Semi-VR experience for Elite:Dangerous with EDTracker

These days I’m trying to return back to at least one of the games, which I played for quite a while. Eve Online seems to be dead for me. I’m still having quite good resources there, but no heart in the gameplay. It was great when I was part of a community, kind of the same when I was part of the WoW community. But now both games have lost my long-term commitment to them, precisely because they’re not that much of a fun alone (although I played good, nine to twelve months alone when I was doing T2 ammo production chain in Eve).

I brought Elite up to date and after login I found myself good 400LY from my base. When I started studying (e.g. quitted playing) I was planning an Exploration expedition in order to impress one of the Engineers (Elite NPC). And even since my poor toon stayed in the cold, vast, empty space alone for almost two years. Good that it most probably has a stasis chamber, otherwise I’d probably find it mentally derailed from such prison. Anyways…

I had to fine-tune my joystick. Lucky enough, I made a detailed description of how to configure Thrust GXT 39 for my gameplay.

But… I stroke a substantial stopper, when I tried to reconfigure my “VR-like” device. The computer, which had device successfully configured was reinstalled due to a hardware issue, so I had no working reference. And I was quite worried, not only because the device was not cheap (~£50), but because I needed it for my gameplay. It helps tremendously to use it, when you’re in battle fight, as you need to look around to see better your targets. Elite:Dangerous is quite realistic on this end and just like the pilots, you cannot do dogfight just using your radar and instruments.

My issue with this little piece of hardware was two-fold: for one, I forgot what was the name of it, and for two, it had no name on the box at all. I saw literally hundreds of USB devices, I was too lazy to do USB log plug/unplug diagnostics, but it was still a “last resort” measure.

I started with wild search, one like “device maps head rotation to elite dangerous viewpoint rotation”. Fortunately, the fourth result was precisely what I was looking for: it brought back my memory about the name of the device: EDTracker. From then on it was easy:

  1. I located the shop of the manufacturer. I felt very nice to see they’re developing: they were a group of enthusiasts offering “by exception” a boxed product, today they’re developing versions of it, it’s packaged (and there’s finally a mark on the box what the device is).
  2. Downloaded a few versions of their enthusiast’s application, which should tune up the device. It did not work. Tried older version, didn’t work either. Then I realized that I probably have what they call today the “Pro” version of EDTracker. Downloaded the “Pro” application and then it worked like a charm.

I configured the device, then configured Elite:Dangerous. Here’s my configuration, which worked best for me. Probably, if you place the device somewhere else on your headset, you’ll have to change it.

For my case, here’s how the EDTracker Pro Configurator is set:

I will probably have to fine tune a bit the parameters, but even the default ones worked for me. Setting up a “reset” key is mandatory. This is a cheap solution, which often goes out of tune and needs a “zero level” head position reset. I use it most often when I look something outside the screen, too far left or right (most often something out of the game). After this I need to reset it.

My Elite:Dangerous “Headturn” menu looks like this:

With these two all worked perfectly. I wonder would it work that nice in games like World of Warcraft or Eve Online…

Amazing Experience with a Crashed Windows (Update)

Today I had one quite incredible experience with a friend’s ASUS notebook, and in particular, the crashed Windows OS on it. On boot, the machine immediately died with a BSOD, showing an error message “A certificate for ______ cannot be verified.” It then offered to either enter the UEFI BIOS or to “call an administrator for help.” As I was their “administrator”, they called me and handed me the notebook, which I was looking with a jaw dropped. No one knew how this happened, no one could give me hints about the reason behind the situation, in which the machine was found.

There was one thing, which made the situation even more interesting: machine’s original Windows product key was lost and I was absolutely unsure if during reinstall the machine picks it up from the BIOS or anywhere else, especially because the machine was purchased “naked” and the OS was purchased separately. For some reason, the key was not stuck to the body of the PC.

Anyway, I had no other option but to create Windows 10 Installation Media and to hope all would be OK. The machine was dead anyway.

