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Cyclone Boom

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February 8

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About Cyclone Boom

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    United Kingdom
  • Interests
    City-builders, simulation games, golf, cricket, tennis.

    Technology, websites, problem solving, multimedia & photography.
  • City-building game(s)
    SimCity 4
    Cities: Skylines
    SimCity 3000

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  1. So that missing dependency means the only other viable alternative is the Linux version? Hmm, they sure don't make it easy... To be honest, with no clear pathway, it sounds like a myriad of things could go wrong with installing that lot. Different versions and combinations, and they're not easy to find. Perhaps this is a reason why development for RN has been rather sluggish in recent times... Frustratingly I'm guessing that link to the zip would've worked if not for Dropbox disabling shared folders the other week. Maybe a possible way forward is by contacting the author and see if they can re-upload or fix it? Might be a long shot though. From what I've gathered, it seems like PythonWebKit provides the internet browser functionality. In other words, to load the external images into the application as desired. So in which case, the very incentive for using RN may well be holding this effort back. If Linux would be required throughout development, that clearly is an added hassle. Or worse still if it ruled out Windows as the target OS (for compatibility). Otherwise maybe one of us could setup a Linux install on a virtual machine, should it only be necessary for a limited extent. Though without in depth know-how of these things, I take it the task of compiling wouldn't be a straightforward task. Ah well, if this really has hit a brick wall, don't be dismayed -- it certainly wasn't through lack of trying. Also the knowledge gained here may always come in useful some other time. I guess the next question is what next? Maybe it is worth looking for more options, or revisiting Zim and seeing if that can be developed? However with this I foresee one major hurdle: According to this page, it doesn't require pywebkitgtk. Now, this may be good news in terms of compatibility and working with the source. However without the browser framework, sounds like that explains why the external images didn't load. This means the WebKit engine would be needed, which is the very issue being encountered right now. For what it's worth, I did find a list of supposed alternatives from this list. Some of those do seem interesting at first glance. Or we could always go along with RedNotebook and try to make the most of it unmodified. Then always come back to modifying the source at a later stage if practical.
  2. Random thought: If possible, as they'd be minor additions or tweaks, maybe it'd be worth incorporating such changes as DLL plugins. Otherwise I'm guessing the whole program would need to be recompiled each time. Should there be official updates to RedNotebook adding useful features, a plugin could still function alongside. Whereas creating an updated EXE may "lock down" the possibility of updating, since custom changes would need merging or re-evaluating in a new release. Interestingly after installing RN, I noticed the installation is distinctly similar to Zim. This I think is because both are written in Python. For example, it shares many of the same libraries and modules (some identical, others slightly different in version). I'm wondering since that supported plugins, whether the same also applies here for RN. I don't know, just something which came to mind. Take it for what it's worth... Although I'd be willing to explore it further, programming isn't so much my current area of expertise. I've really only played around in VB, figuring things out to a limited extent through trial and error. Never used Python or the like, so whatever works and gets the job done is fine with me.
  3. Sandboxie I've found to be a very handy utility which I would recommend. It is free for personal use, which prevents more than one sandbox being used at once. There's some useful info posted in the FAQ (the analogy with paper is a good one). My main use nowadays is for trying out applications, prior to a proper install on my system. Actually I made use of it only yesterday for this reason, while testing a desktop wiki application. Or occasionally it comes in useful to diagnose issues with browsers. Everything is contained within a mirrored folder structure: E.g. For my Applications sandbox: "C:\Sandbox\User\Applications" So there's folders representing each physical drive, user data folders, and local AppData. These will be created on demand when needed by the program running inside. Each sandbox has its own registry store, so any installations write entries there, and not in the main Windows registry. There are also permission settings which can be tweaked as needed, and there's options to recover (move) files out of the sandbox. But unless you allow it, everything is contained within, and only has read-only access outside. It's possible to create multiple sandboxes and configure each how you'd like. For example, to disable internet connectivity, or prevent certain applications from running. Things may be changed here to resolve any compatibility issues. Lots of options, but at the same time is very easy to use. The great thing is since everything is contained inside one parent folder, it makes backups very straightforward. Just make a copy of the sandbox (e.g. Applications folder), and they can be seamlessly swapped over. By default, starting an executable inside the sandbox folder will run it inside. There can also be an optional right click context menu added (in Windows), where any program or file can be run inside the chosen sandbox. As a visual indication, it's possible to highlight sandboxed applications by adding a yellow border to the window when hovered, or hashes (#) can be shown in the window's title. A virtual machine is certainly another useful option. Providing the host system isn't linked to the guest OS (e.g. via a file transfer mode or networking), they are technically even more isolated than a Sandbox. Although I haven't used it much recently, VirtualBox has been my preference for this. Sometime I'm planning on trying out Linux Mint. Apart from a dedicated environment, a very useful feature is the ability to quickly restore to a snapshot of a saved state. Accidentally deleted your System32 folder? No problem! The main drawback to VMs