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Messages - Den

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1
For some reason, Microsoft decided to make things harder for admins by removing %clientname% environment variable from terminal sessions in Windows 2008 R2. If your Powershell script depends on the clientname, then you may have taken weeks to figure out why your GPO logon script doesn't run as intended. And naturally, MS tech support is of no help. You may have thought the problem lies in other areas, like user doesn't have permission to run script, or printers drivers not installable by non-admin, or a dozen other undocumented "features" that MS removed or added.

Anyway, here's how to get the clientname of a terminal session in Powershell. You need to download the PSTerminalServices module . Extract this zip file into your terminal server's %WINDIR%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\ . You should see a subfolder called PSTerminalServices. Then in your script you would retrieve the clientname like so:

Code: [Select]
#gets clientname for terminal session
Import-Module PSTerminalServices

##if logging in terminal server, get local client's name
if (Get-Module -name "PSTerminalServices") {
$cpuName = (get-tscurrentsession).clientname
}
else {
## not terminal, but real PC
$cpuName = get-content env:computername
}

The command get-tscurrentsession will retrieve the current user's session information. Then you need the "clientname" member of the object. If the computer is not a terminal server, then get the computername from the environment variable, which is still available in both workstations and servers.

2
PC and Video Games / Re: Simon Tatham's Puzzles: Strategies
« on: April 03, 2014, 01:41:32 PM »
Magnet

Like other similar games with a grid and quota values at the sides, a very important strategy is counting the groups of remaining cells against the quota. For example, if the plus and minus quotas is equal to the cells in that row or column, then all cells must be filled in. In this case, the solution is even more obvious if the quota is an odd number.

Understanding the alignment of a magnet is useful to solving the puzzle. A piece of magnet can be aligned in two ways along a row or column:
  • Inline so that both halves of a magnet lie along the row or column.
  • Askew so that only one half of the magnet is in that row or column.

Another concept is the parity, also known as odd and even. Tying this with alignment, understand that inline magnets count as even and askew magnets count as odd. By observing and matching the parity of the magnets and of the quota is helpful to solving the puzzle. For example, if the quota is odd, and all pieces in the row are inline (even) except for one askew (odd), then we know that the askew magnet must be part of this row. Or if the quota is even, then the askew piece is not part of this row.

3
PC and Video Games / Re: Simon Tatham's Puzzles: Strategies
« on: April 01, 2014, 01:04:17 AM »
Tents

Terminology:
There are four types of cells. A new game begins with only trees and empty cells. Empty cells can be marked and become tents or clear cells. Tents can only be placed next to trees. Clear a cell when you are certain that it is not a tent.

A quota is the value beside each row or column. The number of tents in that row or column must be equal to the quota.

An occupied tree is adjacent to a tent that is certain to be linked to that tree. In contrast, an unoccupied tree has either no tent adjacent to it, or the tent adjacent to it is not certain to be linked to that tree.

A single cell is an empty cell that has no neighboring empty cells along that row or column.

A group is a single or pair of empty cells along the same row or column such that at most one of those cells is a tent. So these count as a group:
A single cell.
Two neighboring empty cells.
Two empty cells along the same row or column that surround a tree. It counts as an additional group if either of these empty cells touches an unoccupied tree.
A contiguous block of 3 or 4 empty cells along the same row or column counts as an additional group. In general, there are ceiling(N/2) groups in a block of N contiguous cells in the same row or column.
Sometimes two groups may overlap. Depending on the situation, one or more groups may be relevant or not.

Tips:
0. Clear out all rows and columns marked 0 (zero).
1. Clear out all cells that aren't adjacent horizontally or vertically to a tree.
1a. Per the rules, clear out all cells around a tent, including diagonally.
2. For a tree that has only one adjacent empty cell, that cell must be a tent.
3. If an unoccupied tree has exactly two adjacent empty cells at different axes (i.e. one cell to the left or right of the tree and another above or below the tree) and a third cell diagonal to the tree that touches both of these empty cells, the third cell cannot be a tent.
4. For a row or column where the number of groups in that row or column is equal to the value of that row, all single cells must be a tent.
4a. With the same criteria above, if a group is exactly two or three cells, clear the empty cell on a neighboring row or column that touches all cells in the group.
5. For a row or column where the number of groups in that row or column is one less than the number of tents left in that row or column, you may be able to eliminate empty cells on neighboring rows or columns based on the following criteria: If two single cells touch the same cell on a neighboring row or column, clear that cell.
6. The relationships between two adjacent rows or columns may give hints to neighboring rows or columns, especially if said rows or columns are isolated by a row or column that has a quota of zero. One such case is the amount of tents and trees in these two rows should match up. If there are extra trees, then they belong to a third row. If one tree is on a row with zero quota, then that tree has a tent on the other side of zero row than the first 2 rows.

4
Magic: the Gathering / So Ling: Battle of the Colors
« on: March 16, 2014, 07:06:39 PM »
Blog on So Ling, including full design process and completed card images with art.

5
Arts, Literature, and Crafts / Re: Sig Worthy
« on: March 14, 2014, 12:04:59 AM »
Quote
"Treasures don't dig themselves."

6
Programming / Re: shenafu.com (re)design
« on: March 13, 2014, 09:29:28 PM »
Forums redesign.

  • Curve is default theme that came with new SMF versions
  • Mobile theme plugin
  • Use Molengo font for all text

7
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Autocard as Opera Extension and Userjs
« on: March 13, 2014, 09:05:25 PM »
1.50
added site www.ultimatemtgo.com
save as UTF-8 encoding

8
Guestbook / Re: FFL2 mod
« on: March 11, 2014, 09:56:59 PM »
Humans have a 1 in 256 chance to raise DEF. Enemy DS doesn't matter here. So don't waste your time. My mod left this alone. So the human must wear armor to raise DEF.

