Big Yellow Tutu

Snooth November 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 12:21 pm
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This article over on PSFK about a new wine recommendation service has got my attention this morning. I’m not sure whether that is because I’d kill for a glass of wine right now, or if its actually a service I’d use, but it certainly seems interesting.

It has a name a don’t really understand, Snooth – maybe its a wine term, so I’m already showing myself up with the vino community before I’ve even begun. It works by asking for your ratings of wines, then using this they then recommend you wines that you might enjoy.

This could possibly make my life a whole lot easier, at the moment, in a bid to educate myself, I’m keeping yes/no list on the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards. All the wines I enjoy go in the tick column, and everything else goes in the cross column. Obviously. Having it the other way round would be daft. I was hoping that I’d start to see some kind of trend with the wines I was enjoying, it hasn’t happened yet – so maybe Snooth will help me when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed in Sainsburys.

Though we don’t buy wine that comes from anywhere other than Europe, so I’ll be intrigued to see if this can take preferences like that into account.

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Heroes drinking game November 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 5:09 pm
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I found this when doing some research for work. Seriously.

I get a bit dizzy when Mohinder comes on the screen, so I think this might just tip me over into heaven. I’m surely not the only one who wants to marry that man???

Take ONE drink when…

  • Niki sees her reflection wink back at her
  • Niki looks all panic-stricken (reserve yourself to no more than twice per episode)
  • Nathan talks down to Peter
  • Simone adds utterly no value to a scene
  • Hiro uses a lot of comical gestures and sound effects to complement his English
  • Claire breaks a bone (or vital organ) in a way that makes you a bit squeamish
  • Matt gets really confused about his power
  • Ando makes a comment regarding giving up or going home
  • Anyone’s eyes get all glossed over
  • Mr. Bennet takes off his glasses, wipes them (or his brow), then puts them back on
  • Mohinder makes a reference to something being impossible, stupid, crazy, etc
  • Someone’s head gets cut open
  • The Haitian guy shows up, and the episode fades to commercial within 5 seconds
  • Two Heroes’ paths cross coincidentally
  • A dead person comes back to life.  Drink again if it is revealed that that formerly dead person is actually still dead
  • Claude snarls menacingly
  • Ted gets all sweaty (take a second drink if he subsequently doesn’t even use his power)
  • NBC shows a spoiler during a commercial break of another show, and you aren’t able to grab your remote and pause/mute/change the channel in time.  Drink again if you curse the network out loud as a result.
  • Sylar fools someone and you sit there yelling at the screen “he’s the bad guy, he’s the bad guy!”
  • You get a glimpse of one of Isaac’s paintings and it shows something extra-cool (this is another ’subjective’ ones)
  • Linderman shows signs that he’s probably a grade-A crazy

Take TWO drinks when…

  • Hiro raises his arms to the sky in an expression of joy
  • Claire runs unnecessarily
  • D.L. doesn’t use his ability, but clearly could/should
  • A Hero uses their power in a way that makes you clap, cheer, or get otherwise giddy
  • Peter figures anything important out
  • Sylar shows how much of a badass he is
  • A “good” Hero turns out to be “bad” (and vice versa)
  • Thompson makes it through an entire scene smiling
  • Someone should really just give Candice a punch, because it would really solve some problems, but yet doesn’t
  • Hana gets more than 3 minutes of screen time in an episode

Chug it when…

  • They find the sword
  • The writers use Mohinder’s dad (Dr. Suresh) to explain a key plotline
  • A character is revealed to be a Hero and it was a genuine surprise (judgment call, but I trust ya)
  • A major character gets killed
  • NBC comes up with a key catchphrase to get new viewers involved
  • Any Hero dons a spandex uniform (and you must finish all the drinks around if that uniform sports a big X in the middle)
  • Someone (not you, of course) radically underestimates Sylar
  • An actor who is/was famous on another geeky TV series (or movie) makes a guest appearance
  • Two heroes make out.  Chug it again if it turns out many episodes later they’re somehow related.
  • The writers introduce a Hero with a very average power, such as “slightly longer limbs than normal people” or “eerily aware of the exact humidity of the local region” or “can summon and control all the nearby butterflies”

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Bionic Woman

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 4:27 pm
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Beep beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep…

My nerd alert is getting seriously overheated. I am very, very excited…


Previously on…

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 9:53 am

I watch rather a lot of tv, no soaps or x factor, but instead a lot of food and fashion shows. Project Runway makes me giddily happy and anything with Gordon Ramsay in it keeps me daydreaming for weeks. I usually fall asleep by about half nine every night, so the sky plus box gets a good work out.

