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Monday, July 25th, 2011
12:46 am
print "Content-type: text/html\n\n";
print "<h1>Hello world</h1>\n";

Tread | 5 footprints

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
4:08 pm - Podcarsts
I didn't bother with podcasts much until recently, but since discovering these few, I've been listening to them on a regular basis, so if you're interested, here are my recommendations.

One Life Left
British gaming podcast. Lots of fun and they don't go too deep into the games either. There's a lot of good old-fashioned British cynicism about the industry, and the three regulars have a great rapport which makes it good listening. They have pieces sent in by a few people; songs, poems and other recitals. Recently they've started having guests on the show on a regular basis too. Which is nice.

Adam & Joe
These guys used to have a TV show way back when, where they would create parodies of movies and TV shows using their toy collection, often Star Wars figures. The podcast cuts the music from the show and focuses on their chatting and mail from listeners. They sometimes make songs taking the piss out of movies, and they also regularly pimp their youtube shenanigans. If you know what Crystal Maze is, you might enjoy this.

Introducing... with Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson plays songs from loads of artists you've never heard of, usually having recommendations sent in by listeners or the bands themselves. A lot of them are on myspace so don't get a lot of publicity, but there's generally a reasonable volume of good stuff on the show, and definitely nothing offensively bad.

A German techno podcast. Shows tend to be a bit on the short side, playing only four or five tunes a week, but sometimes they have longer specials. I'm kind of out of touch with the techno genre, so it's a good way for me to hear good things. Again, I haven't heard anything bad on this podcast since I started listening at the start of the year. Tracklists are now posted on the site too, thankfully, as I can never make out what the presenter is saying!

current mood:  

Tread | 5 footprints

Friday, February 20th, 2009
1:33 pm - UT
For all the UT fans out there.
Looks like some good stuff is coming:

There was a Puyolicious T-shirt giveaway recently, and I know those Ts will be part of the series, so it's not just the mascots shown on the site.

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Tread | 1 footprint

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
5:05 pm - Mac Qs
Before I do the whole 2008/2009 thing, I have a couple of questions about Macs, maybe some Mac friends could help out with.

1. I've been using an external USB drive for ages on my Mac Mini without issues, usually resulting in uptimes exceeding 3 months+, only ever rebooting for Apple patches. I just bought a new external drive, and decided to use the Firewire 400 connection for speed. But it crashed twice yesterday. Is this likely to be Firewire related? Guess I could switch to USB and wait and see, but I'd rather have some serious knowledge behind it.

2. Is there any good software for backing up over FTP? I've read that I can write a script to run Fetch on a routine, but I was wondering if there are other solutions also.

3. Has anyone seen their Airport Express (air speaker) performance take a nosedive with iTunes 8?

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Tread | 5 footprints

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
10:35 pm - This ain't cool
Even though I got zero bonus this year (i.e. pay cut, basically), I have been working 12 hours a day for the past two weeks. Coupled with an hour commute either way, my life is not remotely fun right now. I am going to the UK to see my folks next week, and I'm kind of worried about that too. I haven't seen them for three years and my Mum has had a lot of problems during that time and sounded absolutely depressed last time I spoke to her on the phone. Woe is me. I guess this is what LJ is all about, huh. In other news, I bought an iPhone and have completed TWEWY to about 90% status all round. Work still sucks, though.

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Tread | 19 footprints

Friday, November 7th, 2008
5:11 pm - Some iPod Touch games I bought recently, including opinions
Star Trigon. This is that Namco game which has the same characters as the Mr.Driller series, but is controlled by a single button. You spin around planets, and hit the button to leave orbit and fly off in a line towards the next planet. The idea is to form triangles and save your friends. It started life as an arcade game and has never seen a home port until now. For that reason alone, it's worth checking out. But honestly, it's not a very good version, and the game wasn't amazing to begin with. It could do with just a tiny more polish. Was about 600 yen, I think, so not a major loss. 5/10

MotionX Poker. Only 100 yen, a total steal! This is Poker played with dice. If you've ever played Yahtzee, it's a very similar concept. There are loads of dice designs and tables included as well as comprehensive statistics and achievements. What makes this game nice is that you shake the iPod to shake your dice. The physics engine is superb, and so is the sound. A must purchase if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. 9/10

