Thanks biff for the nightmares

ExorcistSo I set up my avatar on the Steam Community wotsit (see Mr. Happy Face to right) and mentioned it in #terrafusion and the biffster said that it was from one his fave films, the Exorcist. Well, me too :)

As it turns out, biff has a peculiar avatar too (Mr. Boar Face on the left). Now I recognised it, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out what the hell it was from, and to be honest, shame on me for not knowing!

BiffIt twas from The Shining, again another of my fave films (and the Stephen King book it’s based on is excellent too, completely different ending). And this is where I can blame biff, because he pointed me to an image of it on the 100 Scariest Movie Scenes on retroCRUSH

Most of them have YouTube clips of the scariest scenes, which is just the thing you want before bed time. So last night I scared myself witless. My top three to watch, in the dark, with the sound up nice and loud, just before you go to bed are:

  1. Mulholland Dr.
  2. Jacob’s Ladder
  3. The Exorcist III
  4. (Bonus) Carrie

Hmmm, they don’t seem quite so scary now… sweet dreams though!

The images link to their bits in the top 100 :D

Help! #terrafusion log files needed!

Yes, I’m finally updating the #tf stats section of the site (last time was January!). 

Now moALTz and Spds have been very kind in providing logs for most of the period, however I am missing logs for June, July and August. I’m not fussed if they’re not 24/7, but ideally over 12 hours a day. The logs can be from mIRC, Xchat, Trillian, etc (basically any chat program that mIRCStats has a parser for).

So, if you can help please either upload them to your interweb site and post the offending url(s) in the comments or send me an email to:

Thanking you all in advance!

iPhoto 08 was a tad flaky

Edit 2007–11–17: Looks like the rotate crash bug has been fixed in 7.1.1 (some details on the Apple site and Ars Technica). Go run Software Update to fix it!

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IPhoto_IconI’ve been tinkering with iPhoto 08, getting the hang of how it works, and publishing some photos up to my .Mac space (work in progress!), which, on the whole, works amazingly well. The syncing of local photos to the web automagically is ace.

Anyhoo, iPhoto does seem to fall over with frightening frequency when I want to rotate lots of photos. What I’ve been doing is going through my various events and fixing those photos that have been taken with the camera held vertically instead of horizontal. And it does seem that iPhoto gets bored with such a mundane task and decides to spice things up by locking up.

At first I thought it was because I was rapidly firing through them, so I tried it at normal speed, then at a slow canter and finally a grandma slipper shuffle and it still got it’s knickers in a twist.

The end result is, if I’m lucky, the last two images I was working on haven’t been changed. If I’m unlucky, well the last one has, and it’s usually that the thumbnail is updated to it’s new rotation, but the actual image isn’t. Feck and biscuits. On a couple of occasions I’ve been able to select the photo in question and do a Revert to Original (you have to be careful with that though), but I’ve had a few where that doesn’t work.

However, there is a way to fix it, which involves starting up iPhoto and pressing the Option and Command keys together whilst it loads (more details on the Apple site). It then prompts with the following:

IPhotoRebuildImagesDialog

I tried Rebuild the photos’ small thumbnails. No joy. So I tried Rebuild all of the photos’ thumbnails (this may take a while) and that did work, however, like it says, it ain’t quick and in my case took half an hour to run (my iPhoto library is 11GB which I wouldn’t exactly say is huge).

So, doh, not all is fantastic in the land of Macs (but it’s a rare snag!). I can kind of tell when it’s going to crash and I find having to steer a piece of software kind of quaint.

Scratch card pulled because we suck at maths

Well, not me in particular, just a sizable chunk of the unwashed masses in this country. This from the Manchester Evening News (emphasis mine):

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot – because players couldn’t understand it.

The Cool Cash game – launched on Monday – was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: “On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn’t.


“I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher – not lower – than -8 but I’m not having it.

“I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression – the card doesn’t say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.”  

