Dream 2023.9.4

We were driving around in Dallas at night and I decided I needed to get some cash so we went to the Fifth National Bank. There was a spray paint stencil sign/wanted poster of a grinning guy with an elaborate mustache and a patch over his left eye with a skull and crossbones on it. I went inside and began to fill out a ballot/survey about whether or not they should arrest the guy on the sign. A different guy came in to rob the bank and while he was threatening the teller, I asked him if the guy on the poster was his friend and whether he helped him rob banks. The robber said no, so I voted “no” and signed the ballot.
I left the bank and called 911 to report the robbery. I got a detailed explanation of how the street numbering worked, and guessed that the bank was in the southwest part of the city. I was totally wrong and it was in the northeast. We drove around, trying to avoid the area, but ended up right back at the bank. The police figured out where the bank was anyway, and I tried to tell the officer this was the place from my position in the car.

Mangoes in Rogue

Whenever someone mentions mangoes, the first thing I think of is “My, that was a yummy mango” but this is a pretty niche thing to quote to someone that didn’t spend hours playing Rogue as a kid.
When you start to get hungry in the game of Rogue, you have to eat some generic “food,” or a fruit. I had always known the fruit in this game to be a mango, but as it turns out, my childhood experiences playing Rogue are not representative of every version of the game.

When I searched for this (to me) iconic phrase online, I initially only found one relevant result, someone on Reddit asking if anyone knew the origin of the phrase. The answer, internet guy, is yes, it came from the original Rogue.

However, upon testing the first version I could find quickly online, I discovered that I wasn’t collecting mangoes. I was now in a dungeon full of slime molds instead.

Someone replying to the Reddit post explained that “slime mold” was the default fruit item that could be found in the game’s dungeons. Supposedly this dates back to an in-joke between the original authors of the game, Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman, in reference to an actual slime mold that was growing on a drain pipe behind the dining hall at UC Santa Cruz.
In Toy’s document for the original Unix version, A Guide to the Dungeons of Doom, he explains that the fruit can be changed using the ROGUEOPTS environment variable. I can find only one version of this document remaining online that mentions mangoes. However, a lot of later roguelikes seem to reference mangoes so there’s clearly more of a pattern here. The guide for NetHack suggests mango as that game’s custom fruit, and another game, Brogue, uses mangoes as its only available fruit.

So what’s going on here? The widely available versions of Rogue for DOS online today mostly seem to be cracked versions of the original ports by Jon Lane, and from what I can tell they may have been compiled with different options set, some with mangoes and some with slime molds. Bizarrely, the version I had as a child doesn’t even seem to have been preserved online so far. Disk #J723 from the Oklahoma Book Warehouse reports itself as a copy of Rogue version 1.1, SN:1349, which is listed on the roguelike archive, but the version there has significant differences from the one I have. The most original-looking copies of v1.1, SN:1349 that I can find were located in the Total DOS Collection, have a date of 1983, and feature a copyright screen for Artificial Intelligence Design.

The next one, the version on the roguelike archive, has no text in the copyright area and so gets a glitched copy of the name prompt instead.

My copy, however, has a notice encouraging you to spread the program to friends and BBS services. Due to this, as a child I had assumed Rogue was basically free software and the disk it arrived on was the only thing you could be charged for.

So far, I haven’t come across any other version that has this message.

There are several differences in the code between the other versions and my version. There are some small textual changes here and there between this and later versions, but as far as I have found, my copy is the only one that omits the word “bizarre” from this section of text.

One other small text difference is the year that appears on your tombstone when you lose. In the original, this is 1983, same as the copyright. (Later versions changed it so it displays the current year set on the computer.) In my version however, the date is changed to 1984.

Aside from the missing word, the tombstone date, and the different copyright message, the only other difference between my copy and the “original” v1.1, SN:1349 is this chunk of code below. I don’t know what it does or how it affects the game, if at all. I’d love to find out though.

There are of course many other differences between this particular build of the game and other builds aside from whether the fruit is called a mango or not, but that’s beyond the current scope of this post. My next goal is to play enough of each copy of v1.1, SN:1349 to find out if they all give out mangoes. (They all have both “mango” and “slime mold” in the code in the same places.) Surprisingly, depending on the dungeon that is generated, it can be incredibly hard to get your hands on a mango.

