Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tempted by cookies and Easter Eggs

Made one of those fatal mistakes tonight.

I walked past the Cookie Shop without fortifying myself with food beforehand. This is a very dangerous thing.

So after staring at an Easter Egg for most of the evening, I now have a box of Millies Cookies sitting beside me. I've survived the temptation of Easter Egg but those Cookies whiff a bit. Would be a shame to waste 'em by letting them go stale.

Quote of the day : "Chocolate is Life"

So, so true.

Still, resisting the temptation of Egg will mean the Egg Supply lasts another day and as I wasn't really hungry (I may have slipped into slow metabolism with the coming week and a bit off work) I haven't really missed munching one tonight.

Oh ! I have boots. Been spending cash again, although I've resisted the itchy fingers that want me to buy an Xbox. £250 for the Final Fantasy XIII edition from Game looks the best bundle at the moment but I'm keeping the credit card under control due to a £1100 credit card bill last month.

The boots are for Snowdon, which the Eve guys will be hitting next month. It's one of Britain's mountains, although that's not really saying much cos it has a railway line to the summit. We won't be using that. It's a toss up between my work shoes and my trainers as to what's best to walk in, so I invested in a pair of proper boots. Will have to see how long they take to bed in.

I think my "Ramble" detector is going off as well as the tiredness that comes from anticipating tomorrow being my last day at work for a week and a bit. Been on the second wind over the past week or so, which has meant I've been fine during the day at work but have struggled in the evenings. Hence no real gaming during the week nights. (sometime soon I'll put in a few XCom posts!)

I'll be recovering over the next week and I bet by then I'll be raring to go again :-) Although that might be due to me feeling the need to go hunting the Teacakes again ...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Election coming

This post has been coming for a while and it's born out of frustration at the political scene over here.

For those unitiated in GB politics, we effectively have a 2 party state with the main competition being between Labour and Conservative. It wasn't always that way, before the First World War the Liberals had a chance too. There's a few hangers on too, like the Liberals and the SNP. But it's mostly down to a fight between Tory and Labour. Or should that be Red Tory and Blue Tory, the lines are that blurred.

In a system where the candidates who become MPs are required to vote the way they are told, there's not much leeway in the system. You could even say it's a democratic dictatorship, with the 2 Houses providing a rubber stamp for the wishes of the PM. With that kind of setup, it becomes all about the personalities. We saw this in the 2 elections that Labour lost in 1987 and 1992, where Labour were expected to win but the country couldn't bring itself to vote for Neil Kinnock.

So what have we got to choose from ?

There's Gordon Brown and his cronies in Labour. After all the half truths, broken promises and blatant lies from them over the past decade or so, can't trust 'em. Then we have Cameron and the Tories. These guys are preparing for government, with the polls favouring them over Labour. Trouble is, he's no Obama. A political party stands or falls by the fortunes of its leader and Cameron is making the scales close instead of landslide. Not really sure what the Blue Tory policies are, which could be a symptom of how many of their policies have been stolen by the Red Tory's over the years.

Cameron could be another Kinnock ...

Then there's the Liberals in third. These guys were promising when Charles Kennedy was in charge, he was one of the few politicians I've had any respect for. Since they put the knife in there, they've reverted to some of the worst behaviour possible from a political party. Not much evidence of policy here either, apart from soundbites which they won't have a chance of standing by.

We're also blighted by the BNP, who have a leader who does himself no favours by always being seen with his escorting Heavy Mob. People don't like being threatened and that Heavy Mob is a definite "Don't argue with us" threat. Doesn't work in GB politics.

The political system in the UK is also supposed to be about MPs representing the views of their constituents. You see precious little evidence of this, I've certainly seen nothing through my door asking my view on important upcoming Parliament votes. The MPs are required to vote the way the whips tell them. Is that democracy ?

So - we're facing an election knowing that whatever we choose won't change much in the way the country is run. What will happen over the next 5 years ? We shall see. Not much hope for improvement.

