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Posts Tagged ‘cool stuff’

TV Review: The Colony, Survival Horror Reality TV

The Colony was shot in an abandoned industrial estate in New York in February, 2009, airing in July, 2009 in the US. We’re only just getting it here in Australia, the entire first season is complete, so in true (YARR!) pirate fashion I leeched the entire first season (take that Discovery AU), and watched it back to back. It’s set in a post-appocalyptic environment where a viral outbreak has killed the majority of the worlds people and throws random people into a factory to set up shop, make a home, and survive. Throughout this there are people coming, people going, people vanishing, simulating a real end-world scenario, including marauders!

I promised I won’t go into too much depth reviewing this because a lot of people who read my crap want to watch it for themselves, but I just want to go on record saying, all sexism aside, if this situation occured I would NOT let a single female into my encampment. SO MUCH DRAMA. Omfg. There’s a few guys who are utter dickheads, but one of those dickheads is behind 99% of everything that kept their camp alive, lit, heated, fed, and mobile, but every five seconds this fat he-bitch 22 year old ‘aeronautic engineer’ who ‘makes canals’ (IN THE SKY?!?) keeps raging at him, along with a couple of other lippy motherfuckers who turn every possibly tense scenario into an over the top broiling emotional rage argument packed with dramu that would make the internet double handed facepalm.

So, Morgan Hooker, Leilani Smith, Amy West, Allison White I’m calling you guys out. You’re a pack of fucking bawwing dicks.

One thing that I didn’t quite like, however, is that all of the people involved (whether true or not) had a heap of real world credentials, lots of engineers, scientists, etc. The most likeable of the characters is the handyman, Mike, and the ex-convict guy. They have tempers, and act a bit over the top at times, but they’re the most grounded characters.

There’s a second season in the making to be aired in the US in August, so it’ll probably get to Australia in 2012, but by then we’ll be living in factories post-appocalyptica, mirite? 🙂

Twitter Client Reviews: My New Weapon of Choice

Most of you have probably seen me evangelize the wonders of API functional clients for Twitter, I have several very large Twitter accounts, @bashpr0mpt is just the one you know me as, the rest are for business, and some for pleasure. Some are just to blow off steam anonymously even. But all are pretty bloody big. So when it comes to clients, I don’t have time to fuck around with various trialware, shareware, etc. Many of you know I’m a no nonsense kind of guy and I’m not some cash strapped welfare twit either, so I’m willing to fork out some dosh for a good product. I previously threw $10 at my first API client, it was (well, later named) MyPostButler, I used it for quite some time effectively but also used several other mass-managers for Facebook and MySpace.
Ideally I eventually want to make a good multiple-network manager software, I’ve thrown up a few adverts on Freelancer to hire me some code monkeys to make this happen but unfortunately that’s a project that’s in the medium-term goals as of yet (and no you can’t have it free, but I’ll make sure it’s as near ‘at cost’ as I can make it depending on how much out of pocket I’ll be). In the interim I’m still using the dodgy mass managers for my other networks, but MPB is sadly closing it’s doors. Well, no, the owner is selling it off. The downside is there’s no assurance that the new owner will honour previous clients by providing free updates everytime Twitter change their API. Future-proofing is integral to any marketing campaign, even if you’re only marketing yourself, with your name being a brand and your product being your words, views, opinions.

Thus it became time to review Twitter managers. I tried about six in total, only one seemed to be what I needed. TweetAttack came close but it’s license fees are too steep ($200ish), TweetAdder is near identical however it lacks a few ‘spammer’ tools TweetAttack has. It should be noted that ‘spammer tools’ when used in every day life for a non-profit entity just makes managing huge bloody friends lists easier for the most part. TweetAdder does all the mass-management I need though.

5 of the main selling features for me: –

  1. I can dump a heap of tweets and let it tweet while I’m asleep so I can keep in touch with my friends across the big puddle.
  2. It manages who I add, and removes them if they don’t follow back within X days (I set it to a fortnight, try before you buy style.)
  3. It remembers who you remove so you don’t add them again.
  4. It let’s me target followers by adding people by niche interest so I -am- finding friends and not just numerics for epeen.
  5. It keeps track of … well, EVERYTHING, and can automate everything so my life is much easier.

