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Friday 31 October 2003

Conservative Resurgence II - The Re-Discovered Country? [brit]

As Iain Duncan Smith contemplates his future this morning, the spotlight searches desperately for his successor; a man or woman who must kick start the ailing Conservative Party and more importantly, reset the democratic balance in the House of Commons by acting as an effective and persistent member of The Opposition.
In my mind, the democratic process has never been at such an all time low in this country; the Prime Minister's leadership methodology borders on presidential (some might say dictatorial), which is not the system of government we support here; it is therefore vitally important that The Opposition be led by someone capable of generating the debate, asking the questions and ultimately seeking the answers, that Iain Duncan Smith so singularly failed to do.
It is in all honesty, unrealistic to expect the Conservatives to rally sufficiently to win the next General Election, such is their inherent malaise at this time; instead, it is time for the party that has in fairly recent history become an out of touch political laughing stock to turn it's fortunes around by behaving in a manner consistent with an organisation seeking the ultimate political authority in this country.
Personally, I feel Iain Duncan Smith was rather hard done by; a man who, granted, wasn't the most charasmatic and emotionally charged individual - until his back was against the wall, by which time it was too late - but who nevertheless believed passionately in his cause and who was inevitably brought down by his own party; a party that collectively has something of a penchant for backstabbing.
Much as I hate to admit it, the Conservatives now need another Thatcherite figure, for regardless of your feelings towards her, Margaret Thatcher was one of the most powerful and influential figures of her time; whipping both the Conservatives and indeed the country into (some sort of) shape whilst increasing the UK's world standing a thousandfold. Is this person Michael Howard? I'm not entirely convinced.
As the moment there are three contenders, if the press are to be believed; David Davis (not a chance, too inexperienced and just doesn't have the 'ooomph' factor so desperately needed), Oliver Letwin (even less of a chance, given that this man's political compass is slightly to the right of Hitler) and Michael Howard; the bookies' favourite, and a man with serious political capital.
To wrap up, I'm interested in seeing the Conservatives sort themselves out for one reason only; we need a decent, strong, visible and viable alternative to New Labour - a party which will hold onto power by something approaching default if things are allowed to continue...

Thursday 30 October 2003

Death to the underclasses [lurks]

Now, I'm aware that by reading a cross-section of my blogs and that of the Britmeister General, third party observers may take that view that the good ship EED carries tendencies to the right wing. Perhaps just slightly left to the left of Mussolini. Yet when we've profiled ourselves in the past via a political spectrum profiler (anyone got the link for that?), that's not quite the case.
However little gets the blood boiling more than the work-shy whinging-class scum which pollute the working classes of this country and try desperately, seemingly on a daily basis, to cripple our infrastructure with their bone idle communist ideals. Or more accurately the fact that they believe that money is something which just gets handed out by the State rather than being the blood sweat and tears of those in this country which pay our taxes to make things work.
Following what must be the longest and most rambling pre-amble for a blog since... well Amnesia's last one anyway, I shall finally get to the point. Postal workers. They're on strike. All across London. Again the capital is blighted by this underclass of work-shy peons. Once again, they're going to fuck up their own interests completely with this selfish and uncalled for action, because they're too stupid to step back from their post code pigeon holes and considered the bigger picture. (Can someone help me with a non-football 'own goal' type phrase?)
The bigger picture is this. Their company, that is the renamed Royal Mail (formerly the hilariously named Consignia) is losing a lot of money. By a lot of money, we're talking about a couple of billion quid in the last couple of years. That's about as much money as if you ripped out all of the spleens of the London postal workers and transformed them in a fiction alchemical process into the same weight of Microsoft shares. It's a lot of money.
Previously this group of pestilent baldrick clones had an agreement made through arbitration and approved by their union. Further action had been voted down so those which voted to strike, went on strike anyway and now we have the situation where the post is not working in or out of London and is unlikely to resume in any meaningful way this week either.
Of course, this action is running dangerously close to the point where it's the straw that breaks the camels back and spells commercial suicide for the royal mail. A couple of months back, when I was interviewing a director of for work, he mentioned how they had to take on board another carrier for their deliveries purely because they had no assurance that the Royal Mail would not go on strike (again) and thus they had to take their business elsewhere.
And for what? Because these guys HAD AN AGREEMENT and then walked away wanting more and decided to blackmail the firm by going on strike whether or not their official representation in the form of their very own union, agreed! Of course the union loves it anyway. They get to play it both ways now. They get to be militant but hold up their hands and go 'not me guv'.
This is what this country is coming to. Just like the fuckers that wont do their job on the underground and just like the militant and highly skilled (cough) tube drivers - all of these underclasses of fuckwits, collectively think that money just magically oozes out of automatic teller machines and has no correlation with ensuring that you do YOUR little bit of the equation so that your employer can make money and therefore keep paying you.
It's a massive lapse of logic by these tabloid-reading fucktards. The only solution is to annex some small country in Eastern Europe and repopulate it with the communist fucktards doing their best to destroy our country and our standard of living. Then get some people in who understand the basis ideal of a decent days work for a decent days pay. Then again, if any of these peasants could apply logic and add up, they would have stayed at school and got a proper job I suppose.
Which is why people like you and I have to do the thinking for them.

iTunes [drdave]

