By blog on Aug. 30, 2009.
It can, is the answer, but it won’t be.
For a start, why is it so annoyingly fiddly to get HDTV at the moment? Is it just my system, my set top box, or are other people finding their signal isn’t consistent? It’s HDTV, it’s supposed to be stable, strong, consistent, dammit! My better judgement is telling me that it is something to do with my set-top box, and I really don’t want it to be, but the local technology forums aren’t reporting anything…
It’s so frustrating when things don’t work the way they are supposed to… It reminds me of when I was a teenager, around 17 I think, I was still living with my parents, and they’d taken me into the city – an hours drive from their home – to pick up a PlayStation game. It was one of those ones that came on multiple discs, it was Final Fantasy VIII. When I got up to disc two, I found that they had sold me a scratched disc. This was frustrating enough, but after a phone call to the store where I had bought it, I was somewhat relieved to know they would swap it for another disc with no trouble, I just had to get my parents to drive me into the city again.
Okay so they did, and we picked up the disc, and came home. This was a two hour journey, mind you. So I put the disc in the PlayStation… same issue… not just the same issue, it was the same disc! They had given me the same disc back by mistake… so then I had to convince my parents to make the two hour drive into the city again, purely for my benefit. Thankfully they complied the next day, with little attitude towards me, which was nice.
Third time turned out to be the charm, and finally I had a working copy of Final Fantasy VIII. Anyway, what’s going on with my set-top box reminds me of that.
By blog on Aug. 30, 2009.
I really like this show, and I’m currently up to season six right now.
I’ve seen all the seasons so far, and I’m watching season six for the first time now. It’s been a very good series, in my opinion, with more than enough to keep me enticed into buying more seasons, though some tropes of the show do become a little frustrating after a while.
For instance, the fact that there always has to be another one behind the scenes, pulling all the strings, and then we find out that guy is just a dupe for another guy who’s really pulling all the strings. I think this would work just fine whilst it was on television, and you only got one episode a week, but when you watch them back to back over the span of about a week, those tropes don’t work so well.
Nonetheless, the show is awesome. Jack Bauer is one of the best protagonists on TV, hands down my favourite character in any show that’s currently airing. It is so refreshing to me to see someone who is willing to push, to go the whole hog for their morality, who has a morality which they abide by, even if it isn’t great for them or doesn’t quite fit inside the law.
Season six is shaping up alright, Jack’s dad being one of the major bad guys is… interesting. I liked that Chloe is being more humanised in the show, too. I’m about half way though the season at this stage, Jack’s just called the previous president, the little crazy megalomaniac Charles Logan. That guy is so creepy, in my opinion, and not just because of his willingness to kill his citizens to gain access to more oil, but the way the guy moves. That little cocking of the head up and to the side… he looks very… wrong. I’ve no other way to put it, he gives off ‘wrong’ very strongly.
By blog on Aug. 30, 2009.
And I’m not fond of it! I want more relax time, but there always seems to be more that needs my attention before I can relax.
For instance, I had a friend approach me to help them with some finance stuff, because they were looking to create an investment portfolio and they knew that I was interested in that sort of thing. I think basically he wanted to have some idea before he met with an accountant so he could sound the guy out. By no means am I an expert, but when you have friends that can tell you anything about something as… open to misuse by others, as money, then you make use of their expertise when you can!
I pointed him in the direction of a few good sites and said I would help more when I had the time, or he could go ahead and investigate all this himself. I wanted to help, but I didn’t have the time to sit down and help properly, and I didn’t want to help half-assedly. He came back to me today to say that he had found a good offshore financial service, and that he was going to be investigating it further. He offered to pass along what he found, too.
I found it really refreshing to see someone really doing their homework before investing anywhere, especially as, like me, the guy is busy! If everyone was as careful with where they put their money, then I think a lot of people would be a lot less worried in general life. That’s just the way it seems to me, anyway. There are things that are way beyond our control, like what happened to the international finance markets, and that is always going to be the case, but if we are careful with what we do have control over, then I’m guessing we would be able to accept easier those situations that weren’t our faults, and have a lot less situations where we could have done something differently to gain a better outcome. I’m rambling now, I know it. That’s it then, enough.
By blog on Aug. 28, 2009.
Is what I’ve been playing because I still can’t download the game I actually bought earlier today…
I have to say, I’m pretty darn impressed. The game looks very nice, with a good eye for detail and texture. I liked that you were given a strong impression of the dark Gotham City as Batman drove to the asylum, and I liked the very unique external look to the place, too. There is always the heavy Gothic influence, but then there is also a twist with some almost Industrial aspects and some others that are almost… Jules Verne in look.
I really liked the inside of Arkham, too. The place is so decrepit, just the sort of locale for a showdown with a bunch of psychos. The voice acting is fantastic, I’m so glad they used Bruce Wayne and The Joker from Batman The Animated Series, because they are the quintessential voices for those characters. Both are just perfect, The Joker’s especially. Harley Quinn and Oracle are also voiced well, along with Chief Gordon. I was racking my brain trying to place the voice of the asylum warden, and then it finally hit me. Harriman the giant rabbit from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. I’ve always been very good with voices, so it was such a relief to pinpoint that one, otherwise it would have bugged me all night.
