Capital Hits in Travian

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Logic, Travian, Uncategorized | Posted on 28-12-2011

Capital hits in the online massively multiplayer online browser game (MMOBG) Travian aren’t to be taken lightly. Players always defend their capitals because they are very expensive to build. They’re expensive in terms of the time you need to invest, the resources in the game that you need to build them, and actual real money that you need to help build them.

Now, hitting the capital of a small player is simple, but that’s boring. Here, I’ll go over a few elements of strategy to hit a capital of a large player. If you’re not familiar with Travian, this won’t make any sense to you, so, this is primarily for those that play the game.

First, don’t hit the capital. That’s right. Don’t hit it. It’s suicide. Your hammer takes a long time to build, so you don’t want to waste it.

Instead, hit another village. And hit it hard.

The core strategy is to create confusion and panic. The player will freak out, do stupid things, and you’ll laugh as you destroy his villages. The strategy can be summarized as, “Fake everywhere, and hit where they don’t expect it. Rinse. Repeat. Check on the capital.”

To do this most effectively, set up attacks to land in several of your target’s villages. Let’s just say 6 villages for the sake of argument.

4 or 5 of the attacks you set up should be fakes (19 of a cheap unit + 1 catapult). Each of those attacks should have the same number of waves as your real attack. As of Travian v4, the Rally Point lets you determine if an attack is fake if there are fewer troops being sent than the Rally Point level. So, by sending 20 units, you are equal to the Rally Point level and they cannot see if it is a real attack or a fake one. This is critical. If you know the Rally Point level for a village, then you can send that many troops. However, I’d recommend adding 1 or 2 units to whatever the Rally point level is, up to 20 total.

So, if you’re zero popping a village, you need to set up 20 attacks. i.e. 18 crop fields + 21 buildings = 39 catapult targets. Divide 39 by 2 (for a level 20 Rally Point) to get 20 (rounded up). That translates into 1520 infantry and 80 catapults for faking 4 villages. Ouch. A bit steep. If you have a very large hammer, this isn’t a problem, but for most people, it’s better to not try a massive fake like this at a zero pop hit. i.e. If you have a very large hammer, go for it. If not, don’t.

Instead, consider croplocking villages. It’s much cheaper in terms of fakes and highly effective in stopping a player.

For a typical 6c village, you need 5 or 6 waves to croplock a village:

  1. Marketplace + Granary
  2. Granary + Main Building
  3. Crop + Crop
  4. Crop + Crop
  5. Crop + Crop
  6. Warehouse + Rally Point (optional wave)

That’s a pretty normal croplock attack. You can of course tweak the order and a few things, but you must hit all Croplands, the Marketplace, and 2 Granaries. Why 2 Granaries? because that’s what any experienced player will have in every village – at least 2 granaries, but usually 2. The Main Building is a good target to hit because it prevents them from building anything up quickly. If the player isn’t using Gold, then they are completely hosed. The Warehouse and Rally Point are just good targets to hit to stop them from building and stop them from controlling troops in that village. If you want to farm them, then don’t hit the Warehouse. However, if you want to destroy the player, hit it. You’ll even stop them from raiding their own village to get those resources, and they’ll all be wasted, which is good for you, and bad for them.

So, that brings the number of troops for fakes down to 456 infantry and 24 catapults for faking 4 villages, which is much more manageable. It’s less than a day of production.

The rest of your hammer goes into your real attack.

1 of your fakes MUST be their capital. They will defend there. They will also likely try to reinforce other villages, but the bulk of reinforcements will go to their capital. This is a VERY good thing. If other players are helping to reinforce him, they need to spend time sending troops to the capital. Changing where they reinforce takes a long time then as they need to recall their troops and resend them to a new village.

Timing is important. If at all possible, make all attacks and fakes on all villages land at the same time to the second. If you can’t manage that for some reason, e.g. work, sleep, life, etc., then simply try to get as many of the attacks/fakes hitting as close together as possible. You can even have 1 fake purposefully hit at a different time when everything else is coordinated. You can use that “pattern” then to mess with your victim’s head later on.

Once your first hit goes through, they’re basically down by 1 village. Congrats. They’re now confused and scared. You just screwed with their head and they’ll be second guessing from now on.

The next phase is a “rinse & repeat” phase. You simply repeat the above fakes and real attacks but choose different targets. If you’re in a war, you can even choose another player entirely.

After each set of attacks/fakes, scout his villages and his capital. This is important because it tells you what you can hit easily. Also, at some point other villages may be reinforced or troops may be pulled out of the capital, which tells you that it’s time to strike!

Iterate through that at least 2x to take out 2 of his villages. If you can do more, great. If not, oh well. Move on.

