Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The return of the Dungeon Master

I do remember very clearly some of my first games on my AT 286 and from the very beginning, there was one genre that stuck with me the most. I spent hours upon hours playing the likes of Nethack, Dungeon Master, Zork, Ultima, Bard's Tale, etc.

Having not long ago bought a Kohjinsha and discovering the joys of actually being able to fit my laptop in the little train trays to do a bit of work here and there i thought it'd be a great idea to get some old games since the Kohjinsha doesnt have the power to run anything particularly new.

I though first I'd give a try at getting some old school Amiga games and I found what seemed like a legal download site  http://www.amigaforever.com/. They have an iso that allows you to boot an environment where you can use the old Amiga Workbench together with other preinstalled games. Sadly though, the Kohjinsha's processing power isnt enough to run this (already slow) emulator.

It's quite depressing that such a modern piece of hardware can't run stuff from 10 years ago. Next thing to try now though is to get some "Abandonware" on it and see how it performs. I'll be trying CSBWin or "Chaos Strikes Back" for Windows, this is an emulator of sort that runs the old Dungeon Master with much lower requirements than the Amiga emulator. This version only includes the original Dungeon Master but you can also download the more hardcore Chaos Strikes Back and versions for other platforms such as Linux and Mac.
The site looks perfectly legal, http://dmweb.free.fr/?q=node/851. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Who does Google think you are?

I found an interesting article on Brand Republic. It's review of Domino's Pizza's Marketing Director Robin Auld and how he "does not appear in the top five results" on Google when searching for his name. In his stead, you can find a Southafrican musician's website and his Myspace profile and a Wikipedia article about Sir Robin Earnest Auld.

What is really worrying about this is that, not only our identities are becoming very much public knowledge with the advent of the facebooks, myspaces and linkedins but that this is expected and encouraged.

Of course, the first thing I did was to search for my name to see how much Google knew about me and I was (pleasantly??) surprised to find a couple of links to some mentions of my person (all good things thankfully). Now, although my presence was slightly haphazard, there are ways you can ensure you appear in the google listings, particularly if your name is not one very popular like, say... John smith (you'd have to compete with the bitter of the same name)? How!?!?!?, I hear you ask whilst waving your arms in the air in despair. Well, below you will find a couple of methods that seem quite effective:

  • Register your domain name. This is quite important, particularly if you want to protect your name from being taken by someone else. Take Robin's example, he should go and register http://www.robin-auld.com straight away to avoid Robin Auld from SA to register it first.  If you have a business that relies on your name (i.e you are a freelancer) or you are a well known person, its very important that you do this. You don't know when you will want to setup your online present behind your own domain and find that it has been taken by some evil dimension travelling doppleganger.
  • Blog. Yes, just like I do (sometimes), get a little Blogspot account, hosted wordpress, any of them will do. The important thing is that you blog and that you talk about yourself or about anything you like. Get some content flowing, that's the first step. If the blog allows it, point your newly registered domain name to it.
  • Build a website. Running a blog is probably enough but if you are a bit tech savvy and you want to add your own spin to it, some content galleries with pictures or videos and you think your blog will just be a section of it, then go for it. Having said that, most decent blogging software such as Wordpress provide all the functionality you need through templates and plugins. Experiment!.
  • Register social networking profiles. Go to Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, Xing, last.fm, and any other networking websites you can find and register your name and/or your own public profile. Make sure you go through the security settings and avoid disclosing any information that could be used against you, perhaps Date of birth is a good start. Social networking sites like Linkedin and last.fm tend to allow Google to crawl your profile quite easily.
  • Get Linked. Yes, having a website isnt enough. You need to be found by Google for something to happen. Some profiles like last.fm and Linkedin allow you to add a link to your own website. Do it! Those are quick wins. If you read blogs, comment on them, most blogs allow you to add your website url to them and some will provide you with some benefit. It can't hurt.

Now that's start. They are quite simple steps, give them a try and see what happens, do have in mind that it will take a number of weeks before you see any results but the key is to experiment!