Tuesday, August 28


I had something more to say, but it left me when the airport shuttle driver decided to navigate the streets of Italy at 175km/h at 4am, also overtaking on the wrong side of the road occasionally with no hands on the wheel and coming rather close to colliding with a bus.

For now, just enjoy these two photos.

(Oh and if you aren't asian and assume all asian people look the same, please shoot yourself, then go back in time to realise that I'm in the 2nd photo and not the 1st.)

P.S. Don't worry Q, your food is on the way. Kinda.

Tuesday, August 14

Bioshock (Xbox 360 Demo) - First Impressions

Ahh... the game I've been patiently waiting for since... well, god knows really.

I was worried cause as good as the game sounded on paper, execution of such a complex idea would be a hit or a miss.

Well I'm not worried anymore.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 11/10
Controls: 9/10
Gameply: 12/10

Yeah, as you can see I've taken the liberty to use top heavy fractions to express the impression this demo left on me.

The first thing I did after playing it through was head upstairs and preorder the collectors edition (due out on the 24th in UK, along with the standard edition). It was that good.

If you haven't got the demo already then do yourself a favour.

Saturday, August 11

Obstacles, memories and a pinch of salt

"Once again it stands before me. The stone wall ahead looms higher and ever more menacing as the railtracks continue on it's steady collision-course.

Now, am I to climb over it, or struggle on the steep sides? An inevitable question that would have to be answered sooner or later, as the opportunity to turn tail and flee is forever growing fainter.

What looked like a small bump in the road several steps back now encompassed my vision as I'm swallowed into the shadow it casts upon the shrouded path I'm destined to travel."

Well I suppose I'll find out soon enough.
I hope "it seemed like a good idea at the time" are words that never have to leave my mouth in the upcoming 24 months.

Anyway, on to more cheerful topics; Rome in just over a week. Will be awesome.

Rush Hour 3 was also awesome. There's no real plot, character development or cohesion, and every time they tried to be serious about something they fell on their face with the weak and cheesy script... but hey that's not what Rush Hour movies are about anyway.
It was damn funny, and the action was decent. Humour won't appeal to everyone, but I still recommend it to anyone who's looking for a cinema outing.

Also, a typo brought about the brilliant and ingenious word "peanus" which I'm now going to trademark.

Monday, August 6

eBay Stuff

Master Grade Freedom kit - Auction ends on 15/08/07

More to come, probably. (Guess not)

Auctions ended.

Saturday, August 4

More Paraphernalia - Clayz Saber 1/6

Probably my favourite anime collectable would be this 1/6 Saber (Fate/Stay Night) figure from Clayz.
Also happens to be the biggest thing in my collection.

Very high quality PVC, well crafted and hand painted. Mint condition with box.

Here are further photos from Moyism's gallery. I hope they don't mind my linking to their site.

These are, of course, now in limited circulation. I'm looking for at least £50 for it.

Edit: In true salesman style, for a limited time only, get everything you see here + the MG Freedom kit for £120.

Gundam Models: For Sale

Ah I remember the days when I was such a huge fan of these model kits... but that's a story for another day.

Today, up for sale, are my already-built Akatsuki (Shiranui load-out, HG) and Strike Freedom (1/100).
Also up, is my unbuilt kit for the Master Grade Freedom (Extra Finish Version).
All in shiny condition of course (see pictures below).

The prices are open to offers, but as of the 4th of August my friend gets priority on them. That means you Scott.
If he doesn't want them then it'll be up on ebay.co.uk, although you if you're interested you can start emailing me offers for them.
On ebay.com at the moment the MG Freedom is going for $76.99+$14.99 postage, and $109.99+$14.99 postage (UK postage). That works out as £45 and £61 respectively, bearing in mind the current ridiculous exchange rate (Read: It's worth more damn it).
The Akatsuki model is probably my favourite (the photos don't do it justice), I paid £20 for it.
The Strike Freedom was also £20.
For the MG Freedom, I paid £50.

Shiranui Akatsuki Gundam ORB-01 (HG, Metallic) Box + Manual
Whoops, the sword is double-ended, I just forgot to attach the other blade before taking the photos.

Strike Freedom Gundam ZGMF-X20A (1/100) Manual Only, Character Card

Freedom Gundam ZGMF-X10A (MG Extra Finish) Box + Manual

Reason for sale: I'm moving into a tiny apartment in Japan, duh.

