Tuesday, 31 August 2010

lolz at Lizard

Just a quick one, I was reading this....

Give it a read, it won't take you long... go on...

Right, now see the user comments at the bottom? See this one...

The fact they are anonymous tells me that they are cowards. It really easy to be offenive when you can hide in your mums house.
I love that one, I don't know if the irony is intended, but I like it.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Console Players Versus...

I just wrote a very long post, and I then decided to select it all and start over... so here's my more rational entry about this story.

Reading that, I hear my rational, law abiding higher brain saying... "This is a good thing, it's going to stop nefarious use of software on the PS3, it's going to keep evil nasty pirates out of business".

But then deep inside, in my primal inner mind I hear an echo of "M*t*er F*c*ers" I just feel that it's terrible, no matter what the EULA's say, that it's legal for someone to sell you an item of equipment just to then tell you how to use it....

This really doesn't seem to happen in other genre's of business...

I mean people cook up & cut drugs with common kitchen cutlery, pans & such... but you don't get an EULA from Pyrex about not cooking up crack on the items they sell... (I know that's a terrible analogy, but it is the same sort of thing).

This whole thing with Sony is really bully-boy too, I mean argh... I can't vocalise what bugs me about this...

Gah, more later.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Smallwood v NCSoft

So, it would seem that someone, unable to get out of his virtual world has decided to get up out of his computer chair and sort out his addiction to computer games... He unfortunately is an American, which means he's promptly pointed the finger of blame at someone else and files suit against NCSoft.

Check out the details at the link at the end of the post.

But, I can't believe this chap, he's played this game, 20,000 Hours over 5 years... let me just check something.... I have played (approximately) 18140 hours of World Of Warcraft, I've had active accounts in Eve since 2005 and have dabbled with LOTRO, Dungeons & Dragons, Runes of Magic, I played in a high ranked UK Day of Defeat Clan and single player games such as the Total War series, the CIV Series and Dragon Age...

Since 2004 I have managed to change job, buy a new car, buy a house, get engaged, start to learn the drums, went back to my old study of Karate and played about with writing a novel...

If I have time for all that, what was this guy doing? I mean, 18000 hours is near as damn it two years, I have spent two of my 32 years on the planet in Azeroth! God help me when I roll up to the pearly gates to justify my own existence... "I got to level 80, six times, made Marshal PVP rank and raided end game as DPS, healer and tank without ever raiding with a druid". I know what the reply will be.. "Click" going Dooooooooown.

And I don't care, it was my choice to play all that time away, I did it, I swapped dinging for sleep, I got obsessed, I still am, but I have a life around my keyboard and I got on with it, I certainly didn't point at Blizzard and shout "j'accuse" they sold a service, it was my choice, my right, my option to play... Just as it was this chap's choice to play Lineage II.

I'll be interested in how the courts in the US progress this case, especially what NCSoft say... I mean, there are alsorts of parallels, do the baulbus members of the populus get to blame the cows for making them fat?

I mean, there are people pulling guns on people, selling drugs, even; god forbid; doing 34 in a 30mph zone... what are the courts doing cluttering themselves up with this joker trying to excuse his own actions?

Gah, rant over... BTW, those of you tuning into SUWT #68 to hear me, you won't... Someone (not pointing any fingers) forgot he invited me... and here I am with a prom dress all ready, and no-one to take me... bastard.

Anyway, the link to the story can be found here.... WIRED.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Intel - McAffee

Now, I've just lost a serious amount of my respect for Intel, they've decided to put in a cash bid to buy McAfee. And I'm gob smacked.

First of all, that Intel whom I had always thought of as a clean running mill of ingenuity would consider dirtying their hands with virus scanning... least of all including such scanning inside the executive cores of processors...

But secondly, that they would pick McAfee... The scanning software from them is stupidly bad at best, it can't; at the time of writing; find any variant of the Sality Virus, nor could it recently spot a Trojan.Dropper which had been hanging around in our offices at work since 2005.

Intel buying Avira, would have been excellent... but McAfee?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

My Plasma has Passed Away

Well, I dunno what I've done, but on my Linux Virtual Machine Host box I've managed to remove the task bar... you know the bit at the bottom showing you what apps you have running... well, it is AWOL...

I'm going to be reinstalling that box at some point this weekend, fitting some of my older 120GB disks into her and fitting 2GB more RAM - YAY!...

But, still, a missing task bar is a bit of a pain in the arse.

I've inserted a fixed widget to show me my applications, but I miss my task bar...

So, anyone coming to play with Kubuntu on KDE with Plasma desktop extensions, when it has all done installing carefully right click on everything and lock it in place.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

All Paths Blocked...

Well, I've just learned two new things... that a game called APB, an online RPG no less launched a couple of weeks ago... and that said game has basically killed its parent company...