After I put the USB key in the machine, I found it does not pick up correctly the bootable USB and it does not offer it to me as a bootable device choice. I was very close to giving up when I found “Manually add boot device”, and somehow succeeded to add the USB key as such.

Now it was time to be absolutely surprised!

After it booted from the USB, I was expecting Windows installation prompt, but instead, it showed the Windows Update installation progress, at 88%. My jaw dropped. For one thing, now I knew what (of course!) went wrong. This was an obvious case of Windows Update gone wrong. But on the other hand, I was astonished by the fact that it succeeded to continue with the update progress.

88%…95%…100%… and then reboot. The USB key was still there, so it picked up again from it and then continued to Windows Update phase 2, applying the update, which before has gone wrong. Ten or so minutes later (the notebook is not very high end), it loaded the login screen of the installation, which I never believed I will see again: the one, which was on the PC already.

I suspected the installation is now fully fixed. But since I was not sure what would happen once the USB is removed, I logged in with one primary task: to extract the official product key of the setup for further use.

The machine seemed to be in perfect health, so I proceeded to the task.

My first try was with (this video). Unfortunately, the method described there showed nothing: just empty contents, like there’s no product key there.

The second try was with Belarc Advisor, as described by the second video in my query. This program succeeded to pull out the information I needed, I had now the precious Windows Product Key.

The second step was to reboot and remove the USB. Once I did that my expectations were it would pick up without a problem the (already fixed by the finalized update process) original installation.

My expectation was correct. I rebooted the machine, removed the USB key, and it booted correctly.

I do not know if the Windows Update process was forcefully interrupted, which caused the malfunction of the boot process. But I’m very pleasantly surprised by how robust Windows Recovery process is nowadays. I even did not ask for myself to enter recovery, the USB boot process automatically discovered that the Windows, which is installed on the HDD, is in-between updates, and finalized these. Not sure if this is a “by design” functionality, or somehow I triggered it, but the fact it sparred the installation and probably a new Windows license purchase was quite nice.

My task with this setup now is to put it to the latest Windows April 2018 update. A much easier task, compared to what I originally expected!

The moral of the story? When you see any of these, never, ever turn off the PC. Sit and wait. Or you will need your “administrator” 🙂 и креативността screen crop

(cc-by-nc-sa) David @ Flickr

За какво може да се пише в един блог? Досега не са ми хрумвали много общи идеи, които да помогнат на креативността, когато през деня наистина не се случва нищо, което да я стимулира.

Когато съм на пътуване е лесно. Описваш си деня, слагаш интересни снимки и така се получава сравнително интересно четиво. Какво правим обаче, ако целия ден не се е случвало нищо, което да си струва да се отбележи?
Ако стане нещо грозно или някакъв проблем, пак е лесно. Решаваш да изразиш мнението си и обикновено, когато започнеш да навлизаш в проблема, винаги има какво повече да добавиш.

Да предположим обаче, че става въпрос за обикновен работен ден. Какво правим тогава? Не, че е скучно, но там не можеш директно да пишеш конкретика, особено ако си в позиция, в която работиш с човешки проблеми, които не само, че не са твои, ами и би било изключително некоректно и предаващо доверието на хората, ако започнеш да ги споделяш.Тогава няма за какво “да се хванеш”, че да стане интересен материал.

Навремето бях решил да си отбелязвам теми, по които бих искал да пиша. Да, ама и тема след тема, накрая точките се изчерпват?

Откакто намерих “750 думи” обаче, нещта като че ли идват леко на място. Авторите на тази услуга помагат за стимулиране на ежедневната креативност по много прост начин. Използвайки сайта, и особено вземайки участие в “месечното предизвикателство”, се задължаваш да пишеш всеки ден, редовно, по 750 думи. Това са, горе-долу, около 3 страници текст. Текстовете, които пишеш, са си за твоя лична употреба. Единственото нещо, което сайтът ти брои, са думите. Дори няма смисъл да са смислени думи, важното е да са 750 и повече. Ако искаш мамѝ, ще измамиш себе си, на никой друг не му пука. То си е за теб: ако не го използваш по предназначение, по-добре спри да го използваш (и да си плащаш за това).

