Christmass Message

At this time of festivity and celebration, in these days of Yuletide happiness and giving, I invite you all to spare a thought for those people on the planet who didn’t get an XBOX 360 with Gears of War for Christmas, such as myself.

Jingle Bells

Julie's Poem: The Centipede

Centipede, thou crawly beast,
Fungus is thy midnight feast.
How dost thou know which feet to tread?
Which end’s the bottom? Which the head?

Julie 2005

The Buddha boy who meditated for ten months, no food or water.

I have just watched the most amazing documentary. It is about Ram Bahadur Bomjom, a Nepalese buy monk who has meditated for ten months without food or water. No lie, many independent experts confirm it, they even showed a time laps of him not moving for 4 days.

He then one day disappeared into the "jungle", then returned a few days later and said something like, "I will be back in five years, ill be fine"

Mind blowing. (If you have read my first bok of "The Final Chapters" the similarity with Hodi is very close.")

Ram Bahadur Bomjon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Let' not forget that Im the very same guy who fell for 911 Conspiracy belief, so don't sell everything and by tickets to Nepal just yet)

powered by performancing firefox

Am I aiding Santa to cheat on my wife?

My wife does not read this blog, nor I guess does anyone else’s wife... or husband or perhaps even ...relative. So this dilemma and confession remains between just myself and the idealized reader of this blog.

This is the situation.

I have been shopping online for my wife’s Christmas presents, she has done well. I started off at high end virtual couturier's and ended up, via a fairly noncircuitous route, on Ebay. I bought her many presents, spent allot of time thinking and planning and watching. This wasn’t an "its her birthday on Tuesday, it is time for ebay" kind of an ebay gift buying session.

So... I pay for the presents with Paypal. Cut and shuffled. Done and dusted. Its all good, daaaaawg. Then something strange dawned on me. And this strangeness lead to a 30 second investigation and the fruits of this investigation had seeds that planted ripe melons of mistake. Namely, that at some at some point recently my wife has set up her own credit card as the default payment method. So, when I pay with Paypal, I pay with her credit card.

So what do I do?

  1. Do I try to go through all the hassle of correcting the mistakes in her absence?
  2. Do I own up and tell her, out of the blue?
  3. Do I ignore the fact, happy in the resounding marital axiom that what is hers is mine?
  4. Do I pick a third party and try to make out to my wife that I had done a bit of “impromptu online shopping” in order to “cut her some slack on the Xmas preparation front?” (She would find this fact inconceivable).

No, I did none of these. As I was writing this post she was milling around and I thought I might as well let her read this post. Its 100% exactly the same as Bono from U2 composing “Sweetest Thing” for his wife, by way of an apology (for having sex with a German shepherd (A sheep specialist from Stuttgart, rather than a dog)).

Postscript: She pretty much settled with option 3 and would like out to point out that she does read my blog but only when I ask her to.

Graphic Sexyness: Review of

Swivel - Home

This site is full of graphs generated from data that people have uploaded and comparisons of that data. It sounds weird and in a way it is, but it will make sense if you go there.

The correlation between wine and violent crime and beer and violent crime is one of the most meaningless representations of anything you could ever see.

Ill probably stop visiting it bin a week or two, but if your a hard core number cruncher then this could be the best site on the internet.

powered by performancing firefox

Google Reader Mobile

love this.

Its like google reader, but optimized for your mobile. But its the same reader. So if you read an article on one, you don't even need to see it on the other. If you add a new web site on one, voilla, its there on the other.

To try it do this:

  1. Get a Google Account - unless you have your reasons for not having a Google account, you should have one. Its like having an email address for the first time.
  2. Try Google Reader for two weeks.
  3. Use it whenever you would go to your normal websites and you will see how it is a paradigm shift in browsing.
  4. View Google Reader on your mobile phone:
  5. Put this in your browser on your mobile phone:
  6. Bookmark it.

Reminiscences: Easter Island Skull Find

When I was five my parents took me to Easter Island -even today not the most common of holiday destinations. I have lots of memories about the place, all united by a tangible sense that we were in some place weird.

The airport was a shed. The customs was a trestle table. There were no trees and lots of just… crazy statues.

But the key memory I have of this trip, and one that I think has shaped me to a degree, was as follows (I’m going to write the memory down first and then ring up my folks to compare):

There was a kind of cairn thing. A pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere. At the base of this cairn was a cave, a small opening that a child, but not an adult, could enter. I crawled inside and there, in the dim, was a collection of bones. I seem to remember a pile of skulls but I can’t remember how many. I do remember taking a skull and backing off out of the cave to show my parents.

I guess they were a bit freaked out by their little boy emerging from some chthonic nook with a human skull in his hands. That’s all I can remember.

…… I just called my folks.

This is what they remember….

Pretty much as described but. It was an altar on the north side of the island… underneath a plinth. I wanted to take the skull home… they wouldn’t let me… I had to crawl back in and put the skull back.

That’s all they can remember…. To my dad, a far more prominent memory of that trip wasn’t his son finding a skull but him losing his briefcase.

Google Reader Review

I have spent much of the last 5 years designing news reading and data mining applications. I haven’t really mentioned work in this blog before but our NewsRaider application is a really smart bit of kit. But… its an installed application and so its days are really numbered. Its all going web.

What’s making its days even more numbered in my eyes is a newish service from Google. It isn’t google news – even though that would be the obvious choice. Google news is The Google's attempt to provide news that interests you. Its OK. Its not great. It searches over a trillion news sources (NewsRaider does about fifty) and doesn’t really come up with anything that particular to you.

The real innovation is Google Reader. Perhaps the most underrated of Googles stock. There are just about half as many RSS readers and websites as there are new feeds in google reader. So why anyone would bring out another is anyone’s google.

But google did, and its so much more.You access it from your normal gmail or google account page. And you fiddle with it… explore a bit over a few days. I started adding my fave sites. News. Podcasts. Mags etc. And they are all just there, in this one page, in this really well designed way. Its so easy to add new feeds and change stuff.

