Find Big Files Wasting Your Disk Space With WinDirStat

Storage isn’t that much of a problem anymore, since storage capacity is cheap. But, then again, the files we store are a lot bigger today. And how are you supposed to find what files are hogging your storage space?

For finding a stray file, searching for an asterisk (“*”) and then sorting by size does the trick. No need for fancy software. But sometimes your need a little bit more power.

WinDirStat will, after analyzing your hard drive(s) give you some really useful information. Primarily, you will see a graphical representation of your space, allowing you to find large files in an instant. It will also allow you to see the size of any directory (which is the sum of its content).

You can see how much space every file type allocates. So you’ll be able to notice large amounts of small files as well. Go check WinDirStat out! (http://windirstat.info/)

There’s a Linux variant available as well.

iPhone 4 Dies Before 0% Battery

Some time ago my iPhone 4 died, claiming it was low on battery. Strange, I thought, because it reported 15% just a few minute earlier. So why would my iPhone discharge before the battery is drained?

Turns out the iPhone 4 (or any other model, perhaps) can at times report an incorrect amount of charge. Perhaps you’ve never fully charged the device, or perhaps a bug occurred.

Anyway, how do you fix the battery meter on the iPhone 4?

  1. Restart your iPhone.
  2. Then, you drain the battery. Let the phone discharge on its own, or speed it up by using it (i.e. playing a game).
  3. Let it sit for an hour or two. This is to make sure it’s empty.
  4. Start charging your iPhone, and be sure not to interrupt the charging
  5. Let it sit for an additional hour or two after it’s fully charged. This is to make sure it’s fully charged.

That’s it! Now your iPhone should be recalibrated and report the correct charge.

First time I’ve ever restored a laptop

My Asus laptop worked nicely, but I felt like trying Windows 8 on it. Said, and done. Windows 8 actually makes the laptop seem quicker, but it doesn’t perform as well in games.

I don’t know if it’s Microsoft’s or AMD’s fault, but at times the graphics card wouldn’t engage. The APU (my CPU can do GPU stuff with quite the performance) tries to keep up but obviously can’t keep up. When the card is in use, the crossfire solution gives me the strangest of errors, like black screens in 3D applications.

I’ve tried different drivers. The beta drivers available for download (somehow the non-beta drivers were harder to obtain) didn’t solve the issue, but at least it perform a little bit better. Still nowhere near Windows 7.

And for usability… every time I plugged in a screen via HDMI I had to do a hard reboot. The computer would simply not switch to the internal display again. An ordinary reboot didn’t work either.

So I decided to restore my laptop using those DVD images you get. Burning and restoring took an hour, which I thought was okay since we’re talking about 12GB of data. But of course that wasn’t the entire recovery…

Why ship an image when you can ship a complicated recovery system?

After removing the last DVD from the tray and rebooting, my laptop proceeded to configure itself. On occasion I would see a full Windows shell, with a text overlay of “… DO NOT OPERATE.”. I wonder what would’ve happened if I tried to mess things up at that point.

The amount of restarts needed in order for Asus to configure my system amazes me. And the time! Why did it take a couple of hours? Does it perform a full diagnostic as well? Installing Windows 7 from scratch would be faster.

But I was afraid doing so would leave me in the same graphics-broken state as before.

Aaaaaaand… done! All that remains now is to patch. This feels like the longest part. Slow download. Slow install. No automatic reboot. Slow shutdown. Slow boot. Done! More updates. And again. Done!

If you’re going to restore an Asus laptop, I’d recommend having at least 8 hours. It’s mostly an automated process and can be left unsupervised. The patching requires some clicking.

Time to check what gaming performance I’m getting now :3…

Generic Xbox 360 controller in Windows 7

I bought an Xbox 360 controller a while back, thinking it was an original controller. It wasn’t.

My generic Xbox 360 controller didn’t work in Windows 7 by default, because the system didn’t recognize the controller. At first I thought that I needed the driver, so I headed over to Microsoft’s software download.

The driver software didn’t fix my issue. My Xbox 360 controller still didn’t work.

But, as it turns out, you can manually set the driver if you open Device Manager. That will force Windows to use the proper driver, and the controller will work.

The controller LED stopped blinking. Woo!

Works out of the box in Windows 8, though.

How to Remove the GUI (GNOME) from Debian

I accedently installed the desktop packages for Debian in a virtual machine, when all I wanted was a clean testing box. I’ve had some troubles with the network managers, but mainly – why boot into GNOME when you have no need for a point and click interface? Such a waste.

A quick, and perhaps dirty solution would be to run the following:

sudo apt-get autoremove gdm3

sudo apt-get autoremove –purge gnome*

Works fine in a virtual environment. This is a quick fix I wouldn’t use on an important server. Don’t blame me if something breaks :3.

Windows 8 Automatic Reboot

We all love automatic things, don’t we? Unless they cause inconvenience – then we hate them more than anything else. Do we love automatic updates? Only when they don’t interrupt us!

You probably know what I mean. You boot up Firefox, and leave you waiting while it updates. There are a lot of very good reasons why you should update your software, but would it hurt to wait just a few minutes?