And I've not even mentioned expenses !

Oh yeah, I'm trying to avoid saying who I'm likely to vote for, although I have given an opinion or two. We'll see whether one or the other parties earn my vote over the next month or so. Shame there isn't a "None of the Above" option !

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thinking - Copy Protection

The gaming world is seeing another case of Big Aggro at the moment, centred around the atrocity being inflicted on paying customers by copy protection ...

In particular, it's a game called Assassins Creed 2, which raises the bar just a little bit more.

There's always been a certain amount of copy protection involved with software, the problem has been coming with the publishers increasingly treating their paying customers like criminals. The measures put in to allow protection of intellectual property used to be fairly simple, being limited to typing in codes from manuals or just making it difficult to copy stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to publishers attempting to protect their intellectual property, I just object to the ways they've been going about it. I think I've written a few things about this before too ... (faint feelings of deja vu !) The crime that first really got me irritated with copy protection just so happens to be from the same publisher as the latest atrocity, so I think it's time to give an example or two :

Starforce copy protection. Ubisoft used this a fair bit and it worked by sitting between Windows and the cd drives. It would intercept the data passing between to allow it to authenticate the disc correctly. Fairy nuff. Except when it disabled the copy protection employed by other publishers games. Oh, it also disabled my USB hub for some strange reason.

Copy protection measures are fair enough, except when they adversely affect the overall running of a PC. And as PCs tend to be a festering cesspool of mismatched software, it's an insanely difficult thing to prevent unanticipated interaction between all the garbage that gets left behind in a PC.

That's a fairly minor irritant though compared to what's been put on Assassins Creed 2. What's happened here is that when the game is running, it'll phone home every 20 seconds or so to see if everything's ok. If your internet happens to sneeze, the copy protect will pull the trigger on a gun that'll unceremoniously dump you back to Windows.

However, having to be online permanently is not the biggest beef people have with this system. It's no problem at all to me as my internet is always on and typically always active (I stay logged in to Messenger all the time). No, the issue is "what happens when the authentication servers go inactive ?" Well, you've paid £30 for a game that you can no longer play. This is a big deal, as shown by me still playing games written and released 15 years ago. Will these authentication servers be around in 15 years ? Somehow I doubt it.

What's the alternative ? Well, there are two. The first is to wait for the crackers who have almost certainly broken through or bypassed this system by now. They then put the game data online (torrent sites) where people then illegally download it without the protection. No protection, no problem.

The second alternative is the one I've chosen ever since I realised the Starforce protection was causing me problems. I've basically boycotted Ubisoft and avoided all their games. Vote with your feet, it's the only language the money people understand. (Although that won't get through to the Union people determined to bring down British Airways, which will take jobs away from their members)

Either way, the people behind the copy protection don't get any money.

There's all sorts of other arguments around copy protection. One reason people copy is because the games are more expensive now. That's certainly why I've avoided getting Modern Warfare 2, £40 for a PC game is a rip off in my mind. If the crackers weren't so good at getting around copy protection, we may have seen games stay around the £15-£20 mark. Dunno about that argument, because console games still cost more than PC games.

So what's the way forward ? Ubisoft's method with AC 2 is a bit too draconian, just have a look at the review scores people are giving it on Amazon. USB sticks as dongles ? Could be and it wouldn't add much to the cost to make per unit. The crackers will get through that as well though eventually.

Me - I've been thinking Console ... Although when I look at them, I'm not seeing enough interesting games to warrant the starter cost of a £250 purchase of an Xbox. I definitely know what I don't appreciate, which is being treated like a criminal by the people who want my money. I'll keep the cash in my pocket ta very much.

The games market is struggling enough at the moment, I suspect PC gaming will be just MMOs in a few years. It'll be curious to see how things go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New batteries please

Looking forward to Easter at the moment and No ! Not for the chocolate !

I know what you were thinking ...

