Swords and Software

News Archive (GCCv2)

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See Latest News. There were no news between 2015 and 2020.

News from GCC version 2 (2010-2014)

4th October 2014

Minesweeper 4 IMAPTalk beta 1 is out! Get it at the IMAPTalk homepage. Below is an overview of what's new from the IMAPTalk homepage, and you can also read the release notes for more detail.

For version 2, IMAPTalk has undergone a major overhaul - it now uses the latest asynchronous technologies and has been optimised for dealing with large amounts of data. It has many usability enhancements, and some new features such as chess server support and the new Analyze Window, allowing you to select text and view its IMAP parse tree.

2nd September 2014

Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (
Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (

Lilly Notes beta 3 is now available. This release fixes many bugs and introduces some important features that were still missing, paving the way towards a stable product. Please try Lilly Notes, and let me know any feature requests you may have or bugs you might come across!

6th August 2014

Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (
Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (

Lilly Notes beta 2 has been released. This includes an important fix as well as a host of new features. The release notes are in the latest screenshot. Try it out, and please send me your feedback and bug reports!

4th August 2014

Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (
Screenshot of Lilly Notes beta release (

I have just released a beta version of Lilly Notes, my latest software project. Check it out!

29th September 2013

Minesweeper 4 I have just released Minesweeper 4, my latest Minesweeper clone written in C# and WPF for Windows operating systems. Check it out!

2nd May 2013

I've just launched my new blog, Programmer's Ranch. This blog will feature regular programming tutorials at all levels. It kicked off with a beginner tutorial on C# Basics: Input and Output.

10th February 2013

I've added a page with the endgame quotes for Deus Ex, which I just finished playing for the fourth time. I also added a screenshot [PNG] of one of the scenes in the endgame of Spear of Destiny, which I played through again sometime last year.

19th January 2013

I've written an article about How to use the C++ STL Priority Queue and added it to the Data Structures page.

26th October 2012

I'm now selling my hotel deposits software, and also accepting donations to support the information and tools provided here for free.

14th October 2012

I've added a section about the history of the game industry to the Game Info page, with links to selected stories concerning Blizzard, id Software, Ion Storm and EA.

23rd September 2012

I've done some maintenance throughout the website today, adding new links and removing dead ones. Among other things I removed the old Free Software page, as its content is no longer relevant today.

21st September 2012

IMAPTalk v. 1.1.2 is now available. Among the many new features, you can now use IMAPTalk as an email notifier with your IMAP account.

11th September 2012

IMAPTalk v. 1.0.5 has been released, with several new features including automatable login and folder selection, notification sounds, predefined servers, and several other minor improvements.

9th September 2012

I have just released the first version of IMAPTalk, my brand new project, and set up a project page for it.

8th September 2012

I added a new page about Email Technology, with a bunch of information about IMAP.

25th August 2012

I added some blog links to list of Maltese ICT Sites. I also added a new page about Physically Based Rendering, which is filed under a new section called "Specialised Topics". This new page gives links to useful information about a technique called Irradiance Caching. The NLP page has also been moved under the same section.

6th April 2012

I've reorganised the information pages into different categories, and made a few minor updates to some pages. The old Computer Science page is now called Data Structures.

21st January 2012

As of 2012, I will no longer be offering freelance services, which include custom PC building, web development, and software development. As a result, I have removed the relevant pages from this site.

19th November 2011

Energies focus I am pleased to announce that the Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough is now complete. New chapters added today include Levels 4 and 5 of the Azure Tower, all of the Crimson Tower, and the endgame. The whole walkthrough boasts almost a thousand screenshots.

Additionally, Eye of the Beholder fans will be pleased to know that Lands of Lore 1 and 2 are now available from Good Old Games, because the Lands of Lore series is a sort of spiritual successor to the Eye of the Beholder trilogy.

In other news, a new event taking place next week is the International Cyber Security Awareness Seminar. The event will take place on Wednesday 23rd November at 6pm at the MITA premises.

