Thursday 20 Dec 2012
I did not expect Dishonored to be as as super-ultra-extreme-awesomazing as it is.
It probably helped that I didn't have high expectations. Expect too much, and even an excellent product can dissapoint. (This is why there was never a third season of Fawlty Towers, the writers didn't feel they could keep improving enough to meet the expectations)
But regardless, it's an excellent game which I strongly reccommend. It has some of the best elements of Thief, Deus Ex and Half-Life, and very few weaknesses. The missions are relatively open, you are free to play in whatever way you wish. Kill 'em all, or ghost every map... Booby-trap the alarms or avoid the roads... And watch the results of your choices bear unique fruit.
The plot is strong, the characters far from cliche. It's the closest thing to a Thief game since Thief: Deadly Shadows, and it some ways it's even better than the Thief games.
Check it out!
Wednesday 19 Dec 2012
Surprise surprise, it appears that the drastic anti-piracy actions taken by the USA have reduced movie sales. Specifically, after the web service Megaupload was forcibly shut down revenues dropped. Who could possibly have anticipated that?
Well, pretty much anyone really. Consumers are getting tired of being ubale to buy the things they want. and of paying too much for the things they can get. And of unskippable copyright warnings and promos, and all the other rubbish that makes it harder and harder to just buy something and enjoy it.
Will the industry learn from this? Possibly, but don't expect any improvement. The big entertainment companies are so far from what is sustainable capitalism that it's hard to imagine them returning to it this side of a complete societal collapse. (Which may well be underway already)
But there's proof for you, anyway. When someone copies something, it does not equate to a lots sale. On the contrary, it appears to mean increased sales. The greatest enemy to selling you stuff isn't piracy, but obscurity.
Thursday 11 Oct 2012
We'll all be rooned, said Hanrahan. Capitalism has been allowed to run on far too long a leash for too long, and one does suspect we'll all be rooned. But as the poem suggests, one may be quite wrong.
It does seem rather ridiculous that the Western world has been improving productivity and efficiency for decades, but we still have to work 40 hour weeks and struggle meet house payments. How can this possibly be? What happens to all that extra wealth the working masses generate?
This is explored rather well by Michael Hudson in How Finance Capital Leads to Debt Servitude. It's a long but informative read that should be essential material for anyone who advocates reducing financial regulations.
Thursday 11 Oct 2012
It's difficult enough to find telly that's worth watching, but it gets so much worse if you allow preconceptions to reduce your options. If you believe cartoons are for kids, you better avoid The Simpsons, Futurama, The Family Guy, Archer, The Venture Brothers, and others that are just as entertaining.
Wednesday 26 Sep 2012
How about that! After decades of state government bailouts and very dodgy behaviour, Gunns has finally entered voluntary administration with $904 million in debts. The debt is likely even higher, after all, this is a firm that was trying to get $200 million of debt reclassified as assets at the last minute. Exacty the kinds of financial shenanigans that gave us the finanical crisis, itself just a taste of things to come. It takes effort to run up debts like that while telling your shareholders that everything is fine.
Maybe the next time the state government feels like handing out a few hundred million in the name of saving forestry jobs, they can cut out the middle man and just give it straight to the handful of truck drivers and plant operators so they can retire for life.
Corruption and deceit are common, but it's good to see some of it come crumbling down from time to time.
Sunday 3 Jun 2012
Just a quick update in my Thief section to link to the Thief Games at gog.com. DRM-free! At $9.99 it's never been easier to play the greatest stealth series ever made, set in an awesome steampunk world. Check it out!
Monday 4 Feb 2012
Good old Bad Attitudes has a brief post linking to a three hour BBC documentary on Religous disbelief. It's a good watch, particularly with the excess of hollow shiny drivel on the telly these days. Good brain candy to have a think about, and it may well improve your perspective.
Wednesday 14 Mar 2012
Gingerbread! It's yummy stuff, and it amazes me that it's so difficult to find good gingerbread at a reasonable price. It's cheap to make, and lasts as long as any biscuit. Here's my recipe for a nice, dark gingerbread. Firm enough to build a gingerbread house out of, though I just cut it into rectangles for the biscuit jar.
Share and enjoy! Too soft? cook it a bit longer. Too hard? Don't cook it for so long next time. Easy! If you like it, buy my book. :)
Monday 5 Mar 2012
John Cleese has an interesting point in at the end of this video. Specifically, he notes that you must be fairly intelligent to know how stupid you are.
For some time, I've suspected the wise are those who are willing to say they don't know, or at least to consider matters before answering. It's the ones filled with supreme confidence you have to be wary of. They are the ones who start land wars in Asia and fill your diesel truck with unleaded. Then they'll probably say they did the right thing all along and it's the world's fault it didn't work out.
We each like to think of ourselves as one of the smart ones. But how can we know? I figure if you're not willing to admit you can be pretty dumb at time, then maybe you're much stupider than you think.
Wednesday 15 Feb 2012
Seriously, do I look after you people or what? I'm actually making no money at all with that price, but what the hey. If a few people with iPads and such get to read my work, so much the better!
You can now read about the adventures of the most stressed bodyguard in existence in an entirely new format! Go ahead and check it out. This is not a book that will bore you, I guarantee it.
Tuesday 17 Jan 2012
Another year, another app that leaves all else in the dust. Today it's a media player called PotPlayer
One upon a rime, Windows Media play was fine and did everything one needed. These days the Microsoft offering is complicated rubbish, and alternatives are necessary. Media Player Classic offered an excellent alternative for a while, but it didn't keep up with modern container formats like MKV. VLC was was too messy for my tastes, and I founf the KM Player to be a perfect fit. Configurable, full control over audio streams, subtitles and aspect ratio. Unfortunately the KM Player was bought up by Pandora TV, who have completely failed to keep it up to date with emerging tech like 10-bit color and x264.
But, blessing of blessings, the Korean dude who wrote the KM Player has come up with a sort of modern version of it called PotPlayer. It does everything, it's easy to use, and it's all in Korean. 'DOH!
Luckily there is an english version available, just check out this thread at Doom 9 Forums.
Heck, it took me ages to find a media player that did everything I needed. Thought I'd share the joy.