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 Post subject: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:04 am 
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So I just recently started playing again (and am glad I did.) I have Win8, but am using VirtualBox to simulate XP. Got the game installed fully (would you believe it, I found my game disc after 10 years!) Install Rebed, get some cards and load up. I start to play.

Now, here is the weird part. About day 26 or so, it freezes. Or so it seems. I can check the encyclopedia. I can look at everything, move the sectors around and basically engage all of the things you normally would (rename ships, start missions, build) but nothing happens. I could be on fast and the day wont change. Or slow, and I can't make it go to fast. If I rename a ship and hit enter it just goes right back to the "corellian corvette random number." If I conduct a mission with Luke, he'll confirm it. But he wont leave. I can't even click on the options menu. Well, I'll click it and it'll make the sound but nothing happens. All the while, I can read the entries on planets and learn about them. What?

First time it happened I grew frustrated and ctrl alt dlted the game out. Tried again. Lasted a few days past that this time. I thought I was in the clear. Then it happened again. Frustrated, I got up to get something to eat and go to the bathroom. Here is the weird bit. I had hit the options menu thing before I got up, and that's how I realized it had happnened. I couldn't get it to open.

After I got back from the stuff I was doing, somehow the options menu had opened. It's like the game was on pause for the time I was gone or something. Except anything I did while it was "paused" happened. Ships were now in drydock, Luke had started his mission, the ship was named now. I can't understand it. And the spell can last from 5 minutes to 20. And gameplay lasts for about 4 to 8 minutes. Clearly this isn't good.

Any ideas? Oh, and I think it might be because I am running off of the disc itself. But I wanted to check first.


Sorry about the wall of text. Thanks to any suggestions! Take care all.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Quick update - It wasn't the CD. I had originally thought (because of the sound of the CD in the drive) that part of the game mechanics was having a hard time loading. It would be like the actual action sequence of the game would be lagging behind what I could get it to do.

But I got it to work without the need for a CD so I honestly have no ideas. Sorry if double posts are frowned on, but I just wanted to put it out there in case anyone thought the same (or if I am just waaay of base in even thinking it could be it.)


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:47 pm 
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I have no clue how this could be. Maybe your CD was damaged and your install corrupt. Have you *keuf* tested a "backup" version that might be available on the net *keuf*? See if a clean install of that one did the same?


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:14 am 
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No. Strangely, I just decided to "reboot" my VirtualPC and tried again and the problem stopped. I can't hear music, but that's okay. The rest of the game works loverly. Very strange.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:46 am 
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Have to ask: did you notice any strange behavior in the guest VM? Or was it just the Rebellion application?


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:34 pm 
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I didn't notice anything outwardly strange about the VM. Only Rebellion itself. It is for now still holding stable, fortunately. I have a hard time believing just a reboot did it, but I'll take it.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:45 pm 
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I am not a developer so I can't explain the technicalities of the why, but sometimes rebooting does result in a change because the environment that the application is operating in is "cleaner". Case in point: Neverwinter Nights 2 will run dog slow/stutter if you play it on the most powerful hardware available today in Win7 if the OS has been running and used for months without a reboot. Once you reboot it the stutter goes away.
I imagine that whatever resources are getting used, corrupted, or otherwise not responding the way they should be would be similar between a regular environment and a VM environment.

Glad to hear things are working again :)


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 11:21 pm 
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This is old, but I figure someone might be interested in this stuff.

I typically reboot my computer once a month, just to clear things out. Sometimes once a week if I'm working with several VMs or doing a lot of compiling/compressing/decrypting. I was going to describe why using analogies, but it came out sounding childish. No analogies for you.

Computer programs allocate resources for different tasks. When the task is complete, or the program ends, those resources are supposed to be returned to the general pool. They don't always get returned. The base process in the operating system is supposed to forceably reclaim resources from "zombie processes," but sometimes this doesn't happen. Particularly when it is a protected thread or process from the operating system itself that has gone zombie. These can typically be shut down manually, but that requires a lot of computer knowledge and the desire to do so. Some corporations do this from time to time on production servers, but end users pretty much never do this. Except for Linux guys; I'm convinced they do it just because they can.

