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Friday 27 February 2004

Does the OSA mean a damn thing any more? [brit]

OSA. The Official Secrets Act.
When I signed this, on two separate occasions, I took it very seriously indeed; I knew that after signing it I would be privy to privileged information - none of which I have ever had the need or want to divulge to anyone outside of the environment in which it was signed.
The OSA is a critical part of the work undertaken by many people on a daily basis, and in the last week I've seen two people break it with virtual impunity and get away with it.
I understand that those involved in the situations now splashed over our papers and screens had concerns about the information they were handling from a personal, moral perspective.
That's fair enough, but if you don't want to see upsetting or contrary information then don't go and work for GCHQ, or don't get involved in politics; it's a no brainer.
I'm really quite angry that Claire Short seems to think she's above the law, and simply cries 'conscience!' when anyone questions her..

Thursday 26 February 2004

Its Showtime! [spiny]

Well, 'Showtime' is the player. The actual codec is MPEG4. I took Nero Recode for a spin today & thought the results were worth a blog.
The DVD decoding & MPEG4 encoding is implemented in Ahead's 'Nero Recode' application delivered with Nero Ultra Edition. From what I can remember reading, it encodes bog standard MPEG4 in a standard MPEG4 container with an AAC soundtrack. The unfortunate thing is that subtitles are done in a non standard manner, so fuck things up as I understand it. The upshot is that the only application that will play these files is the Nero Showtime player. They don't even provide a direct show filter so other apps like media player can use the codec. IIRC its licencing bollocks getting in the way. Of course this stops it playing on lounge boxes like the KISS players. Oh and you can't split the files.
So, what's good then? Well, it's very easy to drive as you can imagine, it's as quick as lightning, it DOES play fine on the Xbox Media Centre. The picture is a bit soft compared to Xvid & the overall quality isn't quite as good, at least on my 1400Mb test encode of 'Octopussy'. There's quite a few options to tweak but I haven't had chance to test those out yet. Theres a guide on doom9 which I may give the once over.
Overall, quite an interesting experiment, but stick to DivX or preferably Xvid.

Wednesday 25 February 2004

Your home is at risk from migrants (or other loan secured on it) [brit]

Is it possible to have a sensible discussion on migration these days?
Not if you're the editorial team behind such borderline fascist publications as the Daily Express or the Daily Mail, obviously.
10 Eastern European countries are shortly to join the European Union and if The Daily Spirits of Adolf are to be believed, a virtual tidal waive of shoeless gypsies will engulf you all as a result.
Drives me mad!

Friday 20 February 2004

Marshmallow anyone ? [spiro]

As a kid I used to build camps in the woods, steal matches from the parents and start small fires. Discovering that wet wood doesnÂ’t burn till its dried out and that starting with small twigs first provides you with a better fire.
There are a huge number of substances that can aid in starting a fire, petrol, white spirits etc. At some point or another IÂ’ve poured just about anything I could get my hands on into a fire and watched for spectacular results.
In my teens I discovered potassium nitrate and experimented with gunpowder. I must admit thought that apart from some fairly poor example of fireworks I never managed to actually blow anything up.
I had my fair share of accidents as well. Nothing major and IÂ’ve always managed to prevent it from spreading too much further. Unless youÂ’ve seen how fast a fire can spread you have no real idea at how quickly a small fire can become an inferno. In all this time one thing I always did was to ensure that the fire was totally out before leaving, simple reallyÂ…. Well you would of thought so!
Last night at home, IÂ’m having dinner and drinking a bottle of wine. Watching a review of the Rugby World Cup on DVD. Both my flatmates are in and cooking so I wasnÂ’t surprised to smell burning from time to time. At one point I got up and switched off the oven that had been left on, expecting this to be the cause of the smell.
An hour or so later (plus a bottle of wine) I notice that the flat is actually very smoky and its time to discover why. Nothing in the kitchen is left on or burning. Time to open a window and get some air.
My bedroom window is already open and all I can see outside is smoke bellowing up the back of the extension downstairs. Thinking back now my next actions were very silly. I climbed out of my window and on to the roof of the extension, walking to the edge I find myself looking at a scorched garden full of wood and rubbish. Some still on fire, some smouldering. Either way this isnÂ’t good.
It looks like someone has started a small bonfire to burn off excess wood and left it unattended once itÂ’d died down. Unfortunately it didnÂ’t stop there and started to work its way across the garden towards the buildings. When I discovered it, the bags of rubbish against the building wall were already smoking heavily, the addition of chemicals (possibly not flammable I donÂ’t really know) and white spirits in the garden made for a pretty unpleasant situation.
Fire Brigade were called out and the fire extinguished. I was so angry last night with who ever had left it unattended for stupidity on an enormous scale, but also with myself for removing the battery from our smoke alarm. I wonder how long it would have been till I noticed if my window had been shut and how far the fire may of got.
One things for sure, after a bottle of wine, had I gone to bed, I probably wouldnÂ’t of been woken by the smell of smoke.

