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iPod Random Generator January 2009

Entry 1120 posted in: 9. I, Pod

I'm sitting on a commuter train writing this post. One Good Reason from Gary Moore on the ipod. Life could be worse.

Also in 2009 my ipod will be in autoplay mode and that for the second consecutive year. Holy Smoke by Iron Maiden followed by The White Stripes. I want to be the boy to warm your mother's heart.

All previous settings, apart from the song ratings have been reset on the database. Good Lovin' Grateful Dead.

Every month a graph will be published here and the playlist of the month will appear on my personal MySpace page. Nothing to be excited about. Schizophrenia Thomas Fehlmann.

For those who still want to know the how and what and where and when I give you this old link: Random Blueß aka sucking for statistics 

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: iPod Random Generator December 2008


Rock around the block

Entry 1125 posted in: 3. Gamebits

Open TTD When I look at my latest posts it appears to me that I have become a grumpy old man always at war with the world around him. I blame it on television because I’d really rather chase some nude virgins around, frolicking in a poppy field. But even these virgins aren’t anymore what they used to be, cf. Ahmed The Dead Terrorist.

I can’t shout this loud enough from the roofs of Atagong County, the best game in the world is (Open) Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I know you male chauvinist pig readers come here mostly to nookie ArianeB as fast as is humanly possible but you wouldn’t like your kids to play that game, wouldn’t you, you dirty hypocrites? Transport Tycoon is kids-friendly, non-aggressive, non-violent and it has that certain je ne sais quoi that makes games and girls irresistible. In that order, exceptions notwithstanding.

The big problem with the original TT game and its second millennium derivates is that the AI, to put it blindly, sucks, even at the most difficult level. The computer competitors try to make your life difficult in the beginning, but if you just ignore them and build your own transport empire at your own pace you will overhaul them in a period of three years to three decades. After a while the AI is so confused that it will not do anything anymore, it just sits there, scratching its head, eternally contemplating what move to take next. Transport companies will come and go, as the AI refuses to locate the opportunities to build an empire.

Actually the AI helps the human player to become a transport mogul instead of preventing it. As the AI refuses to update, upgrade (or downgrade) during the game you can use that knowledge for your own advantage. Many times I have witnessed that a competitor spends zillions to build a road system from, for instance, an iron ore mine to the nearest steel factory and then puts only one or two trucks to feed the factory, regardless of the fact that his depot has enough freight to use at least a dozen of cars. The competitor makes some money, but could do a lot better by simply increasing its fleet. Only, this never happens.

Once you (the human player) have spot this situation, all it takes is to build a depot next to that of your competitor, his overstock will leak into your depot and your army of trucks brings in loads of money. All this requires is minimal investment as you use the competitor’s roads and bridges. Capitalism can be fun!

Since last month the nightly builds (experimental versions) of Open TTD include an artificial intelligence module that replaces the original, dodgy, one. Everybody is invited to write his (or her) own AI and several versions can compete with each other during the same game.

A very vicious AI experiment is called Rondje Om De Kerk (Dutch for: round around the church), made by a collective circling around Maninthebox. It uses several unethical ways to make money. It uses the aforementioned trick of borrowing roads build by other players to keep investments as low as possible and instead of sending empty trucks back from the offloading point to the loading hub it simply sells these truck at the destination point and buys new ones at the starting point. Apparently it is much more cost effective that way but some humans consider this cheating, as it is not ‘realistic’.

