A very Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes for 2010.
With Christmas day rapidly approaching, my thoughts go to the many happy Christmases I enjoyed as I child it got me thinking about all those amazing toys & games both me & my brothers received from Santa growing up in the late 70′s & 80′s. Here’s a run down of my favorites received over the years thanks to Mum, Dad & of course the big man himself.
PowerTrack Race & Chase
LEGO – Space
Beta-1 Command Base, best present for me aged 7
I still have the ‘TV screen’ LEGO piece in my study drawer:-)
Kenner Star Wars Action Figures
Tauntaun – Complete with open belly slit for sticking all kinds of crap inside
Speeder Bike -I loved this one, and just like the TV commercial, spent many happy hours under the table with them.
Action Man – The moment he was taken out the box, his war started. He was buried in the garden many times by our family dog, lost a leg and then endured the pain of my dad ‘glueing’ it back on by melting the plastic with a soldering iron and the humiliation of being forced to attend my older sisters tea parties with her ‘Sindy’ dolls!
Probably the best home computer I’ve ever owned. I have a confession, I actually knew that I was getting this for Christmas because I’d found it hidden in my parents wardrobe a few weeks before. They never understood why I was so ill with excitement on Christmas Eve.
What Christmas would be complete without a new bike? My first was a Raleigh Budgie & my favorite has to be the Raleigh Chopper
I think my list could go on & on here but some of my favorites were
Mouse Trap, Downfall, Ghost Castle, Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs, Hungry Hippos & Cluedo.
Every year we would receive one or two book annuals. Mostly they were either the Beano or Dandy but also Star Wars, Buck Rogers, 2000AD or Eagle.
Hope you have a Merry Christmas!
Give your Firefox, a festive makeover with one of the many Christmas themes provided by a great little FF addon called Personas.
My fav’s at the mo are these three-
We’ve just booked our tickets to see Star Wars: In Concert next March at the Sheffield Arena. Being a HUGE Star Wars fan, this is one event I’m REALLy looking forward to.
Star Wars: In Concert, a unique multi-media event featuring music from all six of John Williams’ epic Star Wars scores, begins its worldwide arena tour on October 1, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Narrated live by Anthony Daniels (the actor who portrayed C-3PO in all six films), the production features a full symphony orchestra and choir, accompanied by specially edited footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, high-definition LED super-screen — one of the largest ever put on tour. The live music and film elements are synchronized in order to create a full multi-media, one-of-kind Star Wars experience.
Accompanying the concert is an exclusive exhibit of Star Wars costumes, props, artifacts, production artwork and specially created behind-the-scenes videos from the Lucasfilm Archives. Many of these pieces are leaving Skywalker Ranch for the first time. The exhibit features many classic fan favorite artifacts, as well as several new and never-before-seen items, including:
For more details, visit – http://www.starwarsinconcert.com/
Well, not here anyways but thanks to WordPress I now have snow on my blog at least!
It’s actually sunny & blue skies here but bitterly cold. The garden thermometer reads zero & boy does it feel like it. Wrapped up in as many jumpers I can find, I’ll be out there this afternoon doing a few odd jobs. Note to myself, the conifers are really starting to get a little to tall – must sort them out next year.
The pond is pretty much frozen apart from about a quarter where the pumps are still keeping the water moving. Likewise the barrel pond is completely frozen with what must be at least be 2″ of ice.
Our last Christmas present orders arrived from Amazon yesterday so we’ve just got these last few to wrap & then that’s the shopping all done. I didn’t have much hope for the contents inside the battered box when it arrived because it looked like it’d been chewed up by the sorting machine…twice. Thankfully the contents had survived intact.
Right, one last cuppa & then I’m heading out….I might be some time
My R4 cartridge arrived today which I’m looking forward to trying out on my new Nintendo DS come this 25th (that’s assuming that DS shaped package under the Christmas tree actually contains a DS!). This popular homebrew device allows the DS to become much more that a hand-held gaming console.
Included in the box, is the R4 cart, a 4gb MicroSD card, MicroSD card reader, software & strap. The latter I presuming is a spare strap for the DS?
There’s a quite a few things I’m keen to try out.
DS port of the popular Commodore C64 emulator http://gpf.dcemu.co.uk/Frodoc64.shtml.
There’s also some great looking homebrew titles out there and being a fan of the Beats of Rage series on my Dreamcast I’ll defiantly be giving the DS ports a try.
There also appears to be a healthy ‘remake’ scene on the web so it’ll be fun to try out various clones of popular arcade games.
I’m also hoping to convert some of my favorite LucasArt point ‘n’ click adventure games to run via ScummVm DS. Portable Secret of Monkey Island & Day of the Tentacle…oh yes!
I love USB powered gizmos. Whether it’s a coffee mug warmer, RC Helicopter or USB powered rocket launcher I’m a sucker for them.
I was out shopping for stocking fillers the other day and came across this fantastic USB powered Plasma Ball in our local Tesco. I have no affiliation with Tesco (I don’t even do our weekly shop there) but for a mere £5, makes a fantastic desktop toy. I’ve brought one as a gift and after testing it (just to be sure it works…honest) I’m tempted to buy a few more!
The globe measures about 3″ & sits on a small pedestal which again I’m guessing is about 3″ high. Simply plug into a spare USB point, flick the on switch & prepare for the light show.
How cool is this!
