STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Campbell Maitland Warner

Allow me to introduce my youngest son, Campbell Maitland Warner. He was born on the 25th of July at 6:26am, weighing 3.59 kgs at a length of 52cm. Speaking of which, did anyone ever wonder at what point you stop being "long" and start being "tall"? It's a conundrum, I tell you. ;)

Anyway - Mum and Bub are doing really well, although Mum is particularly tired at this point. I just got off the phone with her, and it looks like she's going to be in for a long night.

Here are some photos - they seem to have uploaded all out of order, so these aren't in the order they were taken. However, please enjoy. :) More will come as the days go on.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Waiting...

My wife, right now, is 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant. My first son was born 2 weeks early, and to be honest, we've been expecting the arrival of #2 since about 37 weeks. However, an early arrival seems not to have come to pass. This has produced substantial extraneous stress on both our parts, as we are kind of in this holding pattern where we don't feel like we can DO anything until the baby is born.
We've been told, that although there is a lot of suggestions of ways that you can bring on labour, ultimately they don't know what starts it off. So there's nothing we can do that is going to give us any confidence that this child is any closer to being born.
So we wait... We'll keep you all informed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mac OSX: Success breeds malware

It’s always been claimed by Mac advocates that the lack of Mac OSX malware was not to do with the fact that malware writers were logically targeting the largest OS population, but rather was to do with the fact that OSX was inherently more secure.

It seems that with the rise in the population of OSX users, people are starting to exploit it, proving the previous assertion false.

Reading this article, this vulnerability is equivalent to the one that allowed the infamous Blaster worm on Windows to propagate – that is, a remote exploit that gives the hacker root access to deploy any code they wish to the compromised system.

My company has numbers of clients who run Mac servers that are open to the wider world sans any kind of firewall. We even have one I know of that you can get remote access to their server without a password. We've advised them that's a bad idea, but they believe their Mac will remain secure. It's a product of the misinformation by Apple that because presently there are no major threats, that the situation will continue. Hopefully, people will begin to realise that being under the radar only provides you security while you're small enough to fit there.

If you use a Mac and you're reading this - be smart. OSX is not magically all-secure. Firewalls and virus protection are good, good things.

@Nathan: I certainly wouldn't describe this post as "whiny". Maybe "gloatish"? lol.
@Frances: More mind-bent philosophy/less computer-nerdish technobable post is coming soon, I promise. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

E3 - Sony Press Conference

I missed the start of this conference, so I'm not 100% sure how it kicked off. As I got on, they were introducing the PSP redesign. Smaller, lighter, in a bunch of colours - and the original will be dropping in price. Also has TV connectivity. Very nice.

Jack Trenton introduces the limited edition StarWars PSP with Chewbacca. Very cheesy. The PSP is white, with a screenprint of Darth Vader on the back. Cool design. Having Chewbacca on stage is still laden with cheese. Not quite as bad as the MS dude trying to be gangsta, but still really bad.

Phil Harison takes the stage to talk about the PS Network - 2 million sign ups since launch. New games - Echochrome, WipeOut HD, Pain, Warhawk and SOCOM: Confrontation. A couple of these (I believe Warhawk and SOCOM) will also be on BluRay. Echocrome is of particular mention, because it has increadibly simple graphics (stick figures, all in black and white) but is just a clever gameplay mechanic. It will be coming to both PSP and PSN.

Moving on to PS Home. Beta is going well for Autumn roll-out. New additions to the service - firstly, Home client on mobile phone. This is a simplified interface for communicating with Home. Phil takes a picture on the phone, and puts it back in his pocket. Shows the new lobby for Home on PS3 - It's an outdoor area which replaces the old lounge we saw previously. Showreel of some of the new spaces under construction for Home. Phil's character goes into his Norwegian Chateaux Home space, and he has Singstar on his in-game TV. Throws to a movie about SingStar.

Dev talks about the competitively of SingStar, and that it's "like iTunes meets MySpace".

Back to Home. The photo taken earlier is now on the wall in Phil's Home space. Talks about the social networking aspects of Home - online social networking website, the ability to take ingame experiences and put them out onto the web.
Last feature - can launch games from in Home with other players, and will jump straight into the game with those people. Awesome. Demos this with Motorstorm (ha - go Phil). Gets absolutely creamed. :) Any game can be launched like this, and it's seamless to jump in and out of games from Home.

Back to Jack Trenton for a Playstation 3 update. Two basic goals this year: broaden the install base, and deliver a wide selection of game services that take advantage of the system's capabilities. Talks about the new 80Gig package and says it's for the "audio visual enthusiast". Talks about the price cuts. Goal of 11 million units in homes this year. Talks about the inclusion of BluRay, and the success of the format.

