Batman: Arkham City

I bought Batman: Arkham City a while back, but hadn't gotten around to playing it until yesterday. I'd played a bit of Arkham Asylum and enjoyed it for a while before I got bored and moved onto other things, but I'd heard some very good things about the sequel, so I was pretty keen. I had the game already downloaded, so after the first-run stuff (DirectX etc.) was done I was ready to go.


Height, Width and Depth

I often like to buy things online, to save the inconvenience of having to find the shop that sells the type of thing you want and wander around from shop to shop finding one that has one that suits you. I much prefer to just type what I want and have the options presented to me so I can just choose one and buy it. This works perfectly well in some cases, but there are some confusing exceptions.


Amazon support

Sometimes Amazon's support is just bizarrely unhelpful. I sent them an email today asking why my personal documents aren't showing up on the Kindle app for PC, and their response to me was just "Sorry, we can't help you by email, please contact us by chat or phone." No reason or explanation was given for this, so I followed their instructions and used the chat support option.


I did a survey

Roy Morgan offered me $3.70 (500 points that I can put toward the 2700 points I'd need for a $20 voucher) to do a survey, so I decided to do it. I've seen all these questions before, because they're the same ones I sometimes get other people to answer when I'm working for Roy Morgan, and some of them are really dumb, so I thought I'd share them.


How to Make a Sandwich

Not just any sandwich, though, the best sandwich.

First, butter your bread. This step is essential, don't try to tell me you don't like butter or whatever, you're a liar and you know it. Butter's delicious. Butter both sides. Really slather it on.

Next, chop up some avocado. Some people like to squish it up and spread it over their bread in a thin layer that you can't even taste. Those people are wrong. And if you even think about arguing that you don't need to spread butter on there because the avocado makes up for it, just leave now.

Next slice a gherkin¹ into thirds, lengthwise and then cut the slices in half the other way. If you like, you can do a second one as well. Sometimes I do, sometimes, I just go with one, as illustrated here.


Looking for an image editor

I'm looking for a decent program to use to edit images. The problem is that I have a few specific requirements, and so far the only thing I know of that meets them is an old version of Paint Shop Pro, from back before Corel bought and ruined it.

I can (and do) still keep using that, but it is pretty outdated and has some weird quirks, like being able to save PNG files with transparency but not load them (transparent areas get converted to an arbitrary colour), so I've been looking for something decent to replace it with. So far I haven't found anything that quite measures up.

So what am I looking for? This:

Click to embiggen.
What we have here is a single window with spots to dock toolbars on either side. I've got the tools palette on the left, the colour picker on the right and the tool options and layer palette floating, because they need more space.

It's not entirely essential that the toolbars be dockable, but it is pretty nice. The important thing is that I can open up several images within that one window and move them around over that grey background. I absolutely do not want to be able to see my desktop, it's too distracting, I don't want multiple copies of those toolbars, and I don't want images to open maximised to the full size of the program window.

I've tried Paint.net, Stylepix, GIMP, Krita and even Photoshop and none of them work for me. Is there something out there that works the way I want it to, or should I just stick with PSP?


Blogger is inumerate

I went to post something on my other blog today, but when I loaded the page I noticed something odd. Apparently I already posted something. I didn't remember posting anything on the 11th, but there it was.

"last published on Sep 11"

So I went to the post list to see what I'd posted. And here's the last post I'd made.


Wait a minute... the tenth isn't the eleventh! Why do you lie to me Blogger? And it's not the first time it's contradicted itself either. Take a look at these pageview stats:

Seven plus eight equals elev... wait a minute!

Something doesn't add up there. What the hell is going on here? What does this mean?


Why do couriers exist?

I ordered a book recently, and for some reason the company decided to use a courier instead of mailing it (presumably because they wanted it to be as inconvenient as possible), so obviously I missed the first attempt to deliver it because if I'm at home during the day I'm not awake before 10:00.

But that's OK, there was a number to call to reschedule. So I organised to have it redelivered today.

"Will you be home between nine and ten?" asked the man.
I said "yes", because I can be up that early if I need to be, it's not a big deal. So I got up at nine, and I waited.