Monday 16 February 2004

Definition of irony? [muz]

What is the definition of irony? While I'm sure there are various racial and occupational stereotypes that the other members of the crosshatch will be only too happy to enumerate, I myself would like to add a new one to the list:
'Right-wing Asian student coming home to find BNP recruitment flyers in letter box.'
Photos of said flyers may be viewed here, here, here, and here.
Do you get the feeling that they failed to ascertain the nature of the residents before leaving said flyers, perhaps? :)
There are some very interesting claims on there... apparently it costs the UK £1.25 million per hour to be a member of the European Union, and asylum seekers get free 20' colour TVs and have their licence fees paid for them every year. I shall leave it to the more vitriolic members of the clan to debunk these claims. I for one will return to attempting to control my bladder while collapsing into a fit of hysterical giggles.

Friday 13 February 2004

Greeting cards - a licence to print money [brit]

Popped into the card shop at Paddington this morning to pick up a belated birthday card for my brother; figured I'd nip in, grab something fairly non descript and get it out to him in the late morning post.
Picked one up, a bog standard 12cm by 12cm (approx) no-greeting (left blank to write your own!) job with some minimalist design on the front, as he's into that minimalism crap; and walked up to the till. Plonked it down and got asked for £3.75
Nearly four fucking quid for a piece of paper and an envelope! How the hell do they get away with this sort of shit? Oh, that's how - rather than remonstrate over the overpriced nature of their goods, I bought it. For the price of that card I could have bought him 1.3 pints of Stella in the station pub; I know which he'd rather get.
Course, it's Valentines tomorrow, so every commericalised card touting nobber on the face of the planet is going to be pumping out tat and making a bloody fortune.
Must go buy one :)

Thursday 12 February 2004

Call this justice? [brit]

I couldn't believe this story.
An illegal immigrant, denied asylum and supposedly deported by the Home Office drove into and killed a nine year old whilst driving a car he was not entitled to drive (no license) or insured on.
The initial sentence of 8 months was a travesty from the outset; especially when you consider that just last week a mother who killed her daughter and her friend's daughter by speeding (the kids were passengers in the car when it crashed) was sent down for 2 years.
Now the judge has been forced to reduce the sentence to 6 months because of a technicality (quite what that is remains unclear) and following normal procedure the shit will be out of jail within three months if he behaves whilst inside.
THREE months for killing a child.
Absolutely disgusting.

Programmer humour [spiny]

Just found this on msdn:
#!/usr/bin/perl # # # # If this code works, it was written by Keith Brown. # If not, it was written by Don Box. #
Funny guys eh? (cringe)
So, comeon, what are you're favourite programmer funnies?

