25 Dec

Yuletide 2009

Here I am at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. We drove down in the morning in two cars (thanks Pam for lending me yours) so that we could fit the big new plasma TV into the back seat and surprise the heck out of them. It worked, they were quite literally speechless when they walked into their lounge and found a 42inch plasma and a new AV amp sitting there.

Hyun-Mi, her Mum and Ann did us proud with a great Christmas dinner, the venison was a great idea, and then Mike and I settled down to install the TV and amp. Several hours later and remarkably few harsh words later and a hi-def rendition of ‘Life’ was followed by a long session of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in HD. A success all round.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
08 Dec


The coat of arms of Lithuania, entitled "...

Image via Wikipedia

As one left wing journo once said, the most irritating thing about the Daily Mail after it’s rabid right wing nonsense, is that it is a very well made newspaper. Ah well, I read the money and health sections on the flight over and they were very good. I then read Newsweek which also has surprised me over the last year by being quite urbane and liberal and readable. I am now in Vilnius in Lithuania and my luggage is still in Germany.. ah well..

Oh, and the Queen looked very smart and pretty glam at the Royal Variety Performance, which I was pleased to see was in Blackpool. It’s time that Blackpool reinvented itself. Not so worried about the Queen.

Very pleased to see that Dom has posted his ‘vox pop’ of Furnace 2009, some great short face clips from all sorts of people. Love the last one, my dear friend Simon.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXbcK_N1Lyw

Time for a snooze..

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
20 Nov


The wonderful thing about the Open Gaming Licence and other such open licenses is that it has allowed a plethora of retro, alternate and innovative games derived from Open Content and the core System Reference Documents, such as the 3.5 SRD, the RuneQuest SRD, the Traveller SRD and others. Up until now the RuneQuest SRD has generated the GORE game system, which looks to be rooted in gothic horror games, and now is joined by OpenQuest.

OpenQuest uses the classic D100 rules mechanic, which uses percentages to express the chance of success or failure. It is a complete and easy to play Fantasy Roleplaying game, with monsters, magic and exotic locales. Open Quest is based on the Mongoose RuneQuest SRD (MRQ SRD), with ideas from previous editions of Chaosium’s RuneQuest and Stormbringer 5th, mixed in with some common sense house rulings from the author’s twenty years of experience with the D100 system. Everything in the core OpenQuest rule book, except the illustrations by Simon Bray, is open gaming content under the Open Gaming Licence. This means that you can use all or part of the book to produce your own games, rules, adventures even for commercial release as long as you include the Open Gaming Licence included in the back of the book.

Why another d100 game when we have Mongoose publishing RuneQuest and Basic Roleplaying from Chaosium? The answer has to be that OpenQuest is both a modern lean game system and also a game that recreates the retro feel of the older versions of RuneQuest, specifically RuneQuest 1 and 2 from Chaosium. OpenQuest has cleaned the Mongoose SRD of not just many of the new systems that Mongoose added, but has gone further and removed many of the older BRP stalwarts. The skill list has been pared down and rather than the tendency in Mongoose books to add new skills, this takes a rules ‘lighter’ approach. The religions and magic hark back to the Chaosium RuneQuest days, so spirit magic, divine magic and sorcery behave far more in a RQ2 style, maybe a little more cinematically. Strike ranks, hit locations, hit points for weapons, are all gone leaving the first genuinely light d100 game. On the other hand some parts of the Mongoose additons to RQ are there. Hero points, which I am never totally sure about, are here; as is a view of experience rolls that frankly sits uneasy with me. I have never seen the ‘tick chasing’ that people talk of in the usual Chaosium d100 experience systems, and if it happens below my notice then it’s never danaged the game. I shall go back to the RQ3 experience rules which are simple, clean and elegant.

OpenQuest was released for a few months as a wholly free pdf, an act of massive generosity by the publisher D101 games. Thousands of copies were downloaded before the full version reverted to a (very inexpensive) paid offering, and the print copy is very reasonably priced in line with other ‘retro’ games such as Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC. The OpenQuest Developers Kit is a free SRD from which others can build their own games, and the OpenQuest Companion wiki is growing with ideas and additions to the game. The exciting news is that a new ‘Hyborian style’ setting for OpenQuest: The Savage North will be with us soon, written by the talented John Ossoway. Othe developers are known to be working on ‘powered by OpenQuest’ games even now.

OpenQuest is not a pale imitation, it carves a distinctly simple and cinematic path between the complicated route that Mongoose takes and the encyclopaedic vagueness of the current BRP from Chaosium. However it still shares such a core with both that any previously published product from any other d100 game is easily utilised with OpenQuest and vice-versa if you wish. I shall port some of my favourite rules from RQ3 and Stormbringer back into OQ, and I could easily see a ref porting a lot of the rules from OQ into BRP or a Mongoose based game.

