Geeky Amusement

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We’ve all had that prompt first thing in the morning when we’ve logged in …

You know the one I mean ….. “Your password is about to expire, please choose a new one”

This is normally followed by a couple of attempts to remember what requirements have been placed on them by the Net Ops. team and then some pondering on what you’ll actually be able to remember.

All in all it usually takes about 5 – 10 minutes depending on how awake you are at the time.

Well this morning my colleague was having a little bit more trouble than expected.

The jumpbox was prompting him to change his password, no problem, new password entered and OK selected. However the system rejected this, he tried it again, and got rejected again… and a 3rd time too.

So off to the jumpbox I go and check out his user account to see if I can set his password for him.

There I find the “Prompt user to change password at next logon” option is ticked, along with the “User cannot change password” option !!!

This would explain my co-workers predicament, and resulted in a chuckle from me …

Either there’s a ghost in the machine, or a joker’s at work in the office.

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To XL or not to XL … that is the question …

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Portable gaming appears to be my main source these days, mainly sneeking in a quick session of whatever’s the flavour of the day during a lunch break.

The Playstation Vita‘s been doing a very good job recently of relegating my 3DS (which I’ve had since launch) from it’s spot inside my bag to the one next to the TV unit at home.

The main reason for this is the size, I know I know, the Vita’s got better graphics etc. but I’m focusing on this. The size of the Vita fits better for me and provides a more comfortable gaming experience so I’ve found myself using it more as a result. The 3DS is great for small bursts but for me the compact nature of it’s form results in what can only be described as “gamer’s claw” if played for an extended period of time.

Now Nintendo have gone and issued a revision to this, the 3DS XL

Basically they’ve increased the size of the thing, that’s it. No other extra features, just a good ol’ fashioned increase in form factor and screen size. This pleases me, finally I’ll be able to put in some serious time on Dragon Quest without crippling myself in the process. Also thanks to the screen size it should be a more comfortable viewing experience too

The only complaint I have about the XL or rather puzzling question is why have Nintendo chosen not to include a charger in the box ? I mean really …. it’s not like it’s an optional extra is it ?

Weird move Nintendo … Weird move but it’s not stopping me from “going large” I’ll be picking up my XL soon so I can enjoy the likes of New Super Mario Bros 2 in a more comfortable fashion.

Tactical advantage

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So …. It’s been a few weeks now with the and it’s become a regular addition to my bag.

And recently it’s been spending a lot of time in the company of ‘Unit 13’

‘Unit 13’ is a tactical shooter, on a handheld, and more importantly .. it’s actually pretty good.

 

The set-up is pretty standard fair, you’re the new recruit of the squad in question. Your “initiation” is the tutorial for the controls and that’s pretty much it, off you go to take out the baddies …

In a switch to most shooters you get to play all the members of the team, each with their own speciality and successful missions allow you to level up the person in question and unlock goodies for the team.

Unlike most shooters it’s not kill count that counts here, yes in most cases taking out the terrorists is the idea (notice I said most cases there .. ) but this just adds to your score, and progressing swiftly and efficiently boosts the score multipler, and thusly your score. This is the end game, place as high as you can on the scoreboards …

To that end what of the missions, well you’ve got a selection of stealth, direct action, elite and the hellish deadline …. that final one is my personal nemesis, you get a set time to accomplish the tasks set out, so in most cases the stealthy approach will see you failing the mission.

Complete a mission an you’ll get a star rating based on several criteria, get 3 stars or above and you’ll unlock the dynamic mission where objectives are thrown at you on the fly.

Earn enough stars and you’ll unlock the HVT missions (HVT = High Value Target) which sees you hunting down a specific terrorist leader type hiding in the areas the missions are set in. These can take some doing so prepare to dig in for the long haul 😉

There’s a co-op multiplay option available so you and a buddy (or a random stranger) can take on the enemy, but there’s no competative one … possibly a massive omission and deal breaker for many BUT for me it doesn’t detract from the experience.

 

The controls are tight and responsive and that 2nd analogue stick/nub really makes the difference. The touch screen is used to access maps, reload weapons and interact with items where necessary, but these are also mapped to physical buttons too. Personally I found the touch screen made perfect sense for these as it was just a quick thumb move to reload etc. but each to their own 🙂

Generally it’s not the most emersive of games but as a portable, on the go, tactical shooter experience I’m really very impressed and urge you to at least try the demo that’s available before dismissing this title completely ….

 

A little Vita this and a little Vita that …

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately you’ll probably be aware of the new handheld from Sony, the Playstation Vita

I got some hands on time with it at last year’s Eurogamer Expo and was mightly impressed with it then so a pre-order was placed and launch day was marked on the calendar.

That was a little over a week ago now … so now that the initial “new shiny gadget” euphoria has cleared from my head what do I t.

