Monday, 31 May 2004

The Boy Who Lived

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is released today. Looking forward to this 'darker' instalment, but need to see The Chamber of Secrets first! Choices Direct are offering the DVD at a mouth-watering £8.99!

Sunday, 30 May 2004


Rumours are intensifying that Google might be on the cusp of unveiling an OS! The brand has extended beyond its core business and encompasses advertising, news (in beta at present), Blogger (which I am using now), Gmail and Froogle! Of course an IM (Instant Messaging) client is missing from the list. However, do not assume that one isn't in the works!

Google has a mind share that is the envy of any industry and an OS coupled with existing brand extensions could be a palpable threat to commercial OSes!

Saturday, 29 May 2004

Urban Hymn

In last week's episode of Tru Calling. A Medical student had unresolved issues/repressed memories concerning a traumatic childhood experience and found closure! How I envy her!

My current 'gothic' disposition is adroitly surmised by The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" (1997)!


Bruce Wayne

Friday, 28 May 2004

The X-Files

Installed Mac OS X 10.3.4 and am impressed with system speed and stability!

This afternoon, via TNT, Office 2004 for Mac Standard Edition arrived. I'll impart my observations next week!

New from Titan Magazines: The Official Smallville Yearbook! To mark the conclusion of the third fantastic season of Smallville, the official Smallville Yearbook hits newsstands on May 25!

Thursday, 27 May 2004

The Fast And The Furious

Apple released OS X 10.3.4 and updated OpenGL to include "vertex buffer objects" or VBO for short. How does this translate into the world of gaming? I'll let Brad Oliver explain!

Watched E! Entertainment Special chronicling the success of teen idols. And it occurred to me how more often (then not) teen shows like Party Of Five and My So-Called Life outclassed the acting and scripts of so-called 'adult' dramas! Eloquence, timbre and pronunciation are a staple of these shows!

Time to play World of Warcraft...

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Knights Of The Magical Light

Just completing the audit for my first ever DVD-R backup! This is tedious, but best practise as I can finally shelve my vast CD-ROM collection and reclaim valuable shelf space!

Collectors of 80's animated series should consider Visionaries: Knights Of The Magical Light (R2 DVD)! Visionaries joined a long line of Hasbro toy licences, that garnered successful cartoon spin-offs!

Hasbro's The Transformers (arguably the greatest toy line ever) were a staple of my childhood! Memories of watching Megatron, Optimus Prime and Starscream remain vividly fresh - albeit "blighted" by Timmy Mallet (who gave Mike Myers his first break)! And it's a testament to the endurance of the toys, that the newly released Transformers game, developed by 80s powerhouse Melbourne House (now an internal development studio of Atari), has garnered critical acclaim in the press!

Purchased a new pair of Nike Shox trainers (or sneakers as my late Canadian Nan would say). Still prefer DKNY, which I haven't seen since my last trip to Covent Garden, London.

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

Sleepy Hollow

Bournemouth University's Alumni Association would like to include me in Under the spotlight - focus on careers in the media - for an upcoming edition of The Talbot magazine. This is flattering news.

World of Warcraft shenanigans continue. DarkRyder met her untimely death courtesy of Shelob's spawn who had infested Night's Hollow! However, she's now resurrected as an Undead Warrior and achieved catharsis!

Revisited MacMAME this morning and played Namco coin-op shooters Burning Force, Dragon Spirit and Dragon Saber. The latter has a soundtrack on a par with the best in Japanese animation and evoked memories of Battle of the Planets, which was centred around the weekly adventures of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny. It would be inexcusable not to mention 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1! Camp fun for all the family!

My application to become a Figleaves affiliate has been accepted.

Monday, 24 May 2004

Express Yourself

Pepsi has announced an iPod promotion in Australia alongside sponsorship of pop sensation Delta Goodrem! Presumably there'll be a similar Pepsi promo in Europe when iTunes Music Store is released?

After losing many daylight hours testing the World of Warcraft beta. DarkRyder has been joined by Human Warrior Mondas (named after the home planet of Doctor Who's calculating Cybermen). He resembles the new He-Man sculpt from The Four Horsemen! Fans of Blizzard's various franchises may be delighted to learn that Mac OS X installation patches for classic titles Diablo and Starcraft are to be released over the coming weeks. Feel the love!

Can't wait for Friday's release of The Day After Tomorrow! CGI geeks (and who isn't?) should see Terragen, a landscape generator that is heavily utilised in the movie!

