Monday, 23 March 2009

J casts Break!

Maybe you read this post or this one about me ballsing up my above iPhone, which was a very foolish thing to have done. Well, my good luck continues.

I've been playing the above game quite a lot recently, finishing off all the missions and progressing through the story another time (I have already completed it once) and it's been really enjoyable. As a sidenote I recommend it for any Final Fantasy fan, or anyone planning on buying Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (as it works on a similar system apparently).

I've managed to reach 60% or so through the missions and had a few of the Break HP etc. Limits. To those who have not played the game, these are very good things.

Put down my PSP last night, and sat down to watch TV. Slumped back in my sofa, kicked over my coffe, and it went all over my damn game system.


I cleaned the system and thought it was alright and played a few more missions on it after allowing it to dry out, but then later on today I discovered the L Button was stuck down.
This means that the camera spins, which is annoying, but I could cope with, but also makes the game cycle through options during battle. Which makes it unplayable.

Fuck. I have no god damn luck. Well, let me grab my DS instead and see how I can break that.
Oh, there we go. Bollocks.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Google AdSense Announcement

Google's making some changes and doing something called "interest-based advertising" wherein they'll use your cookie to put you in a category depending on the Google sites you visit such as "gamer", "sports fan" etc. and then alter the AdSense adverts to reflect that.

I have two on the site, so feel I should pass on what they've told me to:

  • Google, as a third-party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on this blog.
  • Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet.
  • Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.
So, I think that's about it. Back to normal blogging.

By the way, I make pretty much nothing from the adverts, but it's a nice little experiment I feel.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Frenching it up

I'm English, and therefore hate the garlic eating, non-shaving French just next door to us. Right? Well...not so much. I have only been to France once on a school trip and started learning French in primary school, simply because we had to take a language course and could only take German or Spanish if we had previously been tutored in them, which I had not, so I was left with learning French.

In primary school, starting in what we call Year 5 which is the penultimate year in primary schools, we had weekly French lessons with a teacher ,whom I still see occasionally these days, who would hold up picture cards and we'd learn words from them, or try to count as far as we could in French. One thing I remember about this, was knowing the French word for butterfly ("pappilon" [pap-in-yon]*) due to someone owning some dogs of the breed.

Then I moved on, with a little bit of French knowledge and took it in Year 7. Best part about this? The teacher was bat-shit insane. She was a fairly old woman, and her brains clearly started to detoriate during the years. Here's some examples/learning techniques:

- The word for for twenty in French is "vingt" [von], which we were taught to remember by twenty being the age where you get in to wine ("vin" in French) and fast cars (GT). I got in to wine recently, so I guess that's proven kind of true.
- The word for fourteen is "quatorze [caat-ohrs] and our teacher would draw a cat in a boat with some oars.
- When her brain was really going, rather than walking around the class, she would wheel about it on her swivel chair. (This was made slightly more humourous by the fact that part of her last name was "Wheel")
- Then when her eyesight started to go, we were required to leave a line in our excercise books. This made no difference for my writing, as my handwriting is atrocious. Never try and read it.

However, the fact I still remember cats in boats all these years later means her strange learning techniques worked. I improved on my fluency, got pretty good at my tenses and such during these three years. In the second year, it was the trip to France that I mentioned earlier.
I don't remember a lot of the trip to be perfectly honest. Okay it's all come flooding back to me.

So, we were there for a five days I think, three in Paris, two in Nomandy. We visited all the usual places you know, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. We were served hot chocolate in a bowl along with (of course) croissants every morning in Paris. I can't recall much of the food served in Normandy, but I remember having French windows (of course, yet again). I earned the nicknamed "Breadman" over there too, which still stuck back home too.

That's another story for another day.

The visit to the Eiffel Tower was, if I'm being honest, pretty boring. As was the trip to The Louvre & Arc. However, keep in mind that I was probably 13 at the time, and given the chance now I'd go back and take in all the wonderful things in France in a different mindset.

We were made to speak French at all possible times and if I'm honest, I enjoyed it again. Even when the French people would correct me on my wording or fluency.

Certain activities were set during the day, but we had all day to do them, so were free to mull around the city as we pleased. This was pretty fun as it allowed us to interact with the French peoples and as I was 13, I think I tried some piss-poor chat up lines in French on some women waaay older than I. Some bits are still hazy actually.

That trip passed, and I went on to Year 10, starting in the "top group" and again progressing well, though I'll admit to the occasional laziness of Free Translation but when I was lazy in that way, my average grade went way down so I stopped after a while and eventually passed my GCSE with a B.

