Irreality in twitter

This joke makes no sense unless you watch the TV series The Big Bang Theory
This joke makes no sense unless you watch the TV series "The Big Bang Theory"
Computer Games

Worlds in Motion

Today I went to the Game Affilate event, which was an excuse for Game to say how it’s split up its market (Into 7 bits. Including “Pestered Parents” and “Cyber Lords”) and for the various publishers to demo stuff.

We watched videos of Beatles Rock Band, FIFA 10 and stuff, and watched people play Blur (The new racing game from the people who did Project Gotham. It’s a lot more arcadey and fun, most like a slightly more real-world Mariokart) and Split Second (Another racing game, this one with the twist that you can blow up half the track and reroute it to your advantage). A new room full of people was convinced of how awesome Brutal Legend is going to be, which is good for Double-Fine, and we saw some other stuff.

I only got to play two things, the first was “Toy Story Mania!” (yet another) minigame collection for the Wii. This one more polished than most – even with the half finished code I played – and something that if I had any kids to put it in front of, I’d put it in front of them.

The second, though, was Arkham Asylum.

Arkham Asylum is a game where you play batman. It is a batman-em-up. It is a game where you are trapped in Arkham with a best-of all the villains batman’s ever put in there. It’s a game where you have a button that analyses the room around you to tell you how many people have guns, which is important as people with guns can kill you straight off.

It’s a game where you rappel up onto a gargoyle, knock out a guard and rappel to another gargoyle before his mates find out. It’s a game where if someone is stupid enough to stand beneath your high place, you can drop down, string him up, and wait for his friends to find him so you can knock them out from the shadows.

It is a game where, in the absence of high places to leap from, and dark places to hide in, you will hit people with your fist until they stop moving. You will still not kill any of them.

It is a batman-em-up. It plays like a batman-em-up.

I’m probably going to be buying this game.


Every OS Sucks

Back to the fluff soon, promise.

So, sil said that norm said that jwz said that…

gosh, an OS war.

This is my environment:

(Interstitial lyrics in this post are from “Every OS Sucks” by Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie. You can find a video of it on youtube)

Now there’s lih-nux or lie-nux,
I don’t know how you say it,
or how you install it, or use it, or play it,
or where you download it, or what programs run,
but lih-nux, or lie-nux, don’t look like much fun.

On Waterwheel at work I use Ubuntu Jaunty, 64bit. I use Gnome and a heavily sparkly compiz setup (because desktop cube with a transparent desktop means I can see all my virtual desktops at once). I can entirely ignore any of the buzz about how good Air apps are, or the latest cool thing Youtube does, the new Chromium builds and any of a dozen other nice bits of technology, because my desktop is 64 bit and making things work on it is so much of a faff that I don’t bother. Sound just about works – sometimes the volume goes screwy – and occasionally a reboot will bugger up my gnome panel so the clock won’t appear for ten minutes. Despite having the fastest desktop in the office, HD Youtube won’t play on my desktop because of faff to do with 32 bit interfaces to 64bit programs or something. It goes at 3 frames per second, and my amiga 600 could do better than that.

Then Windows 95, then 98,
man solitaire never ran so great,
and every single version came out late,
but I guess that’s the way it goes.

At home my desktop – Tsunami – is a triboot system. My prefered environment currently is the Windows 7 RC, which generally Just Works, except that the network cuts out after a while, my sound card no longer records properly, and I can incapacitate any other player of Left for Dead by turning on “Push to Talk”, which blasts the rest of the game with high level static.

Other than that it runs XP, which is fine except for the bit where running it for more than four hours slows down to a crawl, the system has reached the half life when it needs to be reinstalled until I find the time to do it, and if anything attempts to put the machine to hibernate it will crash so hard it won’t recover for three reboots. The default browser for both the above is Google Chrome, because it has given me a browser window before Firefox has realised I’ve clicked the icon.

Thirdly, it also runs Jaunty, upgraded from Feisty, which would be my standard environment if it ran games. Mostly I don’t boot into it because it can’t find my sound card either, despite it working fine with Feisty, and because something in the upgrade broke the XConf so it only sees one monitor and I haven’t got around to fixing that yet.

