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Sunday 29 December 2002

Korea, why do we care? [lurks]

Right, you've seen what's going on in Korea? Quick summary right, the evil communist dictatorship North revealed they have a secret nuclear weapons program going on. Now some time ago the US brokered a deal where North Korea would suspend their nuclear program and in return they'd shop a cool half mil tons of oil over every now and again. So unsurprisingly the US says, well err fuck your oil then. So the North goes, right well we're cracking the seals on our heavy water reactor instead so we can power the homes of all our starving people. Oh and whoopy, we get some nice plutonium in the bargain. Woot!

Meanwhile, down in the South, there be a million land mines in the demilitarized zone and a crap load of US help standing by stopping the commies from rushing over the border to unify the country in some big red orgasmic communist reunion gang bang. Except that what happened was that some GIs ran down a couple of South Korean girls in a road accident, killed them both. So the South is holding all these demonstrations, burning US flags. Out yankee out! No War in Iraq! Shit like that.

Err so one does have to wonder why on earth the US gives a flying fuck about these ungrateful peons! The South having gotten fat on trade with the west and pretty much now represent the most progressive modern Net loving capitalist democratic industrial nation in the SE Asia. So one wonders if they just HAPPEN to have noticed the millions of starving Chinese backed commie loonies just gnashing their teeth on the lovely propaganda which drives them to head south and quash this decadent capitalist nightmare? You know, the fucking invasion the yanks are there to stop to protect the South Korean way of life.

I just don't understand those fuckers, maybe I'm missing something. Anyway, fuck them. Pull out I say. Korean computer games suck ass anyway :)

Saturday 21 December 2002

Time for DSAT [lurks]

Y'all know how I've been into this DAB thing. That's Digital Audio Radio for the technophobes among you. It's ace right, bag load of stations which can be grabbed straight to disk or played to any PC in my house with a little £50 Psion Wavefinder plugged into a USB port on Wench. Trouble is over time, the bitrate has reduced. Now this sucks because I'm really quite into recording things like BBC Radio 6 Music's 'Dream Ticket' live sessions and putting in my collection. 128kbs MP2 is unfortunately pretty manky. Equivalent to about 96kbps MP3.

Now it turns out that basically Astra is transmitting a bunch of free to air radio stations. Likewise digital MP2 streams but much higher bitrates. 160-192kbps which is ... bloody good to nearly CD quality. There's some tele on there too. So, after a good day and a half of web research I formulated a plan. A plan so cunning you could pull it's beard back and scrub your toilet.

Essentially I intend to buy a small Sky minidish for next to no money, get some coax and F connectors from Maplins and mount, align and tune the whole lot up myself. Not even going to use a Digibox, I'm going to use an el-cheapo DVB card in a PC with some decent third party software to do scheduled recordings etc. Bingo all the same radio stations in much higher bitrates and I can also capture some tele to hard drive as well. If I get into the tele capturing thing, I can buy a decent DVB card down the line and watch the 'free to view' stuff as well.

The best bit is, it wont cost me a penny other than the ton or so for all the bits. This way I keep my crappy but cheap telewest cable TV for regular tele and so keep my discount on the cable modem.

Now all I need is to find my compass and protractor and work out whether 28% east of south is a LOS which will clear the house out back without raising the dish too far up...

Monday 16 December 2002

Fame academy [lurks]

I tuned in pretty late to this reality tv show thing that the Beeb has been pushing out called Fame Academy. Just as well really because the last hopefuls from the dozen were kind of borderline talented as it was so I hate to think what the first evictees were like. Pretty bad I guess since the Beeb was taking a bunch of flack about the show early on and it was rating badly, but then so has every new reality tv show until people start to get hooked on it.

Anyway, the only thing worth talking about on this is again how the legions of teenage girls are the only ones that vote and you can clearly see their utterly illogical, not to mention bad taste, outright and the final of Fame Academy was no different.

First off, last week the guy to get canned was some bloke called Ainsley. He isn't a great singer but he's really got a style of his own, sort of indy with a touch of the cure going on. Struck me he was an ideal front man for a band or whatnot. The fact they dumped him last week was just astounding. The record industry pros on the show were also surprised.

Anyhow, the final was this friday. I didn't see it since I was out getting wankers with the EED boyz for our crimbo pissup. Surprise surprise but pretty much the least talented one won it, the second one was also absolutely dreadful and the guy who came rank last was the only one that was actually talented and ought to get a shot at the million quid recording contract which was up for a prize.

Yep you guessed it, the legions of teenage girls voted in this pretty-boy boy band guy who, while he can certainly sing, has to be the the biggest example of zero personality zero identity llamatron syndrome that I've seen for a long time. Ho hum. Second in was this Irish girl who, err, no one seems to have spotted can't actually sing at all, is crap on stage and ... is a bit ugly as well. Jesus christ.

So how did she come second? Well she's Irish right and apparently it's a real popular show over there. So that left in third place, a slothenly black teenager called Lamar. Now let's get this straight, I don't like this guy - I think he's a bit of a tosser but he does have an enormous amount of talent. He's got a fantastic really distinctive husky soul voice and brilliant stage presence. He's fucking good, he deserves to put an album out. He's the only one who did. So he comes last.

I don't reckon that bloke has enough get-up-and-go to go make it for himself unfortunately, so he'll probably disappear for good. Oh well.

What is it about women (and in particular teenage girls) and their complete and utter lack of any musical taste whatsoever?

Government gives up on railway [lurks]

In light of current events, it strikes me that the government has basically given up on sorting out a proper modern rail service for this country and instead is turning back to cars. Now this really upsets me, not only as a closet greenie but also because it seems to be more about politicians not tackling difficult issues than doing what is right for the country.

Recently a load of money was just promised for road widening projects, the largest the country has seen for years. And now, they're saying that all rail services may be cut back by as much as 10% next year! Targets for expanding rail users dramatically dropped too of course. Yet the Beeb quotes Richard Bawker from the Strategic Rail Authority as saying 'There is still absolute total commitment to the railways'. My fucking arse!

Yet clearly what is wrong with our railways is arse all to do with the cost to the taxpayer, it's the rampant mismanagement and the incredibly inefficient and shoddy way in which fundamental work is undertaken on the railways. No accountability from the top to the bottom has resulted in a substandard service not to mention an increasingly unsafe one. So the solution is to build more roads?!

No, it's to fucking fix the cunting railways so they're worth using again!

Karaoke for the housebound [shedir]

Wifey's midlife arrives this weekend. 35 on Monday, she loves the old karaoke so got her one for the house.

Getting the CDs is a bit hit n miss tho, so decided to compile my own!

Grabbing some mp3's and cdg files is easy with the newsgroups. Getting this onto CD a bit harder. Finally found an easy solution, mp3g toolz!

Sews the mp3 and lyrics together into bin files, which you had as tracks in cdrwin. Easy peasy.

Gonna burn one off and test pre Sunday party. Argos sell an Arbiter karaoke machine with scart to telly for £100, good if y

For those saddos with PC's under their TV, there's a winamp plugin just for you!

f6 if you tell it to delete files removes orig zip as well as working mp3 + CDG. careful usage required.

Saturday 7 December 2002

The Legend [spiro]

Bored at work this morning (6:12am start) I came across the following text and just had to put it up. Its from the old EED webbie and written by Lurker.

The legend of Electric Sunday

It was a cold, wet and rainy night across the old world of Great Brittain. Huddled in dimly lit lairs backdropped by the ethereal glow of computer monitors, members of Clan Eat Electric Death huddled over keyboards ominous. Phosphor lit faces concentrated, brows furrowed and keyboards conversed in broken staccato taps.

Clan EED lurked in a communal IRC channel on the eve of the second match of the UKOFFL. Tension hung tangible across the electronic ether with fresh memory of the crushing defeat a week prior. The Lords of ruin, members of the exclusive High Voltage sect, gazed down at the Low Voltage minions in effort to select one worthy of making up the team. Knowledge weighed heavy that the wrong choice could cost the melee dear - the outcome was far from certain.

The electronic battlefield lay prepared as 4 members from clan Cows with Fluff and the ukccl div 1 Quake Gods UK Firm readied themselves to take on the Electic Ones. Suddenly a miracle was granted. The Doover did exclaim, 'DanDanger is online'. Information extracted from the most reliable source, that of the ubiquitous ICQ itself.

Bare minutes before the battle was due to commence, DanDanger did enter the IRC channel. It was almost too much to hope for. With DanDanger, Eat Electric Death could field it's three best warriors in the upcoming war. Minutes ticked down. DanDanger did not own the map of dm3. The Lurker shifted instantly to action and utilised ICQ to transfer the map to DanDanger with his ISDN. The EED rank and file cried, 'Come on Dan, get the map!' and 'Come on Dan, get the skins!'. Windows file requestors were urgently navigated, bytes transferred as the seconds counted down to the outbreak of war.

Then it was on. Mass joining of the server, members selected their skins - EED an appropriately charged ethereal green. Players test firing blasters in mock at opponents as the timer counted down to Armageddon.

With a blast of respawn whoosh, EED members were teleported into the fray. Honed Quake Gods warred, enhanced neurons firing efficiently to direct death at targets as left and right brain hemisphere's pre-calculated body and weapon trajectories with frightening accuracy. Hours of hard experience forging the axiom pathways into biological equivalents of pipelined branch prediction processors. Blood chemistry coursed with stimulants and neurochemical enhancers shaving off yet further microseconds from reaction times.

