Sunday, July 31, 2005

Best Thing I Read All Day


Not that I have been to Plymouth, but I thought the post was good.

Random Fact

Windows Vista doesn't allow this kind of graphical rubbish to remain drawn on the desktop. So XP will be the last time you see this.

Image Hosted by

Microsoft Shared Computer

I am sure at some-point everybody has been resolved to using a shared open access computer in a school or library where the desktop is messed-up, there is an error with every program action and it is filled with Spyware, but all access to the settings that could fix the system or simply change the wallpaper or screen resolution is locked by the administrator who is nowhere to be seen.

Well those days are almost gone as Microsoft is about to release Shared Computer (Beta download Here) which allows a user to do whatever they want to a system, because when the computer is rebooted those changes are erased and the whole system is put back to a state before the user changed anything. It does this by saving the changes on a hidden partition that is then erased when the system is rebooted.

The danger with this is that a user can't save any work on the computer because after the system restarts the work will be gone, but for keeping a computer as functional as the day it was setup, this is it. Shared Computer is currently free in beta form until the product is launched in time for September when the schools reopen.

Any File upto 500MB

I came across MegaUpload the other day that will host any file type upto 500MB.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Finding A Gamer Lover

Fargo has an Article featuring a unscientific test that can be preformed on any perspective mate to assess their gaming credentials.

If you want to meet someone who is into a specific scene like a gamer then you should go to selective hangouts. For a a gamer you should hangout at gamer hangouts, if you want to meet someone who loves going out to clubs then a club is a good place to look. Star Trek conventions for Trekkies and if you have a fetish for people with a German accent then I suggest Germany. Gaming shops used to be good for meeting gamers, but I think now you really have to go to LAN events.

Meeting the right person is difficult, but hanging out at the right places and actually introducing yourself to people is a good way of increasing your chance of meeting the right parson. The internet is too random for that, and sitting at home isn't going to do you any good. My fast-track tip however is to meet friends of friends, because you can quickly be introduced to several potential candidates in a relatively short amount of time.

And finally, yes I am struggling to think of anything to post.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Random Fact

Hogwarts school motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandu which translates to Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Completed)

I almost forgot to write something about Harry Potter six, but here it is, and spoiler free too.

As far as the plot of the book goes it is probably the most simplistic and straightforward of all the books plots. That is understandable when you realise that this book has been clearly designed to link the story to the final book by setting up the universe for a big fight and filling in some holes left by the last book (like with the Joke shop and Harry's inheritance). The biggest significance in reading the book is that the backstory to Voldemort is filled nicely. After reading the book he feels more like a proper character in the universe as opposed to a mythical entity that occasionally appears or is backreferanced.

It is a good book and my only grudge is with the ending, specifically with the identity of the Half-Blood Prince because the identity is revealed in a fairly flippant and inconsequential way. Usually with revaluations in the series, the revaluation will make you realise and understand more about that has been going on and from then on change the universe in some way, but the revaluation of who the half-Blood Prince is doesn't have any real consequence to this book or any of the previous. I am sure it will be very relevant in the seventh book, but it left me with an underwhelmed feeling.

Unusually for a Harry Potter book the story is left with a clear open mystery to a note that is found. And also the book has some cringeworthy moments that will make everybody consider wither the series should still be considered a children's book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I want to play This Half Life 2 mod, but I can't because STEAM still won't let me login to my account.

More Virtual Earth to Google Maps Comparisons

The Register with Apple HQ
Virtual Earth

Scoble with the Google HQ
Virtual Earth

World Trade Centres (New York)
Virtual Earth

If you look at those links you will realise that Virtual Earth is using older satellite images. I don't think that is too much of an issue because neither are giving us realtime images of the earth from space at 1FT per pixel.

iWar Media Depiction

Opinions change overtime and one of the opinions I had as a young child was that Journalists should always investigate and report the truths of all sides of an argument.

I now realise, that isn't possible because if both sides of a dispute are open to dialogue and debate then there is almost never a dispute to report and sometimes reporting the wrong side of a story can have a very adverse effect.