So I've been looking for a decent app to use as a library and player for my growing MP3 collection. 6000+ songs at the moment, so finding what I want to listen to is something like fresh hell. I've tried allsorts. Musicmatch, winamp 3, WMP. But to a man they're all a load of toss. I'd long hankered after a version of Apple's vaunted iTunes software - the library program that integrates with the iPod (coming soon to a Dave's Credit Card near you). Well, its finally out and available for us Windows monkeys.
After about a couple of days of fiddling with it, I have to say it is simply brilliant! It imported my tagged up collection of 6000 MP3s in about 5 minutes - compare this with an hour for MusicMatch, 3 hours for WMP. It is easy to navigate, and although it looks way too much like a mac program (so much so that it looks out of place), it is extremely fast. It reorders songs (by artist, album, genre, whatever) without skipping a beat.
It also does smart playlists... now, previously, I hadn't even considered the possibility of smart playlists. Now I'm wondering how I ever did without them. Its so simple that winamp should be kicking itself right about now (if it had legs, and/or was given to bitter self recrimination, which I don't suppose it would be). Just put in a simple pattern ('where Artist contains Marillion'), set some limits ('25, random matching tracks') and Bob's your uncle. Great! Better still, you can conjour up complex rulesets to allow you play your favourite tracks uniformly - tell it to pick all high rated tracks, not played in the last 2 weeks. There you go... you'll never find yourself stuck in a Neil Young rut ever again. Or maybe you're having Pedro Fernandez and his adorable wife around to supper, but you're worried about setting the mood just right... simply create a playlist that picks out all 'latin', 'salsa' or 'mambo' music, and excludes anything with any taste o! r quality.
Potentially best of all (and I hate myself for saying this) is the iTMS. The music store. Though not available in europe at the moment, we're still allowed to browse and listen to samples - like pushing our noses against its metaphorical frosty window and peering longingly at its plump turkey. Its so fast! And nice! Album information, artist discographies, a range of listenable artists that makes eMusic look like a sick faggot.
Simply, it adds value to the internet music shopping experience. Okay, so there's mild DRM involved, but lets be honest, we're not going to get away with the kind of rogueish freedom that eMusic once offered. The RIAA just won't allow it, more's the pity. But Apple seem to have got away with putting in a small amount, but no more - you can still copy to devices, burn to CDs, or even share your playlist over a network. Great stuff. Best of all, they've packed the shopping section with features that are innovative and intriguing, albeit good marketing moves as well.
For example, they've signed up with Pepsi to give away 100 million free songs - find a code in 1-in-3 bottles, enter it into ITMS and download a track - simple, but brilliant. That's going to sell a hell of a lot of fizzy pop, mark my words. Next, they've implemented music allowances - and this is a killer feature! It allows parents to grant their kids, say, $20 a month of music downloads. You can set this to be recurring, automatically charging your CC. Think about it. Done properly, this is the perfect bone to throw the RIAA.
I find myself looking forward to it being rolled out for us lot, and reckon I'll give it a try if they keep the prices right ($9.99 != £9.99 for example).
Give it a go! Its free! Like your first snort of charlie.

Wednesday 29 October 2003

Halo revisiteth [am]

Despite having all my games on my old drive which is in Guinness 2, various one's of 'em are objecting to not finding the key to the game, presumably in the registry. Sounds a bit screwed up to me. But I thought oh well what the hell and reinstalled it having decimated my den to find the box - it was in the desk draw naturally. So given my new uberness, I let Halo configure everything (basically everything on, everything on high) and played through the first few chapters again.
Now this is hardly news but what a resource hog this game is! Every single ounce of my new rig's horsepower is necessary to play it at 1024x768 with all the gubbins. It can do it, but you can tell it's taking every single last slavering ounce. I mean it looks reet purdy and that but it did make me wonder a bit at just how this thing has been coded that a 3.2 p4 and a radeon 9800pro is sweating heavily. Another thing is that interestingly it doesn't seem to want to apply anti-aliaising when set from the mobo (everything still looked jaggy from time to time and in any event the frame rate was slowing). Finally, the oddest thing about getting some decent horsepower is that the Warthog becomes a damn sight more driveable. On my old system, the Warthog was very prone to drifting around and while the oversteer / countersteer thing is still going on, it's now actually feeling like it's gripping. Gone are the days of endlessly bumping into Convenant walls at high speed. I do love the game but I wish they'd coded it for PC and not Xbox first. Death to ports!

Tuesday 28 October 2003

It's time to start the music... [spiny]

.... it's time to light the lights, It's time to get things started, and put some pictures on the members page.

Monday 27 October 2003

Theres always one [pod]

I don't know how many of you goto comedy clubs but I went to one tonight. I really should go more often as I love live comedy. I have tickets for Izzard in december which should be a riot.
Anyway, this one I was at was called Backyard comedy and is owned by lee hurst of 'they think its all over' fame. We got lee 3 times between 3 other acts. They were all imo very very funny. The second guy was called tim vine. If any of you have ever watched 'the sketch show' then hes the blond one.
Now his set consisted of very similar stuff to the sketch show. Lots of quick and daft 1 liners and I mean very daft. Its very silly and good fun. However I suppose its not to every ones tastes.
Case in point was a woman behind me. She hated it. Now I can't care less what she likes but she was determined to tell the world. After every single joke she'd say 'Not funny' or 'Its middle class humor' etc.
After about the tenth time you start to get really pissed off. So you came he! re to laugh and now you want to slap the dumb (and ugly) bitch behind you.
It didn't stop there either. To make her point she then continued as Lee came back and during the third act with comments like 'now this is funny' and 'hes so much better'. Bitch!. Ruined an almost perfect evening. Why couldn't she just shut up.
It happened at the last comedy gig I went to too. Some girls at the front wouldn't stop heckling for no good reason at all. I think it probably put another 30 mins onto the show.

