Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's Halloween In Guild Wars

The city of Lion's Arch in Guild Wars has a very distinct Halloween feel to it at the moment.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Mysterious Xbox360 Accessory

I was just watching This Video over at Team Xbox. The video shows off some of the 360's accessories. The video features several accessories rotating around a carousel and it stops to cover them individually, but there is an accessory on the carousel that is not covered by the video or that I have seen before.

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Additional: This mysterious accessory also does not appear on's Accessory List.

Additional: Turns out that it is a battery recharge station.

.Net 2.0 Framework Is Here

The .Net Framework is the most significant product in Microsoft's recent history and version 2.0 is available for download right now (from the links below). It isn't yet available from Windows Update, but that should only be a matter of time.

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package for (x86)
Windows 2000; Windows 98; Windows 98 Second Edition; Windows ME; Windows Server 2003; Windows XP

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package for (IA64)
Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for 64-Bit Itanium-Based Systems; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems; Windows XP for Itanium-based Systems Version 2003

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package for (x64)
Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition; Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition; Windows XP 64-bit

Half Life 2 Lost Coast Completed

The level does not liveup to the hype, it is too Short for that and the technology doesn't inpact gameplay in anyway. HD looks nice in parts, but I think I prefer playing with it off because the light blooms far too much throughout the level and that makes a lot of my screen too white for too long.

The level is full of bugs, but it is also full of commentary icons like in Chronicles Of Riddick Escape From Butcher Bay which is nice.

Half Life 2 Lost Coast

STEAM has just updated with the HD Half Life 2 Lost Coast map and technology.

My CPU is just 0.1GHz below the minimum system requirements, so I think I should be able to run it. More on this once I have tried it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Xbox, Xbox Live and Bungie On Channel9

I could link to Channel9 (Microsoft's effort to show that they are human) everyday, but usually the interviews are very long, technical and very ranting (these videos are no exception), but they have just posted three videos you might be interested in: Forums
Larry Heyb (Major Nelson) shows off the new forums.

Xbox Hardware
Yet another video of the hardware. Nothing much new, but I didn't know about the merkury switch in the ring of light.

Bungie Programmer Interview
This is an interview with Mat Noguchi who is a tools programmer at Bungie. He talks about what it is like to work as a programmer for a games company.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I am SO Bad At Word Games

Anagrams, Scrabble or even crosswords I am hopeless. This isn't some recent revelation, I have always been bad at word games, but something just hit me after watching the new Path Of Neo Trailer. And that is, NEO is an anagram of ONE, as in The One. And to think I call myself a fan of the first film.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Perfect Dark Zero Website

It's launched and it's Here. Not that it seems very good.

Super Mario Brothers

Yahoo is some of the classic 80's Super Mario Brothers cartoons up for streaming Here.

I remember watching this as a kid. I also remember doing the dance at the end.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Store Wars

It is a sad day when organisations have to use a cheap Star Wars clown to make consumers change negative buying habits, but it's Here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Look What I Just Made

Bill Said he wanted this. It will save text to wav file with a synthesised voice, but people pay good money for this stuff (I have seen £60). And it was coded in less than an hour. I could add support for previewing, changing the voice used, speed the text is spoken and stuff, but maybe later.

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Text To Speach

I just got the text to speech working in a separate thread for my project. This is great because now I can get any application I want to say (with a synthesised voice) whatever I want. Now I just have to get the Lexicon thing to work so I can get it to say unique or made-up words.

One of the limitations with TTS is that it has to be taught how to say words. So when it sees 'hood' for example, it looks in it's dictionary and finds 'HH UH D' which it then says and it sounds like 'hood' to the user. I need to be able to add my own.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sucky Sucky

I once knew a girl named Suchinda, but everybody called her sucky. Anyway my posting has been terrible of late and I am not just talking about the grammar. Most likely it is the fault of my university timetable, for making me go in everyday and getup too early.

I wanted to do some more prototyping on my project tonight, but I am tired and have a headache. I want to sitdown and just code, but stuff keeps getting in the way. I might force myself after having a look at the new Open Office 2.0 which is currently installing. This post sucks so bad. Am tired and it's only ten.

Additional: Open Office 2 looks more like Microsoft Office than any other previous version.

Xbox Live Downtime

Xbox Live will be down for 24 hours on the 24th (Monday) so the service can be upgraded for the 360.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Doctor Who Spinoff

Apparently the BBC is going to do a Doctor Who spinoff called Torchwood. Staring Captain Jack the series is supposed to be a very adult orientated drama with sex and stuff.

