Tag Archives: blogtober11

Battlefield 3, Origin, and one screwed up release date

Wait, wait, wait.

Hold on just one second.

Haven’t we been here before?

Yeah, we have. Two years ago, about the same time as now, there was a little screwup with the Australian release of Borderlands on Steam (sorry, no ragetoon graphic this time around).

Today, history repeats itself with a similar kind of screwup on release dates — only now EA is the culprit here, and Battlefield 3 is the game with the muddled release date.

You see, originally Battlefield 3 was slated to be released on the 25th in Australia — today. Then, somewhere in the last two weeks, EA turned around and decided to stagger the release date around the world, meaning that Australia gets Battlefield 3 two days after the original release date. Instead of midnight launches on the 25th, we get midnight launches on the 27th.

Up until about a week or ago, the release date was today. Now, the release date is two days away.

I don’t even know what to think anymore. There has been so much controversy surrounding the release of one of the most anticipated games in recent history. One day they’re all live-action trailers, early-access open betas, and PC-first development, the next, they’re forcing their glorified download client on you, unlocking Battlefield 3 for all the hardcore gamers in countries like Myanmar before the US or Australia, or even sending reviewers console copies of their premier PC title. Perhaps they even have the guts to pull all their premier titles from the number one digital distribution platform on PC (this might be the reason I can’t buy Crysis 2 on Steam).

And after all this, gamers still lap up every second of it. We may not like it, but we assume the position, smile, and take whatever they want to give.

We’re pathetic.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

A few blog-related things…

Quick update time: after much gnashing of teeth and fighting with ALL THE STYLESHEETS, I’ve made the theme a little wider which means it now fits images a little less than 720 wide.

The good news is that this theme is nice and responsive, which means it looks different based on how wide your monitor is — go on, resize your browser and try!

The bad news I think I broke YouTube links. I think YouTube videos now look a little different than they did before, but it’s not a huge deal.

Oh, and I also updated the theme, which means that photo and video posts will actually show photo and video content when you’re looking at the RSS feed. Sorry to my RSS subscribers who had to click through every once in a while.

That’s it for now!

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.last week, people. Home stretch!

Six drives in a four-bay MicroServer?

Read my original MicroServer intro post right over here!

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that there are four drive bays in the HP MicroServer, and yet I have managed to squeeze six drives in there. Not really that impressive, to be sure, but still a decent effort.


If you’re prepared to forego your 5.25″ bay and optical drive, essentially you’re after something like the Nexus DoubleTwin (sorry, PC Case Gear don’t seem to stock it anymore?) or the OWC MultiMount. Same thing, different name — it’s just something that mounts in your 5.25″ bay and allows you to fit two standard 3.5″ drives in there.

What about the SATA end of business, you say?

The good news is that there’s technically two extra SATA ports you can use — one is internal and designed for the optical drive in the first place, and the second isn’t a SATA port and it isn’t internal. Instead, it’s an eSATA port and it’s located on the outside.

The bad news is that these ports are also locked to SATA I speeds, which means a max of 1.5Gbps speeds from those ports — not a huge concern if you’re just using those ports for boot or storage drives, but you don’t want to be limiting your RAID array if you’re adding those drives to an array.

Luckily, there’s an OCAU post that contains the instructions to flash a modded BIOS to the machine to fix that right up. If you’re thinking of getting one of these machines, do this BIOS flash first, then start putting in drives and setting up software and whatever else. I know it sounds potentially dodgy, flashing a modded BIOS and all, but you can always re-flash back to stock if you find that you want slower array speeds. Plus, plenty of people have been running that modded BIOS without any issues at all, so it should work just fine. I’ll cross my fingers for you, anyway.

Oh, and that other eSATA port on the back? You just need an eSATA to SATA plug, and extra molex splitter or two, and away you go. Easy, right?

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

SteelSeries 7H for iOS devices review — behind the scenes

My review for the SteelSeries 7H headset for iPod, iPhone, and iPad will be up a little later today over at MacTalk, where you can read the full review, but I figured I might as well publish something that didn’t quite make it into the final version (okay, was never going to be included in the final version, was never intended to be included in the final version). A behind-the-scenes look, if you will.

Little backstory: the SteelSeries 7H comes with a pretty unique micro-USB connector:

There’s one curious thing about the cable though, and that’s the fact it attaches to the headset on the left hand side, using none other than a micro-USB connector that our European friends seem to be so fond of. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and certainly makes the 7H headset a little unique in that regard.

Unique, yes, but also interesting: I’ve been looking for a new gaming headset for a while, and while the 7H ticks all the right boxes in terms of comfort and sound quality, the version that I reviewed comes with a strange plug that only has one 3.5mm plug for both headphones and microphone.

