My Old Sierra Games

Does anyone remember Sierra Online Entertainment?  I certainly do.  How could I ever forget?  They were the very first computer based video games I had ever played, and that was in the 80’s and 90’s.

I played King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella on my old Apple //e that I bought from my brother-in-law in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a tower with a motherboard or a hard drive, because it got destroyed before I bought it.  Long story, it was my friends fault lol.  Anyway, I remember that this was the very first game I bought and I had so much fun with it.  I sold the computer a few years later.

In 1997 when I bought my very first Windows-based computer, I wondered if they still sold it, so I looked and found the King’s Quest Collection at a computer store for $20 and I bought it.  I also bought many other Sierra game collections and loved them all.

I have been very hard at work rebuilding my old website to make it new and fresh, and while looking in my CD book for a CD with a backup file, I came across all of my old Sierra games and it occurred to me that maybe I should make a page that showed all of them and mention how much fun I had playing them, so I did.

Shiver’s 2 is one of the games that I couldn’t remember playing.  I have the 2 cd’s, but I just don’t have any memory of playing it.  I tried to install it, but it wouldn’t let me.  Every attempt at installing it resulted in a crash.  I didn’t give up though, I did a Google search looking for Sierra installers and I actually found a website.

New Installers for Sierra Games.  I installed the King’s Quest collection using their installer and it worked.  Although some of the games crashed, not all of them did.  I ran the 4th and 5th game, but the 7th one crashed.  I even had it install Mixed Up Mother Goose and I tried playing it, but it wouldn’t do it.  I think the reason is because it needs to be in 256 colors.  I can only do 16 and 32 bit.  I do remember when I played some of those games in the 90’s that I had to physically change my resolution to 256 colors before I could run the game.  I don’t think I will play them so I uninstalled it.

They had the Shiver’s 2 installer and I was successful in installing it, but here is my issue, when I run the game, it’s mostly video footage and it freezes up on me.  I can hear the sound perfectly, but the video freezes up too much.  It’s basically unplayable with my computer.

There are a few games that I never got to play, like the Police Quest Collection and the Quest for Glory Collection, so I may end up trying to install those and see what happens.  If they play then they play, if they don’t then they don’t.

I did have to install 2 programs for this.  DOSBox and ScummVM.  I’ve heard of DOSBox, but not the ScummVM one.  There is one annoying thing though.  I have avast anti-virus, and every time I tried running one of the games, avast would pop up on my screen saying it had never heard of Sierra, so it was checking it to see if it was a virus.  So I would suggest if you do have these Sierra games and intend to play them and you have avast, you could either wait for it to allow you to run it, or just close avast down.  I mean, you won’t need the internet with these games, usually, so you don’t have to worry about getting a virus.  If it only hassled me once then I’d say let it add that particular game to its list of approved programs, but if it does it every time then it’s annoying, shut it down.

I will try to play those other games and if/when I do, I will update my Sierra page on my website.

Possible Weight Loss and Health Benefits With E-Cigarettes

I have been thinking about Vaping a lot lately.  Not just for the benefit of smoking an e-cigarette, but to help me lose weight.  What if you could lose weight simply by “vaping” with an electronic cigarette?  Here me out on this one because I’m really seriously wondering if it would help.

When I smoked cigarettes as a teenager and in my 20’s, I wasn’t always hungry because as we all know, cigarettes are an appetite suppressant.  Although I did still eat food, I just didn’t eat as much, I especially didn’t eat as many sweets as I do as an ex-smoker.  When I quit smoking in 1996, I gained 50lbs almost within the first few months because I had replaced the bad habit with another bad habit, ice cream, twinkies, donuts and sunflower seeds.  All of a sudden I had a craving for everything sweet that I denied myself when I smoked.  Here we are 16 years later and I am over 100lbs overweight and I can’t seem to lose weight at all.  I have been able to maintain it, but every so often it goes up a bit.

