Month: December 2005 (page 1 of 2)

It’s snowing


The Child

Batman - Kotobukiya figureFor years I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching Batman. I remember ages ago seeing a Batman figure in the window of Forbidden Planet (sad sacks shop) and for weeks wanted to buy it but I was a poor student at the time and just never got round to it. Shakeel pointed out some vinyl figures made by Kotobukiya although they were mostly Star Wars.

However by the magic that is EBay I tracked down a Batman figure from the same firm – I now have it in the house and it looks great. Although it was pretty pricey I think it was worth every penny and goes nicely with the Matrix APU. The trick now is to not buy too many more – EBay is far too easy to use.


HD has arrived

Philips 32pf9830 - My PreciousI am weak. This is my new TV – a Philips 32pf9830 LCD. Pictures from all sources look great, especially high def 360 & upscaled DVD’s. Freeview is great for some channels, pixel hell for others. Not messed with the settings much but will post back some thoughts when it all settles down. As Ricky would say…woof!


360 – The Games

The most important aspect of any console is the games themselves. Launch titles are notorious for being short on gameplay while focusing on visuals knowing that second generation titles on the same platform should look a lot better. I picked up three games for the 360 that returned mixed results.

Project Gotham Racing 3Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3) is the follow up to PGR & PGR2 which in turn were the follow up to Metropolis Street Racing on the Dreamcast. You know what to expect from this – fast city based arcade/sim racing with exotic cars. I loved the last three versions and this is no exception.

Graphics are lovely and show what to expect from the 360 in the future. Special mention to the actual cities themselves as the detail they contain is amazing. The cars themselves look great especially when you switch to in-car view – the level of detail is amazing but I find the game feels a bit sluggish in this view so I always race from the bumper view. The sound of the engines also gets special mention as it’s a real step up from previous games.

Importantly, handling feels just right with a great solid feel. You really can feel your way around the track and know after a few turns exactly how the car behaves. Like previous versions PGR3 concentrates on Kudos points – not just winning, but winning with style. I would have also liked to have seen lap times and other time based stats as well but they are missing unless you specifically race time trials.

Online works really well – little to no lag and most cars and all tracks are available from the outset meaning you don’t have to spend ours offline to unlock the fast cars. Niggles – no anti-aliasing for starters means the graphics can look ‘jaggy’ from time to time. Also the game is true hi-def but to be honest it’s hardly noticeable. There was a lot of fuss pre-release that the game ran at 30 frames per second and that this was an outrageous decision. Since release I’ve not heard one person complain.

Couple of gameplay flaws. There’s an online career mode that is enjoyable except for the cheats that ram into your car at every corner. Learn to brake people. At the same time learn to use manual gears as it makes for a far more enjoyable game. There is also a track build mode which allows you to design your own tracks within the 4 cities rendered in the game. Nice idea except the barriers placed by the game are transparent unlike the ones used in the real tracks – a fatal flaw which makes custom track racing difficult – patch please!

For a first day release this is an astounding game and well worth a purchase for any 360 owner.
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iTunes Signature Maker

Shamelessly copied from elsewhere I present my iTunes signature – itsm.mp3 (2 Meg download). The program that generated the file can be found on at Jason Freeman’s site. It has a few options and will generate your own signature based on this. The only requirements are that you use iTunes and can run Java apps on your pc.

So can you name all the tracks in my signature? I couldn’t but the app creates a list of the tracks used….

1 – So I Begin – Galleon – I Believe
2 – Love Will Come Through – Travis – 12 Memories
3 – Landed – Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman
4 – Whatever, Whenever – Groove Armada – Vertigo
5 – Kiss This Thing Goodbye – Del Amitri – Waking Hours
6 – Fix You – Coldplay – X&Y
7 – 1 Thing – Amerie – Touch
8 – Don’t want to Fall in Love – Chris Issac – Chris Issac
9 – All I Need – Air – Moon Safari
10 – Toca’s Miracle – Fragma – Dogs Balearics Disc 2
11 – Creep – Radiohead – Pablo Honey
12 – Bad Day – Daniel Powter – Daniel Powter
13 – Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet – Get Born
14 – Vertigo – U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
15 – El Salvador – Athlete – Vehicles and Animals
16 – Somewhere Only We Know – Keane – Hopes And Fears
17 – I Can’t Be With You – Cranberries – No Need To Argue
18 – Shiver – Coldplay – Parachutes
19 – Further – Longview – Mercury
20 – Fake plastic trees – Radiohead – The Bends
21 – Drop The Pressure – Mylo – Destroy Rock ‘n’ Roll
22 – Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Greatest Hits
23 – Oh My Gosh – Basement Jaxx – The Singles
24 – Amsterdam – Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head
25 – Go – Moby – 3 for 1
26 – Electric Mistress – Jamiroquai – Dynamite
27 – ’95 aka Make Things Right – Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95
28 – Catch – Kosheen – Catch
29 – Free – Estelle – RnB Essential Spring 2005 CD2
30 – Mr. Brightside – The Killers – Hot Fuss
31 – Between Angels And Insects – Papa Roach – Infest
32 – Run – Snow Patrol – Final Straw
33 – American Idiot – Green Day – American Idiot
34 – Girls – Prodigy – Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned
35 – You’re Beautiful – James Blunt – Back to Bedlam
36 – Leave home – Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust
37 – What Sound – Lamb – What Sound
38 – Any Day Now – Elbow – Asleep in the Back
39 – Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz – Demon Days
40 – Hush – LL Cool J feat. 7 Aurelius – Now 60
41 – Black And White Town – Doves – Some Cities
42 – TwoMonthsOff – Underworld – AHundredDaysOff
43 – The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice – O

Worthwhile playing around with the settings to see what different sigs can be created.

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