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Showing posts from January, 2012

Skyrim Wrapup

I bit the bullet and finished the main quest line of Skyrim last night. Apart from a rather more epic than usual quest finale there is no obvious indication that I have finished the game. My quest log is still full and there are plenty of adventures still to be had in the world. My level 21 character is also far from complete with plenty of skills and abilities still to unlock. Nevertheless I think I will take a break from the game now. I have 86 hours played since starting the game on Christmas day and I think it is time to move on. For the record here are some random thoughts as I prepare to put it aside: 1. The world of Skyrim is utterly stunning both in towns and in the countryside. If you never do any quests just spend some time getting lost in the wonderful scenery . 2. The main quest line is suitably epic and entertaining. How could anything with Dragons in not be? Of course there are also hundred of side quests raiding from trivial tasks to epic saga's in their own rig

Gaming Update: Its All Skyrim and now STO

Placeholder post really to record my current games. I have spent an inordinate amount of time playing Skyrim. For some reason game isn't really conducive to blog posts but it is probably my favourite Elder Scrolls game to date. For some reason I seem to be progressing very slowly. More than 70 hours played and I am only level 18 and still not finished the main questline. On a whim I downloaded and installed the newly free to played Star Trek Online. Actually it wasn't a whim it was a direct response to an unsolicited email invite from Perfect World Entertainment. It seems I have a Perfect World account as a result of one of the Steam Challenges I entertained myself with over Christmas. All well and good except that my Star Trek online account is now tied to a throw away Perfect World account with a silly name. Anyway I have only played a couple of hours of the game so I still haven't got a clue about what is going on. I did manage to kill a few Borg and blow up some o

Goggle's lack of joined up thinking strikes again. Android Blogger Fail.

I use Google's blogger platform for this blog and I have a Samsung Galaxy phone running the Google Android operating system. One might be inclined to assume therefore that posting to my blog from my phone would be well supported. One would be wrong. Some months bag Google updated the blogger posting interface and I haven't been able to get it to work properly on my phone since. Fist attempt: Using my preferred Opera mobile browser on the phone. It really is a terrific mobile browser and seems to work well with every website. Except for Blogger. I can read posts well enough but I cannot create new posts. I get a message saying "This browser is no longer supported by Blogger". Second attempt: Using the default Browser built into Android (Gingerbread edition). Surely Google's own Android browser will do the trick? Sadly no. I can get the page for creating a new post but it refuses to activate the text entry box and give me a keyboard. Third Attempt: There'

My favourite thing in Skyrim is ...

... simply walking peacefully through the country side. Not only is the scenery drop dead gorgeous but the place feels alive with insects, birds and forest animals. I love that there is never just one way to get from A to B, there is always a multitude of high roads,  byroads and twisty paths to choose from. I am as lazy as the next gamer and I use instant travel extensively when I am pursuing quest objectives but my heart lifts whenever I realise that I am going somewhere I have not been to before and must therefore walk through as yet unexplored territory to get there. Pro Tip #1: Ditch the horse. Exploring is much easier on foot and you feel more in touch with the country side. I am not even convinced that Skyrim horse 's are faster than travelling on foot. Pro Tip #2: Constantly stopping to slaughter the local wildlife seems out of place on an idyllic country walk so I recommend the shout "Kynes Peace". It calms wolves, bears and other animals so you can just w

Netflix Ireland, The facebook mistake

Netflix appears to have made an error with facebook integration that has dissuaded some Irish people from trying out the service. I experienced it myself, I read others complaining about it in forum posts and during feedback to a Reed Hastings interview on Irish radio this morning. You can sign up for a Netbook free trial using Facebook or just just using an email address. The sign in page does not appear to give you a choice however - you just get offered one or the other leading many to assume that you have to use Facebook to access Netflix. Some may enjoy the social networking aspect of Facebook integration but others are put off by it and have been dissuaded from trying Netflix because they do not appear to have a choice. Worse still is that the algorithm for offering facebook or email seems to be borked.  I assume it uses cookies to decide whether or not you are a Facebook user but something isn't working correctly. I don't use Facebook but on my computer my only choi

Netflix comes to Ireland, First Impressions

I signed up for Netflix's just launched video UK and Ireland video streaming service last night. Bullet point first impressions follow: 1. The sign up process is very slick and almost frictionless (the one difficulty being a face book tie in - more later). I got  a 30 day free trial and they assure me I can cancel at any time without obligation so I was comfortable enough giving them my credit card details.  2. Also impressive was the range of options for viewing. I tried the PC and the Wii. Both were very easy to set-up and easy to use. Other options included Xbox, PS3, Iphone/pad , Android phone/pad. 3. Picture quality on the Wii at 460p using composite cables was better than I expected and much more convenient than connecting a laptop to the TV.  3. The service was very easy to use on both PC and Wii. You can browse under a relatively small number of categories or you can search alphabetically. This simplicity makes the system easy to use but it could be a limitation if

Skyrim Thoughts

I have been playing Skyrim on and off since Santa Claus provided a copy on Christmas day.  In previous Elder Scrolls games I always got sucked into the meta game and ended doing silly things to try out all the content and min max my character. This time around I am sticking to a role playing approach, only doing things which feel appropriate for my character. It means that this character will miss whole swathes of content but it still makes the playthrough more enjoyable. It helps of course that the world of Skyrim is stunningly beautiful and it is a perfect game to get lost in. In terms of the changes to game mechanics I like the simplified levelling system. The only thing I really don't like is the ugly and useless quest journal. Morrowind's quest journal may have been unhelpful but at least it was pretty. I have have had to resort to online wikis to help me remember what various people said to me in relation to the many many miscellaneous quests so badly described in my jo

Do you have an obsolescence plan for PC games?

I don't just play games, I also collect them. Even though the advent of digital distribution has removed the tactile element of owning a shelf full of games I still like having a large collection that I can browse through. Regularly enough I will dig out an old classic to play or replay.  Given the rapid time to obsolescence of just about any piece of technology these days it is entirely remarkable just how PC games have withstood the march of technology. Thank to the enduring legacy of the (30 years old now) IBM Pc supported by the trojan work of the emulation community I am pretty confident that I could get any of my old games to play on my current up to date PC if I really wanted. I even have an old floppy disk drive in an attic just in case. This unusually fortunate circumstance may not persist forever though. Technology will probably move on eventually to devices that are sufficiently different in form that even emulation is no longer feasible. Many are now predicting that

Look what we made

We dug out an old K'NEX construction set that my wife bought me for Christmas seventeen years ago and made the Big Ball Factory as a family. My 10 year old daughter must take the bulk of the credit but we are all rather proud of our contributions. Of course it is a rule of the internet that whenever you feel a little bit proud of something there is always someone out there who will make your efforts feel completely inadequate: