Author Archives: R. Bassett Jr.

About R. Bassett Jr.

Hobby programmer. I enjoy using GNU software, such as GIMP 2.8, Geany, PhaserJS, and Blender, to create content in C++, LUA, JavaScript, PHP, and Python. Linux user since 1998! I've spent countless hours working on SWGEmu server/client modding. In 2013 I created Rescue Girlies, a Mario-like game for GNU/Linux based on the source code for Supertux. In 2015 I made a heavily modified single player server for SWGEmu called Legend of Hondo. I've done a bunch of volunteer programming for the Tarkin SWGEmu server. As of mid 2019, I've mostly been farting around playing No Man's Sky rather than doing anything productive in my spare time. :)

Why Don’t Dishwashers Flush Like Toilets?

Now this is something that has bothered me for DECADES! Anyone who has ever owned a dishwasher knows that they either baby the thing by pre-rinsing their dishes or their dishes will come out with hard gross all stuck to their silverware and inside their glasses/cups/mugs. Worst of all, this post-cleaning yuck often occurs even when one is careful to clean their dishes before putting them into… the dishwasher!

Why?

Well, it’s because dishwashers are built to circulate a pool of water over the food and then evacuate that pool several times through a filter and a small hose. While this approach may appear on the surface to be energy and water efficient, this conclusion was apparently not based on rigorous testing of alternative methods.

Here is a scientific depiction of how a toilet flushes,

Basically, a large volume of water is put into the bowl which causes the existing volume of water to be pushed over the hump in the pipe and down to the sewer, leaving a clean pool of water in the bowl. Total rocket magic, I know.

Imagine if the first cycle of your dishwasher sprayed the hell out of the dishes with super hot water, filling the bowl below the dishes with whatever crud you happened to leave on the dishes, and then flushing it all away in one giant gulp. After doing this, the dishes would already be so clean that they would likely only need a few minutes of rinsing with a small amount of detergent and some warm water. Add on one more quick rinse with clean water to remove the detergent, and you’re done, in ten minutes or less. That’s a whole hell of a lot less water, time, and energy than our “high efficiency” dishwasher, which takes roughly two hours to complete its (often required) heavy cycle. Not to mention that the filters and tubing of the dishwasher wouldn’t need to be cleaned as frequently (twice a week here!), because the detergent and rinse water would be completely clean, thanks to the “big flush” in the first cycle.

Literally every piece of this plumbing technology already exists, so there’s no reason not to make dishwashers in this way.

Software Bloat Betrays the Raspberry Pi Zero W

I purchased a Raspberry Pi Zero W several months ago with the intention that it would replace the DOS/Windows functionality of my old Pentium 233MMX computer with equivalent Linux based software, while using waaaay less electricity! I also thought it would be a good idea to use the $14 CAD Pi Zero W for programming my Arduino UNO rather than any of my other much more expensive computers, because short circuits happen man!

The use case for my old machine is very limited, given that it exists only to satisfy my nostalgia for the first PC I bought myself. Of course back then I used that machine for all my computing needs, where as now I have a modern desktop and a smart phone to handle my “real computing”. So here is what I have been using my Deskpro for:

DOS: Word Perfect 5.1, Impulse Tracker, QBasic
Windows: Rebirth, Audacity, WinAmp, Wordpad, Notepad, MS Paint

It runs all of those things very well, to a point – it does not like to multi task (WinAmp playback will “skip” when computer is busy) and it very much prefers to run at 800×600 in Windows rather than at 1024×768, due to the low-end graphics card. But honestly, it is a totally usable computer that is excellent for hobbyist audio and game production. The only downsides are its physical size, the amount of electricity it consumes, and it’s cumbersome connectivity to the outside world (which in practical terms is its single rear USB port, as I don’t have any other computers that can read Iomega Zip disks or 3.5″ floppy disks).

