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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Loose foreign change

I love it when I pay for something and get change back in the wrong currency. It usually happens with New Zealand 20c coins, but sometimes you get something cool. I just used two one-dollar coins to pay for $1.80 worth of ham, and got back what appeared to be a 20c coin... it's actually 5 Swedish Kronor.

The cool thing is that according to XE.com, 5 Kronor is actually worth nearly 90 cents, so in theory I've made about 70c profit. If I go and cash it in, I can buy some more ham and still get my 20c back. If by some amazing coincidence I then get another 5 Kronor instead of the 20c coin, I can do it all again. This leads to an endless cycle by which I amass vast supplies of ham and become a foreign coin/ham entrepreneur, and retire in a few years living the rest of my life in decadent luxury on my coin/ham derived fortunes.

Maybe I'll even luck out and get one of those awesome new UK coins.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

All nighter

There are some things that suck about doing an electrical engineering degree. One of them is ELEC2141 (Digital Circuit Design) labs. You have to do all this stuff with logic gates and flip-flops and things of that nature, but there's not really enough time in the labs to do it without doing heaps of work beforehand, which I usually don't get around to doing. As such I'm a bit behind on the labs and so I'm doing work to catch up. It's now 5 am. I am going to need lots of caffeine tomorrow. Or rather, today.

Sleep sucks. I'm only ever tired after I've been sleeping. If I was going to design a person I would make sleep optional, so it's like a treat if you have spare time. Lying down for hours at a time and going on insane adventures in your head should be the most awesome thing ever, but it's just totally mundane. (Unless you can dream lucidly. I never did quite get the hang of that.)

I've got a bunch of music cued up. A song called Night Owl (from the Sim City 4 soundtrack) just came on. How appropriate.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

KDE 4

I just found a handy guide to installing KDE 4 in Ubuntu 7.10. The idea of having multiple desktop environments on my computer has never really occurred to me, but I guess I am still kind of new to Linux. The more I learn, the more glad I am that I am no longer dependant on Winblows. Linux is just so cool.

I've heard good things about KDE 4. So I installed it and logged in, and so far it's pretty cool. Really slick too.

Guys. I am supposed to be studying for a maths test.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Triplane Turmoil II

The original Triplane Turmoil game has brought many hours of fun into my life. I used to play it obsessively, trying again and again to finish the fiendishly difficult but fun missions. Sometimes after school some friends would come around and we'd play multiplayer, with four of us crowded around the keyboard. It was good times. Especially when we contributed our own sound effects, sitting around the keyboard yelling "ratatatatat!!" and "eeeerrrrrrwwww BOOOOM!!!"

So imagine my happiness when I discovered a week ago that there was a sequel, Triplane Turmoil II, and my surprise that it has been out since 2006. I bought it, and after four days my PayPal payment cleared and I downloaded the game. Unfortunately as soon as I had downloaded it I had to go to work, but then I quit my job so I could go home and play Triplane. (Just kidding - I quit my job because my bosses were total arseholes.)

I've played some of the missions, and they're pretty cool. They're really hard, but that just means it'll be longer before I finish the game, which means more fun for me. The graphics are nice - they're in 3D even though the gameplay takes place in 2D. The controls are improved too - the turning controls flip around when the plane does, which is much more intuitive. The infantry (or "tyke men" as they somehow became known to me and my friends) play more of a role now than in the first game, and are much harder to kill. They tend to stray out of the z-axis of the plane, so you can't usually hit them with machine guns, you need to bomb them. I like the humour in the game, with mission names like "Operation S.T.F.U" (Silence The Felony Usurper) and "Das Boot" (in which you have to destroy a boot factory).

There are now six countries in the game - the first game had Germany, England, Japan and Finland, and the new one adds Russia and America. There is going to be a TCP/IP multiplayer mode sometime soon, it will be implemented with a patch hopefully this year. There's also an online ladder where players are ranked. I'm the first (and currently the only) Australian player on there.

The only criticism I have is that it takes forever for the ground crew to get your plane back into the hangar when you land, which is boring and leaves you vulnerable. Also there are a few cosmetic imperfections like the walk animations for the tyke men looking a bit weird, and the plane engine noise sometimes disappearing which is a bit spooky. Otherwise, the game is totally awesome.

It's cheap, too: US$24.95. At current exchange rates that's about A$27. And it's only another US$5 for a boxed version (as well as download), including shipping. Nice.

Triplane Turmoil II

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