Madonna begins her "Reinvention" World Tour tonight. Aroused by the success of Britney, Beyoncé and Kylie, Madonna is "dusting off" those old hits - Get Into The Groove to Vogue - and promises a show as spectacular and provocative as Blond Ambition '90 (I attended the infamous live BBC Radio One broadcast from Wembley Stadium in July, 1990).

The Sun and listening to Alanis Morissette's So-Called Chaos is so soaking up my time! BTW I watched The Corrs new video on MTV! It still "hurts" to look at Andrea!

Sunday, 23 May 2004

Stand by Me

Ever had one of those weeks where you were vindicated for 'standing alone' against popular opinion? This happened to me and it's "cold comfort"!

My "crush" on Jennifer Garner continues unabated! Her 2004 MTV diary rocked my world! The MTV cameras followed Jennifer around Sun-Kissed California for a week, and it was refreshing to see an actress who was genuinely engaging and self deprecating! Please have my baby!

Keira Knightley is featured in a photoshoot and interview in today's Sunday Times style magazine.

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 won at Cannes. Incidentally, my final year dissertation was based on Moore's TV Nation! Go Michael!

I'm currently preparing my first über software backup to DVD-R!

Friday, 21 May 2004

State of Decay

After a mammoth 12 hour download (2GB). I successfully installed World of Warcraft (for Mac OS X) late last night! And created my Rogue class character - an Undead female member of the Horde race - who goes by the monicker of DarkRyder (the Winona connection is deliberate). The anaemic character creation UI is intuitive and promises future creative scope. DarkRyder uncannily resembles a painting featured in H.R. Giger's Necronomicon replete with actress Keira Knightley's visage!

I never subscribed to Sony's EverQuest (the Mac version is no longer officially supported and lacks parity with other platforms), so the MMORPG genre is an entirely unique and novel gaming experience. First impressions of World of Warcraft are overwhelming. The beta, now at phase 2, conjures up the magic of Sonic Team's award-winning RPG series Phantasy Star Online, but on an infinitely grander scale.

Completing quests in World of Warcraft is the easiest way to level up, get money, receive trade skill recipes/components, earn equipment, and more. DarkRyder's first quest, in the decayed Tirisfal Glades (introduced in Warcraft III), is to hunt down and kill zombies...

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

An invitation to Azeroth

Today I was added to the World of Warcraft beta test and can empathise with how Charlie felt when he discovered that elusive Golden Ticket, guaranteeing a tour of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, in his Grandpa's chocolate bar! I will post my experiences of this highly anticipated MMORPG in due course.

In what could be construed as an act of synchronicity. The Iconfactory has released a set of icons based on The Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy.

A swarm of Honey Bees invaded our WASP suburb, and our house was besieged by scouts! However, they were sedated on honey and easily encouraged to leave via the windows!

Buffy's first (and only to date) sequel series Angel ends after 5 seasons tonight! The series found its footing quickly despite alleged off-screen politics. And the 100th episode was no disappointment - comparing favourably with Buffy episode The Body! I'll leave the last word to Dido "White Flag..."

Tuesday, 18 May 2004

American Idol

The Sun keeps on shining in the South West of England!

Aspiring Mac-based musos using iLife '04 should update GarageBand! Version 1.1 “addresses isolated performance and stability issues, allows per-track Echo settings similar to other effects, supports loop libraries in other disk locations, supports importing unprotected AAC audio files in addition to AIF and MP3 files, and addresses issues with ReWire support, moving GarageBand songs between different computers, Help support, fixing the timing of individual notes (as well as entire regions), and dragging entire tracks in the timeline.”

So, grab a bite from SUBWAY®, launch GarageBand 1.1, record, mix and export (in AAC format) your opus and send to Simon Cowell and the AI team! If only Apple's audio application had been available when I formed Def Track at Exeter College! The "joy" of 8-track and an Amiga A500.

At Inside Mac Games we've extended our subscription service IMG Pro to include further "value-added" features. For more details on IMG Pro, please visit here. IMG Pro costs just $19.95 for one year. A two year subscription costs $39.90.

Monday, 17 May 2004

The Apple of Gwyneth's Eye

On Friday Oscar-winning US actress Gwyneth Paltrow gave birth to a baby girl named Apple Blythe Alison Martin (9 pounds, 11 ounces). The baby's father is Coldplay's lead singer Chris Martin who, like myself, was born in Exeter. All four members of Coldplay own Apple PowerBooks and iPods, and they used Pro Tools and Power Macs to create both of their hit albums. Coincidence? Regardless, I wish them all the best!

Sunday, 16 May 2004

Show me the money!

Discovered today that my ISP (blueyonder broadband) has increased the speed of my cable connection from 512Kb to 750Kb at no extra cost! The broadband wars have begun in earnest!

