Category Archives: Personal

Personal posts, ie; about me.

New Business Cards


So I’ve been using, wrongly, cards for the last half a year which stated I was still a student, oops! I am doing this kind of last minute – I was recommended – so I thought why not. I can think of some interesting card backs to use right? πŸ™‚

I decided on the front, the easy part, I’d do the two logos on the right – my own very simple AA one, and the IGDA Game Preservation SIG logo. This coupled with my contact information (ie; this website). Here is the front in all it’s glory:


As for the backs, that was the harder decision. There are a few things I decided to do:

  • Raid my photos for some interesting videogame (especially game preservation) related ones
  • Check what pictures I have downloaded that inspired me to save them in the first place – there were more then I thought (but 50 is a rather large number)
  • Add some other random ones in the mix (not specifically videogame related pictures or photos in the first place)

I added a simple text caption of my thoughts onto the pictures – I did try and do the full 50, but I forgot a few important things (which I didn’t want to go back and fix):

  • Cropping will occur – make sure there is whitespace around the edge of the image (which I just couldn’t be bothered to redo for many images – some were much too long or simply not big enough to work) or make sure you are using a large picture
  • Fitting text into some pictures is not possible, aesthetically – and some I did use eventually fails at this a bit
  • Having a second chance to look at what you are going to put on cards you’ll give to people is important πŸ™‚ There are some I cut from this

A mix of these reasons made me cut it down to around 37 designs, mainly the cropping and size issues (it was late when I eventually finished, ouch what an evening). I did end up with a few more unreadable ones (or perhaps just cleverly hidden πŸ˜‰ ). They’re all in this gallery, including the lot I didn’t use:


And the final result (Moo do sure like to make it all pretty):


I think next time I get some printed (I got 200 from Moo) I will see what people think of these. Since I am no artist, and not a very good photographer (I need to get a better camera for starters that can deal with low light and taking pictures of screens), I did source most of them from the web in one form or another. Too clichΓ©? too derivative? too copyright infringing? too self-indulgent? not witty enough? Who knows what people will think, to be honest! At least they’re much more exciting then my last batch which was entirely black. Next time I might also have some more interesting game development screenshots to use. πŸ™‚

Also one last final point:

  • Business card printing prints much, much much darker then what you see on any screen.

Luckily only one of mine was really affected, but it does show using just black or white text helps πŸ™‚

The Problem With Account Names

Mini rant incoming! Microsoft are, quite frankly, pathetic. Unlike Steam, which allows you to set your friend name independent of your account name (which might as well be an email account, since it doesn’t automatically create any URL’s or display it anywhere), Microsoft’s Live system has the audacity to make the front end name displayed to people exactly the same as your login name.

Then charges 800 points, Β£6.85, to change it to something else.

Sucks if you want clan names. Also it’s limited to 13 characters (what an arbitrary amount). My Steam account name “Finaldeath” is taken, so fair enough, I’m now Awesomestrong on that, and stuck as it, unless I want to pony up cash to change it. Shame I never joined the service however many years ago when it started, so I could choose my normal nickname or a decent variant on it.

I wonder how many original non-postfix-number names are out there. 13 character’s isn’t a lot to work with. I just think they’re idiots for not allowing you to change your friend’s name frankly, it’s such a small thing and yet they really annoyed me doing it this way.

First Day of Work In Snow

What I saw at 7AM, eek!

Fun and games today – freezing cold now. It didn’t help my return journey despite getting to my first day of work (which will be frontline IS support for students at Nottingham University) on time. My return journey took 3 hours or so, for a trip which is meant to be around an hour to and hour and a half. I spent half an hour waiting for a bus (luckily, near the front of the queue).

At least while on the bus I started Time Hollow – rather frustratingly a “try everything” game (ala Phoenix Wright in some ways) but a nice premise and good visuals, with no a bad bit of dialogue. Time travel always ticks some good boxes for me if done well, and so far it seems to be okay.