When you’ve finished your iterated attacks from above, it’s time to hit the capital. However, you must be prepared. That means that before you send your real attack on his capital, you must scout it as mentioned above. Hopefully, you’ve created the idea in your victim that you are after all of his other villages, and that may prompt them to pull defense out of the capital, signaling to you that it’s time to hit your victim’s capital.

This strategy works particularly well in a war. The main point there is that you never hit anywhere that is defended, and you constantly draw defense to a player who calls for it. Once defense is deployed with a player, you then shift your attacks to another player, causing further problems for your victims.

However, in a war it’s best to coordinate with other players for fakes and reals. Seeing 10 players bearing down on you all with attacks landing inside of a few seconds is a terrifying thing. Using coordinated fakes is an important strategy to use because it tells your victims that they will never know if you are really attacking or not. It will create complete confusion with them.

Now, that all may seem a bit over the top, and a bit difficult, but that’s how you go about attacking experienced players. If you’re attacking newbs, well, who cares. They’re pretty easy to run over. Chaotic fakes are more than enough to sew complete chaos and confusion in the ranks of the inexperienced. The experienced players though will not be fooled so easily.

Hopefully that helps explain a bit about how coordinated fakes can help destroy players. There is a lot more to know, and I’ve only scratched the surface, but it should be enough to help even inexperienced players get up to speed on some advanced psychological warfare techniques in Travian.

Cheers,

Ryan

 

Opening Up OpenCandy

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Internet, Logic, OpenCandy, Security, Software, Uncategorized | Posted on 03-04-2011

Tags: ,

open candy logoI’ve been involved in a discussion about OpenCandy over at DonationCoder. It’s kind of got a fair bit of fight in it as the topic is hot and the opposing sides are passionate about the issue. What’s the issue? Spyware.

A few people have accused OpenCandy of being spyware. In the above post I briefly outline the smoking guns that show that OpenCandy is NOT spyware. Here I’m going to show that again, but I’m also going to open it up for non-technical people with some additional explanation. There are technical details in here, but I explain them all in simple, straight forward English. Later on I won’t explain the same things again as there’s no sense in repeating myself too much.

First, I’m not going to cite a trillion different definitions of spyware because more often than not they include wishy-washy garbage and contradictions that make them pretty useless as definitions. Instead, here’s a simple definition of spyware that is clear and succinct.

Spyware: Software that sends personal or unique information about a computer or user to a third part over a communications connection such as a network connection, e.g. the Internet or a mobile phone connection.

There’s nothing controversial in there. It could be made better, but it’s good enough.

OpenCandy does not do that. What it does is to download a list of possible offers, then choose one of the offers and present it to a person during a software installation.

Using WireShark, I pulled this information out from the OpenCandy powered installer for Photo Resizer, my own software:

clientv=27&cltzone=600&language=en,en&method=get_offers&mstime=0.280
&os=WIN6.1-64&product_key=613b8aaa21ae201a2c054a63f3e87f8d&v=1.0&
signature=5b437627dd2fdb9897e0bbd47c2c3d58

That’s a query string sent to the OpenCandy offer server. I’ll break it down and explain each part. Please note that in some places I am making educated guesses based on a good amount of experience with networking and software.

If you aren’t familiar with what a query string is, it’s just a list of key/value pairs that contain some information for a server on the Internet to process. You can see this in the address bar when you visit different Internet sites. The part to the left of the equals sign (=) is the key, and the part to the right is the value. They are separated by an ampersand (&) in the query string as you can see above.

clientv=27

This key/value pair looks like an identifier for the OpenCandy version to use. It’s a necessary value in case OpenCandy decided to upgrade their software. By identifying the version, they can keep things working. This is exactly the same principle as you use every day in Microsoft Office with new file types being named differently. That tells Windows and Office what version of the file format they are looking at. e.g. DOC vs. DOCX.

cltzone=600

This key/value pair looks like “client zone”, which would lead me to believe that it is identifying the country. While I’m not certain, it looks about right. That information could also be gotten from the IP address though, so I could be mistaken. However, 3 characters, “600”, is not enough space to send back any kind of personally identifying information. It’s just too small, so this could not possibly be used to justify an accusation of OpenCandy being spyware.

language=en,en

This is obviously the language, which is obviously not any kind of a basis to accuse someone of distributing software. This value is present in all browser communications and is fundamental for proper communications. Some web sites use this value properly, although most do not. e.g. Google does not use this value properly, and instead of serving you the proper content in the language that you request, they send you information in the language based on your IP address.

method=get_offers

This is an instruction for the OpenCandy offer server to send a list of offers. It may have other values. This is not a basis to accuse a piece of software of being spyware. The string “get_offers” is obviously not personally identifying.

