The rants of a constantly ticking mind, combined with a mess of reviews and obscure titling methods.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Breaking news - PS3's backwards compatibility funked!

Well, this is just bleeding typical. Sony are having fun kicking the dog that is Europe, but now apparently (according to the press document) the PlayStation3 will only play a 'limited selection of PS2 games' due to various cost-saving issues on the part of Sony where the EU consoles have had a few of the chips removed - in case you didn't know, the PS3 costs over £100 more to manufacture than they are selling it at. Apparently, this is due to be a whole lot worse than in the US & Japan, where 98% of games work perfectly (after several firmware upgrades due to shoddy graphics).

This is on top of the £425 price tag, delayed release and all the other crap that's wrong with the system.

I think I shall wait until Sony goes bust before I buy one (ooh, PS3 for only £29 if I wait 3 years? I'll buy it!)

More info at

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'Hate to say I told you so, alright? Do believe I told you so, and it's all over you know...'

Well, I can hardly say I'm surprised - The Pirate Bay Abandons plans for a sovereign nation. Reasons stated include potentially poor bandwidth limit and also that they are happy and love Sweden. In conclusion, after taking everybody's money, their reason for starting this venture was purely to name a country 'The Pirate Bay' and see it on Google Maps.

I can hardly say I'm shocked by this news. Only Monday I was discussing with Gemma and Co. about the pluses and minuses of both their plans for a nation and the general ethos of The Pirate Bay itself. I do have a deep concern that a storm may come at some point - possibly a change in Swedish law - that means they are no longer protected. It may have been wise to jump ship to another country, but I feel it isn't the answer when this all (potentially) breaks. The corporate world doesn't love The Pirate Bay, sadly.

Anyway, I've been feeling a touch better today - I even attended a tutorial, unlike yesterday - and hope to be well by the time Chrissey's M&D come round on Sunday. I miss my own parents. I want to call them, but in the evenings I get wrapped up in stuff and so I miss the opportunity. *sigh*

A few days ago I gave my Sega Saturn a disassemble-and-clean. It was an absolute state inside due to the previous owner's apparently 40-a-day smoking habit and house full of spiders (I don't know this for certain, of course). I took a load of pictures - as you do - so I may put them up at some point. All I know is that an arcade-perfect conversion of Out Run is very addictive!

On Wednesday we went to see Hot Fuzz, the new action-comedy from Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright (Spaced & Shaun of the Dead). And damn, is it funny. Seriously, we watched it and will probably go and watch it again. Be prepared though, it does have a few grizzly bits. Most definitely 5 stars.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

'Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?' 'Later. Right now lets play Global Thermonuclear War.'

Wow, two posts within a week? That's pretty damn shocking, I can tell you. It's mostly because I feel cobblers and yet am wide awake and thus see no point lying in bed all day. I'm feeling a bit better, so thanks for asking. Oh, you didn't? Well, screw you!

Anyway, I think I fancy writing a bit of a thing about me and Chrissey's trip to London last week to see "Game On", a videogaming exhibition covering everything from the 'brown box' up to the Wii & PS3. It is running until the 25th of February at the Science Museum.

The usual thing happened: booked tickets, went to train station, missed train by 3 minutes, found we'd forgotten railcards, got railcards, went back to train station, caught train an hour later, train conductor didn't ask to see railcard - that kind of thing.

The exhibition itself is something akin to a combination of a museum (everything in little plastic boxes with little cards giving you a description) and an arcade (because you got to play on nearly all of them!)

They had an exhaustive list of computers, arcade machines and consoles, including several I'd heard about but never seen (for example: the PC Engine, the FM Towns, the Nintendo Famicom, etc. Mostly the Japanese consoles). Also, they had every single genre of game there - RPG, Strategy, Beat-em-up, Shoot-em-up, Text Adventure, you name it!

Sounds fun, eh? Especially for us two.

...but me and Chrissey were both disappointed. Why? Because it was equally lacking things we felt were important.

They had all these games, but there was no real description of why they were so important to the development of computer games overall.
They had a real Galaxian cabinet, but didn't go to the effort of telling you that it was the first arcade machine to use colour.
They had 'Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy' but didn't mention how important Infocom (it's developers) were to adventure gaming.

There was a few sections with information on, but they were fairly broad reaching, very much written for a casual gamer, and not very informative (a section about the history of Nintendo was squeezed onto a piece of card the size of a DVD case). Take into account that many of the visitors were mid-thirties white men going 'Oh wow! I remember one of these!' and you realise that trying to target kids with lots of games and very little content isn't really going to work.

We actually encountered a few kids in the ticket queue and there was a slideshow on a TV outside the exhibit:

Kid: 'Oh! A GameCube - that's so old! That's so lame.'
Chrissey: 'Do you realise you're going to an exhibit about old and retro games? You're going to be so disappointed!'

It was more depressing when Chrissey turned to me afterwards and said 'I learnt more from what you were saying than the actual exhibit'.

Another problem was the fact that there was so many games that as you were playing you felt time ticking away from you, and thus didn't really get a feel for any of them. Games aren't really designed for such short-handedness.

Also, I mentioned the Wii and the PS3 - you could only play on them if you had a special ticket. Shockingly, the queue for the Wii was bigger. I did happen to watch someone playing Motorstorm on the PS3, it actually looks fairly impressive - I think the X360 does have a fight on it's hands, albeit a pointless one. The PS3 *is* the more powerful console, but noting the PS2 is the least powerful and the most popular, I think it'll be the exclusives that make a console, and the X360 has a whole lot of them. (On a side note, the price of a X360 Core edition is £149 at - the PS3 is retailing in March for £425)

Finally, and most frustratingly (this is Chrissey pointing this one out too), it was laid out completely wrong. As you may know, Chrissey has got a degree in Archaeology and spent a lot of time working in the layout of exhibitions. The whole thing is so badly done. The way they have sectioned the whole thing is in the different 'types' of games - kids games, strategy, platformers and the like, all in their different sections. Except the sections weren't very well marked out at all, and I'd bet you most people wouldn't have noticed. Also, unless I'm wrong, wouldn't it have been sensible to, say, have some sort of timeline where you start at the early consoles and games and went up to the latest and greatest. It was truly badly horrifically laid out, and after wandering back and forth for our alloted time we couldn't wait to leave, sadly.

