Free Kindle Books and Tips

I stumbled across this blog as an app a year or two ago. I was skeptical of it because of the name, but it is the real deal. I have downloaded many free books thanks to the blog and found others at discounted prices. The daily blog includes book descriptions, categories, and ratings. Nothing under 4 stars makes it into the blog. The blogger, Michael Gallagher, also occasionally references free Kindle books on other sites. Michael frequently provides tips for getting the most out of your Kindle as well. Michael’s blog is a great resource and it is free. You can check it out online at or download the app for your phone, tablet, or Kindle. If you find a book you like through the blog, make sure you purchase it from the blog link so Michael gets credit for his hard work.

Unity of Command – Final Thoughts

I just finished all of the scenarios for Unity of Command plus the two DLCs. I definitely like playing the German side better. the Germans have great armor and armored vehicles; the Russians mostly have lots of infantry and there armor is often weak. While this may be historically accurate (although I think there should have been more T-34 tanks), the Russians just are not as fun to play.

The other thing I noticed was about the scenario difficulty ratings. I love that they exist, but medium and hard don’t always seem accurate. Some of the medium scenarios are pretty easy, some are medium, and some are near impossible, at least for me. The difficult ones might just have been because of turn limits. The hard ones are all involved, but some are much easier than others and are more of a time consuming effort rather than really difficult. However, the hardest scenarios are definitely rated hard. On the other hand, I finished some of the hard ones well within the turn limit.

I never had the opportunity to play multiplayer, but there are network and hot seat options.

In any event, I highly recommend Unity of Command for anyone who likes turn-based war games. I am glad PC gamers are lucky enough to have so many indie developers to bring us some great games from genres that are “old school” or “dead” to the big companies. Support these indie developers, like 2 x 2 Games, if you have the chance.

No Icons on Gnome Desktop

With my installation of Fedora Core 19, I could not understand why I  was not able to put icons on my desktop. I am using Gnome and could not copy icons to the desktop even though icons were under my user/desktop folder. It became a bigger problem when I installed Unity of Command since you copy the game to Linux without really doing an install. I really wanted to put the alias on my desktop to launch the game.

After some research I found an article on that addressed this issue. Apparently the Gnome team doesn’t think people need a “traditional desktop” anymore so eliminated it. But you can bring it back by installing the Gnome Tweak Tool through the command sudo yum install gnome-tweak-tool. Once installed go under utilities in your applications list and launch Gnome Tweak Tool to add a trash can and computer icon to the desktop as well as any icons under your user/desktop folder.

Unity of Command on Linux

I figured I would write this follow-up post after talking about Linux. Follow the instructions from 2 x 2 Games to install on Linux (basically unzip and copy over to a folder). However, one mistake they made was having you copy the DLCs into the Unity of Command folder. DLCs actually need to go into the DLC folder under the Unity of Command folder to be recognized by the game. When the DLCs are installed correctly and you start the game, you will be asked for your key code.

I also had trouble getting the sound to work. Read the readme file for help. I am using a Dell Optiplex 780’s built-in sound. The sound works fine with other games so I know the sound is not the problem. The music isn’t that exciting in the game and is repetitive so no great loss. The game still plays great.



Linux Box

I recently built a Linux PC because I decided I wanted to try and play games on Linux with the increase in the number of available games. In addition, Steam is available on Linux and I wanted to try Crossover, the software that uses Wine to run apps and play games on the Mac and Linux, on a Linux box since I have only previously tested and used it on the Mac. I used a Dell Optiplex 780 SFF and had no troubles loading Fedora Core 19. I went with the x64 load and put 16 GB of RAM in it because that is the most the PC could hold. With video cards your options are limited in a SFF PC, so I started with an Nvidia GT 620 video card but later moved to an AMD 7750 after I found this awesome card in a LP configuration on Amazon here. Neither video card had any problems in Linux.

I found that Crossover actually works much better on Linux than Mac OS. More of the games I test with Crossover work with Linux. And Linux plays games much faster. I loaded Unity of Command on Linux, and although I could not get the sound to work, it works much faster between turns.

So I am enjoying my gaming and playing around with Linux. The SFF PC is small but works great and this gives me an excuse to mess around more with Linux. Not as user friendly as Windows or Mac, but more control and less baggage for you. Give Linux a shot if you haven’t yet.

Unity of Command

If you like old school turn-based war games like Panzer General, you will love Unity of Command. This is the first game by 2 x 2 Games and it is a hit. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The game has 2 additional DLCs available, Red Turn and Black Turn. In total, the game covers the battle on the Eastern front between Germany and the USSR from 1941-1945.

The game includes a campaign mode as well as individual scenarios. I stuck with the scenarios, which are rated from easy to hard, a nice touch. You mostly command infantry and tanks, with a few other vehicles available in different scenarios. Different scenarios also add options for bombing, additional supply, bridge building or destruction, and partisans for the Russians. Each scenario has one or more objectives marked on a mini map and on the screen. These are typically cities. The mini map also shows your area of control in a darker color. Each scenario has a limited amount of turns in which you must capture the objectives to win.

Supply is a very big factor in the game. Depending on where your supply depots are located and how far out supply extends affects how far you can progress against the enemy. One turn out of your supply area puts a small ! on your unit, although the unit may still attack and move. After 2 turns, the unit has a large red ! and can only move, not attack. 3 or more turns out of supply severely weakens your unit, which is unable to attack, is limited in movement, and is easy to kill. Therefore, you should usually try to capture or block enemy units from their supply lines to weaken them. Finally, the AI loves to block or capture your supply so make sure your defense lines are solid!

Other game effects include weather, which can make it harder to move and attack, and areas of control, which limit your units movement past enemy units. You also can use prestige points to upgrade units or buy reinforcements. You may start with some points and you gain points whenever you capture an objective. You also may have reinforcements available at different points in scenarios.

I played the game on both Mac and Linux, and although I was unable to get sound on Linux, it played faster than my Mac. I also beta tested the Black Turn DLC, and these 2 x 2 guys are very nice and helpful. This is a new company with a great game who are already talking about their next game. Support this indie developer and you won’t be sorry.

Check out Unity of Command on Steam, Matrix Games, or the Unity of Command website.


Save TechNet Subscriptions Petition

Microsoft recently announced it will end TechNet subscriptions next year. The only alternative left for IT Pros is expensive MSDN subscriptions that cost thousands of dollars. IT pros need TechNet subscriptions to test new software and gain experience with it for their jobs or education. If you agree that Microsoft should not end TechNet subscriptions or should offer an affordable alternative, please sign a petition to Microsoft by going to this address:

Kickstarter Updates

From the games I have backed and spoken of, Strike Suit Zero and Legend of Dawn are available.

Void Destroyer has been funded, but there is still one day left to back what looks like a great cross between an RTS and a space sim.

Frozen State desperately needs your help. It has 21 days to go but is over 45,000 pounds short. Check it out – it looks like a cross between Fallout 1 & 2 and Stalker.

Another new Kickstarter to check out is Race to Mars. It looks like a homage to Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space from the 1990’s with a lot more going on.

Many of these games are by first time and / or small outfits. Give these people a chance if you can and pledge for anything that looks interesting to you!



More Great Kickstarter Projects

Check out Frozen State, a survival, horror RPG set in Siberia. It takes inspiration from Fallout, Stalker, Metro 2033, and other Sci-Fi movies and books. It looks like a top-down RPG like the original Fallout, but with some cool randomly generated environments and conditions.

Another cool game is Void Destroyer, and hybrid RTS and space sim. In this game you can be the commander, directing ships and base building. You also can hop into a ship and dog fight. The cool thing is, if your ship is destroyed you return to the command ship or jump into another ship to continue fighting.

I backed both of these projects and hope they are funded.