Batman moves very well in game, too. The control system seems largely very intuitive, though having to hit the left Control button is kind of annoying… If I get this game it will be on my new PS3, so that doesn’t bother me really. I love the fight scenes, when Batman slows down to render his foe unconscious it is always enjoyable. I have to say, though, I often wish that Batman would just kill his opponents. Bah! Anyway, the game plays well, looks good, and sounds good. One that is worth picking up at some point.
By blog on Aug. 28, 2009.
There are a lot of PS3 games that I am looking forward to getting my hands on, and this one here is right up on that list…
This is an Action RPG sort of game, from the creators of some of the best games ever. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal, is still one of my favourite games of all time. These are also the creative minds behind Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Neverwinter Nights II. So some really stand up games there, definitely this team turns out some of the best content in gaming so far.
Now, when I first saw this title I wasn’t really sold… I don’t know exactly why, it just felt somewhat not up to par with BioWare’s previous titles, but the more I looked at the game, and the tons of videos they have on their website and IGN is also hosting, the game really took off in appeal. Sure it’s gory as heck, but that’s part and parcel of fighting back hordes of evil creatures.
The game has a huge focus on your ‘origin’ story. Where you came from. This doesn’t only include your race, but also includes you social status and class. For instance, the human noble origin story starts you off defending a castle, whilst the dwarf commoner story starts you off working for a crime lord. It’s all very interesting, and the cinematic scenes look quite good, too.
Character creation looks to be done nicely, and it is very refreshing to be given such free range in character design whilst we are still getting nigh on full voice acting. I can easily see this game spawning a sequel or two, and I wouldn’t mind that. It’s going to be released across all platforms, with the PS3 coming last as BioWare is less familiar with developing for that console. The game will ship early November for 360 and PC, and PS3 will be later in that month.
By blog on Aug. 28, 2009.
Isn’t it frustrating when something that usually works rather well, just starts to be a total pain?
Right now, I’m battling Steam to be able to download Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and usually that isn’t an issue. Except the last two games I’ve tried to download, Ceville, and this one, have both given me quite an annoying run around. In the case of Ceville, I kept getting errors and couldn’t install the game until I stumbled across a related error to the one I was getting, and found that I had to rename my old client registry file.
So I did that then, and it worked. It was quite a relief, too. So when I got one of the same errors today, and a whole new one, I tried to do the same fix. Nope, not happening. I tried rebooting the machine, restarting Steam, nope, nothing doing. Steam allowed me to buy the game, but if I want to download it, I get an error telling me there is no dedicated server for this game right now, please try again later… So that sucks.
I find Steam to be a usually good platform; usually reliable, rarely have any issue with any of the games I’ve downloaded, and it’s secure and straight forward. All things to seriously be valued in PC gaming. But when this happens, you feel left out in the cold. I can’t find mention of this on the support forums, but have just stumbled across a thread on the Steam forums which has a whole bunch of other poor saps in the same boat I’m in.
Thanks Steam, nice work there. If you’re saying you’re going to be releasing a game on a certain day, it would be best if it was actually available! My goodness, that’s ridiculous! Well, hopefully in the short term future this issue will be rectified. In the mean time, I’m going to go watch more 24!
By blog on Aug. 27, 2009.
Because I was over on GizmoBlog again, I thought I’d share a few of the things I either want, or think are really interesting…
I like USB gadgets, because they are entertaining, don’t require a lot of mess, and are often very quirky and fun. Here are a few stand outs from the above mentioned site. First up is the USB Chameleon, which I don’t like, exactly, but is sort of… well it’s interesting! Next up is something called a USB Moo Moo. This is a very cute little gadget which you hook up and install onto your computer with a small amount of software, and you can pat this little plastic cow to make it moo, which sends a message to the corresponding cow – this is why it is cute – which is supposed to be hooked up on the computer of a SO or spouse. Oh that’s… odd but cute.
Now I move onto the totally miscellaneous. I, like many British, enjoy a hot cup of tea. I don’t enjoy, however, is misjudging how long that tea cup has been sitting on your desk, only to take a big gulp and find that it is either scaldingly hot still, or disgustingly cold. This cup here, the On/Off cup, would completely eradicate such incidents! I like groovy things to put on my desk, like the Newton’s Cradle and such, so this little Levitron AG Anti-Gravity Globe would be just perfect! It’s always handy to have a globe close by, for some reason, so this would be just nifty. Now, as a gamer soon to have a PS3, and for some reason console playing often leads to feeling the need to move off the comfortable sofa and sit on the uncomfortable floor, I would love to have one of these Lazy Geek’s Cushions.
