I have no idea which way to go, but every direction leads to the same place.

Some Confusion Necessary

Site News Apr 14, 2022

I thought I'd drop a post this morning, simply because I haven't really been writing much lately, but I have been working out some kinks in the background both in the virtual world and in the real one. First of all, about this website:

To Comment, or Not to Comment, That Is the Question

Ghost if you didn't know is a pretty decent CMS that has matured over the years I've been using it into something quite amazing. It's still a bit lacking in some areas though; the big one being it has no commenting system out of the box. They do offer integrations with some very popular software options to add this feature but unfortunately they either cost money, or they're free to host but I can't use them for technical reasons.

The main one I'd have liked to implement for example is Discourse, it can either be hosted (for a fee of course) or I can host it for free myself. Since I can't justify the cost of a new hosting plan for a feature like this due to the low traffic the site receives, I'd only consider hosting it myself, but they only support installation of that software via Docker, which my host doesn't currently offer. I could instead go the unsupported manual installation route but once again, the software actually requires a few other bits of software that aren't readily available from my host (and even if I was able to install those manually, that's too many hoops I'm willing to jump through for this sort of feature).

Ultimately, as I say above, XenoDyne doesn't get enough traffic to justify any use case for comments and it'd be largely cosmetic at the moment; though I would like to know if anyone actually comes across articles on here and finds they helped or at least entertained them, or if I've got something wrong, or indeed if I'm a raging cunt and my posts are shit (although to be honest, I already know that).

I could just as well install an actual forum system of course, of which integration with Ghost may not be possible but it'd be there at least, however that does raise the glaringly obvious problem of the state of social interactions at the moment. I'm a self-proclaimed cunt, but I'm a loveable cunt at least — there are an awful lot of people these days though who are just outright arseholes with zero remorse and will piss and shit on anything they like just for the sake of it.

As much as I'm pro freedom of speech, arseholes often just use that as an excuse to be a shitty human being. As such there comes a point where simply not having a platform they can use to be shitty to everyone is more appealing than spending the time to moderate such a platform. At any rate, I'll keep this feature in mind for the future, assuming the future doesn't involve the desolation of society as we know it.

Updates That Broke the Updates

On the subject of Ghost, something else that I've finally been able to do is actually install it in the supported way. They offer a CLI for doing this, which isn't strictly necessary but is just the easiest method to do it. Originally, I had to install it manually, including NodeJS. It was not a simple process and getting it work involved a lot of faffing around, but it worked well and I actually considered writing a how-to on this subject a while back (we're talking years ago now). The method I used became obsolete though and it's now much simpler to do as things have progressed.

The only problem I have these days is when updates break things. And lately, it seems newer versions of Ghost have changed some things that have done exactly that. If you came here in recent days and found the site was kicking out internal server errors, or just simply didn't exist, then it was likely during a period while I was innocently trying to update Ghost and ran into the aforementioned problems. I won't bother going into details as although the issues could be worked around, I still don't know exactly what caused them or how they were fixed. All I do know is they caused me several hours of grief.

There's an old adage that has been applied to all sorts of fields, but it's particularly apt here; don't fix what isn't broken. I did not need to update Ghost to the absolute newest version but I did anyway and I paid the price in time spent getting it to work again.

State of Play

Ah, video games. I haven't been playing much in the way of new games lately, namely instead I've been playing older ones or some that I bought years ago that I put in the backlog and have only just got around to trying. Noteworthy in that regard is Doom 3; I bought it on Steam over five years ago and have only just got around to trying to play it, but I ran into issues that ended up in me giving up.

I have a very good (for it's day) sound card called the X-Fi Prelude, made by a now defunct company called Auzentech. It was, as far as I'm aware, the first or at least one of the first sound cards not made by Creative that used Creative technology like X-Fi and X-RAM. I've talked about it before in fact, with regards to installing drivers for it on Windows 10.

When Microsoft released Windows Vista one major annoying change they implemented was the removal of the Hardware Abstraction Layer for DirectSound and DirectSound3D. What this meant was any games that used DirectSound no longer had access to any hardware processing provided by sound cards, so you lost those advanced features (including EAX), sound was only rendered via software and quite frankly it just didn't 'sound' anywhere near as good.

OpenAL on the other hand is an alternative to DirectSound that wasn't affected by this problem. Doom 3 was eventually updated to use OpenAL, but unfortunately for whatever reason (possibly the age of the drivers in use in conjunction with the newer versions of Windows 10, but I don't know for sure), if I had EAX turned on in Doom 3's audio settings, whenever I tried to load a new level the game would soft-crash to the main menu.

I tried working around this in various ways but ended up being unable to fix the problem. I could just turn off EAX of course but the game sounds really bland without it. Ultimately, to be able to use EAX I had to resort to using a source port, since the engine (id Tech 4) was released as open source many moons ago and several community projects sprung up to touch the code up for modern systems. However the current best offering, called dhewm3, while fixing these issues as well as many others (such as giving the game proper widescreen support), had it's own instability issues. The fucking thing kept crashing to desktop on me with no actual errors in the logs (they just abruptly ended).

I was able to put a couple of hours of play into the game before this annoyed me to the point of no return though, I decided that I was reminded more of Dead Space than anything while playing and quite frankly I consider that to be a much better game, so if I want a space-themed horror game experience I'll just replay that instead and will not be bothering with Doom 3 again.

Meanwhile, In the Real World…

I recently bought a brand spanking new case for my PC. I originally had the Coolermaster MasterCase Pro 5 which is a (or was, I'm not sure they even still make it) a mid-tower, but I've decided to go bigger and somewhat more cuboid in shape in the form of a Corsair 7000D Airflow. It's fucking massive since it's a full-tower case but I do like the design. It may seem a bit of a waste given I'm not building a new system but merely transferring the guts of the old one into a new body but I have no need for a new PC at the moment, I just figured a new case would spruce it up a bit.

Other than that I've been fairly engrossed in just existing lately so getting up to things worth writing about hasn't been all that possible. My job isn't exactly satisfying but I did meet a nice young lady the other day; it was the first time I've ever had a woman come onto me (always been vice versa). And I liked it very much. So, you never know… The experience has left me in somewhat of a confused state of emotion though. Beautiful women tend to do that to me.

Anyway until next time, here's a banging remix of a tune I came across from one of my all time favourite video games:

Donkey Kong Country was amazeballs.