Bioware’s The Old Republic Strikes Again!

Tell us what you think!Thanks to an error at Bioware, everyone who had signed up to potentially be a Beta Tester for their upcoming “The Old Republic” received two emails this morning asking if they enjoyed testing the game and would they mind answering a short survey now they have “had a chance to experience their own saga”.

Dont let the adventure end!I, myself received these, so after two years of trying to get on the Beta Tester program and having numerous errors occur during the validation process, I finally thought that the problem had been fixed and I was finally being rewarded for my patience with a last minute Beta key!.

Alas, I was mistaken.

These were not the emails i was looking for…

In the official Twitter they issued an apology and a link to a page on the forums with the following statement:

Earlier today, two e-mails were sent to members of the Star

Wars: The Old Republic community. These e-mails were sent to a larger group than intended, and have caused some confusion in the community. We can confirm that these e-mails were from EA and BioWare and apologize for any confusion they have caused. Please note that receiving these e-mails does not affect your chances to be

invited to test the game. Thank you all for your understanding!


 Torwars and Massively were quick off the mark with articles going into some detail for confused and frantic wannabe testers scouring Google for something, anything to explain why the Beta key isn’t anywhere to be found.
I know it was a simple mistake, human error, but that doesn’t make the slap in the face any less painful.
Or disappointing..
Oh well, back to the waiting game then I guess.  I was going to force myself to wait a little longer anyway to ensure the worst of the bugs and exploits were fixed before I went near it (not to mention that access will probably be impossible the first few weeks anyway…).
Am I being sensible or am I simply kidding myself so I feel better? 😉
UPDATE: I received an official apology! (not as good as a Beta Key but I feel a little better!).
Bioware Apology
Bioware Apologises...

Online Learning

As promised, I am trying to keep to my update schedule! 😉

I just thought I would post a few of my discoveries here for anyone who may be interested in online correspondence courses (I will try to put in as many free ones I can find, but the majority will simply be courses I find interesting (even if they are not free).

One thing that appeals to me about learning online, is that it seems so perfect for someone who spends the majority of their waking hours on the internet anyway, so why not learn something apart from random facts and figures while i’m at it? After all, we have practically the entire knowledge base of the human race at our fingertips, but most of us are content to waste hours a day on facebook and flash games!.

It is also a lot cheaper learning online: No travel expenses, No need to pay for residential accommodation, No need to buy hundreds of overpriced textbooks and other assorted fluff.

Open University

Everyone has probably heard of the Open University. Although not free (in fact can get quite pricey for some degree level courses) it is still a LOT cheaper than college or university for an equivalent course.

OU has a massive library of available courses (570+ spread over 50+ subjects), undergraduate and postgraduate with the option to apply for financial support if you qualify.

You can even seem to “build” your own degree from various modules they offer, sounds quite interesting and is probably the best place to go to if money is not an issue, as they have been around for years and are well known with a solid support system.

Email College – Free Online Learning

Completely free this one. Browse through the many courses available, sign up and in 24 hours, your chosen course will start (delivered right to your inbox).

None of these are professionally recognised qualifications like the OU above, but you get a certificate to print out at the end of the course.

Most of them are to do with writing (fiction/non fiction/marketing etc) so if you are interested in writing, give it a look!.

With no limit on how many you can sign up to (I have about ten) and no cost, you really don’t have anything to lose here. The courses are short (approx. 8 days) and to the point with no exams or anything (though this does mean there is no support or tutors either…you are on your own!). Though you have the benefit of being able to go at your own pace, whether it takes you a year or a day!.

vision2learn

Officially recognised qualifications here, though a smaller number of courses available, they are free if you qualify for support from your local education provider.

They have support staff on hand to help you and an active community.

Sounds interesting this, the benefits of having a recognised qualification and it’s free!.

BBC Learning

A large collection of small courses you can work through at your own pace. Mainly seems to be aimed at younger people.

Learndirect

A wide variety of courses, some tutor supported, some you work through on your own.

Some of these courses are pricey and some are cheap, but financial support is available if you qualify to help with the cost.

elearnuk

Offers a large collection of recognised qualifications and has an active support network. Though pricey, there are a few courses that allow instalment pay options without increasing the overall cost.

They are the main ones I have been looking at. If anyone has any suggestions to include I would be glad to hear them!. Also, if you have had any dealings with any of these providers let me know how it went for you!

I hope you find something interesting or useful above!.