As we all know, the great thing about sky plus is that you can fast forward the adverts. A one hour show suddenly becomes about 40 minutes. Brilliant, more time for sleeping. I’d hope this would be 40 minutes of original content but more and more I’m finding that I’m really only getting about 15 minutes of actual new footage. Why oh why do we need a recap after the ad break of what happened three minutes before? I wasn’t so enraptured by the adverts to the point where I’d lost all memory of what had occurred before their glory hit my screen.

It seems that every show I watch follows this brain numbing pattern

Minute one: people getting it on wearing various coloured outfits. apparently this sells paint.
Three minutes in: previously on… lets watch some footage we’ve already seen.
The next two minutes: very long opening credits explaining the premise of the show that we’ve been watching for two months.
The next two minutes: coming up on… some drama scenes that give away the only interesting bits that the next hour will cover.
Ten – twelve seconds: actual new footage, usually made up of soundbites and voiceovers, with the occasional bit of library footage of London.
The next three minutes: coming up on… those same drama bits we saw five minutes ago.
Four minutes: adverts adverts adverts.
The next two minutes: a recap of the previous ten minutes, a description of the woman being made over or a reminder of the design challenge. These are things we were told about five minutes ago.

This continues on loop for the next hour until I’ve seen the same scenes at least eight times and have learned about Tracy’s life wearing black tracksuits to the point where by I am repeating ‘she just doesn’t feel as sexy as she did when she was 18’ in my sleep.

I’d like this to stop, please.

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A pint of dark liquid for you, sir? November 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 6:25 pm

It has been an awful long time since I last used LJ, so I’m having a bit of an explore about to see what’s changed. Nothing much it seems, but then I can’t think of many more things I’d like it to do.

I have stumbled across the LJ virtual gifts shop, which I can only guess works in much the same way as the facebook service and is probably as useless. The list of gifts is fairly standard, but there’s one that stood out…

This is apparently ‘a pint of dark liquid’, according to it’s name on LJ.

It immediately follows a four leaf clover, so it is clearly within a themed segment, so people do realise what the dark liquid is and its significance. How odd.

Or should I more worried that they’re encouraging you to drink the mystery dark liquid with a straw?

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Sim City Societies

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 10:50 am
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If you run through the thousands of entries on this blog you will see that about three years ago my weekends were taken up with plenty of gigs, plenty of booze and very little sleep. Life is a little different now; weekends are for food, lie ins and nice walks. And most importantly, weekends are now for computer games.

I’ve been a long time fan of the Sim City series and have dutifully played each new version as it was released. Up until the weekend before last I had been spending my hours playing Sim City 4, dutifully ignoring the seemingly pointless linked up regions feature and instead being happy in the wonderful, wonderful ways to build up a city.

You can imagine my excitement when Sim City Societies was released then, I went straight from work to HMV, shunned requests to go the pub and instead headed directly for the sofa and the computer to get building some beautiful metropolises (is that the right pluralization???)

Anyway, the new game allows you to create themed cities with different societal values. You can create a city full of gingerbread houses and drama schools to make a Fun City; when you do this successfully the streets turn to gold and lamp posts turn to candy sticks. You can make an authoritarian hell hole, with CCTV everywhere, conditioning booths ala Clockwork Orange and prisons on every corner. There are about ten different options, including spiritual and industrial.

For the first few hours of playing I was happy, you place house by house rather than highlighting a whole area; and the same for work places, you even get to choose between types of work place – need more creativity? Get people working in a recording studio. Need more authority in your city? Get everyone working in the crime research office. The types of building available are astonishing, as are the city decorations. The potential for creating architectural masterpieces really made me happy.

But there’s just something very wrong with the game… its far too easy.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve completed pretty much the whole game. The previous games had a monthly expenditure/income balance that you had to get right. Schools, transport, public amenities and power all cost money. You’d get income from tax on houses, work places and from deals with your neighbouring cities. Sim City Societies doesn’t have any of that it seems, as I said, maybe I’m missing something about the game.

Work places, houses and services cost a one off fee. No maintenance cost for parks, hospitals, power stations and whatnot. The work places you choose then bring in a daily pot of money for your treasury. Choose the high earning offices and you’ll soon be reaping the awards. But you’ll never lose money. Play the game on fast mode, with the days rolling past rather quickly, stop building and you’ll never run out of money. The Sims need more creativity in their life? Wait two minutes and you’ll have enough money to build them an art gallery.

They’ll also work anywhere. It doesn’t matter if they’re not educated enough to work in a bank, you don’t have to place more schools to fix that. I’ve you got some crime simply place a police station anywhere in your city and it’ll be fixed. All you have to do is keep them happy with after work venues and you’re sorted.

What also doesn’t make sense is that you can place buildings anywhere and they’ll effect your population. Power stations can be placed in the bottom corner of your city and never need to be connected up with pylons. If you’re short on spirituality you can place five buddha statues in the middle of a forest, miles away from inhabitants and it’ll still do it’s job.

Oh, and the building styles don’t update with time as they used to. You unlock new buildings as the game progresses, but unless you go around demolishing your original houses then your city will always look pretty much the same.

I think I’m going to use the game when I’m feeling arty and want to make a pretty city, but for an actual challenge, I’m tempted to go back to Sim City 4.

Unless anybody can point out where I’m going wrong?

I’m not using any of those left hand menu things – is that it? I haven’t bothered putting the happy/sad signs above everyone in the city – maybe they’re all jumping off my skyscrapers and I’m not noticing.

Having a scout about the internet it seems I’m not the only unhappy one, Euro Gamer sums its up nicely in their review; giving it a paltry five out of ten. Eek. Can anyone recommend a better city building game?

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How to make a viral video get 100k views. If you’re an idiot. November 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 11:30 am
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This feature on Tech Crunch has got me rather angry, Dan Ackerman Greenberg is telling us about how his company makes a viral video get over 100,000 views. A great target to hit, but some horrific methods are used…

Highlights include

  • We reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post our embedded videos.
  • Forums: We start new threads and embed our videos. Sometimes, this means kickstarting the conversations by setting up multiple accounts on each forum and posting back and forth between a few different users.
  • MySpace: Plenty of users allow you to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages. (he’s basically
    comment spamming those then)

  • Every power user on YouTube has a number of different accounts. So do we. A great way to maximize the number of people who watch our videos is to create some sort of controversy in the comments section below the video. We get a few people in our office to log in throughout the day and post heated comments back and forth (you can definitely have a lot of fun with this). Everyone loves a good, heated discussion in the comments section – especially if the comments are related to a brand/startup.
  • Also, we aren’t afraid to delete comments – if someone is saying our video (or your startup) sucks, we just delete their comment. We can’t let one user’s negativity taint everyone else’s opinions. (I think this is the tipping point when my breakfast starts coming back up my throat…)

Fair play to Dan for being so transparent and open with his methods, as I’m sure he realised he’d come under attack for them, but it worries me how many people will copy his methods and take them to be the only viable option. I like the comment at the end saying “If you can’t get a good story noticed legitimately, it’s not worth doing it”; surely if you have amazing content people will want to feature it without being paid. Have relationships with the editors of relevant blogs who will be interested in your content and ask them what they think of it; if no one wants to feature it within their editorial maybe its time to have a look at whether or not you’re making compelling content at all.

I can’t even begin to talk about how much I hate him deleting negative comments. Aaaarrgghhh!

I’m very disappointed. And also a little bit worried that this was done simply to provoke a reaction and get some nice linkbait going on. As well, of course, to help improve the views of all his videos he kindly links to in the article. Humph.

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