Let’s compare the specifications of the Raspberry Pi Zero to my Compaq Deskpro 4000 desktop…

Compaq Deskpro 4000
– Intel Pentium 233MHz CPU with MMX
– 96MB of 66MHz SDRAM
– S3 Virge GX 4MB SVGA graphics
– SoundBlaster 16 audio
– Windows 98 SE / DOS 6.22 / FreeDOS 2.0

Raspberry Pi Zero W
– ARM6 BCM2835 1,000MHz CPU
– 512MB DDR2 SDRAM
– VideoCore IV 64MB HDMI graphics
– Some audio codec for sound…
– Rasbian Lite (Debian 10 ARM)

Architecture differences aside, it’s pretty obvious that the ARM6 CPU performs much faster than the older Intel CPU that is clocked 4 times slower. If it could run the same software, this ARM CPU would be roughly equivalent to an Intel Pentium III 600MHz, which is impressive given that the surface area of the whole Pi Zero “motherboard” is smaller than that of just the P3 CPU!

I’ve been using GNU/Linux since 1998 and I have installed and configured countless flavors of both Linux and Windows in that time, so it’s not like I had crazy expectations when going into this project; I knew that my desired functionality was available via native GNU/Linux software and all of those functions worked well on much lesser hardware, so what could go wrong!

Well, after testing every light weight system for XWindows and huge amount of software, the following is what would run acceptably…

DOS Program => BASH Program
—————————————————-
Imulse Tracker => MilkyTracker
Edit.com => Nano
Borland C => GCC
QBasic => BaCon

Windows Program => Xorg Program
—————————————————-
Windows => WindowMaker (JUST WM!)
Windows Explorer => Xfe
Audacity => Audacity
MS Paint => MT Paint
Winamp => Audacious
Netscape => Dillo
DOS Prompt => Xterm
Notepad => Leafpad
Wordpad => Nothing – even Abiword sucked!

I was really sad that IceWM, JWM, and Fluxbox all had problems of some kind, be it IceWM’s memory leak that brought the system to its knees after a few minutes or just being CPU heavy in the way that LXDE’s Lxpanel program is. Likewise Schism Tracker, which is based on the actual source code of Impulse Tracker, was completely unusable. Thankfully MilkyTracker worked great, provided it was run from a TTY and the XWindows session was not running in the background. The full GNUStep suite of software ran like a dog with three broken legs (as did LXDE, Xfce, and Mate), but its WindowMaker window manager ran quite nicely.

The performance of Abiword and Gnumeric (spreadsheet) was thoroughly disappointing, because they are the best light weight Word/Excel replacements for GNU/Linux, yet they were both slow enough to be completely obnoxious to use. Even going from an empty document to one with a few lines or cells was laggy and annoying. The same can be said for Geany, Mousepad, and literally every other graphical text editor in the Debian repo. Of course, Nano was fine and while I don’t use Vi, Emacs, or the text editor in Midnight Commander, I assume they would perform perfectly fine when run from a TTY (and probably fine when run in a terminal emulator).

On the upside, plain old Xterm ran so much better than any other terminal emulator, which was great as it’s also able to be customized to look similar to the fancier programs. Using WindowMaker as a little weird, as its UI paradigm was unfamiliar to me, but it was hands down the fastest windowing system to load, move, resize, refresh, and close programs. And bless its heart, Xfe was quick and feature rich file explorer that was a pleasure to use, though even the Windows 98 SE version of Windows Explorer is faster and more polished. Yes, LXDE’s PCManFM does work on the Pi Zero W, but it’s slow in that, “man this fucking sucks!” kind of way which is just not acceptable for everyday use.

Compiling small C programs in DOS and GNU/Linux felt the same, which is important when using BaCon (BASIC to C converter) rather than QBasic, because ultimately it compiles C code. GCC is a little slow in general, but it wasn’t any slower than compiling C programs in DOS 6.22 or FreeDOS 2.0 on the old machine. I would imagine that compiling a very large project would favor the Pentium 233MMX due to the optimization of the Borland compiler and the speed of the IDE Compact Flash storage, but it would really depend on the project. I was just farting around with Ncurses games on the Pi similar demo games on the PC.

QEMU and DOSBox both ran Impulse Tracker like crap and I didn’t even bother trying to run Rebirth with Wine, because there’s no just way that wouldn’t have been a shit-show.

On the whole, using the Raspberry Pi Zero W as a replacement for my old Win98 PC sucked, a lot. So much so that it’s really not even worth doing.

Why?