Check out the furor from the BBC report.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-11003456

Two things strike me about this report, first of all, I don't consider myself to be out of the gaming loop, infact, on the face of things I'm pretty well wired in; I'm on the net all day, and most all the night, I read magazines, I read blogs and news feeds... and I'd never heard of "APB"..

Secondly, APB was one of the first games I've heard of which, in the US at least, was trying to peddle itself to the masses with a Pay Per Hour played, or subscription, model. I'm not sure how such a model would appeal, we all like pay-as-you go mobile credit, I'd love to see pay-as-you go from Blizzard. But, a new title... with so many more orthodox free to play MMO's out there... could APB have succeded?

I don't think so, it looks like an online version of GTA, indeed the game was produced and concepted by the chap behind the original GTA and Lemmings... I don't think with that pedigree, and without my having played it, I can cast aspertions at the game play for this titles failure.

However, I can only say it's the fault of their Public Relations officer, I've never heard of it... Have you? I mean, the US Publisher for the game is EA... I'm even an avid follower of Jeff Green, the online content editor at EA (and ex of the Brodeo), and he'd never even pointed me a sniff in the direction of this APB...

Anyway, if any of you want to throw good money after bad (in the US at least, you can get APB form the EA Store.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

174, 124, 38, 32... No. 2

So, what is the rather cryptic title of this post about? Am I trying to decode some old episode of Lost? Am I picking out Lottery Numbers? No, I'm trying to point out the futility of a well rounded argument in the face of the wind of popular opinion.

A friend of mine and I were discussing "which is your favourite Stones track?", for the uninitiated the "Stones" refers to the rather popular English band "The Rolling Stones".

The mythical numbers above relate to the positions of some of their songs on the "Rolling Stone" (magazine) - How confusing is that name when I'm talking about "THE" Rolling Stones - any hew, these songs are:

Now, my friend and I were arguing over these four tracks, as to where they belong as our collective favourite Stones song, I'm afraid for all of your lovely peeps out there, I need to remove the third wall a moment here and say... I like Jumpin' Jack Flash the most, I always have, and always will, closely followed by Paint It, Black and Sympathy... That's my order, that's the way I see it.

That's not to say that I don't like Gimme Shelter, but whenever I hear it, I see cheaply made US TV network adverts in my head, for things like CSI... its an over used song.

That's not to say the others are not used, but they're not used as much as Gimme Shelter. And as such for me it looses marks.

By my friend was shocked and appalled by this, after having Gimme Shelter on repeat on his iPod for a full three hours, he's convinced it is the best Stones track, the track for him.

I don't think he's taken into account how depressing that might be, if it were one of his Desert Island Tracks, but hey ho, each to their own...

However, I've come to the conclusion that this argument between us was futile, we were foolish, hot headed and didn't sniff the wind of supposed popular opinion... You see, looking more closely at the social barometer which is the Rolling Stones top 500 Tracks list... number 2 is the key.

Nearly top of the shop, for The Rolling Stones at Number Two is... Satisfaction...

How very unsatisfying that is to me.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Eve-Online on VMPlayer with Kubuntu Linux

Right, so I've been busy, sorry about that, but I have tonight at least found myself a fair hunk of time to geek out a little more over VMplayer. And I'm impressed with the results.

As I made mention in a previous post I've been toying with Virtualizing some of my machines at home, firstly to unlock the masses of memory and cores I own, this has come off of the back of some work I've carried out at work to start to virtualize the software development.

Not to mention to finally get my development environment at home off of Windoze, but still retain the ability to test my output on a real windows box. Anyway, I'm mumbling, tonight I've been over a fair few places on the internet working out how to optimize a Windows XP Pro guest OS
on a Kubuntu Linux host.

And this is the result....

That's right... I got eve running at 1024x768x24 full screen, but in the virtual machine, so it's a window... this really makes my geekometer max out.

I'm not going to bore you with the details of what I did, you can message me and find out... but for the basics...

