Blogging since 2007
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All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough



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Database (export) problem
06 March 2015
Posted in General
With the update to MySQL5 I've found a problem when exporting the old MySQL4 database. Somehow the €-sign is not recognized with the export and is converted into some real shitty text. I noticed this problem when going through the new (test) site.

At first I thought the problem came from the import into the new database, and I experimented a bit with the character sets that I could use, but to no avail (for obvious reasons). When I found out that the export was the problem, I tried to see if I could change the character set used for export, but that I could not

Instead of changing the way I'd export my old database, I decided to change the shitty € text into the actual €-sign in the exported database and import it.

The default import again came up with a shitty text for the €-sign in the new database. Then I decided to use character set windows-1257 (always use the latest I figured), but the import crashed with a SQL-error The 2nd try I decided to use character set windows-1256 and this time the import went well and when checking the database I saw the €-sign instead of the shitty text and checking the test blog also gave me the regular €-sign. Only one test remained and that was writing a new entry were I used the €-sign and this went good as well.

So it looks like all is going well with the site update. I'll run a couple of more tests today and if I don't find any odd things I'll update all the sites at once. As said yesterday, keep in mind that I need to drop the sites off-line for a couple of hours to make sure all went well...

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Blog script update
05 March 2015
Posted in General
Two days ago I reported that this week would be a lazy one with blog posts because of an update I had to do for the script that I wrote for it. Today I've made the last adjustments to the script and it looks like every thing is working now under the new PHP 5.5 version along with the latest MySQL 5 server.

Though I have done only a couple of rough tests so far on the test database (which is obviously running on MySQL5 ), it all looks very promising. The I am Blog script where I had to add a new WYSIWYG editor for posting (damn, I'll sure miss the old editor) as well as all the SQL instructions seem to be working. The same can be said for the (extremely old) test copy of Pages from Sages that I'm using.

Because I'm using the I am Blog script for 3 sites total, I had to make a lot of exceptions in the code for all 3 pages to make sure it works just like the original I am Blog script used to when it was a blogging host. Though I'm no longer using I am Blog as a host for others to use, I do want to keep the code compatible with that function, hence I had to make a couple of adjustments for my own 3 sites. While at it, I decided to chop down the exceptions I made and make the I am Blog code even more generic, which basically comes down to only 1 exception for the AE games blog (because it's running in a sub-directory).

Later today I will be running more tests on the whole I am Blog script and if all no errors are found I will update all sites from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.5 and upload the new code. Sadly though, doing this will mean that I have to put the sites off-line for a couple of hours..

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No blog updates the coming week
03 March 2015
Posted in General
Last weekend I received a notice of my webhost that they'll be migrating PHP 5.2 and MySQL4 out because of their age and security risk. This means that I have to work my ass off to upgrade the blog code to the latest versions of PHP and MySQL (5.5 and 5) and test them extensively before I put the new code online.

So far it looks like the new code is working, but there's a problem I'm having with the editor I've been using the last 6 years. The author is no longer updating it and the code is extremely out of date (and incompatible with PHP 5.5 ) I have given it a try to update the code, but that was to no avail. That means that right now I'm searching for a new editor to replace the old one. Thus far there are 2 editors that I might be using. One doesn't have a WYSIWYG-HTML switch or a YouTube insert, while the other one has both but is extremely big (and I still have to test the latter one).

I hope to have finished the code update coming weekend. When I'll be updating the code, the blog itself will be offline for a couple of hours as well though...

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FF13 no longer about skills or fun
27 February 2015
Posted in PlayStation
I've has quite a fun ride with Final Fantasy XIII. That was until chapter 9 and I encountered the fal'Cie Barthandelus. He totally dropped out the fun of the game. The problem with this boss is something I already found with other (smaller) bosses earlier in the game - one-hit kills.

Got Barthandelus things get a bit worse than the other bosses though. I'm fighting this dude for about 10 minutes (okay, perhaps I should use buff potions when I encounter him ) and have his 4 faces down. Then he's on to get a lot of damage, but the problem is that I can't do him enough damage in a short time - he does more damage to me than I can heal without synergist (tank).

Okay, I survive and then he gets to his dooms-day skill (I still have over 75% to go ) and here things go wrong. Each and every time - NO MATTER WHAT I DO DURING THIS SKILL - I'm instantly killed I have tried this boss by now for a dozen times with different parties, but it all ends up in the same result - instant kill.

This makes me wonder what happened to the old bosses from earlier Final Fantasy games. Those took quite a time to take down, but at least you had a chance and there was no thing as an instant kill skill they have. Those were the fun Final Fantasy games, but this one (FF13) is just no fun with instant-kill skills.

