GTA 4: That was- er, what?

So this afternoon I thought I’d fire up GTA 4 for the first time in a while just to check out some of the (totally fricken awesome) scenery, but also to see what they’d done with the site where the twin towers were. Quickest way to get there was by air (erm- that sounds wrong somehow...), so let’s spawn a helicopter. An annihilator to be exact. You know the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’? Well...

Hmm, well it is heavily armoured I s’pose...

...something wrong with this phone?

Almost made me wonder whether they were channelling the people that did this.

Oh, and the answer to the original question? I matched the location as well as I could using Google Earth, and it looks like they just put generic lowrise buildings there. Ah well.


When words fail...

It’s random link time!

First up, Cloverfield condensed. A few other goodies on the main page there too.

Tr2n (Tron 2 for those old enough to have watched the first one in theatres) teaser trailer was bootlegged on a mobile phone at Comicon and looks awesome! The crowd reactions are great too. Oh and you should know I got well and truly repeatedly fricken Rick Rolled looking for the best version there too. The things I put myself through for you, dear reader, you’ve no idea...

Oh and remember that astronaut who came out last week and said UFOs were real? More here. Good on him.

And in other news, one year.

It’s been One. Freaking. Year. since I stopped smoking.

Go me!

Chappo will know what this means...


Heh. Happy


Sound check.


You know you've been playing GTA4 for too long when... start following people down the highway just to practice pit manoeuvres on them.

Er, I’m talking in game, not on commute. Tempting thought at times, though... Happy

On the other hand, this guy is just getting silly:


Well, now that's interesting question...

Was working my way through e-tax (it’s an online tax lodgement app from the Australia Tax Office) this afternoon and I hit the section where it asks for details about how many dependents we have. Would 45 be too many?

and this is just the first sitting...


Five New Firefox Features That You Probably Didn't Know About.

Why these features didn’t make 3.0 final, we’ll never know.

from digg.

Fan Boys.

Hope this sees the light of day.

Oh and just so’s you know, searching for “fanboy” on YouTube gets some really cringeworthy stuff...



Archives coming online soon.

A long while back this blog was in iBlog and it worked pretty well, albeit quirkily (quirkily?) Unfortunately after a few years of popularity the developer apparently just lost interest in it and gave up, stranding iBlog users with either 1.4 or a “release candidate” (in speech marks because it really was still beta quality) 2.0. No way to export, couldn’t even publish successfully in some cases. The support forum had quite a healthy community but sometime after, even that site just disappeared.


I wanted to keep that blog around because it covered my Dad’s final years and other important stuff, but I also wanted to get a little revisionist on it and remove some entries. I’ll leave this as a clue while I work on moving some 200 entries across.


iPhone 3G Day (no, I wasn't asleep.)

So the day iPhone fans were gleefully waiting for is here. Right now there’s a global Mexican wave of people queueing for days, then grabbing any iPhone they can at pretty exhorbitant prices.

Go them.

You may have noticed here that I’m not all gooey about today, and that I didn’t also camp out to gets me one. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the iPhone is an awesome piece of kit and, to mix metaphors, certainly wouldn’t kick one out of bed for eating crackers were one to fall in my lap, but it’s just not for me right now. Why?

I have a perfectly good - really nice, actually - mobile phone. It’s a Sony Ericsson k800i and for me it’s perfect to the point of being almost excessive. It takes great pictures, syncs perfectly with my Mac’s address book and calendar (from across the room) hell, I probably don’t even know how to drive the advanced features of this phone. What’s more it has the ability to receive and send text messages over thin air, and when it rings, I can talk to other people as if they were right there. Magic! Okay I’ll dial back the sarkiness, you get the idea, then there’s the other half of the functionality...

I have a perfectly good - really nice, actually - iPod. It’s a 5.5 gen 30GB and for me it’s perfect to the point of being almost excessive. It produces great sound & video (we regularly watch movies on the main AV rig using it), syncs perfectly with my Mac’s iTunes music & video, hell I probably don’t even know how to drive the advanced features of this iPod. What’s more it has the ability to carry my entire music collection as well as a backup of essentials from my Mac. Magic! Okay I’ll dial back the sarkiness, you get the idea.

Thing is, with the functionality of these two devices that I own outright, I really can’t see the need to be a bleeding edge iPhone 3G owner. I like them, and I’m almost gleefully waiting for the Apple naysayers to eat their words as it takes the planet by storm, but for me right now an iPhone would just be excessive and extravagant.

I saw today on the news first a story about people doing it tough just to survive current petrol prices, rent and food costs, queueing by the thousand for a charity food handout. This was in Queensland. Not ten minutes later on the same program I saw people queueing for iPhone 3G. In Australia they’ll be paying an absolute minimum of $51/month for 24 months (or close on to $1k for an outright purchase) for something they don’t even need. What’s wrong with this picture?

Yes, technically I’m a hypocrite in saying that since I’ve bought more than my share of unnecessary gadgets, but I like to think I’ve tempered that with giving whatever bit of kit became redundant to someone else who’ll get another few years good use out of it. Been doing it for quite some time now.

