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Archive for February, 2006

Amazon delivery

A couple of shiny new books arrived today from Amazon. The first one was suggested by my brother (Jay) whilst the second was the result of random browsing.

The first is  Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. The premise is pretty simple, we’re not taught proper financial skills at school and this book is meant to give you a push in the right direction. This Amazon review has more details:

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective through exposure to a pair of disparate influences: his own highly educated, but fiscally unstable father, and the multimillionaire eighth-grade dropout father of his closest friend. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his “poor dad” (whose weekly paychecks, while respectable, were never quite sufficient to meet family needs) pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his “rich dad” (that “the poor and the middle class work for money,” but “the rich have money work for them”).

I’ll report back on whether it makes me a millionaire, but Jay was impressed by what he read.

The second is Batman: Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. Its apparently a classic graphic novel (I know little about this kind of stuff, although I have heard of Frank Miller, Sin City etc. He has a very impressive catalogue of work) and it has a intriguing story. Its set 10 years after Batman has retired. Gotham is in rapid decline and Batman’s former enemies are slowly being released back into the public. As things escalate, Bruce Wayne decides to bring Batman out of retirement. I’ve only read a few pages, but its gripping stuff. The thing I didn’t realise it that it was written in 1985! It certainly doesn’t look dated.

I like books. I have a ton to read at the moment and I keep buying them. The whole eBook thing hasn’t taken for me. The O’Reilly Safari Bookshelf I’ve mentioned previously is excellent for searching technical material, but I find reading large amounts of text on screen hard. I’m not a fan of PDF files, not because of their format, I think its great that what you see on screen is exactly what will get printed, but I can’t get my head around the viewer. Acrobat Reader never seems to give the right display. Its either too close or too far out. I can’t get the right level of zoom. Added to that, the controls just aren’t intuitive.

So I find myself printing out reams of text to read. I do however like the feel and sensation of sitting down and reading a book in peace and quiet. I have a bad habit though, as I’ve said I tend to buy a lot of books and I start reading new books straight away. Reading a few chapters at a time and then I get another book and start on that. Well, you can see the pattern forming here. Its one of those things I’m trying to stop myself doing. Perhaps writing the odd book review might provide the motivation I need to finish a book at a time!

Darwinia

A post on Coding Horror yesterday reminded me of this. As Jeff notes, its hard to describe, but the gist of it is Dr. Sepulveda has created a virtual world full of peeps he calls Darwinian’s. Unfortunately when connecting it to the world wide interweb, it gets infected by a virus. You’ve got to help wipe out the virus and give control back to the Darwinian’s.

Darwinia1 Darwinia2

Obviously its not quite a simple as that, but it is definitely a back to basics strategy game. And its addictive as hell. The later levels take ages to complete but they’re so absorbing. I love the graphics too. Very old school, but they just add to its charm.

I was originally going to buy it from their website, however it appeared on Steam back in December so I get it through there.

Darwinia3 Darwinia4

I have a couple of niggles though. On my NVidia enabled box (a 6600GT) it tends to barf and crash it, causing a nasty blue screen and reboot. I suspect its video drivers and Darwinia combined. I’ve tried different drivers, but to no avail. But I can forgive it because its created by 3 lads and not the Collective with its army of testers and hardware. On my ATI laptop I have no such problems, but it has a 9700 Radeon Mobility, so its not exactly speedy.

There is an interesting interview and preview of their next game, Defcon, in this months Edge magazine (Issue 160). Unfortunately not on the Edge website. They also mention that in the first three weeks of Darwinia being available on Steam, it sold more copies than they had through their website in the previous 9 months. Ouch!

Comedy Bonus Link: What is Love? #2 and #3 are my faves. Note: The rest of that site is NWS.

Half of Britons chat to their cars

At least according to this study.

A survey of 2,000 owners also found 40 percent thought their car had a personality and was capable of being upset whilst 19 percent worried about how their car was feeling.