By now I have googled how to get past this one and I think I might have an idea on how to do it. But when I look a bit further, there's more of these kind of bosses peeking around the corner that give a hard time and can instantly kill you. I am even wondering if I should continue to play this game or just move on to the next one (and I don't mean Final Fantasy XIII-2...)

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Chronic Fatigue & Pain Syndrome
25 February 2015
Posted in About me
Yesterday I've been to the rheumatologist and I have a couple of results. That's some good, bad and worse news though...

The good news is that I do not have rheumatism (that could be found) and there was also no sign in my blood of muscle degradation. Even better, according to the blood works I'm perfectly healthy (Hmmm.... I've heard that a lot before...)

The bad news is that the cortisol levels in my urine were way too low. This mostly happens when there's a stressful situation for a long time. Well, I did have a lot of stress in the past. The worse has been 15 years ago and the last time about 5 years ago. The rheumatologist told me that this could not be the cause of the low cortisol levels. But she did tell me that a low level of cortisol might cause fatigue in the muscles, but it doesn't explain the constant pain I have in them...

The worse part of the news is that I now officially have a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain Syndrome. This is something I kinda already figured but I'm not happy with the official diagnosis of it. I mean I'm 46 in 2 months and basically a cripple

The rheumatologist wants to send me to a CFS/CPS center for further examination and treatment, but there's only one in Lelystad. That would mean at least 2 hours of travel by train for me and is not an option. She then remembered that the VUMC in Amsterdam also has a similar center. She decided to send me there for a 2nd opinion (waiting for the VUMC to call me for an appointment - prolly in 2 to 3 weeks from now) with the note that from there they should send me to the CFS/CPS center as well.

With that, I've been to my lawyer as well today for the appeal he's making against the UWV decision that I'm now less unfit for work than before. It was a constructive session and basically, each and every job they've found for me should be scratched. He also advised me to visit my doctor next week (he's on holiday now) to send me to a neurologist and see if the pain and fatigue comes from the nerve system after the long term B12 shortage. He also advised me to ask for some more blood works regarding allergies to synthetic fibers (I am allergic to those and 2 job descriptions let me work with them). Though I'm not sure that's possible to prove that from blood works.

Oh and BTW. My hands (mainly the right one for being righthanded) is starting to ache more and more. Typing this hurts like hell already. I hope that this is not the start of an expansion of the fatigue and pain I have. If so, it would also mean that I should give up programming or slow down big-time on it

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Wishlist growing - too little time to play
24 February 2015
Posted in PlayStation
I think buying that 2nd hand PlayStation 3 last month was about the best thing I could have done for my gaming experience. It really fills my 'playing needs' for jRPGs and I've bought a couple of them as well already. With the start of my PlayStation 3 times, I also brought live back to my PSP, bought a PSVita and a 2nd hand PlayStation 2 as well (though the latter I can't play in my PC room and I'm using a PS2 emulator instead).

It's that jRPG 'addiction' that's playing up right now. I have almost the complete series of Final Fantasy boxed here, and am only missing Final Fantasy III and IX. Though I'm still busy on the 1st part of Final Fantasy XIII, I want to play through the whole series from the 1st one.

I've also found the 'Tales' series. I have already started with Tales of Xillia, but I also have Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Graces ƒ lying here to play. And that's only 3 of the series and I really do want the other parts for the PlayStation consoles as well. Sadly though, the first one (Tales of Phantasia) has never been released in Europe, but I'm glad to have a (pirated and translated) version for the PSP which I'm playing already. And I gotta say, this one feels a lot better than the first editions of the Final Fantasy series...

Then there are a couple of other series that have peeked my interest as well. One of them is the 'Atelier series'. Though I have not yet bought any of them (I did download the 3 Atelier Iris games of the PS2 though), I think they are very good after having watched some gameplay videos on YouTube.

Last but not least a couple of games I used to have on my old PlayStation 2 which I want to buy again as well. These are the Phantasy Star series and the Star Ocean series. Sadly the Phantasy Star series don't have any PS3 releases (yet?), but they have a couple of PSP and PS2 releases.
The Star Ocean series has only 4 releases (2 for the PSP, 1 for PS2 and one for PS3) and I really want to play that one as well. I have already downloaded the ones for PSP and PS2 and they look awesome for the short period of time I've played them so far.

Sadly though, even with me being at home not so much, I lack time and money. Time to play them all. Since last month I've played Final Fantasy XIII for around 25 hours already and am only at chapter 8 (how many chapters are there in the game anyway?). Tales of Xillia I have only played for a couple of hours but I really want to continue on that one (after having finished FF13 most likely). Ni-No Kune (which I started to play first) is a different story I do like the game, but I think both FF13 and Tales of XIllia are better at most points. I have put that one back on the shelf to pickup later on when I'm done with the Tales games that I already own.

