John

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You are viewing 25 entries, 25 into the past.

10th April 2011

9:43am: YABBQ
Yet another BBQ:

We've got al_fruitbat and _alanna visiting, and it looks like it will be another glorious day.

Thus, we're going to have another BBQ/picnic today at our place for lunch, from midday onwards.

28th March 2011

8:07pm: Further update to the party
Don't panic, I'm not moving the date again. :)

But I am extending the time: as well as the main party from 8pm on Saturday 2nd April, I should be in during the afternoon (from 2pm) for socialising, games and a bbq if the weather is up to it.

18th March 2011

6:01pm: Moving the party
Given a scheduling clash (thanks for pointing that out Chris), I'm moving the date of my birthday party to:

Sat 2nd April 2011 8pm

Come along, be merry, etc. etc.

Sorry for any confusion.

13th March 2011

10:21am: The horror of being cut off from the internet
Though actually I'm not, as I can post this from my phone...

Our Virgin Media broadband is down again, so if I or glittertigger don't respond to email that is probably why.

The VM internet service is great when it works; on Friday I was getting a real over 5 megabytes a second download from steam.

Sadly my experience is that it often doesn't. We've got a tech coming out on Monday for the second repair we've needed in 6 months, and the service has been flakey throughout. We had similar problems in the last place we lived as well.

7th February 2011

8:46am: Game Balance
I've recently been playing indie puzzle game SpaceChem. This has been getting favourable reviews, and indeed is a genius piece of design.

However, I'm not sure I could rate it as highly, or indeed generally recommend it. This is because they've made the same mistake bateleur and I made years ago trying to publish a puzzle game on the Amiga: it's way way too hard.

This is great if you like a really challenging puzzle game, but will leave most people baffled and frustrated. I've enjoyed it, but it may well have limited appeal.

6th December 2010

7:50pm: Cyclist with a deathwish
Having been a cyclist in the past, I'm generally sympathetic to cyclists braving the streets of Oxford. However, I've now seen what ranks as the utmost stupidity from a cyclist:

This cyclist was riding at night on poorly lit streets. With a passenger perched precariously on the back. With both of them in black clothes. With no lights or reflectors. Carrying a full carrier bag in one hand. With frost on the ground. Down a steep hill.

Oh and (unsurprisingly) they were wobbling a bit.

24th October 2010

4:31pm: My poor credit card
I have a reputation for buying ridiculous amounts of tech. Normally I'd try to refute this, given that I try to buy tech that lasts for a while so I don't replace things that rapidly.

However, today I had a rather expensive trip to Currys looking for a replacement small TV (our small living one failed yesterday). I ended up buying two televisions in one day, after they made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a big TV as well.

Sadly, this big TV (52HX903 for those curious) is on back order, so I hope they will be able to supply it.

19th September 2010

8:52pm: Moving stuff
We've spent the weekend moving huge amounts of stuff to the new house. Many thanks to those who helped with this.

One of the things we did was replace the old washing machine that the previous owners left with our newer (and less broken) one.

We left the old one in the front garden while we worked out how to dispose of it (it was sufficiently heavy to be a little tricky to take to the tip even with the van).

Slightly to our surprise, during one of our trips back to the old house, someone took it from our front garden. This was amazingly convenient, but rather disconcerting.

15th September 2010

6:38pm: Moving house
As many of you know, we're in the process of moving house.

Sadly, I've been a bit snowed under with this, which is partly why I've not yet posted any photos. We've got much of the decorating of the new place done (though sadly we are still missing carpets in a couple of bedrooms), and are now gradually moving our copious quantities of stuff.

Our main move is going to be this weekend (18th and 19th) when we've hired a van. If anyone is around in Oxford this weekend, help for an hour or two would be greatly appreciated, as there are a few things I can't lift by myself, and Kathy is still not quite up to heavy lifting. In return we offer undying gratitude and/or food and wine.

13th July 2010

9:19am: Shiiiny
Posted from my new shiny toy: a MacBook Pro 13in. My old PowerBook G4 died last year, and I've finally got around to getting a replacement.

10th July 2010

8:58pm: And back again
Back from a (better late than never) honeymoon in Edinburgh. A good time was had by all (i.e. both of us).

Edinburgh was lovely, if surprisingly hilly if you are used to mostly flat cities like Oxford. We stayed in the Hotel Missoni, which was indeed very stylish, though it did rather put an emphasis on style over substance.

I'll put up some more thoughts (and photos) at some point.

3rd July 2010

9:00am: Away!
We're off to Edinburgh tomorrow for a week for a rather delayed honeymoon. Hopefully the weather will hold out.

We'll be staying in the rather mad Hotel Missoni, which is possibly the world's stripiest hotel.

