April 22, 2008

PS3 Console Games

I've ranted in the past about games, usually about how they are far too hard, and how they are annoying with their savepoints and boss levels. But today, I'm mostly going to praise a couple of my recent acquisitions.

Burnout Paradise


This is an absolutely fantastic game. I've followed the Burnout franchise on XBox and PSP, and the lure of 720p graphics and full roaming quickly made my mind up on this latest release. Right from the start you have a huge city that you can drive anywhere in. No road is blocked off, no route requires 20 hours of complex gameplay, just fire the engine and go. See a yellow gate? Drive through to smash it - there are 400 to find so even the casual gamer can dip in for 10 minutes and watch their score increase.

And driving, that's really easy too. Sure, you crash, a lot, but you soon learn not to hit things too hard, and most of the scenery is fairly forgiving. And anyway, crashing is also great fun.

I had the misfortune to play RidgeRacer7 last week, and it was so tame and boring and unresponsive I lasted all of 5 minutes before throwing it down.


So, it's easy to spend a few hours in Burnout just driving around, crashing into things, exploring shortcuts and super-jumps. But the game hasn't even really started. At every road intersection, you can stop the car, and try a race. The junctions are colour-coded on the map, so you can choose race type, there are a few to choose from, and then you're off. Unlike many games, and previous Burnouts, the route is not fixed. Sometimes it's best not to chase after the other cars but to go it alone, and ducking onto the railway tracks is one of my favourite tricks. You can have great fun knocking your opponents cars off the road and slipping through a shortcut to overtake. Again, you crash, a lot, but each crash doesn't lose you that much time, and you can usually catch up. Playing this game isn't hard. I'm not a great gamer, but I won my first few races, and though it's getting harder now, I'm still winning a few and working my way up the rankings.

So Burnout is easy to get into, has a shallow difficulty curve for the rest of the game, and always has the sheer joy of driving fast through the city streets to keep you amused even if you don't want to race. And I haven't even touched on the online options and car upgrades. In fact, there is hardly anything wrong with this game, except that you might get a little sick of the Guns 'n Roses 'Paradise City' song - I know I have.



Much has been written about this, the most original element of Valve's "The Orange Box" game collection. I won't add too much, probably.

If you haven't heard of Half-Life, you're probably not my target audience here. It is a great first person shooter game, originally on PC, which has had numerous sequels and imitations. 'The Orange Box' combines four of these (Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 - Episode 1, Half-Life 2 - Episode 2, and Team Fortress) onto one normally priced DVD disc with what looks like a cheap extra - Portal - tagged onto the end. Team Fortress, by the way, is an online shooter based on the Half-Life engine; it is also excellent, but I'll not go into that here.

So, Portal. It looks like Half-Life, obviously. It feels like Half-Life. The black humour is cranked up to 10 - listen carefully to your computer instructor telling you how to get to the pie. The aim of the game is to get through each level alive. Nothing new there. Are there zombies, or robots chasing you? No. Do you have an arsenal of ever more destructive weapons to wield against hords of intelligent aliens? No. Can you, maybe, make a small hole in a wall and jump through it? Yes. That's just about all you need to do.

Your 'gun' makes portals through which you jump. In the beginning it's easy, you just need one, but later yoy get to make two different portals, a blue on and an orange one. When you jump through one, you come out where the other one is. Simple? Well, yes and no. It does take a certain amount of mental readjustment to full think in three dimensions. If you make one portal in a wall next to you, and another in the ceiling above you, and step through the first, you drop back down where you started.


Just a few simple rules, and a little ingenuity are all that's needed to keep you going right through to the end. It's addictive, funny, and admittedly a little tricky in places. I did get stuck a couple of times, but kicked myself when I found the solution. And the ending is my dreaded boss level against the clock, which I didn't enjoy overly, but completed in only a couple of tries.

And just in case you're thinking it's all a bit too brainy and maybe boring, there are in fact some guns in Portal, and they're shooting at you, and you can't shoot back. I've been told that you can complete the game by just avoiding these guns completely, hiding behind things, or going round them. It's usually easier to sneak up on them and push them over though.

Like all Half-Life games, you can quicksave AT ANY TIME. Yes, AT ANY TIME. This is so important it needs repeating. I'm looking at you Halo. I'm looking at you Tomb Raider. I do not want savepoints that take five to ten minutes to reach before I'm killed every single time until I give up and throw your game disk in the drawer, never to retrieve.

