29.11.04

Slashdot Interview : Penny Arcade guys.

Tycho and Gabe answer questions from the Slashdot trolls.

My highlight :

"Bonus Question: What advice would you give to geeks looking to in some way ensare geek grrls?

Gabriel suggests the most important thing is that you simply be yourself, unless you are poor. Then, try to be someone who is richer and better looking, because you are kind of ugly. I am only only speaking for myself, but I have had good success with traps."

26.11.04

I toured EA Games.

Full Story Here. I would have posted it here, but it's more relevant on that blog.

24.11.04

Minish Cap

Eurogamer reviews the next Legend of Zelda release :


"Du-du-da-DA! It all comes down to that. Every time you encounter that symbolic fanfare, you've just found something worth cheering. You hear it a lot. And the journey to each salute is deliberately meandering and reliant on your constant adjustment to circumstances. That's the magic of the Zelda series; each game carries you along on a wave of minor victories and the creeping desire to make sure you've pulled back every curtain. The Minish Cap is no different. It strikes exactly the right balance between all the essential elements of a Zelda adventure, introducing a few suitably diverse new fundamentals in the process and bedding them in successfully, and it looks, sounds and handles exactly as you'd presume from what is slightly surprisingly the Game Boy Advance's first "proper" single player Zelda game."



"Other new elements, some borrowed from other Zelda games like The Wind Waker, and a number of old favourites, continue to present themselves over the course of the game, subtly widening the criteria in your search for puzzle solutions and allowing you to make more of the lands you've already explored. Apart from your swords - for which you'll gradually accumulate more attacking techniques over the course of the game - and your trusty shield, there are bombs, bottles, boomerangs and the like to rediscover, and there are welcome additions like an item that allows you to climb certain cliff faces, one that sucks objects toward Link like a vacuum cleaner, and when you encounter spinning vortexes you can even use your Minish Cap as a makeshift parachute to help guide you beyond a geographical impasse."

Internet Explorer is losing ground.

Originally reported on Slashdot, BBC News reports the news from Dutch site OneStat that Microsoft browser Internet explorer is gradually losing it's grip on the internet:

"'It seems that people are switching from Microsoft's Internet Explorer to Mozilla's new Firefox browser,' said Niels Brinkman, co-founder of Amsterdam-based OneStat.com.
Mozilla browsers - including Firefox 1.0 - now have 7.4% of the market share, the figures suggest. Mozilla said that more than five million have downloaded the free software since its official release.

Supporters of the open-source software in the US managed to raise $250,000 (£133,000) to advertise the release of Firefox 1.0 in The New York Times, and support the Mozilla Foundation.

The figures echo similar research from net analyst WebSideStory which suggested that IE had 92.9% of users in October compared to 95.5% in June. Microsoft IE has dominated the browser market for some time after taking the crown from Netscape, and its share of users has always stayed at around the 95% mark.

Firefox is attractive to many because it is open-source. That means people are free to adapt the software's core code to create other innovative features, like add-ons or extensions to the program.

Fewer security holes have also been discovered so far in Firefox than in IE. Paul Randle, Microsoft Windows Client product manager, responded to the figures: 'We certainly respect that some customers will choose alternative browsers and that choosing a browser is about more than a handful of features. Microsoft continues to make significant investments in IE, including Service Pack 2 with advanced security technologies, and continues to encourage a vibrant ecosystem of third party add-ons for Internet Explorer.'

Firefox wants to capture 10% of the market by the end of 2005. Other browser software, like Opera and Apple's Safari, are also challenging Microsoft's grip on the browser market. Opera is set to release its version 7.60 by the end of the year."

If you haven't switched browsers yet, it's never too late to do so, and most importantly, it's free. If you don't like the look of Firefox and the separate mail client Thunderbird, you can download the integrated browser/email package here. If you still don't like it, try Opera. It's a little tricky to get used to different software at first, but I can guarantee that it's worth it.

Do your part to make the internet a better place.

23.11.04

Definition of a Meme.

"A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another."

"Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution. Ideas can evolve in a way analogous to biological evolution. Some ideas survive better than others; ideas can mutate through, for example, misunderstandings; and two ideas can recombine to produce a new idea involving elements of each parent idea."

[From Dictionary.com]

Goings On.

I'm busy setting up my most-used bookmarks on the Mac because the connection doesn't seem to be feeding right between the cable modem and my own laptop. It's remarkable how easy it is these days. Grab a copy of Firefox 1.0 and start bookmarking. One of the tools I have found most useful for this kind of temporary placeholding, is the Sage extension - an RSS feed tool that just allows you to bookmark, haul up the sidebar and refresh to see if any of your usual information loaded sites have new content. I recommend it for all those with Firefox/Mozilla browsers who haven't approached the whole RSS revolution yet.

It's sexy. Like Gwen Stefani's new album. Of which I also recommend. Aren't I hip?

