Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Collection Milestone

Earlier I blogged about reaching 1000 total gaming items, but it was disputed by my friend Paul, as it included stuff belonging to my good lady. Today I have reached the 1000 mark on my own. :)

My new 1000th item was Manic Miner for the Dragon 32

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Donkey Kong 64 Update

I've been playing my way through now for about 5 days, and I've clocked about 16 hours game time. The completion stats tell me I've done 24%, which isn't bad. The game is still holding my interest, but there's a lot, and by that I mean 2 out of 3 words, of swearing at it. It would be even better if the developers had paid a bit of attention to the user side. For example I've been trying to complete the arcade version of DK that's in the game. This gives me a gold banana for the first completion, and the Nintendo coin for the second. Now it's not beyond the realms of possibility that I might fail on my first attempt, so to get to retry it I have to reposition DK on the lever, press they pull button, watch the cut scene of the zoom in to the machine, sit through donkey kong stealing Pauline, and then I can start playing. And if I die in the game I have to sit through it all again. How hard would it have been to include a retry option, so I could do it in seconds, with the push of one button? As I'm a programmer I can tell you - really bloody easy. In the programming language I use in my day job it could have been done in

Msgbox "Retry" "You failed" Question YesNo
If mbResult = mbYes Call DONKEY_ARCADE

2 lines. Gits! So no, I have to sit through 5 mins of crap because a developer insists that I have to watch his cutscene.

You wouldn't necessarily believe it from this post, but I'm really enjoying the game

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Not much yesterday:
World Grand Prix, Master System, £1.99
Alien Resurrection, PS1, £1.50

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tomb Raider: Underworld


I know I promised I wouldn't, but Argh! and Grr! Goddammit! Bunch of useless tossers. I think I've said that before.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Currently Playing: Donkey Kong 64

I've finally gotten around to playing some games again, consequently I've chosen something from my backlog list. Donkey Kong 64 has not stood the test of time very well, the camera is all over the bloody place, needing frequent corrections, and the graphics are about what you'd expect for N64 era 3D, i.e. eye bleeding colours and blurred like it's all out of focus. Game play is actually pretty good, jump around, shoot things, find bananas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gaming collection

Today I have reached a total of 1000 items - this doesn't include books, toys or figures, just systems, games and peripherals, and excludes duplicated items.

The Ket Trilogy for the Dragon 32 was my 1000th item

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Did quite well today, 6 games for the PSX, for £1.99 each.

Destruction Derby
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Rogue Spear
Music 2000
Theme Park
Speed Freaks

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dragon 32 PSX interface

Not much else done, but I've cleaned up the box and added some authentic early 80's style labels

Treasure Hunt

Not much today, but I did pick up a couple of Playstation dancing games for the kids.

Dancing Stage Euromix
Superstar Dance Club

for £1.99 each

Hiking This Weekend - Sherwood Forest

We did about 7 miles around Sherwood Forest this weekend. The weather was below freezing when we set out, but that didn't really bother us, we've got all the kit. We took a little under 3 hours, and that included a stop for lunch.

Along the way we took in the Major Oak ...

... and Centre Tree. Would have liked to get to Parliament Oak too, but that would have made the whole walk about 12 miles

Friday, December 5, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Today was quite successful

Headhunter Redemption
Deus Ex Invisible War

£1.99 each

Game Cube
Lost Kingdoms, £2.99

Grand total £10.95

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dragon PSX Pad

I've managed to get my boards into a project box now, and wire up the analogue on/off switch. This is all built from parts I had lying around, and whilst the box is a bit on the big side it does mean that I can add another board and sockets and have 2 joysticks. Or add an interface for something else.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cocktail Cabinet Update

I've managed to complete some more of the cabinet over the last couple of days. I've added a nice trim to the inner and outer edges of the top, and fitted a plastic top. The lack of the latter was beginning to worry me as it left the monitor face up and exposed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Doctor Who is a man and should stay that bloody way' says Ga5ket

'Doctor Who should be a woman' say female scientists - Telegraph

Goddammit! Why the bloody hell does this shite keep coming up. Doctor Who is a bloody man. End of bloody story. Now can we get on with running around and saving the universe?