The Sunday Times Business section includes an insightul article concerning HP.

LucasArts continues to mine their richest licence! Star Wars Battlefront and Republic Commando are due for release later this year from Pandemic Studios and LucasArts.

Star Wars Battlefront is an online multiplayer shooter, that traverses pivotal movements during the movie saga! And promises revolutionary Artificial Intelligence (AI)!

Republic Commando is a First Person Shooter (FPS) utilising the Unreal2Engine and Karma physics system, which more accurately captures the consequences of combat!

I hope that Aspyr will secure the Mac ports!

Saturday, 15 May 2004

Summer Sunshine

Jennifer Garner's first headline picture, 13 Going On 30, looks like a family friendly Generation X romp! The trailer conveys Garner's charisma, sense of comedic timing and effortless charm! There's even an homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller! Jennifer's come along way since a guest role on Felicity (also created by Alias' JJ Abrams).

Universal's postmodern romantic comedy Love, Actually utilises the narrative structure of George Lucas' superior American Graffiti (1973) and connects the various sub plots via a commercial soundtrack. It is a pleasing diversion, that stars several of my favourite UK actors and a cameo from Dido too! Lookout for Rowan Atkinson's shop assistant - priceless! Blackadder how I miss thee!

After taking a ride on the Dungeons And Dragons Roller Coaster at their local theme park, a group of kids are thrust into an unusual world and given magical weapons which they must use to try and find their way home, ever pursued by the evil villain Venger... Marvel's animated series Dungeons & Dragons (1983) is now available on DVD. Cool! It'll be worth investing in the 4 disc box set, which is released in the Autumn/Fall.

In addition to my very fond recollections of viewing D&D on BBC television. Atari's arcade gem Gauntlet (1985) will be forever associated with my childhood! Generous amounts of pocket money financed the adventures of Thor (the Warrior), Questor (the Elf), Merlin (the Wizard) and Thydra (the Valkyrie). Mac gamers with a predilection for retro coin-op gaming may want to visit MacMAME, developed by Aspyr's porting maestro Brad Oliver.

In stark contrast to the fearce thunderstorms of the past few days. Today the sky is clear! And it's time for a weekend bike ride.

Friday, 14 May 2004

You're going to need a bigger boat

With the premiere of Troy at Cannes, the season of the blockbuster is underway! There appears to be considerable hubbub surrounding the press junket Lollapalooza for DreamWorks Pictures' Shark Tale! Apparently the press are excluded from previews of the unfinished movie!

It will take more than a Finding Nemo clone and Shrek 2 to dislodge PIXAR's crown IMHO! Watch the new trailer from Disney/PIXAR The Incredibles in iTunes 4.5 (available for Mac and PC).

To set the mood, I watched Spielberg's seminal Jaws and Bay/Bruckheimer bombast Bad Boys. Bad Boys is a great demonstration disc and a timely reminder of Bay's skill before the bloated efforts of Armageddon and Pearl Harbour!

Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow promises an antidote to the flag waving of ID4, and clones The Poseidon Adventure albeit on a global scale! You can read Empire magazine's online review at your leisure/peril!

Of all the big budget summer movies, Spider-Man 2 is the one to watch! The first sequel to Spider-Man (2002) promises further character development, improved CGI and Doctor Octopus.

Whether or not James Cameron's Spider-Man treatment (ultimately mired in litigation) would have surpassed Sam Raimi's is now a moot point. Raimi can tell a compelling story (A Simple Plan and The Gift) even if the action scenes, like in the first Spider-Man, are serviceable!

I'm currently debating which new edition of the Spider-Man DVD to purchase? Do I go for the 'triple disc' pack or the Superbit release? I'm more interested in the quality of the movie, and therefore most likely will buy the latter as it includes DTS audio, which I consider superior to Dolby Digital! Panic Room (David Fincher) also receives the three disc treatment from Columbia TriStar later this summer.

If you're a regular reader of IMDb. Read my comments page for film reviews and showbiz ramblings!

In the wake of the MP3Concept Trojan and Mac OS X security fears/moral panic/hype. Mac Users may want to download this new freeware utility from The Iconfactory! Prevention is better than cure! According to various Mac rumour sites, it appears that the release of Mac OS X 10.3.4 is imminent.

Sony Style, one of my favourite sites, is sporting a new look.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

Seattle sans Frasier

I'll start this entry by bidding bon voyage to Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Martin and Roz! Tonight it's "Goodnight, Seattle" for the last time! Life without Frasier will be a little poorer. Michelle Branch articulates this sentiment best in her emotive ballad "Goodbye To You..."