Novel Martial Law

"[I had thought to mention Alan Moore's use of this account (which I first encountered as a teenager, reading Fort) in From Hell, and now I see from a post that Neal Stephenson has evidently used it as well. I would have liked to have gotten him permanently out of the way shortly after reading Snow Crash, of course, but I could already see that I would need him one day to help battle Bruce Sterling. Literature is a long game.]"
I am absolutely titillated by the psuedo-wars between the small band of my favorite sci-fi/cyberpunk writers. To quote Andy Baio : yeh, I'm a geek.

[From William Gibson's blog]

19.11.04

Young Artists Portray Abusive Lives.

"In one room, the young artists have recreated a crack house, a shocking space littered with filth, debris and dilapidated furniture, where one figure lies comatose on a mattress while another sits hunched in a chair, smoking crack. The child abuse display looks like any young girl's room, decorated with dolls, teddy bears and books. It is left to the written material on the walls to reveal the sordid truth. The schoolroom installation features rows of old-fashioned wooden desks. When the top surfaces of the desks are closed, all seems normal. When opened, sculptures and drawings reveal the children's pain at seeing their parents involved in crime, alcoholism, prostitution, drugs and the break up of relationships."

Full Story in The Guardian Online.

16.11.04

Help George Clooney!

He has a blog, but no one is reading it.* Oh geez, I wonder why? Could it be because it's a yet another mindless repetitive anti-Bush Administration blog? Could it be because stars just don't realise that secretly, we don't give a shit about their opinions, we just want to know who they fuck, what they wear and where they go on vacation?

"A writer who helped me set up my blog earlier this year is now helping George Clooney with his new blog. Apparently George has had very little traffic until recently, probably because: a) no one knew it existed and b) no one knew it was George's blog.

(Editorial aside: notice how this provides a little insight into the celebrity mindset. I created a blog, so of course people will come, because, well, I'm a star.)

Finally George figured out if he salted a few comments around on other blogs, it would increase his traffic.

Still not much business. So then he got the idea to post links on porno blogs. Apparently that has helped some, as my writer friend reports George's hits are up something like ten-fold. Help poor George so he can stay away from those skanky porn sites."
[From Fly On The Wall]

(*could be fake)

15.11.04

Gwen Stefani at the American Music Awards.




NY Times Interview : JT LeRoy

"For a while, many in the literary world doubted that J T LeRoy actually existed. He avoided public appearances, and when a book editor from New York showed up at his squat in the Mission District of San Francisco with a bag of groceries as an enticement, Mr. LeRoy refused to see her. (His fellow squatters took the groceries.) At literary events Mr. LeRoy let others read his work, and rumors began that J T LeRoy was a pseudonym for a more established writer, perhaps Dennis Cooper. To this day, Mr. LeRoy said, public appearances terrify him.

"I puke," he said."

"Mr. LeRoy's writing takes its power from the juxtaposition of dainty language and a childlike perspective with a world of shocking callousness and rank sexual exploitation of children. Perhaps because his books seem transparently autobiographical, many readers — some of them well known — have reached out to Mr. LeRoy to offer support. After an e-mail exchange with Mr. LeRoy, he said, Madonna sent him a box of books on cabala.

"I was feeling hopeless, and she was really good at pointing out that if someone is in a rip current, the instinct is to pull the opposite way, but you need to just go along," he said."

"Mr. LeRoy said that he had always felt ambivalent about getting attention. He said he longed for the maternal affection he was deprived of growing up, and the attention he did receive — from johns in truck stops and on the streets — was often violent and never sincere. In his worst moments, Mr. LeRoy said, the conflicting emotions drove him to sadomasochistic sex and self-mutilation.

"For a long time I tried to get people to hit me, because for my mom, it was better if she hit me than if she ignored me," he said. "When you don't have self-esteem, you'll do anything to please another person." Mr. LeRoy's mother, whose first name was Sarah, is dead, said Ira Silverberg, Mr. LeRoy's agent. When Mr. LeRoy was asked directly about his family, he shut down and did not answer.

He said he struggled daily with a sense of inadequacy because of his past."


[Full Interview here - you may need BugmeNot.]


14.11.04

ODB is dead.

Goddamnit.

"Rap artist ODB (Ol' Dirty Bastard), one of the most colourful characters in the world of hip-hop, has died aged 35. ODB, real name Russell Jones, collapsed and died at the Manhattan recording studio in New York on Saturday. A spokesman for his record company, Gabe Tesoriero, said the rapper, who had complained of chest pains, was dead by the time paramedics reached him. ODB - whose most famous song was Got Your Money - had recently finished a prison sentence for drug possession."

[From BBC News]

12.11.04

Shaw Cable censoring connections?

I've been having a few problems with using the cable connection on this laptop recently (whereas it works perfectly fine with the Mac), and I think I've stumbled across the reason :

" When customers of Canada's Shaw Cable high-speed Internet service noticed that their filesharing activity had slowed down dramatically, they didn't know what to make of it. Calling the ISP didn't help: Shaw's tech support people swore that they were delivering all the packets they received from their customers, just as you'd expect. After all, who'd want an ISP that picked and chose which of your communications got through -- imagine if the phone company or the post office just silently threw away some of your messages based on secret criteria!

So the Shaw customers went to DSL Reports, a community site for posting about DSL and other high-speed providers, and they found that they were not alone and not imagining things. Lots of Shaw customers were getting really crummy performance out of their Internet connections.

