Bloated...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, December 27, 2005 | Published in

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I'm still feeling utterly bloated from the amount of stuff I've eaten over the last few days, and I suspect the combined hangover of 3 days worth of getting pissed may take some getting rid of. We've had parties going on in our house for the last 2 nights, but neither of them in our flat (our shared house is split into 4 flats which is good - no arsing around getting to the party, and a short stumble to my bed when I'm ready to fall over) so no destruction to deal with - all in all its been a good few days.
I hope Santa was good to you all. I got a Nikon Coolpix 4600 as my main present, so I've spent a lot of the weekend blinding people with the flash from that. I also got the Hunter S. Thompson Documentries Breakfast with Hunter and When I Die off my girlfriend which I'm looking forward to watching, and a really nice coffee table book about Rome. Also got the usual slippers, chocolate, random odd things, all of which is pretty good. Don't think I actually got anything totally useless this year. Amazing!

Will post some of the pics from my camera when my head stops hurting a bit.... :P

Microsoft acquire Opera, God help us...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, December 23, 2005 | Published in

I've just read an article on CoolTechZone which says that Microsoft have apparently aquired Opera Software, makers of my browser of choice. Given how totally shite Microsofts own browser is, I dread to think what this means in terms of 'future improvements' for Opera. I can already picture them sitting devising new and more fantastic ways of using it to attract viruses and riddle our computers with malware...

*Edit - According to Slashdot this has been confirmed by Opera as being just a rumour. Good to hear :P

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Top 10 Weirdest Case Mods

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

If you have an interest in funky alternatives to the standard beige box have a look at this roundup done by Mikael from Fosfor Gadgets. Some fantastic case mods here, and some links in the comments to some more good ones. Well worth a read.

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Faded Signs

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Faded Signs

It's pretty interesting to see these. Living in Sunderland I've seen most of them - the Creswell Terrace one is actually at the end of my street, so I see that every day. Nice to see someone taking an interest in these before they disappear. Good Idea for a blog.

The 10 Best Tech Podcasts of 2005

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Published in

Just read this post on the BenBishop.me.uk blog. Anyone who reads my blog may have read the similar post I did a couple of weeks ago, so if you did and you're interested in more info on decent podcasts, have a look at this for some more suggestions on tech related listening.

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Goldeneye Source HL2 Mod

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Published in

Fantastic! Just read about this, and I am really looking forward to playing it. The original Goldeneye game on the N64 was, imho, one of the best first person shooters ever made and I've considered buying an N64 several times just so I could play it. It would be worth it its so good. But now I don't have to. Sweet.

Check out the offical site here.

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Ultimate Spiderman

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in


I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd installed Ultimate Spiderman on my PC. I've had a chance to play it quite a bit now and so far I'm reasonably impressed.
I'm not sure if I like it as much as the first film spin-off game, which had really nice, easy to use controls especially when webslinging, but its ages since I played that so I could be wrong. It's certainly better than the last effort, which was just crap - I finished that and was sat thinking "uh, is that it...?", but again, it had good webslinging. In fact, that seems to be the only area that the newest version doesn't seem to be better in - webslinging in this version seems to be a case of frantic button mashing and with screams of "AH! For fucks sake go in the right direction!" during the chases when control really matters. It's fine if you can take your time, but not too good for high speed keeping up with villains, and results in rather frustrating repeats of levels until you finally manage to keep up with your fleeing villain and not fail the mission. I suspect this will get easier though as the game seems to upgrade your abilities as you play through, and its really not bad enough to majorly effect the enjoyment of the game.
The storyline of the game revolves around both Spiderman and Venom and you switch between playing both characters as the missions progress. Spiderman does his webslinging and a fair amount of gymnastic leaping about, combined with different kick/punch/web combos, whereas Venom can do huge leaps over and onto buildings along with slugging away at people with his fists and tentacles, and also uses his tentacles to eat people and absorb their energy. All good clean fun :P
Progressing through the game itself is a case of having Spiderman bimble around the city completing various time trials (flinging yourself around in 'beat the clock' type races) and combat tours (finding and beating the crap out of miscreants) which, when a certain amount of them are done, unlock the story missions which usually involve chasing around and battling various classic Spiderman baddies, such as The Beetle and Rhino, who've all been given makeovers in keeping with the 'Ultimate' theme. With Venom you go wandering around fighting various goons and munching on innocent bystanders to keep your energy up ("Must Feeeeeed!", etc). These are all pretty fun, but as I've already said, there can be a bit of fairly frustrating repetition sometimes before you can complete the missions. Fortunately it seems to give you checkpoints throughout the missions so you don't have to do the whole thing again if you fail.
All in all I'm enjoying playing this and would definitely recommend it to any Spiderman fan or anyone who wants an action game that's a bit different.