And the ending, when you get there, after only a few short hours, it really worth it. In my life I've actually completely finished very few games, so it's always especially nice when I do do it, that there is something extra waiting for me at the end.

Posted by se71 at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2007

Computer Games Are Too Hard

I was sure I'd written a piece on this, but cannot find it right now.

Anyway, slashdot are dicussing the subject today, and when I find what I wrote, I'll link to it.

Posted by se71 at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

RSS Aggregate Feeds

Recently I wanted to set up an RSS feed of all my stuff, you know, flickr images, blog, delicious links etc. I wanted to give someone a single link to all the things I update regularly online.

I decided on a web based solution so that I don't have to host it on my own server; no real reason for this, just being lazy really. But I thought it would be really easy, and maybe any lessons I learned would allow me to show friends how to do it too.

I've heard of Feedburner so logged in there and created an account. I found the whole thing a bit difficult to navigate, but eventually made this feed. Problem is, it's not really working very well. It only allows me to set up my blog as the primary feed, and then some predefined accounts as associate feeds to that. This would be OK if the ones I want were are all listed, but many that I want are not there. This really defeats the object of getting everything in one place. Also, the updates seem a bit sporadic. So I gave up on it.

I asked some friends on the #(void) IRC channel and they came up with a better alternative. SuprGlu has some standard services like flickr and All Consuming, it even showed me how to set up my last.fm recently played music. Additionally, any number of custom feeds are also possible so I was able to include multiple blogs that I write. Here is the feed and here is a nice web page automatically generated from it. Sadly, I've again had a bit of a problem making it do updates frequently enough.

Then quite by chance, Erik Benson told me in his blog how he solved this problem. He included it as a feature in the 43 People website. I already have a page here so did the relevant work and created a feed here too. It's pretty difficult to find the relevant setup page on 43people, but it's now working at least as well as the other options above.

I'm forced to admit defeat though. None of these options updates in a predictable or timely manner, so maybe I'll have to try something like plagger instead after all and install and host more software on my virtual server.

Posted by se71 at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2006

Outlook Hack

Just had an interesting thought.

If you use an email system like Outlook at work, it has an option to retrieve a previously sent email. I expect thie feature is to help you to correct mistakes, but it doesn't ever work really well in my opinion for this as you usually end up receiving both the incorrect and the corrected copies, and also notifications that the sender tried to do the retrieval.

But you can make it work for you in a different way. Let's say you have a really important email you want someone to read, but you know they are really busy and it is likely to get overlooked. Try this subterfuge.

Send it to them, then retrieve it right back, then send it again with a minor change.

Why? Well, it's a bit evil, but I think it will work for this reason.

People read emails that the sender has tried to retrieve very carefully indeed. They want to know why they were retrieved, hoping the sender made a mistake and told them something that was meant to be a secret :-) So you're manipulating them into reading your email carefully in the hope that they will find an interesting, juicy piece of information. They won't find it of course, but you will have achieved your purpose and gotten your email to the top of their priorities.

Posted by se71 at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2006

PSP Games

I have a Playstation Portable (PSP) handheld computer. I've already praised it's goodness here. I thought I should tell you little about the games I have for it so far.

Burnout Legends

This is fantastic. It's hard to imagine how you can get so engrossed in the fast paced action on such a small screen. But you do. Racing cars around tracks at such a speed that the obstacles are hardly visible before they've flown past, it's almost unbelievable that your fingers can keep up. But they do. The cars are responsive, and the tracks are just forgiving enough to let you get away with bashing into the sides, but not so easy that stupid head-on collisions can be contemplated.

So the game physics, and graphics are good. What about the gameplay itself. I've had this game for months, and according to the stats I've for played something like 13 hours and am 70% through. This is pretty good for me, I usually only get 10-20% through a game before I get stuck. It's getting harder, but I'm hoping I have a few more hours left. There are several different tracks, and lots of different cars. You 'win' new events to play as you progress through the game, by beating opponents or beating times. The opponents are good, but again, not too good.

The best thing about this game though is the 'takedown' element. Many races have as an integral part the option to smash your rivals against the crash barrriers, or nudge them into concrete posts or oncoming traffic. They of course are trying to do the same to you. This is great fun. And jumping my car from an overpass and landing on an opponent's roof really made me laugh.

Multiplayer is excellent too. If you have a friend with a PSP, you can play against them even if they do not have the game themselves. The wireless connection allows the relevant game data to be passed across. This is very slow unfortunately, but once it's there you can both race against each other on any of the tracks.


