It was a bad day. A lot of bad stuff happened. And I'd love to forget it all. But I don't. Not ever. Because this is what I do. Every time, every day, every second, this: On five, we're bringing down the government.

Sunday, June 29


And Everything Old Shall Be New Again

Okay, so they screwed up the new Sim City.

But -

Fallout 3
StarCraft II
And now Diablo III

All we need is another outing for Railroad Tycoon and a new X-Com, and you won't hear from me until 2010...

Oh, almost forgot!  While I'm reliving the 90's, there's a new Slayers series coming next week.  With the original writer, director, designer, and cast all on board too.  That should help me deal with the gap between the end of season 4 of Doctor Who and the start of season 5 of House...

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Friday, June 27


Good News For A Change

I got some good news today - I finally found a source of stock photos that I can use to create a standard theme library for  The existing 20 themes (and the 20 new ones coming in 1.2) used the excellent and very generous PD Photo, but that's just one photographer (albeit a good one) and a couple of thousand photos; this is a couple of thousand photographers and a couple of million photos.

That doesn't mean a couple of million themes, though, since the photos cost a couple of bucks apiece.  But a couple of hundred, yes, I can do that.

Oh yes, since they were so nice to us, I'll give them a free plug: BigStockPhoto.

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Sunday, June 22



This is the Samsung T240, a 24" 1920x1200 LCD monitor.
Or it could be the T260, a 25.5" model, or the T220, a 22" 1680x1050 model, or the T190, a 19" 1440x900 model, or the T200HD or T220HD, 20" and 22" 1680x1050 models with dual HDMI, built-in speakers, and digital and analog tuners.  Samsung uses the same identical picture for all of them.

And this is the LN32A650, a 32" 1920x1080 television with four HDMI inputs* (plus VGA, 2 component inputs, S-Video and composite).
Or, likewise, the 22" or 40" models.  They use a different photo for the 46" and 52", and yet another photo for the 19".


I'll take one of each, thanks.**

The TV's are already in stores in Australia, and the 32" model is about the same price as my 27" 720p from two years ago, and much much nicer.

The monitors haven't shown up here yet, unfortunately, and it's more the monitor than the TV that I'm after.  Newegg are showing the T220 at $319, the T220HD at $399, and the T260 at $549.  That's a bit pricey for the 22" models, but much inline with previous models for the 26".

There's currently a $100 rebate offer on the larger Samsung monitors here, and it looks like they're clearing stock to make way for these new models.  As soon as they arrive, I'm going to pounce.

Oh, and here's a shiny brochure for the monitors, and one for the TV's.

(One little thing I noticed is that the specs say that if you want to connect a computer to one of these TV's via HDMI, you have to use HDMI input #2.  This seemed unusually restrictive, so I poked around to see if I could find out why.  There's a real reason: Only HDMI input #2 provides separate analog audio inputs.  If your computer supports proper HDMI with sound, or you don't care about sound, you can use any of the inputs.  The TV also has digital audio out, so it can be used to switch the four different digital sources to your speaker system.  It also has ethernet and USB...)

Update: And this is the HT-X715 Home Theatre system:
I have to laugh, because it's so designer-run-amok, but it does look good, and it does go together perfectly with the new TV's and monitors.  So I'll have one of those too, please. wink

Update: The one disappointing thing was that there while there is a T200HD and a T220HD, there's no T240HD.  So I can either have 1680x1050, speakers, and dual HDMI, or 1920x1200 with no extras.

I wondered why there was no T240HD; it seemed a natural product, since it can do native 1080P with no scaling.  Then I decided to Google it.

Yes Virginia, there is a T240HD.  On Samsung's Austrian website - but also in dozens of American online stores.  Samsung, you goofs.  There's also a T260HD, which would probably suffice as a TV as well as a monitor.  (UK site this time, not nearly as widely available online.)

* My current TV isn't bad, but has a grand total of zero HDMI inputs.  And it's "only" 720p, or more precisely, that weird resolution of 1366x768 which is popular with manufacturers for no apparent reason.

