Saturday, December 19, 2009

Byte: Maker watch over us all.

I'm taking advantage of my first free weekend in literally months to finally get around to installing my copy of Windows 7 Pro (64-bit), that I bought for next to nothing, thanks to my status as a student teacher. There's always that sense of apprehension that you get whenever a hard drive wipe is involved, but my old XP Pro installation was starting to get bloaty, slow and flabby, so the hard drive needed a good clean up anyway. I've got everything backed up on my lovely little Western Digital external hard drive, so at least I don't have to go through the bother of installing WoW and all my Steam games from scratch again. And I remembered to back up all my save games as well - much as though I do love it, I don't fancy replaying those 40+ hours in Dragon Age to get back to where I'd played up to last night.

So this afternoon will be spent playing about with a new operating system and reinstalling software, drivers, apps and all that fun stuff. That might not sound exciting to you, but it sure beats the hell out of lesson planning. Though I don't have to do any of that for another month, since my first teaching placement finished rather anti-climatically yesterday, thanks to the snow. I didn't want to risk trashing my car driving a 70 mile round trip into and out of London when its snowing. Anywhere south of Harrogate seems to think it's the next Ice Age if a single flake of snow settles on the roads, so I bailed on the trip - it wasn't like I was teaching lessons anyway, so I think I was entirely justified.

So with two work-free weeks stretching out before me like the welcoming arms of a comely maiden with low moral standards, I can look forward to getting some serious writing and gaming done. As I'm going to be spending a lot of the holiday in Alsace (where they seriously know how to do Christmas properly, not the commercialised crap with rubbish TV we get over here), so I'm going to be reduced to using my netbook, rather than my consoles and my ever-aging games PC. This isn't such a bad thing, as my NC10 is capable of running a few games quite well, such as Trials 2, GTA: Vice City, Beyond Good and Evil (after I played about with the sounds and graphics options to get the soundtrack and the animation to sync up properly) and the obvious netbook type games, like Osmos (an intriguing little indie game), Plants vs. Zombies and the almost inevitable Peggle. Even KOTOR and Dawn of War run passably on it, though that is really stretching the capabilities of the graphics chip. After Christmas I will probably try upgrading the RAM in both my games rig and my netbook, to eke out a bit more performance for the least amount of money possible (I am, after all a penniless student - a penniless, Scottish student, to boot).

But I think I will try and spend quite a bit of time over Christmas writing. I've not done any games writing at all since I started the PGCE, and while I've been far to busy to actually find the time to do any, I do miss the whole process of writing. So I think I will try to either start a film script or maybe write a short story (or at least make a start on one). The length of the holidays to get some serious writing done was one of the things that influenced my decision to turn my back on industry and go into teaching. So it would be a shame to waste the opportunity of getting some writing done.

Anyway, I've been rambling on for far too long now, and I've successfully imported all my games from Steam into Windows 7 using my external hard drive, so I've got to get back to convincing Leliana to sleep with me. If I don't update again before the New Year, enjoy the holidays and I hope Santa brings you something nice.
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