That Crazy Frog

Just when you think that stupid frog has gone for good, he goes and makes a Video Game.

Space Odyssey

The first two minuets and fifty seconds of 2001 A Space Odyssey is just a black screen with creeping music. Then you get the MGM logo and this great shot of the sun rising up over the earth.

I am only watching this because first time, I didn't think it was very good, but since then many years have past, I have watched many more films, my taste in everything has changed and I want to see if I see anything different.

Update: I enjoyed the film and this time I understood what was going on. That is until Discovery reached Jupiter and then everything fell apart in a mess of hippie colours.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Random Number Generation

Nothing much to talk about. Just me sitting here trying to understand random number generation for use in simulation (simulating processes like bottle factories and call centres).

Would be ok if it was just rolling a couple of D20 dice, but instead we are using statistical tables.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Best Xbox360 Experience

Just watched an interview over at Channel 9 talking about the Xbox360 and XP Media Centre Edition and on that they said that if you are buying a new TV for your Xbox360 (not that you need to) then you should get one that supports 720p resolution natively (this is if you are getting an flatpannel that is). From what I have read this means that the flatpannel TV won't have to convert the resolution from the 720p resolution that the Xbox360 produces to what the TV uses to display the picture in, because this sometimes produces lag and that can effect gameplay.

Plus they mention getting Dolby Surround sound with optical-in, because the Xbox360 supports optical-out for reduced signal interference on the cables to your speakers.

They also mention that the Xbox360 only supports the 'a' wifi standard because it is immune from interference. Where as all the others ('b' and 'g' for example) can be effected by electrical interference like Microwave Ovens, 'a' is more reliable.

Microsoft Does More Viral Marketing

Another mysterious countdown timer has appeared on Team Xbox has just a little bit more info.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Stupid Technology Journalists

Be warned this is a vent post.

Some newspaper and magazine journalists write utter crap, but especially John C. Dvorak who recently wrote This Charming Little Bit Of Crap about Microsoft's OneCare program.

OneCare is an Antivirus product that Microsoft will offer as a subscription service. Dvorak has taken the stance that Microsoft is charging people for flaws in Microsoft's software, and OneCare could be seen as that, but he completely fails to mention that Apple and Linspire already offer similar subscription services.

Microsoft could offer the service for free, but Microsoft prices products by the number of features they have. So the price of Windows would have to include a five year subscription for Antivirus updates (not good if you don't want or need it, better to give people the option).

The guy is an idiot and so is Mary Jo Foley for writing such crap as The 'Dirty Little Secret' About Longhorn where she talks about how Vista isn't built using .Net. Yet She fails to mention that nobody every said or implied that it would be built using .Net.

Bloody jernalists that don't research or even backup what they are talking about.

City Of Villains Impressions

The game falls into the same potholes as The Matrix Online. The game is clunky, the city is boring and the missions are limited (go there kill that, go there get that), but at least the environments are varied and the missions follow a loose story.

Character creation isn't anything special although you can create thousands of variations, the colour control is not very good so most people running round the world look like they where dumped in florescent paint.

Didn't get as far as getting my own layer, I think that happens when you complete an islands missions.

If you like City Of Heroes or The Matrix Online then you will like this.

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City Of Villains Early Impressions

Plays very much like Matrix Online.

The whole gameworld is too quiet. The only sounds are the game's music and battle sounds. I am always disappointed by the lack of voice acting in MMOs, but this is silly, there isn't even an intro.

While I was doing the first tutorial missions, it all takes place in a prison break. And while I am trying to read the tutorial text there is this stupid siren going off. I wouldn't have minded if it wasn't so repetitive, but it is just this siren and the game's music. This is a prison break, you would have thought there might be other sounds.

City Of Villains Licence Agreement

I just had a read of the COV licence agreement and it is just your standard licence agreement. There is a part that could be interpreted to mean that I can't take screenshots, but the document hasn't been formulated specifically as an NDA. Unlike The Matrix Online Agreement.

So it should be safe to talk about it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

City Of Villains Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 11am I will be able to play City Of Villains, but I have a lecture at 1pm so I won't be able to post anything until much later. And as far as I am aware, there is no NDA.

An Approved Project

One of my project ideas the go ahead. Should be brilliant when it is all working. Got a good project supervisor too. Not sure if I should post what it is yet, but I will when the time is right.

