Friday 30 September 2005


My preferred Atari 8-bit emulator - Atari800MacX - has graduated from beta. Version 3.0 is available from all good gaming stores (not really, but you get the point).

Thursday 29 September 2005

Push The Button

Still suffering from flu-like symptoms, which is most likely related to exhaustion and the arrival of Autumn/The Fall. This hasn't deterred me from watching the conclusion of Lost (written review to follow). The introduction of Michelle Rodriguez, in Exodus Part 1, as new cast regular Ana-Lucia Cortez was a surprise! And recording this short audio blog sans script (gradually gaining more confidence).

The Xbox 360 Premium Pack pre-order has been cancelled in favor of a replacement GameCube (Resident Evil 4 Limited Edition Pak) and Resident Evil 0! Halloween is only a month or so away and the Resident Evil franchise is one to be savored (or endured) by survival horror genre fans.

Dreamcast's CODE: Veronica remains the only game to leave me scared sheetless (to quote Tim Burton on the set of Beetlejuice) and I have it on good authority that Resident Evil 4 is set to steal that corrupted crown. I miss my Dreamcast. Sega's NAOMI-based console was a proven product. Why did I sell it in 2002?

Have you seen Nintendo's Game Boy Advance Micro? There's a Famicom anniversary edition exclusive to the Japanese market. A must for console collectors.

Adobe has announced Photoshop Elements 4 for Windows! Where's the Mac version? Well, lets wait and see. Elements is my bread and butter, and 3 is working just fine thank you.

You can read my review of Desperate Housewives over at MovieTyme.

Wednesday 28 September 2005

Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross

Today Sony's PlayStation celebrates ten years since its official European introduction. My first PlayStation experience was on an NTSC import machine from Japan and predated the PAL release by several months.

Glimpsing Battle Arena Toshinden and Ridge Racer drove me back into the arms of console gaming after a four year hiatus in the wake of the spectacular SNES Super Star Wars trilogy. However, it wouldn't be until 1998 that a PlayStation would appear alongside my MiniDisc and Discman!

N64 swayed me away from Sony's CD-ROM console with Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 (racing against Jari is the stuff of gaming greatness) and Star Wars Shadows of the Empire. Not to overlook the female distractions too - Emma how did the career at Deloitte & Touche pan out? This was a brief diversion from the PlayStation path. The allure of the Tekken franchise was irresistible after I loaned a machine from one of my co-workers at Reuters!

A PSP has yet to grace these hands!

Saturday 24 September 2005

Energon Cube Redux

I think I maybe coming down with a cold. However, couldn't let this cool collectible news pass by without comment:

The Star Wars Transformers line has been confirmed at BotCon today. There are eleven of them planned for 2006 starting in January, available as a play pack. An X-Wing and a "Boba Fett ship" (probably the Slave I) have been confirmed by name only. Here's the possible full list:

Luke Skywalker / X-Wing Fighter
Darth Vader / TIE Fighter
General Grievous / Wheel Bike
Obi-Wan Kenobi / Jedi Starfighter
Boba Fett / Slave 1
Darth Maul / Sith Infiltrator
Anakin Skywalker / Jedi Starfighter
Snowtrooper / AT-ST
Clone Trooper / ARC-170 Fighter
Emperor Palpatine / Star Destroyer
Jango Fett / Slave 1

It will have no bearing on the continuities of either universe. Additionally, Hasbro plans to release Transformers Attacktix, which will be game-compatible with the Star Wars figures.

So, nearly two decades on and my suggestion has come to fruition!

Friday 23 September 2005

Come Clean

Two years ago a crisis in my personal life escalated. The ripples continue to extend outwards and there's no sign of closure.

Twenty years ago Steve Jobs was sued by Apple Computer. He was charged with dereliction of duties as chairman of Apple. I guess patience is the embodiment of valor.

Wednesday 21 September 2005

Maggie And The Ferocious Beast

After some serious soul searching. As if? Lost's Maggie Grace (plays Shannon with a Paris Hilton panache) gets my vote for most fanciable female on the island. Not least because she shares the same Christian name as my dear Mother. Margaret. And she's a natural brunette.

Happy Birthday, Maggie!

Xbox 360 Premium Pack pre-orders are reaching critical mass (no statistics) if retailers are to be believed. Exeter's Game has stopped taking orders citing limited stock allocation. The hype starts here. At least UK gamers are spared the 'Nickel and Dimed' extravagance of Xbox 360 bundles from and Gamestop's Omega Bundle is the pinnacle of avarice at £1,116.63.

Found this American soda and snacks importer today. Might try Wild Cherry Pepsi and Hershey's Cookies' n' Chocolate.

Tuesday 20 September 2005

Back to the future without an Atari Paddle

Crumbs Chris Cringle! Autumn is in the air and holiday consumables are creeping into stores near you! Here's a fine product that may not see release until November 2006. Nintendo's Revolution console.

