Thursday, December 23, 2010

Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood Shop Quests

One other item that crops up in Assassin's Creed 2:Brotherhood (AC2:B) are shop quests. Some of those shops you've re-opened can often special products provided you find some special items. None of this has been explained up to the 3rd memory sequence; so it might get explained later when it's too late.

Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood

Having aced Assassin's Creed 2 and finally got the Platinum Trophy I started in on the sequel. Hmmm so how do they reconcile Ezio's big mansion, huge income and awesome array of weaponry and armour with starting a new game. Cannonballs - everything can be solved with cannonballs.

Twinges in my old age

Well the top of my right leg still aches a little from my expedition yesterday. I'm not saying it's old age and my generally unfit state; okay it is my old age and generally unfit state - hah no I've done that sort of mileage before with no problems. It was the combination of an uneven surface and the slipperiness that had my muscles tensioning in the wrong places.

Thought it would have gone by now, but hey ho that's the way it goes. The roads this morning are pretty clear; though not through any application of salt/grit by my reckoning. How can I tell? Well it's something to do with the fact that the roads are only clear where traffic drives whereas a heaping of salt would affect the entire width.

Interesting to note what line cars take when they can see neither lane markings or pavements - the first major corner on Mitton Street for instance is an education and I urge traffic engineers to go and look at the paths cut out by the cars before it melts. Have I said it's a tight corner - this is vindication. Not one single car naturally followed the line of the road they were all about a foot or two on the outer bend cutting into the inner curve. Same goes for the entrance to it from Worcester Road - no-one makes the corner as indicated.

Now recall this is the road that's going to get all the extra traffic to Tesco and is supposedly going to be narrowed and you can see why I think this is important. It's not going to be pretty.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How the universe mocks me

Staying in, not going out. Call just past nine. Pipe burst can't get at the stoptap.

Just walked the couple of miles into work. Roads nasty, pavements worse.

Picked up supplies on the way back. Knackered.

Don't bother

Three quarters of an hour clearing the drive this morning. Then the queue of cars started to build. Seems there's trouble getting up the hill into Stourport.

"What hill?" I was asked by those I duly passed this information on to.
Yep no-one seems to think of that slope that way.

And now it's started snowing again. Think I'll stay out of my car and stay at home.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

World facts and figures

A comment from the Patriot had me digging up my population spreadsheet form 2008; sadly I don't have ethnicity or POB on it, but it was interesting (for me at least) to look at once again.

In essence I have each country, the total land area, the total water area, the total population the breakdown into 0-14, 15-65, 65+ age bands and the median age for each. Some countries are blank, but not many all taken at the time from the CIA World Book.

The fun with water

Yesterday I was told that the tap in the factory had frozen, the ones in the office were still working so they could fill up there; likewise the toilets were also fine. Just afterwards I discovered that the sink wasn't draining. Suspecting the same cause I added some boiling water and used a different sink. At which point I discovered a leak from the out pipe of that sink. Joy!

Hmm water in the other sink is coming out of the leak. Makes sense if it flows in that direction and the blockage is further along.

This morning same thing, however someone had left the tap running in the factory; it filled the sink which was also blocked and started coming out of our leak. Ah the water runs our way.

The guys bucketted the sink to stem the flow and it's down to a trickle. Tracing the route it flows to an outside pipe which I've just wrapped a hot towel around; let's see if that helps.

Oh and I am of course glad that's it's the outflow pipe and not the inflow one.

At the same time I decided to clear the front door entrance as I was getting fed-up of traipsing snow into the corridor during this to-ing and fro-ing and wanted somewhere to stamp my feet. All fun.

What are you, stupid? Part 2

Just this morning turned right out of a junction very slowly, followed by a flatbed van. I felt the wheels give slightly as I turned, but as I do in these conditions I was a) driving slowly and b) steering as gently and smoothly as I could; so nothing unpleasant occurred.

The van behind me on the other hand, slid a foot the left and ended up pointing at a rough 15 degree angle from the pavement as they compensated.

Ah well these things happen, except... as I tootled along at 15-20mph (it was relatively clear, flat, and straight) he came right up my arse. Seriously dude you know these roads are slippery because you've just slipped around on them. What do you think is going to happen if I have to stop suddenly because some idiot's just pulled out or walked out in front of me?


Monday, December 20, 2010

What are you, stupid?

Let me paint the current conditions on the roads around here. They still appear ungritted/unsalted. The passing traffic has created a double line of slush; it's still below zero out there; ergo slush-ice. As such may I make the following remarks.

1) You may think you can travel at 50mph along this stretch of road, I don't. As I'm the one in front of you suck it up. Sitting on my backside will not make me travel any faster. It will, in fact, make me travel slower so if (when?) you cause an accident it will be at low speeds.

2) Although I approve of leaving a larger degree of space between yourself and the car in front during these conditions this doesn't apply when you are a) in a non-moving queue or b) on a hill with that gap being the only level bit of the road. (Seriously on the bridge we ended up with one car on the downslope and the following car on the upslope with no-one on the flat between).

3) While polite to allow cars and pedestrians out particularly when you are travelling at such slow speeds; it is impolite to stop on a hill to do so. Particularly when said waiting vehicle/pedestrian are the ones on the level bit of road.

4) Those pretty yellow lights that can flash on the side of your vehicle are there for a reason, more so in these conditions.

5) You shouldn't be parked that close to corners anyway. Do you really think that it's a good idea to be doing so in this weather?

6) Pedestrians. Amazingly enough the brakes on vehicles aren't 100% effective in this weather; trying to cross the road should be done at the appropriate places; and no an appropriate place isn't 'when you want to'.

7) Council. While we appreciate you sanding the pavements perhaps it should be done a) after you've done the roads and b) not during the lunchtime traffic.

That is all (so far)

Surely a mistake in PSN pricing?

Over the weekend while browsing the Playstation Store I spotted a couple of add-ons for Force Unleashed II or (FU2 as I really love calling it). Some extra skins to change the appearance of the character and a bonus mission.

As I found the game slightly repetitive and overly short I was about to pass on by when I spied the price - 79p each. What's the catch? No catch - a bunch of skins and a whole mission.

Now when you can be charged 79p each for a skin and mission's range around the fiver mark; how could I resists the £1.58 allure of content? Short answer I couldn't.

So was it supposed to be 79p each and £7.99 for the mission? All the sites have it listed as 79p so I guess not; but hell guys way to make all the other companies look like profiteers. Keep it up.

Playstation Move calibration take 2

So having read the instruction and being in a position to do so; I calibrated the Move controller with the PS3 as I should have done in the beginning. Or at least I think I have.

Well done ITV and Channel 4 and to Sony.

Applause to both ITV and Channel 4 who now have dedicated Playstation 3 websites for their on-demand service and applause to Sony for so quickly getting them added to the TV section of the XMB. I will note that they only seem to appear once you signed in just like the iPlayer did; but they are now permanent additions.

So that's the three big ones all working on the PS3 properly; just Five to go.

The Christmas Story

Just some questions for all you good Christians out there for this time of year.

Okay not Christmas-ey; but Evan Almighty was on so firstly -

How many of each animal did Noah take aboard the Ark?

Now a couple of Christmas ones -

In what building was Jesus born?

and finally -

How many kings visited Jesus at his birth?

Saturday traffic

For various reasons I wanted to go into Kidderminster Saturday morning. It had just started snowing, but it was light. I set off and it got heavier; carefully through town; along the duel-carriageway and the flakes got larger; no more of them just bigger.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The new Apple Mac Book Air review

For reasons I won't go into I got my hands on one of the new 11" MacBook Air's yesterday and had to set it up with various programmes etc. As a Windows/PC user of long-standing what did I think?

Spreading gritty joy

I'd like to thank the driver of the grit lorry last night for their kind actions in salting not only my car but all those before me.

What's that you say? The salt is supposed to go on the road and not the cars? Well then perhaps I might offer the point that spreading it during the evening rush hour on a road known for its long queues of vehicles might not be the best of ideas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Newton's Laws part 2

I finished my related dream about a lesson plan for Newtonian physics with a question. If there is an equal but opposite force in every reaction and there's nothing to stop the Earth moving, why doesn't the Earth move down when you jump?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Changing a lightbulb

How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?

1.But it can take many more to work out exactly which type of lightbulb it is.

Well it's a screw-type an Edison, but not an Edison exactly the fitting's too small. A Small Edison Screw (SES) still too small a fitting. Must be a Miniature Edison Screw (MES) then.

What's the voltage? Um. What's the amperage? Um. So we order a few MES bulbs of various voltages. They're too small. So something between a SES and an MES; oh must be a CES - Candelabra Edison Screw

The differences in the ES diameter: MES - 10mm; CES - 12mm; SES - 14mm. Oh yes I can see exactly why three different types are required here... sigh.

Video game education

Another family occasion and I ended up watching Bratus Major playing Oblivion on his Xbox while we both chatted to his mates via headset. He was getting bored with the game as getting tedious, I had the same thought when I played it until I created the chameleon suit. 100%+ undetectable; just fun to go wild in. There are some prerequisite quests first though and he was stuck on a Mage's Quest one; he needed a particular spell and couldn't find it.