Happy Halloween(ish) - boo! scary! trick! treat! [brit]

Yes, it's nearly time to carve out a pumpkin, put an annoying child in it, and tumble dry the whole thing until Chrimbo! So, in spirit of the season, I give you a picture to get your Halloween Juices flowing!
Click here to see what happened to Grotbags
Editors note: those of you at work with an interesting take on what can and cannot be viewed through the miracle of the Electronic Device in front of you, best not click above.

Trimble; enemy of the peace process? [brit]

Round and round we go...
I think I know how to progress the peace process in Northern Ireland. Let's get rid of David Trimble; a man who whilst a few years ago was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his work in bringing the IRA to the table, now seems hell bent on ensuring that the conflict continues.
I've no idea why he should be acting in the manner he is, one can only speculate that should peace break out in that blighted corner of the world, Mr Trimble and other limelight-happy politicos will suddenly find the fame lamp switched off, and their profiles reduced.. in short, the conflict continuing suits him and what can only be a fairly huge ego.
Why do I say this? well simply because of his refusal to accept that the IRA is being transparent in it's decommissioning of arms. He is effectively saying to both the IRA and the Canadia general in charge of the decommissioning team (who oversee the destruction of weapons) that he doesn't believe they are doing anything of note; that their secrecy in discharging their obligations under the peace process is preventing the same from going forward.
Absolute crap David. When the General says that the IRA have put beyond use a substantial cache of arms and explosives, you damn well see that as a positive step, and continue the peace talks. You do not respond by informing the IRA that frankly, because they didn't give you an inventory of exactly what they destroyed, that you consider them responsible for the derailment (again) of talks.
Sort your goddamned priorities out Trimble, OR perhaps better for all, make room for someone who actually appreciates that the IRA is doing, and therefore allow the process to continue onward - this totally smacks of someone trying to milk a situation for what can only be substantial future memoirs.

Friday 24 October 2003

Clinton revisited; the Right Stuff(TM) [brit]

For many, President Clinton will forever be known as the man who got caught out by 'that' dress, and 'that' incident with a White House intern; like many influential figures, digressions tend to overshadow their otherwise ground breaking political achievements - in the case of Clinton, his revival of the American economy will always play second fiddle to anything involving Monica Lewinski.
However, unlike many of his predecessors, the man garnered an enormous amount of respect and indeed still has the clout and drive to continue delivering on what in retrospect were unfulfilled promises made during his terms in office - possibly one of the most important is his work to get much needed AIDS medication to Africa; a continent blighted by tribal squabbles, corruption and outstanding ignorance.
It was only very recently that President Mbeki (South Africa) acknowledged that there was an AIDS problem. Recent memory serves incredible reminders of how ignorant people can be - despite hundreds of thousands of his people dying from this disease, he (and his counterparts in other countries) refused point blank to see the truth.
A fantastic bit of news has hit the wires today however that offers some significant hope to those in desperate need of inhibitive and regressive drug therapy - denied them for decades through no fault of their own (a combination of war, drug cost, illiteracy, and political grandstanding has seen hundreds of thousands die before now) - that Clinton has secured a deal with AIDS drug companies to release such drugs to those that need them for less than one third of the cost.
The financial side of things that made this happen are undoubtedly hugely complex, but the important thing is that it has happened; and who knows, maybe now that it is clear that there IS a problem (from the point of view of those who deem themselves worthy of leading such countries) men like Clinton can put their talents to the best use; and help those who cannot help themselves.
Which for my money, is the whole point.

i18 [floyd]

Bah! had a look through the blog list but couldn't see a blog regarding = i18. I do realise some smart arse is going to paste it underneath!! Anyway, I am pretty much sorted now! Booked the days off with work, = sorted prices for cheap flights. It looks like =A3108 to fly to Luton and then = =A318 on the train which will get me to Newbury in 2 hours, so looking to arrive = on the Friday around lunchtime! So what's happening? Who's going? Have we got any 0wnerage arranged or = is it going to be off the cuff?=20

Thursday 23 October 2003

George Galloway exposed! [drdave]

Hello my little passion puppets. As the Doctor of Asstrology in the clan, I feel that I must alert you to a hidden danger that threatens us within the British Isles. As a sekret assvisor to the highest echelons of powah in these fair lands, I have been sworn to secrecy but now I see that the cat is out of the bag in relation to the individual most snappily known to those of us academia as the Labour MP George Galloway.
As you can see, the nation's press is hot on the trail of Mr Galloway's ill-gotten Iraqi gains. The media is claiming that Mr Galloway has received £375,000 of cold hard cash smuggled out of Iraq in through the oil for food program. Initial calculations provided some preliminary evidence that this may be the reason this stinky person was calling upon our troops not to fight in the war.
But my friends, the numbers did not add up. The equations of powah did not balance out. The mathematical and physical law governing the formation of spineless lefty scumbags (Documented in my latest book, available in all Dr Dave's good My Documents folders) has lead to a scientific breakthrough! Let us cry Eureka together my friends!
You see, it's not about the money. It's about the facial hair. Particularly moustaches. Nasty bushy taches with the absence of a full beard as so favored in my academic circles (well not I, I have yet to develop my own facial hair). Hairy Caterpillars is what we are talking about! Broom heads on top lips! Evil bushy turds just under the nose!
Dear reader I put it to you that Labour MP George Galloway was always a paid up member of the camel club and I present for you indisputable evidence!


