Recent entries from Meme-Free Zone - the blog of MarcusRowland
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This year's Xmas card is on line here
The illustration is here
Wishing everyone best wishes for the holidays, and a Happy New Year.
Does anyone have contact details for the Paul Clark who wrote this:
I just realised it's rather relevant to my current RPG project!
Please send me a personal message if you know - I'm switching comments off so that it doesn't appear below.
later - now sorted!
Posted: 8 Dec 13 18:39
Someone on Kensington and Chelsea Freecycle is giving away a 42" plasma TV. The second one in the last few days.
Digital and high-def are REALLY killing the second-hand TV market!
...has mostly gone well, though as usual my voice is going. The morning session (Forgotten Futures) went as planned, which considering I wrote most of it at 2 AM last night is somewhat surprising. The adventurers unearthed Mad Empress Margaret's dark secret, managed to avoid blowing up themselves or the great London Pyramid, and survived contact with the Emperor. They even got a new spaceship out of the deal, on the understanding that they make themselves VERY scarce for a few years while certain awkward details are buried again. Raised £18 for Cancer Research from the players, to whom MANY thanks.
The afternoon adventure pitted a group of intelligent machines (a toaster, an android head, a road building machine and an angry Roomba) against multiple apocalypses, but went off the rails when the adventurers set off to an oncoming asteroid instead of heading for Hogwarts, where they might have done something to stop things. The earth was, of course, horribly doomed, and ended badly, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Ended the afternoon with a game of Ogre - destroyed the enemy base but very little else before my ogre was destroyed - and now the auction has just begun - they just sold a dice bag for £20 so hopefully a lot will be raised for charity.
I've run into a small hiccup with the Forgotten Futures CD-ROM; the next release, version 8, is already too big to fit on a single CD-ROM, and is nowhere near finished! I've got a LOT more material to add.
While I could take things off the disk, I don't think that's fair to users. Instead I'm planning to go over to DVD-R for the next release. This would let me include more without too many worries about space, and wouldn't add additional postal costs.
The Forgotten Futures RPG distribution disks are a lot smaller and for now at least will stay on CD.
This isn't an immediate crisis since I'm running massively late and the next release of the game is still a long way off - apologies to everyone for the endless delays - but I need to start sorting it out. To begin with, it would help if I had some idea how many people will actually run into problems with this. If you think it will cause difficulties - e.g., if you don't download the CD contents and can't read data DVDs - please email me and let me know.
Crossposted to ffutures_news
Finally got round to trying some other browsers and PCs.
This is also happening with Safari and Internet Exploiter on the Windows 7 box, but Chrome seems to be OK. I'll check it again tomorrow and make sure I'm still logged in.
It's also happening on my iPad.
It isn't happening on my iBook or the old XP box with any browser.
I really have no idea what all this means - some sort of problem with a particular sort of browser architecture?
Before anyone asks, I've tried deleting cookies, logging in and out, changing password, etc. but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions?
As part of migrating to a new PC I got the latest version of Oolite, and found as hoped that it plays well even at high resolution and maximum detail. What I've only just spotted is a couple of changes to game play - initially I swore but they actually make a lot of sense.
First, energy bombs have gone. You can't now lure a couple of dozen pirates into attacking you, blow them away, and steal all their stuff for 900 credits. You can still get cascade mines, but they are MUCH more expensive and can be outrun by a cunning pilot.
Which takes me to point 2. The AI is considerably improved. That may partly be the effect of the faster computer, but I think that pirates are coming in a bit more cleverly and taking better evasive action. They can also equip their ships with side weapons etc. and do anything a human player can do.
Third, the cloaking device stops working within a second or two of being switched off - in the previous version you could flick it on for a second and everyone would forget you existed. Now they just go "OK, he's back" when you switch off and start firing again, which is a lot more plausible.
According to the web site there are other changes - better shields for the Thargoids, for example.
The reason I say that these changes make sense is that (a) they are mostly going to affect the most experienced players who can afford toys like energy bombs and have been around long enough to snaffle a cloaking device and (b) they would be essential if there is ever a multi-player version, which I suspect is one of the goals of Oolite development. There isn't an add-on for it yet, but I'm sure it's coming.
