Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Die tote Stadt @ Royal Opera House

Last night I went to the Royal Opera House @ Covent Garden to watch Die tote Stadt.

From the Royal Opera House website, "The story follows the sometimes-real and sometimes-imagined world of Paul, locked in the grip of memories of his dead wife Marie. Marietta, a young woman who resembles Marie in looks but certainly not character, offers the chance for Paul to break free from his obsession with the past and return to his own life and a future. Willy Decker’s production has already been hugely praised for its visual and dramatic creation of a world on the edge of reality, its striking design of impressionistic and fragmented imagery conjuring up the dreamlike world of Bruges – the dead city of the title – as the obsessive Paul experiences it."

The performance was marvellous. For the price of each ticket it was really well worth the money for it. The show was sung in German but they had English subtitle throughout. The only thing that was annoying was that where we were sitting (Orchestra Stalls mid row) it was hard to look up at the subtitles, and then look down at the performances. To do that for every dialogue was tiring.

All in all if I was sitting in somewhere else i.e. further back, it might have made it a little bit easier. Though doing that would sacrifice the view ability of the actual performances and the expressions on the cast’s face.

Either way, if you understand German then you won’t have this issue and I would well recommend it to you to go and see it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Games consoles prove big hit with pensioners

Here is proof that game consoles are actually useful outside of the gaming realm. With one of the biggest selling points of the Nintendo Wii gaming console focused on the healthy aspects of gaming, there are some reports that suggest that it has been a big hit with pensioners.

Carole Thomson (Manager of Sheraton Court care home in Hartlepool, United Kingdom) said "The residents absolutely adore them. It is making them more healthy because a lot of the time they would stay in their rooms and not come out to do their armchair exercise - but now they do and it has become a bit of a competition between them to see who's the best."

Read the full story @ thelondonpaper.

Faintheart - A MySpace collaboration movie

Faintheart is a new movie produced with the contributions and collaboration of MySpace users. MySpacers were invited to post short films to pitch for the job of director, and a panel of experts including Sienna Miller chose a shortlist, from which site users chose first-timer Vito Rocco to make the film.

Faintheart is a romantic comedy set in the eccentric world of battle re-enactments, which tells the story of a sales assistant and Viking enthusiast dumped by his wife for his obsession with all things Norse.

Check out the trailer below.

More information available @ UK Film Council and

Will Ferrell’s latest productions

Check out Will Ferrell's latest productions called "The Landlord" and "Good Cop, Baby Cop".

The Landlord

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Police Noob spikes the wrong car

Oh boy... Here is one from good ol' Aotearoa (New Zealand). Noob accidentally spikes the wrong car. LOL

A very disgruntled telemarketing customer

Don't you just hate those annoying telemarketing phone calls? Here is one very disgruntled customer. Oh... and he is a British! LOL

Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box

For those who were silly enough like me who bought a copy of EA's Need for Speed: Undercover game would have regretted their purchase with a short gameplay, stuttering frame rates, and a lame storyline. When Undercover came out, I had three options of driving games to buy. I had already a copy of Race Driver GRID and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue but wanted another just for the sheer of pure gaming.

At that time there was Undercover, Burnout Paradise and Midnight Club Los Angeles. MCLA looked like it would have been another sort of GTA IV style gaming (I may be wrong here) and well basically I wanted another NFS game because I loved the NFS gaming franchise. Remembered back to the days when I was playing Hot Pursuit and all the ones beforehand. Had the computer connected up to the mini hifi system and neighbours thought the police was around our neighbourhood 24/7. The gameplay was absolutely brilliant as well!

Now with all the additional packs that Criterion Games have been releasing, they are now bringing out a new Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box which includes everything they have ever released for Burnout Paradise and a new map called Big Surf Island. For more information on this release check out Criterion Games or here.

Meanwhile check out their latest trailer below. Definitely getting this game this time!

Friday, January 23, 2009

UK Officially in Recession!!!

The news today is that UK is now officially in recession! Knew this was coming but had hopes that it wouldn't. In the last three months the interest rates have fallen to an all-time low of 1.5%, the lowest level in its 315-year history!

Retails are closing up everywhere. Most have gone in to receivership and there are bucket loads of sales going on right now to clear their stock. If you were in London during the Christmas and New Year break you would have benefited from up to 75% off discounts on most items.

Other businesses are slashing head count left, right, and center. You see in the news that companies world wide are slashing head count by the thousands, quarter by quarter!

House prices have fallen by 15-20% in 2008 and its going to fall even further. For those who think that it is a good time to purchase a property by getting a mortgage from banks, well good luck. Banks won’t be lending even though one of the conditions of receiving a share of the £200 billion bank bailout is to start lending again.

In view, this is where the gap between classes will get even wider where the rich will become even richer. They are the ones that will benefit from this and have more options to pick up the “bargains” as they want. The poor and middle class won’t stand a chance. News reported mentioned that the recession will last for next two years. Fantastic! With the Olympic 2012 just around the corner where is the government going to get the funds now that UK is now in recession to fund it? From you of course! So expect your tax rates and everything else to go up and up. Joy!

What a start to 2009! :(

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Microsoft DreamSpark? Free softwares!

Yes that's right. I just found this out myself... Microsoft is giving away free selected Microsoft professional-level developer and design tools at no charge. This is only for students of high school and university levels so get to it before they change their minds!