6th November 2011

Electrocution I've added the solution to Level 3 of the Azure Tower to the Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough.

3rd November 2011

I just added a new calendar to the Events page to keep better track of ICT events going on in Malta. The next event of interest is the lecture about Next Gen Browser Game Dev with Unity 3D, featuring Nick Porsche of Battlestar Galactica Online fame.

22nd October 2011

The Wall of Souls I've added a new Eye of the Beholder 2 information page with links to various bits of information about the game. I also continued the walkthrough, adding a new page on Azure Tower, Level 2. After playing through this level, I actually proceeded to quickly play through the rest of the game, without documenting my progress, to refresh my memory about the latter parts of the game. It turns out that only the next two levels are rather chunky; after that, it's plain sailing.

I've also been posting about many different things at Gigi on IT, so check it out for other updates.

2nd October 2011

A beholder The whole Silver Tower section, as well as the first level of the Azure Tower, are now available at my Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough.

29th September 2011

There is another good reason to visit Good Old Games today as they have just hit a respectable milestone of 6 million downloads. To celebrate this achievement, they are making available Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars for free for a couple of days. Grab the game while you still can!

24th September 2011

I've been a big fan of AD&D CRPGs for over 15 years, which is evident since I'm writing an Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough. Thus it is no surprise that Good Old Games' D&D classics promotion for this weekend drove me crazy.

Also, today is the second birthday of my games blog, Gigi on Games, which I am not really updating any more since it is actually easier for me to add game info to this site instead.

Finally, the page about me got a small update.

21st September 2011

The nightmare level and priests' quarters are now covered by my Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough, thus completing the Underground section of the walkthrough. Next stop: the Silver Tower!

14th September 2011

I have continued the Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough, both by giving the walkthrough a main page of its own, and by covering the Skeletal Legion level. I remember this level as being particularly challenging because you are outnumbered by this army of skeletons who are not only tough, but also practically immune to magic.

Originally, the trick to get through this was to take them on bit by bit and then run to a nearby room and rest. However, by boosting my party with Shorn and Calandra, and using just about every trick in the book, I managed to defeat the whole army at one go, without resting.

The next level is probably one of the most difficult, because you cannot rest at all, and you can't go back.

11th September 2011

The next chapter in my Eye of the Beholder 2 walkthrough, exploring the Catacombs beneath Darkmoon, is now available.

10th September 2011

I have started a walkthrough for Eye of the Beholder 2 - The Legend of Darkmoon. Although it is still in its infancy, I have made available detailed pages about the Introduction, Quick Start Party, Character Creation, The Forest and The Temple Darkmoon. This is only the beginning of the quest. If I find time to continue this walkthrough, the next step is the descent into the catacombs, which is where the real fun begins.

13th August 2011

There is a new addition to this site's online tools: the regular expressions testing tool. This tool works using PHP's implementation of Perl-compatible regular expressions (PCRE). There may be some differences with other implementations (e.g. .NET) but it should be useful for most regular expressions.

26th June 2011

Gigi's Computer Corner is now replacing Gigi's Gym as my main website. Gigi's Gym was launched on 2nd July 2007 (almost four years ago) to replace its predecessor (Daniel D'Agostino on the web) on the occasion of the birth of the nullneuron.net domain. These two main sites originally served to provide information about me that would be common to all my sites, but as I started removing information due to privacy, they became less and less relevant.

Gigi's Computer Corner also celebrates its fifth anniversary on 6th July 2011.

12th March 2011

I have added a walkthrough to the Orc Campaign in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (i.e. the expansion):

This campaign is particularly interesting because it differs from the rest of Warcraft 3 in many ways. It is more of an RPG than a strategy game; however there are a couple of massive battles towards the end. The campaign tells the tale of what happened to the Orcs and Humans in Kalimdor after the Battle of Mount Hyjal. It allows control of several new units, allows heroes to reach level 15, and even has sea battles, which were missing from the rest of the game.

