It was about 10pm last night and I figured I’d just do half an hour’s practice on the guitar as I often do. I often use headphones to avoid causing undue annoyance to the neighbourhood, and like a lot of music equipment my Pod has a ¼″ headphone socket, despite the fact that most regular headphones use a 1/8″ mini-jack, so I use a converter that came with the headphones (Sony in this case), pictured below.
I like Steam. Sure, you’ve got all the people moaning about not being able to sell on their games afterwards, but I don’t care about that - maybe because I don’t buy that many games compared to some, and I tend to hold on to them regardless more often than not. It’s the nearest thing to XBox Live on the PC and it does a pretty good job of it. Buying games and keeping them up to date is simple, and it’s indie-friendly with far less of the snooty attitide that seems to be increasing in the console online marketplaces now they’re established.
There’s one problem with having a relatively public presence online, even in such a niche that I’m in, and that’s how to deal with unsolicited friend requests. I’m a happy user of LinkedIn, I have a Gamertag you can see on the right hand side there, and I’m also a reluctant and infrequent member of Facebook. As well as letting people who know me connect, it also means that on some occasions, I get friend / contact requests on these systems from people I’ve never heard of before.
I haven’t used dedicated photo-management software before - iPhoto always looked really nice, but since it only works on the Mac it didn’t seem worth investing lots of time in populating data there that I couldn’t use on other platforms too. However, since this year I took the laptop on holiday with us, to ensure I could cope with any urgent business while I was away (the wonders of being self-employed), I figured I’d take the opportunity to try out Picasa 3 to transfer, organise, label & share our photos in real-time as we progressed through our holiday.
I’ve been involved in open source for a long time - probably what might be considered a ‘generation’ in this industry. I was a fan of open source before I even knew the term existed - during my formative coding years in the early 90’s I was always releasing code for free and encouraging people to tell me why it sucked, and doing the same for them. Of course, most of the discussion went on over FidoNet, BBS-relayed emails, the very early (pre-WWW) internet and code on FTP sites, but the principle was much the same.
Yep, the blissful silence on this blog is now over, because we’re back from our holiday / vacation in the Canadian Rockies. For me, there’s very little that’s more relaxing than traipsing around unspoiled mountain regions enjoying the scenery and the wildlife (and trying not to get eaten by the latter). Some people like laying on beaches, and that’s fine, but there’s only so much of that I can do.
You know how you realise one day that you’re not part of the ‘young generation’ anymore? If you don’t know this, you’re either still in your 20s, or you’re kidding yourself; akin to 45 year olds thinking they can still legitimately be part of the clubbing scene. Well, it manifests itself in a number of ways, some positive - you’re in theory more financially & emotionally stable, and you generally give a lot less of a toss what people think anymore - and some negative - suddenly you can no longer treat your body like dirt and expect it to gleefully rebound.
Dead Space teaches you many things. Firstly, that large abandoned space ships are not the place to be if you have frayed nerves. They creak and make random clanks. Lights don’t work properly. Automated systems kick in and scare the bejesus out of you. When things are quiet, think Alien. I’ve heard that it gets less creepy and more combative later on, but I’m 4 hours in and it’s still very much in suspense mode, barring one ‘boss fight’ with a ‘Brute’.
It was my birthday last week (and my wife’s), and while I’ve been far too busy to have any time off (cue world’s smallest violin), I have managed to find a little time to play a few new games. I’m still deeply mired in Fallout 3 too, having invested 60 hours in it over the last 4 months with still loads to do - see, this is why I can’t handle more than one ‘big’ game a year anymore - and Gears and Rock Band are still regular staples, but there’s always room for variety.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been derided by some, with extensive cries of ‘learn a real instrument!’; however it’s my experience that by making simulated instrument playing more accessible to the masses, these games are responsible for many taking up an instrument for the first time, or reconnecting with a previously abandoned musical hobby. It’s the latter for me - I was heavily involved in music throughout my school days, until an overly pushy music teacher sucked all the joy out of it (what, you have a free evening / weekend that you’re not playing music in?