The Doover waded into action, laying the enemy low with a barrage of grenades around the densely populated and highly prized Rocket Launcher. DanDanger chopped through bodies in slow motion as his chain gun barrel hummed and spat dozens of molten lead death-giving bullets every second. VenusXL's deftly dropped in front of enemy clanners, wide grizzly maw grinning, stunning the victim as they come to realise their belly full of twin barrels of super shotgun pellets.

Then there was the Lurker. The Shrike of death, hissing electrodes from temple to ISDN adaptor directing uncanny carnage in wave after wave of weaponry discharges. One moment his Hyperblaster sang a whining song of destruction, leading underwater swimming player with near-psychic prediction leaving their sizzling sinking bodies for the catfish and crabs. Grenades, Rockets, Shotguns called out time after time to cut down the enemies with groans, exclamations of pain and yet another frag piling up on the scoreboard for Eat Electric Death.

15 minutes passed like an hour. In the brief recess, clans UKF and CwF surveyed their slaughter and breathed a fearsome sigh of horror at their casualties. All too soon the respite was over and the second wave of EED's withering assault was visited on the hapless clanners. The blaze of furious battle continued to the duration as UKF clawed back to a score saving grace while CwF crumpled under the barrage.

The match was over. The silence abrupt. The scoreboard appeared with nonchalant afront. It read; EED-213 UKF-171 CWF-110. It was a battle that had turned the tide of war. Whispers and rumours crept from modem to modem as the infamy of EED spreads to this day. None will forget the legend of Electric Sunday and now all Quake in fear of the clan known as Eat Electric Death.

Friday 6 December 2002

One For Beej [muz]

As you may or may not have heard, I've recently joined Birmingham University Royal Naval Unit. Every Thursday I attend 'drill nights' at HMS Forward, which usually consist of 1.5 hours of lectures followed by an evening of getting pissed out in Birmingham.

Being a Royal Naval Reserve base, there is no shortage of instances of pisstaking at the expense of other services. I found a flyer being distributed there that I thought was particularly funny. Even though it is a little late, I thought I'd share this gem with my clanmates. :)


You have to feel sorry for the firefighters. Two day shifts followed by two night shifts and then having to endure four days off!! Bless them. And for having to work this hard for effectively 6 months of the year they only get a miserable £17,000 basic wage + whatever they get from their second incomes.

Because of these appalling working conditions, only around 50 people apply for every vacancy the fire service have. So if you don't fancy competing with 49 other people for this kind of slave labour, why not join the Army and compete with yourself for 1 of the 50 posts available to you and all of that for even less than the firefighters basic wage. BARGAIN!

Sign below if you want to work for 12 months of the year, have you personal liberties removed from you for anywhere up to 6 months at a time and train for the possibility of dying for a country full of greedy, selfish pathetic individuals who cannot see past the end of their narrow minds (or fire engines).

Just to recap, if you want to work for crap money in all the god-forsaken shitholes of the world, or provide strike cover, with no recognition, then apply to: The Army, Political Arse House, Seen Off Street, London FuCK, FBU.

Name: _________________ Preferred Shitholes: _______________ Preferred area for strike cover: ________________

Army. Be Depressed.

Muz sucks a bit tbh m8 [slim]

Muz can't get blogging working. This is clearly a skills related issue. His brain is currently state funded, and I think it needs to be highlighted what a clear waste of public money this is. Thanks.

Electric Comics [shedir]

Well Direct Connect just gets better and better. Stumbled across a public hub with 11TB, yes terabytes, of comics being shared. Spent 2 days leeching from a bloke with a t1 connection so got about 7gb off him. Reading is a bit of a pain. Then I found this proggy Displays them 2 pages on screen at once and full screen. SOOOOPERB so head along to
oh and if bobby ever comes back into that hub I can get all the thor stuff I've got queued!

DCHUB - loads of stuff available in there. be patient, like a convent not many available slots

Wednesday 4 December 2002

PS2 in divx shocker [shedir]

None yet!

Friday 29 November 2002

Bored of the bings [am]

Guiness has been beeping at me. Intermittently, repeatedly, it makes like Monty Python's machine that goes bing. It crashes Rallisport despite having a moment of contentment on Monday night and I can't work out why. But it does so with a monotone burp. It will beep from the case randomly when it's working, when it's tootling and when it's idling. Beep, it goes, bing. Biddly f'ing bop.

Guiness is unwell.

Now don't get me wrong, it's been a rocking machine. As a 1.2 athlon with a gf3 it'll still play everything bar Comanche with aplomb if not max res. But it's SDR memory, it's marginal cpu-upgradeable, it was more happy with a day that really died when EED still played twitch games. The days when Luxemb0urg was still the capital of a vast egyptian empire.....

So, you know, it's hard not to notice the fast ladies of postcode P4 flashing their silicon petticoats in my direction as the days go by but I don't get their chassis. What on EARTH is going on with the mobo mafia?? I've never seen so many mobo's and memory types in my life.

Will someone with some Intel-igence please explain to me wot is leet?

Wednesday 27 November 2002

Macs, do they really suck piss? [vagga]

I'm sure you're aware we make all kinds of championship manager based football games here at Sports Interactive. One of the more popular is the Mac version. The poor old Mac does not get that many games made for it, therefore the few games that get made and get some attention do ok. We are lucky as we have one of the best 'Mac people' in the business working for us. He has a long past record of converting games for various studios, Black and White being the last before we b0rged him!

The bad side is that I have to test said game. We have a few crappy old iMacs running Mac OS 9 something and we have 2 beasts, one best you can buy iMac and one G4 with more features and ram than the average Cray super computer. Both have been gathering dust this last while, as we have been busy and don't have the time to learn how to use a Mac and get testing on it. But now that the Xbox game has shipped and testing is going ok I do have that time, and feel guilty and we have big blue in the corner of the testing room doing nothing. So I made a step into the unknown the other day and turned the iMac and the G4 on. {Cue oooooo'ing from the audience}

The first thing that struck me was how shite Mac OS X looked! To me it did not look as good as the 2 Linux GUI's and was trying very hard not to be Windows, and therefore changing some stuff, I'm sure they have a 'not windows department' where they look at every aspect of their OS and make it as un Windows as possible to please the bearded sandal brigade! We also use a product called code warrior, instead of Visual C ++. Now I'm only learning to be a programmer, so I can't speak as an authority, but as a user and a tester I like VC++. It does what it says on the tin, and it's easy to use. I donÂ’t know what an uber programmer type person would think. But Codewarrior is the spawn of the devil. Im not going to sit here for days and explain how CM4 is written and how Codewarrior's dev team seemed to have sat down and thought up ways of making life difficult for people on large projects. I can see them now, huddled around a bubbling cauldron {I'm thinking the witches in Roman Polanski's Macbeth here}, 'yea, if we make them have to re-input all the project settings for each page, that will really piss them off {evil cackle} Yea, and we will randomly forget the settings every now and again, that will really piss them off!' But the great thing is that I have no choice and I have to use it. Its typical of the Mac software I have seen, if you are wearing sandals and have a beard its very handy and has lots of good features. If you are a normal human being then you could be in trouble. This, I think, may be why Apple almost goes bust every few years, leaving aside the fact that all their machines look funny, and the horrible one button mouse. They have crap, totally not user friendly software!

I was looking forward to the fact that OS X is built on BSD. Now for those that don't know BSD is a type of UNIX. I have used UNIX all over the place in several previous jobs. To be honest I would rather do most things on the command line than use silly GUI's. I find it quicker to tar and then gzip a file and then ftp it, all via a command line. The great things is that you can open another (or 10 other) terminal windows. In Windows try and zip something and do anything else! But I should have known, they have suitably fecked it up. They have mutilated it, it's almost like they tortured it. Now maybe itÂ’s me, I have not used BSD before, but I presumed it could not be as messed up as Solaris. I have done a bit of reading and they seem to have forced the bit of Mac OS and BSD together, and forget about the consequences. That said I'm quite happy that I can do something on the command line again. Its annoying when I'm on one of the PC's in my test lab having to open Control panel, wait a few seconds, then open this file and that file to get the information I want.

On the positive, there are some good things. I like to listen to music during the day. I usually play them through my Desktop which has a SB Live and a set of Boston Speakers and a Woofer, Gateway style. I basically brought them over from Ireland with me. But with that Machine running CM4 24 hours a day I would rather not run anything else on it. So I took the horrible, frankly embarrassing, round Mac speakers out of the box and hooked them up, since I have a 40 odd gig drive on the Mac, and 3 gig of CM4 stuff and nothing else. Im almost afraid to say this, but I am really happy with the sound from them. I got the 7 CD GTA: VC soundtrack. The sound is crystal clear, and it just plays and then vanishes into the background. I'm well aware that PC apps do the same thing but it's just good that I finally have a use for the Mac :)

With all that being said, I'm not happy with OSX as an OS. But I'm not going to panic, and I will hold my hand up and say maybe I'm jumping to conclusions that I have only been playing with the Mac for a week now. I will do more messing as the days pass and see what the story is.

Snail mail spam getting worse? [lurks]

I got a letter from New Scientist, junk mail basically. You know, trying to get me to sub and stuff. Nothing new there but the only reason I opened this particular junk mail was because it looked damn like a personal letter. My address was written by hand in cursive ball-point on the letter and it had a 2nd class stamp fixed askew.

Well, it wasn't. This is just the latest in a long line of efforts to get you to look at junk mail. Those lottery type ones that try to look like official government business or telegrams I thought were scraping the bottom, and I guess they are worse than what I got today but it doesn't stop me being annoyed about it.