Flight controllers [muz]

I am what you might call a bit of a sim nut. Helicopters, space sims, mech games, you name it, I've played it at one point or another. Mainly with the aid of my trusty Saitek Cyborg 3D. A truly fine piece of engineering, it has been my ally in the never-ending fight against the German war machine in Il-2 Sturmovik, the Shivan horde of Freespace 2, the Red Menace in Enemy Engaged: Comanche Hokum, and (most recently) the terrorist scum in the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942. It's also been dead handy when playing various Mech games, but to be honest, they're not as interesting, so I'll spare you the details.
While playing Desert Combat, I noticed that my control of helicopters seemed a little... off. Not to worry, says I, it's probably just the engine and the poor joystick components of DX9. How wrong I was.
After the crushing disappointment I suffered at the hands of the Deus Ex: Invisible War demo chronicled in blog 574, I understandably approached the sequel to another of my all-time favourite games, X2: The Threat, with more than a little trepidation. I needn't have worried. X2 appears to be a fine successor to it's namesake; a huge, living, breathing universe in which the player is free to pursue his goals through any means, fair or foul, all set against the dramatic backdrop of an impending alien invasion. Woot. (Expect a blog about it at some later date).
However, after being blown away by this masterpiece's real-time introduction sequence and loading up the first tutorial, I noticed something inconceivable: my ability to finely control the movements of my craft was almost non-existent! It appears, that after six long years of dedicated service, my Cyborg has finally succumbed to the ravages of age... specifically, the spring controlling the resistance to movement has weakened to the point that fine control of pitch, yaw, and rotation is nigh on impossible (this also explains the difficulties I was having with the helos in Desert Combat). It served its time well, and shall be missed.
And now, at last, we come to the point of this blog. I need a replacement. I have searched far and wide, and returned with a list of candidates that I now submit for perusal.
First, the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro. Only available from Game, as far as I could see, for the fairly steep price of £79.99. Essentially the same features as my Cyborg, with Force Feedback thrown in, and without Saitek's ninja programming software.
Next, the Sidewinder Precision 2. As above, minus Force Feedback, for £39.99. A possibility.
And now, Saitek's offerings. The original Cyborg 3D is still available for the bargain price of £22.91 from Dabs, but why settle for less? There are several successors to the Cyborg, however, there are only two of interest to me.
The Cyborg 3D Force Feedback, is, as it's name suggests, a Cyborg 3D with Force Feedback. The stick has almost all the same features of the original Cyborg, with the added bonus of being slightly more ergonomic, and looking that little bit nicer. Yours for an even £47 from Dabs. However, I must note an issue that concerns me - that of the layout of the buttons on the base. Firstly, they have gotten rid of the two shift buttons... this is fair enough, as where they were positioned on the old stick (right next to where the stick met the base) meant that they were awkward and inconvenient to use. However, the remaining four buttons have been moved to where the shift buttons were. Though they are not as close to the stick as the original shift buttons, this is not encouraging.
The other Cyborg option is the actual successor to the Cyborg 3D, the

The importance of being Kerry [brit]

A few months ago, a paper was circulated internally which attempted to address the increasingly obvious notion that generally speaking folk don't think too highly of Americans.
The fact that the Bush administration's foreign policies are about as popular as a romantic weekend in North Korea is well known, but it is now of concern to American corporations who are seeing a direct impact on their business brought about by burgeoning and ever vocal anti American sentiment abroad.
The situation, and solution is amazingly simple. A Republican as fundamentally incoherent and backward as George W Bush who is slowly turning the United States into a very real Orwellian society, has absolutely no place being the head of the world's most powerful nation.
If you accept that - and I'm quite sure based on his unilateral responses to any perceived threat since '911' you would do, then the situation can be rebutted by replacing him; with someone who appreciates the notion of level nation partnership and common sense.
This is where John Kerry comes in; the leading Democrat contender for the Democratic Presidential Nomination due shortly. I've followed the race for the nomination quite closely, because quite simply I believe that whoever steps up to number 1600 Pensylvania Avenue next has got to put a stop to Bush's awesomly dim forays into international life.
'Terrorism' is Bush's steadfast autonomic response when asked about anything from their hideous national debt, constantly faltering economy and appalling education services. 'Terrorism' appears again when people question the draconian measures filtering into every facet of daily life; yet only Kerry seems to have the ability to tell folk that really, it's mostly only so much bullshit.
It would take far more time than I have to explain exactly what the medium to long term effects would be of an American society living in the shadow of a non existant propogandised 'terrorist' threat - but I'm sure we can all see for ourselves that such a situation would be far from healthy.
Bush is killing off trust, peace and individual rights on a global basis and I truly hope that Kerry has the ability to kick him out of the White House; the American Presidential elections are one expression of 'democracy' (apologies to Mr Gore, he probably figured that they were indeed democratic) that affects the planet as a whole; and as such I sincerely wish the American electorate would remember that when they go to the polls.