Everybody's Golf

I got this as a first game, as I thought it would be good for the kids to play. They have hardly had a look-in though, I've kept it mostly to myself. There are six courses, unfortunately I haven't worked out how to get to the final four. This is a bit of a shame, as I'd like to experience some different holes.

Golf games are some of the oldest computer games. They have come a long way however from Mean 18 in terms of graphics and music. This game is very pretty, and sounds nice in a very Japanese way. There is a lot of emphasis on building your character, and choosing their outfits seems to be about as important as getting the right clubs and balls. This distraction is a bit annoying. I don't want to waste 18 holes just to get a new hat do I?

All in all, very nice, but as I'm stuck 1/3 of the way through, I have to give it a lower score.


Coded Arms

This is a first person shooter in the Doom/Quake vein. I tried to get to grips with the controls, but the PSP buttons do not seem to be geared up for it very well.

I managed to get through a few levels. but each one looked very like the last, small rooms where all the walls look the same, and silly robot opponents who dart around too fast for the controls to get a fix on them. Give me a few slow moving zombies to practice on!

Playability poor, £35 wasted.


Grand Theft Auto - Liberty City Stories

I had really high expectations for this. Having never played any GTA titles on any other platform, I hoped this would be a good introduction. I'm afraid it isn't. You start off in a city street, and I knew enough about the genre to know that there would be an element of openness about the gameplay. So you can grab a car, or a motorbike, or a taxi, and drive around. You can even walk. But you'll eventually get given missions to complete. Some involve picking up people and taking them places, others are gun fights.

The missions are extremely annoying. Here's why. There is actually very little fun shooting the useless gun you have been given. Driving around the streets is boring if you've played Burnout - the vehicles feel like toys. The worst thing is that if you fail the mission, you have to go back to the start. You have to endure cut scenes again, and then perform the boring beginning of the mission again. So if you are having a bit of a problem shooting one character say, and you meet him 3-4 minutes into a mission, you have to do it again, and again, and again, wasting all those minutes on simple stuff.

I am stuck and have given up completely after only about 3 missions.

Why can't we have an easy setting, or a skip this mission option, or a 'save game right now' option.

Also, after Burnout Legends and Everybody's Golf, the graphics look a little old fashioned and dated. The music is good though, and seems to fit with the environment.

A disappointing 3/10

Posted by se71 at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

Lists Of Bests

Those people at Robot Co-op have been busy again, and have integrated yet another cool site into their existing environment. We've had All Consuming, 43 Things, 43 Places, 43 People, and now we have Lists of Bests.

I must admit to being a bit obsessive recently (shouldn't that be, like, forever? Ed.) with making lists. I like to know what CDs I have, what books I've read, what countries I've visited. This new site lets me create personal lists of these things, or use a list which the site term as 'definitive', a predefined list that everyone should be able to agree on.

I had a mental list of movies I never want to waste my time watching. There was nothing like this on the site, so I set one up here. This is never going to be definitive, so I set up a personal list, I hope you dislike my choices. But other people can also use it, or make a copy of it for their own purposes. They can also compare their version of the list against mine, or another user's list.

The definitive lists are things like 'Oscar Winning Movies', or 'Books by Douglas Adams'. You can have fun seeing how many items on the list you can tick off. Another example is a thing BBC did called The Big Read a couple of years ago. The British the public voted for their favourite books of all time. I determined that I'd try and read all novels in the top 100, and here is that list, and here is my progress through it.

I got so carried away the other day that I created a few definitive lists myself that I felt were needed. Here they are:

Albums claimed to have sold 50 million or more units (a bit of a cheat this - there is only one in the list)

Albums claimed to have sold 40 million or more units

Albums claimed to have sold 30 million or more units

Albums claimed to have sold 20 million or more units

The lists can be anything really, and a very popular one for some strange reason is about food - '50 things to eat before you die'. I'm 77% of my way through that one without even trying :-)

All the sites I mentioned above are linked to Lists of Bests. This interconnectedness is great. You have say, a list of books, and you check off the ones you've consumed (not physically 'eating' books of course, that would be absurd!). The line with the book on it goes green to indicate the change, and the item is added to your All Consuming account. You can also say whether you liked it or not at this stage. When you logon to All Consuming you can then see an overall view of everything you have selected on the Lists of Bests site - like this. In this way you can build up a nice record of everything you read/watch etc. And if you add them into All Consuming first, they also magically appear in any lists you browse on the Lists Of Bests site. Cool!

