30 January 2007

Windows Vista

Well the new version of Windows is out the door. My conclusion is... I'll probably get it when I get a new machine. I was tempted by it, there are a couple of reasons I'd want it. They are:

  • Media Centre
  • 64-bit Goodness

However I was reading an article about its protected media handling which put me off a little. Still not enough to deter me from be interested still. Even the system performance hit based on the new chrome in the system didn't put me off (though I have seen much of it done as well, if not better, on my 800MHz, 384MB of RAM iBook).

However I read that the upgrade requires an old OS to install over. A pain if you need to do a reinstall, especially since a base install of XP can be owned before you have time to download the patches, but you could just unplug from the network to avoid that. However the killer point is:

Those hoping to upgrade should be aware of a few issues, too. 32-bit versions of XP can only be upgraded to 32-bit versions of Windows Vista. And Windows XP Professional x64 Edition can only be upgraded to 64-bit versions of Windows Vista (Business and above).

Paul Thurrott's Windows Site

So I can't do an upgrade to x64 Vista with Windows XP64 Professional installed on my machine (which I don't have). I considered buying an OEM copy but OEM software is also tied to the motherboard it is first installed on and since I've considered changing to an PCI-E architecture (I got one of the last AGP motherboards) then I don't want to bind myself to that either.

Oh well, hope too many DirectX 10 games come out any time soon.

29 January 2007

Throwing Snowballs At Cthulhu

The title was stolen from the subject line of an email from, one of my players, 21reasons.

I tried running that Cthulhu Pool game that I talked about, a bit back, on Friday. I can't say it was a resounding success but I think it went OK. I used the Snowball system; a derivative of the Pool system. First I was surprised at just how unlucky my players were. The amount of times they rolled sixes and no ones was amazing. Seemed that the night wasn't going their way. However I started all their characters off with an insanity which I just treated like any other skill. Perhaps I should have changed it so victory and defeat conditions are reversed (so rolling a 1 gets a monologue of defeat) and that you must use that skill if it is applicable. I also started the characters off with memory loss which might have been a mistake. I also felt for not even a second did I actually capture the horror feel of the Cthulhu universe. But maybe that's just because I'm pants at horror.

Still I'd like to give running a Snowball game another shot, even if it isn't a Cthulhu type one. I noticed that the game I played in is available from that site. I might give a go running it at some stage. Hopefully all my potential players won't realise this and go off and read what it is about.

25 January 2007

Please Leave Your Message After The Meep

I was, for the second time, trying out Google Talk's voice communication stuff. As the other person was setting up I tried calling her anyway and got put through to the voicemail which was very amusing as (to quote the woman's voice who does it) Please leave your message after the meep, meep. It's a really cute message and promotes the sort of playful outlook Google has.

Anyway I was really impressed by the quality of the line. The first time I tried it, with my brother, his mic didn't really seem up to the job. With a good mic the sound quality was really clear, it did a good job of excluding echo (the person I was talking to said she could hear my music and didn't get echo even though her voice was coming out of the same speakers). I've been moving over to Gajim a bit due to lots of the useful features it has but I'm hoping many of these will move into Google Talk at some stage soon.

I also liked the preview pictures on file transfers as well. It was cool and, while in the call, allowed you to talk about the pictures.

19 January 2007


Damn it. I was, what's the word, "pissing about" last night with installing Ubuntu on my primary machine (it's my favoured choice of linux). For some reason Grub took out the MBR and died a horrible death itself. I'm not sure why, Grub was not my friend at that stage. Of course you'd think Windows would be able to write itself over the MBR. I've certainly recall, in the past, where Windows has written itself over LILO without a second thought making my poor linux partition become invisible to the world. Anyway after attempting to repair Windows manually, and then let Windows heal itself I gave up and went for a fresh reinstall. Great! Furthermore when I activate my Windows system apparently I've changed configuration to often so they denied me registration. To be fair a call to their support line and entering the details requested allowed me to activate my machine and not actually worry about the whole thing bombing out in 30 days.

So patching ahoy, installing all those programs that I need to make the system function (I haven't actually got around to programs I'd like to, you know, do stuff), two devices still driver-less and the amazing machine not turning off problem that I had ages ago which is now back. I can't remember what I did to fix it but I think it had something to do with installed drivers (*sigh*).