Because GNU/Linux is bloated as all hell and the Pi requires so much “magic kruft” just to boot that it’s not really possible to slim the system down much further than what the Raspberry Pi Foundation has already done in Rasbian Lite. The Linux kernel is bloated. Most GNU software is bloated. Binary blob drivers that do weird shit (like use the GPU to run boot code!) that requires the system to be configured in a specific manner… It all culminates into a poorly performing system that is overly complicated and underwhelming to use.

It’s just not a nice experience, especially when compared to the simplicity of the PC BIOS and installing/using either DOS or Windows on a PC. Heck, even Slackware 7 is more usable on my old PC than the very best setup of GNU/Linux on the Pi Zero and using XWindows in Slackware 7 is right bloody awful compared to Windows 95, let alone Win98 SE!

The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s entirely possible to make a simple, FAST, and useful desktop operating system for single core ARM6 CPUs with 512MB of RAM and a basic graphics adapter with OpenGL ES support. RISC OS Open would be a good example, were it not for the lack of hardware support that prevents it from working properly and the lack software that accomplishes the required tasks; At least the software that does work in RISC OS works very well and the OS itself boots instantly! And so it bloody well should! If the Pi Zero W wifi, bluetooth, gpio, and audio (it’s too quiet) were fully functional in RISC OS Open that would absolutely make for a perfect, fast desktop OS on the wee little computer.

The Raspberry Pi Zero hardware is no slouch, but the software they give you for it fucking sucks.

Sadly, the Pi Foundation doesn’t care. I’ve seen forum posts by their engineers that say the Pi Zero isn’t meant to be a desktop and it’s not much of a conspiracy theory to say that they do this to sell you a more expensive Pi. You know, a Pi that is fast enough to cover up a lot of the problems inherent to modern GNU/Linux software. Why would the Pi Foundation write excellent software for their cheapest product when they can slap together free stuff made by volunteers and call it day? Who needs to take pride in their work when there’s free labor to exploit! Cynical? God damned right, but I’m also not wrong.

The Pi Foundation could easily put together a GNU/Linux based OS image that instantly boots the Pi Zero to a form of BBC BASIC which is capable of using all the Pi’s GPIO, camera, and other functions, and comes with a usable desktop that runs a WYSIWYG text editor and the Dillo browser for Wikipedia and forum access. They just don’t and that’s a crying shame.

Alrighty, I suppose this concludes my grumpy ramblings about the couple of months I spent dicking around with my Raspberry Pi Zero W. I could say a lot more, delving into great detail about various aspects of the experience, but I don’t feel like it. Sorry. It’s just not worth my time and really, it’s not worth your time either. Maybe between now and the end of life of the Raspberry Pi Zero w in 2026 we will see a renewed effort by the Pi Foundation on the software front, allowing we mere mortals to get more out of the machines, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Until then, my interest in the Pi Zero will remain as something I can accidentally blow up when programming my $8 micro controller without breaking the bank.


I know this may seem like a pretty damning assessment of GNU/Linux itself and to be honest, it is. GNU/Linux peaked for me with Linux Mint 17.3 – everything after that is just worse in one way or another, be it regressive bugs, “change for the sake of change”, or outright unusable garbage in some instances. On the flip side, Windows 10 has improved tremendously, even to the point where I really don’t have any problems with it beyond it being ugly. That’s saying a lot, considering that I hated it a few years ago. As such, I basically use Windows 10 for everything other than audio recording, for which I still use Mint 17.3, because it “just works”. I have no desire to partake in the flavor of the month chasing, convoluted “that sounds cool, let’s do it” funk that has become of so many GNU/Linux distributions and the Linux kernel itself. I mean, you know it’s bad when it ends up being a better experience when using older GNU software in the latest version of Windows than it is when using the latest GNU software in the most up to date Linux distributions… I’m done, I no longer care; what I already have works just fine for me!

As for what I am going to do about using my old PC for nostalgia, I’m just not going to “do it” at all. The system took up way too much space at my desk and frankly I can just fire up a virtual machine from Windows when feel like using the old software.

My Journey to the Center of Euclid

I have reached the center of the galaxy in No Man’s Sky for the first time. From the game play mechanics perspective, the only reason to do so is if you want to jump through the center of the galaxy so you can magically pop out on the outer rim of a different galaxy. However, I don’t actually want to do that, because I would rather stick around in the starting galaxy and take part in the GOG multiplayer community (which happens to be near the center of the galaxy).

