have heard about Quick Searches in the Firefox browser.

For those who haven’t, quick searches let you use mnemonics followed by text in the address bar. The mnemonics are connected to a search engine. So, for example, by typing “g xyleme” in the address bar you will launch a google search on the word “xyleme”. The beauty of Quick Searches is that you are free to define new mnemonics for the searches you often use.

I want to point to few useful quick searches that I use, but before that let me tell for those who don’t know how to add a Quick Search.

Firefox

Go to Bookmarks menu, then in the Quick Searches sub menu. There you have a list of already defined quick searches. To add a new one, click anywhere in that list (on any already defined quick search), and then choose “Add Bookmark…” option. A dialog will open asking for the details.

IE

Users of Internet Explorer 5 (and higher) also have this possibility. However, to be able to add quick searches, you need first to download and install Web Accessories for Internet Explorer (you might need to restart IE5 after you do it, before proceeding). After that, in IE Links toolbar you will see an application called Quick Search.exe . So, once you have done this you can add quick searches to IE.

To add a new quick search, click on the mentioned Quick Search.exe in Links toobar (or in the Favorites->Links menu), and choose to run it. A dialog will open asking for editing the quick searches. Click on the New… button and you will get a dialog asking for details about new quick search. In the Search combo box choose “Custom URL” option. BTW, the list of the quick searches that goes with Quick Search.exe seems to be outdated, so you can delete all of those, so they not clutter your list.

Both in Firefox and IE, after you get to the dialog for adding a new quick search, there are two basic things you need to specify:

  1. A Mnemonic. That is a letter or word that you will use for this search. For example Firefox already has the mnemonic “g” for google search and “wp” for wikipedia search. So if you go to the address bar (F6 or Ctrl+L) and write “wp Hegel” you will get the wikipedia article on Hegel. For Firefox this is this goes into “Keyword” field in the dialog. For IE, this goes into “Shortcut” field in the dialog.
  2. The URL of the search, with %s standing for the word for which you search. For Firefox, this goes into the “Location” field in the dialog. For IE, this goes into the “URL” field in the dialog.

So, here are some Quick Searches that I find useful (the mnemonics are just ones I use, you are free to choose others). Also I have put example links so you can see what will you get if you type that example.

• Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia (or some other site) (“st belief“)
For searching of sites you can use google site search. For example I don’t like SEP search very much, so I use google site search instead:

Mnemonic:st
URL:http://www.google.com/search?q=site:plato.stanford.edu+%s

So, when I want to search SEP for “belief”, I just press Ctrl+L (or F6) and write “st belief”.

If you want to create quick search for some other site you can change the “plato.stanford.edu” to the address of that other site (without http part).

Internet Movie Database (“imdb Children of Men“)
Mnemonic:imdb
URL:http://www.imdb.com/Find?for=%s&select=All

Amazon (“am Gestalt Kohler“)
Mnemonic:am
URL:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url?field-keywords=%s&url=index%3Dblended
(for IE, seems that instead “%3D” you need “%%3D” in the URL)

Google Define (“d encephalomalacia“)
Mnemonic:d
URL:http://www.google.com/search?safe=off&q=define%3A+%s&btnG=Search
(again for IE, instead of “%3A”, you need “%%3A” in the URL)
BTW, Google define is nice way to search for short explanation of some word. It gives a bunch of links where the word is defined and short exempts from them.

Google Translate (“de Lebenswelt” ??)
Mnemonic:de
URL:http://www.google.com/translate_t?hl=en&ie=UTF8&text=%s&langpair=de%7Cen
(Again in IE, instead of “%7C”, you need “%%7C”)
After you add this quick search, you can for example go to the address bar with F6 (or ctrl+L), and write there “de Lebenswelt”, and check what it means in English.
BTW, to specify the direction of translation, and custom languages in the “de%7Cen” part of the URL, just change the bold parts with the required languages. For example, English to German would be “en%7Cde“, Spanish to French “es%7Cfr“, and so on. (Again for IE, you need two percentage signs). Also “pt” is for Portuguese, “it” for Italian, “ru” for Russian.

Posted in Technology and Software | 2 Comments »

Very cool – Genealogy of Influence site

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on January 25, 2007

Visit this site for a cool widget that lets you explore influences between philosophers, scientists, artists, etc… From what I understood it gets the information about the relations from wikipedia. (via Eric Blue’s Blog)

web.gif

A post on Boing Boing has the following quote:

Genealogy of Influence allows you to visually trace the connections between the most influential writers, artists, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians of Western culture. You can pull up a short bio (stripped from Wikipedia) by hovering over a person’s name, or click through to the full Wikipedia article. I also made a colorful hierarchical image of the same data.

