The End User Patch

Below is the beta version (0.1) of the End User Patch, the “JoDo”, by John Doe. You can read more about how he came about it here. The patch requires no installation and improves security on all devices and platforms simply by reading it. The security increase is estimated to be around a whopping 80%.

JoDo v0.1:

We’ll address the IoT stuff first

Stop acquiring IoT devices. When did you ever need a web interface for your dryer? It’s easier to turn the dial to 60 than to click three to four buttons on a PC. You don’t need a MacBook to operate your microwave. It’s more of a hassle to put food in, go to your MacBook, set the timer, and return to the microwave. That’s why the microwave has a keypad or dial, so that you can activate it without leaving the area. Why did you learn to drive? To drive a car, yes? You don’t need some “smart” software to do it for you. In fact, shocking as it may be, you don’t need GPS to find the Seven Eleven, you can get directions from the gas station. You do not want your door lock to be connected to the internet. That makes it vulnerable to hackers. You will find that a regular lock key is immune to remote attack and even local hacking.

Next, address the hand-helds

Don’t download unofficial software. Your mobile device comes with a built-in package manager. You needn’t understand this. All you need know is that is you “Software Center” or “App Store”. You get safe and verified applications from there. Anywhere else is a risk. You do not need superuser privileges if you are not a superuser. To clarify, if you cannot manually configure things, if you do not understand the difference between an OS and a kernel are, if you have never made system changes without the aid of a How-To or automated software or your friends, then you are not a superuser. The commercial game you want to download from an unofficial source is not free. It is pirated and therefore you still pay for it by risking your security. Is risking all your online accounts, saved passwords, personal information, and nude selfies worth saving five bucks? In case you’re feeling indecisive, the answer is no. Not even for double, triple, or one-hundred times that. What is your phone for? Answer for the two-dgit IQ: making calls and sending texts. So do you need a plethora of apps? No. You may benefit from VOIP and IM apps because they’re cheaper. You may benefit from social media apps. But that’s it. Can you really enjoy a movie on a five inch screen? Be honest. No. Do you need a music player? Maybe, if you don’t own another music player or an iPod, yeah. But that software comes stock so you don’t need to download one. Your phone is not a home theatre or media centre and you will never make it one. Can you really enjoy gaming on a 5 inch screen? Yes. But, can you enjoy gaming without a proper gamepad or kayboard? If you’re a hardcore games, then no. If you’re a casual gamer, the games that you’d enjoy are available from the official store. Do not install all apps on one device. Your phone should be kept strictly for comms. If it is a smartphone, install IM and VOIP, by nothing else. There’s no need for XYZ Saga. Use your tablet. The same is true of web browsing. You don’t need to browse the web every second of every day. Smartphones give a generally bad experience any way. Use a PC or your tablet. By the same token, do not use your tablet for sensitive apps. It is not a good idea to have a banking app on the same device as a game from some publisher with about five downloads and no reviews. The official software sources are usually safe, but it is foolish to rely completely on a system. Don’t have more than one device? Get one. Get a cheap smartphone for your games and insecure activities. If you cannot afford a secondary device look at your monthly expenditure. There is one smart device that retails for less than twelve slabs of chocolate. In other words, one less slab of chocolate per month covers the repayment on a twelve-month credit.

Personal Computers

Do not download software from unofficial sources. Open source software is different because it can usually be trusted to not be malicious. However, if you cannot build it yourself, you probably should not use it. It will appear in your operating system’s repositories when/if it meets the quality and security criteria. Keep your system up to date via to official method described by your OS documentation. If you do not understand, call your IT person.

