Saturday, 15 September 2007

Rugby World Cup 2007

Google has done a pretty poor job of promoting their Rugby World Cup 2007 tab for your personalised Google homepage, so I'm going to pimp it here.

It has live scores, standings, related user videos from youtube, maps and info on the stadia and surrounding area, and a game where you can "click" your team into first place.

And yes I'm watching the matches, and even cheered on South Africa in the humiliating win over "the world champions" England. (36-0)

Go the All Blacks!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Setting up Darkstone on Windows XP x64 Edition and Vista

There are now updated instructions for installing Darkstone on Windows 7.

Darkstone is an Action RPG released in 1999 that I've recently had a desire to play again. However, the installer refuses to work on Windows XP x64 Edition (and possibly Windows Vista x64, tho I haven't tried), so I figured out how to do a manual install and I'm going to document that here.

UPDATED: From the comments below, the game appears to run on all versions of Windows; Windows XP x64, Windows Vista x64, Windows 7 x64 and the 32 bit equivalents. Paths may vary between Windows editions, but shouldn't be too difficult to get correct.

I didn't have another install of Darkstone to work from, but most of the process is easy to guess and I've figured out enough of the rest so that the game appears to be fully functional.

  1. Copy everything from D:\Data\ into C:\Program Files (x86)\Delphine Software\Darkstone\.
  2. Copy D:\music.MTF into C:\Program Files (x86)\Delphine Software\Darkstone\.
  3. Copy D:\voices1.MTF into C:\Program Files (x86)\Delphine Software\Darkstone\.
  4. Copy everything from D:\mdata\ into C:\Program Files (x86)\Delphine Software\Darkstone\mdata\.
  5. In RegEdit make sure the following key chain exists HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Wow6432Node\ DelphineSoft\ Darkstone\ CurrentVersion\ Darkstone.
  6. Make two string values under that key of DataPath and SavingPath and set both values to C:\Program Files (x86)\Delphine Software\Darkstone\.

This should get Darkstone up and running and allow you update with all the patches.

I used Process Monitor to figure out the registry keys. There is an additional "language" key that Darkstone checks, but I don't know the values and the game defaults to English anyway, so I haven't worried about that. I'm sure someone with a real install of the game could provide accurate information, but this should at least get Darkstone running.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Photo Day

This photo was taken during the 2007 Wimbledon Championships men's final. Rafael Nadal is on the left of the court, with Roger Federer on the right.

I attended three days this year and saw games on Centre Court (seeing both the men's and woman's finals), No 1 Court, as well as the ground pass courts. By far the most entertaining match I saw was a day 9 men's double match where Henri Leconte did battle with Murphy Jensen for the unofficial title of court clown. (I think being Leconte's birthday, and the endless rain delays made the atmosphere much more jovial.)

Centre Court was missing it's roof this year (compare to last year's photo) so I got a bit too much sun on day 12, but prepared myself a bit better for day 13.

I've got more photos of the event on my facebook.com profile.

Friday, 8 June 2007

All Blacks

Rugby has become a topic of conversation in the office as of late. Since there are several South Africans, a couple Australians, and "world champion" Brits in the office, there is a lot of rivalry. As the only kiwi in the office I am tasked with defending NZ in all such debates.

To help keep me on top of things I wanted to make sure I was aware of when we'd be playing. After a quick search of online calendars I only found one that would be considered useful, but it had way too much information (like when the All Blacks are having lunch, plus random ads), so I've created my own.

So here's my calendar of the All Blacks Schedule.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Photo Day

Well, it's been a while since the last one of these.

This is a direct seasonal flip from the last photo of the Hamptons. There were two days in January where we had more than just whiffs of snow and I believe this was the heavier of the two.

While not a huge amount of snow, it was still enough for London to make transport a bit crazy. On days like this it's always a good idea to check for delayed trains before going to the station. It was amusing watching the primary school kids enjoying the snow on the way to school. It's amazing the efforts a 5 year old will go to in collecting snow.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Bad journalism

I was watching on the news the other day about how they've recently banned "junk food" advertising directed at young children here in the UK, but that it's only broadcast media, so the Web isn't included in that. The reporter said that companies such as McDonald's were still targeting children on their websites by providing games and such making "junk food" still hip, cool and fun.

The news item included footage of some kids playing "the latest game from McDonald's" which involves managing every aspect of the McDonald's corporation, from crops to cashiers.

It seems the reporter didn't do much fact checking, tho. It turns out that the game these kids were playing isn't from McDonald's, it's actually an anti-McDonald's, anti-fast food game.

