Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Saturday 29 June 2002

Sci-Fi 'must read' shortlist [lurks]

Am recently mentioned that he enjoyed reading the Gibson classic Neuromancer and was up for more of the same. I promised to provide a short list of essential Sci-Fi works and then promptly forgot about it. This evening he's reminded me and I thought about it and typed a few out onto IRC. He also mentioned this would be a good Blog topic and yeah, it would be. So off the top of my head, here's my 'must read' list;

  • The Gap series by Stephen Donaldson
  • The Hyperion series by Dan Simmons
  • A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
  • Alastair Reynolds books, Revelation Space, Chasm City and Redemption Ark
  • Marrow by Robert Reed
  • Timescape by Gregory Benford
  • Diaspora by Greg Egan

I'm sure I'm leaving some classic stuff out and that some of the other Sci-Fi fans in the clan will step up to the plate with worthy additions like Hamilton, Bear and Iain Banks etc. I still reckon much of what's on my list here is a good cross-section of essential Sci-Fi reading.

Friday 28 June 2002

Grow up, Scotland [Lurks]

Was just down the pub watching the footy and there was a table of Scots who were actively booing England much to the abject annoyance of the pub. Prior to this point, I wrote off the article I saw yesterday in the Evening Standard but on this evidence I have to say I agree and I'm going to post it in full.

If there's one thing I find it hard to forgive Tony for, it's the fact he's Scottish - along with what seems like half the Cabinet. I know quite a few Scots in London and they are charming, witty and intelligent people. But the hayseeds back in North Britain are really getting on my nerves lately.The fact that so many of them refuse to support the England team would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. The news that one of their bishops was actually praying for England to lose against Nigeria seems to suggest a nation that, despite devolution, hasn't quite grown up.I know most Scots will see that as a profoundly patronising thing for an Englishman to say, but the fact is no one reaches full maturity as an individual or a nation until they can some imagining themselves as a victim. And the idea that the Scottish are still victims of the wicked English now that they've got their own parliament, massive subsidies from England, and a government which largely comprises their countrymen is crazy.All right, they was a distant time when they suffered under the English boot - but then, the Romans invaded Britain, and I don't pray for the Italians to lose (although I wasn't that upset when they did).Sure, Scotland has got lousy food, sectarian hatred, terrible weather, and a superabundance of drunken people with red hair. So Alexander Graham Bell didn't invent the telephone after all. None of this would stop me supporting them if they made the World Cup. God, I'd even support the Welsh.Of course it would be nice to have the chance to cheer them on in the first place. But then not even devolved parliaments can legislate for a decent football team.

Tim Lott - Evening Standard Thursday, 20th June 2002.

Not my morning [Lurks]

Ever have one of those mornings? I got one of those absolutely wicked external Maxtor firewire drives, the 160GB version of course. This is going to enable me to shovel two drives onto it and nuke them, especially since one is a fairly noisy one in my lounge MP3/Net server called Wench. Ace, so last night I'm shovelling stuff onto it. Loads of stuff, and doing an FTP leech overnight and a DivX rip overnight to it as well. I go to bed comforted by the joys of mass storage.

In the morning, my missus wakes me up looking worried. I put this down to the fact she has a job interview this morning. She says, 'I've got something to tell you'. This is the sort of thing that gives any man the shivvers and, dear reader, it's really not the sort of thing you want to wake up to. 'Wench has a bunch of error messages on it', says she. 'I was thinking it might have something to do with that new thing you plugged into the socket because I unplugged it for my hairdryer'.

Argh! Nuked my DivX rip of course and stalled the FTP leech but not such a major deal really, I formatted it with NTFS and it just rolled back a ways. Then, later on, I plug in my MP3 player to Wench (which has handy front mounted USB sockets being one of those dinky Shuttle SV24 jobbies) and click on my MP3 shovelling script. This wipes the MP3 player and copies random stuff from the MP3 collection onto the player (a Nex II BTW). I go off to get my morning vegemite toast and coffee.

All that would have been fine except for one thing. The new external drive decided to hijack the drive letter of the MP3 player. So my fucking cuntox script sat there for 10 shitstabbing minutes merrily mincing everything which I had spent the evening before and overnight shovelling onto it. Oh for fuck sake! I think I'm going to steer clear of any other technology today, clearly it's all conspiring against me.

On the plus side, Floyd's over from the Isle of Man and we're off to see Roger Waters at Wembley tonight. Woot! I err, forgot about the spare ticket I have as well didn't I. Anyone want to go?

An excess of spare time... [Muz]

Having just completed my exams, I find myself confused - I now have no idea what to do with all this spare time that has suddenly appeared before me...

So I put to you the question, clanmates, what am I to do? I intend to work a fuckload of overtime, and reacquaint myself with the pastime known as 'gaming'. Other than the obvious Neverwinter Nights, which has been heralded by one and all as the Best Game Evar, what else can you recommend?

Wednesday 26 June 2002

Car Wars [Spiny]

Genre choices always seem to boil down to a field of two. Notably Quake3 - UT, CS - Tac Ops, Pentium - Athlon, Tea - Coffee, Kylie - Danni and now GP4 - F12002. So, which is the premier F1 sim? I've no idea, they're both great. Much like Kylie & Danni covered in whipped cream. They do have their own strengths & weaknesses though. Oh, and I've got both, so no bleating that I'm biassed either way.

Interface: F12002: 9/10: Very friendly, everything in the right place & easy to find. Has a great 'restart race' feature should you screw up in the first corner :) Polished. GP4: 8/10: Could be much better. Suffers from bugs where the menus go crazy when used with a split axis pedal wheel. This also causes the infamous black screen of death when starting GP4.

Features F12002: 9/10: Basically everything, I'm sure the kitchen sink is in there somewhere too, even pit babes, although their nipples don't stick out when it's raining ;). The pit crew is a nice feature but better done in GP4. No mid race save. Bad boys ISI. GP4: 8/10: Last years teams, drivers & tracks. Not too much of a problem as the modders are already at it producing 2002 car skins. More of a worry is lack of certain rules like stop/go & drive through penalties. The pit crew is light years ahead of gp3, full 3d & all motion captured etc. I' ve heard they can even make mistakes. The models suffer a bit from cabbage patch doll faces where the devs have saved a few polys. You can save mid race in GP4, unlike F1

Car Models: F12002: 8/10: Look very realistic, with 3rd party baccy skins that would go up to 9 or even 10/10. Car specific steering wheels etc. GP4: 8/10: A bit low polly when compared to f12002. Cockpit still has what looks to be a generic GP3 steering wheel.

Damage Modelling F12002: 8/10: Much better than f12001, when wheels & parts break off, they now have proper collision detection. GP4:9/10: Wow, more detailed than f12002. Stunning. Broken bits still have their own shadows. Nice.

Textures: F12002: 8/10. Some very nice work, especially in the grass and tarmac department. Lots of detail. GP4:7/10: There's some very low res / uniform textures in there for the tarmac and grass. Looks a bit like F12002 set to low detail in places. Some of the car textures are tiny & causing worry in the modding community that a _good_ season '02 may not be possible.

Weather: F12002: 8/10: Great, except wet weather. Visibility is reduced (which is good). Lots of spray etc, but no we reflections. I guess ISIs engine just can't handle the environment mapping required. GP4: 8/10: Great, in different ways. Wet weather seems much more realistic, however it seems permanently sunny. Even when raining. Visibility not reduced by much. Environment mapping veeery nice.

General Graphics F12002:9/10: very immersive, good use of lighting, very well textured but looks a bit flat compared to GP4. GP4: 9/10: Not as well textured but much better lit than F12002. Environment mapping looks wonderful with the bump and environment mapped track reflecting the sun in different ways. Heat haze and helmet view are nice bells & whistles.

Tracks F12002:8/10: Seem great, lots of bumps seemingly in all the right places. Rumble strips produce nice effects. GP4: 9/10: Amazing. GPS data really show through. Cambers & slopes much more true to life than f12002.

Sound F12002: 9/10. Great. Lots of chatter from your pit crew, good engine sounds. Great audio feedback when your tires are right on the edge of grip. Passable music and a good all-important roar from your own engine. Ambient sounds good, including hearing other cars elsewhere on the track. GP4: 7/10: Bit of a let down really. seems really quiet compared to F12002. Not much pit crew commentary and very hard to hear. 3D sound seems to incur an inordinately high processor occupancy hit though.

AI: GP4: 9/10. Fantastic. Cars will draft you etc, and not budge on the racing line unless you really have the edge on them. ie. Bump them and it's your fault :) F12002: 7/10: Nice but dim. Often you'll see cars wading over the grass just to keep some personal space around them, pitting at the wrong time or at all in a 3 lap race.

Driving Aids: F12002:9/10 There's lots to choose from, ABS, traction control, steering help etc as well as the new stuff like launch control. Most are applicable in a low/med/high setting as opposed to just on or off. GP4: 8/10: Less aids here and you can only toggle them on / off. It does have suggested gear and show racing line though, which are great for learning a circuit while retaining full control.

Force Feedback: F12002:9/10: Smashing. The track, rumble strips, bumps, slips & skids are all transmitted very realistically. Crank up the strength and you really have to fight with the wheel sometimes. Even better it's fully editable. I've knocked off the engine vibration at rest & upped the force of the rumble strips. Getting on the grass could do with a bit more loss of control though. It's almost as sticky as the tarmac :) GP4: 7/10: Not in the same league as F12002. Forces are generally weak and not as numerous or well used as F12002, not editable either. Off track effects are better tho.

Modability F12002:9/10: You can do almost anything to change the game, very easily. Most of the engine parameters are held in plain text files, so you can tweak the AI, weather, draw distances, force feedback effects. The list is endless. Models and textures are easily replaced. Check out the GT mod to see what is possible. GP4: 6/10: Much less scope here. Even the car textures are much harder to create and import. See the GP4 section on for why.

Edexcel in 'yet more lameness' shocker [Muz]

Some of you may remember the nationwide bleeting from thickies of all ilks back in January regarding the lack of skillz shown by exam board Edexcel. Missing exam scripts, errors on question papers, student teachers being used as markers - all these things were blamed for the failure of said thickies to achieve a reasonable grade. Now today I went into school to sit two exams. (Contrary to popular belief, student scum are actually expected to prove they've absorbed some knowledge while pissing about.) Anyway, having two exams scheduled for the afternoon, I had to take one in the morning and be locked away in seclusion lest I scheme with my friends to let them cheat. As if I'd ever do such a thing. *cough* While I was sitting the morning paper, I heard people taking another exam, a Biology extension paper, being given instructions to check the number of sheets in their exam paper. This caused much head scratching, but I dismissed it in the face of having to work out the general solution of a second order differential equation.

It wasn't until the afternoon that I discovered the reason for this little countercheck. My afternoon exam was the History extension paper. When I sat down at my desk, I noticed to my surprise that instead of the neatly printed question booklet I had expected, on my desk was a sheaf of A4 paper stapled in one corner, apparently printed out from a piss poor fax machine.

It turns out that Edexcel, in their infinite wisdom, 'forgot' to send my school the extension papers we needed for today. So, they had to be faxed over and photocopied in school. The timestamp on my paper said 12:45 - the exam started at 13:30. The sheer efficiency of Edexcel boggles the mind - the BBC could learn a thing or two from them, I tell you. Here endeth the bleet.

Saturday 22 June 2002

Net radio dead in the USA [Lurks]

The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel in the US has had their proposals for a statutory licence for digital audio broadcasting pass through the Librarian of Congress. So these costs are effectively law.What this means is that that the small radio stations will need to pay out around $500 a day. Interestingly traditional terrestrial radio stations don't have to pay such a fee. They only have to pay about 3% of their revenues, and this does not go to the copyright holder, but to the composers.

Effectively this is the death toll for shoutcast stations although it's probably still feasible for larger professional stations like Wolf FM to continue operating. I suppose this had to come but of course what this really means is that services like shoutcast will probably be linked via some peer-to-peer system, effectively going to ground.Moving servers off shore etc wont help because they're still liable for those fees if the operators are residing in the US.

Tuesday 18 June 2002

RIPA - write to your MP! [Lurks]

Check out this story in the Guardian about the new proposed changes to the evil RIP act being debated next Tuesday. Essentially these changes will allow a whole bunch of government agencies to have access to the logs which ISPs are being forced to record on all Net users as part of the RIP act. This is not good, this is insane. We're talking about agencies from your local council to Consignia gaining access to this data. I actually wrote to my local MP about RIP when it was first proposed and she wrote back. She defended it saying that it was not evil, it was only to catch criminals and only law enforcement agencies would have access to the data. Well these latest proposed changes appear to be in contravention to her views and I played on this fact in a fax to her today.

This cannot be allowed to stand, please write to your MP - Fax Your MP is quick, easy and free. You know you need to do this.

1MB w00t! [Lurks]

Thank you for registering for the blueyonder 1Mb service. Your order has been received.

W000t! 1Mb down! 256k up! 35 a month! W00t!020618140106 7-Information D509.0 Retrieved TFTP Config SUCCESS <- W00000000000000000ttttttt!!!!

TV: Spooks [Lurks]

Most the EED posse have been following BBC's MI5 drama since it started a few weeks ago. It got off to a weak start but the last couple of episodes have lent a much needed grit to the whole thing and it's coming along very nicely indeed. I like it a lot, best thing the Beeb has done for ages.

Friday 14 June 2002

TV: tedious rehashed shit (Big Brother) [Brit]

It appears this series of Channel 4's tedious voyeuristic wank ('Big Brother') is falling apart at the seams. This morning, one of the contestants *escaped* the house because of the inane boredom that the last few weeks have seen him endure. He (Sandy - ex army and now a woman's personal shopper, go figure) escaped by climbing up a wall, demonstrating quite admirably the absolute ineptitude of the architects when it comes to building complex structures like WALLS

Thursday 13 June 2002

NWN - me so horny! [Slim]

Very nice producer interview on gamespot to wet your whistles: 'The 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules are more complex than the 2nd Edition rules, but this cost comes with a great benefit to the customizability of characters and depth of the game. Thanks to the skills and feats in the 3rd Edition rules, characters can be totally customized--classes are still important, but there's much more variety available within a class. There are more complex game systems in Neverwinter Nights than in the Baldur's Gate series, but it's also a considerably more versatile game.' God I'm stiff for NWN! They go on to comment on how they're supporting the game with content including some bits about a pvp mode, how the games apparently filled with 100 hours+ of single player content and a few tantalising hints about future projects. In other treehuggery news, there's apparently a closed beta test for the Morrowind patch. Quite an odd move, but I'm quite looking forward to seeing what's addressed in the patch. If anyone manages to squeeze onto the beta, be a stick and let me know whats changed, ta! Wolfpack's chucked out a few new screenshots of their massively long development time massively multiplayer game Shadowbane. Kinda been hit by the ugly stick a bit this one, don't you think? They've been going for a fringe audience all along apparently, but it's been so long in development that other pvp centred games like Camelot and Anarchy Online have rolled along. Not sure how it'll fare really. The bloke down the pub tried the leaked Unreal Tourny beta, the naughty little tinker. He reports that it's going to be spot on for current UT fans, with lots of similarities to the old classic. A few less rockets in the rocket launcher, a wizzier more curvy looking engine and the like. He didn't reccomend I hunt down the leaked demo, saying it was bugged to buggery and a bit fustrating to set up and play. Quite looking forward to the full demo arriving after his upbeat report, so fingers crossed. Morrowind beta.

Sunday 9 June 2002

Death to the Miggy! [Beej]

Ten years ago, my Amiga 4000 rolled off a production line somewhere, thinking it was destined for a life of cutting edge graphics and video production. Sadly, it was not to be, and at some point it ended up on my desk, a bastion for warez, gaming, and Voyager development for years of my so-called life. The first thing in months to be stripped naked in my bedroom A4000 rev B - born 1992, put to rest 2002 Today, I stripped it down so I can install it in the bin. Ha! You'll accumulate dust no longer, my friend (geddit? friend? amiga? ahahaha). Anyone want a 4MB graphics card? Cost me £300 four years ago...

Film Review - Panic Room [Lurks]

This is a thriller set in a large house which three nasty men invade in the middle of the night. The title comes from an anti-burglar room which Jody Foster and kid hole up in. Unfortunately it also has the safe the burglars are after. It's a kind of cross between a Die Hard epic (at least the start when all the bad guys are being all pro and techy) and a Hitchcock classic. There's plenty of original stuff and the best quality of the film was that it wasn't very predictable, rare of Hollywood these days. I enjoyed it, definately worth a look. Oh yeah, Jody Foster was 4 month preggers when she filmed this. Tits already filling out nicely :) URL: Panic Room IMDB entry

Saturday 8 June 2002

What's everyone playing? [Lurks]

What's everyone playing this weekend? I'm bored of the usual suspects, so what exciting stuff are you lot up to that can inspire me?

Spiro and Beej: The Trisha Years [Brit]

From Spiro: hi ben when are you having a shower, i need one badly...
From Spiro: ben. hurry up i'm ready
From Spiro: mmmm it's your turn to give me a back rub

Pod is a tool [Lurks]


England v Argentina - Predictions [Suit]

2:1 to England.. with Argentina scoring the first goal within the first 15minutes. Final England goal going in at the end of injury time in the second half of course

Friday 7 June 2002

Rumour - Dr Teeth obtains life [Lurks]

After weeks, nay months of absence, Dr Teeth has been seen in channel #EED once again! Where once the king of hairspray, the Irish sandal wearing Yoda of Perl, once dwelled in a Net Cafe 14 hours a day playing Dark Age of Camelot (remember that?), it appears he's emerged, gotten a life and a job!

EEDers who have created new nouns [Lurks]

Some of our bretheren have committed acts so legendary, so (in)famous that their very name has ent new words to the English language. Microsoft (falsely) claim to do it with XBox but now we present the true new Verbs of EED!

Thursday 6 June 2002

Queen's Jubilee ROXOR! [Lurks]

[no content]

SpiroCam [Spiro]

where's Beej ??

Now Let's Make Sure Everything Works Via Rebot [Lurks]

Now if this all goes according to plan then this will be the body of the first proper blog put up by Rebot. It's a bit leet no?