As many of you know, and are probably waiting for, I’m putting together a tome of the arcane magic of social networking (for fun or profit) based on my encounters with tens of thousands of fellow net socialites, so expect an entire bloody chapter on this beautiful little piece of software. I forked out $188 for my license for it, but I’ve signed up as an affiliate so I can get a discount for friends, family and followers alike, the link for it for $50 is: – http://tinyurl.com/264hl8m

Even if you’re a tight arse and never want to pay a cent for a Twitter client, hit it up and at least play with the demo and enjoy a day of power-user Twittering for the lullz. There’s no catch, no con, no sign up, no … well, nothing, just a sweet little API accessing client that’ll make your daunting user list seem easy, or make your scrawny userlist grow. 🙂

The downsides of this client, I might add, is the fact it’s for PC and Mac only and thus isn’t for portable devices. Which I tend to use 99% of the time. But bleh, horses for courses.

Valve Release Portal 2 ARG (Alternate Reality Game)

The seemingly-massive Valve ARG that started with a mystery update to Portal could be teasing either Portal 2 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 – or both.

On Monday, a surprise patch to the three-year-old fan favorite Portal spawned a massive Alternate Reality Game that had internet communities from Steam to Something Awful racing to figure out the puzzles. Two days later, we may not have the puzzle solved, but we have a lot of very interesting new information – frustratingly, there’s very little that’s concrete; everything that the intrepid puzzle-solvers have uncovered seems to be just designed to tantalize and tease.

The original post in its entirety is below, and while I’ll attempt to recap the new information, it really does help to go to the Steam forums themselves.

Most of the new stuff seems to have come from the ASCII images – a cleaned-up version can be found here, and a colorized version can be seen here. There are plenty of fan theories bouncing around the forums: For instance, some fans are speculating that what I called “Vortigaunts holding hands” in the original post (second column, at the bottom) are possibly Combine super-soldiers as seen in the Half-Life 2 games.

More interesting, though, is this image, which appears to show what could very well be an ASCII-ized screenshot from a hypothetical Portal 2. And then there’s this, which is unmistakably a human female holding what could be the iconic Portal Gun – perhaps the game’s protagonist, Chell?

The mysterious ASCII images aren’t the only things fans have uncovered, though. There are also some “confidential” Aperture Science documents that offer some insight into the workings of the secretive laboratory – ideal “Low Risk” candidates for testing include “hoboes [sic] and tramps, orphans and foundlings, psychiatric patients and seniors” – as well as its founder, Cave Johnson.

“A lot of you have been raising concerns about the so-called “dangers” of what we’re all doing here. The beancounters told me to tell you that as of today, testing will no longer be as mandatory or as dangerous. That’s not gonna happen and here’s the reason.

Science isn’t about why, it’s about why not. You ask: Why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: Why not marry safe science if you love it so much. In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won’t hit you in the butt on the way out, because you are fired.

Plus, in the event of your death, I personally guarantee that, thanks to the form you were required to sign this morning, your family will not suffer the indignities of a prolonged and costly legal battle against Aperture Science. Trust me, I am rich, and it is a burden I would not wish on anyone.”

It’s clear that much of this is white noise, designed to mislead as much as it is to inform – but how much of it is made up of red herrings, and what does it all mean?

The immediately obvious answer is that this would all seem to be pointing towards a reveal for Portal 2, but the presence of main-series Half-Life imagery leads some to believe that there could be an Episode 3 unveiling in the works as well. Perhaps Portal 2 will bridge the two series together, leading to an epic conclusion?

We’ll probably find out on March 11th.

Update: The game now has a new ending. Shock!

The original post is below in its entirety:

A surprise content patch to the three-year-old Portal yesterday has spawned a feverish race on the internet to decode an ARG that seems to be teasing… something big.

There’s something lurking behind the scenes in Valve-land.

It all started yesterday when owners of the beloved physics-puzzle FPS Portal discovered that the game had a new content patch – which was odd, given its age. That innocuous little patch has since spurred a massive race on the internet between communities like Steam and Something Awful, as they scramble to unravel an ARG that appears to be teasing a new Valve game. (An ARG, by the way, is an Alternate Reality Game – something that asks gamers to figure out real-life puzzles; arguably the most famous example of which is Halo 2‘s ilovebees. It could also stand for the noise you make when you can’t figure out the puzzle).

There’s a ton of dizzying information about the game so far, and we’re still learning more, but I’ll attempt a recap: The Portal update included a new mystery achievement, and people who loaded the game up again found that the radio in the starting chamber now had a green light. If players stood in certain areas of the Aperture Science test chamber while carrying the radio, it would start to emit strange static interference.

While they could have done things the hard way, it was much easier to just rip the .wav files from the game itself. The static turned out to be a code when fed through a steganography program (*I have been corrected on this – more below*), a code that resulted in numbered images which – when fed through another program – led to a land line in Kirkland, WA (near Valve’s HQ). Only it wasn’t a land line at all, but a data line for an encrypted BBS. On said BBS, people found strange data which turned out to be interesting ASCII pictures.

