Categories
Fiction Imported From Epistula

Zen

“I hug you”
“But I can’t even see you!”
“That is correct. I’m hugging you by not hugging you.”
“Is this some kind of Zen?”
“Strawberries.”
“What kind of answer is that?”
“A valid one.”
“How so?”
“I am forcing you to reconsider your question.”
“Forcing me to reconsider my question isn’t answering the bloody thing.”
“This is also correct.”
“So are you going to answer my question?”
“Toothbrush.”
“That isn’t tranquility, that’s just annoying.”
“But tranquilly annoying.”
“Tranquilly isn’t a word”.
“Is too.”
“Tranquil means quiet, peaceful, still. You can’t do something tranquilly, it means you are…”
“Doing something by not doing anything.”
“Oh sod off”

Categories
Imported From Epistula music

Random MP3 Playlist

Okay, It’s a meme, for which I apologise. The instructions are as follows:

Put all mp3s you own on a playlist.
Randomise
Display the first thirty.

Since MusicDB generates 128mb of random MP3s for me (for my MP3 player. Must. Get. iPod.) every morning, I’ll just print this morning’s playlist at you:

  1. Various – Georgia on my Mind – Billie Holiday (3:18)
  2. Voices Only: A Cappella Originals – Throat Culture: Easter Island Head (2:48)
  3. Various Artists – If You Still Hate Me (2:54)
  4. Various – The City Of New York # Homer Simpson (Medley) (2:02)
  5. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The – Pussy Want His Fish?
  6. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The – An Invisible Dot On An Invisib (1:55)
  7. The Goons – The Seagoon Memoirs (29:46)
  8. Kenneth Horne – Round the Horne Vol5 Side2 (26:19)
  9. Aggie Band – When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again (1:36)
  10. Air Supply – Total Eclipse of the Heart (5:28)
  11. askthefamily (0:19)
  12. 12(by P G Wodehouse) – All About Jeeves (8:36)
  13. beefburg (0:23)
  14. bigjohn (0:16)
  15. Bill Withers – Hello Like Before (5:28)
  16. bruno (0:02)
  17. chi9205 (0:43)
  18. Copy of MegaBabe
  19. Don McLean – American Pie (Complete Original Version) (8:34)
  20. Simon May – EastEnders Ill-Fated Hotel Lobby Version (start) (0:27)
  21. Elvis Presley – Fever (2:47)
  22. Eva Cassidy – The Letter (1) (4:10)
  23. Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (3:18)
  24. John Lennon – Imagine (acoustic version) (2:57)
  25. REM – This Friendly World (3:04)
  26. MegaBabe
  27. The Beautiful South – How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry? (4:37)
  28. Squeeze – Goodbye Girl (3:05)
  29. Mixed Company – Come On Eileen (4:26)
  30. synthesized – popcorn
  31. The Beatles – Love Me Do
  32. Tom Lehrer – The Irish Ballad (3:01)
  33. This Is A Low
  34. trumpton (0:56)
  35. Unknown – 01 – National Express Disk 1 – The Divine Comedy – Going Downhill Fast (3:08)
  36. Weezer – Buddy Holly (2:39)
  37. whydontyou (0:51)
  38. The Simpsons – The Simpons Main Title Theme ( (1:39)
  39. Various – Pink Floyd / Wish You Were Here (5:24)
  40. Blues Brothers – Shake a tail feather (2:50)
  41. 01-White Flag
  42. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The – Not A Pleasant Sight, Even For (1:47)
  43. Splashdown – Pandora (3:49)
  44. The Wonder Stuff – Don’t Let Me Down, Gently (3:01)
  45. The Pogues – Fiesta (4:12)
  46. They Might Be Giants – I Can Hear You (1:56)
  47. Lemon Jelly – Page One (9:12)
  1. XTC – The Rhythm (2:55)
Categories
Humour Imported From Epistula

Crime iiiiiis horrible

Bill Hicks on Hooligans

(3.36mb MP3 file. Warning, Contains Language)

Bill Hicks died 10 years ago today.

Categories
Imported From Epistula internet intertwingularity

Event Share Framework

gilmae alerted me to the fact that someone is creating an RSS 2 extension called Event Share Framework or ESF. This could be interesting.

