“Releases for PC”. Oh we Linux gamers know this phrase well. So it seems that is taking another approach now instead of the usual “PC is not Windows”. Liam changed the wording on the news slightly:

Beyond a Steel Sky to release for Linux PC during July

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2020/06/beyond-a-steel-sky-to-release-for-linux-pc-during-july

I like that approach and I shall also use “Linux PC” in the future. And not just for my .

While checking some very old backups of mine I stumbled over some really old HTML files. Turns out they are old websites of mine – including my very own that apparently went live on the 23rd June in 2000 on the free hoster FortuneCity.

Screenshot of the FortuneCity hosted first website of mine – sadly I didn’t bother to backup the images. Disk space was sacred.

For a quick recap: In 2000 WordPress didn’t exist yet, webspace and bandwidth were costly and a database was an extra you had to pay for. People wrote their websites in very unique styles and ways and many started out doing so at all. SelfHTML was my browser “home” for months.

Back then I went with the nick DukeBernd, or Duke for short. It still shows in various domains and mail addresses of mine but was soon replaced by beko, that was not only shorter but also way less popular and also holds parts of my real name (and that was actually never a secret by the way).

While learning more and more on HTML I also started with Warhammer 40k tabletop and LARP. As a student I obviously had all the time of the world. The website changed a lot in appearance during the early days and yes I had it all, animated gifs, blinking text, under construction signs and… browser requirements. Here some more screenshots for [y]our amusement from 2000 to 2002:

Hosting changed also all the time. There was a brief episode with Crosswinds but the roundtrip was awful and the website was slow to a point that images stopped loading so I was quite happy when my school started to offer some tiny amount of webspace that I used to offload most of my images – mostly drawings – as some sort of handicraft content distribution system. I had also various domains pointing to intro and landing pages. It was a huge mess and most are dead by now and I only kept the current .net domain.

This was also about the time when I came in contact with Linux, as you can guess from the next screenshot showing a design I was quite happy with and went with for years to come.

Website redesign in bash / terminal look (blinking cursor gif included)

While most of this is offline nowadays some of the LARP articles survived but I had no desire to migrate ~400 hand written HTML files (no frames) about Warhammer into a CMS some years later. My drawings are also best forgotten 😉

In 2004 I migrated to 1&1 hosting with a database. That was a goal for years and I could finally afford to pay for this. Soon I discovered this brand new content management system called WordPress and started learning PHP.

This changed everything since the idea of dynamically assembled website code was totally new and alien to me. I dived into what is nowadays known Full Stack Development and as usual my own website and various projects became the playground.

A lot has happened since the early beginnings. I finished formal education, ditched Windows, became that Linux Jack, started working on T3 vans, emigrated to sweden [and back 🙁 ], visited places with my van, worked as driver, distributor and postman until I eventually went back into tech settled down, married and forked/got two children. Who would have guessed.

I never stopped programming, gaming, tinkering, trying and gathering know-how.

And it’s all here – mostly. There are some holes thanks to social networks and forums that raised and vanished again taking heaps of bits written with them.

I got takeouts of most of such silos before they vanished but sorting this and migrating it back into my own blog is quite a burden. Still I do so on occasion and on days like this I’m happy for the extra work. It’s the satisfaction of looking back on my own life, having it all in one place. Like a diary. It’s just not as private as a diary but it brings back the memories just the same.

This blog survived twenty years unlike e.g. Google+ and there is still the occasional visitor sent here by an old forum article or by search engine looking for some info or image. And I happily serve. Fixing dead links or wrong wording and re-uploading articles and images in better resolutions as I find them.

Blogging ain’t dead.

I was nominated by Sebastian Reinbold to annoy everyone with LARP images of myself for ten days. I’ll pass on the nominating part myself – your timeline is yours and I usually do not participate in such ‘games’ anyway – but since it has been a while and I’m sort of having nostalgic flashbacks going by now, here goes nothing:

1 / 10

This image was taken during breakfast on the Irrlichter SWL in 2010. My participation was a last minute surprise and all of my gear was borrowed for the roles I got to play.