Some of the pictures are unmistakable: Vortigaunts holding hands, an Aperture Science door, the defense turrets (turn your head to the right), and of course nefarious AI, GLaDOS herself. This is where everything stands right now, because the internet is still trying to figure it out.

One interesting little tidbit of information: The ASCII information identifies the crazy AI antagonist as GLaDOS v3.11 – and as it happens, 3/11 (that is, March 11th) is the day on which Valve head honcho Gabe Newell will be receiving the Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award at GDC. Could the man be planning on making some sort of surprise announcement or reveal?

And if he is, just what would he be revealing? We’ve already been told that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 won’t be coming this year, but there’s always Portal 2.

Curiouser and curiouser, indeed. Between this, the ApocalyPS3, and the Infinity Ward lockdown, yesterday was a really weird day for gaming.


Update: 7r3nd has written in to inform me exactly what happened regarding the .wav files and the information encoded therein – and how no steganography was involved. I’m going to be honest and say that this is a bit beyond me, so rather than try to offer another explanation that’d only end up muddying the information, I’m going to just copy/paste it below.

There’s some information noted in the “Crazy Valve ARG Teases … Portal 2?” posting which is incorrect.

Several of the dinosaur wav files that were extracted from the new portal gcf that were not morse code sound files, were actually SSTV transmissions, and not steganography as reported in the posting.

SSTV is just an audible way to transmit an image.

Essentially what is required is to play the audio back and pipe it to SSTV software which reads the data from the audio stream and in turn displays the actual image is is contained in the data.

More about SSTV can be read here:

There was not steganography involved.

It sounds very much like listening to the audio noise generated when you listen in on a modem.

The resulting images were analyzed and noticed that certain characters where cricled.

The circled characters where collected and ended up making a 32 character string which turned out to be an MD5 hash.

More on MD5 here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Md5

The MD5 hash ended up being a hash for the phone number for the BBS.

The BBS itself was not encrypted. It was just necessary to use the correct terminal settings to display the content properly.

Once the content displayed correctly, a username and password was required.

The username and password was provided trough the transposed morse code that was extracted from the dinosaur wav files.

It still sounds like techno-voodoo to me, but glad to know that the people working on this know what they’re doing!

14 y/o in India ‘Crying Blood’

Twinkle Dwivedi, a 14-year-old who lives in northern India, has been spontaneously bleeding from her eyes, nose, hairline, neck and soles of her feet for the last three years, UK tabloid The Sun reports. The bleeding can happen up to 50 times a day and result in the loss of litres of blood.

“I bleed from my eyes, my hands, my head, from everywhere. From my ears and nose as well,” Twinkle said. “It doesn’t hurt when the bleeding starts. But it makes me tired and sometimes I have headaches.” Because of the bleeding Twinkle has been unable to attend her school in Lucknar, Uttar Pradesh.

Dr George Buchanan, an expert haematologist from the US, examined Twinkle in a Mumbai hospital but was unable to explain the strange condition. “I’ve never seen a case of someone who bleeds spontaneously from their scalp or their palms, or read about it in medical history,’ Dr George Buchanan said. “It doesn’t seem physically possible for blood to seep through intact skin.”

Clearly the media misrepresented Dr Buchanan, or he need return to general practice, as hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis) is a well documented but very rare condition in which a human being sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci: describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions in the Bible, that Jesus experienced hematidrosis when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22,44).

Hemochromatosis, another form of sweating blood, is a disorder due to deposition of hemosiderin in the parenchymal cells, causing tissue damage and dysfunction of the liver, pancreas, heart, and pituitary. Other clinical signs include bronze pigmentation of skin which may fly under the radar given the girls complexion, arthropathy, diabetes, cirrhosis, hepatosplenomegaly, hypogonadism, and loss of body hair, none of which are evident. Full development of the disease among women is restricted by menstruation and pregnancy.

According to Dr. Frederick Zugibe, Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York, sweating blood is well-known, and there have been many cases of it, “Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form. Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands. As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.”

In a lecture, Dr. Zugibe stated: “The severe mental anxiety…activated the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress-fight or flight reaction to such a degree causing hemorrhage of the vessels supplying the sweat glands into the ducts of the sweat glands and extruding out onto the skin. While hematidrosis has been reported to occur from other rare medical entities, the presence of profound fear accounted for a significant number of reported cases including six cases in men condemned to execution, a case occurring during the London blitz, a case involving a fear of being raped, a fear of a storm while sailing, etc. The effects on the body is that of weakness and mild to moderate dehydration from the severe anxiety and both the blood and sweat loss.”