Anyway Madge over at Yeast Radio is hosting a Video (MOV) with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now talking about the state of the American media in relation to the invasion of Iraq. Effectively her points are that the US media is branding the war as "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and selling it to the American people as a noble fight. And while innocent civilians are killed by crossfire, CNN news shows romantic pictures of soldiers walking against sunsets.

If you think the war is a good thing then you should watch this video because you are an ignorant fool for thinking that any war can be good.

One of the comments to the video on Madge's website is this:
SpecialDelivery Mark Says:

July 24th, 2005 at 8:58 pm
I tried watching this, but about 4 minutes in, when she was asking “where are the pictures of the casualties?”….my head was about to explode….I’ve been asking the same question….where are the pictures of the casualties of 9/11, pictures of ppl jumping to their deaths out of the towers, pictures of the casualties of the London bombings….guess she’s only asking for pics of “other” casualties…I had to turn it off.
If somebody commits murder they must be faced with the consequences. The US troops are killing people in the name of the American people and the flag of America, everybody under that flag must be confronted with the consequences of their troops actions because they are the ones that sent them there to do what they are doing. I am sorry if that makes Americans feel uncomfortable, but innocent people are being killed and pretending that it isn't happening, isn't going to make it stop. On the point of 9/11 when it comes to seeing pictures of people jumping out of towers, that should not be shown on media because it is needlessly disturbing and disrespectful to the dead.

Monday, July 25, 2005

One Year Old Today

Yep today is this Blog's first birthday. Through poor spelling and grammer and almost zero criticism fired at me for any of my posts (maybe I am not being opinionated enough). This Blog has held fast and been a continuing source of random stuff.

In the start I didn't know what I would be posting about and it took me a while to find my footing, but effectively I have just used this Blog as a dumping ground for opinions, ideas and anything that I think deserves attention drawn to it.

In the past year, one thing I have tried to stand by is trying not to post what all the other Blogs or news sites are posting about. And as a benchmark I have found Joystiq to be an invaluable source because they reconstitute all the news storied that are posted on multiple sites. Effectively meaning that if Joystiq posts it, then I won't. Unless I want to talk about it properly that is, like with my Virtual Earth post.

Still waiting for Blogger to fix the template I am using, but all in good time. The future looks bright for this Blog as I have no intention to stop posting and have thoroughly enjoyed the past year. I think the number of daily posts that I do in the coming year might decline from an average of two a day, to one, but that can't be a bad thing.

This is post number 767, take care people.

Microsoft Virtual Earth

MSN Virtual Earth is only partially up (for example the UK isn't finished yet), but even now it is proving to be far superior to Google Maps.

For a start the navigation of the map is a lot better, allowing you to use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out. There is a little north pointing symbol that you can use to navigate the map smoothly too.

The satellite images on Virtual Earth are better because they allow you to zoom in just that littlebit more.

Space Needle on Google
Space Needle on MSN

More than that however Virtual Earth allows you to Plan Trips by keeping track of multiple bookmarks on the map and upto three search layers.

You can judge for yourself which is better, but when I see Europe on Virtual Earth and then on Google it makes me feel like Google is viewing the world through a small tube because Virtual Earth uses the full browser window.

One place of interest that is not recognised by either is Lake Bill at Microsoft HQ. Apparently some program managers like to swim the lake after a successful project launch.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Back Now

Back home from London. I went with the lovely Ivan who used to go London's Kings Collage. So he knows his way around very well. Yesterday's post was from the Apple Store On Regent Street. The place was packed with people checking their email, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi or getting their laptops fixed. I would have typed more, but the iMac's keyboard that I was using had a very stiff spacebar and I couldn't be bothered battling with the thing.

Here are the pictures I took with my phone. We only went on the London Eye as a whim because we hadn't planned anything for the day and honestly that is the only touristy thing I wanted to do in London.

Image Hosted by
The Savoy (not where we stayed).

Image Hosted by
Big Ben.

Image Hosted by
The London Eye.

