How to fast switch between resolutions using a batch file.

Here’s a quick way to switch between Windows desktop resolutions using a batch file and an executable file. I needed to do this in order to have a better overview in the game Age of Empires HD (on Steam). Let me visually show you what I mean. Have a look at the screenshots below, you can clearly see a more broader view as you up the resolution.

For some reason the viewing distance is different to the one in the original game.. A few years ago I tested to see if there is a difference in resolution compared to the old Age of Empires and there is so they have in fact made your viewing distance closer. As someone who’s played Age of Empires for a long time this was a problem for me. Now in the original you could change your resolution so simply enabling DSR Factor via your graphics control panel and changing the resolution in-game could resolve this issue for me, in this version the ability is not there (I assume poor development). Anyway, you will first need to enable DSR Factor, I currently prefer x1.75 as shown below.

Then you’ll need to download the file below. Tweak the resolution settings for what you prefer and run the game. If you have the option you can play around with the smoothing, essentially it’s anti-aliasing between the pixels so it doesn’t look pixelated due to the difference of your monitors resolution capability and what’s being scaled.

Now I was under the impression that a batch file can’t actually do this (on its own), I still think this is the case, but with simple help from a file you can still achieve it. The benefits of this way is you can change your preferred resolutions and simply run the batch file with as less clicking as possible, while an executable would require a bit of extra clicks.

At the time I could not find the source code for QRes (and I downloaded it from a separate site) so I did a virus scan on it – here’s the result. Secondly I used Sandboxie and launched the file in a sandboxed environment and looked at what – if any – files were executed along with it.. It left zero trace and the file size also indicates to me it’s pretty simple.

Now here comes the actual batch file.

QRes.exe /X 1920 /Y 1080

Yup, that’s it. So in the folder there is the ‘QRes.exe’ file, then there’s ‘RC 1920×1080.bat’ and ‘RC 2560×1440.bat’ files which I run to switch between the resolutions. All these files must be in the same folder for it to work and by the size of the QRes.exe file it looks to just simply run based on the resolution that’s provided in the batch.

Download Resolution Changer version 1.0 here.

 

My PC System Specifications 2016

As of writing, this is my current PC system specifications:

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07 GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E
Memory: 6GB Corsair
Storage: SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GB Sata III 2.5 inch Internal SSD (£39.99 – Amazon.co.uk)
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460
PSU: Corsair HX850W
Case: LIANLI PC-8FI
Operating System: Windows 10
Monitor: LG 32LF580V
Internet: 80Mbits (Plusnet)

OLD (2015)

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07 GHz
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E
Memory: 6GB Corsair
Storage: OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 2.5 SSD (£169.34 – Scan.co.uk)
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460
PSU: Corsair HX850W
Case: LIANLI PC-8FI
Operating System: Windows 10
Monitor(s): 24″ Samsung SyncMaster 2493HM
Internet: 17Mbits (Plusnet)

My holiday trip to Sal, Cape Verde

I’ve not posted on here for a while now, I guess it’s been due to not having enough time and energy to do so, but I thought I’d write about my recent trip to Cape Verde and the experiences that I think might come in handy.

20160929_180215It begins as always with arranging your flight, your accommodation, then packing your bag and definitely a rucksack too if your luggage limits permits. Oh and I would recommend a Drawstring backpack or anything similar for the beach. Depending on the climate you’re travelling of course you’ll need the essentials, in my case sun-cream, sandals or flip-flops, sunglasses and a hat both depending on your style I guess and as usual I left all my packing to the last moments thus was in a bit of a rush.

I attempted to buy a hat that I liked, I don’t know where I put all my previous hats but I couldn’t find any hanging around. I ended up borrowing one that looked like something a crocodile hunter would wear, not really suitable for an island relaxation feel, but it would do, at least for keeping the sun out of my eyes when laying on a sunbed.

I would recommend having decent sunglasses that you’re happy with, I wouldn’t rush it so it’s worth spending a little extra and getting one that will last before your holiday is near. Something you’ll be happy with in all kind of sunny days. Being in a rush I opted for borrowing one as i couldn’t choose one I liked then I ended up forgetting to pack it into my rucksack! Anyway, I went with flip-flops and I would say it is something that is worth spending nor more than £10-£15 or £20 max.

