Archive for the 'Wii' Category



21
Jan
07

A Wii post everyone can enjoy

This video comes courtesy of Ben Kuchera at Arstechnica.com, which is a website I frequent with, well, great frequency. It’s basically a poorly shot video of someone getting a hole-in-one while playing golf in the German version of Wii Sports. The German expression for “hole in one” is “das Einlochen mit dem ersten Schlag” (courtesy of dict.leo.org), which doesn’t exactly have a great ring to it (even for German speakers). So, the game developers used a different term to note the achivement, which you’ll see at the end of the video.

And now, to the video.

Finally, after watching the video, to ease your bewilderment, a translation.

16
Jan
07

Hacking the Wavebird

My apologies to my readers who are not interested in the Nintendo Wii – this is another Wii-related post.

Anyway, as you may or may not know, the Wii is backward compatible with the Nintendo GameCube. In fact, this backward compatibility is real, not emulated. So, when you start playing a GameCube game, the system stops functioning as a Wii and no longer responds to the Wii Remotes. However, you can still play your GameCube games wirelessly if you buy the wireless “Wavebird” controller originally released for the GameCube. This consists of a controller with a built-in transmitter and a separate receiver that plugs into a GameCube controller port on the Wii. Unfortunately, this is the only wireless controller for the GameCube – all the others require you to plug the controller directly into the controller ports. However, yesterday it occurred to me that I might be able to hack the Wavebird so that I could plug other wired controllers into it and use the transmitter in it in order to use other controllers wirelessly as well. This would be particularly useful in that it would allow me to use my “DK Bongo” controllers from the comfort of my couch.

Here’s how it would work:
I assume that, internally, the Wavebird contains a GameCube controller like any wired GameCube controller. However, instead of the controller output going directly to the console over a wire, it is connected to the wireless transmitter. It seems to me that if I can open the controller up and splice a switch and a female controller port in between the controller and the wireless transmitter, I could make it possible to plug other wired controllers into the Wavebird, effectively making them wireless.

There are a couple of obstacles to this plan right now.
First, in order to confirm my assumption about the internal wiring of the Wavebird, I need to open it up. This requires a small tri-wing screwdriver with a long shaft. While I could head over to Microcenter and pick up a set of specialty screwdriver bits, actual tri-wing screwdrivers are tough to come by. Unfortunately, in this case, a bit set won’t work because some of the screws are recessed in holes that are both deep and narrow – too narrow to accommodate bits from a bit set. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I could buy individual tri-wing screwdrivers?

Second, providing that my assumptions about the internal wiring of the controller are correct, I need to find a source of female GameCube controller ports. I guess I could try to buy broken GameCube consoles or something but I’d like to keep my costs as low as possible.

If it turns out that the hack is easy and the necessary parts are plentiful and cheap, I might consider selling these things. There are a number of non-standard controllers for the GameCube, like the “DK Bongos” and the “Action Pad”, so people who are interested in using these controllers but have their home entertainment centers set up in a way that precludes plugging them directly into the built-in controller ports would probably be interested in a product that enables them to use these controllers wirelessly. This seems like an elegant solution because it also mimics the model used in the Wii Remote which offers the ability to plug peripheral controllers into the main wireless controller.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions, please pass them along. Also, it’s very possible (even probable) that someone has already done this hack. If you know of such a hack, please pass along the link. I won’t be offended.

12
Jan
07

The computers of Middle-Earth

This post will pretty much out me as a huge nerd, though I’m guessing that all my previous posts have probably taken care of that already.

