Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Monday 31 March 2003

The Liberator in Lego! [lurks]

Oh my god! Some guy has The Liberator from Blakes 7 in Lego! That is just so cool! And he's even done the teleporter room from inside! Not to mention Travis and Servalan. How cool is that?! Even Zen and three Mutoids in a pursuit ship. Ahahehe, that really brought a smile to my face here, I can tell you.

Friday 28 March 2003

Online payments [lurks]

eBay was kind enough to vape my listing for my last FM transmitter. I don't feel a rant about eBay and their insane hypocrisy was entirely worthy of a blog update so I wont dwell on that. Fortunately I shifted that unit to a friend of someone on the UK Gamer mailing list. For a bunch less than I wanted but what can I do eh?
Anyhow, this chap asked how I'd like to be paid. Paypal, Nochex or Fastpay. The first two I've used in the past due to a lot of eBay auctions. Paypal has always been a favorite but since they managed to con me into upgrading my account (purely to withdraw from a credit card), it's now attracting 20p + 3.3% just to receive funds in addition to the withdraw fees. It adds up enough to the point that you really notice the fact you get less money than you ought to have. So it's now expensive enough that I try to avoid it and in the listing (which eBay pulled), I had applied a surcharge to eBay buyers. They're also part of eBay, who are now Evil.
Nochex are cheaper. However they're burnt me in the past by somehow stuffing my password (a point which I'm entirely sure about) and then forcing me to write them a letter along with forms of identification to get them to reset the password (to 'nochexislame' :) so I could get my money. So I've not willingly touched them since. However they are moderately handy for sending money from a credit card, cheaper than Paypal there too. I think I ordered some mod chips via them recently. They have an annoying log-in system which makes you select the last 6 digits on your registered debit card too.
That leaves Fastpay, which I hadn't seen before. I take a look at their webby and alarm bells sound. It's clearly branded as a Natwest service. I should explain, I have a Natwest account - it's the oldest bank account I have. Their online banking was, for the longest time, the most horribly convoluted, slow and unrealiable pile of excrement that you would believe. It's better now, but it still absolutely sucks compared to proper online banks like Cahoot (who are Evil, remember they ripped me off several thousand and sat on it for 6 months before paying it back) and Smile (who are my current bank).
So I didn't have high expectations of Fastpay, particularly since it's virtually impossible to find the fees on their lame goddamn site. The other boys tend to like hiding their fees but this was ridiculous. Anyhow, I signed up and found the fees (eventually). Got an e-mail and an SMS. See it's unique in that Fastpay allows sending dosh by phone, cool eh? Signing up was pretty pain free although they had a couple of small mong points like cocking up the plaintext e-mail and putting incorrect instructions in the SMS text. I told them about it so they can fix it.
Anyhow, why bother with this lot? Well... as far as I can see, the only fee in the entire operation appears to be 20p to send money. Other than that, it's completely free. So I'm giving it a shot to get the cash off this bloke for my FM transmitter, we'll see how it goes I suppose!

FMA - simple T68/T610 software [beej]

Lurks has blogged before on mobile phone software. Well, it's my turn now, having discovered FMA which I'm using with my T610.
It's not amazing. It's absolutely nowhere near the best. But fuck me if it doesn't actually do what I need for once. Everything else I tried just nagged, or bombed out, or timed out, or requires Outlook 2000, or needs a cable, or flat refused to work with an active Bluetooth connection. FMA connects through XTND Connect, which pairs silently with my handset.
The software is clearly a bit of a hack job - a stand-alone exe - but you get your crazy handset info, the phone book stuff, and then all your messages. It's fundamentally lacking in any other features, but it's quick, it's dirty, and it works with the cheap USB BT dongles from Scam/Dabs!

