Monday, November 30, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins PS3 first impressions

Managed to have a delve into Dragon Age: Origins on Sunday enough to get through my opening quest at least.

Mothers in the workplace

Incisive arguments as usual on GMTV this morning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

White Lines

Having once again found myself mouthing "F*** me" and shifting the car to the left as I drive past the restaurant on Sandy Lane to avoid the oncoming vehicles in my lane I was prompted to give a call to the Worcestershire Hub.

Brutal Legend's RTS elements

Still playing Brutal Legend and reached some of the RTS sections where you defend the stage, and draw in the fans. I can see why some people complain.

Amazon's emails and sale

Recently the content of Amazon's newsletters have become quite minimalist.

Co-op car park incident

An article in the Shuttle bears closer inspection as to the attitude of some of the 'young'.

Motorway driving

I'll start with the admission that I'm not a fan of motorway driving, according to the BBC this morning I'm not the only one.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Good old Acer 2

No sign of the laptop. Another call to the payment centre that being the only one who provided me with any information and the line is answered by Mr. Surly. He tells me that the unit hasn't been shipped and it's nothing to do with him call this number.

Protect the nothing

Traffic lights on the B4125 next to Cook's while workers did workey things to a telegraph pole. As it's offset into Hartlebury Common this meant the use of a cherry picker and this is what the lights were protecting. Well at least until 2pm when the lights were still up but the reason for them had gone.

I'd like to say this is another example of where market forces 'efficiency' breaks down, except this can only occur where the value of the drivers on the road is zero. If this were a toll road drivers would have value and any work would be cleared up as soon as possible.

Police Pledge adverts

I've only seen one and apparently there are three floating around, however in my opinion the one I've seen captures the essence of modern policing to a tee.

A kid comes along and knocks askew one of the letters hanging on the screen, then another kicks one of the letters to the cries of "Oy!". Then a policeman shows up to talk to the owner and then is shown sauntering off having down absolutely nothing... no wait I tell a lie he readjusts the skewed letter.

See perfect representation - the police show up after the event and do bugger all.


Bewdley Bridge is closed according to Central News due to "Fears of flooding at Beales Corner". Bit of a catch 22 complaints because they've closed it when it's not flooded, complaints if they don't close it and floods happen.

Anyway the river is up and has been since Monday. It hasn't burst its banks, but the putting green is once again flooded an occurrence that seems to be happening at least once a year now. Oh and Engine Basin has overflowed into the carpark since at least Friday when the procession started. Now if only someone had suggested that a foot high wall be built along the edge so this wouldn't happen...

[Additional - the pool of water fills the car-park, now as this is a private pay car-park you'd think they'd want to stop this from happening]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good old Acer

A work Acer computer seemed to get fried when the transformer went pop; so off to Acer it went to be looked at.

Spreading the word

Just had two Jehova's Witnesses turn up at work because "It's difficult to find people at home". Congratulations a captive audience whose only desire is to get you to leave as soon as possible, sure leave the magazines, put them with the others in reception type of way.
"I'm not religious in anyway"
"Oh okay bye then."
Well I could have preached the true word of the Four Gods, but the word states "Teach only those who seek it". ;-)

Supreme Court

Watching the news this morning about the forthcoming decision on bank charges and the phrase "Supreme Court" kept cropping up. I'm sure some watching (those who pay attention at least) may wonder why a US court is ruling on this and how that affects us?

They are of course referring to the UK Supreme Court. What do you mean you've not heard of it, it's been around for oo almost two months now.

Yes the UK gained a Supreme Court on the 1st October 2009 taking the function away from the House of Lords. At first glance this seems a sensible arrangement taking away the final say from an unelected, appointed house comprised of people who may not practice law and handing it over to an unelected, appointed house comprised of people who do practice law.

Except that's not why is was done. See previously this was handled by the Lord Chancellor who acted as the judge, except the LC is also a government minster with executive and legislative powers and other than separation of powers this might violate the Convention on Human Rights regarding a fair trial. Yup it's another case of doing things to satisfy the EU.

Hold on however, sometimes these impositions are a good thing. Isn't this one of them, isn't this the constitutional reform that takes away power from the 'privileged class'? Well yes, but look at it another way the judges in ordinary cases are steeped in law the basis on which they make decisions cannot help be influenced by this - yet as we know at times the law is an ass.

Acting only on the experience gleaned from sitting in the House of Lords members, I think, were more likely to take a common sense approach and reflect 'the people' more rather than the government position.