There are many other features too, like comments, and listing things you want to consume but haven't yet, and things you are currently consuming. It all fits together very neatly, and looks great too with the new Web 2.0 style of allowing updates to be handled right inside the web page with no long winded redrawing of the whole page.

The sites all use the same logon, with single sign-on too, so create your self a free account and have a play. It's quite addictive though, and you may get lost in there for several hours. You have been warned.

Posted by se71 at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2006

Vint Cerf at Google

Originally uploaded by se71.
I went to Google's offices last night to see Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, speak.

He spoke for about an hour on the state of the internet, and how he saw future developments. Even though he claimed not to be dumbing down as this was an audience of invited geeks, I found I understood all the issues he brought up - must mean I'm as geeky as I expected I was :-) He was very good, and answered every question in detail in the Q&A session afterwards. Google were very gracious hosts, providing refreshments and an excellent facility. It was a fantastic evening and I even went away with a Google goodie bag.

Today however, I'm wondering why I spend my time doing boring, repetitive and unchallenging work, when there are so many much more interesting things I could be thinking about 10 hours day.

View Site

Posted by se71 at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2006

Unlimited Internet

What does unlimited mean?

To me it means, as much as you like/want, no limits. For internet access I'd expect to be able to turn my PC on, and start downloading at whatever speed I have paid for, and never stop.

To Vodafone it means 1Gb download per month on their mobile 3G network.

This really pisses me off. It's a stupidly small number these days, I could easily get through that in a day or two. Don't we have a Trades Descriptions Act or something to stop people selling services in a misleading fashion.

I had the same argument a couple of years back when I signed up with BT Anytime. I used it to dialup with my modem, and stay on all day long. That's what 'anytime' meant to me. They started sending me threatening emails saying it wasn't fair to other users. They introduced a limit of something like 6-8 hours a day, and so I cancelled my account with them, purchasing broadband instead and from a different supplier. I chose Nildram, who also advertised Unlimited Broadband, but recently I notice my Ts & Cs have been changed to include a NewSpeak 'Fair Use" clause. As soon as I get some nice round tuits, I'm switching again.

So, if you're not really going to sell unlimited internet, why are you allowed to advertise it!

[update 24.01.2020] Broadband nowadays really does come with unlimited data. I've had both Sky (for 7 years) and now BT, and I stream as much as I like. If I decided to bittorrent massive files all day long I don't know what would happen, maybe they would notice. However, there are some caveats on mobile networks. I'm with Giffgaff, and their new guidelines allow you to pay for an amount (say 20Gb) and this will be full speed for the month, but once you've hit this limit, you can still download, it just gets throttled in speed during the day (8am-midnight).

Posted by se71 at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2005


Little did Paula Radcliff know when she set off on her winning World Athletics Championships marathon race, that I was also participating in a similar task. I decided to install Windows 2000 on my home PC.

My harddrive died completely recently, which is pretty lucky as I only just realised I was under prepared and backed everything up a few months ago. But I had a spare 40Gb drive at the back of my desk (well, doesn't everyone?) so I set to work on it.

The actual installation is pretty painless, I picked nothing unusual and let it run it's course. Then I installed the graphics drivers (I refuse to work in 800*600 16 colour mode for more than 5 minutes). Even the Buffalo USB wireless card worked first time and DHCP to my router upstairs automatically connected me to the internet with no problems.

As Paula hit the 15K mark, I was going strong, but then the real battle began - Windows Update.

It would seem sensible for Microsoft to have some kind of mass update that you can apply to a new install. Vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, and software is tweaked and upgraded. My Win2K CD only contains an old 5.0 release of Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger won't even install with that. But all the updates are separate, and many of them have to be installed exclusively, and the PC needs to reboot every single time.

So I gainfully struggled on, and broke away from the pack, as the list of updates required gradually shrunk, and finally passed the finish line in front, with a nice fresh clean and shiny installation, about two and a half hours later.

I didn't get a personal best (11Mbps wireless LAN is too slow for that and there were many Mb of downloads), but then neither did Paula.

Posted by se71 at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

Holiday Web Sites

Reading Dave Cross' entry today on badly designed websites reminds me to blog this.

I wanted to book a holiday with Thomas Cook. This is a not inconsiderable amount of money - over £2K, so perhaps you'd think they would test the entry forms to see if they work. No chance.