It also was an indoor con set in the SW verse and in the wintertime.

I also recall having an ache from all the laughing on that weekend 😀

2 / 10

Next in line is really old. It was taken in 2003 on Nebellegenden 8 – Auf den Spuren des Heiligen Prätorius where I – the smallest NSC in the group – got to play a bear.

This is a fun story because the costume was shrunk after washing and I was the only one who fitted somewhat into it at all.

So I was a tiny bear for our brave ranger to appease 😀

3 / 10

The next one was at Rathad an Damh – Der Weg des Hirschen 1 in 2016 probably taken by Aerfeiniel.

The setting was a celtic horror con in October and featured many undead zombies and litres of artifical blood.

Our fine and highly motivated NSC group kept the players bittenbusy day and night.

In the end I almost collapsed from dehydration and sleep deprivation but I was happy. So much fun and very epic moments. I’m just a bit sad that I missed most of the great feast in the end due to that.

4 / 10

This one is not exactly LARP and falls probably more into the category of Living History.

While my clothes are a wild mix mostly originated in LARP this is from a hike in mediaeval gear.

I don’t recall the year but I remember the walk of 20km in period footwear – and one guy even barefoot.

5 / 10

This is a more recent one from 2017. I have no idea who took this but the con was In der Flanke des Feindes.

The con was a bit unusual for me because I was a cast SCs but not allowed in the NSC camp on this. I don’t even remember the exact reasons but I remember doing what I do best a lot – getting beaten down 😀

I’ve also very fond memories of my tent oven because this was a rainy and cold weekend and we enjoyed plenty of hours in the warm tent playing dices.

6 / 10

This reminds me of a very arid one. It’s the infamous NewNo Order 2003.

Water had to be fetched from far away, so we had people picking up water for the camp all the time.

The camp was located on a dry meadow with a high voltage overland line over our heads.

Dust was everywhere. In the air, our shoes and probably even in the food. In the end there was eventually a thunderstorm and I’ve never seen people getting out of their plate armour in such a short time.

7 / 10

Speaking of armour. This one is from Drachenfest in 2002 and I’m wearing my very first mail. Well, sort of 😀

That was basically my second part of protective gear at all and out of money this was all I could muster back then. The helmet was my first and most important part.

There’s a story on that nasal helmet by the way. On my very first con I took a bad slash to my face. The nasal was bent and I had to form it back into shape. Almost nobody had a helmet in 2002 and I was really happy for mine.

People will laugh at this nowadays but twenty years ago I was proud on this piece 😉 Wonder where it ended up.

8 / 10

Here I played probably for the last time my Witcher back in 2014 at Der ruhelose Wald 2.

There’s a certain satiation for Witchers in LARP by now and frankly others play way better. Well, mayhap not the sword-ing but the costumes. The standards are high nowadays.

Sorry for the bad quality of the image. Somehow I never got my hands on a decent picture for this role – which is kinda sad.

9 / 10

Here is another one where I’m very sad that I got no decent picture of. It’s from 2004 – Drachenfest.

I was on guard duty – something I seem to do a lot as well (pestering people for Permit A 38 is so much fun) – wearing a borrowed cuirass. It was a perfect fit and I was sorry when I had to hand it back to it’s proper owner.

Years later I’m not much interested in this type or armour any more and while people look great in it it’s just too much of a burden for me anyway. Running away has proven to work as well 😉

10 / 10

That’s it. Thanks for staying with me through my flashback on LARP. A hobby I was infected with in 1996 due to the magazine PC Spiel Fantasy Special.

Many other of my interests nowadays are a direct result of this and while I seldom find the time to go for a play nowadays I still do so on [rare] occasions (and of course I let my children play with foam swords 😉 ).