mstime=0.280

This looks like a kind of time stamp. My guess is that it is the time since the installer was run or the startup time for the installer or the OpenCandy DLL. That would be useful for diagnostics, but would not serve any other purpose. The field is too small to contain any sort of personal information.

os=WIN6.1-64

This is obviously the OS version of my computer, Windows 7 x64. Again, this is not a unique value. All browsers supply this information and more, so it’s only repeating information.

product_key=613b8aaa21ae201a2c054a63f3e87f8d

This is the unique product key for Photo Resizer. There’s nothing secret about it. You can decompile the installer or get this value during installation through WireShark. It identifies the program being installed, and not the computer or user.

v=1.0

I believe that this is the version of the Photo Resizer installer that has been submitted to OpenCandy for inspection and certification. But no matter, again 3 characters isn’t enough to send information about you or your computer.

signature=5b437627dd2fdb9897e0bbd47c2c3d58

The signature value looks like an authentication parameter to check to see that it is indeed Photo Resizer and not some rogue software. That is, it looks like a security measure to protect the integrity of the OpenCandy network from malicious users or attacks. Now, if I’m wrong, which I kind of doubt, the length of that value is still too small to contain any kind of personal information.

None of the fields are long enough to contain any information.

Now, for the XML itself… I’m not going to explain it all as that would simply take too long. Instead, I’m going to run my FL Studio update and find the OC information in there, post it, and the resultant XML from that.

So, when installing the OpenCandy powered installer for FL Studio 10, this is the OpenCandy GET request:

clientv=27&cltzone=600&language=en,en&method=get_offers
&mstime=0.219&os=WIN6.1-64
&product_key=aa0891b96e4cdc07b5c878e7de2316c0
&v=1.0&signature=df54629db8357026c13c68df288225b8

Again, it looks pretty much the same, with nothing alarming in there.

The FL Studio installer EULA contains this:

Recommendation software
This installer uses the OpenCandy network (or similar) to recommend other software you may find valuable during installation of this software. OpenCandy (or similar) may collect and use *NON personally identifiable* information about THIS installation and the recommendation process. Collection of this information by OpenCandy ONLY occurs during this installation and the recommendation process; in accordance OpenCandy’s Privacy Policy, available at <www.opencandy.com/privacy-policy>.

OpenCandy downloaded some XML. I’m not going to explain it in depth as it’s simply very long. However, here’s the short explanation…

XML is a container format that lets you easily transfer arbitrary information. The nice thing about XML is that you get to define everything yourself, unlike HTML which is already predefined.

Now, the XML for OpenCandy contains offer listings. Those include things like some text to display, the name of the program for an offer, the download location, the downloader that takes care of it all, a graphic to make things look nice, etc. etc. In short, it’s very similar to what you might see on a web site. There are some additional directives and parameters for the offers, but they aren’t related to the computer or user; they are related to the offer. Again, it’s got nothing to do with the user or computer and isn’t in any way, shape, or form personally identifying. It’s been downloaded from the server. It’s information FROM the server, and not from the user or computer.

For the XML, click here. If you examine it, you will see that there is nothing remotely like spyware.

I declined the offer from Uniblue as  I don’t need it.

Next, after I declined the offer, this request was sent:

accepted_ind=0&clientv=27&method=track_offer_result&mstime=606.626
&offer_id=790&offer_shown_secs=34157&opt_shown_count=1
&product_key=aa0891b96e4cdc07b5c878e7de2316c0
&session_key=94f78bd10c5abef3bf7f0b928cf5319a
&skipped_offer_ids=&v=1.0&signature=be82fca424013cff56f1e593b67842e0

Breaking that down gives this (a bit more readable):

accepted_ind=0
clientv=27
method=track_offer_result
mstime=606.626
offer_id=790
offer_shown_secs=34157
opt_shown_count=1
product_key=aa0891b96e4cdc07b5c878e7de2316c0
session_key=94f78bd10c5abef3bf7f0b928cf5319a
skipped_offer_ids=
v=1.0
signature=be82fca424013cff56f1e593b67842e0

Most are the same, but there are some new ones. What happens there is that the OpenCandy DLL simply tells the server that the offer was declined. Again, there is nothing personal or identifying in there.

In fact, if you look at the 2 from Photo Resizer and from FL Studio and compare values, you’ll see that they are different. If they were the same, then there might be some reason to suspect that my computer were uniquely identified. But there are no similarities. They are clearly not related.

