“Moood of blind destruction tonight. Anger popping on surface like lead bubbles. Wise to stay away tonight – I’m going to do stupig things if I left to myself, if let to get properly drunbk…”

[An evening spent drinking and dancing, with itchy knuckles. A morning spent in the company of Steps, S-Club and idolising Robbie Williams]

I wish.

Hey brain.

Three things there were,

Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh

brought before a sham god or king

(after the magi had been a-hawking)

and they fetched a very fine price:

eternal insurance was on their dice

For those who know less than they ought

a bottle I’m drinking of finest port

if you think, for alcohol it’s a touch late

insight that provides of my mental state

Three more things I present

Of times past, thoughts long spent

Frankincense. Last night and this morning Bath was shrouded in fog like frosted glass. Every light glimmered as if through a new medium, my love for neon was renewed, and the thick gray curtains engloved every sound. I sat in my apartment after all were long asleep, and started thinking about where I was going, and my niggling fears. Very mobile is the fog, it seeps into every part of me.

Gold: all that glitters is not. Looking at the cult of celebrity again (which I promised to do, sometime long ago) I came upon Celebrity Big Brother, the tribute to our moden heroes and heroines. In olden times the hero was king for a year, at least ceremonially, during which time was treated with due respect and deference before the end of his arc Then he would be sent to join his god. The method for this is surprisingly humiliating: he might be defeated in a chariot race by his rival, sacrificed on an altar, or be cuckolded by his wife, the high priestess. Nowadays our modern heroes are retired to public humiliation, crushed by the expectation of their failure, and this program is the culmination of this, the recreation of the endless cycle. This half of the show kills careers: the normal Big Bro generates them, so they’ll never run out. A great program idea, being eternally self-maintaining.

Myrrh is hardest to write about. I was profoundly disturbed tonight when I picked up an old dictionary of mine for a browse (I was eating linguini, scotch salmon, and bored) and found it was one given when I left junior school. It had been signed by many people who I don’t remember, and three times by my first girlfriend. I remember nothing of that time, and only a little of her. Now this could turn into a sad lament for lost love, but there’s another time for that. What I’m worried about, o mio, o mio, is that I realise now my memory is kaput. Shot. gone. I remember nothing of two days ago, let alone ten years ago. It’s like I don’t really live here. Facts I remember clear as day, or at least can make up clear as mist: 1989 Berlin wall. Spinoza was a lens-polisher. As demand decreases, so does price. But friends of ten years ago? What I had for lunch yesterday? Nothing, nada. The little deaths of ideas and people happen constantly in my head, drawing the big one nearer. Myrrh. We all know what it means.

Remind me sometime to tell you about memory-palaces. They’re worthy of anyone’s attention.

Mafia

Not allowed to say what omerta means

Go to the matresses.

Following a trend established by Warcraft III, Mafia has released its demo after the game’s release.

Ministry of Agriculture, fishery and foods, but were persuaded otherwise…

Review

Product name

Hercules XPS 510

10 word strap

Hercule

Details

Company

Phone

Website

Price

Score

3 pro/cons

Review

Product name

Logitech z640

10 word strap

300 words copy

volume control not too hot

z-560 introduced thx certification.

Details

Company

Phone

Website

Price

Score

3 pro/cons

Review

Product name

10 word strap

volume control – seems a little cheap, just allover volume and bass controls.

Plug-ins to audigy as if designed – which of course it was.

All-over matt black design

Details

Company

Phone

Website

Price

Score

3 pro/cons

Review

Product name

Logic3 Home Theatre Audio System

10 word strap

Does a Dolby decoder maketh the machine? We find out…

300 word copy

If you have to blow every last eardrum in the place, you can’t do better than a Dolby Decoder and Logic3 have kindly included one in their 5.1 set. As mentioned in the main article, the Dolby automatically encodes

Of course this has pushed the price up somewhat, and some readers may complain that this gives Logic3 an unfair advantage compared to the other sets,

As is so often the case with speakers, there were problems connecting the Logic3 up to the Audigy 2. Creative’s proprietary optical connection obviously won’t work with the normal connector

The focus of the Logic3 is towards gamers: the first Soundstation was produced specifically to take advantage of the Playstation and Dreamcast market, so you shouldn’t expect Hi-Fi sound from this set-up. In truth its in-game sound was excellent, and fully took advantage of the 5.1 set-up

Details

Company

Phone

Website

Price

Score

3 pro/cons

Products

Creative 6700

Hercules 5.1

Creative 5500 (dolby)

Philips Acoustic Sound

Trust 5.1

Logic 3 (dolby)

Logitech z-680/640 (dolby)

PC Answers Speaker Lab test: Saturday, November 23, 2002.

Speaker technology seems to be moving on in leaps and bounds, but how much better can it get? Daniel Griliopoulos investigates…

You wouldn’t think the film of a fifty year old book could herald a sea-change in our perception of the world, but with the release of the Lord Of The Rings: Extra, Extra Special edition DVD this month at least one sense could be revolutionized. For this is the first movie to take advantage of 6.1 surround sound. Now, the gainsayers out there may already be chuckling into their beards (and we may find by the end of this Batch Test that they were right to do so) but 6.1, and the soon-to-be supported 7.1, surround sound have at least the potential to change how we hear music and watch films. Even if the change isn’t revolutionary it may be the case that it’s sufficiently better than what’s gone before to persuade new entrants to the market that it’s a worthwhile purchase over 5.1 or a Dolby box. (more of which later.)