Wednesday 26 March 2003

War realities: dead soldiers on tv [beej]

In the last few days there's been footage of KIA soldiers run on satellite tv and I thought I'd break cover and see if the wider world has had the chance to see them and what the wider feelings are.
The footage run by Al Jazeera at the weekend was pretty galling. A number of dead Yanks shown graphically, with no respect, pretty much some sort of slaughtered-BSE-cow freakshow. I've seen an image in the UK papers of the Iraqi unknown who beams a wide smile whilst moving the arm on one of the bodies, but I'm guessing the UK domestic broadcasters aren't able to show the full footage. The Grinning Iraqi ain't going to heaven with Allah and his sixty virgins if I have my way I can tell you.
Today, Al Jazeera finally provided proof of what we feared about the two missing Brit soldiers - once again, gleeful Iraqis and the two bodies lying in the road in an undressed and bloody state. Sky has shown the bit with the Land Rover. This war really is shaping up to be a media-heavy event.
It certainly brings the job home when you realise that the dead bodies you're looking at are in the same uniform that you are ;-/

London Life and Coppertino [amnesia]

Tuff-stress jobs tend to get you re-evaluating your existence fairly regularly. Well that fact is not something to be glorified - we all do it - existence is existence - we question stuff in looking around at the day to day and question the bigger whole. However, getting profound about *your* hard-life is a bit insulting to people. As I've always said, if you're defined by your work, you need to get out more. Princess.
Life is life. Then you get on with it. If you're a student you tend to spend most of your time thinking about it in the abstract before you eventually come to the realisation that life is about *participation* in your theories, not frotting yourself against a thousand-overdone amateur philosophies and psychologies people have done to death before you.
Shit happens. Nothing's more embarrassing than *eventually* realising that everything you've endlessly obsessed about anew is a tired old rehash of everything people considered before. This is the slap-chop of coming out the other side of student existence as you suddenly realise that your profound insight is anything but that that was induced by having a great time off and something that got done a billion times before you. So, in time, if not immediately, one focuses on the effect of the opposite swing of the pendulum as one becomes the be-waged son of the system.
So as a wageista you end up thinking where am I and what am I doing. This kind of issue doesn't get resolved, as your student theories did, on page one.
However, in the debate against the war with Iraq, I'm beginning to understand some of the sanguine nature of older generations. It's not that one can't see the argument of the polemicised studentarianista - been there done it still hold some of it true - and it's not that one can't see the self-interest of the state - participated in a bit of that - but finally one can see the opposing balancing items for what they are.
And eventually one becomes utterly cynical of the polemicised posteuring of both sides - it's fucking LAZY to be all one way or the other. Life never got progressed by the absolutists. Ultimately, more than anything, it's an abdication of human responsibility for these supposed humanists to stick to their polemic and gratefully avoid the responsibility of participating in real life by holding the pendulum at the top of one swing or the other.
No at the end of the day what's really fucking insulting to the people of the country as a whole and yes to the troops that are out there slogging it out is the amateur gobshite hour that's going on. If the late 80's and 90's have something to answer for it's the democratisation of idiocy. Every cunt's got an opinion and most of them are appallingly formed. But they get aired with due seriousness. Terrific. However I would say that to the extent that that's the general populace then so be it - democracy is neutral on intellect - it demands a platform for all and we can tune out. That's the way it should be.
What really irks me is the intellectual abuse of the polemicists who duck the RL responsibilities of their Islington-coffee-house philosophy. There is no fence-sitting on an issue like this. Some would say that democracy and idiocy are necessary bedfellows. However intellecutal bucket-on-head polemics are insulting to the sufferage whichever way they go. Sure, if you've got the vote use it. If you've got the vote and intellectual capacity to engage in a debate about your country then don't abdicate your responsibility by chasing fag-packet philosophy. It's difficult. It counts. If you want to be part of the thing that matters, make sure your opinions aren't pendulum-swung polemics. This is not a time for the pub-theologian. It's not a time for the nineteen-year-old-nihilist. Sometimes the rules of full engagement mean the contents of your head too...

Tuesday 25 March 2003

EAR EAR!!!! [shedir]

Well after fighting the NHS for toooooo long to get the wean his grommet op. My ear felt funny, thought I had glandular fever by the symptoms. Quack says it's catahr in the ear. URGH!
At least no op for me, but I'm the same amoxycillin as he was. Small genetic pool. Anyway when I finally finish RS training sneak up on me from the left. I wont hear a thing!