Of course the big point about this is - who knew about it? I don't recall any headlines in the paper or reports on the television.

Wiping a PS3

I got a phone call last night from The Artist, mobile to mobile with both of us in bad reception areas and OTD screaming in the background; damn she's got some lungs on her.

HMRC spoof email

A rather clever one got caught in the spam filter, regarding a tax refund. The apparent sending/return address is; note how the r and n can blend into an m. Oh and of course the official one is a

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gilgal jams again

Yes I keep going on about Gilgal, but that's because no-one seems to want to do anything about it. This morning the jam at the Gilgal/Vale Road junction blocked up the third lane, which in turn stopped traffic getting out of High Street, which in turn stopped traffic in Bridge Street, which in turn stopped traffic on the bridge and Dunley Road.

I've offered a low to zero cost option that might alleviate some of the problem by changing the traffic light timings to allow traffic to clear, and have been ignored.

Any time I mention this in the paper the same negative criticism can be heard 'Drivers aren't using it correctly'. Yep if drivers from Vale Road treated it as the merger system that it is (and in turn treated Vale Road as the merger system it is) we wouldn't have this problem. Every time I come back with the question "How do you merge into a queue of traffic?" and every time they come back with the Minster Road traffic is "supposed" to let vehicles merge. Yep that's right the entire system is based on "supposed", drivers doing what they're "supposed" to do.

That's not a solution that's wishful thinking.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie rentals and purchases on PSN

Sony announced that from November the 19th Playstation 3 owners will be able to rent or buy movies via the Playstation Store. For anyone without a PS3 or a PSN id who may be tempted by this announcement they can check out the fun at the UK Video Store

Jedward tributes?

My news feed popped up with one from the Guardian "X Factor: Celebrity tributes pour in for Jedward over Twitter". Are they dead? Did they overdose on hair gel? I mean why else would any celebrity issue a tribute to two talentless twerps?

3D television

For those paying attention 3D has been back in vogue with the announcements of manufacturers regarding 3D televisions. Channel 4 ran several 3D programmes and some films are being released with a 3D version available.

So I hereby present Backward Compatible take on 3D glasses. Amen brother, amen.

Brutal Legend PS3 First Impressions

So Brutal Legend from Asda for £25. I popped it in got it updated and took it for a test drive.

Merry Hill visit

Headed up on Saturday for some shopping both normal and Christmas. Got out a little later than I'd hoped and ended up arriving around 10:30. With one minor hold-up from the bus stopping in front of me. Hey I know let's not put the bus-stop a little further down where there are multiple lanes, let's put it next toa  speed bump and concrete divider so it's impossible to overtake

Munchkin Quest play review

So yes I and the Bratii ended up playing Munchkin Quest; I'd got everything ready before they'd shown up so we got straight into it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Three Kings Parade

Once again it's time for the Three Kings Parade and the switching on of the lights in Stourport and once again by the cry of "This is when we've always done it" it's being held at 6pm today. So yes once again just as we reach the end of the rush hour in Stourport they'll be closing the town's roads down. Once again the parade will run through the streets while commuters are either stuck in traffic waiting for it to finish, or have just got home and want to collapse after a hard day's work.

Seriously is there any reason we can't hold this on a Saturday or Sunday?

Munchkin Quest Mats

Had five minutes spare during lunch so I knocked out some guide mats

Two slots for the backpack, Helm, Armour, Footwear. Two slots each for Race and Profession. Then some space for the movement counters, health and gold, icon reminders and phase order. Should keep things tidy.

[Update - Got the sizes wrong. Redone and now most fits onto one sheet]

Munchkin Quest. First Impression review.

One of the times I had the Bratii over I tried to introduce them to the board game "Arkham Horror" in hindsight this may have been a little complicated for them. I say this despite the fact that Bratus Minor picked it up quickly and enjoyed it so much he wanted to play again next time they came visiting.

Business Police protection

Caught a story on the news last night about armed police escorting security vans in cash collections. The reporter pointed out that this cost money to provide and asked one of the officers how he thought the public would react to police providing these services at tax-payer expense to private firms.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quick Time Events - solution?

I've mentioned Quick Time Events (QTE) before, but playing a quick game of Prince of Persia on the PS3 reminds me of how badly these can be implemented.

More fun with the router

Router claims there's an internet connection, but nothing connects. Hmm I can ping the DNS servers so there is indeed a connection what's up, must be the DNS.