London Underground - SACK SACK SACK [brit]

This is a major rant. You are hereby warned.
London Underground. Criminals. Charlatans. Liars. Incompetents. Tossers.
3 major incidents have happened in the last month, including 2 derailments - unless you live and work in central london and use the tube daily, you cannot imagine what it's like; the city becomes paralysed, other forms of transport can't cope, and things grind to a halt.
I for one am sick to death of it, and it only gets worse when I talk to a mate of mine who is a driver on the Circle Line; it appears that aside from the tube drivers and station staff, every other mother fucking wanker who works there is a workshy lazy non committed arsehole.
A case in point; the latest problem on the Victoria line. The train stopped, and it took NINETY minutes to evacuate the nearly 3,000 people trapped in and around the area affected. NINETY! - what sort of fucking asshole takes NINETY minutes to sort out a situation such as that?
Another one; the Hammersmith 'incident' - it is a well known fact that to all intents and purposes, the Circle line doesn't exist, it's a mash of Hammersmith & Metropolitan, and District lines. It's therefore controlled from 2 control offices (line controllers these morons are called) who on a frequent basis do not answer emergency calls via radio link, and who tend to ignore calls from Circle line drivers as they are deemed - in some twisted fucked up way - as the poor relation. Circle line drivers regularly have to pretend to be a H&M or D train in order to get a line controller to sort shit out.
The underground is I'm sure not short of cash. It is however utterly, UTTERLY awash with fucking pricks who have NO fucking clue or notion or desire when it comes to doing their job properly, professionally, and safely. Is there a way out? YES, I think so - I want every last drop of management, and support/maintenance staff SACKED. I want them replaced with an American management team, because lets face it, they don't have this problem and they know how to run a business.
Fucking sort it. Wankers.

Wednesday 22 October 2003

It makes you wonder why you bother! [brit]

So, after 9 months development (excluding 2-3 months planning) and spending a small fortune on dedicated video streaming hardware, I receive a message that basically makes me wonder why we bother.
The beta test for the new corporate global extranet - a system which has a hugely complicated yet extremely impressive permissions system spanning 100,000+ objects accessible by 12,000 users - went extremely well; nothing came of it which indicated that we'd have to revise any soft/hard launch date or otherwise derail things.
Until now.
Part of this project involved the creation of a pretty cutting edge (in terms of what this company has available to it) video database system - all creative work (print, press, tv, cinema, radio) was digitised and put online; users can do exhaustive searches and build their own playlists which they can share, save or best of all export to practically any digital format (including DVD and DivX) from anywhere in the world. Nearly 4 years worth of stuff is on there and running sweetly..
Quite literally an hour ago, I was informed that this component was no longer to be made available; the guts had been ripped out of the project's creative channel by people who a) are nothing to do with the project team, b) have no concept as to what the point of offering such creative work is and c) have not (and this is what I find most insulting) explained their reasoning - dictum has come down from on high, and I'm sat here getting seriously wound up by the fact that someone 7,000 miles away is telling me that I'm not trusted (essentially) to view creative work from other network agencies.. what am I going to do with it? sell it on? hardly.
Live date (which was to be 1700 GMT tommorrow) is now suspended until such time as decisions are made by those who haven't been involved. It's at times like this that I really do honestly wonder why I bother. The net result? my team and I have just had the 'almost done' feeling beaten out of us, my boss is pissed off, and the idea that the stupidly long working days may be coming to an end has just been thrown headlong out of the nearest window...

Can we save the internet? Or are peedos here to stay? [brit]

If the press is to be believed, there are probably more paedophiles online than there are genuine non sickos - as Chris Morris so put it 'recent government figures show an alarming trend, there are now more paedophiles than children in the UK'.
Or words to that effect.
In the last six months, the news wires have been running non stop with stories of evil old men (interestingly, I've never seen nor heard about any female peedos, do they exist?) lusting after children and using the internet as the primary tool to groom them until... the rest is well documented.
Recently, MSN shut down it's entire chat network because paedophilia has become the new facism (in terms of the immediate often ill thought out reactions I've witnessed of late) and the major downside to this, is that knee jerk reactionaries are now attempting to define the way the internet can be used for real time communication, and perhaps more worryingly are being listened to by people who should know better.
I don't honestly believe we're seeing a peedo explosion, as I don't believe we're watching London degenerate into a Jamaican Yardie playground; what is happening is that the media is now 100% 24 hour, and as such everything gets reported, regardless of relevance or (recent events run to mind especially), the truth.
But there is clearly a problem, and to my mind shutting off the likes of MSN chat in it's entirety will only make things worse in the long run. No, what's needed is a system to safeguard kids online by guaranteeing that the instant they enter 'a room', they do so in the knowledge that little 11 year old comic mad Billy really *is* that person and not a 42 year old sweaty ex-garage mechanic from Dunstable.
So how do we do this?
Shockingly enough, I've come up with the solution - and it seems so easy as to hurt my mind. Basically, if you want to get onto a chat server, you need to register with your parent or guardian for a special card. The kid gets one card, the parent(s) the other - each card has a 6 digit number on it.
When the kid joins a room, it asks for both sets of numbers; with the parent(s) card never being given to the kid - essentially preventing unmonitored or out of hours access (so the parents always know when their child is chatting online).
At the same time, the chat client filters all outbound messages based on the registration data completed by the parents when the card was applied for; so it automatically prevents the kid from telling anyone their address or other personal details.
Does that make sense to anyone? It does (kinda) to me, and seems pretty easy to implement.. but then hey, I'm not some self certified professor emeritus of internet safety (oh the yanks seem to breed those as quick as rabbits); perhaps that's where they're all going wrong.
Listen to EED. The crosshatch knows all.