I also found this in the packet analysis:

clientv=27&method=track_product_installed&mstime=1181.412
&product_key=aa0891b96e4cdc07b5c878e7de2316c0
&session_key=94f78bd10c5abef3bf7f0b928cf5319a
&v=1.0&signature=277e0b3a8b8577d3a79720310e55bb10

Which along with the 1 immediately above just finishes the FL Studio installation and alerts the OpenCandy server that the FL Studio installation completed. Again, nothing to worry about.

The long times there are because I was writing this as I was installing my FL Studio upgrade, and farting around with other things as well.

I hope that the above has sufficiently demonstrated that there is nothing at all in OpenCandy to remotely suggest that it is spyware.

Ad supported? Yes. OpenCandy enables software authors like me to support software by presenting people with offers to install other reputable, vetted software titles. So both Photo Resizer and FL Studio are supported by ads. That doesn’t make them spyware though. That’s an entirely false accusation that I’ve just gone on at length to prove isn’t true. You can replicate the experiment yourself with WireShark.

In related news, Eset, the makers of NOD32, have still not gotten back to me about this.

Man… I think those guys at OpenCandy should hire ME as an evangelist~! =D

Cheers,

Ryan

Download Site Problems

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Internet, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple, Uncategorized | Posted on 31-03-2011

When you’re submitting to download sites, you can’t take much time except of a few good ones like Softpedia and CNET. Most you just need to get done and ignore any problems. Many won’t list you at all, while other will list you months down the road. And there are so many of them, that you simply can’t afford the time to mess around. While automatic submission gets most done, you’ll still want to get the others done as well in semi-automatic mode.

Why? Because other people won’t, and every little bit of juice you get will put you further ahead.

So you need to balance the value of the download site with your own time and get through them.

I’ve done more submissions that I could possibly count. Sometimes it is mind-numbingly boring. But the part I really hate is all the broken sites.

There are about a half-dozen different download site engines out there that run most of the sites you’ll see. The engines actually work (mostly), but individual sites running the engines don’t. What happens is that the engine requires some degree of customization and the people who buy the engine license and run the site just screw it up.

Some problems that you’ll see include:

  • Broken forms
  • Broken CAPTCHAs
  • Broken email servers (they don’t send confirmation emails)
  • Monkeyed-up UIs that are unreadable
  • Exposed PHP and SQL code
  • Bad validations
  • Bad database design
  • Bad site architecture (URL collisions)

There are other problems as well.

Here are a few examples to illustrate typical situations that you’ll see.

Sensitive PHP errors

Sensitive PHP errors

Errors are one thing, but code?

More Raw PHP code

More Raw PHP code

Many sites love Robosoft. Heck, most do.

Robosoft ad

Robosoft ad

But there’s one engine that doesn’t like DynamicPAD.

No DynamicPAD

No DynamicPAD

Backlinks are a big deal as well. But there’s no way that I’m going to link to most of these sites from my main product page. It’s nutty. They really don’t offer that much value to warrant a link. I won’t even link from the actual site. I will create an orphaned backlinks.htm page and link from there, but it won’t have any links to it from the real site. It’s an orphan page and will forever stay like that. If a site offered some real value, then sure. But they just don’t offer that much value. You’re already providing them with free high-quality content for their site. And they want more? Fsck that! =D

Forms that do not work

Forms that do not work

Like the above form, you’ll find that some do very bad validation and simply don’t work. This is a very common problem. It’s the sign of a very inexperienced programmer/designer that has used their very limited knowledge to try and validate data. The problem is that they simply don’t understand what a URL or URI are and they mess up. This happens very often with email addresses as well. Unless you are on a .com, .net or .org domain, things break. These kinds of things are pretty easy to do, but you need to know how to do them.

Here’s another example.

Backlink on same host

Backlink on same host

The validation there is particularly bad. The site isn’t even able to properly determine if two hosts are the same. This is extremely basic stuff. (A host is something like www.domain.com just in case you’re not familiar — these people should be.)

Broken CAPTCHA

Broken CAPTCHA

This happens often as well. CAPTCHAs that are broken. Well, it happens. Move on.

Wrong Product Collisions

Wrong Product Collisions

This last one requires some explanation. After submitting my software, I was shown that as my software.

First, I’m a much better writer than that! =P

But what’s happening there is that there’s a database problem or a URL collision. Again, it shows bad programming. While the design may be ok, and they did manage to get some ads in there, it’s still flat out bad programming.

Anyways, those are a few problems that you’ll encounter when submitting your software to different sites. When you do, just move on. For problems that are fixable, come back to them later. But don’t waste time.

Robosoft and PAD (Part 1): The PAD Spec

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Business, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Uncategorized | Posted on 20-03-2011

Tags:

Perhaps we had better start from the beginning…

Hopefully that helped to wake some people up from Zombie-land~!

