Total Pageviews

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Copywring your bloody neck.

Lets be honest here, we really don't like Youtube at the moment, and its all down to arse witted, money grabbing copyright cunts. We tend to use a lot of copyright stuff whether its videos or music thats the perils of making cut ups. Whereas, a few were silly mistakes (putting a video of N-Dubz over a home made mix of MC Lyte and To Rococo Rot) that we could easily pull, the other is much less defensible. And for that you'll need background.

Thanks to a post on, someone linked to Neil Baldwins NES music and reminiscence site. He did the music for many things but stand out stuff would be Jungle Book for NES, which was awesome. On the site, he made an excellent version of Colonel Abrams seminal 1986 hit Trapped. I had the original vinyl in my collection so after a few listens to the chip version and pulling the original out of the collection when randomly picking records, we decided to add the acapella from the B side on top of Neils version, in Goldwave.

Digitising it from the original was no problem, but mixing in the vocals really took a lot of fine tuning. To be honest I'm still not happy with it, but it works in places and its certainly no worse than the original, which i've mentioned above is pretty good. So after about 2 months up and less than 30 views we found out that UMG has blocked it seemingly world wide (apparently its still available in subspace and Hyrule, I'm joking). Oh and here.

We worked long and hard to get that running right, and to be honest for the audience share I pull, its very heavy handed. The only other copyright stuff they've flagged, puts up a file saying contains media from such and such a place when it plays so it would be hardly rocket science to do the same. In fact the more I think of it the more I have an idea how it could work.

Seeing as music companies are losing ground to filesharers and pirates (though I would prefer to call them unofficial consumers / distributors) wouldn't it be nice to have an online place for buying music and limited consumer licences authorised from the company, for use in Youtube or Myspace or in any number of projects.

I'd like to think for double the price of a single download you would get a high quality wav. file version of the song you wanted, album art, a link in your email to add to Youtube or any video site redirecting to where you bought it and a limited license, that allows for non profit broadcasting, usage and home remixing, sampling. Or you could pay normal price just for the license rights to do the above. If you make music, hopefully you could then upload your mix and add it to the site, if it gains enough plays there would be the option to buy rather than listen.

It won't stop pirates or officious cunts from the performing rights society moaning but for those in between I think it would be the best of both worlds.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

PCSX 2 Damnation update

"I'll get it working no doubt, 3 years from now with alternative plugins and a lot of cursing, but for now I'll give it a couple of years to see if the specs drop on this."

Hah more like 3 weeks.

We downloaded from Emuasylum, a beta version of PCSX2, and added the old plugins from a previous install. Plus three new Bioses. What do you know, not only does it keep our files, it even plays games inevitably with varying degrees of slowness, but by Dog it works.

So far Global Defence Force runs far too slow, Unlimited SaGa varies its speed, Shikigami No Shiro is slow (although this does make it more sporting) best of the lot is Raiden 3 which has some filtering but is at least playing at full speed.

Nice work PCSX2 team. Lets see what its like in 2 years time.

Freakish Television memories PT2.

So apart from kids TV, the other stuff I watched a lot of as a youngster were game shows. American game shows. Probably the strangest thing about old Sky was the way they would, in the morning after their cartoons were over, they would run game shows from 9am onward. People in big glasses and bigger hair playing various shows and possibly winning a car. The three axes of evil for gameshows were, Sky (now Sky One), SuperChannel (later NBC Europe, now long since cancelled.) and Lifestyle Channel which was owned by WH Smiths (though we didn't know this at the time, oh and also completely extinct).


Superchannel was weird, they had Voltron and Rambo, and for a while Jackpot. When they were NBC Europe they also had Jay Leno's talkshow at 9pm weekdays which was da bomb, though to be honest we never ever watched the talkshow bits, only Jay and especially Headlines.

Jackpot worked like this - you had a small audience of people with one person at the front answering questions, from a selected person from the bunch. If they get it wrong they changed places with the person who answered the questions. Looking on Youtube it seems to have been part of NBC which is why we got it on Superchannel. Not a lot of fun here and to be honest looking at it now it just seems so redundant.

Sky One.

A major player in game show excellence, Sky circa 1990 had: Press Your Luck, Concentration, Lets make a deal, Card Sharks and Jeopardy with Alex Trebek.