PSX Dragon 32 Joypad

Some time ago I blogged about modding a Dragon 32 controller to take PSX internals so that I can use it on my emulator. I've spent a couple of hours working on it, and this is my progress to date.

Removed the circuit boards from the PSX pad, a Woolworths branded knock off.
Using a Dremmel I cut out the section of the pad that holds the right nubbin.

Removed the potentiometer from the Dragon joystick, and unsoldered the connections to the fire button. This button will directly activate the PSX pad circuit board. No damage to the controller, so I can always return the controller to it's pre-modded state. These things may not have a soul, but I do.

I tidied up the nubbin casing, and glued it into the Dragon joystick case. This will give me a secure mounting point for the actual analog control later.

Sawed the nubbin circuit board in two, one to fit inside the Dragon joystick, the other to be hidden away in a project box. I've got tons of old pc cables lying around, so I cut up an old RS232 cable, and salvaged a com port from my parts bin. I soldered the cable to the joystick end,

and the com port to the main PSX circuit board.

After testing all the connections for continuity I plugged it all together, retested and found that I'd swapped the connections between the plug and the socket, so I had to redo the socket end. Once I'd done that and retested it everything looked ok, so it was time for a test on the emulator.

Bugger me, it all worked! Ok, so it wasn't rocket science, but this is my first project in about 20 years, and I did expect some major problems along the way. I've still to add a proper joystick to the controller instead of the nubbin, but this is how it looks so far

Friday, November 28, 2008

Treasure Hunt

A reasonably good day today, 6 games and 3 books

Getaway: Black Monday
Project Eden
Resident Evil: Outbreak
£1.99 each

Serious Sam, £2.99

Atari Anniversary Edition, £2

True Pinball, £1

Grand total £11.96

PlayStation Home

Unexpectedly this morning I've received an invite to the closed beta of PlayStation Home. I'm downloading it as I type.

Useful to know: GMail

The Elonex Onet that I use is a little slow using the standard java interface of GMail, and you can't set GMail to use the html view on a per machine basis, but this page shows you how you can set up a bookmark which does the same thing. Nice.

Short version:

Use http://gmail.google.com/gmail/h/ as your bookmark when you want to access html view instead.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

At last, a rational voice speaks out for science

RSC Press Release: £1,000,000 for 100% chemical free material?

This has long been a gripe of mine, the misuse of 'science' and technology in advertising.

I really, really despise the whole thing where they carp on about shampoo technology and the nutrient benefits for your hair. Surely they mean biology or chemistry? Because I really can't see how a dual core processor would do anything for your highlights.

Gaming Backlog

I'm going to use this post to list all the games in my backlog that are 'must play'. If I listed all the games that I've not yet played that'll be hundreds.

G7000 Conquest of the World
N64 Donkey Kong 64 Glover Space Station Silicon Valley
Game Cube Pikmin
NES Mega Man 2 Metroid
CDi Burn:Cycle
Dreamcast Jet Set Radio Shenmue
Mega Drive The Lost Vikings Prince of Persia Vectorman
Master System Fantasy Zone
Saturn Gokujou Parodius Da: Deluxe Pack NiGHTS into Dreams...
Playstation 2 Jak 3

This isn't a definitive list, the idea is that once I've played all these then I'll throw up a new list and work from that one.

Thanks to this blog for the table formatting tips

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomb Raider Underworld (Last time, I promise!)

I'd be really interested to know how this works. I feel pretty sure it's just a game save at a point where the glitch has been passed, i.e. not a patch. Wonder what happens to any treasures/relics collected up to that point?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tomb Raider: Underworld Statistics

Mediterranean Sea
Treasures 21/26
Relics 1/1

Coastal Thailand
Treasures 25/30
Relics 1/1

Croft Manor
Treasures 13/13
Relics 1/1

Southern Mexico
Treasures 42/50
Relics 1/1

Jan Mayen Island
Treasures 30/30
Relics 1/1

Andaman Sea

Artic Sea
Treasures 25/30
Relics 1/1

And I'm done. I don't want to play it any more.