I’m not making judgements here (pot - kettle - black) but I just think - for me - it’s a little... um... distasteful to spend so much on something I don’t need. Maybe in a year when the pricing gets sane (and I see good homes for the current kit to go to) I’ll kick tyres, but until then...

Maybe I’m growing up a little?

Two words.

Try summarising your life, the way you live it, or a core belief/desire with just two words.

Some examples (not necessarily ones I’d pick): Go Earth, Family Rules, Do Good, No Greed, Give Way, Defeat Evil, No Harm, Have Fun, Improve World, Make Difference, Be Fair.

Hint: if you pick something like Me First, then I think it says something interesting about you...

The ultimate iPod test.

It’s one thing to hand your iPod over to someone else and let them rummage and discover all your deep dark secrets but this can be mitigated with a nervous laugh and a ‘hey! er heh heh! how did the Spice Girls get in there??’

It’s quite another to face the challenge of letting your iPod play one of its default playlists: Top 25 Most Played, in front of others. Chappo didst challenge me so, and the playlist went thusly. Now I should preface this by saying that I usually just let my iPod scamper through my collection on full random so while I have many tracks, this list likely reflects tracks I have really focussed on. Call this an inverse-excuse, if you will...

25. Drive / Bic Runga. Excuse me but, dear Gods this woman has quite a voice. This is the watered down single version, have a listen to the original on Drive if you can.

Rain fall from concrete coloured sky.

24. Take On Me / A-Ha. Were you really surprised by this?

Bonus points if you can make it through this version:

23. Everything I’m Not / the Veronicas. A tad 90210, and aimed at a demographic half my age, but their sound rawks. And they’re local girls, so, go them!

and a pretty cool unplugged version:

22. Don’t Believe Anymore (Remixed by Ivan Gough and Colin Snape) / Icehouse. This has many resonances for me, especially the original. But we’ve been over that before. Suffices to say if iPods were around in 1985/6 the play count on this one would be a few hundred higher.

...and here’s the version that hit the iPod top 25:

21. Just a Word / Icehouse. I actually have a bone to pick with ID on this one. The remix on the remastered CD is overcooked! What were you thinking, Iva!? Were you aiming for the US market and thought the original was too barren? The version on vinyl is far, far better than this one. Whitespace, Iva, whitespace!

No vid available, exercise for student, etc.

20. Specialty / Howard Jones. Mingli, thank you for introducing me to this.

19. Jeunesse Dorée / De Phazz

18. Sabbatical / De Phazz

17. Heartfixer / De Phazz

16. As The Days Go By (remix) / Daryl Braithwaite. Hunt down the remix if you can - the vid that follows is the single version. Look out for the brilliant bridge, and of course the one and only John Farnham lending a vote of confidence on backing vocals.

15. You Can’t Hold On Too Long / The Cars

14. Night Spots / The Cars.

13. Rush / Big Audio Dynamite

12. Spaceman (remix) / Babylon Zoo

11. Here to Stay / New Order

10. Icehouse / Icehouse

9. Something Special / De Phazz

8. Human Behaiour (Close to Human mix) / Bjork

Sorry, can’t seem to find any freely available video of this one, the iTMS preview is here.

7. Don’t You Want Me (Extended) / Human League

Haven’t been able to find this version on iTMS or youtube so here’s the original.

6. Maybe San José / De Pazz

Love how these guys step right up to the line then mischeviously poke their tongue out and turn away. “Do you know the way to San-”

5. Streams / Baily

How the hell did this one get in here!? Winking

4. Numb/Encore / Linkin Park & Jay-Z

This is a remix of one of two Linkin Park’s tracks I’m addicted to. This is a really good collab with the two. The clip you see here has the song, but I think I probably associate this track more to that questionable remake of Miami Vice.

3. Things Can Only Get Better / Howard Jones. Again, Mingli, thank you.

2. Untouched / The Veronicas.

1. Unforgotten / Halo 2 Original Soundtrack

If you’re not a Halo/Marathon fan then this one’s probably a little lost on you. For me it brought out goosebumps. I’m just in awe of Microsoft (yes, I just typed those six words!) for going the whole nine yards and engaging a whole fracking orchestra to do the soundtrack for a game. It’s times like this that I smile in realising that there are just as many well-meaning, devoted-to-making-the-world-just-a-little-better geeks there as anywhere. They just don’t let them see daylight is all.

Excuse me, I’ll just go watch Antitrust a few more times to get my head straight; I feel a little - um - wrong about declaring an M$ product number one in anything. Happy Seriously though, hats off to you, Microsoft for briefly owning the soul of and collaborating with Bungie and making a really decent go of it.

So there you have it. You know what surprised me? No Thomas Dolby or Blue Nile made that list. Ah well, I get a little fickle with the ol’ track skip button. So what’s on your top 25 these days?


We all knew it...

US Pirate Party Study Shatters MPAA Claims

We all knew it, but somebody finally did the legwork. I'd like to see them do the same study for the music industry. Problem is that that one probably would show faltering sales... but that's only because music being produced these days is utter shite. Happy

New music category: GTFOOMH!


