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

Friday, March 28, 2008

'It's like... none more black' - Spinal Tap

OK, so after having a good rant with the people at Microsoft about the rubbish quality of the Visual Studio 2008 installer and a set of circumstances meaning I can't install it without re-installing Windows first, they sent me a lovely collection of DreamSpark goodies.

Now, I really shouldn't complain about free stuff - free is free after all, However, an issue I must raise which is fairly important.

In this day and age, you should not - under any circumstances - produce a uniformly black (bar 2 lines of white writing) SHINY mousemat. Why do I say this? Simple. The greater majority of new mice are optical. Optical mice aren't made very happy by uniformly black shiny mousemats. Such things make optical mice flip out and not work. Remember this in future.

Oh, and I'd have stumped up the cash for a domain name for your DreamSpark campaign - is not a particularly exciting domain for any promotion.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?"

Now that HD-DVD is dead and Zavvi have started pulling their stock from the shelves (probably in preparation for companies to re-release on BluRay), the BluRay coalition have given all the true-and-faithful users a "present".

According to PriceGrabber (and reported by Gizmodo), post-war the price of BluRay players has now returned to last-years prices, now they don't have to worry about the 'pesky competition'. Same applies to BluRay discs, up to their original prices.

Also, unlike with DVD (and HD-DVD), cheap Chinese machine manufacturers have now been denied the licenses to produce low-cost players.

Regarding the PS3 - it's bitterly ironic that whilst consumers are lauding over the recent popularity gains for the console (which many are putting down to BluRay), this is pulling away from where Sony gets it's money from - selling games. It's all well and good selling the console at cost (and previously at a serious markdown) but the billions in development costs have to be written off by the number of games sales. Currently, the US market shows there are 17 X360 releases in the top 50 (of which 7 are exclusive) vs 7 PS3 releases (of which, um, none are). Even the current 'walk off the shelves' games are struggling (such as Guitar Hero III and Rock Band).

Back when the console was announced (at the collective gasp figure of $599), each console had to have 13 games bought with it before it would even break even and start paying off their development debts (this is judged with the $800 parts cost minus approx. $15 of income to Sony on each game). Nowadays, they are finally making money after removing as much of the console they can without preventing it working properly and firing many of the key instigators of the PlayStation lineage (including the head creator of all three consoles, the key marketer and several high-up directors).

Whilst I feel that the PS3 should succeed, in a way I feel it deserves 'the third place' that was coined in those famous PlayStation2 adverts. The direness of their advertising (the console CANNOT think for itself and CANNOT predict what you are intending to do), the way they have treated their third-party developers is abysmal, the arrogance of their market team - believing that everyone will buy it on brand alone rather than actually doing something better than the competition, ramming BluRay up peoples behinds and telling them it's for their own good....

it is shiny though.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

How to protect your Windows box - don't password it

Well, Microsoft have advised that to protect your computer from remote attacks, you're better off not setting a password at all rather than setting a weak one.

Madness? Well, there is a reason.

Turns out, if you set a blank password, Windows will disable all remote access to your machine - and thus if you set your password to 'password' or 'abc123' then you're at a greater risk.

[[via Digital Inspiration]]

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

At least he wasn't eaten by a grue

Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons and thus being the father of all role-playing games, has died aged 69.

He'd been suffering from a long term illness since having a close call with a heart attack in 2004.

A moment's silence.... followed by the rolling of the highest sided dice you can find.

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Want to dance like a robot?

Then you'll have to beat these guys, Dance Crew "U-Min":

Click here, if you can't see it

And yes, I know that it's actually an advert for hip Japanese Clothing brand UniQlo, but hey.

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