Speaking of which, I still have some wicked Rob Zombie concert pictures to upload.

But that’s neither here nor there. You’re reading to find out about Robosoft and PAD and how it can help you promote your software.

So let’s get to it… And start from the beginning…

PAD

First, you need to have a minimum amount of technical knowledge for some terminology. Here I’m going to outline what PAD is, so you need to understand XML. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a superset of XHTML where you get to name your own tags and attributes. Done. It’s pretty much that easy. For PAD it’s even easier though as PAD does not use any attributes; nodes either contain data or other nodes.

PAD is an XML specification that structures everything you would want to know about a piece of software. And more. It allows easy syndication of your software information. It was originally created by Harold Holmes then sold to the ASP (Association of Software Professionals). It has had different maintainers over the years, but all from the ASP.

There are several top level nodes for a PAD file, including the company node and product nodes. The company node contains information about the software author or publisher.

Company information is reused for different products from the same company. If you look at different PAD files though, you will often see company information doesn’t match perfectly. e.g. Phone numbers or email addresses or contact people may change over time.

Product information spans several root level nodes and contains everything from the program name and description to downloads and screenshots. This is the most important part and in future posts I will go into great detail about it. The most important ones are the “Program_Descriptions” and “Web_Info” nodes.

As mentioned above, nodes are all very simple with no attributes. i.e. All nodes are of the form:

<node>content</node>

So as long as you understand that, the rest of the spec you can learn along the way.

PADGen

You can create a PAD file in a simple text editor, but there’s no reason to when there are several good PAD authoring tools available. The ASP offers 2 PAD authoring tools: PADGen and PAD Manager. PADGen is currently maintained by Mykola Rudenko, the author of Robosoft. PAD Manager is Mykola’s version of PADGen, but is also offered through the ASP.

Both are free programs. Whichever you decide to use is primarily a matter of personal choice. I use PADGen, but other people may prefer the drill-down approach in PAD Manager.

The PADGen interface is intuitive and self-explanatory. The screen below lets you input information for the Company_Info node (click to zoom):

PADGen Blank Company InfoEach input corresponds to a node in a PAD file.

If you haven’t already, download PADGen from the ASP and create a PAD file for one of your software titles. Don’t skip any sections and fill them all out completely. Some are optional, but you should complete the Company Info, Program Info, Descriptions, Web Info, and Permissions tabs. That’s enough for a PAD file.

The Build Options tab has some options that you can fill in or not. Our more advanced techniques will make the build options irrelevant.