No matter, no matter — one support ticket and about 5 Euros later, a replacement audio cable for the standard 7H is in the post. The thing about the standard 7H is that’s it’s far more “normal” in that it has two 3.5mm plugs — one for audio, and one for microphone, just like PC manufacturers like it.

As it turns out, I guessed correctly — SteelSeries must make one version of the headset, then just vary the micro-USB cables that comes with it (and the packaging, obviously) to split it into separate products. The replacement cable plugs into the micro-USB port on the headphones just fine, and turns it into a standard 7H headset — which means the 7H works perfectly as the gaming headset I always wanted, but was never able to spend the money on (says the guy with AudioEngine 2 desktop speakers).

+1 ingenuity for me.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Deja Vu

Blogtober 11 catch-up, part IX — at this stage I’m only a day behind, but this is for October 20th

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids posed in front of some giant guitar in the middle of NSW.

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids participated in something known as the Science and Engineering Challenge.

Almost exactly five years ago, a few kids from a tiny school in a small suburb in the equally-tiny state of Tasmania came fourth in the country,

Almost exactly five years ago to the day, a few kids had an absolute blast.

A few days ago, a different set of kids, to be sure, but with perhaps one or two of the same teachers, made their reprise in the Science and Engineering Challenge.

A few days ago, a few kids from the tiny school from a little suburb in the equally small state of Tasmania, managed to place fourth in the country.

A few days ago, a few kids may or may not have posed in front some giant guitar…

…but one thing’s for sure: they probably had just as much fun as we did.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Footage

Blogtober catch-up, part IIX

Apologies for the three videos in a row. I promise I’ll have something a little more… textual for you up a little later today, but for now, it doesn’t get much more boss than parachuting off a cliff onto MCOMs.

This game will be awesome.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.

My iPhone 4 Home Screen

It’s been a while since I updated my homescreen.me profile, and with the official release of iOS 5 and needing something to post up on my blog, I figured now was as good a time as any… Here goes!

Like many Apple faithful my home screen is fairly similar to what Apple provide as the default – with a few important changes.

Three years of iOS ownership means quite a bit of customisation. My home screen is organised in a loose Ben Brooks configuration, with a few stock Apple apps, some fantastic replacements for a few of the stock Apple apps, and some other great apps that I’ve found over the years.

First row: Mail, Calvetica, Maps+, Photos
Calvetica is a very good Calendar replacement set in beautiful Helvetica. It’s changed quite a bit since the original release, but it’s still very fast, and very capable.
Maps+ is like the original Maps app with much more of a focus on the actual maps, and less UI chrome to boot, while still staying highly functional. Packing all the same features (and then some) as the stock Maps app while having a very minimalistic UI is a winner in my books.

Second row: Camera, Clock, Articles, Dropbox
Articles gains a spot on my homscreen because it’s a really nice app that reformats Wikipedia articles for the iPhone, and Dropbox, well, that’s so useful for PDF documents (bus timetables, mainly) that it also earns a spot on my homescreen.

Third row: Instapaper, Soulver, Elements, Reminders
Here’s where things get interesting; Instapaper is just, well, Instapaper. By far one of the best apps to ever grace the iOS platform — it makes reading on the go an absolute joy.
Soulver makes calculations easy, even fun. It’s available on every Apple platform, and even syncs with Dropbox if you use it on more than one platform. You can write stories in it, and then calculate things using numbers in those stories. It’s not so much a calculator than it is a scratchpad for numbers, and it’s fantastic.
Elements is my new favourite text editor. Plain text, Dropbox sync, and Markdown support means that it ticks all the boxes — word count and a nice interface means that it goes the extra mile. It’s the one app that started me off with Markdown, and now almost everything I write is written in Markdown. Elements is the best text editor on any platform I’ve come across, period.
Reminders, as included in iOS 5, has meant that I’ve given up every other reminders/notifications-type app. Geo-fences and repeating reminders tick all the boxes — if you know what I mean.

Fourth row: Phone, Verbs, App Store, Settings
Phone is here because I rarely use my iPhone as a phone – perhaps that’ll change when people actually decide to call me, but for now it stays here.
Verbs is a great IM client for the iPhone. Admittedly, I seldom use IM when I’m mobile, but when I need to, Verbs is incredibly simple and has a great UI.

Finally, the dock: Tweetbot, Messages, Safari, Music
I’ve tried every Twitter app worth trying on iPhone, and Tweetbot wins all the awards. It’s the one app that made me come back to iOS from Windows Phone 7 and Android, and it’s not hard to see why — all the features you need (and then some!), a beautiful UI, and it just works for everything I need it to do.
My only gripe with this row is that Apple separated the iPod app out into two separate apps — Music and Videos. I liked the idea of my iPhone having its own little iPod inside…

I’m not sure where I got the wooden background from, but if you want it, it’s available here.

This post part of Blogtober 2011, just a little thing of mine where I (attempt to) post something up on my blog every day in October 2011.