Now this is just a mock up of an idea, but what an interesting idea! A Tattoo that responds to the DNA of the wearer. Hmm. I’m not into tattoos, personally, but this is still interesting. On a completely different note, my SO loves to read in bed, but I don’t, and I need darkness to be able to sleep. So I’d love to get her one of these so she can still read, a LightWedge Mini, just the perfect thing for reading in bed!
By blog on Aug. 27, 2009.
I thought I’d take the time today to do a tour of a few of my favourite tech blogs. It’s always interesting to view other people’s blogs, especially when the coincide in theme with my own.
First up I wanted to point to TechBlog, which is a nicely put together technology blog. I have to say, it’s nice to see a tech blog that doesn’t look like crap. Because it happens a lot. I blame Linux users. Anyway, this is a good place to see a well rounded overview of whatever is making tech news today. I like it, and I like that it often leads to broadening one’s horizons. I’ve often read stories over there and then researched the content further, and that is what good news does, in my opinion.
Another interesting tech blog is called Andrew Burke’s Hardcore IPTV Blog… quite the title he’s got there, but I like this blog because it gives an inside look about IPTV in the UK from a business perspective. This guy is the CEO of amino, the IPTV company, and I like his perspective on things on his blog. It’s nice to see a blog from a high-up company member that is actually quite candid. I actually use IPTV, and it’s great. It just seems to work for me, and I like that I don’t have to fork out a heap to get a great cable net connection, because the cable works for both, it’s just spliced by a router, one for the TV, one for my modem, and voilà, I don’t have to pay for separate SDSL, which is very pricey!
The last blog I’ve been saving up, I really like this blog. I love gizmos and gadgets, I know I’ve mentioned that before, so GizmoBlog is a really fun one to have a look at every other day and see what awesome stuff has been cooked up by the geekery of the world. I’m personally a big fan of this gaming simulator, which looks like so much fun, but begs the question, how would I fit it in my living room?
By blog on Aug. 27, 2009.
Next Tuesday the PS3 is available to the public, and I’m pretty damn excited, because that’s also the day I’ll be picking mine up!
I’ve not had a PS3 before, so this is a new experience for me. I’m looking forward to the relative stability a console offers compared to a PC. For instance, thanks to a disc borrowed from a friend, that pretty much spazzed out whilst it was in my disc drive, my D: drive now keeps un-mapping itself. And not whilst I’m loading, or after a reboot, no, just every now and then, in some cases, whilst I’m playing a game! I’ve no idea why this is happening, precisely, except that it first occurred when I was watching a DVD and that DVD went mental whilst it was playing. Great, juuuuust great.
A reboot fixes it fine, but come on, who wants to reboot or remap a damn disc drive all the time when you shouldn’t have to map it in the first place!? Bah! So yes, console stability, I’m sure as hell looking forward to that. I know that generation seven consoles aren’t free from the issues that plague computers, but they are at least much less likely to go through those sorts of issues. And it’s refreshing, too.
I’m also excited to get the PS3 Slim because of the difference in games. I mean sure, I’m going to get GTA IV on the PS3 just because it was so buggy on my PC I couldn’t play it, but there are so many action games, and RPGs that don’t make it to PC and do make it to PS3. The games available on the PS3 are a big draw, there’s no doubt about that. I’m really looking forward to the next Final Fantasy game, too.
When I have the console I’m going to do a review on it. I’m also going to be reviewing those games that I buy for it. Heck, I might just start reviewing all my new games!
By blog on Aug. 23, 2009.
What’s more of a biohazard than Plague? Pneumonic Plague, to be precise, which is even more deadly that the Bubonic Plague has been confirmed in a village in Tibet.
This shocked me, to be honest. I had thought that diseases like that had been largely eradicated, I mean, small pox has been, there are only two places on the planet where this disease still exists, in the U.S. at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in Russia at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR). I was surprised that something similar is not possible with Pneumonic Plague, but in light of the fact that it is carried by rats and marmots, and the fleas and ticks that have been on those animals. Once a person has been infected, they are able to spread the disease via coughing – as it is air borne – and the like.
The disease can be treated, within the first 24 hours if antibiotics are administered survival chances are very good. Thankfully, authorities acted quickly in Ziketan town in Xinghai, and whilst three lost their lives, at least 9 who were also infected survived. Without those antibiotics, the disease has an almost 100% fatality rate… That is astounding to me, humans are still at the mercy of such things if we don’t have access to the appropriate health care. The Worldwide Health Organisation stated that China had done the right thing in the most recent outbreak, and that the country had had some experience in dealing with this particular disease. It’s good to know that authorities are on the case, and that with education the infection of humans could be vastly diminished…
I know this is a rather dour subject, but I think this sort of thing is important to know. I think that we ought to be aware just how far we’ve come, and to not take for granted that which we have. When the Bubonic and Pneumonic Plagues swept through Europe in the 12th Century, somewhere between a quarter and a half of the entire population died. All in all, around 200 million lives have been lost to the Bubonic Plague, this is a massive piece of our global history, so when it’s cousin is popping up again, it’s something we should take serious note of.