Monday, January 25, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The "i-Slate". No, not the mysterious Apple tablet

There's a current hype around the name "iSlate". Apparently (or at least according to what people suggests), Apple is going to release a tablet computer/oversized iPhone/whatever under that name. One clue to this is that Apple supposedly bought the domain name back in 2007. For more rumors about the iSlate you can go here.

But here I would like to point you to another "i-Slate", a small, handheld, tablet-computer-like educational device target. Points to note include: it's powered by a photovoltaic cells, therefore grid-independent; it's a dedicated device and does not have an OS; it uses low-power chips made from "probabilistic complementary metal-oxide semiconductors" (which means the chips don't do exact calculations but make approximates); and it's cheap (projected cost less than $40).

The creator of the i-Slate is IEEE Fellow Krishna Palem, a compsci professor at Rice.

See the original article here.

I wonder whether there will be trademark issues for Apple just like when Cisco had the "iphone" trademark...

Monday, January 11, 2010

This time 百度 is down! is down at the moment. Apparently the domain cannot be resolved; pinging results in requests timed out. Its homepage can be reached via, but you can't search, click on any links or see images. That's only natural since all the links/image srcs/etc are written as
DNS hijacking anyone?

Edit 1: It's 6:11 Central Time right now. Pinging now goes through to IP address, which, upon some googling, doesn't seem like any useful address. It's probably DNS hijacking then.

Monday, January 4, 2010

[DJMax]Part-Time File Fiddler: DJ Max Online note chart conversion tool

The DJMax series is my favorite music/rhythm games. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to play the original DJMax Online before it was shut down.

Some time ago I challenged myself to hack into the note charts, or *.pt files, for DJMax Online. It turned out to be pretty easy - no reverse-engineering required (although I don't know how to reverse-engineer an executable file anyway). Using some black-box observation, most of the specifications of pt files are easy to figure out, since there's no encryption of any sort.

So I wrote a tool that takes a pt file and turns out bms/bme files, so I could play around with them, edit in BMSE, play in beatmania simulators, and so on.

The tool is called Part-Time File Fiddler, a weird improvised name created to fit the acronym PTFF, which is the first 4 bytes of any pt file.

What it does:
  • Read and parse *.pt files from the original DJMax Online. DJMax Portable series, DJMax Trilogy and DJMax Technica are not supported.
  • Output the note chart to bms/bme files that can be read by BMSE and other bemani emulators.
  • Converts all notes correctly including long (hold) notes and short (hit) notes.
  • Converts background notes correctly.
  • Converts speed/BPM changes correctly.
What it doesn't do:
  • Convert the volume and pan (left/right) of each individual note. pt files do have this feature, but bms files don't support them.
  • Retrieve the information of note charts, including title, composer, genre, etc. As far as I know this info is stored separately in a database in DJ Max Online.
  • Unpack song data, including BGM, key sounds, BGA elements, etc. These data are stored in *.pak files. To unpack pak files please see the link on the bottom of this page.
And here is what Oblivion Hard Style 7k, converted into a bme file, looks like in BMSE:

Screenshot of BMSE

By the way, I made a Beatmania IIDX style note chart from See the video below:

You can find the tool, along with some explanatory stuff, here.