Then I went in to full-time work rather than staying on at college, so my French was all but forgotten, or at least I thought so. Recently I bought the game below.
I was interested to see if an "edutainment" game would actually work, and saw it cheap so I picked it up. Turned out that all my French had simply lain dormant and began to resurface while I chipped away at the words in this game. I'm still learning, and am enjoying it. I'm even planning to go to Paris in May, just so I can see how far I've come and take the city in again in all it's splendor now that I'm more a man, less of a boy.

So, as they say in internet speak: tl:dr - French language good. French people still suck.

*Please note: My phonetic descriptions suck ass. You're probably best ignoring these boxes all togther.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Using the "DS Friend Codes" label, you can find out all the codes for DS games to play with/against me. I do not know if it will be useful, but it is there now, and there's not much you can do about it.

What you should do with these posts is take down the information you need, and leave a comment with your information. If I do not respond within 24 hours to say I have your information, please send me a tweet @PkmnTrainerJ and I should be able to sort it.

Yes, I am still playing this game. Dear god, why? Oh my, my town is full of weeds!

Name: --J--
Friend Code: 3909 1164 2390
Town: EWB City

Information below is not required, but may be useful
Fruits: Orange Apple Peach Pear Cherry Coconut

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Geocaching Travels

On Friday, when I finished work and the sun was shining, I decided to go and try my hand at some geocaching. I have the app for my iPhone, and I had already scouted out a nearby location last week, which I couldn't reach due to some floods. Got dressed, and grabbed my camera (it's only a 5 megapixel thing) and set off to find the cache point.

This one was alongside a river, and then under a motorway bridge. I had a good look around, but couldn't see the actual cache, and nor would it come up as a nearby cache under the app. I checked on Safari and it turned out that the actual cache had been washed out. Which was a bummer.

So, I decided that as it was only 3pm, I could head for the next closest one which was described as a nice walk in to a nearby village. LIKE HELL IT WAS!

So, I left my own village and started to walk to another. I had to walk down a small road that had no actual pathway and was very sticky and muddy in a lot of places. I did see some people practicing showjumping along the way.
Horses are a regular site around here, but never having walked down the road, I didn't know people practiced, and I got directions to ensure I was going the right way. More walking down this country road and then I reached a familiar location, and had to do some traffic dodging as the pathway ran out on a bridge.

Got to my destination village at least, (which Google Maps says was a 3.4 mile walk) and hopped a few fences to get to a river, passed under a bridge and came to where the cache should be.

About an hours worth of searching, and there was nothing. Spoke to some locals (who were actually semi-regular customers, though they seemed not to recall) and they said they weren't aware of a cache point this close, but there were some others around.

I had to head back as it started to get late and my shoes and jeans were caked in mud. The whole trip took me about 4 and a half hours, and I got nothing from it.

Nothing but excercise, which in all fairness I probably need. Next day it's nice, I'll try and find a different cache, but with this one having been about 8 miles of travelling, I might try and find a closer one. In the meantime, some additional river photos from looking for the first one.

Actually, in regards to the photo of this boat, I'm hoping some readers will recognise the name. When there was some really bad flooding, this person's last boat got swept away and trapped under the nearby bridge. Now, she has her new boat though, and keeps it anchored, I think out of fear of it happening again.I know how much people that live in suburbia/big cities would love to view the countryside, and I often forget how great it is that all this is just outside my door.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Pokémon Pearl

So, I am going to start this new thing now that I have a labels drop down menu. Using the "DS Friend Codes" label, you can find out all the codes for DS games to play with/against me. I do not know if it will be useful, but it is there now, and there's not much you can do about it.

What you should do with these posts is take down the information you need, and leave a comment with your information. If I do not respond within 24 hours to say I have your information, please send me a tweet @PkmnTrainerJ and I should be able to sort it.

Trainer Name: J

Friend Code: 0602 2753 6574
Pokédex: 491

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I don't know if you already read the above blog, as I blogged about it here and it is also there --->
in my little sidebar of blogs I enjoy. Anyways, it is a hilarious blog, and it is written by a 5'2 guy (hence the midgetman part) with a lot of "unfortunate" life events (son is becoming gay karate champion, daughter runs up phone bill at stores, wife has a crap sex partner) and also on the 12th of this month (I think) I'm having a guest blog post published there, so take a look at it.

It is here now in case you are wondering.

