Thursday, June 28, 2007

Byte: Oooooh!

Ninty announce they're releasing tools to allow people to make homebrew Wii games. I'll have to get my thinking cap on...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bark: Pun-ishment

Well, it made me laugh.

Bark: Quote of the Day

Floodplains are called floodplains for a reason - they flood.
Thank you, Professor Spicer, Professor extraordinarius of Stating The Bleedin' Obvious, the Open University...

Byte: A simple formula

Beer + Wine + World of Warcraft + Going to bed at 3a.m. on a weeknight = Badness

You think I would have learnt by now...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bark: A novel approach

You've got to love the Aussies. Since graphic adverts of the effects of car crashes aren't having any effect at reducing accidents or making people think twice about speeding, they've come up with a new campaign, based on the following premise:

If you speed, you've got a small cock.


Bark: Feelgood factor

I tend not to blog about work so much, for obvious reasons, but it's days like today when I can really feel good about the work I do.

I think everyone wants to be able to see that their work has a purpose; that it makes a tangible, positive difference to peoples lives. So it's very gratifying to read stories like this, because I help maintain and develop the command and control system that assigns and sorties the SAR helicopters to incidents like this. I even know the RAF spokesman quoted on the website. I'll be seeing him next week when I'm going up to Kinloss to site test the next software upgrade.

It hits you even harder when you're intimately acquianted with the region that's being so badly hit. I used to live and work in Sheffield, so it's amazing to think that parts of the city are akin to a war zone. When I used to live in High Green, I used to drive past Hillsborough every day to go to work - and now it's more like a super-sized olympic swimming pool than a football stadium. Pretty crazy stuff.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Byte: Cat - away. Mice - playing.

My girlfriend is off for the week, helping supervise a school-trip to Paris and Futuroscope, meaning that I'm left home alone (again) for gaming, drinking and other assorted debauchery.

The mouse (i.e. me) is currently playing Metroid Prime Pinball on the DS, which is devilishly addictive. My copy of Puzzle Quest should also be arriving sometime this week, which should help keep me occupied in the lonely evenings this week, and also next week, when I go up to Scotland to do Site Acceptance Testing in Kinloss.

One thing that caught my eye at the weekend when I was shopping in Guildford was that Simbin have released a Caterham expansion for Race. At the whopping price of $6 (including sales tax), I promptly downloaded it from Steam. That works out to around £3, which is a bargain, really. You get three versions of the Caterham 7 - with 200, 260 and 320bhp respectively, plus two new tracks, Imola and Estoril.

The Caterham's are great fun to drive. The 320bhp version is a real handful - I dread to think what its power-to-weight ratio is. It's awesome chucking it around Macau, with concrete walls just waiting to gobble you up if you let the back end step out just a little bit too much. Nice to see that Simbin have been working on the 3D engine a little since I played it last, too. All the rendering bugs seem to have cleaned up, and I'm getting stunning frame rates, even with the anti-aliasing stuck on at full-whack. I think I'll be doing some serious car setup tuning in the rest of the evenings this week...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Byte: Speaking of imbeciles...

Rockstar's publisher, Take Two, have come out with that old chestnut, The "Fine Art" Defence, for Manhunt 2.

Well, I suppose you can recreate Jackson Pollock's paintings using people's blood...

Bark: Idiotdriverwatch - Day 5

Fate continues to try and make people crash into my car...

Yesterday, at the main junction between the A30 and the A325 in Blackwater, I'm pulling away from the lights when a dozy bint in a Proton saloon decides that she wants to move lanes and simply occupy the space my car (which is fully alongside her's) is taking. She's utterly oblivious to the fact that I'm there - she doesn't even look to see if it's safe or not, and she certainly doesn't indicate. It's just as well that I have another lane I can duck into, because the first clue she would have had that I was there would have been the screeching of metal.

This morning, I'm turning right at a roundabout, and the neanderthal in the white van in the road opposite mine, seeing that the car in the road to his right has stopped to let me pass, decides that he can drive onto the roundabout, despite the fact that I'm within six feet of him - forcing me to cut through part of the centre of the roundabout to navigate around the front of his van, because his tiny little brain can't grasp the concept of "give way".

