Thursday, 29 March 2012

Earth's Biggest Selection

Have you ever noted at the bottom of the automatic Amazon receipt mails you receive it says "Earth's Biggest Selection"... A slightly geeky and totally pointless comment for them to make... Or is it?

Maybe its a hint that they're about to send a book to Mars?... And you know what... If they were to send a book to Mars, making it "Mars's Biggest Selection", what book would we send?

My vote, if such a decision ever came to the UK Voting Public, would have to go for something really viceral, something saying "Don't fucking come to Earth, they'll eat your fucking babies"... You know a proper "keep off the grass" shot at Mars, just in case someone other than the Human's are up there...

Think of this as Pascal's wager, but for Aliens arriving on Mars, rather than a Deity...

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Pot Holes

Do you know what annoys the shit out of me about this:

All the pot-holes I've seen on the road are caused by their being seams in the surface dug by utility companies or other road-maintenance tasks... So we're talking about the likes of Severn Trent, Virgin Media, The National Grid, British Gas.. Infact, pick any utility company you want, just close your eyes and point into the yellow pages and voila there's one of the bastards.

So, whilst we the tax payers are lumbered paying our road tax, its not going to fund fixing the roads, its off doing god alone knows what.  Councils are paying for holes which other profiteering bastards created.

I swear its so annoying... Broad Lane in Brinsley was recently resurfaced, and what a joy it is to drive on now, but it was rutted by a great swathe of surface cuttings all the way along to the brow of its hill by some utility company (most likely Severn Trent in that case).

There are other fantastic examples of this problem, I'm sure you've seen dozens of these.

Another great example was the A52, this was resurfaced from the QMC Island all the way down to Priory Island... Within a week of it being finished... the surface was being cut into by a utility company, British Gas in that case... I will bet my bottom dollar that the surface starts to break up not on the original surfacing, but around this bastard work by British Gas.

And I'm tired of it, I think these utility companies should be charged for doing duff-fill-ins... If Roads have to be of a "Standard" as the report suggests, I suggest that cuttings into the surface have to be of that (or a higher) standard!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The "Fit Rage Quit"

I'm going to discuss a very delicate topic with you all, a topic which can be miss-interpreted, a topic which can cause fear, rage, apathy and hilarity in equal measure... A topic which can raise heroes or crush empires... I am of course talking about the “Fit Rage Quit”.

For those of you unfamiliar with the urban dictionary, and gaming in general, the “Fit Rage Quit” is the phenomena of a seemingly normal person, usually playing a game, suddenly and with such force “going mental” flying into a “blood drive rage” and then “quitting the game”. The Fit Rate Quit phenomena can happen to everyone, its happened to me, it can happen to you, even your dear old granny can Fit Rage Quit.

The challenge we have here in this post is to define the event... Which is pretty hard to do, its a very personal thing, and can take on numerous forms. Additionally, like some sub-atomic particles if you observe the phenomenon it can change its characteristics.

Certainly the best demographic group for the “Fit Rage Quit” are the early teenage groups. Usually, but not exclusively male, the combination of their collective need to win, hormones, unbroken voices and the self-belief untarnished by the truth of life, usually leads them to believe they are the best thing since sliced bread... And the catalyst for the “Fit Rage Quit” is usually, unfortunately for them, their loosing.

Loss is an easy thing to deal with at my grand age of 33, I've loved, and lived and lost lots of things, family members, friends, pets, money and a good horde of my brain cells to alcohol. But at thirteen, the world is your oyster, you've been playing this game fifteen minutes, you finally have an age higher than your shoe size, you're going to stand astride the Earth and let the other minions in the game bask in your glory.

Except, at thirteen, you're not actually very good at some things... Like communicating, like sharing ideas, like working in a team... And as I'm fond of saying to people there is no “I” in T E A M... But at 13 you think a team is you and your mates running around screaming “head shot” into Team Speak and talking to everyone else like they're a douche... Until... OH MY GOD.... You just lost.

Queue the “FIT RAGE QUIT!!?!?!?” Zoooomg how can this have happened to you, your fine bronzed collossus physique has been lain waste by a thirty something half baked on Pino Grigio. How can this have happened to you? How can this possibly have occurred? The world is wrong, the other people must be cheating, they must know the developers, they must have hacked your computer and delayed the key strokes from my keyboard to my computer, they must have....