Open Source In Education

There is a growing movement in education to use open source software over proprietary solutions (Windows) because licencing is a huge expense. So I did a bit of reading on the subject because I have had a few bad experiences with Open Source software and I don't think your average educator could cope.

The only pro is that the software is free. Moving to Open Office seems to be a very good idea for education because Microsoft Office is expensive and Open Office covers everything that most users would want to use. A complete Open Source computing infrastructure however is a mistake without an experienced and motivated IT coordinator.

The current procedure for setting up computer labs is to pay a company to supply computers and then the teaching staff will setup the machines themselves. With Linux this isn't possible because the machines have to be configured, there are no easy setup solutions here, some config file editing is required to get each machine running. And then there are also issues with installing applications because you have to get software that is specific to your Linux distribution and version. I have experience with this and most of the software I have tried to install has failed because I have downloaded the wrong version.

This picture (see below) is me trying to install Mono (Mono will allow you to programme and run .Net applications in Linux when it is done) today. The installer doesn't work, I don't know why and the Help Text is not helping so I gaveup. As a windows user I only see an installer fail when the file is corrupt. Maybe that makes me spoiled, but after trying this I installed it on XP without a single issue (then I findout that the software is far from finished and I can't use it).
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A lot of companies do offer technical support for Linux based networks, but open source communities prefer to offer forum based support for issues and so do not have telephone hotlines for queries or problems. So software does require some trial and error to get installed, setup and used.

This whole issue comes down to commitment on the part of the organisation. If a school wants to save money then Open Source is a good route, but they will have to hire some IT staff to do a lot of legwork because the amount of work required to get a system setup is greater than that of a Windows based network. For some organisations however like Universities the move simply isn't viable because Universities have a commitment to teach students industry software that simply won't run on systems running anything other than Windows.

I have heard people talk about the move to Open Source like somekind of Utopian vision, but the only benefit is that the software has to offer is that it is free. I myself do not see that as very Utopian idea, especially not when I consider the amount of extra stress that it causes the IT staff.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chasing Project Coordinators

I am currently chasing a Lecturer to be my project coordinator, but finding a time where I can meet with him where we are both free is impossible. It is so bad I am starting to think that he is avoiding me.

I know I want to do something using voice recognition because I have gotten it working and have a few project ideas in that area, but I need to talk to a lecturer about them. This is the problem.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

City Of Villains Isn't Letting Me In Yet

Turns out that I am in the stress test that runs from the 14th to the 16th. So I won't be telling you what COV is like just yet, but I can tell you that it has a very traditional patching system (this is a bad thing).

City Of Villains Is Installed

I was getting a little suspicious with the corrupted zip file because each time I would try to repair it and each time only one file, the same file each time, would be saved. Now I assumed the ZIP file was corrupted because the windows XP's extractor said it was, and so did the latest version of WinRAR, but turns out that it is a WinZip 9.0 encoded thing and requires WinZip 9.0. It extracted fine once I tried using that. If you go to the Download Page there is a note there telling you that it requires WinZip 9.0, but I didn't see it.

The ZIP file is the same size as the extracted files. They have only zipped it into an archive because there are multiple install files and they probably wanted to keep them all together instead of making people download multiple files. The only problem I have with this is that it requires WinZip 9.0.

City Of Villains Download Progress

I am now downloading my fourth copy of the installer because all the previous have been corrupted. I have tried repairing the ZIP file the installer comes in (why would you zip an installer!), but that doesn't work and I have only managed to get one of the files successfully extracted.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

City Of Villains Here I Come

Looks like I have been invited to the City Of Villains beta. Downloading the 2.52GB install now. Usually when I download a file this big from FilePlanet the file will be corrupted several times so will require several downloads, but with the new download client and my faster connection I don't think that will be necessary.

Will give you and update on what it is like later, unless there is an NDA of course.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Clerks 2 Video Log

[Listening to There She Goes]

Kevin Smith in a vain attempt to look as good as Peter Jackson, has started a Video Log (RSS) for the production of The Passion of the Clerks.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Change Around

I filled out the form today to change a module. I didn't think that I would be doing that because all the modules had their own merrits, but the module I wanted to do the most, security management, I didn't get. Not a compleat loss, I mean I only wrote two major projects on the subject, but after being boared and confused with XML (the presentation wasn't good) I filled in the form.

I could have done the XML module, but it required learning SQL and I need to be able to blitz through module work this year so I can concentrate on my project. Plus I want to have a security something on my degree certificate.