Fucking imbeciles.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Byte: For immediate filing under "WTF?!?"

A Sonic the Hedgehog RPG???

Whatever next? This is either a stroke of utter genius, or Bioware have finally lost the plot in the most tragic manner...

Byte: Moving swiftly on...

The Manhunt 2 saga continues to rumble on, on internet gaming forums just about everywhere, but I'm so sick of it now, I'm not going to say any more than what I posted on the NTSC-UK forum yesterday. Much more amusing was the punning thread about the advertising standards authority banning the re-showing of the "Go to work on an egg" adverts. I chickened out (hah!) after four pages of dreadful egg puns, but somehow they've managed to stretch it out to an astonishing ten pages overnight...

In the continuing absence of any new releases on PC that I want to play, and my EVE Online trial petering out with a resounding "meh", I'm replaying KotOR for the umpteenth time. Only this time, I've been looking for mods to spice the game up a little. The most interesting ones of these are the Padawan mods, which allow you to play as a Jedi from the start - some of which allow you to skip the tutorial on the Endar Spire, or even skip Taris entirely. Arguably the best of these is the original Padawan mod, as it doesn't overpower the player relative to the NPCs in Taris, since you only get given a short lightsaber, which does an equivalent amount of damage to most of the early vibroblades (or less, even, to take into account that you can deflect blaster fire from the start of the game now).

Slightly more lamentable are things like The Bastila Improvement Project mod, which essentially just gives her larger breasts. I believe this is what they call "fan service"... Much like the playable Twi'lek mods for KotOR 2.

The existence of a Peragus-skipping mod for KotOR 2 pleases me more, however. Especially since it doles out a lightsaber for you immediately, rather than making you wait until kingdom come before you can make one for yourself... I'll be trying that one out tonight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bark: Dodging the silver bullet

Do you ever feel that random chance has it in for you? I've narrowly avoided three road traffic accidents in the last three days, all within the space of half a mile from each other. I've not had a car accident in over six years now, and it's almost as if it has been decided somewhere that it's my time to have another one.

My girlfriend can't drive, so I get to act as her chauffeur, dropping her off to work in the morning, and picking her up in the evening quite often as well. The kicker here is that my girlfriend is a teacher, and all the three nearly-accidents of the last three days have happened within a stone's throw of the school she works at. The first one on Monday was when I was turning into the road her school is on, and some bumberclut on the other side of the road decides that it's a good idea to start REVERSING ACROSS THE T-JUNCTION AS I'M TRYING TO TURN RIGHT INTO IT. And this is a main road. At rush hour. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE MORON THINKING?

I pick Fleur up and drive home, putting it out of my mind as random happenstance.

The next day, I've just dropped Fleur off and I'm driving down one of the local rat runs down the back of Camberley to pick up the main road at a quieter spot. Within a minute of leaving the school, no more than 400 yards from it, I'm pulling out to move around a parked car when a white, old-style Rover Mini Metro comes bombing around the blind corner in the road 100 yards aways, doing no less than 45mph (in a 30 zone, natch), meaning I've got to take evasive action to avoid him slamming head-first into my bonnet; because this 17 year old manic doesn't know what the middle pedal does.

I pootle off to work, trying to lower my heart rate and blood pressure, thinking it's just coincidence.

Finally, this morning, I've just dropped Fleur off at her school, and I'm checking the road in front of the school carefully before I pull out, because the road is lined by very large trees that restrict your view. I double-check again, left, then right, and I'm creeping out only to have to stamp on the brakes because the speed limit obviously doesn't apply to people driving S-Class Jaguars, as the guy racing at 40mph+ PAST A SCHOOL ENTRANCE CROWDED WITH KIDS ably demonstrates.

Three times in three days. This is clearly beyond happenstance and coincidence. Fate is out to get me, and STUPID PEOPLE IN CARS are her weapons of choice...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Byte: No great loss...

Jack Thompson will be cock-a-hoop.

To be honest, I wouldn't have bought or played it anyway, so no great shakes. There's making violent entertainment media for the sake of giving people a thrill and just plain being nasty. From the sounds of it, Manhunt 2 was the latter, so frankly, I'm glad they banned it...