Yesterday, I registered my fourth static IP address and hostname with MIT. I needed a fourth because I now have 3 computers and a Wii at home, all of which access the network using static IP addresses. Yesterday’s new hostname also marked the third The Lord of the Rings-related hostname I’ve registered. The hostnames I’ve chosen are as follows (in chronological order):

  1. rechner“: I chose this in the fall of 2003 when Heather and I got our then-new home desktop machine. It has nothing to do with Tolkien because I wasn’t into The Lord of the Rings at that point. Anyway, it simply means “computer” in German, which I think is pretty appropriate for a machine we use for general computing.
  2. imladris“: This is the machine that hosts this blog. Imladris is the Elvish (Sindarin) name for a refuge and home for the Elves in Middle-Earth, more commonly known as Rivendell. I chose this name because this machine would be my online home, hosting my family’s photo galleries and my blog. Also, I chose Imladris instead of Rivendell, because Rivendell was already taken… (Update: Imladris no longer hosts this blog. In fact, Imladris has been retired.)
  3. ainulindale“: I honestly have no idea how to pronounce this. This is the Elvish (Quenya) word for the song sung by Iluvatar and the Ainur that created the world, which is discussed in The Silmarillion, rather than any of the Lord of the Rings books. I chose this for my Apple AirPort Express, which I bought to stream iTunes music from my computer to my stereo. I have since retired my AirPort Express due to the unreliable nature of our building’s wireless network and its inability to stream audio sources other than iTunes. It has since been replaced by a Griffin RocketFM. When I got my Wii, I used this hostname for it, which is still somewhat appropriate given the ethereal music that plays on the Wii menu.
  4. orthanc“: This is the Elvish (Sindarin) word for the tower at Isengard, where Saruman lived. I chose this name because the corresponding computer is a black tower, just like Orthanc. I also considered the name “palantir” or “palantiri”, which are the so-called “seeing stones” in The Lord of the Rings, since it will be used for recording television, which itself means “far sight”. However, I haven’t fully decided if the long-term purpose of this machine will be for running Linux and MythTV or whether I will convert it to a Windows Home Server machine when that comes out. So, I thought it would be better to name it according to its appearance rather than its function.

Owning a copy of Robert Foster’s The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth helped immensely with the choosing of these names. Not only that, if you’re interested in reading any work by Tolkien, I would recommend having a copy of this book next to you at all times, so you can look up unfamiliar terms as you read. It will help you get a lot more out of his books than you would get without it.

Finally, lest you think I’m really strange, I would like to point out that lots of people choose names from literature (or other realms of knowledge) to name their computers. For example, my advisor has a policy of naming all the computers in his research group after characters from Dickens novels.

07
Jan
07

Look for me on the next PGA tour

Now that I’m a golf pro, I should be able to tear it up with Tiger Woods, et al.  On my last 9 hole round, I finished 7 under par, with a hole in one.

colin_golf_pro.JPG
05
Jan
07

First Mii Contest

After having the Wii in my possession for almost 3 weeks, I finally got to play it when my family and I celebrated Christmas on Dec. 22nd.  One of the first activities was creating Miis for myself, Heather and other family members.  I spent relatively little time on mine, but got a satisfactory result after probably only 10 minutes or so.

colin_mii_tennis.JPG

With mine complete, we moved on to Heather’s.  This proved to be much more difficult.  In fact, we have gone through probably 4 iterations and we’re still not all that happy with the result.  So, since we are having little success ourselves, we thought it would be a good idea to have the first subject in the Mii contest be Heather, whose chose her name on the Wii to mimic the name she uses when she posts comments on my blog, namely “Your Wife.”

I had mentioned before that there is a flash interface online for making Miis.  However, once I started using the editor on the Wii, I discovered that the flash interface provides much more customizability than the editor on the Wii.  So, in order to ensure that the Mii contest produces winners that can actually be used on the Wii, I will restrict entries to the contest to those created using the actual Mii editor on the Wii.  Perhaps this will provide impetus for those of you who want a Wii but haven’t yet purchased one to get out there and buy one.  Incidentally, this site reports that Best Buy will have a ton (eg. ~150 each) of Wiis on January 15th.  So, if you’re still having a hard time finding one, this may be your chance.

For those of you interested in participating in the contest, pictures of my wife can be found below. Continue reading ‘First Mii Contest’




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