Blog News

Joel on Software

I just added a new site to my ‘worthy site’ link list, I had managed to find his site once before a year or more ago, but lost the link when I migrated to Apple hardware. I tend to like to start ‘fresh’ again, and only copy my most used stuff across.

Joel Spolsky is a programmer who knows how to write, and has kept a log of it for a long time now. His site has been made into two books. Lots of his articles on his site are very interesting and extremely well thought out.

So in my quest for quality blogs, this one had to be added to the list.

An entry that he made in 2001 is very pertinent to the situation in Europe now (and I guess everywhere else where outsourcing happens more and more).

Two yuppies in a living room buying an e-commerce engine from company A and selling merchandise made by company B and warehoused and shipped by company C, with customer service from company D, isn’t honestly adding much value. In fact, if you’ve ever had to outsource a critical business function, you realize that outsourcing is hell.

Also read the comments.

Blog News Links PSP Websites Caught !

Some good PSP links

More a note to myself than anything else, this is a collection of some good psp links :

Blog News

French Readers ?

It’s frrrrreezing cold outside. Time to hit the sack.

I just checked my stats, and noticed that someone is running google translate on some of my postings. I’ve got one or more french/francophone readers !

I have my suspicions, though…

Blog News Hardware PSP

Firmware, PSP games & Recharging

Firmware :
For the moment I’m staying with my psp 2.0 firmware.
The only reason to downgrade to 1.5 would seem to be the UMD loaders that allow you to play pirated games. I’m not going to go that way.
The only reason to upgrade would be the new RSS capability and some new codecs and download capability to memory stick. I’ll wait, thank you. It works fine as it is.

Games :
Meanwhile I’ve bought several games, here’s a quick overview and a personal score :

  • XMen II Apocalypse : quite a good game, sorta RPG, topdown view, lots of stuff to do (3/5)
  • Ridge Racer : I bought this second hand, as I wanted to at least own one driving game, but it’s so darn good that I keep coming back to it time and time again for a quick fix ! I understand better now how people could become slaves to racing games like this… (4/5)
  • King Kong : some white lines mar the game, and the controls are not all they could be (but you can try different layouts). I’ve only progressed a little bit, need to play some more, but so far it’s scary. (TBD)
  • Lord of the Rings Tactics : bought, but still haven’t played it. I almost regret buying this. (TBD)

I still need a good rpg : Popolocrois for psp seems to fit the bill, if it ever gets released here in Europe. Meanwhile I’ve installed a SNES emulator (via a bootloader for firmware 2.0) and ChronoTrigger. Amazing what Square could cram into 3 Mbyte !!

All these games should be more than enough to keep me occupied !

I think, once I’ve finished a few games like King Kong or Tactics, that I will sell these secondhand and pick up a new one from there. Prices for psp games are extremely expensive, they should really, really lower the price, and this is coming from a working guy, not a young guy with a chronic shortage of pocket money !

Recharging :
I am amazed : It seems as if Sony has done a major job of keeping the power consumption extremely low when you put your machine on standby. Keeping your psp on ‘standby’ (instead of really switching it off where you need to keep the off position pressed for 5 to 10 seconds) seems almost not to use any power at all. Reactivation is (almost) instantaneous.

I continue to be amazed : I thought my battery would run flat in less than a day, but I can comfortably play my game mornings or evenings in the train (both morning and evening seldom happens – when there are friends on the train they take precedence) and not even get to two bars down (ie the battery still reports as full). However, if you play an hour or 3 the battery does suddenly drop a bar down. Maybe it is the game I play : XMen does not use the UMD disc all the time, which seems to consume the most power.

Blog News

Sometimes things go 'click'.

A look is an invitation.

Sometimes things go ‘click’ in my head, like last thursday, when by accident I looked into the blue-grey eyes of a goodlooking woman and felt a sort of connection spring over. She looked. I looked.

And then we continued our separate ways. Neither of us gave any indication something had happened, except for that look.

That’s when I realised that a look, any look, is a doorway, an invitation to further communication. They don’t even have to be inviting. Angry looks, despairing looks or even looking away are means of communication that you can use if you want to.

Strange that it took me all this time to realise this.

Blog News Hardware

Pressure… Crack !


I have transformed my impulse buying into a higher level !

After months of not looking at it, after weeks of remarking regretfully to myself that I would have loved to have this when I was a kid, I succumbed to dreaming about it.

It took me a week of talking myself out of it multiple times (and back in again). After actually standing in the aisle with the gear in hands and then putting it back and walking away, a day later I finally cracked : I caved in, and bought a Playstation Portable (PSP). As you probably guessed from the picture with this piece.

It’s such a cool piece of kit that I could no longer resist it. Even though I have dozens of reasons why I don’t need it (for one, I’m too freakin’ old!) I said ‘Damnation to all reasons’ and bought it.

This is no longer impulse buying we’re talking about, this is crazed lemmings behaviour ! No, you don’t have to let me know what you think about that – I’ve probably already said it to myself…

I’ll post a bit more about using it (and what games I’m playing) later on, once I can spend some more time with the beast.

First impressions though :
– it looks and is extremely cool.
– you need a screen protector from day one – seriously.
– you need a good screen protector – the bad ones seriously degrade the screen quality !
– I can live with the battery charge – I don’t get to use it anyways longer than an hour or so per session… snif.
– An option to install a real hard drive in there (or otherwise : using a 4 or 8 GB memory card) will seriously let you expand your options what to do with it (play multiple games without changing discs, store more content).

Also, with regards to the last item above, Sony should be a bit more ‘open’ in letting people run unsigned code from their memory sticks : for now, if you want to run MAME, UAE or SCUMM emulators (there are dozens more) you need to have firmware 1.5, which you can only downgrade to if you have firmware 2.0 (Sony is at version 2.60 now).
Of course, it also allows you to run UMD-rips stored on your memory stick…

My psp (hmmmm ! that has a nice ring to it, my psp) has firmware 2.0. I’m still mulling about what to do : upgrading to the latest version (which more and more games require) or downgrading or just keeping it like that. I’ll probably be upgrading though, it’s not like I have time to do much more than play the occasional game on it.

Blog News

Taking the train is waiting…

Winter is coming. And every year it is the same problem – the trains break down – or rather, the junction boxes or the powerlines.

Yesterday there was a broken power line in Brussels South.
Today there was (again) a broken power line in Halle.

There was only one train leaving, and I think we could (almost) simulate a Japanese train, what with all the people pressed together in it.