Is your angel a.....Road Angel? [houmous]

Having had more points than most sensible people have had games of tenpin bowling over the years (?) and having just finished about 12 months on 11 points (deffo not funny - apart from fact I am on the road for work about 60% of the time I also live about 8 miles from the nearest town with no bus service to speak of i.e. ban + my life = a toilet) I have always been interested in speed detectors. Note Logic (or Comedy Dave by his EED monicker) that I am inserting a paragraph here :).
I bought my first one years ago when they were still thought of as illegal. Its inability to detect speed cameras was only matched by its ability to pick up taxi's, microwaves and CB radio. I binned it.
Roll on a few years and along comes one of my clients telling me about a company he has set up selling a new type of speed detector - the Road Angel. I succumb.
The first thing to understand here is that it doesnt detect things in some kind of radar way (well except for that thing sticking on my windscreen - more on that in a min hehe). Its a GPS device - you connect it up to your PC (serial port only - I'll have a word with him about that) and download all the co-ordinates of all GATSOs in the UK ). As you drive along it gives you your speed as per GPS, and in superb time via GPS positioning it starts flashing red and bleeping for every GATSO (and it only does it in the right direction - how does it do that?). *cough* another para coming up Mike :)
It will also flash at every offical blackspot location if you want (I dont want).So whats that thing on my windscreen? Thats for laser guns and mobile speed cameras and it does work, obviously, on some kind of radar detection. Havent had a chance to test that yet - I'll post when I do.
Conclusion: a well put together bit of kit which works superbly - but at a price! (£400 retail) and £50 per year after first year for the updates. They reccommend updating every 2 weeks. Web site is here.They are selling extremely well.
If any of you want one I've got dinner with the guy on Sat Oct 12 (night after EED dickens madness hopefully I'll be able to string a sentence or two together hehe) let me know and I'll see if I can get you one cheaper - realistically this will probably be a £100 off if I'm lucky!

Tuesday 21 October 2003

Feeling old [lurks]

How do you know you're old? I mean truly old. Today, I felt truly old for the first time. Why? My wife has bought me a pair of slippers...

Monday 20 October 2003

Attention all gear queens, celebration happening [am]

It's mostly Slim's fault. That and my Halo skills.
I was contemplating a rig update from my 1.2 athlon, original gf3 - no not a Ti-anything just a gf3 which by now occupies the sort of place in history that it's sprayed in british racing green, is usually seen at Houmous corporate hospitality events and is driven by Stirling Moss with sponsers 'SDR RAM', that sort of fing. But, it being a London thing I had said 'ahh fuck it' / 'nah fack orf' / 'fack orf you cunt' to myself a couple of times. Or more.
I bottled the upgrade a couple of times because, well it's a lot of cash and we're thinking of... ahhh shit... look I just bottled it. Then Slim pointed out something known as today-only spesh where you get typically a 10% off the going rate of generally *stuff* which is updated aroundabout 10 am every day where 'going rate' ='s cheapest stuff.
So, there I was, reading the misery-rag and choking down a mug of javarsnic this morning at the breakfast table ruminating not having not put through the transaction last night and I got hit by the fact that I am *really* enjoying MP and SP Halo (buy it you muppets) and that my framerates suck big style. And then with a general step to the left and a jump to the right, a small matter of kicking over the kitchen table, charging down the highstreet to quaff cheap brandy through a straw, giggling over my credit card and generally webbing it while jumping up from time to time and jumpthrusting my crotch at my tft shouting 'you know you fucking want it, you fucking love it!!!!', well by a couple of hours later I had bought;
2.8c P4 800 Asus P4C800 Mobo (see Lurks blog) 1 gig Corsair matched CAS2 3200 ddr 400 memory Crucial Radeon 8000pro
Paris is close but Mumbai may be more my fallout zone once the missus processes this.
Anyway, the point of the blog, is that there's a shit kicking system here to be done and The Lurker, since he is our own Masterchief, is going to come up to my gaff and walk me through a pc-build after which we need YOU to get upayard and come out for some cheeky Saturday beers and a little bit of acshun. So you're warned fuxaches. Details to follow.
You up for it or are you going to lie ahead going 'boo-hoo Am, my Maaam won't let me?'. Hell no! Post up marines - we're going out and it's electricdeath styllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....

Concorde rocks, I don't care what you say! [brit]

Oh I'm SERIOUSLY not happy with this woman. BBC News saw fit to give her front page treatment earlier, allowing her to out smug everyone on the grounds that in 1960something she said concorde was a waste of money that was doomed to failure.
My GOD. Thank fuck there aren't many of these people allowed out in public; I dread to think what she'd have made of the space race, or virtual reality, or any other enormous technical leap which involved dreams being mixed with risk to reach reality.
And above all, she looks so sour as to suck the life out of any party just by being on the same continent... go away you evil harridan!

Porn, your inbox and the law [slim]

There was an article in my local paper this week about a guy who'd been found with some very illegal porn in his internet explorer history folder. He said they were from unwanted emails he'd received that were deleted right away. Now this can go both ways, the IE cache could on the one hand be a defence for a genuine perv scumbag, or it could be a pot of evidence against an innocent man. I know I get some pretty grubby emails that I definately didn't ask for, and I delete them. But I know IE does cache pages automatically, and outlook uses IE to view html emails, and if I don't clear out that cache, those dodgy images are still around. What have I done wrong?
This guy got booked for it, and will probably go on the sex offenders register.
My wife recieves more porn spam than I do, not sure why, some scumbag's got her email from somewhere and decided it'd be a good idea to chuck this stuff her way. Does she want em? No! So I set up spamassasin, all the porn gets filtered into a folder called 'spam', unread. You think our courts are going to know what that means if she gets accused of anything? I don't.
What happens if someone who doesn't like you subs you up to a child porn list and phones the police? Vile I know, but what could you do about it? Is the law up to date enough to take into account your complete lack of control here?
Take a look at your own inbox and have a think about it.