Byte: The coding equivalent of two bald men fighting over a comb

We're in the middle of Factory Acceptance Testing at the moment, and I've just spent the morning nailing down the cause of an error that is preventing our build being signed off to go up to Scotland in a fortnight for Site Acceptance Testing.

It was a VB13 Subscript Out of Range error that was happening when the code was validating that the callsign of a Search and Rescue asset being returned in an SQL cursor is not null. Because of the way that VB "Is Not" statements work, this code was falling over when the variable it was doing the "Is Not" on was alphanumeric, rather than a number. This was curious enough, but when I actually analysed what the code was doing, I found out that the check itself is utterly, *utterly* redundant. This is because the structure of the code around it bypasses the check is the cursor doesn't return a callsign and furthermore, the callsign being returned by the cursor comes from a column that's the primary key on the table it belongs in - in other words, it has to be unique and can NEVER be null. So why check if a value that can never be null is null? If that's not the very definition of futile, I don't know what is... ah, I love my job.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bark: Well *that* was interesting...

I had an absolutely awesome dream last night: in the dream I'm General Maximus from Gladiator, and we're off in some backward country around the Mediterranean Sea (for the sake of argument, call it Libya or somewhere similar in North Africa) and the assembled Roman Legions are pummelling the heck out of the local barbarians.

We win a fabulous victory, annex the country and the troops board a huge fleet of Roman galleons for the trip back to Italy. Except Maximus doesn't board a ship. No, ships are far too mundane for the great General Maximus. Instead, he's taking the trip back to Rome on the back of a giant turtle... Wait, it gets weirder. So he's swimming alongside the Admiral's galleon on his turtle, holding a very surreal conversation with the Admiral about how using a turtle is the only way to travel the seas in style and comfort - and to be fair, he does look magnificient - like an aquatic knight on his faithful steed, broaching the gentle waves effortlessly.

Then, suddenly, a large dark object rises slowly from the surface of the sea infront of us in the distance. The object is all sharp edges and you can distinctly make out a very large pair of reptillian, crimson eyes. Maximus identifies it as a Hydra, and he's just musing about how Hydras have nine heads and wondering where the rest are when six other heads shoot up from the surface of the water, taking ships with them. As the half-dozen unfortunate galleons come crashing down to the sea, the rest of the fleet goes apeshit - fire arrows fly everywhere, trying to strike the necks and eyes of the Hydra. It's no use, and soon all that remains of the fleet is Maximus astride his soft-shelled mount. Two further heads rise from the water - directly infront and behind Maximus. One swipes at the turtle, neatly decapitating it and leaving Maximus floundering; that is, until the other head swallows him whole in a single gulp.

Maximus floats down the Hydra's long, water-filled neck, trying to hold his breath, and falls into a large chamber (presumably one of the Hydra's stomachs) to find that he's not alone. The chamber is well lit and decorated in an oriental style. Sat around a dojo are a dozen Asian monks, who seem quite at home underwater, which shouldn't be so surprising, given that they all have gills on their necks. One opens his eyes and swims up to meet the now drowning Maximus, giving him a very firm punch to the stomach. As Maximus's head snaps back with the blow, suddenly gills appear on his neck and he can breathe again. The monk then explains that the Hydra is under their control and that they had assaulted his fleet so that they could induct Maximus into their Order, as they had seen how great a leader he was, and that they needed him to fight for them in a great battle that was about to take place in the Far East.

And then I woke up. Damn...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bark: Life imitates art...

Remember the brilliantly subversive Goodness Gracious Me! sketch Going for an English?

The mind boggles.

Bark: I shouldn't laugh...

Heh. I really wonder if Randall and I were separated at birth or something... (technically, I guess we were: by about eight and a half years and 4000 miles.)

Byte: The secrets of the mouse cursor revealed

I've still got the dreaded lurgey, so work are about to send me home, so I don't give the rest of the team whatever disease is lurking around in my veins at the moment. This link from my manager cheered me up a little. Best with sound.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Byte: EVE vs WoW

Adam tells me I'm not Byting enough lately, so this one is for you, mate...