Friday 21 March 2003

Brainwashing/Moral Bankuptcy [muz]

What with the recent Commons vote, the upcoming war has been a frequent topic of discussion in the heated political forum that is crosshatch-EED. Despite our wide and sundry views on the subject, there was one thing that everyone agreed upon without reservation. This was the absolute condemnation of school teachers leading their pupils in antiwar protests and marches. (We'd be against them leading pro-war marches as well, but that doesn't seem to be happening.)
Stuff like this and this are but tame examples of the phenomenon I am referring to, students in secondary school leaving class to protest, led by either sixth-form students or teachers. But even worse, in some instances that have been observed on various news programs, children in primary schools have been shown to be making various anti-war posters and statements. Would someone please tell me where these children got the idea to speak out against the war? From their parents? From little Jonny in the other class? No, one must conclude that this sort of behaviour is being encouraged by their teachers.
It has been suggested by EED's resident phat lawyer and newest father Amnesia that there be legislation put in banning teachers from encouraging young children to engage in protests and statements of a political nature, and I can't help but agree. As he puts it, the age of sufferage is there to prevent people from voting until they are old enough to be considered informed about current affairs. Surely the same logic should be applied to political protests, whether they be instigated by older students or by teachers?
I'm loathe to draw the comparison due to the controversy it will undoubtedly raise, but how is primary school teachers forcing their anti-war views upon their students now any different from teachers in Nazi Germany propagating Hitler's version of history and his belief that the Germans were the master race? In my opinion, both are examples of a deplorable, unforgivable practice: indoctrination. The practice of imbuing with a partisan ideology or point of view, or teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically. To me, this is completley unacceptable.

The Bunny and the Snake [lurks]

Once upon a time in a nice little forest, there lived an orphaned bunny and an orphaned snake. By a surprising coincidence, both were blind from birth. One day, the bunny was hopping through the forest, and the snake was slithering through the forest, when the bunny tripped over the snake and fell down. This, of course, knocked the snake about quite a bit. “Oh, my,” said the bunny, “I'm terribly sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I've been blind since birth, so, I can't see where I'm going. In fact, since I'm also an orphan, I don't even know what I am.”
“It's quite OK,” replied the snake. “Actually, my story is much the same as yours. I, too, have been blind since birth, and also never knew my mother. Tell you what, maybe I could slither all over you, and work out what you are, so at least you'll have that going for you.” “Oh, that would be wonderful” replied the bunny.
So the snake slithered all over the bunny, and said, “Well, you're covered with soft fur; you have really long ears; your nose twitches; and you have a soft cottony tail. I'd say that you must be a bunny rabbit.”
“Oh, thank you! Thank you,” cried the bunny, in obvious excitement. The bunny suggested to the snake, “Maybe I could feel you all over with my paw, and help you the same way that you've helped me.” So the bunny felt the snake all over, and remarked, “Well, you're smooth slimy and slippery, and you have a forked tongue, no backbone and no balls. I'd say you are definitely French”.

Thursday 20 March 2003

Amazon Goofs [spiny]

First, Amazon send the techno-savvy bargain hunters into a frenzy buying 300 pound PDAs for 7 quid before having to close their site, then they try & recommend foul mouthed hip-hop.
'Yo yo yo yo checkitout maisy, ya white-bread bitch/mouse.' Sigh. In my day we had the Wurzels ;)

Raven Shield playtest [lurks]

