Encoded.ca: Encode and Decode Stuff

As a developer, I find I’m often encoding something, decoding something, deobfuscating something, decoding urls or parameters, base64 encoding, wrapping/unwrapping, replying/unreplying, etc. So I made a web page that does that all that and you can find it at encoded.ca. I’ll certainly be adding more in the future.

encoded

Windows Paint: This ain’t your father’s Windows Paint!

Do yourself a favour and give Windows Paint another try! Take a screenshot with the Print Screen key (usually next to Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys) and then crop, resize and edit your picture all in Windows Paint! You can even save in multiple popular formats like JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and, of course, BMP. Who knew!

paint

BAMX.com – Free Web Arcade with a Smart Twist

BAMX.com is a web arcade, a collection of flash and html5 games playable in your browser, and is one of my hobby projects these days. When I initially launched the site I didn’t give much thought to game quality or organization but recently the site has undergone a complete overhaul. Here’s a look a the site and I’ll explain the site below…

BAMX.com

Continue reading

RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings

Update 2014-09-22: I’ve been experimenting again trying to get as much information of the wheel as possible even in ‘high force’ situations like hard cornering where the force output from the game is much more than the wheel can handle and ultimately drowns out the fine detail. My new Controller RCS file (see below) settings are: FFB steer update thresh=”0.0015″ (1/10th the original; not really sure if this actually helps). In-game settings: Vertical Load: 160%; Lateral Force: 160%. Some cars with heavier steering (Eg. BMW Z4 GT3) still max out the forces by quite a bit and all you get a simple, strong linear steering force. Not much use when you need to feel your way around a corner. If you’re experimenting on your own try to see, during the apex of sharp corners, if you can feel subtle tire force variations. If you can highlight those forces then you’re providing yourself with information about the contouring of the road, understeer and oversteer, etc. All things you need to know to tell how your car is handling. Right now it’s still unsatisfactory but it’s better than it was.

Update 2014-09-20 – 2: I compared brake sensitivity with iRacing. For linear brake springs iRacing uses a default 1.8 brake factor (~25% at half way brake travel) and this roughly equates to 0% in SimBin/S3 titles. I’m used to iRacing brakes on a linear spring so I setup mine in R3E at 0%.

Update 2014-09-20: A post over at RaceDepartment.com for DFGT FFB settings works quite well for G27s. His changes come down to editing your controller rcs file (see below for comments about that): FFB steer force output max=”1.2″;
FFB steer force grip weight=”0.8″; FFB steer force front grip exponent=”8.0″; FFB steer force rear grip exponent=”2.0″; FFB steer load multiplier=”1.85″FFB steer lateral multiplier=”1.1″; FFB steer rack factor=”0.55″. It works quite well and I can finally feel cornering forces although the ffb gets drowned out around most serious corners. The really drastic change is that 8.8 for “front grip exponent”. By default it’s 0.25 so it must really be helping. My only real problem is that this reintroduces the G27 ffb center deadzone issue as not enough forces are applied to keep the wheel fully centered. This means your Vertical Load setting is largely nullified on straights. Another poster recommends upping your Logitech Profiler Overall Effects Strength to 107%. It’s worth a try. I tried it. It drowned out other ffb effects.

Update 2014-09-17 – 3: I have been reading through the FFB Guide mentioned below. While steps are provided to go from baseline force feedback and gradually tune in more and different forces, which all sounds great, sadly the very first steps are what I still feel is lacking in R3E’s force feedback on the G27. It feels as though too much force is being applied to the wheel during ‘heavy’ steering / maneuvers and there’s no forces left to play with for other effects such as vertical load, lateral forces, understeer, even shift effect. Maybe S3 will fix it but, unfortunately, they don’t really have a track record of delivering on those kinds of things. Still, one can always hope!

Update 2014-09-17 – 2: My latest setttings (only where different from what’s posted below): Logitech Profiler: Use Special Game Settings: Checked; Allow Game to Adjust Settings: Unchecked. In-Game: Shift Effect: 80%.

Update 2014-09-17: To disable Brake Vibration while S3 fixes the bug about that not being able to be changed in game edit your Documents\My Games\SimBin\RaceRoom Racing Experience\UserData\ControlSet\Logitech G27 Paddle Shift Custom.rcs file (your file name might not be the same) and set: FFB brake vibe freq mult=”0.0″ // Scales actual brake rotational frequency to force feedback vibration frequency. The default is 6.0. Make a backup of your file so you can recover when S3 actually fixes the bug. Note you may still experience similar ffb braking into certain corners but I’m pretty sure that disabled the brake vibe for me.

RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings

Sector 3 Studios (formerly SimBin) have recently released an update to their sim racer RaceRoom Racing Experience which includes, among other things, much improved feedback. I wrote a post over at RaceDepartment.com detailing my Logitech G27 setup, thus far, for what I feel is giving me the most information out the wheel that I can get right now. That post wasn’t stickied so I’ll reproduce it here in case it gets lost. I hope to update this post in the future as Sector 3 updates their game and I test out new force feedback settings. My primary force feedback goal is more information even at the cost of force strength. It’s amazing how much information iRacing has been able to squeeze into a G27. That’s my gold standard right now.