Things were going smooth for a while. The pirates didn’t stop harassing my ships so I decided for drastic action. We slacked their station in the system.

The Scale Plate Pact station is no more

That sure put a damper on their actions in the sectors nearby. Surviving ships were hunted down, boarded and taken over. It was glorious. The fleet was unstoppable for a while and with each carefully picked battle it grew.

Gate duty helped to train the fleet further and a lot of sweet loot to improve and modify ships further could be collected.

The highlight was two Xenon K jumping into the sector to be annihilated by my fleet of two destroyers, plenty of small fighters and an auxiliary ship used as bullet sponge.

Battling Xenon K at the gates

This was when I decided to contact the Split while extending my mining business all over the galaxy big time. I started with a bad reputation towards Split – that’s kinda default for most races in the X4 universe – so I had a hard time to make them like me… somewhat. This was mostly achieved by destroying enemy ships near to their stations.

Meanwhile I bought several Magnetar mining ships so keep the needed raw materials on my prospering stations coming. Everything was going nicely and I decided to claim the sector Heretics End.

While I was busy building my stations to do so my new not-exactly-enemies decided to go to battle in freakin Argon Prime. Four Rattle Snake destroyers went basically unchallenged into the Argon heart and took out the Wharf. I didn’t want to interference since I just made not-exactly-enemy with the Split. From here it went downhill fast. Almost all of Argon Prime was wiped out – and I had bought most of my ships there. This! Hurt! Business!

I had not much time to mourn though. While I was busy with my new stations in Heretics End I was ended by a very surprising Xenon attack myself. First two more K ships showed up that I hardly managed to destroy – especially since most of my fleet was busy rescuing some Teladi trading station from another K.

While I was busy counting my losses _it_ showed up. The worst nightmare X4 has to offer: The Xenon Branch 9 Destroyer I entered the sector and all I had to offer were two half built stations, some Interceptors and my badly damaged Argon Behemoth destroyer.

Xenon Branch 9 Destroyer I

I tried to keep my distance while waiting for my fleet to arrive. This worked for a while but it eventually was going to destroy my station so I tried to get into it’s blind spot. That was my last stand. Out of mines and turrets, low on interceptors and badly damaged my destroyer went down with me on the bridge.

I accept this glorious defeat – for now 😀

I wonder for a suited format for a series of log entries for my X4 adventures. Mayhap I should simply edit and append as the story [of my sandbox] unfolds.

Spent most of the day hunting pirates that seem to develop a taste for my ships. The salvaged Cerberus Vanguard is a huge help with this and whenever a pirate surrenders my own support fleet of Minotaur grows. Did I mention that I just love the design of this ship? It’s such a great all-round asset that can even haul some cargo on occasion or act as small carrier.

I also stumbled over another really tiny vault. Took some time to unlock all it’s secrets but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Raiding a tiny vault

Talking about raiding I had some notable encounters as well. A Raider tried to steal from the current head quarter. That was a mighty stupid idea and the Raider was toast before I even got close to it.

Scale Plate Pact Raider going down in a blaze

And another had the nerve to attack my medium freighters during their duty of making profit. When I finally had enough I called in the fleet and together we started a boarding operation. That was a long and ugly fight mostly because due to a bunch of Xen fighters trashing our party. Lost one small heavy fighter and 45 marines but in the end the ship was ours. Good thing the Cerberus brought a repair drone along to fix the busted engines, by the way.

I also identified a choking point in Napileos’ Fortune VI where a lot of the pirate traffic seems to originate. It’s an empty and unclaimed sector so I started building an Administrative Center here hoping to get this pest under control.

Claiming Napileos’ Fortune VI

I wonder if it makes sense to start more stations here, because a lot of other huge stations are within 4 sectors of this – the typical maximum distance for auto traders to go – and a lot of traffic is passing through this already.

Oh yeah – and I finally got all the parts to assemble the SINZA device. It’s IMHO not really obvious that it simply activated with Shift+4 because I tried to install it as modification or ship drive first.