Oasis – my laptop – is a Compaq Mini 700 that is sold in the states with a variant of Feisty on it. Oasis runs Jaunty and will either record or play sound and not do both, and is running a non-standard kernel because otherwise the wired network doesn’t work.

Cenote, the server Aquarionics is hosted on; and Fjord, my home server; run Debian Lenny. It works fine. I assume this is because neither of them have anything to do with any graphical interface.

Well Stevie said to Xerox,
“Boys, turn your heads and cough.”
And when no-one was looking,
he ripped their interfaces off.

Stole every feature that he had seen,
put it in a cute box with a tiny little screen,
Mac OS 1 ran that machine,
only cost five thousand bucks

In previous working environments I used to run on OS X full time, which I didn’t have any UI problems with, but massive arguments with whenever something that wasn’t case sensitive on the system interfaced with something that was, and the occasional block of doing something Not The Mac Way because it had to be consistant with something that was Not The Mac. Also, I stopped using a Mac because I can’t afford to buy the hardware.

My iPhone was fine until… well, that’s another Choose Your Own Adventure Post.

I use Windows because it runs almost all the F/OSS I use day to day, plus the games I enjoy. I use Ubuntu because it’s free and Free and mostly Just Works, and I can get a server development environment without faff. I use OS X because its interface works the way I think, install and uninstall is generally easy, and it rarely explodes.

From Microsoft, to Macintosh,
to Lin– line– lin– lie… nux,
Every computer crashes,
’cause every OS sucks.

In conclusion, everything sucks somewhat to someone, and they all suck differently. Pick your own damn operating system, use it, and don’t feel the need to “fix” other people who *have* made a decision.


New Flat Adventures Season Two, Episode Two

There’s a cut-scene as a week passes, and we’re on the Saturday after we’ve moved in. I’ve skipped over some puzzles, like "planning how to get to work", "how to get all the books on the bookshelves" (which is a substandard tetris-ripoff of a minigame at most), and "How to cook bolognaise when only one hob gets hot enough to boil or fry anything", but yesterday, this happened.

Current inventory: Nothing.

A credit card has been delivered to the MAILBOX in the hallway, but the MAILBOX KEY is mising.


You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Examine box 1704

It’s blue. You can see a NEWSPAPER inside.

> Talk to PORTER.

You see no PORTER. There is a SUBSTITUTE PORTER here.



> Thank porter. Take key.

There is no PORTER here.

> Thank substitute porter. Take key.


> Open mailbox with key.

Opening MAILBOX 1704 with MAILBOX SKELETON KEY. That doesn’t work.

> What?

That doesn’t work.

> Return Key


> Examine Mailbox.

It’s blue. You can see a NEWSPAPER inside.

> Examine Mailbox slot.

Your fingers will just about fit inside.

> pick up NEWSPAPER.

There is no need to shout. You have a copy of Hackney Today.

> Examine MAILBOX

It’s blue. You can see a PIZZA LEAFLET inside.

> Pick up leaflet.


> Examine Mailbox

It is blue. You can see a ENVELOPE inside.

> Pick up Envelope.

You cannot get a grip.

> Up.

You are in your flat.

> Drop mail.

You have nothing.

> Look.

You see a PIZZA LEAFLET, a NEWSPAPER and nothing useful. A spark of INSPIRATION floats by.

> Get inspiration.


> Look

You see a SPATULA and some other stuff.

> Take tongs and spatula.

You have a SPATULA.

> Down

You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Use spatula on mailbox.

After a short amount of time, you have an ENVELOPE for someone else, and an ADVERT for european style hair styling and waxing from as shop called "Ibiza" down the road.

> Examine Mailbox

It is blue. You can see a LARGE FLAT ENVELOPE inside.

> Take Large Envelope

You can’t get a grip with the SPATULA either.

> Up.

You are in your flat.

> Drop Mail

You have a SPATULA.

> Look

You can see some mail, a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC, some STRING and a PAPERCLIP.

