Red Alert 2 multiplayer on Windows Vista

Finally, there’s a working patch available for Red Alert 2 that transforms the game to utilise the UDP protocol on LAN instead of IPX (which is no longer supported on Microsoft Windows Vista). The patch requires the modified file, wsock32.dll, to be moved into the root folder of the game. I can hazard a guess that the author of the patch ingeniously hacked the DLL file and overwrote the network routines to use UDP, and since the DLL is available in the same folder as the game binary, it is loaded instead of the original DLL.

I use the patch on Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic to play Red Alert 2 with a friend on Microsoft Windows XP. He, too, has the patch deployed. Give or take a few not too bothersome glitches sometimes, the game works flawlessly. In our configuration, both the players have the patch deployed. I cannot vouch for whether a mix of UPD and IPX game clients will work.

The patch can be found here.

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To toss a wrapper out the window

No matter how depressing a picture the newspaper paints every passing day without fail, despite to what alarming heights corruption in the country is reaching, notwithstanding the growing number of people who continue to die like cockroaches every day and fall pray to countless forms of acts of crimes and injustices, there is always a small fire of patriotism glowing somewhere deep within an individual. I know, and I admit, amidst all that has been happening, you can only do so much to make a difference.

It is pitifully sad to find that we live in times where the motivation to do a good deed comes from what if any personal gains can be achieved as a result in the end. This puts the phrase, the means to an end, in a shady light: if the means is ignored for a bit, what constitutes the end? The personal gains which ultimately drive the means to achieve the end, or the ideal end for which the pristine means were acted out?

Patriotism, even if a wee, is too much to ask for in the times we live. I give you that. But being responsible is not something you can opt out of. I staunchly believe that every individual should do their part in being responsible humans. But, then, I am repeatedly told that the ends do not justify the means?

Need they?

Change can only begin from within you. If you can bring yourself to justify a good deed when there is nothing in there for you in the end, that is where you start to become responsible. That is where you start to embrace change. Keeping that wrapper or empty pack of juice in your pocket and disposing off in a waste bin later on, instead of pulling down your window and throwing it out on the road, may not get you anything in return. But what you would be doing is playing your part, as a responsible citizen and good human. And playing your part is after all your moral responsibility.

I’ve long given up on talking this into people’s minds. It is almost completely hopeless. Even if I can get in, I can’t drive the point anywhere except out across the other side. However, I do have found little success in leading by example. By playing my part, and by hinting ever so slightly, I can get people to notice and to think about it. The end is marginally different from before, but even if it isn’t, I could not care less. I merely try to play my part alone, in my capacity and when and where ever I can. If only more people would think alike.

URL rewriting and WordPress

You may have noticed that WordPress by default creates and uses “Search Engine Optimized or Friendly” URLs. The raw URLs, which refer to the file on disk followed up by a train of grotesque-looking keywords and equals-signs and ampersands and question marks, are hidden from view. For WordPress, the magic comes from what is popularly known as URL rewriting. By sketching out simple or complex yet powerful rules to define what and how to rewrite, you can force the web server to completely transform URLs into clean, beautiful, search engine friendly forms.

Apache, a web server that can commonly be found to be the choice for deployment of WordPress, delegates the entire responsibility of URL rewriting to a module named mod_rewrite. URL rewriting rules can be defined globally, or on a per directory basis, which are interpreted and acted upon by mod_rewrite. In order for rules to be interpreted on a per directory basis, for which these are defined in a special configuration file that can exist within any directory, the AllowOverride setting must be enabled within Apache globally. If it isn’t, rules defined per directory will quietly be ignored.

In order for WordPress to weave its magic, both mod_rewrite and the AllowOverride setting must be enabled within Apache. This realisation dawned upon me when Asim mentioned that the two need to be enabled on Apache. On a server on which I had recently deployed WordPress for a friend, I noticed that created pages beyond the home page would give a mysterious 404. The two, as Asim gratuitously told me, were not enabled on Apache on that server which in turn were causing the 404 to pop out. I am surprised I did not stumble upon these two gotchas documented within WordPress—I may have overlooked, I am not sure.

I hope this serves to help a lost soul fumbling along a similar path.