Friday, 30 July 2010

Just One of Those Days...

So, I've just had one of those days, from first walking into work and having the I.T hammer strike down upon us all, to having hassle over an item I bought form Ebay, and yet more hassle with an item I've sold on Ebay... to feeling sick as a parrot, like I'd lost my carrot... (cough).

Anyway, I'm at home now, running a deep dark virus/malware/rootkit scan on all of my PC's, because of a potential threat from some Chinese hacker numpties.

And I stumbled over this news story, and I find it quite amazing... Those pictures look amazing, and the lad is seven...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

I don't know what...

You know sometimes you read a story on the news, and you think... What the heck.... here's one.

WARNING report contains graphic description of a person whom has passed on (no images).

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Virtual Machine Mash Up

So, today I've only had time to switch a few skills around in Eve, but at work today I was enjoying playing about with the latest edition of VmWare's VmPlayer product... this lets you create and run Virtual Machines on your desktop, and it's FREE... I like free.

Anyway, it has been a long time since I've had such an easy time playing about with Virtual Machines, for instance on my spare Linux based PC at work I have set up an image of my old PentiumIII Windows XP box. I always need this old machine, it's been hanging around gathering dust under my desk for about five years.

Finally, I can run a copy seamlessly on my faster newer Linux Box and be reassured that I have that machine as is, great geeky fun.

You have to sign up for a whole bunch of e-mail stuff from VmWare to download the player, but its great fun, so if you've ever pondered about how to virtualize a machine go give it a go.

I have also been watching an old Eve themed bit of Machinema, I watched these so many many moons ago, but I still like to watch this now-and-again. Even if they do fly Minmatar.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Yes, it's here... Starcraft II... how many empty chairs were in your office this morning as people pulled sickys? How much internet traffic has gone over to the dark side & started to seed torrents of this puppy?
How will you let it eat your soul?
Personally, I'm not too fussed, never ever played the original, was never interested in it. Consequently I'm at work, and bored, so I thought I'd reach out and touch you shiney Blizzard fund raisers who have bought it....
What d'you think?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Microsoft grab hold of ARM

So, I've just read this little ditty from the BBC, and others. And I find it interesting, but quite a worry.

If you own a mobile phone then you are pretty much guarentee'd to own an ARM chip, the history of which goes back into the dark, ignored, depths of the British Home Computing revolution in the late 70's and early 80's.

The ARM architecture actually evolved out of the chips used in the BBC/Acorn Computers most British School kids will remember from school.

I find it interesting Microsoft have finally logged into this technology, they've been toying, prodding, caressing the mobile market for years, with limited success. I myself have a mobile powered by Windows Mobile Software, and I'm affraid to say it is rubbish.

I've heard good things about Windows 7 Mobile, I've certainly myself seen excellent things with Windows 7 and Windows Embedded Standard 7. So, lets hope that licensing ARM points Microsoft in the direction to actually get to grips with what they do best, and that is making good robust operating environments for hardware for the masses.

Especially when Microsoft has always left hardware products as an after thought and they've never enjoyed great success with their Kin device.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Oh My God...

I've just been invited to chew the shite on SUWT... How geek'ed out am I!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Good Grief

Well men, it has been a long war, a hard war, but now it is over... Yes, Huzzar, our software shipped, well I hope it did; a few niggles with how things are done, and I've spent most all of the week running around after bugs in other peoples parts of the system, but it has gone out the door.

It has been one of those joyously annoying times where not only is the software going out the door, but so was my boss, he buggered off to Turkey on Holiday last Saturday, and I've been the one juggling everything since.

Hey Ho, in my extremely addled state I have been pretty gaming brain dead, I have however still been playing Eve. I've worked up one of my alts to 8.02 rep with his national navy, so I'm now able to install empire jump clones for him, and I'm just setting him up with a few clones around the edges, so I can shuffle some of my ships around.

I had a nice chat with a GM over at CPP too, pointing out a problem with the game, an annoying graphics bug.

I was not able to get this to happen on my old nVidia 6600, nor on my 8800. It was only happening on my new 2602 GTX. Here's a screenie:

These strange white blobs appearing on static objects, it was also sometimes transient upon flying into objects. They'd look like this, all white and blurry, and then zing they'd be fully textured.

The GM was very nice and told me to upgrade my graphics drivers...

Saturday, 17 July 2010

New Toy

Oh, and one of my alts I just set up a new ship for some PVP fun... Don't you just love how cool Amarr ships look...

I live....

I am here, yes, today was the last day before our new system software released, so I've been at work today, on a Saturday... I'm not best pleased.

In interesting news though, I've spent sometime thinking about technology... Kind of unavoidable in my line of work, but I'm going to be playing about (again) with the 3D engine work I was playing with last year... I've no real goal, just to get myself MORE into the depths of DirectX 10.

The system software I just shipped has a Managed DirectX 9 graphic front end, written my yours truely, so I'm not as totally lost as I was last year. I've certainly learned a lot about the DirectX interface and data required to interoperate with it.

I've also spent sometime in the late nights (with the misses) watching films, the late one was Tarantino's last offering "Inglorious Basterds"... hmm, I'll give my opinion of it when I've watched it again; as ever around here, first time around my lass spoke through the first hour and then buggered off to bed, so I've only really seen the second half.

As for gaming, still in Eve, not a lot to report this week so far, I am about to undock and try to push one of my characters over the 8.0 standing mark so he unlocks jump cloning for himself. He's at a tantilizing 7.55 standing :)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Where Has All The Comedy Gone?

When I started this blog, at the behest of Darren over at CommonSenseGamer, I was aiming to keep up the banter of comedic commentary I had been giving him in his in-box. I have come to the conclusion that being funny *haha* rather than funny *keep the kids away from him* is harder than I thought.

But fear not, I am trying to be funny in other places. This week I have submitted a review of two films to a rather good film blog The Wenton Project. So, nip over there and have a read...

As for games, I'm still playing Eve, though not so much this week as it's release day at work and it is stressing me out.

Today though has been a very busy day, it has been my wife to be's Birthday, my Brothers Birthday and he has informed me I'm going to be an Uncle come the new year... so busy busy busy.

Oh and in Eve news, I got my main podded... bless him, only my second podding since 2005, so not doing too badly, and he was in a jump clone empty of implants, so no big deal... The guy who blew me up must have been wondering what the heck fitting I had, as I was in a Helios (Covert Ops) Frigate, with NOTHING on it :)... just the cover ops cloak... But all good fun. More about that operation in 0.0 in a blog at the weekend.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The last box...

I am something of a renaissance man for software ownership, when I was a kid I remember my friends showing me how to copy Commodore 16 cassette tape games with their Dad's Hifi. And I remember when I was a poor ass student “borrowing” copies of Borland C++ from college. Later I was a huge fan of cover disks with whole applications on them... like Borland C++ Builder and VisualCafe in the late 1990's.

But, once I was out at work, indeed working in software development, and seeing how theft of our software licenses affected the company profit margins, I saw the error of my ways, and I started to buy software.

The first piece of real software I bought was Windows 95. I had, and still have, original CD's and licenses for that, later I bought a real Windows 98, I avoided buying the pain that is 2K and went into Windows XP.

It cost me the Earth, at the time, it was really a PC Build done on a budget, and the most expensive item was the OS Disk and license.

Well, last night I had to find this disk, this shining light, this pinnacle of my sub servitude to Redmond... Well, I couldn't find it...

I looked through my usual location for it, which is a book shelf... then I panicked and I started to tear the books off of the shelves, shaking them wildly thinking it might be stuck between a page, I checked through my large stacks of archive CD's and DVD's (about 2500 disks) and then I went through my lock box of released software (it's just a locked aluminium case of CD's of software I've worked on and released – and so I have to support now and again). NO SIGN.

I'm panicking now. I could just go out and buy a new Windows XP license, but hell, I want that one what cost me so many spondulix so many moons ago.

I go through extraordinary hoops to work out where it is, I'm into DVD's and Video cases down stairs... I've checked under beds, in all the PC CD and DVD drives I have laying around the place... No sign. I even ask my lass if she's seen it. NO SIGN...

I'm sweaty, I'm hot and I have an awful sinking feeling it has been chucked out.

Finally, I come to the dreaded plastic boxes... I have a cupboard, its actually an access chute to the loft space, but I've stacked 7 massive, heavy, plastic boxes in there... they're ALL full of software.... Atari ST stuff and onwards... It is a hell hole. And to make things work, this chutes floor starts 5 feet up off of the floor of the room level... So, I have to climb into this crevice like some contorted overweight spider.