You can get feed pages and super-feed pages like netvibes, but if you like that interface purity and simplicity that gmail has or amazon shopping and you like news and info sites, google reader is groundbreaking

You know, it might be thought that I am a bit of a googlephile. I’m not in any significant sense - I’d like another company to come and really challenge google. But the extent to which google will effect online life really is astounding. Its getting like they own the roads and the power and the media…. And the literature of the online world. Right or wrong, I think it’s a fascinating topic.

With Google, we don’t know if we are in Germany in 1933 or Italy in 1500, in a tech sense.

The Evolution of Beauty

Check out this video, which takes a girl next door without make up and turns her into the girl next door with make up and 2 cans of hair spray.

YouTube - The Evolution Of Beauty

Its almost as if the notion of beauty is somehow relevant to the perceiver.

(Thanks to my friend Jahufar who had this on his blog)

powered by performancing firefox

The First Cut is not necessarily the deepest.

This blog is not art, nor science, nor literature, nor tech. It is growing ever more into a platform for me to show what a duplicitous turncoat I am. Examples:

In February 2006 I posted this review of the Gillette Mach 3 Power Nitro.

And in it I derided the potential for further development in the shaving domain. Then, as I posted I found out about a new Gillette, the Mach 5 Mega Laser Razor. I can’t actually remember the proper name, but that’s not important. So, the new razor was out before I had posted the blog post about the last new razor.

I was miffed, and a little part of me (My Dignity) made a pact with another little part of me (My Rationality) never to suckle upon the corporate salami of Gillette’s relentless drive into absurd marketing ploys.

That’s the thought provoking intro over with…

Roll back three weeks. I needed some new blades for my 8 month old Gillette. I went to Ebay. I brought some. They were the wrong kind, these were for the new Gillette that I assured myself I would never get. But now I was trapped. I had inadvertently signed a pact with the close-shave devil, and thus was forced to buy the actual razo.

Yes, I was hoodwinked into this turncoatery but, my dear reader, I am sure you agree it would be wrong for me not to review the aforementioned hateful implement. I may have done my self in the razor ‘rongun, but you guys deserve this self-sodomised review.

If I die today the revelations of this post will be my Magum Opus. This new blade hasn’t only taken me closer, its taken me deeper…. into a very important aspect of my life.

Before we continue…

Ladies, I love you all, but this post is strictly for men. Do not read this if you are easily offended by distilled masculine conversation or references to male grooming. I just found this website,, so go play some girly games there until the shoe-shops open and leave the rest of this post for the dudes.

The Review (Men Only)

Gillette have skipped the 4 blades and made that evolutionary step into The Fifth Blade. Five blades, aligned so close together - and so sharp - that you can almost feel the cells gracefully part between the metal. It vibrates, as did the previous Model. The vibration feels good but I am still an outsider on if the vibe is actually good for the shave’s effectiveness. It’s a moot notion that will no doubt perplex razologists for aeons.

On the back of the razor head is a sixth blade. The sixth blade, much like the sense equivalent, is very handy if you have it but you wouldn’t expect to need it. It is angled perfectly to get that bit where your nose joins your top lip (Phew! Good job there are no women reading this bit, they would be sooooo lost) and it just does the job.

The blade feels good, looks that weird Alienware spooky but is ultimately a nice objet d’consumption.

I have been using it for three weeks – the shave has stayed nano close and though it irks me to admit it, its great. It really is a bigger jump between this and the last one than the last one and the penultimate

Post review Deconstruction of the previous review’s core premise.

I don’t feel as turncoat in this sense because I like the new blade(s), or because I showed blogbased exasperation at my first encounter with it. The reason for the anisotropy of my opinion is that I am forced now to embrace the endeavor to perfect the razor.

Millions… billions is spent on the evolution of the razor. I have been one of the no doubt millions of people who have seen 3 blades, or 4 or 5 and winced at the ridiculousness of it. And yet, the fact remains that new stages in razor development are self-experimentally better than the last.

And you would expect this, all this investment would not work if the results were not a discernible improvement. I remember when I first had a shave in a mach III and I know many friends and family members - including my wife ;) - who swear by the thing.

This fact is incontrovertible. I wont be there in 40 years with my grandson saying “Son, in my day shaves were closer…”

Millions may be dying of famine and disease. We are rubbing Carbon salt into the planet’s wounds. Even more people, every day, experience their WiFi drop out. These issues are not exclusive. They don’t mean we cant waste at least a few billion squid and scientists brain cells on the perfection of the razor.

The Future Of Humanity

As a baseline for technological evolution I propose the razor, being a device or method for the removal of body hair. The litmus test for the relentless march of the tech. To measure progress by numbers is to overlook progress’s intimate effects on culture.

Shaving is so very human. It is functionally pointless but important. It effects how others see us, how we see ourselves and importantly how we feel ourselves. To shave is to live.

Keep an eye on the shelf and a finger on your cheek

Perfection of the Razor

A task so meaningless it is significant.

The smoothness of a strangers face.

The muddy roots of the lotus.

The glide. The cut.

The lines that grow until we die.

Shatter shell and Cutthroat angles.

One blade, two blade, three blade,


Yoono when its good for you, because it feels so right.

I always liked stumbleupon , the website which tells you stuff you might be interested in. But you had to be proactive, you had to say "I want to stumbleupon".

The next generation of this kind of thing had just arrived, and its called Yoono, and it is really good.

If your on a web page about French chateaus, this unobtrusive bar across your Firefox browser will scroll and say other sites about French Chateaus will be displayed. Or Honda Jazz, or anything you are on a web page about. If something on the list catches your eye ever, you just click it and visit the page.

It has a side bar that you don’t really need and a random site feature as well. All in I really recommend Yoono and a nifty way to open up the internet without any hassle.

Install it for Firefox from here.

