Anyone Know Who has My Copy of Quake 4?

Box Shot Quake 4As people may or may not know I recently moved. One thing that I can’t find is my copy of Quake 4. I have reason to believe that I lent it to someone. But for the life of me I can’t remember who.

It was not in the box that had my games in it and I have torn the house apart looking for it. I am pretty sure I lent it out. If that is you then let me know. There are not many people that I would have lent it to, but even they are not fessing up.

That is it, if you have my copy of Quake 4 then please let me know, it is driving me insane not knowing where it is. I am positive that it has not been lost, in case you are wondering.

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Yahoo! Gives up on Podcasts

Yahoo! Podcasts LogoI was submitting a new podcast (not mine) to some directories today and came across something that completely threw me.

It appears that Yahoo! is closing down Yahoo! Podcasts and they have announced it with the following message on the Home Page:

“Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Sept. 30 Oct 31st, 2007″

I have heard not news or rumour that this was gong to happen. To speculate on the reasons I can only think that the service is not being utilized or that most people use iTunes or some other way to get their podcasts. Sure I don’t know many people that use Yahoo! for podcasts, but I would have thought a company like Yahoo! would not walk away from hosting a directory.

There are still plenty of directories out there and good ones. Podcast Alley for one. Maybe that’s part of the problem, other sites do it better. Who knows, as I said I have seen zero on this move.

So this is all news to me, I’ll be interested to see what the reasons are and if there are plans for something else. Anyone else see this coming?

Update: Date changed to the 31st of October… It gets stranger

New Feature for POPURLS

POPURLS is a great news aggregation site that I have talked about before. When I first saw POPURLS I was impressed by the slick coding and ease of use that this site oozed. I still am that impressed and enjoy a visit from time to time. Since I use a stand-alone application for reading feeds I don’t have much cause to make regular visits. But it is still a pleasure to take a trip.

So I noticed that POPURLS has a new feature, or it is more like a new related site. Called POPURLS.TV. It is yet another Google Maps Mash-Up that tracks in real time the stories that users are clicking on the POPURLS homepage. There is a list view at the top of the page that gives you the top stories over the last hour, the last 24 hours and the last 78 hours.

You can also switch the font size size and also the background colour if you please. Nice features. The listed stories are clickable as you might expect. Watch in Full Screen if you please as well.

Another voyeuristic look at the world I guess, but it is nicely done in typical Thomas Marban style and that is nice to watch. As good a reason as any to check it out.

POPURLS.TV

Moving House

So no blogging, I know… But I have a really, really good excuse. We have been moving house! Right now I am still breathing a sigh of relief.

So the blog has been neglected and we have taken a short hiatus from the Podcast to enable myself and attached family to move and settle in. I have enjoyed the break and it is one that was needed. We are currently not working and taking some time for us. It has been good although we really have not stopped. Settling into a new house has it’s teething problems. However, things are starting to get sorted and we are feeling like this is more home than not.

The move was a huge one, we moved from Cairns in Far North Queensland to a small town in Northern New South Wales called Modanville. A distance of 1, 876 km. Interstate and to a much cooler climate, well one that has a winter at any rate! The weather is actually one of the things we are finding that hardest to get used to. To top the whole weather thing off, it is one of the coldest on record! We arrived right in the middle of it. We think it is cold when the temperature gets below 20 degrees Celsius and I think we have one or two days when it has been above.

So as you might imagine pretty big and unsettling. The kids have found it tough but adapted quickly and are now having fun and like the house. Although the 2 year old is asking every now and then when are we going home.

The great thing for us about moving this time is part of a dream realized. That is that we have finally got out of the suburbs and into a semi rural setting. We have come from a block that was 800m² to a block that is over 2000m². The gardens are beautiful and will be better as we work on them as we did at our previous home. The gardens as they are okay but in need of a bit of attention. Pruning and cleaning up mainly. As we start to do that, I will add some features and “interestingness” to the garden.

We are enjoying the wildlife that is attracted to the large native garden. Already I have seen an echidna and today I have spotted a Satin Bower bird. There are heaps of other birds that visit and we are loving it. As we move into warmer weather we hope to see an increase in the visitors as the native trees flower.

The house is great. It has the start of everything that we need and want. One thing that we did not manage was the inclusion of an office to house the computer and a getaway for me. But we have a heap of ideas about how we are going to get this much needed feature added onto our new house. We are hoping to get some advice in the next couple of weeks.

So a lot has been happening and we have been very, very busy. My apologies for the comments that have not been moderated and the lack of posts. But as things settle things will get back to normal. We are hoping to resume the podcast soon and look forward to a great year. We have a great promotion in store and some interesting guests coming up.

Please check out the Flickr page for more photos of the new place!