"I've tried all the Mage's Guilds" he told me
I furrowed my brow in thought "Have you tried the University?" I asked

Treacherously stubborn

With the snow and ice that favourite word of the media comes into play apparently roads and pavements are treacherous -

"O faithful pavement, in thee I place my trust"
"'Tis true thy faithful servant I will ever be"
[slips and falls]
"Gadzooks what's this, mine feet doth move, mine head doth fall"
"Ah-hah 'tis I thy servant no more; my loyalty as fickle as the snow to whom my lot hath fallen"
"Treacherous cur that doth deceive me so"

This morning I discovered that numbers were "stubborn to fall" I can imagine them standing there with placards "Hell no we won't go".

Why these need to anthropomorphise things? None of us are immune - computers 'play up' or 'refuse' to work. Is it an inherent characteristic, or that our language structure is arranged such that these descriptors came into existence due to social interaction and we lack any other kind?

Inception review

I can see why there's a mixed response to the film Inception. It deals with the blurring of lines between the dream world and the real world, the conscious and subconscious; it throws the viewer into these worlds and tries to pose deep philosophical questions. Except it doesn't.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I change my mind on the Hartlebury Incinerator?

I dealt with the pros and cons of the proposed Hartlebury Incinerator at the beginning of the year and from the arguments presented came down on its side. However as seems to be the case with our current form of trickle-feed government some more information has been exposed over at the WFA.

So no more NIMBYism or potentially biased sources 'tainting' the discussion.

The incinerator is a private enterprise, therefore the council will have to pay by the ton to have it incinerated; this is fair enough. However it appears that there isn't enough waste generated within the county to meet the burner's capacity. So what? Well if capacity isn't met it seems that the council will make up the shortfall in expected revenue.

This isn't much different to a standard locked in contract - you sign up to telephone services (e.g.) for 2 years at a certain rate. The rate set is predicted on you using their services for that period, if you try to leave they might not yet have made any profit out of you and therefore include a clause to charge you to make up the potential loses.

This leads to the question posed by Louise essentially - what's to stop the incinerator opening up a recycling centre next door? So they get paid by the ton; remove the recyclable bits, get paid for selling that; get paid for generating electricity; and then get paid if it's not enough waste.

It gets worse - are they paid by the ton delivered, or by the ton burned? If it's the latter by recycling more they are reducing the weight which automatically qualifies them for the shortfall money. How much do they get and how is this decided - we don't know. It's our old friend company confidentiality.

What we have here seems to be a standard government type PFI contract - you take the profits; we'll take the risks. The assumption in all these cases is that the incentive is for the private company to exceed the targets to make more money over the base stipulation. Except there's also an incentive to do nothing except maximise the profits via a reduction in quality etc. - if I get paid a fixed fee regardless of my output and can  increase my spending money by either working harder or cutting my costs... which road will be taken?

Delivery failure

Once again someone's spoofing my email address to send out mass emails, which means I get a ton of delivery failure messages I need to sort out. Now if the recipients used the Sender Policy Framework this wouldn't be so much of a problem because none of these messages have been sent from the server they claimed to have come from.

What the receiving server does is ask the apparent sending server "Did you send this?" If the reply is no then it's most likely to be spam.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Planning Contradiction?

Without getting into too many details received a letter acknowledging an objection to a planning application

[...] this application is not scheduled to be determined by the Planning Committee.

If you wish to speak at the Planning Committee on this application you must: [...]

Do you want to talk to the Committee about an application they aren't deciding? And the point of that would be?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Assassin's Creed 2 - No-hitter

Well I said that the no-hitter trophy in Assassin's Creed 2 would be the most difficult, but didn't say why.

Kill 10 enemies while remaining in combat without taking a hit; sounds simple enough why the hassle? Well the guards roam in groups of three so you have to lead one set to another and they tend to cluster in packs of... three. Manage to find 12 and you can guarantee that 3 of them have set up across an alley to cut off your 'escape'. Kill the set chasing with you and the combat will end because these three aren't engaged with you.

Better yet the best way to avoid being hit is to block and then counter - an insta-kill; however show too much flair and some of the guards will, quite rightly, run away fleeing for their lives; bringing the total below 10. So what to do?

Well tips include killing the monks who become hostile, um no I think not; or using smoke bombs; again not my style. So how to remain in 'proper' combat and get the trophy - Lorenzo de Medici. During the assassination attempt in sequence 4 there's around 12 guards, you remain in combat mode, they won't run away, and as a bonus there's no innocents around and plenty of space. Double bonus if you get hit you can just abort the memory and start from scratch it's only a single cut-scene away. Excellent

HMV Kidderminster

So I mentioned a while ago on the WFA what Kidderminster needed and mentioned a HMV or the like... so when did an HMV open In Kidderminster? It's hidden behind the stalls on a Saturday opposite the exit from the Roland Hill Centre. It's a bit cramped, not helped by a 'let's put a board and a end-aisle stack next to the only entrance/exit' style. But hey HMV way to go!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Attack on Royalty

Yes, yes Charles and Camilla's car ended up worse for wear, but let's be honest any limousine would have had the same happen to it regardless of its occupants. What's worse is the response to this, I'll ignore "attack on democracy" for the same reason as "contempt of..." as well as the fact they represent a hereditary system that's hardly democratic.

What is appalling is this thinly veiled threat from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner

"The officers who were protecting the Royal Highnesses showed very real restraint. Some of those officers were armed,"
Gosh how restrained, perhaps they should get commendations; and while they're picking up their awards for not shooting unarmed civilians they can be asked what the hell they were doing allowing this car to drive through the middle of a riot?

Actor or Actress?

Something that came up the other day in a quiz - the use of the word actor to demote both male and female thespians. I've always used actor as male and actress as female, but it seems my father is not in favour of that. Now this might be a simple shift in language usage to make in gender neutral, but is this a new shift or a return?

Actor derives from the Latin actus (to do) and -or to turn it into a masculine noun therefore actor is a 'male doer'. In Latin the opposite suffix is -rix therefore the feminine version should be actrix. So what happened? Well it seems the alternative suffix -issa was used this has devolved in English to -ess and became actress. Therefore actor should denote a male, and actress (or better yet actrix) a female.

So on the same subject comedian and comedienne? This time the derivation is Greek and that language uses participles to denote agents with the words themselves being male/female/neutral. In this instance it seems that that the -enne suffix was added in French and carried over into English. Therefore strictly speaking a comedian can represent both a male and a female.

Huh you learn something new every day.

Contempt for democracy

With the current student protests that old stand-by phrase of the papers rears its ugly head "They're showing their contempt for democracy". Over two years ago I briefly touched on the origin of this word I shall reiterate a little more fully this time.

Democracy as a word is made up of two parts demos and cracy; the former means People the latter Power put together they mean People Power (in bad Latin you could have Puellacracy - Girl Power; though Gynaecocracy would be better).

So if a group of people choose to exercise their power how can they be showing a contempt for democracy? Of course they could be showing a contempt for the democratic process; but that's a whole other thing - the simple fact that the voting system and government system is under review and has changed in the past show that the process and what the process creates are not one and the same.

So next time you read "contempt for democracy" ask what those the authors castigate want to replace the current system with (theocracy, meritocracy, anarchy, demarchy) or are they simply protesting the current government - if it's the latter they're not showing contempt for democracy and you can happily ignore the rest of the column as being written by someone who knows not what they write about.

Turning corners

Am I just getting curmudgeonly and noticing it more or is it increasing? I'm talking about cars turning corners and ending up on the wrong side of the road. If that happens you were travelling too fast. If the bend was sharper than you thought - you weren't paying attention to the road; and if the corner was hidden then you should have slowed down anyway.

Now sure larger lorries etc. need room to swing out; and occasionally they might veer slightly onto the wrong side either entering or leaving the corner, but even there they seem intent on travelling too fast for the circumstances.

What causes this? Hmm well last night driving along the Dunley Road I crossed the Bridge out of town with nothing behind me. I was travelling at 30mph (the maximum limit), when I reached the Rough I had four cars behind me; the one directly behind me so close we could have decided to just car-pool instead.

Turning a corner I indicated well in advance and started to slow down, still right on my arse. Now I can imagine how intimidating this could be and the urge to not slow down as much as you normally would and take the corner quite fast. Once you get into the habit of that I can see how you judgement could be impaired even without the intimidation.

So yeah a whole other thing - back off; seriously tempted to get one of those light-up signs saying exactly that or perhaps "I'm a cop" let's see if they give me the correct amount of room then.

Retirement Homes

I noted yesterday that the fences were coming down around the old Shell garage in Vale Road; but this has happened before. However this morning they've got some equipment in - are they finally clearing the site ready to build the flats?

With few parking spaces on the plan perhaps WFDC will see a profit out of the once-free car-park opposite after all.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

International arrest

Depending on who you read Assange (he of Wikileaks) has been detained either via a Red Notice issued by Interpol or using an European Arrest Warrant both of which originate from Sweden.