But, that’s enough of an introduction to PAD. Like I said above, the best thing you can do is to get PADGen and create a PAD file. Future posts will assume that you are familiar with the actual spec. Here’s a blank PAD file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<XML_DIZ_INFO>
 <MASTER_PAD_VERSION_INFO>
 <MASTER_PAD_VERSION>3.11</MASTER_PAD_VERSION>
 <MASTER_PAD_EDITOR>PADGen 3.1.1.47 http://www.padgen.org</MASTER_PAD_EDITOR>
 <MASTER_PAD_INFO>Portable Application Description, or PAD for short, is a data set that is used by shareware authors to disseminate information to anyone interested in their software products. To find out more go to http://pad.asp-software.org</MASTER_PAD_INFO>
 </MASTER_PAD_VERSION_INFO>
 <Company_Info>
 <Company_Name>a</Company_Name>
 <Address_1 />
 <Address_2 />
 <City_Town />
 <State_Province />
 <Zip_Postal_Code />
 <Country />
 <Company_WebSite_URL />
 <Contact_Info>
 <Author_First_Name />
 <Author_Last_Name />
 <Author_Email />
 <Contact_First_Name />
 <Contact_Last_Name />
 <Contact_Email />
 </Contact_Info>
 <Support_Info>
 <Sales_Email />
 <Support_Email />
 <General_Email />
 <Sales_Phone />
 <Support_Phone />
 <General_Phone />
 <Fax_Phone />
 </Support_Info>
 </Company_Info>
 <Program_Info>
 <Program_Name>a</Program_Name>
 <Program_Version />
 <Program_Release_Month>03</Program_Release_Month>
 <Program_Release_Day>20</Program_Release_Day>
 <Program_Release_Year>2011</Program_Release_Year>
 <Program_Cost_Dollars />
 <Program_Cost_Other_Code />
 <Program_Cost_Other />
 <Program_Type />
 <Program_Release_Status />
 <Program_Install_Support />
 <Program_OS_Support />
 <Program_Language />
 <Program_Change_Info />
 <Program_Specific_Category />
 <Program_Category_Class />
 <Program_System_Requirements />
 <File_Info>
 <File_Size_Bytes />
 <File_Size_K />
 <File_Size_MB />
 </File_Info>
 <Expire_Info>
 <Has_Expire_Info>N</Has_Expire_Info>
 <Expire_Count />
 <Expire_Based_On />
 <Expire_Other_Info />
 <Expire_Month />
 <Expire_Day />
 <Expire_Year />
 </Expire_Info>
 </Program_Info>
 <Program_Descriptions>
 <English>
 <Keywords />
 <Char_Desc_45 />
 <Char_Desc_80 />
 <Char_Desc_250 />
 <Char_Desc_450 />
 <Char_Desc_2000 />
 </English>
 </Program_Descriptions>
 <Web_Info>
 <Application_URLs>
 <Application_Info_URL />
 <Application_Order_URL />
 <Application_Screenshot_URL />
 <Application_Icon_URL />
 <Application_XML_File_URL />
 </Application_URLs>
 <Download_URLs>
 <Primary_Download_URL />
 <Secondary_Download_URL />
 <Additional_Download_URL_1 />
 <Additional_Download_URL_2 />
 </Download_URLs>
 </Web_Info>
 <Permissions>
 <Distribution_Permissions />
 <EULA />
 </Permissions>
 <Affiliates>
 <Affiliates_FORM>Y</Affiliates_FORM>
 <Affiliates_VERSION>1.4</Affiliates_VERSION>
 <Affiliates_URL>http://pad.asp-software.org/extensions/Affiliates.htm</Affiliates_URL>
 <Affiliates_Information_Page />
 <Affiliates_Avangate_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Avangate_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Avangate_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Avangate_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_BMTMicro_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_BMTMicro_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_BMTMicro_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_BMTMicro_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Cleverbridge_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Cleverbridge_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Cleverbridge_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Cleverbridge_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_clixGalore_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_clixGalore_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_clixGalore_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_clixGalore_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_CommissionJunction_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_CommissionJunction_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_CommissionJunction_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_CommissionJunction_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_DigiBuy_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_DigiBuy_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_DigiBuy_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_DigiBuy_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_DigitalCandle_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_DigitalCandle_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_DigitalCandle_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_DigitalCandle_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Emetrix_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Emetrix_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Emetrix_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Emetrix_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_eSellerate_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_eSellerate_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_eSellerate_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_eSellerate_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Kagi_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Kagi_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Kagi_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Kagi_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_LinkShare_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_LinkShare_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_LinkShare_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_LinkShare_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_NorthStarSol_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_NorthStarSol_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_NorthStarSol_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_NorthStarSol_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_OneNetworkDirect_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_OneNetworkDirect_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_OneNetworkDirect_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_OneNetworkDirect_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Order1_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Order1_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Order1_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Order1_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Osolis_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Osolis_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Osolis_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Osolis_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Plimus_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Plimus_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Plimus_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Plimus_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Regnet_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Regnet_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regnet_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regnet_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Regnow_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Regnow_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regnow_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regnow_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Regsoft_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Regsoft_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regsoft_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Regsoft_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_ShareIt_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_ShareIt_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_ShareIt_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_ShareIt_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Shareasale_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Shareasale_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Shareasale_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Shareasale_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_SWReg_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_SWReg_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_SWReg_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_SWReg_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_V-Share_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_V-Share_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_V-Share_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_V-Share_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_VFree_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_VFree_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_VFree_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_VFree_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 <Affiliates_Yaskifo_Order_Page />
 <Affiliates_Yaskifo_Vendor_ID />
 <Affiliates_Yaskifo_Product_ID />
 <Affiliates_Yaskifo_Maximum_Commission_Rate />
 </Affiliates>
 <ASP>
 <ASP_FORM>Y</ASP_FORM>
 <ASP_Member>N</ASP_Member>
 <ASP_Member_Number />
 </ASP>
</XML_DIZ_INFO>

And here’s a PAD file for one of my own software titles (it is somewhat old now and out of date):