This is funny

Little Life Changing Thing

I use Google calender and have been for since day one in April. Its great, etc. One of the super key mega features for me is the quick add feature where you type:

Tomorrow call join at 14.00
Next march visit peter
Weapons Inspection report by next Thursday
14th April 2009 Sell XBOX 360 on Ebay...

Thats all very good. But you have to be on the Google calender home page to use it. Which is a bit crappy.

But not anymore, this extension for Firefox means you just press Ctrl+; and this window pops up, you enter the quick add and hey presto, its there in your calender.

Because the "downtime" for adding a calender has gone from a few seconds to zero, everything is better. Its a bit like some benevolent creator has taken my life and added just a drop more honey....

Gosh I'm easy pleased.

The Mystical Missing Attachment of Disassociation

I would like my email program to scan all outgoing mail for the word "attach" in any setting. If the email does not have an attachment then the email program should ask if the email should have an attachment.

Life would be better.

I'm kind of out of touch with this blog right now. Work is busy and writing is busy and all that jazz. I'm not taking a break. I'm not stopping it. I'm just busy.

Shami Chakrabarti For President and or Prime Minister

Prim Minister: Shami Chakrabarti

This is my prediction. I am taking bets.

The Beerphifany of St Carlsberg

I like to drink beer. It’s good. But as I get older I am finding my tolerance for hangovers is decreasing. They seem worse and I seem less able to deal with them. At 25 a hangover was a morning of discomfort but now, at 35, it has the additional "bonus afternoon of malaise".

I drink export lager that is 5% alcohol. The thought of drinking “gay beer”, that wallows in shame at the 3.5% mark, has always filled me with horror. It is a short sip from gay beer to shandy, and from shandy you can see the bitter horizon of failure.

But here is my dilemma. I don’t want a day taken out by the 5%. It’s just not worth it any more. So last night, I went out and I didn’t drink the export larger (well, I had one “starter pint”). I drank 3.5% (normal) larger. And whilst imbibing this lifeless urine of the hop, I had a realisation:

5% beer is nearly 50% more alcoholic than 3.5% beer.

Export larger is essentially a different drink to normal lager, in the same way, and proportion, as sherry is to wine.

I don’t have a hangover today. I feel good. I have exercised and the day is full of things to embrace. But in my heart, I know things changed last night.

The First Ever Review of Google Docs

I have justed logged into my writley docs and yabba yabba, its all changed:) Gosh it looks functional!

My text docs and spreadsheets are all in one list. It has that pallid/utility/washed out Google appearance but other than that, me oh my, it is dandy.

I think this is the first ever review of Google Docs on the Internet!!!

Which is why its minimal.

My eNovella is Published!

Hi Dear Reader,

I have publsihed my eNovella, "The Final Chapters, Book One" in the popular and cross platform TomeRaider format. You don't need to purchase TomeRaider to read this ebook as it "plays for free" on Palm, Pocket PC, Windows and I think Smartphones.

Its set in the very near future and I guess the closest genre it belongs to would be "Tech Fiction with a Thriller/Philosophy fusion against a back drop of geopolitical intrigue and the misuse of both recreational pharmaceuticals and someone else's phone". In a nut shell.

Download it from the Editors Picks section of

And the reader here:

If you have any comments on it I would love to hear them, and I'll send you a free signed eBook - I guess that means ill attach Jpeg of my signature to the book:P



Ctr+T is the new Ctrl+V which was the new Ctrl+C

Julie has been using firefox for a while, but never in a kind of... progressive sense. But I have shown her Tabs and how they really enhance browsing and now she is getting into their value.

"How do you start a new tab again?"


"Ohh yea."

Tabs are to interfaces what...

Imagine the planet as a whole system. And that system has a certain amount of effectiveness in any given time frame.

Now imagine version A of the planet, in which people use the mouse to perform tasks like cut, copy, past... and version B where they use shortcut keys.

I have calculated that Planet B has an productivity gain and reciprocal mean energy saving of something over 0%!!!! That is a shocking statistic.

If you care about your planet, use shortcut keys for common tasks.

Messages from the Grave, Music at my Funeral.

I signed up with this site It costs a pound or 2 dollars/euros.

The idea is that you write messages and set instructions just in case you die, unexpectedly. Then if you get "hit by a bus" the site has a number of smart and esoteric ways to find out if you are dead and it will action your messages and instructions.

So for example, I can write a letter to my wife, upload a video for my kids and send postmortem emails to friends and other family. But it raises the question, how far do you go? I would quite like to send a message to some old school friends, but would they be freaked out? I have a friend from uni called Toby who I aint seen for years but I could probably get his email. He lives far away and we were always more "real time".

But imagine if on a Saturday morning he got an email or letter:

"Hi Toby

Its Me, if you are reading this then that means I have died unexpectedly and, I hope, dramatically. So I just wanted to say that....

.... I wish you a good life and it was great knowing you...


Would he be happy? I think probably. Not happy that I was dead but that he got a little personal message from me, after death. I would like one from him.

But then it gets sinister. I have another friend from my childhood who turned out to be a racist bigot homophobe who I no longer speak with. Should I mail him postmortem and call him mean names?

This site is weird in that extends ones possibility to have an effect after death. I love that concept.

In the FAQ onsite there is a big description of how they will prevent what would be horrendous false positives. At the end of the day they are hedging their bets that ,in their savvy net-using demographic, not many members will die relative to user numbers. This way, they claim, they will be able to afford to not action any postmortem instructions until a human has confirmed the death. I guess its true that they dont want their members to die because it costs them. Not a job I would like, but in a site like this, someone has to do it.

In one of the sections you can specify songs for your funeral. I won’t say the ones I have chosen, but one is "Peaches En Regalia". So, If I die and that is not at my funeral, please hunt down this site's owners and sue them for my pound back.

I am Google’s Bitch

I have just this moment moved 133 of my Writley documents to my Google Account. Work stuff, Blog stuff, writings, notes, my book, short stories, legal contracts, CV, poems and top secret recipes for inedible foodstuffs.