I climb in, and I get the first box down... No sign.

I climb back in, second box... No sign.

I'm getting hit in the face by piles of binders, I'm getting paper cuts from the reams of papers falling out all over the place and I've dropped an old 3.5” floppy disk drive (cased in steel) on my foot.

I'm pissed off, I'm hot, tired and hungry, but I'm on a mission....

Finally, the last box, the very laaaaast box... there's the distinctive glint of Windows XP and the green of the license key sticker... I'm so relieved, I almost let go of the door frame, almost fell to whatever fate could dole out to me as I sailed through the air to the morass of shit now littering the floors of the upper story of my house.

I clamber down with the box through... and I find some software gems which I'd lost...

Civ (the original Civ for PC), Frontier Elite II (for the Atari ST), Civ2 & Expansions, Warcraft II : Tides of Darkness, Civ III and Civ IV...

I'm already midway through my RTS research (enjoying Supreme Commander & Sins of a Solar Empire between stints in Eve)... so now you can expect some more from Warcraft II... and then a review of the Civ series... with Civ V out later this year what perfect serendipity.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Colonists Are Doing Their Thing...

Well, today is the fourth of July, a day that a bunch of trouble makers signed a piece of paper declaring them independant or something... I still say John Hancock's signature says more about American personality today than it ever said as his actual name... but anyway...

Today, I've noticed has been a mixed day for MMORPG participation, the numbers of Americans one runs into in Eve for example has been markedly lessened. Whether that's a good thing or not, I'm uncertain, there's a core of pretty decent yanks out there flying about.
But, this is not the point of my post, today I've been working a little more on my planetary installations in Eve... and I've come one conclusion... Darren (of Common Sense Gamer) please, please, for the love of god almighty, please don't ever install any planetary gear in Eve.

Okay... Don't come crying to me when you try it and find out that its CCP's covert implementation of Farmville...

Yes, I'm affraid, I've come to the conclusion that appart from being able to make a product you can use or sell in New Eden, there is quite a lot of the same game mechanics as Farmville.

I find I've a set of extractors which are on long cycles, and a set which are on very short cycles, and these short cycled ones run out of materials to extract after just a few hours so I'm constantly going back to find more materials for them...

It's not a dead dog of a process yet, I'm still doing the tweaking to try and find a mix of extractors to optimize my cycles. I have intermediate silos to collect excess resources from the extractors, and provide it for the next industrial cycle.

But at the end of the day, this is just a lot of clicking every few hours... And, I don't think its all that much fun.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Planetary Interaction in Eve

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, well, the above image speaks of at least half a dozen... Interesting, Awkward, New, at-long-last... at the ones I'll pick out just now. I am of course talking about CCP's newly introduced planetary interaction in their venerable title Eve-Online.

As ever, with a something in Eve you have to train up some skills to carry out this task, they primarily involve skills to scan for resources on the planets, installing better command centers and linking planets together so they can cooperate in production tasks.

Now, I think it always important in Eve that whatever you are doing it have a purpose, the purpose of my Planetary production is to provide me with a large stash of POS fuels. Well, at least the stocks of POS fuels I used to have to buy off of the market. This is a major step in completing the supply chain cycles for POS, it at least explains where these fuels come from in the World that is New Eden.

It may not be very clear, but here is my first lot of processed Oxygen, from a Gas planet installation.

There are varying levels of possible materials which can be produced from your installations, many of which I don't have a clear explanation or understanding of. But, time will tell on that, I'll figure it out.

About the planetary interaction interface, I have to say it is unfortunately very awkward to work with, between constant messages telling me to wait x amount of seconds between actions, and the "routing" explanation is pretty poor. I managed at one point to route raw materials straight through the factory to the silo... with no explanation that the materials would not be processed on the way through.

It's very hard to explain why the interface is so awkward, it is just something you would have to experience yourself.

Awkwardness aside though, the interface is very pretty, and once set up, you can safely dock and managed your installations from afar. You only need visit them to pick up, or deliver, materials and goods.

This fire and forget approach to the planets, as well as the gorgeous (though sparse) graphics make for an enjoyable new feature, and as I emphasised above, it has a purpose. In fact I think it will have a major on going effect on the universe at large.

For now, I'm signing off, it's the daily down time and I need breakfast.