Posted in Links, Philosophy, Technology and Software | Leave a Comment »

The Book Of The Future

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on January 3, 2007

Shawn has post over at Words and Other Things, asking for philosophical books to be available as searchable .pdfs. That made me think, and I came up with the following scenario that I would like to be true. It might not be possible in the year of James Bond, but few years in the future… maybe.

In the scenario we all have e-paper devices (something like this, this, this, or eventually something that looks like being actually made after 1990) with access to Internet. The device connects to a book provider, to which we pay e.g. $10 a month.

Using that device we are able to search and choose books, papers, to click through the references to get to other books, etc… and the pages of the books/papers will be then streamed (not fully downloaded) to this reader device.

The amount of money we pay, is then divided per time we spend reading each of the books. If half of the month I spend reading some book, it gets $5. If I read just few pages, but find out it is not for me, it gets just few cents.

If such system exist, even bloggers might be able to fit in! – the provider might not just provide philosophy books, but also serve philosophy blogs, and bloggers could be payed for providing content, that other people read through such service (according to the time spent). As a reader I would be glad if part of my money goes to those bloggers whose posts I spend lot of time reading.

Of course, this kind of service doesn’t have to be limited to philosophy books. It can be for books in general, but there is one problem for this kind of generalizing… Some books are very specialized, and doesn’t have as much readership as others, and thus might not provide return of investment if the $10 are divided to all kind of books. It seems more plausible for the system to work if people pay separately for different types of books (e.g. I will pay $10 monthly for access to philosophy books, and then separate $5 if I want access to fiction).
Maybe the price per category can be even calculated by some formula, so that more readership some category of books has, the less money the reader should pay for the service.

Posted in Blogging, Books, Philosophy, Technology and Software | 2 Comments »

How to Extract A Song From YouTube (Or Other Video Sites)

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on December 18, 2006

Before talking about the youtube video extraction, here is a quick self-promotional note: If you love good games, you may want to go and check the concept art, screenshots, and development notes for my first iPhone game – Henophobia.

In those few days I was getting a dozens of hits for the Inner Life Of A Cell video, and lot of them were through search phrases like “Inner Life Of A Cell download music”. So, I got interested how one can extract the music from YouTube, and it turns out it is pretty easy… Here is how…
(If you are not interested in the process, but came here looking for the music just go at the bottom of this post, and download the mp3 file.)

Step 1 – Downloading the video

  1. If you don’t have Firefox go get it here, and install it.
  2. Install the DownloadHelper extension – using Firefox go to the bottom of that page, and click Install now.
  3. After installing you need to restart Firefox to continue. After the restart you will have a new button on the toolbar, looking like a little person.
  4. Go to the YouTube page from which you want to download the video (in this case here). Note you can use this extension to download flv files from other video sites (like Google Video) too.
  5. The person on the toolbar icon will start to rotate. Click on the arrow beside it, and click on the first choice. The flash file containing the video will start to download. (click Ctrl+J to open the download window if it doesn’t open automatically)
  6. When the download is finished, right click on the downloaded file, and choose “Open Containing Folder”. There you should have the flash (flv) file. Copy it to the Desktop.

    (Alternatively you can try YouTube downloader site.
    Just paste the address of the YouTube video there, and click “Get Download URL”.
    When you do that, you will be given an URL from which to d/l the file.
    When I tried this, the file was downloaded, but I had to rename the file, and give it flv extension.
    But once you do that, you should be OK)

Step 2 – Extracting the music

  1. Download the AoA Audio Extractor 1.1 (it is free)
  2. Install it, and start it.
  3. Once the program starts, click the “Add Files” button, and choose the flv file you copied to the Desktop.
  4. Change some of the options if you want, choose where to export the mp3 file, and press the big orange Start button.
  5. If everything is OK, the extraction will start, and you will get mp3 file in the folder you chose.

Step 3 – The Music

    And here is the result – the music from the Inner Life Of A Cell video.

UPDATE:Tim in the comments points to the Vixy service, which does (I didn’t try) the transformation automatically and let you download the result. If you are not interested in having control over some details of the transformation, just go to Vixy, paste there the YouTube address, and choose MP3 transformation. BTW, I don’t know if it works with other video sites.

