Monthly Archives: April 2008

Did Chinese soldiers really dress as monks in Tibet?

Pat sent me and I presume everyone he knows on Facebook this photo. The story is that Chinese soldiers dressed up as Tibetan monks and caused a riot at a rally. After a quick search it appears this is a photo taken on a movie set. This post has much more detail including the following:

UPDATE – TUES. APRIL 8: The International Campaign for Tibet made a statement via their website that they do not regard this photo as credible evidence of Chinese soldiers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. They acknowledge that they are in possession of similar images of soldiers carrying monks robes in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, which were taken during a film shoot in 2001 which involved soldiers appearing as monks.
UPDATE – SUN. APRIL 20: The photo is from the set of "The Touch", starring Michelle Yeoh, shot in Tibet in 2001. This has been confirmed by the films' distribution company, and am waiting to hear about a supporting confirmation from an inside source. Will update soon.

ICT does not regard this photo as credible evidence of Chinese soldiers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. This image is most likely from a movie set in which soldiers dressed as monks to serve as extras. ICT is in possession of similar images dating from 2001.

Xenon 2 Megablast

Xenon 2 Megablast. If you know this game, you’ll know the soundtrack. This game by The Bitmap Brothers had great title music by “Bomb The Bass”. It was a shoot ‘em up released in 1989 although I didn’t play it until years later when I played it on the Atari ST and years later before I’d play it on the Amiga. The Amiga version is widely regarded as the best version and if you look around you can find the adf download fairly easily.

Hand on heart, I have to admit I didn’t like this game much. I love the genre and I’ll happily blast away at Armalyte(C64) or Raiden(Arcade) but Xenon 2 just never did it for me. I do love the soundtrack though!

Here’s a longplay of Xenon 2 in WinUAE. It’s over 48 minutes long but watch a bit of it and you’ll get a taster for the gameplay!

The Bitmap Brothers have created an updated Xenon game, Xenon 2000 but it’s Windows only so I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried it! As luck would have it, someone has created a video of the new game. It’s more a demo than anything else by the looks of things unfortunately.

So, what are your favourite shoot ‘em ups? In no particular order mine would probably be:

  1. Armalyte
  2. Syndicate
  3. Raiden
  4. Quake
  5. Half Life

Geometry Wars Galaxies is almost there but it’s too new. I’ll have to wait a few years before I decide if it goes on the list or not!

WordPress MU 1.5 RC1

The first release candidate of the new WordPress MU 1.5 has just been released. The obvious major change is the new admin interface and password salting introduced in WordPress 2.5, but apart from them many bugs have been fixed.

There is also experimental support for CSS styles, something that has been missing from MU for quite some time due to XSS concerns. This function does the work of filtering out bad stuff and I would appreciate feedback, both positive and negative, especially with security concerns.

This release is quite stable, but there will probably be bugs still. Please only test it on a development server, and if you’re brave enough to put it live, make sure you have backed up everything first.

Check out the WordPress MU timeline for further information, and download the zip file here if you’d like to test it.

In The Name Of The Fada

In the Name of the Fada

You’ll already know about the Irish version of Jump Around by Des Bishop if you’re a regular reader here, but if you have missed previous episodes, please watch the last episode of “In The Name Of The Fada”. It’s on RTE 1 tonight at 10:15pm. Sky+ is set to record it here.

We just watched the 5th episode in New York and Boston and totally enjoyed it. That Korean guy in Times Square had a brilliant grasp of Irish even though he’d never been to Ireland. I’m looking forward to the last episode, even if it does make me feel embarrassed that I’ve forgotten so much of the language…

“Ta sé fucking brilliant!”

External links:

How to win an Apple Mac Air

  1. Join Twitter.
  2. Follow @wubud.
  3. Tell your friends.

@wubud (pronounced woo-bud) is where Paul Walsh will reveal his next venture. You may remember Paul from a previous post here about his qik adventures when he missed his flight home because he was talking to people on the Internet. He landed a bed in a penthouse suite so don’t be too sorry for him!

Anyway, he explains on his blog why he’s going down the Twitter route and it’s an interesting experiment. It certainly caught the imagination of several people we both follow and I know others are blogging it too. Nice way to spread the word, eh? I think the incentive to win a Mac Air helps too, don’t you think?

So far only 203 people are following @wubud so it may take a while to get to the 5,000 followers Paul wants.

Paul’s in San Francisco next weekend, so you never know, he might reveal the master plan to you if you ask nicely if he hasn’t done it before then!

What about me? Do I want to win a Mac Air? ‘Course I do! My Macbook died this evening. A cup of tea spilled on it while I was feeding the baby. I quickly dried it off as best I could with paper towels but the screen was black and the thing is dead. Luckily backuppc had done a backup 6 days ago so I doubt I lost much stuff.

Geometry Wars Galaxies

Geometry Wars Galaxies review
First impressions of this much anticipated 2D shooter for the Nintendo Wii are not good. I played with the Wii remote and the nunchuck and from what I’ve just read on an Amazon review it’s much better with the classic controller.

With the Wiimote and Nunchuck it sucks, you have a cursor on the screen and you aim that where you want to shoot and fly with the Nunchuck joystick. With the Wii Classic Controller it Rocks, you fly in any direction with the right joystick and simultaneously you shoot in any direction with the left joystick. Which as you can imagine makes for some teh sweet maneuvering as you pwn alien space noobs.

Then again, another reviewer says the remote+nunchuck are better. Anyone care to share their experiences?

You can use the classic controller if you’re that inept, but the controls with the remote are one of the best things about this game.

