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Vide grenier

Today was the most expensive vide grenier I have ever been to. Hey, there's an ambiguity of our language, for it cost me but the prices were good. Confused? Read on!

The first purchase - a Gameboy Advance for €5 and a game for €3. The game didn't look overly interesting, but what's the point of a mini console with nothing to do? There was a Gameboy Color for €4. I offered a tenner for the lot, the woman accepted and then told her son. ☺
In case you don't know, the Gameboy Advance runs an ARM processor. And, usefully, it will play the older Gameboy games.

Looking at other stalls, I have amassed a small number of games, €1 apiece.

Bionic Commando GBC Haven't played it much. Wasn't impressed.
Eggo Mania GBA A sort of a cross between a stomping cartoon character and Tetris.
F1 Racing GBC Seems like a fairly well specified racing game with 16 tracks, 11 teams, 22 drivers... Its main problem is it shows its age with being a 'car' graphic pasted on top of a moving road. Lots of options in any case. Also it's a nice touch that the Gameboy advance can either display faitful to the original screen dimensions, or expand the picture to the wider screen.
Gunstar (future) Heroes GBA Nice graphics in a game which is basically an over-armed animé-style character laying waste to a ridiculous number of enemies (and this is the easy level). It's a sort of "if it moves, blow it up", about my level!
Pokémon Pinball GBC You can't go far wrong with pinball. I don't think I'll ever work out scoring, it's ridiculous and gets you into millions even if you're a crap player! To demonstrate how addictive pinball can be, as I write this mom is in the other room playing it on the Gameboy Color. She earlier came in and said she played it for ages as she couldn't figure out how to turn the thing off. Haha, I'm supposed to buy that excuse? ☺
The 'rumble' dodah in the cartidge is amusing!
Robocop v Terminator GBC Naff. Too much of little interest before we get down to Robo/Terminator ass-kickings. I don't know how much there is, didn't get that far, lost interest...

The Gameboy Advance worked exactly as it is supposed to. The Gameboy Color had no sound via the built-in speaker, so I opened it up and with a tiny bit of emery cloth and tweezers I cleaned off the tab contact inside the headphone jack. Voila! Sound restored.
What I find astonishing... actually there are two things that surprise me. The first is that there is no backlight on either game. No doubt this aids battery life, but it seems to be something of an omission? The second surprise is that there is no built-in game. Okay, the Gameboy Color is kinda old hat and clunky, but you'd have thought the Advance would have offered something, if only Tetris?

I think I dimly recall there being some sort of add-on for the Gameboy Advance that turned it into a basic TV. Is that correct? I'll have to keep my eyes open for that!

For a fiver I got a D-Link DIR-100 router. It was set up in such a way as I could not access the device. Thankfully it responded to the fairly universal concept of "press and hold reset for a count of ten". I was then able to log in and set the thing up. Problem is, Aiko is not able to keep up with 100mbit networking. I don't know whether the network card is $#!+, the PCI bus is $#!+, or XP is $#!+ (probably all three), but Aiko only talks to the 'faster' computer in 100mbit mode, and even then not always. I need to run in 100mbit because I transfer large video files between machines and the network 'feels' as if it is running around 30mbit. When set to 10mbit (or "AutoSense", which always replies 10mbit) it is just too damn slow. Anyway, talking to the router at 100mbit meant XP just kept saying that the network was available at 100mbit, then "A network cable has been unplugged" then network, then unplugged, and so on and so on...
I have taken the router out and the two computers are now hooked up back-to-back with a cross-over cable. When I get broadband (so don't hold your breath!) I plan to plug the computers into this router, then connect this router's WLAN port to the Livebox (or whathaveyou) and run a firewall on both, so getting to my computer would require compromising two devices. Not impossible, just improbable - who would actually want to bother?
Oh, and the router appears to be able to silently redirect traffic, so if you think you're hacking my main computer you might just be wasting your time with the web server on the RiscPC! ☺

I got three DVD-RWs for €3. Nero's InfoTool reports the newer DVD writer can deal with DVD+RW discs, but I know that stuff here doesn't seem to enjoy +R anything. For three euros it's a lot cheaper to suck'n'see than to buy a disc (or pack of discs) in a shop. It's three EMTEC discs, unsealed cases. I figure if even one is useable, I'll know. Well, it seems all three discs look perfect and unused - not only that but I've just finished burning off a load of stuff recorded off NHK World that I don't have time to convert (mostly "Out and About" and "Nihongo Quick Lesson").

The final thing is the one that cost the most, and saved me the most. Look at it like this. €20 would get me a ten-pack of DVD-Rs plus a sandwich.
Today? I handed over two tens and walked away with a spindle case containing a hundred discs. Verbatim (the ones I usually buy), original wrapping, sealed, untampered. I now have 99 discs, after committing the MP4 files of Eurovision 2009 to one. Good god. I'm sorry. I can't quite get over having a hundred blank DVDs on the table. This little pile ought to last a while!

 

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