Finally. After months of speculation and general acknowledgement by all except Sony that the PS3 is too expensive for the market, and that no amount of brand loyalty, Blu-ray cross-marketing or theoretical performance advantages were going to outbalance that inconvenient fact, the inevitable has happened and the PS3 is now £50 cheaper in the UK. That’s actually pretty good; we usually get stiffed on prices in Europe so despite not quite being on par - a $100 cut in the US should mean about a £60 cut at current exchange rates, but they do have to hedge their bets there - it’s a healthy amount and I’m sure will help sales.

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I’ve watched with some entertainment the latest round of scraps across the pond about health care, which has now turned into a Brit-bashing exercise. Apparantly the NHS is ‘Orwellian’ and ‘Evil’ (allegedly that particular accusation was from the eminent scholar and international expert Sarah Palin) according to the American right-wing - which, when perceived from this side of the Atlantic constitutes most of the political spectrum compared to what is considered centrist here - all of which is news to most people in Britain, barring the usual suspects on the fringes of the Conservative party that their own leader would like to disown, but who always turn up on American TV because no-one listens to them over here.

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For those of you who grew up in the late 70’s / early 80’s and were into games (particularly in Britain), you’ll like this: Via NimbleBit - thanks! 😀

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Ok, so I’ve posted my initial feelings about tinkering with Mercurial and Git, and that seems to have generated some interest. It’s time to get a bit more formal about how I’m going to evaluate them against each other, to decide which one I like to use most in real, practical scenarios. So, I decided to come up with a list of use cases for the things that I typically have to deal with when managing the repositories for a software project (open source and otherwise), so that I can methodically test them out and see how I feel about each system.

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I’ve been interested in DVCS for a while; having done my fair share of branch management, something which makes that process easier and more transparent is definitely very attractive. I particularly like the way a DVCS makes it easier for people to collaborate in pockets of their own, away from the centralised environment, and track other repositories and keep their local mods up to date more easily - public-branch-on-demand if you will.

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Ok, so I discovered a number of shortcomings in my recent attempt to sync a folder in one direction to Amazon S3 using encryption, the most important of which was that it wouldn’t resume a failed transfer efficiently, which in the case of large transfers wasn’t at all ideal (as I learned to be own cost - damn my 256k upload speed). So, this is attempt number 2. I decided to completely rewrite the script in Python instead to give me some more flexibility, coupled with the availability of Boto, a nice Python library for accessing all the Amazon Web Services.

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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’.

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Edit: this script is deprecated in favour of a rewritten version 2. I use Amazon S3 to host large media files which I want cheap scalable bandwidth on, and for expandable offsite storage of important backups. I used to have some simple incremental tar scripts to do my offsite backups, but since I moved to Bacula, I’ve just established an alternative schedule and file set definition for my offsite backups, the critical subset of data I couldn’t possibly stand to lose (like company documents).

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This was pretty interesting; CNet reports that according to NPD stats, Apple has 91% of the retail PC sales in the US above $1,000. Now, let’s add the caveats here: That’s retail PCs. Of course, loads of people build their (desktop) PCs from OEM parts rather than buying a prebuilt machine, so it’s safe to say that these sales are almost all going to be laptops, where Apple particularly shines.

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Quick check - ok, the sun is in fact not as black as sackcloth. But today, something earth-shattering happened - Microsoft has contributed code to Linux. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that I’d never live to see the day this happened. It’s 20,000 lines of driver code to make Linux run better under Hyper-V, which is of course in their interest (since you have to buy a copy of Windows Server 2008 as the host) , but that’s par for the course for open source contribution (you scratch your own itch!

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