This Has GOT To Be Anti-Trust/FUD

This screenshot taken from Microsoft Anti-Spyware:

[screenshot removed – later turned out to be a fake]

MEng Dissertation – Hamster Music

No, I’m not talking about that god-awful de-da-de-da-de-do-do-do de-da-de-do do thingy: I’m talking about this ingenious MEng dissertation project, in which the student hooked up six hamsters to a MIDI device and, with some clever hardware and software, used their movements to compose music. If you look at the site, be sure to download the video clip or at least a sample of the music produced!

Now That’s Customer Service

Do you remember in the middle of last week I finally discovered that I could make Firefox have all the features I loved in Opera, using plugins? Well; I’m honoured to report that my comments haven’t gone un-noticed: I’ve recieved a comment on that post from Jonny Axelsson, dude who does standards-related stuff for Opera. To save you going back there, he writes:

In the meantime we’re getting out Opera 8, so it would be even harder to compete…

Not much to say on the matter, but hey. I tried Opera 8 beta, and it’s fab, but it’ll need to improve on the web developer and adblocking things if I’m to re-adopt it as my browser of choice. That said, I’m still using Opera at home, because I haven’t been bothered yet to download all those Firefox extensions that make it “as good as ” Opera for the things I need in a browser.

Right – Shrink is here – time to break the internet again.

Photopia, Again

I wrote the other day about Photopia, one of the most brilliant and unusual pieces of interactive fiction I’ve ever experienced. Finally, JTA gave it a go, and loved it too – and he and I have been spending the last few days discussing some of the really, really clever bits and putting our own explanations to them. There are so many questions left unanswered, even after having completed the story, and I’m sure we’ll both be going back and playing it again.

Why hasn’t anybody else played yet? Well; it’s possible I just didn’t make it quite accessible enough. So I’ve packaged Photopia into a single-file executable. Just download and run it, and you’ll have it installed on your system. It takes up less than a megabyte of space and it’s brilliant not only as entertainment but also as a work of fiction.

Download Photopia – it’s self-extracting, self-installing. All you have to do it play it. Windows only. Click here and give it a go.

Rejected Crayons

You won’t find these from Crayola…

Spousal Abuse Black and Spousal Abuse Blue
Flu Phlegm Green
Found In Diaper Gold
Klan White
Los Angeles Air Brown
McDonald's Burger Grey
Melanoma Tan
Time O' The Month
Tin Man Johnson Silver

Stop… Think… Listen…

What the fuck.

People are stressed. People are angry. People are being complete bastards to one another.

Well, shit… worse things honestly do happen at sea.

I feel sorry for everybody who’s on the recieving end of any of this glasspaper-buggery-of-the-mind; and I’ve heard more than enough already to get a pretty clear picture. And the thing I can tell you all is that rash decisions won’t help anybody. Pull yourselves together. Chin up. I’m here if you need me.

That is all.

Fire On The Beach

This is what makes Aber great: that somebody can suggest a fire and a couple of hours later there are over a dozen people huddled round a pile of wood, separating burgers.

Claire, Dan, and Jimmy

We had some difficulty getting the fire lit to begin with – perhaps something to do with the fact that it had been snowing for most of the afternoon – but eventually (with enough blowing on the part of Peter and I) we had a wonderful little blaze going. Three disposable barbecues gave us enough food to satisfy everybody, and we all sat out as the evening wore on, drinking beer and joking about whatever came to mind. A lot of the conversation seemed to be about the absence of Iggy, everybody’s favourite ‘bot. Jon and Hayley brought a bottle of champagne, and we celebrated the charges of fraud against Paul being dropped. And we huddled, as a group, closer to the embers as they burned out, stopping now and then to steal more wood from a nearby building site to fuel it a little longer.

Andy and Faye are tied up by Ruth; they raise no objections.

Temperatures were low; spirits were high: it was a shame not to see folks like Andy, Sian and Liz there, but it was nice to see folks like Peter and Jimmy, who are usually a little more challenging to extract out on these crazy ventures. And those of us that survived the experience retired to The Flat to play Chez Geek and Fluxx past midnight.