I can't seem to find my WinDVD disc either so I don't have DVD playback (why build that in to your OS?) but this time I'm going to give VLC a go for DVD playback. I use it for at least a bit of video streaming anyway so I might as well see how it does with DVDs.

So though I like to see the bright side of this and know it is a good chance to just not reinstall all that crap that has built up on my system for the last year and a half or so it's also annoying that Windows setup is such a pain and, more importantly, I missed dancing because of it. I remember a PVP comic about PC users staying in and fixing their PCs and Mac users getting laid... well I feel like one of those PC users except replace laid with many exciting dances and you are there.

15 January 2007


I've been working on a Jabber Bot using the Smack API (I'm sure I'll talk about its purpose at a later stage) and I've been finding it really enjoyable, and easy, to use. If you are writing a Java Jabber application I'd certainly suggest considering it.

Other than that I pre-ordered my copy of Final Fantasy XII on Sunday. It wasn't my plan to, it just kinda happened. Very much looking forward to it, finally, arriving over here. One thing I find a bit strange is that there is an official European website with teasers about an official launch of the site with downloads and such. Do you think that SquareEnix don't realise that we can get all the USA pages over here and, therefore, already seem all that. I'm sure I've mentioned before that since I read predominately US sites then I follow the US hype machine. It's annoying than seeing a game heavily advertised and knowing that you won't actually be able to pick it up for another six months in your territory. By then it often feels like old news.

I also read about the woman who died trying to compete for a Wii. It seems irresponsible of a radio station to try such things knowing the health risks (I thought that of that TV series where people had to stay up for 100 hours as well). Still I'm sure Nintendo will be blamed/sued for the naming of their console.

11 January 2007

Cthulhu and his Pool

I've been thinking about running another game of Call of Cthulhu. I'm still looking for a system that I'm happy with for the game though and I thought I'd give Pool a go (specifically Anti-Pool). It seems an ok fit; though there are problems I'll get to in a bit. It's a narrative tale where the player characters are human. As long as the players were willing to play within more realistic constraints then I think a good tale would come out of it. I was thinking about how to play insanities though. Possibly having negative skills (Agoraphobia: -1) that if a player was describing an action involving that they'd have to take a dice from their pool (before they roll it) as a cost to take that action. How you get any form of insanity is an interesting one too. Possibly as the failing point for an action (as you describe the success/failure of any given action) when faced with crazy hoards. If you read a book (that might give you access to spells) it might also come with insanity.

If I can get some people together that are interested in playing this I might see if I can take it anywhere.

08 January 2007

Merging Blogs (Again)

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true. -Robert Wilensky

I've reached a point in my blogging time where I realise that I don't seem to really get that much time to post. I've been thinking about reintegrating my computer games blog with this one again just to actually have some activity on my blog. I sort of like having separate blogs where I can change the look and feel and such as I see fit for that blog but ultimately the computer game playing and developing bits of my time are just part of my life (so is dancing but I'm still going to keep that separate for now) and I've occasionally thought of where I'm going to post things and couldn't decide between the two. Anyway this seems a bit of a non-post (random thoughts on a page anyone?) but I'll actually hopefully, finally, get around to posting a couple of the scripts that I have developed that might interest people.

04 January 2007

To Do List

Ooh, happy new year and all that. If you don't use the Gregorian calendar or celebrate a pointless increment of a date then good on you. It will stop you making new years resolutions and stuff which is a good thing.

Inspired by what Dr Sordid used to do then I have taken to trying to write things to achieve this year. I'm looking for suggestions if you have any good ones. They aren't quite new year resolutions more a year ahead long term task list. OK I've resolved to do them you pedantic people.

  1. Buy a flat
  2. Rate all my music (I'm sad, I know)
  3. Learn to drive
  4. Make a NWN module
  5. Actually do some more Tango (I always seem busy at the time lessons are on)
  6. Make a computer game (well another one)
  7. Upload all those little scripts and stuff that I make but then never get around to sharing
  8. Do a part time university course

That should do for now. No where near as long or as varied as Dr Sordid but he didn't achieve most of the things on his list :D.