By blog on Nov. 23, 2009.
Today I encountered a salesman… but at my home… yes, this salesman came to my door, knocked on it, and tried to sell me stuff… Yeah, not a chance.
I’ll set the scene. I’m working away quietly, slowly catching up on missed work due to being ill, and I hear a knock at the door. My SO was out, so off I go to see who it is. I check the peep hole in the door, and don’t recognise this person in a suit, but I thought I better open it.
No sooner had I opened the door when this man launched into a very generic speech about certain telecoms deals the company he was representing were offering to those in my area…
First off, to those in my area? Do you think I believe that crap? No, that’s just something companies do to lure people in by thinking they’ve got a special deal, that not everyone can have this deal, no, you have to be special. Gag. I told this guy that I was fine with the voip phone system I’ve already got, that I do not need any of their telephones, and that business SDSL availability wasn’t really a selling point considering this was a residential area.
Then he did something that made him stand out as really annoying. He started in on asking which company I went through for my phone system, why I didn’t think I needed SDSL, and where I bought my telephones.
For a person who’s had very limited social contact for about a month, this was a little more than I could take, and I told the guy flat out that this was ridiculous, that his interrogative questions were presumptuousness and rude, and that he and his company where absolute shysters if they were going to try and come into this area and start telling people they need SDSL. The salesman looked so shocked and bewildered I thought he might faint, then he said he hoped I had a nice afternoon, and then left. Ahhhh. Still, next time I’m not answering the door!
By blog on Nov. 23, 2009.
Whilst I was down with H1N1, I was getting pretty bored, but what can you do when you are that sick, really. Well I started buying movies and TV series online so I could just download them to my PC and thus be entertained without having to leave my home!
So, during my illness I found myself watching three different TV series that I had downloaded from iTunes, and bought a couple of movies whilst I was at it too. iTunes actually allows you to rent films for a cheaper fee and you’ve got 30 days to watch it, though once you’ve started watching it, it will delete itself 48hours. In a fit of wanting to watch something ‘old school’ and fun, I hired Die Hard. The only downside to all of this is managed-bloody-downloads, which meant that that film took five hours to download.
Ridiculous! Anyway, I found another site that allows you to buy films and has a broader range than iTunes, so I bought Up and Moon from there. Both very good, very different, films. The female bird named Kevin in Up was quite amusing, and Dug the dog was just awesome! I’m a bit of a softie for dogs, they are just such great companion animals.
Back to iTunes, I also bought the first two seasons of Little Britain and a season of Family Guy, and for something completely different, the first and second seasons of Mad Men. I’m pretty happy with the iTunes TV downloads, as they are much, much faster, however, they don’t have subtitles, which is annoying, and the sound quality on three or four of the Mad Men was rather poor. A very tinny, high-treble sound that occurred whenever certain ‘clicky’ types of sounds were in the show, so doors closing, footsteps, and anything like that. It was rather distracting and rather annoying, but at the time the convenience was worth it!
By blog on Nov. 21, 2009.
What a very interesting new piece of tech! I saw this on Penny Arcade and absolutely had to investigate further.
Okay, okay, so the whole thing seems like a bit of a pie-in-the-sky pipe-dream, but it’s interesting as a future possibility. Basically, a company called Emotiv has created something called the EPOC, which is a headset with sensors that pick up facial movements, emotions, and thoughts, and allows you to control certain applications without the use of a keyboard or mouse. Pretty impressive, eh? They’ve got their own software to help you use the EPOC in lieu of a keyboard, by translating movements or thoughts into certain key-commands or combinations.
Basically, this seems like a very expensive, and largely useless, toy. It’s hard to imagine this being used for gaming, or even general computer use. Whilst it would be awesome to have certain abilities in games triggered by thought, eliminating issues like not enough hot-bar space – yes I’m referring to you, Dragon Age – this gadget seems to… how do I put this… be sold as a lot more than it really is.
During one of the demos, they show that emotion can effect colour and music… I’m sorry, but if I’m upset by my game, frustrated at a particularly difficult encounter for instance, the last bloody thing I want is my gamma brought so far down that not only am I fighting for my life, I’m fighting to see. Of course, this would make me angry, which would probably cause a grand crescendo in the music, just the thing a frustrated, gamma blinded, angry gamer needs! See my dripping sarcasm there? That’s inhibited by my choice to keep this blog profanity free; keep that in mind.
Another demo showed someone using blinks and smiles set up to turn a little side-module, a laser. What if you just wanted to blink, or something made you smile? This who apparatus seems fraught with issue after issue, and apart from a few neat tricks, seems completely useless, and most assuredly not worth the US$299 that it’s retailing at, though of course you have to buy online from the Emotiv sight, too.
By blog on Nov. 15, 2009.
Was Dragon Age: Origins, a fantastic new game from Bioware, and I have to say, they really live up to their reputation with this one!
During the lead up to this game, I was trepidatious, I thought, I don’t want to get too into the idea of this game and be disappointed by it, but after playing it, I’m hooked, and all my fears have been put to rest.