At ten, I started to get a bit annoyed, but I decided to give them a bit longer.

At ten-thirty I phoned the number again and asked what was happening. Now, the interesting thing here is that this phone number was the mobile phone number of the actual guy who'd made the first delivery attempt, so all I got from him was "I'm not working today, but I told them to deliver it."

Fine, I'll have a look at the website. There is a package tracking system there, but all it tells me is that "the parcel is onboard the Courier vehicle" and has been since 7:30 this morning. No indication of when it might be arriving.

Finally at quarter-past eleven the package arrives and I sign for it and the courier goes away. And then I notice on the packaging, written quite clearly "Deliver 9 - 10". What's the point in even having instructions like that if they just ignore them and show up whenever they get around to it anyway?

And more importantly, why not just use Australia Post? They may not actually make genuine attempts to deliver things (because walking all the way up the driveway is such a hassle) but at least they don't make you reschedule, they just tell you to come pick it up from the nearest post office, which you can do at your convenience any time within the next couple of weeks.

What is the actual point of couriers? They just seem to do the same thing as Australia Post but less well. Is there some advantage here I'm not seeing?


I don't get this ad

If publishing your secret angers doctors, that usually means it's dangerous or unhealthy. If it also makes your face bleed when you do it, that's definitely a sign that you should stop. Also, that woman doesn't look 27.


YouTube layout

Recently when I went to look at some videos on YouTube I noticed that the layout had changed from a grid to a list, and the button that used to control that setting was gone. I asked around and found that others were still seeing the grid view.


LA Noir

This game is bullshit. It's barely even a game, essentially an interactive movie, and nothing you do in it makes any sense. Each scene starts out with you watching about sixteen hours of tedious cutscene, and then you have to do some boring shit for no apparent reason.



I'll admit up front that I've only played the demo, but the issues that are preventing me from buying the game are all pretty apparent and unlikely to be significantly different in the rest of the game.

The biggest thing is the "puzzle" design, for want of a better term. Need to buy a newspaper from a vending machine? OK, use machine. Nope, you need money! OK, get your wallet from your inventory and use it on the machine. Haha, this machine takes credit cards, not wallets! You actually have to get your credit card out of your wallet and use it on the machine. This isn't a puzzle, it doesn't add anything to the game other than frustration.


House MD

Season 8, episode 22: "Everybody Dies".

Everyone didn't die. Disappointing.

Warning: Spoilers below.



Just played a game of Scrabble against some random dude on the Facebook with a two-minute limit on turns, and it was super fun. The time limit really forces you to keep your mind on the game and actually changes the way you play quite a bit.

In a more slow-paced game you have time to consider options and be a bit more strategic about how you play, you can make the most of every tile, particularly S's and blanks. When you've got that clock ticking away, you've got to make a move and sometimes there's just no time to consider all the alternatives.

Discworld drama

If you're not familiar with the Discworld MUD, you might want to skip this post, since it's not really relevant to the outside world. Or read it if you like, I'm not the boss of you.

Firstly I just want to link to this great blog post by Drakkos@Epitaph about the situation.

That out of the way, the main reason for this post is to share this post that Maelin@Discworld posted on the MUD's Flame board. Since the boards tend to scroll off pretty quickly and there is no archive accessible to normal people, I wanted to grab a copy of the post here, because it's great.


Niko Bellic is the worst

I've tried to enjoy GTA 4. I've loaded it up several times, I've gotten through a few missions, but I just get bored and frustrated with it before too long. There are several reasons for this:

First there's the fact that walking,.running or driving, getting around is really, really slow. Or at least, it feels that way. Even when you're driving fast, you still don't get any impression of great speed, and you start crashing into everything.

Then there's the issue of character motivation. I have tons of money and no apparent reason to be falling in with these criminals beyond the little bit needed to get Roman out of trouble, but I'm doing it because that's all you can do in this game.

But the main reason I can't get into this game is Niko fucking Bellic, the awkwardest, most off-putting protagonist ever.