After spending hours searching for the right option, I finally took the plunge and started to enter my details. My 12 year old daughter is obviously in the 2-12 age group, and yet they only allowed me to enter a year of birth going back to 1993. If you can't give me a freeform entry field, at least test that the limits work.

I'd love to finish this post by saying that they lost my business, but as it was really good value, I called the helpline and the person on the phone took my booking straight away over the phone.

Searching for and booking a family holiday online is still a nightmare. Room occupany is stupid - surely there are a million families with two children who want to all share a one bedroom apartment. And pricing is ludicrous - my daughter has gone from being 11 to being 12 this year, and this means Virgin treat her as an adult and suddenly my holiday with them jumps nearly £800 - so they lost my business this year. And yes, their occupancy forms just don't work anyway. It's almost enough to make you go down the High Street.

Posted by se71 at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

MSN Messenger 7.0

Just downloaded the latest V7.0 incarnation of MSN Messenger from Microsoft. It's pretty unusual for me to avoid a new version of any software if it has a free download on the interweb, but I noticed this had a couple of features I particularly wanted.

Firstly, you can choose what status to display to the world before you logon. This may not sound much, but a problem I have is that my ID is known by both friends and work colleagues. So at weekends or on holidays, when I logon, I don't really want work people to spot me and then have the opportunity to hassle me with problems. I'm not officially on call. So now I can happily logon in "Appear Offline" mode, block the offending users, and go online properly for my friends to see me. Work need never know I'm even near a computer.

The second feature is that when start talking to someone you don't just get a blank conversation window any more. You see a few lines of the previous conversation you had with that person. This is very useful for when your PC has crashed while you were away from your desk, or you were not paying attention to a conversation and switched off your PC before reading it.

Two small useful additions, that should probably have been in V1.0, but at least are there now. There are other things, mostly eye-candy and attempts to get me to buy things, but I can cope with a bit of advertising for a free service I've found very useful over the years.

Posted by se71 at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005


I make fun of friends who haven't bothered to backup their data and have somehow managed to lose files through either hardware failure or even loss of a laptop. My job as a system admistrator means I need to devise and monitor backup strategies for whole companies. And yet, is my laptop backed up? I'm ashamed to admit that up until yesterday the answer was no, never, not once since I bought it nearly two years ago.

Inspired by this blog from Marc Wieczorek, and in general by the "getting things done" mentality, I decided to get my house in order.

Broadly seaking, things I need to backup include:

MP3 collection
Digital Photo collection
Email archive
My company data
General files and documents

I have digitised my entire CD collection, and am working on the vinyl, so my backup destination needed to be pretty large. Online backup to my shell account is not an option, as I only have a 1Gb limit there, and a bandwidth quota per month too. I might look at this option later for some important documents, but so far all I have is ZIP2 password protection, and I don't really want to send these files by ftp.

I could backup everything to another of my computers. That's always been a viable option, but I just never get round to it. Also, the disk space is all being used for other things, and some of them have OS reinstalls on a semi-regular basis.

So I decided to get an external hard drive. I wanted something with a large capacity, but small and light, and not requiring me to carry a power supply around. I found the Firelite from Smartdisk in John Lewis which fits the bill with 80Gb and powered USB2, so I bought it.

Mark recommended the freeware version of Syncback so I downloaded it and gave it a go. It's as easy as he says to set up, and within a few minutes I had created five profiles for the five categories of data I wanted to backup, and they are all on my drive now.

I decided that the music was already compressed enough and didn't need any password protecting, so it just gets copied straight across. This has the added benefit that I can actually play the tracks directly from the drive on another PC if I want to.

If the drive falls into the wrong hands, I want all my other data password protected, including my photos. Syncback doesn't add passwords unless you zip the files, so everything else is zipped and protected.

So all my important laptop data is now backed up. This is much better than before, but there are still issues. Both laptop and drive are sittng on my desk at work. Will they both be there after lunch? I can live without the MP3 files, they are ultimately all recreatable, and though it would take a lot of time to do that, it would not be a catastrophic loss. All my photos are already backed up to my Flickr account, which is a Pro account so the full size images are retained there. I could recover my photos from there. My email archive, and all my work and personal documents including my Quickbooks company information, is irreplacable. So I'm really going to have to work out an offsite option for at least some of these file. The SE edition of Syncback has proper encryption built in, and the price is only around £8, so rather than messing around with some freeware encryption tool that wouldn't integrate well, perhaps I should exercise my credit card and give some money to the developer of a very good little product.