Tomb Raider Underworld: Further Rants

I've calmed down considerably since I completed the game last night, and obviously my mind has been assimilating the whole experience:

  • Where were the boss battles? Every TR has them, it was odd that they weren't present.
  • Why can't you re-watch cut-scenes?
  • What is the point of the option to select your weapon at the beginning of the level, and then allow you to change it anyway from your backpack?
  • Where happened to the classic outfit? I'm not one for playing dress-up, but that was a fundamental omission from the costumes.
  • The last weapon that you pick up (I won't reveal here what it is, I don't want to spoil it). It makes all the other weapons you have totally obsolete. You won't want to use anything else.
  • This one is not directed at TRU particularly, but at what point did 'concept artwork' become an unlockable. Does it serve any purpose at all, except for the studio waving it's wang around saying 'Ooh look, we employ concept artists'? Big deal, give me something I can use in the game next time.
  • Why do we need the idiot symbols that hover over ever the screen every time you can do something. One or twice is fine, but I don't need the bloody [] symbol appearing when I can use the grapple. FFS let me figure it out on my own. Similarly with the triangle and the treasures. Why go to the trouble of hiding them in bushes etc., when all you need to do to find them is walk along and watch for the triangle symbol appearing. Ooh look I can do something, I wonder what it is?
  • EDIT: Just found the option to turn this off. Why isn't it off by default, is the assumption that it's far too difficult without it. Or is this one of those options that's set by the choice of difficulty when you start the game. The one there's no mention of what the settings actually do

The unfortunate thing about this game is that on the whole I actually quite enjoyed it. The abrupt ending left a really bad taste that soured the whole experience. What I can't understand is why the game was in development for over 18 months?
Reading the forums about the game it seems that I'm not the only one who is seriously narked about it, and many people are moaning about total system locks when playing the PS3 version. I experienced one myself, but damn, that's going some to crash a console, I don't think I've ever had a console crash before.
Given what I know now about the game there's no way I'd have shelled out 40 quid for it. It was certainly no better than Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, although it was about twice the length, so I'd guess that £25 would have been a fair price for it. Of course Crystal Dynamics could totally redeem themselves with some killer DLC, but it looks like that's going to be XBox only, so PS3 owners consider yourselves shafted.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished: Tomb Raider Underworld

And that was a huge disappointment. No part of it was really challenging, and to finish the game in 3 days is poor. I wouldn't mind if I'd been playing it 'hardcore' like I used to back in the day, but this has been a couple of hours here and there, I reckon it can't have taken me more than 10 hours tops. And that for 40 quid is a bloody joke. Treasure hunt mode just plain sucks - explore but nothing to kill and puzzles already solved, what is the point?
Oh, and obviously I'm playing the ps3 version, which comes complete with a splendid array of trophies to collect for bragging rights. Oh wait, no it doesn't that'd be the 360 version. Crystal Dynamics you are a bunch of useless tossers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Currently Playing: Tomb Raider: Underworld

I picked up the new TR game yesterday afternoon, and I've been playing it on and off since. I'm quite pleased with the way it plays, in spite of reviews that say it does nothing different. Why must games always be 'different' or 'ground breaking'? Can't they just be more of the same i.e. fun? It's Tomb Raider for Christ sake, what more could you want, exploring, killing endangered species in vast quantities and launching yourself to your death cause you're 2 pixels off in where you're supposed to be aiming. Sounds like a TR game to me, and it's a whole heap of fun. The graphics are nothing short of amazing, Lara moves fluidly, although for my liking when she's climbing she does it a little too quickly, looking more monkey than human, but that's the only gripe I've got about it. I'm about 3 or 4 levels in, lost count, and I'm not picking up all of the treasures and relics on this run through, I'll save that for number 2.

Treasure Hunt

Todays finds were
Sheep for PSX, £1.99

Mad Catz Beat Pad for PS2, £1.99
Thrustmaster Top Gun Joystick for PC, £1.49

Total cost £5.47

Friday, November 21, 2008

News Reports and Sensationalism

This is a bit of a rant, and very much a pet peeve of mine.

In a BBC News report this morning, about D.R. Congo, the reporter stated that women in wars were always the first victims, and yet when they interviewed one of these women, who had been raped, she mentioned that before the rape she had seen 20 members of her family killed. Now this is nit-picking I know, but isn't the reporters initial statement then like saying that Great Britain came first in the Olympics, after China and America?

I really hate the over sensationalism that goes on in media.