What they are offering:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 1.0
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 2 Trial Edition (includes Web, Blend, Media, and Design)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
  • IT Academy Student Pass
  • SQL Server 2008 Express Edition
  • Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0 (with 12-month Creators Club Student trial membership)
  • Virtual PC 2007
  • Visual Basic 2005 Express
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express
  • Visual C# 2005 Express
  • Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
  • Visual Basic 2008 Express
  • Visual C++2008 Express
  • Visual C# 2008 Express

You can get to Microsoft DreamSpark here.

The Seagate 7200.11 Disaster

For those out there who has a Seagate 7200.11 drive, be warned that you may have a faulty Hard Drive firmware loaded and that it may only last ranging from a few days to at most a few months before it dies. If you recall from my earlier post “The Importance of Backup”, I mentioned that it is important to have a process of backing up contents that’s on your Hard Drive because no matter how old or new the drive is, it may fail on you one day and you would have lost all of the data that’s contained in it.

On that one day I turned on my computer, the drive stopped working. I thought the drive was completely toasted. I was told that something could have gotten stuck within the drive and one of fixing that is to put it into the freezer to cool the drive hopefully to release whatever that locked it up in the first place. Well… I didn’t do that. I just packed up the drive and left it sitting in the corner until I can find a solution.

Recently there has been quite a few postings regarding this Seagate Hard Drives and how everyone who’s bought one of the 7200.11 series is plagued with the same issue. Everybody was turning their heads to Seagate for a solution… a working solution.

Seagate responded by releasing a new firmware for the drive which then you could run the update yourself and get your drive working. Well that’s not the case. The problem was that it wouldn’t update the drive. In some cases if it did update, it would “brick” the drive render it useless. It seems like Seagate haven’t been doing enough testing on their firmware before releasing it. Kinda feels like they are letting us beta test their release or put it in another manner, practicing the Microsoft methodology. Release first before releasing Service Packs to fix the issues. :)

All in all I think everyone is getting pretty tired of this. They’ve just released another firmware to hopefully fix the drive issues. You can get the latest firmware here or from their official site in the event that the firmware (affects only ST3750330AS, ST3750630AS and ST31000340AS with SD15, SD16, SD17, SD18, SD19 firmware) gets recalled for whatever reason. This is the 3rd revision of the firmware they've released. If you have any other models I recommend you check out Seagate’s website first.

Also for those who’s drives are already dead and are electronically savvy enough, you can check out this website for the hardcore solution. I have to stress that I take no responsibility if you kill your drive by trying out the hardcore solution! It does say that the guide is not intended for inexperienced users!

Needless to say, I’m going to try out the hardcore solution if the latest firmware doesn’t work. I’ve already ordered the necessary parts and a new Western Digital WD1001FALS 1.0TB Hard Drive to copy all the data to if it works. I won't be purchasing any Seagate drives any longer.

Street Fighter IV game trailer

Here's the latest trailer to the upcoming Street Fighter IV game! Only 29 days to go for the UK release and 26 days to go for the US release. Can't wait! Only if I have had ordered a MadCatz Official Street Fighter™ IV FightStick™ (Tournament Edition). Yes We Can aka The Obama Song

Music video from of Black Eyed Peas featuring Yes We Can aka The Obama Song!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama's Inauguration

For those who aren't present for Barack Obama's inauguration there are several American broadcasters who are broadcasting the sold out event live to the web.

If the above stream is not available to you there are several other channels available to catch the show.

Official Presidential Inaugural site
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies site

Also for those with an Apple iTouch or iPhone, you can now get the Ustream viewer app from the App Store for free to watch the inauguration.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something special from Disney

Disney ROCKS!

Star Wars Battlefront 3 Gameplay video leaked

The upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 3 gameplay video has been leaked and it looks hot! My current setup probably won't be able to play it but can't wait to try this game out when it is released. Check out the gameplay video below.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to fix a broken Plasma TV... the Aussie way...

Ever had a couple of dead pixels on your plasma tv and you don't know how to fix it? Don't want to spend hundreds to get it fixed or spend thousands to get a new plasma/ lcd tv? Well watch the clip below... You might want to turn off the audio part as there's some language in the background.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Godzilla is reborn... the Nissan Skyline GTR SpecV

A couple of years ago when the first sketches of the new Skyline GTR was seen, I was wondering what the designers at Nissan were up to. The design then in my view was abit radical. It didn’t look like it was a revision up from the existing GTR (R34). All the previous revisions shared similar look and style.

With the R35 it was totally different. From the sketches it had looked like it was a smaller car. I was like HUH, WTF? Why is Nissan making a smaller car? It had looked like it lacked the muscular look. I was beginning to shake my head…

Few years have passed and now that I’ve actually seen a production model of the R35 and on the street my thoughts have changed. It is one great looking piece of machinery. Now Nissan have just released info on the SpecV edition of the car, which come with more carbon fibre, removed the two rear seats and loads of other modifications to make the car lighter and faster. The new Godzilla is reborn.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Where is Robin?

I've just recently returned from my 2 weeks break over Christmas and New Year holidaying in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary and trust me travelling in those countries in subzero temperatures was enduring but ultimately it was a brilliant holiday. Needless to say lots of pictures (~5000) was taken and I’m in the process now to go through every single one of them. I take a lot of panoramic photos hence the number.

Later on once I get a chance; I’ll post up reviews of the cities travelled along with pictures as well. So stay tuned.