I’ve just sent them this email:

I’ve just discovered your site, You should probably be aware that there is a syndication standard called ‘ESF’, the Epistula Syndication Format, invented at the height of the ‘RSS needs to be extended’ argument two years ago. It’s more or less obscure, but a high number of people are still generating it (Sam Ruby, for example, at http://www.intertwingly.net/feeds/) and there exists a number of modules and extensions for weblogging systems to use it. The spec is at http://www.aquarionics.com/article/name/esf.
I would – as the creator of an existing syndication standard – prefer it if your syndication standard extension did not share the name, to be honest.

Categories
Computer Games Imported From Epistula

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

I like this game.

The original Prince of Persia was one of the best animated games of it’s time. Famously Jordan Mechner videoed his brother running, jumping and waving a sword and then traced over those images to get the animation right, and he did. The original Prince was one of the most acrobatic and realistic video game characters ever when he dashed onto the screen in 1989.

A couple of years ago, Prince of Persia 3 was released. It sank to the bargain basement bins almost immediately, because it took all of the good stuff about PoP and then turned it into trial and error. Traps that would kill you instantly without you being able to detect them, turn-a-corner-and-die moments, pixel perfect requirements without pixel perfect control. It sank, died, and that was probably the end of the Prince of Persia.

But not.

Sands of Time was released late last year. I’ve just completed it in about a week (Admittedly, this week was after playing it constantly for a while before getting stuck sometime in December at a fight. Then I lost my save-game and when I ran though it from the beginning I breezed though the fight fairly easily. So it goes) of fairly regular playing. It’s about 12 hours of game time, punctuated by long periods of leaving it for a while and then coming back and seeing exactly what you need to do next.

The actual gameplay is split into three major elements, that of acrobatics, puzzles and fights.

Acrobatics is most of the game. You – as the Prince – have to get to the other side of the room/area without getting killed. To do this you have the usual run/jump/slide/hang from ledges stuff, but a few ninja-moves that set it apart. Most normally there is the swing-from-bar move, where you traverse areas swinging from bar to bar, but you also have the ability to walk along vertical surfaces for a short length, leap between walls (This needs to be seen to be understood) and generally act like a gold-medal olympic athlete without all that tedious training. The smoothness of the controls – and the animation – make most of this a breeze providing your timing is right. You want to walk along that wall, take a flying leap onto that handy flag-pole, swing from rope to rope like a Persian Tarzan and land on a tight-rope from where you can drop to safety? Sure. Easy. And should you accidentally miss the flagpole and fall to your doom, you can always rewind, but more of that later.

The fighting is just as athletic. Whilst some of the time, your handy sidekick Farah is around to fire arrows at your immortal foes, mostly it’s you and your swords. The fighting interface is deceptivly simple – left click to swing, right click to block, you’ll swing at the enemy in front of you or the one you point at with the arrow keys – it manages to produce some really pretty swordfights. Most of the time, you will be fighting multiple enemies at once, so the ability to leap over enemies, launch yourself at them from walls etc. is handy. The fighting is mostly instictive, and helped a lot by the various powers you have…

There are five powers. The first is the one you have least control over, and that’s the save game system. The first is a ‘Sand Vortex’, in which you enter, are given a fifteen second glimpse of flashes of the future (Handy, since these solve the ‘What the hell am I supposed to be doing?’ problems) and an opertunity to save you game.

The second is the one you will use most, Rewind. Hold down the rewind key (‘R’ on PC) and the game will rewind up to thirty seconds in the past, allowing you to fix such things as leaping the wrong way off a rope, failing to dodge a falling axe, neglecting to jump from a collapsing platform or even getting yourself killed. This power is not unlimited, you can only use it once for every tank of sand you have (Which you aquire from picking them up or killing things).

The third power is that of Restraint (Freeze), where you stab an enemy and they freeze for a while, allowing you to despatch them at your leisure. Providing your leisure acts reasonably quickly.

The Power of Delay slows time for a while, allowing you to see who’s about to hit you.

Mega-Freeze (Power of, er, Mega-Freeze) basically puts all the enemies into Freeze mode for a while so you can delete a whole wave of enemies at once, which is somewhat handy.

Then there are the puzzles. Press button, put block on button, stand on block ‘A’ to reach button ‘B’. Nothing overly taxing.

