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December 2007 Archives

December 26, 2007

UT3 Screencap Review Part 2: Tank Crossing

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

[CGI landscape]

So, today I'm going to look at the Warfare game type and one particular example, Tank Crossing. This map, as you can see above in the screen shot which looks vaguely like it came from a CGI wallpaper site, has pretty scenery. It's also a really good example of how UT3 meshes together the Onslaught, Assault, and Bombing Run game types from UT2004.

Continue reading "UT3 Screencap Review Part 2: Tank Crossing"

Posted at 5:42 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2007

Religious Programming

Filed in: Doctor Who.

From the current TV Guide:
Clipping: Religious Programming: Doctor Who Marathon

Merry Christmas. :)

Posted at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2007

Movable Type commenting tweaks

Filed in: Movable Type.

After my post about Blogger supporting OpenID for commenting, I decided I should enable OpenID on here as well. This lead to me having to overhaul the comment form (bringing it into line with the comment form in the default MT4 templates) so that everything would actually work. Unfortunately doing this had the side effect that any comments I made appeared as "Anonymous"

Why? Because I don't have MT Native authentication turned on (I don't see the point in getting people to register on my site just to comment on my entries). However the comment form javascript happily detected my MT login cookies and assumed I was a registered commenter, which caused the "Anonymous" effect. The simple solution was to turn on MT Native authentication, or so I thought...

Continue reading "Movable Type commenting tweaks"

Posted at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2007

startrek.com team "restructured"

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Via gdwessel:
Goodbye from the STARTREK.COM Team

Sadly, we must report that CBS Interactive organization is being restructured, and the production team that brings you the STARTREK.COM site has been eliminated. Effective immediately.

We don't know the ultimate fate of this site, which has served millions of Star Trek fans for the last thirteen years.

Thank you for your loyal fandom over the years. It has been a pleasure to serve you.

Wow. That really sucks. As Geoff points out, it's not like Star Trek is doing badly, being that they have a movie in the works and all. Why are they getting rid of the website team now?

Posted at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2007

Random Sunset Photo

Filed in: Misc.

Just because.

[Sunset]

Posted at 9:03 PM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2007

White Pages Logo

Filed in: Misc.

Here's a partial image of the cover of the Wellington White Pages:

picture of white pages logo

Pop quiz: What is the logo on the left there supposed to be? Is it:

  1. One guy punching another guy in the armpit?
  2. Two people synchronised swimming?
  3. Two catapaults, loaded with ballast?

Answers on the back of a postcard.

Posted at 7:42 PM | Comments (3)

December 13, 2007

Google-modifying malware

Filed in: Computers.

See if you can spot what's wrong with the following screenshot of Google results:

Google screenshot

Yes, that left-hand frame isn't meant to be there. Google displays sponsored results on the right-hand side of the window, not the left! Some cheeky piece of software is stripping off Google's ads and substituting its own!

The computer in question had two suspect programs installed - "SuperiorAds" and "Dcads". After I removed these (using "Add/Remove Programs"), things were back to normal. Oddly enough, Adaware, which hadn't been able to update its definition file before, was suddenly able to once the two bits of software were removed... How strange...

Posted at 7:04 PM | Comments (2)

December 12, 2007

RTP 25 & TSV 75

Filed in: Doctor Who.

On Monday, the latest issues of RTP and TSV both popped through my letterbox. Yesterday I was sick as a dog (don't ask) so I had the opportunity to read both from cover to cover.

RTP celebrates 10 years and 25 issues! Roughly half the issue is taken up by the last of the series of articles on Tardis Tales (including a reprint of the TSV 34 edition of Dr Hoo), and much of the rest is taken up by the end of Peter Adamson's comic strip masterpiece Cydonia. The latter was the highlight of the issue for me. Is there going to be an issue with Cydonia collected? The other major item being an interview with Kelly Buchanan of Random Static, a Wellington publishing firm who have taken over publishing the Faction Paradox line.

The only problem I had with this issue was an unfortunate choice of fonts. In the font used, the space under the tittle on the lower-case 'i' is very narrow, making it difficult to tell the difference between the 'i' and 'l'. As a result, the name "Billis" on the last page looks like a series of vertical lines with 'B' and 's' at opposite ends.

TSV, meanwhile, is celebrating 20 years and 75 issues with a slick and glossy full-colour cover. Oh, if only all the covers from now on could be colour!

One of the highlights of TSV for me, was Amy Mebberson's artwork for the Series 3 reviews, with a mixture of serious art and extremely funny cartoons. Some interesting view in the reviews themselves - I agreed with a lot of what was said, and it seems pretty much everyone agreed that the season ended on a bit of a duff note. The in-depth commentary on TSV 1 was fascinating, as was the screening history of Doctor Who in Singapore, though I suspect a more interesting question would be "Where did the tapes of the missing episodes go after Singapore screened them?!" (Jon addresses this a bit in the article).

In Doctor's Dilemma, Jon Preddle takes on the claim that Sylvester McCoy is the longest running Doctor, ad he technically held the title from 1987 to 1996, but Jon comes up with a different result. I think Jon's wrong though - Peter Davison has been playing the Doctor from 1981 to 2007 (last appearing onscreen in Time Crash this November, but also in the Big Finish audios) so, although he hasn't been the current Doctor all that time, technically he's still been the Doctor for the last 26 years!

I have two items in TSV 75 - two drabbles in fact, which were entered in the Drabble Who Challenge. If you want to read them, you'll have to get the issue. :)

You can preview the TSV 75 contents listing and cover on the NZDWFC site.

Posted at 7:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

TSV 53

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

Last Saturday, TSV issue 53 (published March 1998) went online. One of the two items I had published in this issue isn't up on the site - this was a brief note about NZDWFC web site:

"At time of writing, there are subscription information and contact details already up, and at time of printing, there should be a club history up as well. Also planned are a news page (mainly to detail upcoming conventions and chapter events - this will need the help of event organisers.) and a small archive of some of the articles and artwork which have appeared in TSV. Comments are welcome and appreciated."

"Small archive". Heh heh heh... That was the first time the website's URL appeared in the fanzine.

The other item was a comic strip which I co-wrote with Peter Adamson, and which he drew, called Dominion. It's one of only two comic strips I know of which feature companion Melanie Bush in a major role (the other being the DWM comic Plastic Millennium, which appeared in one of their specials).

Sadly, I don't still have the emails which flew back and forth between me and Peter during the writing of Dominion, but from memory he approached me with the idea of co-writing the comic strip. We wrote alternate panels and edited each other's work, with Peter also writing the first page pre-credit teaser and adding in a bunch of neat little touches, like the Nedla on the billboard the Doctor hides behind on page 10 (though admittedly I wasn't keen on this at the time!). I suspect I was responsible for several of the Dominators being named after game characters - Kano being from Mortal Kombat, and Rahn being an enemy wizard from Magic Carpet 2. Peter's designs are awesome, of course. Especially Anzor's costume and the flying Quarks.

And it has Mel dressed as a Dominatrix!

Also appearing in TSV 53 was A Question of Answers - a piece written by DWM Archivist Andrew Pixley which took a look at various esoteric questions relating to the history of Doctor Who. One of the questions he mentions that has never been answered is "Who was originally cast as Sarah Jane Smith?", and Andrew suggests some likely names, though naturally this is only speculation.

So, go read TSV 53. :)

See also: write-ups by Paul and Jamas.
Previously: TSV 52

Posted at 2:06 PM | Comments (2)

December 9, 2007

Newsflash: SORBS still sucks!

Filed in: Spam.

Some 95% of my email comes from a good friend of mine. Unfortunately, cowboy spam fighters SORBS (who still suck badly) keep banning the SMTP servers of the ISP he uses, Clear.

They're not banning him personally, but because someone on Clear sent spam, he now can't email me, because my web host uses SORBS to filter its incoming email. This is the third time in recent months, and I'm getting pretty tired of it, but since Clear apparently can't stop spammers using their SMTP servers...

Well, I'm off to ask my web host to whitelist his address so I can get his emails again

Edit: my webhost have now whitelisted it! I love my web host. :)

Posted at 6:15 PM | Comments (4)

December 6, 2007

Unreal Tournament 3 Voice Actors

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

Because the IMDB doesn't have a page up for UT3 yet (I tried to add one and got about halfway through the ponderously long form and gave up), and voice actors are awesome and deserve recognition1.

