Sony Xperia 5 III review

(January 30, 2022)

After three years with my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, I got myself a new phone, and again it’s made by Sony: an Xperia 5 III (pronounced »Xperia five mark three«), the smallest version of Sony’s current high-end offerings. Here’s my first impressions after using it daily for a few weeks.
Read more …

Comparing three versions of »Dune«

(September 19, 2021)

(this post is an archived version of a Twitter thread; original is here)

In the last three days, I watched all three film adaptations of Frank Herbert’s »Dune« novel:

  • David Lynch (1984)
  • TV miniseries (2001)
  • Denis Villeneuve (2021)

Here’s a summary of what I found interesting when comparing the three.
Read more …

A few words about the Star Wars movies

(December 3, 2020)

(this post is an archived version of a Twitter thread; original is here)

I’ve been rewatching all 11 »Star Wars« movies (the three Skywalker trilogies and the two spin-off movies) in the past two weeks, in story-chronological order (1-2-3-Solo-R1-4-5-6-7-8-9) and on Disney+ (i.e. in 4K with all post-release modifications). Here’s a few remarks.
Read more …

The case of the mysterious ao486 bug

(August 19, 2020)

(this post is an archived version of a Twitter thread; original is here)

In the past few days, I helped debug an issue in a 486 CPU emulation FPGA core. Here’s the Twitter thread that describes the troubleshooting process.
Read more …

Black Mesa review

(March 21, 2020)

For years (actually more than a decade!), the world eagerly waited for a new game in the »Half-Life« franchise, well knowing that there may never be such a thing. So imagine everyone’s surprise when not one, but two games are released within a few weeks in March 2020! One of these is the official prequel to »Half-Life 2«, the VR game »Alyx«, and the other one is the somewhat inofficial remake of the first part of the series, called »Black Mesa«.
Since I’m a die-hard Half-Life fan, you bet I downloaded and played the finished version of Black Mesa on the very day it came out. 20 hours of playing later, I’m done and can give a verdict on how good it is.
Read more …

Color Generation in IBM CGA, EGA and VGA

(September 9, 2018)

It started quite innocently with a few Twitter threads about retro DOS gaming. The question was why no games (or any other software, for that matter) that were designed for EGA graphics cards made use of the additional colors EGA could offer. It’s widely known that EGA cards had a reprogrammable palette and could show any 16 out of 64 available colors on screen; but still, all software of the time just used the 16 default colors that were already possible with CGA graphics. Some explanations to this phenomenon were discussed, but it was mostly centered around what was possible and not why. Falling prey to nerd sniping, I dug deeper and deeper into the topic, including writing test programs in BASIC and Pascal, and now I finally understand everything about color generation in CGA, EGA and VGA cards.

Read more …

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact review

(April 16, 2018)

I got a new phone for christmas, a Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, to replace my old (well, not that old actually) Xperia Z3 Compact. After using it for a few months, I’d like to share my experiences with this phone.
Read more …

Tricks and Techniques used in Demoscene Intros

(September 30, 2017)

Following up on my quest to produce small executables, I turned my findings (along with much more information about general techniques used in size-constrained demosccene productions) into a presentation, held at Deadline 2017:


download the PDF file (5 MB)

Writing ultra-small Windows executables

(April 17, 2017)

How small can a valid and useful Win32 executable be? There already are a few tutorials about this topic, but these are either not working on modern Windows versions any longer or only cover the most basic »do nothing but return zero« program. The goal here should be to do something genuinely useful: a console application that outputs the contents of the Windows clipboard on standard output.
Read more …

Linux Graphics Demystified

(May 2, 2014)

It’s already been a few weeks since I held a presentation at Chemnitzer Linuxtage (»Chemnitz Linux Days« – a small Linux congress held at the university I used to attend). As it’s about a topic that might be of general interest, I translated the slides into English and made them available as a download (click on the thumbnail above; PDF, 302 kB). The German version is available for download as well though.

The topic is graphics on Linux. That’s a field that used to be simple a decade ago: There was the X Server that did graphics, and not much else. In the recent years however, dozens of new graphics-related technologies cropped up. Most of them have strange names (»Wayland«) or acronyms (»UXA«), some are outright misleading: most people immediately associate »DRM« with Digital Restriction Management, though another expansion of the same acronym – the Direct Rendering Manager – is the centerpiece of modern graphics on Linux. This presentation is aimed at making some of these things clearer.

Read more …