My local GAME in Guildford was selling copies of EVE Online for 48p at the weekend, so I picked it up with the intention of trying it for a month and seeing how I go. Of course, when I got it home, I found out that some fucker had removed the CD-Key sticker from the box, meaning that I couldn't register the game and claim my free playing time. No wonder they were selling it at 48p. I *should* kick up a fuss, take the game back to the shop and get a refund, purely on the principle for them selling me what is in effect a defective product - but for the sake of 48p, I really can't be bothered. Not when I can download a trial client for free and have the benefit of still having a paper manual. It just means I can only play it for 14 days for free, rather than 30.

First impressions: EVE undoubtedly has the longest and most comprehensive in-game tutorial ever. It's so long it took me a couple of sessions' play spread across two nights to complete it. If that sounds a little bit off-putting, then yeah - it is, kinda. The fact it takes a good couple of hours to be introduced to the whole of the game interface is not a great sign, really. There's just so much STUFF in EVE, I can see how it might become utterly compelling, but I'm not certain that it's an MMOG for me.

The problem with coming to any MMOG a couple of years late is that new players just have so much ground to catch up. With something like World of Warcraft, it's not quite so bad as you can grind your way up to the top of the tree quite quickly; and since The Burning Crusade came out, most of the low level areas are relatively unoccupied, so there's relatively little risk of getting ganked. With something like EVE however, relative progression is much slower - you're going to have to mine compulsively for months to raise the cash to buy a ship that's not going to be destroyed the instant you step outside of a 1.0 security level system. And even then, that's no guarantee that you're not going to stumble across some sociopath in a Titan who will just kill you for the hell of it, regardless of where you are; and with the death penalties being so high in EVE (i.e. if you don't have a decent clone, say goodbye to most of your skills), it's easy to see why EVE only has 1% of the MMOG market share compared to WoW's 53%...

The engine upgrade for EVE: Revelations does make the game look a whole lot better than it did previously, so at least you can't discriminate too much on grounds of looks - and EVE is the only space-based sci-fi MMOG out there, so it does definitely fill a niche in the market - I just wish that it was a little less complicated, a little less unforgiving, and a little quicker (in terms of pace of action and the sense of progression). Like Auto Assault (which I dabbled with last year) I can't help but think that it's a good idea, but not quite suited to the MMOG genre - if it were offline and you took out the human "asshole potential" element (in other words, preventing you from being victimized because you're a "n00b" in a weak frigate) I reckon I could spend a lot more time with it. As it is, however, I can't see myself wanting to pay a monthly subscription for the privilege of mining for a year, just so that I can start playing the game properly. Perhaps it's my fault for coming to the game so late, but the game doesn't do itself any favours in helping new players into the game. I'll stick with it for the next week or so and let you know if I have a "eureka!" moment... but somehow I doubt it.

Bark: Hey, fever!

Hayfever sucks. That is all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bark: Cheap 360

My buddy Olly forwarded me this link, as he knows of my all-encompassing love of Ferraris - the 360 in particular. Intriguingly, I happen to drive a Peugeot 406 (that the kit car is based on)... I think I should start putting aside a few pennies...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bark: This boy is good.

Staying up late tonight to watch the Canadian Grand Prix highlights, and for very good reason.

I know Lewis Hamilton happens to be blessed with having his debut season driving the car that's the class of the field, but if you judge drivers against their teammates, then you've got to say, this boy is good - very good. I've been watching Grand Prix racing since 1986, and other than Michael Schumacher, I've never seen another driver have so much of an instant impact on Formula One. I initially had my doubts about how good he was - you don't win World Championships by coming second - but winning a Grand Prix in your first six race starts and never having finished off the podium, holy cow, you've got to say he's in with a decent shout of winning the championship this year. Good on you, Lewis - enjoy the moment while you can, because just ask Jenson Button how quickly you can go from being a media darling to a relative nobody...

The race today was also notable not just for Hamilton's win, but also for being one of the most interrupted races I can remember (which makes Hamilton's maiden win all the more impressive, really) - all the best to Robert Kubica, who had one of the most spectacular F1 crashes I've seen in years.