The Revolution's remote controller - Nunchuk - may ordain a seismic change in the gaming interface experience tantamount to the advent of Macintosh and mouse (1984). I sincerely hope that Apple's industrial design team is earning royalties from both Nintendo and Microsoft for all this gorgeous imitation 'ice' kit.

Opera 8.x is now free and its file transfer and security capabilities are worth your while! With Safari, Firefox and Opera available at no cost to consumers, I can't see any justification for buying and/or using OmniWeb!

Odeo and FeedBurner are now offering widgets du jour. Grab 'em while they're still hot and delicious.

The promised Lost S1 DVD review is behind schedule - I've only reached disc 3 (and watched all the extras). The show deserved the Emmy for best drama. Evangeline Lilly and Maggie Grace are too cute for words. But, real world problems take precedence. In the meantime here's a music CD recommendation. You could do worse than buy a copy of Pussycat Dolls - PCD. Don't expect an album that surpasses Destiny Child's The Writing's On The Wall (1999).

Back to the new .mac goodies.

Sunday 18 September 2005

Dress You Up

In the '90s Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson signed lucrative celebrity endorsements with LA Gear. At the time college friends encouraged me to produce bespoke graphics for t-shirts. Over a decade on, I'm proud to introduce my very own clothing line and accessories! Well, sort of.

Be sure to check back as I add more products for the holiday season.

Still mulling over whether or not you should put an Xbox 360 on Santa's list? Better be quick as Amazon UK's dispatch date continues to slip (and I pre-ordered mine a couple of weeks ago).

Friday 16 September 2005

Archer MacLean's Dropzone

The release of Archer MacLean's Mercury (for the PSP) has made me all nostalgic for his 1984 Atari opus Dropzone!

The game, a horizontal scrolling shoot 'em up, deftly mixed Defender, Scramble and Galaxians and delivered an 'arcade experience' (coin slot not included) into the home.

In the mid 1980s I had to settle for the, not too shabby, Commodore 64 port (recipient of a Zzap64! Gold Medal) and suffer inherent speed compromises. Dropzone's code was written (over two years) for Atari's superior 8-bit hardware.

Fast forward to this morning. Whilst completing the second round of beta testing for an updated Atari emulator, I got to play the Holy Grail. Dropzone for the Atari 800XL. The product has not deminished. Time to dig up Star Raiders, Head Over Heels and Spindizzy.

Wednesday 14 September 2005

Bad Dreams

After playing MacPlay's port of Aliens vs Predator Gold for a few hours and becoming seriously spooked. Thought I would list the ten most nightmarish movies (in no particular order):

*John Carpenter's The Thing
*The Fog
*Invasion of the Body Snatchers
*Day of the Dead
*The Fly

I'll leave the closing comment to Newt (Aliens): We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly.

Monday 12 September 2005

Battle Of The Planets

Growing up did you ever have a crush on a cartoon character? Mine was Princess from Battle Of The Planets! And I'm so glad to have held-off purchasing the R2 DVD set. The R1 edition (from Rhino) boasts both the US version (familiar with most children of the 70's and 80's) and original Japanese source Gatchaman. Here's the Rhino PR blurb:

From the award-winning Japanese animation team that created Speed Racer and Robotech comes one of the most influential Anime shows ever! This four-DVD boxed set features 12 original, uncut and unedited episodes. Bonus features include 12 original, uncut and unedited Japanese Gatchaman episodes with English subtitles (each corresponding to a Battle Of The Planets show in the boxed set), as well as interviews, commentary, trailers, and a memorabilia gallery.

Not since the premature demise of Anime UK/FX magazine (thanks for all those cool e-mails Helen McCarthy) have I been this excited about anime. Be sure to comeback for my review of Battle Of The Planets: The Ultimate DVD Boxed Set in a few weeks.

Awkward adjunct from Fiery Phoenix to Firefox (formerly Phoenix). All weekend Firefox Beta 1 has delivered the goods (and posts too). The speed increase is worth the download alone.

By word-of-mouth I've inadvertently become an eBay expert®! Yesterday an aquaintance (whom collects and sells model trains at car boot sales) wanted to know my selling methodology (best practices). There's no secret formula per se. A tip for any aspiring eBay millionaires would be to start off as a buyer (using PayPal only) and attain positive feedback. Talking eBay. They're about to acquire Skype.

Thursday 8 September 2005

Perfect Dark

Is there no end to Apple's accomplishments? With its slender solid state form factor the iPod nano knocks the competition into a cocked hat. Sony should start bundling the PSP with the black nano and iTunes Music Store vouchers.

The Material Girl's succumbed to the allure of Apple too. Her back catalogue is available on iTMS. And the new iTunes 5 should be on the cover of a magazine! Please drop the pinstripe and brush metal mishmash for Tiger's posh plastic from now on.

Wednesday 7 September 2005

The Right Stuff

My cousins, Hazel and Hayley, have safely returned from the USA. They were holidaying in Florida when Katrina struck. Though the State of Florida was on the periphery, Hayley video taped the storms that hit. Journalism clearly runs in the family. Welcome home.