Okay where to start… character creation is pretty good, it’s not the most in-depth I’ve used, but it’s a damn sight better than many out there. The character models can be made to look pretty good, though the elves take a bit of work to get to look anything other than horrid. The dwarves look awesome, too. I’ve played through the human noble intro, and both the dwarven noble and commoner intros, and they are both quite good, too. I’ve gotten a moderate way into the game, and it’s really very fun.
I’ve noticed a few of the voice actors from Baldur’s Gate II in this game, and that’s honestly what this game reminds me of. It’s like the Baldur’s Gate II of modern gaming, and I’m thoroughly happy and impressed by that. This is a game where the storyline is one that you actually care about, and the level of detail in history and back-story is just fantastic. Along the way you will get many a ‘codex’ which are the medium through which you learn about the history of the families, lands, and religion, of the people you’re fighting to save from an evil horde of ‘Darkspawn’. The game is very, very bloody, but there’s also a sense of humour to it so it isn’t too dark, but this is certainly not a game for children.
So far I’ve preferred going a noble human, and my normal party consists of my Mabari War Hound, a very large, aggressive, yet lovable dog, Alistair, and Leliana. This is working at the moment, though I’m not adverse to shifting party members around when needed.
The game runs smoothly, and has crashed on me three times in a week, which for a newly released game that’s alright. The voice acting is actually very good, with some big names in there, such as Kate Mulgrew and Tim Curry.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the game. It plays well, reads well, sounds good, looks good, and above all, is really very, very enjoyable! My SO hasn’t been playing it herself, but has really enjoyed watching it whilst I play. She’s going to play it as an elven mage, so that should be good to watch, too. She wants me to play as much as I like to play, because it’s enjoyable to view, too.
I think that’s enough for now, but suffice to say, if you play RPGs at all, and you’ve an alright PC, an XBOX 360, or a PS3, pick up this game! I downloaded mine off Steam and it’s been very good that way, and you pay less overhead, too, which is nice.
By blog on Nov. 15, 2009.
Oh how I hate swine flu… H1N1 I hope you are stricken from the earth!
Before I go into any of the gaming stuff, in fact, that will get it’s own post next up, as I think it ought to get more than a one paragraph mention! So this entry into my neglected blog shall be a re-cap of what has been going on…
Let’s see, let’s see. Well the weather has obviously been turning cooler and cooler outside, though to be honest I’ve not gone outside for weeks. October is sort of a mucousy haze which is hard to recall with any clarity. H1N1 hit me, I started to get over it, and as you can see from the quietness spreading over my blog once again, I was pushing to get well too soon, and ended up back in bed for four days straight. I’m usually a very healthy person, I rarely get sick and when I do I get over it very quickly, so it was really very shocking to be hit so hard by this swine flu thing.
I’ve done little actual work for the past I don’t know how long, but I’d been working so much up to that point that I’m not really behind all that much, and my bosses are all very understanding of my illness and really don’t want me to push it and end up not working till the new year or something drastic.
I’ve not been paying attention to much of anything outside of my house. It’s fun! I’m like a hermit! All the things I usually keep tabs on, upcoming games, the latest mortgage news, finance markets and all that. I peered down my street today when I ventured outside to pick up my post – first time I’ve been outside in a very long time – and I noticed that not one of the houses on my street are selling, but three homes have sale of house signs up! Wow, the market might be looking up? I don’t know.
Anyway, I’m going to go onto a fresh new post so I can talk about an awesome new game I’ve been playing.
By blog on Nov. 2, 2009.
How frustrating that being sick induces even more suffering!
Earlier this year I was involved in a small car accident – I’m sure I’ve written about this multiple times – and I had mild whiplash symptoms and back pain, okay, they weren’t that mild, but anyway, that neck stiffness and the back pain has really bothered me during the worst of the flu, and I was surprised at that. I suppose I’ll have to go back to physical therapy for a while, to make sure everything really is back in order, but my insurance will cover that, so it’s okay, except that I don’t really have the time, but I suppose I’ll just have to find it.
I’ve also found that my good ol’ ‘gaming wrist’ as I like to call it is back with a vengeance. This is the unavoidable consequence of hours spent on the computer for work, and then also for gaming. I’m back to wearing my wrist guards, which help, and I think I’m going to have to go out and get a wrist rest at some point… or ask my SO to because she has kept me in the house and resting for the last two weeks and with the weather getting the way it is I can’t see her letting me out for a while yet.
Generally I’m feeling incredibly old, and before this flu hit me I was feeling pretty good, actually. I had that nice feeling of health, you know, but now I just feel old and dried up and a little brittle. It’s not a good feeling, and I’m looking forward to feeling much more myself in the coming weeks. I’ve spoken to others who’ve had the virus, and it varies greatly as to how long it takes you to get back on your feet. I just hope that this isn’t a precursor of flu viruses in the future!
By blog on Nov. 2, 2009.