Posted: January 11th, 2010
Categories: pop culture, science
Tags: , ,
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Action Games Improve Eyesight

I’ve had many an argument online with folks obsessed with ‘you’ll go blind’ mentality towards video games, amongst other things. I feel vindicated today as I read that a study found video games are “good for eyes”, far from being harmful to eyesight action games provide excellent training for what eye doctors call contrast sensitivity.

Contrast sensitivity is the ability to notice tiny changes in shades of grey against a uniform background, and is critical to everyday activities such as night driving and reading. It often degrades with age.

The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveal a previously unsuspected adaptability in the brain, and could open the way to new therapies, the researchers said. ”This is not a skill that people were supposed to get better at by training,” said Daphne Bavelier, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York state and the study’s lead researcher.

”It was something that we corrected for at the level of the optics of the eye – to get better contrast detection you get glasses or laser surgery.”

”What we found is that even without this correction you can help your brain make better use of whatever information is received from your retina,” she said.

For the study, Bavelier and three colleagues conducted two sets of experiments. In the first, they compared the contrast sensitivity of hard-core action game players with video game aficionados of the same age who preferred less rapid-fire fare.

In action games, players typically target and shoot figures that pop up suddenly on a computer screen. The researchers found that the action buffs were 50 percent more efficient at detecting contrast. But there remained a chicken-or-egg question: had their vision been improved by playing, or did they become action game players because they had better than average contrast sensitivity to start with?

To find out, Bavelier asked two groups of non-action video game players to undergo 50 hours of training. One played a popular point-and-shoot game called Call of Duty, and the other played a game that offered a rich visual experience, but one bereft of action.

”We found that the people in the first group improved by 43 percent, and the other group not at all,” she said. As important, the study also found that the improvement was not transitory. ”The positive effect remained months, even years after training, indicating long-lasting gains,” she said.

Is there some limit beyond which playing action games loses its positive effect or becomes detrimental? Can you, in other words, have too much of a ‘good thing’?

“For your visual system, probably not. For your social life, perhaps,” said Bavelier.

Roxxxy the Sexbot, by ‘TrueCompanion’

In what is billed as a world first, a life-size robotic girlfriend complete with artificial intelligence and flesh-like synthetic skin was introduced to adoring fans at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

“She can’t vacuum, she can’t cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean,” TrueCompanion’s Douglas Hines said while introducing Roxxxy to the world, needless to say most men would see that as a fair trade off.

“She’s a companion. She has a personality. She hears you. She listens to you. She speaks. She feels your touch. She goes to sleep. We are trying to replicate a personality of a person.”

Roxxxy stands 170cm (five feet, seven inches) tall, weighs 54.43kg (120lbs), “has a full C cup and is ready for action,” according to Hines, who was an artificial intelligence engineer at Bell Labs before starting TrueCompanion.

Roxxxy comes with five personalities. Wild Wendy is outgoing and adventurous, while Frigid Farrah is reserved and shy.

There is a young naive personality along with a Mature Martha that Hines described as having a “matriarchal kind of caring”. S & M Susan is geared for more adventurous types.

Aspiring partners can customise Roxxxy features, including race, hair colour and breast size. A male sex robot named Rocky is in development.

People ordering the robots online at truecompanion.com detail their tastes and interests much like online dating sites but here, the information is used to get the mechanical girlfriend in synch with her mate.

Posted: January 10th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, gadget, pop culture, technology
Tags: , , , , ,
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Dolby Silences Loud Adverts

Dolby Volume was developed to address a complaint seeming as old as television itself; that shows on screens seem to whisper while commercials shout despite being on the same volume settings. Volume inconsistencies can also occur when compact disks are switched in players or between music files in MP3 devices.

For fellow Australians, you really don’t appreciate how loud adverts are until you download and listen to an American broadcast with adverts intact. You think our ads are loud? The US ones are screamingly loud, I’m talking at least twice the volume of the show that’s being aired!

“One of the biggest complaints consumers have had is volume inconsistencies,” Mr Eggers said. “We solved that problem. Dolby Volume gives us the capability to choose our favourite volume level for all media then set aside the remote and never touch it again.”

The technology is being built into Toshiba televisions and car audio products this year, according to Dolby.

The company recently showed off Dolby True HD, which is being built into Blu-ray high definition video players and disks to deliver sound tracks as immersive as the imagery. “A person with a Blu-ray player can literally hear the same quality heard in the studio when they were mixing the audio; the same quality as is on the master tapes,” Mr Eggers said.