I drive a Golf, it therefore has no personality to begin with.

What a ridiculous load of twaddle. The wife to be has a name for her car, Ernie the Escort (last one was Leo the Clio). I wasn’t aware people did this until she mentioned “his” name one day. I seriously worry for the health of this country (but not for wifey, its too late, she’s marrying me! :P). Its another step towards… well I don’t know where but its obviously not a sane place.

Fungible

What an odd word to base a comic around but thats exactly what yesterday’s Dilbert strip did. Economics certainly has some weird terms for things. It seems though that Mr Rumsfeld has abused its usage. Anyhoo, you learn something every day!

TopDesk Continued

There’s been a very interesting and productive exchange of comments on my previous TopDesk post. James Stewart of Otaku Software, the developers of TopDesk, pulled me up on some of my comments (given I was a bit unfair), so I explained myself. See the post comments for full details.

The result of which is that I’m trying it again. This time though with the spatial and grid modes since thats where the increase in speed is. James also explained that the memory usage is down to a combination of DirectX and video card drivers. It’s also worth noting that some of the memory usage will be on the video card.

So I shall report back later on my progress.

Bal updates his Blog

Twice in two days would you believe! Gom Jabbar has created a very slick theme for Bal’s blog and so now he has no excuse not to regularly update it *snigger*. Oh well. Wait! What’s that…

When Pigs Fly...

…hey, maybe he will update it after all?

Annoying Redirect

I have an annoying problem that I can’t work out how to fix. The “home” link above is set to http://pauked.com/blog which is fine, but if you click on it, it redirects to http://www.pauked.com/blog. The side affect of that is that my login for the site is no longer valid. Now I can hazard a guess as to the reason, the cookie used for the site authentication has a domain of http://pauked.com, so obviously http://www.pauked.com isn’t valid.

I’ve gone through all the WordPress settings and they look ok. I’ve even looked in the WordPress database and can’t see anything wrong.

So my question is, how do I stop it going to www.pauked.com/blog? Any ideas?

I’m Tagged

Actually thats a complete and utter lie, I’ve not been tagged but I’m going to do this anyway. Who I tag below has to fill this chaff in though :D.

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  • Delphi Analyst Programmer
  • Contract Programming
  • Pot Washer (fancy title – Kitchen Porter)
  • Struggling to think of jobs…

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

Four TV Shows / Events I Love to Watch

Four Places I’ve Been on Vacation

Four Favourite Dishes

  • Chicken Hundi with Pilau Rice and a Garlic Keema Nan bread. Yum!
  • B2 - Set Meal for Two - Double Dragon (local Chinese)
  • Fresh Whitby Fish and Chips
  • Sunday Roast with full trimmings

Four Websites I Visit Daily

  • Coding Horror (excellent Blog by Jeff Atwood)
  • Google
  • Gmail
  • Lots and lots of RSS feeds in FeedDemon

Four Places I’d Rather Be

  • In Bed…
  • On the toilet…
  • In the bath…
  • On the sofa… (at home)

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging

Rumble Box

Rumblebox1Picked this up via Digg. What an ace little game it is. The name, Rumble Box, is very apt. The idea is you’re in a box and you control a person (?) made up out of cubes with a sphere for a head. Odd I know, but its got a really nice cell shaded style to it.

Doors randomly open on the sides of the box to let out enemies that you have to kill. When you kill them they don’t disappear, but collapse into their constituent parts. So as you attack them they start to pile up.

Rumblebox2

The point of the game is to get out of the box and this is the clever bit, in order to do that you have to pile the “bodies” up against the walls. You can either directly punch an enemy or throw them in a particular direction. That adds a nice bit of strategy to it. Its fast paced and I found it highly enjoyable.

Given the Digg effect nuked the original site, heres some download links:

The Lego Suicides

Completely and utterly daft, but excellent stuff! My fave. ZZZzzzzzaaaappp!

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