Someone at work mentioned this earlier in week (on The Register) and then it popped up in this weeks b3ta newsletter. First thoughts were surely it’s a joke, but no…

I wonder if they have the same problem with their overdraft? They see -£250.43 as having that much to spend instead of owing?

What in the world, or more accurately, is this country coming to? It’s no wonder one of my best mates decided to sell up and emigrate to Australia earlier in the week!

Automator is aces

This isn’t anything new to Mac OS X users, but for me as a newly baked one, Automator sure is a handy little tool. It’s basically an app for automating tasks. You create a workflow made up of various actions, which come from your installed apps. It seems pretty much anything will have actions set up that you can use in Automator. 

Here’s one I knocked up for doing my last post:

Automator - Convert tf2 piccys

Team Fortress 2 dumps its screen shots out as TGA files but for my blog I wanted them in JPEG format. Its dead simple with Automator.

In Finder (Macs version of Explorer), I selected the files I was after, right clicked, then selected More > Automator > Create Workflow… That gave me a new workflow with the top section automatically added. I then searched through the list of the Actions on the left for Change Type of Images, which when added gave me a prompt to add in the Copy Finder Items. I made the copy put the files in a subfolder off where they originally were and then changed the image type to JPEG.

And that was it, I hit Run and it did the job. There is nothing built into Windows that does anything like that! (As far as I’m aware?) Previously I’d have to had some kind of image program installed in order to do that. Yay for Macs!

#hardcheese kicked my ass

At Team Fortress 2 that is. The Bal and Vondur blagged me into playing and boy was it fun. See who gave me a kicking:

Bal-bafu is looking good!

Czg is looking good!

Toxic^ is looking good!_0000

Toxic^ is looking good!

Vondur is looking good!_0000

Vondur is looking good!_0001

Thanks guys! (I’ve no idea who toxic^ is, but he gave me a beating!) Anyhoo, I suck at it, but with the wifey away in Whitby this weekend I know I’ll be getting some practice in :).

Anyhoo, I was impressed by how well it ran on my iMac since they’re not really games machines. Admittedly I was only running at 1280×768, but framerate was certainly good enough. I could probably knock it up a couple of notches and still be ok.

Alonso and McLaren split official

AlonsoAtMcLaren2007Looks like I missed this on Friday, but it’s pretty much everywhere now. After just one year at McLaren, Alonso has left (he was originally contracted for three). As to where he’ll go next year, well there are one or two options open… it all depends on what the exit clauses are in his contract with McLaren.

If, as seems widely speculated, he’s barred from going with a manufacturer team for a year, then that rules out Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda, leaving Red Bull and Williams as possibles. However, Alonso’s manager, Luis Garcia Abad, says different and that he’s free to sign for with team.

Me, I haven’t the foggiest idea where he’ll end up. The news is full of conflicting reports and strangely for an F1 driver he tends to keep that sort of news very quiet but I’d like to see him go with a manufacturer team (say either Renault or BMW) so that he’ll at least be in with a shout next season.

James Allen has an excellent write up on how and when things started to crumble and as he points out, the problems seemed to start at the beginning of the season. McLaren took the wrong approach with not giving Alonso number one treatment which you’d expect as world champ.

AlonsoAndHamilton2007Instead they tried to be equal and ended up losing both championships, and further to that with the penalties they’ll have from the spy-gate saga next year, they’ll be at the arse end of the pit lane which won’t help. Not that I particularly care for them any more.

If you look at the investment they’ve put into Hamilton, you can, with hindsight say, it was a disaster waiting to happen. They weren’t going to give Alonso preferential treatment with Hamilton around.

I think also, going back to what James Allen was saying, the sign up to McLaren was done far too early (remember that he announced his move back in December 2005 before the 2006 season!) and that probably strained things further.

Flavio Briatore, boss of Renault F1 team, reckons Alonso’s future will become clear tomorrow. Quite how he knows that, I don’t know. Wait and see me thinks!