If you're viewing this after it's gone up, then let me know what you thought of it and indeed my own blog in general.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

iPhone App Reviews

So, now I've had my iPhone 3G for a couple of months and briefly mentioned some of the apps I had in this post. But now that I've learned how to take screenshots, I'm going to go through all the apps currently on my iPhone.

43 Things
Price: Free
This app is for the users of the website 43 Things and allows them to mark goals as accomplished on their list of things. However it doesn't allow you to go through the "43 Things" process within the app (though it runs Safari within the app to attempt this) so that you can share a story with the community about how you accomplished the goal. Also very crashy.



Price: Free
A nice free app which updates regularly with backgrounds for your iPhone, which are saved to the Photos folder. Searching brings up a decent amount of results or you can check by popularity. They're all sourced from flickr, so they're fine to use. The occasional advert, which I hope will be removed in a future iteration of the app, but otherwise, it's good.

Price: Free
A quality app and great for anyone on the go that doesn't have time to check the news. You can edit which RSS feeds the app gets (Europe, Americas etc.) to suit your news needs. The only problem with this is if you're on anything other than 3G or WiFi, the news downloads take ages, and you may as well check on Safari.


Price: Free
I think this app was free, but can't remember off the top of my head. I only recently got this app in order to make myself less lazy when cooking. What's good about this, is being able to think of an ingredient, type it in, and seeing what recipes you can use it in. It boasts over 170,000 recipes and doesn't need WiFi to browse the recipes. I always make a shopping list from this app when I want something different.

Thanks to Steve Murch for correcting me, it's now close to 170,000 recipes and is free.


Price: £5.99
If you don't know what Geocaching is, follow this link. £5.99 seems an awful lot for one app and so far (mostly due to floods where I live) I have not got much use out of it. But when it's a warm sunny day, I plan to delve in to the community and hunt down a few caches. The price still annoys me though, knocks it's rating way down. If it were £3 or less, this would be at least a 3/5.


Price: Free
eBay browsing and everything on your iPhone. Simplistic and easy, need I say more? NEXT!


Price: Free
facebook on your iPhone, including facebook chat if you use that. It's okay, but I feel there's more they could expand on, such as choosing to like statuses, or updating your information.

Price: Free
If you don't know what Geohashing is, see here. This app will calculate the day's co-ordinates for you, then launch the Maps app so that you can plan directions to the day's hash. Does exactly what it should. Though a compass wouldn't go a miss in an update.

Google Earth Price:Free
Exactly the same (though lower resolution and no streetview) as the regular Google Earth. If you don't know what Google Earth is, leave right now.

Price: 59p (Currently on sale)
This is the full version of IM+ Lite, this version allows you to send photos and be signed in to multiple messaging services at the same time. Very handy if you're out and about and need to reach someone on MSN or AIM.

Price: Free
JellyCar is without a doubt, one of the funnest apps on the iPhone, and recieves a lot of updates with new levels. It's a game that will take you a long time to complete, and has a very fun control system. Get it now.

Price: Free
Obviously for users of and it was recently advertised on TV, always great for when you want to listen to some new music.
Price: £1.79
I actually got this while it was only 59p after trying out the Lite version for free. If you've ever watched Tron or played the Light Bike part in Kingdom Hearts II, you need this game. The updates have made it much more slick since it's humble begginings and WiFi mode seems almost ready to go as well. Get it!

Price: 59p
This is a close as you'll get to a real instrument on the iPhone and it even has a special "Zeldarian" setting for folk to imitate Ocarina Of Time tunes. I'm trying to play Epona's Song at the moment. A neat feature of this is the world view, where you can hear people playing (not live obviously) and can hear some great melodies from people around the globe.


Rainbow Ninja
Price: Free
This game has a simple mechanism, you either press the colour of the text, or press the colour that it shows you. It's good for a quick game and is free, so enjoy it.

Price: Free
Wirelessly control iTunes via WiFi through this app. You need this too.
Price: Free
Stanza is for reading books on your iPhone and there's plenty of classics that you can download for free and also newer books that you can pay for. If you can't afford a Kindle yet, get this app in the meantime. Another near-perfect app.

Space Deadbeef
Price: Free
A great side-scrolling ship shooter, which advances steadily in difficulty. Unfortunately it doesn't vary much in types of enemies.


Tower Bloxx 3D Free
Price: Free
In this game, you build a city by dropping blocks down to build towers and increase population. The full version boasts a story, but for £3.49, I'm not going to get it. This free version is also very prone to crashes, so I don't want to pay and then have it still crash. Still decent for quick plays, and I like to build the tower as unstable as possible for added difficulty.