Its time for a stock-take as to what Google now has under my account:

  • All of My Mails. (Gmail)
  • All of my photos. (Piccasia Online)
  • My spreadsheets. (Google Spreadsheets)
  • My browsing history and book marks. (Google Browser sync plugin for firefox)
  • My notes (Google Notebook which is getting bigger)
  • My search history.
  • My Writings (Writley)
  • My Calendar (Google calendar)
  • My Address, Credit cards and Work Details (We use Adwords and Adsense at work)
  • This Blog (Blogger)
  • My newsgroup searches and posts.

There is probably more, stuff I don’t even know about me.

Should I be worried?

Here is my reasoning: For Google to survive long term it needs to preserve trust absolutely within its account holding community, ergo, be more than scrupulous.

This is the relationship, I think, in a nutshell:

“You let us manage and analyse all of your information. We will advertise to you more effectively (for both parties) than if we didn’t have this information. In return, we provide a system that increases the benefit to you within an integrated whole.”

No company on the planet needs to be trusted so much by it's users than Google. Not even the church. And for that reason, I am trusting them until I have reason not to.

Review: SPV M3100

The SPV M3100 is the Orange badged version of the latest HTC Smartphone, and its is a beauty.

I had the XDA Mini S a few weeks ago and took it back because of call quality. But this phone is awesome.

  • It hasnt crashed.
  • Its fast.
  • The Wireless is great.
  • The secret slide out Qwerty keyboard a godsend.
  • The 2Meg camera is surprisingly high quality.
  • It has a jog wheel.
  • Voice dial is instant.

I have it in a Proporta case which works really well as a combo.

Sometimes in one's tech life you reach a plateau where there isn't really anywhere higher to go, at least not there and then. I think I'm there now with this phone.

Two weeks in and I want for nothing except free data, eternal batteries and more of everything.

Reminisces: Last Night's Wig

Last night Mark and I were Drinking in a pub. A bad punk cover band was on. (This is two punk references in this blog in less than a week. I am SOOOOO not punk...) .

I was standing at the bar waiting to get served. Mark pops up and asks the question, with volume and clarity:

"Would you ever wear a wig?"

I thought about it..... for a second or three...

"No." I replied, and turned back to the bar.

Then we both noticed him starring at Mark. The guy besides us. The guy who looked angry but unsure what to do. The guy with the most obvious and ill thought toupee this side Elton John's worst bad hair day.

We didn't say sorry. We didn't say anything. We walked back to the stage area and hid behind a pillar to laugh like naughty school boys.

Reminisces: News Years Eve Erection

News Year's Eve in 1992. I was 21 and I had my girlfriend of the time staying at my parents house. Tina. My first ever girlfriend.

My parents were out at a bash. We were expecting them back late.

So... there we were. Young lovers under the duvet of my single bed. Kerrrrnnnnoooodling. Naturally, I had just taken her way past 7th heaven and into the high echelons of total sexual bliss when there were lights in the drive. PANIC!

I got dressed so fast into my jeans and shirt, I guess forgetting underpants and socks. Slightly flushed, I led the way. Descending the stairs just as the front door opens. I am at the bottom of the stairs. Tina is behind me.

"Happy New Year Mum!" I say, kissing her on the cheek.

"Happy new Year Dad!", I say, shaking his hand.

The immortal words (Thanks to's eternal backup policy) follow from my father:

"Happy New Year Mathew. I think you had better put that away."

The four of us looked down to see the glistening shaft of my all consuming embarrassment.

Reminisces: My first punk rock and roll concert.

My Dad's musical taste pretty much stopped at the White Album. They had a slight augmentation when my cousin Adjoa brought him Bob Marley's Exodus on cassette at some point in the 70's. Nonetheless there has never been much diversion from the "movement of Jah people picking up the rice in a church where a wedding has been" sphere, ever since.

In 1978 I was 7 and my sister was 9. The tune of the year was Ian Dury's "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" which my dad loved. It had the quirky out of the blue quality that dads and pub punk rockers the world over were digging.

So, My Dad though it would be a great idea to take me and my sister to see him in concert at The (local) Coliseum.

Like most major or first events in ones life, I can remember this well. the excitement, the anticipation, the weeks long build up (I seem to recall it being an Xmass pressie). We got there way too early. We hung around amongst the punks and the rockers and a bunch of people who knew my dad but didn’t expect him to be there. Equally they didn’t expect two gappy kids to be there; getting primed for the mosh pit. We checked out official Ian Dury merchandise (I can picture to this day an analogue square wristwatch with "Blockheads" written on the watch face).

Perhaps there was a band before. I can’t remember. But I do remember the moment when Ian Dury And The Block Heads came on. At the time I didn’t appreciate that the lead singer’s punk swagger was the result of childhood polio but, with backdrop of smoke and the lights and the crowd, this was momentous.

He didn’t start with "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick". He didn’t start with a song. He started with a story. A long drawn out diatribe. I just did a quick lyric search for it but couldn’t find the song. So, to paraphrase five minutes of live punk rock and roll into one paragraph of typo-laiden Blog:

He came home from somewhere. He walked into his house. He looked around. He went into his bedroom. There was a woman on his bed. She shouted - I don't swear in this Blog so this is a quote – She shouted, "Fuck Me!".

I remember looking up at my dad. He looked concerned. This wasn’t what he was expecting and it certainly wasn’t what me and my sis were expecting. Where were the comical references to Tiger Bay and the Sudan? Where was the Franglaise and the addictive foot-tapping-beat?

We didn’t stay much longer. We definitely didn’t stay to hear my Dad’s favorite song of the decade.

That night held the moment that I knew there were things and events outside of the adult world
I was familiar with.

Review: XDA Mini S Smartphone

I have had more handhelds than the most dedicated Onanist.

The first I ever owned was a little Casio clock/calculator that I brought in Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong. It was 1980 and as well as getting a device that could tell you what day any date fell on I learn t a valuable lesson about shopping around from my dad.

After that I was hooked on the handhelds... Psions… Psions… Palms… Pocket PCs, Smart Phones and then last week I got an XDA Mini S.