Galcon. I can't remember the price for this, but it was ridiculously cheap, like 300 yen or thereabouts. It's a very simplistic RTS where you must protect your planets while taking the enemy's. There are many, many modes, and varying degrees of difficulty. I will admit, this game could have benefitted from the addition of a story or a set mission path. As it stands, it's very freeform so there is no long term goal, other than improving your skills and measuring that improvement by yourself. Supposedly it has online play, but I'm never near a hotspot when I'm playing this. 7/10

newtonica. Ex-Skip Kenichi Nishi is the brains behind this simple ditty. Again this was a cheap one (500 yen), and it shows, but it's surprisingly addictive and has a great soundtrack by Kenji Eno. Some info on the official site here. 6/10

rRootage. Kenta Cho's famous shooter, ported by some other dude, and it's free. You can't complain about free, so just download it for yourself and see what the fuss is about. It controls surprisingly great too. You just hold your thumb on the screen (or whatever appendage you please) and the ship moves however you do). 7/10

Spin. I bought this game because of the Jonne Valtonen "soundtrack". It was only 500 yen. It's a simple puzzle game where you can spin a 3D shape in any axis, and you have to make its 2D appearance match a silhouette on the screen. It gets quite tricky when the time limit becomes shorter. Unfortunately the music isn't as good as I had thought from the trailer, and it is a very short loop, but it's still a decent game, for the price. 5/10

Bloom. This is a music creation tool made by Brian Eno. 450 yen. You touch the screen to add notes, or you can leave it playing by itself if you just want some calming ambient sounds. There are plenty of "flavours" to choose from too, and the best part about this app is that the music keeps playing even when you shut off the screen, so you can use it for drifting off to sleep, or just general chilling out in any situation. I'm fond of listening to it while strolling around the park late at night. It does seem a little iffy at times, maybe tilt sensor-related, but apart from that, amazing. 9/10

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Tread | 4 footprints

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
11:37 am - Runderworld
10/31 | 6.15km | 38'22" | 6'13"/km | 516 cals
11/05 | 6.54km | 39'47" | 6'04"/km | 548 cals

Beaucoup Fish is, without a doubt, the best album I have found for running so far. The slow build-up, intense spurts and lovely cool downs, make for a really great running experience, and it's so easy to zone out while listening to Karl Hyde's mumbo jumbo.

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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
5:41 pm - Running
10/02 | 3.06km | 21'33" | 7'02"/km | 258 cals
10/16 | 3.28km | 22'40" | 6'54"/km | 275 cals
10/20 | 3.23km | 20'55" | 6'27"/km | 271 cals
10/22 | 3.21km | 20'07" | 6'15"/km | 269 cals
10/25 | 4.76km | 30'02" | 6'18"/km | 399 cals
10/27 | 4.72km | 29'51" | 6'19"/km | 395 cals

After a slow start, I've really started to get into running. I always run in the same area, around the local park, and I moved it up from two laps to three laps for the last couple of runs and noticed my stamina has increased a great deal. The pace I've been keeping has been more than satisfactory, and I'm definitely interested in increasing my stamina for now, rather than speed.
Physically, I haven't lost any weight, but I feel significantly fitter and somewhat leaner. I assume the weight is shifting from fat to muscles. My constitution has improved immensely and I'm getting much better nights of sleep. Last night was the first time my shins started to hurt since starting running so I might have to lay off for an extra day or two this week. I get shin splints every time I run on a machine in the gym, but it hasn't been bad at all in the park. I've got a cough anyway, so this week might be a write off if it doesn't improve tomorrow.

My Vitriol "Always Your Way" - awesome for both 20 and 30 mins.
Bloc Party "Intimacy" - awesome for 20 mins.
Way Out West "Don't Look Now" - a bit slow, maybe better if I start from track 4 or 5 though.
I'm going to give some of those Nike Original Runs a try too.

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Tread | 5 footprints

Friday, October 24th, 2008
7:52 pm - Money is rubbish
My savings in the UK are now worth less than 2/3 what they were a few months ago.
Seems either Japan is deceiving everyone or someone made a royal fucking mess of running my home country's economy. Maybe I should cut my losses by investing what little yen I have in buying poundage. Things have to turn around, right? Right!?

current mood:  

Tread | 7 footprints

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
10:56 pm - Testing+

current mood:  

Tread | 10 footprints

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
6:07 pm - Legends of the Fall / Winter Games
Pretty much decided what I will / won't buy before the year end. The ones in the second category are definitely wanted, but holding off for a bit, pending sudden mood swings.