When, really, its just you. You're young, you lost it... End of... Hey you got the other guy going for days, until today... But YOU just lost!?!!

Some fine examples of the “FIT RAGE QUIT” come from the world of the first person shooter, maybe its the feeling of self-personification, you can find a plethora of videos with screaming nerdy voice recordings of the pre-pubescent teen screaming. Another great source of them is the online MMO games, World of Warcraft sends up a few good ones, not to mention the interesting in-tolerability of the Eve-Online Fit Rage Quit, as per this kill:

My personal favourite at the moment is in the Free to Play MMRTS “Lord Of Ultima”, in LoU you get a game world which is a massive time sink, supposedly medieval times and armies of millions of men slamming helmet to helmet (remember it took William the Conquerer only about 7000 men to conquer Saxon England)... And due to the time-sink nature of the game play, you get three kinds of players (and I generalise here, but bare with me)....

The first kind are the impatient. Anybody can be impatient, but the young are the best, they rush at things and annoy others, they don't want listen to the other two categories of players.

The second kind are the middler's, they tend to know the best play tactics they excel at their game, but they don't want to wait for things, they will charge like a bull in a china shop given half a chance.

The third are the patient, they are usually older players, and they will sit and wait. Watching from the side lines and will generally improve their game over time.

The interesting thing about these three categorisations is that I find I can pin every player into one of them, from any game, and I can see an relationship with the “Fit Rage Quit”... The slower, more sedate the player the less likely they are to “Fit Rage Quit”... The faster they are, the more likely they are, their impatiences is a catalyst for the “Fit Rage Quit”...

But, when a speedy one goes, its like a firework... Wooosh, Bang... Over... Usually generating hilarity in those around them. When this happens in a short game, like Call of Duty, the impact is minimal, hence the funny factor rises. In the time sink style game however, such Whoosh-bang departures can be a pain for others, still funny but a pain.

The trouble I have then found is that those “Fit Rage Quit” mentality people who are also sedate in their game play, when they go, boy do they go, there is more than rage, there are broken hearts... Queue the Mike Curb Congregation singing “Burning Bridges”... and you just watch the game you knew fall down around your ears.

So, beware, the Fit Rage Quit today may be funny... Tomorrow it may leave a terrible feeling in your Tummy...

Monday, 5 March 2012

BBC Commenters being Polluted

I've noted a trend with the debates on BBC News articles, they have always opened themselves to conversation, that is the point of allowing user debate but they were always filtered, or checked, or never attracted an audience whom posted comments based on other media... But they are starting to...

And there's a worrying trend to see commentors posting links to youtube, The Sun, The Mirror other TV or streaming media sources.

Some of these sources I can tollerate, but some of the sources being quoted verbatim are ones whom have their own well broadcast agenda's... And to see them seeping insidiously onto the BBC coverage (which though wholly British is usually averaging even).

Thursday, 1 March 2012

AWS - First Impressions

So, I've been looking at Amazon Web Services, expect to see some tutorials up here soon covering the likes of setting up an instance, wiring it to an external IP and hosting a website on it, or trac, or SVN etc etc....

But, one thing has struck me about the AWS console, its not very user friendly.  I don't mean to demigrate the system, its a great innovation, and very interesting that I can turn off the PC I always keep hosting my code at home, but the things not mentioned, hard to find, or simply obscure in the way the system works is boggling.

A good example of a boggling way of working is that you can create your virtual instance, you can be instructed how to connect to it, you can be inside it and you can see it has an IP, that is a local address to the cluster of machines around it on the node its running on, not an address on the internet through which you can access it.  So, to assign an address which can be seen by the outside world, you have to use an "Elastic IP".  This is all documented, but its obscure, you add the Elastic IP in a completely different place to your virtual machine, its on a different page, and then you have to associate it with the running VM.... This is clearly so as if you have more than one machine in the cloud you can address them separately, or even stop external access to the machine, but when you've selected the VM wizard to help you put it together, and the solution you've picked is the web server, to now have this Elasstic IP automatically created and assigned is... well its weird.

I'll leave this here, and go get on with some work...