Friday, October 29, 2010


According to the Guardian Musical releases from the show Glee have now managed to beat one of the Beatles records. The fictional high-school glee club has amassed 75 top 100 singles, trouncing the Beatles'; record of 71.

Given for a moment Glee is all about releasing cover after cover of previous hits songs (including two penned by Lennon and McCartney). What does this say about our changing music, and indeed cultural habits. Have spectacle shows like Glee and the X Factor taken over from the business of actually producing music for good or is this just a passing phase?

Free Ebook Programming Windows phone 7

Charles Petzold author of the definitive programming Windows books has a free ebook on programming for the new Windows Phone 7. You can download it here

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rest My Chemistry

I got my dad to switch to three, after giving him an IPhone 3G for his birthday. I recommend that he switch to Three from Orange as they have very good offers on data tariffs; he was mostly interested on having email on the move. Apparently it is not only me recommending Three mobile network, according to the register they have just been named the best network in a YouGov Poll.

Lets get some anecdotal evidence, to any Orange users reading this, are you happy with your network?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Like this like that

For anyone in the market for the an iphone 4 the website topcashback* promises £100 back for contracts taken through e2save. This works for Orange, TMobile, Vodafone and O2 but unfortunately not for Three who currently have the cheapest iphone 4 deal (yes I know officially Tesco have a cheaper one but finding one seems to be as difficult as locating the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!).

Moneysavingexpert have a great comparison of the iphone deals here

Personally I really want one, but like the government I am going through my own personal deficit reduction so taking on a new contract is out for the time being.

NB this is a referral link which means I get a kickback if you sign upto the topcashback site.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Interesting article on why the Royal Navy must cut down on total ship in order to build two aircraft carriers

On a related but less important pondering, to me it is one of the curiosity of CIV that plans cant obliterate shipping.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Notepad++ Compile

I saw this tutorial to set up the compiler and allow Notepad++ to compile files using csc (link is now dead you can view on waybackmachine).

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Yesterday I spent the day finishing off a wiring job. One leftover thing I had never finished was to rewire the lights my bedrooms. I needed to do this before I can add extra insulation to the loft (which I would like to get done before winter sets in). It was a fiddly job spent in the dirty and dark loft, awkwardly trying to balance on bits of wood so as not to fall through the ceiling. I was glad to finally get it done though another job off the list.

In the evening I went round to Bruce, we played the F1 games for the Playstation 3. I found it like a lot of modern racing games the realism has detracted from the fun in playing the game. After a few rounds we decided to watch a film, Bruce chose Machete. A Robert Rodriguez film, it s a sort of Mexploitation tale of a Mexican Federale who after losing his family find himself embroiled in a complex plot. This is a gory action with ultra violence, linked to a question about immigration parodying the stupidity of people on both sides of the debate.

It was a little over the top for more tastes, but not terrible, avoid if you don't like gore though!

Civ V

Finally managed to start playing Sid Meier's Civilization V, so far its excellent. Civilization V is the latest incarnation of the Civilization series. I have been playing since getting hooked on Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Complete (PC). SMAC followed Civ two coming before Civ III, and it hooked me. Phil and I used to play for hours, famously we once played until 4am and he had to work the next day (I had university I think I did make it to lectures somehow).

The graphics are greatly improved, the world map looks great. They have streamlined the whole game, removing the spying and religion features. Personally I think that this really helps make the game simpler and more fun. To get you going Advisors pop up to help make recommendations on their areas. The main thrust of the game remains the same however, starting from a lone city in 4000BC build up our Civilization into an great power.

One of the biggest improvements is the battle options. The unit counts are reduced to a more sensible one per tile, so no more stupid 20 unit stacks crushing your cities. Units cost more so it more important to keep hold of them upgrade them. Tactics now seem to be favored over swamping enemies with units.

There is one new feature, city states. These are computer controlled cities which can be interacted with in a variety of ways, befriending, trading or attacking.

The only issue that I have had so far is the games stability. I rally enjoyed Civ IV I wasnt sure how they could improve it, but they have managed to tweak the game in all sorts of wyas to make it a simpler and more fun experience while still maintaining the essence of what makes Civ uch a good series. If you like god games this is one of the best!

That would be something

I have just finished reading White Noise  a book which according to the reviews is either modern classic or dreadful. Personally speaking I would rate it good, not great nor dreadful. White Noise was published in the 80s so is a story very much of its time. It focuses on Jack Gladney a lecturer on Hilter Studies, his family life. Its a very black comedy using satire to deconstruct many aspects of modern life. If anything some of the comments are even more cutting now in an age of Facebook and Twitter the in 1980s pre mobile phone revolution.

Gladney has a tangled family life, a collegue / friend who lectures in car crashes, yet is terrified by his own mortality.

I enjoyed the story, I also enjoyed reminiscing about the 80's, I could certainly relate to some of the scenes of family interaction, though not the multiple marriages fortunately my parents are still together. It is weird to think of a time before mobile phones, before the internet dominated. Now if I don't know something I ca look it up in minutes, growing up I had to spend hours in the library researching.  I wonder what is coming next?