Also, in another RaceDeparment.com thread a forum member reminded us of an old FFB Guide (backup link) for SimBin titles based on, what I believe is, the underpinning rFactor force feedback configuration file settings including detail on how to use them – something that’s really missing in the actual configuration files. I’m not sure how old it is but since rFactor is still at heart of Sector 3′s RaceRoom Racing Experience it should still be valuable.

The rest of my post will reproduce the post, with some edits, I mentioned above about my current RaceRoom Racing Experience force feedback setting so far…

Continue reading

Sim Racing Ergonomics

In a previous post, a review on the GTEYE Progressive Brake Spring for the Logitech G27, I noted that the stiffer pedal might not work out for me as I suffer from Achille’s tendonitis from barefoot running. Sadly, after having stopped running for a month, treadmill walking for a few weeks, and being away from sim racing for a week, I’ve come back to sim racing and realized I had to give up my GTEYE progressive brake spring. Even without running or walking the brake pedal aggravated my Achille’s heel. Don’t get my wrong. That brake spring is excellent but not for those who are recovering from strained tendons in their feet.

The other bit of ergonomics I’ve been thinking about is back support. After a desk job all day and an hour or two of sim racing in the evening your back can really start hurt. After six months of iRacing my back is sore to sleep on. I use a standard, hard-back, wheeled office chair and one thing I started a few months ago was to put a pillow behind me. This felt really comfortable for the first little while! But! That’s when I started feeling very sore trying to sleep on my back. It occurred to me that the pillow was pushing me away from the back of the chair and causing me to slouch. That’s not good for racing and, of course, it’s not good for your back because nothing is really supporting you back – it’s all muscle tensed up for the whole racing session. So I’ve removed that pillow and now I’m sitting fully back in the chair against the hard back. I can feel it supporting my lower lumbar area and helping more than the pillow.

What’s your advice for comfortable sim racing for us casual / hobbyist sim racers?

Nitty Gritty: From Mayhem to Ministry. A Testimony.

I play guitar with my church and, each week, I need to go online to find song chords. While searching this week, I came across this website, Musings of  a Minister’s Wife, after some Google results turned up guitar chords for her ebook of chord sheets. My curiosity was piqued by the domain name “musingsofaministerswife.com.” I thought to myself, ‘what would a minister’s wife blog about?’. Somehow I got over to the About page and that’s where things got really interesting when it started with this: In 2003, my husband and I quit relying on each other to keep our marriage together and started relying on God.  Wow!  What a change!  We are now bearing bigger fruit in a ministry of our own. I kept reading and was very pleasantly surprised by a couple who went through some amazing ordeals and came out on the other side loving God more. Here’s a taste of their story,

I first met Jimmy at work. He was a few months away from being married. I was in my third year of (a bad) marriage. I didn’t like Jimmy. He was cocky, so very sure of himself, so “I’m better than everyone else” of himself. Instant turnoff. Besides, I was married. We didn’t talk much. He stayed in his cubicle, and I stayed in mine.

As time wore on, my job blended with Jimmy’s, and we began to see each other on a daily basis. We worked together in the tech department along with 2 other people. We all went out to lunch several times a month as a group. One day, the other 2 weren’t available. But I was hungry. And I was lonely. And he was nice to me. And funny. He opened doors. He laughed at my jokes. He was getting cuter by the day. He treated me like a gentleman treats a lady, which was far from the treatment I was getting at home. Which Jimmy knew. He was all too familiar with decoding finger-print sized bruises on women’s arms. He was all too familiar with being lonely himself.

We had a nice lunch. It was our first time alone. Nothing happened. It was just a friendly lunch.

But there is such wisdom in not allowing yourself to be alone with a man.

Especially if you’re in a rocky marriage. Especially if he’s in a rocky marriage with a baby on the way.

Remember that part about Jimmy being far, far away from God? He wasn’t the only one.

You can read the whole story over at From Mayhem to Ministry.

God has spoken. What are you praying for?

I was reading Matthew 4 today and came across a fascinating perspective on Jesus’ response to Satan’s temptations. I’ll highlight the passage and follow it with Chuck Smith’s comment on it.

Continue reading

718 Days of Bible Verses

Congratulations to those who haven’t muted me yet for sharing bible verses, you’re very kind and patient! ;) For the record, since August 2012 when I started, you’ve witnessed about 718 days of bible readings, 453 verses shared, 52 books of the bible cited, 3 books shared from every chapter (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon), and 2 complete bible read-throughs (sometimes sequential, sometimes alternating OT/NT).

Why would I do this? Because I believe “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) and I trust God when he says “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).

These verses were shared primarily on Facebook and later ones simultaneously on Twitter (usually in shorter forms) on @Shovas .

Soli Deo Gloria

Without further adieu, 718 days of bible verses…

Continue reading