Oh and, I'd rather sell them together in one go to avoid hassle. Since you're doing me a favour by buying the set, you can have it for a reduced price of £66 altogether (£40+£14+£12).

Current Bid Status:
I have £12 for the Akatsuki, and £35 for the MG Freedom.

Friday, August 3

Sony TZ (VGN-TZVN/X) Review

No specifictions list or photo gallery included in this round-up. There are already a ton of review sites out there with everything you need in this respect.
I've tried to cover only the points other reviewers have failed to comment on.

If you didn't already know, I splashed out on the top-spec Sony TZ series laptop (known as the VGN-TZVN/X in UK, 1.2ghz with SSD) the other day, and here are my observations so far.

All this is in from the perspective of your average student, who was in search of a laptop that could be taken anywhere without a second thought, and without dreading the idea of having a dead weight on you:

1. Modern day computing has even less use for pure clock speed than I had originally imagined. This laptop houses a modest (nearly-down-right-pathetic) 1.2ghz Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duo, but given the modern architecture, it performs volumes above the spec would imply. Gaming aside, this thing is lightning fast for more or less any typical day-to-day useage. The only applications it may struggle on are the ones which require heavy calculations and processing, such as video editing and the like.
My initial performance worries were entirely unjustified.

2. Speaking of games, I don't game much. This laptop is more than adequate with the outdated piece of junk integrated graphics (Intel GMA950) for the little gaming I do however, and I can run Guild Wars at close to maximum settings without any slow down. Says it all really.
Anything not too graphics intensive will run like a dream.
Aero on Vista is running with full visual effects, no lag whatsoever. Moderate to heavy multitasking is also painless, depending on the software of course.

3. The 11" screen bothers me less than I thought it would. Why? Probably cause it's an awesome screen. Brighter than even my desktop TFT and as sharp as the Samsung HDTV downstairs. Very impressed by the thing.
Glossy coatings may suffer from glare, but with the modern brighter-than-average screens it's far less of a concern.

4. Expectedly, the speakers suck. Typical laptop junk with no bass, although there isn't as much distortion as you would get in cheaper laptops.
Stick to your earphones/external speakers.

5. Construction is 10/10. Sturdy yet incredibly light and thin. Oozes from quality design and construction. Carbon fibre is definitely the way forward with portable laptops.
And with the regards to the looks, one term I've seen pop up is "executive jewelry". Go figure.
Screen does not ripple. Keyboard is brilliant (Google some pictures if you want to see what it looks like, it shares the same design as the Sony X505 and the newer Apple MacBooks) and does not flex at all. Dunno about other regions but the UK layout is superb too. I can almost type at full speed, which is quite a feat considering it's not even a full size keyboard (something that you won't even notice).
Big handed users will probably have more trouble, but hey, it's an ultraportable.
The premium carbon effect is a very nice touch too, I would recommend it.

6. As far as features are concerned you can look up the specifications and see for yourself, but I think you'll agree they don't disappoint for an ultraportable.
On a side note, I think biometrics are incredibly convenient, albeit less secure overall - not a concern for the average user though.

7. Bundled software is a nightmare. You'll find this problem commented on by every reviewer out there. Be prepared to put on a clean install or spend a lot of time getting rid of trialware.
Mind you, it comes with no discs. Like many Vista laptops these days, it relies on a hidden recovery partition instead.
If you want to reinstall Vista clean you'll need your own disc (you can use the serial key on the back of the laptop).
XP users stay away unless you feel up for a challenge in regards to hardware drivers.

8. SSD hard drives are well worth the money, if you're willing to spend money on performance. I commented above on the zippy speed and I'm fairly sure a large portion of that is owed to the SSD's seek speed. The current SSD drives suffer from bottle necking in performance due to the transfer speed of the connection, but the seek time is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. For me, 32gb of storage is plenty.
This is hardly a multimedia laptop given the specs, and I store all my photos, music and videos on my 60gb MP3 player.
After installing all the apps I could possibly want on this laptop, including Guild Wars, Photoshop and a myriad of utilities, I have a sizeable 10gb of free space for my documents or more software.
Mind you, that's after I've left the 7gb recovery partition intact; I'll merge it when I need the space (a generic removal guide can be found here).
If space is really necessary for you though, you might want to opt for one of the regular drives.

9. If memory is a concern and money is not, bear in mind you can add a 32gb SSD ExpressCard, an 8gb HC SD Card, and an 8gb Memory Stick.
One of each of those will net you a total capacity of 80gb of solid state memory. Pretty nifty huh? Will set you back god knows how much £££ though.
Personally I'll just stick with the 8gb SD card I have for now.

10. Battery life is phenomenal. I get 5-6 hours on full load and maximum brightness with Wifi on.
With the VAIO "Ultimate Battery" setting, I can clock up more than 7 hours word processing and browsing with Wifi off.

Little more to add to really. If you want a more indepth review then there are plenty out there (see list below). I just touched on the points which weren't specifically covered in detail by the reviews I looked at.
I didn't spend much time on the details as the specifications are pretty much as-is.

Some clarification on a point that's been brought up repeatedly:
No Santa Rosa. It won't be missed much on a laptop like this, and the chipset itself draws more power as far as I know.
The improvement on CPU power management brought about by Santa Rosa will see few benefits with the ultra low voltage processor.
Since I usually use my laptop plugged in, I wouldn't mind sacrificing some battery life for the improved integrated graphics that come with the new chipset, but I don't really need the power.
All in all I'd say Napa is still the way to go with slim spec ultraportables like these.

Overall, with a £2100 for this particular configuration, it's no budget laptop. In my opinion though, it's worth every penny.

If you're in the market for an ultraportable, look no further. If you want to make comparisons though, Google up the Toshiba Portege R500.
I haven't tried it out personally but I dislike the lack of a glossy display (which is something many people would actually prefer, but I like my vivid contrast) and low quality keyboard found on the R500. It is cheaper though, and comes with a very impressive 64gb SSD drive as opposed to 32gb.

Reviews for the Sony TZ series:
Laptop Mag
Trusted Reviews
CNet (Note: I'd disregard their comment on performance, they left most the bloatware installed)
Notebook Review

And if you're still not convinced, here's an over the top CGI flash advert.

Links of the day

Alright maybe the title was a little misleading; I have no intention of making another post like this ever, let alone every day.

List of links, with at least one of them guaranteed to spark your interest:

-Can you survive in space without a space suit?
-Seven legged lamb
-Amusing sex positions which could cause hospitalisation
-Umm what the hell

And my personal favourite.

Wednesday, August 1

9 lives, 1 mission, 0 survivors

(I wish I could take credit but this was apparently the devious work of an Adam character.)

The above was something I found fishing around on digg.com.
Apparently the death predicting Oscar has spawned a new breed of lolcat; the death cat.
Amusing, if not somewhat cruel given the nature of original story.
Not that I care.

In other news, I've recently broken the bank and splashed out on one of Sony's brand new shiny TZ series laptops.
A quick google search for anyone interested will affirm the shininess.
If it's awesome enough I may be tempted to follow up with a proper review of the sexy machine in question.

It cost £2100, has a 1.2ghz processor and 32gb hard drive memory. Hohoho.

Plans for this summer's trip down to Rome looks set to go, at the moment we're looking at 4 nights instead of the original 7 cause of people and their other commitments getting in the way, but it's all good.

Also in the market for a new MP3 player. Considering getting a huge capacity one so it can double as external storage for my new laptop's mediocre internal storage.

It's just one huge purchase after the other these days, given my recent expenditure on the Sony eBook reader PSR-500 (which I love mind you).

Speaking of books, I've decided to scrap my on going novel (yeah I know it's been going for 6 years). If you dunno what I'm talking about you can look back a few posts.
Why you ask? Cause I've decided that it'd be too boring to write.
The story is still pretty damn strong for something I came up with so long ago, and with all the additions and stuff I've added in through the years it would have probably ended up being a fairly engrossing read. But nah.
For the time being I've begun a new story, with a less ambitious, shorter and hopefully more engaging plotline (which wasn't brewed by a 12yr old this time round).

Less RPG-esque adventure, more modern sci fi thriller. Let's hope I actually get somewhere with it this time.

Well, that's it for the first post of the month. I'll leave you with this seriously awesome link.
Oh and for MOAR laughs check this one out too.