Destination Star Trek London

So, I went to Destination Star Trek London then…

Weekend Pass
Cloaked Warbird

… and I didn’t think it was brilliant. I’m glad I got the low-end ticket, everything was a queue within a queue within a queue. I’m sure those on the higher cost tickets had a better time and now I’ll know what to expect in future, but it just wasn’t for me.

NB: It probably didn’t help that my goodie bag did not contain the code for Star Trek Online and my pre-signed autograph was Neelix.

Failing with FreeNAS

Yesterday my lovely HP N36L Microserver that I run FreeNAS on decided that it was going to trash the USB memory stick that FreeNAS relies upon to boot.

I’m not sure what the cause is at the moment, whether it is FreeNAS having a funny half hour, the Microserver amusing itself at my expense or possibly my doing something wrong with a console command (though I don’t believe the last one is likely as I have not used it for a month).

When the error messages appeared last night I have to admit they sent me into something of a complete and utter state of panic.  Finding information on FreeNAS isn’t too difficult but I don’t find it as easy to get information on FreeBSD error messages (FreeBSD being the base for FreeNAS).

Thankfully after some logical thinking (it was complaining about drives so I removed all of them) I concluded that the USB stick itself was the cause of all the problems.  With a bit of command prompt tinkering I was able to make FreeNAS boot to a console with the drives in and confirm that it could mount the ZFS file system without issue.

Since it seems that the USB stick is beyond saving (baring some miracle), I shall be re-doing my FreeNAS build at some point this week.  If I get the time then I will take loads of sexy screenshots and write the process up as at the moment I think the Plugins available for FreeNAS are absolutely horrid compared to the result you can have with a bit of DIY.

This time I shall attempt to correct issues that I’ve had previously and add in some more functionality:

  • Use the pre-release version of FreeNAS (now FreeNAS 8.3) in the hopes this enables me to use the most current FreeBSD ports tree.
  • Install and use Portmaster so I have a tool to make sure there is better control over the ports installation process (until I gain a better understanding).
  • Programs running in the Plugins jail need to stop being run as privileged users and shall be run as regular users.
  • Try to build Hamachi even though it is a long shot because it would remove my need to use a Dynamic DNS service.
  • Introduce the Privoxy proxy server and integrate it with TOR.
  • Figure out rsync so that family businesses can backup to yet another site using multiple protocols.
  • Tinker with the init scripts so that they don’t launch network software before there is a networking connection, etc.

Hopefully I will get through some, if not all, of that lot by the end of the week.

Really(?) RAW

Thoughts about WWE Monday Night RAW for 10 September 2012:

  • Bret Hart: Nice touch to see him continue to put those demons further in the rear view mirror.
  • Bret Hart & CM Punk: Best there is, best there was and best there ever will be still stands.  Nicely played by both.  WCW mention was a bit pointless however.
  • Kofi Kingston & R-Truth -v- The Miz & Antonio Cesaro: The no interest tag team champions sticking to what they do best, playing it safe.  Cesaro is still of absolutely no interest and the sooner the WWE stop forcing people down our throats the better.  Whilst Miz is fine as the Intercontinental Champion the strap was much better sitting with Cody Rhodes.
  • Sheamus & David Otunga: Brilliant.  The comedy segments in RAW are getting better every week.  A real jewel and a must watch.
  • Layla, Kaitlyn, & Eve -v- Beth Phoenix, Natalya & Alicia Fox: This match was pointless, Eve’s gimmick is pointless, nothing more to add.
  • CM Punk & AJ Lee: Boring, not working as general manager, hopefully this will build to a “YOU’RE FIRED!” sooner or later.
  • CM Punk -v- Randy Orton: Decidedly average, lets hope when Orton gets back into championship contention (it’s inevitable) that the man holding the strap is no longer CM Punk.  Not really sure why Orton did the cheap pop for Montreal?
  • CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler -v- Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler: It’s great that once a year The King gets himself involved in the action, I’ve always wondered if this was something he insisted upon in his contract.  Watching him drop kick Ziggler square on the jaw was a sight to behold.  Nice touch to see Paul Heyman involved again especially with Vickie Guerrero providing the backing track.  Better still to hear CM Punk say that he is “a Heyman guy”.
  • Kane & Daniel Bryan segment: Nice continuation of the previous weeks segments.
  • Heath Slater -v- Ryback: Good god, why, why, why, why, why, why, why does this man keep getting to use a microphone.  Normally that’s the worst thing about a Heath Slater match, this week however it’s the opponent.  The Ryback gimmick just doesn’t work, give it up already, bin it, pretend it never happened.
  • Kane & Daniel Bryan -v- The Prime Time Players: Tucking your t-shirts into your trunks is so not a thing, neither is the “millions of dollars” bromance hug.  Still love Bryan’s entrance, this guy needs to go down in history as having shown everyone that he damn well could be WWE champion.