Wednesday 11 February 2004

Should we be worried? [lurks]

I saw on the Guardian a disturbing story about a new rap music video put out by some young British muslim extremists. Apparently this is a popular in the radical circles and the song is called Dirty Kuffar, Arabic for dirty non-believer.
You can see the video here, it should be streamable on broadband but you can save-as too.
It's ... disturbing. It's the usual sort of muslim extremist nonsense and is full of a lot of violent video clips, crude captions and some morphing effects of key figures heads into pig heads etc. The bizarre bit, well like all rap I suppose, is that the leader is putting on the Jamaican accent to do his rap thing. Last time I checked, Jamaica didn't represent muslim extremists too well.
Near the end of the vid, the 'song' praises Osama Bin Laden, shows footage of a plane crashing into the world trade center and says 'Ha ha' followed by a background of laughing. Somewhere, in the UK, some of these poor sick misguided fuckwits went to the trouble to write this song, film it and then do all the editing etc. Right here in the UK. Is this typical teenage rebellious puff or should we be worried about attacks from these guys in the future?
The video leaves it in little doubt. Weapons brandished everywhere and calls to kill the unbelievers etc etc. The video was first posted on a site run by the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia. The boss of this crowd is al-Massari, who's been on our welcoming shores since 1994.
The guardian says;

Al-Massari did not see a problem in using Western music and MTV-like images to sell a message of jihad. He said that it was an effective way of attracting young Muslims who had been put off by other Islamic sects such as the Taliban, which banned music and dancing.

'I do not know of any young Muslim who has not either seen or got this video. It is selling everywhere. Everyone I meet at the mosque is asking for it.'

Then apparently he denied that the messages in the video incited Muslims to take part in terrorist attacks against the West, saying that the lyrics are only metaphorical. Um, right.
Two problems really, one that these pockets of people who made this video are lurking in our population and the second that moderates, if you can call Al-Massari one, are willing to apologise for them. Actually, this does worry me.

DC hints and tips [beej]

TIP #1! You can make a buddylist in 1942 and DC that turns players on the map from a normal arrow to a green one.
- get ID of player (from TAB or by typing 'lp' at console)
- type 'ab ' to add to buddy list
- type 'rb ' to remove from buddy list

Tuesday 10 February 2004

Phone Gadgets [spiro]

Ever since I bought my T68 I've been looking for gadgets for my phones like MP3/Radio. Not so much for every day use but something cheap and cheerful should I need entertainment.
I came across a tiny MP3 player (no longer being made) which could hold 10 tracks and simply plugged into the bottom of any SE phone. Unfortunately the interface with XP was shocking and you had to reduce the quality of the MP3Â’s so much they were almost inaudible.
But still it did what I needed it for, background noise. It also came with a laser pointer which although fun for cats and the occasional night out isn't all that useful
Seeing nothing else on the market except the hands free kits and headsets I stopped looking.
Today I found this
So anyone else got any cool phone or PDA gadgets ?