Annoyed because it's just more bits of paper. Groan, rip, in the bin. At least when they look like yet another bloody credit card offer, I can just leave it in the junk pile downstairs which gets periodically taken out to the garbage unopened.

Tuesday 26 November 2002

Evil Internet out for your children [lurks]

I used to like Carol Vorderman. Obviously intelligent and a bit foxy too. However she's found her pet project in life and basically this intails scaremongering about the Internet. She's toned down a little in recent times but in the past she was leading calls for regulation of the Internet and so on. Again fairly typical of people that don't understand the issues.

ITV's Tonight has a big story about various facets of Internet paedophiliacs. Most of it is good stuff but again it's got Carol Vorderman saying the only way your children can use the Internet is by moving the PC into the lounge so you can see what they're doing. Not once did this scarmongering technophobe tart actually suggest it might be a good idea to teach kids about the threats. They even laid into mobile phones as an avenue for your children to meet nasty men in trenchcoats. Unbelievable.

The show finished off by moaning about the 7,000 subscribers in the UK which were found subscribing to some horrible online paedophile service. Naturally for her, these people should be arrested and locked up at the expense of any other police work. It's just so tiring. I really thought the mainstream press w2ould start to get a bit less hysterical about the issue but on the face of this, it appears not.

Of course then people wonder about the low takeup of broadbroad in this country. No wonder since our media is basically selling the Net as a haven for paedophiles. It's good to see the police making inroads against paedophiles but this attitude of vorderman and her technophobe cronies saying ban anything where your children may meet people that aren't their parents, this isn't a fucking solution!

Rallib0rk Challenge [am]

Sigh I dunno you buy a new game, stick in the 3 cd's in turn (sigh and sigh again, what's the point of a dvd if no-one will do the decent thing and release on it), load up the game and arrive at a driver warning screen.

Now I've been caught out before on this. GTA3 refuses to load on my system if I use the most up to date Detonators despite their certification and I've also had, as a secondary problem, some serious issues with my Platinum soundcard and random bursts of noise in 1942. So I ignored it.

Rallisport loads and it has a bit of a movie thang going on for a minute then we're bosh into the first race. Hrm. Number 1 my car is just a black, un-skinned, hulk. Argh. Number 2 - I am back in static noise problems with the Soundblaster - just white noise bursts all over it. Wtf is going on people??

XP Recovery Tips from Teh King Of Teh Interweb [slim]

I've just brought my xp pro pc back from the brink of death, the recovery procedure was quite different to getting 2k and nt systems back, so I thought I'd get what I did down here in case it can help someone else. What a benevolent king of teh interweb I am!

First tip comes from Rock - press [F8] on boot for the safe mode menu. I didn't know that, but I suspect everyone else does. doh. Problem is that's pretty much only useful for fixing vid card issues, not much else. My pc died with registry failure, so here's how to fix that...

First you need the recovery console. There's a few ways to do this, but the easiest is to boot from your install cd, and press 'r'. This is a command line interface into your xp system (presuming your on an ntfs filesystem, if your on fat, just ignore this part and boot with a dos or 98 bootdisk) Then you go into /winnt/recover and copy the appropriate registry file back again. I had to do 'system', I backed up the old one first.

This got me back up and running, but my ip was completely fucked. XP unlike older os's doesn't let you remove IP. Gah! So, it has an altertaive, a comman line thingy called netsh. in this case netsh int ip reset restelog.txt will rebuild your tcp/ip stack and get you rocking again. leet!

Monday 25 November 2002

Firemen and teh Army [slim]

Quick one: The firemen might strike, and everyones flapping because the army only have ancient nasty old Green fireengine things. Why, when the firemen strike, don't the army lot just inhabit the firestations and use all the nice swanky kit they have? Anyone tell me?

Friday 22 November 2002

Proper beer = bad knees :( [shedir]

Well after painfull weeks of testing I guess I have mild gout :(
When I indulge in my favourite tin (McEwans Export) next day my knees just fucking ACHE. I've moved to lager in the last week and bosh, no sore head, joints like a rastafarian Whisky was added to this complex medical trial, with beer it didn't alleviate the symptoms. Tonights the charm though. If with Stella Artois and Stewarts I can walk tomorrow, then my liquid future is saved. I'm sure you'll all join me in prayer on this one.

Tuesday 19 November 2002

Dough ray mi! [lurks]

Trying to spend a bit of time doing things other than PCs, games and crap like that - I've been having a bash at something I've not done since I was in highschool. I had this physics teacher called Mr Margets, who was an amusingly sexist WWII ex-pat brit fossil that wore a safari outfit and refused to give up his pipe smoking so the school forced him into retirement.

Uncharitably but predictably, we called this chap 'Maggots'. However he did have a funny vice, he ran a leisure activity (sort of fun subjects which you had to pick one of to do once a week) of baking bread. I enrolled in this class purely because I was out to pull this bird that was in it but nevertheless the bug bit me and I'd make some bread at home from time to time.

So, 15 years on I decided to have another go. My local supermarket has shite bread, well pretty much all supermarket bread is shite but I also can't get the sort of granary loaves I like from my local bakeries. So from my new foray into bakery, I've just bunged my 6th loaf in the oven, this one is a rather ambitious tomato bread number.

After I got the hang of it, I'm surprised at the lack of effort that it really takes. In fact I just whipped up some dough in a big-ass pyrex bowl while I was making lunch. Flour wipes off everything pretty easily and it's difficult to fuck up the cooking of bread. I tell you though, the smell of freshly baking bread is a fundamental truth. Not to mention sawing off a big slice of some just-out-of-the-oven bread to dip into some tomato soup. Mmm!

The best bit is I just tend to whip something up based on a whimsy. Mostly I make sort of lighter granary loaves with a combination of granary mix, white and wholemeal flour. Sometimes chucking in some raisons or doing something outlandish like the tomato and oregano job baking away as I type. Therapeutic for sure. Damn good arm work-out mixing it all and kneading away as well, so Beej need not apply :)

However one thing you don't really do is save money. The rip-off prices of yeast and flour from my supermarket means that it costs about the same to make one as it does to buy one. That's not really the point though is it? Maybe I should get some bulk stuff from an online grocery shop to drive the cost down. Say, I wonder if you can make Lager Bread? :)

Monday 18 November 2002

WFP Is Evil [spiny]

This is one to watch out for. After installing the latest divers for my graphics card & rebooting, I looked in event viewer and found that Windows File Protection had rolled back two of the driver files. I don't know if this is a bug with WFP or with the ATi driver install ( more likeley) but here's what you have to do to get round the problem.

  1. Uninstall existing drivers & reboot.
  2. Find all c:windowsinfoem*.inf containing 'ati' (or ' nvidia')
  3. Move these files off to a another directory, say c:tempwfptoss< /LI>
  4. Now find all c:windowssystem32catrootoem*.cat and delete all those with the same number as the INF files in c:temp wfptoss
  5. Delete c:tempwfptoss to clear up
  6. Now install your new drivers

I don't know if this affects nVidia drivers but it's well worth checking.

Saturday 16 November 2002

Tracing your roots with the 1901 Census [beej]

Well, here's a valid use of the internet if ever I saw it - the 1901 Census results online and fully-searchable for the public. Old news? Yes, but the site is actually up and stable and the public hoo-ha is over, and there's been no previous blog about it :-)

So, what's it like? Well let's screw the serious genealogy and find out what 'Benjamin Preece' was doing in 1901 in the UK:

AGE BIRTHPLACE PARISH OCCUPATION ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4 Staffs Lancashire St Helens 13 Bishops Frome Herefordshire Much Cowarne 13 Liverpool Liverpool C B Toxteth Park 15 Warwick Bham Birmingham Harborne Tube Drawer 23 Stoke On Trent Staffordshire Fenton Potters Tollier 28 Salop Salop Smethcott Navvy 30 Shrop Chester Monks Coppenhall Labourer Boiler Ship 34 Hereford Lancashire St Helens Coal Miner Hewer 36 Salop Salop Madeley Boot Maker & Boot Shop 36 Shrewsbury Liverpool C B Toxteth Park Hydraulic Crane Driver 48 Salop Derby Hartshorne Potters Manager Earth 50 Worcester Worcestershire Worcester Journeyman Baker 57 Bridgenorth Salop Dawley Bootmaker 58 Fleet Dean Hereford St Owen Iron Founder 40 Birmingham Birmingham Cop Wkr ------------------------------------------------------------------------

What an amazing insight into Britain 100 years ago. Let's get serious here, and if you think about, how long ago was 100 years? Not bloody long, I can tell you. And how filled with character are those occupations? 'Labourer Boiler Ship'! I think you'll find in 2001 that's now 'Marine Diesel Propulsion Assistant Supervisor'.

Some technical notes on the site though: Speed is good, just a five second turnaround on presumably a pretty heavweight db. Doesn't appear to be able to refine searches, or export in a data format. Oh, and data discrepancies - you can see quite a few historical problems with the data, such as 'Lpool' and 'Liverpool', and so on.

Looking for things to do with the family at Christmas? Talk about great-great-grandfathers :-D

Friday 15 November 2002

Jamie Oliver and the Rejects [lurks]

Kicking back watching some tele and this show comes on Channel 4. It's a fly-on- the-wall type documentary about Jamie Oliver's new restaurant. Now I caught a tad of PR from this prior and I thought it was just going to be the ups and downs of setting up a restaurant. Interesting but little more.

