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Keyword: technology

Using DOSBox and emscripten to put old games onto the web

2015-08-28 22:36:30

Back in January of this year, the Internet Archive published their interactive DOS game library, allowing anyone to play old games that used to run on MS-DOS machines right in their browser, without the need for any plug-in or external software. This was very inspiring to me and reminded me of the time when I took my first steps in the world of programming using Turbo Pascal and compiling for DOS. Naturally, I made games in it.

I made a mental note to check out the underlying technology, but in January I was knee-deep in the process of finishing my master's thesis (followed by a move and a new job), so the "DOS in my browser" thing went somewhere near the bottom of my priority list.

In early June I dedicated a weekend to finally figuring that stuff out, which culminated in me adding a playable version of Revelation Mentis to my website. The way I first learned programming was by taking existing source code (typically little games) and tinkering with it, first changing values, then single instructions, then larger blocks of code. RM is notable in my personal history for being the first game (as well as the first non-trivial program) that I created on my own and completely from scratch, so it seemed like a good candidate for something to put on my website for posterity.

As I found out, many talented developers have made this process comparatively smooth – smoother than I had expected, anyway. Still, it's not a "drag and drop" kind of solution, you still need some coding chops to put all the pieces together. I'd like to walk you through what I did, just in case you're interested in doing something similar or you're curious about how it works.

Interaction Design Project 2012: Neverball

2012-07-20, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Interaction Design Project 2012: Neverball

On July 11th 2012, participants of the Interaction Design course (refer to the HCI group website) at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Hamburg displayed and showcased the results of their projects. They developed concepts and prototypes of input mechanics for the game Neverball. This video is a collection of the results.

Complexity and Usability 2012

2012-05-10, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Complexity and Usability 2012

There was a time when software couldn't do much and was easily understood in full. What has changed and what has stayed the same? Software is supposed to accomplish more and be easier to use at the same time – is that an irreconcilable contradiction? Is there a "new simplicity", or does the path lead into a jungle of complexity?

From the UNIX philosophy, the personal computer revolution and the Web 2.0 up to recent smartphone apps, I examined the overall development of the interface complexity of software. Especially, I scrutinized the concept of "simplicity" critically. On the basis of these observations and incorporating theoretical knowledge from interaction- as well as game design, recent examples and models for constructively dealing with functional complexity were explained.

This talk took place in the HCI research colloquium.

Streets4MPI (Parallel Programming Project)

2012-04-04, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Streets4MPI (Parallel Programming Project)

This talk marks the official end of the Parallel Programming project.

We presented our results by explainig the algorithms and technical underpinnings of our software, showing visual examples and comparing runtime data for different parallelization scenarios.

HTTP status codes

2012-01-26, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

HTTP status codes

This Lightning Talk took place in the KunterBuntesSeminar organized by computer science students at the University of Hamburg. It was about the status codes of the HTTP standard and how they are correctly used.

I started by explainig the general idea using a few well-known examples. Next, I examined the group of redirection codes in depth. I ended the talk with a couple of handy rules of thumb for practical usage.

Badly Written Spambots – an Anecdote

2011-12-01, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Badly Written Spambots – an Anecdote

This Lightning Talk was held in the KunterBuntesSeminar organized by Computer Science students in Hamburg, it was the second one of the session and partly referenced the talk I held directly beforehand.

I explained how I managed to find out from my analytics data how to identify a spam bot that was badly implemented in such a way that it violated important web standards, thus triggering errors. By being stupid, the author of the spam bot relieved me of quite a bit of diagnosis-related work.

Piwik

2011-12-01, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Piwik

This Lightning Talk was held in the KunterBuntesSeminar organized by Computer Science students in Hamburg, it was the first one of the session.

The subject was Piwik, a free and open source tool for website analytics. I explained the basic idea and showcased the possibilities for anonymization and data protection as well as other advantages of Piwik.

recordmydesktop and OGV

2011-09-20 18:53:02

Just a small heads up to anyone doing any kind of screencast or desktop recording on a typical desktop Linux:

Usually, people will recommend recordmydesktop, which is a very cool program that's available e.g. in the Ubuntu repositories. It works really well and all, but I keep running into walls with the OGG/Theora videos that it produces.

I'm no expert on video encoding, but apparently recordmydesktop does some very fancy optimizations involving variable FPS and stuff like that, so the video files are quite small byte-wise. Unfortunately, this has caused problems for me down the line: I can play the files just fine in Totem (thus, gstreamer) or VLC. But as soon as I try to reencode them, all hell breaks loose.

Interaction in the Blogosphere

2011-07-30, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Interaction in the Blogosphere

Abstract: Blogging is an interesting phenomenon not only from a socio-cultural and medial perspective. The "blogosphere", as the collective set of all blogs and their authors is sometimes called, has adapted and developed a whole range of interaction patterns. In this paper, I give an overview of the methods which bloggers use to communicate with their readers and with each other, and for what kind of communication they are typically used. Furthermore, blogging is explained in the context of the medial development of our culture.

This paper has been written for the Computergestützte Kooperation course. I chose to develop the topic of blogs mostly towards interaction patterns.

GPGPU and Stream Computing

2011-06-30, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

GPGPU and Stream Computing

This talk was held in the seminar for the course Parallel Programming and dealt with general purpose computation on graphics hardware and fundamentals of stream computing. Building on previous knowledge about computer architecture and parallelization strategies, I contextualized GPGPU and introduced stream computing as its background. I then demonstrated a few modern languages and technologies (CUDA, OpenCL) and briefly touched upon compilation processes (NVIDIA PTX, AMD IL). The talk ended with perspectives on programmability and efficiency of the technologies and a short overview of the latest trends.

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