Oh my god, I simply cannot believe what happened to Jerry the King Lawler!  Thank god for all the medical staff in the arena in Montreal who did what was necessary to save him.  I wish him a speedy recovery.  All things said about Michael Cole’s character before show just how different he is from that persona.  To carry on with someone having a heart attack right next to you must be one of the toughest things that man has ever had to do.

  • Alberto Del Rio -v- Tyson Kidd: I don’t envy these two having to go on after what just happened but a reasonably solid match.  It’s good that Kidd hasn’t yet ended up going through the revolving door.

Michael Cole shooting about what happened to Jerry Lawler:  Again, all respect to Cole.  Having to sit there and do that not knowing what is happening to your friend must have been absolutely horrible.

  • Sheamus -v- David Otunga:  No surprises here.  WWE playing to its strengths giving Sheamus another “cross” based finisher.  Nice to see Booker T on RAW, especially when his arrival pushed AJ Lee out of shot of the camera.
  • Kane & Daniel Bryan segment: Brilliant… Daniel Bryan & Kane or Kane & Daniel Bryan… Team Frendship… NO!

Michael Cole shooting again.  Absolutely gut wrenching.

  • Cody Rhodes -v- Rey Mysterio: Great encounter between the on point Mysterio and Rhodes.  Bit weird hearing Cody constantly grunt throughout the match though because of the silence.  Did anyone else think that Rey looked like an M&M? Good to see the interaction between Rhodes and Miz hinting that the title might go back to Cody.

Michael Cole shooting once more.  It is horrible to hear Cole describe Lawler describing that again.  Every time as well the poor fellow has absolutely no extra news to deliver of any comfort and seemingly manages to recall in more detail what just happened to his friend.

  • Bret Hart & John Cena: Montreal 1 – 0 Cena.  To be fair, he can wrestle, he just cannot wrestle well.  Shows just how well CM Punk does the heel that he can make the Montreal crowd start cheering for Cena when they start with him as the bad guy.  You also have to respect the show ending on the Hitman’s music 15 years after the screw job.  Who would have seen that one coming?

Michael Cole for the final time.  Thankfully with the good news that Jerry The King Lawler has stabilised.

NB: At the time of writing the latest news on Jerry Lawler from WWE after that edition of RAW can be found here.

Xenophobic XenForo

So, since my last post on the subject of XenForo, very little has changed.  Everyone has been left wondering what exactly is going on behind the scenes at XenForo Limited.

I posted on their August Update discussion thread (as you might have guessed) and frankly I thought that my question about XenForo was reasonable.  My question was:

Would someone be willing to identify the cumulative number of hours that have been expended altering/amending/improving/patching/etc the codebase since the last announcement on 19 June 2012. Personally I’d sleep better having some proof that things are being worked on even if there is no scheduled time frame for a release.

Now on Wednesday this week it will be a fortnight since I posted that question and as of now it has not been answered.

Unsurprisingly the current moderators of the XenForo community were left with little option but to close the discussion thread as it degenerated swiftly.  Personally I did not find the moderators themselves particularly helpful because whilst I understand the logic behind telling people how they should interpret things at the end of the day that makes everything on the XenForo community hearsay.

I sincerely doubt that we are going to see anything back from XenForo Limited any time soon, in fact I predict that we will hear nothing whatsoever until they post a “September Update” or similar.

Personally I cannot see the problem with answering the question that I posed, many other projects freely allow people to draw down information and statistics on the amount of programming being done.  For an example you can take a look at the entry for Mozilla Firefox on which notes that there have been 2525 commits in the period 09 August 2012 to 08 September 2012.

Is the current set of circumstances really so bad that XenForo Limited has to take this xenophobic approach to their own customers?

Really(?) RAW

Thoughts about WWE Monday Night RAW for 03 September 2012:

  • Daniel Bryan & Kane in Therapy: Brilliant, the pyrotechnics in the bin moment was hilarious.
  • Miz replacing Jerry Lawler: If only Miz had been replacing Michael Cole, unfortunately we all know that Punk -v- Cole would never have been any good.
  • Ryback -v- Jinder Mahal: Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, piss break.
  • Everyone leaves AJ Lee: Not interested at all.
  • Daniel Bryan & Kane in Ring Therapy: Even more brilliant, every time Bryan’s character loses his temper it just cements him with the audience.  Miz inventing the “rules” for hugging it out just added to the brilliance in spades, especially when Michael Cole stated it was beyond him, which says everything about his announcing ability.
  • Daniel Bryan -v- Kane: Really strong match, played to both wrestlers strengths really well.  Unusually fast paced match for Kane as well which was an added bonus.  Hopeful that this rivalry is built for the long-term if they can keep coming up with the material.
  • Santino Marella -v- Antonio Cesaro: Really love the continued comedy from Marella but this was a total lost cause simply because WWE are entering a new territory (Switzerland) and have put the United States Championship on an overnight character creation.  What really doesn’t add up here was that they could have used the Intercontinental Championship for this purpose as that is why it exists.
  • Zack Ryder -v- Heath Slater: I’ve no idea who behind the scenes jacks off to seeing Slater on TV but they must have enough footage by now that he can be taken away from RAW… please?  Also a shame to see Ryder, the self-made superstar, now having to what management tell him to.
  • Vickie Guerrero & AJ Lee: It always amazes me that frankly anyone with the surname Guerrero is an instant win, if Vickie stays on form much longer she will have just as big a place in the WWE Hall of Fame as Eddie Guerrero (who I sorely miss).  All that was missing from this was a spear or similar from Vickie, though her skipping away from the ring was genius.  Not sure what the chair did in a past life to deserve such a beat-down though.
  • Alberto Del Rio -v- John Cena: It’s always good to see John Cena bounce face first off of a shiny car.  It’s even better to see when the driver is Paul Heyman.  Paul E on WWE is always magic!

Staying Zen about Xenforo

I thought I would try being a bit more imaginative with the title this post, not sure if I have succeeded.

So, rubbish humour to one side for now, XenForo Limited has released an update for August 2012 about what is happening on their end.

Frankly it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Whilst I’m sure that there is an awful lot that is happening behind the scenes which is affecting the development process, e.g. the often referenced personal issues of the developers, this blanket of silence that has appeared is absolutely awful.  It really just isn’t good enough to leave everyone hanging around waiting to see what happens next whilst paying their hard-earned money for the privilege.

Doubtless there is a limit on what can and cannot be revealed given the ongoing legal issues that have arisen around the product and the developers, however saying nothing at all does nothing to still the waters.  In fact I think that their latest post has only served to stir up the questions around what will happen to XenForo.

All this said, it will be a real shame if XenForo cannot manage to pick itself up after being taken to the canvas by the owners of vBulletin, since the software shows a fresh and innovative approach to hosting communities online which will be sorely missed if it disappears.

Firefox 15 In Stores Everywhere Now

Well it seems that the next chapter in the war to increase the version number of your desktop browser just got written because Firefox 15 is available now.

Having had a quick read through the Mozilla blog and the more detailed posts here and here this all sounds quite promising.

In the modern age of the browser wars whilst I’ve been impressed with what Google has done to spur innovation by stirring things up with Chrome, it’s never quite managed to shift me away from Firefox.  For a long while, Firefox was starting to feel like a tatty old jacket, I was comfortable with it but everyone else was telling me to bin it for the latest fashion trend.

It’s safe to say however that having used both, I now feel that it is the Chrome users who are missing out.  Having stuck with it I’ve still got the super tweaked Firefox 15 on my desktop, a browser that I’ve become accustomed to over the years except now, it’s faster than ever.

Game on!

In even better news it seems that Firefox has also sorted it head out when it comes to Android tablets which Mozilla neglected for the past couple of releases.  As the release of CyanogenMod 10 is just over the horizon it looks like I will be getting much more use out of my HP Touchpad in the not to distant future.

Never Played?

When it comes to computer games, there are titles I play regularly (e.g. Star Trek Online), there are titles I played through and enjoyed which have no replay value (e.g. Half-Life 2) and there are titles I started and gave up on (e.g. Duke Nukem Forever).  The part that makes my jaw drop though is the last part of my library, this part is the titles that I own but have never played.

It seems to me that this list of never played titles is growing longer and I do not understand why.

I’m uncertain if this is because Steam has its Summer/Winter sales or because you can help out charity whilst receiving multiple titles with initiatives like the Humble Bundle.  Maybe it’s simply because Steam lists every game I own in the one place.  Whatever the reason it just goes to show how much things have changed over the years.

When I was a kid and console gaming was the only platform open to me, there was no such thing as a never played game.  If I got a new game (birthday / christmas) then that game got played to death.  There were no exceptions, when I got Sonic 2 it got completed, when I got Golden Axe it got played for months (although I sucked at it) and I even remember spending hours playing Trivial Pursuit on the Master System (despite that stupid duck “hosting” it being annoying).

Maybe I just need to set myself a challenge to just play through the games that I have in my library but with Borderlands 2, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and more all just around the corner it looks like my library will contain some “never played” titles for a long time to come.

Of Bajor

So, this weeks featured episode entitled “Of Bajor” hit Star Trek Online on Saturday and proved that Cryptic Studios hasn’t completely lost its touch.

There are some very smart visuals together with multiple courses of action which bind together to form a much more involving story than the previous featured episodes have done.

Shots below!

U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-F)… well, kinda!

So, Cryptic have started pumping things out again for Star Trek Online (now it is free to play and the 2 year anniversary anyway).

Top of the “what’s new” list is the brand new Odyssey class flagship for the Federation.  Credit where credit is due it is quite well modelled but it still isn’t a patch on the Galaxy class to me.  Anyway, here are some screenshots from in game.