I didn't realise what he's actually doing is setting up a non-profit restaurant which will train up drop-out dole-scum type people into being chefs. Well, that's quite impressive really. Given the guy has basically put his fortune on the line to back this venture, I've got renewed respect for the bloke. Being as this is the same bloke which has had the piss taken out of him more than anyone else on television.

What gets me though were the losers that he interviewed. Jesus fucking Christ, it was painful just to look at some of these people. They were so unbelievably badly kept, not to mention ugly. That's just getting started, these lamers were absolutely useless in a simple taste test type kitchen interview. No enthusiams, zero communication skills etc.

That's when it hit me how much he really is putting on the line just to give these ugly, talentless ungreatful cretins a chance at a career in the catering industry. I don't really reckon he knows what he's biting off here, he's just in love with the idea of it. Well I guess all power to him. It's quite clever to basically pay for giving these people and his venture a chance off the back of the inevitable public attention the whole thing will get.

I think it'll put some years on the lisping cockney by the end of it.

Wednesday 13 November 2002

Simple excel problem [am]

Once upon a time I used to be able to write Visual Basic macros for Excel but I've forgotten in the depths of time. Actually I don't know if I even need a macro but I've got a simple problem I'd like to solve - I've got a huge 3000 item excel list of stock names and a credit rating next to them. In fact there's only about 200 stocks and the rest is line for line duplication (they're sourced off different accounts). What I would like to do is quickly eliminate all the duplicate lines and just be left with one version for each position.

Now once upon a time I could write a quick parser but does anyone know of how to do this easily? Or if it has to be VBA, can someone remind me of the syntax for the language (I was reasonably proficient)? The sheet is just a version of this

Bond Stock Name XXX | Credit AA Bond Stock Name XXX | Credit AA Bond Stock Name XXX | Credit AA Bond Stock Name YYY | Credit B

- All I want to do is delete the dupes and be left with only line 1 and line 4 see. Should be a doddle for blokes with the brains the size of planets. Beer is teh reward!



Tuesday 12 November 2002

UT Tournet Game 1 [spiny]

Me & Rabs played our first round game. Of course being between two EED it was a fantasic spectacle and a damn exiting match. I think Rab must have been shaking when the timer hit - I know I was :o

The game pretty much revolved around control of the projectile weapons health and main shield pack. I gained an early lead which swung back to Rab after 5-10 mins. This swung mback to me in around the same time again only for Rab to recover & lay the Mr Crow suited smack0rage down once more. After trailing for 5 mins & managed a few crafty frags to take the lead by two with 5 minutes remaining. Hiding's for loosers so I didn't take the pussy option of camping out the time limit, instead eating Rab's rockets to level the scores at 17-17 with 1 minute remaining. With the pressure on Rab cracked up the least and hunted me down for a 19-17 victory.

Played Rab. One of the best 1v1's I've had & top fun.

Now, slackers, get & play your games :)

Di a great briton, bullshit! [lurks]

Right, you seen this Great Britons stuff then? It's a good idea. The BBC has made a long running show based on various celebrities advocating figures in history as the greatest Briton. The public votes for it and by proxy learns a bit about history which they probably wouldn't watch otherwise.

Unfortunately they didn't count on one thing. The only people that vote, dial phone numbers, send texts and e-mails in these things are women. So what does this mean? It means that in the top ten along with such unequalled great men such as Darwin, Churchil, Shakespeare and Brunel... we have Lady Diana Spensor. Yes, that's right Di. The woman who never actually did anything besides marry a prince and then publically drag the British monarchy through the wringer as she washed her laundry in public. Oh and she died, this appears to have done her favors and not the other great men in the top ten.

She is FUCKING SECOND in the top ten at the moment ffs. As the second greatest Briton that ever lived! I mean was she a legendary engineer that helped drive forward the industrial revolution? Was she a brilliant, sincere botanist that defined the penultimate theory of evolution? Did she lead Britains victory in the second world war? Was she the greatest playwrite the world has ever seen? Was she responsible for the government of democrasy in the modern world?

No she was fucking not, she did absolutely cunting nothing. These tosspots go on about her campaigning about landmines where as all I can remember was the weeks of flowery horseshit after she died, overselling her contribution to this country and humanity. A week that Mother Terresa also died and got 1/10th the press.

I am speechlessly annoyed. She shouldn't be in the top fucking 100 let alone SECOND among these truly great Britons. No she's second because she represented, for one fleeting instant, the fairy tale fantasy that British women all secretly aspire to.

Let us realise it as such and mentally cross her out from this top ten of genuinely great Britons. Fucking women!

Sunday 10 November 2002

Rebot getting smarter [lurks]

A long time ago, Rebot used to use an A.L.I.C.E bot on a web page. Rebot is pretty much a study of raping just about anything on the web and this was the most interesting. I had set it up to replace any ALICE specific stuff with Rebot. It would pipe up and say spooky things either if you just said rebot without doing a specific command or sometimes just in the course of a conversation since someone said something long enough to have enough content to be worthy chipping in.

Unfortunately that bot page went down and for a very long time Rebot went back to being boring old Rebot without any AI other than a shitload of ever expanding random switch statements. It was always my goal to integrate the ALICE engine into Rebot properly but the various incantations out there were just far too much hard work.

I decided to sort it out properly. Based on J-Alice, Rebot now has a local ALICE powered brain. This is extremely powerful indeed but it's only as good as the AIML (artificial intelligence markup language) it has for brains. I've basically plonked in the basic Anna bot AIML and tried to remove as many full stops, ums and dumb Atlanta Georgia and Liebner prize specific references as I could and inserted plenty of Rebot's trademark bad attitude. It's a damn big task though and I've only scratched the surface of the AIML.

Rebot logs everything it says and so far it's either talking crap 75% of the time or people are deliberately feeding it with junk to make it say stupid things. Difficult for me to tell without watching Rebot's console 24/7 so I've been working on another instance of it locally instead.

The next step really is to solicit some help to work on the AIML. See the ALICE engine doesn't learn or anything. It's all hard coded in the AIML so it comes down to someone editing it. I was thinking of putting the AIML up on a web interface so it could be communally edited and expanded. Then I remembered what slack fucks everyone is and went off to make a sandwich instead ;)

Anyhow - the ultimate AI goal for Rebot would be to hybrid the ALICE engine with one of the older learning language based chat bots. Then I'd remove all default responses from the ALICE engine (when it doesn't know what to make of the input) and detect that (a default response) and then flip to the backup learning language based AI instead.

That would have the best compromise of having somewhat pre-programmed appropriate responses to lots of content from the AIML files and also picking up fun stuff from IRC at the same time. I've even written a mailing list bot which quotes and posts replies but so far it's talking too much shit for me to unleash just yet :)

I'd also like to do some fundamental work on ALICE because it's missing out being able to register some emotional contexts in the AIML. I'd also like some more output from it based upon those contexts, other than just the text. Then I could do things like create a 'mood' based on how much you were giving Rebot a hard time.

Actually I'd like to spin out the AI stuff to something separate so it could be of use to other people other than the 5 people in #eed.

Scans SC-440sl [spiro]

I have just bought Scans new Slim line DVD player the SC-440SL. So heres a quick rundown on my first days use.



Audio: Dolby/DTS/PCM ready, 5.1 Channel True Sound, DTS output, Digital Audio outputs coaxial and optical.

Video: S-Video, Composite, RGB.

Supported Formats: DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, VCD, MP3, CD, CD-R, CD-RW and Kodak Picture CD.

Now including the feet its only 50mm High which is one of its best features. Its finish is silver so works perfectly with my Panasonic VHS and Beej's Amplifier.

First thing I noticed was the remote control, this unfortunatley is no where near as sleak as the player, but I have to admit it feels well built and sturdy. Supplied with the player you have the remote, batteries, twin RCA cable, S-video cable and a Scart lead, so you have the basics to get up and running instantly. Well you would of though so, the scart lead was far to short so I had to place the player closer to my TV. For most people this isn't a problem, but I have no where close to put it.

After moving the TV a little on its stand I'm able to connect it up and move on to the audio. Beejs amp has optical so this is the obvious route to take and finally the power cable.

You are greated by a nice screen saver advertising Scan on your TV. The front panel display on the player is very clear and easy to read, offering information on everything from operating status to the angle indicator. The tray has a nice quiet sliding action and once closed blends in perfectly.

To test the players audio and picture quality I wanted to play Saving Private Ryan's opening sequence, but Beej has left it at work so next best choice is Golden Eye.


Its very quiet, in fact I can't hear a thing. I check the connections between the player and the amp, I've made sure the volume is turned up and still nothing. I've checked the settings on the amp and everything is fine, but still no leet audio. For one of the first times in my life with this sort of equipment I resort to the manual. Sigh, the audio outputs ont he player have to be set in the DVD's internal menu, basically you have to tell it to output digital audio not analogue. Although this is very easy to do its also very lame, so whilst in there I check the other settings I.E. Language, Aspect ratio (gah bloody pan and scan shit), Type of TV (PAL/NTSC), captions and bloody parental control.


YAY Sound, Dolby Kicks in shortly followed by the sub. OOOh now we're talking. This has taken me all of about 20mins (including the relocation of the TV), a bit disapointing to be honest, this should of been a 5min job no more. I have yet to find how to change region, how to set up the repeat or fine tuned the surround settings.

So far this DVD rocks. The problem with the audio would only effect people using digital outputs and to be fair it did work perfectly first time via the scart. As I play with it i'll add more to this blog.

