Monday, December 31, 2007

The 7 Wonders of Wii Homebrew



Now that Wii homebrew is finally a possibility http://youtube.com/watch?v=H5YB1Mmx7E4
I’ve been wondering what would make the Seven Wonders of Wii Homebrew and here are my thoughts. Feel free to disagree!

1) Emulators
The Wii is basically a Gamecube on steroids. When you boot a Cube title the Wii downgrades itself to Gamecube specs but what possibilities would we have if we could access the full Wii mode for emulators. You could even play Cube titles in Wii mode, a sort of super Gamecube mode where the framerates could be faster perhaps? Now the extra power of the Wii over the Cube could allow you to emulate more powerful machines like the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, perhaps the Playstation (PSX).

It’s just a starting point. These wonders are building up.

2) Samba (SMB)

Samba is a network protocol. If the Wii could be Samba compatible one way or another then we could connect it to a PC or Mac network and read files from the network, store files on the network and so on. This is a key building block as the Wii has no hard disk so is limited to SD cards for storage. Add Samba and there is no limit.

3) Kai (link)

Kai enables machines of varying types to play network games. Not quite sure how this would or could work on Wii but it’s a useful bridge and could enable Wii online gaming when the Big N doesn’t take care of our needs.

4) ISO loader

Sometimes burning titles onto DVD is a pain in the butt. Loading ISO images would be handy and allow you to store titles elsewhere on networked storage or on a PC. It would be great to be able to load Gamecube and Wii titles remotely. Obviously only images of titles you actually own ;)

5) Keyboard Support

The Wii has USB already but using a USB keyboard would be a key building block. How else are you gonna do MSN style chats? Enter your Samba config by hand? Again, a key step towards a full homebrew Wii. Let’s have mouse support too!

6) Linux

I never used to be a huge Linux fan until I came across my Linkstation and the size of the Linux software base. And it is free! There is Gamecube Linux but Wii Linux (Wiinux, Wiix or whatever it gets called!) should turn the Wii into a full computer with it’s PowerPC processor. As long as we have Samba access to a remote hard disk then Wii Linux could boot from SD and store on a Samba share. With Linux installed the Wii could run Firefox and many other quality Linux apps.

7) Media Center

Have you seen how good XboxMediaCenter is? XBMC is, for me, the sole reason to own an original Xbox. If the Wii had homebrew like this (yes XBMC is free homebrew, not commercial software) then you could play on your TV all those Xvid TV shows you have downloaded, your MP3 collection and look at those family pics you store on your PC. Heaven.

So when will this get going? Soon I hope!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Xbox Bling



Well, yesterday was a fun trip shopping. I bought my Asus Eee for £199, having haggled at PC World where they put the price up overnight. It's very cute but more on that later. Another purchase was an Xbox. Having sold mine about 10 days ago for £100 (the package) I found via MoneySavingExpert.com that Game in the UK were selling off their "pre-owned" stock for £20 each (well £19.98 actually) so I bought one (well two actually, one for a work colleague) and have decided to soft-mod it (or maybe chip it) to allow XboxMediaCenter to be installed. XBMC is a superb media center app that plays every format you could want. At £20 for the Xbox you can't go wrong. But now I've seen some Xbox mods l am being tempted to build a blinged up Xbox like the one in the pic above (more info here http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=615937)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eee by Gumm



OK, well you'd probably have to have been on another planet to not have seen or heard of this year's "must have gadget" the Asus Eee PC.

Not heard of it? Well you have been in the wilds then! So what is it?

It's a laptop - "Big deal" you say. Seen them before.

It's small - "Yup, seen small laptops". There was the Toshiba Libretto (Google it if you haven't heard of that!)

It's light - "Yup, been there"

It's Linux - "errrm so what. You can put Linux on any PC" - yes, but this starts with a custom Linux built for it

It's Flash-based - "what's that then?" you say. It has no hard disk but a flash memory disk. That means no moving parts (no noise, no heat and no worry about it failing because of a small drop onto a surface) but also it uses less power and it loads much faster. Getting interested?

It's very small - it's the size of a hardback book but still has a proper keyboard and screen and an Intel CPU.

It can run Windows (if you want), it's hackable ("Oh yes it is!!"), it's wireless, it's cute.... and there is a growing community at www.eeeuser.com where you can find out the best ways to install Windows, run games that it wasn't really designed to do so, modify the internals to add extra storage and so on.

