Sunday, January 30, 2005

Board Board Bored

I am in that kind of mood where I really want to play something, but I don't know what to play.
I could play a game (that I can't mention the title of), but it requires a stupid amount of mouse clicking to play, and I just can't be bothered.

My English Grammer book is great (is being the linking verb), but I can't be bothered right now.

There is Counterstrike Source, but the bots are too predictable and playing online is a pain because all the small sized servers are full and the big ones place far too many people on the map for it to be interesting.

I could write some of my placement report, but that isn't due in for ages and all I can do right now is write the section headings. Anyway I wanna have some fun.

I might start reading some of my new Project Management book then.


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Random Fact

This is post number 412.

My Usage Of

I recieved another large order of books yeasterday, but something I rearlised today was that I buy books from Amazon without questioning wither I am getting a bargain or not. I just assume that the price I pay will be the cheapest I could get them for. Then I wondered wither I should question the ammount I spend there, but then I rearlised that last time I chacked the price of a book on amazon against a shop (my universitiy's book shop) Amazon was £5 cheaper.

Random Accompanying Fact
I am currently reading English Grammer For Dummies.

STEAM Login Problems

Most people seem to be having a login problem with STEAM at the mo. STEAM is online, but the problem is with login.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Contract JACK (Completed)

The prequel to No One Lives Forever 2.
Reviewers gave it a meh.
And the gaming community said it was terrible because of it's mindless hoard killing.

I quite liked it.

It is essentially a console FPS on the PC. The auto-aim is so high on easy setting its like playing with an aim-bot, there are hoards and hoards of bad guys to kill. I mean it is so bad it seems as if Zap Branigan has been advising the bad-guys on attack strategy and it almost puts Halo to shame, not quite because the levels are interesting, so at least there is a sense of the 'passage of time' here.

Unfortunately the 'passage of time' thing is an issue. I completed this in one sitting and that sitting was only three hours long. I have played demos that have lasted longer than that. And this is a two disc game!

The comedy element usually present in this franchise is not that funny and there isn't any of those discarded documents to find in any of the levels which usually add more depth to the environment, but I liked most of the levels and the weapon selection is good.

I liked Contract Jack, but the game is shockingly short.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Darwinia News

We are aware that a lot of people have been very confused by the demo of Darwinia, with no clear idea of what they're supposed to be doing.
THAT is what happens when you don't include an introduction or documentation of any kind.
We have to admit to being slightly suprised by this, but we've obviously misjudged the amount of help that games players need.
THAT is what happens when you don't do observational playtesting.
We are working on a new demo that will include a detailed tutorial that explains the concepts of Darwinia.
YAY! I mean I managed to compleat the demo, but I still don't understand how anybody could enjoy a game where the levels are so easy.
In the mean time, we've uploaded some basic help of our own which you can read Here.
So that's what was going on!
WOW, so I am like an Anti Virus, cool!

Hot Or Not Firefox

Everybody seems to be praising Firefox as a better alternative to Internet Explorer, but I am not so sure.

Firefox has an odd memory leak where after being open for a few hours it will consume system resources like a dog with meat products. Plus the only difference between an updated version of IE and Firefox is that Firefox can do tabbed browsing.

I like Firefox, but IE is more stable and it makes me wonder if people are just being snooty about the whole issue.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Adrenaline Management

It is not often that I visit gaming forums because they are full of fanboys and people just wanting to argue, but This post on Adrenaline Management is very interesting.

I already understood about the pacing of games and that too much for too long was bad, but to think of it as Adrenaline Management is a different approach for me.

Sheer brings up some excellent examples and I too was one of those people who got terrible annoyed and tired with the flooding Flood in Halo AND Halo2 (I can't believe they did it twice) the Flood isn't so bad in Halo2, but WHY!

This is an interesting subject to consider, but regulated gameplay is boring. So Adrenaline Management isn't about making sure there isn't too much or too little action, or even using that as a gameplay element like in the survival horror genre, but instead making sure a game doesn't do anything stupid like Bungie did in Halo2, or like ID did with Doom3.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Blizzard Responds To Penny Arcade

Blizzard Responds To Penny Arcade With A Dignified Response.

Nothing anybody can really say because its a new game and of-course there are going to be problems.

In 1997 Microsoft had similar Problems With It's Website so these things are nothing new.