The specs of the device were pretty fricking funky. The Slide out keyboard, neat WiFi, Tocuh Scren, Windows Mobile 5 operating system, in theory all you need for your mobile life.

But tomorrow I'm taking it back to the shop because, much as it is feature packed and well designed and nice on batteries and OK on the eye the quality of the phone calls are DIRE.

DIE with an R in the middle.

I have ordered a SPV with the same formfactor and sliding keyboard and that comes Monday. I hope the call quality is not in the two-tin-cans-on-a-bit-of-string quality.

Do not ever get an XDA Mini S, unless you are deaf and mute, then its great.

I am shocked by how bad these guys are dressed.

I haven't been much of a one for Blogging about other websites, but this is just really freaky. I have no idea where they got those clothes from or who dressed them but I think its pretty fair to say that they are all in need of a makeover BIG STYLE.

Since the collapse of comunism there has been much in the way of fashion-schism, but I never ever thought it could get this bad.

When will they learn that you can NEVER mix NYLONS.

God save us.

Book One: Chapter One

The Final Chapters


Book One: Chapter One


Mary was tired. She wanted to be flying back home. She wanted to be glued into a movie. And most of all, she wanted out of the heat.

The driver was giving her some respite from the afternoon furnace with his aircon, on full blast. An icy-dry wind that would only make the outside's heat more of an ordeal.

She had been in Sri Lanka and Tamil Elan for a week. It had been fun, quiet, interesting.... memorable moments and stretched expanses of hotel room boredom, all paid for by the BBC. The peace that had settled after the secession still had its hidden pockets of strife and conflict. It was these skirmishes and explosions of tension that Mary was reporting on.

On her right the Indian Ocean lapped away at modern bungalows and rickety shacks from an age no visitor could guess. Months or Decades. Aeons. She liked the fact that every kilometre she went was taking her more south than she had ever been in her life.

A message came in confirming her flight change. She knew there would not have been an issue but a confirmation was always... reassuring. More so out here in the tropics with its pumping sun and inherent unreliability. She texted a message to her husband.

Two hours south of Colombo the driver, with an accent more English then Churchill, told her the next town was Hikkaduwa. Traffic amassed, filthy spurting petrol cars and vans. Mary found herself wincing just looking at the smoke. A couple on a bike overtook, the woman hardly holding on at all as they dipped into the gaps. No helmets and no filters from the choke.

Hikkaduwa was an old tourist town that had sprawled inland and along the coast. Every space selling suits or clothes or carved elephants. Restaurants and hotels and guest houses with names like “Happy Suns” and “Waverider Lodge”. Mary had no intention of staying here but, looking at the time, it was getting less likely she would be back in the capitol, its good food and its luxury hotel.

Slower than walking pace. A constant crawling throng of people and cars and three wheelers and bikes all trying to get into the town that was building up around them.

{revise two lines above – rather confusing!}

She still had her info message pops on from her time in the north and one popped in: "During the 2004 Tsunami a Train carrying.....". She looked around but could only see trees and buildings. Mary turned her pops off, too tired to really care.

“Here miss?” Said her driver, pointing at an enclosed hotel called “Coral reef.”

“No No. The monastery please. The Temple.” She said.

“Ahhh. Temple. Buddha Temple or Hindu?” Mary confirmed she wanted to go to the Buddhist temple, smiling a fake smile. She wasn't prone to feigning smiles but sometimes, when you are tired or sad, it's the done thing.

The driver obviously had no clue where it was and stopped the car (which wasn't moving much anyways) in the middle of the street. He wound down the window. A blast of molten air rushed in and the driver shouted to a passer by on the other side of the street.

They spoke in the incomprehensible Singhalese. Mary had given up trying to use her state of the art translator on her first day in the country. She waited until the driver turned, “There are two temples, which one do you need Miss?”

“Uhhhh.” She expelled. “Hold on please.” Mary spoke into her phone and read the screen, knowing that she had the message sent to her by Sumith, the guide who had taken her into Tamil Elan. It was he who had told her that she should come and check out the boy. She read Sumith's words off the phone's screen, “Hikkaduwa Temple. It's the smaller one. NOT Udugama Temple.” The driver translated and the local pointed directions that seemed to suggest they would need to go via a route that was geometrically impossible. His arm snaking in the air like a drunken cobra.

The Sri Lankans gave each other genuine nods of farewell and off they drove. Mary, desperate for the window to be closed, lurched forward and pointed at it. The driver smiled and pressed the button. Down a side street they went, and across a railway track, and through some alley-ways that made them bump and jolt until, a couple of minutes after getting directions, they stopped.

Mary looked around and saw wide steps leading up to a walled enclosure that she knew held the temple, though she could not make out what it held.

“I will wait here for you Miss?” Asked the driver. Mary had no idea how long she would be, she didn't care about the cost of the car and so, without thinking, said “Yes, please.”

Ohhh…. the heat was hot even though the sun was drowsy! She felt her sweat glands seem to spring into action before she had even started up the steps. It was maybe thirty steps but to anyone who saw her ascend, dripping like a rag, they might have though she had scaled Adam's Peak. A monk, robed in pristine orange, was sweeping around the huge Bhodi Tree, he turned and paused, smiled, and fanned his face to acknowledge the heat.

Mary walked up to him and gave a small bow with her head, as she had been shown by her guide last week. He made the smallest of smiles and turned to sweeping the dusty sand smooth. She walked around to the shade of the tree and flipped down her phone, the message from Sumith was still there, as were the autolinks to the wikis and sites. Mary got the sweeping monks attention.

“Yes, can you help me, I need want to see the boy. Hoddi.” It was clear that he spoke not a word of English. It was also clear her pronunciation of the boy's name didn't help matters at all. But the monk knew what to do, and pointed to a building, on two levels, that occupied the corner of the temple enclosure.

She looked back at him.

“Yanna yanna,” he said, motioning with his fingers that she should go.