This company named Zeus E-Juice sells E-Liquid for your Ego E-cigarettes in many sweet flavors.  I was wondering if perhaps that might cure my sweet tooth so I’m not going to the store and buying junk food.  I try to stay away from junk food because I am diabetic now, so I’m not supposed to have any sugar, but that doesn’t stop me.  If I “Vaped” with sweet tasting E-Liquid, would that take away my cravings altogether so I can lose weight? I mean, I just want the sweet taste in my mouth, you know?  But we all know that I’m not going to chew on something sweet just for the taste and then spit it out into a napkin.

I did a Google search and I think I might have found my answer.  Someone asked the very same question in an e-cigarette forum.  Vaping to help with diet urges…  Here are a couple of short responses.

  • Some people have reported losing weight after starting to vape, some haven’t. It’s not really intended for that purpose. But to each their own.
  • Look up Steeljan on Youtube and shoot her a message. She actually started vaping as a way to curb sweet cravings and lose weight.  (I intend on asking her)
  • Since beginning vaping there have been no more trips to the snack machine at work or stopping at the convenience store for a snack while driving. That alone has helped and although I haven’t stepped on the scale the trousers are a little more comfortable.
  • I smoked (quit) about 30 years ago and have been dying for a cig ever since. Even dreaming I took up smoking again. Long story short, I heard about vaping about a month ago and bought them at a gas station for my smoker son. I started vaping too and LOVE it. Needless to say, I no longer buy them at the gas station!! I have also been dieting for a year and took off 30 pounds. I haven’t weighed myself in a while but I CAN tell you that vaping keeps me from snacking. btw…I also have asthma and I have no shortness of breath vaping. The best news is my son hasn’t had a cig since vaping either!

Those are certainly the responses I was hoping for.  The only problem now is, why would I want to start vaping if I don’t smoke and have no current urges to smoke?  Well, you can buy the e-liquid with NO nicotine and as far as I know there are no risks of addiction, but at the same time I don’t know that for a fact.  I mean, if I vape only when I have a craving, there is no harm in that, right?  I’m sure a puff or a toot, as I heard someone say on YouTube, a few times a day isn’t going to cause an addiction.  It’s just going to curb the cravings, right?

So this is my question if anyone will respond.  Is it a good or a bad idea for me to start vaping for this very reason?  Do you think it will actually help me lose weight?  Your responses are greatly appreciated.

:Cue Cat

Do you remember the :Cue Cat?  It was made in the late 90’s by a company called Digital Convergence and was given away for free at Radio Shack in the early 2000’s.  When they first came out with them I got one and installed the software that came with it and had a jolly good time scanning boxes of cereal and cans of Chef Boyardee and my soda.  But that became boring after 5 minutes and it sat there plugged in for months until I decided it wasn’t doing me any good at all.  I unplugged it, removed the software and put it in a drawer never to be seen again.

Today I was sitting here and I saw it sitting on a shelf and I thought, I wonder what good that thing is anymore, should I just toss it or what?  Then I got to thinking, I kept it all these years because it scans bar codes, I wonder if it still does that but for other things like placing things on eBay or adding books to my Anobii account.

I did a little Google search and I actually found more information than I thought I would about it.  Apparently people were upset that the Cue Cat was sending information to Digital Convergence every time you used it and someone hacked it and made it impossible for them to get any information.  They found out and tried to sue that person but ended up going out of business instead which is why the software doesn’t work anymore.  You can’t use the software on the cd because it doesn’t have a website to connect to anymore.

But it still works, if you have a Cue Cat plug it in and try scanning something into Notepad.  You will get some long numbers because it’s made to send encrypted code to the Digital Convergence software to bring up a website.  You can’t use the software but the scanner works and there is a website at LibraryThing.com that can read that encrypted code to add your book to their website.  Although I tried it and only 5 out of 32 books would scan properly.  So my search continued.

I found the CED Magic website which gave me a bit more help with a program called CatNip which will remove that encryption from the bar code information so you can get the proper numbers to scan.  I tried it and it works.  I went to Anobii and scanned a book and it automatically added it to my bookshelf.  I removed it of course because that book was already there.

What I want to use it for is so that I can add things to eBay without going through the hassle of having to type everything in.  Even the bar code itself, I’d rather just swipe the bar code, since I already own a Cue Cat, then just go from there.  Darrin owns hundreds of LP’s and wants to sell them on eBay but figured it’s such a hassle typing in all that information.  Now it’s easier.