As in Get [a pause here while I remember my in-laws sometimes read this] Out Of My Head.

There are, at the moment, two songs that qualify for this. The first is one Delta Goodrem’s In This Life. Yeah I know... This is a girl who has gone through the whole Neighbours mill but seems to have come out of it pretty well. She’s had to face some pretty rough challenges (the big C, the not-so-big P) and as far as I can see is a pretty genuine person. In This Life almost looks like a reinvention and an “I shall prevail” affirmation. Good on you, Delta. It’s here in iTMS.

Why does this qualify as a GTFOOMH? Well, I caught myself idly whistling it on the bridge today. Not an issue in itself but others were nearby, it could have led to “dude, seriously, wut?” awkwardness...

The second, and original candidate for this is the Veronicas’ track Untouched. The violas contrasting with the effect module guitar distortion (a poor substitute for a stack o’ Marshalls distortion but it has its own character), the square & sawtooth wave synth and the manic tempo are quite something. I’m pretty sure Jessica Louise and Lisa Marie could right now collaborate with a bunch of Kangaroo droppings and still make a hit. Not saying that Toby Gad is a bunch of kangaroo droppings, mind. Youtube mono doesn’t really do it justice, iTunes sample here.


CFLs: Just Say No.

Had to change a bulb yesterday, well Kathy did while I was still getting ‘round to it, and it occurred to me that with the Australian Govt.’s proposed phase out of “inefficient incandescent” bulbs in favour of fluorescent bulbs (a.k.a. Compact Fluorescent Lamps - CFLs) due by November this year, they’re dumber than they look.

First the good side of CFLs: they use a fraction of the amount of energy normally used with incandescent lighting, and this is the Govt’s main selling point. Hey that’s great, I’m all for sustainability and helping Gaia out, but try thinking it through a little more...

1. CFLs are more expensive and take more energy to produce,

2. CFLs are wasteful: when you turf a CFL you’re chucking not only the bulb but the integrated ballast which could last much longer,

3. Recycling? Not according to the govt., they recommend disposing of these in general rubbish, ie. landfill and not recycling because the bulbs wouldn’t make it through to the recycling plant and “contaminate recyclable items.” Y’see where an “inefficient incandescent” bulb is made up of glass, a sliver of tungsten, copper and alloy, a fluoro (be it a tube or CFL) is made up of glass, plastic, alloy, copper, ballast (usually a small electronic circuit) phosphor, and mercury vapour.

The last one is the worry. Sure it’s a tiny amount, but aren’t we trying to decrease the noxious substances we’re putting into the ground? Can’t be that noxious, you say? Why, then, does that very page say that the first thing you should do if you break one indoors, is open all windows to ventilate the room? Oh, and don’t use a vacuum to clean it up.

Enough whinging, how about putting a positive -er- light on it. One good move would be to move the ballast part of the CFL into the socket so you’re not replacing it unnecessarily. These are available but they’re hugely expensive and could/should be subsidised if you want any kind of adoption rate, like say solar panels. Oh, don’t get me started on solar panels...

My thought? CFLs are relatively good for energy usage, but bad for everything else. Use them for commercial applications where the energy difference will be noticeable, but don’t put them everywhere. The real solution, IMHO, is LEDs. They’re nearly indestructible, last pretty much for ever, and are energy efficient enough to put CFLs to shame. Refine that technology and you’re laughing, until then, well...

Huzzah: eBay gives up on PayPal-only requirement.

So eBay finally blinked, citing not the roars of derision from its customers, but our own ACCC as the reason.

I’ve only used eBay about three times, and once using PayPal because it was a software title I just had to have (a vintage copy of Spaceship Warlock) and PayPal was the only payment method available. I felt distinctly unsafe giving an organisation that does not have to play by financial institution rules - and who have repeatedly allowed customers’ accounts to be cleaned out - any access to one of my accounts. I closed the PayPal account the moment the transaction was completed.

You see, the biggest problem with PayPal is that it’s a pull mechanism, rather than push, and after you give initial approval, PayPal have continuous access to be able to withdraw from your account with or without your prior authorisation.

No. Just no.

I’ll stick with push transactions like bank transfers, cheques, or even credit cards where the organisation does have to comply with finance sector regs, and in the event of a disputed transaction, will reverse the transaction on your say so then start investigating.

I trust PayPal as far as I can throw it. If eBay had gotten away with the anti-competitive PayPal-only restriction then I just would never use it (as opposed to hardly ever...)

On a lighter note, yes, even though the game is some 18 years old (and cheesy as the day it was born) I still fire up Spaceship Warlock once in a while. Classic gaming is one of the reasons we still have old iron hanging around the place.

I know it's bad form to laugh...

...but the expression on this little fella is priceless!

So bad for you, and yet...

Lunch today: ye olde English pork pie with nostril-searing amounts of hot English mustard.

pic by Evan Izer cc-by-sa 3.0

Had to be done.