Ако обаче го използваш и действително пишеш по теми, тогава се оказва, че постепенно, след няколко седмици употреба, започваш сам да си намираш лесно теми, по които да пишеш. Поне при мен така се получава, засега.
Използвам “750 думи” от приблизително два месеца. Първият месец е “пробния”, през който можеш безплатно да оцениш дали ще ти се отрази добре подобен инструмент. След него вече започваш да си плащаш. Цената е напълно поносима, USD5/месец. Ако се погледнат често задаваните въпроси, то става ясно и какво точно, как и защо сайтът изисква от потребителите си.

Ако правилно си спомням, тази услуга е семеен бизнес, което ме кара да се чувствам още по-добре, използвайки я. И поне при мен върши работа, затова мога да я препоръчам на всички, които (като мен) понякога изпадат в творчески запек.

Setting up Thrust Gamepad GXT 39 to work with Elite:Dangerous

Trust GXT 39 Wireless Gamepad is great gamepad, which is quite nice for playing with Elite:Dangerous. I did not want to go to the ridiculously expensive (and large) joysticks, so I decided to try how it’ll work with a gamepad, which I can hold with my hands.

Overall: it’s great, but setting up Elite to work “my way” with it turned out to be a hassle.

Finally, after many attempts, this is my permanent (for now) setup, based on “Generic Joystick” setup from Elite. This post here is for my own future reference, but I thought someone could find it useful for his own needs, too!

To configure it, First of all, start/set “Generic Joystick” setup (warning: this will override your current setup, if it’s custom).

Now do the following customizations:

Setting the Pitch/Roll/Yaw/Vertical Thrust axises mapping to the left/right joysticks of the gamepad

  • Set “Yaw Axis” to [Joy-XAxis], no invert
  • Set “Roll Axis” to [Joy-ZAxis], no invert
  • Set “Pitch Axis” to [Joy-YAxis], no invert
  • Set “Vertical Thrust Axis” to [Joy-RZAxis], WITH invert





Setting additional Landing mode controls

For Landing mode, set Thrust Up/Down/Left/Right to JOY-POV1-UP etc., like on the picture below:


This will give you nice extra control, when your landing gear is deployed.

Gamepad Buttons Configuration

My gamepad buttons are configured according to the following table:

No Action
1 Target Ahead
2 Thrust Up
3 Thrust Down
4 Engine Boost
5 <<FREE>>

Still looking for what to put there!

6 Interface focus
7 Secondary Fire
8 Primary Fire
9 Enable FSD
10 Deploy / Retract Hardpoints
11 <So far, cannot find way to activate>?
12 <So far, cannot find way to activate>?

Here’s how the button mapping looks:


Pre-flight Checklist

For final verification, here’s also my pre-flight checklist:

Have fun! And if you found this useful, drop me a line here. Also, if you have suggestions, let me know Smile.

You’ll find me in Elite:Dangerous as CMDR DonAngel.

Пресен Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 и подаване на ДДС декларация

Днес за малко си помислих, че съм ударил първата сериозна греда в опита ми с Windows 8.

Преди няколко дни с голям кеф инсталирах Windows 8 Enterprise на служебния ноутбук. Засега мога да кажа, че не съм виждал по-неусетна и безпроблемна инсталация, мислех че с Windows 7 са постигнали почти “инсталационна нирвана”, но Windows 8 ме впечатли още повече.

След това повече от седмица безпроблемна работа, свиквам с новото, и новото определено е по-добро от старото!

И така, днес дойде ред за подаване на ДДС декларацията. Имам електронен подпис от Infonotary, регистриран надлежно, преди няколко дни без проблем подадох декл.1 и декл.6 за осигуряването. Тях обаче човек може да ги подава и с Firefox (използвайки detached signature), докато от “доволния” Стоян Мишинев зная, че ДДС може да се подава само и единствено през IE (една от причините той да държи виртуална машина с Windows, не е ли кеф 🙂 ? ).