I think sun-cream is an iceberg conversation in which you begin thinking any one would do then you think about what factor is good or enough rather and which one you should get as you may be thinking about a spray verses cream.. I think cream is supposed to be better however I’m no expert. Personally I found the brand Piz Buin to be the best I’ve yet to use. Obviously in the highest factor in my destination (30 for that specific product).

20161001_104527_hdrThe next essentials is for your stay in a hotel or similar to that. Don’t be one of those who go around asking for power adapters, the hotel may have given them out or charges for them. Unless you’ve paid a lot for your stay and it’s expected they provide you one (five star hotels).. If not then your only option would be to pay at the nearest place that sells one.. This is because if you end up getting one at the holiday destination I bet they’ll charge you double, just because they can. Get one in advance from amazon or something on a decent price. If you have a long cable for your phone charger bring that just in case the socket is far from the bed.. If you have a powerbank or two things to charge then I would say bring another adapter so one for charging your phone and one for the powerbank or camera if you end up needing it. Although a two socket in one adapter may be better for saving space. 20161001_171327_hdr

You’ll want to exchange currency before you arrive because they will give you poor exchange rates and there’s nothing you can do unless you find an ATM that your bank can offer if your bank even gives you a good rate. The airports will also be poor in this regard so you would be better off getting it done at the best place you can find near where you live in advance.

Two factors to consider when exchanging currency. One the exchange rate volatility and what direction it looks to be going. The demand for it is why there is rate differences.. Local currency is going to be in high demand in the local destination so they know you have no choice but to exchange with a poor rate. For example if you know the pound is high/strong currently then order some online to be delivered to you before you leave. The amount depends on your expenditure. If you plan to have dinner every night, get a rough idea how much dinner is going to cost and multiply that by your nights.

Check if your hotel provides towels for the beach to borrow, could save you luggage space. If you booked a four star or above then its expected that your hotel should provide shampoos and soaps, but if you prefer to use your own or have small backup then you could get one of the mini container of your choice, I saw some at the airport shops.. Same goes for the dental kit, it’s all whether you’re comfortable with using the ones provided if needing the luggage room.

Have a small bag handy to hold your towel and things for the beach or pool, or if your rucksack is suitable too, then perfect.

Bring your best camera! If you don’t have one then why not go with a GoPro or one of the alternatives that also provide waterproof containers. It’s either that or buying a professional camera like a Canon EOS 1300D. You’re either choosing to get stuck in with a GoPro or you’re looking for spectacular pictures, the usual digital camera is stuck between I think a blur of both. I’d say choose one of the above, at least you’ll get a perfect shot with your proffered style.

Nowadays airports do not allow liquids larger than 100ml in hand luggage, so don’t waste money buying expensive water or other liquids only to empty it before the security point. Drink or bring a small one for the airport journey and buy one after the security point although if you have a connecting flight be aware you’ll end up having to empty it again however if you bought something you intend to use or open once you arrive then the airport provides the specially sealed bags that can pass through security. Another option is putting it in your luggage that will be checked in.

One thing I did was to take a few of those plastic bags you’re given just before the security zone. The ones used to seal 100ml liquids you may have. Why not, I mean they take your plastic I think it’s fair! Later on I found them to be useful to holding money and other things like earphones in my drawstring backpack when at the pool or beach. Going into it with wet hands makes your paper money all soggy or potentially broken electronics. Up to you though if you think that’s too much as there’s always drying your hands with the towel! However there’s also other uses for them bags too. Like when it comes to packing again and making sure your liquid containers don’t spil within your bag.. All about being a step ahead and one of the reasons I thought this is worth sharing.

20161003_170320_hdr

At one point I wanted to write about some useful suggestions and tips you can take and use on other journeys and on the other hand write about my trip, Sale Cape Verde hence the title.

I took a connecting flight to Lisbon, waited two hours then on to Sal, which I will do the same in reverse for my return to London, Heathrow.

