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MUDII Forum Index » » MUD2 Clients » » Not so much a rant....
Author Not so much a rant....
royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 09-07-2015 12:07   
Not so much a rant about clients as a comment on frustration when trying to use them and perhaps a plea for help.

Let me start by saying that I am no computer expert. I can operate one - I suppose but I have no idea how they work. It is often assumed I have some basic knowledge which is succinctly untrue. I have none.

When I first started playing MUD in about the mid-eighties there were no MUD clients and we all logged in from the MUD website. Only it was Computerserve then I seem to remember. Then when I took it up again about ten years ago I wanted to log my games in order to help in the making of a map. Foddy explained to me that I needed a thing called a client. I tried several and found Clio to be the one most suited to my needs. It logged my games (essential I later found when I was doing Bash reports), and I found several other useful tricks. Being able to repeat the last command simply by hitting the <ENTER> key speeded my trips across the Land no end. Also by modifying what I assumed was a Batch file I could get straight into theTR just by clicking an icon on my wall paper without any of that lengthy log on procedure. Another plus. Then found that I could sort of program the function keys to do string commands. Are these called ‘macros’? Being able to flee and quit just by tapping F9 saved me a couple of times when suddenly my stam dropped below 10. But Macros seemed to be frowned upon and I gave these up.

This all worked perfectly for a number of years using the Windows96 platform. It was when I upgraded to Windows7 that things started to go desperately wrong. Clio did not seem to perform as before. The repeat last command/<ENTER> would not work, the games did not log and I could not increase the size of the window. This remained frustrating small and difficult to read in the top left hand corner of the screen. This last problem was solved to my great satisfaction by Giaia who explained to me, elsewhere in this forum, how I could increase the size of the font.

However I was having severe problems with Windows7 outside MUD. I got virus after virus often two or more running at the same time despite expensive protection. I consistently received unsolicited emails and programs that I wanted to run went decidedly wobbly. It all got too much and eventually I bit the bullet and bought an apple Mac following advice from people who had switched from PC to Apple, in the optimistic belief my troubles would come to an end.

I only play two games, the other being Skyrim. Although I felt like I was driving a Rolls Royce after years of driving a Datsun (not that there is anything wrong with a Datsun - but you know what I mean), I could not get either of my games to work on the Mac. So I eventually installed a thing called ‘Bootcamp’. This is not an emulator as such but a routine that creates a separate independent partition on the hard disk where you can install Windows. Now anybody with the experiences above mentioned would have installed Windows 96, but after searching through a multitude of plastic boxes in the garage, I was finally forced install Windows7. Of course I got all the old trouble back and with further vengeance. I am scared that it will spread to the primary partition on which I run Mac OS.

Happily I read a thread in Richards Qblog ( www.youhaventlived.com 30th June) where he drew my attention to a client called MUDRammer. This woks well on my iPhone and iPad. (better on the iPad where you can use a bluetooth keyboard and the screen is a bit larger). And I can take it downstairs and watch television at the same time. I will give it a long trial. You can expect my death rate to go up and up.
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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 10-07-2015 20:43   
I'll start by saying I would advise against installing Windows 95 or 98 (Windows 96 doesn't exist so I assume you mean one of those two). Microsoft no longer provides security updates to those, or indeed several versions of Windows after that. Modern software will also struggle to run on those because Windows has changed so much in the meantime.

If you want to stick to an older version of Windows, then XP was the best bet. Unfortunately security updates for that also stopped in 2014. That leaves Vista (which is essentially Windows 7 released before it was ready), Windows 7, and Windows 8 (which offers few benefits and several problems over version 7). If I had to have Windows, I would go with 7 and wait to see what the upcoming Windows 10 is like. But Windows 8 will do the job. If using Windows 8, I recommend http://www.classicshell.net/ to get rid of the awful mess that they made of the start screen, and make it work more like Windows 7.

If you want to be able to play games on your PC, then you've hit on pretty much the only thing that Windows does best. Support for Mac or Linux is lacking in a lot of retail grade games, although with SteamOS (a Linux distribution) that is changing.

As for viruses - don't bother paying for anti-virus software. There are few benefits of the paid versions over the free ones, and a lot of them will bloat and slow down your system (Norton is notorious for this). If you must have anti-virus then have a look here:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388652,00.asp

Its best to review your choice of anti-virus annually if you care about such things, as what is "best" one year isn't necessarily so the next.

However, I personally don't bother with anti-virus software. I'm not suggesting you do that, but my point is that the majority of viruses come from user error that can be avoided.

- Don't install any software unless it's come from a reputable source that you've heard of or have seen referred to in multiple respectable places (e.g. articles on well known websites). Resist the temptation to try out any and every piece of software you come across that sounds interesting.
- Make sure any software you install is downloaded from the authentic website of origin.
- Delete emails without opening them if you don't recognise the sender.
- Never open an attachment on an email unless you were expecting it, or it is clearly a reasonable attachment (e.g. a photo that a friend emailed you).
- Be wary of emails claiming to be from something you recognize (e.g. a bank) but asking you to open an attachment to view something, unless you asked for and were expecting that attachment. Few legitimate companies send the contents of their emails as an attachment anyway.
- Never click on any kind of pop up unless you are 100% certain that it is legitimate. There are all sorts of fake pop ups along the lines of "An error has been detected on your PC. Click here to fix it" which are really just there to trick you into installing some kind of virus or spyware.
- If you're getting tons of unsolicited emails, the best solution is to start again. Create two email addresses - one that you strictly only gives to friends and family, and one that you give to companies and other places that insist on having your email address. It's the latter that will inevitably end up spamming you and/or sell your details. Don't ever post your email address on any public place e.g. forum or Facebook page. The spammers have software that automatically pick up email addresses that people have publicised, and once you're in "the system" you'll never get out again.

I follow these guidelines and I've had viruses maybe 4 or 5 times in the 20 years I've been using computers - and most of those were my fault.

You shouldn't be too concerned about viruses spreading from a Windows partition to a Mac partition, although it's certainly not impossible. Most viruses won't be written in such a cross platform way, and in fact most are only for Windows (because as a target it's both easy and big). I couldn't say the same about your data though. If a virus is going to harm your data, there's a good chance it will do so across your whole hard drive.

I know you've already bought your Mac, but in future you may want to consider Linux particularly when your use case is so narrow (ignoring the gaming aspect) - just MUD, browsing, and emails. Linux can do all of those perfectly, viruses are rare, and it's reliable. Similar to Mac, except that it's free and can run on very old PCs with no problem. Ubuntu is probably the best distribution for a beginner. Give it a try if you want to revive your old PC.

I'll put up a second post specifically about MUD clients.

[ This Message was edited by: Armand on 10-07-2015 20:47 ]


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 10-07-2015 21:02   
I have no real experience with Clio and can't recall if or what I did to get it workin in Windows 7. I've looked through some of the source code and it seems well written. Bear in mind that the latest version was written in 2003, and 12 years is a long time for software. I was half tempted to fork a new version of it, since it has a lot of MUD-specific features that you won't find off the shelf in a generic client.

My current client of choice for the last few years is Mudlet. It's well designed and modern (usually you have to pick one or the other when it comes to clients). Most importantly for you, it's cross platform. That means it will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I've never run it on Mac, but it should be fairly simple - just follow the instructions at http://www.mudlet.org/download/

It can do all of the things you want. You can repeat commands by hitting enter, you can log your sessions, and you can even (with a little bit of work) have it log you in automatically. It can do anything that any other client can do if someone writes a script for it. It even has a generic map feature, but that requires some work to get it working in a specific MUD.

The logging feature is not on by default. You can turn it on every time you start a session by clicking an icon at the bottom right of your screen. But it's much more convenient to have it auto-start. That will require creating a script, but it's a fairly simple one:

1. Click the 'Scripts' icon at the top (a white icon of a notepad and pencil).

2. click 'Add Item'.