I like my military sneak-em-up type games, I do. All of Red Storm's Tom Clancy franchise games have been excellent and virtually peerless in the genre of late. So the news that the latest in the Clancy franchise was going to do away with the old stinky engine and sport the spangly Unreal engine was welcomed in this house although with a note of caution. How many bad CS-like games have we seen attempted in the cartoon-looking Unreal engine? Too many.
I'm happy to report that on that front, my concerns were unfounded. Raven Shield does indeed look the bollocks but it also looks fairly 'real' as well which is a good thing in a genre where a single bullet kills and you don't bunny hop around the level like crack-addled superhero. Raven Shield is a first and foremost a tactical team-based sneak-em-up. One loads up a plan for each mission ahead of time and plots out the waypoints for the multiple teams going in.
The action is held up at key junctions where 'go codes' must be issued to make the teams progress. In such a way it's possible to coordinate a multi-front attack on the nasty terrorists simultaneously. This is what we like! Here's where I have to confess I'm a little too much of an action gamer to fancy buggering around with the planner other than to loading the pre-prepared plan.
Because the movements of squads are on rails to such a degree, any potentially crap AI is fairly hidden to the player. Successfully completing a mission often involves learning which team has the hardest job and taking control of the leader of that squad to putting boot to bottom in the uniquely human way. I found I also tended to run ahead of the holding positions to run around and take out some of the targets once I found out exactly where they are. And there's plenty of opportunity for that as the game can be quite unforgiving, many failed missions or completed missions with too many casualties.
On the latter note, since you have a fixed amount of 'named' Rainbow squaddies - getting them killed isn't a good thing. That being because they end up being replaced with backups which are about as good as modemer at a LAN party. Your team mates that survive, on the other hand, get better through their experience which is logical enough.
There are a couple of minor innovations to the FPS genre which help make Raven Shield a worthy sequel. Namely being able to crack doors open fluidly with the use of the mouse wheel. A common tactic I employed was to do that and then let a terrorist discover it and go 'Hmm, odd!' and close the door - only to cop a noise suppressed 9mm wide lead injection to the head.
The rest of the things you'd expect are there; the strangely disconcerting lack of a 'jump' from the rest of the Clancy games, the nifty lean left/right keys and even a new 'fluid' version of that which allows precise maneuvering around corners by using a qualifier key and the mouse. Now there's a scientifically implausible set of goggles (eh?) which do the job of the heartbeat sensor. There's all manner of demolitions including breaching charges through to your bog standard flashbang. The latter really will mess you up good if you're too close to it, riiiiinnngggg!
The weapons are a bit of a missed opportunity here although it's easy to get disappointed after Counter-Strike's excellence in this area. They're mostly generic with and handle much the same with much the same sound effects only varying amounts of recoil being notable. Quite why a rifle should sound dramatically different fired semi-auto from firing off one round in full-auto mode is lost on me. The weapons also look a bit naff, distance distorted as they are from the rear. I'm also not quite enamored with the fairly paltry evidence that anyone has been shot, tiny splashes of red. I guess this is some sort of censorship appeasement but it doesn't sit well with a game trying so hard to be realistic.
Mission wise, things are odder still. I had expected a dramatically hard game given the first mission was very difficult indeed and required many attempts to come out with an acceptable casualty figure. Then onto the second mission and it was all over in a flash! Subsequent missions have also proven to be of a regular difficulty, assuming that one isn't a complete numpty and turns off the auto-aim facility.
Something that lessens the frustration of redoing missions is the almost complete lack of loading. Click OK, bingo into the mission. Blimey, how'd they do that on the Unreal engine then?
Of course we're all hanging out for the thing to be released so we can give it a bash online. It looks like it may very well be as much fun coop as Sum of All Fears was, because there's plenty of tasty indoors action to be had. Presumably the networking will be good too, with the Unreal engine powering the cogs. That'll be most welcome after previous Red Storm networking code abortions.
In conclusion, Raven Shield is a good game. It's got some new bits but it's also lacking some polish and a bit more game balancing. Not quite enough thought into the way missions are presented (they've got voice-overs for 3 NPCs for every mission and I bet you never click on them) and the planning phase looks uninspired to the point of tedious.
It's not a revitalisation of the genre, it's a small progression delivering up the same thrills for those that know they like to sneak around just for the chance to put a bullet in a terrorist. It delivers wholeheartedly here, it's a game to play on the edge of your seat, if only you could lift a hand from your mouse and wave your compatriots forward in military sign!
About time we had another decent game in the genre! Of course multiplayer will be the icing on the cake so by and large it's a good 'ol thumbs up from me.

Wednesday 19 March 2003

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down [lurks]

I was looking around a couple of game sites the other day and I found this game called Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, which I take to be some sort of movie license tie in to Novalogic's old Delta Force franchise. I haven't had a chance to look at it in detail but a demo was released last month. Anyone else check it out?
It's said to be out at the end of the month, bloke down the pub told me it might have just appeared in something called 'news loop' or something as well, but obviously I've no idea what that means.
Seems IGN was upbeat about it although they mention that despite using the crusty old Commanche engine, you couldn't control any of the vehicals. They claim AI is as bad as any we've seen before, big surprise there. However they appear to have been taken by the number of soldiers on screen. That could be fun no? Especially since it's obviously multiplayer too.
So, who wants to volunteer to check it out while I'm busy killing terrorists in Raven Shield? :)

FM transmitter project [lurks]

My latest plan for world domination is the construction of a 50mw FM Stereo transmitter. Basically you use this thing to send audio from your PC or your HiFi into any FM receiver anywhere in your house, kitchen, garden, neigbors of whatever. Strictly speaking it's illegal of course, 50mw of power is quite capable of blotting out an FM radio station for your neigbors if you tune the thing wrong. Practically speaking, so long as you don't do that - no one will care.
Costs me about 50 odd quid worth of parts to make with the internal transmitter circuit, proper steel box, PSU and detachable telescopic aerial. I've ordered up all the parts. I'll build early in the week and then flog on ebay to see what I can get for it. With luck it'll go for a ton or a bit less. If so, I'll make a few of them. Obviously I'll do cheap cheap for the EED posse :)

Tuesday 18 March 2003

News aggregation [jay]

Whilst munching on some lunch today at work, I made a really satisfying discovery, a widget called Klipfolio. It's a little desktop application, with its own ui that sits pretty and allows you to dock onto it, tickers for your favourite content sites. Essentially it's a news aggregator.
I've heard of these before, but never looked that closely at them, thinking why should I bother getting one of those when I regulary visit my favourite sites anyhow? After installing Klip and grabbing a ticker for BBC News, Slashdot, DevArticles and leaving the standard weather report on there, I had a closer look through their directory and found other sites which I wouldn't have thought would be in there, like other developer sites, art inspiration sites (nameley the infamous K10K), once added, I found myself every now and then (not enough to bother my work), checking these sites and reading up on content I wouldn't normally read, which surely is a good thing, for both the site and my general knowledge.
The best ticker I found though was one called Koogle, for the Google news service, which has quite a number of items in it, but in light of recent events, it's really bloody handy for finding out the latest on the War situation without spending silly amount of time away from my work.
It's really customisable as well, you can change its appearance (with preferences and skins), where and how big the tickers go, if you want the items to scroll (very useful) and if you want any alerts set up for keywords of your choice. An essential for my desktops now. Go get it!

Sunday 16 March 2003

Xbox dead [slim]

Console online easy? Not for me!

Devastation what? [lurks]

It seems as if some time today there's going to be a multiplayer demo of Devastation released. The game has also apparently gone gold as well. It looks like it's yer bog standard FPS based on the Unreal engine and it doesn't seem to be promising anything new.
The 'Game info' bit of their web site is basically a technical feature list rather than telling you anything unique about the game. So that doesn't really bode well but the screen shots do look nice. It might be good for a laugh if nothing else.
I just took a look at video of it. It looks like, surprise, Unreal although it's got a present-day military feel like CS or something. Anyone hold hope for this not sucking donkey dick?

Friday 14 March 2003

Teh Xbox paradox ooh ehh ooh eeh [slim]

So like I've said, I think the xbox is a bit fucking silly as I've already got a pc and that, but now I own one I find it's got loads of games I want to play, and that is good. Tomorrow is the (official) launch of xbox live, where you pay forty quid, get a headset and some demo's in return and get to play a (very) few xbox games online with a robotic enhanced voice. The pitiful selection of games are mostly available on the PC anyway, there's no online rpg's at all and the servers are mostly shitty peer to peer, and it costs. So it's inferior to PC online gaming in pretty much every way, except the ability to play it on sofa. And yet I'm going to buy it. Why? Fuck knows. I've a ton of PC games and an everquest sub that I never play, yet I'm going to buy xbox live. There must be some kind of subliminal messaging going on here, I can't fucking explain it. Can you?