Ok, ok, I am a chocolate fiend but I'm more looking forward to the week I'll be taking off work. (And there's only so much chocolate one can take before you get sick of it and that's a waste of chocolate.) Feeling a bit burned out again, although it's not been stopping me from getting on with things. Maybe makes me a bit more reactive instead of thinking things through, which maybe isn't a bad thing for someone who tends to overthink.

I believe they call it procrastination :-)

Been up to mum's and dad's this weekend for one of those "Be there or don't get fed next time" events :-) Kidding, they're not like that really even for days like Mother's Day. I'm reasonably into traditions, especially the ones that make people happy. So every Mother's Day, I'll call in the People Who Know (aka Flowergram!) to send a little package to two special people. The other one is Craziequeen, who helps keep me sane by letting me talk through stuff. We keep an eye on each other :-)

Needing to get a mini-rant out about technology again, it'll be a mini rant because I'll need to go into stuff that's better placed on the techie blog. I did the technology thing again this weekend, not a raging success this time around but hopefully the Widget that turned up today will sort things out to satisfaction.

Telly type kit has been the latest thing the Family has upgraded, first it was my nan getting a new telly. Then my sister got forced into buying one because her old telly went splat. I got one at Xmas and we were checking out mum's and dad's new one this weekend. It's a Panasonic telly and they got a HDD dvd recorder as well. They don't have an aerial accessible where the telly is, so they're using a satellite tuner in the telly itself. Comments ...

Comet people get away with a lot when they persuade people to buy stuff that doesn't fit the need. Although part of that is knowing that the "need" is ... The dvd recorder wasn't really necessary. It does do a job, it's just a different (and cheaper) bit of kit would do the job much better.

Panasonic telly quality = Very high. The quality when we were watching the Grand Prix was like watching HD, except on a SD signal. Impressive.
Telly + DVD recorder integration. Good stuff, the telly was able to tell the dvd recorder what and when to record, without doing anything to the dvd recorder.

Manuals and ease of use. This is where the BUT comes in.

As a device for watching stuff, it's very good. Sharp picture, respectable sound, doesn't fall over when you force a Scart lead into the socket. As for setting it up, it required two engineers to get it connected enough to get the integration working and even then, the widget that sends pictures to the next room doesn't work. Don't get me started about the badly translated manual that's gone nowhere near Readability gurus or Proofreaders.

Terrible manual. Interface can only be described as Gopping. (a derogatory slang term of which the meaning is hopefully obvious)

Ok - you probably get the picture ... There's a box arrived today that's hopefully gotten them a Sky+ replacement that they won't have to pay a monthly fee for.

It's not quite working "to satisfaction" yet, as they use a widget to send pictures from the living room to the dining room. Couldn't get that working over the weekend, signal must have been getting jammed. Think I'll be poking that again next time I'm up there.

But for now, all the technology appears to be working, I haven't had a "this doesn't work" call with the Freesat box so I'll get back to listening to the music while researching AV sender Gizmos.

See ! Lots of stuff being poked at, despite feeling the smoky edges of a case of impending burn out :-) I think it helps having good people around me. You know the saying "stay in one place and everyone you know will walk past" ? That place was the canteen today. Joined the queue for teacakes behind Evil Ex, Contractor Tim was behind me in the sarnie queue and also heading for the canteen was the wonderful Miss A who used to work in the team next door before we moved. You know the saying "Girl Next Door" ? More like "Girl in team Next Door". They were blessed with pretty ladies and Miss A was and still is no exception. One of the things I miss about our old location was the occasional "Hello Pete, how are you doing ?" from Miss A on her way past my desk.

Good to see a friendly face and it made me grin to have a chance to say hello too :-)

PS The iPod Sock thread on Facebook has reached 22 comments ... Need a suitably strange reply to make it 23.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - Random likes

I was going to do a Thursday Thirteen on music again, like one of my old traditions :-) But I'm going to go random instead, partly inspired by the wonderful madness which is the new Alice film.