Now to the games: 200 BluRay games worldwide, 120 PS Network games coming.
Announces that NCSoft is joining Playstation studios - will be developing networked games exclusively for PS3. Now about Ubisoft and Haze - exclusive this holiday season to PS3. Shows some footage. This game looks awesome. Not overly graphically intense, but lots of cool gameplay features - weapon stealing moves, vehicles, melee combat, a variety of weaponry. Looks like fun.

Epic's Unreal - Unreal engine to be fully optimised for PS3, so that game creation will improve. Unreal Tournament 3 will be a PS3 exclusive, and will allow the use of PC-written mods on the PS3. Wow. That's huge.
Shows a trailer - looks massive. Note that there's a "From the studios that brought you Gears of War" title during the trailer. Dodgy PR poke!

Game list:
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Assassin's Creed
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Resident Evil 5
Burnout Paradise
Madden NFL 08
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Simpsons Game
Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock
Medal of Honor: Airborne
Rock Band (woohoo!)

Jack back to introduce one last 3rd party game as an exclusive - Metal Gear Solid 4. Kojima comes to the stage! The crowd goes wild! :) His translator relays the following:
This is the final Metal Gear Solid in the series. The story about Snake will end, and Kojima will finish his involvement in the series. All the story lines will wrap up, and mysteries be revealed. The game will include new elements of stealth in the battle field. He's going to show the new trailer. It's real-time footage from the PS3, and it will be the premiere of this new trailer.

OK - trailer rolls. Oh gosh - Graphics are incredible. Not photo realism, but very nice. Think Final Fantasy: Advent Children. If it's rendered in real-time, that's incredible. Meanwhile, the story line looks a bit disturbing, but very good. Trailer ends with a massive anime/matrix style fight scene where the characters really should have died like multiple times. But the action happens very quickly - it's good stuff. Finishes with a title indicating simultaneous worldwide release. Kojima says there will be a playable demo in Tokyo next week, and he hopes everyone can come. The crowd laughs.

Throws back to Phil for the first party line-up. His Home avatar is dressed as Ratchet, and is in the theatre in Home.

First, (obviously) Ratchet and Clank: Gives some story details - the game delves into Ratchet's past a little more. The game was only possible on PS3.

Back to Phil in the theater - now looking at Folklore: Dev says it's a good mix of genres. Talks about the controls as being immersive. Trailers play in the background - looks very nice.

Back in Home, Heavenly Sword gets it's own special theatre. Nifty! Trailer plays - Dev talks about Heavenly Sword - gives a rundown on the story. Says it's very story driven, and very graphically expressive. Without BluRay they couldn't have done it.

Back to Home again, Phil talks about NBA 08. Trailer plays - Dev talks about it: 1080p, weekly updatable content, online play. Looks a lot like the old one! :)

Now to LittleBigPlanet! Phil sums it up as "Play, Create, Share". They focused on the Play at GDC, and now they're looking at Create. Trailer plays - Dev talks about how the game won't be "out" when it's released, because the addition of content is what will make it really a fantastic game.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune now showing - Dev talks about the animation engine and the use of Cell. Main character has over 3000 animations. Going to be "the best game Naughty Dog has ever made."

Back to Phil on stage - that was 6 of the 15 exclusive games.
The makers of the PS2 game "Sly" are working on an "emergent gamplay sandbox" game called "inFamous". Sounds kind of like an action MMO, but no confirmation of it being persistently online. Will allow you to choose to be good or evil. Gameplay looks great, but doesn't show too much. Cars flying through the air. Guy running up the side of a building. Very dark. Coming 2008.

Back to Phil - talks about Gran Turismo and the success of the franchise. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is coming as a prelude to the full game. Features full online, but no indication of what else is/isn't in the game. Graphics for this, as you would expect, look phenomenal.

Jack in Home - says that Phil forgot one thing. Throw to Killzone trailer - Phil says "everything you are about to see, is realtime." Wow... like... Wow. Particle and weather effects are awesome, character animation is fluid and detailed, gameplay looks fast and crazy. This does look like a GREAT game. Kotaku made a comment about the mouth movements being a little odd, and I see what they mean. Aside from that, the facial animations are incredibly detailed. Attention to detail is really what I'd say is this game's strong point. Things like the glass effect on the gun's scope visible when you're using your weapon normally are done just right. This game will be rated quite highly too - there's a heavy use of bad language, and a lot of blood when someone gets shot heavily.

Jack on stage now - talks about their commitment to the gamers. Leading innovation, etc. Fade to black. OK - conference over. Did I miss the rumbley SIXAXIS? Surely it was there. Maybe not... Hmmm...