If you don't like the changes you can switch back to strict Elite compatibility, but I'm going to stick with things as they are. And once I make Elite, which won't be long, I'll start playing with some of the add-on packs and see what the game can REALLY do.
Pro - Working well and blazingly fast, for the moment at least doesn't need an accelerated graphics card - running Oolite at maximum resolution and most processor-intensive graphics, ditto Videolan. After I type this I'll probably install Celestia, see how that goes. Or go to bed, which might be a better idea.
Con - the button to eject the CD drive is WAY too stiff - the whole computer moves first!
It turns out that my current versions of Acrobat and Omnipage pro are too ancient for Windows 7 - I had a feeling that might be the case. REALLY wish I'd done this while I was still an educational user, that's an extra money hit which could have been smaller but it's pretty much essential. Bit the bullet and ordered them anyway.
More once I've finished installing everything. For now reasonably happy.
The new computer is here - busy installing everything, all going well so far but wish me luck!
I picked up a 12" x 18" frame in a charity shop today, and will use it to frame my laserdisc of 2001 with a picture of the centre insert below it - this one printed out to the length of A4 paper:--Cut-- Click here for more --Cut--
I've ordered the Zoostorm PC - 3.2ghz quad processor, 2TB hard disk, 8gb RAM, Windows 7 premium 64 bit, gigabit ethernet, etc. Ought to be plenty fast enough for my current and future needs, a bit more expensive than I'd originally planned but considering how much of my life is spent in front of a computer I might as well spend accordingly. Should arrive on Monday if their site isn't lying to me, we'll see how it goes.http://www.ebuyer.com/570064-zoostorm-haswell-desktop-pc-7873-0494
They also do a version with an AMD 4.1GHz processor that only costs £269.99 after cashback, but it doesn't include any operating system. If I were building a Linux box or a machine primarily for games I'd be very tempted.
Now I need to get some CAT6 cable to run from the Gigabit socket on my router to the PC...
is by Zoostorm - a company I don't know at all. It's more expensive but a faster processor (3ghz quad core) and comes with a 500gb drive, 64-bit Windows 7 Pro, and 8gb RAM. Graphics use main memory, but it's got a pcie x16 card slot so I could put in a dedicated card if needed. I would have preferred a 1TB drive but they can't supply it with that configuration out of the box, it isn't a deal-breaker.
Ikea sell a frame called GLADSAX
which is designed to hold LP covers, and allegedly deep enough that it will hold a double album. Neither London branch stocks it, and it isn't available by mail order. About half their branches have it in stock, but I really don't fancy travelling to another city to get a £6.00 frame, and postage on top of the price would make it a bit silly.
Is there anyone on my flist that's (a) going to an Ikea outside London in the near future and (b) likely to be somewhere I'll be in the next few weeks?
Places I'll be in the next couple of weeks:
A party on Saturday - if you're going to it you'll know where it is.
The Tun on December 5th
Dragonmeet on December 7th
Please DON'T go to a huge amount of trouble with this, it really isn't that important. But if someone does happen to be planning an Ikea shop and will be at one of those venues please check availability and let me know.Update
- please forget about this; I think I'm going to buy s double width frame so I can display the thing open, the centre picture is a big B&W still which I think is my favorite. Just waiting to hear back from an ebay vendor.
As part of my decluttering I'm selling off several bound volumes of Victorian / Edwardian magazines that are duplicated in my collection. Needless to say the ones I'm selling are in poorer condition than the ones I'm keeping.
Also selling the 4th Indiana Jones movie. Yes, I know there were only three...http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=
At some point I'll probably be selling my stack-loading CD duplicator, since a lot of my customers now download rather than getting a physical disc; is that a universal thing, or is there still a market for CDs?
I've been having some trouble with the Opera 12 browser (crashes etc.) and went to check if there was a later version. It turns out that they've jumped from 12.16 (I think) to 18.0 without any immediate versions. Unfortunately the change is not an improvement.
First, there's no bookmarks menu. Yes, you read that right - you can save a few sites in a phone dialler thingy, but that's about it. To make matters worse, the download site lies about this and says you can use your bookmarks - then doesn't let you access them once you've "upgraded".
