16 September 2020

Doctor Who Adventure Games

 If you have a copy of the original installers for the Doctor Who Adventure Games, you'll find out that they will fail to run with an error message, because they are validating them against the Doctor Who BBC website, and they were taken down due to a licensing issue with the developer.

However, it's not too hard to remove the validation on the underlying installer's code so that you can always run them.

Some things to be aware of:

A. The installers are partially cumulative updates on top of one another - meaning that by the fourth episode, a lot of the code in the previous versions was updated. The installer automatically replaces any old files based on their date - whatever is older automatically gets replaced with the latest version. The order is as follows:

1. City of the Daleks

2. Blood of the Cybermen

3. TARDIS

4. Shadows of the Vashta Nerada

5. The Gunpowder Plot (has its own launcher so can be done separately)

B. The Steam versions appear to put a valid keyfile.txt in the installer so that the games can be run and skip the validation entirely. It might be unique to each person's copy. I've not tried running it without Steam installed. Some other code was updated in the Steam version to add achievements, alongside general map and audio updates, so you won't want any of the achievement code if you're using these versions.


Here's a summary of the changes made:

1. Extract the EXE file with an InnoSetup extractor such as UniExtract

2. Using Resource Hacker, or a hex editor, you'll need to edit the file DoctorWho_Pc.exe as per the following screenshot. By changing the JNZ (Jump if not zero) to a JMP (always jump) - explained here, you can skip over the code that performs the validation. Here I am editing version 4.0 of the file which was in the fourth episode, Shadows of the Vashta Nerada. You can use this version with the three others without issue.







3. You need to create the file keyfile.txt inside the {app} folder, and it's just an empty file.

4. You need to edit the install_script.iss to not copy the InstallValidator.exe file, and instead copy the keyfile.txt




5. So to summarise the changes needed. The Output exe is created in the next step.




6. Next, you need to use Inno Setup Compiler to open the install_script.iss and compile the binary (Build > Compile). The output is the .exe file as above.

7. Rinse and repeat for all 5 of the installers. I'd recommend replacing the file DoctorWho_Pc.exe in each of the installers you recompile so that all of them can be installed. Note that The Gunpowder Plot uses a different EXE entirely so the hex edit will have to be reproduced for just that one.

6 August 2020

Keeping your home network secure

  1. Use a VPN that isn't part of 5 eyes or 14 eyes
    1. Reduce telemetry with O&O ShutUp
  2. Updates
    1. OS
    2. Apps, firmware, drivers
  3. Credentials
    1. Passphrases instead of passwords, or random passwords and a password manager
    2. Enable 2FA on all accounts
    3. Change default passwords on all IoT devices including the router
  4. Router
    1. Move to WPA3 and hide your SSID
    2. Disable WPS, UPnP, remote management, port sharing, update the router or move to one with granular control like creating a second network for IoT devices
    3. Disable DHCP and use static addresses and known MACs
  5. Services
    1. Disable remote access
    2. Disable Samba v1
    3. Pi-hole
    4. Secure DNS
    5. Disable bluetooth and any listening devices
  6. Internet
    1. Use an internet security product rather than just antivirus (e.g. sandboxed browsers for banking, phishing filter, granular control of incoming and outgoing apps)
    2. Use more than one AV product or set of tools
    3. On any downloads, check SHAs where possible and use VirusTotal, enable SmartScreen, run apps in sandboxes where preferable
    4. Setup a honeypot
    5. Network/IP/LAN monitors and scans including scanning from the internet for open ports
  7. Isolation
    1. Use VMs
    2. Wipe and reinstall your machine regularly (attendees of Black Hat conferences go as far as to dump their laptops afterwards)
    3. Encrypt your HDD/SSD
    4. Route all traffic through a local gateway/proxy
  8. Physical security
    1. Turn things off when not at home
    2. Don't leave any devices on display - lock them away when not using them
    3. Scheduled offsite backups
  9. Use Linux

26 July 2020

Ethics and suggestions for government

Unethical:
Things I consider unethical (actively bad for the majority of people)
  • Credit cards
  • Stocks and shares
  • Driving diesel/petrol
  • Smoking (especially in public)
  • Excessive drinking
  • Excessive ownership of money (large spending should be regulated, advised and approved)
  • Excessive gambling (more than your excess income)
  • Cruelty to others, animals (i.e. physical abuse, domestic violence) and abandonment
  • Funding anti-LGBT business (or any anti-equality-based division)
  • Public possession of guns

Ethical:
Things that I think may be controversial, but are the right way forward
  • Pornography
  • Eating meat irregularly, sustainably or being vegetarian/vegan
  • Opting for renewable energy resources
  • Adoption (submission and selection)
  • Euthanasia

Improvement required:
Things that the government really needs to work on
  • Universal basic income
  • Mental health walk in centres
  • Online systems for voting and more regular votes
  • Learning and education past 18 for changes to UK law or curriculum, to cover finance, jobs, looking after yourself, cleaning, DIY etc
  • Self assessment tax returns - should be much more automated
  • Tax rebates - Should never be so problematic
  • Prohibition of drugs
  • Driving licences should require regular reassessment of updated practices