Image Hosted by
You can see St Paul's Cathedral in the Distance.

Image Hosted by
Everybody who rides on the eye seems to take this picture.

Image Hosted by
Houses of Parliament.

Image Hosted by
The entrance to Heaven, supposedly the most famous gay club in the world.

Heaven was great, they have a plenty of big dance floors, plenty of places to sit and a cool chillout room where you can get food, but I wasn't impressed with the DJs because there was the occasional gap between tracks and with that tempo change that made it impossible to dance continually to. The house DJ in Helsinki (Leicester) mixes the tracks so there aren't any breaks, maybe that is a different style, but it is a style I missed in Heaven.

Went the Dali Universe exhibition at County Hall. I almost perfected my chopstick skills with the places we eat at. I can't remember the name of the first place we went to, but yesterday we went the Yo! Sushi on Portland Street (google map link) and that was great, if you haven't been then you should because the style of dinning that they do is relaxing and fun. And you can't say that about too many places. Probably the most expensive weekend I have had in a long while, but it was well worth it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005


Going to London for a few days, should be back Sunday.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

MMO Economies

After reading some viewpoints on MMO balancing it is obvious that MMO developers spend a lot of time balancing the game specifically to make item-trading a positive aspect of the game. And one of the worst things that can happen to damage an MMO, is that the internal economy is destroyed by cheaters or by some item unbalance (maybe a necklace that gives too much of a bonus). I didn't understand why developers where so frantic about this when I first come heard of it, but I now see that a damaged MMO economy results in rare one-of-a-kind powerful items being sold for very little and everybody having them as soon as they start a new character. Meaning that the gradual progression of collecting more powerful items is eliminated.

Economies can quickly become damaged by bugs in a game that allows item duplication. And that is exactly what has happened to World Of Warcraft (SlashDot).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Harry Potter

Currently reading the half blood prince. Not much I can say as I am half way through, but it does feel like the book is setting the story straight for the final book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Homeless Girl Update

She received a phone call this morning from her mum begging her back. So she is out of my hair now. Would say more, but I will say that both her and her moth love drama ans I just want to put the whole stupid sharade behind me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Homeless Friend Update

Apartment Viewing and job interview all lined up Wednesday. Just hope everything goes well. The job interview is at a green grocers so I see a high chance of her getting it.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Steam Broke

Lots of people (Forum Thread) including me are having a problem logging into steam.

And VALVe are keeping very quiet.

A Vent Post

Not posted much because a good friend of mine has been kicked out of home and she has noplace to go. Her mum is not helping and being very selfish, but her mum is very Christian so a lamb that is easily led.

Kim's mum won't forgive her, have her back home, say what she has done wrong, have a civilised conversation, be sympathetic or help Kim find a place to stay.

Seriously her mum needs some time to herself because she is being a selfish bitch that has thrown her daughter onto the streets with no support or guidance. She is trying to wash her hands of Kim while still saying she loves her. I told her that was a very strange way of expressing her love, but nothing I can say will get through to that woman.

The options open to Kim at the moment are to try and get her own place Monday or contact her mum's church's Vicker to see if he can talk any sense into her.

Effectively this whole thing has been caused by her mum not establishing any kind of dialogue with her daughter. She thinks her daughter has been led by friends into drinking and smoking, been sleeping around, disrespecting her behind her back, steeling money and been associating with the wrong people. All this is in her mum's head, but since she has been implosive about these supposed issues and hasn't spoken with her daughter about any of this, it has gotten to this stage.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


As much as I am likeing my split keyboard, I MUST HAVE ONE NOW!

Yes a keyboard with little screens on each key so you can have any symbol layout you want. Even have it change depending on the application you use.

MP3 Player

I got my 1GB MP3 player (bargain I know) through today and the interface is hideous. I am still considering sending it back, but after looking at all the other flash based MP3 players is seems that they all have the same interface (volume paddle, play button, lock switch and flippy thing).