Has he be charged with anything - nope; he's wanted for questioning. What's heating this up are the rumours that the USA are already in discussion with Sweden about extraditing him despite the fact that, as of this moment, the US have levelled no charges against him.

What is this a face-saving exercise - the US want to ensure the Swedes will say yes before they try to charge him?

Now I've touched on so-called International law before and just how little sense it can make in this electronically connected world so consider how it works in this context. The US can't prosecute for hacking; Assange didn't hack the systems. Receipt of stolen goods? But they were given to the company not him personally. Espionage - but Assange isn't a US citizen nor was he in the US at the time the 'crime' happened; but hey when has that ever stopped them before?

So let's assume they'd charge using the Espionage Act in that Assange copied documents pertaining to national security - great except that law doesn't exist outside the USA - so they have to ask his host country to extradite him; so why should they?

Consider if an American tourist in the UK is robbed, and the culprit found. Should the USA ask for them to be extradited to be judged and convicted there? The crime happened in the UK. How about a UK citizen robs an American in the US then flees back home? The crime happened in the US.

All simple so far, but what if we have the first instance that of a 'crime' against an American (or America as a person) that is only considered such in the native country of the victim and not the host country? That's the situation here; well hey just wash our hands and turn them over. Except now consider the case of Aasiya Bibi in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy.

So what - well take a look at the internet for American preachers proclaiming that their Christian faith is the one true faith and exhorting readers to let in Christ etc. What happens if an Iranian or a Pakistani read these sites? Under their law, it seems, these preachers have committed a crime. Would the US willingly extradite them all? I think not.

So if it's the case that the US are attempting to prosecute under a law that doesn't exist outside their own country - no country should extradite him and Assange is perfectly safe unless he visits the US or the CIA rappel through his window and kidnap him. Of course that won't be the case and I'm betting Sweden would happily uphold America's request while at the same time America would refuse to uphold the blasphemy charges of Pakistan.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pretty as a picture

Hartlebury Common is simply stunning at the moment. The denuded trees have all grown white leaves from the tiny icicles that have formed on them. Combined with the current sunlight that has yet to melt them - stunning. As you might expect I have no camera to hand.

Aunt Sallys

An interesting piece by Enemies of Reason; it does get tiring - in local form how many times can I discuss Vale Road car-park or the Single Site?

However what strikes me is the tone of those he's commenting about. It's all about relativity - they had this income, now they have less. Instead of being to waltz around shops and pick up that marvellous handbag; or not have to worry about filling up the tank on the car as the business takes care or it; they now have to think about these things, something they've either never had to do or not had to do in a long time and it hurts (them) and they want to share their pain.

The trouble is what they're moaning, whining, or occasionally simply relating about is having to drop to a lifestyle that the majority may experience. As such they set themselves up with two groups targeting them - those that are miffed s/he is complaining about having to live like them and those that are miffed that s/he is complaining about a way they themselves can no longer reach due to the recession.

All these stories do is cater to those who are still comfortable in an effort to make them feel sorry for the writer while allowing them to spare not a thought for those whom this is a standard or desirable lifestyle.

As such they need to be pilloried at every opportunity to shake them from their self-obsessed complacency.

Too many games

Okay Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was going cheap and I had a voucher satisfied :-P But that's it no more game buying for me - I've still got DLC in Fallout 3 to go through as well as a whole new neutral character to create. I've still got Fallout: New Vegas with a possible three runs there.

I've still got Medal of Honour and Frontline that came with it (damn you MoH) As well as Borderlands for sheer kicks; Prototype to finish once I can recall how to play the bloody game. I suppose I've got Oblivion to finish (it just got tedious, but I've made it more fun with my invisibility suit so I might just see how it ends now) and oddly Little Big Planet - sounds pitiful, but it got really hard and finicky in the later levels.

Sacred 2 - yeah just need an interrupted run there due to the stupid no pause no insta-save 'feature'. And I suppose there's some other games to tweak the trophies out of if I really want to (which come to think of it I'm not really that bothered about for most of them).

So what am I doing at the moment - playing Assassin's Creed 2 again. I only started it to get a save file (remember it's protected and so went poof along with my dead console) to see if AC:Brotherhood would use it - no it doesn't. But I thought "I'll just take it up to the bit where..." and then "Well I might as well get them out of Florence" [sigh]. Ah well I am 94% on the trophies so I might as well see if I can polish off Kleptomaniac, Fly Swatter (easy the pair of them) and No hitter(that's going to be hard) and thus receive the 'you've got them all' final trophy.

So anyway no more game buying for me... well until InFamous 2 and Bioshock: Infinite come out anyway :-)

Fallout 3: A tale of good and evil

For those who've never played it Fallout 3 features a Karma system - do good things and get good karma do bad things and get bad karma; it's even possible to try and stay neutral. Each path produces different results within the game world and if you've only experienced one you're missing out.

I've taken my good character to level 20; but my evil character (named Twonk) is now level 30. The trophies had been added to the game during my first run, so I went back and ran another good character up to near the end of the game; then started an evil character. Then the DLC was released which pushed the cap to 30 hence the disparity.

So what was different? It was disconcerting not to have someone running up to me in Megaton saying how wonderful I was and handing me a present; possibly because I'd turned it into a radioactive crater. I noted that I didn't get the same thanks in Tenpenny Tower (those who'd bribed me to blow up Megaton), but was pleasantly surprised when I visited the Slaver compound of Paradise Falls and had someone run up to me to tell me what a badass I was and to please take this. Also amusing to note when I bumped into someone it was all "I'm really, really sorry" instead of "Watch where you're going" Oh yeah me badass.

It also freed up my choice of companions I ignored Dogmeat (the dog) and picked up the former mercenary from Megaton; I also debated over taking the ghoul. Nothing really to stop me hiring them as a good character; just not in character to do so.

It also freed up some conversation choices, not only giving me specific "Evil Karma" choices; but allowing me to use some such as "[Strength] Tell me before I kick the shit out of you" which would have impacted negatively on a good character.

Also a joy just to see what happens when you kill every good character you see. I could have made the game much harder by killing doctors and traders, but they're useful to me so I left them alone I just killed their friends and family instead hah :-P

Being evil also gave me a free rein in my choice of perks - how can you take Cannibal as a good character? Or Sandman which allows you to kill sleeping NPCs instantly? I also found myself taking a more gung-ho approach - possibly due to my companion who would happily charge in whenever an enemy presented itself and that shaped the perks I took.

On a final note listening to Three Dog slag me off was interesting, made me want to revisit him and 'reward' him for his comments, but I decided I liked the free publicity of don't mess with me.

Unlike so many games that feature a good/bad dichotomy I can truthfully state that playing Fallout 3 as an evil character was totally different experience than playing as a good one. I await to see how I play as a neutral, but three games in one - that's not bad.

Minor road accidents

One Land rover type bumped into the back of some estate type car on the Dunley Road. As everyone was travelling at below 5mph I couldn't see any damage, but as you might expect it was on the outer edge of the bend so it was difficult to see oncoming traffic.

And someone shed part of their load in Vale Road. From the angles I'm guessing they came up Mitton Street did a sweeping turn and dropped something (some powder and hay?) off into the second lane leaving half a bag blocking that lane at the junction. This must have destabilised their load as another bag had fallen off into the third lane and unfortunately someone had run into it and had to halt to pull it out from the front of their car.

As is becoming the norm traffic was backed up through the town, over the bridge and onto Dunley Road and all because traffic can't get out into Gilgal. How many times have I got to state that a delay needs to be added to the lights in the morning to allow the, otherwise, continuous flow of traffic to clear. And again please don't tell me that a) vehicles shouldn't be crossing when the traffic's backed up and b) everyone should merge. Unless you're going to have someone monitoring it 24 hours a day people are going to do that and unless the corner is cut at Gilgal people won't merge even if they could find a gap in the queue.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Making enemies

Sunday dinner with one part of the family and afterwards their laptop comes out [sigh] they'd just switched broadband providers and wanted me to check their security was okay. To keep things simple previously I'd deleted Norton (which just saps the computer of all strength) and used XP's own firewall (good enough) and a simple AV.

The firewall was turned off, and the AV had vanished.Nothing had warned them about this because Norton the programme I'd removed, and wasn't there, was happily telling XP's security system that it had it all covered. Tick boxes and downloads and all sorted. However the next thing was - "While you're on there how do I get music?"

She's got an MP3 player, has happily ripped CDs using Media Player, and transferred them so...? Ah how does she get new music. Talking earlier about things they did on the computer I knew that they had an Amazon account.

So off to Amazon, onto MP3 downloads, and they're offering some freebies. I select one that sounds decent enough and hit One Click; download the Amazon downloader (one-off) and then the file. It adds the music to WMP and asks if you want to open it; and there it is.

"Oooooo" she says I'm looking for...." a song she doesn't know the name of or the artist, just part of the lyric. I show her how to do a general search, then show her YouTube which often features music and "that's the one" she notes the name and artist heads back to Amazon and finds it's only 79p OneClick, open, and WMP there it is.