All in all, this was much what I was expecting. I'll need to look up what was shown at the beginning, but a PSP redesign was entirely anticipated. The things that were missing were some new announcements - these were incredibly light-on, and that's pretty disappointing. To be fair though, most of their line-up for the next 12-18 months is already on the table. The other thing, unless I missed it, was the rumble. I really want them to get that out there so I can buy some new controllers.
Anyway - all in all it was good, but perhaps slightly less on show that what I had hoped for.

Looking at the game line-ups across 360 and PS3, there's nothing that Xbox360 has that isn't matched by the Playstation, except for Katamari/Viva Pinata. However, the video service with Disney is a big punch by MS, and Sony really didn't answer that with anything. Video on demand from Sony must be on the cards, but they're cards that Sony are keeping close to it's chest at this point.

EDIT: Saw an interview with a Sony rep on Gamespot later in the day, and the rep indicated that there are people working hard on a video/music store but there's nothing ready just yet - as soon as it is ready, we'll hear about it. This was kind of known, but it's nice to have it so openly confirmed. Yes it's in development, but no it's not ready yet. I'm happy with that for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

E3 - Microsoft Press Conference

NOTE: This is typed live as I watch, so I'll clean it up later. Feel free to look though my draft though.


1:15pm - Waiting for live streaming to go live.

1:32pm - Some guy just announced that the event is about to begin. Nice. I've been looking at Xbox advertising for the last little while...

1:36pm - a 5 piece playing the Halo theme while game scenes display on screen. Nice effect. The violinist is particularly impressive, as she's playing the guitar lead. Decent music. Supposedly a display of inspiration provided by Halo.

1:37pm - Peter Moore takes the stage. Talks a bit about the band - apparently they love Halo. Who would have thought?

1:39pm - Every demo seen is a game that will be coming this year. Makes a point of saying "every exclusive" and that they have "all the games you want to play - right here, right now"

Harmonix hit the stage with Rock Band. Nice.
Rock band actually looks really good. But the woman doing the singing is kinda poor. For those who haven't seen, Rock Band has 4 parts - the vocal part looks similar to SingStar and displays across the top quarter of the screen. The other 3 parts (guitar, drums and bass) display across the bottom in that order using the familiar Guitar Hero format. Drums consists of 4 drum pads and a pedal. Horizontal bars across the four note columns seem to indicate where the kick drum goes. Nice system - looks smart, and the guys on stage (which includes Peter Moore on guitar) seem to be doing fairly well.

Pete accidentally pauses the game mid song. Ha, well done. Eventually works it out, and they pick up where they left off.

Not 20 seconds later, and he pauses it again... Oh gosh, you would think he'd learn.

1:43pm - Petey gives Rock Band the PR plug. Then introduces what looks to be a Viva Pinata sequel for 360. I know a lot of Gamespot editors will be really excited. Title is "Viva Pinata: Party Animals". Looks like mini game type setup, using creatures from Viva Pinata

1:45pm - Mass Effect now. Won best RPG at last years E3, apparently. The trailer looks... OK. And there's not exactly an abundance of sci-fi RPGs, so it looks kind of good. Seems to borrow a bit from Halo though...
Pete is back - says it will be on shelves in November 07.

Peter talks about growth - Xbox leading growth across not just hardware, but right across the whole market. Showing graphs of the install base. And of sales since launch of PS3/Wii. And now of games since launch. These last numbers seem a bit misleading, as they're for the period beginning November 06 to present and show games per system - however, Wii and PS3 were both kicking off their game libraries, and 360's was well established. Given that, Wii and Ps3 appear to be competing much better then they're given credit for.

$2.4 billion spent at retail since November > Wii+PS3. "Xbox360 driving this generation."

Top 5 best selling games came from 2 francises last generation - GTA and Halo. 75 million units sold end of year 2004 - GTA, Madden and Halo 2. Same 3 games this holiday season. IGN reported drive a 3rd of sales this holiday season.

Games list - about time.
Project Gotham 4
Dynasty Warriors: GUNDAM
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Guitar Hero 3
Beautiful Katamari
Lost Odyssey
NBA Live 08
Mass Effect
Fatal Inertia
Medal of Honor Airborne
Tiger Woods PGA
Ace Combat 6
NHL 08
Assassin's Creed
Spider Man
The Simpsons Game
Splinter Cell
Eternal Sonata
Madden NFL 08
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
Crash of the Titans
Harry Potter
The Orange Box
Bee Movie Game
Rock Band
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja

All done - Jeff Bell gets on stage.