My current monitor isn't bad either, but it does have a 25ms refresh time (compared with as little as 2ms for these models) and I blew up the DVI input last Christmas.  Mainly it's only 19", and I'd really like something a little larger.  Like two 24" monitors side by side. wink

** Well, while I'd like one of each and every model, my wallet will settle for the 24" monitor and the 32" TV.

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Turn Left

Last week's Doctor Who episode, Midnight, was an okay science fiction yarn.  But if you've read A Fall of Moondust you've already seen it.  And it had a hard act to follow in the previous story, Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead.  Not bad, on the whole, but not insipired.

This week's episode, though, Turn Left, was awesome.

And if they did crib from Arthur C Clarke again, well, there are worse places to borrow ideas.

It's the first part in what promises to be a kick-ass season finale.

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Monday, June 16



Looks like modding Xboxes pays pretty well, too.

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Saturday, June 14


Neologism Of The Day

ad mominem

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Friday, June 13


Forget Norway!

Via Cute Overload: A mama lion with four little cubbages.  With sound.  And full screen mode.

Live.  From Kenya.*

* Not actually Kenya.

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Tuesday, June 10


I Told You!

We're living in a science fiction novel.

Give it about 30 seconds. wink

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Monday, June 09


Dr Who And The Books Of Doom

Just watched the second part of Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead.

Very nice.  Very nice indeed.

One of the things I particularly like about the Steven Moffat episodes is that they use time travel as a theme, not just as a premise.  The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink, of course, and even (to a degree) The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.

And two of the four are love stories as well.

Silence in the Library does particularly well in setting up a classic Dr Who And Then There Were None story (a la Horror of Fang Rock) while at the same time laying out the pieces of a puzzle in such a way that even when you have all the pieces you aren't aware that some of them are pieces at all.  And then Forest of the Dead puts all the pieces together for you, click click click.

I loved Dr Who in my teens, but now that I go back and watch the old episodes, many of them are, frankly, pretty awful.  Thanks to Steven Moffat and Russell Davies (and Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant!) for bringing me a Dr Who I can love in my very-late-thirties.*

* 41, since you asked.

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Thursday, June 05


Final Fantasy XII: First Impressions

Bunny girls!  Air ships!  Shameless disregard for the laws of physics!

And jaggies.  Moving jaggies.  It's like an on-screen migraine.

This is the first time I've hooked up the PS2 to my LCD TV.  Before, I played it on my computer monitor, and before that, on my old computer monitor (and when I say old, I mean the monitor from my Amiga 1000) or my TV.  The larger, brighter screen makes the colour and detail really jump out - but it makes the jaggies jump out too.

Instead of the PS3, Sony should have made a PS2.5.  Nice simple dual-core 1.2GHz in-order CPU, hardware geometry, single-pass texturing, 300MHz 32-pipeline graphics chip, 128MB main memory and 32MB video memory.  Not as amazing as the PS3 perhaps, but it could deliver a very high degree of PS2 compatibility with the power and memory to run HD and/or anti-aliasing, and get rid of those damn jaggies.

Huh.  Does the PS3 support anti-aliasing on PS2 games under emulation?  That might actually make it worthwhile.

Interestingly, according to this chart, the built-in graphics on my motherboard have a higher fill rate than the PS2 - 1.6GT/sec compared to 1.2.  Which isn't saying much unless you know that the PS2 graphics engine had a phenomenal fill rate but was otherwise relatively weak - no hardware geometry, as implied by my suggested spec for the PS2.5.  How times change.

What?  Oh, the game.  Well, let's see.  You can't save in the initial training session, so I'm going to have to run through that a third time.  Yeah, third time.  Turns out you can lock up the game if you go into the location map before it teaches you how to do that.

Oh, and the main character is some git with spiky blond hair.

And yes, I'm aware that this game came out two years ago.  I've been looking everywhere for my PS2 power supply.*  Hey, it took me three years to get around to playing FFX.  At this rate, I'll be firing up FFXVI on its release day - sometime in 2016.  Hey, I still haven't finished FFIII!

* Er, sort of.  I'd found everything except the power supply, and thought I needed to look for that, so I'd put off actually setting the thing up.  Then I realised that in my original-model PS2, the power supply is on the inside...  On the plus side, when I went to scrounge a matching cable from my cable box, I found my missing Canon battery charger on the end of said cable.

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