Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Hoff

Well I tried to find some way I could relate this to software development or IT but failed miserably. So I'll just say I had the pleasure of seeing the Hoff in person in Manchester today. Hoff was a super hero/idol/star for many kids in the school playgrounds in the 80s due to his role in the TV show KnightRider, myself included.

David I know you're a fan of reading websites about you so if you're reading this just post a reply message below please!

As you could imagine he was very popular and I have a old sub megapixel Sagem camera phone with digital zoom, but I managed to get a few shots. Despite my poor camera work it's clear he still doesn't look any older than in the eighties and has proven himself with his fan base to be to pulp sci-fi adventure series what Sean Connery is to Bond.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Getting back into the swing

Well I've been spending a lot of time on a new project called openlubbs and not done much else. I'm now getting back into the dev swing and completing PenPal, which has had a complete redesign - screen shots soon.

On an unrelated note one thing that has irked me is the fact that Mc Donalds (whom I don't use anyway) charge £ 1.19 on a "pound saver menu" for a cheeseburger that in the USA costs $1 on their dollar menu. As I'm pandering to an international audience, £ 1.19 is approximately ~$2, for the Brits it means we should be paying ~£ 0.55. We pay more that 100% more for our cheeseburgers!!!
It's not just Mc Donalds either, it's happening on a huge number of products in the UK - why do people just accept this behaviour?
I emailed Mc Donalds in the UK (who incidentally won't allow you to email them if you're under 16 because of their email privacy policy.... they ask you to write instead) about this issue. I've received no reply, and I expect I never will.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Trojan "Starforce" DRM drivers installed with games software

I recently came across this article about the Starforce copy protection system that silently installs on Windows when you install any of the games (and some demos) listed at the bottom of this post.

People have stated that this software is akin the Sony's XCP protection and can potentially expose your computer to viruses and hackers and may break your DVD Rewriter.

I found it installed on my system as a set of hidden drivers, likely when I installed Egosoft's X2 - The Threat (see device manager screenshot).

When people complain to Egosoft they say its not their problem, that its the publisher that decided to use it, so users should complain to them. What BS. Why is it our problem to fix their product?! That's their publisher not ours, and its their software, ergo its Ego's problem, or will they only notice when it hits sales?
(Note Egosoft are just one of many companies using Starforce, I'm singling them out because it is on my system because of their product).

Publishers need to be made aware that treating their customers as thieves is not acceptable behaviour.

To remove the hidden drivers (and disable your purchased software I should add) go here:

The list:

# 7 Sins
# Anstoss 4
# Area 51
# Bandits: Phoenix Rising
# Bet on Soldier
# Beyond Divinity
# Black Mirror
# Blitzkrieg 2
# Blitzkrieg: Rolling Thunder
# Breed
# Brian Lara International Cricket 2005
# Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon
# Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
# Chaos League
# Chaos League: Sudden Death
# Codename: Outbreak
# Codename: Panzers - Phase One
# Codename: Panzers - Phase Two
# Cold War
# Colin McRae Rally 2005
# Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars
# Cross Racing Championship 2005
# Curse: The Eye of Isis
# Cycling Manager 3
# Cycling Manager 3
# Cycling Manager 4
# D-Day
# Dead to Rights
# Demonic Speedway
# Desert Rats vs Afrika Korps
# Domination
# Emergency Fire Response
# Enigma: Rising Tide
# Etherlords II
# Fire Chief
# Fire Department
# Freedom Force vs The Third Reich
# Gangland
# Garfield
# Gooka: The Mystery of Janatris
# GT Legends
# GTR: FIA GT Racing Game
# Heroes of Might and Magic V
# Horse Race Manager
# Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter
# Keepsake
# Kicker Manager 2004
# Kill Switch
# King Kong
# Knights of the Temple 2
# Korea: Forgotten Conflict
# LMA Professional Manager 2005
# Lock On: Flaming Cliffs
# Medieval Lords
# Namco Museum 50th Anniversary
# Neuro Hunter
# Nibiru
# Obscure
# Pac Man World 2
# Pac Man World 3
# Pariah
# Pax Romana
# Pferdehof - Pferd und Pony
# Pop Star Academy
# Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend
# Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
# Pro Rugby Manager
# Psi-Ops
# Pure Pinball
# Rally Championship Xtreme
# Restaurant Empire
# Restricted Area
# Revolution
# Runaway: A Road Adventure
# Scrapland
# Second Sight
# Silent Hunter 3
# Silent Storm
# Silkolene Honda Motocross GP
# Singles 2: Triple Trouble
# Singles: Flirt Up Your Life
# Sniper Elite
# Soldiers Heroes of World War 2
# Sommerspiele 2004
# Space Rangers 2
# Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory
# Star Wolves
# Steel Saviour
# Still Life
# Street Racing Syndicate
# Sudeki
# SuperPower 2
# Syberia II
# The Fall: Last Days of Gaia
# The Moment of Silence
# The Suffering: Ties That Bind
# The Westerner
# TOCA 2
# TrackMania
# TrackMania Nations
# TrackMania Sunrise
# Traitors Gate 2: Cypher
# UFO: Aftershock
# V8 Supercars 2
# Virtual Skipper 3
# Virtual Skipper 4
# Vivisector
# Wildlife Park
# World Racing 2
# World War II: Frontline Command
# Worms 4: Mayhem
# X2: The Threat
# X3: Reunion
# Xpand Rally
# Xuan-Yuan Sword 4

Monday, January 30, 2006

More buggy Sony software

The Register is reporting that Sony's Connect Player 1.0 software is buggy causing slow system performance. Now I'm not on a Sony QA jihad here but has Sony been releasing such poorly tested software recently? Moreover the article mentions UK owners complaining, XCP was also UK based - the recommendation and use of a tiny British company's product over a established market leaders (Macrovision/Sunncomm) seems unusual. Are Sony UK calling the shots for software or is this just another sign of the lowering QA standards of a large company?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Its been quiet

I've not had much time to spend lately on the expression zoomer but tonight I heavily refactored it, leaving it in a good position for adding the next step of the program - curve based zooming.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Diet drinks cause cancer, links to US gov - and no this isn't paranoia / hoax!

Ok so this isn't strictly tech, but I don't think its getting enough press coverage:
Aspartame, the sweetner used in Diet Coke, Pepsi Max, most diet drinks, chewing gum, some yoghurts and crisps (the list is huge) is carcinogenic.

The Guardian recently produced this excellent article on the issue.

One doctor even suggested a full Government conspiracy.

More info on aspartame can be found here, and numerous articles can be found on Google

In the interest of being unbiased here is a report suggesting
Aspartame has no effect, funded by a number of big name chemical companies.