Yes, please
Dead Space
Fable II
Mirror's Edge
Gears of War 2
Culdcept DS
Patapon 2
Chrono Trigger DS

Hold on, wait a minute
Fallout 3
The Last Remnant
Left 4 Dead
Dodonpachi Daioujou
Prince of Persia
White Knight Chronicles
Samba de Amigo
Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel

current mood:  

Tread | 8 footprints

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
10:51 am - Naming
When I set up my home network a year or so ago, I decided to go with some Vana'diel names for machine names, and it's kind of grown stale now. I've got Jeuno as my main server which I can access and listen to music from anywhere that has an internet connection, I've got an external drive connected to that, which I call Rulude. Then there's my iPod touch which I named Qufim, and my notebook, which I think I forgot to name, but was originally going to call Bastok.

Back at Sense, we used to have this awesome naming system where workstations were fruits and servers were colours, with the centre of everything being called 'orange'. I think they've probably got rid of this system now there are tons of people working there though - you run out of fruits quicker than you imagine.

Well, the point is, I'm looking for a new naming system, but drawing blanks. I kind of want something sci-fi or fantasy, but not too cheesy. By cheesy I mean "deathstar" for the server and "tiefighter" for the laptop, or something along those lines. I'm thinking "yggdrasil" for the server actually, but not sure what would be the appropriate laptop name to go with that. Maybe midgard, hel, jotunheim? I have a hunch cobbi will be able to help me out here.

current mood:  

Tread | 18 footprints

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
2:09 pm - Rocktober

I spent most of September's gaming time rounding off my achievements for Tales of Vesperia. Great game, marred only by a slight dip in the story in the last part. But it ended up better than FFXII, in my opinion, which was very surprising for a Tales game. So I've finished my first Tales game, where do I go from here? People say Abyss has a better battle system, but I'm not likely to go back to a PS2 game nowadays. A next-gen remake would be welcome, or a PSP port perhaps. I still have Infinite Undiscovery to get around to, though. My copy is still sealed, but I wanted to leave a nice gap between that and Vesperia so I don't go crazy.

On the DS, I've been progressing at a snail's pace with The World Ends With You. I'm actually getting really into it, but only when I stopped trying to control the top screen. I turned the difficulty up a fair whack to increase the drop rates, and I'm near the end of Day 6 now. It's fun, lots of fun, and the music is amazing for a DS game. There is so much DS stuff that I want to try, though. I just don't spend much time on the DS these days as I'm usually too sleepy to play anything on the train, or I'm standing up, which makes DS play pretty tricky.

Aquanaut&quot;s Holiday Last week I picked up Aquanaut's Holiday for PS3, which has been fantastic so far. It's so much better than Forever Blue on the Wii. The game has an interesting story in which a researcher has gone missing, and you go looking for him, picking up clues from a trail he left behind. Rather than petting the fish, you can get their information instantly by clicking on them, and certain species have a "singer" fish, which you can engage in sonar conversation. This enables you to upgrade your sub, which opens up the map further. The graphics and surround sound provide an immensely immersive experience. There are also some beautiful underwater landscapes like the one in the screenshot on the right.

Grabbed Wipeout HD and Little Big Planet β too (thanks dcharlie and sheep_herder, respectively) . The former is ball-breaking stuff. Seriously amazing visuals. But my skills are old and rusty. I'll have to spend a fair bit of time to get as good as I used to be. LBP is sugar sweet and all, but I haven't been really blown away by the gameplay yet. I'm still looking for some amazing user-made content as the pack-in levels are basically tutorial at this point. Most of the user stuff I've played so far has been: jump on vehicle, press hold, finish. Boring. I'm looking for some more entertaining platforming action, and I've got a few tips on boards and stuff which I'll try out later. I am concerned the game could get tired quickly though, even though it has a lot of potential to keep things changing. The problem is being able to cut through the crap and get to the good stuff. From what I saw of the interface so far, this doesn't seem easy.

Pre-ordered Fable II from Play-Asia. The Japanese version won't be out until December, with no confirmation that it will have multi-language support anyway, and this is definitely a game I want to play with English voice acting. I'm well pumped for it. Oct 21 release. Fallout 3 a week later, but I'm skipping that for now as I just won't have time to play it.

Raiden IV and Otomedius both got delayed *groan* but that has been a blessing in disguise really. Raiden IV finally comes out tomorrow and there's still no date on Otomedius. My new joystick is ready and waiting though.

current mood:  

Tread | 9 footprints

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
3:48 pm - More Manga
I finished reading the Kurosagi books a couple of weeks ago. The wait until volume 10 is going to be massive, but I'm assuming I won't break down and buy the bi-monthly Comic Charge which it is published in first, although it does feature Otsuka's other work, MPD Psycho, which I'm destined to get into, so you never know.