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Posted in Technology and Software | 22 Comments »

Aggregator Page Changes

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on December 8, 2006

The aggregator page is now tracking 109 114 117 blogs, and it used to get crowded with posts sometimes. Because of that I did two changes:

  1. Posts which come from same blog are now grouped, so they take less space.
  2. I added possibility for grouping blogs, and posts from blogs belonging to certain group are now grouped and shown in separate column.

Also you will notice that at the bottom of the page there is link to the aggregation archives for previous days.

I plan in future also to add tracking of the comments for those blogs that offer comment feeds, but can’t give concrete dates.
I don’t have information about how much (if at all) the aggregator is used, but if you use it, and have some requirements or ideas please leave a comment here.
I’m also interested about your opinion about some other groups that would be useful (currently there is just a Mind&Cog.Sci group, which might be little artificial), recommendations for other blogs to track on that page, etc…

UPDATE (Dec.09):
A little more tweaking…

  1. I solved also the problems with reading a few of the blogs which were using namespaces in their HTML (probably result of copying the content from MS Word to the blog). This leaves a problem with reading Show-Me the Argument which is of some other nature. Fixed this issue too – the site returns results if the code presents itself as a browser.
  2. Also added the names of the authors to the posts.

UPDATE(Dec.10):

  1. Under the list of blogs sorted by days of (in)activity, you will now find also a link to a separate page with Technorati stats for blogs tracked. Not very useful, but I was interested how easy is to work with Tehcnorati API.

UPDATE(Dec.12):

  1. The aggregator page should be updated now every two hours. (Is that often enough?)
  2. Also change in formating – I moved the blog title before first post title as Jeff G. suggested in the comments, so now if there are more posts from same blog it makes more sense.

Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software | 2 Comments »

Inner Life of A Cell

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on December 5, 2006

UPDATE: If you got here looking for the song of this video, or how to download the video, check this post.

This is so cool (and weird), I had to link to it:

The Inner Life of a Cell, an eight-minute animation created in NewTek LightWave 3D and Adobe After Effects for Harvard biology students… The animation illustrates unseen molecular mechanisms and the ones they trigger, specifically how white blood cells sense and respond to their surroundings and external stimuli….Nuclei, proteins and lipids move with bug-like authority, slithering, gliding and twisting through 3D space.

For better video quality and more info visit this page.

Posted in Links, Technology and Software | 5 Comments »

Best Adventure Game Ever – Death Gate

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on November 19, 2006

Browsing through the The Underdogs archive (archive of old abandonware games) few days ago, looking for some old game to play, I stumbled on 1994 point and click adventure called Death Gate.
I played the game when it was released and I remember I thought it was great, so I decided to play it again.

While its name (Death Gate) might suggest that the game is about killing, it is not at all (though it includes few occasional deaths, they are not in action sequences). In the game you are put in the role of a young wizard named Haplo, which gets outside of the Labyrinth in which his race (Partyns) is jailed. Little by little you learn the history of what happened with your race, and their place in the grand story which includes few other races (elves, men, dwarfs, and other race of wizards called Sartans). The story in the game has depth which I think is never seen in any other game (adventure or otherwise). Probably it is because the game is based on several fantasy books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Wikipedia says about the septet: “The Death Gate Cycle was their most ambitious work yet, to create five fully realized and distinct worlds.”

What distinguishes this game from others is probably a lot of text in it. The conversations to other characters are not just placeholders for finding something that you will need to solve further puzzles, but they are lively, rich, and full of side stories. Also, through the game you find a bunch of books (each of them with several pages), which give you some further insight in what is happening (and of course information you need). So, if you play this game, you should be ready for a slow pace, and enjoying it not just as a game, but as fiction story too.
The puzzles on the other side are also great. They are never silly, usually it is clear what you need to accomplish beforehand and the solutions are logical. (If you have problems, you can check a walkthrough)

Also, if you play it, be sure to save often. There are places in the game where the character can die, so if you save often, you wouldn’t return much back.

How to install it and play it?

First download it from the underdogs archive (here, 96MB). As it is old game, to avoid any problems with graphics and music cards, you also need DOSBox (of course you can also use another DOSBox installation to play it on other operating systems like Linux, Mac OS X, BeOS etc…).
The downloaded game should be unpacked (e.g. in c:\dgate). After that install DOSBox, start it, write in it something like:

mount c c:\
c:
cd c:\dgate
dgate.exe

The game should start. Of course if you installed in different directory (and not in c:\dgate, you should change to that directory using cd command, and I think you should also open the install.ed file with notepad, and change the path there too). If the game starts in window mode, and you want it to be fullscreen, you can use Ctrl+Enter to toggle.