Anatomy for Beginners

I watched it and I agree with These Guys, it was uncomfortable to watch, but I couldn't help myself. As far as anatomy demonstrations go it was very much for beginners. We learn all this stuff in school even before we are supposed to be old enough to watch past the watershed, so the justification for making the series seems fairly shallow.

The Virtual Keyboard Is Here

Tom's Hardware has an article about 2P's Virtual Keyboard.

Effectively it is just a light that projects the image of a keyboard onto a surface, but this is an image you can use to type documents with on your PDA.

This technology has huge potential, even for devices that have no visible interface. Imagine a black box with only this as its interface, it could project not only the keyboard, but the device's output screen onto a flat surface, thus allowing the devise itself to be incredibly small.

The application for this is huge and I am sure we will all be using this in a few years to come in objects from mobile phones to watches or pens with built smart functions.

Nintendo Revolution Rumours

There has been a TON of speculation on Nintendo's upcoming console but little is actually known about it. There are so many different ideas that no one really knows what to think. So here are some supposed "facts" about the Revolution. I can't reveal my source because I've been asked not to. Sorry guys. I would say that this info has at least a 65% chance of being accurate. My source has been right before and he's also been wrong. Here goes......

Ok first things first. Yes, Nintendo will utilize gyros in it's controllers. I think most people pretty much already took this as fact. Also, the Rev will indeed have dual processors. Also broadband is built in, no modem to buy. Nintendo has an online strategy in development. It will be implemented on the DS first. There are no current plans to connect the DS and the Rev....the GB Evolution on the other hand......

The Rev will have four controller ports. It will have a hard drive which will be used in much the same way as the 64DD was supposed to be used. Things like Dolby Digital 5.1 and high def monitor support are included. There is no type of virtual reality or any kind of headset planned. It is backwards compatible with Gamecube games. It will use the HD-DVD format and not Sony's Blu-Ray. Controllers are not wireless, but wireless controllers are planned. It will launch with an unnamed Mario game and work on Zelda has already begun. Super Smash Brothers is in mid development and will be a launch title.

Ok so what's the Revolutionary part? That's what you all want to know. Well my source wouldn't tell me. He said it would get him into too much trouble, and could give Sony and Microsoft an advantage at this stage in the game. But he did say this; "if you think too hard you'll never guess what it is. It's nothing "new" technically speaking. It's just something that hasn't really been applied to video games yet."

He then said "touching is good but feeling is better". What exactly that means I have no idea. Some sort of force feedback device? We already have rumble packs.
Touching is certainly different to feeling something because when we feel we gain knowledge of it's texture.

I remember a technology not too long ago called iFeel by Immersion that allowed a feeling sensation. And after digging through their website I found This paper on the technology.
Textures are often assigned to areas on the screen to make an object or background feel scratchy, grooved, grainy, or bumpy.
It also goes on to talk about sensations of touching different grades of friction, like sandpaper, but honestly I can't see how this technology would be revolutionary to gaming. It's nice and brings an added experience, but it won't bring people back to Nintendo. If this is the technology hinted at then maybe there could an application I am not seeing. Maybe individual buttons could be textured or maybe an analogue stick could be textured differently to the controller's casing. I don't know, but Nintendo needs to pull something out of the hat soon otherwise they will continue to loose market share. And in that case gamers will only have a choice between the Sony people will buy anything PlayStation and and the Microsoft unleash the dogs of war XBox. And the industry can only move forward through competition so it needs Nintendo.

Napster Might Offer Movies In The Future

Might! What kind of company are they!
I have been waiting for something like this for so long I have made Other Arrangements. There are online solutions for people in the US, but nothing in the UK. Eventually all forms of media will be delivers over the internet, so why companies aren't jumping at the chance to be 'first to market' is beyond me.

Data Exchange

This is the reason why we have the Data Protection Act in the UK.

Unfortunately it is in the US Government's interest to encourage this kind of thing because it allows them to practically simulate the opinions of their greater population and that gives them more control. Fortunately here in the UK we run our own government, and that body understands that this kind of thing can remove an individuals right to privacy.

The only problem with the Data Protection Act is that organisations are obligated to actively dispose of un-useful information. So if say I was to phone one of my old schools and ask about my attendance they wouldn't be able to tell me because the Data Protection Act forces them to dispose of any information that is not necessary for them to record.