The fire burns.

That’s why Aber’s great. And that’s why I’m glad I’m here.

Claire, Dan, and Jimmy× Andy and Faye are tied up by Ruth; they raise no objections.× The fire burns.×

Table For Sale

The photograph, above, appeared on an eBay auction: the item for sale was the table and chairs – a full dining set (not including the things on the table, of course). However, there’s something about the photo that suggests that the seller is a man. Can you tell what it is?

Don’t read the comments until you think you’ve got it, in case somebody’s already posted the answer.


Star Wars: Episode III Pictures

Geekiness ahead. Some folks have been posting stills from the upcoming Star Wars film, Episode 3, to the web. Most of the mirrors are getting shot down by too-much traffic, but I’ve managed to get the pictures and they’re hosted here (in a way that only my friends will be able to access). About 80 pictures from the film, in order, med/high-res.

To see the pictures, you’ll need to go to this password page and enter the surname of my girlfriend or the name of the changing-rules card game we play at Geek Night as the password. Warning: they’re spoiler-heavy; if you don’t know the plot outline already, you might be better off not seeing them. Enjoy.

Igneous bMotion

I’ve set up a chatbot called Igneous on the RockMonkey ChatRoom. I installed bMotion 0.09: emotions for bots, and some conversation topics (based on the RockMonkey site itself)… and it’s coming up with some classic lines. I lifted this exchange between Sian and Igneous from the log:

<chocorifi> Are you accusing me of sexual harassment Iggy?
<Igneous> only because my toaster ran off
<chocorifi> wtf?
<Igneous> what?
<chocorifi> why did your toaster run off Iggy?
<Igneous> entropy
<chocorifi> i don’t even know what that means, waa
<chocorifi> what does entropy mean iggy?
<Igneous> cycling

It’s good to see that it learns, though. Say anything enough times and it will take it as fact. For example:

<DanHuntle> iggy, what is Bryn_S?
<Igneous> a ginger welshman i guess

More quotes on the RockMonkey ChatRoomQuotes page.


Ever played a text-based adventure (interactive fiction) before? If so, this is a must-see. If not, now’s the time to start. I’ve just finished playing a short IF called Photopia, which won two prestigious (in IF circles) XYZZYnews awards back in 1998.

It’s not… great as an adventure game, but it’s amazing as a story. It’s… so amazingly clever and well thought-out. If you’re an experienced text-adventurer, you’ll be able to see it all in under an hour (and there is, of course, a SAVE and LOAD function). Wow. Just… just go play it. Go on.

Two good ways to get it:

  • Option 1: Download, packaged for Windows – download, extract to a folder, run the batch file (“play_the_game”, or something) – do this if you’re not experienced with setting up your IF enviroment.
  • Option 2: Get Photopia 2.01 (Glulx Edition) and a Glulx interpreter for your favourite operating system. You’ll work out the rest.

A Weekend Of Lockpicking

Following up the arrival of my new lockpicks, I’ve spent the weekend picking pretty much every lock I’ve come across (and helping to teach JTA and Bryn how to do it for themselves). The result: six of nine attempted locks picked, feeling significantly more well-practiced, and very, very sore fingers. I need to get some rubber sleeves or something for these picks, ‘cos holding them for several hours in a day actually begins to bruise.

In other good news, I’m aware that there’s a planned RockMonkey social in which RockMonkey people will go out for drinks and take photos of the various locations featured in TromaNightAdventure. Sounds like a giggle to me, if ever I heard one.

I Can Still Do It

My new lockpick set arrived today. I haven’t played with picks in years and years, and so, when I started clumsily fooling around inside a chunky padlock that Claire found behind some furniture yesterday, it felt like I was about to have another half-hour of footing around before I could even count the number of pins it had. And then it all came back. 30 seconds later, the lock was open.

Nothing to all of you guys, but it elated me for a moment to find that lockpicking, too, is just like riding a bicycle.