I’ve been learning to play accoustic guitar for a little over a year now, and although I still dispair at overall quality of my playing sometimes, I can still acknowledge that I’ve made a lot of progress, considering I started from zero. My renditions of Stairway to Heaven, Ziggy Stardust and Wonderwall are at least recognisable, if not hugely flattering. During particularly busy periods it’s hard to find the time to practice, which has sometimes led to a frustrating cycle of starting to lose callouses, finger strength and muscle memory, and then having to spend time building them back up again, which makes you feel like you’re not making any progress.

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There was an interesting article last week on the Guardian site where Richard Stallman took a pop at the rising use of ‘cloud computing’ - where computing resources and applications are delivered on demand to your devices via the magic of the interweb. Now, I don’t find myself particularly aligned with Mr Stallman a lot of the time, but he definitely has a very good point in this instance; although I do think the argument was too highly generalised (which probably came from the journalist rather than Stallman).

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Looks like a bug has been discovered in Rock Band 2 that can randomly reset your band’s progress under a certain set of curcumstances. So far it appears that it only happens if you play the career mode with a certain combination of accounts - notably a player with a Live-enabled account, and a player with a non-Live-enabled account. Here’s hoping they fix it before the UK release, although I actually don’t think I’d suffer from it anyway, since Marie & I both have Live accounts, and when other people play they don’t use their own accounts, they just jump in as ‘Player 3’ or whatever; so far those combinations sound like they’re immune to this bug.

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Since I’ve been taking a rare weekend off, I took the time to download the latest batch of XBLA demos to check out the latest slices of (hopefully) juicy bite-sized gameplay. The results were mixed. Braid I’d actually downloaded the demo for this a while ago, but at that stage I’d been pretty short of time, and on getting frustrated with a particular section I had tossed it aside and gone with the far more immediate Geometry Wars 2 instead.

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I’m the kind of person who likes to keep busy; not in a ‘mad about DIY / the garden’ kind of way that tends to be the most socially acceptable form of being a ‘project oriented person’, but I always have a bunch of things on the go and never seem to have enough time to do them all. I’m always ‘working’ evenings & weekends, but a lot of the time I really don’t think of it as work, because a large portion of the time I’m doing exactly what I want to do.

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One of the things I like about Rock Band is that the DLC is regular, reasonably priced and à la carte - you can pick just the tracks you want and it doesn’t break the bank. Guitar Hero conversely has so far not released very much DLC, generally charges more for it (500 points for a 3-song pack compared to 80-120 points per track in Rock Band), and doesn’t give you the option of just purchasing the tracks you want - it’s the whole pack or nothing, making it much less convenient.

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Thanks John for the reminder to investigate S3 as a business media hosting service, it works like a charm! Now that I have far fewer bandwidth worries (max $0.17 per GB), the Torus Knot site includes a nifty dynamic selector so you can pick low, medium or high quality - the latter is at a higher resolution too, clocking in at about 100Mb. I may well use S3 for future public commercial downloads in the future too.

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Looks like I could be getting my wish and Rock band 2 will be out in the UK before the end of the year: Yep, that’s a UK official Microsoft ad saying it, so I think that’s pretty certain (for 360 at least). So it’s November - unsurprisingly the very time that GH:WT comes out - makes sense. Woohoo - looks like we can look forward to having 500 tracks to choose from this side of the pond too, instead of a just the measly 400 (!

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A few people asked for an OgreSpeedTree video with more varied scenes, and I’ve now uploaded one to the OgreSpeedTree section of the Torus Knot site. Just scroll down below the screenshots if you want to view the video. I have a higher resolution & better quality version (this one is H.264 at 1Kb/s) but I’ve kept this one small for now to keep my bandwidth under control. Places like Vimeo don’t allow commercial advertising, and while before I could get away with claiming it was just in-development test output shared with enthusiasts only, this is really an advertisement video so I’m hosting it myself.

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I blogged a few months ago about my concern regarding the precedents being set by the Northern Rock and Bear Stearns debacles - that investment bankers and city executives can take outrageous risks, bag huge bonuses and get into a situation that for the sake of the economy, the government has to step in and sort it out. If only that had been the end of it; I don’t think anyone really thought it was, but since then things have really gone south.

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