So, I'm decided now to get one. The problem now is availability. You can get white ones easily enough (well, sorta!) but the black ones are a little scarcer so I will have to wait. The plan is to get an 8gb SDHC card to expand the storage (as it includes a card reader) plus an 8gb USB pendrive to hold those Xvid, Mp3 and other media files. I will be building a customised XP install CD for it (to install a stripped nLite XP, with the frequently modified files stored on the SD card like My Docs, Temp files and the like) and using customised office applications like Thinstalled Office on a totally optimised "flash disk".

And the best thing of all? It's so small I might JUST get away with smuggling the device past "she who must be obeyed"!! :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Portable Applications



You know the problem, you have some useful application but you cannot run it at work or at college because the nasty system admininistrators have their systems locked down so tightly you cannot install any executable files (or maybe you don't want to as you don't want to leave traces behind). The solution? Portable apps! These will run from a USB pendrive or whatever portable device you have (Apple iPod anyone?). But not just serious applications, games can be portable too.

I've done some looking around and here are some of the handy things I have found:

Portable Firefox - handy if you cannot abide Internet Explorer, also handy as Firefox has extensions to add functionality like FTP, Torrents etc.

Portable Counterstrike - very handy for a quick blast. Haven't the nerve to try it at work though

Portable MS Office inc Frontpage - this was powered by Thinstall, a virtualisation program which effectively allows a PC within a PC to run and is a very powerful tool. I had a play with a friend's copy and we Thinstalled Frontpage but it's not an easy process or particular intuitive to do. The results are superb though. A search of Bittorrent sites can reveal Thinstalled Office suites for download of varying sizes. The downside to Thinstall is the astronomical price $4995 if I understand their pricing structure. Ouch.

MojoPac - this is another way to carry portable apps. Basically you install your PC on a removable storage device (USB pendrive, iPod etc) and when you plug it into another PC you can run all your apps from that device, any reading and writing being to that device and nothing whatsoever is changed on the host PC which just provides the hardware. A clever idea but no good for me as my workplace have USB devices very heavily restricted so we can only write to approved devices (which iPods are not!).

Anyone come across any other portable beauties? Let me know!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Core2Duo Goodness!



Just upgraded the #2 PC cheaply by flogging some other components I had spare. The new system is also a G33 based microATX motherboard (this time an Asus P5K-VM) with 2gb of PC6400 memory and a cheapie E2180 Core2Duo processor. Recently Hexus.net did a budget CPU article which confirmed what we all knew - this is a bargain chip. As standard its a 2ghz processor and even at that speed is pretty quick but it also is a good overclocker. All I had to do was raise the FSB up leaving all voltages at standard and it's now a 3ghz CPU. It's plenty quick enough for our needs so I cannot see the point of pushing to the absolute limit. It did boot at around 3.3ghz in a quick test but I think the memory was too pushed to cope. Either way, £50 for a super fast CPU has to be good and the motherboard will be good for the next bargain CPU coming from Intel, the 45nm E8400 which should also clock to 4ghz with ease. That''s next year realistically.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Next Gen - is it worth it?



We've got all the last generation of consoles - PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.

We've got the Wii from the current generation but listen to any "serious" gamer and they will tell you that the Wii isn't really "next gen" like the PS3 and some will even say the Xbox 360 isn't "next gen". There is a lot of bull floating around on this topic. There are no rules about what is and isn't "next gen", really there aren't. So PS3 and Xbox360 owners get a grip.

Personally only a few games on the 360 and PS3 have looked vaguely worth playing. Recently I have liked the look of Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect so using that excuse I let slip to the sprogs that I was considering a 360 as those games and perhaps Halo 3 had me tempted.

I conducted a little experiment, I borrowed a 360 from a friend and plugged it in and waited for the reaction. I also borrowed a pile of games with it.

Let the comments begin:

"Crikey, what's that noise." (360 switched on).

"Look at that brick" (360 power supply is a tad chunky)

"All consoles should have wireless controllers" (that was me!)

"Is this what next gen is about then, just some prettier graphics"

"The games are slightly sharper but the games are still much the same"

"Put another title on...... there's nothing I want to play, let's unplug it and plug the Wii back into the tv" (followed by Avatar the Burning Earth and an Eyetoy session on PS2)

So, the jury in our household is firmly against "next gen". I have an acceptable PC so I'm happy to play Gears of War or Lost Planet on that. Assassin's Creed is out on PC next year (it was delayed) and there is a strong rumour that Mass Effect will be on PC next year. Halo and Halo 2 made it to PC and even Microsoft's effort to force Halo 2 gamers to buy Vista (what a joke) was bypassed by hackers so Halo 2 plays on XP machines fine.