Being somewhat of a nerd, I decided to keep a travel log. Near the half way point I realized it would take two thirds of nine-ever if I kept stopping to smell the roses and to write down the addresses of the systems I passed though, which is why the log got a lot more boring near the end. Ah well, I am there, I did it, yay me!

Here are a few images, one at the core, one on my way to GOG Civilized Space, and one of me standing on the destination planet!

Now all I have to do is poke my imagination until it comes up with something fun to build. Hmmm… I guess I could also poke my nose over the neighbor’s fence and see what they’re up to too, now that I have neighbors. 🙂


Captain’s Log

2019.10.09

– Started in The Moon system, 719,485 LY due east of the core.

– Traversed two black holes and decided I had best start a log in case I get destroyed at some point!

Beokayas System:
– Beokayas Prime (113C013F25B7) is a delightful world with beautiful weather, brownish-purple grass, blue-green water, and blues skies. No Sentinel activity to speak of either.

Musash-Yunn System:
– Found merchant on space station selling S-Class 24 Slot Rifle. Also had S-Class Upgrades for Scanner, Mining Beam, Blaze Javelin, Geo Cannon, and Pulse Spitter.
– Interesting empty planet Yisiternd V (4070040e76d0).

– Accidentally overloaded Geology Cannon on new rifle. My capital ship crew located my remains in a cave once occupied by some large mollusk type creatures. Thankfully my essence had earlier been transferred to a Korvax Convergence Cube and my crew felt compelled to source a carapace for me. I am now an honorary Korvax! The geology cannon was removed from my multi-tool, replaced by a blaze javelin it would seem… (I actually did kill myself with the Geo-cannon, while base building (twice!) in an earlier save file and decided it just wasn’t for me! lol…).

– My new exo-suit excels at communication, but is less robust in hazardous environments. Thankfully it has some measure of protection from radiation. (I removed all my weather protection items and downgraded to C-Class radiation protection, because it was just so easy nothing felt dangerous).

Eorgiy System:
– Landed Trade Outpost on moon Avok (3079040e76cc).
– Recruited Korvax Mining frigate. Decided it was a good time to build a fleet of quality vessels that need a chance to prove themselves (C-Class with as nice stats as possible).
– Took black hole, ended up in Edithos System (102c034f44a9).

Yubara VIII System:
– Landed on a strange planet, Hinnel Minor (11b8034f04a5). The scanner picked up as a “harsh blue globe”. Atmospheric turbulence caused light to absorbed such that all the world looked black and white, with dull red highlights on infrared sources. Excellent source of Activated Indium and Storm Crystals, despite the dreary weather.

Hapaye XIII System:
– Landed Trade Outpost on planet Ulompt Gamma (1079034ec4a1).
– Traversed black hole, ended up in Quanna System (10240294dfe0) on the other side of the galaxy! Considerably closer to the center, none the less.

Renushny System:
– Recruited Gek Science, Supply, and Merchant vessels.

Puolin V System:
– Last stop on a stretch of Kovakrun systems before using the portal to do some work back at New Vertiform City. I had been hoping trade our enormous bucket of rusty bolts for a smaller, newer S-Class frigate; I’d rather have less storage and nicer design as my home in space!

2019.10.10

– Took portal from Fallen Earth to Gogus Proxima in the [GOG-87] – Omning Lidkorjah system. Visited several bases created by other travelers. Found the entry for this system in my discoveries log was out of order, ran diagnostic, but logging tool reports all OK.

– Portaled back to Puolin V system and set waypoint to [GOG-87] – Omning Lidkorjah system.

Prunnum System:
– Made a deal to take command of a very nice (Star Destroyer style) white A-Class, 32 Slot capital ship. It was much larger than the S-Class style I was hoping to find, but after considering the scrap value of our old ship (C-Class, 28 Slot) and the fact that I bailed out this ship’s hapless gunners by taking out some equally hapless pirates, the 83M Unit transaction was too good of a deal to pass up. Most likely will keep this capital ship a very long time.

– Recruited Supply vessel The Kunecer War-Spear

– Bit of a bleak system, but I decided to explore a little anyway. Was curious about how there may be ancient bones on the airless moon _, discovered upon excavation they were the remains of the ancestors of the biological horrors that currently lay their eggs on the surface. Need to tune the scanner to ignore them – gross!

