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November 2007 Archives

November 28, 2007

"Flick" Your ISP

Filed in: Internet.

On Mintshot, an ISP named Slingshot has an auction titled "Flick your ISP", which gets you a 12 month package. Possibly a bit of an odd name until you see the graphic they use to represent the auction:


Interesting choice of font... :)

Posted at 11:18 PM | Comments (5)

2D Portal

Filed in: Games, Links.

Portal is a 3D game created by Valve based on the same engine as Half Life but based towards logic puzzles rather than shooting enemies. Before I even knew that version of the game existed, I stumbled on a 2D flash version of Portal, as pictured. I don't know how it compares to Valve's 3D game, but it's a fun little game in its own right.

The idea is you have a portal gun with which you can create portals on flat surfaces, then move yourself or objects from one end of the portal to the other. You use this ability to solve logic puzzles in order to get from the entrance of a room to the exit. Most of the early levels are easy - they start to get fiendishly hard somewhere around level 30...

The nastier levels involve small gun turrets which shoot you with lasers if you stand in front of them too long. I think the worst was level 35, which has a wee warning that it "may cause frustration"...

Posted at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2007

Energy Drink Review: QF Energy

Filed in: Energy Drinks.

[QF Energy]QF Energy comes in a very nice shade of Decepticon purple. Kudos to the designer - it's a very nice can indeed. It doesn't, however, explain what QF stands for (Quaff Fast? Quite Feisty? Quarter Flounder?) and the website is just as enigmatic, stating "You are QF. QF Energy is all around you." which suggests that QF Energy is akin to the Force. My midichlorian count before and after drinking it was much the same, however.

The drink itself has a very grape-like flavour, which makes a pleasant change from all those Red Bull clones. So far as energy effect goes, it has roughly the same amount of caffiene as most other energy drinks.

QF Energy is made in Queensland, Australia. Regardless, I give it an 8 out of 10. Nice!

Posted at 10:35 PM | Comments (8)

November 22, 2007

What's this road sign?

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

I've noticed a few of these along State Highway 2 on my way home:

[grapes road sign]

Not the 2 shield, the thing under it that looks like a bunch of grapes (Yes, I stopped and took a picture. Because I could).

I couldn't find anything about it on the LTSA's page concerning signs. On the back was a sticker indicating it had been manufactured by Approach Signs Ltd, as did the 2 shield. I couldn't find anything about it in their catalogue, but brown appears to be the colour for touristy signs.

Current best theory is that it's a reference to the Wairarapa vineyards as there aren't any vineyards in either Upper or Lower Hutt. I would have thought that the Wairarapa would be a bit far for informational signs like that though...

Second best theory is it means "1,000 point Pacman bonus ahead".

Edit: Aha! It looks like it's The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail!

Posted at 8:09 PM | Comments (5)

November 20, 2007

Time Crash

Filed in: Doctor Who.


[David Tennant staring at Peter Davison and vice versa]

Time Crash, the Children in Need mini-episode this year, was some 10% plot and 90% David Tennant bouncing around like an over-excited fan meeting Peter Davison for the first time. He should probably have gotten that out of his system before they started filming... Kidding: it's short and sweet and doesn't fit into continuity, but hopefully prompted some Doctor Who fans to donate to Children in Need. :)

I would, but when I tried it wouldn't recognise my post code. Typical!

In other Doctor Who news:

Posted at 8:07 PM | Comments (4)

November 14, 2007

Random Embroidery

Filed in: Doctor Who, Links.

Back in 1993, I did a cartoon for TSV titled What's Really inside a Dalek. Today, I happened upon the fact that someone's created an embroidered patch from it. That was unexpected and also totally brightened up my day! Thank you, Trifarina!

Posted at 7:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2007

TSV 52

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 52 was published ten years ago to the month, and now it's online! I had one item in it, this picture of an Ice Warrior, which is the last piece of artwork I did for TSV until about TSV 63 (and then it was just some cartoons).

There's quite a lot about The Five Doctors in this issue, including an article on the Special Edition, a review of same, and even a cartoon. I would have liked to have done screenshot comparisons of the original TV version and the Special Edition, but the BBC only released the latter on DVD (I have an ancient VHS recording of the TV version somewhere, but no way to capture video off it), so I could only add screenshots of the new effects.