No point in Next Gen. Actually decided to sell the Xbox 1 as it's media playing duties have been distgributed elsewhere. The Cube is redundant as the Wiii plays Cube games.

We're quite happy with a Wii, a PS2 and a decent PC for gaming, thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mediagate MG-35 heaven?



I bought myself another new toy (!!). This time it's called a Freecom MG-35 but in reality it's a re-badged Mediagate MG-35 from a Korean source. Why did I buy this? Well it's a networked media player which means it can play the media I have stored on my NAS, my Linkstation. So, put simply, I can watch video or listen to MP3s while my PC is saving electricity being switched to standby or off.

There are plenty of networked media players out there (I actually use an Xbox with XboxMediaCenter installed) so why this one? Well I have looked at many in recent days and will advise you if considering one to Google them extensively. Ebay is a source of NMPs but the ones I saw listed almost all seemed to have buggy firmware (according to net reports). The MG35 also has it's bugs but the clincher here (apart from price!!) was that there is an established hacking community on Yahoo Groups. The group have modified firmware to add a few features like AC3 playback (always handy for those Xvid/AC3 dvdrips) and to improve the interface with better looking "skins".

So, I plugged the thing in and it found my network straight away. I set up the interface as I wanted and then navigated to my AVIs and played them without any issues. Superb. Next to upgrade the firmware to a modded one, simply browse the network to the latest stock firmware, select the file and the box knows that it's a firmware file and flashes it for you. Next flash the modded firmware and you are done. There is also a wireless MG-35 for those who like freedom from network cables.

One final comment. The MG35 supports playback from a locally fitted hard disk (IDE) or via network. I am a silence-freak so don't want to listen to whining hard disks. With no hard disk and no fan, the MG-35 is totally silent and therefore ideal for bedroom use. Pity mine is downstairs now!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wot no Zonbu?

I've sold my Zonbu. A bit strange to only have it a few weeks but my needs have changed. I still think the Zonbu is a great PC and a great concept - green computing.

I had considered the Zonbu originally to become my download box, allowing it to download all day to either an external USB drive, an attached 2.5inch drive or to a NAS. Anyway, astute readers (are there any?) might have noticed my success with the Buffalo Linkstation NAS box which is now acting as my download box using Hellanzb for usenet downloads. The only other role the Zonbu could have fulfilled would have been to act as a video player but it's probably expensive to do that so the Zonbu is going. The Linkstation still fulfills my Green computing needs!

What will be the video player? Well, a Freecom MG-35.



That's another entry though when I have updated that with "modded" firmware! What fun - boy toys!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Leaves on the Line



I'm wondering if this is just a peculiarly British problem or something the world over? Anyway, in the UK every autumn (that's "fall" for the Yanks) we have the commuting world grind to a halt with the excuse from the train companies of "leaves on the line" or "the wrong kind of leaves on the line". This only came about in the last 10 years or so but now it has suddenly got so bad (if you believe the BS we are fed) that we have "Leaf Fall Timetables" where trains are timetabled to run late. If you ask me this is just another excuse for the crap rail services we have in the country.

Where I live we have a small local railway close by and not only has the Leaf Fall timetable led to earlier starting and later finishing trains (less sleep for the Mrs) but it also means we have a Leaf Cleaning train that runs after the normal trains have finished. This is some mighty behemoth that at night is barely lit and looks a little like a huge steam breathing dragon. It blasts (very noisily) the tracks clean and goes quite slowly once and down the line. We had just about got used to this (which finishes only an hour after the last train) when this week it got worse. The bloody Leaf Cleaner came at 3.30am the night before last and 1:10am last night. How are we expected to get some sleep?

I can picture me either planting some explosive on the Leaf Cleaner or sabotaging the line to prevent any trains running. Bring back British Rail I say because even they could run a better rail service than the shambles we have now.

[The image is a fair likeness of the Dragon of the Rails]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

OMG I am a Nintendo Fanboy!



Well, this was a shock to admit this to myself. Having spent years scoffing at Ninty fanboys and my son in particular I have slowly come to this moment where I have realised I am a Ninty Fanboy.