Then someone claiming to be a Shaw insider posted an explanation: Shaw had secretly installed a packet-filter on its network that was using hidden rules to silently discard some of its customers' packets. And they'd instructed their tech people to lie about it when customers called in and asked.

It might have been a fake, but not long after, DSL Reports got a letter from Shaw's lawyers telling them that this was confidential info from a Shaw employee and that they'd be sued if they didn't take it offline, so it looks like its true (says DSL Reports, "Needless to say, we've never bent over for an ISP upset at bad publicity, or forked over anyones identity, and we're not about to start.")"


From Boing Boing (which also links to the forum where it all kicked off via Andy Baio.

I've also noticed issues with their digital cable TV software fucking up more than usual - the screen freezing up like the cheap Freeview boxes you can get in the UK - and at one point, the software died for about 30 minutes, and didn't reassert itself properly for the rest of the day. I am not happy. If I was the one paying the bills in this place, I'd be severely reconsidering my choice of cable provider.


Bombshell

The Sunday Times interviews Gwen Stefani.


"Gwen Stefani arrives at the shoot dressed as the second half of her trademark contradiction: MGM starlet meets punk. She’s wearing her own label, Lamb — va-va-voom sweater, jeans that look sewn on — with a bare face and wet hair. It’s hard to square this with the photographs that are regularly splashed across the fashion press: she always looks too perfect to be real."

9.11.04

Brittany Murphy got hot again.

Thank FUCK. She's dyed her hair back to brown, and she's once more stepping on Liv Tyler gorgeousness ground.



Wow.

[From Fuggin' it Up]

Sterling Revised.

So maybe I caught Bruce Sterling on a bad blogging week. Recently, he's posted pictures of another favorite writer of mine; and a crazy Pumpkin-esque lamp (however, he's still not completely learned how to friggin' resize images - techie writer my fat arse). It almost makes it bearable. But hear my pleas Wired; for the love of god give him a new blog template. It's fugly. And in the world of blogging, where we agonise over minute template details, it's just not acceptable.

Also : does the fact that this makes me drool, make me a geek?

Firefox = 1.0

It's gone live! It's 1.0!

Download here or die.

8.11.04

Life Update

Last week was a strange, strange week. Kerry not only lost, but conceded. Bush is in for another 4 years. The internet exploded with RAGE! and is only really calming down about now, most likely from statistics/debating overkill.

And everything internet-wise went a little quiet as I went on an expedition and an internet meet up. I'm somewhat planning to post pictures in the appropriate place today, as I've ignored the net since Thursday afternoon.

I want an mp3 player. And a digital camera. And more RAM. And a better graphics card. And a job to pay for all of them. But mostly the mp3 player. I think this is quite sexy :



mmmm

3.11.04

John Kerry Concedes.

www.johnkerry.com carries his final words.

This is depressing.

Anonymous Outsider.

Sometimes other people can say it much better than I ever could :

"Boy, what a difference a day makes. Remember all that promise yesterday morning -- the bustling at the polls; It felt like what we imagine a Howard Dean Meet-up might have been like. We're sure at least somebody hooked up with all that wise-cracking and bonding; or at least got some phone numbers.

But, since last night, we have learned that a good many of Americans are so ditch-dirt stupid, that they will vote for their jobs to be outsourced, a new career as a Wal-Mart clerk for six dollars an hour and their children to be blown apart by IOD's for the next ten years, in a war they don’t believe in, just to make sure a small minority of people are barred from loving each other in their own way. We learned that women, the sick, and Gays will take it in the ass for a long time to come. We learned that a candidate of Jewish extraction can be so ineffectual, as to lose the most Jewish votes of any Democratic candidate in history. We learned that people lie to exit polls, so they can look nice, and get tax cuts at the same time. We learned that Bob Shrum has no business advising a candidate. We learned that John Edwards was a useless choice as a running mate. We learned that there is no "cell phone" vote and faced with the choice of "Vote or Die," some would obviously rather die. We learned that Ralph Nader should get a cap in his ass, and his body buried in Idaho. And most of all, we learned that Larry King has no business doing election coverage. God save America, she's lost control. See you at JFK."

[From here]

We did our best.

Another four more years it is.

2.11.04

D-Day.

It's the day we've all been waiting for. It's the penultimate day where Americans decide whether they've listened, and thought, and educated themselves about the world.

It's the US Election.

I'm utterly sick, having some kind of acid reflux issue with my stomach, so I'll just post a bunch of interesting links and be done with blogging for today. Needless to say, I hope that all and everyone is voting for John Kerry. The world doesn't need another 4 more years.

Good luck to America, but even more luck is required for everyone out here in the rest of the world. Canadian coverage is remarkably laid back, they've seen Presidents come and go, but as a British person I am extremely nervous. We need every vote for Kerry to save the world. Every single American with voting rights is important, be it black, white, Hispanic, Asian or any other colour. This is not about colour, this is about doing your best to make the world a better place. Bush has let us all down, and it extends way beyond the borders.

May the next blog I write be a message of congratulations to President Kerry.