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 March 2nd, 2009

C# Trends, big and small - 9

Its a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

You cannot post to a blog on a regular basis without obtaining somewhat of an (unhealthy) obsession with statistics. There are just too many fascinating tools available. I am a recovering addict which should give me more time to actually write articles and code. But some interesting observations can be made about Visual Basic versus C# and Java, the C# job market and where all these C# developers actually live.

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 November 19th, 2008

Google Updates Advertising: Dumbing it down - Comments Off

Google Taiwan must have noticed that not many of Taipei’s shoppers started downloading Google Chrome following them putting up one massive billboard last month. (On one of my Taiwanese websites Chrome has so far grown to 0.54% of the visitors).

They dropped complicated and went for the KISS concept. Instead of instructions on how to download Google Chrome they now simply ask “What can you do with Google?”. The TV screen has dropped animated Google Earth flyovers and now focuses on Google Mail instead.

With most Taiwanese website visitors coming from Yahoo Taiwan (2/3) versus Google Taiwan (1/3) they still have some catching up to do. Sticking to promoting the basics might be the best decision.

 November 8th, 2008

Playing Warcraft in Taiwan - 22

Summary

  • Play World of Warcraft in English on the Taiwan server
  • Read (Write) Chinese characters
  • Ping times < 50ms if you are playing in Taiwan

Last week I finally managed to download the US version of World of Warcraft with a 10 day trial account (I must have been about the last person in the world) and got myself into some skirmishes with my new warrior alter ego. When the 10 days were over and I was having fun, I didn’t mind paying for it.

From Taiwan to the US the ping times aren’t great (>400ms) , but the game is pretty addictive.

So when Blizzard didn’t accept my credit card, that kind of well,.. made me delete the whole thing and had me sign up for a rehab clinic instead. This being Taiwan, rehab is frowned upon — so I figured there had to be “another way”.

I can forget about playing the game in Chinese — I can bubble a nice conversation, but having to read pages of quests — well lets not go there.

It IS however possible to use the English client, and login to the Taiwanese server instead. If that is what you are interested in , follow the steps below. This is current as of Nov-2008.

Step 1. Download World of Warcraft (English)

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/wowclient-download.html

  • Reserve a day for this — after downloading 3.5Gb of game it will start patching from version 2.4 all the way until 3.02 (or whatever is current).
  • Make sure you have opened ports 3724 and 6112 in your firewall.

Step 2. Sign up for a free trial account in Taiwan

http://www.wowtaiwan.com.tw

Then click the button conveniently labeled [Trail Account] in the main menu.

Applying for a WOW account in Taiwa

Applying for a WOW account in Taiwan

Click on the picture to see the full sized version. You need to enter:

  1. Skip this field — this is a CD key, which you don’t have — its optional
  2. Your new WOW username (a-z), so fill in “jaapaap” or whatever makes you happy
  3. Your password
  4. Again your password
  5. Your full name “Jaap Aap”
  6. Your e-mail account (jaap_aap@gmail.com)
  7. The “I am not a robot” security code

Step 3 Modify the client to login to the Taiwan server

On your hard disk find the following file:

c:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Data\enUS\realmlist.wtf

Then change the contents to:

set realmlist tw.logon.worldofwarcraft.com
set patchlist us.version.worldofwarcraft.com
set portal tw

This same information is also stored in another file (c:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\WTF\config.wtf) but as of v3.0 the above file overrides any realm settings in here.

Make sure you leave the “set patchlist” pointing to the US server — the Taiwanese server is unable to upgrade the English version you are using !

Step 4 Try logging in

The game should now work — just login. The GUI and all the quests are in English. There is however one remaining drawback, the game shows a “?” whenever it encounters a Chinese character (chat, player names).

Step 5 Adding Chinese fonts

  1. Download the following fonts file: fonts.rar (source: Wow in Chinese)
  2. Create a directory: c:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Fonts
  3. Unrar the file and copy the downloaded font files into this directory.

Start Warcraft — it should now use Chinese fonts everywhere in game. If you configured XP to type in Chinese that should now also work.

Step 6 – Upgrading your account

Just walk to the nearest 7-11 and ask for a World of Warcraft time card. They come in NT$ 150 time cards and NT$ 450 unlimited monthly play kinds. You then need to go back to the World of Warcraft (www.wowtaiwan.com.tw) to upgrade your account.

It should be possible to buy time codes online — but I haven’t tried that yet.

Step 7 – Bonus: Do all the above under Linux

If you would like to do this all under Linux (which I did) it is actually just as simple as installing under Windows XP. Download the installer, and run it from Wine.

The only problem is that DirectX support isn’t great (with some fiddling it works for me, but the framerate is less than 15). OpenGL is however not a problem, and my aging NVidia 7600GS manages a framerate of about 60.

wine launcher.exe -opengl

 October 1st, 2008

Not-Made-In-China - Comments Off

My supermarkets supply of Energizer batteries all have a little sticker on them with “Not-Made-In-China” (and “Made in Singapore” below this).

Its refreshing to see that companies are picking up on my hunt for the “not made-in-china” product (and trust me — in Taiwan that isn’t easy).

Of course — there might be some scandal with Made In China Energizer batteries that I am not yet aware off ;-)

 September 30th, 2008

Poisoned M&M’s - Comments Off

Until now the whole Chinese poisoned milk scandal had kind of been a “close encounter” thing. Its scary, and it was close, but fortunately we always paid too much for baby milk produced in the Netherlands (or so we hope).

Then the news broke that M&M’s were also poisoned with melanin; with one report on TV saying that eating a single bag would be sufficient to do you in (or at least your kidneys…). That was a hit. Gladly I cut the regular habit years ago — but I do snack the occasional over sized bag.

Bye bye kidneys… of course everything is being denied. Hope its true — my local 7-11 wouldn’t carry fake M&M’s ,.. now would they?


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