I did own a SNES some while back but probably mainly because there were devices like the Wildcard where you could backup games to floppy disk and play them without cartridges. But I soon got bored and sold the SNES and Wildcard - there was just so much Streetfighter 2 you could play.



I easily resisted the N64 although my son had one to play the Pokemon games. His arrived after the console was officially "dead" so wasn't expensive. Sure, Goldeneye was impressive but I easily resisted.



Gamecube? Well, I laughed at that from my Xbox heights. I did relent and get a PS2 for the family to use Eyetoy and Dancemat games mainly. Again, my son got a Cube later than most (just as it was dying) but it didn't grab me. He was still on his Pokemon Colosseum games at this time. I did notice that there were a few of the more mainstream games out on the GC though.



And Wii. Well by now I had to admit that Nintendo had something special out and the social gaming that Wii Sports brings looked rather fun. The most beloved in a moment of pure genius produced one for me at Xmas 06 and we all agreed it was the best surprise present ever. Much fun and several Wii Sports-related injuries later it's still a revolutionary console. Sure, the graphics are not "Next Gen" like the Xbox360 and PS3 but graphics don't make the game, the gameplay does. The Wii also made me look hard at the Cube's back catalogue and generally if the game was good it got a Cube release too, bar the few "exclusives" like Halo and Project Gotham or God of War.

And I haven't even touched on handhelds and how Ninty owns that market. Maybe another time? Feel free to disagree with my views.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amithlon again




Well, after much searching I believe I have found the perfect Amithlon motherboard. It's the Asus KV-81. So why is it perfect? Well, all the devices onboard are supported (which is always good) and it's microATX (which is better, means nice small cases are an option) but it's also just about the only board with gigabit ethernet that is supported by Amithlon (using the VIA Velocity chipset). The downsides for me are that I have a nice PCI-E graphics card and this board only takes AGP cards (so anyone wanna swap for a 7600GT?) and this is a Socket754 board and I have Socket939 chips. I managed to pick up a cheap Sempron 2600+ and have an Athlon 3000+ also cheap that is on the way. Now I have to sell the old S939 kit!

Anyway, a few install experiences. I had some issues with the partitioning of the hard disk. You can only have 4 Primary partitions which basically meant XP, Amithlon Kernel/Boot partition and the "Amiga hard disk" partition. I didn't manage to squeeze a Mac OSX partition in this time. My little advice I can offer is that if you want to have additional NTFS partitions for XP that you create them at the start when installing XP (which you do before Amithlon), make them logical and not primary partitions and use a partition package like Acronis Disk Director to move the partitions to the end of the physical hard disk layout. Then create your Kernel and Amiga partitions using XFDisk in the resulting space in the middle. If not then things look to be confused as XFDisk thinks your Kernel/Amithlon partition is your D or E drive!

One final tip. After configuration, boot from the Amithlon CD, not from HD. Then "install" the Amiga hard disk and WB3.9 from your Amithlon CD and then and ONLY then boot from the "Amiga hard disk".

My Amithlon boots using the old kernels, not the Gary Colville versions. Need to tweak the setup. Anyone care to offer some advice or help?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Saving the Planet

The Linkstation hacking is going rather well.

So far I have upgraded the hard disk to a larger one, re-sizing the partitions so that I have extra space to install all the goodies that I am adding to it. Then I opened the firmware up on the box ("hacked it") and installed a few Linux goodies to make life easier. I tweaked the box to enable it to act as a web server for a personal web page which isn't written yet but you can get the empty site at www.strontiumdog.co.uk. I wonder if you know what that website might be about? The last improvement for me is the best. I installed a usenet downloading package that downloads files from the internet, checks and unpacks them, all whilst the PC is switched off. Now if you think that a Linkstation uses 15W power and a PC normally around 175W, the saving in electricity pays for the Linkstation and upgraded hard disk in about a year. I have to do my bit to save the planet don't I.

The thing is so good that I wonder what my Zonbu will do!

A full how-to for installing the usenet downloader is available at the Linkstation wiki at NAS-Central here.

Next is a web interface for remote control of the usenet package and perhaps a Bit torrent client.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

X-Amiga


What fortuitous timing. There was me ranting about Windows yesterday and saying how Linux and Amiga were cool and along it comes. This is a project I've been tracking for a while, basically an installer for a very small Linux boot system that loads E-UAE (the Linux Amiga emulator). Loads fast and avoids bloating! Sounds like a pro-biotic yoghurt eh?

More info and the downloads can be found here

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Hate MS Windows!