1 - Alice in Wonderland. It's not often I get tempted to watch films several times at the cinema but this one definitely gets in that category. Humour runs all the way through and the animation is incredible. It's like live action. Every thing about this film is amazing, I'll definitely be checking out the blu-ray when it comes out.

2 - Mansun. Music :-) One from a while ago. My sister kept letting me listen to the odd Mansun track and I kept going back for more. I now have their entire back catalogue. Here's "I Can Only Disappoint U" from Later as an example of one of their best.

3 - Snow Queens and Sunshine. These two lovely ladies have been amazing over the last few months in putting up with a nutter who's insecurities have been kicked into top gear by the work situation. Now that's resolved, I'll hopefully settle down a bit and give them an easier time of things. That said, they're great sports and can ably deal with their pet Mad Scientist. Thank you for helping keep me sane !
(Not quite sure if "sane" if the right word ...)

4 - Olympics. I didn't watch as much of this as I'd have liked, as the Vancouver events were in a bit of a hostile time zone ... I enjoyed what I did watch. Highlights were Amy Williams winning the Skeleton bob and watching Ice Hockey players clobber each other. Oh yeah - it was scary watching the crash in the women's downhill where one of the competitors must have thought she was doing the Ski Jump event. It was good to see her competing to the full in her next event.

5 - Technology. After holding off for a while, I went for the new tech at Xmas. I've since been enjoying HD telly and the improvements of a blu-ray player. I'm also on my third laptop ... and incidentally about to take on my fourth laptop, although the fourth doesn't really count as it's a work one.

6 - Cardigans. Nooo ! I haven't gotten old and retired the jumpers ... If you can remember back a few years, there was an album called Gran Turismo with the song Favourite Game on it. The people behind that have brought out a lot more music over the years and a not insignificant amount is actually a lot better than Favourite Game. I've just received their Super Extra Gravity album through the post but here's a link to 3.45am No Sleep, one of the highlights from Long Gone Before Daylight.

7 - 3d. This seems to be becoming the Next Big Thing. The marketing and ideas people always like to keep the tech market moving on and need new crazes to provide the drive. A few years ago it was HD, now it's 3d. Yeah, I'll go for this eventually but at the moment, I'm just not bothered enough to pay the extra cash for what I believe to be a placebo effect.

8 - Games. From something that's just caught on to 3d to something that's been doing 3d for years. The PC games market has been able to portray believable 3d worlds on to a 2d screen for quite some time now, without needing glasses or special kit to do so. The brain can do a remarkable job of filling in the detail.

9 - New job. Same team, different role. Had another bit of New Job Geronimo today as I did the admin'y stuff for a meeting which was very effectively run by my 3rd RO. After some of the meetings I've been involved in where there's not much progress but far too much talk, the meetings today were quick, sharp, effective. I hope to learn something while he's still on the project :-)

10 - Watchmen and other blu-ray. I have a little collection of blu-ray movies now ... Watchmen and Terminator 4 are the highlights, although I was reminded of the Total Charm which is Wall-E. Still not convinced if it's worth upgrading to HD unless your old kit breaks but these three films would go a decent way towards persuading someone ...

11 - Snow Patrol. Eyes Open with the signature track Set The Fire To The Third Bar will be the next album I listen to. These guys are a prolific group bringing out a lot of very high quality music. Also put this one down because of all the snow we had this year. It was great fun driving in it and seeing how far I could get before the traction control gave me control back. Was on my very own Snow Patrolling in Scotland a couple of weeks ago, it snowed as we got off the plane but it had turned to rain by the time the taxi ride finished.

12 - Books. Kinda stalled here at page 800 of 950 in a Timothy Zahn triplet. Must get back to it over this weekend so I can finish it and get cracking on another author. It's not that they're a bad trilogy, Timothy Zahn is one of the better "intelligent sci-fi" authors out there. I'm just looking to read about a different world.