Mary thanked him again, a tad over-the-top in her enthusiasm, and walked towards the building.

There were some Monks sitting in the entrance hall who looked at her as she approached. They seemed embarrassed and continued whatever it was they were doing or .... not doing. Either way, the monks seemed to be doing something that involved doing not much at all, save reading or staring into space.

She slowed her pace and stepped closer… the entrance room becoming more visible. Its back wall stacked high with a wide menagerie of objects and artefacts. Broken plastic dolls, books and big old computers.

Printed portraits of monks, smiling serenely. Black and white or faded colour. As if expecting her, a monk walked from an adjoining room, stopped in the middle of the hallway paused for a tiny moment when he saw Mary. He then walked out into the sun to greet her.

He was strikingly beautiful. Maybe forty but maybe older. Perhaps younger.

“Hello.” He said, tilting his head ever so slightly. Mary bowed again, this time clasping her hands as if in prayer.

“My name is Mary Potter, I work for the BBC. I am a journalist.”

“Ahhhhh…. British Broadcasting Company. Very good...very good.” Mary felt no need to correct him. “Welcome to Sri Lanka!”

“Thanks you. You have a lovely country,” He didn't look so sure. Mary found it hard to apprehend how arrestingly gorgeous he was. She felt guilt for the way her heart fluttered over a man of such a cloth.

“Please please come in. You look hot.” He turned to a young monk and said something in Singhalese. The monk scurried off. “Have a seat.”

Mary sat in the old wicker chair and the monk, who Mary later found out was Amila, the “abbot”, sat besides her. She cut straight to the chase, “I was told that you have a young monk here who… is special.”

Amila smiled but said nothing for some time. The monk who had been sent on an errand returned with a stainless steel tray that had a plastic jug of water on it and a glass, scratched opaque by years of dusty hands holding it. Mary hadn't drunk the water here for a week but felt there was no option but to drink this. She was parched and felt the need to be ultimately polite.

The water tasted warm. Irony. It quenched her with a slight bitterness. Mary didn't think about pre-emptive antibiotics. She had no concern about spending the next week in bed in an amoebic sweat. She didn't feel like worrying. It might have been tiredness or the quiet. it might have been the monk or the monks. Whatever it was, Mary was conscious of being unusually relaxed. Aware of the moment as she sipped warm water.

After a passage of time in which nothing was said Amila sent the water monk off on another errand. His voice and manner wasn't commanding. It had an authority but not devoid of dominance. Something to a western mind was seldom scene. {Did you meen seen or serene?}

The water monk returned. A young boy following, robes flapping with each stride. Short cropped hair as black as coal. A face that seemed to have been frozen and melted myriad times, but now was made anew.

"This is the song boy."


(c) 2006 LJT, All rights reserved

Book One: Prologue

The Final Chapters

Book One: Prologue

The Book of Abraham

  1. In the first days of God there was a Light upon the World and this Light was called into Terah to yield a son.
  2. And The World made call upon the Son of Terah to be God Abraham.
  3. God Abraham was cast in the eye and knew all of face and task. And he did prosper as man.
  4. In the seventeenth year of Abraham he did take a wife and was spoken before by God to leave the plains,
  5. “Bring all sons of the land into Egypt for there will be famine” God Abraham did say.
  6. “Bring my many sons into the into the lands were the famine is past and the fruits and the sands and the seas are ripe,” God Abraham did say
  7. And Abraham did take himself and his wife and all who wished to follow.
  8. The wife of Abraham was tall and she had the eyes of shade in sun and night in day. And all who saw her did want her words.
  9. In the land of the Pharaoh Abraham did lend his wife to the ruler for one half of a year. And the Pharaoh did lay with her upon all nights and his seed was fertile. Though she did not have child.
  10. After the sixth month Abraham did came unto the Pharaoh and said he was done with his lend.
  11. On this news the Pharaoh felt sorry to lose his consort and offered Abraham much in the way of silver and sheep.
  12. “My wife is beautiful King of Egypt and I shall take her now,” he said.
  13. With many slaves and livestock he and his wife and his nephew did leave for the north of Nagev. A journey of only two months.
  14. The Pharaoh did send extra grain in gratitude, carried by camel northwards.
  15. For less than three years Abraham traded in sheep and in slaves.
  16. When the Perizite traders would barter Abraham always found the greatest price in his favour. Abraham would brag and boast that he could trade a young slave for an old cow, with any man, such was his face.
  17. With his wealth he would call out messengers into all lands and they would say,