Thursday 13 March 2003

Holy Carshit Batman! [slim]

I know, I know, it's an old game, but I've only just started playing it after picking it up from HMV for a tenner. Why did they call it Project Gotham? Anyway, its MSR, but fixed, which is a big woot. I remember just how cracklike MSR was on the dreamcast until the glaring holes in the Kudos logic became apparent allowing you to sail through the thing without any challenge. It's easier if I just list what they fixed over msr, which was already a fucking top game:

1. The kudos is fixed. YOu can no longer cheat your arse off by complying with the victory requirements on lap one, then fuck around for hours earning kudos on lap to by driving up and down. Easy fix: a timer, don't complete a lap before the time runs out, end of game.

2. It's got a slightly different structure than I remember in that the single race, arcade race and time trial shit also earns kudos and cars etc. I don't remember this being in MSR, was it? Anyway, it's cool, it means you can jump off the campain mode for a quick race and still progress the game.

3. There's a subtle difference to the way kudos is scored, but it makes a huge impact on actual play. When you earn kudos, it doesn't go into the bank right away, it hovers for a few seconds. If you hit a barrier or a cone, you lose that kudos. Play it clean for a few seconds and the kudos is banked. Means you can't just blast around and not care how much you bash the car up, you need to drive clean as well as raw to earn those points. Completely changes the way you drive it, puts the emphasis back on good cornering and sliding as it should be.

4. You no longer lose kudos from being rammed...hurrah!

5. There's an extra city. No biggie really, many of the tracks are the same as msr's, but it had so many fucking tracks that it doesn't really matter.

6. Visuals are improved a lot. It was already a looker but now it's a stunner.

So that's it. You prolly all know this, cos PGR was an xbox launch game that any xbox owners played and completed. Still, I get there in the end :)

BBC gives Sky the arse! [lurks]

One of the things that always fucked me off about the BSkyB Murdoch empire is the stranglehold on satellite in the UK. I have no truck with someone setting up a satellite system as complete as Sky, they should be congratulated on that. And much as it annoys me, I must also take my hat off to them for coming up with the proprietary encryption system Videoguard and, thus far, keeping it secure.
What fucks me off is the fact that the regular terrestrial channels have been bundled on the Sky model. A hell of a lot of people have been virtually conned into signing up to Sky because that's where you've had to go for the regular channels via satellite. It's particularly ridiculous when you look at the fact they still charge for their base package which is essentially comprised of content paid for by adverts and your license fee.
Well, tonight I got blindsided by the news that all that is set to change. See at the moment BSkyB is plonked on satellite transporters whose signal footprint targets quite a lot of Europe. So... the BBC (and ITV and Channel 4, 5 etc) has paid BSkyB millions of pounds to use those transponders. Then they all get encrypted with that annoying Videoguard stuff to keep Johnny Foreigner from watching the Beeb wot they didn't pay for, you with me?
Well what's happening is that the Beeb has given the finger to Sky and they're moving to a new satellite which has transponders tightly targeting the UK. Different satellite but pretty much the same orbital position of 28 degrees East so no one needs to move a dish or anything. As a result of that, they'll be going 'clear' or Free to Air. No viewing card necessary, no satellite receiver with decryption hardware necessary either. A practical upshot will be you can watch all the BBC content and even capture the raw MPEG2 to hard disk in your own PC-driven PVR solution. The same will doubtless be true of the commercial terrestrial channels too.
Of course the BBC will still have to pay Sky to keep the channel details on the EPG. That's the Electronic Program Guide, the thing you see on your Sky when you hit the tv guide button. See since Sky basically supplied the vast bulk of the digital receivers, they run a data service which contains a list of channels. Each channel with the appropriate frequency, horizontal or vertical polarization and the data rate or symbol rate. Oh and what's on that channel now, next etc.
Everyone needs to be on that and of course Sky have their own ideas on what should and shouldn't be on it. There's actually quite a lot of stations you can get on a Sky digibox by feeding in channels manually because they're not on the EPG. It seems likely they'll try play hardball, especially given the extra demands the BBC will place on the EPG via the shit load of extra regional versions of the BBC which they want to get on satellite (half the point of this move). So then the BBC will most likely have to go to the regulators.
However the BBC will be paying only £30K a year for that instead of the £85 million quid they were paying Sky for the 'privilege of being encrypted specifically for Sky's viewing hardware.
So this is all a 'good thing' really. Finally we'll be able to use PCs as PVRs for the main channels. Of course you'll always be SOL if you want a Sky-only station on your PC but then no one ever said Murdoch was a swell guy. Except for all the newspapers he owns of course.