When you do, though, it sure is a yummy mango.

Japan 2019 days 2-4

Day 2 started off with an early train to Kyoto. I was oddly queasy on the Shinkansen, unlike during my previous trip. When we arrived, we got on the bus to see the Kinkakuji, known less well in English as the Golden Pavilion. There’s a lot to write about it but the structure that exists now is impressively gold and sits in a very nice area just behind some regular-looking shops and houses.

Kinkakuji rear view
Continue reading “Japan 2019 days 2-4”

Japan 2019 day 1

We got to Tokyo around 4:30 PM and immediately proceeded with festivities

Popped into Lawson to get tickets for the Mass of the Fermenting Dregs concert this Saturday. Extremely excited to finally see them live.

Then we went to our hotel. Never stayed in a capsule hotel before but it was super chill and it had an amazing shower. There were lockers to keep luggage in and all you had to do to open them was scan the QR code on your “room key” (which incidentally was not required to open your capsule.)

Continue reading “Japan 2019 day 1”

Custom SCART switcher problems

I like Ben Heck’s idea for custom a AV switch, but the CBT3244 bus switch chips don’t have enough bandwidth for analog signals. Loud audio clips and bright video blanks out. I’ve just had to go back to manually plugging in one SCART cable at a time (everything is RGB now) unless I can find a method that allows this many inputs without losing quality. It seems like using a method designed more with these issues in mind is much more complicated and maybe out of my realm of expertise.

I promise, it isn’t dangerous.

Dream 11.15.13

There were creatures with slightly bulbous heads and black eyes with red outlines. If they touched you, you froze in place forever or became one of them. They weren’t quite like zombies but kind of reminded me of them.

Somehow I and some people I knew had been captured and put in a place that was like real life but I got the distinct impression that I was asleep. There were giant red letters in the sky warning us of the fakeness of our environment, but the end of the message was garbled and only a few new letters were added every day. Some people in the building where I was kept had figured out how to trick the drink machines into giving out more than water. I was trying to figure out how to manipulate the machines as well but I was suddenly outside, watching a Jeep tow another car with a chain. However the Jeep jumped the median and went against the flow of traffic, while the towed car was still in the right lane. They came up on a light pole and collided due to the chain.

I was back in the “real world” because we had to get supplies at a really dark and creepy grocery store. An epiphany suddenly came: Maybe the sleeping people were all these pop bottles moving around on a conveyor/sorter thing I saw! Not knowing how to free the sleeping pop people I went with the rest of my party and exited the store, always mindful that if one of those red eye creatures touched me, I was toast forever. In our hotel room we pondered how to escape.

Magnavox HDTV repair

I couldn’t find a whole lot of information on this. My HDTV (a Magnavox 37MF331D) had developed the nasty problem of not turning on when the power button was pushed. The power LED would flash green for a while and then go back off. I had to try turning it on several times before it would finally come on. This seems to be a common problem affecting a lot of HDTVs; it’s not even a brand-specific problem.

After much research, I determined that my problem was blown capacitors on the power board. By repeatedly turning it on, they gradually got warm enough to hold a sufficient charge to let the TV turn on. There still wasn’t much information about how to actually fix the problem, aside from a couple of YouTube videos that show you approximately where the affected board is inside the unit. So, I figured I would share what I learned. There are 4 capacitors that should be replaced (two of mine were showing damage but since they’re all the same brand it’s probably good to change them all out). I guess TV companies just like to spring for the cheapest components they can find. There’s also a larger capacitor further down the board, but that usually doesn’t need to be replaced.

This is what my blown caps looked like

magnavox hdtv bad capacitors

and this is the nice new ones ready to not explode.

good caps

I got Nichicon for the smaller ones; I don’t remember what the larger one is but hopefully it’s long-lasting as well.

You need one 1200µf 35v, one 2200µf 25v, and two 1000µf 35v caps, all should be high temp (125°C). And of course, you can use higher-voltage caps if necessary. Try to get a good brand and not something gross like CapXon. Whoever they are.