The government is now allowing specific bodies like the Department Of Education to archive this data, but future historians will curse the Act for everything its worth, because great records like the Domesday Book provide an important view into our past. Just like the ability to look back over a hundred years of weather data allows us to predict our climate, to see the effects of Global Warming, but even more importantly allows us to discover hidden problems like Global Dimming. So can other archived data be useful in other ways.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Another WOW Comic


Penny Arcade did a hateful post about how WOW servers are always down, but I can't like to them because they too have server problems.

CeeBot Teaching Everyone How To Programme

I have been meaning to post this for a while now, but I just haven't gotten round to writing this and anyway there has been plenty of other stuff to talk about.

Before I started my work placement at the primary school I wondered wither anybody would ask me, what the best way to teach their kid programming skills and I wondered this myself because I am sure many programmers spent weeks writing example code without understanding the structure and how things related. I know that doesn't happen with any of the visual languages, but I started with Java.

Anyway the answer seems to be a program called CeeBot. Basically it gives you a robot in a virtual environment that you have to program (so it can complete tasks). To program the robot you have to learn CeeBot's coding language which is similar to C.

It is very simple and even the advanced problems don't require you to program object orientated code, but as an introduction to programming it is excellent because it teaches instruction ordering, syntax, debugging, loops, conditions, veriable declaration, properties and methods. So other than teaching about inheritance, interfaces and input it's almost all there.

The demos are fun and I would recommend CeeBot-4 to all the other versions available, simply because it has plenty of problems, and you are taught everything gradually. Plus it starts off easy, gets harder, ends with a challenge and allows you to be creative.

I have completed all the problems. I did have to read the help text at the start of each section to findout what the problem was and what code it was trying to teach me, but all the problems are solvable. I highly recommend it to anybody who has considered learning to code, but coding is like Kung Fu, the more you practise and the more techniques you learn the better you become.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Random Thought (Games For Girls)

Last Christmas when I was choosing what films to Give My Mum For Christmas. I realised that girl films are very different to guy films. And it just occurred to me that this must go for games too.

I have almost identified what makes a good chick flick, but games are different because girls don't influence game design yet. So I could be onto something original here.

I have this book at home where I write down game concepts, story ideas, characters and stuff in, just banking ideas so they are there when I need them and since I have been doing this for a few years now I can see where my male attitude to gaming has taken me. So I am now wondering whether I could do something very insightful with my knowledge of chick films and apply what I do know to game concepts. Eventually thinking of something truly original.

Something that has been bugging me for ages now is that whenever somebody has asked me what i want to do with my life, I don't know what to say. There are places I want to go, things i want to do, but as far as life work goes I don't know. Most people change job direction three times within their lifetime, but one thing I would love to do, is make a computer game and I have been working towards that goal, but I also have a desire to start some kind of company. I know how hard it is to do, and I know the stress would be horrible, but it's one of those calling desires I have always had. A company to do what I don't know. A computer repair shop would be easy to make a success, but that would require me to micromanage the business until the day I died and I don't want to go down that road because it is the wrong kind of place to be. I am going down the road as a programmer and gaming guru, but looking at the state of the industry and looking at how crowded it is going to become, I don't know if that is where I want to be.

Random Fact

War Of The Worlds is on for a July cinema release date in the UK.

The Scenic Route (Microsoft MapPoint)

Mapping software isn't perfect, but check This at Language Log, a round Europe trip just to get from one end of Norway to the other.

Click This Link and see for yourself.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Jacket (Trailer)

Normally I hate it when films show you plot points in the trailer, but The Jacket probably has a better trailer because of it.

Monty Python's Spamalot

It's a theater production lovingly ripped off from the film and I really want to see This. I don't actually want to see it for the Photon element, more that Time Curry is playing King Arther and apparently he is a god on stage.

Random Fact

eXeem is buggy.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Darwinia Demo

Indie games are games developed by independent developers with no publisher investment. These are real basement and garage developers, developing out of their own time and money. As large developers struggle with the growing cost of development, more and more indie developers appear, taking advantage of easier development environments, coding practises and more user-friendly code resources.

Intraversion is one of the better known indie developers because of their first title Uplink, where players become contract hackers on a virtual internet. The game has been praised for being the best hacker sim made to date and it really is.

Anyway I digress Darwinia is their second title. It is at it's core a strategy game set inside a world that has been infected by a virus. It is your job to cleanse the world of that virus.
The gameplay is too different to give a short description or comparison, but it uses a mouse gesture system and requires the player to produce vulnerable units and move them safely to mission critical areas.

I have completed all the objectives on the first level, but the only problem I have with the game is that I have no idea how to move to the second level.