Filming has begun for the series, and I’ve very mixed feelings, but anticipating nonetheless.
Okay, to explain where I’m coming from… If you’ve seen Rome, which is sort of an equivalent to this series in terms of production values, and the production group – HBO – but I have to say that many of the actors are of a much better calibre than Rome, anyway, back to my point. If you’ve seen Rome, you’ll know what I mean when I say there are moments of complete cringing. It could be a line in the dialogue here, or a gesture there, but sometimes you are ripped so forcibly from your tentatively shallow level of immersion that all of a sudden you realise you’re watching a bunch of guys prancing about in little dresses, taking themselves very seriously…
It’s not like that all the time, and I think Deadwood didn’t quite have this going so much as Rome – again, made by same group, HBO – but I’m still very highly aware of the fact that that just because these are great books, doesn’t mean they’ll make a great TV series… Can you imagine watching some of the stuff that happens in that book in the form of a TV show? I’m concerned I’m going to feel like I’m watching a school play the whole time. The seriousness of whether or not Jon will be allowed to go and join the Night’s Watch or not… yeah, goodness me I hope all the actors really do this well, and that the sets work and everything.
So far all the filming has been completed in Scotland, at Doune Castle in Scotland to be precise, which is where they shot all the scenes that took place in the courtyard of Winterfell. Next they move onto Paint Hall Studio in Belfast which is where everything will be shot, except the stuff that’s supposed to be happening in Pentos and all that, which is being shot in Morocco.
So yeah, I respect many of the actors involved in this, but still feel like I’ll be wearing a grimace throughout the entirety of the first episode.
By blog on Nov. 2, 2009.
Spam is everywhere, it’s pretty much unavoidable in one form or another, but this is a little baffling to me.
I’ve noticed a growing trend, maybe it’s due to getting closer to the holiday season and what not, but I’ve noticed more and more emails in my Inbox which are little more than spam… no wait, they are spam, but they are spam from companies that I am already affiliated with in some way, or have purchased from in the past, or have some sort of rewards card with or something like that. In some cases the promoted items or services aren’t from companies I’ve dealt with directly, but more a cross-promotion sort of thing.
As with BT, I don’t actually have a phone line with them anymore, but I did a few years ago, and I’m still getting spammy messages from them about upcoming deals on BT home phones and what not. Presumably if I liked the business, I would have stayed with the business, so if I don’t use their services anymore, shouldn’t I not have to put up with them? It’s not just them, either, telecoms companies are pretty bad with the whole spamming thing, probably because there’s so much competition in the field. I’m happy with my provider at the moment, so no, I don’t want your telephone system, I’ll stick with the one I’ve got.
It’s the same with internet connections, be they broadband, ADSL, or SDSL, the company always thinks that they can trick you into upgrading to a more expensive package. Its sort of insulting, I mean, I’m on a very high downloads per month package as it is, and I don’t go anywhere near my limit most months, so why would they send me emails on an almost weekly basis trying to get me to upgrade.
And yet, one of the most frustrating aspects about all of this is that to get off these mailing lists you have to follow link after link, and they are always tucked in the most out of the way parts of the emails or webpages that you go to, and you often find that they’ve sneakily altered the usual button set-ups, so you have to click on the left button, which is normally the ‘Cancel’ button. Anyway, that’s enough out of me for now, on this topic anyway.
By blog on Nov. 1, 2009.
Yep, and it’s a real shame, because it’s an off-putting task.
It’s insane how much of it can build up in just two weeks! I have to say, it makes me so damn frustrated with the idiots who spam my blog, even though I know they are only doing it because they are paid to, and okay, sure, things are tough for a lot of people at the moment, but come on, stop spamming everyone! To those who pay people to spam blogs like mine, you are so petty, your advertising methods are pathetic, and you aren’t going to sell your stinking prescription drugs and so on.
Gahhhh! I’ve not got a lot of energy in me at the moment, so to have to deal with all this spam is all the more irritating. I’m not just complaining over nothing, I’ve got over 200 spam comments to go through… that’s an insane amount of spam, and now they are getting more stupid. They are these really dumb jokes with the links to drugs or crap just stuck at the bottom. For instance, and this is the latest spam comment I’ve gotten rid of as spam – there’s about ten pages to go through, so I’m doing a little at a time – and this is a quote… “Fresh joke! What weighs 909 kg (2,000 pounds for all of you inefficient, non-metric “people”) and is bare to the bone? A skeleTON!!!”
Oh my goodness. Not only do I have to go and delete all this crap, I’m now subjected to some of the stupidest jokes I’ve ever heard. The only way these jokes could be anything less than crap is if they were told to you by a child still in single digits. They have a right to silly jokes, it’s like their territory, but to have spammers leaving this stuff there is just… just too much.
Usually I feel the need to be somewhat polite to these people, to be appreciative of the fact that they probably only do this job because they’ve not been able to get something better paying, but I’m sick and that gives me the right to be a grouchy… So… spammers, get the effing hell off of my blog!