Monday 9 February 2004

A British Dream [brit]

The last few weeks have effectively destroyed my already tenuous belief that the Labour Party under Blair was capable of achieving great things. Regardless of whether or not you believe the veracity and authority of the Hutton report findings, I can come to no conclusion other than the simple fact that our top levels of government are incompetent self serving faceless suits, led by a man more keen on securing his footnote in history than anything else.
Over the next months we will watch our Intelligence Services tear themselves apart, with every mud slinging and blame laden exchange reported instantly across our burgeoning 24 hour media and tabloids; the net result will be (I predict) that any electioneering profit the Hutton report may have imparted on Number 10's incumbent will be washed away by a brutal tidal wave of public distrust.
To focus briefly on what is now becoming something of a Damocles Sword for the Ministry of Defence, MI6 and Downing Street, the '45 minute' claim has now been comprehensively shredded in terms of it's inferred meaning and those that committed the United Kingdom to a second Iraq conflict are shown to be complete imbeciles; incapable of either providing, or asking for, information which any member of Joe Public asks time and time again - '45 minutes? what does that mean exactly?'.
So I look to the opposition to provide balance, redress, and forward thinking suitable for these difficult times; and am pleased, if not a little dubious (policy is after all only finalised after the soundbites and surveys are tallied) at the Conservative's 'A British Dream'.
You may remember back in blog 551 I drew your attention to the possibility that in Michael Howard, the languishing out of touch 'old boy' Tories may finally find a man capable of presenting the electorate with a real choice come polling day; and it's with no small amount of pleasure that I read today his vision to create A British Dream.
The American Dream (aka 'Rags to Riches') is well known, after all their history is littered with ordinary folk ending up as the very greatest Americans at the top of their game; but as Michael Howard points out - in the USA, whilst the ability to achieve is there, those that do are generally the exception to the rule.
I suppose it's worth pointing out blog 621 by Houmous, regarding the often unpalatable and indeed sometimes uncomfortable notion of patriotism; or rather, the fact he is (like I suspect a lot of people) actually proud to be British. In America, such notions are embraced unashamedly, in fact often to a degree which is cringeworthy and bordering on embarrassing; but in Britain, to declare yourself a patriot, is to declare yourself anything from a xenophobe to a small minded fascist - certainly if the often raving left wing press are concerned.
I feel this is where my tentative support for the Conservatives is starting to come from; in defining such a bold vision as a 'British dream' and yet instill the notion of practical achievable goals (which in fairness, boil down to money and success) we have the possibility that they are moving the idea of openly expressed patriotic feeling into mainstream politics; outside of course the traditional pomp & tedium of state 'celebrations'.
Of course, there is an enormous way to go before press calls and soundbites resolve into anything concrete; but for now, I have to say that Michael Howard has put his best foot forward and let's hope continues to do so.

Restoring my faith in TV (Angels in America) [brit]

Last night saw the final part of the 6 hour long (2 * 3 hour episodes) HBO epic, 'Angels in America'.
Quite simply this film - an adaptation of Tony Kushner's play of the same name - was awesome; absolutely stunning, and had us hooked from the very start.
Set in New York during the mid 80's AIDS epidemic, it looked long and hard at difficult questions, rolling the unhappy bedfellows of politics, religion, relationships and sexuality around with enormous skill; and setting against it a cast which couldn't have been any better.
Al Pacino produces what is already (and I agree completely) being known as his best ever career performance, as one of the two principal characters heading towards a 'hard death' with a syndrome which swept almost unchallenged through predominantly gay communities for the best part of a decade.
It's being shown again on Film Four and will undoubtedly be released on DVD, if you get a chance to see it, do - it's quite simply the best bit of TV drama to hit the airwaves in a very very long time; kudos to HBO.