A History Of Microsoft From A Mac Perspective

If you like watching video's making fun of Microsoft or just want to see Steve run up and down the stage one more time, I strongly suggest you watch This Video.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Xbox360 X05 Trailer Pack

FilePlanet has a subscriber exclusive Trailer Pack of all the trailers shown at X05 (these will be made available to all through other networks) and here is a little overview of what is included:
Looking good, but the grenades look a little weak
Meh, more melee combat footage.
Best Dead Rising Trailer yet!
Individual blades of grass! Yet still we have 2D crowds.
A Burnout/Carmageddon clown with destructible terrain.
Some new gameplay footage.
A cinematic trailer.
Wild west RPG.
Some new footage, nothing special.
Meh I played a demo of a MotoGP game back in the 90's and this doesn't look any different.
Does not show any gameplay.

That same E3 trailer again.
The lackluster trailer.
Looks good.
The E3 trailer.
Ok, never been into RE games, but looks different to the previous games.
A shaky cam video, but an interesting teaser anyway.
Graphics looks good.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

X05 Conference Overview

I had a look at IGN's X05 Coverage earlier, I did try to find something on GameSpot, but they have diddly squat. And I have listened to Major Nelson's Audiofeed from the keynote so I guess I can do somekind of overview now.
  • Perfect Dark Zero is a prequel.

  • Gamers won't have to rip CDs to put music tracks onto the 360 because you can copy from either a device or PC.

  • Live now supports custom leaderboards. So there is a leaderboard for each game that will only list you and other gamers on your live account. Plus there is the global leaderboard so you can always see your global ranking.

  • Some new games where announced. Crackdown, Too Human, Mass Effect and superman (to be released mid next year when the film is released).

  • Peter More called Football, football and not soccer, that is an A+ in my book for presentation.
And here is some new media from the event (still waiting for an event keynote video):

New Too Human Gallery

New Perfect Dark Zero Video (this video can be described lackluster at best)

New Perfect Dark Zero Screens

New Gears Of War Video

Random Fact

I am the most prolific blogger in the entire of Leicesterhisre.

Just a shame the quality hasn't been so good recently.

Monday, October 03, 2005

X05 Tomorrow

Microsoft is holding a big press event in Amsterdam tomorrow showcasing all the launch titles for the 360. There isn't one killer app there that will sell the console like the N64 had with Mario 64 for example, but everything is looking nice, even if the visual quality between titles is a little rocky (some titles could easily look better than what they do, but at least they will all have a good framerate).

Microsoft and all it's partners are racing to get everything out the door intime for launch. Perfect Dark Zero for example has cut back on the 50 player multiplayer to 32 in order to make launch.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Random Fact

Fear is the mindkiller.

Comment Spam

I have been gettig a fair ammount of comment spam today so I have turned on the word verify thing, but this spam is so lame.
This blog is awsome! Checkout my Penis Enlargement Review Site.
I wouldn't mind if it was related to the post.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Longer Than Ever

I broke my Old Record today for how long my system has been left on for by one day, two hours, twenty nine minuets and eitghteen seconds.

I only restarted because my dad was having trouble with the net on his computer (it is routed through this one) not because XP was acting funky at all. And I was just thinking, this install of windows has been on this system for well over a year now. So it just goes to show that a little care and attention can go a long way in keeping your system working nicely.

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I have had some people ask me for my System Up Timer application, but it currently runs on the beta version of .Net 2.0. So when that is released at the start of November I will consider releasing it. I want to setup a website for my final year project anyway so I might have a good place to host it.

Make iTunes Faster

Here is something odd. I am currently subscribed to twenty six podcasts and if I open up iTunes and hit the Update button iTunes.exe starts using up all my CPU cycles, it takes about six minuets to check all the feeds and some of them fail to update (just done it now and fourteen of them have failed).

If however I press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to get into the Task Manager, right click on iTunes.exe and set it's priority to low. Not only does it do the whole podcast updating thing in twenty seconds, but they all successfully update.

I don't know why it acts like this, but it's odd and needs fixing.

In Recovery

Went out last night with Lindsey and a few of her dorm mates from uni and had a GOOD night out.

I watched the first episode of Star Trek New Voyages thismorning. I have seen a few nasty fan made productions and this isn't one of them. The guys over at New Voyages really seem to have a desire to create new episodes of The Original series and they are doing a good job. The only problem I have with it, is that I was never much of a fan of The Original series. kudos to them though.