End of Rant

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dragon 32 Again

Inspired by my own cocktail cabinet and all the electronic work I've got to do on that I had a sudden flash of inspiration about modding a proper Dragon 32 joystick, using the internals of a PSX dual shock pad. I've won a couple of ropey looking Dragon joysticks on eBay, hopefully they should be here in the next couple of days so I can rip them open and see what I can do. Photos will appear here as the project progresses

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Elonex ONEt

I've bought myself an Elonex ONEt recently. Actually it was a ONE when I bought it, but they've taken so long shipping it that I got a free upgrade to the latest model. It's quite slow to start applications, and you can't run many at a time (it self limits to 3), but once it's going it's not too bad. The lack of Flash is a disappointment as it means stuff like You Tube won't run (which is a bit of an unexpected bonus). eBay works fine, as does GMail albeit slowly, and for sitting in the living room doing a bit of browsing away from the desktop it's actually pretty cool. Build quality seems to be quite high, although the interface could have done with a bit more quality control as there are tons of grammar and spelling mistakes in the dialog boxes. The WiFi didn't work out of the box as it needed a wired update to find my LiveBox,but that aside it's now up and running perfectly

Monday, November 17, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Not much on today's trip, just Madden 94 for the Mega Drive. For 25p.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Very successful hunt today, usual charity shops and flea market I'd never visited. Today's haul consisted of:
Master System
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Super Tennis
Fantasy Zone
Dynamite Dux
Streets of Rage

C64 (!)
Thunder Blade
Kung-Fu Master
Grand Monster Slam
Book of the Dead
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
Asterix & The Magic Cauldron

X-Men Mutant Academy
Jersey Devil

Mission Impossible
Mario Kart 64

Running me a grand total of £30.41 for 17 games

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cocktail Cabinet - In Action!

I've connected up all the basics now, and given the cabinet it's first test. All works well, although the lack of a proper control panel is quite a disappointment.

Here it is playing Space Invaders, which seemed fitting for a first game.

Cocktail Cabinet

I'm not intending to use this with a dedicated pc at this stage, the wires are going to trail out the back and connect to my desktop. I'm using AdvanceCD to boot and with a custom control scheme the whole thing 'just works'

I've started construction of the cabinet, the basic cutting and screwing took me about 4 hours this morning. It's built from 12mm MDF in a bid to keep costs and weight down.

I've yet to order the parts for the control panel; at the moment I'm testing with an Asciiware PSX pad which is doing the trick nicely

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dragon 32

A friend recently donated his old Dragon 32 to me, presumably feeling that it would be in a good home. I used to have one way, way back, in fact I believe Dad bought mine for my 12th birthday. I sold it years later for bugger all, during a state of unemployment after dropping out of university and now I bitterly regret it. Not the dropping out, or the unemployment, they were kind of fun for a while.

It's obviously way too much trouble to actually play games on the beast as it's primarily a tape system, and they were a sod to load even when they were new, consequently I've turned to emulation, specifically this one, which works very nicely on a Xubuntu pc I'd got laying around going spare. I've had a real blast playing through some of the oldies; Pettigrew's Diary; Starship Chameleon; Morocco Grand Prix; Franklin's Tomb.

God, they were primitive, but so much fun back in the day. I've even bought some off eBay this week, just so I can own them again.

Arcade Cocktail Cabinet

I have a new project in mind, a MAME arcade cocktail cabinet.

I don't have the space for an upright cabinet in my games room, but I could make use of a cocktail style one. Today I picked up the first part, an LG 17" lcd monitor, for the princely sum of £40. I've ordered some cheap Logic 3 psx pads to dismantle and form the basis of the controllers. Next I'm going to order some Happ parts and start constructing the cabinet

Treasure Hunt

Todays treasure hunt netted me:
Hitman Blood Money
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Jade Empire
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
D&D Heroes
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

all for the XBox, £17.91

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Sonic & Knuckles Collection, for the PC, because I'm a Sega whore

Treasure Hunt

Game Cube, £15

A black one, because I didn't have one in that colour

Treasure Hunt


Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1


Army Men: Lock 'N' Load

PGA European Tour Golf

WRC Arcade

N-Gen Racing

London Racer

TOCA 2 Touring Cars

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Treasure Hunt

A second hand store, £9

The black items are a Joytech 4mb memory card and a rumble pack

Sega Rally 2 Championship

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing

Chu Chu Rocket

Treasure Hunt

Inspired by a series of blog posts on RFGeneration I'm going to track my finds here.

