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October 2007 Archives

October 26, 2007

Alden defends Microsoft shocker

Filed in: Website Management.

I noticed some odd things about the hits supposedly coming from Microsoft's Live Search recently. First there's a hit from msnbot for page X. This is followed by another hit on page X, from a Microsoft IP address with the referrer set to a results page and with an IE7 user agent, however the second agent only loads CSS and javascript, no images.

Despite the referrer, my web page doesn't appear in the results for the search term given. One hit, for instance, was for TSV 48 for the search term pertwee, yet TSV 48 isn't listed on that search results page (it's on about page 11).

The only clue was a parameter on the referring URL: FORM=LIVSOP. Googling revealed the truth:

msndude says:
The traffic you are seeing is part of a quality check we run on selected pages. While we work on addressing your conerns, we would request that you do not actively block the IP addreses used by this quality check; blocking these IP addresses could prevent your site from being included in the Live Search index.

While there are a lot of complaints in that thread, what Microsoft appear to be doing is testing for spammy pages set up to redirect non-bot visitors to other, less desirable pages. It seems to me that there's a lot of blaming of Microsoft, when people should be blaming the spammers. I fully approve of MS keeping their results free of spam.

Edit: Oh, and Google seem to be doing it too.

Posted at 11:14 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2007

Tripod/Darkstalker pix

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

Here is one of the reasons Unreal Tournament 3 is made of awesome: actual Tripods with heat rays. I cannot stress how cool this is. Tripods. TRIPODS! WITH HEAT RAYS!

Tripod picture 1 Tripod picture 2
Tripod picture 3 Tripod picture 4


Sorry, I need a moment.

Posted at 11:40 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2007

Trying out the Unreal Tournament 3 demo

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

A demo for Unreal Tournament 3 was recently released. Since I'm a big fan of UT2004, I downloaded it last night to try it out.

Installing the demo wasn't too bad, though it did force me to install Microsoft's .NET 2.0 framework (Why?). Having completed installation, I started the demo. It played the manufacturer logos (is it really necessary to have logos for hardware manufacturers on a game?!) and then the screen went blank. It stayed blank for about thirty seconds and then my PC rebooted. Windows cited an infinite loop in the graphics driver (What?!). I guess I should have rebooted manually after installation, although the installer gave no indication this was necessary.

I tried starting up the game again, and it got to the main menu! Huzzah! I checked through all the options and attempted to start a deathmatch in the level "Heat Ray". The game gave me a loading screen and then... crashed again. Windows reported that the software had had a fatal error, but wouldn't elaborate. Fantastic!

I rebooted and tried again, selecting a different map to play. This time it got to the point of showing the first view of the level ("Shangri La") and playing some ambient sounds before crashing again. Sensing a theme, I started the game up again, and tried the only other level in the game, the Capture the Flag level "Suspense". This time Windows said UT3 had announced a runtime error, and didn't even generate an error report.

So, three levels, and none of them play on my machine. Given that I upgraded my PC this year specifically so I'd have a machine fast enough to play Unreal Tournament 3, I'm a little annoyed. I guess unless another demo is released which works on my computer, I'll have to put off buying UT3 until I upgrade my computer again (probably in another 5 years...).

Meh, computers.

Edit: this post on Epic Games forums looks promising. I'll have to try some of the things it suggests.

Edit: Having updated my processor and video card drivers, changing the option in UTEngine.ini and shutting down AVG, the game now works on my system. WOOHOO!

Posted at 1:25 PM | Comments (3)

October 12, 2007

TSV 51

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 51 is now online! What can I say about it? It's green, which matches the NZDWFC site colours nicely. It contains Zero Minus Thirty-Three Days, a prequel to the BBC book The Devil Goblins from Neptune, written by the authors. There's a long interview with Gary Russell, ex-editor of Doctor Who Magazine and author, in which the dirt is spilled. There's more fiction, including a crossover; another adventure with the Karkus; Alien Nation, covering monsters Terry Nation; and a detailed biography of the Dalek creator.

This is the point when Virgin lost their license, so there's reviews for the last few New and Missing Adventures, and the first two BBC books - The Eight Doctors and the aforementioned The Devil Goblins of Neptune.

Also in this issue is In Bloom, one of my favourite TSV comic strips, which features the seventh Doctor and Benny during the Dalek occupation of Earth (although no Daleks appear, in keeping with New Adventures tradition). One page illustrates a scene from one of the books, but I don't remember which one... [No Future, thanks Morgue!]

There's nothing from me in this issue, not even a letter. Oh well, read it anyway. :)

See also: write-ups by Paul and Jamas.
Previously: TSV 50

Edit: Morgue has written about the making of 'In Bloom'.

Posted at 10:13 PM | Comments (2)

October 10, 2007

New "designer" Coke cans

Filed in: Misc.

This morning I discovered all the Coke cans at a petrol station near work had been replaced. Instead of the usual standard-sized cans, they'd turned into tall thin things, which looked like slightly larger energy drink cans. Whereas the old cans held 355ml, the new ones held 300ml but were more expensive. After a spot of googling, I found this article.

Consider me boggled. Is it possible for a soft drink to jump the shark?

Posted at 8:05 PM | Comments (1)

October 8, 2007


Filed in: Misc.

Dear world

If I every use the word "gutted", and my internal organs are all safely inside me, you have my permission to whap me upside the head.

(A word I suspect we're going to be hearing a lot of on New Zealand television in the next week or so :P

Posted at 5:08 PM | Comments (1)

October 3, 2007

Crossover: Doctor Who meets Star Trek meets Transformers?

Filed in: Doctor Who, Links, Transformers.

Spotted on
JAG Animation: meet Chronobot, Saucer, and Stardrive
Chronobot costume

Regarding the Saucer design on the second page, I'm not entirely sure they've accounted for the entire bulk of the saucer section of the Enterprise-D in that design. Larger scans of the artwork would be nice...

Posted at 7:54 PM | Comments (1)


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