13 - New Life. There must be something in the air ... There's a few babies on the way for people I know, with a couple already arriving. We appear to have lost one of our gaming people as his attention has been grabbed by the little one, plus The Boss is on maternity leave as she looks after the MiniBoss. Hope they all do well. It'll be good to see The Boss when she comes back :-)

Right - that's my 13. Time to take a hint from Mansun, which is currently playing the track "Goodbye" from their Little Kix album and maybe another hint from the next track coming up which is "Sleeping Satellite" by Tasmin Archer.

Heh heh heh - sleep later, music now and embarassing a couple of special ladies tomorrow morning when I let 'em know I been writing about them again.

Linkbacks :
1 - Americanising Desi's 13

PS Drop me a link to T13's and I'll add it above. And last of the last : Here's a link to the new Thursday Thirteen home.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Whiny ouchie Whiny

Gotta admit, I hate leaving a whiny post at the top of the blog but I have a good idea for what'll knock this particular one off on Thursday.

(Not done a Thursday 13 for a while !)

Having one of those real OUCH days today. I'll get into a state where my muscles tense up. All of 'em. It includes my left upper leg but the most annoying sections are my upper back and right shoulder. Usually the areas that are vulnerable due to the long term injuries I've inflicted upon myself over the years. And when the shoulder goes bad, my wrist will follow with RSI related issues.

It's the inability to relax that gets to me when the tenseness strikes. If I was able to relax the muscles, it would break the vicious circle of the tensioning up. Stretching doesn't help, it usually triggers the opposite set of muscles into cramping. I could look into pills to see if painkillers would make them behave but I REALLY don't want to start down that road.

Drugs are bad.

So I'm chilling out with music instead (Coldplay track on now) and forming the OUCHIE thoughts into words for this post. Tapping the words out helps me get closer to fully understanding what's going on and I feel I need to do that in order to figure out how to deal with the issues.

It's not so much the tensed up muscles that's the problem, it's understanding the reason why they've gone like that. I have a few reasons there :

New job position stress (as in figuring out what the role is without a decent handover !). I think everyone is expecting me to ease back into it but that's not the way I work. I like to hit the ground running in a Geronimo approach to change. As I wrote below, it can take some effort for me to start a change but when I switch, I switch fast and hard.

Eating and drinking all the wrong things. I react to caffeine ... Either too little or too much and at least 5 pints of Pepsi yesterday was almost certainly too much. This'll be the major cause of those muscle issues, it's a reaction to all that Pepsi. So when I finish the coke I'm drinking now (lol @ the self inflicted wounds !), I'll be on the water to attempt to detox. My salt balance is almost certainly off as well.

Just plain tired. I have a tendency to burn myself out and we've been doing a fair bit over the last few weeks at work. Big delivery points and things like that, so a higher effort put in compared to the usual hard work. It'll be good to know that after I do extract myself from the various tasks in my old post, that there aren't many loose ends left over. There are some but they're in areas where some other lazy git should have been managing his own problem instead of me firefighting it.

Aside - oh look ! Another story about Terror Toyotas ... I wrote something about the Prius a little while ago. Hybrid cars are a very interesting concept. But ... When it comes to stopping a guided missile that weighs over a tonne, there's nothing safer than the Rude Crude Friction pad brake system. If you've been around electronics enough, you know they glitch especially in the hostile environment of a car. Gis a mechanical brake any time.

Heh heh heh - back to my own problems.

Looking forward to Easter, as I'll be grabbing a week off work to get away from work and people in general. Time to chill out, relax and do as little as I can get away with (until the Cabin Fever strikes!). Games too, some Eve, not so much Eve as it tends to put me in a Paranoid Hyperactive way of thinking that isn't healthy.

Few weeks to go yet until then. And while that's coming, I'll keep going for an outward impression of Strong cos maybe then I'll even be one of the ones's believing that :-) I'll be looking to wipe off the Whiny post in a couple of days with a musical Thursday Thirteen.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Change coming

I'm not the best at change. I'll be able to quickly adapt when change is required but it takes some bashing over the head for me to go with the initiation of that change ...