DS level is compared independently for each stat. High stat doesn't affect others.

9
Tech Support / [HOWTO] NFS Client on Win7
« on: March 05, 2014, 06:26:30 PM »
Quote
As for Client for NFS, that IS built in to Windows 7, it's just not installed by default.

In order to activate the Client for NFS, go into the Control Panel, and go to "Programs and Features".  In the left hand column, you'll see a link for "Turn Windows features on or off".

Select that, and it will open a list box that shows all of the optional components built in to Windows 7.  Some are already activated.  Expand the entry for "Services for NFS".  There are two check boxes under that.  Check them and hit OK.  Windows will install those components and ask to reboot your system.  Once you have rebooted, Client for NFS will be installed.

To use it, go to Administrative Tools->Services for NFS to configure it.  Alternatively, you can use the command line program 'nfsadmin' to configure.

Hope this helps!


Source:
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_programs/nfs-client-for-windows-7/42aae25d-d077-4ff9-abdf-7314a589c46d
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754350.aspx
http://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/nfs-share-on-windows-kick-the-cifs-habit.15796/
http://istoff.blogspot.com/2013/03/replacing-samba-with-nfs-windows-7.html

10
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Mechanics
« on: February 16, 2014, 03:19:46 PM »
Sticking around just one more turn:
Linger (When this dies, if it had no death counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a death counter on it. At the beginning of each upkeep, if this has a death counter on it, sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.)

11
Arts, Literature, and Crafts / Re: [lang] Flownetic: The Phonetic Script
« on: January 25, 2014, 05:59:20 PM »
More Examples

Mandarin

傅珮嘉 - 大風吹

大風吹呀 有沒有座位taa fuhng crhwei jaa jeuuh mei jeuuh cwor wei
我站了半天已經好累wor craan leh paan thjean ji ching hraouh lei
大風吹呀 這次輪到誰taa fuhng crhwei jaa creh chiu lyn taouh srei
眼睛被吹痛流下了淚jean ching pei crhwei thuhng lihuh shjaa leh lei
你愛誰 這空出的座位ni ai srei creh khuhng crhu teh cwor wei
我搶到坐下覺得不對wor chhjaong taouh cwor shjaa chywea teh pu twei
無所謂 你說誰要是累wu swor wei ni srwor srei jaouh sriy lei
這博愛座位就讓給誰creh pwor ai cwor wei chihuh rlaong kei srei

12
Arts, Literature, and Crafts / Re: [lang] Flownetic: The Phonetic Script
« on: January 25, 2014, 05:56:22 PM »
More Examples

Cantonese

傅珮嘉 - 刀鋸美人

誰及我完美suey khahp ngor jyn mei
何用美容設備hor juhng mei juhng chit pei
人若愛自己jahn jerk ori ci kei
何用介懷你未看起hor juhng kai wai nei mei horn hei
並不自卑pieng paht ci pei
誰稀罕拉過的臉皮suey hei horn lai kwor tiek lim phei
我自信地ngor ci suen tei
拒絕缺陷美khuey cyt khyt hahm mei

13
Arts, Literature, and Crafts / Re: [lang] Flownetic: The Phonetic Script
« on: January 25, 2014, 05:52:37 PM »
Examples

Han Seung Yeon
han siung jaun
Selina Ren
selina rlehn
Tse On Kei
cea orn khei
Lee Hyori
ji hjorri
Scarlet Johansson
skarlet dzhouhhaensehn

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1): All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

orl hjumehn biiengs ar borrn fri aend ikwehl ien diegniethi aend rahits.
vhei ar endaud wiefh rizehn aend khanshehns aend shuhd aekth thorrdz wahn ehnahvher ien eh spieriet ehv brahvherhuhd.

14
PC and Video Games / Re: Simon Tatham's Puzzles: Strategies
« on: January 10, 2014, 11:16:05 PM »
Bridges

Even though Bridges has circles and lines like many other puzzles, it is actually quite a unique game compared to most puzzles. Here are the rules for Bridges:

Quote
You have a set of islands distributed across the playing area. Each island contains a number. Your aim is to connect the islands together with bridges, in such a way that:
  • Bridges run horizontally or vertically.
  • The number of bridges terminating at any island is equal to the number written in that island. 
  • Two bridges may run in parallel between the same two islands, but no more than two may do so. 
  • No bridge crosses another bridge. 
  • All the islands are connected together.
There are some configurable alternative modes, which involve changing the parallel-bridge limit to something other than 2, and introducing the additional constraint that no sequence of bridges may form a loop from one island back to the same island. The rules stated above are the default ones.


A half-finished game of Bridges looks something like this:


Read the manual here.

Basic Strategy

Strategy for Max Two Bridges between Islands

The default settings are set to maximum two bridges between a pair of islands. This section is only for two bridges. The next section discusses the advanced strategy for any value as maximum bridges. Nevertheless, learning how to solve two bridges will give you insights to solving three and four bridges.

Notation and terminology:

The numbered circles are noted as (N), where N is the value. For example, a 1 on the puzzle is noted as (1).

Two islands that have the possibility to be linked by a bridge are NEIGHBORS. Two neighboring islands that have been linked by a bridge are BUDDIES.