NOTE
I'm talking about pirated games here. Where possible I will buy them on their original media when I really start to play them (meaning I like them and keep playing them). Sadly (as sad before) Tales of Phantasia is not available for Europe at all (not even in the PSN Store ) and I will see if I can grab an US PS1 copy to compensate for the breach of copyright. Same goes for other games which I might find and like but have never been released for Europe.

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Fatigue getting worse
21 February 2015
Posted in About me
I'm getting the B12 vitamin injections now for about 5 months. I'd figure that in that time I should have felt some improvement already, but instead I feel things are getting worse instead.

The pain and fatigue in my legs is getting worse over the last 5 months instead of better. When I cycle, I'm not able to get the gear past the 3rd (of 7 total) and that's only when there's no wind coming from the front, though normally I try to cycle in the 2nd gear. When I have any kind of obstruction (wind or a real small slope) when cycling, I really have to switch back to the 1st gear and still have trouble

Walking is almost as bad as well. Okay, I'm still able to walk, but when I have to walk for more than 10 minutes (to the supermarket for instance) I'd rather take the bike because after that 10 minute walk my legs start to ache a lot and walking becomes a real pain. Not to mention, I start to walk 'funny' because I can't use my normally anymore because of that cramping ache that I have

If my legs were the only problem, I'd be somewhat okay with it. But I noticed that my hands start to ache and cramp more and more as well. With that I'm having a constant fatigued feeling in my right hand already (yes, I'm right handed) also causing less force to be used with the hand - at times I can't even open a fresh bottle of soda During the day this (new) fatigue in my hand gets worse and during the evenings I have to make a fists with my hand to relieve the pain and fatigue a bit (not that it's really helping against the fatigue, but it does work against the pain for a few minutes).

Then there's the total fatigue I'm experiencing. These days I have to lie down more and more because I just can't keep going on anymore. My whole body is fatigued and tired and after an hour's rest (lie down on our comfy couch or even get to bed at times) does work a bit. Though I don't fall asleep, I do doze off a bit. Sadly, this now already happens twice a day and I'm not giving in on more rests because I just don't want to...

This afternoon we'll be going to friends and I had to keep an easy week (read: don't do anything if I can prevent it and I went only out of the house twice) to save my energy and not be too fatigued. Though I do feel the fatigue in my body, I am going. I don't want this fatigue to take over my life too much (though I feel that it already does take over).

It's a good thing thing that coming Tuesday I have an appointment with the rheumatologist again and I hope she has some results of the bloodworks as well as a possible cure or treatment. As said, I don't want to let the fatigue take over my life and I'm too young (45) to be a cripple and unable to live a normal life

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PSP 6.61 firmware update
18 February 2015
Posted in PlayStation
It's been over 2 years since SONY has done anything for the PlayStation Porteble. The last firmware update (6.60) they released fixed nothing for my 2000 system, but I figured to get it anyway. Good thing though, because I learned that I could jailbreak the PSP from there with the 6.60Pro-C fix3 exploit.

Half January SONY announced that they had released the 6.61 firmware for the PSP. Though there's not said what this update does, rumors on the net are that it fixes some SSL issues (I also learned that the PS3 had it quite late as well) and people are hoping that the PSP will be made PS4 compatible as well (yeah right, as if! ). On facebook, MemoryPSP has tested the 6.61 firmware and it now allows PSP users to download videos to it (sadly that service is not supported in The Netherlands ).

Of course, a new jailbreak that uses the exploit is already available. It's version 6.61Pro-C fix3 (I'm not gonna link that one here because of copyright issues, but Google is your friend ). I have already installed this new jailbreak, on my PSP and it's working perfectly. All EBOOTs and ISOs I have work as they did before.

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Played through the 'starter area'
16 February 2015
Posted in Guild Wars
Starter areas... Most MMORPGs have them, and in most MMORPGs you can get through them in an hour or less. It's mostly a small tutorial on how the basics of the game work. So far I've seen only 2 exceptions to the small tutorial starter areas. Age of Conan has the Tortage area that's pretty big and Guild Wars has an even bigger area then that

Yesterday I played through the last part of the starter area of the core game. This starter area is already a world by itself that's still unspoiled. It builds up the tension around Ascalon City and the Charr. The city is still standing and whole, while after you've left the starter area the wall that protects the city to the Charr in the north has fallen and the city destroyed...