If you want to give eXeem a go Here (darwinia-demo.exe) is a link.

eXeem Is NOW

The future of P2P just released Public Beta 0.20.
You can get the download from the Website.

Tim Burton's New Film

For a long while now The Nightmare Before Christmas has had a cult following and I have wondered if Tim would ever do another film in the same styling.

Well it's finnaly here in the form of The Corpse Bride.

Random Fact

I still haven't disposed of that spiders corpse.
It stares at me lifeless in its squished state from the windowsill.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

State Of The Market (PVRs)

For anybody that doesn't know a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) is simply a box with a hard drive in, that connects to your TV and allows you to do loads or really cool stuff like pause live TV, set recording options (so you never miss an episode of anything ever again) and rather than having to search through video tapes to find what you recorded the previous day it presents all recordings in a nice list on-screen. All that plus the interactive TV guide makes them the future of TV recording.

I want one simply because I have other things to do when the shows I want to watch are on and I am missing more and more shows because of this. Plus I am too lazy to fiddle with the VCR. So for the past month I have really been looking into PVRs, and here is my roundup of the solutions available.

  • Tivo
    The first PVR unit that was available to the masses and it is still probably the best, but it doesn't have Freeview, you can't use it with SKY and I don't know about NTL, but when it came out it was too expensive so it didn't take off.
    Since then Tivo has stopped manufacturing units in the UK. So if you have a look at the Tivo2 over at the US site and think you would like one, sorry, but in the UK you can only get the first version. And even then you have to hunt for a unit.

    To get a Tivo unit you can try either Tivo Land (£308) or Dixons (£130) who is currently selling refurbished units.

    Channel data costs £10 a month or a one time payment of £199.

  • SKY+
    Probably the best option for a PVR as far as service goes. The unit costs £99 which is cheep, but you also have to pay a monthly fee of £10 to receive channel data, plus £19 for their most basic SKY channel package. So although the units are cheap, the monthly expense makes this a stupid option.

  • MSN TV
    I don't know if you can even get these in the UK yet, but these little units (loaded with Windows Media Center) will become very desirable when Microsoft launches IPTV at the end of this year.
    IPTV is television over the internet. Not sure if you will stream or prechshe shows, but it will sell very well if the price is right.

  • Mac mini
    Lots of people where really looking forward to this because it would make the perfect PVR (because of its size).
    And all the basic design needs is a TV card, some software and you have the perfect PVR, but unfortunately Apple has ignored the market completely. So the costs go like this:
    £339 for the Mac mini and £219 for an EyeHome that will connect the Mac to a TV. So its certainly not the cheapest option.

  • Freeview
    This is probably the best option because the channel data is free and the extra channels are free too. The only cost is the price of the unit and they are all priced under £300.

    Here is a roundup of the units available:

    Panasonic TUCTH100 (£229.99)
    Doesn't have an interactive TV Guide so I wouldn't bother with it.

    Fusion FVRT100 (£169.99)
    This has a problem with the software freezing up and has many other reported bugs.

    Fusion FVRT200 (£199.96)
    Currently set for a February release date. Has a 80GB hard drive and that makes this the best value unit available. There is a good chance that it will use the same software as the FVRT100, so this might be a bad one to wait for.

    Thomson DHD4000 (£159.99)
    Bugs with chase play (watching the show you are recording) and a few other miner bugs, but far better than the FVRT100.

At the moment I am looking to get a DHD4000, but there is still the 75% coverage issue with Freeview. Meaning i might not be able to receive a good enough signal to even have a PVR.

Above Average Quotes

One of the sites I like to read is and it is the centre for all IRC quotes, but recently there has been a flood of above average quotes.

Here are just a few:

The Hunter Has Awakened

I just killed my first spider of the year.
Type: House
Length: 8mm

Free Mac Mini offers you the opportunity to get a Mac for free, but you have to have a US shipping address.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Alex Misses The Point On Gay Gamers

The super cool Aleks Krotoski posted This Article over at the Guardian's Gaming Blog, about Gay characters in video games. She talks about how more games should include gay characters and I think she misses the point on this entirely.

As I see things the only difference between a straight character in a game and a gay character, is how they are played. NPCs are another thing, but when it comes to playable characters it is upto whoever is playing to decide if they are straight, gay, transsexual or whatever.
For example in This little flash game, there are two dogs who are in love, one gets kidnapped and the other has to save them. They might be married, they might have been going out for years or maybe they might have just met. And there is no gender references with these characters either. So the one you are playing could just as well be male as female. So you could see this game as homoerotic if you choose to, but in actual fact this is just a simple game with genernuteral characters. Neither dog has any gender.