I hope the leg mends soon and we see you back in the cockpit before too long...

Byte: The Sims Hilton Incarceration Test

I wonder how long it will take for the threatening emails from Flickr to come in....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bark: Heh-heh-heh


Bark: Pig Ignorant

Are people today really this stupid?

I know I like having some kind of disconnect with food I eat from the animal it comes from: being able to identify body parts when I'm eating is usually a little too close for comfort (unless, say, it happens to be a chicken leg or a prawn), but I'm not so detached that I don't know that bacon comes from pigs and beef comes from cows... people can't be THAT ignorant, can they?

Bark: Bunfight

I'm loving the bunfight that's kicking off about Paris Hilton's shock, totally unexpected* early release from prison. So now she's got to spend forty days being confined under house arrest in a multi-million dollar Beverly Hills mansion... it must be sheer HELL.

I'm sure even a poor little rich girl could have managed a mere 23 days in prison. To prove the point, I'm going to recreate prison conditions using Sims 2 and make her (or at least her avatar) serve her time and pay her debt to society. I'm going to call this little exercise the Sims Hilton Incarceration Test, or SHIT. Hey, if picking the acronym first and finding the words later works for the US Army, it'll do for me too, m'kay?

Of course, all I'm going to do is put her avatar in a four-walled cell with no doors and see how long it takes her to die, taking screenshots and documenting her demise along the way for your delectation. But hey, just having the words "Paris Hilton" on my blog should give me a few more much-needed hits... so what the hell.

*This called SARCASM, overly-literal internet users!

Bark: Quote of the Day

The 42-year-old man was not a Vulcan relative of Mr Spock of the starship Enterprise.



Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bark: RPG-bait

I'm sure they just pick the acronym first and then find the words that fit. They should have called it the Battlefield Emergency Egress Robot. Because then you could have a BEER in a firefight...

Bark: Modern life is dull and delusional

Time for a rant... and fasten your seatbelts - it's going to be a bumpy night.

I think one of the reasons I'm leaning ever closer to becoming an all-out sociopath is because, well... modern life has just become so deathly dull.

We've got to the point where no-one is allowed to take risks anymore (especially children); people are so thin-skinned that they can be mortally offended by anything and everything, even to the point of being offended by things that aren't even being shown in a perfectly legitimate documentary; governments are trying to micro-manage our lives by telling us to obsess about our carbon footprints when they can't even agree amongst themselves that the problem is serious enough to try and tackle by setting hard targets because the carbon trading system doesn't work - and don't get me started on how spending billions on the War on Terror is doing wonders for National Security and civil liberties. I wonder, is the War on Terror a carbon neutral operation? Something tells me that the US and UK governments have some SERIOUS carbon offsetting to do...

It's ridiculous, really, the staggering level of hypocrisy of what we're told to do with our lives when governments do nothing or the exact opposite. Add to that the conflicting signals you get from the media, it's no wonder most people are too petrified to go outside their door. I'm convinced that the human race is going to coddle itself to extinction because people are so afraid and ignorant of everything around them that they'll bore themselves to death, because they don't go out and just live their lives. People need to be stimulated and have their ideas and preconceptions challenged, but now the poltical and social climate is so bad that authors have to self-censor their villain characters for fear of offending some rabid rights group and ruining their careers.

I mean, really. FUCK. THAT. SHIT. It's genuinely laughable. When I was a kid in the playground we knew that people wouldn't always be nice to you and used to say "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

Now the attitude seems to be "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will make me want to curl up in a corner and commit suicide because I'm so weak-minded and I can't cope if everyone doesn't love me more than life itself." We've become so self-deluding and dishonest that there's just no perspective in the world anymore.