Opening Moves

I prefer to start at the corners and edges and move inward. It is also common to find inner circles that resemble corners and edges. The special thing about corners and edges is that they have no more than two and three neighbors, respectively.

Specific Moves
  • These are hints to solve nodes of specific values under the max two bridges rules.
    • An island that has only one neighbor must try to connect the max number of bridges to that neighbor or up to the island's value, whichever is lesser. For max two bridges, this only applies to (1)s and (2)s.
    • (1) can never be connected to another (1).
    • (2) can never have two bridges connected to the same neighboring (2).
    • If (2) has exactly two neighbors and one of them is a (1) or (2), then one bridge must connect to the other neighbor. Furthermore, if both neighbors are (2), then one bridge goes to each neighbor.
    • (3) with exactly two neighbors has at least one bridge connected to each neighbor.
    • (4) with exactly two neighbors has two bridges connected to both neighbors.
    • (5) with exactly three neighbors has at least one bridge connected to each neighbor.
    • (6) with exactly three neighbors has two bridges connected to all neighbors.
    • (7) always has four neighbors, and has at least one bridge connected to each neighbor. Furthermore, three neighbors should be connected with two bridges.
    • (8) has two bridges connected to all four neighbors.
  • More general tactics that can apply to nodes of any value.
    • For each node, see how many bridges still have to be connected and compare that number to its neighbors. If the numbers mismatch, then one or more bridges should connect to other neighbors. For instance, if two (4)s are neighbors, one of them has two bridges unconnected and the other has one bridge unconnected, then the first (4) must have one bridge connected to a third node.
    • One of the rules says all islands must be connected together. So after exhausting all moves from above hints, look at each group of connected islands and try to see if neighboring islands must be connected in order to fulfill this rule.



Advanced Strategy

After you have played several games using different maximum number of bridges, you may have realized that part of this game's core is the modulus. In modulus math, large and small numbers can turn out identical solutions. In game terms, as large value islands are to joined to more bridges, the solution to that island may be solved in identical fashion as if it was a smaller value less the number of adjoined bridges.

Example in max two bridges game. Suppose we have a (3) with exactly two neighbors. Based on the above list of specific moves, we must connect one bridge to each neighbor. Now suppose we have a (5) with three neighbors. One of the neighbors already has two bridges connected to this (5). That means no more bridges can be assigned between (5) and this neighbor. That leaves three more bridges that connect (5) to two neighbors. This is, in fact, the exact same situation as the (3) with two neighbors. So, we can safely connect one bridge from (5) to each of the two remaining neighbors.

While this tactic is helpful in max two bridges mode, it is more crucial in higher bridges modes due to the sheer number of bridges involved. Using this technique hugely reduces the time to solve the harder modes. For instance, reducing a (13) with four neighbors to (9) with three neighbors to a (5) with two neighbors, makes it much more manageable to solve.

More tips:
http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/index.aspx?uri=puzzle/hashi/techniques
http://www.journal.uad.ac.id/index.php/EEI/article/view/159/pdf

15
Tech Support / [VLC] Custom lua scripts for online streaming sites
« on: January 05, 2014, 06:26:41 PM »
This topic to download and troubleshoot my custom scripts for various online streaming sites.

  • gooddrama.net

16
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Mechanics
« on: December 26, 2013, 09:32:25 PM »
Just thought of a Simic mechanic, actually an ability word to interact with the moving of counters. There are already enough mechanics that put +1/+1 counters on creatures (graft, bloodthirst, evolve, scavenge, unleash). How about one that triggers when such a counter is added or removed. Thus

Symbiotic--Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are put on or removed from a creature you control, do such and such for each counter put on or removed this way.

Symbiotic Tapper
Creature - Merfolk Wizard
Symbiotic--Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are put on or removed from a creature you control, tap up to that many creatures.

Symbiotic Librarian
Creature - Snake Wizard
Symbiotic--Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are put on or removed from a creature you control, you draw a card.

17
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Planeswalkers
« on: December 23, 2013, 08:59:44 AM »
Challenge: design a 1 CC Planeswalker.

Norin the Wise
Planeswalker - Norin
When a player casts a spell or a creature attacks, return CARDNAME to your hand.
+1: CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target player.
-5: Destroy target artifact or land.
1

18
Tech Support / [VLC] My custom settings
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:40:47 PM »
My custom settings for VLC that should be configured for every device it's installed on.

  • Video stays same size when next video is played: Interface>Main interfaces>Qt>Resize interface to the native video size: uncheck
  • Enable mouse gestures: Interface>Control interfaces>Mouse gestures control interface: check

How to play Youtube playlists

First, download this .lua file here or here (disclaimer: I didn't write it) and save it to your VLC lua folder (on Win7 it's "C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\playlist\"). Now copy the URL to the youtube playlist, such as http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOYU5izAqDYgquAqduqhmpR0U9EkspZoP (Seungyeon songs). Then in VLC media menu, open network stream dialog box, paste the URL. All the videos will show up in VLC playlist. You can save the playlist into a local VLC playlist file in .xspf.

19
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Mechanics
« on: December 14, 2013, 12:37:25 AM »
Edge--when CARDNAME is countered or put into the graveyard from the battlefield, do SOMETHING.

Mainly used on Aura.


Serrated Edge
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has first strike.
Edge--when CARDNAME is countered or is put into the graveyard from the battlefield, you may put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

Keen Edge
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and can attack as though it were untapped.
Edge--when CARDNAME is countered or is put into the graveyard from the battlefield, you may tap all creatures target player controls.

