News Mash-Up

I’m busy, again. A ton of things just bunched up towards the end of the month, and I’m on-site with a customer in Cambridge some of next week, so I’m keeping my head down a little right now. Here’s a news-blast though. I love Ubuntu server I’ve been setting up my new server. I’ve probably said this before, but for servers, Linux rocks. I’m ambivalent about Linux on the desktop, where I believe consistency and usability are more important (the Mac floats my boat the most there, and Windows if only because of MSVC++), but for a server Linux really brings great things to the table.

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The long wait

360 Games repair steam

I’m still waiting to get my 360 back after it fell on its own sword, but luckily late last week I got confirmation that it’s making its way back to me (or at least, a doppleganger with a service label on it is). It’s now languishing somewhere in Belgium as it meanders through UPS’s various relay stations like some signal trying to evade detection. All in all it will have taken about a month for the repair to go through, with a week of that just being lost by nothing happening with the initial web-registered fault report, and the rest just being dreadfully slow UPS shuttling of boxes (a courier that takes a week to go from Germany to here isn’t really ‘express’ if you ask me - I made it in a day, and FedEx is always much faster than this).

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Tempting fate - a (possibly final) back update

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging - I’ve tagged a few subjects for future expansion in my drafts, being very much a reentrant blogger, but so far meat has only been added very sporadically to those particular bones. By the time I get around to filling in the detail, the subject matter will no doubt be considered ‘stale’, but maybe my particular brand of commentary might lend a modicum of life to them anyway.

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Homeless Frank & Laptop Hunters

It’s always fun to watch Apple and Microsoft slug it out in the advertising space - here in the UK we mostly have to do this via YouTube, since apart from a short stint of amusing Mitchell and Webb Apple ads and those pretty bland “I’m A PC” ripostes, we don’t really see the front-line assaults which take place on US TV screens. So I hear that MS have a new set of ads out, where “regular” people go and look for a laptop, whereby they look at the Mac and say “whoah, far too expensive!

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On Remakes

Too many rant posts lately, let’s talk about something positive. I’m still really enjoying Fallout 3, it’s far, far exceeded my expectations and I really can’t believe it was made by the same company that created the cookie-cutter, sprawling yawnfest that was Oblivion. Now, being a veteran of the series (Fallout 1 and 2 were some of my favourite RPGs of all time, along with Planescape: Torment and KOTOR), to some degree it’s nothing new - they have clearly lifted a great deal of the style and content directly from the originals, but the fact that they’ve managed to do this without trampling over my treasured memories of the original is a revelation.

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Penalising rage-quitters

multiplayer rage quit SFIV

I don’t play competitive multiplayer games very much, because I just don’t have the dedication to hone my skills to even the median average of the online pack, at least beyond about week 2 of a game’s release, but one thing that’s constantly annoying when I do is people who disconnect because they’re losing. Given that I don’t win online very much, I don’t encounter this that often, but on the few occasions where I’m getting the upper hand, there’s nothing more annoying than having people quit out on you mid-game.

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Laptop ergonomics really do suck

Laptops are great, of course, whether you’re travelling or just enjoying the flexibility of having a PC wherever you want in the house at any one time, instead of closeted in a fixed location. But if there’s one dimension in which they suck (barring upgradability - but then modern laptops are pretty nippy these days), it’s ergonomics. Laptops are excluded from the design standards that regular PCs have to adhere to, simply because it’s hard for them to comply within the form factor we expect.

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Daylight Savings Time is dumb

I hate DST (or as we call it, British Summer Time). What a daft idea - let’s make our population endure 2 1-hour ‘jetlag’ incidents every year, complicating scheduling between time zones and screwing with people’s sleeping patterns - I saw a bunch of friends last night and at least 50% of us were tired (and undoubtedly were sub-optimal workers that day) because we’d been forced to get up an hour earlier than we were used to - something that seems pretty common and does have a cost.

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Feel the rhythm with your hands (Steal the rhythm while you can) Spoonman Speak the rhythm on your own (Speak the rhythm all alone) Spoonman Argh. I love this song, but it’s been playing in my head for 48 hours now. Even playing it in Rock Band last night didn’t purge it, which sometimes works; the drum track is a lot of fun - not that difficult, but very satisfying to play; you gotta love drum solos.

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No, I'm not going to GDC this year

back GDC Health Travel

Since I keep getting asked this question by friends, existing business partners and prospects, I figured I’d just confirm it here - I won’t be attending GDC this year. It’s a shame, because I’d love to meet up with all the people I know who are going, but the primary reason is the 5,000 miles between here and there. Given the issues I’ve had with my back over the last few months (the worst episode of which emerged just after I made it back from California last time), I decided to have a break from long-haul travel to allow it time to recover.

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