Today I learned about IMA, EVM and TPM on Linux and I feel like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.

[ 0.784022] ima: No TPM chip found, activating TPM-bypass!

dmesg | grep TPM

Last time I read about this is ~15 years ago and I simply disabled TPM so far since I only remember the concerns from back then about privacy and the impact it may have on free software related to DRM. TrueCrypt also fuelled this believe.

Turns out that TPM is completely passive and can do a lot for me, especially in combination with UEFI and IMA (Integrity Measurement Architecture) or, in fact, with securing personal credentials and even TOTP.

Yes, I read about the ROCA vulnerability, too!

The refurbished pell compared to the old beam. Cat included.

Some weeks ago I managed to kill my old for good. I never expected it to hold that long at all when I built it back in 2016. To be fair I slacked off a lot over the last year but thanks to recent events forcing everyone to stay at home I stepped up my again.

Don’t train alone, it only embeds your errors.

Vesimir, The Witcher 3

Well, Vesimir is right, but that choice do we have? So I spent the late afternoon refurbishing my fallen .

Preparing new struts. Two old struts were gone. No idea where.

Luckily there was another beam, that was part of the kitchen wall some years ago (#hausbauquatsch), with the same dimensions. I could even re-use most of the old post.

Some of the old screws were broken and I had to persuade the leftovers with a crowbar (I probably learned this in Half-Life ;))

180mm screws again

And that’s it this time. I never came back to adding any sort of dampening mats. Some use carpet or rope. I’ve even seen tires used for this. Somehow I became very fond of flying splinters all over the place though. It’s a very satisfying feeling and I even made a video about this some years ago.

I played the visual novel game Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. I admit I didn’t even look up the details before when I got all three parts dead cheap as a bundle. I’ve a very faint memory of reading the book/s but that’s all. It looked like a decent point-and-click adventure available for and the idea was to play it via Steam Link in the living room with the kids around. Hint: Don’t do that.

The story is an emotional roller-coaster not shy of splattering blood all over the scene. There are dramatic moments where decisions have to be made [in time] but also peaceful chapters and fun moments. Some have to be spotted and can be missed. The story builds up slowly based on character development and decisions made. Or so it feels. All strings come together in the end and some scenes may change in detail but the overall outcome is probably the same. I’d have to read up on this or do another play-through to be sure though.

It’s not a difficult game. There are no riddles (minigames) to be solved. The only minigame included is some sort of timing game (“quick action”) where one has to click at the right moment. That was mostly annoying but mercifully simply reset the scene when it really mattered so one could try again.

Depiction of a town in 12th century England

The character style may be an issue for some. Animations are not very smooth and there seems to be no lip sync. Sometimes the animations don’t fire at all. The audio however is very good and makes up for this. Music and scenery are awesome. A lot of research went into this, unlike most games, and the depiction of 12th century England looks adequate [to me]. Since this is a hobby of mine I’m really thrown off if this does not match up in games [or movies]. I also catched the vibe of architectural love for cathedrals that I can relate to. While it’s timberframed buildings for me I can certainly understand the fascination. I visited Guédelon some years ago after all 😉

So if you like stories for your do yourself a favour and get this game. It’s worth every penny.

Oh wow. The @archaeologyuk writes:

All CBA publications are now temporarily FREE to download! From practical handbooks to research reports, dig into our archives and learn something new today. Please consider making a donation if you enjoy any of these publications.@archaeologyuk

https://new.archaeologyuk.org/books-and-publications

That includes

    • Research Reports
    • Practical Handbooks
    • Archaeology for All Series
    • Scottish Burgh Series
    • Occasional Papers
    • Research Bulletins
    • Education Publications
    • Other publication

Sadly it looks like their Sharepoint is currently overloaded and throttles new connections. Hope it’ll work again soon. Totally going for Timber–Framed Buildings 😀

Hat tip @VArchGroup