OpenQuest – D101 Games | OpenQuest | DriveThruRPG.com

[I have added my affiliate code to the link above so I may get a few clacks in my bag if you buy something]

13 Sep

Worse, not better..

I’ve been getting worse and not better for the last 4 days. I must have got a secondary chest infecton, as our friend did.

Very low, but it’ll not beat me.

05 Sep

We all have curly tails now..

Ah well.. it was bound to happen and yet for me at the least convenient time. I got the ‘swine flu’ or the H1N1 virus which is a type of swine influenza mixed with some avian and human ancestry. I knew this was coming, and at first I kinda worried that this would be another ‘Spanish flu’ that killed 20-100 million worldwide 1918-19. But there is little point in worrying and I did think that the years of preparation for avian flu would have made the WHO and the major governments as best placed as possible to interdict it. Some people sadly died, but despite the alarmist headlines it started to look as though it might be quite mild in reality, unless you had underlying health issues. I watched a few programmes on BBC Four, started to understand the subject, realised the ‘second wave’ would be the testing outbreak and decided to not fret.

Well my son Matt and his friends Ben and Alaa and Louis and others all went to Leedfest this year, and from the accounts coming in it sounds like the ‘second wave’ has gone right through the festivalgoers. They’ve all got it. I saw Matt on Monday and Tuesday but still felt fine when I boarded the train to London to catch the Eurostar to Brussels for some very important meetings. I started to feel ‘off’ on that first train and I wish I’d had the gumption to turn back, but these are very important meetings that dictate if I have an income for years to come so I pressed on. On the Eurostar I started to have very ‘viral’ symptoms.. headache, hot breath, some limb ache.

By that night I was laid pretty low, fever, headache, aching limbs. My colleague Frank was going to the meeting on Thursday so after having spent a bad night I couldn’t make the meeting, hoping to regroup for ‘my’ meeting Friday. I started to make plans, asking good colleagues from Banverket to chair if I was missing and using the lulls when I felt normal to ensure that all documentation was printed by our hosts at UNIFE. Another terrible delirious night. But I woke feeling a little better and decided to have a light breakfast (I had avoided food since Matt had consistently been unable to hold down food) and make the very short walk to the UNIFE offices. What a mistake.

I spent the meeting shaking, shivering, barely able to concentrate, and eventually went to the loo and upchucked everything that I had eaten. It was game over and rather than catching the train home which was my plan, I could do nothing but take a taxi to the hotel and book myself back in for what turned out to be the worst night of all. Eventually the fever broke at about 3am and today, Saturday, I am not well at all, but better than I was.

So.. how is the dreaded ‘swine flu’ of 2009 (and I bet 2010)? Well it’s not mild, it’s a full on bastard of an influenza that knocks you up pretty bad. It cripples your weak spots, which for me is usually headaches, for Matt it’s his upset stomach, and I’d want to keep a very close eye on it if you had an underlying respiratory illness, like any flu. It may not be the killer it was headlined as, and even now we don’t know that for sure, but you don’t want it and when they have that vaccine I’d take it if it was offered (subject to your belief system regarding vaccines). In the UK you can also get access to anti-virals which I couldn’t take since I was umpteen hundred miles away from them, but consider them too. Add it into the mix in the winter months with seasonal flu and it’s gonna cause a lot of disruption, and everything the medical people can do to limit it will be well worthwhile. UK health advice is here. US health advice here. EU overview of all Member States here.

As for me.. I’m stuck in a hotel room in Brussels too ill to leave the room, not sure if I will be up to travelling tomorrow, and wishing I was home. My colleagues coped, I should have stayed at home, and my final advice is: “If you feel flu coming on.. go back to bed.. take paracetomol.. and hope it’s not too bad.”

But we do all have cute curly tails now..


03 Aug

How to make Opera font rendering not suck

Original Post

The problem has been that certain fonts used by certain websites show up looking somewhat pixelated or granular-looking, unlike the smooth fonts other browsers will display for the same text. See the top headlines in the screenshot below to see what the problem looks like.

The problem seems to be that core X fonts are enabled in Linux Opera by default, and the solution is as easy as disabling them through opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableCoreXFonts (the "Save" button is at the very bottom of the page). Restart Opera, and you’re good to go.

Posted by Dynaflow

30 Jul

Restore GRUB

1. Pop in the Live CD, boot from it until you reach the desktop.
2. Open a terminal window or switch to a tty.
3. Type “grub”
4. Type “root (hd0,6)”, or whatever your harddisk + boot partition numbers are (my /boot is at /dev/sda7, which translates to hd0,6 for grub).
5. Type “setup (hd0)”, ot whatever your harddisk nr is.
6. Quit grub by typing “quit”.
7. Reboot.

I may be missing your point though, if so, please forgive me 🙂