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* Posts by Nick Woodruffe

41 posts • joined 9 Oct 2008

Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

Nick Woodruffe

about time it was revived

I still play both Gauntlet and Gauntlet II on MAME with my daughters and even the neighbours when they pop round for a cuppa.

The game still has legs and having no ending means you just keep going until bored or passed out.

Gauntlet Legends in the arcade didn't seem to catch on and my Mame box doesn't have the horsepower to simulate it properly at the moment. Really looking forward to this new version for the PC.

Who remembers the space themed game that was also similar as a 4 player with health requiring constant 10p input? I forget it's name but in Swindon the local arcade had this and Gauntlet.

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It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod

Nick Woodruffe

Re: Major downside

I'm not sure about "exercising my wrist" when the shock is liable to cause un-commanded muscle contractions. Either that or it's likely to cause me to tug it right off.

Could be fun for some

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Firefighters deliver trapped student from GIANT GERMAN LADYPARTS

Nick Woodruffe

I guess in the UK we would call that kind of monument "petrified beef curtains"

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HP Enterprise Services staff feel the burn as managers turn off the cash taps

Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

Oh dear...

Over the last ten years I have watched the quality of HP laptops drop. Everything is now so flimsy and the internal hardware is likely to break at the sneeze over the keyboard.

Every batch of 30 laptops that we order will have at least one DOA upon delivery. Getting HP to take that one away and give us a replacement is like trying to get blood out of a stone. We have had engineers arrive (eventually) to replace the motherboard in a week old laptop.

Our servers are HP in a blade chassis and thankfully this gear is still excellent but it seems to be the only product I would recommend. Just steer clear of their laptops.

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The DIY spy-in-the-sky: From kites to octocopters

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

Quadcopters, hexcopters and octocopters. Make brillaint camera platforms partly due to their excess thrust left over from using brushless motors.

Yes you can buy off the shelf or better still if you like playing with a soldering iron, make your own. I built my first using a small square of laminate flooring for the center plate and two lengths of 10mm square alloy tubing bought form B&Q. The control board can be pruchased for under 30 quid, add 4 speeed controlers, 4 props, 4 motors, transmitter and recieiver and have the whole lot ready to fly for under £200. Capable of lifting an SLR, I use mine with a Go-Pro as it's more durable when I crash.

Advise you get insureance by joining the BMFA for £30 per year but not sure how you would be covered flying in a built up area. Most model flyers have airfields or farmers fields to fly safe and uninterupted.

Its an interesting area and allows you to mess with Atmel, Arduino and other simple electronics. Just search for "Multiwii" or "kkmulticopter" on the internet to get a taste of what you can do with no more experience than mecanno.

If you reaaly want to see how well they fly in sport mode then search our "warthox" in vimeo.com That guy really can these things to the limit.

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Twenty classic arcade games

Nick Woodruffe

Re: tastes changed over time

Found it!

"Hyperball".

Images on google

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Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

Marble Madness

Was once on holiday playing Marble Madness in a seaside arcade. Unbeknown to me, my mum was stood behind me watching. When I finished the game her only comment was "So that's where all your money goes!"

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Nick Woodruffe
Happy

tastes changed over time

Having grown up in the 70s I found my game of choice changed over time. Starting with:

Space Invaders

Galaxians

Frogger

Space Duel

Tempest

Never a real fan of platformers so shootem ups continued to see my coins.

Joust

Gyruss

Xevious

Gauntlet

Quartet

Star Wars

1942

Raiden

Gradius

Nemesis

Last Resort

There was also a pinball machine that fired hundreds of ball bearings at light targets traveling up the sides of the table. You used two handles to rotate your gun barrell to aim at the targets. Anyone remember the name of this table? Would love to own one of these.

Time to dust off mame and my mame console tonight

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Nick Woodruffe

Re: Tempest and Space Wars

Space Duel was one of my favourites with your asteroid style ships tied together by a boom.

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Official: Sky to buy O2 and BE's home broadband product in £200m deal

Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

Bugger!

Such awful news for a Friday. Started with Demon. Moved to Nildram which once sold became unusable. Moved to BE and am very happy with setup.

Now looking for a new ISP. How much longer before we are left with no independent ISP?

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Kids as young as FIVE need lessons in online safety - NSPCC

Nick Woodruffe

Re: Optional

Just tried that in Google search. The first ten pages were all screwfix links....and then I got bored.

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Nick Woodruffe

Re: Oh dear

Draytek Vigor routers have parental controls built in for web filtering but I believe it is a paid for service which is why I have not tried it out on my router. Damn good router but expensive when compared against that free TalkTalk shite.

The problem is, how many parents who are not working in IT know how to configure their router.

When building laptops for parents, I install K9webprotection from Bluecoat. It's free for home use and works brilliantly for stopping kids access areas of the internet. You only need 15 minutes to show the parents how to login and adjust the settings.

www.k9webprotection.com

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Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

Re: IPv6

yep, just use opendns.

Free to register and use. Just pick the categories you want to block.

www.opendns.org

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Nick Woodruffe

Optional

Hmmm...

That took me to Screwfix!

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What happened to comics for kids? Hell, what happened to COMICS?