Sunday 19 October 2003

UK rail disease hits the tubes [lurks]

There's been a derailment on the tube for the second time this weekend. This time it is my local tube line. Two in a weekend, both from cracked/damaged rails. These things are supposed to be analysed by ultrasonics but clearly the same disease of contractor incompetance and complacancy which has plagued the national railways is now infecting the tube.
Something needs to be done. While the tube will cry for billions more of taxpayers money, no one will actually tackle the problem that railway maintenance staff are one of the worst and most skiving forms of partially-skilled labour seen in this country and no one appears to want to sort out the management of these operators. Why is that? Have we turned into a France-like haven of workers-rights, powerful unions and lunacy so that everyone is more concerned with the working week hours and complying to EU regulations for tea-breaks than they are concerned about running a decent public service which doesn't crash and kill people on a regular basis?
I don't know the answer but I'm becoming increasingly angry with the state of our railways and the tube. I could tell you untold horror stories about my comuting rail line, operated by WAGN. About how even the London terminus on the line doesn't have display boards telling you of departures (at Morgate) and how none of the signs work on any station on the line. More worryingly, there's serious jars at parts on the line - exactly the same sorts of jars which the drivers and staff ignored on the WAGN routes which lead to the Hatfield disaster.
The problem surely has to be accountability. We need a new contract with those working on the railways. They need to be made to understand that they are paid to uphold a certain standard. There should be accountable management where the buck stops. Management in charge of the actual skiving scumbags you see permanently on tea-break while you snail past on your delayed 07:45 train to work.
These people are paid well given that it's essentially unskilled work which requires just a few weeks training. Yet they don't do their job, people die so there must be accountability. Managers need to be prosecuted for criminal negligence. The message must be sent out, either do your job properly or go sell the big issue. Britain has had enough of third-rate dangerous railways causing us to be the laughing stock of Europe because you work-shy scumbags wont do the job you are paid to do.

Cleartype on XP [lurks]

Y'all know about Cleartype right? It's the font smoothing shit built into Windows XP. Interestingly, how well this works often depends how the actual electronic configuration of your monitor. Some TFTs have BGR elements instead of RGB, for example. Turns out Microsoft has an applet which allows you to set this up.
Give it a bash! Definately worth a fiddle if you're a TFT owner and I know there's a fair few of them within the hallowed halls of Electric Death.

Didoitus - help needed [houmous]

I was wondering whether any fellow EEDer's could help me with a serious problem. I recently 'obtained” a copy of Dido's new album 'Life for rent' for my girlfriend - however due to a momentary lapse of concentration I did not have my chauvinistic force field in place when she first played it (Dido - poncy songs for screwed up birds pah!) and to my horror realised that I was enjoying what I was listening to!
I now get up every morning and put the album on - and then go on to listen to it 2 or 3 times a day - i.e. I am now a regular user.
I have done a careful 'lump test' on my chest i.e. to see if I have started to grow breasts and can find nothing - but it must now only be a matter of time....
Has any one else had a similar experience who can advise me how I can rectify this particularly unpleasant viral attack on my male physique. LetÂ’s face it I've got this far without having any idea about how to understand women - why on earth would I want to start now?
All suggestions gratefully received.

Friday 17 October 2003

Death to AMD [lurks]

When a tech vendor produces a product which stinks and you get burnt laying out good money for poor results, there is a certain momentum to overcome in swinging your favor back to that company. ATI are probably a good example. Nice hardware but shit drivers, we refused to believe they were any good for a good part of the time after they had got their act together.
There's another company, though. AMD. AMD used to mean Intel beating price to performance ratio and overclockers dream. Unfortunately for me and a number of others, it was also synonymous with unstable systems. Locked up AGP busses at random, endless stupid driver updates for VIA mobo chipsets and so on. I would have fucked off to Intel but they were just not competitive in any way in the P3 era. However, since I've had a rock solid AMD system for a good deal of time, when Intel pulled ahead with the P4 (for media encoding and games etc), I stuck with my trusty AMD - mainly for the saved cash.
So I bought an Athlon XP 2500+ Barton core and modestly overclocked it so it ran at a shade over 2GHz. Fast, cool, stable, right price. AMD teh win!!!1 ? Or maybe not... Today I boot up my PC and I have apparently got an Athlon XP 1900+. So I demolish the machine, check that conductive silver thermal paste hasn't monkeyed up the multipliers. I check the pins. I check the mobo. Reseat. Same deal.
Further elimination called for. Monkey with multipliers by hand. Just wont work. It's locked at a multiplier of 11 and that's it. What the hell is going on? Maybe my mobo is fucked? More likely than the CPU surely? So I put the CPU in an Asus Terminator system. It had the FSB at 100MHz for a Duron, sure enough it says 'That's a 1.1GHz Athlon'. Consistent with this CPU just magically re-wiring it's multiplier.
I decide to check the mobo again. I dig up an old 1700 sitting in a draw, slap it in the machine and sure enough it posts correctly and then promptly fries itself since I wasn't holding the CPU heatsink on properly. I type this from my lair, surrounded by that ominous burnt lacquer smell you get when electronics overheats.
So I put the Barton back in and just crank up the FSB and shrug. It's tipped me over the edge. Fuck your Athlons, fuck you AMD. It's time to get a new mobo and CPU. And maybe we'll talk about Athlon 64 this time next year, you wankers. Time to order some decent Intel gear.