After that, I picked up another couple of Otsuka's books. The first, Tokyo Case, is about a series of crimes that involve time travel and other supernatural abilities. It's quite a headfuck for the largest part, but it kind of comes together in the end. I don't think it's a one-off, but I haven't heard anything about part two either. Also picked up Kumohachi, which is illustrated by Yamazaki, like the Kurosagi series. It tells the tale of traditional Japanese monsters, like Kappa and Rokurokubi, but I presume they've been altered, as the final story starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and fairies was obviously way different from reality.

Both are good reads, although they lack the depth of characters that the Kurosagi series has managed to develop over nine volumes. I have a couple of other old mangas to check out, and after that I may try some more Otsuka stuff like Mail and Ritual Service.

current mood:  

Tread | 2 footprints

Monday, September 8th, 2008
11:54 am - meme bojacked from ferricide
Elaborate on your default icon.
It's a line from a Manics song, which is in itself a quote from George Orwell's 1984. The song itself is full of vitriol and one of my favourite Manics songs of all time. But the line describes my feelings quite well. I have strong beliefs in a lot of matters, and I doubt anyone else shares those beliefs. I do what I think is right, and I try not to let anyone steer me in another direction. I rarely use the icon, even though it is my default, as I feel it is rather "strong" for most subjects.

What's your current relationship status?
Separated, waiting for paper work to go through.

Ever have a near-death experience?
I thought it was at the time, but it wasn't really.

Name an obvious quality you have.
Super cynicism.

What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
"The Vanishing Of Maria Schneider" by dEUS.
The song has a repeating melody, where the tail of one verse leads into the start of another, and it could keep on going like that forever. It's cleverly structured and is hard to shake from my head without listening to the album it is on.

Any celeb you would marry?
I'm not really a big fan of marriage right now, but I could be tempted to marry someone on the edge of death if it would mean me becoming wealthy in a few years.

Who will cut and paste this first?

Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Yes, but they were Japanese so disqualified.

Do you wear a watch? What kind?
Swatch Irony, but I often take it off during summer.

Do you have anything pierced?

Do you have any tattoos?

Do you like pain?
In the right time and place, it's ok, I guess.

Do you like to shop?
I like buying stuff, and I even like just looking and coveting, but I'm becoming scared of spending money, so may stop this.

What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Pizza last night.

What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?
Two light bulbs and a bunch of eneloop batteries, last night.

What is your desktop background?
Clouds and blue skies - a vector illustration.

What is the background on your cell phone?

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Tread | 4 footprints

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
3:02 pm - Game prices
I don't understand why a puzzle game is often sold for the same price as a platformer or shooter. It's like paying for an album and getting a single. Example: $50 for this!?

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Tread | 8 footprints

Monday, August 25th, 2008
5:02 pm - Everybody else is doing it... (year end shopping list)
Year end shopping list time. Better weigh up future damage and see if I can try to offset it in the present.

11: Infinite Undiscovery
25: Otomedius G

Maybe: Raiden IV, after Raiden Fighter Aces got me pumped, it's difficult to pass this up, especially since it looks even more insane than the RFA trio.

Stuff that looks interesting but gets the finger for wallet reasons: Blue Dragon Plus, Aquanaut's Holiday, World Destruction. Pending play status in other games, they may be doable, if I sell on stuff to fund them.

30: Little Big Planet
??: Fable 2

Maybe: Thunderforce VI
Fingered: Valkyrie Profile DS, Wii Music (lol), Culdcept DS, Away, Avalon Code, Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaiki da or2, Dr. Slump

20: Last Remnant
??: Gears of War 2
??: Mirror's Edge

Fingered: Animal Crossing Wii


Fingered: Dissidia, Tales of Hearts,

Stuff without solid dates:
Prof. Layton and the Final Time Travel (not played the second game yet, but it is impending on my backlog).
Chrono Trigger DS. Will be my first time to play this revered classic.
Patapon 2. Loved the original, hopefully this won't be too samey.
Prince of Persia. Trailer looks awesome, but will it come out this year?
White Knight Chronicles. Should be out this year, according to Level-5, but will they make it.
Cry On. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to get a December release date at TGS. Fingers crossed.

Stuff to wait on:
Viva Pinata 2 for the inevitable price dive after it tanks (sucks for Rare, but it is so bound to happen in this market).
PSP mk3. Will wait to see if it gets hacked, otherwise stick with my trusty mk2.
Ketsui. May well be all shootered out by the time this comes out.
Fallout 3. Unfortunate case of good game up against great games, I feel. Maybe a shoe in early next year.
Left 4 Dead. See Fallout 3. Seems import only for now, anyway.