Maybe it reflects the old school shooter idea behind the game, but I found the main menu and name entry systems unnecessarily difficult to use. Instead of pointing and clicking with the Wii remote like you’d expect, you use the Wii remote control pad to move through options. Scrolling through the alphabet to spell “Donncha” is no fun.

How does it play? in a word, hectic. You control a small ship and a drone that fires at wave upon wave of incoming baddies, all set on a flat 2D grid. The Wii remote controls where you shoot, while the nunchuck joystick moves your ship around. When enemies die they leave behind geoms which you collect for power ups and for unlocking extra bits and pieces. As expected it starts off slowly but even the trainer planet quickly becomes cluttered with pixels and flying debris as you shoot every enemy bearing down on you. Power ups increase the firing width of your main gun and upgrade your drone. There is a certain satisfaction to be got when you’re doing well, when your weapons are upgraded and you’re laying into the swarms of approaching shapes. Unfortunately it’s short lived and I quickly succumb to the deluge as I try to figure out where to look next.

Recommended? I’m not going to give it the thumbs up just yet. Every single review I’ve read of this game has been positive and I did enjoy the intense gameplay so check the comments on this post in a few days time when I’ve played it a little more! Play.com have this game for 20.99 Euro so it won’t break the bank to buy it either if you’re a shoot’em up fan!

I had hoped for a shooter I could pick up and play for 5 minute stints and it’s proved to be such a game. I rarely lasted longer than that amount of time on any level. Yeah, I suck don’t I? :)

WP Super Cache 0.6.2

A few people stumbled across a strange bug in WP Super Cache. If your index.php was cached by the plugin then feeds or other pages that hadn’t been cached would show the front page!

A simple way to fix this is by adding “index.php” to the list of rejected URIs, but then it won’t be cached at all. This release fixes the problem but also allows index.php to be cached by the WP Cache engine, much better than excluding index.php completely.

Also included is a new feature that inserts your rewrite rules in a new .htaccess block. That will stop WordPress overwriting the rules after doing an upgrade, or after changing permalinks. The plugin won’t update your .htaccess if it finds the rules already in the “WordPress” section, but if you visit your permlinks options page and hit “Save Changes” the plugin rules will be deleted. Go to the WP Super Cache admin page where you can update the rules again. They’ll be inserted in a “WPSuperCache” block above the WordPress rule block.

If all that seems a bit technical, just go to your permalinks options page and hit “Save Changes” without changing anything, then update your rewrite rules on the Super Cache options page!

Go grab the plugin from the usual place.

I never saw this obscure problem because I redirect hits to /index.php to / using this mod_rewrite rule and php code. This used to help avoid duplicate content rules but I think Google is smarter now. It probably will help reduce pagerank dilution because all requests will go to one homepage url, rather than two.

.htaccess:
RewriteRule ^index\.html / [R=301,L]

wp-config.php:
if( $_SERVER[ 'REQUEST_URI' ] == '/index.php' ) {
    header( "Location: http://ocaoimh.ie/", 301 );
    die();
}

Thanks to Dax (NSFW text) who figured out the problem with index.php caching.

Mario Kart Wii

I blame Matt. If he hadn’t taken his Nintendo Wii to Stinson Beach last year I might never have known the delight of waving a remote control at random angles through the air. I jest of course. The Wii has had so much press that even I couldn’t not have become aware of it. Add to that my brother and sister bought machines for their homes and it was only a matter of time before I bought one.

I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Well, there is one thing. If it was somehow able to freeze time, or add an extra 4 hours on to a day then I’d be over the moon, but let’s not quibble with fantasies of free time. I bought Super Mario Galaxy with the machine and I’ve been bowled over. Graphics, gameplay, sound are amazing. I love how Mario zooms from one moon or planet to another. So far it’s been fairly easy but then I’ve only had an hour or two of play at it and it’s early days yet.

Today, with much excitement on Twitter and elsewhere, Mario Kart Wii was released in Europe. I bought my copy after the Cork OpenCoffee (must post pics!) this morning and managed a quick play of it. I see from the Wikipedia page on the game that it will be released later this month in Australia and North America. When it does, run to the shop and buy it.
The Wii remote fits into the plastic wheel that comes with the game and works pretty well. It’s not required though as you can just as easily hold the Wii remote without the wheel. Extra steering wheels are reasonably priced at around €10, even if it probably cost Nintendo a fraction of that to make ‘em…

I’m still getting the hang of it though and did atrociously badly at the 100cc races. Please note: if you try playing the game without glancing at the instructions and turning the wheel makes your character go the opposite way, you’re holding the wheel back to front. Not that that happened to me, no, I’m just saying, like. My brother Donal and his fiancee are calling over tomorrow with their Wii remotes so we’ll have some fun in the afternoon!

Now, where did I leave the free time. I just can’t find it anywhere.

PS. Here’s a Mario Kart Wii review video, haven’t watched it all yet but it’ll give you a feel for the game:

RateYourDoc.org

Who are the top 10 doctors at Sacred Heart:

  1. Dr. Jan Itor
  2. Dr. John Dorian
  3. Dr. Chris Turk
  4. Franklyn
  5. D Elliot Reid
  6. Nurse Espinosa
  7. Dr. Perry Cox
  8. Dr. Robert Kelso
  9. Dr. Todd Quinlan
  10. Dr. Doug Murphy

Feel free to rate your favourite Scrubs doctor at rateyourdoc.org. There’s no way I’d vote for JD, I’d probably vote for Perry or Turk, but Dr. Jan Itor is a strong possibility too!

Do not however follow Todd’s advice and visit his toddtime website! It’s pretty shocking. You have been warned!