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Give it up, Mike

Some time ago I took on Paul's PHP quiz. I can't remember what I scored, but it was quite good for someone who no speako lingo geeko. OK, I'm being modest: according to the test, I'm good enough at PHP to be competent sysadmin and sit rocking all day, watching servers.
Mike, on the other hand, isn't very good at PHP. That's Mike Saunders, New Media Editor. Yes, Mike, you. Mike is at this moment swotting up on PHP with Paul looking over his shoulder, trying to win back the pride he lost months ago. Give up, Mike. There's no substitute for blind luck. You're quite good at pool though.

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.


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!


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"

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