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Archive for July, 2012

60 second break

July 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Nothing really to say myself this evening so instead I thought I would share with you a game that an old work colleague of mine has created, it only takes 60 seconds to play but if you find it even half as addictive as I have then chances are you are going to be up until the early hours of the morning trying to complete it.

http://www.yanmania.com/games/sixty_second_search/

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R.I.P My Kindle

July 25, 2012 2 comments

After the success of the “Thank you Ryan Podger” post earlier this month I thought I would go on and congratulate another retailer for their customer service.

Just on a side note regarding that previous post, it’s worked out pretty well for everyone, Ryan got the recognition that I felt his service deserved and due to the fact that the post congratulating him was put on Thomson’s internal Intranet I got 120 hits to the blog in one day and over 300 in a three day period!

It’s not as personal as the previous one, there was no one individual that went over and beyond my expectations, bit more of a company policy in general.

On Tuesday last week I was happily reading my Kindle on the train over to see the Wifes School Production of Dr Horrible, upon arriving at my destination I put my Kindle away and thought nothing more of it. Upon arriving home and taking my Kindle out for some bedtime reading I found the below.

 

If you can’t quite see it in the picture, the screen is cracked. Not on the outside but on the inside, I can’t think how this happened as the Kindle was in its usual place within my bag that it occupies every day during my journey to and from work when it’s not being read.

This was a disaster not only was this a rather expensive present from my Wife, but it is also a device that I literally rely on every day. Don’t get me wrong I love books; I have no problem with reading in the “Old Fashioned” way BUT despite my extensive collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I would like to point out this looked like an awesome panoramic view in the draft but I cant get it to work in the final published post)

I don’t have the book I am currently reading in paper form, and I have read most if not all of the ones that I currently own, not to mention my trip to Mexico is imminent, and as I found when in Cuba the amount of space that having a Kindle saves in packing is awesesome, pretty much a small suitcase! The below was what I took on a two week holiday to Tunisia before I got my Kindle! and I read every one in the time we were there!

 

And as we are yet to have the Library with the moveable ladder, red leather chair and traditional reading lamp, the wife would really prefer it if I didn’t add any more physical copies to the collection.

Anyways I did a little research online looking for possibly fixes, after trying various things it became apparent that somehow the screen had been cracked on the inside, hence the lack of crack on the actual screen itself, after looking around I couldn’t find any prices for repair. I knew that I got it for my Birthday (May 23rd in case your planning on sending gifts :P) and so would be out of warranty, but figured I would give Amazon a call on the off chance that they did some kind of repairs.

After a brief conversation, a rehash of the various options that I had already tried via my research the operator confirmed that it totally kaput and was outside its warranty, here we go I thought, I’m going to need to shell out for another Kindle.

Well it turns out I was only a third right, despite the version of the Kindle that I have retailing at £149.99, Amazon offered to replace it for only £50. Awesome, it’s now ordered and on its way and should defiantly arrive in time for the trip to Mexico.

Armageddon – Episode 6

July 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Once again I’m late.

Saturday should have seen my monthly Armageddon post but I missed the deadline. Luckily I’m not in charge of the apocalypse or we could a lot of very relieved people come December 22nd, who get a nasty shock 3 days later.

As I mentioned last month finding end of the world scenarios, either remotely realistic or totally out of this world are becoming tougher and with five more entries (including this one) to go I am pretty worried that I’m going to run out of steam before the big day.

So to stretch the material a little I figured what I would do today is rather speak about a specific scenario I would look at where the word Armageddon comes from.

As I’m sure you all know the word is biblical and comes from the Book of Revelations, specifically Revelation 16:16.

According to Wikipedia

Armageddon (from Hebrew: הַר מְגִדּוֹ‎, Har Megiddo, lit. Mount Megiddo; Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn,[1][2] Late Latin: Armagedōn[3]) is, according to the Bible, the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end of the world scenario.

Megiddo itself is a real place in Israel and was a site of great importance in the ancient world, due to it guarding a narrow trade route between Egypt and Assyria, and has been the setting for many historical battles right up to World War 1.