Aside from the little spoiler I just wrote about the destiny of Ascalon City (guess you already knew that with a game that's already 10 years old already ), the content in the starter area is pretty good and long. When you play this, you can for instance do the quest for the Hall of Monuments that involves Gwenn (you can't complete it after you have left the starter area). You can also use this time to gather money, gear and stuff so you can buy bags in the Ascalon City ruins (sadly you can't buy them in the starter area, how badly you need them).

This time I took the time to play through all the quests available and I did them all but one. The one quest I missed is one that required me to party to get the ressurrection skill, which is pretty hard to do if you're the only one playing there (yes, this is a sad thing about a decade old game where the starter areas are completely empty ), but I can still buy it for 50 gold and 1 skill point. When I exited the starter area, I was already level 7 and had some where around 700 gold already (a lot more than I had with my 2 previous characters).

Now that I'm in the 'actual world' (quotes on purpose because it's a HUB game instead of an open world MMORPG) of Guild Wars, I continued to develop my character and it's stills. As I said earlier, I play as Ranger/necromancer and I figured to get a buttload of minions to support me. Well, I changed that view in the 'actual world'. New skills I have acquired allow me to debuff the targets so that they damage their surrounding companions if they receive physical damage. For this I changed to bow again and use skills to speed up my rate of fire. This way I do a huge number of physical damage hits and thus kill off groups pretty fast.

Also now being in the 'actual world' I decided to play through all content I could find in the core game. Though I know that at one time I'll be too high a level for the quests I'm on, I figured that doing all the quests I could get my hands on only can benefit me in filling the Hall of Memories in the Eye of the North...

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More restrictions means more work abilities?
15 February 2015
Posted in About me
I promised ab update on my personal situation last Friday. This update is one about my re-examination of my limitations to work. I had he medical re-examination on January 20th already, and last week I had the results what that'd mean for my abilities to work.

As I already heard on January 20th, I'm getting additional limitations to the ones I already have and these are for walking, standing and a bit to sitting. But the results were quite odd. Where in the past I was unfit to work for close to 68%, now with the extra I'm only unfit to work for 61.31%

Early this week I had the written confirmation about this, which includes the list of restrictions to work. And there are some odd things to this list of restrictions...

First off, walking is restricted. As I've already written half December when I was having trouble walking my mail-route for 3 times half an hour in 8 days time. Well, this has been translated into a maximum of a 30 minutes walk a day in one go. Hmm, not sure, but that's not what I told the doctor... This restriction also translates into an on and off walking job for 4 hours a day.

Then the standing restrictions. I'm having trouble doing the dishes, do some cooking and stuff like that. With these household jobs I'm standing between half an hour and an hour, and during that time I'm switching from one leg to the other to stand on to relieve the strain in them. Doing so I'm leaning on the kitchen sink to rest a bit as well. This has been translated into a limitation of standing for a maximum of 1 hour straight or (once again) on and off 4 hours during the day.

Sitting is a bit restricted as well. I can sit behind my PC for 1 to 2 hours in a row. I do have to say that the chair I'm having is fitted to the lenght of my legs so that I'm having a minimum of pressure on them when sitting with my feet on the floor. When I'm playing on the PS3, I'm sitting on that same chair, but with my feet on a 75x75cm foam die (yes I really have such a cool chair/footstool ). In this position I can sit for hours. The restrictions to sitting are a bit more odd... I'm restricted to 2 hours in a row, but 8 hours during a working day

Okay, so much for the restrictions, now lets find the jobs they have found that fit these restrictions. Also keep in mind that I'm limited to 6 working hours a day because of mental limitation, which is used for all jobs found...
The best one is cleaner for buildings I mean seriously? That's a walking/standing job and should limited to 1 hour a day when looking at my standing restrictions, or even 30 minutes for my walking restriction...
An other one they found is metal worker with machines. Well, I'm not sure, but isn't this a standing job? And the same goes for the 3rd one they found - packager. That one is most certainly on an assembly line, which is always standing. Not to mention, both jobs require a very intensive usage of my arms and though I don't have restrictions on them, I do have problems with my arms when I'm using them intensively. For instance when I peel a couple of potatoes for dinner, I feel a starting fatigue in my arms (which I also mentioned that to the doctor I visited in January). If I'm forced in a job where I have to use my arms intensively, I'll most certainly get the same problems there as I have now in my legs.

Needless to say, I've called my lawyer, who has by now made an appeal against the decision. He even stated that I should be labeled permanently unfit for work. Though that's not hat I want, if it takes this to get the time to recover from the effects of the B12 shortage (if possible - I'm having my 2nd appointment with the rheumatologist coming Tuesday) then I'm okay. After all, when I think I'm ready to start working again, I can say and do so...

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