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Opera

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 | Published in

I've been playing with Opera 8.5 for about a week now on my Suse box because I was so sick of how horribly sluggish Firefox has become. It seems to take an age to open the browser, and loading pages seems to take longer than any other browser I've tried, apart from possibly Safari on my eMac at work. I've also read lots of not so good stuff about Firefox 1.5 running really badly on Suse - similar lack of speed and irritating extension problems, so I've decided to wait until Suse releases it through YOU before upgrading.
So far I've been very impressed with Opera running on Suse. It's shit-hot - nice and quick to load the program and lightning fast loading up webpages, with no problems showing Flash and Java and a nice plugin that launches Kaffeine whenever I come across any streamed media. Now I just need to get used to the different keyboard shortcuts....
Opera on my work eMac however is a different story. Not too fast on loading either the program or the webpages, frequent screens claiming network problems and functions on some web pages being very flaky, or just not working at all, and it quite often either refuses to show the images on some pages, or shows them as fuzzy corruptions. I really wouldn't recommend it at the moment.
Firefox 1.5 however seems to run very nicely on my eMac - its nice and quick, much quicker than 1.07, and faster than Opera, and doesn't seem to have any problems with the pages that Opera was claiming network problems with.
All very odd. It would be nice to be able to run the same browser on both machines so I only have to be familiar to one set of commands and shortcuts, but never mind, it could be worse. I could be using Internet Explorer :P

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Getting Educated

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, December 06, 2005 | Published in

Its the last night of the beginners Linux course I've been going to tonight (run by the North East Association of part time tutors and the Tyneside Linux Users Group). It's all been pretty simple stuff, but I have learned a few things and its gets me a qualification to stick on my CV (something that I'm woefully short on since finishing my GCSE's).
Its all been pretty enjoyable, apart from filling out worksheets and things, which I accept as a neccessary evil when doing courses like this, but I hate doing anyway. This is probably why I've done so little in the way of education since I left school - I really hate writing essays (or in this case diary sheets), I'd much rather do a practical exam to show I can do something, rather than spend hours writing about it.
The course has covered things like installing and configuring linux, basic command line usage, basic samba networking, and editing config files. The group ranges from people like me who already know most of the stuff, through to people who barely seem to be able to use a computer on any level.
Like I say, I've enjoyed it and I hope they do an evening run of the intermediate course as that seems to cover quite a lot of stuff I've never really tried before, but they've only run that during the day so far.

Slipping Already

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, December 03, 2005 | Published in

Well its been a rather uneventful week. A horrible late shift at work, combined with some really shitty cold weather... Great stuff.
Finished reading the Bourne Conspiracy this week. I'd seen the film before I'd read this, and its vaguely similar, but the book is better by far. Far more detail than the film, and definately worth a read if you like your James Bond stylee secret agent type stuff. I'm about half way through the second book (the Bourne Supremacy) now, and, again, its brilliant. This time however the film (which I'd also seen before reading this) bears no resemblence whatsoever to the story in the book. The book is also much better with this one as well,
I've just installed ultimate spiderman, and it looks like its going to be much better than the last effort, which was shite. Haven't played it very much yet but it looks cool.