Balanced Edge
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3 and has lifelink.
Edge--when CARDNAME is countered or is put into the graveyard from the battlefield, you may gain 5 life.


RWU seems the most tempo oriented colors. so a mechanic to let you play their spells at instant speed.

Devise (  : Reveal this card from your hand. Until end of turn it gains flash.)

Delayed Bolt
Sorcery
Devise
CARDNAME deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

Sawed off shotgun
Artifact - Equipment
Devise
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, if it was devised, you may attach it to a creature you control.
Equipped creature gets +2/+0 and has first strike.
Equip

20
Magic: the Gathering / Terrain = new Land subtype
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:23:03 PM »
Terrain is a subtype of land.
 There are two ways to play a terrain:
 1. Use a land play.
 2. Pay the mana cost.
 Either way you can play them only when you can play a land and it never goes on the stack.

Terrains have two values printed on the bottom right. First number is amount of structure counters to put on it when it enters the battlefield. During your untap step, put a structure counter on it. You may not put more than the second number this way.

As a special action, you may move a creature you control onto a terrain you control, or remove it from a terrain. Do this only any time you can cast a sorcery. A creature can be moved onto no more than one terrain at a time.

Creatures may attack terrains directly. For each damage dealt to a terrain, remove a structure counter from it. Note: creatures attack and block per usual.

As a state-based effect, a terrain with no structure counters is put into its owner's graveyard. When a terrain leaves the battlefield, remove all creatures from it; they stay on the battlefield.

That's it for now...

21
Magic: the Gathering / Re: JSON standard Magic data definition document
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:18:48 AM »
Reserved

22
Magic: the Gathering / Re: JSON standard Magic data definition document
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:18:37 AM »
Reserved

23
Magic: the Gathering / Re: JSON standard Magic data definition document
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:18:22 AM »
Reserved

24
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Mechanics
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:01:20 PM »
On the heels of my previous Overload variant, Censor, comes another plausible Overload variant, called Substitute.

Substitute <cost> (You may cast this spell for its substitute cost. If you do, change its text by replacing the first instance of "you" with "target player" and other instances of "you" with "that player".)

Jackal Zombie
Creature - Zombie Hound
Substitute
When ~ enters the battlefield, you lose 2 life.
2/2

Dead Hand
Sorcery
Substitute
Draw two cards. You lose 2 life.

Free-range Chicken
Creature - Bird
Substitute
Flying
When ~ enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life.
3/3

You get the idea.

25
Magic: the Gathering / JSON standard Magic data definition document
« on: December 02, 2013, 11:38:41 AM »
This topic is a formal definition using JSON format for all Magic related data, including cards, sets, packs, etc.

CARD data
Card data contains only game-play related info, not set or art data (these are contained in Instance data).
Code: [Select]
{
"name":string,
"cost":string,
"rules":string,
"flavor":string,
"color":array of strings,
"supertype":array of strings,
"type":array of strings,
"subtype":array of strings,
"power":integer,
"toughness":integer,
"loyalty":integer,
"cmc":integer,
"share":array of names of other spells on the same physical card if available, // e.g. split cards, double-face, flip,

}




References:
http://mtgjson.com/

26
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Planeswalkers
« on: November 27, 2013, 09:14:26 AM »
Kiora Atua

Planeswalker -- Kiora
+1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature and it gains hexproof.
-2: Search your library for a creature card with power 5 or greater, put it into your hand, and shuffle your library.
-7: You get an emblem with "When a nontoken creature with power 5 or greater enters the battlefield under your control, clone it."
4

27
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Mechanics
« on: November 24, 2013, 10:57:16 PM »
Develop -- keyword action like scry

Variant 1

Develop N = Choose a card type. Look at the top N cards of your library. Choose any cards among them with the chosen card type, reveal them, and put them on top of your library, and put the rest on the bottom of your library.

Variant 2

Develop a <card type> = Look at the top three cards of your library. Choose any cards among them with that card type, reveal them, and put them on top of your library, and put the rest on the bottom of your library.

Variant 3

Develop N for a <characteristic of card> = Look at the top N cards of your library. You may reveal a <characteristic of card> from among them, put it into the hand and the rest onto the bottom of your library.


Censor -- keyword like overload

Censor "<word or phrase>" - <cost> (You may cast this spell for its censor cost. If you do, change its text by removing all instances of <word or phrase>.)

28
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Planeswalkers
« on: November 22, 2013, 03:49:14 PM »
Kara the Enchanted

Planeswalker - Kara
+2: You gain life equal to the highest converted mana cost among enchantments you control.
-2: Target permanent becomes an enchantment.
-8: You get an emblem with "Each enchantment you control is a creature with power and toughness each equal to X, where X is the number of enchantments you control. It's still an enchantment. Auras you control and Aura spells you cast lose the Aura subtype."
4

Kara Diva was popular singer whose voice could enchant the audience like no other. This was a special form of magic using auras to turn the listener into a trance. One time during a concert crescendo, her voice rose so high that the entire theater was enveloped by a bright light, then she blacked out. This was how she became a planeswalker. From then on, she travels to other planes to learn new techniques to her singing by studying different types of aura magic.