There are a few more obscure ones I am looking into (or doing). For those that may be interested, I put them here:

Studying Alchemy

MAPIT Paranormal Investiagator’s Course

Alchemy of Becoming

My Top Ten YouTube Funnies

Thought I would try a new thing…posting some of my favourite videos from around the web (though mainly YouTube) in the hope that some of you may have the same twisted, warped sense of humour as I have!.

I hope you enjoy them, all credit goes to the respective producers of these videos, I am only showing them here for entertainment.

Any comments, hate mail, or the usual spam can be added below!.

Warning: There is some bad language in some of these videos, please use discretion.

FarmVille Commercial Parody
Mafia Wars Commercial Parody
Cafe World Commercial Parody
PetVille Commercial Parody
The WTF Gloves Parody
The WTF Blanket Parody
Twilight Modern Warfare Trailer
The Magical iPad
Dramatic Cat
Chav Hunting

Morrowind Overhaul Mod

I have been really distracted recently with this exciting new collection of mods I have found for Morrowind.

The graphics are admittedly looking a bit dated now (though that is a draw for a lot of people eager to escape the HD bandwagon!).

So while I was going through a folder full of old Morrowind mods I have collected over the years but never tested much, I came across the following nifty little set while scouring the internet for updated versions:

Morrowind Overhaul – A Compilation Mod

“Morrowind Sounds and Graphics Overhaul” is the first pack. It contains mods that will alter and enhance the visual graphics and the sounds of the game.

The aim of this project is to make more people around the world appreciate this huge game by giving them a simple installation file which includes everything they will need to play Morrowind with gorgeous graphics and sounds. I’ve tried to keep Morrowind’s “feeling”; therefore, the mods/meshes/textures I chose are the ones that I think are most faithful to the original colours and environment.

A benefit of this compilations is that players don’t need to go through the “download every single mod out there and try it” phase of customizing Morrowind. The pack is intended for people who would prefer not to hand-pick mods out of the thousands of mods available. Modding Morrowind can be overwhelming for some people, and they might want to start out with a compilation before they feel comfortable picking and choosing mods on their own.

 Here is a sample video of it in all it’s glory:

It is a large download, with three smaller downlaods after inital install (patch 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3) which greatly add to the functionality.

There is a pdf in each download with specific step by step instructions with pictures so it is easy to follow (mainly just clicking ‘next’).

But, here is a convenient video with it all explained there:

Morrowind Overhaul S&G Installation Videotutorial

So, if you are a long time Morrowind fan, or a newcomer to this amazing game, do yourself a favour and grab this mod HERE and prepare to be amazed! (and although it sounds like it, i actually have nothing to do with the mod, I am just a fan!).

Elder Scrolls Official Site

Bethesda Game Studios

Bethesda Softworks

latest MGSO news here

Why Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek…

Written by Scott Adams, published in “The Dilbert Future” by HarperBusiness. Copyright United Media, 1997. Please keep this notice with the text if you forward it by e-mail.

There are so many Star Trek(tm) spin-offs that it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that the Star Trek vision is an accurate vision of the future. Sadly, Star Trek does not take into account the stupidity, selfishness, and horniness of the average human being. Allow me to describe some of the more obvious errors in the Star Trek vision.

Medical Technology

On Star Trek, the doctors have handheld devices that instantly close any openings in the skin. Imagine that sort of device in the hands of your unscrupulous friends. They would sneak up behind you and seal your ass shut as a practical joke. The devices would be sold in novelty stores instead of medical outlets. All things considered, I’m happy that it’s not easy to close other people’s orifices.

Transporter

It would be great to be able to beam your molecules across space and then reassemble them. The only problem is that you have to trust your co-worker to operate the transporter. These are the same people who won’t add paper to the photocopier or make a new pot of coffee after taking the last drop. I don’t think they’ll be double-checking the transporter coordinates. They’ll be accidentally beaming people into walls, pets, and furniture. People will spend all their time apologizing for having inanimate objects protruding from parts of their bodies.

‘Pay no attention to the knickknacks; I got beamed into a hutch yesterday.’

If I could beam things from one place to another, I’d never leave the house. I’d sit in a big comfy chair and just start beaming groceries, stereo equipment, cheerleaders, and anything else I wanted right into my house. I’m fairly certain I would abuse this power. If anybody came to arrest me, I’d beam them into space. If I wanted some paintings for my walls, I’d beam the contents of the Louvre over to my place, pick out the good stuff, and beam the rest into my neighbor’s garage. If I were watching the news on television and didn’t like what I heard, I would beam the anchorman into my living room during the commercial break, give him a vicious wedgie, and beam him back before anybody noticed. I’d never worry about ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ because as soon as they got something nice, it would disappear right out of their hands. My neighbors would have to use milk crates for furniture. And that’s only after I had all the milk crates I would ever need for the rest of my life. There’s only one thing that could keep me from spending all my time wreaking havoc with the transporter: the holodeck.