"Oh that's so easy what else was I after?"
"Thanks a lot for that" says her husband to me
"They're only 79p" she tells him
"That's how they get you." I tell her "Micro-transactions. It's only 79p but you'll just have that one and that one and that one."
"No I'll only buy this one... and this one and..."
"Oh great" says her husband :-)

CSI: Fatal Conspiracy

Apparently released at the end of October I spotted the demo on the Playstation Store and thought to try it. It's amazing... that someone can think to release such a pile of poo in this day and age.

My first "uh-oh" moment was seeing the Laurence Fishburne character in the opening sequence and then entering the demo of Case 4 with Catherine Willows. These are high-res Playstation 2 models aren't they. Ah wait this is also out for the Wii - yeah you've just upped the Wii models haven't you?

Well at least they've got the actuals actors voicing things too - except it sounds like someone's dropped them into a recording booth, thrust the script at them and said "We've only got the booth for a day, just read what it says" zero emotion.

Into a cut-scene and you can't skip any of it - damn it we paid to use these likenesses and voices and you'll damn well sit there and appreciate them.

But hey if the game's good who cares about graphics. Shame the game's not that good.

Friday, December 03, 2010

That World Cup decision

To put it bluntly I don't care. Yes it brings in tourists etc; but do we really want the expense of hosting yet another international event? Anyway still not caring, but it's all the talk of how the decision came about that piques my interest. Since the decision all I've seen is pundits stating that FIFA need to be more transparent that following that report it needs to address bribery and corruption and so on and so forth.

It's a private body operating under Swiss law. If some large business here decided to award a building contract to Builder A rather than Builder B would we have people demanding that the decision process be laid out for the public, to answer charges that it was down to bribery?

Nope. It's not public funds, we as a country don't fund FIFA; that's the private football clubs and the event fees and broadcasting rights. If they don't like it they can stop paying them, leave, and start a new association; but don't drag the country into it.

[Well I said don't drag the country into it - yet reports suggest some of the items on the list of demands from FIFA include making the entire operation tax-free. Remind me again why our (or any) government should be bothering with this organisation at all?]

PS3 Support

Yet another attempt to get my old PS3 deactivated. As I've mentioned previously you get 5 activations for games (so I'm using three) and none will be deactivated until you exceed that number. However you only get one activation for video content and that's on the defunct PS3, which obviously means I can't deactivate it on that.

So after another attempt to activate my new PS3 failed I gave them a call.
'Do I have the PS3 with me at the moment?'
'Because we need the serial number'
'You mean the serial number that I registered it with on your site using my PS Identity that is tied to my unique support reference number that I've already given you?'
'Here you go'
'And when did you purchase it'
'On the date listed on the registration Here you go'
'And where did you purchase it from'
'The place as listed on the registration Here you go'

Seriously it's not as if there's some Data Protection in place for this it's my account with my name, address, DOB, email etc.

Anyway as before they'll let me know when it's done [sigh]

Fallout 3: Point Lookout swamp folk

Yes still going through Fallout3 and working me way through the DLC that I didn't get a chance to play before my system went phut. Again hell this seems more buggy than ever and it's a rare session that doesn't see me having to reboot the PS3; it took me three attempts to get into Calvert Mansion for instance.

Anyway that's not the point - it's those swamp folk in Point Lookout - dayamn they're tough. This is not an area you want to visit as a low level squib. Put it like this I'm level 28 and have 520 health, of the five types three have health of 400, 600 and 700 and use weapons that will always remove 35 points on a successful hit plus its normal damage (40-85). Oh and they tend to roam in packs. I thought those tribal waves in the close quarter fighting in the mansion was tough, but that was a walk in the park compared to these bad boys.

As an aside looking at the models for them I wonder if the developers ever played Redneck Rampage? You tell me?

Hartlebury Common fencing

I've been asked if I know anything about the fencing that's gone up around the Wychavon side of Hartlebury Common that doesn't appear (as yet) on the Wyre Forest side. Sadly this is going to be one of those back-of-the-mind rumour types rather than hard evidence - grazing. Yep it is a common and that's technically what it's for, but the mention of reintroducing a more formal arrangement of grazing is doing the rounds. As this is next to an 50/40mph unlit road the last thing anyone wants is to hit a sheep that's decided to wander across it to fresher pastures - hence fencing.

It's not bad either. One could argue that wooden cross struts may have been more in keeping with the aesthetic, but the chain wire is thin enough so as to be unobtrusive strung between the wooden posts so I'm going to call it as a good choice.

Millfields repair work

Tcch how did I forget to mention this. As mentioned back in March the three contractors for the Millfields estate were to be repairing, no not repairing - finishing the roads. Well I was told a little while back that after much effort from the neighbourhood association this was all to start.

Except not according to the plan. As it was three different builders they each wanted to use their own contractors, apparently this was all sorted out and all three were to start work at the same time. That is until the council apparently stepped in and told them that they couldn't all work at the same time.

Now yes they're all working on different areas, and yes normally having one set working here while another works there can cause major disruptions that wouldn't occur otherwise. Except this is a closed off estate work anywhere will cause a disruption and the areas are disparate enough that they wouldn't each be underfoot. But nope rather than have one period of problems they need to have three by order.

Of course as everything's been planned and contractors timed for the same period it's almost a case of picking straws as to who goes first and then having to rearrange the other two times, which may not be available until some time away meaning a stop-start approach to the work that just messes everyone up.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wikileaks: US lawmakers demand countries to disband military

In a shock turn of events lawmakers on Capitol Hill demanded that the President remove the military from every other country in the world. One senator stated "Other countries having military personal that aren't in our control is an obvious threat to our national security". Another asked "How did this happen, surely it must have been done in an illegal manner?".

With Homeland Security stepping up its efforts senators ask why they seem so able to enact laws that prevent activities occurring in the United States yet seem unable or perhaps unwilling to pass laws that are to be enforced in other countries.

"Some countries think they can even create their own laws without having them ratified by Washington!", exclaimed one senator. "And that's just wrong"

In related news senators recently voted to raise their salary by "one flying pig". When asked where such may be obtained one senator stated "That's not our problem, we just want one. Make it happen".

For those who haven't been following the news, idiots respected lawmakers are calling for a foreign citizen hosting a website in a foreign country to be shut down and arrested because they don't like it and complaining when everyone ignores them.


With the news that the Playstation Move is outselling the Microsoft Kinect (though as expected you can take the metrics with a pinch of salt) it reminds me that though I've mentioned using Move I've yet to relate my experiences of Kinect.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Comparision of new parking charges

The table sans highlighting I'm afraid.

Comberton Place, KOct 10Jan 11Oct
Up to ½ hourFreeFree
Up to 1 hour£0.50£0.50Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.50£1.60£2.00
Over 3 hours£2.50£2.60£3.10
24-48 hours£5.00£5.20£6.20
Bromsgrove Street, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.90
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£7.80
Market Street, K

Up to ½ hour£0.50
Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£1.00
Aldi Store, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.90
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£7.80
Pike Mills, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.90
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£7.80
Bateman's Yard, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.90
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£7.80
Castle Road, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.00
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.10
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£6.20
Horsefair, K

Up to ½ hourFreeFree
Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.00
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.10
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£6.20
St Mary's Church, K

Up to 1 hourFree
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.00
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.10
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£6.20
Stadium Close, K

Up to 1 hour£0.30£0.30Free
Up to 2 hours£0.50£0.50£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.00£1.00£2.00
Over 3 hours£1.60£1.60£3.10
24-48 hours£3.20£3.20£6.20
Weavers Wharf, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.10
Up to 3 hours£2.00£2.00£2.00
Up to 4 hours£4.50£4.50£4.50
Over 4 hours£10.00£10.00£10.00
Worcester Street, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£1.90£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.70£4.70
24-48 hours£7.40£7.40£9.40
Youth Centre, K

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£3.70£3.80£3.90
24-48 hours£7.40£7.60£7.80

Raven Street, SOct 10Jan 11Oct
Up to ½ hour£0.50
Up to 1 hour£1.00
Up to 2 hours£0.80£0.80
Bridge Street, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£0.80£1.30
Over 2 hours£4.10
Up to 3 hours£2.10
Over 3 hours£4.70
24-48 hours£8.20£9.40
Riverside Meadows, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.30
Up to 3 hours£2.10£2.20£2.10
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£4.70
24-48 hours
Severn Meadows No1, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£2.10£2.20£2.10
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£4.70
24-48 hours£8.20£8.40£9.40
Severn Meadows No2, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.30
Up to 3 hours£2.10£2.20£2.10
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£4.70
24-48 hours

Severn Meadows No3, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.30
Up to 3 hours£2.10£2.20£2.10
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£4.70
24-48 hours
Stourport Sports Centre No1, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.00
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£3.10
24-48 hours£8.20£8.40£6.20
Stourport Sports Centre No2, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.0£2.00
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£3.10
24-48 hours£8.20£8.40£6.20
Stourport Sports Centre No3, S

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80Free
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.0£2.00
Over 3 hours£4.10£4.20£3.10
24-48 hours£8.20£8.40£6.20
Vale Road, S

Up to 1 hourFree
Up to 2 hours£0.80£2.20£1.20
Over 2 hours£4.10£4.20
Up to 3 hours£2.00
Over 3 hours£3.10
24-48 hours£8.20£6.20

Load Street, BOct 10Jan 11Oct 11
Up to ½ hour£0.50£0.50£0.50
Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£1.00
Dog Lane, B

Up to 1 hour£0.80£0.80£0.80
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.30
Up to 3 hours£1.90£2.00£2.10
Over 3 hours£5.20£5.30£4.70
24-48 hours£10.40£10.60£9.40
Gardners Meadow, B

Up to 1 hourFree
Up to 2 hours£1.10£1.10£1.20
Over 2 hours£2.10£2.20
Up to 3 hours£2.00
Over 3 hours£3.10
24-48 hours£4.20£4.40£6.20

The Avenue, BlOct 10Jan 11Oct 11
Up to 1 hourFreeFreeFree
Up to 2 hours£0.50£0.50£0.50
Over 2 hours£2.50£2.60£2.70
24-48 hours£5.00£5.20£5.40

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nominet plans to hand over control to police?