13th June 2010

6:03pm: New Toy
In preparation for actually getting away on holiday soon (woo, honeymoon at last), I've got myself a new toy:

It's not really feasible to lug around my SLR camera, so I've got a Canon Powershot S90. So far I'm impressed: it looks like a typical small compact camera, but has surprisingly good image quality, and many of the features you'd expect on a full size camera (e.g. RAW shooting).

15th May 2010

1:36pm: Quick tip for multiple monitors in windows 7
I've finally got around to putting a second monitor on my home pc running Windows 7.

Unfortunately, this breaks one of the nice features of W7: dragging a window to the edge of the screen has various effects such as snapping it to half the screen. If you have another monitor extending from an edge, it doesn't work.

However, I've discovered a work-around: you can make a second monitor extend the desktop such that the diagonal corners meet, not an edge. In this case, all the edge snapping still works, but you can still get to the other monitor with the mouse via the corner of the screen.

1st May 2010

9:35am: Random bad ideas from a party #341
Fake virtual flash mobs:

People too lazy to form a flash mob? Just get lots of people to post on social media sites that they did go somewhere at a particular time. The more made up details the better.

15th March 2010

10:55pm: FFXIII
Inevitably, I'm currently playing through the latest Final Fantasy (number 13).

It has been critisised for being extremely linear. This is true, but the FF series have largely been linear in the plot for ages. I'm still enjoying it a lot.

I'm impressed by the combat system. It feels original (I've not seen anything else that is really similar, which is unusual for rpgs) and works well. Sadly with the linear plot, it takes a long time to start to reveal the intricacies of the system.

Despite many elements being carried over in such a long standing series, I'm like the fact that the battle systems have been completely different for the last three main single player games.

Unusually for a multi-platform game, the PS3 version seems to be the better version in almost all ways (though it doesn't make a great deal of difference).

8th February 2010

4:06am: Superbowl
Cut for spoilersCollapse )

6th February 2010

6:07pm: Let it snow
I'm now back from Ohio, having changed plans and travelled via Toronto given the snow storms sweeping the East of the US.

I'm a bit dazed and confused still, but looking forward to the Superbowl tomorrow (which obviously has a lot more coverage in the US).

31st January 2010

6:27pm: To the ends of the Earth
Or actually, just Ohio, where I'm off to next week on business.

It's not particularly glamourous though: a long journey to get to a snowy industrial estate for a week-long meeting.

At least the meeting should be productive.

19th December 2009

12:21pm: Avatar
Went to see Avatar last night.

It has a number of flaws, including the entirely predictable plot, heavy-handed moralising and bum-aching length.

However, it really is as spectacular as it has been hyped. It's easily the most visually impressive film made yet. It's well worth seeing on a big screen just for that, and if you do, definitely worth going for a 3D showing.

Given the setting and plot though, I couldn't shake the feeling I was watching what a Final Fantasy cut-scene would look like if Square-Enix spent an order of magnitude more money on them.

7th November 2009

8:45am: A good week for retro rpg
I've been playing the old-skool Diablo clone Torchlight (and praised it in a previous post).

I've now got Dragon Age Origins.

Initial impressions are extremely positive: this may well be the first decent take on the old-style party based rpgs (Baldur's Gate etc.) in many years. The UI (I'm playing the PC version - this is somewhat different to the console versions) is pretty slick: you can be zoomed in and play it like the typical current third person rpg, or you can zoom out to a more 2d view and play it very like the old rpgs.

I've not got far enough to really comment on the game. So far the story isn't as gripping as some of the best rpgs, but it's not bad.

The only other negative (though it doesn't really affect me) is that I really don't approve of their add-on policy:

At shipping time, there are some pieces of extra downloadable content. The game ships with a code for one of the more expensive of these. The problem with this is that this is a one-time code. This is a blatant attempt to A) force people to register with them and B) harm second-hand sales and rentals.

I'm also annoyed that there is another launch add-on that is useful and charged-for, just to get more money out of people. This really should have been in the game already.

Conversely, I'm not too upset about this, as the PC version was only 25 quid from Amazon. Given the length and quality of the game, it's great value. I might be more upset if I were playing the worse and much more expensive console versions.

5th November 2009

6:47pm: Wedding
Last weekend, glittertigger and I were married.

Under the cut is a somewhat rambling account. This is under a cut as it's partly for future reference, and so rather long...

RamblingsCollapse )

4th November 2009

10:57pm: Diabloesque
For those of you who were keen Diablo players (I know there are some of you), check out Torchlight. It's sadly single-player only at the moment, but it's a lot of fun, and only 15 quid from Steam.

1st November 2009

12:23pm: Married
Safely married.

Will give a proper update later. :)
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