There's also the first of a semi-regular column from Jon Preddle called Rantings from the Padded Cell, in which he deftly fits the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies into the TV Show continuity; an interview with then-DWM-Editor Gary Gillatt, in response to last issue's interview with Gary Russell; another installment of the Karkus; a piece of fiction from Jamas; and another comic strip.

Just as a random thought, isn't it odd how the delegates in the Daleks' Master Plan appear to be a pretty important bunch, but none of their kind have ever appeared in Doctor Who again? Likewise, Alpha Centauri (left), despite inhabiting a planet in the nearest solar system to Earth's, has only ever appeared in two stories...

See also: write-ups by Paul and Jamas.
Previously: TSV 51

Posted at 8:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2007


Filed in: Computers, Unreal Tournament.

Shortly after making my previous post I remembered that someone had mentioned that using the Print Screen button still worked. Since it's a huge hassle to switch from UT2004 to a graphics program every time you want to take a screen shot, I wrote a quick program to poll the clipboard every few seconds and, if it happens to contain a bitmap, write it to a file.

Clipboarddump screen shot

I had a quick check around the internet, but I couldn't find any other freeware programs which would do the same thing, so I figured I'd put it on here in case it helps anyone else who's facing the same problem.

Posted at 2:36 PM | Comments (5)

November 10, 2007

Blank Screenshots

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

I got a bit of a surprise a couple of days ago when I tried to take some screenshots in Unreal Tournament 2004. Last month, while trying to get the UT3 demo working I updated the drivers for my PC's graphics card. Unfortunately, what I didn't know at the time is that there's an incompatibility between UT2004 and the latest version of the nVidia drivers which means that screenshots now come out completely black.

There's a thread in nVidia's forums, and a thread in Epic Games' forums. The one on the Epics Games forum suggested downloading and installing nHancer, which allows finer control over nVidia graphics settings, but it didn't make any difference.

Since Epic hasn't released a patch for UT2004 since 2005, hopefully nVidia will release something that will fix the problem...

Edit: I came up with my own solution!

Posted at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 7, 2007

Steampunk Dalek

Filed in: Doctor Who, Links.

Via Boing Boing:
Steampunk Dalek, which also comes in CGI video flavour:

I'd been thinking of doing something like that but hadn't gotten around to it. I'm still thinking of having a go at designing an Art Deco Dalek to make up for the design we didn't get in Daleks in Manhattan. :)

Posted at 6:20 PM | Comments (3)

November 6, 2007

Complaining about Google

Filed in: Spam.

Regarding my post a couple of weeks back on Microsoft's sneaky bot, today I spotted an example of Google using the same tactic! Shortly after a request from Googlebot for yesterday's fireworks post, there was a second hit from a Google-owned IP address with a Firefox user agent and the referrer "". This second hit loaded only the page and none of the associated style or graphic files, and I don't appear in a google search for "abc" so I'm reasonably sure it was a cloaked bot. Since it didn't load any stylesheets, I'm not sure what abuses it's looking for (perhaps it's merely checking for server redirects?).

However, that's not what I'm complaining about. A while ago I noticed that some of the URLs in the spam comments I was getting (which never appeared on the site because my defences are well set up) were for Google Groups. Sure enough these were groups which had been set up by spammers to promote their crap. As every post in a Google Group (assuming it's not a Usenet mirror) has a report abuse link on the bottom, I reported some of the posts. Google sent me an automated email thanking me for reporting the abuse, however weeks later the spammy Google Groups are still there.

Case in point:

Now, considering how strict Google is on sites which allow this sort of thing, I'm somewhat surprised that they haven't acted more decisively in this case.

Posted at 8:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2007

The big ban

Filed in: Misc.

I suspect that fireworks are going to be banned next year, given that every Guy Fawkes their sale becomes more and more restrictive. Mostly because, as Jamas fears, fireworks result in a lot of house fires.

But hey, this is the 21st century! Why are we still lighting paper tubes filled with gun powder? The future is in holographic fireworks! Safe, fun, and recyclable! Considering how cheap lasers seem to be these days (how much can you get a CDROM drive for?) it surely shouldn't cost that much to mass produce that sort of thing by now..?

Posted at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)


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