Press Your Luck.
Press your luck. Don't remember a whole lot about this. Don't remember the set up or scoring either. In fact the only thing I remember is this. They had a little red cartoon dude called the Whammy, when a person fucked up on the show, he would come and perform some dumbass trick like mess with tnt, this would backfire and the contestant would lose all his cash.

W00t Tnt and a whole lot moar here.
In hindsight looks like the attract screen of a fruit machine. Maybe it was.

In a related note, listening to old acid track Phortune House Rights (Fight For it), theres a sample that sounds suspiciously like it could be the whammy, saying don't take my house.

Concentration was an NBC show based on the concept of find two panels that match on a board of squares. You then had to solve the riddle underneath, we remember one being Good Golly Miss Molly for some unknown reason. Your host was Alex Trebek, who also did Jeopardy as well. There's an English version with Bob Carolgees, though it's unknown if Spit the Dog was involved as well (He probably was gobbing at the contestants, the dirty Bast).


Another Alex Trebek hosted show and probably the one he's best known for, there's a bit of it in Airplane if you're wondering. The aim of the game is to answer questions on a board, but only in the form of a question. Questions were phrased thusly: A painful attack to the genitals caused by swift attack of a foot, you would be answer like this, What is a kick in the Bollocks, Alex? (two hours writhing on the ground and all chances of fatherhood dashed). The show was entertaining enough for Sky to do their own version with Paul Coia, it was, just like Bob Carolgees version of Concentration unmitigated shite.

Card Sharks.

An American version of Play Your Cards Right, this was hosted by Bob Eubanks instead of Brucie and lets face it apart from the name change was identical minus Bruces catchphrases).

Lets Make A Deal.

Imagine the horrors of Cosplay, now make a gameshow based around this, a whole audience dressed up as one mass of wrong and you'll begin to understand why Lets Make A Deal sucked balls. We stuck it out for 5minutes back in 1992, we normally liked the gameshows but this was seriously crap.

Lifestyle Channel.
They only had two gameshows and both were excellent, The original American version of Supermarket Sweep and The Jokers Wild mixing One armed bandits and questions.

Supermarket Sweep.

When you're in store and you hear that beep, think of the fun you'll be having, on supermarket sweep. Sheer bloody poetry that, hosted by David Ruprecht. Three teams of contestants, asked general knowledge about produce in general before they were allowed to go 'wild in the aisles' with the time they accumulated from said questions. Spicing it up were large foam props to pick up and assorted doofuses in fancy dress to generally hassle the contestants. Fondest memories came from this pure mix of greed and people haring round a condemned supermarket.

Looking up on this, both the U.S and U.K versions were almost similar, though we didn't get any people in costumes. The U.K version was also a big success with Dale Winton as host, something you couldn't easily say with the usual US game show conversions.

The Jokers Wild.

A game based on a fruit machine, you spun reels and answered questions on stuff that came up. If you got 3 jokers you won. In fact, they had this guy who seemed to be on every week, and as it was winner stayed on, looked like he was there for months. We figured he looked like a serial killer possibly from being on that show for months at a time.

There's a UK gameshow of the same name but has 4000% more Bernard Manning than is strictly necessary and is nothing to do with the show itself. It has Frank 'Its a cracker' Carson too though that may just be me thinking of The Comedians instead.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cacti vs Cactuar. and cactite too.

As someone with an interest in cacti, I've often wondered what would be the closest, species wise, a Cactuar would come to being part of a real life Cactus species.

For starters no cacti have the extreme manouverability of a regular Cactuar. A lack of legs puts pay to the whole running away when things go wrong, though it would be useful especially as a seed dispersal mechanism. Although their back story is never really fleshed out, (except in X and X2 where they had their own village and given names,) so maybe this is how they reproduce. They certainly display some wanderlust ranging over the whole of spira.
More about names later.

The second thing anyone knows about Cactuar is that they have an attack, a retaliation if you will called 1000 needles (or Blowfish for the especially pedantic). It deals 1000 damage to any attacker, regardless of defence and is often enough to kill. Full grown Cactuar (Called Jumbo Cactuar) can deal 10,000 damage easily before running away never to be seen again. It also has some basis in reality. Most cacti spines are arranged around a prominent central spine with a small ring of lesser spines. This in turn rests on a cushion called an areole and is the absolute basis of all cactus morphology, whether they have leaves as well as spines (Pereskia, Maihuenopsis) no spines at all (Lophophora, Ariocarpus) or wool on the main body, (Espostoa, Oreocereus).