    "I am Abraham listener of God
    I have times to say what God does say.
    I am Abraham and my slave is the Many."
  18. Many people would come and bring grain and palms and the lands of Nagev and Bethel did bloat. Dances and handmaidens were plenty around the villages of the valley. Ever told, in the growth of riches was the growth of conflict.
  19. Abraham and is nephew would charge the division and they would take this charge upon the Many. In the summer they would take all into the caves and in the winter they would drive their tents around the valleys and groves.
  20. Always they had followers who thought them great.
  21. By the time God Abraham had been called a Prince there was fighting within his lands.
  22. This strife was in heart between the slaves and it did not subdue. Daily it was fierce and blood was spilled every morning for many seasons.
  23. Abraham and his nephew discussed this also each day. And when it was so that the land became threatened from inside its valleys, Abraham said to his nephew,
  24. "Yours are too many and mine are many times more. We cannot keep in the valleys or share the same tents any more, nephew. We are brothers and we must not fight or have our slaves quarrel, such there is no other way."
  25. The nephew was angry that it would be his kingdom that must leave, but such was the calm of Abraham that clear thoughts were placed before him.
  26. In that parting was to be a Great Secret.
  27. Abraham demanded that the tent was empty save for him and his brother. And then he demanded that all the tents in the valley were emptied and the slaves and the herdsmen and the wives and the children made pace.
  28. “Ride to the Ridge of Gazikern and wait there until you see fresh smoke from this place,” he did say.
  29. When Abraham saw the Many on the Ridge it was the day hence, for the sun was lighting them from the East.
  30. And then he said unto his brother a secret
  31. Abraham did make fire of the tent and remained as it burned. And his nephew did walk to his people and he said to them,
  32. "My people and my slaves. We will not walk further into the valley with My Uncle’s people. We will walk East over the Ridge and thence we will pass through Jordan. We will not stop until we find a land that can succour us and our livestock. We must say goodbye to those who have travelled with us from here to Egypt and then returned."
  33. And so there was a divide and only the peoples of God Abraham did return to the Valley.
  34. When Abraham spoke again to his flock he spoke of how the riches and the fertility of the land was now theirs to milk and to husband.
  35. There would be no quarrel, and all strife would be blown away from the setting sun, to land upon the departed.
  36. And where the tent still smoked Abraham did have an altar built, the width three men and the length of a wagon and the height of a calf.
  37. Before this altar Abraham had his people amass and he spoke unto them,
  38. "My people and my slaves, we have been handed this land by God and He will make it rich. And to the South that land is ours. And to the North that land is ours and to the West, past the sea, that land is ours. And we shall plant and herd and become as the dust is in the desert."
  39. And the people were happy with Abraham’s state. And then God Abraham did say,
  40. "My people and my slaves, others may fight about us and I will calm them. Others may feel hate for our riches and I will calm them towards us. I will send a message to the Kings of Shinar, Alam and Gwoim that any metal against us shall divert our riches to destroy. And deceit amidst these tents shall divert our riches to destroy.”
  41. And he did pick Yebel and Isla and Usler, brother of Isla, and sent them with this message and enough silver to cover a grain basket each.
  42. After more than ten years Yebel ran into the fort of Abraham in Habran, for that is where he had lived for such years.
  43. Yebel did not greet Abraham with hands such was his urgency. Yebel spoke how Anraphel master-king of Shina has struck the gardens of his departed nephew with more armies than all the mounts of Sodom.
  44. Abraham had disbelief at the messenger Yebel and he sent him to walk South into the desert to die.
  45. The wife of Abraham wept and asked of her husband why he sent Yebel into the sun where he would die. And Abraham spoke to his wife in front of all:
  46. "Yebel is a deceiver sent by the Cities of the Plain. I know this because my nephew is far past Jordan and he is well."
  47. “He has kingdom and riches and no quarrel inside,” Abraham said.
  48. And all were calmed by the words of Abraham. All who listened knew that God must burn the Cities of the Plain into ash for their arrogance.
  49. Abraham did seed no son with his wife and so he did lay with Hagar who was a new gift from the Pharaoh. With Hagar his seed was ripe.
  50. Hagar had no blood for many weeks and hence she knew that she was with the child of Abraham. And Abraham did say to Hagar,
  51. “Rest in the grove of Weq until you have born. And then bring me what you have born, if it is a son. I shall call him Yismal, for I have called God into him.”
  52. “And if it is a girl child then bring her not to me but take her to your mother so she can watch over her,” Abraham did say.
  53. When the child Yismal had no longer need to suckle, Hagar returned and said to her master,
  54. "Master here is your first son, and he is called Yismal."
  55. Abraham took his son and said his name to the sand and to the sky and he knew that his son had his Tone. For with Tone does speak Tone and with Tone does see Tone.
  56. Hagar was happy that her master had found joy and Abraham did send to her a hundred slaves and three thousands of sheep and cattle to take with her to Egypt. And he did send word to his friend the Pharoah that the mother of his first born must be freed.
  57. And so Hagar did leave and Abraham renamed his wife Sarah so that she could be mother of Yismal.
  58. All had adoration for Yismal with deepness for he was calm and had the Tone of his seed.
  59. Sarah was a mother to her husband’s son but she felt grief that she had not born. And Abraham did call on God to end the grief of Sarah.
  60. When Sarah was aged beyond other mothers she bore Abraham a new son and a daughter and the son's name was Isaac and he as Yismal had the seed of Abraham.
  61. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, did say to Abraham that now he had a son of wife and he had a son first born there was choice for his estate and nation.
  62. And Yismal and Isaac did talk with their Father but not his wife upon this matter.
  63. For two nights and as many days they did speak of this. And when all was agreed Abraham did say to his sons,
  64. "You share what I share and my Father gave me. This is Few over Many and it is our Tone that leads.” And he did take a knife in his hand.
  65. “And if I must choose which of you to lead by this blade then I could not choose my first born and I could not choose my wife-born. For either I choose would say in my head 'not me but the other'."
  66. And they listened to their Father.
  67. "And if my wife asks Isaac, her son, to love me more, then my first born will say into her head, 'not he but the other' and Sarah will listen and agree."
  68. And they agreed with their Father.
  69. "And so we must always stay as one but in the eyes of my wife and the ears of the slaves Isaac will be my first born. And in the eyes of my wife and the ears of the slaves Yismal will be lost. For Yismal shall take half of the kingdom and move in one direction,” Abraham did say.
  70. “And this kingdom will be in quarrel, but beneath all will be calm,” God Abraham did say.
  71. “And the kingdoms of Isaac and Yismal will be in quarrel, but beneath all will prosper,” God Abraham did say.
  72. And then he did tell his sons the Great Secret he told his nephew and all was made as the stone and as the dust.
  73. Yismal did take his sheep and his slaves West, after kissing his half brother and his Father.
  74. Prince Abraham took others for his seed such was his desire to pass onwards seed. And he did marry Ketura who was the daughter of his brother and she bore him six sons.
  75. Only one of those who shared his blood with Ketura also shared his seed and Tone. This son he sent East to his nephew who he knew was still alive.
  76. To the other sons he gave riches save for Ishbak who he had slain by camel-tear for the reason that he had jealousy over Isaac.
  77. When it was time to bury Abraham he had lived six score years.
  78. Isaac, who had taken his kingdom in all and everything, said to the million at Machpelah,
  79. "Today I bury my Father alone. But my brother is with us from the East and he sends his sorrows to me and I send mine to him.”
  80. “And we say this, O Great and holy father - You have made us with your seed and made the land and made the cattle and the deer and the grain. And you have given all from slave to commander a greatness with your guidance and so we bless you and we bless us all."
  81. And then did Isaac take dirt from the floor of Machpelah and cast it thrice upon his Father's chest and once more for himself.
  82. And then the sons who stayed and the sons of sons did bury their Father.