General

Do not download or click on anything you see on the internet. There’s no magic pill to enlarge your penis. If you need a bigger penis, it is recommended you speak to a medical practitioner. There aren’t tons of singles dying to meet you. How can there be when they don’t know you? To find singles, use reputable sites. Paid-for sites are highly recommended because they filter out out scam-artists. If you want a free platform to meet potential soul mates, there’s a free service called The Outside World. You do not need to click on porn adverts because there are many, erm, reputable porn (sounds like an oxymoron) services through the internet or cable. Surprisingly your local video rental will have media too. You do not need to click adverts for clothing, fashion, make-up, or diets. All these can be obtained for a small fee at the mall. Is your security really worth the off-chance that an outrageous claim that you can shed five kilograms per day is true? High speed weight loss is detrimental to your health and leaves you with flabby skin and a fatigued look. So the answer is no, unless you want to look like the undead. Use a different password for each site you frequent or lock you have. It does not need to be something like @#$%B2A16709. Length is much better strength than complexity. Experts have been saying for years that using some simple words and a non-dictionary one is sufficient. Something like MyKittieIsPregnant@8Months is very hard to crack or guess so consider it. It also meets the criteria that more sites force on their users. Another example, WishIWas30&Flirtie. Do not store sensitive information digitally if you are not well-read on Information Security. Programs may promise to secure your data and passwords, but taking their word for it without assessing them and at least doing some research on them is similar to accepting an offer for heart surgery from a door-to-door salesman. If you have any doubts, remember the most secure place to store passwords is on a piece of paper. Paper, so long as stored and hidden responsibly, is immune to remote attack. If you have your own shorthand, even better, because deciphering it is difficult so if your adversary gains possession of it, it may be useless to them. Never give your details out. A site will never ask for your password or user name except when you login. They’ll never ask by email. If you receive an email from a site telling you to log in, never use the link in the email. Always log into the site from your browser history, bookmarks, or memory. Make sure the address starts with https for extra protection. Do not click links in emails generally, unless they are emails you are expecting, for example an account activation link. Do not login after activating you account, leave the site and return using the above-mentioned methods. Do not download attachments from emails unless you’re expecting them. Example A: your friend sends you some holiday pictures. This is fine. Example B: a random email offers a free something. Not a good idea

Finally:

Disconnect. Ask yourself the following questions about anything you do online.
Did I need to do this online ten years ago?
Did I ever need to do this online?
Can it easily be accomplished without physical internet access?
Do I even need an electronic device for this?
Do I even need to do this?
Do I even need this in my life?

Imagine how you’d feel, after reading all this, if you were the victim of cyber crimes. Imagine how bad you’d feel if a friend, family memeber, or other loved one was harmed by a virus that mailed itself to them from your PC all because you didn’t heed this warning.

Done!

Congratulations. You have just been patched. You can continually update your security by reading this note over and over again.

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The Ultimate Cross-Platform Patch Arrives

September 25, 2016 at 00:45 John Doe, a system administrator and security engineer was doing the thing most that most sysadmins do: monitoring his remote servers while playing Prince of Persia in a DOSBox. Despite the game’s dreadfully sticky controls and difficulty level, he’d been playing it long enough to allow his mind to wander on to one of his most recurring thoughts: cyber security.

“How does one deal with security all those different platforms? Patching one will not patch any of the others…”

In a world where more and more devices are becoming “smart”, the Linux kernel has moved away from its common uses in desktops, servers and embedded systems to become ubiquitous in “Internet of Things”, IoT, consumer electronics, too. Since all these devices were running the same kernel, they shared the same possible security vulnerabilities that a standard desktop or server may face. The difference? Where Linux-based servers are run by professionals, and can receive security updates, many consumer electronics can’t or won’t because manufacturers seldom, if ever, release updates. The logical step seemed to secure the Linux kernel and educate manufacturers and vendors about securing and maintaining systems. But manufacturers and vendors, even educated, may simply ignore the warnings. Also, this did not account for non-Linux devices. Many routers, for example, use firmware derived from BSDs, and though they share a common Unix-alike ancestry, they are very different. It didn’t end there. There many different operating systems form hand-helds and other smart devices, from Linux-based Android, to IOS, to Windows. “How does one deal with security all those different platforms? Patching one will not patch any of the others,” John Doe thought. “The biggest players on any platform seldom cooperate. They’d never modify their OS to help secure others.”

“I’ve found the single point of failure in all technologies! What’s more, I think I can patch it!”

It was then John had a thought that was so radical, he almost choked on his cold coffee, causing him to die in Prince of Persia. “That’s it!” he cried, standing swiftly and killing his DOSBox session. Immediately he called a friend of his to pitch his idea. “What if there was a single patch that was platform and architecture agnostic, available to every user that worked for all devices!?” he yelled as the call, connected. His friend was still half asleep and barely able to string a response together when John proclaimed, “I’ve found the single point of failure in all technologies! What’s more, I think I can patch it!” Although his friend had been catching up on much-needed rest, John’s idea went surging through him like a shot of adrenalin straight to the heart. The two immediately began their work as John outlined the plan details.