30
PC and Video Games / [PUZ] Slant
« on: October 23, 2013, 03:12:40 PM »
Slant (aka Slalom in Germany and Gokigen Naname in Japan)

I first discovered Slant in Simon Tatham's Puzzle Collection. The rules are simple, however the strategies seem to be more complex than most other puzzles. Here are the rules for Slant:

Quote
You have a grid of squares. Your aim is to draw a diagonal line through each square, and choose which way each line slants so that the following conditions are met:
  • The diagonal lines never form a loop.
  • Any point with a circled number has precisely that many lines meeting at it. (Thus, a 4 is the centre of a cross shape, whereas a zero is the centre of a diamond shape – or rather, a partial diamond shape, because a zero can never appear in the middle of the grid because that would immediately cause a loop.)


A half-finished puzzle of Slant looks something like this:


Read the manual here.

Strategy

These are my strategies and hints for hard mode.

Notation and terminology:

The numbered circles are noted as (N), where N is the value. For example, a 1 on the puzzle is noted as (1). Lines may be denoted using slashes and angled brackets. In the future, I will replace them with screenshots of the game.

Most of the strategies work with circled values next to each other horizontally or vertically unless otherwise noted. For two such adjacent circles, they share two INSIDE cells, and the other cells are OUTSIDE either circle. For diagonally adjacent circles, the cell in between is the SHARED cell.

A strategy is CHAINABLE if a series of (2) come between the two circles in question, all circles are in the same row or column, and no other circles or blanks come in between them. This doesn't affect the strategy; it merely allows it to extend across the grid as if the (2)s didn't exist between the two circles.

Legend on the images: Black lines are existing lines. Green lines are the correct solution. Red lines are illegal moves (either one or all lines are incorrect).

Strategies:

  • These always take precedence over the other strategies:
    • (0) on the edge. No lines touch the circle.
    • (1) in the corner. The line touches the circle.
    • (2) on the edge. All lines touch the circle.
    • (3) with one line not touching it. All other lines touch the circle.
    • (4) All the lines touch the circle.
    • Two (1)s diagonally adjacent and neither on the edge. The line in the shared cell does not touch the (1)s. Like so: 1 / 1.
    • Other trivial deductions, like < 2 2 < and any (2) in between that would follow the same line pattern.
  • These always work. These will help you begin to fill out the grid on hard difficulty where trivial edge hints are usually missing. Most are chainable.
    • Two (1) next to each other with at least one not at the edge. For each (1) not at the edge, neither outside lines touch that (1). The result looks like angled brackets surrounding the (1) pair, like so: < 1 1 >. Chainable.
    • Two (3) next to each other. For each (3), both outside lines touch that (3). The result looks like reverse angled brackets (or candy wrapping), like so: > 3 3 <. Chainable.
    • (1) at the edge next to (3). For the (3), both outside lines touch that (3). The result looks like so: 1 3 <. Chainable.
    • This is the general case of the previous step. For (3) next to (1) not at the edge and that (1) has neither lines on the outside touching it, then both outside lines touch the (3). The result looks like so: < 1 3 <. Chainable.
    • This is the converse of the previous step. For (3) next to (1) not at the edge and both outside lines touch (3), then neither lines touch the (1). The result looks like so: < 1 3 <. Chainable.
  • These are conditional patterns after part of the grid has been filled.
    • The general strategy is to find how many of the inside or outside lines can touch any given circle when influenced by surrounding circles. Usually this involves knowing that only one of the two inside lines touches one of the two neighboring circle. This means the inside lines are parallel, that is, slant the same direction. Another deduction is when it's impossible for both inside lines to touch the same circle.
    • Another general strategy is to find and recognize loops and of course trying not to close them, since one of the requirements of the puzzle is that no loops are allowed. The trivial loop is four cells in a square. When lines from three of the four cells form a "U", the last line must point away as to not close the loop.
    • Instead of looking for loops, the converse is to look for lines that might be trapped. The idea is that all lines must touch the edge of the screen (result of rule #2, since any loop will cause a line not to touch the edge.) So try to connect the end of a line which has only one exit all the way to the edge. Also beware of connecting this end of the line to a (1) that is not at the edge, which would then close the loop.
    • Any number of adjacent (1)s on the edge. All the lines along the edge will slant in the same direction.
    • (2) next to (1), where an outside line touches (2). This results in neither outside lines touching (1) and the other outside line not touching (2). The result looks like so: \2 1 > or /2 1 >. Chainable.
    • The converse to the previous step. (2) next to (1), where neither outside lines touch the (1) or the (1) is at the edge. This results in exactly one outside line touching the (2), so both outside lines slant the same direction. If the (2) already has an outside line, you can solve the other outside line. Chainable.
    • (2) next to (2), where each (2) has an outside line that doesn't touch it. This results in the remaining outside lines touching the (2)s. Chainable.
    • The converse to the previous step. (2) next to (2), where each (2) has an outside line that touches it. This results in the remaining outside lines not touching the (2)s. Chainable.
    • (2) next to (3), where an outside lines doesn't touch the (2). This results in both outside lines touching (3) and the other outside line touching (2). Chainable.
    • The converse to the previous step. (2) next to (3), where both outside lines touch the (3). This results in exactly one outside line touching the (2), so both outside lines slant the same direction. Chainable.
  • These are more advanced strategies and situations when all of the above strategies have been exhausted. These may not always tell you how the lines go, but usually tell you how they should NOT go, or maybe only tell you that the lines slant in the same direction, or possibly give hints regarding surrounding circles and cells. Some may be considered trial and error, whereby you imagine how the lines would go and whether the result works or fails.
    • (1) diagonally adjacent to (2) which would enclose themselves in a loop if the line in the shared cell would touch both circles. You know this by imagining the remaining lines around the circles by applying the second rule of the game. In this case, the line in the shared cell does not touch the circles. Like so: 1 / 2.
    • See if two lines touching a (2) would close off a neighboring loop. Not particularly useful unless there is a line in the third cell not touching the (2). Then you know that the line in the fourth cell touches the (2).
    • Similar to the previous step, but more general. See if two adjacent lines touching a (2) would obstruct an adjacent circle, thus causing insufficient lines to touch that circle. For instance, (2) adjacent to (3) would never have both inside lines touching the (2). This is the rationale for the strategies in section 3. Like the previous step, if you have a line in the third cell not touching the (2), then the line in the fourth cell touches the (2).


