The state of the dollar.

Nov 19, 2005 | | 0 comments |

I saw this on a friend's blog today. It came from a Russian magazine and succinctly describes what the Euro has done to the Dollar recently.

This is so wrong...

Nov 18, 2005 | | 0 comments |

...on so many levels.....but its so damn funny.

Excuse the abysmal picture quality - it came from a cameraphone.

Speaking of funny, or tragic, not sure which - the litiguous country in which I live has reached a new low. Lawyers have won a $61M settlement against Ford for a case where a Ford Explorer rolled and killed the driver and passenger - both 17 year old boys. Not so weird, you might think, until you realise the reason the SUV rolled was (apart from it being an SUV) because the driver was asleep. (Forbes Story). So now, if we're to believe this lawyer, cars are supposed to steer themselves whilst the drivers are asleep.
America desperately needs an anti-frivolous-lawsuit ammendment.

XBox 360 - Microsoft is desperate.


With the launch of the Xbox360 just around the corner, I thought it was time to have a bit of a data dump of some facts and figures that the mainstream press are neatly circumventing.

Fact: We all know there's two versions of the package. The $300 crippleware version, and the $400 "actual" version. (the $300 version has no hard drive and so is basically totally useless).

Fact: Microsoft finally got to the bottom of the backward-compatibility issue, in about the most Microsoft-esque method you can imagine. Of the 800-odd Xbox titles, only 213 of them will work on the Xbox 360. BUT, a software emulator is required for each original Xbox game, which means you need the hard drive for these games to work, which means you need the $400 version of the package. So lets say you have 10 XBox games. That means you need to download and install 10 emulators, one for each game, before they'll run. And that fact that they run through an emulator means they'll be slower and buggier than just running them on an Xbox.

Fact: The launch title - Perfect Dark Zero - has the hallmarks of being a bit of a disaster. Microsoft bought out Rare some years ago to try to get the talent to write games for them instead of Nintendo. Most of the programmers said "no" and left, so whilst Microsoft technically own the Rare name, they don't have any of the talent. Which means Perfect Dark Zero has been written by a bunch of people who had nothing to do with the original title. Worse still, Microsoft are so desperate to get the game out that they started manufacturing the discs before the game code was even finalised. This means there will be v1.0 and v2.0 versions of the game. Or in short - if you buy it on launch day, there's a good chance it will be full of bugs. Who the hell does versioned games on a console?

Fact: The Xbox360 costs, conservatively, $375 to manufacture. Selling it for $300 means they're already taking a $75 loss on every machine sold. When retail prices fall, as they always do, Microsoft is going to make more and more of a loss on this machine. Even the $400 version can't help them out. The hard drive alone costs $30 to manufacture, then you add in the headset and the other accessories and realise the $400 version costs about $500 to manufacture.

Fact: Microsoft has admitted there will likely be shortages towards Christmas as the initial run sells out. Whether you believe there's a manufacturing problem or not, it looks like a bad sales tactic. Microsoft will likely have plenty of units to sell, but in order to try to create demand for them, the pre-Christmas sales drive will likely focus on shortages of the product, enticing people to "buy one now while you can". They need to sell as many as possible before the PS3 comes out and kills their product dead in the water.

Fact: Whilst the Xbox360 my be HD-compatible, it won't play DVD-HD or BluRay. So you can't use it for next-gen DVDs. Sony on the other hand are going to take a loss on the PS3 for one reason : it plays BluRay discs. By saturating the market with a BluRay player as part of their console, Sony will force the HD format issue and Microsoft will again be left with egg on their faces.

Fact: The Xbox360 itself looks nice and svelte in its white package but it's actually larger than the original Xbox. This is amazing considering Microsoft have taken the power supply out of the box and made it an external brick. And what a brick! Nearly the size of a complete PS2-Slim, the Xbox360 power supply is a monster.

Fact: No serious gamer would ever buy an Xbox360.

Despite all of this, despite the upcoming Playstation 3 which is smaller, cheaper, will run all PS1 and PS2 games (without an emulator), and has far, far better graphics and processing speed, I suspect there'll be a lot of Xbox360s walking off the shelf next week. And then when the PS3 comes out, there'll be a similarly large number of XBox360s going for $50 on eBay.

Yes, Microsoft are desperate. Very desperate.

Chilly, but excellent biking weather.

Nov 17, 2005 | | 0 comments |

It's a chilly -2°C outside this morning, and the R1150GS is so much more noticably powerful than it is when the weather is up in the low 40's (C, of course).
Great ride into work.

GodDamn Windows!

Nov 16, 2005 | | 0 comments |

What the Hell is wrong with Windows? Apart from the billion other problems it has as the world's widest-spread and worst-developed operating system, it's the little things that fuck me off, like file association.
Three weeks ago Microsoft forced an Office update which hijacked my HTML file association and changed it to Internet Explorer. Using every trick in the book I cannot get that file association and icon back to Firefox. Now, fucking Adobe Illustrator - just the sample 30-day trial - has hijacked the file association for FLT - the standard format for all our 3D models. Now my PC thinks these files are Illustrator filter files. Again, I cannot get the file association back, or the icon.
What the FUCK is wrong with you software developers. LEAVE OUR FILE ASSOCIATIONS THE FUCK ALONE!!!!! We don't want your stupid software to just obliterate all our custom settings because some moron in your company thinks it's a good thing to do. No - just give us the option when we install. "Do you want our software to fuck up your PC beyond recognition, or would you like us to leave it alone?" A simple yes/no dialogue would suffice.
But instead we have to put up with this SHIT every goddamn fucking day we use this piece of CRAP operating system.


Sofa so good.

Nov 14, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Wheeeeee. The new sofa finally arrived today. Colour is good, size is good. Comfort is goooooooood.

Alias - cool music, not-so-cool guy.

Nov 13, 2005 | | 0 comments |

We're catching up on all the episodes of Alias that we've got stashed on the DVR at the moment. Can't say I'm too impressed with the new male lead. He just doesn't fit in. The new female clothes horse is easy on the eyes but one of the things that impressed me the most was how progressive they've got with the music. Last night we watched the 4th or 5th episode where Sydney is in the casino gambling and the music track was "Come On" by Andy Hunter. Suh-weet.