The game acknowledges that running an enterprise such as McDonald's is a very complex thing, and encourages you to try it out for yourself. In order to be successful in the game you have to make decisions like when the best time is to introduce genetically modified crops, when to add industrial waste into the cattle feed (while keeping an eye on them to destroy any that become diseased), fire angry or bored staff, bride politicians and introduce "please the people" campaigns.

For the record, I'm not very good at this game, I haven't gotten past 2010.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Haircut in London

Everything is expensive in London including getting your haircut. I'm used to getting it done for NZ$10. Coming over here and having a cheap cut cost £10 (triple the price) seemed a bit rude to my frugal nature, and a non-cheap cut caused physical pain.

While working in Soho I was fortunate enough to be a few minutes walk from a Mr Topper's. With a slogan like "home of the original £6 haircut" and the 'barbers' consisting of mainly hot foreign women, it suited me well. After Soho my cheap haircuts situation has been very poor, so after several months of searching for a cheap and decent place I've given up and I did a weekend commute back to Mr. Topper's.

Now, Mr Topper's doesn't have a website, so finding out their opening hours or where their other locations are isn't the most pleasant of experiences. Searching Google will get you scattered and incomplete results. Even searching the yellow pages doesn't return all locations. (I guess to be cheap you have to pass on things like a website and the yellow pages.) So I think they should change the slogan to "Cheap if you can find us."

Well, my searching coincided with Google Maps releasing a new feature called "My maps" and I decided that I'd try and help out other Mr Topper's fans. So I took all the locations from the yellow pages, plus the location that I go to and set about creating a map. After a short while I had created a publically accessible 'My Map' of Mr Topper's locations.

As for searchability, you can now type in "Mr Topper's" (or "Mr Topper's near London" if your map isn't over the UK.) at the Google Maps site, scroll to the bottom of results and get a link for See user-created content. From there you'll see a bunch of locations for Mr Topper's with the green 'source' links all pointing to my map.

So that should be smiles all around, but I'm not completely happy. Stop now if you are not found of rants, because I'm going into a 'why does Google do so much wrong' rant. A previous rant about Google is available if you'd like to warm up first.

So I was using Google maps a couple days ago and thought I'd see if they'd indexed my map. I copied the name of my map ("Mr Topper's barbers locations") into the search box and hit go. My map showed up as described above, so I happily accepted that hordes of people would now be able to find Mr Topper's locations.

Come today and I try to duplicate my feat with negative results. Turns out I had typed "Mr Toppers" and Google was being picky. After changing the results to "Mr Topper's" I got the expected result. BAD GOOGLE! Searching for "Mr Toppers" in the web search returns results with "Topper's" so why are maps being treated differently? I now have to work some SEO magic using the wrong name to make the search engine function properly.

Also what's with the "See user-created content" link? THE WEB IS USER CREATED CONTENT! Why should it matter if I put that content on a web page on my server, or on a map on Google's? Google is hiding the most relevant content at the bottom of a page with a link title that doesn't invite investigation.

</rant>

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Credit where credit isn't due

On the Orange Netherlands website I've been given credit for the laser game that I mentioned 16 months ago.

Of course I had nothing to do with it's creation, but lets see if I can get credit for this next pearler of a time waster...

Desktop Tower Defense is quite a simple game; stop stuff from getting from left to right, and from top to bottom. It's basically like a defence only Command & Conquer. You're given several different tools to blow up the invaders, and don't forget to upgrade stuff you've already got!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

C'était un rendez-vous

I was watching Top Gear of the Pops and they mentioned that Snow Patrol's latest video, Open your eyes is taken from the 1976 short film C'était un rendez-vous.

This reminded me that I've always wanted to know where in Paris the 'run' was done. So I did a quick read of the movies Wikipedia article and discovered that someone put together a fancy map that is synchronised with the film.

If you like cars or Paris I suggest that you check it out.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Soul Calibur II

Well, Weapon Master mode is done. Have 415,200 Exp, all 16 areas are blue and everything is purchased. I think that's me done for the night.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Currently...

I'm playing Soul Calibur II. Towards the end of Weapon Master mode. (351200 Exp)

Firefox 2.0

On 24 October version 2.0 of Firefox was released. If you're not using it to read this post then go away and don't come back until you've installed it.

World Record Pub Crawl

Back in October I went on a small pub crawl.

Now, I'm going for quantity of posts, so I'll keep this very short. This was the best day that I've had in London since I've been here.

Photos of the event are found from Tim The Tourman's Photos & Blogs and if you squint you'll see that I'm in the photo linking to that event. And some photos with me in them: 1, 2, 3 and a large super group photo 4 (you'll find me on the right side of the stairs holding a blue balloon).