Sunday 12 October 2003

eMusic sucks [lurks]

Emusic, we loved it! A monthly sub got you access to a proper music service which specialised in lots of underground stuff you wouldn't ordinarily hear. Also there was no lame DRM shit, just vanilla MP3 and proper VBR as well. Your monthly fee got you as much as you could download. They stopped people from being stupid by forcing you to use a little download app which would only download one tune at a time. Not a bad idea, worked well. Good value, top stuff.
Unfortunately they got bought out and then without warning, announced the following:

Unless you visit the link below and notify us of your intention to cancel your subscription prior to November 8, 2003, your Emusic subscription will convert into Emusic Plus. Under Emusic Plus, you will be billed $14.99 per month for access to the service with no minimum monthly commitment, but you will be limited to no more than 65 downloads during your monthly billing cycle.

Actually, I got another e-mail offering me $9.99 for 40 a month initially. At any rate, that's utterly ridiculous. If it was all grade A material on there, then maybe but they just don't have the content. Emusic was all about speculative downloads. You'd leech some stuff and have a listen at your leisure. Most of it was, quite frankly, turd. However there were some gems in the rough and that made it worthwhile.
But a tenner a month (in real money) for 65 tracks? Fuck that.
The mass cancellations began, of course, and they took their forums down - the pussies. I and pretty much everyone else resolved to leech like a bastard for the time remaining. Emusic cottoned on to that and cancelled my account immediately (violating what they had said they would do when I cancelled the acocunt) and refunded me 50c to my credit card.
My god, what a complete and utter shower of arseholes.

Friday 10 October 2003

Attenshun! Drinking houmous acshun! [am]

Right you horrible lot listen to ME! Stop shuffling Pod. Pay attention Corporal Adair! Next week one week today which is to say 7 days - you know how to count to 7 don't you Corporal Spiro don't you, you horrible little man - on Friday the 10th General Houmous will be in town to parade himself around Canary Wharf and conduct a classified meeting with Field Marshall Lurker in the early hours of the next morning.
So! I expect every last man jack of you who can to make a date in your diaries, spit on your shoes and polish your rag until you can see you helmet in them and present yourself for parade and regimental beers. NO lame excuses - it's the last of summer beers. All lurking posters welcome. Now Field Marshall Lurker - what say you we do some bars in Canary Wharf to allow all the young lads to look at young ladies and let off some steam? Or shall protocol dictate The Dickens?

Thursday 9 October 2003

Internet over ethernet, history becomes the future. [brit]

I had an interesting, albeit 5 hour long, meeting this morning with a possible new connectivity provider.
The incumbent provider manages 2 * 2MB active lines into the building (500 people + ancillaries) in addition to providing a 34MB tail, should we want it - legacy agreements state that this provider has always been renewed in contract terms and as you can imagine, such a service is costly.
Anyhow, we've been looking at internet via ethernet of late, and this morning we assembled the crack technical squad and deployed to the offices of exponential-e; a fairly new (founded 2000) technology company with some pretty impressive stats and a fluid and equally impressive sales patter.
I'll cut to the chase; how does a 10MB line for £18,000 a year strike you? It struck us as pretty awesome; given that the likes of BT and MCI Worldcom will charge you about the same for a fifth of that.
So, the meeting went on, the network and company history was explained and then we got to see it in action - I ran three tests... first up,'s movie trailer site; the Kill Bill trailer (largest possible size) initialised and ran almost immediately - the file itself which must easily be in excess of 50MB, streamed flawlessly.
Next, a MS Windows update download - some 70MB which even though it was coming from MS's servers stateside, whacked out an impressive sustained 1.05mb/s throughput and delivered the entire file in under a minute.. my mind immediately thought of gaming patches, demos, and pings. Naturally.
A colleague of mine wanted additional proof - so he got it; the first Redhat 8 .iso (disc 1) from Redhat's mirror in the UK; some 670MB. How long? 9 minutes. It actually took longer for Windows to copy it to the desktop from temporary storage than it did to download. Impressive stuff.
The problem is, I came away thinking it's all a bit good to be true. Granted, you can't get it to your home and they are pitching solely at Medium -> Large enterprises, but even so - this much bandwidth on a guaranteed legacy debt and technology free network for that price? My Cynic Protocol has been blaring at me all afternoon.
The throttling and routing options were extremely impressive too; implentation of an address-space specific VLAN solution within your 'cloud', based on service access and tied down to MAC address and IP.. within 2 hours - it sounds like a tech directors wet dream, but again, CP kicked in and I've been hunting for information since I got back.
So, has anyone been playing around with this tech? (this crowd are not ipv6 ready, or intending to be for a while, fyi) and more importantly, does anyone know anything about exponential-e? Answers on a postcard please....

Wednesday 8 October 2003

PC luggage [lurks]

I haul a laptop to and from work all day. Since it's an ultra-compact Sony Tr1mp, as covered earlier, a standard laptop bag is a bit stupid. Recently when visiting a distributor at work, I was shown a range of computer luggage type stuff from an Italian crowd called Tucano. Quite simply, the build quality is amazing. This stuff makes Targus look very cheap indeed. If you're in the market, you really should check these guys out.
Now, their English web site basically isn't done but they've got a load of PDFs up here of their brochures. If you find something you like, you can buy any of the range from a crowd called Meroncourt. These guys are a distributor but they also dabble in retail and can get you any Tucano product you might want from the range in the PDFs. I cannot recommend Tucano stuff highly enough. I'll bring my new 'postal bag' style job down to the pub on Friday and maybe some guys can post some opinions on that.
Italians building high quality stuff? Surely some mistake! Maybe they should do some consultancy for Alfa Romeo...

