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December 2006 Archives

December 24, 2006

Giving the gift of Starforce for Christmas

Filed in: Games.

I gave a friend of mine a copy of Star Trek: Legacy for Christmas. This game, published by Bethesda Softworks, is the latest and greatest in the Star Trek computer game franchise, and he'd been looking forward to playing it immensely.

Alas, it was not to be. After he installed it, the game refused to play. Windows reported an Access Violation and that was that. Then the PC began resetting abruptly at random intervals. Uninstalling the game didn't help. Reinforcements were called in (Unfortunately as both friend and PC are halfway up the North Island from me, I couldn't render much assistance) and it turns out that Star Trek Legacy had deposited a somewhat nasty piece of work named Starforce on his machine.

Said computer is now undergoing reconstruction, and I'm trying to see if I can get a refund.

Posted at 12:05 PM | Comments (4)

December 23, 2006

Mad at Foxwoods

Filed in: Misc.

Foxwoods Resort Casino is, according to its Wikipedia entry, the largest casino in the world and is extremely profitable for its owners, bringing in millions of dollars a day.

So why are their workers angry at them? Why are they cutting their worker's benefits and expecting them to work long hours and take few holidays? At the desperate employees are organising to stage a walkoutcallout. The guest book is full of outraged entries:

"anyone heard that new dealers have to sign paper saying they get no benefits (ever) & never fultime status- boy, thats fair. Wanna work here?"

"I am angry!!! I have been at foxwoods since I was a teenager and I am now in my 30s I have seen the way that things have gone from bad to worse! We are the lowest paid in the gaming industry. imagine living in an area that pays 25-35% more than what we ge-"

"My husband works as a valet attendant and the things I see and hear are awful. Tips being taken away for 90days right before christmas might I add. So many peak days, when he was sick he had to call out and lost tickets which is 40% of his pay for 90 da-"

Good luck to all of Foxwood's employees on their callout. I hope your employers sit up, take notice, and start treating you better.

Posted at 8:45 AM | Comments (12)

December 22, 2006

Hey Sun, WTF?

Filed in: Computers.

Sometimes I'm apt to clean up the hard drives on my PC. Last night I was doing just this and happened to notice that the directory c:\Program Files\Java was taking up some 360MB. I peeked inside and saw this:
[Java folder]

In the Java folder were six more folders named jre1.5.0, jre1.5.0_02, etc, each apparently containing a complete installation of Sun Microsystem's Java runtime environment at 60MB each. It seems that every time JRE prompted me to update, it was installing the update into a new folder, leaving the old one cluttering up my hard drive.

WTF, Sun?

I completely uninstalled the JRE and all patches, and reinstalled the latest version, thus saving myself 300MB or so in disk space, at least until the next time it needs to update...

Posted at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

I've been somewhat lax recently in getting stuff done, and this entry is one of those things. As you probably don't remember me mentioning back in July, there were five1 Doctor Who stories (from the original series) which were never novelised by Target. All five of these were novelised by the NZDWFC but went out of print last year. In July we put the first of these, Shada, online.

The second book to be put online is The Pirate Planet, the second story of the Key to Time arc season, originally written by Douglas "Hitchhiker's Guide" Adams, and rewritten into book form by David Bishop, author of Who Killed Kennedy, amongst other things.

In the Pirate Planet, the search of the six segments of the Key to Time2 brings the Doctor, Romana and K9 to the planet Zanak, which confuses them because they were aiming for an entirely different planet. Equally puzzling is the fact that the ground is littered with precious gems such as diamonds, emeralds, and oolions. The story is peppered with Adamsian humour ("You'll never get it open, it's impossible." "Ha! Impossible? That means it will take 73 seconds.") and touches by David Bishop such as the Pirate Captain's violent premonitions.

There are a few special features such as a guide to the material which is from the original scripts and didn't appear in the televised story (Deleted Scenes) and the original Author's notes from the paper version. The book's also available in PDF format, if that's your thing.

For further reading, check out Paul's entry on the book.

Now I have some time off work, I should be able to catch up a bit on my todo list. :)

1 Shada's canonicity is arguable since the TV story was never completed and screened, but I give it the benefit of the doubt.
2 Which looks like a cuboid puzzle made of crystal and has the power to reshape the entire universe.

Previously: TSV 41

Posted at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2006

Pukiwiki spammer

Filed in: Spam.

So recently one idiot has been attempting to spam my comments here repeatedly. Despite getting 403 errors, he continues to blat the script 150 or so times per go, sometimes 30 or 40 times per second. Most of the hits originated from the RIPE network (Europe, plus bits of Asia and the Middle East), so these are likely compromised computers. Some hits were from IP addresses owned by (I've notified them).

The spam comments were random text from other sites, and random names - the common factor were the links to files on three pukiwiki sites (,, and The pages linked to were user uploaded files (webmasters, don't let random people upload files willy nilly! That's just asking for trouble!) containing spammy porn terms and encrypted javascript redirecting users to alien.js on alien.js fakes an error page and logs the hit if it happens to be coming from a search engine (and probably infects the browser with a nasty virus). may, at one time, have been owned by the "Nordic Centre For Artists' Books", but the current registration info is fake (the Cyprus address belongs to a real estate agent.) so it's probably either expired or been hijacked.

Bruce Simpson believes that the problem of zombie PCs may ultimately solve itself when terrorists realise they can pay hackers who have networks of compromised PCs to DOS important sites. At this point, the botnet problem would suddenly become very important to the US government. Personally I doubt any terrorist groups would bother...

Posted at 7:33 PM | Comments (5)

December 2, 2006

Christopher Eccleswho?

Filed in: Doctor Who.

You may remember a while back TV Guide printed a photo purporting to be Billie Piper and David Tennant. The latest TV Guide has a photo purporting to be Christopher Eccleston:

[Not Christopher Eccleston]

Eccleston isn't from *that* far north...

On the up-side, the same issue reveals that Doctor Who got to 19th place on the reader-voted "Best on the Box" award.

Posted at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)


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