Та днес получих файловете от счетоводителя и започнах подаването. Пускам си аз Internet Explorer (10), влизам в НАП (успешна оторизация на е-подписа), кликам в/у ДДС, получавам си предупреждението, че ми трябва ActiveX контрол, казвам “Install”… и край. Толкова, нищо не се случва. Internet Explorer 10 е по-различен (много по-добър като цяло от предишните), но явно разработчиците на контролата още не са я “донастроили” за новата версия.

След като попсувах порядъчно и си представих как целия ми ден отива в хартиено подаване на ДДС (лъжа, имам доста виртуални машини с Win 7, но въпроса е принципен, нали така?), пробвах да видя дали не се е случило чудо и да поддържат и Firefox например. Е, чудо нямаше… не го поддържат. Значи, трябваше да се борим с Internet Explorer 10.

Решението е много елементарно, за хора специалисти този материал хич няма смисъл, но за неспециалисти (счетоводители и т.н.) мисля, че ще е полезен.

Ето как излязох от проблемната ситуация (говорим за Windows 8 с работен плот (desktop), това няма да работи с Windows RT tablet):

1. Натискате еднократно Windows+F, за да влезете в режим “търсене”.

2. Написвате “Internet Explorer” в полето, ще видите нещо като това:

Ако не видите нищо, вероятно търсите във “Файлове” (“Files”), трябва да търсите в “Приложения” (Applications), вижте кое е светлозеленото (т.е., избраното) поле под текста, който съм въвел по-горе!

3. Натискате десния бутон на мишката върху прясно намерения Internet Explorer. Този бутон, който обикновено ви показва контекстното меню. Екрана ще се смени на нещо като това:

4. От там избирате “Run as Administrator” (петия бутон в моя случай). Ако нямате Run as Administrator, значи вие нямате право да администрирате компютъра. В този случай трябва да потърсите този, който ви поддържа компютъра (син/дъщеря, брат/сестра, баща/майка, съпруг(а), тетко/тетка, други роднини или колегата-администратор, ако сте на работа). Те ще знаят как да се оправят, ако не – покажете им този материал.

5. След като изберете “Run as Administrator”, нещата ще се случат. Или поне се случиха при мен:


How to resolve: Impossible to start Hyper-V Virtual Machine on Asus Barebone

I’ve got three barebones, configured as high-performance PCs at the office. The usage of these PCs was decided to be Hyper-V servers, which test team would setup and use for their dark matters.

All that was great, with the exception of one: No virtual machine could successfully start! We successfully installed and configured Hyper-V Servers, but then any virtual machine, doesn’t matter imported or new, would fail startup with the dreadfull message “<virtual machine name> could not initialize”. Very helpful, as you can imagine.

I contacted my best source for any virtualization issue whatsoever: Alex Miloev! The situation became even darker, as he was not able at the moment to help deeper, and I exhausted more or less any “simple” fix I could imagine. Solutions from the newsgroups suggested what I already did (stuff like “turn on your processor virtualization flag”, Doh!).

I was desperate to the degree, where I started looking for and downloading VMWare ESXi 5.0. Knowing what risky business this is, I guess you do understand my desperation 🙂 .

The thing, whcih did it, I found almost by accident. This very interesting hotfix You cannot start virtual machines on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and on which a CPU is installed that supports the AVX feature did the charm. I was not initially sure, since I did not know / I was not able to check if my disks were of this kind, but I decided to try it.

And the miracle happened! All worked like a charm! First on one of the machines: all was OK. Then the other two – just installation of the fix itself removed the obstacle and all VMs started normally!

Microsoft, however, offered very weird way of delivering the hotfix! I never received hotfix download link by e-mail, I guess this is something of the new stuff, which Microsoft constantly tries to change (actually, to make it better, but it’s not always better). Nevermind that, the hotfix link came, it worked and now my machines are working like a charm.