A proposal from Nominet the agency that handles the UK domain name structure bears some close attention. On the surface it seems reasonable - if someone is using their website for criminal activity Nominet can remove the domain from them.

Where it starts to get stinky is the grounds for removal

reasonable grounds to believe they are being used to commit a crime (e.g. a request from an identified UK Law Enforcement Agency).

That's not that they've been convicted of a crime, not that a member of the judicial service has requested or approved it; nope it's the enforcement agency itself that can do the requesting or even just if Nominet themselves decide to. This is even worse than the Proceeds of Crime Act wherein a person can be charged and found not guilty of an offence yet still have their possessions removed as being proceeds from a crime they have either be proven innocent of or not even charged with.

One point that did occur to me is that everyone is on thin ground in terms of slander and libel in both cases. If you have your domain removed by Nominet on the basis of a request by a law enforcement agency they are stating you are a criminal. If you've had no charges made or have been cleared of them how can either agency be able to justify these actions?

Toy Story 3 review

Out cheap on Blu-ray I picked it up and managed to watch it over the weekend. Is it as good as the previous two - yes. It is better - no.

The story itself is almost a rehash of the second dealing with the growing up of the toys' owner and the ultimate fate of any toy - landfill, donated or atticed and as per usual I won't go into too many details for spoilers sake.

Essentially Andy is going to college, but what to do with his old toys that are languishing in his toy chest? Needless to say after some confusion the toys are sent to be discarded, escape their fate and choose to be donated to a children's play centre where they will be played with every day, every week, every year with no worry over being discarded as the children grow older.

Of course things aren't always as they seem.

All in all this is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy that has built up on previous themes; perhaps it's just me though but it wasn't quite as tear-provoking as the second. Jesse's Lament always tears me up.

Star of the show, as many have mentioned, is Ken as voiced by Michael Keaton.While both Lotso and Big Baby have been invested with decent characterisation it's Ken that steals every scene and provides so much of the humour.

Stand out scene in both terms of impact and sheer graphical joy - Death by Monkeys! Just perfectly realised however graphically this doesn't put a pixel wrong anywhere

What can I say? As a trilogy this is nigh-on flawless, but it's the fact that each film also stands alone that elevates this to immortal heights. Buy it for your kids and they'll be showing it to theirs.

A dead watch?

My watch stopped last month, I had the battery changed and all was well. It's stopped again. So dodgy battery, or dead watch hmmm?

Yet another increase in parking charges

As usual my thanks to Tav for linking to the document with the proposed charge increase in January for the district's car-parks as well as the proposed changes for next October. As I've already done a comparison of the previous set brought in on October it was no hardship to add these in. It is a pain to translate these into html, so I'll just run a brief on the first set of changes.

Friday, November 26, 2010


It's days like this that remind me that the the ground pipes holding the water aren't that well insulated and that my shower just turns a heater on and pumps water through it rather than measure the inflow or outflow temperature - brrrh!

But the heat exchange coefficient of water is known, the flow of water is controlled, the temperature of the inflowing water can be measured, and the temperature of the heater can be set. So there's no reason why the temperature of the outflowing water can't be maintained at a constant without recourse to twiddling dials.

I suppose it's expense, but it's the 21st century and this is still the most common control method - yeesh!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let them eat cake?

Just caught a burst of Lorraine on Daybreak (or whatever it's called) discussing the snow up North. "Just stay in" she said. What a good idea I don't understand these people - why are they even driving instead of using the expansive train network that connects all the villages up. Sigh!

What annoys me is we get this every single bloody time. Stay in, only go out if it's absolutely necessary and it all comes from a bunch of London presenters who either are driven to work or have access to a non-weather affected transport system.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just how many lanes does York Street have?

This afternoon I drove over a shiny new painted white arrow in York Street just outside the turn to the new flats. I'm guessing people are driving out and trying to turn right down the one-way system.

However a white arrow, just the one painted in the middle of the road. So is this an official statement that York Street is in fact just one lane?

If so then who has priority at its entrance Lion Hill or Lichfield Street/Mart Lane?

If not whose authorised only one arrow to be painted when there should be two?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Net neutrality

Net neutrality has popped up again the the UK news. For those unfamiliar with the concept the non-codified principal is that providers of internet connections do not favour or hinder anyone. That means you can access my little blog at the same speed as you can access The Financial Times. Sure they might have the equivalent of a motorway leading to their front door and I might have a country lane, but you can all travel at the same speed.

This may change.

What's up for examination is allowing content providers to pay providers to ensure a faster service to them. Our political leaders place this under the guise of "market forces". They're wrong and once again it shows just how they still think of the internet as "tubes" or indeed the same analogy I use as in a road network.

Consider the M6. This has a sister the M6T the T stands for Toll. If you have the money you can take this less busy shortcut and this equates neatly to the offerings of the Internet Providers; you pay for the speed of connection. But that's as far is it goes.

Sticking with this analogy the rumbling revocation of neutrality will allow the destinations to pay for the connections. The simple way to consider this is if Cambridge wanted better speeds it would issue 'passes' to those travelling to them to use the equivalent of bus or car-pooling lanes allowing them to speed past those who are simply using the same connection to get elsewhere.

Now the theory goes that this extra payment will allow an upgrading of the connections; there's still a priority lane, but now there are more lanes for everyone else too. So everyone benefits. But who owns the connections? Who is upgrading them?

So take a large company paying for priority; 100 people heading down the same pipe with 50 going elsewhere. So under neutrality each gets 1% of the bandwidth; under the new system the priority customers might get 1.5% leaving the remaining 50 with 0.5%. Market Forces says this is fine, the company that can afford to pay is obviously popular hence the 'spare' cash.

Except what if you get 50 of company A and 50 of Company B and both are priority? Everyone gets 1%; no difference. But what if the majority of traffic is 'priority' say 98 with only 2 non-priority? If there's no minimum bandwidth those two might be allocated only 0.1% each with the rest only receiving a little over 1% each Heck they might get 0.01%.

As a result we end up with the same situation we see in business, those who've thrived under net neutrality can now pay to have their own visitors prioritised over those of their competitor. We get a few large companies fighting over the bandwidth and throwing money at the providers while the smaller areas get starved of traffic.

Oh but wait with all that money they'll add more bandwidth - no of course they won't. Keep it a scarce resource and you can charge what you like; yes it will increase when they hit the ceiling of what the destination sites will pay; but it's not going to be the competition that the government seems to believe it's going to be.

A friend's iPhone

A friend's just brought in his iPhone to be set-up at the moment it allows only emergency calls and needs to be plugged into iTunes to register. Great as he's currently without a computer. So I plug it into mine and it's all 'oo do you want to set up your Apple Store account on this?' No I bloody well don't.

It still used my login, but thankfully didn't transfer the password over. POS.

So without a computer he currently has no email; so he can't set up an account. "Tell you want if you want to I'll sign you up for MobileMe that wa all your contacts, calendar will be stored elsewhere and if you lose your iPhone you just need to log back in and it'll all come back down to you"

So I went to sign him up for the 60-day free trial. To use this 60-day free trial you need a credit card ooookay. He's left it behind.

Not bloody easy is it?

Spending money

Damn Merry Hill, makes me spend money :-) Though not as much as usual thankfully. I got there around half ten and it was already fairly busy I ended up at the top of the multi-storey; this time thought the elevators were working.

Nothing new, picked up some box sets from HMV a couple of new books from Games Workshop, and managed to leave Waterstones empty handed which is amazing. One small annoyance was that nether Game nor Gamestation had the Prince of Persia trilogy out despite it being released last Friday. Oh well I've too many games to go through anyway.

To add to my list of food stuffs I can't find - Colmans American Mild mustard. None in Sainsbury's, Morrisons or Asda. Tcch.