20160930_013931I landed at Amílcar Cabral International Airport, the island – Sal – has a population of 35,000 (2010) and there’s three things I stored on my phone that required no internet connection to access. Converted the webpages to pdf I stored the flight confirmations the hotel confirmation and finally from the UK government website for Cape Verde, containing all info like phone numbers, and other useful info for a Brit to know when travelling. Worth reading in advance too as you may need some vaccinations before hand, like a week or so in advance. This deserves its own paragraph even as its worth going to your doctor to see if you need any shots! Specially going far out as Africa..

20161008_100600_hdrIt’s worth reading about the local situations before you head out too, definitely from an objective prospective as you’re looking for a heads up not to be scared off or be made to be paranoid. Lucky I had an ex collogue working out there which helped me with some excursions to go to, speaking to the locals without asking direct questions but generally flowing into the conversations. It seems some locals don’t see the potential to get involved with the tourism, they are rather distracted with petty crime and drugs.. I personally think you could say that about any society..

 

One thing I found myself thinking about is whether it was worth me spending money on a tour around the island on a Segway or Hummer! I think renting a jeep or an off-road vehicle for a few days might have been more of an adventure. if you don’t have the guts or want to bother to do that then a Hummer really makes off road enjoyable and yo20161003_170026_hdru get someone that knows what they’re doing.. For example our driver was caring enough to think about some baby turtles that were being stored by a local fisherman in a fridge that was not even working.. Not sure if the fisherman was being helpful or had some other plans.. It ended up with some great pictures of rescued baby turtles and an experience id probably never would have. Not even when you go out one night for a chance to see adult female turtles laying eggs for example.

Anytime you go near the big ocean’s it’s worth going out to sea, fishing in a small boat with the beautiful waters beneath you while the nourishing sun gleams.. It’s like food comes from nothing but water and it’s spectacular seeing endless ocean it puts a little perspective of the universe’s size in some sense.

My first time fishing experience was not going too well, I had not caught a single one while the crew members on board, a lady specifically with the highest had managed four or was it five.. I was beginning to get a little down about it as I had the imaginations that I would be somewhat decent at fishing, maybe it was not her first time but that was not my thoughts at the time nor was I willing to even turn around to see her methods as it felt time was against me. I was also on the other side of the boat and started to think it was the sun that was allowing the bait to be more visible and enticing for those on her side. I almost got desperate to begin nudging-ly to swap places!

It was not that they were not biting, the fish seemed to be taking all my bait however to sense the fish on the hook and then to know when to pull and how to correctly reel it in was taking a few losses. The guide I guess may have been giving me the sympathetic script of the fish not really biting today as they normally would do and that they were nibbling a lot as the small ones tend to do..

So I took a break, sat down, had a drink and a basic ham sandwich. Watched the others and noticed I could try and hold the rod differently while observing the others. Kind of believed what the guide said and stood up slightly determined as before, however no hope! Again it felt grim as I missed one and twice the hook came back up empty.. I held the rod and left the line as if it was dead to me, pretty much giving up, but then I felt something and sprang into action, eventually I caught one and it seemed like I executed all that was briefly explained to me correctly for it all to converse to one entity and there was no failures that I could admit which caused the last ones. Now I thought I was just getting started with morale back to full and an understanding to repeat what I just did and in some sense felt I could actually do this pretty much on my own, one day in my own boat out at sea alone even!20161005_110438_hdr

I went over to hook on new bait and go for my second but then there seemed to be some commotion on the small vessel, however I did not even care, it did not even seem to bother me as my focus was registering what had just happened to me until a green sparkling fish reflects from the sun within the water. The guide and driver begin to scramble looking for a capable hook and line to catch what was a dolphin fish.

20161005_111621_hdr

I took some pictures and then realise I’d be repeating the shots so I begin to record. Again at the end the fisherman guide wants a copy! I felt like a professional at that point.

 

The Phoenix Legion

So this project started around Jan 24, 2013. A community based gaming website, mostly focused on the Steam game Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and the likes.The_Phoenix_Legion_-_News_-_2015-11-25_11.20.41 It may look like a full CMS (Content Management System), but it’s not – it is pretty much custom and in a sense integrated into the phpBB3 message board for obvious necessity reasons. The news feed, the roster page and some of its other pages are connected to allow its users to gain access on the content available and also moderate it based on the changing statuses, so basically a dynamic roster page, a news feed connected to the message board. So no need a web-master or administrator to make those changes needed.