– Landed on moon that supports minimal amount of life. Strange that such a large body orbits inside the ring of dust. I wonder if further study would show the rings consist largely of the casting and dander of the large worms who I suspect burrow deeply here… Found many crashed freighters; Again, is it the rings? Dust storms chipping paint. Time to move on from Caklephi Beta and this system as a whole.

2019.10.11

– Entered black hole in Lolberg-Tianu system, ended up in Oevush system. 662,662 from the core!

Amkvabase System:
– Recruited Vy’keen C-Class combat vessel “The Dance of Air”. Comes equipped with tremendous cannons. Vy’keen rock!

Nanino System:
– Recruited Korvax combat vessel The Shield of the Abyss. Nifty red/blue paint job. Hope they don’t scuff it up too often… Also picked up the science vessel MV-3 Michig

Iquang System:
– 648,285 LY from the core, west side of galaxy. Jumped into black hole. Ended up in Daemonas system at 642,472 LY from the core on the east side of the galaxy.

Rumamaga-Enc System:
– 638,179 LY from core. Took black hole, ended up in Nukiha system on the NW side of the galaxy 631,531 LY from the core.

Eiyodate System:
– 607,485 LY from the core, encountered a large fleet of Vy’keen support ships. Recruited The Omen of the Horizon support ship.

Rivoik VII System:
– Single planet in this system is a beautiful tropical oasis, with blue skies, blue water, and deep reddish grass. Excellent place to get eaten by hungry and aggressive wildlife!
– 599,010 LY from core. Took black hole, ended up in Gakish-Oili III 593,593 LY from the core.

Gusuki-One System:
– 589,640 LY from the core. Took black hole, ended up in Geding-Nabru XVII system 582,951 from the core.

Shkennec System:
– Recruited GeK Mining (CS-3 Mitoi) and Combat (DSV-4 Atter) frigates. Had second thoughts about building an all Vy’keen combat force, just in case tempers run hot at some point.

Pajular-Enya II System:
– 570,707 LY from the core and I made an exception my reciting rule. Hired a B-Class Vy’keen mining vessel, as it had two +6 Industrial bonuses and uses only 8 tons of fuel per LY.
– Some nifty looking fighters and shuttles in this system.

Etsenn-Rumid System:
– 558,005 LY due west of core. Took black hole, ended up in Utioae-Ulph system 552,172 LY NE of the core.

– Landed on what looked like a nice planet to set up camp, Wesandov III, but it wasn’t long before I was swarmed by football sized crabs that would happily devour me, suit and all. I slept in my ship, thankfully they couldn’t eat that too.

2019.10.12

Etsenn-Rumid System:
– Woke up refreshed. So many strange dreams since moving to this Korvax body… How many lives have I lived before? Have I? Do I? I don’t know… It’s a beautiful day!

– Waited for the fleet to catch up. Thankfully not problems traversing black holes. Dispatched two wings on missions.

– Non-Korvax entities aboard capital ship grew tired of eating rations since the cabin fire and subsequent ban of personal cooking equipment. Called upon Farmer stationed at New Vertiform City to setup and maintain a mess hall on capital ship. He was very eager to accept this new adventure! Armorer agreed to watch over plants in the city when off duty; I knew he liked flowers.

Baksanog XVII System:
– Landed on Ranc VIII (218e02b95310), as the scanner had some kind of malfunction, listing the planet planet as [REDACTED]. Worth investigating further. Found a dark, rainy world that is nice if you don’t mind the rain and you can find shelter during the occasionally deadly storm. Mined 1700 units of Dioxite (safely from a cut out that I made in the hill) while looking for some Activated Indium.
– Unable to locate any Activated Indium, but may return to Ranc VIII someday.

– Visisted Polo and Nada on the Anomoly. Got waypoint to black hole in Kodias III system 550,467 LY from the core. Warped there, traversed black hole, ended up in Lasdals-Olonq system 544,382 LY from the core. Not worth the repairs to hyperdrive upgrades, as that was only 2 jumps (with each jump only using 2% of my warp fuel).

