Archive for November, 2003

Oh dear

Thursday, November 13th, 2003

I just tried to move the mouse pointer off my laptop’s screen and onto my desktop PCs screen. I was waving the mouse around for a good 5 seconds before I figured out what was going wrong.

I reckon I could probably knock up a fake device driver to let you actually do this, though. Sad, sad, sad.

Added some pics of fireworks to the gallery. Got a few more still to develop, which I’ll add when they come back from Peak.

Moosefest 2

Thursday, November 13th, 2003

There’s another Manc blogmeet next wednesday. Fab Cafe, Portland Street, Manchester, 8pm-ish. I’ll be there, as will Lori, Sarah, Adrian, and hopefully jane and Lyle, too. Yay for beer and meeting people you don’t know 🙂

Loose ends

Thursday, November 13th, 2003

Just a few bits and bobs before I write another proper entry.

No, we haven’t shipped yet; we’re still waiting on final definitive absolutely-the-last buglists from our test teams. Shouldn’t be long, but if they’re anything like the absolute-final-this-is-really-it buglists we’ve had before, they’ll be entirely composed of things they could have told us about weeks ago, or things that aren’t actually bugs.

I’m happy to discover Call Of Duty runs very nicely on my laptop – well enough to hold my own in an online team deathmatch, anyway. Given that it’s got graphics hardware that predates the Ark, I’m quietly impressed.

I’ve watched a couple of films I’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Insomnia isn’t as good as Memento, but that’s hardly surprising (Memento being, in my opinion, one of the best pieces of work ever committed to celluloid). What it is, though, is an excellent psychological thriller manner of thing; Robin Williams is a simply stunning actor when he’s not trying to be whacky or zany. And the opening shot of a plane flying over ice fields in Alaska is just incredible and made me want to go there, lots.

Donnie Darko made me go “Whu?” lots. I’m aware, in an abstract sort of way, that it was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m just not entirely sure why. One to re-watch with the director’s commentary on, I think.

Only a couple left in the DVDs I’ve Bought But Never Watched pile now – Delicatessen is next, I think.


Tuesday, November 11th, 2003

Just heard that friend of mine and writer of one of the, er, odder blogs around nayf has just sung himself into the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. Woo, yay and indeed, houpla to nayf.


Tuesday, November 11th, 2003

Two games have been occupying my (preciously sparse) spare time of late.

First, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on the Gameboy Advance. I’m not a huge RPG fan – I found all that levelling up stuff incomprehensible and boring – and with the Final Fantasy series, I’m especially not a fan of the battles – I found that they tended towards being tedious, unnecessary, unpredictable and broke up the story. Which does beg the question as to why I find FFTA quite so absorbing, being as it is a series of RPG style turn-based battles combined with incredibly deep and complex character-building sections. But I love it. It’s stunning. And because it’s turn based, it’s perfect for playing whilst at work because I can complete a few turns during compiles 🙂 Along with Advance Wars, this game is absolutely perfect for the GBA, and like Advance Wars, it’s far more fun than it has a right to be 🙂

Secondly, Call Of Duty. Medal of Honour: Allied Assault was very nearly responsible for a fatal slippage in one of our previous titles – the LAN multiplayer captured our office’s attention in a way not seen since Unreal Tournament broke onto the scene, and the single player missions were works of genius. Expectations were therefore naturally high for Call of Duty, seeing as how it’s one of three “sequels” to MoH:AA – and the one for which expectations are highest (the ‘official’ sequel by EA, using none of the original MoH:AA team, Men of Valor by 2015, creators of MoH:AA minus half the team, and Call of Duty, by Infinity Ward, a new studio set up by most of the original MoH:AA team after they left 2015). Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint – basically, it’s more of the same, and that’s far from being a bad thing. The single player missions are more squad-based than MoH:AA, but still have the intense battlefield feeling that were the hallmark of the original title. The multiplayer side of things is equally brilliant, and we’ve already put in more hours in our office than we probably should have given that we’re due to ship product very soon. Great stuff.

In other news, rumours suggest that the remainder of the Edge staff have followed the editor and sub-editor’s lead and quit. I’ve been pondering an Edge retrospective post for a while, and if this latest rumour is true, expect one to appear some time soon.

Celebrity Wife Swap

Tuesday, November 11th, 2003

1 – I don’t know why I’m watching this.
2 – Major Charles Ingram is a truly detestable person.

CSI Miami is on five. I think I’ll watch that instead.

Ghost In The Shell

Monday, November 10th, 2003

This could possibly be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.


Sunday, November 9th, 2003

I agreed to trade Nayf‘s Seagull Story Of Terror for my own tale of dastardly dealings and childhood bank fraud. He’s fulfilled his side of the bargain, so I’m honour-bound to keep mine. So, here goes.

When I was younger, I had an account with the Halifax Building Society. I was a member of the Little Xtra Club. So far as I could tell, this basically entailed getting a free money box and magazine four times a year in exchange for letting someone else look after your money. Fair enough. Besides, the money box was quite cool, and the magazine got you discounts for Pleasurewood Hills, so I was quite happy with the whole deal. Over time, I amassed what was a not insubstantial quantity of money for a young child, through carefully ensuring that all the cool stuff I wanted could in some way be construed as educational, and therefore something I could get other people to pay for. All was good, I was loaded, and I had the biggest collection of Usborne computer and junior science books you’ve ever seen.

Fast forwards a few years. I’m a bit older, a bit craftier, and still have the account at the Halifax. My parents have decided that I’m now old enough to look after the account myself, and transfer it out of my mother’s name into mine. This meant I now had immediate access to my money, which was good, but it also meant that I was now pre-destined to commit fraud against the Halifax. No, really. Stick with me.

Shortly after I gained control over my account, the Halifax announced their decision to become a bank. I had no idea whether this was a good thing or not, because so far as I was aware, banks and building societies were basically the same thing. All I knew was that they were promising Free Money for all customers if they became a bank. That was good enough for me. I was in. This, however, is the point where things got a bit complicated. What Free Money they were going to give you depended on (a) how much money you had and (b) how old you were. If you were over 18, you got about ukp1,500 worth of shares. If you were under 18, you got about 50quid, cash. I was under 18, so I was due to get the 50quid.

Or so I thought.

Y’see, they sent me the share claim form. Being a conscientious young citizen, I figured this wasn’t right, so I double checked the T&Cs – I was under 18, so therefore I wasn’t entitled to the shares. So, I rang them up. They agreed with me – what seemed to have happened is that when the account was transferred into my name, they’d left my mum’s date of birth on the account. I told them my correct date of birth, and they said they’d send out the form to claim my 50quid.

They sent me another share claim form.

I rang them up again and asked what I should do. They ummed and ahhed a bit and told me that there’d probably been a mistake, and I should wait for another form. So I did. I waited for two weeks. Nothing came through. It was nearing the claim deadline. A plan formed in my devious teenage mind.

I wrote a letter. The general gist of this letter was: “I am not entitled to these shares. Enclosed in the envelope with this letter is a completed share claim form, for the shares which I am not entitled to. You should not give me these shares, but I’m claiming them on the offchance that you’re very stupid and haven’t bothered to read this letter.” I filled out the claim form – complete with my date of birth – stuck it in the envelope with the letter and posted it.

A couple of days later, I got a share certificate through the post for ukp1,500 worth of Halifax shares.

I rang the Halifax again. I explained what had happened, and what I’d done. This time, however, they got a bit upset. They told me that what I’d done was technically fraud, and that if I didn’t want to get into any legal trouble over this, I should return the share certificate to my nearest branch, who would sort out getting me the 50quid I was supposed to have received.

My Dad opined that they were clearly talking bollocks, as I hadn’t deceived anyone in order to obtain the money; indeed, I had clearly outlined my intentions in the letter I had sent with the share claim form, and informed the society not once, but twice, of their mistake. But on the offchance that they had a leg to stand on, I should probably return the share certificate anyway, ‘cos, y’know, criminal convictions can be a bit inconvenient when it comes to things like jobs and mortgages in later life.

If I’d have thought about it a bit more and not panicked at their threat of legal action, I’d probably have had a decent argument for keeping the shares. But as it was, I returned the certificate and eventually (four months late) got my 50quid. I was quietly gutted, but I could at least truthfully claim that I had succesfully defrauded a major high-street bank and got away with it, even if I did return the money.

There is, however, a happy end to this story. My brother also had an account with the Halifax. But, as he was younger than me, this account was still in our Mum’s name. Which meant that rather than the measly 50quid I’d got out of them, he was indirectly entitled to the full whack 1,500. Seeing as my parents are nothing but fair (and because I’d have kicked up a fuss the likes of which they’d never seen before) it was agreed that, if I gave David half of my 50quid, I could have half of his 1,500. That seemed like a fair deal to me 🙂


I’m at work again. My girlfriend is less than impressed, as I’ve been promising her a weekend together for a couple of months now, and so far it hasn’t materialised. We ship on Wednesday. With any luck.

Gratuitous Moose Pics

Saturday, November 8th, 2003

Finally, my blogmeet pics are online! I’ve actually got a whole bunch more, mostly of Lyle, and mostly blurry and out of focus, but the best of them are there, anyway.

Along with the Moosefest pics, there’s also photos of Custard and Helen‘s engagement thingy at Kro in Manchester, two from Stewart’s birthday, and some pics from a colleague’s wedding reception.

On a side note, these pics were developed and printed by Peak Imaging in Sheffield. It’s the first time I’ve used them, having been recommended them by a friend and I’m thoroughly impressed.


Friday, November 7th, 2003

Our game ran through its overnight soak test without crashing or consuming 4Gb of swap space. Assuming neither Sega nor Hitmaker come back with any serious bugs, we should hit the deadline quite nicely. Yay for us.

Update – 23:48
…oh. They found some. Back in work tomorrow, then. Boo.