2 hour special Cracker tonight (october 1st 2006)


Cracker is back for one more special episode. Hopefully to sort out that terriable mess of a special episode which they called White Ghost. The story line goes something like this.

Fitz returns to Manchester for his daughter's wedding, but is soon involved in another murder investigation when an American comedian is killed, apparently without motive.

Just incase you don't know what Cracker is, from Wikipedia

Fitz is a classic antihero, unfaithful to his wife, alcoholic, a chain smoker, overweight, addicted to gambling, manic, foulmouthed and sarcastic; and yet cerebral and excellent at his speciality: getting into the heads of violent criminals. As Fitz confesses in “Brotherly Love”: “I drink too much, I smoke too much, I gamble too much. I am too much.”

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Xbox mediacenter hits 2.0

Almost excited about XBMC 2.0

I just upgraded my xboxes to the latest version. Xbmc keeps growing from strength to strength.

Team-XBMC and The XBMC Project is proud to announce the release of XboxMediaCenter 2.0.0. XBox Media Center (XBMC) is an award winning, free and open source media player for the Xbox™ game-console. The XboxMediaCenter 2.0.0 point-release source code has now been set in our CVS. We consider that the current code in the XBMC CVS is as stable as a point-release should be. All XBMC users are highly encouraged to upgrade to this stable Xbox Media Center 2.0.0 point-release. Remember, the XBMC source code needs to be compiled with the XDK, and requires a modded Xbox to run. Our thanks goes out to everyone who has tested, reported bugs, and helped fix them in order to make this release possible.

There are many new features and functions that have been introduced since the 1.1.0 point-release, that we cannot list them all here. A few that are especially worth mentioning are; the enhanced GUI/skin-engine, the Project Mayhem III skin, DVD-Video menu/navigation support (with ISO/IMG image parsing), RAR/ZIP archive parsing, a new audio/music-player (PAPlayer) with crossfade, gapless playback and ReplayGain support, Karaoke CDG-file display, Xored Trainer Engine (gaming-cheats), XLink Kai (online-gaming) front-end, iTunes 6.x DAAP and UPnP-clients, and two surprise features; read-only support for FAT12/16/32 formatted USB Mass Storage Devices up to 4GB in size, and a brand new “skinnable” 3D visualizer.

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BBC issues recently

BBC TV Centre

The BBC has been getting quite a lot of attention recently. I obviously can't say anything from a BBC perpective only my own personal view. So in lawyer speak, these are the views of myself and myself alone. They are not the and should not be taken as the official view of the BBC.

So the first and most public is the announcement about the Memo of Understanding with Microsoft. Via Slashdot

Microsoft has signed a memorandum of understanding with the BBC for 'strategic partnerships' in the development of next-generation digital broadcasting techniques. They are also speaking to other companies such as Real and Linden Labs. Windows Media Centre platform, Windows Live Messenger application and the Xbox 360 console have all been suggested as potential gateways for BBC content. It is unclear how this impacts on existing BBC research projects such as Dirac, although it is understood that the BBC would face heavy criticism if its content was only available via Microsoft products.

Slashdot has lots of critism and we didn't get a glowing review in the Guardian either. Dave's been sending me updates from the Free Software foundation UK list but Miles outlays a view point which I think quite a few people have (I assumed this was ok to publish miles?).

Any technology alliance the BBC enters into with a commercial software and DRM vendor should explicitly define open standards and open content. At the present time, where DRM implementations are not interoperable because of commercial competition in the DRM market, and software vendors' desire to dominate that market, producing proprietary and DRMed content locks the partnership in, and locks consumers in. Whilst it may be legitimate for a company to do this, a broadcaster that is funded by a mandatory public subscription (the license fee), and which has, in effect, as a direct result, a quasi-monopoly, should not abuse its position, and shaft a public which has no choice.

The cynic in me believes broadcasters are doing this on purpose – because they want “IP TV” to fail so they can prolong their existing business models.

Certainly these are very strong words.

And on to the other issue… Thanks to Bahi for this heads up. There's been talk about the BBC ripping off Flickr photographs. Ripping off and Scandal are very strong words indeed but if you do actually follow the Scotland Flickr discussion. The bit which got everyones backs up, lies in this part of what the editor of BBC Scotland says.

I wondered if anyone would be willing to give me advance permission to use their pictures as and when the need arises? We'd still always send you a message telling you we'd used a picture and we'd credit you in the alt tag (and possibly the caption as well).

All I can say is this was always going to be a difficult thing to explain.

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Werewolf night on 31st October?

Witching hour

So I'm planning a whole night of the game (thanks for the idea Francies) which Simon Willison introduced the London geek scene at BarCampLondon. Werewolf…

Werewolf is a game that takes place in a small village which is haunted by werewolves. Each player is secretly assigned a role – Werewolf, Villager, or Seer (a special Villager). There is also a Moderator player who controls the flow of the game. The game alternates between night and day phases. At night, the Werewolves secretly choose a Villager to kill. Also, the Seer (if still alive) asks whether another player is a Werewolf or not. During the day, the Villager who was killed is revealed and is out of the game. The remaining Villagers then vote on the player they suspect is a Werewolf. That player reveals his/her role and is out of the game. Werewolves win when there are an equal number of Villagers and Werewolves. Villagers win when they have killed all Werewolves. Werewolf is a social game that requires no equipment to play, and can accomodate almost any large group of players.

More information about the game and some tactics can be found on wikipedia page Mafia

Because the game requires between 8 – 25 people, I've set a limit of 30 people and decided to try and use upcoming.org for a signup tool. So please sign up there. I'll stick the event on geekdinner later in the month.

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