So other than the interface (physical buttons and internal menu) I am liking it. Just playing stuff is ok and I managed to listen to The Dawn And Drew Show while making dinner. So it is growing on me, although after half a day's usage I am still fighting the interface.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Podsafe Music Rocks

Now I have never been a big fan of radio because I always found myself listening to something I might partially enjoy, but it just isn't me. With podcasts I can pick and choose, but it is more than that because as much as I love .Net Rocks I don't find all the shows interesting. So podcasting allows me to fast forward past the boring bits or only listen to the shows that interest me.

The list of podcasts that I am subscribed to is growing and I have ordered an MP3 player now because just sitting here listening is taking up too much of my time, but if I condense that by listening while I am travelling or doing something else, then I can effectively reclaiming back my time. I have tried reducing the number of podcasts I am listening too, but it isn't happening because the more I listen the more shows I add.

I just finished listening to a show of Fly With Me which is a show by a guy who currently works as a co-pilot (being promoted to pilot) and he records all the cockpit voice recordings and edits them into a show. Some airlines have this as Channel9 on the in-flight radio, but he edits it into a very good podcast.

Currently downloading all the Harry Potter related shows of Catholic Insider (you have to checkout that site design) and that is run by father Roderick Vonhögen who podcasts from inside the Vatican.

Right at this very moment however I am listening to Accident Hash which is a show purely filled with podsafe music. Now podcasts can't play record company licenced music because that would be piracy and they aren't agreeing to allow people to download it to their hard drives for free anytime soon, so there is now this growing culture of podsafe music where independent artists allow their music to be played on podcasts and so the term Podsafe was born.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Brook Does Podcasting

I have been playing around recently with the podcasting feature in iTunes 4.9 and I am hooked. Still trying to keep the number of subscribed casts down (currently at seventeen), but at the mo the best podcasts I have found are:

Adam Curry's Daily Source Code (iTunes Link)
Adam Curry is one of the founding fathers of Podcasting and his (mostly) daily show is filled with lots of podcasting related content and lots of random music tracks.

Slice of SciFi (iTunes Link)
I am a huge scifi fan and almost anything scifi related is a sure hit with me, but slice of scifi is a great chat show about all things scifi and they even get some great interviews to boot (last episode has Bruce Campbell).

The Dawn And Drew Show (iTunes Link)
It's just a conversation between a husband and wife. Is what is says on the frontpage and I couldn't say it better myself, but mega funny.

The Rock and Roll Geek Show (iTunes Link)
Extreme rock geek show. The guy talks for hours about people I have never heard of.

Nintendo DS On Mount Everest

GameSpy has an Interview with the climbers that took a few DSs up Mount Everest to pass the time.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Free File Host

About this-time last month I Posted about the lack of free filehosts on the web, but today I found one in the form of witch will host any .wmv .avi .mpg .mov .swf .asx .jpg .gif .png or .pdf file, under 10MB, that isn't pedophiliac or that breaks US copyright laws.

So I have been going through their Top Downloads Section for the past few hours and I made this shortlist:

As A Blogger I pride Myself On Redefining Blogging With Innovative Posting Methodologies Hourly

Can't be arsed exsplaining so just Watch This Video, Read Some Of The Flame Comments On Slashdot, then Read Rory's Comments and know that I agree with Rory.

The only thing I can add is that Innovation is the current business buzzword and after the excitement has subsided, I suspect that either Widening Opportunity Gap or Personalised Customer Experiences will be the next. Either way C.K. Prahalad knows as he is the current visionary genius in these matters.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Blogs Working Passively Against The Blogger

This Article over at The Chronical Of Higher Education website is an article about an interviewer's opinion of blogs and how they effect the blogger's chances of getting a job. As a whole the article is very insightful, but my favourite observation was:
The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It's not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum. But it's also not hard to find examples of the worst kinds of uses.