Additionally, many programs have little services that run in the background. These check for updates, load portions of the parent program into memory so the program can be loaded faster, or do other little things. Think Microsoft Word and iTunes, both of which do this. The more such background services you have running, the slower your computer becomes. Many of these start with the computer, but others load themselves after you run the parent program- and then they stay in the background even after the parent has been closed. These can be shut down manually, but very few people do so, not even businesses (it isn't typically necessary on production servers, as they usually load a given set of programs and then don't close them or load others).

Then there are environment variables. Many of these are permanent, but some are not. As these temporary variables change, they can slow your system down. It's a pretty minor hit to performance, but the longer a system stays up, the more noticeable it can become. This can include temporary files and cache files, which also clear out after a reboot.

Then the page file. This is particularly important for older programs, which often rely upon it more than newer programs (which are used to having lots of RAM on hand). The page file is basically a portion of the hard drive that the operating system treats like RAM. It is obviously slower than RAM, but can help manage things when you run out of available RAM to perform an operation. Depending on the settings for your page file, it can fill up and remain full. When programs need to use it, they then must first clear part of it before using it- making the already slow page file even slower. If your page file settings are really bad, it can actually fill the hard drive, though it never does so by default (you have to manually go in and muck it up for that to happen).

Then there are faulty programs. Perhaps the most common problem is a memory leak. A program is allocated a certain amount of RAM to work with; a memory leak is when the program goes out of its bounds and fills up RAM not assigned to it. Because normal programs are never designed to do this, the program cannot typically clear this RAM. The operating system usually can't clear it until the offending program is shut down. All sorts of programs have, or have had, memory leaks, and these can really kill performance in a hurry. I still remember a version of Firefox (many versions ago) that had a memory leak. Each new tab that opened leaked, and since I often have lots of tabs open (and the leaks were not fixed when a tab closed), after an hour or so on the internet I had to close Firefox and let Windows reclaim the RAM. Otherwise my computer was so slow I had to wait a full minute just to scroll down on a web page.

Of course, programs can also have other problems. Like over-allocating resources, running the hard drive when it isn't needed, segmentation faults, endless loops, etc etc.

All these factors (and others) contribute to the need for a computer to restart occasionally, just like people need a break from work to clear their heads. Restart it and you clear temporary variables, reset the page file, flush the RAM, kill background processes that don't start with the operating system, slay any stubborn zombie processes, etc. Although newer systems are better at running for long durations, personal computers are just not designed to remain on for months at a time, and often the programs running on them are far less robust than those running on servers, which contributes to why your PC probably should be restarted more often than servers. But even servers have to be reset from time to time (though large companies have multiple servers so there is no down time in their services as one server reboots).

K4qQZ6, you rightly guessed that VMs suffer the same problems. But even if you haven't had a system running for a long time, if something loads incorrectly or in a corrupt state, a simple reboot will fix it. That is probably what happened to you, heatblazer. It is also possible that VirtualBox isn't handling your hardware properly (which could explain your music problem).

Sorry for the long post. Hopefully someone finds this interesting/useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 9:18 am 
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Ummm.....am I strange then?

I turn off and reboot our computers every day. Or have I missed the point entirely and your talking about servers alone?


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 9:49 pm 
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Naw, most people do turn off computers all the time. Back when I had a desktop, I turned it off whenever I wasn't using it. But laptops... well, I close the lid, which "hibernates" the computer instead of shutting it off. It therefore only reboots when I manually tell it to do so.

But lots of people leave their computers on all the time. I'm not sure if they don't want to wait for it to boot up again, or if they just get into the habit of not turning it off, but I know plenty of people who leave it on 24/7. I think its a waste of electricity, myself, but to each their own. I even know some folks who leave it on to do research with (you know, like SETI@home). Or guys who mine bitcoins.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 6:14 pm 
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Ahh...of course! Laptops! Doh!

Should have thought of that - I'm WAY behind the times with 2 desktops.