is they need considerably more resources (hardware quotas and of course a separate OS). Here's a nice article I found explaining the comparative differences between them both: http://ask-leo.com/whats_the_difference_between_a_sandbox_and_a_virtual_machine.html (And before anyone wonders, I'm not Leo with the 'boom' connection.) There's no doubt free software can be underestimated. As long as it's from a proven trustworthy entity and is still in active development, open source is never a bad way to go. It'd be fascinating if there has been proven research into the detection rates of free vs paid AVs. It's true the Symantec's of security providers hold the majority market share. So if deliberately taking shortcuts, they're not fulfilling their dominant role, which really would be major cause for concern. Flaws on such a scale means they are indeed the larger target for potential exploits. I wonder since they are paid services, this promotes laziness on part of the users. By paying for a subscription, you expect clear benefits over a free option. Otherwise why would you simply throw money down the drain? Maybe it provides an artificial assurance that you're paying for better protection. When in actual fact, this is only the brand power, marketing, and the nice flashy GUI & graphics. Under the hood is what really matters with security. The rest is merely superficial. As a Norton user myself, I use it because I've always used it. Habits are often hard to break. I think on the whole though, the best firewall is your own common sense. Sure no website's immune to risks -- that's the very nature of the internet. The digital world is a fragile, dangerous and often hostile platform. This can't be controlled and will likely never change. What you can control as an individual is by being selective in the sites you trust, what you download, and those emails you open. No antivirus is perfect, and protects no one from rash and stupid decisions. @APSMS Ha, looks like we basically said the same thing!
  4. April 1st is still a week away.
  5. The correct link seems to have an ".md" extension added to the end: https://github.com/jendrikseipp/rednotebook/blob/master/README.md (Listed on the index)
  6. Before digging around in the source, it's probably worth getting the basic structure first in place. At least to properly understand what the program can and can't do. Maybe we can find some workarounds? Then if possible, making a few tweaks could always be done as a side project. The data sounds easy enough to import and test on different installations, so that shouldn't be a problem.
  7. OK, earlier I also ran a test install of Zim for Windows inside Sandboxie. A few general observations: Nice clean simple interface. Comprehensive, well presented help documentation (shows the devs care). Edit and read only modes. Quick navigation options to switch between pages. Each page is saved as a plain text file. Search is useful, and there are a lots of options for queries. A range of plugins to extend the features. E.g. Tags / enhanced search Basic formatting options. Wiki type markup is used in the source. HTML an option for exports. Yeah, didn't have any success either with embedding an external image. Trying source edits and numerous combinations was to no avail: This included an effort to 'attach' a Windows shortcut linking to an online image. Nope, nothing, nada. Even if there was a workaround, there's clearly no built in feature for this anyway as desired -- like a simple paste URL to embed. I'm guessing because the program just doesn't connect to the internet, so isn't able to retrieve & load the image into memory. It'd need some sort of browser rendering ability for this to function, like how the post editor works here on ST. With so many files in the installation, all kinds of DLLs and such, you'd expect this to be included, but surprisingly it isn't. Yes, it seems editing an exported HTML file is the only option, but that wouldn't be an automatic process and adds unneeded hassle. I think the whole purpose here is to edit and view all pages in a single interface. Therefore, everything needs to be functional from the outset. Other observations: Oh well, this one did have potential and still isn't a bad piece of software. But for the intended use here, doesn't quite make the cut. Never mind, RedNotebook it is then after all. If it does the intended task well enough, given the others have reached a dead end, I guess there's not much point in pursuing something else. Will try it out later and see how it performs...
  8. Sure, I guess it can be viewed either way. Just like there's numerous play styles, there's also various mindsets. You can define your own objectives and no one is there to dictate the path you take to reach them. It's great there is this freedom, without being judged on every step you take. SC4 is a creative process. Being such an open-ended game means others are more likely interested seeing how your city turns out, rather than precisely how you get from A to B. As you're the mayor, you decide the rulebook. Well, maybe Neil Fairbanks and co. would have another opinion. From this statement it sounds like they prefer slightly different financial strategies... So whatever works I suppose...
  9. @catty-cb @CorinaMarie There's no rush, but if not too much trouble that would be a big help. I can compare both of your sets and ensure any gaps are covered. In case I'm not online for a STEX upload, I think the easiest way would be to send me a PM attaching the zip. I've given you both a temporary raise of site attachment quota, so there should now be more than enough in addition to any existing files. I can then delete them from the server once downloaded. Or maybe upload & link to a viable external host. Whenever's convenient and what works best.