Tomorrow I’m thinking Wellington boots. I just don’t want to have wet feet for walking around at work! At least it looks nice, except when cars crash into next door’s bins after sliding down the hill. Steep roads were closed off, the salt and gritters were pretty overwhelmed I guess today – should be okay by Wednesday for Nottingham at least despite whatever snowfall occurs (as long as the gritters have done the roads), since there has never been big an issue with snow here.

Nice New iAudio Battery

My iAudio battery was giving up on me. It is now 4 or possibly 5 years old (I got it one Christmas), and so, I thought, “I’ll replace it!”. No doubt you can do this for most MP3 players, especially those years out of warranty like mine πŸ˜‰

I found some handy instructions and site pointing on the iAudiophile forums. Megacapacity had the ticket, a suitable fitting battery. Presto chango, I got one in the post (from Hong Kong so took a few days).

Yesterday I did the operation. I managed to open my MP3 player pretty easily. Got a soldering iron off my Dad to get the old one out and new one in – doing this I also got rid of one wire since it just wouldn’t reattach (after I knocked one end off) despite me trying for a while. It isn’t a necessary wire at least, connecting to an unused bottom connector (well, at least I hope so, I can still hear it playing at least πŸ™‚ ).

The finished work. Note extra wire and old battery.

I tried out the battery today (on a trip to the NMOC). Previously, it honestly had only a 50/50 chance of turning off after immediately taking it off the mains power (sometimes I had to keep it plugged in to initially boot it). It was worse with the original firmware, I now have RockBox on which is good (apart from lacking a “Normalise” function, the only downside of the firmware). Originally it then lost its charge fast, and leaving it for a few hours even if you don’t use it lead it into “Cannot start low battery” mode.

Now however it held it’s charge, after listening to 3.25 hours of podcasts, probably isn’t even 25% down (it’s really hard to tell on the screen). Not sure how long it’s back up to run-time wise, I’ll have to try it out on a long haul (perhaps a trip next week), and hope that it keeps going for a while longer. I can’t afford a new MP3 player yet, although it’d not be bad if I could get a larger then 20GB one next time πŸ˜‰ – this is a good money saving tip if your battery does die too. Cost me Β£16.79, which is much more affordable then an entirely new player πŸ™‚

Playing Videogames Late

I don’t usually get games on their release date, or pre-order them. This means I’m always behind the times when it comes to actually making a comment on them (to friends or here). I do play some demo’s, and sometimes get to play games at other times, but all in all I keep away from release date things. The last major one I did get was the Orange Box on Steam, because that came with the Team Fortress 2 beta, and I wanted the game anyway! (I still have Half Life 2 and Episode 1 to “give away” too, heh).

Is this really a problem though? For me, not really. I get to delay a purchase (while I still replay older games if I haven’t got anything new to play), and more importantly get to see the release fiascos. Yes, I’m talking about unworkable DRM in Spore and Mass Effect (both still not purchased), the unpatched and dodgy issues of Grand Theft Auto 4, and whether games are even worth getting – Left 4 Dead did appear too short in the demo, and I’ve still not got it yet – it still seems “not enough” for the (still full price) cost. I can wait for patches to come out (DRM and other issues) player made workarounds to appear (for unpatched things, and possibly even replacement EXE files if necessary), and communities to come up with walkthroughs (which will be good for Fallout 3 once I get it), forums and Q&A’s for the game I want to play. There is also a small chance the game will get cheaper on or Amazon, although this would only ever be a few quid at most.

So, staying behind the times, since I currently lack the money to go out and pre-order everything, means I get to enjoy the things I get much more. I know not everyone pre-orders, but there seems to be a lot more hype and promises then actual delivery from videogames, and many fall below expectations once they’re actually played. I much prefer reading about this before I get the games πŸ™‚

Hopefully, my small amount of late purchases will also mean these games might be available further in the future. Trying to find some games a year or more after release is pretty hard, it’s lucky I don’t have the money to be a PC game collector since I’d be hard pressed finding many of the games I’d want to get. Back catalogues available from anywhere (publisher, developer, distributor) are non existent, which is a real shame.

Then again, my purchase might just make publishers think the game isn’t selling well. So much pressure from all angles is put on good first week sales, it’s bizarre. Nevermind it when a games success sometimes rides on the amount of pre-orders, which translates to how many are printed and thus ultimately available to sell.

I’m sure I’m not alone purchasing many games late, I think it’s worth trying for a while though for all your games, to see how it feels after being able to read the critical acclaim or lambasting of a title before you buy πŸ™‚

My Macbook’s Missing Energy Saver Options

Seems I can’t change my Macbooks Energy Saver options from the menu bar now, which is a bit annoying for some tasks.


Not just me, so well, it’s everyone. Hmm, it’s nice that Apple provides some good fixes in their major updates – but then taking things out of software is nasty. Naughty Apple! Just because the 2008 Macbooks never had this option, why do you force me not to have it? I hope it gets fixed, but it’s unlikely.

This also happened before, although with something much more annoying, the “Update” of graphic drivers which removed any way to play 256 colour pallet games. They just like removing functionality over time I guess! πŸ™

BIOS Randomness Disabling My PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse

So, it seems after altering the fan settings on my BIOS I can’t use my keyboard and mouse (this is being posted from my laptop). Do you know how annoying it is to not even have Windows recognise USB ones either? I don’t know why it decided to do this really, I just hope to set my BIOS up in a way so I can actually use USB keyboards to access it so I can get to the BIOS whatever!

So, before I do a BOIS CMOS reset which should fix the problem, I need to make a backup of my fakeRAID0’ed data to an external HDD. I managed to get one drive recognised using DMRAID in Knoppix, but for some reason only the OS parition on the first two drives. The other 2 partitions (over the other 4 HDD’s) were not mountable, and trying the internet for answers didn’t help (It likely is the info for the RAID is not where DMRAID is looking for it but I’ve no idea how to fix that. The OS one was detected since it basically is only on the first 3rd of the RAID0).

Therefore I moved onto BartPE, and after finally realising after one CD that the “Press F6 to choose RAID drivers” in it obviously wouldn’t work…so I made a new CD integrating it (which was pretty easy actually!). Data is copying now, once it’s all on a external HDD I’ll be happier if I have to wipe it.

Must implement that weekly backup routine I intended to do weeks ago…must also get another terabyte external HDD to do this on! Lesson to everyone here is BIOS settings suck to change if they can disable your PS/2 ports (or hopefully I haven’t got broken ones which is the other option, sigh). I don’t know what kind of lesson it is, but it’s a “waste a day getting data off your hard drives in a PE environment” if it’s anything to go by.

Update: I did reset my BIOS, and it did sort my mouse/keyboard (and I’ve now enabled USB ones too). I still am unsure which option changed it, so always beware and backup before changing the BIOS! πŸ™‚

My GDC 2009 Session! Everyone please come! :)

I’m helping the IGDA this year at GDC, where I got offered to help by hosting the Students Social Gathering, and I’m on the GDC site too, wow πŸ™‚ – and I look terrible, yes, oh well! Let’s hope I move on from “Graduate” too, in one way or another. I’m not exactly sure what the event will consist of yet, I might have to plan something, but it is a social gathering, so should be great (I missed last years – it clashed with something else sadly). I hope also that the social is open like 2008, where people who just had an Expo pass could get to the IGDA booth (I think), making it more accessible to students, which for this is perfect.

Also up is the Preservation SIG Roundtable (we’ll see, but I doubt there’ll be any history sessions, although there was one last year I missed), and all the other IGDA things. I’ll be hopefully attending Dave and Alex and Many Other’s organised AI Summit, too. I’ll see if there is anything else interesting, nearer too it I think.

This Week, I Have Been Mostly Playing…

This week I have been mostly playing…

I’ve obviously played a lot since my last post, Red Alert and Deus Ex (which is still in progress) for instance, but also I have played Halo 3‘s campaign in Co-op, and the Half Life 2 engine mod Age of Chivalry and Half Life: Decay (read on for more). Continue reading This Week, I Have Been Mostly Playing…