I don’t buy physical books anymore since I own a Nook so I really don’t have a need to scan book bar codes for Anobii but you never know what might happen in the future.  I might get a bug up my ass and want to scan all of my books, dvd’s, cd’s, and pc software bar codes for a catalog program lol.  Crazier things have happened.

Well at least if you have an old Cue Cat that you got for free 10 or 11 years ago, you can take it out of moth balls and hook it up again and scan to your hearts content lol.

Taste the @Twimbow

A few days ago I was searching for something that had to do with rainbows, I think I was looking for an image. I really don’t remember but in my Google search I found Twimbow. It said it was in pre-Alpha so in order for me to use Twinbow I had to sign up and wait for approval. Well, I got an email today with my approval.

When I found it on Google I read that it was a new Twitter application so I thought what the heck, I could always use a new way to go on twitter. I’m not really much of a twit er wait no that came out wrong… or did it? I don’t get into twittering as much as a lot of people do so I don’t really use it. The problem with Twitter is that I am following so many people and I look away for 5 seconds and there are 20 more tweets. I look away for 5 minutes and there are 500 new tweets. It’s overwhelming so I don’t use Twitter as much as I would like to.

Twimbow is a bit different in the respect that you can choose what tweets you want to look at. Look at this image, this is the main page. The left column has direct messages, your mentions and people mentioning you, all color coded. The middle column are everyone’s tweets that you are following and the right column are the Twimbow mentions.

What I would love to see happen next is being able to either block certain people’s tweets or only show certain people’s tweets. That way you can block out all the spam tweets from people you really don’t know who you follow that advertise a lot.

The problem is, I follow everyone who follows me whether I know them or not. So because of that my twitter page is overwhelmed with tons of new tweets. I don’t want to unfollow those people but I don’t want to read their spam tweets either lol. And some of the people I follow are speaking in Russian. I can’t even read their tweets.

I said earlier that you can choose what tweets you see, this is what I mean. In the image above you might have noticed at the bottom it said Monitor. Well, if you click that you can type in some key words or phrases and anyone who tweets those words or phrases will show up under that word.

For this example I typed in 4 words, Nook, Kindle, Ebook and Gay. So every time someone says those words I will know it. You can also move those boxes around. When I typed them all out they were all vertical on the left side, I moved them so they are horizontal to see the tweets in them.

You could also type in certain people’s names like if I only want to look at Kathy Griffins tweets or any time someone said her name then those will be the only tweets I see. I typed Xanapus and my last tweet came up but because nobody ever says my name 😦 that won’t have any new tweets.

I would like to only follow certain people’s tweets like I said Kathy Griffin but also Alyssa Milano, Bethany, BravoAndy, hello Ross and a few other celebrities. I only want to look at friend tweets and celebrity tweets.

I like Twimbow because their site looks way cooler than Twitters does. Hopefully they will have ways of blocking or only allowing certain people so I can enjoy it even more.

PSP eBook – NIMS PSP eBook Reader

I’ve finally figured out how to turn my PSP into an eBook reader.  I’ve googled the term “PSPebook reader” before with bad results.  You know, those homebrew programs.  Yeah, that’s a bad result.  I refuse to brick up my PSP just so I can see if I can read an e-book on it.

In my google search I did find a message board where they talked about a PSP e-book reader so I checked out a couple of ideas, this is one of them.

NIMS PSP Ebook Reader .  This is a little different although not quite better.  If you google the title you may find that it is found in homebrew websites.  However, it does not need a homebrewed PSP to work.  It does work with a regular PSP because all you are doing is loading an html file in your web browser as your reader then putting your e-book files in another folder.

It has a dos program that you run where it will convert PDF files.  I tried it and the output was terrible.  It wasn’t what I had hoped it would have been.  It’s supposed to convert your pdf e-book file into html files along with some other files I don’t know.  Anyway, it wasn’t good.

I did take their index file though and made my own little version of an e-book reader.  I changed the text and gave it a background so it looks snazzy but it works better.