Nowadays when you fight a war, if a single soldier gets killed it's front page news. This is how risk-adverse we've become. HELLO? IT'S A WAR. SOLDIERS GET KILLED. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIGHT A WAR! IF YOU CAN'T COPE WITH THAT, DON'T FUCKING START THEM! Things were much more honest and upfront a couple of thousand years ago when if you wanted to have a war, you'd put twenty thousand men in a big field, let them grind each other to pieces for a couple of days and that would be it - job done. Brutal, ugly, crude, yes - but that's the purpose of war. You can't fight wars without people being hurt and lives being ruined. Yet that's what we seem to want these days - victimless war - because obviously technology's so much better these days; we've come up with much cleverer and more precisely targetted ways of mangling human flesh. People have protected themselves so much from the realities of life that they've become detatched from it - and all that does is make the problem worse, because that unrealistic expectation just gets magnified and reinforced.

This is why I'm taking the view that I don't give a fuck about my carbon footprint. I don't care if I have a carbon footprint the size of a woolly mammoth, because by the time I'm dead we'll have found out that we really should have started worrying about it fifteen years ago and that we're way beyond the tipping point on climate change as it is... So go outside, do something exciting. Buy a sports car that does less than 20mpg. Spend a fortune on building a Transformers cosplay Optimus Prime suit. Fly around the world. Anything that will piss off the political correctness brigade... because they're so uptight they're just begging to be pissed off, really. Fingers crossed, their moral outrage will give them heart attacks and neatly remove them from the gene pool. Preferably *before* they've had a chance to have kids...

Oh, and if anything I've written here offends you... I would say I'm sorry, but an insincere apology is worse than no apology at all, so FUCK OFF. And don't come back. We don't want your kind here.

Bark: Iain in: Wacky French 3D Action-Adventure Dreams!

Dreams are great. Which makes it somewhat unfortunate that the memory of them is always so elusive and intangible. They slip away like a ninja in the shadows: you suspect something was there, but you can't be certain of the details.

I dream pretty vividly and I'm very lucky in that I often dream lucidly, which allows me to manipulate the dream, particularly as I tend to dream in real-time, so things can get pretty wild. I really must start keeping a proper dream diary, because the details of what happen in my dreams usually slip away quite quickly. To try and aid my dream recall, I'm going to make parallels between videogame genres and the content of my dreams. This might sound utterly bonkers, but wait...

Last night the genre was most definitely Wacky French 3D Action-Adventure.

I distinctly recall doing several bizarre things, such as dealing roulette to Daleks in the casino I used to work at and driving through a supermarket and then down a huge staircase in a modified Mini Cooper (the body old style), where the rear wheels had been replaced by the kind you get on shopping trolleys. I also remember that the Martha to my Doctor for these wacky japes was none other than Tom Francis. We were also playing poker at some point as well, but I can't quite remember the context. But it was WACKY.

I think I should check the water supply for psychotropic drugs....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Byte: Dual-poot

Well, it looks like I'm going to have to wait a while until I can dual-boot my games rig with Linux. Even the latest version of Ubuntu doesn't support my graphics set-up or motherboard, so I guess that's the price you pay for buying hardware near the bleeding edge. Come on, Linux-geeks... get with the program!

Bark: Fiasclogo

I think I can confidently predict that the 2012 Olympics are going to be an unmitigated disaster, if the continuing fiasco over the logo is anything to go by. If the rapturous reception the logo itself got after its unveiling on Monday wasn't enough, now they've had to take a promotional video off the official London Olympics website because it was giving people epileptic fits.

The ever redoubtable Register has been thoroughly cataloguing the ongoing disaster, and the readers comments with their interpretations of the logo make for delicious reading. I still stick by my interpretation of a pile of radioactive cat sick, but perhaps the most inspired analysis of the graphic was "Lisa Simpson giving head to a krypton factor puzzle". What's really worrying is that I can actually see how he came up with that...

I also like how the BBC have tried to discreetly cover up a faux pas of their own when they ran an alternative logo competition on the BBC News website. If you somehow are still innocent enough not to know what goatse is and therefore why the BBC withdrew the image (though, remarkably, it's still hosted on one of the BBC's webservers), I *beg* you, don't look it up. There are some things it's best to remain utterly ignorant of...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Byte: This post was brought to you by the power of Linux

I am presently writing to you from my Celery Lapdog, which is now running a pristine install of Xubuntu 6.06, and I have to say, it's a heck of a lot easier to set up than Windows: no pissing about installing custom device drivers - the only thing I needed to configure was the network settings to get the wireless up and running, and that took, ooooh, about two minutes. I was thinking of dual-booting with my old copy of Windows ME, but after having played about for a while, I'm not sure I'm going to bother. After all, I have the Virtual Machines on my games rig to take care of all my retro gaming needs.