Taken with a 10 sec shutter speed…Eye of Sauron?
Link to a You Tube video -
Curstie wants her own laptop, something she can call her own to store & play all a her digital content, to use for work & or course for lots of fun.
We have a few PC’s in the house but none she can call her own, the PC she often uses is also my known as my ‘test’ pc which I’m forever formatting & forgetting to back up her files or forgetting to re configure the printer, our lose her Firefox bookmarks or…you get the picture. As you can imagine, I spend quite a lot of time in the dog house and quite rightly so!
Originally her requirements were quite low, something to browse the net, email, MS Office, play music & general light computing but not a cumbersome beast that weighs a ton & sounds like a jet taking off. We didn’t really have a budget but didn’t want something as expensive as say a Sony Vaio or Mac. With that in mind, netbooks seemed to be the way to go. Samsungs N130 & Dell’s Inspiron Mini 10 seemed plausible options.
We must have test driven quite a few in the stores, read reviews & mused over various options for weeks and in the end one thing (actually two things) became apparent. On a 8″ or even 10″ LCD screen browsing the internet wasn’t that much fun….way too much scrolling web pages up & down unless the resolution was set so high that your eyes would begin to sting. The second point was no optical drive. Originally this wasn’t a problem but the more she thought about it, the more she really didn’t like the idea of not being able to install from disk, watch DVD’s & burn audio disks. An external drive might have been an option but that sort of defeats the object of a portable device.
A full 15″ laptop had all the right technical options but was deemed too big and some of the 15.6″ widescreen laptops appeared to have a smaller footprint but again, I don’t thinks she was overly keen. Besides, most of the laptops we looked at were plain old black/silver boxes (excluding Dell) or finger print hugging black gloss & Curstie really wanted something a little bit different. To be honest, I’m happy to get the best hardware specs for my money without worrying if it’s a big fat slab of dull plastic. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the standard HP & Lenovo business bricks we used at work rather than the appeal of a curvy Mac? Mind you, there’s are some stunners out there so maybe I converting too (there, I’ve said it James..Macs look soooo good).
Yesterday, we visited PC World to see what was available and after an hour, we’d narrowed our search to 13.3″ portable laptops. These offer a comfortable screen size but remain to be lightweight & portable & offer a range of system options (and future upgrades) similar to larger laptops. The problem is, we still couldn’t find one that had an internal optical drive or at least we couldn’t without going way over budget. Although the HP Pavilion Tablet TX series is a fantastic laptop in principle, I’ve owned one via work and certainly would NEVER own another (see previous blog post – http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/hp-tx1000-repair-part-1-the-problem/ The only one that ticked all the boxes and one I’d have to was simply stunning was the only one in store that was shipping with Microsoft Vista – NOOOOOOOOOO!
Now I won’t go on & on about how I loath Vista, I just couldn’t recommend it for Curstie. She was truly gutted and i explained all is not lost as we might be able to upgrade to Windows 7. We raced back home and looked at the manufacturers website. Alas, it looks like they haven’t and doesn’t intend to release Windows 7 drivers for this particular model. Now, I know it will run Windows 7 quite happily, but all the buttons & gizmos that make the laptop fun to use might not work. Beside, if the PC World are still selling this particular model with Vista pre-installed, then I’m guessing it’s either old stock or an older model?
Now imagine telling this to your beloved that her dream laptop is a no go. Heart wrenching stuff I can tell you.
Whist I preparing dinner, Curstie trawled the internet looking for a suitable alternative ever knowing that her choice laptop wasn’t to be. The newer version of laptop still wrapped up in the same gorgeous casing was way over budget but at the end of the day it’s Christmas after all so we thought to hell with it and ordered one.
So..after weeks of shopping, the search is finally over and we have a winner!
I can’t find many pictures online but here’s a few -
Toshiba U500 c12
Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor
DVD- RW (woohoo)
E-sata & HDMI ports
Multi card reader
MS Windows 7 64-bit
…and all the usually bit’s n bobs
It arrives on Tuesday giving me amble time to get it setup/copy over her data, wrap it and have it under the Christmas tree before the 25th.
Merry Christmas hon!
Although the gift shopping is almost complete & the tree is awaiting collection, the festive season for me doesn’t start until the Christmas edition of Radio Times hits the stores.
Growing up in the UK in seventies & eighties, in the age before multi-channel cable tv & DVR set-top boxes, interactive digital TV & HTPC’s, if you missed something on the three channels available when it was broadcasted then you were out of luck. The BBC’s Radio Time’s Christmas edition TV listing (and not forgetting the TV Times in the day when RT only listed Beeb channels) was the essential must have. I come from quite a large family & back in the day, like most families, only owning the one TV, our pristine copy of RT would soon be filled with sibling initials indicating shows that couldn’t be missed.
Christmas TV has lost its appeal somewhat over the years with endless channels to choose from at the flick of a remote button. There are countless DVD & Blue Ray movies & down-loadable content within easy reach making choice, whatever time of day, almost limitless. As I child, i recall Christmas TV being a microcosm of this very same choice consisting of two full weeks of endless shows, cartoons & movies. So, at the beginning of every December, armed with a crisp copy of RT & pen I’d pencil out the things i didn’t want to miss.
Even though life is a little hectic now at Christmas time & relaxing in from of the box is limited, I still rush to the newstand at the beginning of December to pick up my copy…and will continue to do so every year.