Ok here is what you do.  File: PSP_ebook.zip This is safe, scan the file with your virus software, all it is, is a zip file with 2 files in it.  1) index.html file and 2) the background image.  You unzip the files and put them in your PSP in the folder – PSP/books.  You have to create that books folder.  I did that to make it easier to find the file in your browser so you don’t have to type too much to find it.

When you buy ebooks you might be able to buy them in pdf format, if you can here is a sweet utility that will convert them to html.  If the e-book store offers an html version then all the better for you because you won’t have to worry about converting anything.

When you have your html files of your ebooks you put them in your PSP in the folder – PSP/COMMON/books.  You will have to create that books folder.  When you open an e-book file you cannot choose to find them in the same location as the index file, they have to be in a higher folder like Common.

Now here is what you do.  Go into the browser of your PSP, type this in the address bar:

file:/PSP/books/index.html

Now bookmark that so you don’t have to type it in every time.  Now just click Browse, scroll down to /PSP/COMMON/books and click that then find the name of the book you uploaded into the PSP and click it and viola, your PSP is now an e-book reader.

There is a downside, you won’t be able to bookmark at all.  Fortunately when you leave the browser, once you go back into it you will be right back where you left off.  That is if you didn’t load an actual website which would close the point you stopped reading.  If you did that then you would have to scroll down to where you left off at.

If your PDF had chapters with links then you can use those links to find the chapter you were on.

I give the NIMS program a 1 out of 5 for the fact that the e-book I chose to convert looked terrible as an e-book in my PSP.  I give my conversion of their program a 4 out of 5 because it has no bookmarking ability but it works better than their idea.

PSP eBook Creator

I’ve finally figured out how to turn my PSP into an eBook reader. I’ve googled the term “PSP e-book reader” before with bad results. You know, those homebrew programs. Yeah, that’s a bad result. I refuse to brick up my PSP just so I can see if I can read an ebook on it.

In my google search I did find a message board where they talked about a PSP e-book reader so I checked out a couple of ideas, this is one of them.

“ PSP eBook Creator ” which is actually not a bad program. What you do is click File then open a “.txt” file, you can change it from portrait to landscape, change the background color or give it an image, change the text color, change the font, font size and make it bold or regular then create an output folder then build your e-book files. Once all the images are made all you need to do is upload the folder to your PSP Picture folder, turn it on and start reading.

What it does though is it creates an image for every page of the e-book . If this is a long e-book, this process will take a long time and the size of the entire book might be huge especially if you are running low on space. Not to mention that you won’t have a book cover image to look at since all the files were taken from a text file.

Since it only uses text files you will have to figure out a way to convert your e-book to text format with Calibre.

Here is a sample of what one of the pages will look like in text format as a .jpg file.

It’s not a bad image to look at although you will see some boxes here and there (as seen before Cover Photo Credit…). I read this book from beginning to end last night on my PSP just to see if it would hurt my eyes at all and even though it’s not that long of a book my eyes were ok for a while. But if it were a 400 page novel I’m sure that reading on a PSP would start to hurt your eyes after an hour unlike e-Ink.

If I were to make some changes to make it easier on the eyes I would probably put in a dark background image, make the text white, bold and bigger. For this test I made the font Comic Sans regular size 12. Default is regular (non bold), size 10 but I don’t know what the default font is.

You don’t have to worry about a bookmark since all you have to do is leave the image part of the PSP. Once you go back into it you will be right back on the last page (or image) you were on. That is unless you turned the PSP all the way off, then you would have to find where you were again.

If I were to give this a rating I would give it a 3 out of 5.

Web Host Upgrade?

Ok I got this email today from my web host that they are going to start charging me $3 more per month but the good news is that I’m also getting 3GB more too.  So I guess that’s not bad.  If I paid for a year up front I could get a discount so I’d really only have to pay $1 more each month but I really don’t have the money to put towards a whole year up front.  That’s ok, it’s still worth it to pay for my own domain rather than just use a blog site like Xanga, MySpace, Blogger, Yahoo 360° or whatever other blogging sites are out there.

At least with my own website I can give people a website address that they can go to that is short like xanapus.com.  Most of the people who I played EQ with would know exactly where to go because they know that name.  It would be easier to find me on the internet just by looking up my character name.  If you do a google search for the name Xanapus there are 2,860,000 results. I get around lol.