Two days without sleep later, John unveiled “JoDo beta”, the John Doe Security patch for for all things, and made it freely available across the web. It doesn’t require installation on the device, firmware flashing, or anything beyond the abilities of even the most technophobic user.

While he admits this patch won’t solve everything, John estimates it would mitigate around 80% of everyday vulnerabilities. Below you’ll find a link to the patch. It’s easy to activate on all devices from whatever you’re reading this on.

View or Download the Patch Here

“I know it doesn’t fix every issue, but I feel that this patch does away with the biggest problems which leaves developers free to focus on the important ones,” John said nearing the end of our Linphone conversation. After that he explained he needed some rest and would probably not be ready for the mass media for a few days. “[I] need to crash for twelve hours. Then I’m going to order myself a pizza and sit playing Centipede in my DOSBox. Afterwards, I might dust the old PlayStation off, invite some friends round and do a Tekken 3 marathon. Then, I may even see if I can remember how to breed a Gold Chocobo. At this point, I just want to chill,” John explained before disconnecting.

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Short: Ame

Believe it or not, this blog was not started solely so that I could post satirical content and tips on how to make your PC and its software work. I also had every intention of publishing some more serious work. Since it’s my seventh post (if you count the first one, whose title even fails to do it justice), I’ve decided to dig up an old short I wrote back in about 2012. It’s titled “Ame” which means rain in Japanese. It’s about 1400 words, which is around four paperback pages:


Ame
by J. McMaster

Monday. It’s raining again. No, not again because it hasn’t stopped. It never stops now. I can’t remember a time when it didn’t rain, though I know that such a time existed once, the same way I know that the sky was blue – just don’t ask me what kind of blue because I don’t remember.
There’s a lot I don’t remember, actually, like how I came to be in this hotel, how I aged so quickly, why time feels like there are pieces of it missing, and who that person in the photograph is.
That photograph. It’s the only possession I have besides my clothes. I don’t know where it was taken and, although I know the person next to that man must be me, I can’t remember looking like her any more clearly than I remember a day it wasn’t raining.
That man in the photograph. Who is he? I don’t remember him and, unlike the sky on a sunny day, I don’t even know what he should be. Was he my husband? My boyfriend? Just a close friend? A casual acquaintance? A cousin? A brother? Something about his smile bothers me. There’s something false about it. His eyes seem unfocused, too. It’s almost as if he didn’t want to be there. Then again, I don’t look that enthusiastic, either. In some ways my smile is more fake than his. Did I not want to be there either?
The place in that photograph. Where is it? There aren’t any clues. It’s a generic backdrop that could be any middle-class home in almost any country. I can’t even see out the windows because there aren’t any. I suppose it’s because in photography it’s bad practice to take a picture facing a light source. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally the light should be behind the photographer and the subject should be facing it.
Why do I know about photography? I’m sure I never did any, neither professionally nor as a hobby.
“Good morning,” says a generic-looking member of the hotel’s staff as she enters my room. I didn’t order room service, I don’t think. She didn’t knock, either.
“Morning,” I absently mutter back. My mind is too preoccupied for pleasantries. I know something’s wrong, I can feel it.
She sets the tray down on my bed. Something is wrong. Definitely wrong. This isn’t food befitting even a low-end traveller’s lodge. This is like a prison meal.

