Retro

Poem: Handwritten

IMG_2377

In case you can’t read my scrawl..

Handwritten

This is how I used to write before,
The search engines kept the score,
Spell checks and metatags
Hit Counters Server Lag
Just me, ideas and my scrawl
On paper, fag packet or the wall,
Mistakes there for all to see,
Great plans, the never meant to bes,
Great beginning
Cliched end
Never having to click “Send”
The crossing out
Tippex Pen
Screw it up
Start again!

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Pong Never Had Safe Mode

On the 3rd of January this year my Playstation 4 died. It returned from Sony on Monday. Last night 3 days after its return it promptly did a reverse Jesus and died again. This time however (at the time of writing) I managed to channel the gods of geek and fix it, not that there is much your average geek can do with a dualshock controller and closed OS.

I’ve been a casual gamer for a long time. I am not a pro, or semi pro or any good. I don’t care enough about “awesome headshots” in CoD or Levelling Up in WoW to trouble the top scores pages. I play for fun, I play online and whilst battling my complete lack of dexterity I occasionally manage to beat other people from all over the world in dazzling HD.

My PS4’s frailty of late has made me think back to the early years of gaming. Mid 80’s Commodore 64 for me. Press Play on Tape! Yes the games took ages to load, yes they sometimes crashed but the C64 remained in perfect working order for me to either try again or load something else. I even roped my family in for sessions of “Winter Games” My Mum ably representing the USSR in the ski jump.

Move forward a few years to my first console the grey box of wonder that was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Instant load times due to cartridges, age old tradition of “If it’s broken, blow on it” This technique worked with the SNES too and a simple tap of the reset button worked for everything else. No firmware updates, or patches. Everything worked 99.9% of the time.

Now with progress we get games that are released half finished (Watchdogs) because consoles are connected to high speed broadband. Even if you pre-order a title on disc your console will find an update the second the disc is inserted.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a gamer in a era of epic titles like the Last of Us, a true work of art (if you haven’t played it.. go now) but as a console gamer who is a bit of a geek I am frustrated by the lack of info the system gives me if it goes wrong. When my console was returned by Sony no information was given in regards to what they actually did.

In conclusion I guess the price we pay for cutting edge is that we might fall off occasionally and we won’t know why. But we will join the queue to hop back on, and it will be different Oh yes it will be different.

PS4 and Dualshock 4

(WMB4X) 90’s Geek vs Geek of the Millennium

1980. Year of the birth of Austin Mini Metro and me. By the mid 90’s I was a spotty mullet topped computer geek. Much has changed, I’m not spotty anymore and the computer that sits in front of me of is more powerful than I could even have imagined.

My PC then was a Pentium 166mhz, with 16mb of RAM. I had a massive hard drive where I could store up to 2gb of data. When I first got the machine I didn’t have access to the internet of any kind, so I spent my time playing Championship Manager 2, in-between homework composed using MS Works. Then the internet came along, in the shape of a beige box with some red flashing lights on it. I was lucky, the blistering 56.6 modem. My friend had a Pentium 75 and 14.4 connection. How I took the piss.

Then came mIRC a text based chat system which I spent far too much time on. My parents let me stay online long enough (hogging the phone line) to make good acquaintance with most of Ohio, America (so it seemed). FiveOhTwo one of the Ohio clan introduced me and my real life friends to MP3. We each then spent hours trying to download Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” via Napster.

The browser of choice back then was Netscape, which had to be searched for via Yahoo on Internet Explorer 4.0. That is if it you could keep it from crashing for long enough for the download to complete. Windows ’95, then Windows ’98 which pre-service pack was as stable as me on ice.

The geek of the Millennium. Has it easy.

Geek-chic now is all around us. It’s fashionable to be geeky, nerdy and know what TARDIS stands for. Geeks today live connected. No waiting for your Mum to get off the phone to download that latest blockbuster movie. Yes movie. It would have taken months to download full length HD movies via a 90’s dial up connection.

Although mIRC still exists, the rooms now are largely populated with people who used them first time around. It’s now all Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The 90’s geek was all about identity security and low profile. The millennium counterpart is more “out” than a Pride Parade.

Napster has now long gone legit after spats with Lars Ulrich and others. So geeks now have Pirate Bay to be a freeloader. If your ISP allows. If not there is iTunes, which began life as a humble music player. The music player of choice in the 90’s was Winamp. It was superb, you could download skins for it to change the way it looked, add-ins to change the sound, stream online radio using SHOUTcast and some skins even included reel-to-reel tape Skeuomorphics that would have made Scott Forstall cream his pants.

Winamp was best when it was simple. As time passed by it tried to compete with iTunes and Windows Media Player, becoming bloated and seemingly unaware of the world where people were taking their music out and about as opposed to being sat in chat rooms.

I have just learnt that Winamp is to be shut down forever on the 20th December. Whatever will whip the llamas ass with now.


Please visit the king of geek chic the Resident Weeble