Jester: Andrea Baker
Iron Guard Male/Corrupt Robot: Steve Blum
Status Announcer: Kimberly Brooks
Othello: TC Carson
Reaper: Chris Cox
Malcolm: Greg Eagles
Lauren: Serena Irwin2
Necris Female/Akasha: Mandy Kaplan
Necris Male/Corrupt Robot: Neil Kaplan
Twin Souls Female/Iron Guard Female: Iona Morris
Bishop: Nolan North
Krall: David Sobalov
Reward Announcer/Twin Souls Male/Krall: Fred Tatasciore

That's a pretty flash collection of voice actors right there. Chris Cox, who plays main character "Reaper"3, was Captain Atom in Justice League Unlimited! Iona Morris was, of course, Storm in the 90s X Men cartoon, and Neil Kaplan and David Sobalov both did voices in Transformers series (Optimus Prime in Robots in Disguise, and Depth Charge in Beast Wars, respectively).

More general UT notes:

  • Having to set up my preferred settings because UT3 doesn't save them between sessions is getting old already. I suspect this is a bug.
  • Getting a lot of people finding my UT3 demo post because they're getting blank screens/runtime errors when they try to run the game. Tsk tsk, Epic.
  • Is it just me or is the new Hellbender like trying to drive a bucking bronco strapped to a railway handcar?
  • You can, of course, unlock all the characters without playing the single player campaign, however I'm going to do it the hard way.

1 Not that the rest of the UT3 team doesn't.
2 I'm assuming it's the same person despite the different spelling in the credits.
3 In the Doom movie, the main character is also named Reaper. Hmm...

Posted at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)

December 5, 2007

Blatant publicity stunt ahoy!

Filed in: Misc.

[Kylie Minogue]

In the paper this morning was this item: Kylie wants Wellington strip club poster removed.

London lawyers for pop princess Kylie Minogue have demanded a Wellington strip club remove what it says is a picture of the singer from its window.

Clear cut case! But the owner claims that the picture is not, in fact, of Kylie Minogue:

He said his designer downloaded the image from an internet site three months ago and used it for a window poster. It was not labelled as a photograph of Minogue and he said he could not see the resemblance.

After a five minutes googling, I found said picture on a wallpaper site, clearly marked as being a picture of Kylie Minogue. You can see it on this post, tastefully cropped so you can't see her boobies, so this blog doesn't get an NC17 rating. But even without looking, she's pretty recognisable.

"I'm not convinced, eh? What would a nice girl like Kylie be doing in a wet top like that?"

Has he seen the lingerie calendars she's put out? I smell a publicity stunt.

Posted at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2007

Movable Type's OpenID server plugin

Filed in: Movable Type.

Last week Blogger announced they were adding OpenID to their commenting system, so I thought I'd try my hand at installing the OpenID server which comes with MT4.

In the "extras" directory of the MT4 install zip, there's openid-server-1.1.zip. Looking at the contents of that zip, 96% of the files appear to be useless Subversion cruft. WTF? Having installed it, I tried to use it to comment on the Blogger In Draft post, and discovered that Blogger was giving me the somewhat cryptic name of "www". Now, there are other comments from users apparently using OpenID on that entry who have names displayed which don't appear to be derived from their URL. This appears to be an extension of OpenID, which isn't supported in the MT server or, more specifically, the Net::OpenID::Server perl module. The good news is that this module is still under development (the last release was in September) so it's possible that the extensiony stuff will be implemented in it.

While the MT version of the OpenID server plugin hasn't been updated since August 2005, there's a newer version of the plugin on MT-Hacks. This also uses the Net::OpenID::Server module which, though it's a newer version, still doesn't seem to support the extension. After taking a good look myself, it's beyond me how to extend the perl module to use aforementioned extensions, so instead I'm going to take a look at implementing a FOAF file, as suggested on the MT-hacks site...

Posted at 8:33 PM | Comments (2)

December 3, 2007

Heroes/Doctor Who Connection

Filed in: Doctor Who, TV & Movies.

As I was watching Heroes tonight (specifically the episode "Out of Time", which just screened here in New Zealand) I had a sudden sense of deja vu... Because this post refers to a series which is still being shown, I'm going to put the rest of this post behind a link to try to avoid spoiling anyone.

Continue reading "Heroes/Doctor Who Connection"

Posted at 10:45 PM | Comments (3)

December 2, 2007

UT3 Screencap Review Part 1

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

I got Unreal Tournament 3 a couple of days ago. You may recall I had trouble getting the demo to work. Well, the game shipped with the setting in question set to the "not working" mode, so it appears that Epic didn't notice a large number of people having trouble with the thing. Anyway, I've been playing it a bit, so here are some initial thoughts.

Continue reading "UT3 Screencap Review Part 1"

Posted at 9:18 PM | Comments (1)

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