giovedì 31 marzo 2011

Thoughts on a Cloud OS

I was talking some years ago with a Linux expert, one of the big important ones. We were of course talking about operating systems and their future. I was talking about a very fast, on the fly, live OS dedicated just for gaming. Imagine getting a new PC game, putting the DVD on the drive and restarting your pc. BIOS POST, and off it boots the game. What's the point? None. Maybe not needing drivers or updates or antivirus or whatever, so you'll experience the most of the game as long as you meet minimum hardware requirements.
So the guru said to me: "you wanna know what's the future of operating systems?"
Well, no...
This was the year 2001, when internet was still slow and Windows XP was the greatest thing ever. And that's when I heard the first concept of a Cloud OS. What's a Cloud OS? Well, imagine your computer with a very very fast internet connection and no hard drive. Or your friend's computer, with the same config. You turn it on and it asks for username and password. It connects to the internet and there it is, YOUR desktop, your software, your 50GB of mp3s. You can play your games, work on your documents and then simply logout.
All and everything you have on your PC right now will be dispersed between servers around the world.
And this is cool because you can change hardware every 6 months without reformatting, copying files over, etc. Plus, you can work literally anywhere in the world, given you have a good internet connection.

And just today, I saw a first concept running. I shall say no more.
But you might taste something similar with Cloud Gaming. Head over to and create an account. You don't even need to put a valid e-mail. Download the small program and try one of the demos.
I was just running Dirt 2 on max settings. On a $200 netbook.

sabato 26 marzo 2011

Some of my latest renders

This are just a few of the renders I've done this year (so far).
I use 3ds MAX 2010 and vRay 2.0, and for the fire effects, FumeFX (except for the first render).
All models are made by me.

That's it for now!

Linux: Wine, joystick hatswitch and IL-2 Sturmovik

If you’ve been trying to get your hat switch (POV) to work under wine, you’ve probably lost most of your hair (partly by pulling them and partly by growing old while waiting for a patch for Bug #12220).
I’ve found a solution. It’s called rejoystick and it does wonders.
So, install by either using the .deb, the .rpm or by compiling (it’ll complain when you don’t meet the dependencies of ./configure).
To configure it, run “$rejoystick” on a shell and check which of the events are your hat switch, and promptly assign them a key. Now, here’s the tricky part: the program will halt if any other axis or button is unassigned. So pick one key in your keyboard you hardly use, and assign every other event to this single key.
To run it, type on a shell “$rejoystick -d” and to terminate it, “$killall -9 rejoystick”
So, you can create a script containing:
rejoystick -d
wine “/path-to-your/IL-2 Sturmovik 1946/il2fb.exe”
killall -9 rejoystick
Ta-daa! Fully working joystick under IL-2, under wine, under linux, with a key capture-binding layer.
Ah, computing is fantastic…
So, that’s another linux annoyance fixed. I’ve still have to find a good lyrics plugin for my audacious (I’ve translated from chinese and compiled one, but still doesn’t convince me. If you want it, contact me) and get .gifs to animate under Eye of Gnome. You lazy developers, have to do everything by myself.

Later I'll be posting some renders I've prepared.

venerdì 25 marzo 2011

ReactOS overview

I've been an passive ReactOS developer for a while now. While its slow (yet steady) pace can be frustrating, with every version it starts to look more like a decently done Operating System and less like a bad win95 copy.

So, what is ReactOS exactly?

I could post more screenshots, but you'll say it looks just like Windows 2000, with some weird added icons.
What ReactOS actually is, is a completely win32 binary compatible OS. So in short, you can use it instead of Windows with all your programs working, while that's impossible with linux or MacOS without an emulation layer (or virtual machine).

What does it mean for the OS world? Well, not much, for now, since it's still in alpha stage and some important things do not work well. Almost all new computers already come with some version of the latest windows installed, so you don't really need an alternative.
But when it'll be compatible enough that there will be virtually no difference when running the two, I'd safely bet that ReactOS will takeoff and the development of patches / security holes will be as fast and efficient as any community-based linux distro. That means it'll be faster and safer than its current windows couanterpart.

And at the end of the day, a stable ReactOS will be the OS of choice for POS, terminals, internet cafes or any other usage that wants to avoid an expensive license.

And who knows, maybe in some years we'll all be wondering why people still pay for Windows...

If you want to try reactos, download the version preloaded with QEMU, a free virtual machine. In 10 minutes time you'll be running it on a window on your Windows OS without installing or modifying anything.

mercoledì 23 marzo 2011

Hi everyone!

This will be my tech-oriented blog. I'll post about what I like in the technology world: Linux (and lots of hacking and scripting to get things to work), Operating Systems tips and tricks and general tech & gadgets.
I'm a 3D artist and graphic designer, so I'll post every now and then interesting things about the 3D and 2D world as well, tutorials and cool websites with plugins or free stuff.

That's it for now!