21 July 2020

Favourite TikTok videos

Funny (Laugh out loud)
  1. Don't flood the house!
  2. I suffer from a terrible disability
  3. Scrabble yeet
  4. No-no square
    1. Part 2
  5. Lady attempts to use a sign
  6. Plunger on head
  7. Summon Joe Exotic
    1. Part 2
  8. Bus simulator
  9. No toilet paper?
  10. Why isn't fruit square?
  11. Chicken for dad
  12. Coconut no!
    1. Coconut get away from me
  13. Monsters Inc earrape prank
    1. Playing Monsters Inc earrape at college
  14. Hangry
  15. CEO of air bending
  16. Grandma Sandy tries coke & mentos
    1. Grandma 2
  17. Hitler cat attacks plush cat and falls off table
  18. Gun cat
  19. Grumpy husky
  20. Level Up
  21. Wife is on period 1
    1. Girlfriend on period 1
    2. Girlfriend on period 2
    3. Girlfriend on period 3
    4. That time of the month
  22. The Desperados
  23. Alien wants earth candy
  24. Ferret backs it up
  25. Scaring sleeping girlfriend
  26. Favourite grandson
  27. Dog really wants the buns
  28. Do you want to build a snowman?
  29. Playing an Asian parent
  30. How to deal with telemarketers
  31. Calling Wendys
  32. The Grand Tour - Hoe
  33. The train problem
  34. General Kenobi
  35. Lion King remake
  36. Dog with fireworks
  37. Phucumol
  38. Some sugar

Funny (Subtle)

Dancing

Creative (artistic)
Cute
Scary
Educational
Inspiring

BLM

LGBT

20 July 2020

Things that should be taught in school (WIP)

In my opinion education should be an ongoing service provided to all ages - learning shouldn't stop at 18. Especially for when things change for kids, but then that education isn't disseminated to adults except via news outlets.
  • Jobs
    • Fill out a CV/resume
    • Apply for jobs
    • Be confident
    • Frame yourself in a positive way
    • Communicate proactively
  • Transport
  • House
  • Be social
    • Visit museums, tours, theatre
    • Go to hotels
    • Go on planes
    • Plan a holiday
    • Meet people
    • Attend gigs, functions
  • Health and hygiene
    • Cook and eat healthily
    • Look after yourself mentally (relax, techniques, know when to take a break)
    • Exercise
    • Get help
    • Make appointments for doctors, dentists, opticians
    • Use your time well
    • Shave
    • Tend bad behaviours
  • Clothes
  • Finance
    • Write a cheque
    • File taxes
    • Buy a house
    • What a credit score is
    • Save money

Favourite game levels/sequences

  • Ashtray Maze, Control
  • Clockwork Mansion, Dishonored 2
  • Return to the Tower, Dishonored
  • Cloud's Subconscious, Final Fantasy VII
  • Asylum Grounds, MediEvil
  • Wulfrum Hall, MediEvil 2
  • Loading the game after the first playthrough, NieR Automata
  • Xen, Black Mesa
  • The Citadel, Half-Life 2
  • Gnasty's Loot, Spyro The Dragon
  • The Part Where He Kills You, Portal 2
  • The World That Never Was, Kingdom Hearts 2
  • Zora's Domain, Breath of The Wild
  • Hall of Heroes, Bioshock Infinite
  • EOS, Red Faction Guerrilla
  • Mission 10 (Bio-weapon factory), Silent Bomber
  • Forbidden Forest, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (PS1)
  • Fort Frolic, Bioshock
  • Obtaining the black cube, Antichamber
  • The Great Pyramid, Tomb Raider: Anniversary
  • The Tower, Talos Principle
  • Specter Land, Ape Escape
  • City of the Sun, Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Busker's Square, Machinarium
  • Home planet, Samorost 3
  • The Stanley Parable Adventure Line, The Stanley Parable
From scary games:
  • ATC Headquarters, F.E.A.R.
  • Back Hall, Amnesia
  • Reactor, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
  • Lamba, SOMA
  • Obliteration Imminent, Dead Space

22 June 2020

Re: Mindfulness


I like the slightly more personal touch as well to break it up a bit. Can tell you're putting in more effort in making more engaging videos, keep it up!
Surprised this video isn't an ad sponsored by a certain chicken restaurant...

The point about taking a moment to appreciate things even if they aren't nice can be applied to other things as well, such as being grateful for what you have. In addition to being aware of your surroundings, another aspect would be reflection, which everyone does. A more prominent need is the necessity for taking breaks or thinking mindlessly in general, like Newton with the apple thinking about gravity, or Einstein on a train thinking of the speed of light as he observed a clock moving away from him.

I imagine blind or deaf people might not like this video. I guess also anyone with hypersensitivity may struggle as it may be out of their control.