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

"Battle" and "Warlord" were my comics of choice when I was a kid. 2000AD sort of passed me by until my teens. Bit of a shame really as Rogue Trooper and Halo Jones are just brilliant.

Can you get any of the above on an ipad?

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iFixit CEO launches open Toshiba service guide scheme

Nick Woodruffe

No Tosh for me then.

Was considering a Tosh cheapo laptop for general use around the house. I think I'll skip that now and also my recommendations for Tosh gear to punters who ask in the office.

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Ever considered putting a rocket up someone's backside?

Nick Woodruffe
Mushroom

Oh yeah! Vasseline for protection??? It's petroleum jelly. That's like spreading napalm on your jewels.

Granted you have to warm the vasseline up but a rocket exhaust at several hundred degrees (even hotter if its a zinc based motor) will have no problem.

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Ten... PC games you may have missed

Nick Woodruffe
WTF?

What about "World of Tanks?"

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Foundering Nokia pushes 10,000 bods, 3 veeps overboard

Nick Woodruffe
Meh

Whatever happens to the hardware sales of Nokia, they will continue as a services company earning money from the IP list of Patents.

What did Apple pay them in Patent charges last year? $350M??

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Barclays Online Offline again

Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

I had a business account with them for a number of years about five years ago but switched after the usual terrible service. Every quarter I would be sent a letter telling me who my new business manager is.

Well they were never in the local branch and if you rang the so called direct number, all you got was a call centre.

With Natwest the business manager is still the same one. I can go in and say hello and grab a coffee in the branch and when required he has actually visited my office with paperwork that required a signature. I'm sticking with the more personal experience and an online banking system that works.

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Game goes titsup in Australia

Nick Woodruffe

"uk stores to remain open and fully staffed"

I would prefer to see "remain open and fully stocked". Oh well back to play.com

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Nick Woodruffe
Happy

Ooh memories

Started with a zx81 saved from paper round and bought 2nd hand just as everyone started to save for the Spectrum.

Built a joystick adapter to take the Atari vcs joystick which was directly soldered to the keyboard header in the zx81. Sold quite a few of these to friends and family.

Used to visit my schoolmate John and his dad Dave Looker who wrote Zuckman and Frogger for the zx81. They continued into spectrum, Dragon32, and cpc464 games and never looked back.

Moved on to the Texas Ti99/4a whilst the schools had BBC and Econet with Wordwise for the word processor on Rom chips.

The college had Atari ST before the OS was on ROM. Upgraded a few months later.

Started work in 1986 on Sperry (unisys) and Tandem and ended up on ICL, IBM and AS400 gear.

Moved over to Novell in 92 when Ethernet cards were £1000 quid each. Windows NT in 1998.

Now it's all AD, GPO and not so much fun. Can't wait to get a Raspberry PI.

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Apple profits almost double on iOS product sales leap

Nick Woodruffe

Yes but Samsung would rather sell their LCD to an external company and make a bigger profit margin than sell to the internal Galaxy department.

Now that Samsung has setup the LCD arm as a separate business, I suspect that the above is even more relevant.

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RIM to exit the consumer phone market

Nick Woodruffe
Black Helicopters

Re: Security banned!

We use "MobileIron" in our company.

Similar to Good Tech where corporate data is help in a separate encrypted sandbox on the smartphone or tablet. If the employee leaves we can selective wipe just the corporate data from the device or completely nuke the device if we are feeling nasty.

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New iPads to hit Apple stores on Friday

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

New users here

Got my two pads on order as I opted for the engraving option.

One for me as since I have had an iPhone for the last 4 years, the number of times I turn the PC on to browse the web whilst watching TV has dropped significantly. Instant on is brillant for browsing during TV adverts.

The second is for my mum who has her 70th Birthday next week. She asked for a Kindle as her mobile library has closed (council cost cutting). I figured the the ipad3 screen would be less eye strain than the ipad2 and as she also likes soduko and scrabble, it would be the better choice. She also paints watercolour so very tempted to add that Autodesk sketch app to the device.

So two new customers here.

I think with the icloud backup, no requirement for itunes, retina displays; that the iPhone and iPad along with the iOS have all finally come of age.

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Ten... top iOS games

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

Carcasonne for me. Great on iOS, no idea if it's available for Android

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Dead gamer sat unnoticed for nine hours in net cafe

Nick Woodruffe
Coat

ponging?

I wonder if he started to smell?

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Raspberry Pi Linux micro machine enters mass production

Nick Woodruffe

MAME console??

So I have a PC behind my TV running MAME and a couple of home made joystick boards. Baesd on the number of low powered old games that I play (Invaders, Asteroids), it will be interesting to see this board fired up to play Mame.

Then I could build the entire system into the underside of a joystick board.

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Microsoft's uphill battle to push Win8 tabs into punters' paws

Nick Woodruffe
Black Helicopters

MobileIron

Take a look at MobileIron. We have rolled this out in our Company. It allows us to manage those iphone and ipads.

Install/recommend apps

Block apps.