Selling the idea of Xbox being good right now. Announcing a new game now...
SceneIt? - selling to the casual gamer/family demographic.

Oh my goodness... It's a Wiimote! They're announcing a controller that looks like a cross between the Buzz controllers, and a Wiimote. That is so, so wrong.

Re announcing Naruto now. Raving about it's popularity, and that it's exclusive. Time for a trailer...

1:58pm - Trailer for Naruto. Cell shaded graphics suit it well. Looks quite quick... lots of running. Dodgy Japanese rock, but I'm quite the fan, so I can't complain. Fight mechanics look good. Lots of anime stylings - big hits with power flashes and pauses for effect. Looks interesting.

Peter is back - about to announce a sports game, because he's talking about their partnership with EA Sports. Announcing that the 08 range will run twice as smooth as the last run of games. You can tell he's trying to take a roundabout dig at PS3, which is slated to run Madden at 30fps. Anyway - Reggie Bush now on stage. Obviously an NHL player.

2:01pm - Reggie and Pete play some Madden. Lolz - Reggie comments that he'll have to be careful because he knows how "you Microsoft guys like to cheat".
I have no interest in Madden - but the graphics look nice.
Pete gets schooled, then tries to talk gansta, but can't pull it off.

2:03pm - Xbox Live PR time. 7 million users registered. New member every 8 seconds. Wow. Forecasting 10 mil signed up by next E3.
Xbox Live arcade selling... 45 million game downloads... 100 games by the end of the year.
Arcade game list:
Bomberman Live!
Hexic 2 (I have to laugh...)
Sonic the Hedgehog
War World
Sensible World of Soccer
Wing Commander
Feeding Frenzy 2
Track & Field
Spyglass Board Games
Golden Axe
Space Giraffe
Super Puzzle Fighter
Word Puzzle
Poker Smash
Tetris Splash
Puzzle Quest
Boku Sudoku

2 new games available as of now - Sonic and Golden Axe.

Video store fastest growing area. Xbox the only console with this available - on demand video/movies/etc. $125 million on D/L content since launch.
Announced an agreement with Disney. Disney video content on Xbox Live.

Showreel of Disney shows - while this plays, let me speculate that their agreement includes an exclusivity clause. Sony is rumored to have a video service in development, so this might undercut them.

2:09pm - This is all available from tonight. Future releases from Disney will also be added to the content available.
By the end of the year, the service will extend to Canada and Europe, and they're looking to extend to the rest of the world. Xbox 360 Elite package will launch in Europe in August, to support the new service.

2:11pm - Shane Kim takes the stage. VP of MS Game studios.
PR talk. Talks about the success of previous games.
Demoing Project Gotham Racing 4. Bikes are being added, and we see some shots of them racing. Reflections in this game are quite impressive - water effects on the road are particularly nice. Includes the ability to share photos/videos of your races with friends.

Trailer showing now - not as nice as what we've seen of GT-HD on PS3, but still very nice graphics. Weather simulation is obviously a big focus - some shots of sliding through snow, etc.

(Note: I've now been watching for an hour.)

Talks about providing the resources for game developers. (Like that $50mil they paid for exclusive GTA episodic content.)

(Re)Announces Alan Wake, Too Human, Fable 2 and Halo Wars. Focuses on Lost Odyssey - shows the trailer. Looks quite epic - but some in game shots show less-than-stellar graphics.

The guy says that "if you're an RPG gamer, Xbox 360 is the place to be this holiday season". I'd really have to dispute that.But hey, what would I know? These guys are in PR for goodness sakes! Any RPG gamer would probably be best to pick up a PS2 if they didn't have one already... Anyway, moving on.

Games for Windows time: Viva Pinata, Gears of War (acknowledges this leaked early). Invites Gears of War creator Cliffy B to the stage.
Forgive me if I don't blog this, but this stuff is all old - GFWL was shown last year.
Oh - but they've actually added to the Gears of War story for the PC. This is interesting because it's commonly held that the story is quite lacking on the 360, although certain game sites (*cough* Gamespot *cough*) still saw fit to rate it extremely high on all counts.
Graphics are lovely, but you'd expect that on a PC. From the graphics, it's obviously DirectX 10 and some crazy high-end hardware. Like - crazy.

Peter takes a poke at PS3 by mentioning the fact that XBox Live interface is consistent across titles. Announces partners for Games for Windows Live. One of the outcomes of this is that the Unreal Engine 3 will have XBox Live connectivity built in. Which, if I can give my opinion, is crazy for a graphics engine.

