Manchester’s Werewolf chapter is back this Wednesday

Manchester Werewolf poster

(amazing what you can do with inkscape in a 30mins)

February 3, 2010 7 – 11pm : Manchester Werewolf Chapter at Pure Space, 11-13 New Wakefield Street, Manchester

We’re looking to play once a month, there’s no need to register or understand the rules just turn up and play along.

Be part of the game, beginners to pros its all good fun. 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 accommodate almost any large group of players.

For more information about the game

Its Ladies night

The Big Bang Theory

Always interesting to read Miss Geeky’s thoughts on woman in technology. She’s been thinking about a Ladies night at a Comic Store in Nova Scotia. Generally she says in the post, I wish we didn’t need things like Ladies Night to make it *not* intimidating for woman. But its the examples which I find really interesting…

Since moving to London, I’ve visited the Forbidden Planet tons of times. I love the place, it’s filled with wonderful geeky delights, and if I could I’d buy everything that caught my eye. And yet… almost every single time I go there by myself I get hit on. Okay, I kind of get that (geek store, geeky girl, chances of possible perfect match increases). But half of the time they open with something along the lines of whether I ”needed help in finding a present” or something else that completely neglects the fact that I might be there for myself. The thing is it almost always happens when I’m browsing the comics. If I’m at any other part of the store (like the fantasy/scifi books section or the manga section) that type of stuff doesn’t happen. It’s as if most geeks have accepted that girls are into geeky things, like fantasy and manga, but comics… then it’s suddenly “you don’t belong here”.

Seriously, guys? Why assume straightaway that a girl doesn’t belong there? I thought that by now it should be obvious for guy geeks that the geek girl does exist, but it’s moments like I’ve described above that some guys are completely oblivious to that fact. And it’s those guys that are making it difficult for new geeky girls to feel comfortable with being a geek and going to places like comic stores. I know there are tons of guys out there who do understand and don’t make stupid remarks like those above to girls, but it’s that small oblivious group that do that mess it up for everyone.

Its always the subtle stuff which does the damage I find. I’m not pointing fingers but I wonder if media like the Big Bang Theory and IT Crowd are doing much to counter this problem?

Apple, you can’t stop the signal

There’s are two winners from yesterday’s coverage of the ipad. and Between the two of them, you could hear and see what was going on live on stage but also get a real feel for the presentation details with the whole host of screenshots from Credit is due to these guys for making this all happen, shame on Apple for not just streaming the whole event. You can’t stop the signal…

Next Generation DJ contest qualifiers scrutinized

The sound of snow falling in sunshine mix from cubicgarden at

The whole thing is a joke I would say, I had pretty much given up to tell the truth. The NGDJ (next generation dj contest) has published a warning that all qualifiers to the contest will be scrutinized.

A quick note regarding the NGDJ Qualifiers: Leading up to the end of NGDJ Stage 1, we will be investigating all Qualifier mixes. Voting patterns related to accounts or mixes which are in breach of the NGDJ Terms and Conditions may lead to any of the following:

– Votes being retracted
– Mixes being denoted from Qualifier status
– The banning of accounts

In addition to this we would like to inform you that this procedure might also affect mix rating averages and vote totals. All decisions and results following this investigation are final.

Voting issues, why? This is part of the problem,

For the stage 1

The NGDJ eligibility period will begin December 15th 2009 and will end on January 31st 2010, after which Stage 1 (“NGDJ Qualifiers Eligibility Period”) ends. To register and compete in NGDJ, visit and fully complete all required fields on the online registration form, and proceed to upload your DJ mix. Spread your NGDJ submission widely; you must gain a minimum of 200 ratings to be deemed a qualifier. The top one hundred qualifiers will then be determined by their average mix rating to remain in contest as Stage 2 commences.

Basically if you browse around the current qualifiers for the contest, you will find many examples of mixes which have something like 206 votes but only 60 actual listens. Go figure, obviously something is going on. What bugs me is that the legitimate mixes like mine (80 listens and 62 votes of a average of 4.8 out of 5) are going to lose out simply because I didn’t cheat like everyone else.

This comment sums up my thoughts too

I don’t know why you didn’t make another voting procedure. My idea:
1. The vote button to be enabled only after the mix was listened at least 30 min
2. The rate of the mix to be shown only after the vote was placed.
3. The competitors shouldn’t be able to vote other mixes. The actual situation is not very good cause some of the “djs” here are not acquainted with the term FAIR PLAY and are not open minded.
4. The owner of the mix should be able to see a review of the votes he received on each day (how much stars has each vote).

