Wednesday, 11 June 2008

8bit paintball

This is damn funny! Especially since my state has just legalised paintball (no-one has set it up yet though - I'm waiting...)

And now for the gratuitous ad. which I nicely didn't remove:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

For those RSS and syndicate followers, try this link!

Gentoo Linux Live USB key

From live CD image, to bootable USB key in only a few minutes! I didn't believe my friend when he told me how easy this is, and yet he was right!

Here's what I did, you may need to tweak it a bit for your setup (especially your usb device - it could be /dev/sd[a|b|c|...]. Firstly I used one 1Gb USB key / thumbdrive / flashdrive / whatever, because I use the live CD image. You could use the minimal CD image and use a smaller key. It appears to me as /dev/sdb.

Your PC might need to be capable of treating the USB filesystem as a CDROM, otherwise this may not work for you. Tell me about your success!

0. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1

The reason I did this is because I had corrupted both the mbr and partition table of the usb key. fdisk simply told me "unable to seek on /dev/sdb" and wouldn't continue. Skip this step if you can fdisk ok.

1. fdisk -l; fdisk /dev/sdb; fdisk a partition!

I join these steps together, cause they're all related to creating the partition. Make one partition covering the entire device. Something like "n p 1 t 1 83 a 1 w" should do it. Note I made it bootable, and I'm not using FAT.

2. mkfs.ext2 -L liveUSB /dev/sdb

You'll notice I'm using ext2 here. Wait for the device to finish writing, then unplug and re-plug it, or mount it manually.

3. sudo mount -t iso9660 -o loop /home/iain/Desktop/livecd-i686-installer-2008.0_beta2.iso /mnt/tmp/

There are multiple ways to do this. This is the one I chose.

4. sudo rsync -avP /mnt/tmp/ /media/liveUSB

5. sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/liveUSB --no-floppy /dev/sdb

6. reboot!

Remember to set your BIOS to boot from your USB drive. Now you have a live CD on a USB key. Much nicer than burning!


Edit: There are some more comprehensive and detailed howto's available with slightly different techniques:

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

GoogleEarth flight simulator

Last night I was thinking "GoogleEarth imagery would make a great backdrop for a flight simulator"...
  1. Start GoogleEarth (I have version on Gentoo Linux)
  2. Turn on the "terrain"
  3. Press ctrl-alt-a
  4. Choose between an F16 jet fighter, or an SR22 4 seat propeller aeroplane.
  5. Fly! The mouse works as the usual joystick controller (down=pull up; up=down, just as I like it!)
You have some other controls too: g (landing gear); up/down arrows (throttle); f (extend flaps); F (retract flaps). And yes - since you have landing gear you _can_ crash! Turn on the terrain option for a 3D view. I landed at my local airport! Not quite as smooth as my good ole Janes FA/18, but still very cool...

It may be a bit buggy - if it locks up just restart GoogleEarth, and choose from one of the default starting points.

Of course, I'm not the first to know - Google has fully documented the keyboard shortcuts!
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