> Pick up sellotape and string and paperclip.


> Examine Sellotape


> Examine Sellotape


> Examine Sellotape

You can’t make me, you know. I *like* calling it STICKYBACK PLASTIC.

> Noted.

Good. Next?

> Down

You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Use sellotape and string on spatula.

Done. You now have a MACGYVERIAN DEVICE instead of a SPATULA. There is a PORTER here.

> Use device on Mailbox.

Before you do so, the PORTER hands you a MAILBOX KEY.

> Use Key on Mailbox.

You do so. There is an ANTICLIMAX here.





New Flat Adventures Season Two, Episode One

(Cross-posted from another place, because someone asked me why I wasn’t putting them here, and I have no good reason)

Last time I got a new flat, I flooded the floor and roasted the manual to the new oven.

This time, nothing in the flat is new.

And this time, I have an Easy To Use Boiler.

It has no instructions or labels. It has icons.

It has:

  • A dial of the numbers one to twenty four, with pegs around it in the state of Up or Down.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a square wave.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a set of ineffective staple removers.
  • A three state dial with the following possible values: Snowflake, Null, Lightbulb.
  • An icon of a crossed out flame, next to a red light, which is off.
  • A button.
  • An Exciting Rotary Monitor with a black line and and a red line, with the scale in degrees centigrade, in black.

In the state when I arrived, all the dials around the clock are in state Down, square wave is all the way left, staple removers are somewhere in a middle, and we are in state lightbulb. There is no hot water.

Also, I’ve been moving boxes for two days, I need a shower. So. I recognise this, for I’ve played graphic adventures before. This is a Puzzle.

Now, I’ve solved part one of the puzzle, which was that the two rotary dials only have one actual turny-thing between them, and I had to repair the other broken turny-thing with bluetac (acquired as part of a previous puzzle). Traditionally, I should work out what they symbols represent, realise the connection between them, and set the machine to the perfect settings so the hot water happens and I can move into the next location.

Right. Experimentation time.

In state lightbulb, changing the state the pegs around the current time appears to do nothing, as does moving the square wave dial. Nothing I do changes the Exciting Rotary Dial.

Okay, trying with state Null. Still nothing. Must be on the wrong track. The solution is hot water, so let’s try…

So, moving to state Snowflake gives me hot water, so long as the current time pegs are down and the ineffective staple remover level is high. Mucking around with the staple remover settings gives me tepid water.

This is, obviously, a machine for the apocalypse. Lightbulb obviously represents the gods of Knowledge, whose effectiveness is – by the state of the world – currently very weak. Therefore the machine is obviously a torture device, set to cause pain and suffering to those it is pointed at.

The gods of Knowledge are weak to high pitched noises, so playing with the square wave makes their life worse, but it’s hard to know what happens when you torture a god of knowledge, so nothing appears to happen.

The snowflake setting represents the ice gods, trapped in whatever dimension this thing points at. The only way to damage them is with staple removers, which – having been invented after they were incarcerated – is the only thing they have not made themselves unharmable by. Torturing an ice god releases heat – this is thermodynamics – and applying more staple removers creates more heat.

Thus, the torture of immortal beings provides my nice hot shower.

I was hoping for a cut scene, but instead I was thrown straight into another puzzle involving shower controlled by a mixer tap.

Sometimes I wonder why I play these games at all.



So, House number 11 has been moved into.

Yesterday, I, my girlfriend Fyr, Her parents, My parents and David McBride all decended on my old flat in Leyton to remove its entire contents.

Keldaby, as the flat was known, was a nice flat. It had nice rooms, in a nice area, with fields around it and bus links to the centre. Its two main faults were that people kept dumping stuff outside, which I could live with, and that it was in no way big enough for both me anFyr to live there, and so we no longer do.

The new flat, which is currently unnamed, has these properties:

  • It’s 17 floors up.
  • From the balcony I can see the new olympic statium being built
  • as well as Canary Wharf, The Dome and the London Eye.
  • It has room!

I’m not sure how I filled a large 2 bedroom flat with the contents of a small 1 bedroom one, but it is apparently true.