Our New Driveway

Internode Increase Prices, Twice

Internode BannerI use Internode as my current Internet Service Provider, they have been reliable, cost effective and I have not had a single complaint. The day before yesterday they announced that there would be changes to their plans and pricing structure. I now have a complaint.

There has not been an increase or major changes to their offerings since I have been with Internode. Indeed there has not been a price increase for six years. I can appreciate that these things change and inevitably prices always increase. However in this instance it is the percentage of increase and the way in which they have gone about it that sticks in my neck.

The reasons that have been given for the price increases are that while offered line speeds have increase, the cost of provision has not decreased. In other words users have faster speeds, download more and the cost of providing that bandwidth has increased. Internode blame the heavy use of services such as YouTube and BitTorrent for this. I am not sure what they expected users to do. These services especially video are only really available to those on faster connections!  Therefore they have hit the high speed users more than the lower end plans. I presume they use the above for justification for this. They are the ones using the bandwidth so lets charge them the most.

So the price goes up. Which as far as I am concerned is fine. I can understand that if something costs more then you need to essentially cover that cost. For me this means an added cost of about $10 AU to my bill per month. Currently I am on 8000MB/384kB connection with a limit of 20 Gig down per month. I can cop the 10 bucks on the chin. But essentially I have been delt a double blow. My bandwidth has been halved to 10 Gig per month for the same price that I am paying now. The cost to increase to my current 20 Gig limit once the changes are in effect? 10 Bucks… Do you see it? This is not a 10 dollar increase, it is a 20 dollar increase. Because that is what it will cost to maintain my current service.

This was underhanded in my opinion. If you are going to increase my plan by 20 bucks then bloody say that. Don’t halve my service! Don’t tell me that most users don’t use their limit and don’t soften it by saying that you are offering 13 new plans to better suit my budget! This is a massive increase in cost to the end user both in bandwidth and cost. I assumed that maybe it would be 5 – 10 dollars per month, I was very wrong. Internode will loose customers having done this and there are a lot that are not happy. As the Whirlpool Forums, in which users have vented their displeasure is a testament to. There are those defending them as well but more that are trying to wrap their head around exactly what Internode were thinking.

As I said Internode are excellent, I don’t have a complaint about their service. Am I leaving? No, not for the moment, but I am looking at alternatives.

With the advent of the connected world, the increase demands of bandwidth for applications and web development with software technologies such as Ajax, Java and Flash, podcasting, on-line video and gaming this was inevitable. People are using the technology, they are utilizing that which the online universe has presented to them. They are using more bandwidth, they are consuming more resources. It was not like you could not see it coming. But this is only the beginning. The Internet is being programed for users that have the bandwidth to run it, not the other way around. In my opinion the thought that if you give users a faster speed they won’t actually consume more bandwidth was an oversight. Then to slug users that are using these services with a large increase and cripple their ability to use them due to reduced bandwidth limits was wrong.

I am not impressed Internode, at your lack of foresight, your logic, your increase in price and your reduction in my service. But as I said I have been happy with your service and I will give you but few chances and no, you are not a cat and there goes one…

Internode Homepage Screenshot

Akismet Just Broke Another Record

Over the course of the last few days the comment spam has been increasing at a phenomenal rate. I worked out that by this afternoon I was receiving spam at a rate of one every 15 minutes. Not much you might say. But you would think so considering these are the “comments” that make it through Akismet and into moderation! Not the total volume.

This for me is a real issue as I have all comments moderated. So I am getting a bucket load of crap with some that might be legit comments.

The reason for this sudden spike is unknown. Did the spammers find a new exploit, their pay rate go up, bots smarter? Who knows. But you might like to know that I am not the only one. Seems that Akismet broke a few records today:

Akismet Graph 310507

This Graph represents the Spam to Ham ratio since the beginning of Akismet.

So far today 8,818,521 and counting, it is only going to get worse. 95% of all comments today are spam. At least that explains that the spammers are working harder than usual. I was beginning to think it was just me.

Interestingly, ham has seen a jump in the last few days as well. Might have something to do with the fact that there are some big stories breaking. Or is it that people are getting more involved in the conversation? I hope that it is the latter.

I can sit here and moderate my comments and train Akismet to be able to better identify spam. But it must be worth their while to keep doing this despite the fact that most bloggers are doing the same. So really one of the best weapons is our readers!

If you notice that a blogger has missed some spam and it has ended up in the comments. Don’t click it! Leave the blogger a comment or email and let them know; so they can remove it. If no one clicks the damn stuff then there won’t be any point in spammers trying to post it. Only a fraction of it gets through, here: make that none. So all that effort for bugger all success, make no mistake they are making money (a lot of it!) and you the clicker are paying them!

Akismet is a great service and it 99% effective, check out the stats for it. But not perfect, I don’t think one thing on it’s own ever will be. Just do us all a favor: if you are looking for porn, Google it and don’t click comment spam. Thanks.