Saturday 7 February 2004

Desert Combat 0.7 [lurks]

After a heck of a lot of farting around, I managed to get our server set up with Desert Combat 0.7 well enough. Vaped punkbuster (don't see this as a cheating game and the on-screen spam and start-game lag is bloody annoying) and sorted new remote admin version which works with 1942 version 1.6. Had a bit of a run around in DC and I thought I'd report on the new version.
Seems draw distances are huge now. As an example, on El Alamein as coalition, you can grab a Bradley and pound a T72 on the mountain ridge near the south flag. This has gotten a bit weird because they have also increased the projectile drop on the MBTs so at range, they're fair game for light tanks. The light tanks have had their cannons significantly upgraded too - in particular the turret angle seems to have been increased.
Apparently C4 is toned down so two are needed for a tank. I don't think that'll make much difference really. Other than this, so far I haven't noticed much but then this was supposed to be essentially a performance booster. There's a fair number of little tweaks I noticed too, crosshairs - that sort of thing.
There seems to be a fair bit of changes made to the balance of weapons but I think we'll need a lot more play to tell.

Thursday 5 February 2004

Souperb! [lurks]

I've been making soups a bit over the last few months, every coupla weeks sort of thing. I think there's another recipe of mine here but last night I made what I consider to be the finest soup I have ever tasted. It's not hard to make and even though you're all wankers that eat frozen pizza and Tesco ready meals, I thought I'd share it with you anyway.
This is what I call Lurk's Carrot and Coriander 'Bradley' Broth. Here's the stuff you're going to need;
  • Bag of carrots
  • One big potato
  • One red onion
  • One leek
  • One tomato
  • Few cloves of garlic
  • Fresh coriander
  • Cream tub
  • Wedge of butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable stock crap
  • Garam Masala powder

You can use a regular onion if you must. The key is the fresh coriander though, you can buy this from most green grocers and increasingly supermarkets in little plastic hanger. If you prefer a slightly more tangy soup, you can substitute the cream for plain yoghurt.
Peel carrots, chop roughly and slap in a pot just covered with boiling water and let it rip on the heat. They need more cooking so get them on first. Get a big ass pot out and slap in your dollop of butter and bring up to medium heat. Bung in the chopped leek until it's mostly broken up, then the onion and chunky chopped peeled garlic cloves.
When they're all soft and stuff, bung in the cubed peeled potato and then remove your carrots from that vigorously boiling water you've got them in and chuck them in the big ass pan too. This leaves your water that the carrots have been boiling in. Now bung in a vege stock cube or better yet that Swedish organic shit you get in the health food shops, that stuff is the nuts. Vegetable Bullion or something.
When your vege stock is all dissolved and rocking, bung that in your big ass pan. Slap in the tomato and almost all of the chopped fresh coriander. Leave some of the coriander spare for garnish later on.
Now you wanna get your big ass pot on a low heat, cover it and have it sit there gently bubbling for 20-30 mins or so getting stirred every now and again. After that, everything will be soft but the carrots will probably be a little firm still, this is good. Then pull that off the heat and get in your blender widget and set to work blending it like a bastard. Bang in the cream at this point and more water so it's at the desired consistency. As standard it'll be a thick broth but it's up to you. This ought to make enough to serve 4-6 people.
After that blending, it'll be looking like a wicked soup now. Bang it back on the heat, slap in some salt and pepper and maybe a half teaspoon of garam masala powder. When it's nicely warmed up again, you can serve. Don't boil it! Chuck a few coriander leaves on top of your servings to garnish and utter something suitably chef-like such as 'Voila!' and you're done!
I'd chow it down with lightly toasted olive oil based bread like foccacia or ciabatta. You wont believe you made it.

