You're Amelia!
You're late!
Amelia Pond! You're the little girl!
I'm Amelia, and you're late.

Friday, June 27


Grey's Law

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

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Thursday, June 26


Public Service Announcement

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Tuesday, June 03



The latest Hmbl Wkly Bndl features RPG Maker VX Ace and a bunch of RPGs and RPG-making goodies.

The complete bundle is only $12, and you can start with a full version of RPG Maker VX Ace (which retails for $69.99) and some games and DLC for as little as $1.  The bundle has two days to go.

I have a couple of spare keys for RPG Maker on Steam, and for some of the DLC as well, so if you miss the sale but are still interested, let me know and I'll send you a key.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:44 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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From The Toybox

I've been tied up with work (and trying to catch up on sleep) the last couple of weeks, hence the recent lack of posts.

But I have picked up a few new toys.  Mostly they're just sitting here until I have a chance to play with them, but I do have some first impressions.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra + Sandisk 128GB microSD Card

I was intrigued by the Z Ultra when it first appeared, but it was a bit expensive for what it offered.  And at the time I'd recently bought a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 5.  Sony recently cut the price by 25%, and I've managed to scratch up my Nexus 5 somehow, so I decided to take the leap.

This is the first Android device I've bought not sold by Google, so (a) it's the first to support microSD cards and (b) it has Sony's UI overlay on top of stock Android.  I picked up Sandisk's brand new 128GB microSD card to go with it.  Sony only lists support for cards up to 64GB, but the card works perfectly.

It's a huge phone, with a 6.4" 1080p screen, but my real use for it is as a mini-tablet.  For that purpose it's almost perfect.  The screen is bright and sharp, performance of the Snapdragon 800 CPU is all I could ask, and Sony's UI is unobtrusive.  I loaded Nova Launcher on it anyway, and that was quick and painless.

It's easier to list the handful of flaws than the catalogue of things Sony got right:
  1. There's no camera flash.
  2. The headphone jack is at the top right rather than the top of the device.
  3. Sound is a bit tinny - but then, it's waterproof, which makes things tricky.
  4. It only has 16GB of onboard storage.
Of those, only the storage bothers me.  Android's support for removable storage is...  Limited.  Frankly, broken.  There's no general way to store apps or arbitrary app data on an SD card.  But the big three eaters of space on my other devices are BeyondPod, Audible, and Google Play Music, and all of those support SD cards.  (Play Music requires Android 4.4 for this; fortunately, Sony have been good about updates, and after a few reboots I had the Z Ultra running the latest KitKat release.)

With those taken care of, the 16GB - about 11 real GB available after the operating system, restore partition, and stock apps - is just enough.  I installed all the critical stuff, like Final Fantasy I through VI, every Kairosoft game so far translated into English, and the thousand-odd books in my Kindle library.  Turns out that the biggest remaining space eaters are my subscriptions to Analog, Asimov's, and F&SF.  For some reason - apparently unmitigated incompetence - the average issue, while being almost pure text, takes up 80MB.

Physically, the device looks and feels like a small slab of dark glass; it's very thin, only about a quarter of an inch, which contributes to this impression.  Very solidly constructed and designed with a certain minimalist elegance.

If you're in the market for a huge phone or a tiny tablet, the Z Ultra is going to be hard to beat.

Western Digital My Book Live 8TB

I have a couple of LaCie 5big NASes.  I bought one with 10TB of disk included, and while it was expensive, it worked very nicely except for a certain lack of performance - which turned out eventually to be a problem with my network switch, and not am issue with the NAS at all.

I bought another 5big NAS without disks, and it sucks.  The physical UI of the 5big consists of a glowy blue button on the front, which flashes red when it breaks.  You manage the device through a web interface.

If you buy a diskless 5big NAS, this doesn't work.  In any way whatsoever.  It's a $350 sculpted aluminium paperweight.  One of the most useless and worst-designed devices I've ever bought.

The Western Digital MBL8TB isn't anything special; it's similar to WD's other two-disk external storage widgets, whether USB or networked.

But it distinguishes itself from the 5big in two important ways: First, it was on sale and cost only a little more than the disks it contained, and second, it actually works.

It took a few minutes to set up - it picked up an IP address from DHCP, and the web UI worked fine.  It does about 30MB per second reading or writing.

That said, unless you also find it on sale I wouldn't recommend it. WD's newer My Cloud Mirror and My Cloud EX2 - apparently the same updated hardware but targeted at home and business users respectively - are faster and only a little more expensive at list price.

Crucial M500 960GB

It's a 960GB SSD.  It's not made by OCZ.  It was, by strange coincidence, on sale.  (It's just been replaced by the M550, which is slightly improved but also more expensive.)  It wasn't cheap, but it means I don't have to fuss about with a small C drive on my Windows system.

Lenovo PX6-300D

This is another NAS.  It's diskless, like the LaCie Paperweight, with six hot-swap bays.  But it has a little LCD screen and buttons you can push instead of a big blue light of uselessness.  It runs Linux, and has management software by EMC.  

It cost over $1000 when it first came out; it's currently on sale for $550 on Amazon, and I picked it up for A$419 including sales tax and delivery.  Benchmarks put it at around 95MB/second, which is close to saturating a gigabit ethernet link (of which it has two).

I don't have it set up yet, but should have it working in the next couple of days unless it turns out to be another expensive paperweight.

Update: And now it's gone back up to $900.

Steelseries Apex Gaming

Just a keyboard, albeit one with colour-controlled backlighting and an extra 26 function keys.  I spilled a drink on my old keyboard and the Z, 8, and 9 keys stopped working, which was kind of awkward.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:12 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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