So before the end of the month, if you’ve not voted for my mix, please do.

Hakiu the open operating system with a bright future


When I was young, when I was deciding what type of system I should use next after my ST. I had the choice of either the PC running Windows, Apple Macintosh running System 7 or a Sun Spark with some Unix system. I choose the PC with Windows in the end mainly due to cost and the ability to build my own. Linux at the time seemed too complex but there was another which I got very interested in at the time. BeOS.

Well BeOS has had quite a rollercoaster time and has been rebuilt from the ground up by developers applying the same ethics as Linux and BSD to BeOS. Now called Haiku, the alpha looks and feels usable enough to try in a virtual machine or play with on a spare machine. There’s also a live cd for that true test it and see experience.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Haiku because I think it could be come something worth using in the future, not that I’m saying anything bad about Linux. But options are always good and having another open source operating system is certainly good for the world.

The Apple iPad: Underwelming but not a bad price

Apple Ipad

Apple release the islate, itablet as the ipad today. I’m sure many people will write about the device and how they really want one but even with my mac bashing hat on the table its not enough.

If you’ve not seen it, think of a ipod touch and grow it quite a bit and you got yourself a ipad.

The first thing which puts me off is the size, its too big to slot into my life. I want something which I can discreetly hold on the bus without people going hey whats that he’s got there? Something you don’t need another case or bag for. Something I can just carry with me just incase I got 30mins to do something. Some of you will argue that the smartphone is that device but I’m not so convinced. Its also quite weighty, which don’t get me wrong – is good for a large LCD but I want something really light. The real deal breaker and to be fair this was always the case even before it had come out. The Apple App store and Apple Ecosystem.

I can’t express how sick to death of the Apple Ecosystem I am. Everytime I even consider the ipad, I think about my experience with the ipod touch I bought last year. I couldn’t even turn on and use the device without the device talking to iTunes, which meant installing itunes on a work machine to just use the damm thing. Then there was the problem with storage. If I wanted to transfer something over to the device, it had to be via iTunes again. Not even Bluetooth push/ftp/send would work.

Compared that experience to my Sony Ebook reader. First day, I plug it into my Ubuntu machine and it pops up as a storage device with simply named folders for ebooks, pictures and audio. This also means later I can do automated file transfers from any media player I’m using at the moment (I tend to bounce between Rhythmbox and Banshee). Yes the Sony is a less complex device but they got the basics right. In actual fact the Sony ebook reader is the model of what I’m looking for. When I first bought it, I never knew I wanted something like it for size and use outside of reading ebooks. This is why I switched from the Sony PRS505 to the PRS600 with touch screen and ability to write/draw notes.

Since all this hype about the ipad (the last 4 weeks at least) I’ve been thinking what would I personally do to the Sony EReader to improve it.


Add Bluetooth for file transfer, dialup, networking, etc. (Sony could still do this if the SD slot is SDIO)
Run an open operating system like a cleverly crafted Andriod on it
Add accelerometers, proximity sensors and some haptic feedback
Wireless 802.11b/g (Sony could still do this if the SD slot is SDIO)

Some would ask why not a colour screen? Well the problem is colour screens require a LCD or OLED as mentioned in the last blog post, which means less that 12hours battery life at the very best. Having over 2 weeks battery life on E-ink takes some getting use to, but I think the benefits of having e-ink certainly puts it in a different category of device and thats a good thing. Steve Jobs was trying to create a device which is in a different category but I think ended up which is too computer like in hardware but too consumer device in software.

Android would be great to have on there with a open marketplace so people can really develop for it. I don’t know if Android would work on a e-ink screen but you could imagine it wouldn’t take much to build a custom build just for E-ink screens. Bluetooth, Wifi and Accelerometers would open up a whole bunch of applications which the ipad has demonstrated. But the smaller screen would be much more mobile and friendly.

Agreed it wouldn’t be as flash but boy would it be useful and something which people might happily carry around more that this massive pad thing.

I also hope this isn’t going to start a media revolution, because if it is the publishing industry is going to put its eggs in the Apple itunes/apps store they’re crazy. This device isn’t anywhere near impressive. The only slightly impressive part is the price but I assume Apple are gambling that people will use the store to make up the difference in price. Maybe in the end the store will be the undoing of Apple, if developers move elsewhere and/or get fed up of Apple’s treatment, a sudden drop in app downloads and itunes usage could spell a lot more trouble than expected.

Before Apple launch what ever…

I wanted to quickly get my thoughts down before the Apple announcement later today.

I can’t see myself buying what ever Apple launches. But we all know that was the case anyway.

If Apple do launch a Tablet device, I will only be interested if it has a colour e-ink screen and costs less that 400 pounds. If its LCD screen then the battery life is going to be a killer, unless it holds 3x more charge per hour that your laptop. Why carry around a tablet which holds the same battery life as you laptop? If its not cheap, it will be eaten up by the small netbook industry or the whole host of smartphones coming on to the market. If its OLED then cool but its not going to be anywhere near cheap. And thats another problem. If its 500 pounds plus, why not just get a laptop? Or even add a nice top of the range netbook like the Nokia netbook or Dell Mini10’s? So could Apple do a crunchpad and get a LCD tablet down to the price of a Netbook? Maybe but the appeal is low. Would it have 3/4g? unlikely, specially after the AT&T burning Apple’s received.

Ok lets say its a Ebook device with E-ink. Well that market is becoming flooded and I can’t really see what more Apple could do in the space. I’m also sure E-ink would frustrate Steve Jobs. So were back at LCD/OLED again.

I had another thought that Apple could do something like a slate which is pretty underpowered when in its default state but when you plug in your ipod touch/iphone it binds the two together for something more powerful. So yeah all your games from the apps store can be played at its full rez instead of the iphone screen rez.  I was thinking they  could do the same using a bluetooth pan (personal area network) but we know Steve doesn’t like Bluetooth. So we’re left with either Wifi or some other new radio technology. Having the ipod/iphone part of the sum seems to cut the costs down quite a bit, plus when your at home it could piggy back off your laptop or other apple hardware.

I do also wonder if this big announcement be the next AppleTV, Apple Stereo or even Lisa? If so, we’d wasted so much time for a piece of crap. The chances are that its not because Apple have been working on this for years and it might be Steve Jobs last major product launch. So it could be something very different like a Apple branded LCD TV, a larger screen movie player or even finally the Apple Pippen (the games console which never came out). There is a thought that Steve Jobs must be surprised by the amount of casual games created on the appstore that the idea of a mobile gaming slate or device. Knowing Steve Jobs, he’ll be using that new standard for wireless digital hdmi system to interface with larger screens.

I guess we’ll find out soon…

Ars Technica provides a Storytlr tutorial

Well I say a tutorial but actually its more like a review of the process of setting up Storytlr. I was hoping Ryan Paul (Mr Gwibber himself) would have provided some hints to why my Storytlr isn’t working as it should do. And to be fair he’s leading me to believe that PHP5 Tidy isn’t installed on my Godaddy account plus there might be something wrong with my Cron job. What however he doesn’t do is explain in full what he did to fix the problems. So he says,

The first problem that I encountered is that the RSS import code requires PHP5-Tidy, which isn’t available on Dreamhost. It was pretty easy to remove that dependency by changing a few lines of code. The code for the individual services is stored in protected/application/plugins. Each plugin has model and view scripts that are used to download and display content. To remove the dependency on Tidy, I just had to make some trivial changes to the plugins/rss/models/RssModel.php script.

While they might be trivial to you, but I’m scratching my head looking at the PHP, thinking humm, I could really screw things up here, I wish I was looking at Velocity templates instead.

Someone else wrote up there experience of installing storytlr here which is actually pretty useful.

Hopefully I’ll get the whole thing sorted soon.

HTC technically make the best smartphones in the world?

HTC Quietly Brilliant

Right from about 10 years ago HTC have been making phones for many phone companies such as Orange in the UK and France. Because of there small eastern background, few people had heard of them and I guess the operators were able to get away with selling quite amazing handsets for pretty cheap. In my history I’ve had…

  • Orange SPV E200
  • Orange SPV M500 (I had a 3G Nec e808 too)
  • Orange SPV M600
  • Orange SPV M700
  • HTC TyTN II (I had a Sanyo S750 inbetween)
  • Orange Touch HD

Anyway, its time again when I can upgrade my phone again (I don’t do 2 year contracts) and honestly looking around the only real choice has got to be a HTC made phone. I know most of you people reading this are in love with Apple but technically I would argue that HTC has had the best smartphones for a few years at least now. Its specially since Android, HTC phones have really started to shine. I’m still shocked at how sweet my current Touch HD is and I’ve not even had a chance to play with the HD2 or Nexus One yet.

And just when you think things can’t get much better for HTC smartphones, rumours of the HD3 are leaked. If the specs are true, I really should hold out for this simply amazing smartphone. Until then I’ll be slowly switching over to Android on my current Touch HD. Others have been check out the same way of running Android but with not as much success as myself it would seem. But you have to give it up to a phone which can run more that one operating system.

E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme

Every Extend Extra Extreme is one of the games I’ve been totally been going crazy for recently. I tried the demo on Xbox Live Arcade and was instantly hooked. Explaining how it works is quite tricky… Wikipedia to the rescue

the player controls a ship which they can detonate at any time. This causes any enemies within a certain radius to explode, which in turn cause other enemies to explode in a chain reaction. As the game continues more and more enemies populate the screen allowing longer and higher scoring explosions. The player may halt the chain at any time to pick up power-ups (such as to increase enemy speed, add time, add temporary shield) or to start a new chain reaction.

The explosions add a percussive beat to the background music.

The player’s ship is destroyed when coming into contact with or being shot by an enemy while the player’s shields are down. This resets the level to its initial slow pace and bonus multiplier, therefore hindering the player’s scoring.

The one thing it doesn’t say is depending how your timing is with the beat, you get a small to large explosion radius. So bang on and you get something which can start a massive chain reaction while off beat and you only take out a few enemies.

Its pretty and glorious on a HDTV running at 60fps and fans of REZ HD will appreciate the finishing touches which Q! entertainment bring to their games. This is certainly my new Geometry Wars

Going to Fosdem 2010

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

I’m booked to go to my first Fosdem. Got the train from Manchester to Brussels return for 140 pounds but the hotel (Hotel Centrale) was quite a bit more but right next to the main station and Parc de Bruxelles. Never been to Brussels before, so on either side of Fosdem, I’ve decided to take some time off and have a wonder around the city.

The Fosdem conference seems to be shaping up into a good event too. Here’s a few of the talks I’ll be checking out.

I do wish there was some guys from XBMC and the Apache Cocoon project coming along, but hey I’m sure between the Mozilia, XMPP, OpenOffice and Ubuntu guys there will be lots of fun.

FLCL / Fooly Cooly

Cosplay FLCL

I’ve pretty much backed up all my dvds to my storage array which is great and been watching some of the odder stuff. A good friend Lucas who now lives in Toronto (miss him) bought me FLCL on DVD a while back and I loved it.

So when I watched it again last weekend, I forgot how good this Anime is. Its only 6 episodes but there so involved and a joy to watch. Here’s a brief overview…

FLCL, also known as Furi Kuri or Fooly Cooly, is a fast paced and confusing Japanese animated series. The story begins when an energetic alien girl drives up on a Vespa and hits an unsuspecting adolescent boy over the head with a left-handed bass guitar.

This crazy hyperactive style can easily be misinterpreted, causing strongly opposing opinions of the show’s value. There are many metaphorical plots and hidden meanings underneath its surface. The series is a pun in itself with suggestive and sexual metaphors. The strange situations and dialogue reflect the confusion and awkwardness of puberty (as well as society in general). FLCL is an exercise in unconventional, self-alluding anime.

The plot takes on an unconventional love story, using comedic elements to bridge the story together including satires of John Woo and South Park, not to mention allusions to other anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Lupin III and Gundam. Essentially the series is a coming-of-age story.

If you look carefully you will find most of it on Youtube, but its worth buying or getting in a much higher rez. The cinematic direction is great and up there with some of the best animation I’ve seen.

The Playstation 3 finally and completely hacked

Playstation 3 in dark city

Geohot has outdone himself again, not only the first person who unlocked the iPhone, but now also the Playstation3. In his own words…

I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I’ve also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip.

3 years, 2 months, 11 days…thats a pretty secure system

Took 5 weeks, 3 in Boston, 2 here, very simple hardware cleverly applied, and some not so simple software.

Now we really get to see how powerful the playstation 3 really is when its not being crippled in a virtual machine. I’m much more likely to buy one if I can see a whole homebrew community of stuff on it in the near future. The source code for the hack isn’t available quite yet but its just a matter of time. I wonder how long the Xbox 360 can stay closed?