A blog easily becomes a therapeutic outlet, a place to vent petty gripes and frustrations stemming from congested traffic, rude sales clerks, or unpleasant national news. It becomes an open diary or confessional booth, where inward thoughts are publicly aired.
And that is essentially why I started this blog, because I wanted findout what drives bloggers to vent publicly, even to the point of self destruction. Before this blog I would occasionally let loose an unpopular opinion on a forum and then be rightly flamed, but this blog is my world so that provides grounding for opinionated posts and probably makes them not sound so bad. Honestly however I haven't written such a post since I started this blog and that is because when I write one of those posts, I realise how it sounds and I don't want that kind of hateful post being part of my world.

Anyway after thinking about how a blog would effect an applicant's job prospects as talked about in the article, it is clear that negative blogs with lots of hateful venting will have a negative effect on a blogger's chances of getting a job. So presumably positive blogs will have a positive effect on getting a job. And if that is true, then it proves the existence of Karma.

MMO Games I Haven't Played

I have played almost all the big MMO titles and here are two I haven't played and why.

City Of Heroes
I failed to get onto the beta and they haven't offered a free trial to tryout the game.

Ultima Online
I did get a free 14 day trial coupon a few months ago, but Sony's account activation system was so bad I failed to successfully setup an account.

So I say shame on the publishers for not allowing me to tryout either of these games.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Hard Sell

I was over at FilePlanet and every week they update this space on the frontpage that they use to persuade visitors to take the jump and become paying subscribers, and this week's made me laugh.

Image Hosted by

London Bombing

It has been a while since we have had a terrorist attack on British soil, but it happened today.

Bush offered his condolences to everybody that lost their lives, todays G8 meetings have been cancelled and London is at a stand still. Growing up I remember many IRA attacks being on the news and I remember being very uneasy about using escalators for fear of an IRA bomb being planted in one. Yet time moves on regardless and these murderers must be held accountable for their actions.

Poor Disillusioned French People

My Mum sent me this picture.

Free Image Hosting at

Queer As Folk US Series 1-4 (Completed)

About this time last year I seen the first two series of Queer As Folk UK and other than the ending in series two, it was stunning, so with people raving about the US series I thought I had better give that a go too. And two weeks and two days ago I started watching all 63 hours of series 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the US series.

On the representation of gay culture, Queer As Folk does an excellent job. The US series stands as an adaptation of the UK series. The two UK series are combined and adapted into the first half of the first US series so everything feels a little bit more condensed, but tighter and some of the alterations like the character of Ted not dieing from a drugs overdose made me realise how much the story had been softened for a US audiences, but all the meat of the UK series is still there, but with plenty more gravy.

I would say the US series is better than the UK series. Primarily because it is longer and that allows the characters to develop much further, and for the story to go more places. Some of the constructed sequences, specifically around the several disasters throughout the series are done very well. I don't want to go into details, but the most shocking thing in the UK series is when Nathan (Justin US) goes home after his Dad finally accepts that he is gay and he says:
Roy Maloney: You've made up your mind, and it's obvious there's no stopping you. It's Helen I'm worried about, she's ten years old, she's a child. I don't want her head filled with notions.
Nathan: Like what?
Roy Maloney: As far as Helen is concerned, the anus is for shit. Got that?
The US series however does a much better job with visual sledgehammers and that is probably because of a much bigger production budget. There are a few things that the US series fails to do well. For example, the character of Brian is softened over time for reasons that aren't truely explained and the other characters in the series are just as puzzled as I was. And it is obvious that the writers are struggling for plot lines by series four, but the fifth series of Queer As Folk is currently being shown someplace in the world, and when it is released on DVD I will certainly give it a go.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SiN 2 Shocker

I just seen This news piece over at IGN and it means that SiN 2 might be one of the most significant titles to be released in a long while.

Games have been getting smaller over time because most of game's creation time is spent on design and retooling. Retooling in itself (new graphic engine, building new character models and new base textures from scratch) has been getting more expensive, with players demanding graphics which cannot be created inhouse. The simple solution for developers who still want to develop a game in four years is to produce smaller games, but a better solution to this is to produce a small game with several small expansion packs to the original small game that continues the story and shares the same toolset and game design of the original. And this is called episodic content. Think of it not as Lord OF The Rings the trilogy, but more like Lord Of The Rings the high budget TV series, with each episode self-funding the next.