Anyway I related my purchased to my parents. The Prisoner box set
"Which one?" asked my mother
I pull a stupid face
"The original" she replies for herself.
"And the Sherlock Holmes collection" I add
"Which one"
stupid face
"Okay Jeremy Brett" she replies again.
"Of course I mean come on" I state with a broad grin

Well that's my lonely evenings sorted boo-hoo :-P

Young Earth Creationist

Sunday Morning Live on the BBC featured a Young Earth Creationist. Oh my it was painful to watch. I'm not taking him as representative of all such belief holders, but I'll take on his 'arguments'.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fixing Computers.

It seems one of those mad coincidences. Wednesday I had to fix the wireless connection on the Acer latop belonging to DaBoss' son. Then yesterday a friend dropped by with an Advent laptop. It was getting stuck at updating 3 of 3 then rebooting.

So I booted it up and we sat looking at the BIOS screen "It shouldn't take this long" I said
"It always does he replied"

More conversation revealed his CD drive also didn't work which scuppered one plan of attack, but I thought I'd check the BIOS setup to see if it was trying to boot off a non-existent drive.

Nope the CD was third on the list after the hard drive itself. I checked the CD it was set to Auto and finding None. "Well if it can't find it" I said " I might as well disable it. So I did.

Reboot and the BIOS screen appears and disappears. "And that's fixed that"

Long story short ended up using a System Restore Point easy as pie. Joke is he only brought it to me because his usual fixer is indisposed. Uh-huh so the full-time high-salaried computer fixer couldn't solve the BIOS slowdown - right.

And now this morning over in the fog to DaBoss to get the Acer to talk to the HomeHub. He'd been plugging in the key to no avail, turns out he was using the wrong security protocols. Then dismantling another computer that seemed to be a dust magnet and hauling that back to the office for a look-see.

All fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Remakes of classic games.

It's nothing new, for the PS2 we had the Sega re-releases of the old MegaDrive games and that continued even to the PS3 yet these weren't remakes, it was exactly the same game simply tweaked to run on new software. The true remake didn't start until God of War.

With God of War 3 on its way and Sony having ditched any pretence of backwards compatibility the developers found themselves in the position of releasing the third of a trilogy of games with a new generation having never played the previous two and thus have little idea what's going on.

In a feat of sheer genius they thought to dig out the old games, tweak them for the new console and even give them an HD polish to release them before the third thus satisfying those who had never played them and those who wish they still could.

And they sold, they sold well. At which point a bandwagon was drawn up and other developers though to jump aboard. After all why go to all the trouble and risk of creating a new intellectual property when you could just pull a dust covered game out of the cupboard and put some fresh lipstick on it and send it out in a short skirt and low-cut top.

So following GoW1 and 2, we now see Sly Cooper's trilogy, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus; and now the Prince of Persia trilogy all on the horizon. Am I complaining? Well no not really because these games weren't only good at the time, they're still good. This is top tier stuff here and not remakes of Gauntlet, Haven, or Vexx.

Bring them on and um... any chance of the Silent Hill trilogy? You can skip the fourth if you want no bother.

Predators review

Let me blunt - every single director could learn from Robert Rodriguez. The man can take a bunch of B-C (and lower) actors and produce a film that not comes out on or below budget, but makes a continuous turnover at the Box Office, not just at the opening weekend before word-of mouth and reviews get around because it truly is worth watching. That's talent! Predators is no exception.

Nominally a sequel, but you don't need to know anything about the previous movies to enjoy it. We quite literally jump into the action as we follow an unconscious guy freefalling out of the sky and into a jungle. The action doesn't let up, tension is kept high and despite the fact we know about the Predators they don't make any real overt appearance until the middle of the film.

I'd really like to go into details of the plot, but that would really spoil things so just the basics - there's more than one person who's been dumped here and they're not alone. What does set this film apart from the current helping is the lack of computer special effects - they exist but they're not there to grab your attention with how well they're done they are there just to keep the story moving and that's it.

I'm trying to think of any part where it drags and am drawing a blank, everything is used to push the story and more importantly the characterisation a item that can often be missed in such 'action' movies. Rodriguez also isn't afraid of the odd sly reference to the first film, the musical score particularly stands out in this regard; it is the Predator track and crops up at just the right points to emphasise the film.

Ignore Predator 2 this is the true sequel to Predator. Enjoy.

Pluralisation of numbers

A comment from a Germanic speaking lady on the morning Midlands news regarding the market - "Three million peoples". Now "peoples" is something that non-native English speakers often use, however what caught my attention wasn't that mispluralisation but the lack of one elsewhere.

When we discuss large groupings we can say that there were hundreds, thousands, even millions yet as soon as it is quantified what happens? Two million, three thousand, four million. What happened to the plural? I've already demonstrated that an "s" can be added so why isn't it?

By the same logic we should discuss cats and dogs, but two cat and three dog :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fog and lights?

A timely letter from the Shuttle regarding the use of headlights when driving in fog. Now my position has always been sidelights to be seen, headlights to see; but this has to be tempered by conditions. If it's a bit dark and drizzly what purpose do headlights serve other than to dazzle those coming the other way; particularly on those vehicles with multiple lights fitted to their front?

In this instance I admit driving yesterday morning with only side-lights on; my reasoning - the speed limit is 30mph and the visible distance was enough to be able to discern such lights at a point that allowed enough time for manoeuvres. Add to that being stuck in a queue and I had to ask "What purpose would it serve?" Those directly in front and behind are well within visible range as is anyone heading my way who needs to cross my lane.

It also needs to be said that in true foggy conditions full headlights aren't always the best thing, the lights reflect off the fog and can reduce visibility if not adjusted correctly. Just last night I switched on my headlights and found a bank of white in front of me, I switched to full beam and saw less. This is the purpose of fog lights that are angled downwards to allow you to see the road more clearly, but they also have the effect that they reflect away and upwards towards other drivers which is why they shouldn't always be used.

Did I use my fog lights - no because there was no-one else on the road until I reached the end of the queue, by which point there use would be moot.

Wireless failure?

Interesting start to the morning the laptop failed to connect to the wireless router. It could see it, but asked for the key. So how did it lose that? Even attempting to use the Vaio's own built in profile settings couldn't connect. So I manually added it again, and no problem. Then switched to the relevant profile and again no problem. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


A shot of a man reading a newspaper, a sparkly star on the end of a wand appears and we hear a girl say "Bling!". Said girl then 'blings' a cake, a dog, some kids, her mother, and passes multiple blings to a boy on a slide. Just as she's about to bling the guinea pig/hamster she spies the Dora Fantasy Explorer set next to her mother and rushes over to play with it.

What the hell? How did the first part of this advert connect with the second part? What sort of message is this advert portraying? Hey kids how can you have fun with that wand from the Poundshop exploring the real world and playing with your friends? You need a Dora fantasy Explorer playset available from £14.99 - £39.99 so you can sit in a corner of your room while your mum watches you play.

It's as bad as the Smythes advert where the mother takes the two kids to this grotty shop where the girl turns her nose up at a "My favourite pony" toy. Oh don't worry kids your mum was only joking she's taking you out of this local independent toy shop and taking you to a national warehouse-sized chain store instead - yay!

Pay attention

Driving in this morning and we all had to edge around the Land Rover type with its rear end stuck out from the Total station. He was as close as he could get to the car in front who was as close as they could get to the car in front who in turn had a car and a half gap in front of them. They were sitting there waiting for a spot to open up at a pump oblivious to what was playing out behind them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two potential traffic mishaps

An hour ago I watched a young women turn right at the Bridge Street island, a perfectly logical thing to do at an island except for the bit about it being one-way in the opposite direction.

And just this moment I witnessed someone turn right at the bottom of Vale Road. Not pulling out into Vale Road and heading the wrong way. Instead turning from High Street into the left hand lane for Vale Road and then turning right at the third lane to cross the top of Mitton Street to get to Lion Hill.

All completely logical choices given the poor signage.

iTunes for the umpteenth time

No updates this time, just hadn't used it for a while. Started it Friday library gone. Put it all back. Started it today - library gone. Grabbed the library itl file dated 2010-11-12 renamed it. Tried to get some of the missing album covers. Not having it.

Closed it, opened it, still not doing it. Closed it watched the folder as the damn itl file deleted itself. Seriously it didn't go to the recycle bin just poof vanished.

Re-imported everything back, and oh look it's now quite happy to get the album covers. Prior to closing I took a copy of the itl file and stashed it somewhere safe. What a piece of crap software

Fallout 3 more bugs

Yep I returned to the world of Fallout 3 from New Vegas and I was right it is slower to load than the newer version. I'm not sure if it's the new hardware or just randomness, but it seems even more flakey.

I encountered the area not loading bug several times whereby the vegetation loads up but the ground doesn't. Try to continue and the game will state that you cannot proceed any further in this direction (just as it does for the invisible walls surrounding the area), but then sticks you to the site until you Fast Travel out the way.