One genus does things differently, Opuntia (and its offshoots) have spines and areoles like normal cacti, but unlike the rest of Cactaceae, they are special Spines called glochids, which not only detach but are barbed as well.

Behaving like Cactuar spines - coming loose at the slightest touch, ranging from the slightly annoying dust like spines of some Prickly pears to the absolute evil swines contained by species of Cylindropuntia (Cholla). They are also pretty weak in their composition, most Cholla will happily leave an arm behind along with a full complement of debilitating spines leading it to eventually drop off elsewhere to germinate, so perhaps Cactuar are distant relatives of Cholla. Certainly they can become large plants so this would account for Jumbo Cactuar as well.

They tend to have large fruit and big flowers with sensitive stamens, we never really see a cactuar in flower but I'll make an educated guess that they'll either be red, yellow or orange with sensitive stamens, fruit will be either sterile and form chains or viable and fleshy, both will be intensly spined.

Names and naming

In irony, I always imagined Cactuar as a type of Consolea, but due to the above factors, its probably a Cylindropuntia (note that the fruit chains resemble the arms in the above image).
We'll provisionally entitle it *Cylindropuntia Square-enixensis.

As mentioned above, the Cactuar were actually named in FFX2 where they had their own reservation style village in Bikanel Desert. Headed up by a matriarch called Marnela (Possibly Marniera an old name for some species of Epiphyllum.) who tasked you to track down 10 gatekeepers for not much of a reward. They're named after mainly defunct genuses of cacti. List follows with info on each and others.

1. Lobivia, now part of Echinopsis, really lovely plants with showy flowers.
2. Toumeya. Small clumping genus, resurrected from Turbinicarpus.
3. Lobeira. Like Marnela another Epiphytic cactus this time subsumed into Disocactus.
4. Areq and Arroja. Species Arequipa (now a form of Cleistocactus) and Arrojadoa.
5. Islaya. Small yellow flowered plant now lumped in with Eriosyce.
6. Chiapa. Chiapasia in fact, like Lobeira above is part Disocactus too (it looked like an Xmas Cactus)
7. Erio. Could either be Eriocereus (an old name for Notocactus before they became Parodia) or Eriosyce. See Islaya above.
8. 'Bartschalla' Bartschella as it should be called is now part of Mammilaria, a large genus of plants.
9. Finally Frailea. Who still exist: and are known for their flowers which rarely open.

Cactite bonus.

*Soehrensia Estersandensis.

In FFXII Cactite's took up Cactuars mantle instead of Cactuar, they pose little or no threat to you, and if you did battle them would wander benignly through the landscape. Although also known as Cactoid (complete with red flowers) its really not the same league as a cactuar, and if truth be told would actually fit in with something like a Soehrensia or big Lobivia as its real world equivalent. For completion's sake, the Dynast Cactus from the Westersand, would, scaled down be a dead ringer for Astrophytum Capricorne.

* Names proposed for the species but not actually valid.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

PS2 Emulation Damnation special,

Want to spend a hateful way of ruining a weekend, try configuring this bastard and by this bastard I mean PCSX2.

With a downloaded Playstation 2 Emulator and my trusty quad core PC + onboard graphics card that probably wont fit the required specs, we'll set out on the journey of a lifetime to actually get the bastard to work.

Step one. Go through several hoops on the extensive config screen.
Set up graphics display, check, make sure Direct X 9/10/11 is updated check.

Step two. Set up audio, and Lillypad oh and find a way of adding a PS2 pad to your PC cos it won't accept anything else. (Converter from Game will sort this, though they don't stock any PS2 hardware apart from Pads anymore).

Step three. Set up Drive plugins. These will be refused and in one case actually point to a D: drive instead of E:.

Step Four. Add a space for memory card loading this of course will be routinely ignored by the system.

Steps 5-8 Go through all that you need to go through oh and don't forget to torrent / grab a Bios Set from wherever you can, because they're not included.

Pressing set up means you'll get an error message that reads something like could not read null please redo the above steps over again.

Redoing the above steps will get you the actual load screen of the PCSX2 and then you insert a game and it all goes to hell. In my case not read the memory card location and then not open the DVD drive before failing spectacularly. Time to do steps 1-8 again Sysiphus.

Incidentally I had less headaches setting up PS1 Emulation than this and that was down to Plugins and drama. I'll get it working no doubt, 3 years from now with alternative plugins and a lot of cursing, but for now I'll give it a couple of years to see if the specs drop on this.