The site was inhabited from 7000BC until 586BC and excavations have unearthed approximately 26 layers of ruins, but since that time it has remained uninhabited meaning the remains have been undisturbed since then, coincidently this final inhabitation coincides with the destruction of Solomon’s temple and the exile of the Israelites.

I’m sure with some clever characters, conspiracy and a little imagination there is a Dan Brown/James Rollins style book just waiting to be written tying all these things together.

Parental Controls

July 13, 2012 1 comment

So thanks to the Daily Mail and MCV I have something to rant about this evening.

The following story was run in the Daily Mail a few days ago.

Boy, 12, unwittingly ran up £1,150 bill on father’s credit card by racking up ‘Microsoft Points’ while playing on his Xbox

Now apart from the glaring mistakes throughout the article from a reporter who is obviously as naive to the industry as the father in article, the sensationalist nature is what really bothers me.

As far as I’m concerned there is not so much as one shred of evidence that this situation is anyone faults but the parents.

Let’s start at the beginning here, the kid is twelve and is playing Call of Duty, that for me is a red flag in itself. Obviously as anyone who plays COD will know this is not unusual, based on my own experience I would guess that well over half the COD population is below the legally required age to purchase the product, but that doesn’t make it right.

The father in question claims

‘I didn’t even know that it was storing my information, and even if that thought had entered my head I would have thought there would be something in place so it wasn’t so easy to spend money.

‘With sites like eBay and iTunes it always asks you for a password before you make a purchase.

‘But with Xbox Live you just press a button and then your money’s gone.

Now it’s been a pretty long time since I have used Xbox live, so perhaps he is correct or at very least it is understandable that he wasn’t aware that the credit card information was stored, although as far as I can remember the terminology is “add this card to this account” or something of this nature, which to me would at very least suggest that this is a permanent attachment. Not to men tion the fact that he had set up the credit card to take the £5.99 a month for Xbox Live, if the information wasn’t stored how exactly did he think they were going to continue to charge him?

Second and for me most importantly it did indeed ask for his password, much in the same way as Ebay or iTunes, his son had to log into his Xbox Live account using the required username and password to be able to make a purchase using the credit card allocated to that account, as far as Microsoft are concerned the account holder had logged in and therefore was able to make purchases to that account.

The article also claims

The youngster thought he had earned the points for scoring goals and killing villains and he used these to add extra weapons for his soldier in hit game Call of Duty and players in football game Fifa.


What this is referring to is achievement points, basically points that you earn by completing various feats with in any game that then add to your Gamerscore allowing you to show just how much better you are than your fellow Xbox players.

I don’t buy for a second that little Timmy didn’t know the difference between Achievement points and Microsoft points, but lets for a moment suspend my disbelief and assume that he didn’t, looking at the bank statement shown in the article its clear to see (by the values) how little Timmy made his purchases.

He didn’t just click on his desired COD maps or FIFA ultimate packs add them to check out and bang the money has left the account. He instead purchased the points at £17.00 or 2100 Microsoft points and THEN went to the shop to use the points that he had just purchased to buy the items that he wanted, meaning that he realised that he knew that the Achievement points that he had earned within his game could not be used as currency as he knew he had to purchase Microsoft points in order to buy the products that he wanted from Xbox Live.

All in all this comes down to a complete lack of both common sense as well as a failure to own up to ones mistakes.       

Frankly I’m not really sure what the father in question expects from Microsoft, he complains that

‘I would have thought they’d be a bit more helpful with parents but once they’ve got the money they just say “it’s not our problem”.’

But let’s be honest it isn’t, your lack of parenting skills, disinterest in what you child was doing and totally failure to monitor your own finances (this did happen over 7 months) are your own problem not theirs.

Not to mention there is a pretty simple fix, report your son for credit card fraud, that is after all what this is and I’m pretty sure that you would get your money back and all at only the minor inconvenience of your child paying some consequences for his actions.

A point in every direction is the same as no point at all

July 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Continuing my slightly nostalgic theme from my last few posts today I’m going to introduce you to The Point!