The interface is super-sleek and super-sexy, the software update facility is so much better than the Windows one and it's so nice not to have to worry about anti-virus software for once... I think I could get used to this...

Byte: Ucuntu, deriving from the traditional African for "I am a blithering idiot"

I was up until about half one last night, trying valiantly to install Ubuntu 6.06 on the pathetic old Fujitsu-Siemens Celeron laptop I relieved my dear mother of when I donated her my old games rig a couple of weekends back. I had to leave the installer running overnight because it was taking so long (and I do require *some* sleep, after all) and it was still getting absolutely nowhere when I checked on it first thing this morning.

This was because I am a blithering idiot and I didn't check the minimum specs of the install CD before I downloaded it - it requires a minimum of 256MB of RAM, and this poor Celery laptop only has 192MB, 32MB of which are shared with the onboard video. I had intended to stick some extra RAM in it (because you can never have too much RAM), but it appears that even by laptop standards, it is not a recommended thing to try on your own, given where the RAM slot lurks...

What it appears I need instead is Xubuntu, which *will* install on something as old and crappy as my Amilo. I'm taking no chances - I'm abusing the corporate network to download both the regular and Alternate install CDs and will try them tonight. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to cry.

Also, via the medium of ACTUALLY READING THE WEBSITE PROPERLY, I managed to divine why I hadn't been able to install Ubuntu to dual-boot my shiny new games rig. It helps if you download the version designed for the right chip architecture...


Bark: They spent £400,000 of taxpayer's money on *that*?

Urgh. I really don't like the logo for the 2012 Olympics that they unveiled yesterday. It looks like it was designed by a committee of five year old ADHD kids on LSD. It gives me a headache just looking at it. I look at it and see radioactive cat sick.

And what's all this bullshit about "brands"? Whatever happened to Citius, Altius, Fortius? I thought that the Olympics were meant to be about striving to achieve greater athletic feats, not creating an "edgy brand" to package and sell at the highest price - London rates, of course... This is what Tony Blair had to say of the logo:
When people see the new brand, we want them to be inspired to make a positive change in their life

Sure, when I see it, I'm inspired to make a positive change in my life - that is, to GET THE HELL OUT OF BRITAIN.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bark: Neighbours from Heck

If you're familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, you'll know that Heck is a realm that's superficially similar to Hell, but rather milder; that is, annoying, rather than outright torturous.

Today we get rid of our Neighbours from Heck that live in the flat above ours, and good bloody riddance, I say. I could say innumerable cruel and defamatory things about them, but let's just stick to a few facts that can't get me sued for slander. One, they had bedsheets with pink hearts on them. CLASSY. Two, they used to chase each other around the flat screaming like five year old girls. MATURE. Three, when they had sex (which was often), the noise would wake the dead. ZOMBIETASTIC!

Please, let the new tenants be young professionals in their late twenties who don't stay up until 2am every night listening to shite music and wake at 6am for a long, loud screw before work in the morning, but would rather have a quiet night in, sitting down infront of the TV with a nice cup of tea and a chocolate digestive...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Byte: Speaking of nadirs

From left to right, in TriForce-stylée, yes, no, yes, no, hell yes.

Byte: An all new nadir

I thought I'd seen it all... I thought we'd plumbed the very depths of videogame badness with Crazy Frog Racer and the abominable Big Brother game - a game so bad, MobyGames doesn't even have an entry for it - a fate that wasn't even reserved for the ludicrously poor Bikini Karate Babes - but no, they've managed to come up with a new, even more heinous franchise cash-in for fools waiting to be parted with their money: Dirty Dancing: The Videogame.


Bark: All hail the power of the T-Rex!

I'm wearing my T-Rex t-shirt from Dinosaur Comics today, as I'm allowed to dress down on Fridays (though surely a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it counts as dressing *up*?) and I didn't get a single red light on the drive to work this morning. RAWRR!