Death Gate
for more pictures from the game click the image

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Posted in Games | 3 Comments »

The Incredible Machine

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on November 4, 2006

The Incredible Machine 3 is a 1995 game by Sierra.
It consist of a series of puzzles, each of them being a contraption, partially set, requiring from the player to add the missing pieces and connections, so that when the contraption is started it fulfills the set goal of the puzzle. There are lot of different parts available, from teeter-totters, ropes, balloons and lava-lamps, to gears, motors, lasers, candles, cats and mice.
If you are looking for something that you can play for 10 minutes now and then, this game is nice substitute for card games like FreeCell and Solitaire.
To give you a rough feel of what the game is like check out the Sierra ad for The Incredible Machine 2:

The game is abandonware, and you can get it here (30MB, be sure not to use any speed accelerators when downloading). After you unzip it and install it, you might want to change the compatibility option on the shortcut (right click, then click on Properties, go to Compatibility tab, and there switch on “Run this program in compatibility mode for”, and choose Windows 95) if you have problems.
The game also has option for creating your own contraptions.. Here are two I created:

toast.gif

football.gif

To play those two contraptions, download the “.tim” files by clicking on the above pictures, and then copy them to the folder where game is installed. Then to load them, when in the game, go to File->Load and click on the picture in the upper right corner of the dialog (looks like a bunch of things). Another dialog will open in which you can choose which set of puzzles you want to play (easiest to hardest), but there is an option for playing “Homemade puzzles” (the last one left of the Cancel button). When you click the “Homemade puzzles” button you should see the list of contraptions you downloaded, and choose to play one of them.

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Monkey Island Nostalgia

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on October 15, 2006

I was big classic adventures fan, particularly of old Lucas Arts games from late eighties and early nineties (Loom, Indiana Jones, Monkey Island, Zack McCracken…).
So, I got pretty excited by the Happy Monkey Island music day post at Joystiq. It features few musicians playing themes from Monkey Island 1 and 2 games. Here is one of them (check their post for two more)…

If you are by any chance proud owner of copy of a Monkey Island (or any other Lucas Arts old adventure game for that matter), let me remind you that you can play it again not just on modern PCs, but also on Linux, Mac OS X, PS2, PSP, PocketPC, PalmOS, Symbian OS, and more, by using ScummVM engine. Just download the engine for your computer/device, transfer the original files to some directory,  start the ScummVM, and point it to a folder where you have previously copied game files to. The game should be playable with perfect graphics and sound.
For those who don’t own a copy, it will be hard to find a place to buy those games at a reasonable price. LucasArts doesn’t seem to sell it any more, and the Adventure Packs which used to contain several of their adventures are available only as collectibles, and can be pretty expensive. You can check the abandonware archives, where you might find them and download the files to use with ScummVM. Do a search for “is monkey island abandonware?” on google, and you will instead of an answer, probably find a download link.
If you remember some other favorite oldie you used to play, and want to check it again, you might want to try the underdogs. They have tons of abandonware, so there is good chance they have it.

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The Inverted Slashdot Effect

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on August 30, 2006

The Inverted Slashdot Effect, also known as Energy Drain Effect and Philosophy Blog Linked To You, So You Should Panic – Effect is newly found and as far as I know, undocumented effect.
The effect happens when an author of a site that has negative visitor statistics (more people leave the site than come in) thinks of linking to another site (particularly if it is big and established). Through, what is currently considered to be quantum mechanical process, a negative pressure on the target web-site is provoked, causing the over-under-loading of the target servers, and eventually their taking off the Internet.
The effect was noticed this monday morning, when I, author of a philosophical blog which has negative statistics, thought of linking to Google. Needless to say, Google went down, and it hasn’t recovered yet from the underloading.
Though, as noticed, majority of scienterists think that the effect is due to the unknown quantum mechanical processes (which are known also to be source of things like negative statistic, consciousness, math and bad breath), there are also different opinions. We can divide them roughly into three groups:
1. The effect is due to the fact that author was playing Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II game, and somehow the special dark force called Drain which he won in the game, transfered through unknown quantum mechanical process to his real body.
To test this theory I tried the alleged force to few people I love, but it didn’t work.
2. Another theory says that the author of this site is a digimon called Soulmon, and that he deliberatly performed Energy Drain attack on Google.
To dismiss those roamers, here I present picture of me, which clearly shows that I’m NOT a digimon:

I forgot what was the third group.
Anyway, there are those who say that there is no such effect – that the whole thing is just a coincidence. But that is of course non-sense, as I saw the effect with my own eyes.

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