Monday 6 October 2003

You can't go wrong with a CS blog [beej]

Okay, check these out:

Familiar maps? Hope you recognise 'em! :-) It's a shame that we don't have cross-platform players on the same server, that would be utterly ruling and a step towards persistant and genuinely massive multiplayer online gaming.

UFO Aftermath [slim]

Is actually not too bad. It's not OMG ITZ UFO!!!111 But it is a very solid and fun game. I think the biggest loss from the original is the comic bookie futuristic feel. This is now very low tech, projectile weapons, choppers, monsters instead of aliens.
The engines full 3d, and very easy to turn and tilt around to get a good view of things. The actions real time, with pauses rather than turn based, and in reality kind of plays like a baldurs gate/kotor stylee, although it has got an auto-pause when your units spot something or requires a command.
It has the world map, and bases and research and all, but it doesn't seem to have base building. It does have the squad training and experience stuff though.
It's somehow got a sort of sharewarey feel about it though, can't quite put me finger on why. I think it's the art, it's slightly amature for some reason.
Anyway, if your a UFO fan it's prolly worth a look. If you like squad based strategy/rts its also worth a look. If you want something fast paced and very slick, prolly best look elsewhere.

Saturday 4 October 2003

Halo me harties [slim]

Ahar me harties! Dirty pirate that I am, I leeched Halo for the PC and so did some of my dodgy buddies.
The single player is a bit choppy on the pc, fuck knows how they managed that given the hardware in the xbox, but hey ho.
Now Halo multiplayer rocks, we know this. Theres a patch out that lets you play it online, so we did. Now the problem is that it's an almost identical port of the xbox version, so there's piss all in the way of decent online options. YOu can host an internet game, PEER TO PEER only, no dedicated server. This is a pain in the tits because halo would lend itself quite nicely to games with lots of players. This way you're talking six players maximum without uber lag.
The worst bit though is that there's no map rotation or out like that, so each time youv'e got to restart the multiplayer game to change the fucking map. Soft as fuck.
Once you get going it is good though. The vehicles work well, the maps look nice, and the speed is about right for old gits like me. Sniper is a bit too wafty perhaps given that you run around quite slowly, but as ever not running around on your own can counter that quite effectively.
Genuine shame, I recon halo could do well multiplayer on the pc if they could sort som e of this shit out :(

Friday 3 October 2003

Valve lose HL2 source; what next for this troubled game? [brit]

So, Half Life 2 has been buggered in the worst possible way; the core physics engine source code, audio libraries and resource packs have been liberated illegally from the Valve network, and are now 'in the ether'.
This could bode extremely bad news for what promised up until this development, to be a revolutionary game in the genre; I've no idea who stole it (everything from script kiddies to industrial espionage will go under the spotlight) but it does leave the unpleasant notion that whoever has the code can now develop all sorts of patches, cheats and whatnot for it.
It also demonstrates just what sort of lengths people like this will go to to steal something; the covert nature of the hacking alluded to by Valve (and let's face it, their dev network will be pretty damn secure for obvious reasons) indicates a serious knowledge of what was what on the other side of the firewalls; and I can't but help consider that this may have needed inside help..
I do hope Valve catch the shit(s) responsible.

Wednesday 1 October 2003

What is best? [am]

I'm suffering from Halo Halo Syndrome. This is like Lurker Halo Syndrome in some respects as it involves much swearing but this time it's swearing at your hardware instead of your clanmates and general members of the public. Especially on the South coast. But while LHS generally provokes much hilarity (unless you happen to live locally in the aforesaid costal region), HHS does not since what I am talking about dear readers (and Lurker will only complain about getting lost by now as he always does about my blogs so let me get to the point), what I am talking about is the fact that my hardware is not really up to playing Bungie and Gearbox's new spanko game when it comes out on the 10th.
Now ok Guiness will play it at lower framerate - say oooh 30fps at 800x600 but that's not what PC games are all about is it? No matron. We want pixel shaders and we want particle effects and we want them splooging all over the place like Slim in a kimono.
Dear readers, we're talking upgrade time.
Yes its undeniable, Guiness needs to get semi-retired or more likely have the mobo, cpu, memory and gfx card ripped out and replaced by something that looks like it's come straight outta Roswell. What was once the proud beauty with the devil in her eyes is now a insomnial trailer queen hustling for drinks in a cheap bar. So the question is this - what does anyone recommend? What - as Ali G once said before you saw him one too many times and took the recoiless semi-automatic opt-out option on your tv - what is best?
For gfx card I think we're set - it's ATI all the way girls as the Half-Life 2 debacle has shown. Going mid range the next gen which in performance terms is going to alledgedly do the equivalent of opening Nvidia's garden gate gently, tiptoeing quietly down the path, pause to stroke the family puppy and then blow the living bejebus out of their crib with about two and a half tons of semtex.
For CPU I'm thinking perhaps it's too soon to go AMD64 although the lack of heat and therefore noise is attractive so definitely maybe as the missing links from Manchester once crooned. Or are we talking P4 2.4c per Spiny's mail the other day which is supposed to offer the ability to clock to 3ghz? And heat your house for you at the same time. See there in lies the conundrum
For Memory - I'm frankly lost on all the types at the moment. Will someone help the terminally challenged part of my brain that refuses to register on this subject. Even I know this will be conditional on chip set.
For Mobo - haven't got a scooby or a scrappy.
So what's the finking here professors? Exercise your bonce and let's whip out those recommendations....