As a child I listened to this on many a car journey, mainly on the long ones to visit family in either Birmingham or Southampton.

Originally The Point! Was the 6th album released my Harry Nilsson but it has since been made into animated film and a Musical stage show.

 

The Point! Is the story of Oblio, A round headed child who lives in the pointed village, where the law states everyone has to have a point, to conceal his pointlessness he has to wear a pointed hat.

After beating the Evil Counts son in a game of Triangle Toss Oblio and his trusty companion Arrow are banished to the Pointless Forest. An adventure follows and eventually Oblio returns to the village.

From his adventures Oblio learns it’s not at all necessary to be pointed to have a point.

Watching the Animation nowadays it’s obviously very dated but the Point still stands.

 

Suddenly, I heard a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door

July 6, 2012 1 comment

The Crow is without a doubt my favourite film of all time.

I was first introduced to it as a teenager and can now pretty much recite the script word for word; I’ve seen it so many times. Much as I love the Film for all its own merits it is also THE film for a certain part of my life, in the same way many people have a soundtrack to a certain decade or experience in their past.

The Crow is the story of Eric Draven, an aspiring musician who along with his fiancé is brutally murdered, and is then revived from the dead to avenge their murders.

The film is a mixture of action, violence and sentiment, based on the comic book created by James O’barr, which he wrote after the tragic death of his fiancé caused by a drunk driver.

The film has an outstanding Soundtrack, some excellent performances, and despite the level of violence that is portrayed within the movie there are also some genuinely moving moments which really manage to get to you.

As someone who has lost two family members this year one of the most poignant quotes from the movie is

Little things used to mean so much to Shelly. I used to think they were kind of… trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial.

Its these and other sentiments within the film that make it stand out above other generic action films.

Eric is played by Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee and was tragically his last ever film due to an accident which lead to his death whilst filming.

The film spawned three sequels sadly they got worse as they went on and with all due respect to the succeeding actors none of them managed to remotely live up to Brandon’s performance.

Brandon himself talks about the story and character much better than I ever could in the interview below.

Laser Quest

July 5, 2012 5 comments

So as you know I’ve been struggling recently to come up with anything to write about and as I mentioned the night before last my good friend Anthony suggested some topics that I could string together for the rest of the month to help me get myself back on track!

One of the suggestions was to write a post about Laser Quest.

I started playing LQ back when I was a young teenager, I’m sure I had played it before at friends birthday parties as I many of probably have, but around 16 was when I first started playing on a regular basis.

I used to attend the “Cardiac arrest” every Saturday morning (a 90 minute nonstop game) and the “manic 45” (a 45 minute nonstop game) every Monday night. After playing in these regularly I was encouraged to attend the Members nights that where held every Sunday. This is where players of all ages would attend and take part in competitive events, 1v1’s and game types that were not available to the general public.

What may surprise you to know is that despite being now well into my thirties, it was as recently as 3 years ago that I played in my last major tournament.

LQ is often thought of as a game for kids, anyone who has ever played in a tournament will let you know this really isn’t the case. Tournament LQ is vastly different from those birthday parties you might have attended in your younger years; it’s a lot faster, a lot more physical and a hell of a lot more competitive.

It’s also a great way to socialise, through playing LQ I have taken trips to France and Holland, made friends in both these countries, and had some fantastic times. Many of my friends have also travelled as far as Canada and the States to take part in events.

Whilst the tournaments may have been the main reason for taking these trips the social aspect is what made them worthwhile, that and the trophies!

Whilst the team that I played for and eventually captained cannot be called successful in comparison to some of the more established teams, we were the 2nd best team in Europe at one point.

Sadly, like me many of the players have now moved on, and got Jobs or commitments that prevent them from playing and the younger generation hasn’t really stepped up to take our places, add to that my local site closed down and its now probably been a good 2 years plus since I put a pack on.

Whilst I miss playing the game itself, it’s more the community that I miss most. Much as I still see many of the people that I played with and am in contact with a lot of them via Facebook and other mediums my yearly trips to the continent have become a thing of the past.

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