Digital downloads up the wazoo
Castle Crashers
Gradius Rebirth
Uno Rush
Portal: Still Alive

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Tread | 13 footprints

Friday, August 15th, 2008
5:20 pm - Brave Vesperia
I'm about 20 hours into Tales of Vesperia right now. It's unique in that it's the only Tales game I have played for longer than a couple of hours. This one has a really punchy start, so it pulled me in considerably quicker than the other five or six Tales games I've attempted. I'm still pretty nauseous whenever I heard Estellise talk, but the other characters' voices are reasonably tolerable. The battles are awesome, no horrible puzzles like Legendia, and actually, a pretty serious story for a Tales game. None of the usual racism/outcast bullshit, so far at least.

The achievements are a little monstrous though: beat the game in 15 hrs for 15pts; beat one of the bosses at level 15 or less (I just beat him a couple of hours ago at level 35 or so). Plus some insane completionist achievements which will probably be worse than the Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey ones when all's said and done -- it's not enough to meet the different monsters; you have to use an item to analyze them! At least in this game you can carry over your collections to subsequent plays through, courtesy of Tales' typical grade shop at the end of the game.

Lots of fun, though. A nice up-tempo summer game.

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Tread | 3 footprints

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
5:28 pm - Summertime & Kurosagi
I simultaneously love and loathe Japanese summers. I can't stand the humidity, but the crazy weather we get for the season is way too exciting to pass up. Intense thunderstorms, typhoons, random cloud bursts. It sure beats the perpetual grey skies of home.

I've been diving deep into a manga series recently. A few years back, the "Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service" manga grabbed my attention with its slickly designed cover (you can see it here). Peeking inside I could see that most of the kanji had furigana too, which I thought was great. And I kept buying the new volumes that came out, even though I never got around to reading them. Until now. I started the series a couple of weeks back and I've ploughed through the first four volumes already. It's a slow-boiling series, and although the first volume came out way back (2000, I think), there are still only 9 volumes, the latest of which came out today, coincidentally.

It's about a group of Buddhist students who use their spiritual powers to fulfill the wishes of the recently deceased, usually for little or no reward. The characters range from a young channeler who has a crazy alien puppet, to a female hacker who also manages the delivery service. The stories often feature quite grotesque murders, and there is definitely a horror element. Most of the time the stories are self-contained, with occasional chapters following a larger story arc, similar to X-Files.

According to the link I posted above, Dark Horse has done an excellent translation of it, so I'd recommend checking it out.

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Tread | 2 footprints

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
5:39 pm - Long hot summer days
Bits and bobs of stuff in this update.

Been getting heavily into the Ghibli recently. Over the past few weeks, I've seen Spirited Away, Laputa, Tales from Earthsea, and at the weekend I took my son to go see Ponyo at the cinema. He's only four, but he enjoyed it and was screaming that he wanted to go see it again straight away by the end of the day. I tried to watch Totoro too, but it turned out my DVD copy of that has half the audio missing, just missing. Very odd. I tried it on two players too.

My birthday came and went painlessly, so I think I've got over the horrors of last year's. Lewt I scored included Batman Begins on Blu-ray (thanks, sis!), a courier bag that my Macbook fits in (and is safe), a couple of shirts, a watch that has a hanging device to function as a clock and a chain to function as a pocket watch, and Take That's latest album (thanks?, Mum!). Oh yeah, and a Spelunker figure, the leetest lewt of the lot. I bought myself Boom Blox, which was possibly the biggest letdown this year, but I'll get over it. Rhythm Tengoku next week, and then not much until September, unless I foolishly end up buying Vesperia. Tons of stuff coming out on XBLA and PSN though. Not to mention some Gradius thing on WiiWare, which looks ominous and low-res for the sake of it.

I had an idea for a game, and I'm seriously considering making it. Of all the kits I've seen so far, Garage Games Torque Game Builder looks like the simplest route to get a playable up and running. The problem is mainly that the idea, though quite simple, is quite elaborate and will require a fair amount of graphics creation. Maybe I could do wireframes to start with and see if I have the patience to get past the early stages. Either way, it's a game I'm really keen to play so I'd like to see it come to fruition some day.

That said, I'm also getting more and more itches to do design work in my free time, as well as slowly learning Action Script. I need to get hold of some books though, and I'm not sure about the best way to go about this. Cheapo Action Script 2 books, that have actually got good content for someone like me, in English. I'll have to check some auctions and stuff.

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Tread | 6 footprints

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