You can check the website out here – http://tplclan.eu/

 

 

Speeders

Have to say this holds a certain place in my heart, this project was started as far back as 8th Aug, 2010, but goes even further back in terms of when the community began. It started off due to certain requisites of its community and moulded from there. Over the years, a few different designs. The game seems to be dead and the community has dried out. The news feed dynamically retrieves content from the message board integrated into the web design as a whole. The roster page is custom built with it pulling the users based on the phpBB3 forums group management system. All allowing complete access without the need for a web-master or administrator.

Speeders_-_News_&_Announcements_-_2015-11-25_11.29.41

You can check out the Speeders gaming community over at – http://speedersclan.org/

A snapshot of the achieved page, dating back to 5th Sep, 2011:

Speeders_-_News_&_Announcements_-_2015-11-25_11.37.40

https://web.archive.org/web/20110905043657/http://speedersclan.org/

Let the Fire Burn

I recently watched a documentary called ‘Let the Fire Burn‘ (2013). It’s been a while since I sat down to watch a documentary, maybe because I’ve not spotted one that really interested me, either way it was thought provoking. It’s about the “stand-off” that took place in 1985, involving the MOVE organization. “stand-off” would be a very crude way to describe it, because fundamentally it was full blown police brutality, which isn’t a surprise, considering it was very common in the 80’s against black people in America.

Let the Fire Burn

The title is a quote that was said from the police to basically “let the fire burn” to the fire-brigade while the people were in that house. Before the fire, they drop explosives from above, which was basically a bomb that starts the fire, then they allow it to burn resulting in the deaths of the people inside. Near the end the police get interviewed and it’s very obvious they’re lying through their teeth and their meaningless expressions give it all away.

MOVEWhat I want to focus on now isn’t how or why this happened – that’s been analysed enough by the committee, but how this makes for a very clear example of how obvious it shows that the black people are so divided.

Going back 9 years or so,

28 Mar 1976, seven MOVE members were released from jail and went to 309 N 33rd St where a celebration was held. Police were called. A neighbor described the resulting melee as: “I think the police were provoked, but I think they were overreacting. I’ve never seen such brutality.” Six cops were hospitalised and six MOVE members jailed. Life Africa, three-week old son of Janine and Phil Africa, was killed. There are sources documenting that MOVE members showed the dead child’s body to city officials who took no action because officially there was no birth certificate for a “Life Africa”. Covered in pages 11-14 of John Anderson and Hilary Hevenor, Burning Down the House: MOVE and the tragedy of Philadelphia, W.W. Norton & Co., 1987. ISBN: 0-393-02460-1. Naaman Brown (talk) 00:58, 27 July 2010 (UTC) – Wikipedia.

One year later –  nine MOVE members were convicted for the death of a police officer. The ballistics of the shots fired to the police officer that died shows that they come from an angle not possible by the MOVE members that were all in the basement.. The nine members are still in prison, to this day..

The hypocrisy is nobody was jailed for the deaths of the MOVE members and here we have nine still in prison even till this day today for their actions involving that death.. If the police get away with negligence for what happened in 1985. Different laws for different people.

They [MOVE members] all surrendered and all were viciously beaten after. Delbert Africa; under video footage gets brutally beaten just after he surrenders, there is clear footage of this and yet the police get off free with no charges and even one of the police officers in the attack is back involved in the 1985 tragedy.

Nine years after the above events, MOVE relocates and in the documentary one of the members explains a sort of shift in attitude, a sort of bitterness and I’m not surprised. One member is interviewed early in the start, ex-Black Panther member, he explains that instead of revolting, he finds MOVE a more revolutionary way of revolting, invoking “change” through themselves that spreads itself and changes the system through the people rather than forcing the system to change head on (that’s what I at least got from it).