Wednesday 4 February 2004

Fox News gets Fair and Balanced on the Beeb [shinji]

I'm no great fan of much of the British media, particularly our tabloid newspapers and the 'tabloid of the airwaves', Sky News. I find it pretty worrying how these news sources, rather than sticking to what they're actually good at - namely convincing Laura from Milton Keynes, 23, to stick her chest out, and devoting two page spreads to the mundane lives of soap stars - attempt to cover serious issues like the Hutton Report or the Iraq War or the cloning debate by dumbing them down into a few hundred words and a 'hi-larious' headline in five-inch high letters.
However, my trips to the USA have convinced me of one thing; when it comes to dumbing things down, the Americans lead the world, and we can but stare in awe at their magnificent abilities in this regard.
The best example of this yet is Fox News - a news channel which came from being quite small prior to September 11, 2001 to being one of the largest and most influential in the USA right now. They accomplished this by being relentlessly patriotic (often overstepping the mark into the realms of jingoistic propaganda, in my own opinion) and right-wing, political leanings which appeal to a lot of current thinking in the USA. Throughout the second Gulf War, Fox played like a true propaganda channel - with a flapping stars and stripes in the background at all times, and American soldiers referred to at all times as 'heroes' and 'liberators'. That's fine; you always support your own soldiers in a war. Putting the caption 'March Madness' underneath images of the million-odd anti-war protestors in London last year, well, that grated a little more - especially from a station whose tagline is 'Fair and Balanced'.
You can probably imagine, then, how Fox News reported on the Hutton Report. Or at least, you probably think you can. However, this video clip - a genuine clip of John Gibson, who presents a one-hour news story each evening on Fox and always rounds off with a short opinion piece such as the one you're about to see - left me absolutely aghast, even as someone who's pretty cynical about the American media in the first place.
[Fox's Fair and Balanced take on Hutton]
It's worth bearing in mind, when you watch this, that millions of Americans use Fox as their primary news source - and will have taken this item as gospel truth. After all, how could a man with such an architectural miracle of a haircut be speaking a word of a lie...?

Designing the ultimate lair [am]

Hush and speak not the word 'gazump' cos I don't wanna hear it. (Note for foreigners and other aliens, this is the word used for when you've already got an offer down on a property and you think you're going to buy it and then some other b4stardos over-bids you even though you've agreed the sale and you lose out and then you lay waste to them, their prodgeny and their lands and consequently wind up doing a fifteen stretch with a twenty two stone armed robber who wants to be addressed as 'Glenda'). But & however, on the basis that things do go ahead as planned, me, the missus and Nipper Jim are moving down (alright mostly across) to the coast in Whitstable.
Now, as previously babbled about on some EED London drinkorage (you should try it, you'd like it), I am threatening to use some of this newly aquired space to host a spring or summer lan. Given that we have now rejected public lans having utterly monstered the i-Series with HouLan(TM), the edition of AmLan will add up to a really very cool private lan series agenda for EED. This should come as no surprise since you are already on the homepage of the staggeringly leet. However on the other hand (there are also some fingers), the impending move leads me to a bigger fish to fry and a burning question I must ask our blog community (which I do so now because I can nearly hear the Lurker shouting 'Thank Minter for that! Get to the point man!');
What would you put in your ultimate lair?
Yes, in this new gaff there is a room built into the top of the house which runs along a the roof and consequently provides me (until I'm kicked out by a younger generation in future years) with a 22 by 14 foot lair! So basically I can fill it with what I like and have plenty of space to play with. So what would you have in your dream lair and how would you design it? Any resources you've seen with cool lairs / boys rooms or 'dens'? Pour yourself a strong voddy and tonic from that lemonade bottle you keep under the desk and let your imagination roam.....

Monday 2 February 2004

The lite(s)-on [spiny]

In an attempt to avoid drowning in CDRs I've slapped in a DVD writer, specifically the LiteOn LDW-811S. It's far too late of hour to contemplate a full review but my initial impressions are:
  • It's small, a good few cms. Could be handy if you're building a shuttle system.
  • Seems to work, haven't had a bad burn yet.
  • Build quality isn't up to my Aopen CDRW & no where near a plextor. Treat it gently.
  • Backs up protected CDs very nicely.
  • CDR writings quick too, 40x

All in all, a nice drive. Not sure if it's really worth the extra over the 4 speed one, especially as this one is only 8x on DVD+ and not DVD-.