Guild Wars is doing this, but episodic content won't become excepted practise by the publisher community (note I did not say developer) when one smash hit title does it. Once that one game is launched, then publishers will realise the added profit in doing a serialised game as opposed to one big title every four years. The gamer benefits by being offered a wider selection of cheaper titles. And possibly these so-called smaller titles will even be the same size as the six hour pieces of shit we are getting now (no smaller games are not what we want, it is what is being forced on us).

EDIT: Incidentally Voodoo Extreme is currently running a poll on the lower right side of their site asking readers if they are happy with the current state of PC gaming.

Random Idea -> The Long Distance Restaurant

Imagine a restaurant chain where there is one in London and the other in New York for exsample and you had a loved one or business partner that was at one location and you are at the other.

To make that distance less important with communication you could meetup at the LDR. It would work by customers booking a connected table for two at both restaurants, and at each restaurant the connected table consisted of one table with one place to site and a video conference setup so you could eat your dinner with whoever at the other restaurant, but still have a connected experience so that you could still have a personal experience with someone.

Long distance relationships are difficult because even though you can phone someone, when communication you are always aware of the cost of that communication, and the communication is limited and made less personal by the fact you only hear that other person's voice. So I think a web-conference setup with an added dining experience would go a long way to making web-conferencing an excepted part of making and breaking businesses or just helping people stay in touch.

Bits and Bobs

There isn't much going on at the moment. I am still plowing through Queer As Folk US (eight episodes left).

Fragland has a Video available showing off two new EVE Online ships tha\t come with the new ColdWar expansion pack.

Boomtown has a Pice talking about how video games aren't the cause of two child killing incidents. And you can say all you want to defend video games, but nobody can deny that they bring the entertainment of virtual killing into the home. Wither fictional killing (on television, films, book, games and other entertainment mediums) this is a contributing factor to murder is the real question.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Toby Saved... Well Almost

I bloged about a while ago. Effectively a guy is holding his pet rabbit Toby for ransom, if the ransom wasn't paid by the 1st of July he was going to kill Toby. He set the ransom at $50,000, but PayPal closed his account, so the guy is giving him another year of life and trying to raise the remainder of the cash by signing a Book Deal.

So Toby didn't have a trip to the butchers on the 1st, but only you can save Toby.


Been busy with life stuff again and unlike a lot of other blog-masters I don't like posting about personal stuff because I have seen many blogs go bad because of that kind of post, but it was all positive life stuff so don't go getting concerned.

Have been churning my way through the US series of Queer As Folk and it is much better than the UK version, mainly because there is more material there.

Friday, July 01, 2005

War of the Worlds

One of the aspects of American films I have never liked is where you have somekind of monster running towards a blond bimbo and all she does is stand there and scream until she gets eaten or saved.

So if all the character in WOTW where replaced for ones I could identify with instead of pathetic screamers I might have liked the film.

I am Brook's Wasted Enthusiasm

Not much has been happening, played Guild Wars for the best part of today and found a load of quests near the start which I had forgotten about. And I wrote some dialogue for #3 and some ideas for future #s. Yes I have a huge story going on that I worked out in the bath the other night.

Since I started it I have quickly rearlised that writting dialogue as a new importance in comics than in a pure text story. You might have a good story or you might have a crappy story, but reguardless of the qualty of the story, with a webcomic the dialogue can carry a story reguardless. And with webcomics dialogue is even more important because it removes the writter's ability to be creative with the mental visualisation of what is happeneing. I might decide to abandon the project all together at some random point, but many times I have considered doing a comic and always I have told myself no, because I am no artist. Yet after looking at comics like Little Gamers I question how much a comic actually relies on the artwork. Obviously the artwork takesover from the writer's descriptivenes of a scene and in return making the story quicker to consume and more accessible, but wither that artwork is a pice of art or just character placeholders all depends on the importance the writter places on the visual aspect of the story.