3. In 'Script Name' type or copy:

onConnect

4. In 'Add User Defined Event Hander' type or copy:

sysConnectionEvent

(exactly like that - capitalization matters). Then click the + button next to it and the above will move into the box above.

5. In the main script area delete whatever is there and type or copy:

function onConnect()
startLogging(true)
end

6. Click 'Save item'.

7. Double click on the 'onConnect' script in the list until it has a green tick next to it.


That's it. Mudlet will now start a log every time you connect. It will display the location of the logfile every time it does so, so that you know where to find it.

[ This Message was edited by: Armand on 10-07-2015 21:06 ]


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kiwijock
cleric

Joined: Dec 04, 2012
Posts: 238
From: Auckland, NZ
Posted: 11-07-2015 06:15   
I'll second most of what Armand says - but another client worth trying is havoc's mudiiclient - as it is written in java it is also cross platform and runs nicely on my Mac, My Linux system (Ubuntu) and also on my (work supplied) Windows 7 box.

I have tried mudlet which is all Armand says, but it just didn't feel 'right' dunno what it was - truly cross platform, and a modern look, it just goes to prove that everyone is different and what works for one isn’t always what works for all.

On the subject of viruses - I would always recommend some form of virus protection for folk who do not have not have a wide experience of computers - and (no offence here Royston) Royston - by his own admission falls into that camp. Using one of the freeware virus products will help catch some of those situations where a less 'savvy' person doesn’t abide by the guidelines Armand gives above - which are all good advice - but lets be honest here - not everyone remembers these things all the time. I've worked in IT for (more years than I care to admit) a long time - and even recently I saw a senior project manager having to get her laptop rebuilt cos she clicked on a pdf that claimed to be from a shipping company who - coincidentally - she was expecting something from - it wasn’t a real pdf - just named as such and of course thats what these spammers / virus spreading bastards pray on!

Personally I only use Windows at work - our family system is Mac - and I play MUD from Ubuntu
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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 11-07-2015 07:47   
Wow! There is a story that when detectives were doing a search of 10 Rillington Place, Nottinghill Gate in the mid-fifties, they discovered yet another dead body under the floorboards. (Google: John Reginald Christie). It was ten at night and everyone had had a full day. The detective in charge, it is claimed, said ‘Nail back the floorboards, we’ll find this one first thing in the morning’. I felt much the same thing, Armand, when I first read your response late last night. It is now the following morning and I have made a hard copy of all you said and will study it very carefully. I have a clear idea of how much time it takes to write anything and what a short time it takes to read it. This must have taken you several hours. I will study it carefully. Thank you. And thank you Kiwi for your input. I will peruse it with equal attention.

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[ This Message was edited by: royston on 11-07-2015 07:52 ]

[ This Message was edited by: royston on 11-07-2015 07:56 ]


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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 11-07-2015 15:57   
Quote:
I would always recommend some form of virus protection for folk who do not have not have a wide experience of computers - and (no offence here Royston) Royston - by his own admission falls into that camp.



I completely agree.


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 11-07-2015 17:09   
On the topic of clients you should hands-down use mudiiclient - and I'd say that even f I hadn't written it. It's tailored to mud2 and has many small touches that make it better than any generic mud client could be.

The runner up is Clio which can be made to compile for any OS with a little work - perhaps someone in the country wants to take on building it for all the Mac and Qindow environments?
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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 11-07-2015 17:16   
On the topic of clients you should hands-down use mudiiclient - and I'd say that even f I hadn't written it. It's tailored to mud2 and has many small touches that make it better than any generic mud client could be.

The runner up is Clio which can be made to compile for any OS with a little work - perhaps someone in the country wants to take on building it for all the Mac and Qindow environments?
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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 12-07-2015 00:27   
Quote:
It's tailored to mud2 and has many small touches that make it better than any generic mud client could be.



The downside of a generic MUD client is that you need to code any MUD-specific features yourself. But that's also the main advantage. Tailor made clients tend to lack a good scripting language API, and for me that's usually a deal breaker.

