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James Le Cuirot
05 August 2008 @ 02:02 pm
Behold! The amazing Windows Vista! Marvel as it takes a minute to tell you that it will take 20 minutes to unzip a perfectly ordinary 17MB zip file! Why even consider using Linux when it doesn't have a pretty animation? Who cares if it only takes 8 seconds* to perform the exact same operation!?

Oh and for the record, this installation of Vista is barely a day old.

UPDATE: When I wrote this, I didn't think it would actually take 20 minutes. It didn't. It took 35. That beggars belief. Normally I would chalk this up to some simple bug rather than an inherent design flaw but the fact that such an obvious bug made it into the final release and the fact that I've seen this sort of thing so much in Vista makes me think otherwise. Maybe they've fixed it in SP1 but I don't know because, like many people, I haven't been able to install it. And people wonder why I can't take Microsoft seriously.

* I told Linux to time it.
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
James Le Cuirot
17 April 2008 @ 01:25 am
Phew! At around 4pm today, my hard drive started acting up. It would occasionally pause for about 30 seconds, effectively freezing the system during that time. By the fourth time this happened, I was getting seriously worried so I immediately took a new incremental backup. That went without a hitch and I was able to breathe much easier. It seemed as though the problem only occurred when writing to the drive. I tried the latest kernel but that didn't fix it. I saw a post by some guy that said loose SATA cables are a fairly common problem. It seemed like a long shot but it was worth a try. And what do you know. I reinserted the cable and everything's been fine since. Touch wood and all that.
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
James Le Cuirot
13 February 2008 @ 12:36 am
kermitbantam and opalfruits came to stay at the weekend. It was lovely. But I'll write more about that when I'm not hunched over the old laptop and cursing the qwerty keyboard layout.

I really want to be able to tell you how awesome my new PC is but unfortunately it will not POST. This is the first stage of the boot process. The diagnostic display simply says CPU INIT. A search quickly tells you that this message is the dreaded curse of the ASUS Striker Extreme, the motherboard in question. There is no single cause and the suggested remedies include such anecdotal advice as raindancing. It is an expensive and very lavish motherboard but is infamous for this particular problem. It also wasn't the board of my choosing, I simply bought it second-hand from Echo, who had never used it before. Many report success after leaving the CMOS battery out for a couple of hours. That hasn't worked for me but some advise leaving it longer so I'm going to leave it overnight. If it still doesn't work, I'll try putting in my old Pentium 4 to see if that wakes it up. If that doesn't work, I'll cry. )-':
James Le Cuirot
23 December 2007 @ 10:58 pm
I did it. I really did it. It's only taken me eight years. I just finished Final Fantasy VIII. I bought it on the very day it came out back in 1999 and played most of the way through it in a very short time. Because I was in such a rush to progress through the story, I didn't level up enough and got stuck at the battle with Adel at the beginning of disc 4, which is known for being a particularly tricky point in the game. The fact is that FFVIII is not a game you can rush. Those who take their time generally find it quite easy but if you rush it like I did, you end up paying for it later.

I played it on and off during those past eight years, desperately trying to attain higher levels, better weapons and more GFs. I even started it again at one point but still got stuck in the same place. I eventually consulted some online guides. I didn't use them extensively, only when I needed to locate some of the more obscure things in the game and, heaven knows, there's plenty of those. I eventually secured a foothold and things quickly started to turn around. I think the real turning point was when I attained Tonberry. After that, everything suddenly became much easier. In fact, I managed to defeat Bahamut, work my way right through the Underwater Research Facility, defeat Ultima Weapon and progress all the way to the end without dying once (by that, I mean game over), except when I paid Omega Weapon a visit out of curiosity. I don't think I'll bother taking the time to defeat him since I have better things to do. As I expected, the final battle wasn't too tough but it was quite a lot longer than I expected, even by Final Fantasy standards. One funny point to mention is that the finishing blow was "Angelo Cannon" of all things. The dog took her down! :D

What amazes me the most is that despite posting at Final Fantasy forums for very many years (Aura isn't one anymore but it's still full of Final Fantasy nuts), I've never had a clue about the ending. Not one. I'm really pleased about that, especially since it was very different to what I was expecting. It wasn't as exciting as VII's ending but it was heart-warming and I liked it very much.

The whole thing has left me feeling very strange. Suddenly seeing so much new stuff from a game that really captivated me after eight whole years is a wonderful feeling. It almost felt like a sequel, though I suppose I shouldn't say that too loud because it's one of the only games in the series that Square hasn't fucked around with since its release! It obviously hasn't had the same impact that VII had on me but that feeling is still there. I imagine I'll have the game on my mind for a little while. I hope so.