Thursday. It’s raining again. I shouldn’t say again because it never stopped. The hotel staff are quite lively today and they even bothered to knock before coming in earlier. Maybe someone complained about the dreadful food and service yesterday. Wait, today’s Thursday so how can yesterday have been Monday? I guess it was Wednesday after all. I tend to lose track of time these days because everything always seems so similar. It doesn’t help that it always rains or that I live out of an hotel, either. Well, to be fair, I can’t control the weather and renting or buying a place would be a hassle at my age.
There’s a knock at the door. Should I ignore it? Probably. Room service has come and gone so it can’t be anyone I want to see.
The knock’s persistent.
“Fine, come in then,” I call in defeat as a well-dressed young man enters.
“How are we today, Ellen?” he asks, taking a seat without asking permission. Why is he addressing me by my first name when I’ve never met him before?
“Um…” I pause hesitantly. Something’s wrong. I know something’s wrong.
“Ellen, do you remember me?” he asks, not bothering to give me a chance to formulate a reply. I would think, given my reaction, it’s patently obvious I don’t remember him.
I wish this man would stop looking expectantly at me. I wish he’d let go of that fake smile. It’s as false as the smile I’m wearing in that photograph.
That photogr–
“Ellen?” the annoying man cuts in, prompting me for a reply.
I take a long breath and release it with intentional exasperation. “I should think it’s relatively obvious that I don’t know you, or, at the very least, I don’t remember you,” I reply.
The man is frowning now, yet still trying to smile. What an awkward expression; the upper and lower halves of his face at war. Finally, the frown prevails. Why is he taking it so personally? Nobody remembers everyone they meet.
“Ellen,” the man begins extremely gravely, “do you still have that photograph?”
Of course I have it, it’s the only thing I own. I nod a hesitant affirmation. I don’t like where this is going. Something’s wrong.
“Ellen, can you tell me who those two people in the photograph are?” he asks as if the coming of Armageddon hinges on my response.
“Well, the woman is obviously me,” I reply. Who is that man with me? I can never remember him which makes me question the sanity of carrying this photograph around for so long. Then again, it is my only real possession and that in itself makes it sentimental, no matter who’s in it. “I don’t remember the other person.”
“Ellen,” the young man says grimly, “that’s not you.”
Like he would know. He hadn’t even been born yet when this photo was taken.
“Ellen–” he begins but I raise my hand to interrupt him.
“Look here, young man, you weren’t even thought of back when this was taken, you couldn’t possibly know about it!” I spit with a condescending confidence, though even as the words escape me I feel uneasy. Something’s wrong. Something’s always been wrong now that I think about it.
The young man shows no signs of offence at my reply. Instead, he continues to frown while scrutinising me. What is he looking for? What does he want? Why can’t I kick him out? Even if he is the hotel manager or someone similar, this is my room.
“Ellen, that photo is one of thousands and the people in it are just models. They only use them to sell the frames. We’ve been over this before,” he sighs before handing me a folder with my name, age and a few other details printed on a sticker on the front cover.
I open the folder and begin reading it. It’s hard to make out the words amongst the scribblings as most of the papers inside are hand-written. Phrases like severely delusional, brain damage and amnesia pop out the sea of words and complicated medical terms along with names of drugs I can’t pronounce and their dosages. So much for morning vitamins. So much for hotels.
I look up from the mess of papers at the young man, my attending doctor. I don’t think he’s supposed to show me this file. It may cause him trouble. Still, he did it anyway. He respected what was left of a person inside me enough to let me in on the truth.
“Ellen,” he begins with a shorter, but more sorrowful sigh than before, “I’m truly sorry. Every time it rains, you seem to gain some lucidity. I really hoped maybe this time things would be better.”
He’s young. He hasn’t been jaded by the medical profession yet. I’m thankful for that because each time he does this, I get my life back — if only for a fleeting moment.
“Thank you again, doctor,” I smile.
“Do you remember anything new this time?”
For a moment I’m lost. I can already feel the fog forming around my mind again. It’s thick, heavy, and hard to resist, but there’s something out there, a light, one I’ve seen before, that cherished memory.
That photograph. I don’t know either of those people in it. They mean nothing to me. Yet, this is my most important possession because it’s all I have left of that frame, that beautiful silver frame he gave me. I took this photograph out and stuffed it into my pocket. I was going to put a picture of us into that frame, but I never got the chance. It was raining that day, too.
“I remember! It’s not about the photograph, it’s the frame!” I cry with excitement. “I was–”

Tuesday. It’s raining again. I shouldn’t say again because it never stopped. It never stops now, but, for some reason, today I feel as though it’ll clear up for a while.


Well, there you have it. Bear in mind it’s raw because I wrote it for a short fiction competition (the limit was 1500 words), but lost my nerve the last minute so it never got edited, let alone submitted. Still, all comments and constructive criticisms are welcome.

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No: The Internet Poet is the Modern T.S. Eliot

I found only small islands of sanity containing the tiniest rustic villages of sanity during my travels across the vast World Web, a bottomless ocean of meaningless abbreviations, misspelled words, grammar errors, missing punctuation, and, my favourite, people who have the audacity to call themselves modern poets. I shan’t mention names, but I regularly visit a particular blog of a particular ex of a particular friend of mine for the soul purpose of a few laughs. I’m not naming names but the person is question seems to draw a large amount of inspiration from the likes of T.S. Eliot, be it coincidence or design. To clarify: this is not a good thing.

A couple of years back, I was feeling inspired by the LSD-driven depravity that would-be internet poets were spewing out en mass so I wrote this:


My Cloud
By J. McMaster

Upon a cloud I gaily strode, wind upon my side
Flowers flying, wind laughing, little pigs that cried
Oh the spark-less fire warmed me by the cider stand
And ever did I lie and watch as the flowers did land

Oh petals pumpkin, gore and oil, juxtaposed they be
Like liking learning little laws, literally “losslessly”
And finally the post comes in, roosting upon my cake
Getting up, I climb the cheese, to get to Cola lake

Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack
Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack

Poor nightingale who growls a song, in pure tin-metal lust
While Other World keeps painting all, in decay, blood and rust
My eyes are open but I cannot smell, the vegetables of harvests-past
And oh the tragic lingering cabbage, a flavour which shall not last

Now wonder the tepid all alone, we have no hot-cold here
Go back to the goat and get a shoe, for shoes are what “they” fear
Another consequence of my delight, a mothball in my coke
“Yuck!” caws the lamb as she shudders in fright, at my horrid little joke

Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack
Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack

Oh the moon is bland, hand me the sour, and we’ll all drink a cup of grey
And we’ll wearily run and climb and prance, as we wind down another day
Oh I see it coming, make no mistake, blue and green are in
But gaze upon the grazing cows, and you’ll be punished for your sin

So from my cloud I seek to rest, and to hell with this poem now
I’ve had enough, I cannot go on, by any means or how
So I finish here with little else, a word just left to say
That I’ve gone sane, it isn’t, I cannot live this way.


For the oblivious, this is satirical. I was almost tempted not to mention it being so, simply to see how many “deep” thinkers out there “totally understood” what I was trying to say regarding the human condition and the plight of our cultural and religious conflict. Then I decided I’d have too many comments to wade through and too many users Weirdo_BlueStalker following, and subsequently stalking, me. As always, your thoughts, comments, accolades, death threats, criticisms, and rants are welcome.

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Sing-Along: The Twelve Days of Christmas

I dug this up a little while ago, something I threw together and posted on a forum a few years back around Christmas time. It was a mock set of lyrics for The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. It’s a little early for carols and the lyrics require a fair knowledge of geekdom and internet culture to fully appreciate, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless. I wrote it in American, which means that the letter zed is pronounced, “zee.”


My Twelve Days of Christmas
by J. McMaster

On the first day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Some software in a gz

On the second day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the third day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the fourth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the fifth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the sixth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the seventh day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the eighth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the ninth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the tenth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the eleventh day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Eleven Bloggers Ranting
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the twelth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Twelve Pointless Tweets
Eleven Bloggers Ranting
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz


Extra points if you read through the entire thing without skipping to the last verse like any sane person would do. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts, love and hatred with me below.

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No: The Man Who Opens Beer With CDs

I started this blog as a non-subject-specific beast, so I feel more justified in posting about this WTF. I was minding my own business, searching the ever-deteriorating internet when this video, which was completely unrelated to my search, appeared in my search results, as such YouTube videos are wont to do. Unlike the others, which my brain automatically filters – approximately 90% of the internet – this was one escaped auto-censorship. The strange compulsion which lead me to click on this video will always remain a mystery to me. I know it was not disbelief, for I have absolute and unshakeable faith in the general stupidity-driven invention of humanity as a whole, so perhaps it was simple curiosity regarding the individual behind this clearly invaluable and life-altering tutorial. So, without further ado, I present to you, for your enlightenment, “How to Open a Beer Bottle with a CD” starring Crazy Eastern European Guy:

Very enlightening. Our friend here has discovered the most amazing, unbelievable, earth-shattering, astounding way to waste yet another few precious moments of an average human lifespan mastering this technique. Congratulations guy, you’ve officially made the shittiest discovery since Kopi Luwak (for those too lazy to read Wikipedia, it’s coffee made from civet faeces). Not only that, but it’s not even original. Everyone knows how to open a beer with a knife blade, a ruler, or any other flat object. This is not even a better mousetrap, it’s just the same one in a different colour. Furthermore – and I know I sound a little like Maddox in his rant over “Life Hacks” here – it’s impractical. If you don’t have a bottle opener, a knife, or another flat object, you’re probably not at home. If you’re not at home, you probably don’t have a CD with you because people don’t generally walk around with a CD in their pockets for emergencies because, to most people, a CD is not a Swiss Army Knife. It’s far more likely that you have a set of keys or a pocket knife on your person. Finally – and this is worth pointing out – using a CD to open a bottle could seriously damage it. The sharp bits on the bottle cap could chip the CD or, should you miss slightly, gouge a trench across the surface. So, unless it’s that Abba album your mother left at your place last time she visited, you know, the one you were planning to ritualistically burn and deny all knowledge of later, I’d suggest you don’t use a CD, or any optical disc for that matter, to open your beer. In fact here’s a piece of advice: go to eBay (or wherever you shop online) and order a keyring with a bottle opener. Then you can finally stop carrying that emergency blank CD around every time you get invited to a party.

Update: I’ve been informed that apparently this guy shouldn’t be taken too seriously because he does all kinds of weird things on his channel (I can’t be bothered watching them to confirm this). Well, that doesn’t really change where I stand on the matter: using a CD to open a beer is still neither original, nor funny, it’s just plain stupid. Also, while I’m at it, I’d like to remind the single-digit number of readers out there that most of what I write is satirical in nature, including this post. You can generally tell the context of something by the tone it’s written in.

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Mednafen: Dealing with CD Image Problems

This post assumes the following:

*. You’re running a Linux OS environment
*. You can install software
*. You’re not afraid of spending about two minutes in front of the CLI.
*. You’re having some sort of problem running a CD image. This post is specific to PlayStation games but it’s probably applicable to any other CD-based consoles too.
*. You’re a Mednafen user of any level (novice to expert).

Before we proceed with the real troubleshooting, it is important to note that with Mednafen, one does not open the actual image file. To play a game, you’ll need to open the accompanying cue sheet (a .cue file). So, firstly, make sure of the following:

*. You’re opening the accompanying .cue file, not the .bin or other image file

So, having gotten that out of the way, now we can actually start troubleshooting. The following is a list of common problems:

*. I have a .mdf and .mds file
*. I have no .cue file.
*. I only have a .iso file.
*. I only have a .bin file.
*. I have some other format that doesn’t work

To proceed, you need to install mdf2iso. If you don’t know how to, see your distribution’s documentation or glean this table (the Arch Wiki is one of the best information sources, even for non-Arch users). So:

*. Install mdf2iso. Read the man page too (yeah right).
*. Open the CLI in the same directory as your problem CD image. For this example, our game is called Example.

Now, back to the problems. Below are all your solutions in Q & A format:

Q: My file is Example.mdf
A: That’s what this was originally about. Issue the following command:
$ mdf2iso --cue Example.mdf
Short wait. A .cue file will be created. You do not need to convert the image, but simply generate the cue sheet. Open Example.iso.cue and play.

Q: My file is Example.iso
A1: Issue the following command:
$ mdf2iso --cue Example.iso
Somewhat of a wait. A .bin file and an accompanying cue sheet called Example.iso.bin and Example.iso.cue respectively will be generated from your ISO file. Open Example.iso.cue and play.

Q: I have some other format Mednafen won’t play
A: Try the procedure. If it works you’ll get one of the above results.

Q: I only have a .bin file
A: This is unlikely if you ripped it yourself (implicit accusation unto illegitimate dealings). Luckily there’s a an archive at redump.org that will likely have the cue sheet you need. You can select your system from the Discs menu. This is not intended to enable you if you obtained a rip illegally.

If mdf2iso does not work for you, don’t panic. There are many conversion tools out there and the easiest and safest way to find them is to search for the image’s format (usually indicated by the file extension) in your package manager’s database. You should find some tools, even if all they do is mount the image (note mounting the image should be a last resort and won’t be discussed further as it is outside the scope of this post).

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