Will update this when I've made any decisions.

Posted by se71 at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005


I must have looked at the new Doom3 game for the XBox in at least ten shops over the weekend. I'm trying to convince myself to buy it, but I'm not doing a very good job.

I've been a fan of the Doom franchise since the first game, even earlier if you count Wolfenstein 3D. I was looking forward to getting Doom3 when it came out for the PC, but decided my hardware wasn't really up to it and I didn't want to buy a new machine just for playing games on. I decided that the PC was dead for me as a gaming platform. The convenience of consoles, and my increased ability to handle a controller since the many hours of Halo play, have pushed me over the edge away from PC gaming. Even Half-Life 2 , which could have kept me on the PC, completely ruined their chances of me buying a new PC by adding internet verification to the game.

So when Doom3 was released recently on XBox, I thought I'd go and get it. And I went, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it.

I'm sure I'd like it and the price is affordable. So why did I walk out empty handed?

I think I know the reason, it's the commitment. I'd feel that to justify the purchase, I would really need to play it, and also finish it really. Most games have about 20-30 hours of single-play in them, not mention the multiplayer options. And as we're approaching summer, this is just the wrong time to be sat indoors in a darkened room. Winter is gaming time, I'll save the cash and get a second hand copy later in the year!

Maybe :)

Posted by se71 at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2005


I really want an iPod (photo)
I really want an iPod mini
I really want an iPod Shuffle
I really want an iMac mini

I'm not really sure what I would do with them all - I already have about 5 computers (including an iMac) and a 256Mb MP3 player which stores about 4 albums of music and has a radio.

So why on earth do I find myself in John Lewis most weekends admiring the little white boxes, and feeling secretly glad that they never have the iMac mini in stock, as I'm not sure my resolve will hold out if they ever do.

Posted by se71 at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2005

Ruby On Rails

I've been being bugged to try out the new Framework everyone is talking about - Ruby On Rails. (Excellent Tutorial here )

I have various computers and operating systems, and I'm a bit of a fan of developing on whatever one happens to be turned on at the time. So I went to the installer page and got a windows installer.

Ruby installed fine.

The next step is to use the Gem installer to get Rails installed from the internet.

Gem didn't work.

After a bit of head scratching and a few tries at internet searches for similar problems, I discover that gem, and Rails, will only work properly on Windows from XP/2K onwards. Windows95/98/ME are not supported. It would have been nice to have seen this information somewhere on the installer page.

For those of a curious nature, the reason it didn't work is that the file extension .cmd is not recognised as executable in earlier Windows versions; it's a bit like .bat, and renaming all the .cmd files to .bat helps a bit, but apparently there are some hard coded calls to cmd.exe which used to be command.com. I guess I might be able to hack together a working Ruby On Rails, but I'd then never be really sure when I came across problems whether it was me or the software, and don't really need that pain.

Posted by se71 at 06:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Well, I thought I knew Windows pretty well, but just found a site with a few hints on cleaning it up and discovered a program called msconfig.

Ran it, and yes it exists on my WinME machine.

Used it to remove the annoying scandisk which runs on startup every time my PC crashes, which is a lot. Excellent.

Posted by se71 at 10:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 01, 2005

Postcodes in Mozilla

DJ Adams has written a little bookmarklet to easily find postcodes on maps from within Firefox.

Unfortunately, I can't find a postcode on a webpage to quickly test this :)

Go on DJ, stick an example into your blog! Even better, here's one for you - EC2M 7BA

Posted by se71 at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

USB Memory

I've been working at my new job nearly three weeks now, and on quite a few occasions have wanted to transfer data from my personal laptop to the work machine. Normally it's a few Mb, but today I've wanted to move about 600Mb.

Whacking it onto the network and then back again is possible, though it's a bit of a waste of resources, and in fact there is only actually 15Mb free on the network drive I've been assigned.

So I think I might get one of those little trendy USB Memory modules.

I'd want at least 1Gb, so I could copy a whole CD's worth of data onto it. But that got me thinking - for only a little more money, perhaps I should get an iPod mini with 4Gb. This is the sort of thinking that stops me buying _anything_ !

Posted by se71 at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Slashdot Pricing

Looks as if Slashdot are charging for their content. Is this a new development, it's new to me but maybe it's always been there. It's $5 for 1000 pages, which is pretty cheap I guess.

The only advantage though seems to be that you can see articles before non-subscribers.

I have a feeling the market for this is small.

Posted by se71 at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)