Well, sort of.

Windows is one of those necessary evils or so many will tell you. I find it a bloated operating system, it takes too much space, too much memory and therefore is inefficient. It comes with "eye candy" to make it look pretty but that doesn't change what it really is.

So what can we do? Well, there are many alternatives:

1) Linux - this is very much a realistic choice. I really doubt there is much reason for people to use Windows if it wasn't for the fact they had it pre-loaded on their PC or they found it easy to pirate. Try a Linux install like Ubuntu and you get all the Office applications, internet browsers and whatever you could want. My Linkstation is running Linux and can do an awful lot and similarly with the Zonbu! You can even try Linux using "Live CDs" where you keep your existing OS but boot Linux from the CD and can test and play with it before deciding if you want to install it.

2) Mac OSX - well I cannot claim to be taken with this but pretty much the same applies as for Linux. Less users though so less people writing for it. Interestingly if you like to try new stuff, you can install this on your PC to make what is called a Hackintosh (not Macintosh or Mac)

3) Amiga OS - well not really an alternative but you could have Amithlon running a fast non Microsoft system. Amithlon can run with very little else on your system bar a small FAT32 partition. Less software around for it too. Same applies to an AmigaOS clone called MorphOS.

4) Hyperspace - just publicised. This aims to save on the loading times associated with booting a Windows PC. More info here

Friday, November 2, 2007

Amiga



I've owned and used a fair few computers in my time from tape based TRS80s at school (and they were cutting edge) to the modern PCs we use today. The one computer that evokes most affection (yes, affection) and nostalgia is the Commodore Amiga. Now if you have just said "what's that?" then you should wash your mouth out with soapy water.

Linkage!

If you were an Amiga user in the late 80s and through the 90s you might be interested in emulations. Finally modern PCs have got sufficiently powerful to run an accurate emulation of the Amiga. Most people will be using a Windows PC and running WinUAE (the Windows Uxxx Amiga Emulator). WinUAE is a fine piece of software and can be configured to emulate most Amigas, even the later AGA chipset models. But for real emulation speed and features, nothing comes close to Amithlon. What Amithlon does is makes all the modern facilities of the PC available to the Amiga emulation - that means fast graphics, better sound, ethernet networking. You really get a powerful modern Amiga.

Unfortunately due to legal shenanigans Amithlon is no longer sold but copies are still traded on places like eBay. To run Amithlon you need compatible hardware - generally AMD and VIA kit works well (more info via the links). I spent quite some time hunting down the "perfect" motherboard, Abit's KV-81, which is fully supported and allows superfast gigabit networking. The Amithlon machine is set to dual boot - you can select your superfast Amithlon-based Amiga or (yuk) Windows XP.

Amithlon info can be found here

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kittens!


We have two of them and they are, of course, adorable. These are the latest in a line of Burmese cats I have owned and these two are very different from the others.

Zaphod is a Chocolate boy and very small. I would not expect him to ever look like an adult cat but he's still cute and has a stubby face. He is, at the current time, rather strangely the "top cat" and he is quite aggressive with his brother, growling over possession of the sacred toy, the shaped pipe cleaner which looks, to a kitten, rather like a spider of sorts.

Aslan is a Lilac boy, quite chunky and muscular but is #2 cat. He is by all definitions of a Burmese and by those of The Sun newspaper, "a stunner". He has a lovely colour and shape. He's also very dippy and prone to losing the plot and staring at the ceiling as though he is having hallucinations. We think he is "touched" and a "special needs kitty".

Anyway, I'll post some pics later. Remind me to post some more in three months or so or late December because by then the poor boys will no longer be "whole". I hesitate to use the word "chop" in case they are internet-savvy kittens and read this!

[Update - Still haven't got pix sorted but dug out this one of my kittens' mum, brother and uncle]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dexter


I have to confess Dexter would not be my normal choice of viewing, and FX channel would not be one I normally hop to, but I was intrigued by adverts on the London Tube of a new series about a serial killer. OK, so there are plenty of crime dramas around but this was about the serial killer with him being the star. The ad intrigued me so I watched and was hooked, downloading episodes from the USA and watching the first season quite quickly. Now season 2 has just started in the US.