References and other strategy guides:
http://www.ukpuzzles.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=193
http://www.logic-masters.de/Raetselportal/Raetsel/zeigen.php?id=0000XG
http://www.logic-masters.de/Raetselportal/Raetsel/zeigen.php?id=0000XH
http://www.logic-masters.de/Raetselportal/Raetsel/zeigen.php?id=0000XI

31
PC and Video Games / Simon Tatham's Puzzles: Strategies
« on: October 23, 2013, 02:49:09 PM »
This thread is for discussing the strategies to Simon Tatham's Puzzles. See Official Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection. You can download the Android app for free.

My favorites puzzles so far (in alphabetical order):
Black Box
Bridges
Filling
Galaxies
Guess
Inertia
Keen
Light Up
Magnet
Net
Rectangles
Signpost
Slant
Tents
Towers

33
The following chart shows the most efficient item levels to practice crafting. The red levels are recommended because they use fewer resources per XP given than the previous 5 or so levels. However, also consider the success rate of your current craft level. Since you don't get any XP if item level is too low, and you may fail too often if item level is too high.

This chart is based on Armor: Human. Other crafts may vary. It should go all the way to level 500, but it's incomplete since I just started crafting

Item LevelTraits UsedXP (Extra XP)Traits/XP (lower is better)
1133 (+1)3.25
2174 (+1)3.4
3217 (+1)2.625
4258 (+1)2.75
5299 (+2)2.6363
634132.615
739152.6
844172.5882
950192.63
1090283.214
11106343.1176
12124403.1
13143
14164
15185
16206

When to spend available XP?

Whenever you craft, you get a small fraction of extra XP which can be used to raise any skill. Since the amount is small, it should be spent wisely. This section analyzes the most efficient way to spend the extra XP, especially during practice.

Method 1
Should you spend it all as soon as you have enough to raise a skill? For example, if you need 50 to raise a skill to the next level and you have 50 available XP, should you spend it all right away? With this method, you raise the skill much earlier than normal.

Method 2
An alternative method is to spend as little available XP as possible to raise a skill. That is, when you need to craft one more time to raise a skill for any given level, the cost to raise that skill is very low. This leaves most of the available XP to be spent again. However, you don't speed up leveling up. But you do catch up when you can raise 2 levels by buying them one after another.

Method 3
Another consideration may be to raise only if available XP is more than the cost to raise, not equal or less. So if the available XP to cost to raise is 10 : 10, don't raise. But wait one more try and raise when it becomes 11 : 7. Depending on the current level and XP granted, it may be slightly faster or slightly slower than method 1.

Conclusion

After running a few numbers through a spreadsheet, it seems the most efficient and simplest method to spend XP is just to raise the skill as soon as the available XP matches or exceeds the cost to raise, so method 1. In general, by buying as soon as possible, you get the levels sooner than waiting to level up naturally or to buy at the cheapest cost. It's simple because you don't have to use a spreadsheet or think about what level you are. The rate of leveling may fluctuate depending on how much XP is needed per level and how much XP is gained for that level from practice. For this method, all you have to do is compare the numbers already given to you in the game.

34
Hacks / Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« on: September 21, 2013, 11:46:30 AM »
3rd Layout

Another attempt at a more balanced layout. This time I moved the punctuation to the top row like Dvorak to facilitate typing numbers, like monetary values and IP addresses. Also, the previous results were skewed by the Enter key being hit by the right pinky. So I removed the Enter key on my layouts to find a truly balanced comparison between the left and right hands.

The main 30 keys for the 3rd Balanced layout are arranged like so:
Code: [Select]
UNSHIFTED
',.cq xyugj
roitf mneas
"wldv khpbz

SHIFTED
:()CQ XYUGJ
ROITF MNEAS
;WLDV KHPBZ

Try it out and compare it to other popular layouts at this Keyboard Comparison Tool

Code: [Select]
`1234567890-=
#',.cqxyugj[]\
#roitfmneas/
*L"wldvkhpbz*R
##*S#
*L
#######&**<>_+
######XYUGJ{}|
######MNEAS?
######KHPBZ
#
*R
~!@*#$%^
#:()CQ
#ROITF
#;WLDV
#

Results and Analysis

Here we analyze the results from the comparison tool. My layouts are the bottom ones called Balanced 1, 2, & 3. In order to find a truly balanced layout focusing on the letters and punctuations, I removed the Enter key from my layouts, which relies on the right pinky finger. For the non-Balanced layouts, we can extrapolate similar results by reviewing the older experiments in previous posts. However, note that the algorithms for the comparison tool has been modified somewhat, but this doesn't really change the results that much.

PROSE

The selected text is from the first three chapters of The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens.

Overall Effort and Balance



Balanced #3 uses a bit more effort than #1 & #2, but has the best balance overall, although not by much. However, this doesn't tell the whole story. We have to see the more detailed reports to determine the balance of the hands and each finger.