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<XML_DIZ_INFO>
 <MASTER_PAD_VERSION_INFO>
 <MASTER_PAD_VERSION>3.01</MASTER_PAD_VERSION>
 <MASTER_PAD_EDITOR>PADGen 3.0.1.38 http://www.padgen.org</MASTER_PAD_EDITOR>
 <MASTER_PAD_INFO>Portable Application Description, or PAD for short, is a data set that is used by shareware authors to disseminate information to anyone interested in their software products. To find out more go to http://www.asp-shareware.org/pad</MASTER_PAD_INFO>
 </MASTER_PAD_VERSION_INFO>
 <Company_Info>
 <Company_Name>Renegade Minds</Company_Name>
 <Address_1>#102, 651-7 Bunji</Address_1>
 <Address_2>Yeoksam Dong, Kangnam Gu</Address_2>
 <City_Town>Seoul</City_Town>
 <State_Province>Seoul</State_Province>
 <Zip_Postal_Code>135-913</Zip_Postal_Code>
 <Country>South Korea</Country>
 <Company_WebSite_URL>http://renegademinds.com/</Company_WebSite_URL>
 <Contact_Info>
 <Author_First_Name>Ryan</Author_First_Name>
 <Author_Last_Name>Smyth</Author_Last_Name>
 <Author_Email>pad@renegademinds.com</Author_Email>
 <Contact_First_Name>Ryan</Contact_First_Name>
 <Contact_Last_Name>Smyth</Contact_Last_Name>
 <Contact_Email>pad@renegademinds.com</Contact_Email>
 </Contact_Info>
 <Support_Info>
 <Sales_Email>pad@renegademinds.com</Sales_Email>
 <Support_Email>pad@renegademinds.com</Support_Email>
 <General_Email>pad@renegademinds.com</General_Email>
 <Sales_Phone>+82-19-313-7399</Sales_Phone>
 <Support_Phone>+82-19-313-7399</Support_Phone>
 <General_Phone>+82-19-313-7399</General_Phone>
 <Fax_Phone />
 </Support_Info>
 </Company_Info>
 <Program_Info>
 <Program_Name>Guitar and Drum Trainer</Program_Name>
 <Program_Version>4-RC1</Program_Version>
 <Program_Release_Month>11</Program_Release_Month>
 <Program_Release_Day>12</Program_Release_Day>
 <Program_Release_Year>2008</Program_Release_Year>
 <Program_Cost_Dollars>49.95</Program_Cost_Dollars>
 <Program_Cost_Other_Code />
 <Program_Cost_Other />
 <Program_Type>Shareware</Program_Type>
 <Program_Release_Status>New Release</Program_Release_Status>
 <Program_Install_Support>Install and Uninstall</Program_Install_Support>
 <Program_OS_Support>Windows2000,WinXP,Windows2003,Windows Vista Starter,Windows Vista Home Basic,Windows Vista Home Premium,Windows Vista Business,Windows Vista Enterprise,Windows Vista Ultimate,Windows Vista Home Basic x64,Windows Vista Home Premium x64,Windows Vista Business x64,Windows Vista Enterprise x64,Windows Vista Ultimate x64</Program_OS_Support>
 <Program_Language>English</Program_Language>
 <Program_Change_Info>Added Remove Vocals and Instruments, 62-band stereo EQ, save slowed down music, save pitch shifted songs</Program_Change_Info>
 <Program_Specific_Category>Audio</Program_Specific_Category>
 <Program_Category_Class>Audio &amp; Multimedia::Audio File Players</Program_Category_Class>
 <Program_System_Requirements>2.0 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, .NET 2.0</Program_System_Requirements>
 <File_Info>
 <File_Size_Bytes>3371036</File_Size_Bytes>
 <File_Size_K>3292</File_Size_K>
 <File_Size_MB>3.21</File_Size_MB>
 </File_Info>
 <Expire_Info>
 <Has_Expire_Info>Y</Has_Expire_Info>
 <Expire_Count>15</Expire_Count>
 <Expire_Based_On>Days</Expire_Based_On>
 <Expire_Other_Info />
 <Expire_Month />
 <Expire_Day />
 <Expire_Year />
 </Expire_Info>
 </Program_Info>
 <Program_Descriptions>
 <English>
 <Keywords>slow down music, pitch shift, vocal remover, remove vocals, tempo, visualizations, eq, pro audio, slow down, slow down mp3, reduce speed, slow</Keywords>
 <Char_Desc_45>Slow down music to learn new songs better</Char_Desc_45>
 <Char_Desc_80>Improve music practice time. Slow down music to your own pace to improve easier.</Char_Desc_80>
 <Char_Desc_250>Slow down music to learn at your own pace. Pitch shift music instead of retuning your instrument. Loop music. Filter instruments with vocal removal and 62-band stereo EQ. Save slowed down music. Pitch shift music. Save song settings. </Char_Desc_250>
 <Char_Desc_450>Slow down music to learn new songs at your own pace. Pitch shift music in different keys to your instrument instead of retuning. Filter out unwanted musical parts with vocal removal/reduction and a powerful 62 band professional level EQ. Set loop points to repeat parts. Save settings to practice later. Use the Speed Trainer to gradually increase or decreae speed. Slowing down music makes new songs and solos easy to learn. Save slowed down music.</Char_Desc_450>
 <Char_Desc_2000>Guitar and Drum Trainer is the ultimate musician's MP3 player to help increase practice time quality, improve playing faster and easier, or transcribe music.

