Monday, February 27, 2006

Katamari wallpapers & stuff

Here is a collection of absolutely bizarre and beautiful wallpapers (plus screensaver plus other stuff) for Katamari Damacy game. I think you could appreciate them on your desktop even if you never played the game. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what some of them have in common with Katamari Damacy!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Kryspin: Farewell to balls

Do you remember our sweet little kitty, who was called "Kobliha" back then? Do you remember the shock when we discovered that she is, in fact, "he"? That's when Kryspin was born:

However, since yesterday, the statement above is not true. Kryspin has been castrated. It was rather complex operation because they had to hunt for his second testicle somewhere deep inside his belly. However, he is now doing much better than this photo from yesterday would suggest:


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Help with Google Analytics

I am stumped. I added a simple filter to my Google Analytics, which should show me the traffic only for specific subdirectory of my site. This happened several days ago but I still have have no idea where I can see the output of this filter! In "filter manager", I can only "Edit" or "Delete" it. In all the other menus, I didn't find anything like "Show output of your filters".

I must be missing something really basic because all the Analytics documentation only talks about how to set up and manage the filters, not a word about actually viewing their results...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hardware Guru

I own my trusty old PlayStation 2 since 2001. I never ever opened it, installed modchips or did anything brutal to it. However, after five years of service, it started having problems with booting the games (only booting was the problem - once the game started, it worked OK).

The only solution was to open it and try to clean it. And... it worked! Now I can finally write that Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus reviews.

Here you can see the opened beast in my surgically clean work environment:

Cleaning the PS2

Also, we groomed Albert.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hello, Jabber

For several reasons, I decided to make Jabber my Instant Messaging system of choice and I intend to gradually phase out my ICQ. If you have Jabber-enabled client and Jabber/GoogleTalk account (if you have GMail, you automatically have GoogleTalk account!), please try to use my Jabber/GoogleTalk handle "" from now on, instead of my current ICQ UIN. (There are several IM clients available that can handle both ICQ and Jabber messaging at the same time.)

This does not mean that from tomorrow you cannot reach me using ICQ. Whenever I'll be online at ICQ, I'll also be online at Jabber/GoogleTalk - however, the reverse is not true. There will be instances when I'll be available exclusively on Jabber/GoogleTalk.

I am trying to use ICQ -> Jabber Transport gateway and I have some problems with it. If you send me an ICQ message and get the exactly same message back as a reply, that means I didn't authorize you yet. In that case, please e-mail me with your ICQ number and I'll authorize you.

UPDATE: Because Google is supposedly working at interoperability of GTalk and AIM (=ICQ), most of this post is practically moot.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I love Katamari

"We Love Katamari" game for PlayStation 2 was released in Europe at last. Actually a sequel to "Katamari Damacy" (which was never released in Europe), this is totally bizarre game about Cosmic Prince (with hammer-shaped head, occassionally with giraffe on it) who is rolling the sticky ball across the Earth, rolling up everything (including living things) in order to make the biggest Katamaris and create new planets from them (which are then rolled together and thrown into the Sun). In one of the levels, you start with 1 meter ball (rolling up eggs, frogs etc.) and have to reach the size of 1 kilometer (rolling up whales, skyscrapers, clouds and small islands)!

Apart from being 110% original it also features psychedelic art direction and soundtrack, plus off-the-wall Japanese humor. The Official Site is weird but the game itself is much weirder.

It also has the most beautiful game manual I've ever seen, in which there are no screenshots bud hand paintings looking like screenshots.

UPDATE: Read the comments for game mechanics explanation.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The deal from the rear

The frankness of this stock spam is quite surprising:

Doing my part to fight the piracy

I am supposed to review "Underworld: Evolution" (sequel to "Underworld") for the "Cinema" magazine. I got the review DVD from the distributor (labelled "Underworld: Evolution movie + trailer"), put it into my DVD player and got "This DVD Cannot be Played" message. I tried putting it into my PS2 and again - nothing.

As a last ditch attempt, I put the DVD into my Linux computer and tried opening it. It was immediately clear why I couldn't play it in the DVD player. It wasn't DVD-Video disc but data DVD-ROM containing only two unencrypted MPG video files. The first was the trailer for the first "Underworld" movie. The second was "Underworld: Evolution" itself. It played without problems on my computer. However, the picture looked like this:

This is not scaled-down, this is 1:1 full-size screengrab of the video. The picture is less than 400 pixels wide, about 150 pixels tall and looks like bad VHS copy. The counter in the corner and the text in the middle of the frame stay there for the whole goddamn movie.

Also of note is the sound quality. This is an MP3 of how it sounds during the whole movie.

I must stress again that this was an official screening copy provided by the official distributor for the purpose of writing the review of this movie. How the hell should I review it when I cannot see what is happening in some darker scenes and cannot hear the dialogue? In their quest to fight the piracy (see also this funny story), the distributors are really overdoing it.

But if they wanted to prevent me from uploading "Underworld: Evolution" to BitTorrent, they certainly succeeded. Thankfully, others already did that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

MPlayer tidbits

I found out I still have problems with sound in some QuickTime trailers, specifically "Cannot find codec for audio format 0x324D4451". I fixed this by creating symlink /usr/lib/win32 linking to already existing /usr/local/lib/win32. Weird...

I'd also like to know if it is possible to bypass the annoyning warning window that pops up each time I doubleclick on WMV file in Nautilus (it forces me to rename the files to ASF).

Also, is it possible for MPlayer to skip exactly the desired number of seconds when pressing left & right arrows? For example, skipping exactly 5 seconds backward or forward, regardless of where the keyframes are in the file? I have no problem if it involves creating some special index file for this, as long as it can be completely automated.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lee Tamahori's new XXX

Famous movie director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, The Edge, Die Another Day, XXX: State of the Union) was arrested last month for agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution and unlawfully loitering on Hollywood's Santa Monica Boulevard. He allegedly sought sex with an undercover policeman while wearing women's clothes.

However, after reading the story, I don't quite get it. Who was supposed to be giving the oral sex to who? Who was supposed to be paying for it? Is it "loitering" even when the receiver swallows? Or even: Was the "undercover policeman" male or female?

Questions, questions...

I wonder how long it will be before Tamahori's Next Hollywood project will be released... (The previous sentence is sophisticated movie industry pun)

UPDATE: According to IMDB News, Tamahori, wearing womens' clothes, entered the car of undercover police officer and "offered to perform oral sex act for money". I am not quite sure what he hoped to achieve. How much would YOU pay for being fellated by the man shown above, dressed as a woman?!?!