Effort for each finger



First, we can see that the Enter key takes up a lot of effort by the right pinky: about 10% of all effort. That's in addition to the other keys assigned to the right pinky. Altogether, on a standard keyboard the right pinky exerts about 20% of all effort including stretching to hit the Enter and Shift keys.

Speaking of Shift keys, the left and right shift keys ask for significant effort by both pinkies. You can see by the charts that the pinkies exert more effort than the middle and ring fingers regardless of layout, except maybe Qwerty which doesn't have a frequent letter for the right pinky.

Anyway, back to the Balanced layouts, all three versions distribute the effort to each finger quite evenly. However, the same is not true for each hand. In Balanced #1 and #2, the left hand actually exerts a lot more effort than the right. As I said in the intro, this was partly due to the skew from the Enter key which #1 and #2 didn't take into account. Without the effect of the Enter key, #3 manages to achieve true balance between left and right hand.

Keys for each finger



For the segment of prose used in this experiment, the Enter key accounts for almost 2% of all keys. So remove 2% from the right pinky on the non-Balanced layouts to get a closer comparison. Regardless, it's apparent that the Balanced layouts have a better bell distribution of keys based on the strength and length of the fingers. That is, the pinkies hit significantly fewer keys than the other fingers. This is not necessarily true for the other layouts, which all seem to under-utilize the ring finger.

The main difference between Balanced #3 and the previous versions is that more keys are hit with the right hand, rather than vice versa. This may actually be more desirable since most people are right-handed. This is a different case than effort, however, since effort takes into account other factors like distance. So while left hand may be hitting fewer keys, the overall effort may match or exceed the right hand.

Finger travel



For other layouts, subtract 40m for the Enter key. After doing this, Colemak (-6.84% for right hand) actually looks very balanced, while Workman  (-6.88% for right hand) seems very biased toward the left hand. However, this seems too much a departure from previous experiments where Workman was heavily biased toward the right hand. I don't know the reason for this reversal other than that the algorithm has been modified since last time.

Anyway, the Balanced layouts live up to their names. #3 edges out the others ever so slightly in terms of balance between each hand, however that also takes a bit of toll in total distance.

Metrics



Balanced #3 looks to have higher percentages in all these metrics. Some of it is by design, due to moving the punctuation to the top row and putting frequent letters on the bottom row. Nevertheless, the margins aren't significant. More important is the feel while typing. For instant, certain row jumping aren't really that bad and some are by design.


35
Non-Digital Games / Re: [KARA] KARA 5 Elements
« on: September 14, 2013, 07:49:32 PM »

38
Magic: the Gathering / Gold Cycle
« on: August 29, 2013, 09:03:28 PM »
: Furtiveness COST (You may cast this spell during your declare blockers step for its furtiveness cost. If you do, it enters the battlefield tapped and attacking.)

: Fanaticism (When ~ enters the battlefield, you may discard any number of cards. If you do, put that many +1/+1 counters on it and it gains haste until end of turn.)

: Beastmode COST (You may cast ~ during your upkeep by paying its beastmode cost. If you do, it gains haste and hexproof until end of turn.)

: Familia — When ~ enters the battlefield, do something with X, where X is the number of creatures you control more than target opponent.

: Aethersiege COST (You may cast ~ during an opponent's end step by paying its aethersiege cost.)

39
Magic: the Gathering / Bet on a duel
« on: August 20, 2013, 06:38:50 PM »
Bet on a duel

To bet on a duel, choose a first and second creature on the battlefield. There must be two different creatures chosen. If there are less than two creatures on the battlefield, then you can't bet. This doesn't target the creatures.

Then roll a six-sided die. Then compare the creatures' powers and/or toughnesses based on the die roll. You win the bet if:
On a 1, if the first creature has lesser power than the second.
On a 2, if the first creature has greater power than the second.
On a 3, if the first creature has lesser toughness than the second.
On a 4, if the first creature has greater toughness than the second.
On a 5, if the first creature has lesser total power and toughness than the second.
On a 6, if the first creature has greater total power and toughness than the second.

If none of the above are true, you lose the bet. Effects may happen based on whether you win or lose the bet. If either creature leaves the battlefield before the duel, then the bet is off and doesn't happen. In that case, you neither win nor lose the bet.

40
Magic: the Gathering / Dimir keywords: Emasculate & Rumor mill
« on: August 14, 2013, 11:17:43 PM »
Dimir keywords

how about combine extract and grind

Emasculate (When this creature deals damage to a player, you may search his or her library for a card and exile it. Then shuffle that library. Then that player reveals cards from the top of that library until he or she reveals a land card, then puts those cards into his or her graveyard.)

Can exile anti-mill tech and other dangerous stuff, while also grinding. Grinding makes it so that deck size nor creature power are factors. Even a 1/1 can be quite dangerous if not dealt with.

Alternate wording:
When ~ deals combat damage to a player, emasculate that player.

Daaifok Eunuch

Creature - Eunuch
When ~ deals combat damage to a player, emasculate that player, then draw a card.
2/2

rider on what black and blue specialize in, namely discard, countering spells, and milling.

Rumor mill (Whenever an opponent discards one or more cards, one or more of his or her spells are countered, or he mills one or more cards, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.)

Rumoire Specter

Creature - Specter
Flying
Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card.
Rumor mill
2/2

41
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Dual / Multi Lands - Old, Recent, and Custom
« on: August 12, 2013, 07:07:01 PM »
Some Dual Variants

V1
Land
When ~ ETBs, exile the top card of your library.
: Add .
: Add or . Activate only if exiled card is white or blue.