Hidden Jem System:
– In my quest to find a heavily combat equipped science vessel, I found a Vy’keen system called Hidden Jem, due north of the galactic core. Not sure if that is a translation error, though I did find a mineral deep in a cave, on the one giant planet in this system, that a local indicated was called simply “Jem”. The planet, called Jewel of Nal (118001ab504c), appears to be an idyllic refuge for scientific minded Vy’keen. Lush blue grass and green skies, it truly is a hidden gem!

Vidius-Tish System:
– (212101ab804d) Found a dealer who sells all red versions of the Radiant Pillar in various qualities. Also sells a nice symmetric gull wing hauler in red. Wealthy system, so lots of nice models available.
– Station merchant had a slick looking S-Class Rifle (16 Slots).

Eakeni System:
– At 535,128 LY from the core, hired final science vessel for the fleet. Top notch Vy’keen explorers (+6 Exploration bonus). Was hoping to find a crew with more combat experience, but this crew and their ship are the best explorers in our fleet, so no complaints!

2019.10.14

– Unable to relocate the Eakeni System. Restarted journey to the core at Vidius-Tish System 541,597 from the core

– Aebashim System puts me at 500,265 LY from the core. Stopped in the next system for tea, because it wasn’t at war and we all know that war and tea don’t mix.

Lolsboro System:
– You’d think that was name chosen by another traveler, but nope, it was generated by Atlas itself!

– System is 495,955 LY N from the core. Took blackhole (107902b2a049) and ended up in Inskyvi III system (1065004c4f9d) 489,814 LY S of the core. No damage taken!

– Next black hole jump, had to repair though.

– Doing a series of black hole jumps without documentation, but the gist is: Jump approx 2,000 LY to next black hole on scanner, take black hole, repair, repeat. Stopped in Gameaumon XVIII system 458,020 LY from the core to buy some wiring looms. Seems the combination of warp jumps and being stretched in black holes takes its toll on wiring. I feel fine though! Also purchased 2,173 units of Residual Goop, because “Goop + Poop = Gold” and that makes me happy.

Ugyuang System:
– Having now reached the Ugyuang system 343,945 LY from the core, I have to say that the two times I did a black hole jump and didn’t need to make repairs were both flukes! I’d look into buying better equipment if I didn’t already have the best Nanites can buy.

– Landed at space station to rest for the night. Almost at the halfway point from where I started!

2019.10.15

Netiluy-lonq system:
– Did some more jumping today. Caught a signal for some salvageable scrap on Nisiylvan (105dfc2ee05f), a frozen planet in the Netiluy-lonq system. Located a component in perfect condition worth about 2.4MU. Not bad for wanting to stretch my legs! That said, traveling to the core goes a lot faster than thought it would when I just jump without taking a break.

Fokadamal System:
– 251,399 LY SW of the core. Nothing of interest to note.

Dagbokbe System:
– Less than 200K LY to go! Bought some Phosphorus here for a decent price.

Ifrosv System:
– 117,642 LY W of the core. Ran out of cobalt mirrors to repair the launch system recharger. Will check station for supplies, if none found, will leave broken.

Anooga System:
– 98,408 LY from the core, finally broke the 100K LY mark!

Arinqi II System:
– 44,287 LY from the core. The first system on my trip that was discovered by another traveler! Discovered by gjennings two years ago. I stopped here to use the black hole.

Hooey-Avr System:
– Two black holes later at 28,335 LY, and I am in a system discovered by Root Boy Slim only eight months ago. Looks like he was also just passing though. I decided to land on the purple planet of Urmipp to catch a breather. Aggressive sentinels abound, so I stayed on top of a high pillar of stone to avoid them, but one of the buggers found me anyway when I scanning the birds flying below.

Laftalli System:
– Reached 3,497 LY SE from the core, checked map and there aren’t ANY stars beyond 400 LY from here toward the core! Crazy! Had a good laugh out loud when I found a system on the edge of the core named. “I spent 60 euros on this”. Of course, I had to go there too.

I spent 60 euros on this System:
– Discovered by AxeWorld three years ago. He also discovered the planet, “Prepare for disappointment”.

– Defeated 4 pirates with my default pulse cannon, again. Sigh…

– Doesn’t seem to be anything of interest here. Visited Polo on the Anomaly to request coordinates for an Atlas Interface. Maybe that will help… Did some reading, figured out I need to reach a gateway system, which can be found using the Galactic Core bookmark on the galactic map.

