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Shiny, happy December

My blog entries are usually complaints about a punctuationally-challenged society or worried posts about climate change, so I am happy to begin Monday with a shiny, happy one. As I hinted in a previous entry, I have been trying to drag my PC into 2006 in order to run better software on it, faster. (It has a Celeron 333 chip and about as much RAM as Christmas pudding I will be eating next week (currants: Yuk Points = 7; raisins: YP = 8; dried peel: YP = off the scale)).

A week with the Wii

We've all had our Wiis a full seven days now, and have been playing them extensively. I took last Friday (launch day) off work, along with Monday and Tuesday this week, and spent pretty much the entire time playing the games I bought for it. Here are my opinions...

- Wii Sports is very easy, but some non-gamers still seem to struggle when moving the controller around and pressing buttons. Unless you have other people you who have a Wii, it's likely to be short-lived. That said, it's free with the console, so it's hard to complain!

You were eaten by a Grue

What with all of us going gaming mad over here at Linux Format Bowers, I've been thinking about game characteristics, and just where Linux fits in to the gamer's psyche. While Paul, Mike and I are all happy to help keep Nintendo's executives from the shame of failure, we're all sadly aware of just how neglected the Linux gaming market has become. I think this comes down to the personality behind the operating system. For example, if Microsoft Windows was a game, it would be a glossy first-person shooter.

Slush

Alpine ski resorts are suffering from lack of snow this winter. Some resorts have already been having to bring in snow or create snow overnight. It may take a generation, but I have a solution. In 50-60 years, apparently, the Arctic may have no sea ice at all. Let out-of-commission ice breakers take skiers to northern Greenland, where they can ski to their hearts' content in a less-cold-than-it-used-to-be climate without fear of being eaten by polar bears, who will all be dead. Hurrah!

Whatever happened to Groklaw?

There was once a time when Groklaw provided a valuable service to the Linux community. All the legal stuff coming out of the SCO case was tricky for people to understand, and so PJ at Groklaw took it upon herself to explain it all - and did a mighty fine job, too. But since the SCO case has quietened down, the site has started to post other "news" from the Linux world, and to be honest, now that it has strayed outside of its core competency of paralegalism, Groklaw is starting to suck.

In deep

I don't think there are many more weird feelings than being out of your depth. Figuratively, not literally. Though I don't like being in deep ocean when there might be whales, sharks, kraken etc under me. Anyway, I mean when you just don't know what's going on, and none of the knowledge or experience you can call on seems to have any relevance. It must be how a baby feels when you ask it to set the table. Or how I feel when I ask Mike to clarify a point about assembly language. Very disorientating.

Our chance to sink Microsoft

As you all know, Microsoft is launching new versions of Windows and Office side-by-side. This is fantastic news for us, because both are lame-duck releases: the new features barely stretch beyond a user interface update, and yet MS still want to charge hundreds of pounds for each. More impressive is the fact that the cheapest version of Vista is £184.99, and doesn't even include much of the new user interface!

Ad(non)Sense

Hurrah for Google Mail's adverts. Not only are they unobtrusive and text-based, but they also attempt to pick up on the topic of emails for better targeted marking. This 'AdSense' technology generally works well -- occasionally, though, it comes up with some rather bizarre results. For instance, in an email conversation about IRC, the following advert appeared on the right:

"Need motivation?"

Hey, I got motivated enough to run X-Chat! In another IRC-related conversation:

"Family holidays in Greece"

Making money on the web

The internet isn't a gold mine. Or at least if it is, I continue to dig in the wrong place. My "if we build it, they will come" idea was to produce my free online PHP book, and I did that. In fact, it's been so popular I had to upgrade my hosting account - I've served 800,000 pages to 120,000 unique users in the last month alone, which adds up to around 800MB served per day.

Meta data

I am only posting to be able to write that headline. It appears that the fifth metatarsal of my right foot has been compromised by an unfortunate trip over some, er, carpet last week. Zoinks! It is my first bone break so I am cradling the news like a small puppy. The pleasure of getting some right and proper respect for my hallucinogenic bruising is mitigated by the doctor's communique that I can't really walk properly for, like, a month. They said if I'd come in a week earlier they would have "pulled" the bones into a better shape. Yeech!



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