Friday 8 November 2002

palladium good or bad ? [spiro]

Some of the researchers here are thinking of making a documentary on Microsofts Palladium. What do you lot think about it and anyone got any good info/stories about it etc. The show hasn't been commissioned yet, just testing the water.

Tuesday 5 November 2002

Great New Toy [skeeve]

Recently I went out to buy a new hardrive, I did sort of buy a harddrive. The harddrive I actually bought is a 20gb one in an mp3 player from archos called the jukebox multimedia.

The player comes with a rechargeable Li-on battery that delivers at least 8 hours on a single charge when playing mp3s. As an mp3 player this does its job well, it copes the usual range of cbr and vbr bitrates without any problems and the sound quality is very good. As an added bonus this player can also encode directly to mp3 from either the line in or the builtin microphone, but basically the mp3 part of this player is just like many others, so what does it do to merit the multimedia part of its name?

The first thing that leads to the multimedia part of the title is the ability to display jpgs, either on the small lcd screen or onto a tv via the av-out that doubles as the earphone socket. You can use this feature in combination with playing mp3s to create what archos call a multimedia slideshow, but I can't say it would be something I'd use when running on batteries.

So far, we have an mp3 player with a nice little gimmick but I haven't mentioned the device's ultimate gimmick, the main feature that helps this player deserve the multimedia part of its name is that it plays divx movies! You have probably seen those adverts for mobile phones in the future where you can be watching a film on your phone, to those I say no thanks as I can already do that with my mp3 player. :-)

The player cannot play all divx movies, it requires them to be something called the standard MPEG4 SImple Profile AVI and that means they have a max resolution of about 400x300. If you have taken lurker's advice in his excellent divx guide then you will have divx movies of a higher resolution than that. To make it easier to convert your existing files archos have provided a frontend for virtualdub that has been setup to convert to this lower resolution. If you don't want to mess around with any of the settings then its simply a case of selecting the input file, the name of the output file and clicking start, after waiting a while for virtual dub you now have a movie that will play on the jukebox's little screen or via the tv-out.

In addition to all these features archos have more for this device in the form of the addon modules they have released or plan to release. Included with the device are the first two addon modules, they are adaptors for compact flash and smartmedia. These addons allow you to download images from a digital camera onto the harddrive, ideal for anyone who uses their camera a lot and doesn't want to buy a lot of extra memory cards. I can't really say how well this works as I don't own a digital camera, which brings me nicely onto the next addon module. Archos are about to release a camera addon for the player that will act as either a still camera or as a video camera where it will record direct to mpeg4 onto the harddrive with the lcd becoming a monitor. Another addon that is coming from archos is the video module that adds s-video and composite inputs to allow you to record directly from other external sources.

In addition to these addons archos also sell firewire and usb 2.0 cables to supplement the supplied usb 1.1 cable, personally I haven't bought either of these yet as I tend to copy stuff to the device while I am letting it charge up but either of them would be advisable if you intended to change the whole 20gb on a regular basis.

To sum things up, for your money you get a portable 20gb harddrive, an mp3 player and recorder, a portable movie player that has the potential to also become a digital camera, camcorder and video recorder. It doesn't look quite as nice as an ipod and is a bit bigger, however it is a fair bit cheaper before you take into account just how cool it is to watch a movie on the tube to work. There are bound to be more advanced devices in time, but at the moment this is my favourite gadget ever, and thats coming from somebody who works for a company that makes a wireless email device.

A small request [amnesia]

I don't usually do this but I have to say the following got me off my fat behind. There's a lot of fat behinds in EED - perhaps you might join me on this one;

Dear All,

As many of you may have heard, a Nigerian woman was recently sentenced to death- for having a child out of wedlock. Amina Lawal has been sentenced to death by STONING- she is to buried up to her neck in the ground, after which her punishers will surround her and throw rocks at her head until her skull is crushed and she dies a painful and horrible death.

I'm sure you all feel equal shock and disgust at this sentence, and I want you to know that she has only thirty days to appeal her trial. Please go to the Amnesty International site, letter page and sign the letter addressed to the President of Nigeria. It literally takes only a minute, and could help to save her life, as well as help put an end to this kind of cruel and disgraceful judgment in a country that calls itself a democracy.

Please copy and forward this letter to others in your address book as well.

Please help her! Thanks

Turkey [lurks]

Another country has fallen to the hard-line Islamics. 15-years of relatively moderate coalition government in Turkey was swept aside by the landslide win of the Justice and Development Party (AK). This despite the fact that the leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (apparently a name and not just a random jumble of letters) is banned from politics due to being found guilty of Islamic sedition.

He was one of those militant types that stood up and made lots of speeches about taking up arms against the infidel etc. He appears to have moderated his tone a little in public, insisting Islam will not be foisted on the people of Turkey but I wonder what the reality will be like. The eyes will be on the puppet leader which must be chosen to head the party in his place.

Let's hope the brains behind the operation has genuinely transformed into a more moderate individual or the threat of Islamic militants will grow yet greater with more institutionalized government support.

Friday 1 November 2002

Sexy Sci-fi [spiro]

On lighter note, Bravo have commissioned a series of 13 x 30 minute shows entitled 3001: A Sex Oddity.

The show will be exploring sex in the future, covering topics like Sex in zero gravity, Robot Lovers and Sex with Clones.

The show will be broadcast from 18th November. The VR presenter 'Elektra' is bound to have one or more clan members drooling at the box.

Not so Towering Inferno [spiro]

The broadcasting union BECTU has called on broadcaster and studio staff to implement additional fire risk assessments in preparation of the proposed fire service strikes to avoid studio shows being cancelled.

Studios will have to rely on their own fire safety staff in the event of strike action.

Now a few of the larger studios like BBC and Granada have fire safety staff (who generally are ex-firemen) who can deal with small fire or at least organise the evacuation of the building. But i'm sure that there are several studios like my workplace that don't have members of staff who can organise this sort of operation.

Management here have always in the past organised some sort of fire drill, about once every 6 months and we've had signs and maps up directing you to your nearest fire exit. Fire extinguishers could be located in all technical areas, and you were generally only a few paces from the nearest one.

About 6 months ago we started renovating the building to create a nice working atmosphere and to make the place generally more desirable to come to. All good as far as i'm concerned, not only do I get a nice new work place, but hopefully it will attract more external clients.

Having read the statement from BECTU I started to look around for the extinguishers, exit signs and route maps. I could find none, now I can't remember how long we've been working without these health and safety basics, but its been a while. The building has changed, not massively but it is different and one or two of my exits are blocked at the moment.

I'm absolutely furious, not only with my management, but also with staff members who deal with health and safety. I'm sure that should a fire occure then I would be able to find my way out within a few minutes, but this isn't the point. Just because things are changing doesn't mean they can lay off till its finished and then provide all the essentials. If anything, they should be more aware and provide us with up to date details of exit routes and extinguisher locations.

I mentioned this to the staff health and safety officer and he said he was going to deal with it. I've now been provided with extinguishers and exit signs and given a promise that it'll be updated as the work goes on. But should it of come down to a member of staff have to request the information and equipment ? I don't think so, especially in light of the possible fire service strikes in the next few weeks.

I'm glad to see things are being done, but we shall have to wait and see if they continue to be delt with as things progress. Anyway, whinge over, no roast dragon in the near future .......hopefully :-)

Thursday 31 October 2002

Shitty Hospitals [vagga]

It's amazing, you strive to get better, healthier and all that kind of stuff and it's the small things that trip you up. My arm is currently in a sling as I made shit of it playing football on Tuesday night. I did not do it making an amazing last minute save, or tackling some bloke, no I did it getting a ball that had been kicked over a wall. I went to jump over said wall and fell over it. Yes, right out of Michael Crawford's book.

As a result I spent 7 hours in a hospital yesterday. It turns out A+E in UK hospitals is right as the Sun say they are! For about 3 hours over the middle of the day, no one was called through. I said nothing, as moaning will get you nowhere in that situation. Later, when I was called, I asked if there was a problem, it turns out all the doctors went on a long lunch (3 hours) and did not tell anyone. Nice!

Then I was sent from department to department, and from doctor to doctor. I did an xray on my elbow 3 different times. I would not mind, but these days they take them and they are on computer and they can zoom in on parts of the xray if they have to.

My left arm is not broken, but there is a tiny fracture right near my elbow. I could have gotten a cast, all over my arm secured to my body (like the silly wiener fella in the Police Academy movies), but I chose to take it easy and take my chances instead. Its not a broken back or anything ffs. If I move my arm its sore, but if I just leave it in a sling, its not too bad.

I'm typing this with one hand, so I'm not going to hang about, I just thought I should moan somewhere - and where better than here :)

Tuesday 29 October 2002

Russian siege [lurks]

I'm sure you've been following the Russian theatre siege by Chechen separatists. Most recently of course, the Russians stormed in and forced a quick end to the situation. They did this when the rebels executed a couple of hostages in the morning as they promised.

The thing is, the war on Chechnya has wide spread support in Russia. It's an example of the power of mother Russia in an era where it's citizens have seen nothing but a steady erosion from glories past. Putin has never been up for any shit from Chechen rebels and the military campaign to crush the rebellion in Chechnya has been brutal with many human rights abuse accusations from both sides of the fence.

Now as a hostage scenario, this one was a nightmare. A heck of a lot of hostages with well armed terrorists. They claimed they mined the entrances and they had suicide explosives attached to them as well. I don't envy any special-forces tasked with bringing an end to this as it seems inevitable that significant casualties will result. The final straw was the claim that they had the theatre rigged to blow as well.

Had these Chechen rebels thought things through, there could only be one outcome. Putin was never going to even negotiate their demands (Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, yeah right!) and he's hardly going to sit there and twiddle his thumbs while they toss corpses out the front door now is he.

So he was going to act but boy, he really didn't mess around. The thing which is amazing is the use of some sort of knock-out gas of such potency that it's killed several of the hostages. Everyone appears baffled by what it could be, given that it caused gagging and vomiting as well as unconsciousness and death. Not a very effective knock-out gas by all accounts or is it?

You see the trouble with any sort of gas weapon like this is being able to inflict a heavy enough dose of a substance on enough of these people that they will be so incapacitated so as not being able to execute hostages or blow themselves up. That's very difficult actually because air distribution is by no means uniform and you need to account for the worse case scenarios. That means dramatic over dosage of a significant number of those which you're looking to expose.

There are knock-out gasses around but the trouble is, soon as a couple of rebels get drowsy and fall over - the rest will calmly execute hostages and then blow themselves up. That's not good enough. So as a tactical decision, using a horrible gas like that which was used, which will have all the terrorists gagging, vomiting and falling unconscious quickly... well, it was a valid tactical decision.

Of course they'll be rather a lot of repercussions. The Russians did effectively kill some hostages themselves but in a numbers game, and that's what this sort of military operation amounts to, they undoubtedly saved more lives than had they charged in without using this horrible gas. Only one rebel blew themselves up. The building itself wasn't blow up, all terrorists dead, 100 odd hostages dead, 600 odd hostages rescued.

It's easy to suggest that the SAS or some other special forces may have been able to do better than this but how would you know, the poxy little televised SAS embassy storming that we're all familiar with is play school stuff compared to the Russian nightmare. I think people will probably start saying 'Why didn't they use another gas' or a dozen some such questions. Hard choices undoubtedly needed to be made and I pity the poor bastard that needed to make them.

Monday 28 October 2002

The Ickle dilemma [lurks]

After Codeplay went bust, I picked up a couple of PCs from them cheap. One was a regular desktop which I rigged up for a chum of mine and another was a dinky little box which I purpose-built at Codeplay to act as the key server for the software Codeplay produced. I basically found a tiny little desktop case which was incredibly well made, proper steel with a tiny AOpen PSU.

I slapped in one of those PC Chips all-in-one micro ATX mobos, rounded it off with a 1GHz Athlon a 20GB FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) Seagate drive, 256mb of memory in two sticks and that's about it. There's no floppy, no CD-ROM. In fact on the CD/DVD side - the Micro ATX mobo sits the CPU quite a ways forwards and is actually in the way of a full depth CD-ROM/DVD drive so that if I put one in it would poke half an inch out the front of the case. Doesn't bother me but might bother someone else.

Anyhow, I was going to replace my Shuttle SV24 system, Wench, with it because it'd be damn easy to make it silent. All I need to do is replace the silly little 60mm fan on the el-cheapo coolermaster HSF really. In particular I wanted to obtain some decent TV out as well but I think I've cracked that with that MPEG4 card I discussed earlier.

The issue with this dinky little desktop case is that it's slim-line and therefore the PCI slots are 'low profile'. I cannot easily find a place that will sell a low profile firewire card which I'd need for Wench's external storage. On the bright side, it has an AGP slot and crap loads of nvidia cards are low-profile factor. Not that it even appears to needs replacing, the KM133 integrated video TV-out is good.

Audio/LAN is all on board etc. There's room for another drive in the case for a 'phat' one and it's got a couple of PCI slots - you just need 'low profile' cards and to remove the brackets.

So what do I do with this machine, anyone want it? It's an ace little server, preinstalled with Win2K on it so far. Doesn't seem very floggable on EBay? I suppose the correct course of action is to try harder to find a low-profile firewire card and replace Wench and then EBay the Shuttle. Hmm.

Women are from Venus [slim]

Don't normally regurgitate the joke spam on here, it's a bit lame, but this one's pretty good I thought...

Remember the book 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'?

Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at an American University.

Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story.

The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent.

There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.'

The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca and Gary.


first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favourite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Gary)

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. 'A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,' he said into his transgalactic communicator. 'Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far...' But before he could sign off a b luish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman w ho had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4.

'Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,' Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things round her. 'Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?' she pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race.

Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters o n the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. 'We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow'em out of the sky!'


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semiliterate adolescent.


Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. 'Shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of FUCKING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels.'

(Rebecca) Asshole.

(Gary) Bitch.

(Rebecca) Wanker.

(Gary) slut.

(Rebecca) Get f*cked.

(Gary) Eat shit.


(Gary) Go drink some tea -- whore.

Does constructive criticism work? [lurks]

I'm currently doing my big weekly shop at Given I live in London, don't have a car and it's only a fiver to deliver as much as I can order - this is possibly the best thing about the Net to date. However, I noticed that plenty of the site is broken. It's simple stuff, they've got searches targeting the top frame leaving you with no navigation and broken javascript.

So I dropped them an e-mail and told them about all the stuff that's broken. I've done this before on on-line retailers, most recently Insight and with them I got a good response back agreeing with my points. Mind you, most of them ignore me and I'm pretty sure Tescos will. Does anyone else do this sort of stuff?

Sunday 27 October 2002

Where are all the UT2K3 players? [lurks]

UT2003 has been out for awhile now. I'd expect there to be quite a lot of people playing it but there isn't. In fact there are less people playing it than Soldier of Fortune for Christ's sake. Given that what people are playing it are split between game types, this thins it out yet more. I quite like Bombing Run but it's actually darn difficult to find a server with anyone on it, even now on a Saturday afternoon. In fact there's less than 150 people playing Bombing Run now!

It has to be pointed out that CS has even /more/ people playing it now. 78,000 players as I write compared to UT2003's 3,100. Normally novelty counts for a lot and you see a good early peak but that's just not coming through at the moment. Is it still too early to tell or are we looking at UT2003 being a bit of a fizzer?

It'd be a shame, I was really warming to Bombing Run but then again... there's not that many maps and a couple of them are shite anyway (BR-Slaughterhouse in particular).

Friday 25 October 2002

dot what?! [lurks]

I just got a letter. At first glance it appeared to be a lame letter from one of those domain poacher type fucks. It basically goes like this;

You currently own ........ MATS.NET
NOW available for $500 ..... MATS.BZ

lol! No I didn't stuff that up, I didn't mean .biz. We're talking .bz. For $500. Ahahahahahahaha!!!! Some scam from some Canadian lamers called You think anyone actually falls for this crap?

German nick thieves [lurks]

Lame Germans at it again.

#primenraum rebot H@ halt

Some tosspot kraut scumbag has this Eggdrop set up to use the nick of Rebot and join this IRC channel that never has anyone in it. It's called 'der rebot halt' as well. On a net split sometimes this guy will grab the nick and rebot doesn't have very good code for dealing with its nick being taken. In particular there's no code to try get back the nick and I don't really have time to work out how to do it.

What we need is an IRCop to K line this fucker...

NIS2003 [spiny]

NIS includes some neat things like visual route. Which is nice. However the ad / flash blocking plain does not work and the popup/under blocking is a bit hit & miss.

UT2K3 snails [lurks]

OK folks, I'm going to throw this one open since maybe someone has some suggestions on what it is. Basically my video performance in UT2k3 is bloody dire. I've got a Athlon XP 2100+ (equiv, it's an OC) and a 64MB GeForce 3 ti500 rig. It's running XP, an upgrade rather than a fresh install. Inside I get stonking framerates with everything switched off (all the graphics options) and with stuff set to 'low'.

The game is playable in the main but outside it's a farce. One map, DM-Inferno I think, chugs so much that my controls and sound stutters. Stuff clearly aint right. So what the hell can it be? I'm running the 40.41 Detonators. I've tried the latest 30.x ones but they seem even slower. I can't run anything higher than 40.41 because the advanced properties tab just crashes with a run dll error.

That in itself is puzzling because I do the full uninstall drivers before reinstall. I've no idea what the fuck is going on there or how to fix it. There used to be apps to remove all traces of old drivers but there's nothing that works on modern drivers as far as I know.

I've even tweaked a bunch of stuff in the .ini file as per a couple of tips guides on speeding up frame rates.

Beer God [spiro]

Just found this. By my reckoning you should all bow down to my superiority

A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo, and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole herd is maintained or even improved by the regular culling of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can operate only as fast as the slowest brain cells through which the electrical signals pass. Recent epidemiological studies have shown that while excessive intake of alcohol kills off brain cells, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. Thus, regular consumption of beer helps eliminate the weaker cells, constantly making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

The result of this in-depth study verifies and validates the causal link between all-weekend parties and job related performance. It also explains why, after a few short years of leaving a university and getting married, most professionals cannot keep up with the performance of the new graduates.

Only those few that stick to the strict regiment of voracious alcoholic consumption can maintain the intellectual levels that they achieved during their college years. So, this is a call to arms. As our country is losing its technological edge, we must not shudder in our homes. Get back into the bars. Quaff that pint. Your company and country need you to be at your peak, and you shouldn't deny yourself the career that you could have. Take life by the bottle and be all that you can be.


MPEG4 decoder card [lurks]

I found something cool today. DVD decoder cards are ace in PCs right? You get superb TV output and arse all CPU, no skipping nothing. I used one for awhile in my lounge server. The problem is, they don't play DivX. Until now. Sigma Designs has a dinky little PCI card out called the XCard. It plays MPEG4 which means DivX 4.02 and above.