Well to be frank, I love it … I honestly believe that on the whole Sony have finally managed to do something right.

I do have a gripe concerning the use of a proprietary memory card for the Vita that’s shockingly expensive and a required piece of kit if you’re planning on playing anything on it, but putting that to one side the rest of it is in my opinion brilliant.

Firstly I opted for the 3G version over the plain WiFi flavour, yes it was a bit more expensive but with Vodafone throwing in a sim and giving you a copy of Wipeout 2048 for the price of a £5 topup it actually worked out only a few pounds more for me than just the WiFi only version. The data connection has been pretty good so far, decent signal strength and the actual data usage isn’t as hefty as I thought it would be so the 250Mb that I got for my £5 I can see lasting for the month.

Graphically I can’t fault it .. the display is just stunning. I got Rayman: Origins with my bundle and could see no difference between this conversion and it’s 360/PS3 big brothers (I would also go so far as to say that if you’ve got a Vita you really should have this in your collection). Wipeout and RidgeRacer both performed smoothly and had no visible drop in framerate at all.

Downloadeble titles areon the cards for it too, and this is where the gripe comes in about the memory cards.

Available in 4,8,16 and in the US 32Gb they’re essential for saving your games and installing downloadable titles.

However at the prices they’re charging (£47 for 16Gb anyone ?) it’s a rather pricey “extra” that’s actually a required purchase. The 4Gb will probably be fine if you’re not planing on downloading any of the games from the Vita store. I got an 8Gb with mine and so far it’s got a load of DLC for RidgeRacer, full games for Escape Plan, Motorstorm RC and Wipeout 2048 along with demos for Lumines and Dungeon Hunter Alliance and there’s still some space left over.

Essentially the first run of true DL titles (MotorStorm RC, Escape Plan) appear to be quite friendly in the file size department. Downloadable versions of the full retail titles can be a bit more savage, Blazblue Continuu, Shift Extend weighs in at around 3.5Gb which kind of makes a good argument for buying the physical card version of the game.

The other argument to some of the downloadable titles is related to the price, it’s fine for the titles that are download only like Motorstorm RC which is an utter bargain at £4.79 (especially as they throw in the PS3 version too) but for the titles that are available on cards there’s the distinct possibility that you’ll find the game for a few pounds cheaper at one of the numerous games retailers out there in the wilds of the internet.

I should also point out that at this moment in time I’ve yet to play Uncharted Golden Abyss, which many are saying is the “killer launch title”, I’ll get round to it but to be fair I’m impressed enough at the moment without getting my mitts on that one.

Remoteplay functions in the same way as it does on the PSP so no changes there, other than on the lovely crisp OLED screen it looks that much nicer 🙂 PlayTV and also the PSOne games installed on the PS3 run well and look as you’d expect, only tried it over a local Wifi connection so far more testing on a wifi hotspot (or more likely the work wifi network ;D) is on the cards.

Generally it’s had a good start out of the gate, finally there’s a portable unit that can deliver an almost home console quality experience. It’s up to Sony now to prove that they can follow through and deliver the goods going forwards with content that makes full use of all the PSV has too offer.

And for those of you on the fence, Little Big Planet is on the horizon … and it’s awesome !!

 

A New Year

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With a fresh new year comes the obligatory resolutions … those things that we say we’re going to do.

I’ve made a few myself this year, not so much resolutions but more a few guidelines for my travels through the next twelve months.

Firstly, the usual one for many, fitness … I’m aiming to improve my general level of fitness and hopefully lose a bit of weight into the bargain. I’m not one for gyms and due to an issue with my knees (i,e, they’re rather knackered) running is something I’ll save for when I’m being chased by zombie hordes during the apocalypse.

Secondly, writing … this blog right here is part of that, but the bulk of it will revolve round video games and gaming (hopefully). To be fair this started last year but hopefully this year will see it grow and develop …

Thirdly, put faces to names … or more accurately meet in the physical world at least 3 more people I know from various web based hangouts.

That’s it …. No marathon running or mountain climbing I know but things I’d like to achieve none the less. Whether I manage to or not is another matter but hopefully I will …

Witterings a plenty …

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This is somewhere I’ve been randomly updating over the years with various things …

A random spouting from my brain if you will.

Well after a long abscence I thought I’d return (mainly because I remembered my password)

Will I manage to update more than twice in a year ? Who knows ….

Will anyone actually care ? Probably not …

But, hey, I’ll ramble on a bit every now and again anyway.

 

You never know I may actually say something vaguely interesti … Stranger things have happened ya know 😉

 

Dark Skies

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Like quite a few iPhone owners I’ve grown rather fond of a little app called Hipstamatic

This particular shot was just a random shot of a rather serious looking storm cloud over Thame

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