The graphics are nice. I reviewed it with my 1.8 Ghz Radeon 9600 box, turned all the graphics onto full and got perfect performance, and it looked gorgeous. XBox version is supposed to be good to, and I’m told PS2 users suffer poor framerates. Sucks to be them, really.

On the down-side, I did buy my Radeon 9600 because PoP wouldn’t run on my year-old GeForce 4, so buyer beware. I’d recommend trying the demo first to see how it performs.

The plot and acting I found mostly excellent. The Prince and Farah’s dialogue (and the Prince’s odd soliloquy while he’s working at carrying out your orders) made me laugh out loud at some points, and the relationship is a real dynamic. Other people I’ve spoken to have found it a bit slow, but I think that’s mostly in comparison to other games of the same type, where the female lead must fall for the hero within three scenes or it’s dead in the water. The plot itself has a potential it doesn’t live up to, but a great deal of subtlty that is eye-catching in a field of “Hit’em over the head with it” complications. There is a lot of exposition that isn’t there that doesn’t need to be, but a great deal is left neither explained nor hinted it. They’ve announced a sequel, though, and that could lead to one of the open-loopholes in the world being hooked into. Generally the story is well written, the world self-consistant within it’s own rules, and the plot dished out at a reasonable pace.

For a game set within a single palace it also has a remarkable array of differant types of areas, although a couple could have been developed a little more. The restrictions on your movements are more logical than arbitary, and whilst it is a linear game it doesn’t feel like it.

It’s not perfect. I found the ending a little easy and the camera occasionally obscures your actions – mostly in fights – but generally I’d recommend this game very highly if your system runs it.

Prince of Persia developed & published by ubisoft (MobyGames rap sheet)

Categories
Imported From Epistula Personal

Return

Saturday was an AFP meet. This was fun. There was good curry.

Sunday I had an Ostridge Burger, Played Puerto Rico & Chrononauts against people.

Then I went home, involving being picked up from Maidstone because South Eastern Trains had cancelled my train home without telling anyone.

This week’s header is in no way Dorothea’s fault, and that’s the only clue you’re getting.

Categories
Imported From Epistula Personal

Complete

Yesterday, I sucessfully used the word “gaffertapiverse”

My life is now complete.

I’m going to Cambridge.

Categories
Gaming Imported From Epistula

Trust the Computer

Troubleshooter: PDC!
PDC: Yes, Citizen user?
Troubleshooter: Please add citizen Rachel-R-BLT-2 to my address book.
PDC: Accessing. I’m sorry, citizen user. There is no such citizen.
Troubleshooter: But I left her in cubicle ZXY-12 in BLT sector just ten minutes ago!
PDC: Accessing. Cubicle ZXY-12 is currently undergoing cleaning and renovation by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Mind Control prior to new occupancy.
Troubleshooter: But.. Please access cloning records for Rachel-R-BLT.
PDC: Accessing. There is no citizen Rachel-R-BLT. There has never been a citizen Rachel-R-BLT.
Troubleshooter: But..
PDC: You are mistaken.
Troubleshooter: But..
PDC: You seem distraught and possibly delusional, citizen. Please be calm, and remain in the area. Assistance is on the way.

(From Costik.com)

Paranoia is back. Remain calm

Categories
computing Imported From Epistula Personal Work

Lessons

Today I learnt that I don’t hate Java, I hate what Java used to be.

I learnt that sitting though three hours of lectures recognising one acronym in three is not a phemomenon unique to university.

I learnt that SAP makes people rich because it’s so mind-numbingly boring.

I learnt that it can take three hours to get home from London, and that this is a natural concequence of skipping out early.

I learnt that the Hilton Metropole Hotel is rather nifty.

I learnt that paying 300% normal cost for a cup of coffee does not make it taste any better.

I learnt that not only does there exist in the world an electric Ukulele, but also a man who is able to play “I can see clearly now (The rain has gone)” upon it.

I learnt that if you pay said person enough money, he will eventually go away.

Today, I learnt Valuable Lessons.

Also, I got a nifty pen.

Categories
Humour Imported From Epistula programming

Best Joke Ever

What do you call a man in sandals?

Phillip Flop.

Today, I’ve been taught how wonderful Java is, how it runs perfectly on Solaris, and how it should backend onto Oracle.

You see, whilst all the interesting people get to go to eTech, I’ve spent today (and will spend tomorrow) at the Sun Tech Day here in Sunny (did you see what I did there?) London.

Yay.