What happened?
Twelve years!
You hit me with a cricket bat!
Ha! Twelve years!

Sunday, January 31



Ho hum, yet another game download service.  I already have Steam for the new stuff, GOG for the old stuff, and Impulse for the sprawling intergalactic battlefleet stuff.

Waitaminute.  They have A-Train 8!

But it's $30!

But it's A-Train 8!

But it's yet another download service I need to sign up on!

But it's A-Train 8!

But A-Train 9 is due out in a couple of weeks - in Japan anyway - and it looks freakin' awesome(Bandwidth warning!  Link takes you to a page full of 4-megapixel images of really cool toy cities!)

But it's A-Train...  You know, that does look pretty amazing.

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Musical Interlude

Brought to you by the Wistful Ferrets.

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The Onion

Visionaries, or just stating the bleedin' obvious?

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Wednesday, January 27


Hanamaru Kindergarten

The first episode was a bit uncertain, but now three episodes in this one is developing into a true delight.

Think Bottle Fairies meets Potemayo meets Gakuen Alice, and you're pretty close.

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Saturday, January 23


More Pudding

Lots more pudding.

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Thursday, January 21


Toshiba Australia, You Suck

The Toshiba T115 and T135 are awesome little notebooks.  The T115 has an 11-inch screen and a single-core Core 2 CPU; the T135 a 13-inch screen and a dual-core Core 2.  Apart from that they're basically identical; 1366 x 768 LED-backlit screen, real keyboard, wireless b/g/n, 2GB to 4GB RAM depending on the model, 250GB or 320GB disk likewise.  Not much bigger than a netbook, but a lot more powerful.  The T115 is $461 on Amazon, the T135 starts at around $600.

You can't get them in Australia.

What you can get is the T110 and the T130.  Which have the same specs, but retail for $999 and $1299 respectively.

The Aussie dollar is currently at 91 US cents.  You do the math.

You'd think that with such a huge disparity in pricing, someone would step in and import the US model....  And that's exactly what has happened.  The T115 is $699 locally (including sales tax) and the T135 starts at $899 depending on the model.  They'd probably be even cheaper except that the importer honours the warranty, including shipping costs to and from the US repair centre.

Pure mercantilism, but it's Toshiba's own fault for leaving the door wide open.

Update: Aha!  There's an Athlon Neo X2 version of the T115: dual-core 1.5GHz with Radeon 3200 graphics.  I ran Haruhi with Vista with full Aero effects on a 3200 motherboard for a year - albeit with a 2.6GHz CPU - and that's quite a capable combination.  Cost is $765.  Battery life will probably be noticeably shorter than for the single-core models, but my current notebook's battery is shot and only gets about half an hour on a charge, so it's bound to be an improvement.

Update: Rats, they piddled in my cornflakes.  It doesn't have Wireless-N.  Only one of the 11" models does, in fact.  But then my current notebook doesn't have Wireless-N either.

Update: Huh.  When did Australia enter the 21st century?
All goods (except for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) may be imported duty and tax free if their value is $1,000 or less.

Update: That model is $498 on Amazon.  So $699 $765 locally isn't bad is a little steep, but still a lot cheaper than Toshiba Australia, who don't offer that model at all.  They list a 6-hour battery life compared to 8 hours for the slower Intel single-core with its slower Intel graphics; I think that's a reasonable trade-off.

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Sunday, January 17


Laugh While You Can, Monkey-Boy!

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Saturday, January 02



Today's offers on Steam: Mass Effect for $5 (excellent game, though it suffers from the usual Bioware Empty Universe Syndrome), and all 11 games in the recent Sam and Max series for $15.

I don't really need another copy of Mass Effect, but I'd been thinking of picking up the Sam and Max games, so I did.

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Friday, January 01


Ow, My Appendage

The only thing more ignominious than injuring oneself in an attempt to squish a bug is injuring oneself in a failed attempt to squish a bug.

Fortunately I got the little blighter, and so was spared the added insult of him taunting me from a safe distance while I glued my thumbnail back on.*

* Actually the damage isn't that severe, but it hurt like the dickens for the first thirty seconds.

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And Again

I'm spending way too much money on Steam this holiday season, but since I didn't buy myself anything else for Christmas (apart from some triple-cream King Island Brie, and that was on special...  oh, and Ponyo, but that's a medical expense* and was also on special), and since the total amount is equal to maybe three new-release games at retail price, it's not a real problem.

Though I have now messed up four times and bought a game and then followed up by buying a pack that includes that game.  Which has cost me, let's see, $16.50.  (Actually one of those was buying a pack that was included in a larger pack...)

But then, to pick one example, for the cost of one new release game (US$75, where a new game typically costs A$80-100), I'm getting 9 games and expansion packs that I actually want, and a further 10 that could be interesting and generally received good reviews.  The most expensive single game so far has cost me $13.59; the cheapest $1.99.  (Well, $1.49, but that was one of the ones I ended up buying twice.)

When I will actually find time to play any of these is a different matter; I hardly have time right now for Bubble Tanks Tower Defense or Billy vs. Snakeman.  But I now have tactical and/or strategic wargames covering every epoch from ancient Greece and Rome through Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe to WWII and WWIII (had the Cold War run hot), plus a whole slew of real-time and turn-based fantasy and science-fiction wargames, for a near limitless supply of virtual baddies to virtually dissassemble.**

No Crusades or Mongol Hordes, and no Civil War or WWI, though they seem to be the only major gaps post-Bronze-Age.

Mostly RTS or tactical, but also a scattering of RPG, a couple of FPS, and a selection of indie/casual games.

Now I just need to download them all.  Never mind playing them, it's going to take a week just to download them.

Update: Added them all up.  237GB.

* Ghibli films are cheap, keep me sane, and have few harmful side-effects. I really should be able to claim them on my insurance...

** What was the last major wargame I played?  C&C Generals maybe?  In that game you could play as America, China, or as the filthy terrorists.  I played mostly as America, occasionally as China.  I don't really see much appeal in playing as the terrorists, or as Nazi Germany, as at least three of my new purchases allow.  I want to squish the bad guys.

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