V2
Land
When ~ ETBs, draw a card, then exile a card from your hand.
: Add .
: Add or . Activate only if exiled card is white or blue.

V3
Land
When ~ ETBs, look at the top three cards of your library. Exile one of them.
: Add .
: Add or . Activate only if exiled card is white or blue.

V4
Land - Plains Island
~ ETBs tapped unless you play with your hand revealed until your next turn.

42
PC and Video Games / Re: KARA 5 Poker
« on: August 04, 2013, 08:37:10 PM »

43
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Templating
« on: August 03, 2013, 10:48:49 PM »
First card ever that mentions the phrase "keyword ability/ies"?

Amuseum's Shapeshifter

Creature - Shapeshifter (MR)
~ has all keyword abilities of all creatures on the battlefield and all creature cards in all graveyards.
4/4

44
Magic: the Gathering / Tribal Mechanics
« on: August 03, 2013, 12:00:56 AM »
Pyrrhic Berserker

Creature - Orc Berserker
Berserk (~ must attack if possible and can't be put into the graveyard during combat.)
5/3

Berserk keyword for Berserkers. They will take all the beatings and won't fall until the fight is over.


Shipworm

Creature - Worm
Islandwalk
Bore (When ~ deals combat damage to a player, that player puts that many cards from the top of his or her library into his or her graveyard. You may put a card in your graveyard third from the top of your library.)
2/1

'Bore' has many definitions, and this ability fits several of them. Also compare other digger and excavator cards.

Worms seem to fit best in black, green, and sometimes blue. Coincidentally, bore matches those colors quite well.

Scaldmage Revisionist

Creature - Merfolk Rogue
Trespass (~ can't be blocked unless defending player discards a card for each creature blocking it.)
Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until end of turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost.
2/2

Trespass for Rogues. A variation of unblockability shared by red, blue, and black (rogues). More interactive than straight unblockability.

45
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Templating
« on: July 31, 2013, 11:13:45 AM »
Testing a new format for keywords, in the form Keyword <set1; set2>.

Homebound <card type; abilities>
Homebound means "This object has these abilities as long as you control this card type."

e.g.
Dwarven Homemaker

Creature > Dwarf
Homebound <Plains; First strike, vigilance> (This creature has first strike and vigilance as long as you control a Plains.)
3/2

Kird Ape

Creature > Ape
Homebound <Forest; +1/+2>
1/1

46
Magic: the Gathering / Re: Planeswalkers
« on: July 25, 2013, 10:15:41 PM »
Labyrotaur, Minotaur King

Planeswalker - Labyrotaur
+1: Up to one target creature gains first strike and haste until end of turn.
+2: ~ deals 1 damage to target creature for each loyalty counter on him. That creature deals damage equal to its power to him.
+0: Until end of turn, ~ becomes a 4/4 Minotaur creature with first strike and haste that's still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to him this turn.
3

47
Magic: the Gathering / Tidal
« on: July 23, 2013, 10:33:31 PM »
i think tides should stay longer than just a turn.

and possibly involve other players (caveat prophecy syndrome)

Tidal (At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player may put a tide counter on ~. At the end of your turn, if ~ has 4 or more tide counters on it, remove all of them.)

OR

Tidal (: Put a tide counter on ~. Any player may activate this ability as a sorcery. At the end of your turn, if ~ has 4 or more tide counters on it, remove all of them.)

48
Added HexaLiteral, PRTHSKX, and 2-Thumbs-Down layouts (all recommended).

HexaLiteral layout (highly recommended)


PRTHSKX layout (recommended)


2 Thumbs Alternation layout (recommended for typing with both thumbs, high hand alternation, low same hand)


2 Thumbs Same Hand layout (recommended for typing with both thumbs, low hand alternation, high same hand)


49
Magic: the Gathering / Split cards, divided cards
« on: June 03, 2013, 09:02:01 PM »
Split cards are two cards on a normal sized cardstock. In reverse, we have Divided cards. These are split cards that are printed as full cards. They may come with a keyword called Join. When you have a join left and join right cards, you may play both of them at the same time. Put the join right card on the stack first, then the join left card on top of it.

Then we have Twin cards. Like Divided cards, which only work for instants and sorcery, Twin cards are full cards, but may be combined on the battlefield. Thus, Twin cards are permanents only. The combination cost is the total of Combine costs on both cards.

Can different types be combined?
All characteristics are combined: power, toughness, color, abilities, types, mana cost, etc.
Counts as one card when combined, i.e. for targeting, attacking, blocking, etc.
Two combined creatures can block an additional creature.

ex.

Misty Merfolk

Creature - Merfolk Wizard
: Target creature must attack or block this turn.
Combine left >
1/3

Gobbly Goblin

Creature - Goblin Berserker
First strike
< Combine right
3/1

When Misty Merfolk and Gobbly Goblin are combined, they count as a single 4/4 creature with first strike and ": Target must attack this turn", and can block up to two creatures.

Another ideas is like those 3d books. A panel divides the card and can be flipped back and forth to show the two halves.

50
Magic: the Gathering / Vanguard
« on: June 01, 2013, 07:45:39 PM »
Vanguard
1. Attacking creatures with Vanguard must be blocked before attacking creatures without Vanguard.
2. Creatures with Vanguard must be assigned combat damage before creatures without Vanguard.

it can go in any color: white martyrs, blue walls, black masochists, red berserkers, artifact juggernauts

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