Holodeck

For those of you who only watched the ‘old’ Star Trek, the holodeck can create simulated worlds that look and feel just like the real thing. The characters on Star Trek use the holodeck for recreation during breaks from work. This is somewhat unrealistic. If I had a holodeck, I’d close the door and never come out until I died of exhaustion. It would be hard to convince me I should be anywhere but in the holodeck, getting my oil massage from Cindy Crawford and her simulated twin sister.

Holodecks would be very addicting. If there weren’t enough holodecks to go around, I’d get the names of all the people who had reservations ahead of me and beam them into concrete walls. I’d feel tense about it, but that’s exactly why I’d need a massage.

I’m afraid the holodeck will be society’s last invention.

Sex with Aliens

According to Star Trek, there are many alien races populated with creatures who would like to have sex with humans. This would open up a lot of anatomical possibilities, but imagine the confusion. It’s hard enough to have sex with human beings, much less humanoids. One wrong move and you’re suddenly transported naked to the Gamma Quadrant to stand trial for who-knows-what. This could only add to performance anxiety. You would never be quite sure what moves would be sensual and what moves would be a galactic-sized mistake.

Me Trying to Have Sex with an Alien

Me: May I touch that?

Alien: That is not an erogenous zone. It is a separate corporeal being that has been attached to my body for six hundred years.

Me: It’s cute. I wonder if it would let me have sex with it.

Alien: That’s exactly what I said six hundred years ago.

The best part about having sex with aliens, according to the Star Trek model, is that the alien always dies a tragic death soon afterward. I don’t have to tell you how many problems that would solve. Realistically, the future won’t be that convenient.

Phasers

I would love to have a device that would stun people into unconsciousness without killing them. I would use it ten times a day. If I got bad service at the convenience store, I’d zap the clerk. If somebody with big hair sat in front of me at the theater, zap!

On Star Trek, there are no penalties for stunning people with phasers. It happens all the time. All you have to do is claim you were possessed by an alien entity. Apparently, that is viewed as a credible defense in the Star Trek future. Imagine real criminals in a world where the ‘alien possession’ defense is credible.

Criminal: Yes, officer, I did steal that vehicle, and I did kill the occupants, but I was possessed by an evil alien entity.

Officer: Well, okay. Move along.

I wish I had a phaser right now. My neighbor’s dog likes to stand under my bedroom window on the other side of the fence and bark for hours at a time. My neighbor has employed the bold defense that he believes it might be another neighbor’s dog, despite the fact that I am standing there looking at him barking only twenty feet away. In a situation like this, a phaser is really the best approach. I could squeeze off a clean shot through the willow tree. A phaser doesn’t make much noise, so it wouldn’t disturb anyone. Then the unhappy little dog and I could both get some sleep. If the neighbor complains, I’ll explain that the phaser was fired by the other neighbor’s dog, a known troublemaker who is said to be invisible.

And if that doesn’t work, a photon torpedo is clearly indicated.

Cyborgs

Given the choice, I would rather be a cyborg instead of 100 percent human. I like the thought of technology becoming part of my body. As a human, I am constantly running to the toolbox in my garage to get a tool to deal with some new household malfunction. If I were a cyborg, I might have an electric drill on my arm, plus a metric socket set. That would save a lot of trips. From what I’ve seen, the cyborg concept is a modular design, so you can add whatever tools you think you’d use most. I’d love to see crosshairs appear in my viewfinder every time I looked at someone. It would make me feel menacing, and I’d like that. I’d program myself so that anytime I saw a car salesman, a little message would appear in my viewfinder that said ‘Target Locked On.’ It would also be great to have my computer built into my skull. That way I could surf the Net during useless periods of life, such as when people talk to me. All I’d have to do is initiate a head-nodding subroutine during boring conversations and I could amuse myself in my head all day long.

I think that if anyone could become a cyborg, there would be a huge rush of people getting in line for the conversion. Kids would like it for the look. Adults would like it for its utility. Cyborg technology has something for everyone. So, unlike Star Trek, I can imagine everyone wanting to be a cyborg.