A quick call and a test ping to Google directly  and yep it's not resolving names. A quick call to our ISP and... they've changed the DNS server addresses. Normally this wouldn't be a problem as you obtain the information automatically, but our original setup instructions gave us a manual setup. One auto and a reboot later and everything's working.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shell petrol station

I did a quick mention that it appeared work had started on turning the old Shell site into the sheltered accommodation; looks like I was wrong. Although there is plant machinery on site as well as a portacabin, the workers themselves are moving between in and the neighbouring Esso site.

I wonder if the owners of the Shell site know?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Electronic government payments

The government is anxious to get business to pay VAT and PAYE etc contributions electronically; so much so that soon they'll be phasing out any other way of paying. So what you might ask, doesn't this mean less paperwork and a more efficient payment system - yes it does, but there's a small catch.

Martha Speaks

Caught a animation for kids on CBBC over the past few mornings called "Martha Speaks" wow is it patronising... patronising that means to behave in an offensively condescending manner toward someone. At first glance it appears to be a vocabulary builder, except the level seems more CBeebies than CBBC. Oh and it is of course American.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Windows 7 UK adverts 2

Two new Windows 7 adverts have cropped up and boo was this a failure on the marketing side. To be blunt if they'd shown these (and only these) adverts I wouldn't have been able to write this.

A mother illustrates the easy way to schedule her children's computer time and a father shows how easy it is to hook up all his electronics. Most importantly both do it with some degree of humour.

Just some shopping

Needed to go into Kidderminster on Saturday so had a mosey around some areas. My parents are looking to upgrade their television and setup to the same as I so I poked my head into the Sony Centre and lo and behold they had the 32W5500 at a base price of £699 perhaps as a consequence of this.

The Chronicles of Riddick PS3 review

Finally finished the two games that form The Chronicles of Riddick. I don't mean finally as in "I'm glad those are over" I mean "Damn those are two long games" without giving away anything just when you think you're finished another section presents itself.

A bit of rain

A river fell out of the sky and once again showed up the poor drainage around here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Parking once again in Stourport

Coming through town this morning and we get a van in Bridge Street loading/unloading so that's fine, followed by a Land Rover type parked in the bays, well not quite. The bays were empty, the driver in the car and yet still they managed to stop half in a bay and half over the zig-zag white lines of the crossing next to it.

Drug Ship destroyed 2

A comment on my entry Drug Ship destroyed deserves a fully answer than can be provided for in the comments section.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins for the UK

So Bioware's latest venture has been released , oh wait amend that - the PC and Xbox360 versions have been released, just not the PS3 version. Oh wait sorry done it again that should be - just not the PS3 version in Europe as it's available elsewhere.

Unfortunate headline placement?

From the Shuttle one of their Editor's Choice stories headlined "Looking for Girls in school years 8 or 9" positioned next to the "Dating this way... Two's Company" advert.

Humax 9200 freezing again

Yep I came back home to find that the box was stuck in the 'waiting to record' mode and wouldn't turn on or off. A power-down and, as it has done before, it froze after trying to load the guide up.

Now this only seemed to be happening after the great channel shuffle and when I set a favourite list. Most interestingly the box works fine with such a list when switched on manually, but only seems to fail when it comes on automatically to record something.

Anyway once again I wiped the channel list and rescanned; and once again it wiped my scheduling so I had to check what was supposed to record last night and today etc.

So I'll think I'll have to forgo the ease of having all the channels I watch in an easy to find order and stick to the default listing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mitton Street left lane

I don't know about anyone else, but since they've dug up and filled in the left side of Mitton Street when turning at the 'junction' it seems there's a lump where they've filled in that just wants to throw me into the wrong lane.

It might settle with wear, but damnit they had the whole street closed and did anyone think this might be a good time to just resurface the lot?

Anyway with the Gilgal entrance now open I'm once again seeing traffic halting at the Mitton Street 'junction' giving priority to the Gilgal traffic.

Approaching birthday

My birthday next week (yay?) and inevitably I get asked what do I want to do as a family celebration. I needed the reminder actually, I knew it was coming up but from the age of around 12 it's been "Woo-hoo I've lived another year big whoop" I mean sure if I were living in some poverty/war/famine stricken hell-hole or had a profession as a stunt double/marine this would be an achievement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time

As mentioned Sainsbury's didn't have a copy of this game in stock on Sunday, good job too. Damn my brain is scatty when under the weather enough synapses have triggered for me to recall that there was supposed to be a collector's edition available. A quick search finds it's a Game stores exclusive and priced at £49.99 [sharp intake of breath]. It does come with an artbook and an 'exclusive' download of Insomniac's moon.

