Everything, Everything - March 2008

2021: J F M A M J J A
2020: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2019: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2018: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2017: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2016: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2015: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2014: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2013: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2012: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2011: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2010: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2009: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2008: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2007: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2006: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2005: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2004: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Happy Easter
Saturday 22nd March, 2008 01:53
The meaning of Easter: playing computer games and drinking alcohol until some silly time in the morning. And there's something about chocolate too. Oh, and something about some guy in some place.

Fab, stop stealing my coffee! Or at least make me some so I have an incentive to climb out of bed.
Mmmmm, Coffee...
Friday 21st March, 2008 01:44
Geek Humour
Wednesday 19th March, 2008 18:10
No, I'm not talking "yo momma's so fat, she uses FAT256", I mean geeks making jokes about hard disks in the comments of an article about Western Digital's new 320GB platters (does anyone know what the next common disk size is that we'll see from manufacturers?).

Geek Humour
Monday 17th March, 2008 12:52
Red cards are to be handed out to motorists who park irresponsibly in the Mendips area. The cards are not a parking fine, and are only used for inconsiderate parking, such as areas which cause a danger to pedestrians crossing roads and where visibility may be reduced. Kristy Blackwell, the district council's project officer in community safety, said:

"The red cards are only used for inconsiderate parking and not where vehicles are parked illegally"

So if they're not parking illegally, why are you giving them a red card? Surely if it is dangerous to park somewhere then you should stick some double yellow lines down to stop people from parking there? Either somewhere is or isn't dangerous, and people without local knowledge might assume from the lack of lines that it's okay to park there. The best way to stop inconsiderate parking isn't to hand out red cards, it's from proper road markings. That way, when people inevitably park on them, you can give them a fine (and recoup some money) for having illegally parked in a place that causes danger. None of this meaningless red card crap that inconsiderate drivers will typically ignore. If all you get is a red card for parking in a bad place, what's the real incentive for parking elsewhere? What's to stop them from building up a large collection of red cards in their glovebox? If they're not careful the red card will become far less meaningful than an ASBO.
Loosely-Coupled IE (LCIE)
Wednesday 12th March, 2008 01:37
The IEBlog has some interesting details about IE8's new architecture, Loosely-Coupled IE, which is a collection of internal architecture changes to Internet Explorer that improve the reliability, performance, and scalability of the browser (although based on what I've seen, a lot of iexplore.exe processes seem to hang around long after the browser window has been closed). They've isolated the browser frame and its tabs and changed them to use asynchronous communication between components. The two main benefits for users: Low and Medium integrity tabs can reside in the same UI frame; Tabs are isolated from the frame. The former means you can have internet and local files open in the same browser window. The latter is important because a new feature called Automatic Crash Recovery uses tab isolation to recover from crashes. And I've already seen it in action:

Automatic Crash Recovery

Additionally, if you kill the iexplore.exe process and start IE again, it will ask you if you want to open up the tabs again.
What Would You Do With An Extra £100?
Tuesday 11th March, 2008 10:34
I got a leaflet with my payslip a few weeks ago, which is still sat on my desk for some reason:

Childcare vouchers

And it got me thinking, what would I do with an extra £100 a week? Hookers? Drugs? Drink? Gamble? Treat myself to a nice hotel? Buy a new terabyte hard disk? A cheap bottle of champagne each week? Sadly, once you read the "small print" on the right hand side, it looks like I need to have a child in order to make those savings.

I tried searching for an image of the voucher, to save me from copying the cameraphone image (especially as there's a lot of glare). For some reason Google has trouble with the GBP symbol, suggesting dollars and in one rather bizarre case (the third result) what to do when you're given 100 dildos (presumably NSFW, although I'm at work so I haven't tried it).

Monday 10th March, 2008 14:33
Random Thought
Saturday 8th March, 2008 23:11
After watching Have I Got Old News For You earlier tonight, I wondered what Mock The Week would be like if it were hosted by Dora Bryan instead of Dara Ó Briain.
Crysis (And LAN Parties)
Saturday 8th March, 2008 22:20
I finally got around to playing the demo. I installed it a while back, but I couldn't find it. Turns out that it's a known problem on Vista, and you have to find the right executable and launch it manually. Which I did. I then had to change the resolution, and discovered it seems to max out at 1680x1050 (which is fine for my 20" Dell monitor that I plan on taking to the LAN party next week), but it doesn't support the native 2560x1600 resolution of my 30" Dell monitor, so I went with 1280x800 (so each pixel maps to 4 pixels, so it doesn't look too bad). I would complain, but it turns out that Crysis really hammers my 3870. I have a Fanmate on the GPU fan, and the heatsink felt quite hot, so I turned the Fanmate up to its highest setting and it seemed okay. I also was a bit worried about the CPU temperature, so I decided to play safe and hooked the fan back up (thermal throttling on the chip will stop me killing it, but it doesn't hurt to connect the fan). The game looks good on the Medium settings that it recommended for my card, but I decided to try Very High for a laugh and it looks fantastic! However, it looked fantastic at a pretty abysmal frame rate. So I played with the settings some more and found a balance where it still looks good (better than Medium), but doesn't suck for framerates. I think you'd need some sort of CrossfireX 3870X2 setup to play the game on Very High, so no wonder they don't support 2560x1600. As an aside, I finally put my spare BFG 7800GT OC into my PC at work, which means that system is probably better than half the systems that will turn up at the LAN party over Easter. Mind you, even my laptop with integrated Intel graphics might be better than some of the systems there (it scores an impressive 3.5 on the Vista performance rating thingy, the graphics obviously being the weakest point).

Anyway, I think I might try and play the Crysis demo again on Easy. I must be really terrible, as I keep dying/running out of ammo/not found any grenades yet. I think it's all related. Need to get some practice in before the LAN party just in case we play other FPS games (which we probably will; however there's been a strong move towards playing on the Wii and other games like TrackMania Nations and some strategy games).

EDIT: It looks like to go above 1920x1200, I would need a graphics card with 1GB of RAM. This might be why I'm limited to 1680x1050 in the game, as my card only has 512MB RAM (perhaps I can try 1920x1200 if I force the game to use DX9 in Vista, although that would limit me to High).
Audio Video
Saturday 8th March, 2008 22:10
I finally got around to configuring Vista properly so I could get subtitles (VobSub) working with CoreAVC (as I used to use ffdshow, which does subtitles natively, but I need multithreaded decoding for 1080p content - at least until I upgrade to something like the Q9450 when it's out). I say configured, I didn't actually touch anything since I tried to configure it when I initially installed CoreAVC, it just started working properly, so I'm thinking perhaps the restart I gave the system the other day might have fixed things. I also finally configured (i.e. changed settings) AC3filter to re-encode DTS audio into AC3 so I wouldn't lose the surround sound (I already had SPDIF passthrough going on for AC3, but DTS was being decoded to 2.0). As my rather old amplifier only accepts AC3. I'll get a new amplifier and better 5.1 system at some point, as I've had this one for 8 years now. I might even hook up the rear speakers, which I haven't done as I didn't want a cable to run across the middle of my lounge floor, and the cables aren't long enough to run all the way around the room.
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Wednesday 5th March, 2008 12:23
I was catching up on an old episode that was on Dave recently, and they were doing the intros round and it sounded a lot like Melanie C's Suddenly Monday. It turns out it was meant to be Why Does It Always Rain On Me by Travis. I wonder which track came first. Travis are okay, but Suddenly Monday is so catchy. Mel C was always quite underrated.
It's Not Just Me
Monday 3rd March, 2008 21:28
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this about the "Are YOU Interested?" application:

These are things that will make me hate you.