The walkthrough is actually more of a playthrough, intended to show the beauty of the world that this campaign is set in, rather than guide players through it (I'm sure that there are several walkthroughs already, given that the expansion is seven years old). As such, it features over 400 screenshots.

4th December 2010

I've added a new article about Setting up MySQL 5.1.41 on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. To this end I also created a new page about Databases.

Also, note that an SDL Quickstart for Linux: Empty Window tutorial has been added to my IT blog.

14th November 2010

Although in recent days I have not had much time to add anything substantial to this site, I am posting the occasional short article to my IT blog, Gigi on IT, in the event of random interesting encounters in the IT life. If this site is not updated in a while, check out the blog for any brief news posts.

25th September 2010

I have added a couple of pages presenting pieces of Diablo history. The first is a playthrough of Archbishop Lazarus' domain in Diablo 1, while the second is a revisiting of Tristram in Diablo 2.

7th September 2010

I've written a little walkthrough of Warcraft 3 Orc Chapter 5 (Grom vs Cenarius) with lots of screenshots.

17th July 2010

GLaDOS at the end of Portal Yesterday I replayed Portal in a couple of hours, and took some screenshots which are now available on this site.

11th July 2010

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter For this weekend only, Croteam allowed Steam users to play Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter for free. I took the opportunity to play through it and take over 250 screenshots of the beautiful places you visit while playing. There is a new listing in the games page with links to said screenshots.

I first played Serious Sam sometime around 2001-2002. It struck me because of its fun attitude - it was fun to wipe out the hordes of weird monsters that would be thrown at you at all times, and to smirk at the clever one-liners and other humour scattered throughout each game. Now, Serious Sam is being remade by the same developers using their latest technology - Serious Engine 3, whose beauty can be admired in the screenshots mentioned above.

6th July 2010

Gigi's Computer Corner is 4 years old today!

27th June 2010

Several months ago, the Windows 7 Release Candidate was released for people to try out. The condition was that shortly before the release of Windows 7, on 1st March 2010, it would start doing shutdowns every 2 hours; and also that as from 1st June 2010 it would cease functioning altogether and not allow people to log in any more.

For several times this month, I booted the Win7 RC just to see if it really had stopped working. In fact it still works, just that it does occasionally log out on its own (more or less every 2 hours), where it asks you to activate Windows (but you can opt out of it and login again). It also complains about not being genuine (throwing a blank wallpaper and some text near the clock). But otherwise you can still use it normally.

I own two original licenses of Windows 7 (Home Premium and Ultimate) so I obviously have no intention of using the RC as a sort of pirated copy (which can't even find my optical drive, by the way). But for those who do, the RC must be a kind of gift from Microsoft, I guess...

12th June 2010

Every day the same dream I have continued to come across games which are very simple in nature and yet which artistically convey a deeper meaning, as would a poem or a painting. Each of these games have been added to the listing under the Game Info page.

Read my article about Games with Meaning, which discusses Every day the same dream, Don't Look Back and Passage.

11th June 2010

Braid Following the nice experience I had yesterday playing the demo of Braid, I decided to look for similar games. A particularly entertaining game I found is Knytt, a Windows platform game characterised by its intense exploration, fast-paced wall-climbing action, and cute atmosphere. Although it in no way compares to Braid, it is a great way of spending a couple of spare hours. Check out my review of Knytt, and/or go to the Knytt website and try it out!

10th June 2010

Braid Today I tried the demo of Braid, an independent video game, and was greatly impressed with the overall experience it offers. It is a breath of fresh air to people who have been waiting many years to play a game that is new in spirit, not just in graphics. This game presents a revolutionary way of manipulating time, amid stunning artwork and a thought-provoking narrative. Read more about it in my first look at Braid.

8th May 2010

Kodu I have begun looking into Kodu, a project at Microsoft Research aimed at making game programming accessible to children through the use of a simple graphical programming language.

To this end I have added a section about Kodu to the game development page, and also added a new article called "Kodu: Understanding Pages".

I have also added a site map to the site.

29th April 2010

Added a page listing Maltese ICT Websites - a focal point for anyone interested in anything ICT-related in Malta.