Second, you can't set up other programs to open files. You want to open ebooks with Calibre? Tough luck, all you can do is save the files. You want to open torrent files? Opera will do that for you - but it won't let you use uTorrent or another half-way decent torrent client, and Opera's built-in torrent client is not good. If you want to use an email client that isn't Opera's add-on program you're out of luck. It doesn't even seem to want to let me open PDFs directly, but that may be because my PC is set up to use Actobat to open PDFs, not Adobe Reader. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Third, there's no "open file" menu. You can save web pages but you can't re-open them, you have to navigate to them in Windows explorer, click on them, etc.
There are other problems, which seem to amount to a massive amount of dumbing down to make the program easy to use with tablet pc's and mobile phones. It's pretty, and appears to be fairly stable, but the problems are bad enough that I'm changing to Firefox as my default browser
Bottom line, I'd strongly recommend steering clear of this monstrosity unless you find sites that won't open with anything else.
later - forgot to say that there apparently were intermediate versions which weren't rolled out automatically to users. I think it's safe to assume that they knew the reaction in their existing user base would not be good!
When was the Shadow Proclaimation last mentioned on Dr. Who (TV and I suppose Torchwood, SJA, etc. but not the spin-off books etc.) - was it before or after the Pandorica and the reboot of the universe?
Maplin are selling 5M steel tape measures for £1. Seem to be reasonably well made with locking buttons, belt clips, and wrist straps.
I found three cheapish frames suitable for LPs / laserdiscs in a charity shop today - I've a feeling that I may have seen them before and subconsciously remembered that they were there. They don't have enough depth for a double disk like 2001, so I framed three others and for now have them on a boring bit of wall next to the window. I evidently managed to get my paws all over them, judging by the fingerprints visible in the picture, and will have to wipe the glass, but apart from that I'm reasonably happy with them.--Cut-- Click here for more --Cut--
OK, so I've already replaced most of the laserdiscs I can no longer play with DVDs, and have given most of them to the Trinity Hospice charity shop in Kensington Church Street which already had some - I've kept 2001 and a couple of others which I'm thinking of framing, also the Queen one in case someone can do a LD->DVD transfer. All I need to do now is sell the old player - it's got several watchers but no bids with four days to go, I'm hoping that someone will start the ball rolling soon. It's a shame, but given how old the technology is now I suppose it's inevitable that it gets more and more difficult to keep everything working. At least this way the majority of my disks are playable, with the old player, in the last year or so, it was a coin toss if things would work for any disk, not just the analogue ones.
I've been buying the DVDs up as I see them at a reasonable price. So far I've got
2001, Dune, all three Indiana Jones movies (cheaper than buying individually since I was missing no. 3), The Stunt Man, Young Frankenstein.
The others can wait for the time being. They're the sort of thing that turns up quite often in charity shops etc., and I think I may have a couple of them on freeby disks that were given away with newspapers, which aren't currently on my database.
I appear to own 119 laserdiscs - of these 16 are not playable with the replacement laserdisc player. Three I already have on DVD, others are readily available. I can't persuade myself that it's worth trying to get another player, or repair the old one, just for the other 13 disks. The list is as follows:
Blade Runner - Got the DVD
Romancing the Stone - Got the DVD
Star Wars - This is the "Han Shot First" cut, but I have a DVD version - it was on the 2nd disk of the limited edition release, a straight transfer of the laserdisc to DVD.
2001 - Thought I had the DVD but apparently not - definitely one to buy
Chariots of Fire - Cheap on DVD
Dune - cheap DVD
Escape from New York - cheap DVD
The Great Muppet Caper - cheapish DVD
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - I can live without.
MASH - Cheap on DVD
Queen: Greatest Flix - I will miss this one, it has some interesting performances, don't think there's a DVD.
Raiders of the Lost Ark - Cheap on DVD
The Stunt Man - Available on DVD but moderately expensive - but it's a film I like so it's on the buy it now list.
The Thing (John Carpenter) - Cheapish DVD
Witness - cheapish DVD
Young Frankenstein - cheapish DVD
So I think that I'm going to sell the old player on a "spares or repair" basis, which hopefully will cover most of the cost of the replacement, buy the discs I really don't want to live without on DVD, and give the unplayable laserdiscs to the Science Fiction Foundation, charity shops, etc., since it's rarely worth trying to sell them on ebay.