I've heard good things about your client though, so it's probably a good choice for those that aren't bothered about tweaking things themselves.

Quote:
The runner up is Clio which can be made to compile for any OS with a little work - perhaps someone in the country wants to take on building it for all the Mac and Qindow environments?



There seem to be versions already compiled for all sorts of platforms, including the above. I have no idea if they still work now though.

[ This Message was edited by: Armand on 12-07-2015 00:29 ]


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 12-07-2015 01:02   
You're right. It doesn't have a scripting API. I think that's a good thing. I think they're a crutch that limits your growth.

Now that the code is open source you can build it yourself if you're willing to code Java. What do you do with a scripting language any way?
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kiwijock
cleric

Joined: Dec 04, 2012
Posts: 238
From: Auckland, NZ
Posted: 12-07-2015 08:13   
Quote:


I've heard good things about your client though, so it's probably a good choice for those that aren't bothered about tweaking things themselves.




In my book Clio and Mudiiclient are pretty close for that reason - Mudiiclient would rank a little higher due to java being truly multiplatform but Clio would rank higher as it supports Fkey definitions - so much depends on what you want to do.

If you know Lua and want to script then Mudlet is probably tops, but I have stuck to Tintin++ as I have all sort of little tweaks I have made - I still should add stuff like eata wf or eta wf as synonyms though!
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[ This Message was edited by: kiwijock on 12-07-2015 08:19 ]


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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 12-07-2015 11:08   
So far, so great. It took all yesterday and was frustrating at times but I now have Ubuntu installed on my No2 desktop, a Dell Inspiron. I devoted the entire HD to Ubuntu ditching Windows completely. This may have been a mistake but should I ever need it, I still have Windows7 in Bootcamp on my Mac.

The next job is to get on the Internet. I habitually hook up via ethernet, for various and probably no good reasons, but in any case, the Dell has no inbuilt Wifi connection.

I have acquired a thick book 'Beginning Ubuntu Linux', and it seems I need a whole load of parameters to do this. I hope they are not too difficult to ascertain; or I am in for another frustrating day.

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kiwijock
cleric

Joined: Dec 04, 2012
Posts: 238
From: Auckland, NZ
Posted: 13-07-2015 08:30   
Good luck with Ubuntu, feel free to email or post a question. I've been using Linux for around 15 years and Ubuntu specifically for 3.
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royston
ranger

Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1217
From: Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Posted: 13-07-2015 19:12   
That is a very generous offer. I hope you don't live to regret it. Had a bad day - be in touch soon!
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Armand
explorer

Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 530
Posted: 20-07-2015 18:57   
Quote:

On 12-07-2015 01:02, Havoc wrote:
You're right. It doesn't have a scripting API. I think that's a good thing. I think they're a crutch that limits your growth.

Now that the code is open source you can build it yourself if you're willing to code Java. What do you do with a scripting language any way?



I do small tweaks e.g. custom chat boxes, status bars, output screen text replacement (to make descriptions shorter and clearer), auto-walkers, etc. (on MUDs where that sort of thing is acceptable). At the moment I'm working on a map that knows where I am in a MUD and keeps my location marked and centered as I move around. It's easy because all the needed functions are exposed in Mudlet's API - I don't need to code it all from scratch.

Most scripting languages are also general purpose, so you're not restricted in any way. I personally wish there was a client with a Python API, but there isn't (at least not a serious one), so I've gone with Lua.

A compiled language is great for building a client from scratch, but inconvenient for quick fixes. I don't want to have to worry about recompiling, source control, unit testing, etc. every time I add 3 lines of code for a small trigger or text capture. There's also a not-insignificant time cost to picking up someone else's codebase and adding your own features to it, and then keeping your forked version synced with upstream changes. None of those apply to add-on scripts.

Again, that's just my preference. I can equally see the advantage to a more casual computer user in having a client which provides bells and whistles in a ready to go format.

[ This Message was edited by: Armand on 20-07-2015 18:59 ]


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