How Guitar and Drum Trainer helps:

Slow down music to practice and learn at your own pace.

Set loop points to practice difficult parts of a song easier.

Pitch shift music to match your instrument's tuning.

Use the GDT Speed Trainer to gradually increase music tempo to build accuracy and speed.

A full wave and zoomed wave form let you see music you are playing along to.

Zoom in to the second.

Filter out unwanted musical parts with a powerful 62-band stereo equalizer.

Filter center panned or non-center panned audio with vocal removal (karaoke).

Save slowed down music or pitch shifted music to FLAC or MP3 with LAME addon.

Shift stereo balance to hear musical parts played in the left or right channels more clearly.

Remix stereo channels.

View real time EQ visuals for graphical intrepretation of musical frequencies.

Hover mouse over EQ visuals to discover notes.

Choose your own color schemes for wave forms and EQ visualizations to match your personal style.

Open and play MP3, FLAC, WMA, OGG, WAV and CD audio files.

Use the Count In feature to set playback delays that give you time to return to your drum kit, piano, or keyboard racks.

Adjust CPU controls for optimum performance of visualizations.

Control volume and gain seperately for complete volume control.

Save loops, EQ settings and color schemes for fast recall.

Save and open song configurations to continue practice sessions later.

Set preferences to work the way you feel most comfortable.

Language learners, dancers and vocalists can also use the same features to help them achieve their goals.

The rich feature set is carefully crafted to provide a smooth and easy user experience, while maintaining a high functionality for demanding professional musicians.

</Char_Desc_2000>
 </English>
 </Program_Descriptions>
 <Web_Info>
 <Application_URLs>
 <Application_Info_URL>http://renegademinds.com/Products/GuitarDrumTrainer/tabid/65/Default.aspx</Application_Info_URL>
 <Application_Order_URL>http://renegademinds.com/BuyNow/tabid/62/Default.aspx</Application_Order_URL>
 <Application_Screenshot_URL>http://renegademinds.com/Portals/0/GDT/Slow-Down-Music/GDT4-Slow-Down-Music-Loops.gif</Application_Screenshot_URL>
 <Application_Icon_URL>http://renegademinds.com/portals/0/GDT-2.3-32x32.gif</Application_Icon_URL>
 <Application_XML_File_URL>http://renegademinds.com/portals/0/GDT4.xml</Application_XML_File_URL>
 </Application_URLs>
 <Download_URLs>
 <Primary_Download_URL>http://renegademinds.com/Portals/0/GDT4.zip</Primary_Download_URL>
 <Secondary_Download_URL />
 <Additional_Download_URL_1 />
 <Additional_Download_URL_2 />
 </Download_URLs>
 </Web_Info>
 <Permissions>
 <Distribution_Permissions />
 <EULA />
 </Permissions>
 <ASP>
 <ASP_FORM>Y</ASP_FORM>
 <ASP_Member>Y</ASP_Member>
 <ASP_Member_Number>05884</ASP_Member_Number>
 </ASP>
</XML_DIZ_INFO>

Hopefully that will help some.

Devil Driver Pictures at Soundwave

0

Posted by Cynic | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-03-2011

Tags: , ,

For a band I’d never heard of before, Devil Driver was pretty impressive. They exuded energy, rocked the stage hard and had a wicked presence. They got the crowd going wild.

Their setlist in Sydney was:

  1. End Of The Line
  2. Not All Who Wander Are Lost
  3. Dead To Rights
  4. Clouds Over California
  5. I Could Care Less
  6. Hold Back the Day
  7. Pray For Villains
  8. Meet The Wretched

Click through the Devil Driver pictures for larger versions:

Devil Driver Sydney

Here’s a close-up detail:

DETAIL Devil Driver in Sydney

Devil Driver Sydney

It’s pretty easy to see the crowd loved the show, but check out the guy in the blue body suit & beany as he crowd surfs to the front of the stage:

Devil Driver SydneyHe’s just about to go over the front rail here:

Devil Driver Sydney

And here’s the blue dude in the mosh pit:

Devil Driver Sydney

Devil Driver did a good job of getting the crowd going, screaming, “OPEN UP THAT FUCKING PIT!” After which, you saw a wave of people backing up as the pit went wild.

Devil Driver Sydney

Anyways, if you have the chance to see Devil Driver in concert, they put on a good show.

What I Really Think

0

Posted by Cynic | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-12-2010

I’ve finally got a place now where I can post what I really think on any topic. No more pulling punches. No more limiting topics. It’s all game now.

What will I be ranting about? Politics. Religion. Technology. News. Whatever I bloody well feel like!