So, what is it about? Well, Dexter is a disturbed man who as a child witness the brutal murder of his mother. He was saved by a policeman from the bloody scene and adopted by the same policeman but the murder affected him. He now feels strange urges and desires that can only be satisfied by killing. His "father" realises the only way to stop Dexter from being incarcerated is to teach him a code and some control. Dexter's code is that he only kills those who kill others - he has some "ethics" - and he always covers his tracks by leaving no forensic evidence. Oh and did I mention his job? He's a Blood Spatter Analyst for the Miami Police Department.


I would not want to spoil the plot for you but season 1 ends with a bang. Season 2 opens with Dexter's stash of victims bodies being discovered. And look out for Dexter's girlfriend, she is someone that fan's of Buffy may recognise, Drusilla, played by Julie Benz.

One to watch without a doubt. If you liked, or didn't like it, let me know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Linkstation - More Toys for the Boys?

Another toy, ordered last night. This one is called a Network Attached Storage box, branded as a Linkstation. Basically it's a small computer hiding away as a semi-intelligent hard disk. The clever thing is that any PC on your home network (or the internet if you choose) can access this hard disk. Imagine, you store your documents on the NAS box and when you are at school you've forgotten your homework? No problem, log into your NAS and retrieve and print it at school.
The Linkstation Home Server model I bought first of all turned out to have a fault preventing it being upgraded and the hard disk was faulty. Luckily the eBay seller was a decent bloke and didn't cause me grief over the refund. I'm now having to buy a different model, the Linkstation Live but it stil has has a gigabit ethernet connection which means fast transfers between PC and Linkstatiion. This is also quite hackable.

The cheapest Linkstation I could find was a 250gb model at Play.com for £99.99. That is a great price and doing that and bunging my own HD in it to upgrade it to a 500Gb model is cheaper by far than buying a 500gb model as standard. Plus I get a spare 250gb drive. Result.

The plan is to open the firmware somewhat (perhaps even re-flash the device) and to add some software to it to enable me to host a personal website and to turn the Linkstation into my 24/7 download box, replacing any need to leave a PC on all day and night. Depending on how successful I am this could even render my Zonbu partly obsolete and save the planet at the same time!

More info can be found at http://www.nas-central.org/ with info on how to modify Linkstations too!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What the heck is a Zonbu


I've just received my latest toy. Yes, I am a sucker for all things electrical (well, not quite all - there are a few battery powered devices I could happily pass on). This is a "green PC" called a Zonbu. http://www.zonbu.com/.
It's a relatively low powered PC which runs a customised Linux operating system but with all the programs you would need already installed. It consumes around 15W - about the same as an Energy Saver lightbulb and additionally the manufacturers have bought carbon offsets to offset it's use. Oh how green can you get? A further major benefit is that it has no hard disk and the processor is a low power one so there are no moving parts and no need for a fan. Yes, it is totally quiet meaning it can be left on even in a bedroom without disturbing "she who must be obeyed". Next job is to replace the operating system with a customised and stripped (lean and mean) version of Windows, without all the Microsoft bloatware and then to integrate it into the home network as my 24/7 server in conjunction with my other low power box, the Buffalo Linkstation (although that has just turned out to be faulty and needs replacement). Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ninja Warrior



Also known in Japan as Sasuke.

We've got into this TV show in a big way. It's the one thing on TV (as opposed to downloadable TV shows from USA) that I actually want to watch. It's a mad Japanese gameshow where grown men (and some women too) compete on a fiendish obstacle course that tests their skill and their physical prowess to complete four stages. Some of these stages are timed, all are difficult. If too many people get through, those fiendish Japs make it harder. It's been going for some years now and so far only two people have ever completed the thing. The first guy now has an eyesight problem and although he tries to compete he often cannot see what he is doing (which is potentially rather dangerous). The old and the young compete (we've seen a 14 year old and a 70-odd year old). Some of the regulars are stars in Japan and even some foreigners have competed like US Olympic medal winners who haven't done that well!

Our hero for this is a Japanese fisherman called Makoto Nagano. The man is a class act. He makes the thing look easy when it isn't and he is super-fit. I was very surprised to read he is only 5'3" tall.

Anyway, you are advised to check this show out. It's on in UK on ChallengeTV at 6pm or shown on US television as well. "Go Nagano!!!"

10 Print "Hello World"

Well, so far I have resisted all the trendy internet uses like Facebook, YouTube, Blogging and the like but no longer. I mean, it comes as a shock to find your non-nerdy wife has a Facebook page you didn't know about. So without further fanfare, here we go. My weblog. I wonder how long I can be bothered? My prediction is "under six months". First proper entry later today.