Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Budget - A brief Rant

Okay, less than a day after it was unveiled I'm officially fed up of Labour and others moaning about the budget. When asked whether they want tax increases or spending cuts, people always say spending cuts. When asked what spending on services they want to cut, they say none of them. Osbourne, though he is an evil manchild, produced a tough but fair budget.

People didn't want tax increases, so there weren't any. What appeared instead were big spending cuts and a rise in VAT. People want to reduce the debt and have lower taxes and increased public spending at the same time. As Bill Maher said 'That's like thinking getting a hand job will clean the garage.' Someone had to act like a grownup, and Labour was kicking the ball downfield when they were in power to avoid any unpopularity (though why a bunch of international law breakers, supporters of war crimes and establishers of a modern police state would care about being unpopular I don't know), or risk losing the election. Though I am loathe to admit it, the Tories (and the Liberals) were the grownups we needed. So stop fucking moaning.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Nintendo's Genius

Watching the E3 media briefings this week, it quickly comes apparent the kind of value that a history of game design has.

Sony, as a power in the video game world is only 15 or so years old. Microsoft is only 10. Nintendo is 25. The grandfather of modern console gaming is proving, in the HD age, why it is setting the agenda, not the power houses.

Nintendo has come a long way. It reinvented the wheel in the '80s with the Nintendo Entertainment System, a newfangled 'console' that was built solely to play games. It gave us Super Mario Brothers, a revelation. It gave us Zelda, the first computer game that actually allowed you to save your progress through the game.

These things were revelatory. It then simply upped the horsepower with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (my first video games console) and produced some of the greatest classics in gaming history - Starfox, Super Metroid, Super Mario World.

But it was then that Sony reared its head and forced Nintendo to adapt. They game up with the first fully 3D game ever created; Super Mario 64, and followed it with games like Goldeneye 007 and Conker's Bad Fur Day, two other games that had a massive impact on the way we play games.

As using a console to play DVDs and act as a media centre became more popular, Nintendo seemed to start slipping behind. They produced the Gamecube to compete with the PS2 and original XBox. They announced that their unnamed followup would not be an HD console. It seemed as if they were losing their way.

No, they were reinventing the wheel again.

The Gamecube gave us the first wireless controller, the Wavebird. It's follow up is a little white box called the Wii.

Enough has been written about the Wii to explain it's revolutionary success. The sales figures speak for themselves (in Japan it outsells the PS3 and XBox 360 6:1). All there is to say that in the purported age of HD, online gaming, the little white box with sticks for controllers, no HDMI and fairly bog standard networking abilities is the market leader.

Which brings us to this week' E3. While Microsoft and Sony are showing off Kinect and Move, their own motion control toys, Nintendo debuted the 3DS. The world's first - and only - fully 3D gaming device (we can also note here that despite having half the horse power of the PSP the original Nintendo DS is the second best selling gaming system of all time, having sold over 129million units).

As Microsoft and Sony are playing catchup (and to be fair to them Microsoft's Kinect is pretty revolutionary) Nintendo is taking strides - once again - into the unknown.

They turned gaming on it's head with the NES, Gameboy and Nintendo 64, and then suffered as they waited for technology to catch up to their next great visions; the DS and Wii. Nintendo's lean years of 1998-2004 were spent biding their time, waiting for the right moment to do what they have always done best: not just lead the market, but invent it.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010


I'm hearing a lot about the drama surrounding BP at the moment; how their market value is dropping like a stone and their dividends are getting swept away.

Quite frankly, I don't care.

I cannot understand the obsession in the British media and amongst some of the British political class with defending Britain from what they deem to be obsessive attacks from America. Criticising BP is not anti-British. It's anti-planet destroying corporations. That corporation just happens to be based in the UK.

The people who are saying that Obama's attacks are risking British pensions are, quite frankly, idiots. Would these same people tell off a rape victim because several people happened to have money invested in the rapist?

It is the fault of the pension companies who invested such a massive amount of cash into a single company. If BP collapsed in Enron like circumstances would people be arguing about pensions then? No.

It's an effort to protect arguably one of the biggest British businesses from being regulated and punished by the Obama administration. BP deserves everything it gets. On average, the five other major oil companies average about 5-7 safety violations a year. BP has clocked up over 700. They are in a league of their own. They are environmental criminals and the people in charge deserve to be in prison.

Safety violation after safety violation. Environmental disaster after environmental disaster. And we keep letting them off because they pay a lot of tax. They are the modern East India Trading Company; a modern monolith that thinks it is too big to be stopped.

Pride goeth before a fall. And hopefully BP will fall hard.

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Location:Alwyn Ave,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Monday, 14 June 2010

Let's Try Mobile Blogging

So, I haven't updated this blog in months, mainly because I haven't written anything substantive in over a year, due to the myriad of other things that have been going on in my life over the past twelve months or so.

I'm going to try and re-engage though, and instead of blogging only lengthy articles I'm going to try and make this an expanded version of my Facebook/Twitter feed; in that I shall take that 120 character thought that I'm consigned to on there and expanded on it through here. We can all thank the iPad and iPhone for this.

I doubt these posts will reach anywhere near the length of my previous stuff, but I think it'll be interesting to produce short comments about whatever I feel like, no more than an A4 page or so and see how things go from there.

The revolution was yesterday.

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Location:Alwyn Ave,Hounslow,United Kingdom