Dolby also developed a Digital Plus audio technology to bring “surround-sound” to online films and other content delivered to televisions that are being built with “widgets” linking them to online services. France, Italy and Poland have adopted Dolby Digital Plus as a standard for high-definition audio in televisions, according to the company.

Dolby also has put technology in headphones that provide stereo surround-sound experiences to people playing films or music on computers, MP3 players or mobile telephones. Dolby Axon in headsets for videogame lovers gives positional feedback to people talking to each other while playing together online by making voices sound as though they are coming from where virtual characters happen to be.

Voices get louder as gamers approach one another, and fainter with distance, according to Dolby. Like in life, sounds made by on-screen characters are obstructed by objects in the game.

“As a gamer, I can tell you it comes in pretty handy to be able to hear your enemies footsteps coming up behind you,” Mr Eggers said.

Posted: January 10th, 2010
Categories: gadget, general, hack, lifestyle, movies, music, technology
Tags: , , ,
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Five Tips to Get Followers

I’ve gotten 2,363 friends on social networks and broke 1kpday hits on my blog without using gimmick sites that spam your list, I tried one and all it did was spam my feed once every 24 hours and scored me 3 followers in a week. Those things are about as lame as truetwit, although truetwit falls into another entire category of rude, while it doesn’t spam your feed it uses the byline ‘stop wasting your time with spammers’, the downside is you start wasting your followers time with lame captcha codes. Spammers aren’t that prolific on twitter, you can tell their accounts in a glance, they usually have some scantly clad wench or no icon for starters. And you want them on your list as much as you want bowel cancer, mirite?

Alas, I digress. Is it really that inconceivable that expressing yourself and commenting on interesting things throughout your day will encourage people to follow you? I follow HEAPS of people who blog and tweet about their boring every day lives, because it’s interesting to share the human experience with others, it even helps you understand yourself a bit more when you begin to realise we’re all not that dissimilar (although we all never manage to get along!) but really, there’s no gimmick that seems to work if you ask me.

Two days ago I broke 100 followers on Twitter and almost shat my pants in excitement because I remember what a big deal my mates made of achieving such, I’d never dabbled with social media until I decided to give it a run for it’s money a fortnight ago. Two days later I’m approaching 400 followers. How? By using spammy networks? By spamming my userlist with get rich quick schemes, trump network, acai berry magic voodoo drinks? Fuck no. By spouting the same old crap everyone else I’m following is spouting, except in my particular shade of brown. Honestly, I’m as flawed as every other person, I have my boring moments, I have my witty one liners, to quote Depeche Mode, people are people.

Five tips to getting users: –

1) Put yourself out there, talk to people, read randoms, meet and greet, try and ‘touch’ every user you add, by touch I mean it in a marketing sense of engaging them directly, if you have too many people and can’t engage every one of them directly then why do you want more people?

2) Be consistent. Be true to your ideas and objectives. If you have a specific interest, talk about it. Got nothing to say but feel like shooting the breeze? Do it. Don’t sell yourself out and start talking about celebrity panties collections just to gain more viewers. Perez may have got big, but he sure as hell sold his soul for it. How much are you going to pay for a few random internet prats loving your prose?

3) Cross-network, if you use facebook, myspace, etc, like I do, always remind your users to add you on other networks. Crossing networks is a great way to keep in touch in different formats, where twitter is 140 text flickr is purely images, facebook is a median, myspace is … okay, well myspace is for 18 year old emo sluts and dirty old men like me who add them just to have 18 year old emo sluts on their friends list somewhere. But you get my point. Join every network you can.

4) Syndicate your content. I have a profile on almost every social networking site, and they all feed from one another. I post this blog here, twitter automatically tweets that I posted it, my tumblr syndicates it, myspace and facebook source my twitter feed and post that, etc. It means every site you’re on has the same level of content as every other, so you should get even growth depending on demographic cross over and the like.

5) Be patient. Sure, you can pay someone $50 to get you 1,000 twitter users, but why? You’re selling something? You want to spam them with your crap? That 1,000 will shrink damn fast, if they’re even legit users. If you want to spam, social networks aren’t the right place anymore, no one gives a crap. If you want your ego stroked, it’d be stroked more if you achieved followers through being interesting rather than buying them. Just relax, in time you’ll reach big numbers, it’s inevitable.

Posted: December 14th, 2009
Categories: general, lifestyle, technology, twitter
Tags: , , , , ,
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Zombie Infection Survivability Results

I stumbled upon this little article floating around the net randomly searching zombie related things to find synonyms to express how sleep deprived I feel; whilst I am unsure of the statistical models used or the science behind it being solid, it definitely made me smile to see something like this in the NY Times: –

Epidemiologists today worry a lot about swine flu. But earlier this year, Philip Munz got interested in a more devastating possibility: an outbreak of zombies. A graduate student at Carleton University in Ottawa, he was watching a lot of movies about the undead and realized that zombification could be regarded as a classic paradigm of infectious spread: people get bitten by zombies, after which they turn into zombies themselves and start biting others. So Munz decided to use the tools of epidemiology to answer a sobering public-health question: could humanity survive a zombie outbreak?

Working with a professor and two other graduate students, Munz built a mathematical model of a city of one million residents, in which an outbreak occurs when a single zombie arrives in town. He based the speed of zombie infection on the general rules you see in George Romero movies: after getting bitten, people turn into zombies in 24 hours and sometimes don’t realize what’s happening to them until they change.

When he ran the model on a computer, the results were bleak. “After 7 to 10 days, everyone was dead or undead,” he says. He tried several counterattacks. Quarantining the zombies didn’t work; it only bought a few extra days of survival for humanity. Even creating a “cure” for zombification led to a grim result. It was possible to save 10 to 15 percent of the population, but everyone else was a zombie. (The cure in his model wasn’t permanent; the cured could be rebitten and rezombified.)

There was only one winning solution: fighting back quickly and fiercely. If, after the first zombies emerge, humanity begins a policy of “eradication,” then the zombies can be beaten. This is, as Munz points out, what traditionally saves humanity in zombie flicks. “People finally realize what’s happened,” he says, “and they call the army in.” Or as he concludes in his paper on the work, to be published in the collection “Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress”: “The most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often.” CLIVE THOMPSON

Posted: December 12th, 2009
Categories: general, lifestyle, news, zombies
Tags: , , , , ,
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The Secret to ‘Getting Followers’

I got to realising today, I follow marketing techniques that the ‘learn to make money from <social network>’ people on the internet use. They actually charge people to teach them how to make friends, and explain a simple concept that, in the web 2.0 world your opinion is your product and your person is your brand. To make friends and network, you need to build your brand, whilst selling your product. The key to success at that is to be original, creative, and keep posting often! Sure, some people won’t dig your shiz but that’s all part of the game of life, most people will provided you’re not batshit insane and ranting about wearing diapers and committing bestial acts, because we’re all curious about the ‘other’ in this world and like experiencing people from all walks of life.

I began to realise I’ve only been blogging for FIFTEEN DAYS and have only had a web 2.0 presense for FOURTEEN on sites like Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, et cetera. And yet I’ve got hundreds of friends on all of them, almost half a grand on facebook alone. This is apparently abnormal, but I put it down to the fact that I’m as curious about you as you are about me, and I’m more than happy to read your rantings as you are mine because even if I only find one gem in an entire day of reading that I take away with me, it’s that gem that enriches me as a person through my interactions with others.

The bottom line to making friends on any social network is to keep talking, be friendly, and enjoy mankind and the experiences of life that such offers!

I want to take a moment to extend an invitation to my friends, followers, fans, and fellow bloggers who are friends on X network but not Y with me to hit me up on some of the social networks I’m on, friend me, and provide me the opportunity to friend you back, so if you use any of the following, please add me: –

Most of my content syndicates across most networks, so my main purpose behind this is to be able to read different aspects of your life and hopefully find a good read here and there, so put yourselves out there; I often recommend interesting posters to my friends lists so you’ll probably get a few hundred followers just by tracking me down on these networks. Anyway, enjoy! <3

If you liked this article, please retweet it or pass it on to someone you consider a friend!

Ps: I realise that not spamming / selling something is an advantage to the business models discussed in the first few paragraphs, but it’s still the same concept in a way. Be friendly, fun, and offer people something to take away, be it a smile or a pearl of wisdom or a laugh, and you make friends!

Posted: December 11th, 2009
Categories: lifestyle, news, technology
Tags: , , , , ,
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Forza 3 Car Giveaway

Forza Motorsport 3 Car Giveaway
I usually give away a lot of things, from vinyl designs to general graphics and the like, but this time I’ve decided to take it another step further. Add bashpr0mpt to twitter. Every Saturday for the next five weeks I will be giving away a Forza 3 motorsports car.

What’s the deal? There is no deal, I want to meet more forza players who’re active on social networks, this is a sweet way. Is this a scam? Nope! Are you mad? Yes, to be giving away a bloody R3 let alone an R2 rated car (looking at 500k base for an R3 and 1.5m for a nice R2) I’d have to be.