This perception could be extended to other games like, Doom. Who is to say that the character gamers play in Doom isn't gay. There is nothing in the game to says they are straight, and there is certainly nothing to say they are gay. So if somebody plays Doom with the mindset that they are playing a gay character then they are RPGing a gay character, just as they would if they as decided that they where playing as as a straight character.
If you then extend this thinking to every other game without sexual content, Mario and Luigi could have had a history of incest. The point is, unless the developer wants to specifically label their characters like in Leisure Suite Larry, then the character can be anything the player wants. And this is the point Alex misses.

One thing developers can do to open-up games is to allow people to make gay choices. What I mean by this is that when there is an opportunity for a sexual encounter, developers only need to allow the player to choose their own path to make the game more open.
For example in The Sims 2, Sims will happily sleep with a same sex Sims just as much as they will with opposite sex Sims. So the only games which should consider changing are games like Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines who's plot places the gamer in a persition where the option could be there, but it is denied.
The encounter I am talking about is when my male character was flirting with a restaurant reviewer. He becomes interested, but the only option I have to his advances is:
1) No, but I might catch you later.
2) No, I will HAVE to take a rain-check.

The current state of games attitudes towards people who wish to play as a gay character is good and there are far fewer games that specifically deny homosexual characters than those that allow the player to choose. Simply put this entire issue is just a matter of freedom and choice within the game-space.

Build A Gamecube Game In 60 Days Competition

An Interesting Competition, and they do give links to all the software needed to build a game, but first prize is a $500 voucher.

I know know about anybody else, but two months of my time is worth a lot more than $500.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Group Hug - The Public Group Therapy Site

GroupHug is a much better site than I initially thought.

Zelda Tatoo

This will look even better coloured.

Counter Strike Bots (This Is Not A News Echo)

The auto-update is available now and when they say they Have Improved The Bots, they aren't kidding.

The bots communicate what they know and what they are doing. So when a bomb has been planted one of your bots might tell you where it is. They say when they are going to camp specific spots and it's just a shame I can't talk back.

They group-up for different objectives which is cool. And they also get mowed down in groups too (just like a real game). I have only played Aztec, but then I always play Aztec, so it was the perfect map to try them out on, and they really do play like real players, minus some of the sharp shooting, but then I was playing with them on easy (extra long sentence).

As far as free updates go, this is excellent because I hate playing CS online (kiddies and cheats abound).

Monday, January 17, 2005

Random Flash Game

Relief Racer

Random Fact

The next version of windows (currently titled Longhorn) will require PixelShader 2.0.

Get A Gmail Acount

Gmail is Google's new free email system to compete against HotMail and Yahoo. The main point of sale is that you have unlimited storage, so you never have to delete another email ever again.

The only way to get an account is to be sent an invite and you can get one at The page relies on people submitting gmail invites, so if you have some, send them to

Sunday, January 16, 2005

1984 (The Film)

Slow pace, weak plot, no conscionable character development and so I have absolutely no idea why the film has been praised and referenced so much. Even my old driving instructor said it was his favourite book, but the film is just uninteresting.

Here are a few things that have been referenced in modern day culture from the book:
  • That old advert for Apple computers where the runner runs through a room full of drowns and throws a hammer at a big screen.
  • The program Room 101 and all the books like Visual Basic 101.
  • The whole Big Brother is watching you thing.
It's all referencing the film and I can't even begin to understand why because there is nothing in the film that even gave me the slightest hint of an apifany (a realisation to whoever is having one) and I don't even know what Orwell was trying to say.

The only thing I picked up was that in The Book Of Goldstein that the rebells where trying to spread (it was their forbidden bible), talks about how BB (or whoever) instigates fear amongst the party (the population) in-order to keep everybody working and following orders and accepting all that is told to them, because it is also said that what is happening is for the greater good. So they just accept it blindly.

Quite frankly this is what America has been doing for years.
With America, wither it's communism or as it is now terrorism, the governing party of America can easily pass whatever laws they want without anybody questioning them, because when it's in the name of national security nobody questions.