GFWL games now being listed:
Flight Simulator X
Thrillville: Off the Rails
Bee Movie Game
Hellgate London
Age of Empires 3
Gears of War
Universe at War: Earth Assault
BlackSite Area 51
World in Conflict
Age of Conan
Lost Planet
Kane & Lynch
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
Zoo Tycoon 2
Juiced 2
Viva Pinata
Spider Man: Friend or Foe

All done.
Shows off Call of Duty 4. Actual gameplay footage entirely. Graphics are pretty good. Some of it looks touched up to be honest, but my graphics view is limited - I'm watching this in 320x240.
Some guys come on stage to play COD4. Lighting and foliage is done well. To be honest, movement seems a little too fluid for realtime. I might be wrong.
Beta exclusive to Xbox Live. Recruiting as of now.

Peter is back - announces new Splinter Cell for Xbox 360 only. Turns focus to GTA4. Announces the trailer was rendered in real time on an Xbox 360. Shows Trailer 2. Talks about those 2x$25mil episodic updates.

Talks about Japanese 3rd party support - Virtua Fighter 5 exclusive online, Eternal Sonata and Devil May Cry 4. And now announces Resident Evil 5 coming next year. Still no MGS4, thank goodness. Now Assassin's Creed. My brother points out that the characters have American accents, which goes against the environment setting of ancient Jerusalem.

Live action Halo 3 trailer developed by WETA and Bungie. Obviously they didn't have anything else to do with all those assets! :) Looks great.

Halo 3 launching September and they're launching a Halo 3 themed Xbox and accesories.

2:55pm - Wrapping up - reiterates they're driving this generation. Relists the big titles. Says goodbye and throws to a Halo 3 trailer. Looks impressive - I did enjoy Halo.

And that about wraps up the press conference. All in all, it was pretty much what I was expecting. There were a few happy digs at the PS3 install base, the games catalogue today, the consistency of the online experience, etc. However, I think the biggest news was probably the agreement with Disney. That speaks volumes for families looking to get a console. The furfie of the press conference goes to the Wiimote/Buzz controller. That really is a bad idea. People are going to call it for being a clone, which it is. I suppose they're bargaining on the target audience not caring, but I think at this point a Playstation 2 with Buzz is going to be a better purchase option, especially price wise.

Basically - gloating about sales, showing of ridiculous peripherals (and money-grabbing themed console SKUs), and some more gloating, this time about exclusives. The only variation from this was the Disney announcement, which from a business perspective I would suggest Sony should see as a serious point of competition.

E3 Begins

Hi all, and welcome to my entirely biased coverage of E3 2007. The following couple of posts will detail news and announcements from E3 that I deem worthy of my comment.

E3 kicks off at 1:30pm today (Wednesday) for us in Australia, and does so with Microsoft's press conference. We can expect gloating about sales, the reshowing of ridiculous peripherals, and possibly some more gloating, this time about exclusive games. Oh, and lots and lots of Halo 3.

To be honest, I hate Microsoft's gaming division. Xbox360 is a reasonable gaming platform and has lots of games, but their tactics are downright dirty. My big gripe for the day is that they've secured exclusivity for Beautiful Katamari - a game that was multiplatform, and that I was planning to buy as soon as it became available for my Playstation 3. It was coming to 360 anyway - but now it's NOT coming to PS3. Add to that the question of Metal Gear Solid 4 going multiplatform, and I'd suggest there's a heck of a lot of money being thrown around at the moment to try and ensure Sony doesn't get back on top of this generation of games consoles.

Along that line, I'd like also to throw my 2 cents into the "multiplatform is good for everyone!" argument, in case I haven't already. I see in particular a lot of Xbox 360 fans saying this when previous Playstation exclusive titles go multiplatform. However, I don't see them complaining when Microsoft pays $50 mil to secure exclusive GTA content. Or when they pay off Namco to drop Playstation 3 from Beautiful Katamari's platform line-up. Multiplatform is only good for owners of the currently dominant console. For those who own the currently less dominant console(s), multiplatform means there are less compelling reasons for others to buy the same console they did, which means a lower install base, and thus less incentive for developers to develop games for it. Multiplatform games, especially big name titles, mean a short-term gain for gamers who already have a lot of titles with a long-term loss for those who don't; for those who've invested in the non-dominant platform (read: me). The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

Anyway - stay tuned for updates if you're too bored to read games-related media for yourself. I'll give you the lowdown on all the gloating following the press conference this afternoon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Click the piccy to see context, but generally - that's just tops. LoLz!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Before I left home this morning, I thought to myself:

"Hmm, I'm feeling a little under the weather. Maybe I should bring some Panadol to work with me today."
And then, I didn't. Obviously I need an opera singer.

(You all know the whole story was just an excuse to post this video, right? Right?)