A friend recently inquired as to whether or not I had considered audio blogging? The answer is an emphatic yes. But, there's no timetable for its introduction - I'm a perfectionist and quality matters. You never know though, the CD Spin Doctor Desktop Recorder Dashboard widget (included in Toast 7) looks mighty enticing from here!

Lost arrived this morning and the gatefold presentation is sublime. On the horizon, the DVD extras included with Battlestar Galactica (2004): Season One R1 reduces the R2 release to vanilla status! Even the box art is far cooler.

An Atarian since 1980. I'm beta testing a popular Mac OS X emulator for XL/XE that's undergone an overhaul with added Tiger polish.

Anyone else notice that iTunes Music Store wasn't updated yesterday? I'm off to get to grips with RSS Writer (documentation not included).

Monday 5 September 2005

Double Jeopardy

Well, I've done it now! What heinous crime has been committed, you cry? Amazon UK permitting, an Xbox 360 Premium Pack will be opened before the holidays! The combined price of a Core Pack and the accessories included (remote control subject to availability) in the Premium Pack could cost upwards of £320 (depending on supplier).

Of the two Xbox 360 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units), gamers should be encouraged to purchase the Premium Pack - the 20GB portable HDD is required for backwards compatibility. My HDTV's component input will be put to good use and Xbox 360 offers Plug and Play with iPod and PSP.

Sega's next generation arcade board (codenamed Lindbergh) DNA parallels Xbox 360 architecture. This translates to an envious arcade-to-home porting model akin to Sega's NAOMI and Dreamcast. The key attraction, here, is future arcade smashes House Of The Dead 4, Psy Phi and Virtua Fighter 5 in the home sans compromise.

To reiterate. Xbox 360 SDK was (originally) Mac-based. Jonathan Hayes (manager of platform experience design) owes a debt to Jonathan Ives (vice president of Apple Computer's Industrial Design Group) IMHO. The upshot of this philosophy is a console whose contours are organic and appealing. Certainly this product is a more cohesive 'brand' experience (from the hardware to the software GUI) and lessons have been learned from the first iteration of Xbox. Go Microsoft.

European PSP users are already reporting that some machines are afflicted with the pixel problem that blighted the Japanese and US launches. As I understood it, Sony sourced Samsung LCDs to reduce this reliability issue (officially users should expect up to 9 dead pixels)! Anyone contemplating a PSP purchase, and are concerned about the possibility of buying a product that doesn't meet their expectations, should wait. Lets face it, the new Ceramic White model is much more desirable for the eye candy cognoscenti.

Now that the nights are drawing in you maybe in need of extra PDF reading material. The Bomb (1994), an original audio drama, was written as a 5-minute play and recorded during the second year of undergraduate study.

Saturday 3 September 2005

When The Wind Blows

It would be imprudent of me not to comment on the devastation and subsequent loss of life wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Put ideology aside and lend support (in whatever way you can). Thanks to FeedBurner, I have enabled Red Cross banners (spliced into the feed) should readers wish to donate money.

Please visit, fellow Mac enthusiast, Jim Ownby's photo of the month gallery, which includes "before Katrina".

Thursday 1 September 2005

Street Smarts

After a nine-month wait European consumers can now enter the fourth space. Say hello to Sony PSP. Want one? You'll need to get in line, I'm afraid.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the copyright holders SCEE.

In keeping with the Sony theme. Lets focus on their music (software) group and a confession. I listen to Jessica Simpson! Before you flame me. In 1999 I received her debut CD (as part of a larger package) from a US-based friend: Jessica's vocal range and control impressed. Prior to this, Sony had included "Did You Ever Love Somebody" (performed by Jessica) in the first Dawson's Creek soundtrack compilation. So, I was already a convert. MTV's Newlyweds introduced us to her solipsistic lifestyle and has become appointment television (Pepsi floater optional).

Last weekend Michael and me perused the shelves of MVC. The subject of Madonna's next album arose: I had no idea about the forthcoming release of Confessions on a Dance Floor! Madonna sagaciously appears in the new commercial for Motorola's ROKR iTunes phone. The new single "Hang Up" is also premiered during the advertisement. Does this mean that her back catalogue will shortly be made available on the iTunes Music Store? Madonna's lucrative deal with Microsoft (under the Windows Media brand) always struck me as spurious and inherently limiting. Maverick (co-founded by Madonna) artists were introduced last year.

Sweet syndication Batman! Last night FeedBurner got a face-lift and now my Flickr photos are spliced into the feed. The guys and gals at FB are a talented bunch. I'm delighted to have partnered with them. I urge all site managers, overseeing rich media feeds, to do the same. Incidentally, Flickr Uploadr is now at version 2.0.

Firefox fans are in for an early Halloween treat this year. Version 1.5 should bow on October 28th. For further information and news on the Public Preview Beta, point your browser here.