Posts for 'Tech'

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Steam and Digital Distribution

January 12, 2010 •

List of Steam games

So just for those of you who missed it, Steam had a holiday sale over the Christmas holidays where they sold the majority of their games catalog at price discounts of up to 75% off.
Me being the stickler for bargains that I am, I couldn’t resist and bought every game I had been holding out for at that time. I probably spent something like 150 bucks, but I ended up with over 100 new games in my account. And these weren’t just small indie or casual games, either. I’m really looking forward to trying out Prototype, GRAW and Arkham Asylum… after I’ve finished playing Dragon Age. ^_^

So while I was settling down to playing my new games, I started to actually ponder the concept of digital distribution a little bit. I was feeling a lot happier and excited about getting and playing these games that I had downloaded, rather than bought from a store and was trying to figure out why.
I guess in its simplest form, it’s merely just buying digital content online and downloading it to your hard drive, as opposed to going to a shop and buying the exact same data on a physical form of media. On it’s own, this seems pretty uninspiring, so I started to think more about why I was feeling more satisfied about it. Here are some of the reasons I came up with. Continue reading

MySQL + phpMyAdmin Backups = fail

March 4, 2009 •

The System is DownSo… my father often says to me that you shouldn’t make mistakes yourself. You should watch as the people around you make mistakes and learn from them what not to do. That clearly wasn’t the case here. >_<

This is the story of what I’ve been doing in the past 3 days hehe. I’ve been trying to migrate all of the content from our old mod, RPG-X’s forum, to the new UberGames forum me and some friends have been working on. The reasoning for this is to consolidate resources as well as effort.

So, before the migration, I got phpMyAdmin to dump the UberGames forum to a big SQL source file (roughly 30MB worth of letters ) and stored it on my hard drive, and then installed the upgrade script.

My first mistake, I didn’t Read The Flippity Manual (RTFM btw), and I executed the upgrade script from the wrong entry point. This subsequently made the script confused about what system the UG forum was (It figured it was Invision in the end O_o ) and subsequently corrupted several tables in the process. This wasn’t too bad as the tables were really small, and I pasted the data back in from my backup.

Now the colossal fail. Once I’d sorted out the import script and executed it in vBulletin mode, the forum looked like it just exploded. In the process, a whole pile of data mingled as well (ie my account got overwritten by RedTechie’s…? O_o ) and I’m still wondering if that was my fault, or some residual glitches from before.

Sadly… and here’s the kicker, when I went to revert the database, not only did it remove the RPG-X stuff, but it deleted a whole pile of UberGames posts with it, as well as all of the admin accounts, which meant I was no longer logged in… and it kind of collapsed in on itself. XP

Sooo….. I realised I had no choice but to restore the entire SQL database I made, since by this point, the database was riddled with corrupted tables.
At this point, I found out I couldn’t just feed the data back into phpMyAdmin, because it was too big and caused timeouts.

So, RedTechie suggested I go and find a script that handles staggered MySQL queries, and use that. Thankfully, I found an awesome one called BigDump (

And now… icing on the cake, BigDump refused to load my file because it was encoded wrong. Turns out it can’t handle INSERT queries that try to insert all of the data at once… something called extended inserts.

So… long story short, I’ve spent up until now, writing a utlity in C# .NET that could take my SQL file, resequence it into 1 on 1 insertion queries and then debugged it until it worked.

What was meant to be an easy 4 hour task has dragged onto 3 days. Ugh…
I guess I should be happy I learnt a tonne of new stuff in the meanwhile… but I’m not so sure.

So the moral of this story is:
1) ALWAYS (!!!) RTFM!!!!!!!! No matter how simple something looks, there’s always a way to screw it up.
2) When exporting SQL from phpMyAdmin, make sure to uncheck the ‘extended inserts’ checkbox.
3) Test backup restoration before assuming it’ll just work.
4) Save the alcohol-based celebrations until after it works. XD

So yeah…. the forum’s all back online, and I’ve taken proper backups now… so I’m ready to try again haha.

In the meantime, I might also release my ‘SQL Splitter’ program as well, in case anyone else runs into the same problem I had…

iPhone 3G Global Roaming == Expensive

February 20, 2009 •

The global roaming bill

Okay so here we go. Aside from the regular personal stuff I do like go to LAN parties and eating Japanese food way too much, I’m going to start writing some more useful stuff in here too.

For starters, I figured I should cover how my mobile phone coverage while I was in Japan went. :)
I have an iPhone 3G on the Optus Yes $39 plan… something which I adore very much hehe. So before going to Japan, I did some research on how to set up my phone to work while I was over in Japan. Another blog I read really helped me on this… and if I remember it, I’ll post the address here. XP

Anyway, getting an Optus phone globally enabled isn’t hard. You simply call up customer service and request to have it enabled. At this point, if there are any hardware concerns that may arise (technology compatibilities etc), the operator will probably tell you about this. They’ll also probably put the spill on you to get your phone travel insured. I’m still not sure if this was a good idea or not, but I’ve signed up. XP
Continue reading

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