But definitely agree on the wasting electricity thing - it's a a symptom of our obsession with energy :mrgreen: but don't get me started on the environment :)

Pardon my ignorance but what exactly are bitcoins? I've read a little about them on news websites but don't really understand them - how does one mine for them?


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 2:25 pm 
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addict-ant wrote:
Should have thought of that - I'm WAY behind the times with 2 desktops.

Pardon my ignorance but what exactly are bitcoins? I've read a little about them on news websites but don't really understand them - how does one mine for them?

I actually prefer desktops for most things; easier to repair and upgrade, cheaper, more powerful... the only good thing about laptops is mobility.

Bitcoins are an attempt to create a digital economy without government oversight. Merchants around the world already accept them in exchange for real goods. It is nontaxable, untraceable, uncontrollable. Independent of national currencies or inflation rates. Really good idea, but only in concept.

To get them, you set your computer to "mining" them. The computer runs an algorithm, basically just number crunching. When it finds the answer, it communicates with a bitcoin server, which validates the result and appends it to previous results. To their credit, I went over the technical details and it seems very difficult to hack or cheat the system. Unfortunately, nothing productive is accomplished. The algorithm isn't looking for a cure for cancer, alien life, or prime numbers. Just garbage.

Of course, you have to pay for electricity, and the program runs your computer at max speed (to mine coins faster). That means your hardware burns itself out very fast; think cutting the life of your CPU by two-thirds. The untraceable nature makes it difficult to handle refunds, but worse, attracts criminals like a blue-light special on AK-47s. Because nothing useful is accomplished and it isn't backed by any real material, the bitcoin economy is susceptible to large shifts in value (inflation and deflation).

My thought is bitcoins will die off in time. There is a cap on how many are allowed to exist; once that cap is reached, bitcoin value will hyperinflate and stay overvalued. Without a flow of bitcoins in the world economy, merchants will stop accepting them. That would induce hyper-deflation. Not a safe place to put real money, and probably not worth destroying your hardware to mine them. And if bitcoins ever became a significant percentage of an economy, you can bet governments would "nationalize" the system or pass laws to control it somehow, irregardless of legality or morality.

To make it even more sketchy, bitcoins by nature are not regulated by any country or government. So the guys running them are just that- guys. I have no idea what their real motives are. Supposedly, they just want digital money independent of government controls and regulations- think capitalism at its most fundamental level- but they have control over the whole system. So you are really just trading government control for private control, which isn't really any better. At least I understand governmental bias and can anticipate their bad decisions.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Thanks - that explained a few things. Nice one 8)

That does sound potentially very sketchy - though I too, appreciate the sentiment of of a totally independent currency system. In practice however, I expect it is a lure for criminal elements and your absolutely right about control being imposed if it reaches a certain size.

It would be soo much better if the computing time was put to a productive use - then I might consider buying into it.

Still it's an interesting experiment if nothing else - creating real world value, to trade for goods from computing time alone is an achievement in itself IMO.

However, I can't help but feel that because the process creates nothing productive, it's inherent value is...zero. Though I suppose there is an argument there regarding the burning out of hardware: in that having to replace it more often, stimulates economic activity and this is the payback from it all.

After all you don't get something for nothing :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Even without the hardware or electricity issue, you are essentially offering your computer's computing power for bitcoins. But I'm with you; because nothing productive is actually happening, it is all based on perception.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting issue...
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 7:23 am 
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True...but...

- just playing Devil's advocate here -

but isn't all currency based on perception to a fairly large degree? After all to have a 'run' on any particular currency need only require people to perceive that that currency is falling, or about to fall, in value - fairly irrespective of the real facts.

It's the difference between the accepted, perceived truth (that the vast majority believe) and the actual real truth - which I often find gets dumped by the wayside when it comes into contact with human bias and perception.

I put forward the recent global economic problems as a fine example of such - whilst undoubtedly founded in real problems, it was utterly exacerbated by the media (and everyone else) talking up the problem - if we didn't have global media/communications I don't think the problem would have been nearly as bad. Not that I'm advocating to get rid of these things but I do think there's a lesson to be learnt there:

The more you talk up a problem, the bigger the problem is perceived to be...
...and thus the bigger it actually becomes.


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