Niquntain XVIII System:
– 3,000 LY from the core, I could now jump into the center if I wanted! How’s that for crazy, eh? I don’t actually want to travel there though, as that would send me off to another galaxy. Instead I wish to end this journey by beginning another in the [GoG-87] – Omning Lidkorjah system where other travelers have settled!


New Vertiform City – A No Man’s Sky Base

A reference to a classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, New Vertiform City is the first base that I build since restarting No Man’s Sky on GOG Galaxy. I wanted to make my home somewhere that was both useful and engaging, so I set out to find a good Electromagnetic Power Hotspot in the blistering hell of a planet with extremely radioactive wind storms.

Well that’ll do!

With an astonishing amount of unlimited power found, I put together a nifty little outpost with the following features…

Galactic Region: Umukait

System: The Moon (a late night naming error…)

  • F7f // Water (Yellow)
  • Vy’keen
  • Mathmatical (Scientific / Blue)
  • Conflict Level Destructive

Planet: Fallen Earth

  • Extreme Radioactivity
  • Frequent, long lasting storms
  • Minimal Sentinels
  • Silver, Uranium, Activated Copper, Gamma Root

City Functions

  • Mining Oyxgen (48Ku/day)
  • Mining Uranium (24Ku/day)
  • Harvesting Gamma Root (~50 Plants)
  • Crafting Liquid Explosives & Living Glass

City Amenities

  • Trade Terminal
  • Large and Medium Refiners
  • Roamer and Colossis Exocraft Terminals
  • Two Landing Pads
  • Antimater Harvester
  • Livestock Unit & Feeder

What’s Nearby

  • Storm Crystals
  • Ancient Bones
  • Large Oxygen patch and several Gamma Root patches
  • Trade Outpost (marked with beacon)
  • Ancient Data Structure
  • Water and Caves

For my purposes, those Uranium and Oxygen harvesters provide me with effectively an unlimited supply of several important resources. Also, the ability to make approx 12 million “Units” (currency) worth of crafted items every day (on top of being able to collect Storm Crystals and Ancient Bones!) is plenty to keep me happy. The game is too easy as it is, so I don’t see the point of ruining the experience by creating yet another Activated Indium mine that can max out one’s Units (4.2 billion) in few days. Nope, for me it’s about the journey, so I would rather set goals and work at them a little at time.

Anyhow, if you’re playing on GOG Galaxy (PC) and want to check it out, here is the portal address for the planet:

You can see here on the galactic map and translates into the following alpha-numeric values 2242013FD5C8. New Vertiform City is located at the coordinates -54, +162, which is pretty far away from the portal, so don’t forget you can call your ship or plop down an exo-craft terminal if you’re coming to visit.

Restarted No Man’s Sky on GOG Galaxy

After some initial horrible performance issues with the 2.0 Beyond update, which happened to be caused by the Steam client eating up a massive amount of CPU/Disk/Network resources rather than a problem with NMS itself, I decided to throw in the towel with Steam. I never liked it anyway, so no loss there! 🙂

Anyway, having played more than 200 hours on four different save files, 1 Survival Mode and 1 Normal Mode on both Steam and GOG, I decided it would be best for me to take some time off the game to reset my brain and come back to start a fresh game. Let me tell ya, it’s hard to keep all those different games straight when the world looks and feels identical in all of them! Also, I figured I would be less likely to encounter any issues if I did a completely clean installation using the GOG Galaxy program.

No Man’s Sky is as close to the perfect game for me as I am likely to ever get, so it would be a shame to spend all of that time playing it without ever encountering the creations of others or others encountering my own. As such, I decided to go “all in” on Normal Mode on GOG, simply playing the game the way Hello Games intended it, despite the sad reality that the game is disappointingly easy. “Take the good with the bad”, they say! The good is that I don’t have to do anything other than log in and enjoy the game and that’s OK with me – less work, more play! That said, I will keep my modified 1.77 version of the game installed and the repository for those “mods” around in case all hell breaks loose or I am driven insane by some of the annoying new features in version 2.0 of the game.

With all that said, I finally got all of the portal glyphs again and I am looking forward to taking part in the GOG Civilized Space project. Along the way I created a nifty base that I called, “New Vertiform City”, which I used to complete all the base related quests and to collect Storm Crystals, etc. I’ll create a post about it later, because it’s pretty nifty and it will be my main base for a good long time I bet.

