If you don’t have a special place in your heart for Track & Field, or its arguably better sequel Hyper Sports, I have only one question for you; just where the hell were you in 1983 / 1984 anyway? Clearly not down at your local arcade where these machines were hot favourites, as indicated by the number of kids looking exhausted, sporting blisters the size of (old size) 10p pieces on the palms of their hands even whilst they stacked up more of said coinage on the panel of the machine to reserve their next turn.

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So, I’ve finally joined the 21st century and got rid of my last trusty CRT monitor. I hung on to it far longer than I intended to really, but initially I avoided LCDs because of their poor response rates and ghosting. Then, I avoided them because they were too expensive. Then, I avoided them because I like to test in lots of fullscreen resolutions and wasn’t that happy with the way that looked on many LCDs, and didn’t like being locked to a single ‘best’ resolution.

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This is something of a hobby horse of mine, but I am constantly saddened by the almost complete lack of any regional cultural style in video games these days. It struck me again today as I (once again) perused the upcoming games lineup for various machines, looking for a cast-iron reason to plant my flag somewhere (no, I still didn’t find one). There was a time when it was very easy to discern the country in which a game had been developed, because each country brought its own unique style to the table and wasn’t afraid to display it.

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Dumbest .. OS .. ever

So I was using Vista today, a relatively rare event on this machine since my discovery of how silky an experience OS X is, and I realised that although I’d already installed Cygwin (because I use bash for all my scripting needs, and being without sed / awk / patch / diff on the command line is unthinkable), I’d forgotten to check ‘patch’ when I ran the Cygwin installer. Simple I thought, I’ll just run it again.

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Dubious Parentage

Ever wondered what would happen if a ZX Spectrum were to mate with a nextcurrent-gen console controller? Well, now you no longer have to let such questions keep you awake at night: To be fair those keys aren't in fact rubber, but other than that the resemblence is uncanny. Mr Sinclair, you dog you. It's always the quiet ones.

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Ok, so I’m much more comfortable with XCode than I was to start with. It’s still pretty weird and I personally prefer the way other tools like MSVC organise themselves in terms of project structure and settings, but I can live with it - just. There is, however, one issue which is breaking my balls and I can’t seem to solve it - that is, managing multiple major versions of a framework effectively.

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Precious History

Another case of YouTube being able to lead the user to interesting cultural history lessons: Ballmer’s Sales Pitch for Windows 1.0 Remember kids, never buy anything from a crazy man with unbelievably bad dress sense, even for 1985. And this particular crazy man now controls one of the richest corporate entities in the world - you would have thought he would have calmed down over the years, but clearly not:

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The next thing I want to rant about is wifi access in airports and hotels. We’re pretty lucky in Guernsey, our airport has free wifi access throughout, something I have come to appreciate a lot (Cable & Wireless, for all their local broadband overcharging, did something right here) having spent time in UK airports and hotels . All UK airports seem to be living in the late 1990s with their incredibly expensive, incredibly crappy ‘internet cafes’ and ridiculously overpriced wifi access via BT Openzone or similar.

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So, I predictably had a ton of stuff to catch up with when I got back, which I’m getting close to clearing now, barring the forums which I’m woefully behind on now. Clearly the discovery of some problems with the Ogre server didn’t help at all, and I spent far too much time at the weekend trying to diagnose and resolve that so the server stayed up. Turns out that someone somehow was deliberately or accidentally forcing Apache into an infinite loop, or at least a very long process, probably because of a bug in some software we’re running, which meant that server process then became unavailable to future requests, causing spawning of new processes.

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Exhausted

I’m knackered. I had a couple of pretty busy days planned anyway, with quite a bit of travelling. The meetings themselves went well, I met up once again with a long-time colleague and friend formerly of WMI and now of Linden Lab, and also finally got to meet Matt Fairclough (aka Mr Terragen - TG2 is looking so awesome) in the flesh for a couple of beers - we worked together remotely on a project a couple of years ago so it was good to finally put a face to the emails.

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