X Boxes

Out and about this morning doing my usual crawl of garage sales - there's a guy who runs a Facebook group who compiles a list of them based off several sources, and other people can post theirs as well, for the entire Horsham area, which is super handy - then to the Library to fetch more books for Duncan. I try and hit the sales every weekend in the hopes of picking up some retro gaming gear for cheaper than the exorbitant prices people want on Gumtree/eBay.

The first garage sale we went to had a bunch of gaming stuff, but all much newer than I was specifically looking for (I'm basically trying to track down a Saturn, a Master System, a Nintendo 64, and a working NES): first and second generation Xbox systems and a bunch of games. I looked at the prices ($50 for an 360, $40 for an OG, $15 each for games) and decided it was a bit more than I wanted to spend, even if I did decided to start collecting Microsoft consoles as well (having only played one a handful of times, it's not high on my list of priorities). I ended up leaving, and posting a message on our local buy/swap/sell group in case anyone else might be interested in it, thinking I'd done my good deed for the day.

We got home, had some lunch, and I got to thinking... they were about 30 minutes from closing up, if by some chance they still had it I wonder if they would entertain lowball offers? So I drove back out there, and sure enough the first thing the guy says to me is "make an offer, we're over this". They'd sold all the games, but still had the two consoles.

I thought about what I was willing to part with, considering that I'm not really interested in Xbox stuff. The owner told me they both worked, and that he'd take $25 for the OG, and $40 for the 360, so I offered $50 for both, which he accepted.

Brought them home and tested them out - the original Xbox boots, but has no games. It doesn't appear to be modded but is upgraded to the latest dashboard. The 360 is long out of date, and had a game still in the drive: Assassin's Creed 2. Both came with two controllers each, and the 360 came with two headsets. I estimate I got them for about half what I'd have paid on eBay or Gumtree, which isn't too bad - if I decide to get rid of one or both of them I stand a non-zero chance of making money on the deal.

I spent a little while looking at the idea of flashing the 360s drive to allow it to play pirate software, but I don't think I care enough to. Duncan is old enough to treat the discs with care, so the original concerns for modding the Wii are gone. Not really being familiar with that territory, there's a chance I'd brick the console and most of my investment would be worthless. And perhaps most influentially, I can't find out for sure whether it's possible to mod them without buying hardware (one guide didn't mention the hardware directly, all others assume you have it) - considering that I really only want to play a handful of exclusives that I wouldn't have played being a Sony user, it doesn't make financial sense to spend money to mod the console when the exclusives I want to play probably add up to less than the investment.

The OG Xbox will need modding though, as I can't find anywhere reasonable to buy the only real exclusives I'd want to play on that (Halo 2, and maybe the Banjo Kazooie game), but modding an Xbox seems decidedly less risky than a 360.

Getting into collecting game consoles has made me super-excited to go to the USA though - it'll be interesting to go through all my old stuff and see what's still there and still working. I'm reasonably sure I have a GBA SP (with Pokemon Leaf Green), at least one functioning Dreamcast, a Genesis 2, Sabriena's NTSC SNES and about 20 games, a Game Gear, and I might still have a Lynx but I reckon I sold it.

We'll have to see.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

Published:


Modified:

Never

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Location:

Horsham, VIC, Australia

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Hello, Hyper-V

A few days ago I noticed that, once again, a Windows 10 update has killed VirtualBox. What a fucking joke this is. I get that I'm on the insider track (I wish I wasn't, as I've not had any time to work on Mumble at all, but unfortunately there's no way back without a reinstall), but I'm not on the fastest track and it just seems silly that this is an on-going thing.

Frankly, were it not for a few more things that I still can't do on an open source OS, I'd have ditched Windows a while ago. Unfortunately, I have some commercial software I'm not finished reverse engineering... and the license for it, which I'm using as a moral excuse to RE it, is so shitty that I can't even reinstall without buying it again - I'm pretty sure that's not a sane license and that I could probably get my money back with help from the Australian government, but I feel the net benefit to the community on the whole is if I eat the fifty bucks and can open source much of the features of it.

So instead of telling Microsoft to go fuck themselves, I'm giving them what they presumably want - using Hyper-V for my VMs instead. I tried VMware player, but couldn't get it to behave, so Hyper-V it is. Converting the disks was easy enough with sufficient disk space:

"c:\program files\oracle\virtualbox\vboxmanage.exe" clonehd pingu.vdi pingu.vhd --format vhd

Starting the VM with the correct disk image was trivial too - the only thing is that the vertical screen resolution of the VM is larger than my physical display, but I can sort that out another day.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

Published:


Modified:

Never

Filed under:


Location:

Horsham, VIC, Australia

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Immigration Success!

This morning, Sabriena and I got emails - approximately 10 minutes apart, for some reason - stating that they'd received all my documents (passport, physical, etc) and we'd been approved for a visa.

Hurrah!

There's still a ton to do. There's some sort of a payment we have to make immediately upon arrival (or we can pay it before we leave, which we will likely do) - then when we get there I believe I have to file for adjustment of status. We'll have to look up what the process is, but we hope to head over there around Christmas time.

It's funny that this is the culmination of nearly 13 years of faffing about with USCIS/INS (that is, they were called INS when we started and have been dealing with them for so long they changed names) and now we're not even sure if we want to live there... particularly depending on how the elections turn out in November.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

Published:


Modified:

Never

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Location:

Horsham, VIC, Australia

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Duncan's Passport(s)

We had to have Duncan skip a day of school, and pile into the car to head down to the US Consulate General in Melbourne in order to renew his passport - apparently minors can only renew their passports in person. The drive down was uneventful, though somehow we screwed up the clock: our appointment was two hours later than my physical in Toorak, we for some reason only left about an hour later, and arrived well and truly early despite stopping for two breaks.

We sat and played Pokemon for nearly an hour before they called us in, and after skating through security Sabriena realized we'd forgotten the self-addressed envelope. Turns out that's a pretty common thing, they had the address of the nearest post office all ready to go.

The whole process went very fast, significantly faster than the drive down and back (about 600km round trip).

St Kilda, VIC, Australia fwaggle

Published:


Modified:

Never

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Location:

St Kilda, VIC, Australia

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