Category Archives: culture

Watching Game of Thrones (again)


Yup, I am! Artistically, now I know what happens, I can concentrate on relevant harbingers since we know what they are. There’s quite a few, I was obviously concentrating on the wrong plot points the first time through.  If I was really concerned, I could probably organise my life better; I deleted my older copies of the show from my skybox and so short of buying the box set, £32 for S1-3 I am stuck waiting for them to show repeats and so I took the opportunity over Xmas. Great show but the opportunity to whinge about Sky & HBO’s monetisation strategies is too great.  … » Read more …

monopoly in film

On the 27th Sept, Torrentfeak comments on an MPAA funded report on film distribution in the USA.  It highlights the oddity that the most used service (Netflix) has the weakest catalogue. Later in the year, the researcher, KPMG LLP published a report on the UK market, which Torrentfreak commented on here…. The headline was that a film fan wanting the best catalogue would need to subscribe to 27 services, which seems a bit excessive.   … » Read more …

I need 27 suppliers? Watching film in the UK


A UK movies fan has to subscribe to 27 services to get a full catalog of current(ish) releases. On the 27th Sept, Torrentfeak comments on an MPAA funded report on film distribution in the USA.  It highlights the oddity that the most used service (Netflix) has the weakest catalogue. Later in the year, the researcher, KPMG LLP published a report on the UK market, which Torrentfreak commented on here…. The headline was that a film fan wanting the best catalogue would need to subscribe to 27 services, which seems a bit excessive.   … » Read more …

Can they really make Iron Man?

How awesome! The US Military having already made Batman’s surveillance machine, is now looking to recreate Iron Man.   … » Read more …

Google deleted five million index entries in a week

Google Bay

Earlier today, Torrent Freak published an article detailing the number of take down requests that Google receives and acts upon, in the previous week, they report

Google received DMCA notices from 5,407 copyright owners and reporting organizations requesting the removal of 5,310,080 URLs spanning a total of 37,413 domains.

Obviously, I have been exposed to the copyright maximalist’s constant propaganda at #lab13 and further with the press coverage of the Select Committee, so its great to see this reported. The Torrentfreak article ends,  … » Read more …

If Only


Last weekend, I went to see “If Only”, a play by David Edgar about the politics surrounding the formation of the coalition and a subdued appeal for the political parties to rediscover their identities; identity destroyed by triangulation.

Triangulation is a political strategy used mainly by social democratic parties and the US Democrats, of moving to the right and forcing your opponents to differentiate themselves by moving further to the right. It’s extremely cynical and extremely dangerous. However, if it’s just about winning, it clearly worked for a number of years for the Labour Party, isolating the Tories under the leadership of Major, Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. The danger in this strategy is that many of those who genuinely agree with the policies abandoned have no-one to represent them in the national political debate; the left in society become politically voice-less. A further danger is that neither the acolytes of triangulation nor their supporters believe in what is being said and promised by politicians, it reinforces the slur that all politicians are liars by making it the truth.  … » Read more …

This House, or when whips served the Party

I went to see “This House” earlier today. It’s the story of the Labour Whips who kept the Wilson and Callaghan government in power for 4½ years, without a majority for much of the time, from 1974 to 1979. It brought back many memories as I had joined the Labour Party in 74 and of course much of my politics was learned and established in the next 10 years.  … » Read more …

Beneath the Cobbles, an NWN adventure

Last weekend, I finally finished the NWN User Authored Module, “Agrenost, Beneath the Cobbles”. I have been playing it, as I do very sporadically, for a couple of months. A very atmospheric and as far as fantasy fiction goes, believable module that had me returning week after week.

I took a Rogue/Thief through; as pretty much recommended, but I think they come into their own with the later rule sets and NWN usually rewards the flexibility of a rogue, however in this game, unusually you have up to five companions, as you can see, and they pretty much fit into the ideal party, although I was not provided with a healer and didn’t multi-class to take any levels of cleric. The companions below seem to be a fighter, paladin, monk, mage and fighter/thief. The adventure takes you through and below the slums, merchant’s quarter and docks of Agrenost, a city at the edge of an empire and suffering from invasion by an undead horde.

I thoroughly recommend this module and it just shows there’s still life in this venerable game.

Now, shall I start NWN2, or look for a new NWN module  … » Read more …

A pointless audience

I just love Pointless, the BBC Quiz show, where contestants have to show they know more than an audience by answering questions, obscurely, to obtain low scores. The final question requires that the contestants find an answer which none of the audience has mentioned. The hosts, Alexander Armstrong & Richard Osman do their best to make the contestants welcome,  it’s a really gentle atmosphere, teams get two chances to play so if they’re very unlucky with the questions they don’t feel badly treated, the prizes are typically British quiz show, and the contestants have been  polite to each other, with losing teams often congratulating their victors. In order to win you need to know a lot, understand the tactics of the game, and have a lot of luck. Part of the fasincation in watching the show is to test how much of these factors you have yourself, aided by the fact that they show you the answers to the questions, and the scores they obtained.

In the final round, a question is posed and to win, the final team has three chances and 60 seconds to find a pointless answer. These final questions can have many answers, for instance, they have asked

  • John Grisham Novels
  • Booker Prize Winners
  • Keanu Reeves films
  • Thatcher’s Cabinet Ministers (pointless…ho ho).
  • Labour female MPs elected in 1997

I suddenly realise I have never seen a final geography question.

However, they are missing a trick, while the presenters, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, in particular, make sterling efforts to involve the home audience, the recap of the answers, is always too short, and often incomplete. It seems that 75 of the Labour female MP’s were pointless and this was too many to show. (I reckon I got two!) That’s what the internet’s for, Dudes. They must also have some questions that they don’t use.  I’d have thought a “join in” online page at the BBC site would be awesome, it might have to be published after the episode goes off line, but they do it for “Only Connect”. If they hosted it inside the bcc player site they have the social network infrastructure in place, they could even offer an online competition with other fans. The number of comments on Osman’s Blog show how big an appetite for chat about this there is.  … » Read more …

Spellcasting in Neverwinternights

I have over the last two days advanced my Mage into and up the Luskan Host Tower_in Neverwinter Nights. This is the first time I have played a Mage, as those of you who follow this thread know, and there are some interesting differences in playing one as opposed to a fighter type, in particular, Rimardo Domine is, much easier to defeat and the brazier entrapping Nymphithys much harder, For more, see Playing a Wizard.  … » Read more …

Work and Games

Back to my desk in the City after 10 days off, spent with family and friends. I am looking forward to work, but also getting back in touch with friends I havn’t seen in a while. After Xmas we went to the Aldershot Games Store and bought a couple of board games which we have been trying out over the last week. These include “Touch of Evil“, evil monster hunting in the American colonies, “Pirates Cove“, aarrr! and “the War on Terror“, which we havn’t played yet, described as Risk for cynics by the store people, who have always been really helpful.  … » Read more …

Nicopolis II

I have now finished the demo, and it remains good looking and still seems to be a story rich, puzzle, travel and discovery game. The puzzles can be quite simple and at times quite linear; you can only do the right thing. I was also frustrated that objects only become usable as the story unfolds to require them, you can’t clear a room. I am not sure if we’ll buy it. See also the previous blog post Nicopolis, and Other Games at this site, which have links to the demo and author sites.  … » Read more …

The biggest wine rack in the world.

I went down to the Mandalay Bay again to visit the Aureole. This is a wine bar with a four story wine rack. The bar staff use a trapeze to retrieve the wine. It has to be seen to be believed.


And now, you can see it! It claims to have 69,000 wines. As you can imagine a hard copy wine menu would be a bit of weight, requiring the restaurant to employ the world’s strongest man as somelier. However, they use a tablet pc as the wine list, not quite web 2.0 but cute all the same. The service was immaculate and the company at the table can be pretty fussy. I thoroughly recommend you visit this place either for a “sharp one” or for dinner.


Originally published on my old sun blog, copied across on 8th Oct 2015, the picture is mine and hosted at flickr. It was taken by an early camera or phone, which is why it’s so poor.  … » Read more …