Archive for March, 2007

Bass man

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Played bass for Andy Smith at the launch of the Manchester part of Hope 2008 at Wythenshawe Forum tonight. It was nice to play with a really good band, in a good sized venue, with a proper PA for a change. I could turn my amp up all the way and no-one complained! That never happens.

The first time I went to Wythenshawe Forum was to see the World Wide Message Tribe. That was nearly 10 years ago. And now I’ve played there, too. Funny how things go in circles like that.

Forget Masterchef

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Trav has created the ultimate Northen food. He is a legend.

Rageh Inside Iran

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

This excellent programme was broadcast a couple of months back, but thanks to the BBC getting all cosy with Google Video/YouTube, it’s now available on t’interwebs. If you’ve got a spare 90 minutes, you should really head over and watch it – it’s a brilliant programme about a fascinating side of a much maligned and misunderstood country. And it just makes me want to go and visit Iran all the more. It looks amazing.

Rageh Inside Iran on Google Video.

The end of a beautiful friendship

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Yes, it’s true. We’ve had our good times and our bad; we’ve spent evenings, days – even whole weekends – together. Laughter, tears, joy, frustration – but now I have to finally admit to the sad truth.

World of Warcraft and I are no longer together.

It always starts the same way: the niggling little faults that you dismiss at first start to annoy you more and more – sure, you can live with the long flight times and the long grind to 60 because the rewards when you get there are so cool. But then the rewards turn out to be slightly bigger numbers than you had before, and it’s not really that cool, after all. All your friends tell you that the cool parts are when you join together for raids, but they’re all in their late 60s and you can’t join them, and raiding with random strangers is frustrating and kind of… icky, you know?

I bought the expansion pack back in January, before I’d even actually hit level 58, and spent several solid days grinding up to 58 so I could go through the portal and see all the shiny new content – and one happy tuesday evening shortly afterwards, I did. I went through, and… what? It’s all more of the same. Kill 20 things. Collect 10 things dropped by some other things when you kill them. Kill 20 slightly harder things. Except they look a bit different this time. I made it to Shattrath, had a look around and … just logged out.

I haven’t been back since.

The thing is, it was starting to feel less like a game and more like a responsibility. Things to do today: clean bathroom, pay phone bill, ring parents, go to Blackrock Depths and kill Lord Incendius. It ceased to be fun, and if a game isn’t fun, what’s the point? Especially when you’re paying £9 a month for it.

That’s not to say I won’t ever go back. I might. My account still exists; it’s frozen, but not deleted. But I can’t ever see it dominating my gaming time again like it did before. Sorry, that’s just how it’s got to be. Times change. Things move on.

And hey, we’ll always have that one magical night in Darnassus, eh?


Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

The Atheist Who Went To Church.

Read. Absorb. Inwardly digest.

Clearly, most churches have aligned themselves against non-religious people. By adopting this stance, Christians have turned off the people I would think they want to connect with. The combative stance I’ve observed is an approach that causes people to become apathetic—and even antagonistic—toward religion as a whole. Many evangelical pastors seem to perceive just about everything to be a threat against Christianity. Evolution is a threat. Gay marriage is a threat. A swear word uttered accidentally on television is a threat. Democrats are a threat. I don’t see how any of these things pose a threat against Christianity. If someone disagrees with you about politics or social issues or the matter of origins, isn’t that just democracy and free speech in action? Why do Christians feel so threatened?

You need to spread the message of Christianity—the message being what Christianity stands for—loving each other, helping the people around you. Those are things everyone can get on board with.


Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Best wikipedia story ever.

So, this 24-year old college kid from Kentucky rocks up on Wikipedia, proclaims himself to be a tenured professor of religion at a private university and starts making edits all over the place and eventually works himself up to an administrative position where he can arbitrate between authors. And the most amazing part is that he did it all whilst using “Catholicism for Dummies” as his reference – and apparently nobody noticed.

Wikipedia: where knowledge and experience is no substitute for shouting louder and longer than everyone else.

XNA Creators Club

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

I signed up for the XNA Creators Club last night. It’s really rather good: it took me about 5 minutes to go from a blank project to having a sprite up on the 360’s screen, and it supports network debugging from a PC – it’s not fully featured (you can’t do edit-and-continue, and you don’t get much exception information back) but you can do all the usual breakpointing, interrogation and variable editing jobs that usually make up most of your time debugging.

The whole dev environment runs happily from my laptop, although I can’t run a Windows build of the projects on in, as it’s lacking in the requisite graphical muscle – but it’s so simple to get things running on the 360 that this isn’t an issue: just hit F5 in Visual C#, and the project builds, squirts itself across the network to the 360 and starts it running with a remote debugging session.

The API seems a bit kid-glovesy – it hides a lot from you – but it still exposes things like shaders and the like; it mainly just removes the need to mess around with devices and allocation of vert buffers and the like. This means you won’t be able to wring huge performance out of it, but it also means you can get things on the screen in a matter of minutes rather than fucking around with DirectX arcanery for hours to get a rotating yellow triangle (anyone who’s written any Direct3D code knows exactly what I’m talking about here).

Anyway, after an hour or so of messing around (and Naomi tutting and getting bored), I had a sort of jap-shooter style bullet pattern thing up and running:

More pictures here and there’s a video of it in action here.