The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Monthly Archives: January 2013

German Model Railroading Epochs

German model railroaders have long divided railroading history into several epochs, with Roman numerals. While these epochs are, naturally, based on the German timeline, they are applicable to wide parts of Europe.

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All Four Tomb Raider II Demos

There were, in total, no less than four demos for Tomb Raider II. Even within the Tomb Raider series, where two demos for one game are not uncommon, this is unique. I have them all up for download now.

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The Tumblr is Gone

I’m not exactly sure what happened, but the Tumblr for Download Central, that I announced in the previous post, is suddenly gone. I didn’t delete it. I was notified by Tumblr that there were strange goings-on in my account, and prompted to change my password, which I did. Should someone actually have hacked the account and deleted the Tumblr? It seems rather silly.

I can’t simply start it again at the same URL, it is blocked now, and in any case all the posts would be gone. I’m not sure if I will take steps to restore it. For now, it’s gone.

A Tumblr for Download Central

A week ago I started a Tumblr for Download Central. Meanwhile it has 24 posts and is quite presentable, so I’m presenting it here.

I made it mainly as an easy way for people who are on Tumblr to follow the updates on Download Central. I post every new upload as a photo post, usually with the original screenshot, in some rare cases I resize it to 4:3. New lists or sections are posted as a link.

But besides, I intend it to grow into a sort of database. In between the updates, I post older files too. I tag each post rather extensively, basically most of what I write into the “Steckbrief” on the site itself. It will take some time, but in a couple of months most of the site should be covered.

Update 2013-01-16: The Tumblr has been deleted, not sure by whom, not sure why, but it’s gone.

Free Mediawiki Skins

This blog was last updated in November 2009 and is probably dead, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Check out “dark” for rather atypical MediaWiki skins.

CGA Games for Download

I have added a list of all the CGA games on Download Central. There are currently thirty-two of them, dating from 1982 to 1995. One was even updated in 2002!

CMS Blues

Last summer, I systematically researched CMSes. It was a very frustrating experience. The most irritating thing is that none of the developers seem capable of describing the features of their product in simple, understandable terms to help you make an informed decision. Instead you get marketing buzzwords like “powerful”, “versatile”, “rich flexibility” and whatnot. And that goes for the free ones too!

To explain what I mean let me describe in simple, understandable terms the features of one of the very few CMSes I have personal experience with, MediaWiki:

  • Main elements are pages (articles) and categories.
  • For editing pages, a special, very simple markup is used. Line breaks are preserved.
  • The title of a page is its internal ID. Enclosing a word or phrase in double brackets will link to a page with this title, if it exists. If it does not exist, it will link to an editor where you can create it.
  • You add a page to a category simply by putting a link to it, which will be displayed in the footer. The category list is updated automatically.
  • You can put categories into categories.
  • The category page can be edited, everything that can go on a page can go here as well. This content is displayed above the automatically generated list.
  • You can upload files, they automatically get a description page that can be edited.
  • You can create templates, which can easily be inserted into any page.
  • Main drawback is a high server load, especially with images, and a rather bland, cluttered layout with few interesting themes.

That shouldn’t be to difficult, now, should it? But try finding a similar description for Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, or whatever. You won’t.

Categories on WordPress Pages

I didn’t know that there are more than 23,000 WordPress plugins. There are. New ones are added all the time. Between my first and second visit to the page the number increased by three. It’s kinda crazy. How are you supposed to find anything?

Anyway, there’s one I find especially interesting. It goes by the name Map Categories to Pages and allows you to put pages into categories just like blog items. I think that’s a very good idea, and it’s a pity that WordPress doesn’t support it by default.

Even as it is, WordPress should be a fairly good CMS for smallish sites, say, up to around a hundred pages. Some themes (Greyzed and Adventure Journal for example) support custom menus. Typically, you get a horizontal bar that might hold up to a dozen entries, with a drop-down menu for each. This system could probably support about a hundred pages before it becomes to unwieldy. With categories on pages, this number should increase significantly.

Of course the question is whether the WordPress developers want to move their product away from a mere blogging system. Maybe they don’t. But that would be a pity, because I see more and more blogs anyway that aren’t blogs in the traditional sense, but just use the software as an easy, accessible CMS.

That Year 1996…

I just checked: The year with the highest number of files on Download Central is 1996. A site search for “Year: 1996” brought 224 results. It goes down in both directions from there.

Brushing up Download Central

Those of you who are following me on Twitter or are still subscribed to the RSS will already have noticed: I’ve started updating Download Central again. So far, there are three new games:

Besides, you can now download the full version of 5X. When I visited the Speed-Strip website I noticed they no longer sell the game, but offer the full version for download. I’ve removed the Windows installer, the game doesn’t run well under XP anyway, play it in DOSBox.

There are three new “game concept” pages, for Pac-Man, Paratrooper, and SameGame, and there is, finally, a site search. At the moment, there is only one search box on the whole site, on the home page. I have a little problem here: I have a few positions where I can put something on every page site-wide, but unfortunately none of them is really well fit for a search box. I’ll come up with something, but it might take a bit.

Finally, I have started a Tumblr especially for Download Central. It will mainly serve to announce updates, but it should also grow into a searchable database over time, something that is difficult for me to implement on the site itself.