This happened so many times I quit the game and restarted; this time it worked fine. Oh and two freezing bugs that required the console to be powered down, and a few enemies stuck in walls.

Not the best of engines methinks.

Freeview changes?

Yesterday a message popped up on my Freeview recorder I caught the word update and November before it vanished as I was changing channels and that dismissed everything on screen. I checked with my parents and they too had the message.
"What did it say?" I asked
"Something about an update on the 15th November, it said press OK so we did because we had just started watching a recording."

Has it returned? Yeah right! Checking around it seems that some of the channels contracts expire today and all it means is yet another retune.

Entertaining the Tribe

Due to a celebration in the family the almost the entire tribe visited, so not counting the adults that was a one-year old, a five-year old, an eight-year old, and a thirteen-year old.

Although the plan was that The Artist and family wouldn't stay long, he decided that he wanted to check out the demo of something on my PS3; as that meant a half-hour download he stuck around so I took the elder three kids out into the wood and towards the playground.

Fuss and nonsense at the start made me forget to ask something and off we went. Devil Child wants to hold my hand which is fine, but the paths are too narrow which meant me walking in the long, wet grass - lovely. Bratus Major and Minor did their usual 'fighting' which I had to calm down a couple of times. DC was by turns both entertained and shocked by their antics; I don't think she's used to that level of boisterousness.

We made it to the playground a delightful metal affair which meant everything was icy to the touch. They had some fun until DC whispered to me that she wanted to go to the toilet. Damn I knew there was something; as I've mentioned before there are NO toilet facilities in this entire region. This meant making our way back, which isn't far and to be honest it was a bit chilly.

Back we went and DC sorted out she wanted to play Connect 4 with her grandfather on the table; however as Minor had been so good at keeping his mouth shut I brought down Munchkin Quest too. That meant we needed the table and we banished the other two out into the conservatory.

Now some may recall that every single time Minor has been around he's asked to play this. "How do we play this?" he asks as I set it up. Sigh! Anyway we played with a cut-down set of rules. Both The Artist and his father hovered a couple of times and declared it too complicated for them. The one went back to the PS3 demo, the other to DC and Connect 4 followed by the 3D snakes and ladders in which they were joined by my father.

The Bratii and I had fun, but didn't get to finish as they had to leave along with everyone else.

I later learned that not as much fun was not had over Snakes and Ladders as the Brattii and I had last time as it seems DC is quite happy to play any game so long as it's by her rules. I've mentioned that before too, but it was rammed home when she initially set up the Conect 4 board placed a yellow counter and then declared "Now it's your turn!" before placing the red counter.

I'd have thought with attending school this would be something she'd have grown out of by now, unless it's just something she does with family knowing she'll be indulged by everyone (except me of course).

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Fallout New Vegas quirks

Having finished seeing off the Powder Gangers at Goodsprings and earning the respect of the townsfolk and the enmity of the Gangers I headed off to Pimm. Seems convicts from the nearby NCR Correctional Facility had taken over; so I cleaned that all up too. Pimm needed a Sheriff or at least some law and order and three options presented themselves - Reprogramme the Robot; acquire some reinforcements for the local NCR; or find a Sheriff who'd been sent to the NCR prison.

As I'd heard the prison had been taken over by the Powder Gangers and I was already on the outs with them it seemed like the most fun; so off I went.

Hell that was tough I took out everyone in the place and at that point the odd thing happened. Just after I killed the head prisoner, Eddie, up popped "I Fought the Law Failed" yep by killing Eddie I'd failed this quest. What quest?

Turns out if I'd been more approachable Eddie would have hired me to scout out the NCR forces. By killing him he obviously couldn't. So I failed the quest by killing the person who would have given it to me before he could give it to me. What sort of bizarre logic is that?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PS3 Multiplayer COD

I do like reading the Face-Offs in Eurogamer even though the PS3 seems to come off the worst most of the time. however I do dislike possible factual errors or phraseology that paint the PS3 in a bad light.

Take this paragraph from the COD: Black Ops Face-off regarding the multiplayer split-screen option:

Here, Xbox 360 does have what you might call an architectural advantage. Two players can each log in with their own profiles and play with their own unique identities. On PlayStation 3 though, the second player is represented as a sub-player of the main PSN login, so you'd have "DigitalFoundryUK" and "DigitalFoundryUK(1)" as opposed to individual handles. There's nothing Treyarch can do here, as it's the way things are set up on the PS3. Bearing in mind that so few online titles support split-screen, it's not exactly a major issue, but on the other hand this limitation was somewhat apparent on Sony's own Warhawk and the ability to log in with sub-accounts for multiple players surely isn't an onerous element to add to the PSN infrastructure.
So if you want to play with someone else who shares your PS3 they can't use their own profile, how sucky of the PS3. Except doesn't the PS3 only game Resistance 2 have a split screen option, doesn't that allow the second player to pick from an account on the system to use? Why yes it does.

Ah I'm sure what he meant was that two players couldn't be online at the same time using split screen. Wait though doesn't Little Big Planet and Mod Nation Racers allow a combination of 'local' and online players using the local sub-accounts? Why yes it does.

What I'm guessing is the problem is that the servers can't identify the second PS3 player individually and thus can't keep track of their rank using the non-local servers. So it's not a case that two local players can't be online at the same time, merely that the second player won't have their progress/rank tracked by the game's servers which indeed appears to be the case for the PS3.

In that case I agree with the closing sentence, if a game allows you to pick a sub-account to play with there should be no reason that unique log-in cannot be passed on to the game's servers.

Fallout: New Vegas ditch the Karma

Still trying to wrap my head around some of the new features of Fallout: New Vegas in particular Karma and Reputation. In Fallout 3 it was simply Karma - do bad things and you're declared Evil, do good things and be declared a Saint. It was just a bit too simplistic at times, but mostly it worked.

Fallout: NV introduces (or returns to be exact) the notion of reputation. Each settlement or grouping has its own opinion of you; help the town of Goodsprings against the Powder Gangers and you'll be well-regarded by the town and hated by the Gangers and vice versa. This is pretty darn good and allows a greater depth to play... except it also keeps the Karma level.

So help out the town of Goodsprings and then surreptitiously steal a few things from them and your Karma will go down but if you're not spotted your reputation will remain intact. However help Goodsprings and steal from the Powder Gangers and your karma will still go down - que? It seems that the game regards stealing as wrong even if you're doing so to the 'bad' guys.

Okay  I can vaguely see that, except for how the game treats the dead. Kill one of the Gangers and you can happily loot his corpse for no penalty (and possibly a karma gain as he's a baddie) but you can't touch his strongbox without a penalty because that would be stealing.

Now I could understand that being spotted stealing would lower your reputation with that party, but if a) you're not spotted or b) your reputation with them is as low as it can get why should that affect my interactions with others; can they just sense I'm 'evil'?

Sure tie the factions together in a loose web so that if I help the Powder Ganagers I lose reputation from both Goodsprings and the New California Republic and set it so that helping the NCR doesn't increase my reputation with Goodsprings (as they don't care) and decreases my rep with the Gangers, but just ditch this Karma system - it's just pointless.

Correct grammar that sounds incorrect

I forgot to add this yesterday. A single sentence in the morning Midlands news on the BBC - "One in ten beds is taken by someone who does not require it".

Here it's the conjunction of the plural "beds" with the singular "is". As the object under discussion is the one bed (singular) it is correct, it just sounds odd to me at least. Now "Of ten beds one is..." or "For every ten beds one is..." flows more smoothly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phil Woolas

For those not following the political news judges have decreed that a re-election for Oldham East and Saddleworth should be held after the former Labour MP Phil Woolas was found guilty of misrepresentation. So how does that work?

Well the original call came under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 that

makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate’s personal character or conduct shall be guilty of an illegal practice, unless he can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, that statement to be true.
Note that this says nothing about a re-election, but here's where it gets clever. If there are problems with an election anyone can create an election petition to be presented to the Election Petitions Office and make an application to the High Court. Downside is that it costs £5,000 which you either have to pay or show that you can pay - lose and you forfeit the money. This was done by the Liberal Democrat candidate.

Again so what? Well supposedly (because the Act in question isn't available online to check) one of the arguments that can be used is that a person won by making false statements about their opponent(s). So given a majority of only 103 and a guilty verdict under section 106 the judges automatically upheld the petition and called for a re-election.

Two laws, two acts; one result.

More birds?

Meant to ask this a while back - is it just me or does there seem to be more crows and magpies about?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Credit Cards

Just to highlight coincidences just had a call for DaBoss from the bank's fraud department trying to get in touch with him; I took the number and guess what it doesn't appear on their website anywhere. Seriously people this is about security so you might want to actually list the ****ing number that people should call for confirmations sake at least.

Why coincidence? Well I had a letter in the post from Currys informing me that the warranty on my Apple Music Device was about to expire and did I want to extend it? Ah would that be these devices? Good to see joined-up computer systems at work.