Probably Rondje will not be integrated into the next stable release from OTTD but other programmers have been dissecting the code to see what bits and pieces they can pinch to insert into the first stable version with the improved AI. The future of Open TTD looks brighter than ever.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Tycooning 


When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)

Entry 1127 posted in: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit

In the first part of this series (When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)), JenS, a Cambridge friend of Syd Barrett, recollected how she met Iggy and how she introduced the party girl to Syd.
In the second article (When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)) the photo shoot from The Madcap Laughs, Barrett’s first solo album, was painstakingly reconstructed.
Part three contains some freewheeling to be entirely blamed on the Reverend whose ticky ticker jumped a few beats when he compared the Syd Barrett recording dates with the dates that Iggy (allegedly) stayed in Syd's apartment.
Not to make the third part completely redundant there are some titbits as well about Rusty and Greta, or was it Rusty and Gretta?, speed freaks for some, pretty innocent goofers for others... When Syd met Iggy... part 3...
The Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes to thank JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.


Lady Rachel and good girl Friday

Entry 1129 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash

For the second or third consecutive week I didn’t see a reason to write an entry for my blog and what frightened me even more I didn’t care. I must suffer from a serious case of early spring tiredness.

At home I play the Sims for hours and hours, so presumably I’m in a perpetual god-mode, not always appreciated by my cohabiters in real time.

What does a blogger do when in need of a post but with no inspiration at all? He makes a list. Here I go.

The excellent freeware sound editor Audacity has released beta version 1.3.7, primarily a bug-fix release that significantly improves stability and usability. It incorporates some new features too, including DirectSound device support for Windows. An old post about this tool: Audacity 1.2.5.

OpenTH dot org, the home of the open source remake of Theme Hospital has started a development blog. Now if only these guys would do some programming on the game instead of making a website (that has already been completely revised twice), a forum (rarely visited), a fan collective forum (even visited less) and now a blog, then we would see some real progress, wouldn’t we? An old post about this game remake: open Theme Hospital - 3 different ones.

So far for my list. Yawn.

This morning there was a loud banging at my front door. I got out of bed, opened the door, and before I could say ‘what the f…’ a girl came hopping in.
"I am your cleaning lady.", she said.
"I didn’t ask for a cleaning lady.", I replied.
"OK.", she said, and went away as happy as she had been before.

I assure you this really happened. One could assume that God must have been playing the Sims as well but this thing occurred due to bureaucracy. On Tuesday I found a message on my home phone from a verbally challenged person from a Catholic social organisation telling me that my cleaning lady Rachel was allergic to cats and that she wouldn’t come at Wednesdays and clean the house anymore. And a second message, a couple of hours later, told me that they she had found a replacement but that this person would come on Fridays…

The thing is that I don’t have a cleaning lady called Rachel. Cleaning ladies usually avoid my home faster than the speed of light, for obvious reasons of the olfactory kind. So I called back the next day. Obviously, that next day, the bureaucratic lady in question didn’t show up at work so I had to explain everything to a colleague. This colleague agreed with me that we both didn’t have a fucking clue what this was all about so we just laughingly flirted a bit. But she assured me that everything was noted and taken care of and that probably the first lady, the one with the 100 words conversation limit, was going to call me back, just to make sure that I didn’t suffer from a temporarily memory loss and that I had forgotten I had a cleaning lady called Rachel. Needless to say that nobody called me back.

I now have this fear that for the rest of the year, on Friday, close encounters of the cleaning lady kind will occur until somebody finally decides to shoot lady #1 or cures Rachel from her allergy. But the easiest thing will probably be to ask the cleaning lady ln, so that she can clean my house just to avoid the fuss.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: The Abandon Earth Kit aka How To Leave The Planet (updated version 21st of February 2009.)


Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta

Entry 1139 posted in: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit

The Reverend’s last post was rather freewheeling and not always up to par. For one mystical reason or another Iggy’s divine intervention didn’t come through, possibly hindered a bit by an abundance of pints of that black stuff that tastes so good by the gallon.

So it is time to clear things up, like the surge in that same glass, although what remains isn’t crystal clear at all but rather a dark shade of ruby.

This tintillating new article reveals:
a few things about Rusty and Gret(t)a;
the better bits and pieces from Gala Pinion;
the truth, and nothing but the truth, about the Boon Tune..

Come and find salvation at The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit!