04 Mar

RIP Bill Hoad

Bill and Lan Hoad, Christmas 2006My friend Bill died at 4.30pm Saturday but I have only just got the email from gspearing. He has been ill with a recurrence of cancer but it came as a great shock to me, I had been emailing and blogging with him until a few days ago. He was Graham’s friend first and I met Bill when he was a recent graduate and I was a freshman at Sheffield University, we stayed in contact by letter and newsletter and then by the nascent and the full fledged Internet. Bill and I spent many a virtual and actual hour together discussing games, Vietnamese history, Bookcrossing and both being ever so slightly off the wall. Just this morning I was browsing my bookshelves and looking at some of the books he had bought or loaned me. Bill was a great guy, intelligent, thoughtful and enthusiastic. He was a communicator, someone who actively relished talking and debating, a ‘zine writer, a letter page contributor, blogging until a few days ago himself. I shall miss his liveliness, his considerable intellect and a good friend.

I wish all that can be to celebrate his life and assuage the grief for his family in this sad time.

“One was a Trog named Torve, a light brown, woolly, six foot toad. He had a white belly and the faintest of black stripes. His personality was lumpish. His motives were inscrutable.
…Keep your eye on him and watch what happens.” Star Well, Alexei Panshin

04 Mar

Freeport

Green Ronin are going to produce a systemless version of their sourcebook for the pirate city Freeport. http://www.greenronin.com/freeport

I am so excited about this. Freeport was the publication that got me running D&D after 20 years of disliking it greatly. It’s eclectic mix of Lovecraft and Moorcock in a D&D trope worked well for me and my group. Admittedly our 3 year experiment with D&D 3.0 convinced me it was not for me. So I couldn’t enjoy any more of the Freeport goodness. Now, a system free setting, hoorah! I like BRP type games, so a RuneQuest system book would be great, or even a licensed BRP one . I have also been very taken with True20, so I expect I shall be queing up to buy the systemless core book and running it with BRP or RQ or Savage Worlds (50Fathoms) and/buying the True20 book. Mind you a romantic Freeport may feel very different. Anyhow, to sign off, at the end of my Freeport the cultists went mad and ramapged through the city burning and killing. I ran a boardgame in which the PCs and their allies fought area by area to save the city. They did, but the city was 2/3rds destroyed by then. Thanks for this great city and for letting us have it system free. (WFRP version?)

I spent all of today and yesterday gardening, I have got into this lark!

27 Feb

Junk Mail

Live in the UK? Fed up with junk mail and cold calling phone calls? Chester Council has conveninently listed all the ways you can opt out, block and generally reduce the marketing rubbish that is sent to you:

http://www.chester.gov.uk/main.asp?page=473

I have done most of this and now I am sad and lonely, but get very little junk mail and am (mostly) cold call free!

26 Feb

Good Ole Fuzz

How’s this for victimisation? A kid makes a harmless joke by pretending to shoot David Cameron with his finger and the fuzz knock down his door, bust him for a fiver’s worth of cannabis and held him in custody until Monday. The judge who just fined him £25 actually said she was worried about why he’d been treated so differently to anyone else. Well, never let it be said that the British police have quite quite forgotten how to teach the youth of today their manners…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6397879.stm

Now, why am I whittling? Well this is typical police harassment brought on by the fact that this kid’s picture dissing the leader of the Opposition was all over the right wing press. It’s obvious and direct police clampdown on the mildest of political comment. I do hope they’ll be banging up Rory Bremner or even that awful Adam Boulton, they diss politicians far more often and far more sharply.

Oddly the BBC almost suggest that this is the arrival of a Judge Dredd society:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6390731.stm

Cruel but unfair, that’s the Judge Dredd catchphrase.

25 Feb

Ofcom and Freeview HD

On 19th December 2006 the media regulator, Ofcom, announced plans to auction publicly owned spectrum to the highest bidder. If the auction takes place as planned the millions of consumers who have purchased, or plan to purchase HD TVs may never be able enjoy high definition TV on the Freeview platform.

Petition the PM, make your case, protest.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/openhdtv/

http://www.hdforall.org.uk/

25 Feb

Gardening

I have been gardening today. I really enjoyed it, even tho’ all I was doing was weeding and planting bulbs. Why is this worth blogging? Well I have spent my entire life utterly uninterested in gardening. I used to work with a very nice man called John in Oldbury and he was a very keen gardener. I often said ‘but I am not interested in gardening’. He would say, ‘neither was I until I turned forty, and then it all started for me’. Can this be true, I shall be 42 this year and last year I did start to dabble in some horticulture, is it a sign of maturity or impmending middle age? I must admit I am quite excited as to when the bulbs will come through..

23 Feb

Wine

I installed Wine on Ubuntu and then panicked assuming it would take forever to configure. Nope. Easy to configure and amazingly Pageplus starts up, I get the splash screen, and then nothing. This is either going to be a lovely niggly project or I am going to spend more time seeing if Scribus can actually do all I want better.

21 Feb

Dell ASk For Feedback

Dell have setup a feedback site to ask for ideas. Interestingly the top idea requested and voted for is pre-installed Linux on Dells, followed by pre-installed Open Office. There are several other good ideas worth supporting at their site, direct feedback like this is a good step I think: http://www.dellideastorm.com/

I have had a day just reading the tonnes of emails that come in whilst I travel, doing admin, making some phonecalls, and before I know it, the day has gone. Ah well. BTW looks like there are no Holiday Inns in Sweden, can this be true?

17 Feb

Home Again

Been to Newcastle Monday, then to Delft Weds-Fri. Busy week next week, in Newcastle twice and all the actions from all those meetings.

04 Feb

Poorly

Matt is working on his Vietnam War esssay for school history and I am helping feed him books and images and stuff. I have also managed to get my Epson V700 working under Ubuntu, which is great, one less reason to dual boot into Windows. In fact the only remaining reason is probably to do DTP on Serif Pageplus. I hope the open source Scribus project starts to get close, or I suppose I could see if I can run PagePlus under Wine, that might be an achievement worth having. Since I don’t play games on a PC (save for a bit of Battle for Wesnoth) I have almost removed all uses for Windows. Having said that I have moved my camcorder video editing to the Mac, Linux isn’t quite ready for that yet I think.