Install our own apps (apple dev license required)

Change wifi settings

remote wipe geo locate.

add passkeys and lock the device

MobileIron also works with android devices but I wouldn't bother as the functionality is severely limited until ICS is released.

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BlackBerry stumbles to feet, full of apologies

Nick Woodruffe
Joke

Says it all right here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAG39jKi0lI

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The internet ate our homework

Nick Woodruffe

i have to disagree (UK)

I do not agree with this. In the UK and certainly in my local area, the bike shops are very friendly and know their regular customers by name. Even when they did not know me, they gave great support on sizing cycle helmets for my children.

What you will also find is that quite a few of the bike brands require you to collect from a shop so even when bikes are advertised on the web, they cannot be delivered. This is part of the contract the shop has with the supplier along with not discounting 2011 model year bikes for the first six months.

Yes some brands can be delivered but Trek and Specialized are (when I last checked) a collect only product.

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Google Android 3.0 on track for New Year tablet launches

Nick Woodruffe

January....

Just in time for the Apple announcement a month later for iPad 2.

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Apple wipes smile off FaceTime in the Middle East

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

not pointless

I guess we all have different requirements but facetime for me is very good.

In the last month I have used it with a colleague to discus a circuit design using the camera pointed at the paper where I could see what he was drawing. That was an hour long conversation and saved a long journey and petrol costs.

As I'm in Spain next month and away from the wife and kids then it will be useful to say goodnight to them each evening. Granted i could do similar over the phone but actually seeing them is a huge plus point.

Also it just works.

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Nokia E72 smartphone

Nick Woodruffe

have you actually tried it

I am aware that the messaging client built into the firmware has mail for exchange capability. Just try and use it in anger and tell me that it works for you. In my experience of using the firmware version, it's a dog.

Yes you could by Profimail like the review has mentioned but what company is going to shell out more cash because the messaging client is not up to the job. If Blackberry and Iphone can get it right then surely Nokia can.

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Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

Huge Nokia Fail

Another good phone buggered by crap software.

Just like the E75, you are stuck with the built-in Nokia Messaging suite which must have been written by a complete idiot. It has to be one of the most useless suites for integrating with your MS Exchange system.

With the E71 you install Mail-for-Exchange as a free download and everything just works.

Mail-for-Exchange will not even install on the E72 and the Nokia Messaging suite will crash, fail to connect or even slow your phone down to a crawl.

Stupid Nokia.

Thank god my company bought loads of E71s before they were discontinued otherwise we would be forced back to a Microsoft OS phone to get good email connectivity.

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Nokia sues Apple over iPhone

Nick Woodruffe
FAIL

Ha!

Nokia....the new SCO?

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Samsung GT-B2100 Solid Extreme rugged phone

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

...well with an iPhone

@FFred - all those features you asked for are available in the iPhone App Store and only 59p each.

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US brain-plug interface gets live human trials

Nick Woodruffe
Stop

No way!

Am I going to have a chip implant running any kind of MS Embeded OS. It will bring a whole new meaning to "brain freeze".

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Lotus offers to end e-car silent running

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

Use your eyes!

As someone who has had the oportunity to drive the Mitsubishi MiEV around a busy town centre, far too many people rely too much on their hearing when crossing the road and not looking at all. It scares the living daylights out of them when you beep your horn from 3 foot away.

Great head turner as you purr past with only the tyre noise to break the silence.

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Tiscali shares suspended on titsup fears

Nick Woodruffe
Thumb Up

At last!

It couldn't happen to a more deserving company.

Pity the poor persons who have Tiscali accounts, but what about all those companies who have their business lines through them? Vanco (now Global Reliance Com) used Tiscali when they sold bandwidth to UK businesses.

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Symantec swoops on Messagelabs

Nick Woodruffe
Unhappy

a long time coming..

Well that wasn't a surprise. I've been waiting for an announcement like that for 2 years now. We were with ML for a good few years but switched to Blackspider (now Websense Hosted Mail) 3 years back.

At the time we switched, the ML product worked well but Blackspider had a better web management console for fine tuning your settings. When we switched, ML did not have a management console worth looking at. In all our meetings with ML, the only thing they could say was an improved management console was on it's way.

Our personal opinion in 2005 was that ML were trying to sell out and cutting development costs whereas Blackspider and Postini were throwing money at their products.

So we waited and waited for ML to improve. Each year we entertained Postini and ML to present their improved products and still we stayed with Blackspider.

Finally ML produced a front end that could take on Blackspider and we saw it demoed in early 2008. Apart from email branding, you could do most of the adjustments that Postini and Blackspider can do. However they were the most expensive on price so Blackspider wins at the moment.

It's not been so smooth with Blackspider. At the start it was direct phone calls to the engineer in Reading if you had a problem. That disapeared when SurfControl bought them out. Support has got slower since Websense has bought SurfControl but the online service has improved as SurfControl was not helping the product.

We like Postini and it matches what Blackspider offers on features and price but we need to see Blackspider really mess up to force us to move again.

I wonder if the ML staff will have to move to Green park in Reading. At least Green park doesn't flood unlike Gloucester. What will happen to Star? Do they still share a building with ML?

Anyone have any opinion on Postini apart from "It's owned by Google"?

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