20 Questions [lurks]

You really do have to try this. Go on, try fool it.

Wednesday 12 March 2003

Trying to resurrect webby... [lurks]

Given all the hard work we've put into building this site, I don't really want to see it die due to lack of Blog updates. :( So, err, here's an update on a couple of cool things I got in the last week or so. Firstly, I needed a digital camera. I needed one cheap, for eBay shit and arse all else. Well, maybe the pub. I've got one of those tiny L'Espion ones before which was what made me realise the way these things are going. A digital camera on a keychain that costs a coupla score!
Unfortunately it was a bit shit, not image quality (who gives a shit for the web) but the fact that it just refused to take a picture in low light. Which is useless for the pub and pretty stupid given it's a CMOS sensor so it can do it happily. Worse yet, if the AAA battery ran down (and it did all the time), you'd lose your pics.
Enter the Che-Ez Splash! Stupid name but basically it's a micro camera in the vein of the L'Espion that is actually practical. It's a fraction bigger but it's a vast improvement in many ways. How shall we count them? It's got a metal case, metallic chain holder (chain provided), look-through viewfinder, tripod mount screw (heh!), macro focus switch, better lcd status (on the back), 8mb of internal flash mem, 640x480 capture res, good quality USB cable and... get this... a dinky little snap on flash unit!
It takes 54 second AVIs, 219 pics on high compression, 155 on normal. It'll also do full rate video in web cam mode. And this really works, I used it to take a load of pics of my FM transmitter. It even comes in a cute metal tin. Basically it's the best thing evar and it only costs £50 from Amazon! Just the sort of thing you'd keep for the pub even when you've got a proper digicam.
Hmm I was gonna say what else I got then I realised no one would be interested them... Oh yes, maybe this. I'm forever bitching that there's not enough light in my lair when I want to find something or do some electronics work or something. I didn't want to get a big nasty 150W bulb since I'm a bit of a greenie and all that, so I plumbed for one of these compact florescent jobs. A new one which is rated at 22W, supposedly equiv to about 110W of a normal incandescent bulb. Fuck me it is too. We've got one in the bedroom and that's cool but this one is *really* bright. I like the soft start of these things too - especially when you flick on in the middle of the night. :)

Sunday 9 March 2003

Raven Sheild SP demo rocks woot! [slim]

The sp demo is out - and it doesn't suck piss, woot! It's back to the Rogue Spear stylee this time out, with a planning stage and indoor maps and whatnot. The planing stage is superb, very detailed and with a little preview window of the area your planning through, top. The game itself is very like the old game, but with sooper unreal 2 graphics engine making everything look very sexy indeed. Tiny niggles are some ropey transition animations, spoiling the loverly team models, but apart from that it's all hot as hell. Woot!

Ooh oh, and they've changed the threat indicator again. In RS it was ok, you had to select it, and it showed a blob on a radar. In Ghost Recon it was on all the time, and sort of showed the directionish of the threat, it was a bit shit really. Well here the threat detector is heartbeat sensor goggles, which show through walls and shit where folks are. It's perfect