Also, if you're interested in open source, don't miss tomorrow's event!

22nd April 2010

Added a section for Tech Events in Malta. I have also been adding some information links throughout the site.

29th March 2010

Added a section about Maltese resources to the NLP page.

Also, I added a section on Visual Studio to the General Programming page, which includes my DevDays presentation on Visual Studio 2010.

27th March 2010

I added a whole section about Windows Phone 7 to the Operating Systems page, listing lots of links and also showing a couple of first programs I wrote for this new platform using XNA 4 and Silverlight.

21st March 2010

XNA Game Studio 4 Today I tried out XNA Game Studio 4 on Visual Studio 2010. Both software are pre-release editions, XNA Game Studio 4 being part of the Microsoft Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP (Community Technology Preview (CTP), and Visual Studio 2010 being the Release Candidate.

Aside is a screenshot of a simple ball and paddle game I made with XNA Game Studio 4 for the Windows Phone 7 platform (shown in an emulator). Support for Windows Phone 7 is, from what I've read, the biggest new feature of XNA Game Studio 4 - which otherwise hasn't changed all that much since version 3.1 as far as game development is concerned.

Developers interested in exploring this new ground can read the XNA Game Studio 4 FAQ or download it from the XNA Creators Club Online downloads page.

13th March 2010

Vectors I have added a new page dedicated to Maths and Physics, in which I will be including notes on said subjects, especially where relevant to particular areas of computing. As a first set of notes I have included some new notes on vectors [PDF], which are useful in game development.

Also, I have split the Games page into a Game Info page and a Game Development page. To the latter I have added some info on deploying XNA games.

18th February 2010

WindowsPager Win7 I've been wanting to be able to use virtual desktops in Windows for a long time. Finally, the search is over. Read my article about WindowsPager, a free and open-source program that will get virtual desktops working in any version of Windows from 2000 to the latest Windows 7.

16th February 2010

Banshee interface Today I tried to find a way to sync my iPod Touch with the Banshee media player, to see whether it would be possible to use the device with Linux and reduce dependency on iTunes. Although I managed to install Banshee and added a how-to for it, I had no luck with making the iPod Touch work with Banshee.

I have read about all kinds of hacks to get it to work, and others have said that it may not be possible for some versions of the device. Unlike the issues involving MP3s and similar basics which I ranted about last week, the iPod issue really is not the fault of any Linux distributor; from what I've read it's actually Apple who keeps trying to maintain the lock-in on their iTunes application.

On another note, there are new gameplay screenshots and levels at the Spectre VR page.

14th February 2010

HP Paper settings I added a whole page with information about the 1993 game Spectre VR. I also added a new section in the Games page called "Game Info", wherein I listed this new SVR page, as well as all the game info pages on my companion sites Dino's Ultima Page and Gigi on Games.

13th February 2010

10th February 2010

HP Paper settings Added a page about How to set up an HP LaserJet 1018 Printer on Fedora 12.

I also reorganised the Operating Systems page and removed the "My Linux Mysteries" section since I have solved all the basic Linux problems I have had in the past (i.e. Flash, printing, and MP3 playback).

It is ridiculous that it should take so much effort to set up such basic software. People making Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora should really handle these usability issues if they really want to advocate widespread adoption of Linux (as opposed to Windows) by end users.

9th February 2010

Updated the Operating Systems page with new links on Ubuntu and Fedora, and added the following information pages:

7th February 2010

I am offering some paid services including web development and custom PC building. New pages have been added to cover these services.

Also, I added a page that displays your IP address.

6th February 2010

G Gigi's Computer Corner has been relaunched with a completely new design and site structure. Since its first launch on 6th July 2006 (3 years and 7 months ago), it has existed as a single page. This was intentional, so as not to repeat the mistakes of its predecessors that made them so hard to maintain.

Now that GCC has grown, the content has been subdivided into logical sections, and the site has been redesigned to be much more visually appealing.

Older News

See the News Archive (GCCv1) for older news.