The way you described it makes me think that wine is a type of creative art, rather than a means to become inebriated. That's an interesting idea I never thought of before.

As for food, I think it's slightly different, as it has texture as well as taste. Only through repeated exposure can you overcome evolutionary responses of disgust, rather than open-mindedness alone. Many people reject marmite or fish for example. Maybe some people are also masochists, like people who like spicy food. It's interesting that astronauts like a lot of spice with their foods because their olfactory senses weaken due to lower gravity making their noses stuffy.

Obviously I wouldn't recommend people who are allergic or intolerant to drinks/foods to try them.

Re: Who's More Free an Addict or a Slave? - Positive and Negative Liberty

In response to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf4fRe_BqYg

I see liberty and freedom as the following, without doing any research at all except your video:
Liberty is the right to do something (legal protection)
Freedom is the opportunity to do something
Free will is the ability to choose and perform something

An example might be driving a car.
  • When you turn 16, you're afforded the Liberty to drive unrestricted - without fear of punishment. (Given assumptions/restrictions such as driving in an emissions and electrically safe approved vehicle, following the laws of gravity and not flying in the clouds, and abiding by the DVLA)
  • Freedom is having the resources to actually drive, such as money, time, a parking space, a licence etc. This is partly 'driven' (pun intended) by equity.
  • Free will builds ontop of that and is basically a decision tree of to drive/to not drive/to buy a car/to not but a car/to run people over/to clean your car/to pick up your nan from hairdressers, and all possible permutations.

Positive and negative liberty as you described them seem to map to my definitions above - negative is my liberty, and your positive is my freedom or even free will. A parasympathetic pathway/prohibition/hinderance/negative liberty is a bouncer stopping you from entering a club. A sympathetic pathway/entitlement/positive liberty is you having the personal ability to choose to go to the club in first place, the money to pay for entry, clothes on your back, etc. You can see how free will gets mixed up there.

In the case of the driver's addiction, in my opinion their free will is being obscured. Legally they can smoke. They obviously have the money/freedom to buy cigarettes. But the addiction in their mind is simply cutting off options from the decision tree. It closes doors and narrows the possible permutation paths down to forced destiny.

Best mental health advice I've received

  • Don't worry about what everyone else expects you to be, or do, or think about. If you keep comparing yourself to others, you'll have no time for you.

  • Don't get hung up on someone who dumped you. Why should they go off and be happy with their lives when you have to suffer?

  • Optimism and pessimism are sometimes the reasons you put things off or put barriers in your life, like getting a car, going on holiday, signing up to the gym. There is a comfort zone that people don't like to get out of too.

  • Capitalism, and through it, consumerism and advertising, is designed to make you feel inadequate to convince you that you need more in your life to be successful and happy, when really, you don't need a pretty car or a pretty bra or make up.

  • Where a lot of thought and behaviour comes from is often down to mental health causes (autism, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression…), or your personality type. Familiarising yourself with how you have behave can help a lot in knowing how to help yourself.

  • Learning about philosophy and psychology can help understand human behaviour more, but can equally distance you from humanity. Ignorance is bliss. However seeing and experiencing distressing situations can help mould you to be prepared for the worst, like horror, violence, poverty etc. The bad point is when you get PTSD.

  • (Maybe) meditation can help, but I think just give yourself a break and don't push yourself too hard (or allow it to come to that).

  • Listening to the ringing bells, reading, and empathising with others can help you be a better friend and person


And my own:
  • Breaking down a problem into bitesize chunks makes something insurmountable actually achievable
  • Don't be jealous (envious) of your friends and what they have, be happy that you are friends with them and you can refer to them, show them off and be proud of them
  • Give yourself a break, time and space when things are on top of you, and tell people you're feeling that way. It is not a burden, it is a relief.
  • My social media banner https://twitter.com/rjc_uk/header_photo:

Animal Crossing - Giving Up

I'm giving up with Animal Crossing. Here's why.


  • Progress in the game is very slow. You are very limited with the progress you can make in 24 hours at a time.

  • The only way to make meaningful progress is to be forced to agree with Tom Nook's unsustainable capitalist regime of bigger and better, in which his demands are really unnecessary and incompatible with someone who prefers a minimalist lifestyle.

  • In order to make that progress you need money, And you get that money through work. However, that work is menial, demeaning, repetitive, mindless, and unintellectual. All you can do is either sell everything you own or has been gifted to you, or you pick up flotsam and jetsam and any crap lying around the place and flog it.

  • There are now too many loans and people and responsibilities for them that I have to keep track of that it had become stressful tending to everyone's needs.

  • Fishing often simply doesn't work and no introduction was given. Controls generally are inconsistent. Digging using a shovel often hits the wrong tile, it should be illuminated or selectable instead.

  • Dialog is overly repetitive. You wouldn't have the exact same conversation and introductions with someone you meet every day in real life. You can't even skip them.