Thanks to the ingenious invention that is sky+ (PVR), last evening I watched Sunday night's all-new episode of Alias, which guest starred Canadian director David Cronenberg (Rabid, The Dead Zone, The Fly and eXistenZ)! His cameo follows in the footsteps of silverscreen luminaries Quentin Tarantino, Ethan Hawke and Olivia d'Abo. Conscious was so good - a postmodern homage to the cinematic oeuvre of Cronenberg - that it commanded a repeat viewing!

Readers of the official Alias Magazine, published by Titan Magazines, can read my series comments in Issue #4's Dead Drop section. Look for Psychological Profile, which ties in with Frasier! On newsstands now!

The spring issue of The Talbot, Bournemouth University's Alumni Association magazine, arrived this morning. In the next edition they're focussing on careers in the media and are seeking contributions. So, it would be remiss of me not to respond to their clarion call!

As you may already know, I am a staff writer for Inside Mac Games (IMG). Currently I'm on the waiting list to join the beta test for Blizzard's upcoming World Of Warcraft - an online role-playing experience set in the award-winning Warcraft universe. In the meantime I've attempted (and failed) to download the latest patch (1.15) for The Frozen Throne! Blizzard is suffering from FTP overload! However, the game is one of my favourite (RTS) titles alongside Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and Clone Campaigns expansion pack! So, I'll keep trying... A new Neutral Hero, the Goblin Tinker, has been added to the game and many more enhancements.

Browser company Opera has released version 7.50 of its popular flagship application. However, I was disappointed to note that several bugs made it into the GM! The smart money is still on Firefox and Safari 2!

As I write, iTunes 4.5 is playing Life For Rent on shuffle play! Dido's lyrics are replete with rich narratives, which transforms, via iPod, my personal space when traversing the urban landscape!

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

The Green Death

Since 2003, I've been steadily building my Doctor Who DVD collection at £11.99 a pop! Early this morning the latest release arrived courtesy of Her Majesty's Royal Mail! The Green Death is one of my favourite stories from the Jon Pertwee era and now takes pride of place alongside Pyramids Of Mars, Earthshock, Resurrection Of The Daleks et al.

A few weeks ago I watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Dalek Invasion Of Earth - that enduring and iconic image of the Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge was forever imprinted into my young mind via the pages of the Dalek Omnibus, which I still own sans dust jacket - too young to appreciate the value and used the inside back cover for sketches when I ran out of paper one Sunday afternoon many, many years ago! Who'd be a fine artist eh?

Regarding the restored disc. Has anyone else noticed a soft line running down the image, roughly at the halfway point? Presumably some artefact from the source material/restoration process? Otherwise a clean print and remarkable work in spite of Auntie's historical faux pas - deleting all those episodes back in the day! And the CGI option is a terrific nod to the comic serial (thanks Marvel for reprinting them in the 1980s). Imagine The Chase with a few of those spruced-up saucers and Mechanoids?

The Doctor Who restoration team are doing a sterling job and have re-ignited my interest in the show (it was a staple of my childhood)! Now if only the BBC would release the twisted tale Terror of the Autons, which I watched at the Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Convention, Longleat (1983)! Yes, BBC Video released the VHS version in 1993... May need to auction my vast VHS collection on eBay! Any takers?

Fellow Toonami fans. You maybe interested to know that my friends at The Iconfactory continued, on Tuesday, with their new icon freeware releases. This week it's the Justice League! It goes without saying that this set is cooler than Pluto! Incidentally, I've started watching Teen Titans, and it compares favourably with Batman Animated! The action figures, from Bandai America, look great!

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Inauguration Day

Nothing important happened today other than this! 😉

Started watching new time-traveling drama series Tru Calling on Sky One! Initially, I was averse to the series due to my disappointment at Eliza Dushku's reluctance to sign-on for a second sequel series to Buffy! Faith. However, Tru Calling is a pleasure to watch and the notion of Groundhog Day meets The X-Files is seductive! This show has, as they say in Hollyweird, legs!

Another US show that has become a guilty pleasure is The OC on E4! Now that Dawson's Creek is over (the series should have ended after 4 seasons) I was in need of a witty dose of angst and a cute brunette female fix! The sultry Summer Roberts, played by Rachel Bilson, fits the bill!

Just finished writing my second review for Inside Mac Games (IMG). This time it's Feral Interactive's Mac port of Worms 3D that comes under my literary microscope! Hope that it gets posted over the next few days! Does it need a rewrite? I sincerely hope not, because "real world" activities take precedence! Friends know what I'm alluding to!

Time to 'fire-up' GameRanger and play Jedi Academy MP!