Sunday, August 30, 2015


So I now have a new keyboard ...

The pooter fair was a bit ... poo. I'm used to the big fairs that used to run in Lincoln and another one, more local, that ran in Whitchurch. They'd have a big sports hall filled with vendors selling all sorts of shiny kit. Old pooters, bits for new pooters, junk, accessories for phones, unlock your phone on the spot people, games, dvds (usually pirate), bluray selling people. Those kind of vendors. I even saw a G4 Powerbook Mac on sale ... Definitely a relic now, although still usable if you could find the software for it.


The new Bristol ones are a fraction of the size. Still worth going to if you want those bits of junk without having to pay the extravagant prices you can pay but ... a fraction of the choice available from the old fairs. And mentioning prices, I saw a GeForce960 graphics card there which may have been interesting ... however :

Price at first glance was £115. Price online starts at £160, so you think ... BARGAIN ! And then you see the thin circle turning the 1 into a £195. Oh dear. Perhaps the prices aren't quite as competitive. To be fair, the margins on online sellers like Novatech, Dabs, Scan, Overclockers UK are so thin that it's incredibly tough to compete. The advantage you get at the pooter fair is being able to take away the posting and packaging fees and hassle of having to be in when they deliver. It's why Novatech was my vendor of choice for bits for so long, they were just down the road, a short car drive away. The disadvantage with pooter fairs is the guarantee, I doubt whether any of the tech you buy at one would have a guarantee as soon as you walk out the door.

So no stuff at the fair today so what am I testing ?

I have a fairly shiny (ok, it's matt black so not shiny at all in the literal sense) Turtle Beach Impact 100 keyboard. It's not a mechanical keyboard but it feels ... reassuringly heavy. As in something that'll hopefully be reliable for a good few years. Needs testing.

And that involves this post - hurrah ! I've been struggling for ideas for posts lately, I've been needing the idea that becomes the genesis of your typical Wall Of Text (with occasional picture). And I don't think you want to be reading that many about what I'm doing in the games. The virtual worlds are interesting to me and cathartic in an escapism kind of way but ... it's quite personal ? The experience is mine, it's tough to transfer the sense of wonder that comes from seeing a massive starfield and ...
The eye of a supermassive black hole ... That's the virtual representation of Sagittarius A*, the engine at the centre of our galaxy. Theory says that every galaxy has a supermassive black hole, this is my Asp ship about 60 light seconds away from ours. That's about as close as I wanted to get ... Some people go in closer and it could have been a quick shortcut for getting back to base.

It's incredible the effects that have been put in to the game, the attention to detail. The black hole itself is ... somewhere there in the middle. One reason you can't see the centre is that the matter on the edge, the Event Horizon, is subject to such extreme time slow down that it is still collapsing ... The comment I put with the Facebook pic was "I think it's staring back at me". Stare long enough into the Abyss and the Abyss will stare back. A (in?)famous philosopher said something like that.

You can't see into the black hole, because the light doesn't come out. That's why it's called a "black" hole, because it has so much gravity attraction that even light cannot escape. But ... light will bend around it. On the left of the pic is the Milky Way ribbon (probably shouldn't be there !), which has bent around the black hole instead of being straight. As you fly around the hole, the stars appear to move as in a globe around it. You can see a lozenge pattern, which is reflected and refracted light.

It's an outstandingly pretty effect. Perhaps that's part of our sense of : This Is Insanely Dangerous, Therefore It Is Beautiful. I've known some people like that. The animal kingdom has it, certain plants definitely have it in a "Eat me, die and become my compost" kind of way.

Here's a bit more from Wiki about Black Holes. Astronomy is fascinating isn't it ? There were a couple of fantastic Stargate SG-1 episodes which tackled black holes too. Of an excellent series, these were some of its highlights.

Back to reality ... Sun's come out !

Part of today's plan had me thinking about going out for more Shaun hunting. Some ... medium? rain made me think twice about that but you also have ... People on bank holidays. People are fine. Lots of people together, not so much.

People online are a bit like that as well. If you met them in a social situtation, they'd probably be ok. But one thing that turns me off the online gaming with other people is the Pulling Legs Off Spiders tendency. You know, where people think they should be behaving very abnormally to others just because they can. The internet troll who thinks it's ok to be an absolute beast to other people.

There's one of those in Elite at the moment, they first got in touch as "Thargoid_Scarab", now they're known as "Officer Sphincter". Who would use that name ? What's silly is that this person has paid £40 for an account in order to be using the game. Their first (and last) message to me was "Ahoy fag". How offensive is that ? I didn't reply but gave them about half an hour to come up with something ... that someone would actually say without expectations of being punched. But they didn't, so I blocked them. And they've been trying to become friends numerous times since.

I think I may actually know this person. It could be a colleague who has just bought the game. If so, I'll be having words on Tuesday. There are many meanings for "Fag" and they are all bad. If that's what this colleague really thinks of me, then ... I'm unlikely to be helping him very much in the future unless an apology is forthcoming.

There's only one way to deal with Internet Trolls - and that's to give them no attention. Don't feed their egos. I don't think it's the colleague but we'll see what he does on Tuesday. If he says nothing, I'll assume it's an internet troll who knows me by my commander's name, it's an online name I've used for 10 years now and there were a few trolls who caused me hassle in Warcraft. I'll then report said player to the devs and ... they'll probably lose that £40 account.

Being nasty doesn't get you anywhere in the end. It's not just games. The internet gives people a place where they can be mean without much fear of repercussions. You see similar behavious on the roads where drive extremely dangerously and then make out like it's your fault when you give them a "You nearly hit me !" hoot. Cyclists are especially bad for that.

Perhaps this is why I like to disappear into the single player games ? Because they're an alternate world that's subject to known rules and there are none of the people who were never told off for pulling the legs off defenseless critters.

Be good to people.

Oh and the keyboard is feeling pretty nice.

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