Damnit I really like R&C, but in these times I'm really trying to watch the money output, particularly after the TV+Blu-ray money drop. I'm still playing Chronicles of Riddick, I'm still playing Fallout 3's DLC, I fancy delving further into Condemned 2 again despite the lack of updates trophy-wise and in this slightly dozy mood jumping around in InFamous would be fun. Nope I don't need it; I'll wait until it drops in price.

Vale Road petrol

Something I haven't explicitly mentioned is the current work going on at the petrol stations in Vale Road. The only one currently open (Esso?) isn't as it appears to be having its tanks replaced. Now just for fun it appears that work is starting on the sheltered accommodation that is being built next to it on the other station site.

So instead of turning the corner and going into the back of a bus, you also have the option of turning the corner and finding your lane blocked by a wagon.

Mitton Street open

All signs gone, all cones gone. Damn if it ain't really bumpy trying to drive along it now. Hey I know while they had it closed they could have resurfaced it... nah silly idea. Besides I'm sure all the lumps and bumps will even themselves out once the Tesco lorries start to use it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dozy weekend

Not been feeling too good, haven't eaten since Friday night; just not hungry. Ventured out on Sunday morning to get some petrol from Sainsbury's (I had a voucher) and managed to forget my wallet. Fortunately found out before buying anything (I always check) and had to go get it, still forgot to pick up my Nectar card.

Poked my head into the main store to see how much they had the latest Ratchet and Clank game for, and found they hadn't got it in stock yet. Ended up continuing through Chronicles of Riddick instead and managed to finish the Butcher Bay section on Normal difficulty.

Mitton Street was supposedly closed again over the weekend, I say supposedly as there was no signs up on the approach from Vale Road, just Minster Road; and the electronic sign they had up before in Kidderminster didn't have time to cycle through before I'd driven past it.

[Also forgot to mention the guy who cut across in front of me into the third lane at St Mary's without indicating (and at least acknowledged the fact with a hand wave) who then wound down his window and shouted at me for using my mobile. OMG I'm going to be so distracted on my phone I'm going to hit someone.. at the red-lit traffic lights, with two other sets of lights to cycle through, with the car in neutral, with the handbrake on. I should be locked up like the monster I am.]

Friday, November 06, 2009

Timeshift PS3 review update

Having an HD television and noticing that the jerkiness in the opening scenes of Batman: Arkham Asylum had disappeared I though to check out the flawed TimeShift once again.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Windows 7 UK adverts

The US ones were by all accounts horrendous, the UK versions are... I don't know, patronising, terrible?

More roadworks

Now this is taking the piss. We've got someone looking at something opposite Harold Davies Drive and set up a manual Stop/Go sign. We've got someone who appears to be recladding a house on the left in Gilgal setting up protective cones; and a whole heap of signs warning everyone of roadworks and traffic lights on the Worcester Road from the island.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Windows Update to IE8

I normally let Windows Vista download and install updates by itself as so far they've all been petty little things. Then today Microsoft in their wisdom decided to make IE8 an automatic download.

Multi-player achievements

A post from Orphi and subsequent comment about the hats in TF2 reminds me of why I dislike multi-player achievements.

Mitton Street closure update 5

So now they've decided to alternate the sides of the road they're using, first off you're forced to the right lane, then back to the left, before back to the right again until you get past the pub. This, of course, is slowing traffic up.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Internet problems

Intermittent faults resolving internet addresses both name and ip address, just rebooted the router. So I'll see if it stays up now, otherwise it might be the ISP at fault.

Cable connections seems fine, might be wireless. But other wired computer was also showing glitches?

Wired now glitching, pull cable, reinsert - fine. Could be the router.

One crash of Vista later and everything seems to be fine on the laptop and the main computer - go figure! And no it wasn't an IP conflict.

Mitton Street closure update 4

Mitton Street is now back to one lane. Something that I hadn't noticed (or has just occurred) relates to the lane closure signs. The one heading into Mitton Street from the island informs you that the road narrows on the right, when it narrows on the left and of the two lane closed signs approaching Gilgal. The one on the right correctly informs you that the right-hand lane is closed, whereas the left-hand sign (that you see first due to the bend) informs you that the left-hand lane is closed.

I'm sorry but this is just basic stuff and they can't get it right; does no-one care?