That's change in all its forms, whether it be job, relationship, where I live, team I play for, all sorts of stuff like that. When my last relationship broke up, I was a shell for at least 6 months, probably at least a year. I'd buried myself in Warcraft, which helped a fair bit because it got me involved with people again. I think I'd have been affected a lot more by loneliness if not for the Mercs and Guildlink. Shame that didn't last.

I think I've put myself back together sufficiently now, although I have gone nuts over one or two special people. :-) Where are you my Bright Young Thing ? :-)

Team I play for - one thing I should have done, which I do regret, is not switching the cricket team I played for at school. When I made the step up from junior to men's (2nd team), this fella gave me the confidence to bowl to a standard that was actually much better than what I'd done in the junior team. We got promoted that year and the people who ran the team rewarded the captain by taking the job away from him. So he left for a neighbouring team and I probably should have followed ... It seemed like the right decision at the time to stick around. But ... If I had gone then I wouldn't have been subjected to things like fielding in the deep with a bust shoulder. (One of the successor captains was rather jealous that I trounced him in everything at school)

I've not been too bad at moving when I need to. However, that's usually because I've been forced to move by where I go with the job. Without the impetus to relocate, I stay where I am. Which is probably not a bad thing as it costs a lot to move ...

I've been working in my current project for over 10 years, with at least 2 more (work rules) to come. I think it's bitten a few more in the project like that, there's one fella who's been there for what must be getting close to 20 years. It's a good project, we get things done and there's been real signs of progress over the last 10 years as we've gone from nothing to verrrry nearly a complete product. Can't say here what it is (there's 1 post that says it if you look hard enough!) but it's one of those projects that reallly substantial. Think budget of billions ...

What's the change this time ? I switch posts at work in a couple of days. I've previously been looking at encouraging several complex computer systems to work together. What I'll be switching to is more of an acceptance role. With a big contract, there needs to be a method of ensuring that the delivered article is what we asked for.

It'll be a wider scope to look at but also more disciplined. Over the years on the project, I've had that integrating of computer systems as a central core but I've also taken on other stuff as needed on the project. Kinda like firefighting or troubleshooting, identifying where effort is needed and applying myself to it. It's been fun. And I have my fingerprints all over the project :-)

So - the change happens this week and I'll be very curious to see what happens to all the old tasks. I'll probably get way too much fun out of coaching one particular person to pick up some of the finance stuff (she's smart enough to handle it). And I'll be watching the bunfight with my old line management not wanting to let me go :-).

New job is with the same project, which suits me in a number of ways - less to unlearn/learn compared to moving to somewhere different. Not a big enough change to break through the inertia, bit more like one of those firefighting episodes. I'll still be around the same project and people, so I'll get leaned on as much as before for the finance, math, computer and project knowledge stuff.

So that'll be next week, figuring out what's expected in the new post.

What I could do with is initiating some more change in the other areas I mentioned up top. Been living on my own for a while now and it's been getting boring. I thought I was on to something a few times over the past few years but those have come to naught. Dunno about moving, don't think that'll really be necessary unless something happens with that relationship thing.

Team I play for is a potential change. The cricket team I played for at work lost its way a few years back, by going a bit too serious. It started out as a fun after work thing but stepped up a few gears and got more competitive. I don't get a look in with that team any more, I suspect due to issues with the fella who looks after picking who plays on the team. So it looks like if I do want to play cricket again (questions there ...), I'll have to switch team. I'll also need to get fit and figure out a way of getting my batting up to speed in the absence of being able to bowl.

Change of diet would be a good thing too. My weight's been pretty stable, so I haven't been overeating. I still have a couple of stone's worth of excess baggage. 13.5 to 14 stone isn't excessive but it's a little too heavy for my current physical condition. It would be a good weight if the baggage were muscle :-) I'd like to lose some but I'm not overly worried about it. Worry causes stress causes weight gain. I'm hoping a Positive Mental Attitude helps me avoid the comfort munching that'll cause that weight gain.