16th October

In a charity shop, the whole lot for £6

Master System

Out Run & Taz-Mania

Mega Drive

Corporation, Street Fighter 2 SCE, Quackshot, Jack Nicklaus' Power Challenge Golf

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Currently Playing: 1942 Joint Strike

I picked up 1942: Joint Strike for the PS3 at the beginning of the week and it's bloody fantastic. It's a proper arcade shooter, and the graphics are just gorgeous. It's not a tremendously long game, but then it was only 7 quid, and it's quite challenging, even on the lower difficulties.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Acer Aspire One Update

I broke the AA1 yesterday, sound and networking wouldn't start, no matter what I did. I knew that the AA1 came with a recovery dvd, but I don't have a usb odd, so I had to resort to the usb stick method. Put the dvd in the drive of my pc, add the memory stick and reboot. Hey presto! Nothing happens ... consult forums ... lucky that it didn't trash my second hdd. Tried it on work's laptop, no result it just installs the os to the memory stick and I can't get it to boot on the AA1. Spend about 3 hours fiddling around with a combination of Thunar and Run Application as I can 't get a terminal to open up and respond, and I finally fixed it. It reboots, connects to the network and plays sound. Yay!

This morning I have a bit of a brainwave, and I figure out how to properly create the usb recovery stick

Plug in USB stick

Open up a terminal


find device node, [sdc in my case]

sudo su

zcat aa1_usb_recovery_image.gz > /dev/sdc

Turns out I'd forgotten the sudo su.

What an idiot, and it all works propely now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Acer Aspire One

We've been on the look out for a new laptop for a while, the old one being a chronically slow Thinkpad 366 Celeron. I've had my eye on an Eee pc (unsurprisingly) but we did a bit of poking around and finally settled on a Acer Aspire One. We picked it up from Curry's today, and I'm using it to write this blog now. The set up was a doddle, turn it on, enter a password, configure the wireless, select the live update option and let it run. There are a couple of broken dependencies when I've selected some other programs, but I'll take a look at those later as it pretty much does everything we need straight out of the box.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We hiked around Hardwick this weekend, around 6.5 miles. The weather was fantastic, sunny all day, which was something of a novelty. We finished the walk with a bit of picnic by the lakeside picnic area, which only provides one bench for the whole area.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And another huge gap

This is quite tricky to do on a regular basis, it's far too easy to think 'Sod it, I'll do it tomorrow', and suddenly a whole month has gone by and I've said nothing. So what's happened since my last update? We've been hiking a couple of times, we went camping, fantastic camp site near Cromer, can't remember the name for the life of me, but I'll add a link when I do, and I've bought the usual ton of games again, oh and I've managed to pick up a Mega CD II and a Tiger game.com. The game.com is huge, much bigger than it has any right to be, although its not in the same league as a Game Gear, but the physical dimensions make the included touch screen seem very small. I've yet to play on it, other that a quick test to make sure it works, so I'll set myself a target to play at least one game and post about it here before then end of the month

Monday, August 4, 2008

Currently Not Playing: Black

I've given up on it. The complete inability to save during a level has been a dealbreaker for me. I wouldn't mind if I could save at a checkpoint, but no, the developers have decided that I can only save when I complete a level. Which means that I'm having to repeat tons of the bloody game because I don't always have the opportunity to replay from a checkpoint, which necessitates me turning the damn game off and restarting the level next time.

This Weekends Hiking - Ranskill and Area

We started out from Daneshill Nature Reserve, which offered a modest free car park, so that was a bonus. From there we walked out over some of the Millenium Pathway, which turned out to be less than impressive over most of the walk. Now I knew from the outset that the majority of the 7.5 mile walk was along country lanes, but I didn't expect them to lead past so many industrial estates fringed with razor wire, and the final entry to the back of the nature reserve - down an access road for a scrap yard - was uninspiring and poorly signed. Can't recommend the walk at all.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Currently Playing: Black

I'm not normally a huge fan of the FPS genre, my twitch reflexes are no longer up to it, but this one plays really well. It follows the Halo inspired limit of 2 guns, which forces you to make weapon choices without prior knowledge of the level, although the AK47 is my favorite, combining the sniping ability for the distance stuff, and the full-auto mode for up-close and personal. The AI is a little dumb, enemy soldiers consistently walking the same path, even when you're trying to cap them with a headshot, but it's entertaining. Allies seem to work extremely well, whether providing sniper cover during an advance, or as part of a combat team. The only thing that I feel lets the game down is the lack of save ability during a level. It's not always convenient to complete the level to save, and in fact several times I've just had to switch off part way through.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Insulin Pump

I picked up my insulin pump yesterday, and underwent the training session for it. The whole process was fantastic, the pump is a joy to use, although having it attached to me is a bit weird at the moment. I woke up this morning with Jane lying on it, which made getting out of bed a little difficult.

The pump is attached to me via a canular that I need to replace every 2-3 days. The process of fitting this canular looks incredibly vicious, but was totally pain-free (at least the first one was, we'll see about subsequent ones!) . Connecting up the tubing and filling the cartridge are pretty straightforward, as is the operation of the pump itself. I can now specify to the nearest gram how many carbs I've eaten with a given meal, input my current blood sugar reading, and it automatically calculates the dose of insulin I need to hit my current target (8 mmol/l). And I no longer need 4 injections per day

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control

I've been struggling for some months now, trying to get my blood sugars under some kind of control. I had my latest review with the hospital today, and they've decided that I'm a candidate for an insulin pump. I don't know all the ins and outs of how it works yet, but it certainaly sounds like the ideal solution to my problem. I go for instruction on Weds.

Monday, June 9, 2008

This weekends hiking

We went hiking around Hardwick this weekend, following a route we took at the end of last year. It was nice to see the scenery in full bloom.
The weather was fantastic, and the walk took us about 2.5 hours to complete.

Photos available in the usual place
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Camping around Harrogate

We went camping this weekend, instead of the usual hiking on a Sunday. I've been before, but this was the family's first time in a tent, and we did pretty well. We borrowed a tent from friends, who also went with us, although it's probably more correct to say that we went with them, as they picked the campsite.

We arrived about 17:30 on Friday evening, and we were pitched and enjoying coffee by about 19:00. Not bad considering it's only the second time we've pitched this tent.

On Saturday we went hiking around Grewelthorpe, and some fantastic scenery down in the gorge. The weather was a bit windy, but held fine, and we completed the walk in a little under 3 hours.
I struggled somewhat with my blood sugars this evening, due to the biting winds. Suffered a severe hypo during the night when my levels dropped to 2.3. Not good.

Sunday was a visit to Fountains Abbey (photos left). Stunning, but a bit windy again. Managed to trek all the way around the grounds, taking in all the recommended sights, and the Serpentine Tunnel from High Ride down to the water gardens.

We were supposed to spend a further night at the campsite, but we cut the trip short due to the prospect of bad weather. A bit of a wimps excuse, but I think we'd have stuck it out if we'd got a decent tent.

We're planning our next trip now, but first stop Yeoman's... for a decent tent

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hiking around Wellow

We went hiking again this weekend, this time around Wellow. We've done this walk previously, about 6 weeks ago, but back then barely anything was growing. We're now at the middle of May, and the paths are nicely greening up, and the forest areas really dark and full of bird life It's fantastic.

The weird thing about hiking around Nottinghamshire is the lack of people that we see. I know that it doesn't have the views of the Peak District, but it's impressive non-the-less. Still, I think I prefer not seeing many people, it makes the walks seem even more personal.
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Friday, May 16, 2008


I was trawling through my rss feeds this morning, and the Telegraph website had an interesting article on it about BookRabbit (link in the title above). Basically you can upload your bookshelves to it, and it will link to other people with similar tastes, and make recommendations based on your selections. I'm going to give it a go and see how it pans out

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latest Gaming Purchase - Philips G7000

I've picked up a boxed G7000 with 7 games a little over a week ago. It all works beautifully, and whilst it doesn't have a massive library there are enough games to make it worthwhile picking up. I have in my usual style compiled a list of wants for it, so we'll have to see how hard it is to collect for it.