Playstation Store slow down with Orange

As mentioned recent downloads from the Playstation store have been running at a snail's pace all week and it seems I'm not the only one finding this. Up steps DigitalEnemy who suggests using the OpenDNS servers and would you look at that I'm back at full speed.

So is Orange routing the PS Store through Antigua or something?

Just some goings on in Stourport

The pedestrian crossing next to Harold Davies Drive is still out from at least Saturday; and Lloyds have put up signs stating they are moving in January 2011 to Unit 4 Sandy Lane Industrial Estate. The old Midland Stock Disposals which is the first left before Barracks Road that was supposed to be some sort of Army Store moving in last June.

So it looks like we'll be getting a car-park sometime in Jan/Feb next year.

Speaking of car-parks 5 cars this morning on the Vale Road one.

Speaking of parking the van parked outside the café next to the Flamingo on the zig-zag lines - yes you were unloading, but note that a) you're on zig-zag lines and b) before you opened up the rear doors to unload you might have noticed that there was nothing parked in the bays in front of you. Never a warden around when you want one.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas mini-review

Having finished The Force Unleashed II before I even realised it I had a quick go with Fallout: New Vegas. It's the same as Fallout 3 with some more polish. It still stutters on loading the next section at times, though loading between doors seems much quicker to me. Shame they haven't updated the AI though.

During the tutorial with Sunny Smiles I beat her to the hill then waited for her to show up and give me a rifle for target practice. The bottles I would be aiming at just appeared out of thin air, I was watching at the time. So shoot, then aim and shoot, then duck and shoot. Then the 'cutscene' jumps in with Sunny addressing you while you're still in the crouched position [sigh].

Then off you can go to kill some critters at the water wells. Sunny and her dog got caught on so many rocks etc. it was hilarious; that was until the game just crashed down after the first shoot out. No it hadn't auto-saved after the quest was complete; so I had to go back through the entire tutorial again.

But this happens a lot - the sticking not the crashing. It seems to be a major problem when there's more than one NPC trying to perform the same action. Two scorpions after me got stuck on each other at a rock outcrop; so did coyotes so did too many to mention.

I also found magazines "Wow that's quick finding magazines that increase your skills" Nope they are one-time only use, but it's a temporary increase only. So there are some changes to the game; but so far it does feel more like an add-on than a full game in its own right.

I'll see how it goes.


Yes I had the Bratii again. The first thing out of Minor's mouth before he even managed to remove his shoes was "Can we play Munchkin Quest? Can we play Munchkin Quest?" repeat four times.

"You do realise that every time you hassle me about this it just makes me not want to play it?" I told him. Anyway we settled down had a chat and then "Can we play Munchkin Quest? Can we play Munchkin Quest?" yeesh!

Major chimed in "You do realise [me] has brought it down ready to play?" he'd spotted it in the corner and I repeated my previous statement with a disappointed "Ohh!" as my answer.

I then presented them with two films, "Monsters Vs Aliens" and "Planet 51". "Have you, do you, want to watch either of these?" I showed them to Major.
"Seen it, not bothered" he replied.
I held them up to Minor
"What?" he spat
"Fine" I replied and put them away.

Playstation Move calibration?

Playing Move with Bratus Minor got me thinking about the calibration of the controller and how it just didn't gel with movements on screen.

The basic calibration is to point the controller at the camera and press the Move button, easy enough except the camera can be placed either on top of or below the screen. Now consider I'm 6ft (ish) and Minor is 3ft (ish). If the camera is on top of the screen I'm level with it, but if it's at the bottom Minor's level with it. So what? Well it's less to do with the camera and more to do with it's position relative to the screen. How does it know that when I move the controller upwards I'm pointing at the middle of the screen, but Minor has to point the controller at a greater angle to accomplish the same? The answer seems to be that it doesn't.

This showed up in the "Tumble" demo calibrate in this way, but hit Circle to reset the centre. Both of us had to constantly reset the centre and it still didn't feel right, you'd point the controller directly at a block on screen and it would be too high or too low - there was no method of 'point the controller at the centre of the screen and then at the corner indicated' which would have been a much better calibration method.

Oh and Minor 'broke' the tutorial by accidentally flinging the block he was supposed to place on the base behind the camera. As that part of the demo hadn't been reached the camera controls were locked out so he couldn't pick up the block despite the urgings of the game.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Science has no answer

As the Shuttle has closed the comments I've no opportunity to reply to Jon except here: (I hope he sees it)

Avoidance Jon? "Whereas in your story we know for sure there isn't a monster with the God question we don't know for sure there isn't a God therefore the two are not analogous." Really and exactly how did you determine there isn't a monster? My story didn't state that and left it open to interpretation which is the entire point. Why can't the existence or non existence of the monster also be agnostic (i.e. not knowable)?

How can you clearly come down on the side of non-monster, but not do so with God?

This is my point which you seem to refuse to see. By classifying the existence of God as unknowable you are not in a position to tell those that have faith in Him (or Them) that the actions they take are wrong as for all you know they may be right. God may be beyond knowledge but still like worship.

Now you argue that your actions don't affect others, that your refusal to come down on one side or another makes no difference to those who worship or don't. Except that's what implicit means, by not countering the actions of those who worship (in particular teaching their children to worship) you are implicitly condoning that behaviour.

Now you've argued that you're not because being agnostic doesn't mean you can't take a position regarding such activity yet your position is based on no greater basis than that of the theists who are doing the worship.

This was the point of my monster analogy and your 'belief' system. The atheist is saying that you shouldn't worship because there's nothing there to worship, the agnostic can't say that because there may well be.

Oh by the way... the BBC is on strike

Switched on the BBC Breakfast show and saw the BBC News (24) desk. Oh great has the broadcaster station accidentally messed up the channels? Watched the news, went to what is normally local news and just got 'adverts' instead. Back to the news and got the headlines, then the splash screen with "BBC Breakfast" written on it; huh? Introduction, another headlines and then he tells us the difference is due to a strike at the BBC.

Yeah sorry I've been watching for twenty minutes and now you mention that?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Force Unleashed 2 mini-review

As I'm going to be busy for the next few nights I made time to have a quick go on Force Unleashed 2 for the PS3 that I picked up on Saturday.

On installation it found my old FU1 save (wait FU! Huh just realised that) and it told me I had received some bonuses. I couldn't see them at the time as I was just installing it; but now with a chance to play it seems to have given me a lightsaber crystal; it's nice to reward your loyal customers this way.

So the story so far - Darth Vader takes on a secret apprentice (Starkiller) and charges him with discovering who is planning action against the Empire by creating a rebel force. Ironically this is the impetus that actually creates the Rebel Alliance when Starkiller goes rogue. In the official ending Starkiller is killed, yet here he is in the second game - how come? Clones.

Yep he's been cloned on Kamino (where the Stormtroopers were created) and his memories are explained as a result of the forced learning process (sigh). Sadly for Vader this clone seems to have too many original memories and off he goes too.

So that's where the game starts with you trying to escape Kamino and without all your memories it explains why you don't have full access to your powers.

So is it different to the first game - it's more polished and that's about it. The camera is still a pain at times, and the enemy lock is still persistent button push rather than a toggle on/off. Combat seems more fluid; targeting is both easier and more obvious; but there are still glitches.

It does still delight in targeting what the camera can't see. In one instance I moved towards a urn next to a corner in order to Force Grab and throw it towards an unpleasant enemy instead I ended up crushing a wall mounted screen on the corner I couldn't see.

I've also ended up having to restart the game (not the console) when heading up the elevator on the second 'level'. The elevator activates as soon as you step on it with the result that the camera is trying to look through you (so you turn transparent) and the menus are disabled to allow the voiceover of "I've seen how you can fight now how do you run". The elevator reaches the top and... you can't move and the menus haven't been re-enabled.

Speaking of "how do you run" don't you ever learn? There's little more frustrating than forcing the player to run towards the camera and you've made me do it in two levels now. Yes it's dramatic, but it just screws you up because you end up running into the boxes strewn about the place because you can't see where you're going.

Likewise a cutscene whereby your efforts go unrewarded - save the transport you're riding with 100% 'health' and it'll still catch fire and blow up. Sure you're protecting it until you're close enough to jump - but the sequence won't end until you destroy the ship shooting at you so what's the point?

There's also "Challenges" separate to the game (kill these enemies in X time etc.). Accessing them will present you with a non-informative loading screen that sits there asking if you want to cancel. Eventually it'll point out that you're not connected to the internet and are you sure you want to continue. Come on guys doesn't the PS3 have a connected/disconnected toggle? Just check that and state "You're not connected are you sure you wish to continue" rather than sit there for a minute checking. I mean I don't have to sit around waiting for Dragon Age so why am I waiting here?

So what's good about it? Hmm well it seems to have less tearing and they've tidied up the menus Thank The Gods it no longer requires a load between So yeah more polished, and graphically better but really that's about it.

If you liked the first one, you'll like this; if you didn't there's little here to tempt you.

[Update - I started on Easy mode just to get a feel for the game and ended up finishing before I even knew it maybe 6 hours of play with the need for only two upgrades; so don't play it on Easy]