Maybe it was just we knew too much in the field (though most of my knowledge comes from Retro Gamer). Maybe this wasn't the exhibit we hoped for. Maybe the fact that we actually encountered this exhibit in 2002 whilst on our gap holiday (and decided to skip it) and have been waiting until it came back to the UK to see it has given it a status it could never live up to made it disappointing. Or maybe it was the fact I wanted a sodding guidebook to tell me anything about why these games were here would have made our trip complete.

Anyway, after traipsing around for a couple of hours after and giving up because everything's so flaming expensive, we came home.

Anyway, if my rant hasn't put you off - the tickets for the event are timed (you get 1 and a half hours in the exhibit, which kind of makes sense due to popularity and the willingness for some to never leave if given the chance) and are available on the Science Museum website.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Today, I became a Fonero...

Well, if you remember a few weeks ago Skippy told everyone about how to get a free Wireless Router/AP via a company called FON - and have a combined private network and public network!

Well, mine just magically appeared in the corridor this afternoon. I do say magically as I was expecting someone to ring the doorbell or something, but it just 'turned up' in the hall. *shrug*

Anyway, after about 20 minutes or so of 'configuring' - that is, 2 minutes plugging it in and 18 minutes trying to figure out a new name and password - I now have a wireless connection. Hurrah!

And... shockingly enough... it's quite good.

In the package (which was nicely boxed up) you get:
* A nice 54b/g combined router in white, running OpenWrt (apparently) and with support for a multitude of encryption methods, built in DHCP etc. etc.
* Plug (obviously)
* uberthin white network cable
* Full-colour Quick Installation Guide (in 4 languages)
* Documentation CD (annoyingly, only works properly in Windows - but it's mostly PDFs)
* A couple of FON stickers

Set-up was quite easy, just a case of plugging it in and turning it on - it was set up correctly by default. Also, as I found out, you can set how much bandwidth other FON users can suck. Another slight annoyance is that they tell you in the QIG that you have to use the remote web site for all the setting up, when in fact the case is that you can alter settings locally too - and it took a little digging to find out the username and password for it. But hey, it didn't take too much effort. And it basically has all the features you'd expect from a wireless router of the day: port forwarding, privacy settings, b/g controls, etc. etc. And it's small, white, shiny and natty too!

One thing that did baffle me was the user classification system. By default, you are classed as an Alien on the FON website. This means you can get onto the internet via any FON router you encounter, but you have to pay a set figure per day for that. This applies to anyone who doesn't have a FON router and thus isn't really helping out the community.

When you get a router you have two options: you can be a Linus (who gives away internet for free and gets free internet wherever they roam - any money earned goes back into giving away more routers), or a Bill (who doesn't get free roaming, but does get to snag 50% of the money that any Aliens spend using their router). Simple, eh?

I very much like the way the 'stub' aerial can be switched for something with a bit more 'oomph' as it has a generic fitting.

Anyway, I'm off to enjoy being wireless. Bye for now.

Oh, I almost forgot! If Fon are still celebrating their first birthday, you can get your free router from: - else if anyone's interested I have a free invitation for a free one! If you can't be bothered with asking, FON routers are available for £20ish. And, if you can't be bothered to get a router (and you have a Linksys or Buffalo router already) you might be able to install the FON firmware and enjoy the benefits of being a Fonero!

And, finally, the reason why I haven't blogged recently is that 'New' Blogger is still a little buggy, and the Dashboard Widget I usually use is up the spout (sigh).

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Well, don't be sad... 'cos 2 out of 3 ain't bad..."

...or so said my iPod about 5 minutes before my Java test. But what does it know? 78% is better than 2 out of 3!

Yes, I have succumbed to owning one of those terrible beasties - trend-setting and all that. At least I don't use the pack-in earbuds just yet, I like my discreteness. Anyway, that was one of the multiple prezzies I got for my birthday on Sunday (thanks M&D!).

Also in my pile of stuff:
* The Feeling - 12 Stops and Home
* NiGHTS Into Dreams... (Saturn)
* The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (NGC) + NGC-GBA cable
* Wii Play + Controller (Wii, obviously)

Also, £20 from my Aunt Susan & Uncle Michael, so thanks to them too.

Also, we tried out the Baba Indian Restaurant on Bretonside. If you know me, I (and the bunch) go to The Ganges across the road (mostly because *certain people* think it's cheaper because it's half price, but it's also twice as expensive). Go there, it's goooooo-oood (only if you're not sad enough to only eat the same curry. every. single. time.), and at £20 a head (including 2 bottles of beer each), you can't really complain.

Anyway, I'll blog about Frag Fests and birthday cakes and so on soon. Watch the skies!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cake or biscuit?

A few small things of note:

1) There was a LAN Party on Saturday, I hope to blog about it soon.
2) I had a birthday on Sunday, M&D visited, I hope to blog about it soon.
3) Steve Jobs wrote an open letter to people about DRM and the future of music (, I'll likely comment on it soon, although it's well worth a read.
4) Jaffa Cakes, when left as an open packet in a cupboard for a couple of months, turn into biscuits. I rest my case.

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