This indeed does sort of contradict how they behave. The bunker seems like it’s trying to fight the system head on.. So does the loud speaker and it all seems very flawed.. From this only; the whole neighbourhood turns against them, being predominately black and yet MOVE were completely alone.. One could assume the “system” finds a way to meet them head on like every other form of revolt.

There’s a scene in which there’s a MOVE member calling people mother fuckers and just talking a lot of rubbish through the loud speaker, which doesn’t quite make sense and I’m not sure if footage is even in context as it might have been a response to provocation.. The testimony is backed up by what looks like another black person primed at being completely naive, but if this is true then John Africa’s master strategy clearly had a fundamental flaw or was not followed, which was failing to stay neutral to the average people.

The Mayor of the city was black, the two news reporters was black and they all pretend as if the world, the decade they live in is free of racial prejudice. I suppose they were just pretending or maybe it’s what allowed them sleep at night, so they could continue their personas. Or if you continue to lie sooner or later a lie becomes true? Maybe that’s it..

Though I think the Mayor was simply duped, as he claimed he ordered for the fires to be put out, but a little bit like dealing with the devil, they toyed with him and aimed the water to the surrounding buildings.

The two black news reporters seem to be in character as if they’re reporting on a live car chase or bank robbery.. It really doesn’t sit right with me.. Sort of reminded me of a black slave watching another slave be beaten to death.

Why were they (the black local community and MOVE members) not standing together side by side? Not for the things they [MOVE] say and do, but for the direct actions by the police for being biased and filled with prejudice. Preferring to wait their turn to be treated badly.

By the end of the documentary, we listen to what seems like the only police officer with a soul in the whole incident and after James Berghaier’s testimony, “nigger lover” was written on his locker, he ends up leaving the police force.. Ruining his career simply because of treating the MOVE people in the house as Humans and the whole point of him being an officer of the law.. This is how far the  local black community were detached from the reality. In the same day and age discrimination was so blatant, they were standing by watching what was obviously racists hiding in sheep’s clothing, as always using common ground as a base for support amongst people, simply because MOVE was not behaving like them to pretend to be accepted by the white Americans.

The result

 

Notes:

http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/delbert-africa-move-9-31-year-anniversary-of-incarceration/
http://move9parole.blogspot.co.uk/2008_03_01_archive.html
http://articles.philly.com/1996-05-31/news/25627154_1_birdie-africa-ramona-africa-osage-avenue
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AMOVE

qBittorrent (v3.1.9)

I’ve started using qBittorrent to replace μTorrent, due to their pestering ads that really shouldn’t be there to begin with, but what makes it mostly annoying and worse is the fact that even though you can turn it off, it keeps turning on again after every update. It’s not even a simple process of turning it off in the options, but having to search for the correct command lines to actually disable them all properly.

I wasn’t sure if I’d find a good replacement, because what made uTorrent so popular simply because it was miles ahead of the other bittorrent clients. This post is to say; indeed I’ve found a good enough replacement that does the job and maybe even better.

qBittorrent is cross-platform, available on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD. It’s free and under the GPLv2+ license. This means that the software is not indirectly or directly supporting an operating system and you’re free to download the source code and change it the way you prefer or if need be, adapt it to your needs. This encourages development, but else why is this important? Well if a lot more software, including games considered this, we would have the option to change our operating systems depending on our needs too.. Just like the same way I’m not happy with uTorrent, I can choose to change my OS if it’s also acting up..

Anyway, qBittorrent has all the features you would expect from uTorrent and personally, I’ve customized it the way I like it, which is turning off all the extras as much as possible and clearly seeing what’s downloading, what’s finished.

qbittorrent

As you can see, I’ve removed the top bar, side bar to make it look like a basic downloader, which is how I like it. Here’s what the wiki says:

It aims to have a small foot-print, to be powerful, intuitive and visually attractive going beyond the current functions widely provided by other applications. qBittorrent is an attempt to provide a μTorrent equivalent that is open-source and multi-platform adding a streaming-like function to let users download-and-play video files.

Here’s what it looks running on Windows, default settings compared to what I’ve done above:

qbittorrent
Source from softonic.com

Here’s what it looks running on Ubuntu:

qbittorrent
Source from wikipedia.org

So if you’re looking for a replacement, this my suggestion.