Tom's Hardware has a review in which they state that it has no problems playing DivX5 content at around 10% CPU usage on a Duron 650. Neat eh? It also comes with a remote. A dongle plugs into your serial port and then you can treat your PC as a proper video playing appliance.

The XCard doesn't appear to be available from any UK shop but you can order it from their own online shop. With International shipping, the cost is $129 which comes out under £85. I think I might give one of these a twirl in my lounge server at some point. Unless one of you wants to buy it first to see if it sucks or not ;)

Thursday 24 October 2002

EEDTV [slim]

TV sucks these days, no innovation. How about these toptastic ideas for new shows:

Leet Toys [spiro]

You could spend £85 on a DVD decoder card. or you could spend £99 on a new leet toy. and get outside in the fresh air.

I have a Dream [spiro]

A few of us have just been talking in channel about companies we'd like to run. Just thought I'd share my 'if won the lottery' idea. Now to be honest its a bit odd because A) I dreamt it and B) its clan related and when I start dreaming about you lot I worry.

So to the Dream/idea: Welcome to Bar EED, a gentlemen's club, not for the usual rabble you get in pubs and clubs but an exclusive members only place. The main Bar will be called 'Bar Amnesia' and the champagne/cocktail lounge will be know as 'Brit's End'. A restaurant proving food of the best quality named 'Slim's Diet'.

A games room will be attached with not only a LAN, but with all the normal bar games, snooker, pool, card tables etc. A small arcade room (sound proofed) with all the classic games you could want. A 100 seat cinema showing the latest releases with a small bar located at the top so no need to leave the room for more drink.

To allow those who don't want to consume large amounts of alcohol Bar EED will provide a selection of 'Pod Beverages' these will cover all drinks which do not constitute a mans drink. For example alcopops shall be know as alco-pods, Coca Cola will become Pod Cola.

The delights of the pool, sauna, jacuzzi, massage area with be available to all members. The option of a scrubbing girl/boy can be obtained for a small fee (free to founder members)

The basement will contain 'Floyd's Place' and 'Jammin Jay's' 2 night clubs with different styles of music, these areas will not only be stocked with attractive single women but will also be open to the public via a side entrance. Access for the public will be strictly monitored allowing only beautiful people in.

Now I'm not sure if I want to provide special rooms upstairs to cater for the more carnal desires. But should I include this, it would be 'Saucy Spiro's' for straight, 'Suits Closet' for gay and 'Beej's Dream' for, well what ever.

Shame dreams don't come true.........

Anyone else have a dream or possibly something that may actually happen or do you have additions to my dream ?

Tuesday 22 October 2002

UT2K3 Console Commands [spiro]

Just incase some of you don't know, here is a short list of a few UT2K3 console commands Full list here


Adminlogin (password) Logs admin onto server

Adminlogout (password) Logs off admin

Admin switchlevel (mapname?game=gametype?mutator=mutator) Changes server to specific map/gametype/mutator

Admin Kick (playername) Kicks Player from the server

Admin Kickban (playername) Bans Player from the server


Mem stat Show Windows memory usuage

Stat all Displays all stats

stat audio Shows audio stats

Stat fps Shows average and current frames per second

Stat game Displays game stats

Stat hardware Shows hardware stats

Stat net Displays net stats (ping etc)

Stat none Removes stat displays

Stat render Displays rendering stats

Monday 21 October 2002

Translocator - Good or bad [pod]

Suit, Am and I played a game of bombing run last night.I didn't find it perticularly fun to be honest. I used to enjoy it alot but recently people have been using the translocator alot. Now, I'm no big fan of the translocator anyway but I'm happy to accept it has its uses. However people are realising that you can throw the ball and then translocate after it. This allows people to essentailly bypass defences. You can't be caught since the only way to be caught is for the defenders to translocate after you thus stopping them from fireing. A bit catch 22.

Now I argued that this ruins the teamplay aspect since it gives far more power to the individual. I feel the best bits of bombing run are protecting the ball carrier and providing passing options. These are lost when the team can't keep up with the ball carrier (again unless they translocate too thus losing their ability to fire and thus protect).

Now people arguee that all you do is fire where the translocator lands and they get hurt coming out. However, I find the guns to be far too weedy to kill them in this manner, even with little or no armour. All the powerful weapons take time to reach their target by which time the ball carrier is long gone.

I think that the translocator would be better if the speed of the 'target disc' was the same speed as the player. Ie. useful for getting to high places but not allowing players to move faster accross a map.

Anyway, what are your thoughts. For or against and why?

Friday 18 October 2002

Firefighters on crack [lurks]

You've read my other blog about the bastard striking tube drivers. Well now we've got firefighters nationally threating to strike over pay. Now first off I must say that their case is entirely different from tube drivers. Firefighters are not paid enough and I personally think that £30K is not too much to task, especially when those scumbag tube drivers are on £31K for doing bugger all.

However the fighterfighters seem to believe that someone somewhere can just wave a wand and magically the money will drop out of the sky to give them a 40% pay rise. They wont wait for the independant pay review due in 6 weeks, they want to go on strike now unless they get the pay raise.

Well they're on crack. Yes we're all a little more aware of firefighters post September the 11th but I'm sorry, you knew what money was on the table when you chose that profession for a career. So despite the fact I think they're worth the money, they're greedy unrealistic militant tosspots for striking. That said it's almost certainly scumbag union leaders which have sold this whole prospect to them as if it's vaugely realistic.

In addition to my insightful political comment on this burning issue, I shall now conclude with my trademark unorthodox solution to the problem. First of all, avail yourself of the solution I proposed for tube drivers. Now after the tube drivers are replaced with the big-issue sellers and put on minimum wage - I propose sending them to independant pay review. Typically they come back with a 5-10% pay raise.

I propose that the firefighters go to independant pay review and take the pay increase offered. Then half the pay increase due to the new former big-issue selling tube drivers can be given to firefighters instead. They can fuck off, they only have to push forward, stop and open door. Plus they still haven't bathed. So this gives a 150% independant pay review average increase for firefighters, amounting to about 10-15% in real terms.

Finally, after the old sacked tube drivers hit the job centre and start getting placed in their burger flipping jobs - there should be a scheme to take a percentage of their pay. I call this new tax, cunt tax. The cunt tax will then be used to top up firefighters pay still further. Hopefully with a cunt tax level of, say, 25% (in addition to income tax of course), then firefighter pay should be increased another 5% (burger flipping doesn't earn as much) taking firefighter pay from 15-20% above their current pay levels.

You see, complex economic issues like this need a master intellect to work out the finer points. This is why the world will be a better place when I am made King.

NOLF2 [spiny]

Got NOLF2. It's really, really good. No, realy, realy, realy. GOTY material with out a doubt. Fantastic. I started to do a bigger blog, but I'll just go on and on. Just get it. That is all.

-- Cheers :-) [EED]SpinyNorman

Monday 14 October 2002

Sci-Fi fan opinions wanted [lurks]

I was going to stuck this in the other blog but I thought it might be better in a new one. Since I'm out of work at the moment, I've been sketching out some characters and a plot for a book. My current thinking is setting 100-150 or so years in the future, far enough that there's plenty of sci-fi trappings but not so far as to detract from my 'hard sci-fi' preference as a genre as opposed of stuff like Iain M Banks writes.

My conflict diagram has plenty of space for all the sorts of things we like to see, the question is what is it that you like to read about most in sci-fi books? You like spaceships scrapping out, weapons of mass destruction? Or you like sneaky covert stuff, dudes sneaking about with lasers? How about AI concepts, cyberpunk and biotechnology? Then there's ETs. I normally don't go for ETs, at least not yet. What's your feelings about that?

Any opinions here would be joyously received.

RIAA propaganda hits the UK [lurks]

Sitting on a beanbag in my lounge I was catching channel 4 news on the tele. It had a huge peice about how CD sales are down. Naturally the fault of music piracy on the web, according to them. It didn't even try to be objective. Everything was basically RIAA propaganda, no further exploration of the issues why the sales are down were explored.

They got some record company wanker to say straight to the camera that this was going to mean no one makes music any more. Uh huh. It was low-brow idiotic, poorly resourced and totally unbalanced shovelware journalism.

I thought we were a little bit about that sort of thing in the UK but apparently not. It even assumed everyone who did this music piracy was 16 years old (said as much!) and finished on a condecending plea not to put the poor record companies out of business. I feel sick.

I'm not saying that P2P piracy isn't worth being covered and after my red mist has cleared, I will admit that that what was good was how they equated the attitude about P2P piracy fairly correctly. Difficult for people to see a crime against rich record companies and so on. However the prevalent tone and attitude of it was just so hideously wrong. No balance, no real attempt to quote any sources on how much P2P piracy contributes to the lowering of CD sales (although they did mention the economic downturn and DVDs as other factors).

What amazes me most is the insistance of clueless technophobe wankers, responsibile for 'researching' this shit, that it's all kids that are doing it. The same sort of wankers that reckoned it was only kids that played computer games for the longest time.

Sunday 13 October 2002

popstars: bloodsport? [slim]

Good clean entertainment for the kids or old fashioned gladiator style bloodsports?

Caption Competition [spiro]

No real prize for this, but I might buy the best one a drink ! I shall pick a winner on Sunday

Friday 11 October 2002

Archer gets off 'toff' free [lurks]

I must hold my hand up to being a self-confessed member of the Lord Jeffrey Archer fan cub. I mean that in a sarcastic sense of course. Few people hate the man more than I. I hate him because he has that whole pompous Tory arrogance about him that makes him believe he is a far more worthwhile person than anyone else and therefore anything he does is justified and any hardship he endures is grossly unfair.

Few cheered loudly as I when the worthless sack of upper class excrement landed himself in jail for lying. That was, if you recall, that he had a friend create an alibi for him. He concealed this for 13 years, well after he won a libel case off the Daily Star and thieved £500K off them as a result.

Anyhow, let us fast forward to more recent times and the debacle of dear Jeff's bed and breakfast at Her Majesty's pleasure. Apparently because he's some upper class toff, he gets moved to an open prison. Whereupon everybody's favorite peer proceeds to attend champagne parties rather than sit safely behind bars as the lying cad should. What in hell is going on here?

As if this isn't quite bad enough, he's been let off for that and for writing about prisoners in particular in his latest talentless scrawlings on his jail experiences! Instead this bloke has been happily sitting in jail exposing drug-use in prisons. I'm deeply offended that it should be him to have done this, while it's doubtless worthwhile I resent that a shade of legitimacy be lent to the writings of this horrible man.

It has to be pointed out that the bulk of Jeff's literary output concerns itself with far more important things than drug uses and spends the pages complaining about things like... security and 'officious tones' from prison warders and how bad the food is. Well gee Jeff, that is the point you tory-reject retard! Poor little lamb has a bleat about the lack of curtains on his barred windows would you believe! Don't believe me, check out the Guardian's breakdown of his book.

Here's a bit I'd like to quote;

Archer, being Archer, is the most explicit yet. 'When I get out, will I have to follow the path of Oscar Wilde and live a secluded life abroad, unable to enjoy the society that has been so much a part of my existence?' he wailed on Tuesday. O unhappy and forsaken Toad! 'Will I able to visit old haunts - Lord's, Le Caprice, the Tate Gallery - or even walk down the street without people's only thought being: 'There's the man who went to jail for perjury'?' Well, that would depend on how often he keeps reminding us, wouldn't it? Without this diary and all the lunching and showing off that got him deported from his open prison, the public might well have concluded that Archer would complete his sentence suitably chastened and entitled to a new start.

That's it in a nutshell isn't it? Anyhow, as I never grow tired of telling you, I have the best ideas. Henceforth to combat this instance of horrible little men like Archer getting off so lightly (nay, getting even more wealthy!) I propose that judges be abolished and that I, the future King of the United Kingdom, sit in judgement of cases such as this. Naturally I shall not be restrained by any sentencing guidelines that the law may attempt to impose.

Me: 'Have you anything to say before I pass sentence?'

Jeff: 'This is most irregular...'

Me: 'SHUT UP YOU HORRIBLE LITTLE MAN! When taking into account that you're a smug lying Tory cunt and that should you be allowed, you will continue foist your talentless whiney writings on the nation, I feel I have no choice but to sentence you to death!'

Jeff: 'But! But!'

Me: 'They'll be no more of that for you paid for by my subjects. Would the court please take this man from here where he shall be given a 5 minute head start before the hounds and huntsman be unleashed so that he may be caught and dismembered by hungry canines until dead.'

You know it makes sense.

Tuesday 8 October 2002

Athlon XP Unlocking [spiny]

This is one of the better XP unlocking guides that I've seen, both from the method and from the quality of the photos in the guide. Not that I feel compelled to do so with a 2100, but hey, give it another couple of months & it'll feel like a ZX-81 :)

Side note to Lurks: I may have got the url right this time :)

You're gonna love this [spiny]

Everyone knows that that nVidia logo at the start of UT is lame, so I've turned it into something unspeakably l33t. An EED logo. Nuff said. Preview here and replacement texture package here. Remember to back up you're original NvidiaLogo_T.utx first kids :)

Sunday 6 October 2002

Stalked! [am]

Netstats for show that since the 17th of August, has had approximately 3,500 page hits. The third largest number of hits by country, after the UK and US, is 124 from Australia. As a result of which, all we can say is a) Hello Billox and b) SOUND TEH ALARUMS!!!!

Saturday 5 October 2002

You lot suck [lurks]

You don't write blogs, you all suck.

Wednesday 2 October 2002

UT ini file [spiny]

As promised, here is a first attempt at a sensible UT user.ini file. Stuff I've changed is:

Weapon priority is not in power but 'best finishing wep first', so pop em with a electric bolt and hit best wep. This is bound to backspace in this user.ini as I have backspace bound to my thumb button on my mouse. Talking of which...wheel up toggles between lightning gun / shock, wheel down toggles rocket / flak. Space selects translocator, r selects shield gun. L & R brackets toggle stats for netcode & fps respectively. Q & E cycle weapons.

Friday 27 September 2002

New form of scumware [lurks]

Good lord, will it ever end? Apparently all those lame distros of p2p file sharing apps are bundling a new form of scumware which is being dubbed stealware. Slashdot has a story on it. Basically rather than replacing add banners, this replaces the affiliate referer links when you buy things. It does this so that the kazaa/morpheus lamers get the kick back money instead. Can it get any lamer than this? Obviously Amazon et all needs to ban these wankers from the affiliate schemes forthwith. Once again they think it's perfectly fine to install software which steals the hard work from web sites which generated revenue. Of course being P2P client vendors they had little in the way of morals to start with.

Wednesday 25 September 2002


Today I had my third and final interview for a job in Guildford. It was for 10AM in the morning. Now I should explain, I live in North London. Guildford is South West of London, a main line train journey away. So it's a fairly long journey involving a bus ride to a tube station, then by tube down to Waterloo and then a train. Only today was going to be different.

Today was tube strike day. It took me 2 hours to get a bus into London city, where upon the traffic seized entirely at around Tottenham Court Road. With no other option, I walked to the south bank of the Thames and crossed Waterloo bridge on foot. Against the massive tide of people coming the other way. It took me over 3 hours to get there.

And what's this all about? The tube drivers are rejecting a 3% inflation busting pay offer, taking them to £31000, they want more. More. That's right, they want more money than that. Now... Firefighters are calling to be paid £30K and that's fair enough, emergency service, danger money and all that. But tube drivers? I mean, have you peeked into the cab?

The sum total of the skill involved in driving a tube train is controlling a throttle handle type device which sets the train in motion and stops it when released. There's some buttons for doors, a passenger PA and an intercom from the 'controllers'. That's it. Basically when the light goes green, driver pushes handle forward until the train hits a red light. Then he stops until the light goes green. If he should arrive at a station, he opens the doors for a bit.

This is the incredibly taxing job that somehow is worth more money than bus drivers (wtf!), nurses, fightfighters, teachers and all sorts of other people that actually had to go to University to get some skillz and engage more than 4 brain cells to the job.

This has me fuming in anger. And that Red Ken bastard is saying that when the tube is handed to him and his American-import 'transport guru' boyfriend, he's going to sack all the management at London Underground. Apparently by allowing this strike to go ahead, they don't have London's best interests at heard according to Red Ken. Erm, actually they're saying that they don't have the money to pay more and quite frankly what they've offered should be enough - as it bloody well is!

Death to Ken. Death to tube drivers. Sack the fucking lot of them!. Hose down the guys selling the big issue out the front of the stations, give them a 5 minute crash course in tube driving (that's the advanced course) and set them off to work for bloody £20K a year.

This is what will happen when I am made King. I have the best ideas.

Monday 23 September 2002

Google news [lurks]

This is interesting, Google has put up this new Google News site. It carries stories from the world's major news web sites and it lists how old they are. You can also obviously search through all these sites but I think it's most useful as a good news page covering pretty much everything in a timely manner.

Saturday 21 September 2002

n1NjaH!!!! [spiny]

This is l33t :) ChaNinja Style RC4 (blue)visual style at Check the my desktop

Gaming Goodness [spiny]

It just gets better.

Played a lot of instagib CTF last night, it managed to keep me glued to my desk till 12:30. When you have to be up at 6:30, that must be good glue.Now, UT instagib ctf was never really my bag, just seemed like you could never get the flag & was a bit devoid of strategy compared to vanilla ctf. My preconception changed last night though, UT2k3's instagib CTF is a 'reet laff' as they say oop north. What clinches it are two things: map design, the map included in the UT 2k3 demo plays very well with iCTF and now the instagib shock rifle has a zoom on it. While you may think this will just hamper gameplay by the flag runner forever being sniped, the opposite is true. as the flag runner, you're also better able to defend youself while rushing back to your own base, you can fight back much more effectively and your team can cover the flag runner even though they're not near the enemy. The acid test really is number of caps. Most of the games I played last night had a winning score of just under 10 caps, with the looser not too far behind. Great gameplay.

I think they may have actually sorted the translocator this time too. What makes it less effective is that it leaves a bloody great trail as the disc flies. This allows you to spot a translocating pe0n, see where he will land and zap him as soon as he appears. I managed to shut out pratically all enemies who were trying to translocate accross to our base & gib em.

In other gaming goodness the NOLF2, demo has been released and is looking rather sexy. Bump & cube mapping everywhere, nice water effects & character models. Looks like the Jupiter incarnation of the lithtech engine is shaping up niceley. NOLF2 also retains the excellent LOL humour of the original. The added skill points & side quests in it make it a bit of a Deus Ex Lite too. You can expect a fine script, nice combination of gameplay elements to enhance the point & shoot FPS genre (which SOF2 failed to do) and a pretty engine to wrap it up in. This is a preorder puppy make no mistake.