Like that thing about in-porting cheaper drugs from Canada. At the moment the drug manufacturers in America have a monopoly and can charge what they want for drugs. This makes America richer because it's a closed market and it redistributes funds from US citizens directly to US industry. This is significant because America also exports drugs. So the drug market only makes America stronger as they never buy external products and all external companies are forced to move to the US to trade in the US. The official line about why it's illegal to import drugs is that the imported drugs might not be safe!!!
Aspirin from India or China is still Aspirin, but people don't question this because they are afraid of 'dangerous drugs'.

I could easily go into why America is not run by the American people, but I don't get 1948 and I want someone tell me why it is so acclaimed.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Draft Posts

I am currently trying to get rid of all the draft posts I have never accumulated over the past few months. Some of this stuff is old, some of it I never finished writing and others I wasn't sure if I should post it or not. So expect more odds and ends in the next few days. A review of 1984 (the film), how to introduce children to programing, how to get a Gmail (Google email) account and some other rubbish is still to look forward to.

I might even write something about the state of PVR recorders in the UK, the missed opportunities of Apple, what I have decided to do about getting a PVR and why Microsoft is ignoring the market and instead concentrating on something called IPTV.

Random Product

The Hello Kitty Dildo is not the kind of thing I would ever buy, but its still funny to think a kids brand has this kind of official product available for purchase.

I think this calls into question as to how Japanese companies value their franchises because if Disney released a Micky's Magical Wand Dildo, then there would be outrage and I am sure Disney's sales in general would drop because of the press coverage.

eXeem Beta Next Week

Apparently the new revolutionary P2P software from Supernova (and an unknown company), will be available in beta form for download next week.

Anarchy Online FREE!

I can't remember when this happened, but it looks like Anarcy Online is free all this year, and they have even extended that into next year too.

I don't know why they would be doing this, but free MMORPGs are hard to come by. I tried Anarcy once and didn't like it, but you can decide for yourself now and for free.


Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me is a flash music video from a band called TISM.

Half Price Prima Strategy Guides

GameSpy's D2D service which has been happily distributing games digitally for the past few months, has started selling Downloadable Prima Guides. And considering they are being sold for $9.99 (£5) under the normal £10 to £15 they are normally priced at, this is great.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Random Fact

The Microsoft developers creating Visual Studio 2005 (programmers use it to create software) are mostly using Visual Studio 2005 to write the code. So if it wasn't for the creative input of the developers, the software would effectively be writing itself.

The Google Mini

Odd how this is announced comes just after the Mac mini is announced, but anyway Google is now selling a Mini Version Of It's Internal Search Devise.

I think the idea is for people working in a large organisation, you tend to be told about documents that you can't find on the network because each department has a different way of storing their files and data. So if you want something about the 'Code Of Practise' for the managers (for example). Rather than having to spend hours trying to find it, you can simply use the internal Google devise on the server (the Google Mini) and that will find what you are looking for, for you.

I think this is a great idea for a product, but I don't think its something suitable for every organisation because most organisations don't normally have that much clutter.

Another One For The Archive (PSP Vs Bat)

See the Amazing PSP Get Battered.

I really wish I had been archiving all these console destruction videos because I have had all the videos of consoles being destoryed since the N64. So by now I would have had a good collection of these videos if I had of saved them.

The worst console destruction video I have seen was with an XBox, because they really did have a hard time trying to destroy it. And it's no wonder when you get stories like This (sorry was going to link to that story about an XBox stopping a bullet, but I can't find it), but the PSP in this video breaks apart quite well.

Media Coverage

Today the news has focused on Prince Harry's Choice Of Costume for a party. I have seen people wear Nazi costumes before, so I don't see why people should be bothering. I mean as a royal he isn't ever going to be king and this was a private party. If he had of dressed up as Hitler for some speech at a Jewish community seminar or something, now THAT would be newsworthy.

Now what should have been in the news was This Story about a couple (Mr & Mrs Gay) that killed their adopted son by force feeding him salt!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Joys Of Teaching

Day three and this-morning I was still wondering what drove the people working there to become teachers. I mean they are responsible for someone else's kid and if anything went wrong you would be sued for everything you are worth. Plus they don't all behave, so it seems like unnecessary agro to me, but after helping-out in a class doing IT and supervising a few kids on the net, I can now kind of see why somebody would want to be a teacher.

See a lot of the kids don't don't a lot about, well most things and so it doesn't take much effort to make their faces light-up. Kind of like when you see someone open a very personal thoughtful present at Christmas. Teaching kids is something I would never consider, but it is interesting to see how it all works.