  • Install Kubuntu - Spend a little time optimizing the desktop, turning off all desktop effects is a good step.
  • Install the best Native Graphics drivers for your machine into Linux. ATi users will be at a loss here, sorry.
  • Install VMplayer - Download and install VMplayer.
  • Now, go find your Windows XP Pro install disc, create a virtual machine in VMplayer, you need to give it 1GB of RAM and at least a single core, turning off the sound card really helps here btw and give it about 40GB of hard drive space... remove the floppy drive and set the display to 1 display with a maximum resolution of 1024x768, let Windows do it's thing and install [you will need a real licensed copy of Windows by the way].
  • Let the Virtual machine boot up, optimize windows so it's desktop effects are pretty much off.
  • Also let the VMware Tools download and install into the Virtual Machine.
  • Ensure that you have 3D Acceleration turned on in the Virtual Machine Settings, and also make sure that the Virtual Machine supports the 3D acceleration properly.
  • Next, inside the XP Virtual Machine browse on the internet to get yourself the DirectX Runtime 9.0c - Older ones tend to give the best results, I'm using a runtime from approximately August 2005.
  • Now we're off the beaten track, shutdown your Virtual Machine, and browse your hard drive to its VMX file, this is the file with all its settings inside. Add this to the last like "svga.ramSize=X", without the quotes.
  • The value of X is the number of bytes, and I've found it best to give the virtual machine half of your graphics RAM, so my test card has 256MB of RAM, so I've assigned the virtual machine 128MB (i.e. svga.vramSize=134217728 ).
  • Now, this is the real boring bit, start up and download Eve-Online within your Virtual Machine (see below).
  • Once Eve is Installed, let it open (it'll open on Maximum settings, for some reason).
  • Don't press anything, it'll take ages to start up, then set the settings within Eve to be the minimum values possible.
  • Voila, it'll run, as my screen shot shows.
The real key is to experiment, accept that you're going to run this at lower than your usual settings.

Certainly, for mining and trading this is working fine for me, I'm not sure about Missions, but I'll give them ago. But don't expect to be ace on the old PVP circuit with this set up, since action needs a good reaction you need native performance.

Monday, 2 August 2010

When Art Meets Computer Games...

Now, I don't want anyone to rocket out of their chairs... I'm not going to be talking about the mine field topic that is "Are Computer Games Art"... No no, I'm going to look at someone who thinks he can find art in the fabric of computer games.

Now, I'm a bit of a flat footed baffoon when it comes to art, I once went to Nottingham Castle to see a Picasso which I can only describe as a bit of black paint scribbled on a bit of cloth...

Anyway, I may not be able to see art, but I can see computer graphics, and this chap, has just finished a residency at The TAG Gallery in the Hague... An Art Gallery... this is a big deal for an Artist, to have the public able to come and see your works of art.

But that is where this chaps work seems to fall down to me... Art... it is not, he seems to go to strange, unfinished, parts of games, or more specifically levels in 3rd Person Shooters... and take screen shots.

He describes this as being a Virtual Photographer... Erm... No you're not, it's not Photography...

the process or art of producing images of objects on sensitized surfaces by the chemical action of light or of other forms of radiant energy, as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays.

There are none of these photographic properties in capturing the data from a graphics output buffer... No rays, no radiant energy, no chemical reaction of light... but that is merely a technical quibble.

The point that this chap is calling it Art is what bothers me, its clearly not, he's making some illusions to how the virtual landscapes around him look like the real world... erm, of course they do, but I don't call myself making a 3D Dome in code a "Turner" now do I... no, it's a functional piece of code. The fact that it looks like a sky is its point, its point is not for some tosser to come along, take a screen shot of it, and make a living there of. It simply appears to me that he's found a good excuse for playing computer games when he should have been working... "Are you on that Computer again?"... "ERm, no, no darling, just finishing my latest composition for the Gallery".

In fact, does this actually infringe on the copyright of the game engine? I mean, taking screenshots to promote their engines is one thing, but taking pictures of broken bits of these game engines [which, correctly if I'm wrong, is bad PR] and then having the front to charge people for seeing these images?

Have I missed something here?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Convert your Girl to Linux Now

It's been a long while coming, but over the last couple of days I've been reworking all my PC's, network and file serving. Basically I'm half way through and bored. But I'm watching lots of old machinema from the late 1990's, from a time that machinema was basically a couple of blokes running past Barney in the original Half-Life and making a witty comment... God it was crap, but why can't I stop watching???

Anyway, yes I'm going through my bits and bobs, and sorting out my machines. I'm down to four PC's and two Laptops... Signs are bad for my addiction.

One good thing I have done today though is get around to sorting out my lass's laptop, she's been struggling with an old single core celeron, with 512mb and the worlds most scrambled installation of Windows XP Home. This poor bastard would simply not start up quickly, it couldn't get itself onto the wireless network properly and it'd sit whimpering for a good 17 minutes in the limbo land between start up and explorer actually opening.

The machine itself, hardware-wise, is sound; it has just been hit with the Redmond stick, like someone had carried this poor bastard thing to the very top branch of the Windows Registry Tree of shame and thrown down through the clawing branches.

So, I've spent a vast chunk of my life (at least on a weekend time scale) in creating a live Virtual Machine of the laptop as it was; and then I've put Linux on it... And you know what.

It's bliss.

Not only does it start in about 68 seconds, but it connects to the network... its a revelation... And, I'm not getting bugged every 15 minutes to go get it to reopen facebook as it's flunked out on her... She loves it...

So, invest in the lighter side of home IT support duties... give your misses Linux.