Says he who's about to disappear into the kitchen to find a mini packet of Mini Eggs and who nearly munched through a whole packet of cookies in one go earlier.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Echoes from Bits gone before

Was talking with my gamer friend at work, as we do. He'd been watching a series on BBC called Virtual Revolution, presented by Dr Aleks Krotoski. Gotta admit, I didn't watch this one apart from catching the lovely Aleks on screen on mute (iTunes had taken over) as the program after the Olympics coverage finished.

It made us remember though ... We'd seen this bright spark before somewhere ...

There's been a succession of programmes that have attempted to bring computer games to the telly. The most successful over here is probably Gamesmaster. It had the budget, it had the early evening slot but it ... I dunno ... had something missing. I think it missed out the most important thing about gaming and that's "HAVE FUN!". Maybe it was the presenter giving the impression that he was a pretender who knew nothing, gamers are a savvy lot with spotting an interloper. Gamesmaster isn't the only one and I probably only remember it because it was pushed so hard. There was another, on the late night ITV reel, which had a computerised voice on top of game footage. Can't even remember the name of that one.

Yep, I think they forgot the most important aspect of gaming and instead just focused on trying to sell stuff. Bit like Gadget Show suffers now, the presenters on there feel like doorstep salespeople. That's a bit unfair on Suzi Perry maybe but I think it applies to the others. New Gadget out ? Buy it now ! Do you need it ? No - buy it anyway !

Heh heh heh - that's enough about the people who have gotten it wrong. How about those that got it so incredibly right ?

1999 to 2002 saw the run of a program called Bits. It was on late night on a Friday and was all about gaming. Any gaming, whether it be on console or PC. The stars of the show were the games, shown off admirably by 3 lovely ladies who my friend and I will always know as the Bits Girls.

There was Dr Aleks Krotoski, mentioned above. There was the sexy psycho Emily Booth who replaced Claudia Trimde. And finally we had the absolutely stunning Emily Newton-Dunn. Sexy, scary and downright naughty. The normal set resembled a student type flat (like my place!), placing them in the world of the typical gamer. They showed how games should be, harmless fun with your mates. They also broke one gamer mould, by showing that Girls Play Games Too.

(And most girls will kick your arse in games too)

This was a case of a fantastic show sneaking in under the radar, showing what could be done by intelligent, fun, creative people let off the leash. Because it was buried in late night, watershed wasn't an issue so they could talk plainly about all games including the blood and gore sector. The brief must have been : Go out there, talk intelligently about games, make them sexy but most of all, make it FUN. I think that's another reason this show was so good. Despite all efforts to the contrary from other shows, they proved that it is actually possible to talk intelligently about games.

Did it work ? Most of the games they reviewed were console, so they were outside what I'd be interested in. However, their review of Jagged Alliance 2 made me aware of one of the best strategy games for the PC that I've had the privilege of playing.

They definitely succeeded with including the audience with the fun and it's a testament that us Gamer Geeks still remember them 10 years on. Where are they now ? Dr Aleks is still very involved in the media, Emily B is going for Horror acting, not sure about Emily Newton-Dunn. Ah ha ! A little hunt later, here's Emily Newton-Dunn in a Gamespy interview talking Burnout Revenge. That video will show why we went nuts for Bits, the girls combined Huge Fun with professionalism and most important of all, intelligence. Lol - it also helped that they look great :-)

Bits - for gamers by gamers. We'll never see its like on our screens again, which will be a massive shame.

Woo hoo ! Maybe not - here's a link to an early Bits episode from Youtube.

Closing out, whenever I think Bits there is always one scene that comes to mind. Games are fun : "that is the way of theeengs" (followed by fade-out and laughter!)
Thank you Emily, Emily, Claudia and Aleks !