  10. Added to my ever growing: Simtropolis to do List.docx Seeing as the published patches are already hosted here, I suppose the only consideration is bandwidth & storage. This is again something I'll have to run by Dirk. The legalities are not an issue, as like other sites have done, EA did grant permission for the files to be redistributed, providing they're not modified or sold. Having another online repository can never be a bad thing. It all helps with making them more accessible. For added convenience, I'm thinking the additional landmarks could be bundled together and also offered separately. Then they'd be either downloadable at once in a single zip, or you could choose whichever ones you'd like. I suppose should bandwidth be a concern, they could always be hosted off-site like Screwpile did. Great, that might come in useful if they can't be salvaged elsewhere. Just wondering... What would be the total file size of the collection? I've checked my Maxis files backup and excluding the patches, it adds up to 65MB. I don't know whether this is a complete set though, as these were downloaded a while ago. Some have also been unzipped from their original archives, so not exactly sure what goes where. No probs. Sadly the policy change by Dropbox is affecting all files including images. For example as explained, @SimCoug had images hosted there, and this means the old public links will no longer work. Even with new ones, it's understandably very time-consuming to manually fix with so many images scattered around the site. That's the thing with any online storage including cloud services -- they're temperamental and never assured (especially free ones). Unless physically hosting a local server, a third party is always ultimately in control over the fate of your files. Not to mention security and privacy.
  11. Indeed, with a video game, cheating would involve gaining an advantage towards fixed objectives. As SC4 has no end goals, these should really be considered standard tools of the trade. It's completely your choice how to play, whether in sandbox style or managing city finances and trying to maintain a surplus profit. Also since the game is clearly single player, without online leaderboards or achievements, this means no one else is affected by your choices. If using the Extra DLL, some of the commands still have unknown functionality. They were apparently used by Maxis for debugging purposes prior to the game's release. There's also a few new codes @simmaster07 added in an Extra (Extra) DLL. So really, dev tools they are just that. The same thing could be applied to 'radical' mods/lots. Things like money trees, mega power stations, and garbage reducers. There are no limits in SC4. All these are simply additional tools to use at your mayoral discretion, so don't worry about it.
  12. This is likely because Dropbox have recently (last week) made a change to Public Folders, meaning existing contained files are now automatically private. So to make them accessible again, they'd need to be manually re-shared. Rather inconvenient to say the least... To get these fixed up, it might be worth contacting @Craig-Abcvs who I believe owns the Screwpile site. As another mirror, we can consider hosting the files locally here at ST, linked from the Maxis Files page.
  13. Great work! I also very much like the concept of a catalogue type index. For sure it would be a very useful companion to quickly locate content and info. The biggest challenge is always finding what you need in a clear and efficient format (I'm looking at you ST Search). It's also nice to have something which can be accessed locally, so isn't at risk of being modified by a rogue site update, like many Omnibus articles were previously. This also helps a lot with the searching capability. In a way it reminds me of a tool called Everything which I use for searching local files. This creates an index of files on your PC, and then allows instant queries using text or a range of filters. I've found it's very useful and beats the Windows search hands down. So similarly, this journal could be equally powerful with collecting SC4 info. Since it sounds easy to export, I suppose the data file could eventually be uploaded to the STEX. Then anyone could download and setup a local copy of their own using the program. I can see how this would be useful in chat, or to help anyone looking for a specific item or tutorial. Each page doesn't necessarily have to be detailed either, since this works as a central hub. Along with tags, maybe some keywords could also be added at the bottom? Following the links would then provide more information. Nothing immediately comes to mind either with an alternative program. At least this is simple and (relatively) lightweight enough to do the job, and also cross-compatible on Windows, Mac and Linux. It also seems to be still under development with the latest update in Feb. Albeit this is at a slow rate, but at least the project hasn't been abandoned entirely, so there is possible room for small improvements. Sure that could work. As long as it wouldn't take too long returning back to the early 20th century! I'll have to try the program out first and establish some of the limitations, but I'm guessing there's a quick way of jumping to a specific year? Although if not, I suppose the tags can easily solve that problem. Overall I think this does have lots of potential. I'm also fairly certain this would be a first, and can't recall anything similar being done with SC4.
  14. I'd guess from the old PLEX at SimPeg. Not 100% on this, but I seen to recall some downloads there didn't include installers. After checking my archives, I've found a file I downloaded in 2014 named: PEG_WATERMOD_Brigantine_205.zip This also doesn't include an installer. Just the DAT file modified on Feb 25, 2005, along with a preview image and readme. Yeah, that is rather strange whatever the release date's referring to. So counting back, mine says November 2010 and yours reports December 2009. Maybe it's the first time the exe was added to Symantec's database. Although why these are different dates with the same identical file is quite peculiar... Anyways, just to add something else to the topic... For added precaution with opening installers (or any executable files for that matter), one option is to use a sandbox application. These allow files to be opened or run in an isolated area away from your main system. So should there be an actual threat (improbable in this case), it could be contained and not affect your PC. In the past, when I was a little unsure dealing with these installers, I generally made a habit of using Sandboxie for this task. Extracting all SC4 content to a contained folder, and then copying them back once the actual files had been manually scanned.
  15. bugs

    I completely agree. The site search in its current state is far from acceptable, and has been for too long. This is apparently a limitation of the software and MySQL (database format), not necessarily an issue with indexing or the server environment. The good news is IPS (the devs) are set to add those much promised search improvements mid-way through the year. The aim here would be to find ways of overcoming the limitations, at least to what is technically feasible. Following this, they intend to integrate support for an external service, such as Elasticsearch. Once implemented, this would be a much more powerful platform, working above & beyond the current limitations.