1. When you type like a moron.
I don't expect you to have perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation, not by a long shot, but iF YoU'rE TyPiNg LiKe ThIs, I will get angry and click no before I even see anything else. Type in all lowercase if you have to, or in all caps. Either one would be far better than having my eyes raped. Why put in extra effort just to make yourself less desirable anyway? That kind of seems counter-productive. Maybe the reason that you're lonely is that you make it very obvious how stupid you are.

2. When you talk about your boyfriend in the 'about me' section.
"I have a boyfriend who I love! Are you interested?" Hell no, I'm not interested! Why do you even have this application?

3. When people have no picture and no information.
All I know about you is that you're a girl named Ashley. I'm sorry, but my standards are not that low.

4. When you are not the only one in your picture.
Are you the attractive black haired girl? The drunk blonde? The fat guy? I have no idea. If there's a person and a dog, I'll assume you're the person. If there's a woman holding a baby, I'll jump to conclusions and assume that the baby isn't the 22 year-old with a Facebook account (unless the about me leads me to believe otherwise). But if there are two people in your picture who are both girls of similar age, how the hell am I supposed to know which one's you? At least go into paint and draw an arrow that says, "me" pointing at you in the picture. If I wanted to gamble, I'd just close my eyes and click the yes button repeatedly. Fix your damn picture.

5. If you sound like a hooker.
If you put that obviously-naked-shoulders-and-up-shot of you and your gal pal as your profile picture, then changed your information to say that you're from Fort Dirty, you'd better have one hell of an about me section.

6. When your 'about me' section just says, "Click YES on me!"
Wow! You want people to click yes on you? I never would have guessed that! I thought that you got the application so that you could feel rejected on a much larger scale. Or maybe you're just fishing for clicks from people who are too nice to say no. I realize that's the default message but, hey, here's a concept: change it.

7. When your name is Heather.
Personal taste: I just hate people named Heather.

8. When you have a picture that your face is not visible in.
You can say that you're short and skinny with blonde hair and blues eyes all you want in your 'about me' section, but that's not a suitable replacement for a clear shot of your face in your picture. If you won't show me your face, I'll assume that it's because you're ugly. I don't click yes on ugly people.

9. When you're boring.
The 'about me' section limits you to 255 characters. That isn't very much. This means that you should cut the crap and tell me the really important things. If you choose to put, "I'm a freshman just trying to live it up", I will assume that the only thing about you that's even remotely interesting is that you go to school and you think that fun things are fun. Boy, howdy, you sure sound like a keeper!

I definitely agree with 4. And I think there should be:

10. When you're married/in a relationship, but your AYI profile says you're single. Don't get pissed off with me if I poke you or message you to say hello, I wouldn't do it if you weren't lying, I'm only interested in someone that's single.

This probably leads to another rule:

11. When you're married/in a relationship. If you're not single, you're not allowed to tease us or tell us you're interested. Just fuck off until you're single. I said FUCK OFF!
Vista KB
Saturday 1st March, 2008 14:58
This issue applied to my laptop when I tried to install SP1 on Vista last month, but I recently ran into a similar problem with a friend's laptop (I say friend, I fancied her but she's now dating another guy and apparently only ever saw me as a friend) when I tried to install SP1 for her. Except I wasn't able to get it to install on her laptop, but I suspect it's possible that the installer was corrupt as I did copy it across over a wireless connection. SP1 shouldn't be that difficult to install, or should come up with better error messages. Thankfully the Vista + SP1 ISOs are available from Microsoft on MSDN and TechNet, which should make things less painful for anyone with retail keys (not quite so sure what happens for people with upgrade keys, perhaps they can use the key on a "retail" copy of Vsta + SP1?). Yes, it really has taken me ths long to write a blog entry about it! But it's not as bad as the 4 months it took me to post a birthday present to a friend (I say friend, but I accidentally said something a bit offensive and now she's no longer talking to me :S).
© Robert Nicholls 2002-2021
The views and opinions expressed on this site do not represent the views of my employer.