How do you win it? Every Saturday get as many fellow racers, or twitterers you know to follow me and @bashpr0mpt me your xbox gamer tag associated with your Forza 3 account and the person who gets me the greatest number of crazed car loving gamers gets the car. It’s as easy as that. Make sure they simply follow me, and @ me your tag.

Week 1′s Prize
2009 Citroen C4 VTS

This is an ideal car for a beginner to Forza or even someone who’s been playing a while yet is still in the hatch range. This 1,221 kg Citroen is running full race displacement 1.8L block with racing valves and an Ansa sport exhaust’s dump spooling up a Garret sport turbo, blowing out 177 kW of power and 345 Nm of torque in a tight package.

This ride is specifically designed as a dream for racers who’re still getting the hang of the game, it runs 14.61 quarter miles, and does 0-97 kph in 6.405 seconds (or 0-161 in 15.172) so it’s definitely a quick car for it’s class, it is at the highest performance level it can be yet still fall inside the D range.

Aside from driving well, it looks great with a custom bodykit from Ibher Design, smooth carbon fibre with metallic black ghost GT stripes up it sleaks across the top while the side has chameleon detailing disecting the cold clean white of this machine.

This little beast cost 20,000 new with five times that worth of engineering–at least–sunk into it it’s going to be the property of one lucky racer out there.

Citroen C4

Citroen C4

This ride includes: –

  • Gredder Intercooler
  • Garret Sport Performance Turbo
  • BC Rims
  • Ibher Design Bodykit
  • Carbon Fiber Bonnet & Roof
  • Custom paintwork by BaSH PR0MPT
  • Citroen race valves
  • Citroen race displacement
  • Ansa Race Exhaust
  • Schrick cams
  • Fioanza sport fly wheel
  • Getrab Race Oil & Cooling
  • Magnetarelli Fuel System
  • Green Sports Air Induction
  • Intrax Springs & Dampeners
  • AP Racing Brakes
  • Whiteline Performance Anti Roll Bars (front & back)
Posted: December 9th, 2009
Categories: forza, games, xbox
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Prada Amber Pour Homme

Prada Amver Pour Homme

Originally uploaded by BaSH PR0MPT

I am just about to walk out the door and put on some prada and realized just how amazing this stuff smells. Amber Pour Homme is Prada’s first fragrance release for us boys back in 2007, developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier.

It centers on four accords, Prada Eau de Parfum for women, a fresh cologne accord, a fougere and a suede. The notes include bergamot, mandarin, neroli, cardamom, geranium, vetiver, orange blossom, myrrh, nivanolide musk, labdanum, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla, saffron, patchouli and leather. It has a citrus fresh cologne in the top notes and smells sophisticated yet casual.

Now that I’ve convinced half my audience I’m a raging gay man I shall resume my day! 😛

EDIT: My previous post was about cars! CARS! Cars are manly, ok? They totally offset this metro post, got it?! 🙁 And yes, I noticed the typo in the heading, I blogged from my iPhone, my fingers are clearly too fat to meet Apple’s ISO standards. Fixed now! 😉

Posted: December 3rd, 2009
Categories: general, lifestyle
Tags: , , ,
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Reactive Space Table

Reactive Space Table

Originally uploaded by BaSH PR0MPT

I used to work for a certain government department that shared a site with a few random types of businesses, one of which was a small rental by a company called Marblo. This company produces ‘marblonite’, or snazzy looking glowing translucent surfaces you see in chic and overpriced nightclubs. I clearly remember my first encounter with it in the raw, a glowing space age looking plank jutting vertically from a plastic blow moulded footing advertising the company, and the sting when I touched it inappropriately and grabbed the metal tabs that were hooked up to the mains.

This appears to be of a similar nature, however it functions as a reactive surface. It was developed as part of an investigation into ‘reactive space,’ and is a pressure sensitive surface which starts to glow with the slightest touch. Be it objects being placed on it, or hand prints, et cetera

It’s definitely snazzy, I’d say it’s replay value would be low though, but it’s definitely a fun step into open creativity as far as the thought of it being used in bars or clubs, depending on how long it remains glowing it’d be interesting to see what creativity is unleashed by drunks. 😛

Deceloped by KLOSS, it’s only 2 cm’s thick and powered by 12V and is apparently completely waterproof. They promise that they’ll be available commercially for use as an architectural component within the retail and leisure industry in the very near future.

Click here for more on KLOSS and this little hypercolour gone mad invention.

Posted: December 1st, 2009
Categories: design, gadget
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Xbox 360p (laptop!)

Xbox 360p (laptop!)