Diabetes and Me

I've been for my 6 monthly check up today, and as I expected my diabetes control is not what it should be. This is not for a lack of effort on my part, simply that my body doesn't currently tolerate the regime I'm on. I've been given a routine to try, but I'm under instruction to come back in 2 months because it looks like I need to be fitted out with an insulin pump. And I've also got to be tested for coeliac disease, which is a gluten intolerance, managed by diet.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hiking with Dad

Dad underwent a hip replacement before Christmas, and he's been working really hard on getting fit again. We'd planned on doing a bit of hiking around Barlborough and Spinkhill when he got fitter, and with the bluebells in full flower this weekend seemed the perfect opportunity to go. Jane and 2 of the kids went with us, and a hike of just over 6 miles took us 2.75 hours. Mum thoughtfully provided lunch after we got back.
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Friday, May 2, 2008

Gaming Related Goodness

In the spirit of getting something on the blog, and because I've not updated in a while this is going to be a bit of a consolidated post of gaming related purchases and what-not.

I've finished 100%, with all skill points, Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction.
Another great installment in the series. Nothing ground-breaking, but it was the usual ton of fun to play.

We've bought Mario Kart Wii, and an extra wheel. It's bloody fantastic, and I've completed 50cc and 100cc modes. As usual 150cc mode is hard, and incredibly frustrating. The thing that really irritates me about this is that we bought it for the multi-player aspect, but you can't have all the multiplayer goodies unless you complete single player mode. Nintendo, that really sucks.

I had the buddies from university round a couple of weeks ago. It's the first visit they've had here since we did the garage to games room conversion. They were more than happy to spend most of the weekend working through the games collection, and we bust out the Vectrex for a bit of fun too. We also did some boardgaming, Carcasonne Hunter and Gatherers, and something about rivers in Egypt whose name escapes me at the moment. Both good fun. Oh yeah, and we drank some beer and ate Chinese.

Regular blogging is hard to do

I think it stems from having so much else to do, like my hobbies if I don't plan them in advance then they rarely happen. I never thought in my 20s that I'd have to schedule fun activities, they'd always just sort of happened. As I approach the end of my 30s I now find that if I'm going to do something, be it diy, socialising, gaming, reading, in fact just about anything then it needs to be planned, sometimes with military precision. Blogging is one of those instant activities that can always be put off until it convenient, and then you find it's 3 weeks later and you've still not made a single entry. Bugger.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ratchet & Clank Tools of Destruction

I've finished my first play through, and I'm working on the second. I've bought all omega weapons, and I'm just working my way through all the upgrades.


Different garage, car now fixed. Lets hope it stays that way this time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


My car, a Nissan Primera, has experienced an engine management failure again. This is the 3rd time now in less than 3 years. Unfortunately the dealer that has done the previous repairs is now out of business, although taking it to a different place hopefully will mean that it gets fixed correctly this time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Playstation 3 and DNLA

I've just discovered the DNLA feature of my PS3, installed TVersity on my Win2k box, and I can now stream all my videos over my network. This whole thing is bloody marvellous. It even works, via the internet, to my PSP. Astounding!

Edit: but not mp3. bummer.

Ratchet & Clank Tools of Destruction

I'm nearing the end of my first playthrough of this game, and as to be expected it's both gorgeous to look at and fantastic to play. I have one minor gripe - I don't like the inclusion of devices that are actually weapons. The weapons and the upgrades make the game even more fun, so to intentionally limit the upgrade potential of some 'weapons' smacks a little of laziness. That aside, it's still a top game, one of the must haves for the system

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sega CD

The Sega CD still hasn't turned up, but PayPal have recovered all of my money. Yay! Now to find another to spend it on

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hardwick Park and more

We went hiking again this weekend, about 6 miles, starting (and ending) at Hardwick Park, taking in Ault Hucknell, and Norwood. Fantastic day, good weather, and some time out and about with the family

Latest Gaming Purchase - Vectrex

I've just picked up a Vectrex console, with 4 games for under 40 quid. Bargain! There's a small burn to the controller, but nothing that stops it working, and the screen still displays beautifully. Time to add some more games to the collection...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Lastest Gaming Hardware - Playstation 3

And the integration between it and the psp is bloody marvellous. And it runs Ubuntu, not quite out of the box, but with a little fiddling. Time to get another usb keyboard and mouse I think.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stranger's Wrath