Of course very few soundcards as yet support 6.1 let alone 7.1

Nice to see that the BBC is at least professing to make an effort at the public service ethos it’s supposed to uphold. The great Britons series, while confirming the hideous mental shallows of a great part of the nation, also indicated that the media have not suceeded in erasing all culture from our minds. If you think about it, the current TV and tabloid output probably simplifies things for the average person, as when you talk to them they have much more of a grasp of complex issues, or are much more capable of grasping these issues than the papers would indicate; there’s a reminiscence of Socrates and the slave-boy . This has worried me, that the media who cliam to be supplying ‘what the people want’ are in fact dictating to them what they want, something a true broadsheet should never do: a true review should state ‘if you want x, then this supplies nn% of x.’ A tabloid (and increasingly a broadsheet) dictates, you want/believe x, then get thee y.

And so the Great Britons series, began with the public, and asked “what it is that you like? We’ve never bothered finding out before. :$” This is why I was so surpised because it began with a few dumkopf decisions like Michael Crawford and John Peel, but mainly focussed on actual great britons, that those educated in specialist fields would themselves point towards as great. Myself I have trouble pointing towards a great briton, as firstly my greats, apart from shakespeare, cromwell and john lilburne are all foreigners – nietszche, proust, flann o’brien, spinoza. But I was pleasantly surprised by the people’s intelligent choices, and cynically satisfied by the plethora of media whores filling up the screen, professing love of actual heroes out of our time (apart from little lost Alan Davies, and his John Lennon, who I felt sorry for, and Rosie Boycott who I would gladly see impaled on the o’ergrown stake of her manipulative ego.)

I do somewhat suspect Isembard Kingdom Brunel was chosen only for his name though…

Become the thing you hate you will, hmm. It’s been a long time since I wrote but there’s a certain comfort in that statement. The black and white mythos of Star Wars can dandle you on a white-plastic knee and tell you such things, but the fact is we oscillate between so many things from day to day, that to point to us at any one point is to point at the hated and the loved in glorious union. Or at least some of it. The horrible stultified Lucas stuff seems to indicate that change is bad, very bad, and only the lucky, or blessed will come through it.

Now I’m no shining example of a progressive chap – though I profess it with all my might, my petty mind captured by the baublous idea of liberalism, I flee from challenge more than the next man – yet I have an ideal I’d like to reach, and many I’d like to avoid, and I see their development and retardance in myself every day. Whether it be toryism, that persistent patch of clear skin amidst Cromwell’s glorious warts, or arrogance, the scourge of the shy man, they all pop up in the copure of a day. Even my blessed, carefully cultivated, dull calm gets roused into mild insanity daily by the most trivial things… this is the thing of which character is made, of the constant unwilling undevelopment of man under random circumstance’s whim. And for this reason, for this rejection of the black and white, I embrace it. I long to be (unconsciously for a change) the ignorant, non-thinker, non-writer that my slow mind lets me be when sleep is missing from my stock, the lard-arsed tory twat, or the arrogant social monster, back-slapping and grimly gleaming my eyes at folks, a steel grin rivetted on my face… and every day I’m all of these things, to proud chagrin.

{above is gibberised plastic. Or plasticised gibberish. whichever, avoid it.}

They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Thankfully I don’t know who ‘they’ are, so I guess I’m relatively safe. This week I have been mostly involved in skulduggery, piracy and random acts of violence. Which is all fine and above board for a games journo (which I’m starting to claim I am, a little prematurely perhaps.) Past this though lies my other behaviour this week, something that can only be classed as politicking… ahem… sorry, I appear to have a bad taste in my mouth… job arriving that I must apply for, yet want other job, that could also be in the pipeline… and I have been playing up to all factions. It seems to be totally reprehensible, yet also the natural self-preservation thing to do.

Damn. I left this on my desktop for two days while I was out at a training course. And I happen to know that people have been on my computer. Shit. I also happen to know that I left the job I hope to apply for open on the desktop as well. Ah well, they had to find out somehow.

//Main Details//

Easy CD Creator 5 Platinum

£45

Roxio

//Strap//

The biggest selling CD burner proves simple and easy to use, with more features than an auto-da-fé

//Body//

Easy CD has long played second fiddle to Nero when it comes to CD burning, mainly due to the latter’s greater technical flexibility, and unfortunately this release is no exception. It’s been out for quite a while now and, while it addresses the troubling issues that prevented working as effectively with Windows XP as it should have (ironically as it’s engine is shared with XP’s bestoke burner), it hasn’t made such a large advance as its competitors have done.

That said it’s enormous feature set is still enough for the pure CD burner to go away feeling satisfied. This new version finally supports DVD burning, sinfully omitted until very recently, even if it still feels at a fairly primitive stage. As for other CD formats it supports every possible type you could want from video CD to direct CD.

The music creation tools are also first rate, allowing you to clean up old analogue tracks, rip MP3s, change encoding formats between MP3 and WMA, edit .wav files, and do anything that could be plausibly associated with the creation of a music CD.

From initial installation the program holds your hand all the way (perhaps annoyingly so for more advanced users), and the manual, though large, is the most user-friendly we’ve seen for some time. Even the interface is simple and cleanly put together, with many features (like drive speed testing and system resource management) ghosted into the background.

Dan Griliopoulos

//Detail//

//Verdict//

/upper/

Exceedingly user-friendly

/downer/

Irritatingly so for the advanced user

/conclusion/

Nero still has the professional edge, but for a family friendly package look no further

/score %/

90

//caption//