New Apple Products Announced

The new hardware is the iPod Shuttle which is the cheapest and smallest iPod design yet. Which uses flash memory to store audio instead of a hard drive, so it will probably last longer (as a functional product before it wares-out). I am not sure it's worth the cash because iPods have become a status symbol, so you can probably get something from Creative (for example) that is far better, and cheaper.

The other piece of hardware is the Mac mini and it is just that. A small, cheap Mac, that is sold without a monitor (to make it even cheaper).

The new software they have announced, consists of iLife, a media editing package for creating movies, editing photos, mixing music and then software so you can burn it all to DVD with custom menu.
I can see this working well for people who want to go on holiday and produce a DVD to remember it by, or maybe someone wanting to promote an idea or product (possibly for an internal demonstration to be sent to managers).

And the second bit of software is iWorks. Which is a presentation and interactive document maker. So basically Apple made versions of Word and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Virus Removal Tool

It's Here and it isn't the real time scanner I was expecting. I know they have one in development, but this is just a removal tool.

If anybody is looking at this new Microsoft tool and thinking 'cool free AV' don't. Instead get a real free AV like AVG. AVG incidentally has a better detection rate than Norton and McAfee. I am not sure about removal, but removal is a post infection thing anyway.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Started Placement

I stated my work placement for uni today at the primary school, and I knew I would be given a list of crappy stuff to do, but the first thing I did was update the school's anti-virus.

No auto-update! I have to do this manually from CD!
No fun at the moment, but I am sure it will get better. Maybe I can persuade them to ask me to build some software, model the school (communication and data systems structure), do a new website or even ask me to write a report on something for them.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Microsoft Anti-Virus Beta

Coming Tuesday Apparently.

I have been testing Microsoft's Anti-Spyware which is their other new security program. It is better than SpyBot and Ad-Aware, but the update window pisses me off because I was playing Bloodlines at the time and it minimised that, just to tell me it had updated!

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Dark Mod For Doom3

Just a ripoff of the Thief series and they kind of admit to that, but it Looks Sweet.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Tsunami Devastation

DigitalGlobe who does satellite imagery, has some Pictures of the Devastation and frankly I was quite shocked at the scale. I mean I have seen the videos of the water coming in, but I didn't realise whole towns has been washed out to sea.

The Code Room

MSDN has an interesting pilot for a show called The Code Room (you can download the pilot at that link). The concept is quite simple, three programmers attend a seminar on some-kind of programming language (in this case ASP.Net 2005) and then after the seminar they are locked in a room with a laptop, five hours of battery time and requirements for a program they must write.

It's an interesting concept and the first show I have ever seen that actually has programmers, programming as the shows premise. It's kind of like Scrap Heap Challenge for programmers and I like the concept, but this show has to be one of the most boring things i have seen in a long while. There isn't even any educational value in the show for programmers. Nice try though.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter 6 is 7 months away, but you can preorder it for £9.99 from Amazon today!

Has she even finished writing it yet!?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Macworld 2005 (Starts On The 11th)

Another year, another Macworld, and normally I don't take any notice because all the rumours always circulate around an AppleOffice suite to rival Ms Office and a more powerful hyper expensive Mac, but not this year! No this year there are rumours of an iPod that can receive satellite Radio (yawn). And a cheap Mac that will be sold without a screen. So all you closet Mac users who have always wanted a mac, but could never afford one, can finally own one.

What interests me about this new mac, is that might be capable of being liked to a television. Then it would be perfect as a HDD video recorder for my study. I have considered buying a TV card before, but that would require uninterrupted PC resources that really I don't want to share.

At the moment the best I can get at retail is a DVD and Hard Drive combo that requires programming for every recording event (like ye olde VCR) and that's yesterdays technology. What I want one that I can tell once, (to record every episode of the Simpsons I haven't seen) and then it just record the episodes as they are shown on TV (this is also yesterdays technology, but consumers have failed to realise the benefits in the UK).

If this kind of recording feature comes out-of-the-box, i will pre-order one, but as of yet all this is still rumour.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Random Fact

Last year I went to the cinema seven times.

In viewing order:
The Last Samurai 5/5
Kill Bill: Volume 2 4/5
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban 3/5
Alien Vs. Predator 3/5
The Incredibals 5/5
House Of Flying Daggers 2/5
Blade Trinity 4/5

Films To Look Forward To In 2005

I am not talking about Star Wars Episode 3: Please Don't Be Crap. I am talking about the things that you probably wouldn't have heard of.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Looks good and it should be an instant classic.