I've lost the interest I had in the game, it's become far too repetitive. I think I'll retire this one to the 'come back to later' pile.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In-laws PC

My in-laws' pc has suffered a hdd failure. So I've sourced one from an old pc I had, and I've got that to install and the whole pc to set up. It seems to be the month for pc failures, hopefully this will be the end of them for a while.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Creswell Crags to Holbeck - There and Back again

Today we walked some of trail 1 of the Walking in & Around Sherwood Forest. Apart from taking a wrong turn and getting a little lost we had a good morning. Unfortunately all of the snow that started the day had cleared by the time we were enroute, so everywhere was just wet. I'd like to try it again when the weather is better, and now that we know where we're heading it should be much better. At least we managed to look inside all 5 of the
caves, which considering I'm born and bred in Derbyshire is a little disappointing that's it's taken me 38 years to see them.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The bathroom is finally taking some kind of shape. It ought to be, it's taken 9 months, although to be fair developing diabetes during the start of the project hasn't helped. Still, the end is now in sight, and it should be completed Monday-ish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Google Bookmarks

I use lots of different pcs, so I'm experimenting with Google Bookmarks

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I'm trying to get the university buddies together for a bit of a weekend, and as usual it's turned into the herding cats being stung by bees scenario. I don't understand why it takes us so much effort to provide a list of dates where we're all free and then just pick one. But it does, and it feels like I've been organising this since Christmas. 2 of us have settled on a date (kind of), but I'm still waiting for confirmation from the others. John and Jez, get yer fingers out!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stranger's Wrath

I've had one of those moments - where suddenly everything comes together - and I feel a little more enlightened about the game. I should have been playing it less FPS style and more like a platformer, which I've started to do, and now I think I get it. Yay!

Sega CD

So my Sega CD seller has still not contacted me. I'm tired of waiting for it, so I've escalated it to an 'Item not received' status with PayPal.

Shower Screen

We recently had a new bathroom fitted, and we've been experiencing some leak problems with the shower screen. I've already had the guy back that fitted it all, and he's not cured it, so I've had it all apart and done it myself. Remember, silicone is your best friend

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Currently Reading

Man-Kzin Wars 2 - Man vs Kzin in Larry Niven's known space.

Stranger in a Strange Land - Not one of Heinlein's best in my opinion. I generally like Heinlein's stuff, but this one's just not ringing my bell.

The Complete Roderick -
I can't see how this got onto the Masterworks series, I've almost finished it, and it's left me completely cold. I can't put my finger on what's wrong with it, but it just feels that there's no story. It's almost a random collection of unconnected events, and Roderick's influence is secondary

Stranger's Wrath

I've been playing this for about 5 or 6 hours now, and I can't see what the big attraction is to it. The other games in the series are more interesting, and Stranger's dialog is really starting to irritate me. I'll give it a few more hours, but so far it's turning out to be nothing more than an FPS with animal ammo.

Currently Playing

Stranger's Wrath - XBox - FPS (ish) set in Oddworld

Geist - Game Cube - Ghostly first person puzzler

Wipeout Pure - PSP - Classic high speed racing on a hand-held

Metroid Prime 3 - Wii - Samus' first outing on the Wii. Nintendo hard (to be expected), but good controls and a great story

Sega CD

I bought a Sega CD from a guy on eBay a couple of weeks ago, the listing specifically said 'express delivery', so here I am still waiting for it. The guy's ignoring emails. I've requested his contact details from eBay this morning and sent him a text to see where it's at. If I don't get any response by Monday it looks like I'll be going down the 'non-performing seller' route. Git.

Dad's PC

Went to visit Mum & Dad last night, and Dad has a problem with his pc, can't remember his dsl username. So we find that, get him back online and his pc is running like a dog. Now it's not the fastest pc in the world anyway, but it normally runs better than this. Oddly his antivirus software has been turned up to maximum scanning - that'd do it everytime! Turned it back down to normal, and everything's coming up roses. Another technical hitch overcome.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kid's PC

I've finally got around to fixing the kids pc today - the cpu cooling fan had developed a nasty buzz and vibrated pretty badly. Hopefully that'll be the last repairs I need to do to pcs for a while