So this now means that I've finished VI, VII and VIII. I always said I'd finish VIII before trying any of the later ones and I kept my word. I'm not sure which one I'll try next, I'm thinking either IX or XII (X sucks, XI is online) but I doubt I'll have time to get too far into another one soon anyway.
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
Current Music: Nobuo Uematsu - Aria Di Mezzo Carattere
James Le Cuirot
15 December 2007 @ 10:49 am
Marna asked me yesterday if there was any way she could enter text into the computer by handwriting. Back when I first met him, Richard Gilmore gave me a cheap graphics tablet to play with but I never really got it to work properly. Well last night, I persevered with success. I then installed an amazing little program called CellWriter, which turns your handwriting into text. It's perfect! I never knew such a thing existed for Linux. You just spend a few minutes training it and off you go. It's very easy, intuitive and surprisingly accurate. It no doubt helps that I don't write joined up normally. In case you haven't guessed, I've written this whole entry with it. I'll stick to typing, of course, but nevertheless I'm very impressed.

It can do any language!
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
James Le Cuirot
You can witness some amazing things when everyone else is mindlessly milling around you. Here I am at Victoria Station, bored out of my skull, when what do I see? Someone accidentally drops a one penny coin just next to me. It gets kicked and proceeds to roll in a very wide arc. It narrowly misses countless numbers of feet, breezes through the smallest of gaps between two bags on the ground, avoids some more feet and eventually comes to rest back beside me. And I'm the only one who saw it. Heh. Simple pleasures.
Current Mood: intrigued
James Le Cuirot
02 November 2007 @ 03:19 pm
(15:09:56) James: there's something really odd about our street
(15:10:32) Abbie: how so
(15:10:47) James: we frequently see people walking past.... and 10 seconds later, we'll suddenly notice them walking back the other way. and we have no idea why.
(15:11:51) Abbie: its a glitch in the matrix
(15:11:53) Abbie: ;)
(15:11:59) James: hahaha
(15:12:01) James: good one
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Dredg - Canyon Behind Her
James Le Cuirot
30 August 2007 @ 04:35 pm
There's something immensely satisfying about eating apples from your very own apple tree.
Current Mood: happyhappy
James Le Cuirot
02 November 2006 @ 01:41 pm

After four years of using the ye olde Linux music playing application, it's finally time to say goodbye. Goodbye XMMS! Hello Audacious! I get to keep GKrellMMS though. (-:
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
James Le Cuirot
12 September 2006 @ 04:02 pm
So I just received Deus Ex 2 - Invisible War through my letter box after having bought it on eBay for the ultra bargainous £2.50 including postage. I almost felt sorry for the seller. Unfortunately I won't be able to play it for a little while yet. It is generally known to not run on Linux but that isn't the problem. Even on Windows, it wouldn't run on this thing and all for one reason - that bloody graphics card. This certainly isn't the first time I've complained about that damn thing. Today, I gained a new perspective on just how crap it really is. On the back of the game's box, it says it supports the NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti series. I knew it required pixel shaders so that came as a surprise to me. I had always assumed that pixel shaders were a relatively new thing. Apparently not. The GeForce3 Ti200 was released in October 2001. I acquired one second hand in the summer of 2002. It wasn't the hottest thing going but it beat the crap out of my 8MB ATI 3D Rage Pro. Fast forward to summer 2004 when I ditched my ageing desktop in favour of this second hand but still only one month old laptop. Little did I know of the sickness that lurked within - the sickness known as the ATI Radeon IGP345M. Even with a whopping 128MB of system RAM allocated to it, it still runs like a lump of lard. Now armed with my new found knowledge about pixel shaders, I went to find out whether this pile of crap supported them. The Wikipedia entry on the R100 chipset informed me that the card is actually based on first generation Radeon technology. Forget pixel shaders, it's probably a miracle this thing can even do pixels. So there you have it. A card with 32MB RAM, released in 2001 that I got for free just one year later, walks all over this card with 128MB RAM, released in 2004 that I got as part of this rather expensive laptop. Amazing. If it were purely down to pixel shaders, there might be a glimmer of hope. Transgaming's Cedega, the program I use to run Windows games on Linux, can emulate pixel shaders to a certain extent. But I can guarantee the game would still run like shit. Gah.

In other news, I got paid today, hence the good mood. (-:
Current Mood: goodgood