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Games – My Portal 2 map

 

Ever since Half-Life on the PC came out in 1998 I’ve been a big fan of the Valve franchises Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Left4Dead, Portal, Team Fortress and DOTA.

In my opinion, Valve is also the best game company in the world. I feel this way because:

  1. They created a lot of great game franchises and keep actively supporting it for a long time.
  2. They created the best PC gaming platform Steam and are continuously improving it.
  3. They provide the community with free tools that can be used to easily create, share and find user generated content like maps, mods and other content. Because of this you can keep playing your already existing games with new content. There is also a lot of user generated content because these users get a large share of the money earned from it.
  4. The Free-To-Play (F2P) games Team Fortress 2 and DOTA are done properly, they aren’t pay-to-win (P2W).

So when Valve released the level editor for Portal 2 about a year ago, I couldn’t wait to create my own level. Even though the level editor is really straightforward and simple, it took me quite a while to create the level (mainly to test and prevent players from taking unintended shortcuts).

To map I created is called “TAG recruits survival test” and is a tribute to my old Half-Life Deathmatch clan called The Assassins Guild (TAG). To give you an idea of the map I uploaded a quick tour video to YouTube:
The map can be downloaded from steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=72096196.If you’ve played my map, please leave a comment.

I really liked making the map, but because it takes a lot of time I don’t know if and when I’ll make a new map. Luckily many other people have been creating content and at the time of writing 263,886 maps have already been created. My friend Bart Fuchs also made a map you might want to check out called: cubed laser.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Entertainment, Games, Portal 2

 

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LazyWinAdmin – a great powershell script for more efficient Windows management

The last couple of months I’ve been playing around a lot with PowerShell and I’ve also been trying to make some nice GUI versions for my script using PowerShell Studio 2012 from Sapien Technologies Inc. While looking for more information how to best use PowerShell Studio 2012 I came across LazyWinAdmin.

LazyWinAdmin is a great tool created by Francois-Xavier C that will save you a lot of time. It provides you with most of the commonly used tools and commands in a very structured and easy to access way. In the picture below you can see what I mean.

For more info on the tool, take a look at the website and be sure to download and test it yourself.

If you want to take a look at other useful tools I’ve found in the past, take a look at my applications list.

 
 

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Good and cheap home wireless network solution

Over the last couple of years I’ve been using an Asus WL-500W wireless router to provide wireless access to our network. As a real tweaker I ofcourse replaced the default firmware with DD-WRT firmware and set the transmit power to maximum. This worked perfectly.

Lately however, my parents were experiencing some issues with wireless access from their phones and tablet. So the first thing I tried was to check if there might have been wireless networks on the same channel that were interfering. I checked this on my Windows laptop using Wi-Fi inspector and on the android phones and tablet using Wifi analyzer. Even though the number of wireless networks in the neighbourhood have increased substantially, here were no real indicators for issues. I did try optimizing and changing to a different wireless channel, but this also did not solve the issue. I think the increased transmit power might have taken its toll over the years.

Since I’m up-to-date regarding ICT developments, I know there is a new wireless standard 802.11ac under development and that recently a number of routers have been released based on the draft of this new wireless standard. The added value of these routers is mainly speed, but they are also very costly AND they require the client devices to be 802.11ac compatible as well (which they are not).

Instead I bought the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND plus three 8dBi anttenas (TL-ANT2408CL) because:

  • It is a good wireless router.
  • It can run custom firmware.
  • It is relatively cheap.
  • It has gigabit ethernet ports.
  • I do not need 5GHz (dual-band).
  • With the three 8dBi replaceable antennas, the range and signal strength will be unmatched in this price range.

The total cost of the router, 3 antennas and shipping was 65 euros at https://www.redcoon.nl. The wireless reception is perfect now and I recommend these products to everyone. Keep in mind however that wireless performance is very dependent on your environment and surroundings, so results may vary.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Hardware, ICT, Learning, Network, Router, Tools, Tutorials, Wireless

 

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My ever growing collection of applications and tools

Thanks to the internet and the great communities and companies all over the world, there are a lot of great applications and tools available. In the past years I’ve found and used numerous of them for all kind of purposes, both personally and professionally.

Because there are so many of them, it is hard to remember all of them. That’s why I decided to create a list on my Office 365 SharePoint website for all people to see and use:
http://bjornhouben-web.sharepoint.com/Lists/Applications

The summary view is shown by default for this list. If you want to change to a different view, click on “Summary” at the top and choose the view you want to use instead:
applications_list_change_view

I put a lot of effort in providing metadata for these applications, so you can search and filter more easily.
applications_list_category_filter

If you’d like, you can also export it to Excel. You can even subscribe to the RSS feed so you will be alerted when new applications have been added.

applications_list_export_and_RSS_feed

I hope you like the list. If you know of other great applications or tools that I have not yet listed, please let me know so I can add them.

Thanks in advance.

PS: I will update the other lists in the future as well. So they will work in a similar way and will also contain a lot of useful content.

 

 
 

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