Sometimes we hate Windows update. It’s automatic, it’s good, and it’s the bringer of sneaky reboots. Have you ever been in a full-screen application when Windows informs you about its 10-minute-reboot-deadline? Did you wonder why they couldn’t make it minimize your current program so you actually could see it? I did.

Because why would your operating system force you to reboot? There are a lot of good reasons, really. If you leave your computer on all the time (in an office, for example), this helps a lot. If the system wants to reboot, but no one is available to click the “Ok”-button, it makes sense to let the computer reboot automatically. But why would Windows want to reboot when the user, for example, is playing a game? Is the risk of being hacked so tremendous?

That was Windows 7. What about Windows 8?

Well, apparently, Windows 8 can inform you about a reboot 2 days in advance, but it’s impossible to avert. Windows 8 will make a huge blue warning banner appear on your screen, informing you about the scheduled update-related reboot – and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Who thought this was a good idea? Delaying an important update for two days isn’t a good idea, and forcing a reboot isn’t a good idea. Would two wrongs make a right? Windows 7 did nag me about updating, but it never forced me to stop what I was doing and save my work in four minutes!

I believe the system should notify you immediately when updates are available, and inform you when it wants to reboot. If you’re not there, it can reboot – but if you’re using the system, it will wait. Windows 8 do inform you that your computer will reboot to install updates within a day or two, but it’s easy to forget. And where’s the reminders? Instead of rebooting, you forget, and put your laptop to sleep. Then you will be forced to reboot, when you might have important work to finish.

Meh.

Antichamber – Game Review

AntichamberAntichamber is an unique puzzle game. I say unique because I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. In a way, it’s as unique as Portal was when it was first released.

In an ordinary puzzle game you’ll often see a puzzle, and then be expected to solve it. If you have more puzzles, you’re expected to complete them in a very linear fashion. You always focus on the end. You want to complete. To solve.

Well, guess what, Antichamber couldn’t care less.

2013-07-11_00004When you start the game you spawn at a special room, which I’d call the entry point, allowing you to spawn at any chamber you have visited so far. This room also facilitates the game’s settings menu and every sign you’ve collected.

Yep. The game has no real menu. If you press escape, you simply get teleported back to the entry point. Hold escape to quit. So Antichamber doesn’t even behave like an ordinary game.

But it gets worse (better!). Antichamber defies everything from geometry to common sense. But how do you play such a game? Easy! Keep progressing!

Antichamber consists of a series of chambers and corridors, which on visit allows you to travel back to them whenever you wish. This is a part of the game, because some paths will get you stuck – and that’s okay! Everything in Antichamber is okay. In fact, you can’t die! There is no concept of loss, error or defeat in this game. You have progress and you have being stuck.

Being stuck isn’t so much in a problem, really. When you cease to progress you can pick another route to explore instead.  And then you’ll be finishing the game, chamber after chamber.

AntichamberI loved Antichamber. I loved the non-linear take on a puzzle game. I love how the game defies geometry. I love how it defies reasoning, while still – in its own way – being rational. Lessons you learn in the game will come in handy at a later time. I love how all your actions, not only those directed at solving the situation at hand effect the game. I love how the focus isn’t on the actual end, but on the journey.

Did I get stuck (as I often do in games containing puzzles)? Yes, but never for too long. I only got really stuck once, because I thought that I wasn’t able to solve a puzzle. The game usually makes it very clear when you have to complete another chamber prior to the one you’re in. If you get stuck at Link in a Chain Reaction, do keep at it. Or just look up the solution online. It’s one of the very few “real” puzzles.

What would I rate this psychological puzzle game? I’d rate it 6/5. It deserves an impossible score, because it’s an impossible game. It’s pure awesomeness in every aspect and I hope I’ll see another game just like this one. I think I still have some things left to explore… you know what I mean when you play it. It gave me 8-10 hours of gameplay, and I’m sure it’ll give me at least another 5 in replayability.

McPixel – Game Review

mcpixelMS-Paint mixed with some drunken developers? Well, McPixel is your new favorite superhero – saving a pixel world from utter destruction!

In story mode, you have a couple of stages, and every stage consists of multiple sections… each with a set of maps. The goal of every map is to stop it from blowing up into pieces. Simple enough?

Not so. The game will mess with your mind, hence the warning when you fire the game up! Check it out:

mcpixel2The style of McPixel is very entertaining. Everything from the poor MS-paint-style to the humorous puzzle solutions will make you laugh. It’s a game meant to be enjoyed. You’re not forced to play all the levels from A to Z – you can jump freely. There’s never any pressure on you to think and try to come up with solutions. You’re supposed to try some crazy idea and see how it works out, because it’s impossible to guess anyway!

Once you’ve completed a set of levels, you’re able to replay them and try to find all the gags. In story mode, each stage has a locked section which can be unlocked this way.

Anything negative? Well… the soundtrack will bore you to death after a while.

I’m giving McPixel 4/5, because it tries to be a simple and hilarious game – and it succeeds!