Price: £1.79
After seeing the abysmal Twitterific, I was nervous about paying for Twitter apps, but Tweetie came well recommended. It allows multiple accounts, trends and all the usual stuff. It's only okay, if you only have one Twitter account, use my next app.

Price: Free
Twitterfon has a nice blue Twitter-esque interface, allows for trends, and tracks replies and DMs much like SMS's on the phone. If you use Twitter, get this.

Price: Free
This app makes browsing Wikipedia so much easier and doesn't take long to load. It also allows you to save pictures from Wikipedia pages, which can be handy.


So, that's all the apps that I have, apart from the ones mentioned in the earlier post. If you have any recommendations, let me know.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Podcast Mention

So, this week I am mentioned in the FullSignull (pronounced like 'signal') podcast due to some back and forth tweeting with one of the people on it. Give it a listen here. It's got some good stuff, and they managed to say my name correctly, which is quite rare.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Lost on Twitter

As some of you are well aware I'm a big fan of the show Lost, and a prominent user of Twitter. The two seem to have intermingled a lot lately though, with people posting as characters or organisations from the show. In following them, you can enter an alternate reality, which some users play very well. You might be interested in following some of them, so I'm going to 'showcase' the best ones.

Let's begin with various versions of The Island's leading surgeon: Jack Shephard

Jack Shephard
This is an "Oceanic Six" account from the folks over at SpoilerTV forums. Not sure who runs it, but have a check around and you can find out. Keeps updated too.

- Jack Shepard
A fairly recent account, but the use of hashtags puts me off. Seems to be run by the same bunch of people who run an account called @The_Island.

There's two more but I wouldn't bother with either one of those. One has only two updates, and the other one may be a real person called Jack Shephard.

Now on to another main character, another of the infamous love triangle on the show: Kate Austen
- Kate Austen
Suprisingly there is only one Kate on Twitter, this is another one from the people at The_Island. This account seems to post some strange stuff about selling Aaron on eBay and other odd bits, but as she's the only Kate (for the time being), you're kind of stuck with her.

Now, the last one in the triangle to get it out of the way (oh how I despise it), James Ford, also known as Sawyer.

- James "Sawyer" Ford
Errr...this account has no updates. Fair few followers though.
- James "Sawyer" Ford
This user has protected their updates, so I can't really see what's going on there.
- James "Sawyer" Ford
So, you're left with this account, with the use of hashtags again. Not the best choice again.

Now, on to the resident Iraqi of The Island, who will break your neck with his legs, Sayid Jarrah.

- Sayid Jarrah Only one Sayid Jarrah that I can see, and it's another Island hashtagger. I don't know, I feel like the hashtags take away from the alternate reality feel that fictional character accounts should try and put across.

Now, as Sawyer calls him, the "rotund" Hugo Reyes.

- Hugo "Hurley" Reyes This account is another SpoilerTV one and another well run one, though a bit slow in updates. - Hugo "Hurley" Reyes
This is another Island one, which apart from the strange background doesn't seem chuckle worthy.

One half of our Korean couple, and the guy who survives any kind of explosion, Jin-Soo Kwon.
- Jin-Soo Kwon
Whoever runs this obviously reads spoilers as there's a few name drops around of unseen characters, some Korean wouldn't go a miss, but otherwise it's okay.

Now, for his wife, Sun-Hwa Kwon.
- Sun-Hwa Kwon
Another Island account, and again the hashtags put me off, but that's just personal preference.
- Sun-Hwa Kwon Another account from SpoilerTV, and in character too, but a bit sparse with updates.

Recently deceased, then alive again John Locke also has an account.
- John Locke Again, a very out of character Island account. Not hating on whoever runs The Island, just irks me that they're out of character, when they're accounts for fictional characters in the first place.

Now, there's also one of my favourite characters, Desmond Hume there.

- Desmond Hume
Though not updated for about a month, and having the big promotional picture as the background, this account is not too bad.

The Others
The bad, I mean good guys on the show. Some sillyness mixed in with all of this account. A very fun one to follow.

DHARMA Initiative
The people who built all the stations on The Island. Another fun account, may be the same person/group of people who runs The Others account.

Have I missed anyone off? Have you started a new account you'd like me to add? Comment and let me know.

Please note: Names in bold were used as search terms on Twitter to find the accounts.