See you in the great beyond!

(Pun intended, of course.)

My lowly A-Class fighter that can utterly wreck the hardest encounters in the game!
(I can beat them in the unmodified starter ship too…)

Hobbies: Creating vs. Playing and Being Entertained

I’ve been told many times that I am “too hard on myself” and that may be true, but either way, I can’t help feeling lazy and useless when I am playing a game or watching a show rather than using that time to create something. Be that creation a program, a blog post, or even a silly dollar-store-paint panting, there is something about doing those sorts of things that makes them feel inherently useful, even if the end product is totally useless.

That said though, sometimes I don’t even have the mental flux to soldier through a game of Bejeweled, let alone reach the focused head-space required to program or otherwise create anything useful. Yet when I take an objective view of on life, ya know what, it’s alright to loaf on the couch for an evening to catch up on The Orville and Murdoch Mysteries!

Life’s short, paint some happy little trees. Or don’t, cause that’s fine too! 🙂

A scene that was swimming around in my head…

$3 of paint on a piece of cardboard box primed with paint and drywall compound!

Raspberry Pi Zero & Arduino UNO in an old DVD Player Chassis

Well, it’s not really at all like prototype kids electronics computer station thing I made a render of in Blender last year, but it’s kind of cool and definitely helps my desk stay uncluttered, which is nice.

Nice and tidy Pi Zero and Arduino UNO setup

The keyboard is a particularly kick butt off-brand mechanical deal, with Cherry MX blue style switches and double-shot PBT keycaps built on a thick metal plate, that I bought on sale of less than $24 CAD. That was one hell of a deal considering that I paid about the same for my all plastic Microsoft ComfortCurve 2000, with its bendy chassis and rubber dome keys, in the early 2000s. Moving on, I also included a powered USB hub, a breadboard for electronics tinkering, and hand-made mount that allows the Pi Zero W to sit mostly inside the plastic front bezel, leaving it beyond the metal chassis for better Wifi reception. Speaking of Wifi, initially I only wanted the $6 CAD Pi Zero, but I wasn’t able to find one in stock, so I bought the $11 Pi Zero W instead. All things considered, I suppose it is a lot simpler to use Apt on the network rather than downloading packages to a USB stick on a different computer and installing them that way. All of these parts I attached with a handful of screws and some wire I pealed out of an Ethernet cable; Threading the wires through holes in the plastic/metal plates was both sturdy and cost effective! Don’t worry, there is a piece of silver coloured plastic between the bottom on the Pi and the metal frame it’s mounted upon.

Anyhow, my primary use for the machine is to play around with programming in the C language in a command line only world that hearkens back to the 8 Bit days, in a way. Having spent a year with my Commodore 64c, I decided that I prefer puttering around with Linux, C, Python, Lua, BASIC, and all that jazz rather than futzing with Assembly on the C64. I very much enjoy the combination of the “limited” Pi Zero, with its single core CPU and 512MB RAM, and the meager Arduino UNO, because the combo is not only crazy powerful for character graphics programming (Ncurses library), but I can accidentally blow up either of them when working on an electronics project without worrying too much about it. Always a little freaky plugging that Arduino into a computer! Finally, I love that the whole system uses less than 2 Watts of power under full load – it makes a whole lot more sense to do use it for command line based programming that my electricity sucking desktop, that’s for sure!

That said, I don’t really have any projects on the go with it at this time. I already have a bunch of other projects I am not doing as it is lol… Seriously, I need to find the passion to finish RocketTux, basically for the sake of doing so at this point… And with that said, I do have some crazy ideas which will no doubt show up on my GitHub page in due time. Think Commodore PET style games and software, only it’s Rasbian (Debian) Linux rather than Commodore BASIC…

Here are some more pictures of the setup.

This once was Daytech DVD-868V50 DVD player.

Powered USB Hub, Breadboard, and a plastic bottom with plenty of space for misc parts to dangle around!

I made a custom rear panel out of plastic. Could have done a better job with the Arduino hole…

This is a terrible picture. My main desktop keyboard is backlit, while the one for the Pi in front of it is not. Split screen command line thanks to Tmux.