The only downside I can see is that when the human part dies and you’re at the funeral, the cyborg part will try to claw its way out of the casket and slay all the mourners. But that risk can be minimized by saying you have an important business meeting, so you can’t make it to the service.

Shields

I wish I had an invisible force field. I’d use it all the time, especially around people who spit when they talk or get too close to my personal space. In fact, I’d probably need a shield quite a bit if I also had a phaser to play with.

I wouldn’t need a big shield system like the one they use to protect the Enterprise, maybe just a belt-clip device for personal use. I could insult dangerous people without fear of retribution. Whatever crumbs of personality I now have would be completely unnecessary in the future. On the plus side, it would make shopping much more fun.

Shopping with Shields Up

Me: Ring this up for me, you unpleasant cretin.

Saleswoman: I oughta slug you!

Me: Try it. My shields are up.

Saleswoman: Damn!

Me: There’s nothing you can do to harm me.

Saleswoman: I guess you’re right. Would you like to open a charge account? Our interest rates are very reasonable.

Me: Nice try.

Long-Range Sensors

If people had long-range sensors, they would rarely use them to scan for new signs of life. I think they would use them to avoid work. You could run a continuous scan for your boss and then quickly transport yourself out of the area when he came near. If your manager died in his office, you would know minutes before the authorities discovered him, and that means extra break time.

Vulcan Death Grip

Before all you Trekkies write to correct me, I know there is no such thing as a Vulcan Death Grip even in Star Trek. But I wish there were. That would have come in handy many times. It would be easy to make the Vulcan Death Grip look like an accident. ‘I was just straightening his collar and he collapsed.’ I think the only thing that keeps most people from randomly killing other citizens is the bloody mess it makes and the high likelihood of getting caught. With the Vulcan Death Grip, it would be clean and virtually undetectable. Everybody would be killing people left and right. You wouldn’t be able to have a decent conversation at the office over the sound of dead co-workers hitting the carpet. The most common sounds in corporate America would be, ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a bigger raise, but . . . erk!’

And that’s why the future won’t be like Star Trek.

Written by Scott Adams, published in “The Dilbert Future” by HarperBusiness. Copyright United Media, 1997. Please keep this notice with the text.

Back from honeymoon and time just flies!

I’ve been back from Honeymoon in Weymouth for just over a week now, and in that time, I have bought Deus Ex:Human Revolution and put in WAY too long on it, been to one appointment and spent some time on the family history.

And that’s it.

The whole week just zipped by in a blur! I know they say that time speeds up the older you get but wow!.

Oh well, it was a good holiday anyway, not exactly ‘relaxing’ as we spent most of the time climbing up hills or sitting on a bus while I took pictures and videos of everything in sight like a typical tourist! (even though I should know better!).

Dorchester was really interesting, such history! dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain, I strongly recommend any readers to visit the Dorset County Museum and the Dorchester Roman Town House.

I got obsessed (again!) with the old Riviera hotel near Bowleaze Cove and took way too many pictures of it!.

We even managed to fit in a visit to Lyme Regis to visit family (over two hours by bus each way! ouch!).

Considering when we got to the site, the local bus dropped us off a mile downhill from the site even though the stop was named after the site (so assumed it was nearby?) after that lovely walk with all our bags after hours on a coach, we finally made it to the site itself..

To be greeted by a queue apparently consisting of every other holiday maker  there! I still don’t know what happened as I was busy raging and considering going home by this time!  My wife, bless her, volunteered to stand in the queue to check in while I sat with a drink and guarded the bags (she knows me too well!).

Eventually we got in the caravan before she told me that some of the weight I had been hauling around all day was bags of two pence pieces for the arcade machines! thanks hon!.

We missed the bank by five minutes to transfer some cash, so I thought “no problem!” I have my iPod! even though my password and details were correct, some sort of problem prevented me logging in with them also losing me my internet banking privileges and leaving us stranded with no cash at least until monday!.

not happy.

Apart from the first day’s drama, the rest went well, been feeling lazy since my return though, so may have to force myself to exercise more!.

Amazed myself that I went a week with no computer (only iPod and internet if we head to the entertainment centre) card/board games and podcasts!.

At least we managed to finally get through a whole game of illuminati for once on the day we were stuck indoors due to a storm outside!

Spent less than I thought I would in the arcade, but more than I should have!  must stick to air hockey and the tupenny sliders! (must stay away from the shooty ones and the “grabber” ones – don’t even get me started on how unfair THEY are!).  Shame we didn’t get on the Dodgems this time though!.