Originally uploaded by BaSH PR0MPT

I was reviewing the generic trendy design sites I tend to regularly read when I came across this novel idea. Years ago I used to custom make my desktops, and would go out of my way to make them as tiny as possible, even forking out big bucks for solid state hard drives, something that has only just recently become industry standard for micro pc’s. You can imaging my amusement when I found this.

An Xbox 360p, (see: laptop!) modified by Benheck. It has all the functionality of an Xbox 360 just bunged into a nice little aluminium chassis and coupled with a neat little display. The design, albeit a little on the chunky side, is reasonably chic, I love the keyboard accents and the integration of the green wheel Xbox front end being where a trackball would be on a laptop.

Hidden behind it’s chic design is a rather impressive heat sinking system, so no RROD (Red Ring of Death) recovery there as you’d be hard pressed to overheat this laptop.

Somehow I doubt it’s functional purpose, given that an xbox is reasonably portable, and you generally use a laptops portability for university or work related stuff. Also given the commonality of games consoles and access to them, it packages this into the box of “random yet cool” gadget at best.

I dunno though, I kind of like it.

Click here for build info.

Posted: December 1st, 2009
Categories: hack, technology, xbox
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Assassins Creed 2 Review

Assassins Creed 2 Economics

Originally uploaded by BaSH PR0MPT

Assassins Creed 2 presents as a typical over the shoulder button mash combat game mixed with lashings of lame free running / parkour and horrible polygon graphics. The kicker is, you’re an escapee from some mental home where they run experiments using a freaky virtual reality system that appears to insert people into the time line reliving history. On escaping, for no apparent reason (see: tl;dr cut scene I vagued out during) you’re roped into doing the very same for a break away group of Buffy the Vampire Slayer back up team drop outs.

There is however a reasonable RPG side to it, far from as expansive as the historical cities through which you play, brawling and swashbuckling your way to infamy. You can purchase new weapons and armour, albeit at a trickle feed of restriction raises as you progress.

You encounter various quest givers, and have run ins with guards depending on your notoriety (which you can lower by assassinating critics, bribing pages, or ripping down your wanted posters) and the overall feel is very GTA sandbox with better graphics and a less complex RPG aspect.

You do, however, look shit hot in your fathers assassin robes and can customize your looks with armour upgrades and dyeing your robes, although such customisation is horribly limited (four colour schemes in total, boo!) but still, your character does look pretty cool no matter what he wears.

There’s a lot of collect this and that, hidden treasure and mini quests in it. There is also the macro economics of running your uncles garrison, a small walled city a short horse ride from Florence. Upgrading and refurbishing buildings from banks to brothels, sponsoring and developing arts and medicine, all of which ups the net worth of the town and subsequently the income generated, assumedly, from taxation which you get a percentage off every 20 minutes.

The economcs, overall, is uninspired. A chest plate can set you back 10,000 florens, whereas upgrading the bank costs 3,000. I dunno, I think building a bank would cost a bit more than a bit or reinforced leather. I might be wrong.

All in all it’s an addictive and immersive little game. Far cry from what critics make it out to be. However it lacks zombies. 🙁

Posted: November 29th, 2009
Categories: games, xbox
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L4D2 Depeche Mode Shirt II

L4D2 Depeche Mode Shirt

Originally uploaded by BaSH PR0MPT

This is the shirt I’ve been lusting over of late and one of the things keeping me at the grind of Dark Carnival in Left 4 Dead 2. God damned Gnome Chomsky. 🙁

Posted: November 27th, 2009
Categories: flickr, games, L4D2, xbox
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

L4D2 Depeche Mode Shirt

I’ve wasted far too long on this, my team were absolute newbs. To get the Depeche Mode t-shirt in Left 4 Dead 2 you have to find a gnome named Chomsky, a familiar fellow to people who have played Half Life 2, where you meet him to complete the achievement of “Little Rocket Man”.

To get him you have to play the Dark Carnival campaign and find the target shooting amusement ride type thing and score over 720, best to have multiple players shooting at once with at least one rear guard.

This is where things get hard, a player has to carry the bastard to the end of the campaign, which means obstructed vision and inability to shoot your weapon. Fine if you make a newb carry it, awkward if you’re the strongest character and good with a forearm.

I was forever dropping it to save the newbs. After god knows how many runs the rescue chopper landed, just when I was about to board it one of the newbies ran up hopped in and hit X, making the chopper leave without me. Fml.

I want my god damned Depeche Mode shirt. Speaking of Depeche Mode, their new album sucks.

Posted: November 26th, 2009
Categories: L4D2, music
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Comments: 1 Comment.


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