Talking about instant classics War Of The Worlds (if you haven't seen the teaser trailer already).

Jet-Li stars alongside Bob Haskins in Unleashed. A film that looks very powerful.

The Chronicles of Narnia, about December time this year too.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2004 Awards List

Here is my list of what I considered to be the best of 2004. I have had this text on my desktop for a few months now, and I think its time to post it.

    === Films ===

  • Best Film Of The Year
    The Incredibles
    An excellent example of everything that is right about films.

  • Worst Film Of The Year
    Another film with big battles! The story was dull, the pacing was all wrong and every opportunity for something good to happen like some cool dialogue was missed and/or spoiled.

    === Gaming ===

  • Developer Of The year
    John Carmack
    For his spectacular rocket tests in his now failed attempt to win the XPrise. Doom3 was a great game, even if the critics where a little bit more than just picky. And congratulations to him on the birth of his Son.

  • Best UT2004 Map
    ONS ToonCountry
    There are a few level errors when you can fall thought the floor, but it plays tight and looks stunning.

  • The Game That Most Deserves An Expansion Pack
    Half Life 2
    To fill in all the plot gaps.

  • Game Of The Year
    The Sims 2
    I had been debating for weeks wither to give this one to either Half Life 2 or Doom 3, but both of those are simply-just-another-FPSs.
    I hated the original Sims and when I started playing The Sims 2 I was fully expecting to hate this one too, but I didn't.
    The games premis is simple, you provide the input to the play experience and the game returns. You work with the desires and motives of your sims and you all seem to play together. It's one of the most rewarding gameplay experiences I have had in the last three years.
    Successful mastery of the game don't make you realise the limitations of the game, unlike others (C&C Generals), instead it rewards you with an expanding community that you get to develop further. I mean it's one thing to play with one family for a few days, but to have instigated the creation of three generations of Sims and to have watched them grow-up is something special.

  • Best Use of License
    The Chronicles of Riddick - Escape From Butcher Bay
    Not just a crappy game made from another franchise, but a whole new something in its own right and actually expands on the originating licence in a positive way by creating a stunning FPS.

  • Best Newcomer Of The Year (best completely new and original franchise)
    Evil Genius
    I really want to see some more from the franchise because it has so much potential.

  • Most Impressive Mod
    New Floor Tiles For The Sims 2

    === Other ===

  • Most Historical Event Of 2004
    X1 Winning The XPrize

  • Best Anime OF The Year
    Fill Metal Alchemist

Best Article I have Read All Year (The BitTorrent Effect)

It being the first article I have read all year it is also the worst, most grammatically correct and possibly most secretive article (lol I have no idea what a secretive article would be, but this has to be the most secretive article of the year because its the only one I have read this year).

Anyway Wired has an Article About Bram Cohen and his BitTorrent app that has revolutionised content distribution.
Honestly this is a wicked article that even makes some very interesting observations about how people watch films, and make it easier for an iMovie to be successful than any iTunes could possibly be.

In the article it mentions that Bram has Aspergers and that his condition gives him powers of concentration, but makes it hard for him to socialise.
Well I have a friend with Aspergers and these so called, powers of concentration, extend to him being fixated on tasks. At the moment with my friend, it is owning every soundtrack from Prisoner Cell Block H, and this is costing him a lot of money to get and without a job this is money he probably shouldn't be spending, but he is fixated on the task and can't see that there is anything wrong with what he is doing. So don't go thinking that Aspergers is a good thing after reading this article.
Other than that this is an exceptional read.

OBE For Peter Molyneux

I wonder who decides who gets these things because Peter isn't exactly someone who is stalked by the press and recognised everywhere he goes, but The BBC Has The Story.

This is great because if anybody deserves an OBE for his contribution to gaming culture, its Peter, because he is the father of sandbox god games.

Happy New Year Everybody!!!

The mass text message that I wanted to send didn't get sent in 2004, but everybody should have it now.

I spent the first hour of this new year playing Halo2 co-op. I wish it had been at a party with friends, but most people where unobtainable for the event, I wanted. So it kind of just collapsed.

Halo2 is better than its predecessor, but not by much. More on that, when we have completed it.
lol, probably in the form of a long hateful rant that everybody will disagree with, but the level design is horrible, and they don't even bother null-mapping a lot of the textures later on.