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Showing posts from August, 2013

Dead Space 3 - Very Enjoyable

Having previsouly enjoyed Dead Space   and Dead Space 2 I am delighted to report that Dead Space 3, which I have just finished, is also a great game. Like its predecessors delivers a good old sci-fi shooter with a long (27 hours for me) campaign and plenty of nasty monsters to shoot.  It adds to the formula with a really great weapon crafting system that is massively customisable. In fact the weapons in this game are downright great. Each frame holds not one but two separate weapons. Want to build a flame thrower with assault rifle attached? You can? Want to build a shotgun with a rocket launcher? You can do that too. I finished the game with a kick ass assault rifle / shotgun combination in one hand and a surprisingly powerful electric bolas thingy in the other but I am sure many other combinations work too.  There are a few niggles that it is probably worth mentioning. The checkpoint save system is pretty dire. In a previous post I have already talked about some of the problem

Maybe she just isn't into fantasy.

Watching "The Hobbit" with the family and the kids were explaining to my beloved spouse all about dwarves and hobbits and humans. At that moment Gandalf appears. Towering over everyone else on screen he has to stoop low to get through Bilbo Baggins' doorway. "So is Gandalf a dwarf?" She asks.

Exploiting Checkpoints in Deadspace 3

Dead Space 3 has a rather strange save system where inventory is saved when you quit the game even though progress through the story is lost. The game has both "hard" and "soft" checkpoints. The soft checkpoints are far more frequent but are not permanently saved. If you die while playing you respawn at the last soft checkpoint but if you quit the game  you will return to the previous hard checkpoint. Since hard checkpoints are relatively infrequent you can lose quite a bit of progress unless you are disciplined enough to always wait till the next hard checkpoint (indicated by a symbol in the corner of the screen) before quitting. This sucks of course and is the type of thing which convinces me that save anywhere is much better than rigid checkpoints. The developers of Dead Space 3 decided to soften the blow of losing progress by allowing you to keep your entire inventory and health when you quit even though you lose your progress in the story. Collecting loot

A Photographers PC for around €1000

The time has come for my wife's old photo-shop warhorse is to be replaced. Her photography has become far more serious and this places particular demands on any new machine. When put alongside a fairly limited budget this means compromise as desirable features which are not essential to her core purpose will have to be dropped. Aside: To be honest €1000 is very very low for a real photographer's PC but my wife is determined to reserve the bulk of her photography budget for cameras and lenses so the computer must make do with what is left over. Requirements (some desirable some essential) Processor / Memory: Intel i5 or better + 8Gb Ram desirable. Using photoshop for photo editing (as opposed to video)  isn't as processor intensive as you might think. Yes it does complex number crunching when altering images but reading and writing to disk actually takes more of the over all work flow so a faster processor won't have that much impact. The quad core i5 seems to b

A chat with a telephone scammer

Over the last few years fake telephone support calls have been a persistent nuisance. The scam is well known, you can read about it here   or here . You get a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Microsoft who says that there is a problem with your computer and they will try to charge you a fee to fix the problem. Often they will actually cause a problem by tricking you into visiting an infected website en route to charging you for an unwanted repair.  I work at home a lot and I get one of these calls about once a month, always during office hours. Some time ago I decided to do more than just hang up so I made something of a sport out of playing along and baiting the scammers. At first I tried to milk it for humour: deliberately misinterpreting their commands and generally wasting their time. To be honest most of the jokes were stuff I had read others doing (like pretending to be really really dumb or entering their Windows commands into a Linux machine). I did add

In Praise of Jam

Recently I have rediscovered  the simple pleasure of Jam . Growing up in the pre-industrialised Ireland of the 1960's and 70's jam, often home made,  was a staple of our diet and one of our few regular treats. The vast array of manufactured delicacies now available have sadly reduced the importance of jam and the shelf space allocated to it in shops. I myself neglected it for decades but the increasing health consciousness of middle age encouraged my re-acquaintance with this delicious food as a better alternative to cholesterol laden pastries and biscuits. Fibre rich wholemeal bread covered in jam may not exactly be good for you but it is better than many alternative treats and does not come with a payload of artery clogging saturated fat.   When it comes to flavour I tend towards traditional fruits:  I believe that blackcurrant jam has the best flavour of all jams although the pulped berries do give it a somewhat uneven texture. Raspberry jam is also a very strong contende

Shogun 2: Those Infernal Priests

There is a danger I may lose my first ever campaign of Shogun 2 and it will all be due to the actions of a few (now martyred) Christian priests. It all started so well. I picked the Shimazu clan with a sweet bonus to katana wielding samurai. Heavy infantry win battles in Total War games and these buffed samurai helped me to dominate in early battles. Soon I had annihilated my first enemy and set about building some infrastructure and a decent army. My rivals were not idle themselves and by the time I was ready to march the Otomo had captured the rest of the westernmost island that we shared. They had five provinces to my three and I was dismayed to find that their armies outnumbered mine by more than two to one. Happily the AI (on normal difficulty) is no great tactician and careful use of terrain and my aforementioned samurai troops allowed me to prevail against larger Otomo forces. Unfortunately while I was dominating this ground war the Otomo were undertaking a clandestine wa