©2006 LJT

Today I met the Archbishop of Canterbury

It was at Sir John Betjeman's Birthday Party (He wasnt there)

The Vinegar Stroke of Genius

In this blog's nine month gestation we have been to many places togther. We have talked about technology and it's importance to computers. There were moments of romance. Diversions into literature and culture and, occasionally, there were reviews. Reviews of things like films and devices and Kimya Dawson. And there was the embarrassing moment when I was phishted by a man from Africa.
But there hasn’t been much in the way of commentary upon domestic product-utility and this, my dear reader, is a vacuum I have a yearnin’ to fill.

My Grandmother Hilda always used to say that vinegar was good for cleaning windows; If you backtrack George Formby's classic you can hear devil speak to this effect. I tried it as a youth and it was without doubt low on smear and high on polish.

Since then I have stopped cleaning windows. I have however kept a healthy, if a little anal, interest in domestic cleaning product technology.

Then this week I read and article about how vinegar ills 98% of all household bacteria. That’s a high percentage, on par with bleach. I have also read in follow up that vinegar is a great all-round cleaning product which can dissolve dirt and grease and slime and gunk as well as deodorize.

Its Sunday evening and the kids have been just noisy and messy. So, in order to keep out of their maelstrom I have been cleaning in the kitchen. This is not a rare occurrence in the "irregular solar orbiting body sense," but nonetheless, I saw there vinegar on the shelf and I went to work.

I have the cleanest fridge on my street. It smells a bit, well, vinegary, but a quick wipe down and hey presto. The gammy bits of egg yoke are gone. The nanobiotic congealed dairy miasma is now neutralized. I have conquered.
There was something quite liberating about this revelation. Along the lines of giving the bird to all of the post war investment and marketing in high-tech cleaning products.

This deserves a poem that I shall title “Ode to Vinegar”. And it goes a little something like this:
Ode to Vinegar

A spray bottle
Acetic acid distilled.
Spray it on your surfaces
And bacteria is killed.

A spray bottle
White acetic mist,
Hard with the vinegar stroke
And easy on your wrist.

GP2X Review

The last time a game made my heart really race, my wife was a Teutonic dominatrix and I had the blueprints to "die speziellen lesbischen headquaters". That was until today, when I started re-playing Quake.

Quake is one of the best computer games ever made; it might not be quite as exciting as licking your way out of the Saphist Coliditz, but in terms of game-play and challenge and excitement, Quake is hard to beat. What is especially exciting about my recent foray into Quake is that it all took place on the little-portable-open-source GP2X, powered by two AA batteries.

It doesn’t stop there. Not only does the GP2X (Powered by 2 AA batteries) play Quake, it does much more, and that, my dear reader, is what this post is about.

What is it?

Its a handheld gaming device weighing 161 grams and made in a place called Korea. Korea has two versions:

  1. North: Which makes secret nuclear weapons and spies.
  2. South: Which makes the GP2X.

The GP2X is made in Korea Version 2, and it is made well. Robust, well considered and with a high quality components, especially the screen.

It runs a version of Linux and has two 200MHZ processors and its own Video processor so it can do things that no other device on the planet, powered by two AA batteries, can do.

Where you get it?

You can get it from these people,, who are the global distributors and are based in England, which is a part of Europe. I have had a fair few emails with them and they are very helpful and very much behind the GP2X - and that is a good thing.

What does it do?

In order of importance:

1) Fractals!!!

OMG have you seen these things! They are patterns that are made mathematically out of component parts of the same patterns, and it gets better.... they go on for ever. Ot at least that’s what the manufacturers claim. I don’t know if that’s true but without doub
t they go on for 6 sets of AA batteries. You can just zoom in and in and in and in. It never stops.

Unfortunately the Korean version 2's didn’t put this in the GP2X so you need to download it and install it on the GP2X.

Download it here:,0,0,0,8,1088

2) Drum Machine

Most people who buy this in the early days will be pretty geeky. Using Shoemaker's G-F translation it is pretty clear to see that geekyness is inversely proportionate to funkiness. However, to compensate for this you can install a drum machine on the GP2X and, through practice, actually increase your funk without decreasing your geek. This is the best of both worlds and IS NOT
available on the Sony PSP or Nintendo DS Lite.

Download it here:,0,0,0,8,1088

3 The Graphical User Interface

The GP2X comes with its own "graph
ical user interface". This consists of small pictures ( or "icons") that represent the various aspects of the device. For example, the part of the graphical user interface that runs games has a "joystick" picture to guide you. If you get lost the pictures also have descriptive names associated such as "Games", "Music" and "Settings".

I found this graphical user interface very easy to use and navigate but some people may find it easier to actually go to a DVD store or an amusement arcade.

Because everything is open source there are other graphical user interfaces that can be put onto the GP2X to replace the one put on it by the Korea Version 2.0 team. I haven’t tried these others because the default one is just fine, thank you.

One other point of note is that the graphical user interface complies to the NORTFM. This means that though there is a manual you don’t need to read it, instead press a few buttons and you will pick it up, pronto.

4 Video Player

Once you have blown your stash of AA's cruising deep into the Mandelbrot set you might need a break from that math’s rollercoaster.

I suggest a good sojourn from such an excursion is to watch a movie. There are many movies available from an online video store called Bittorent, which has a great rental policy and the GP2X will play most of these (allegedly etc etc) and it will play them really well.

I like things that make you go "wow". Like when you go camping out of the city and look up to see the milky way. Or you walk in on your mother in the kitchen and she is juggling three apples and you have never seen her juggle before. Not even two.

The video quality of the GP2X has this wow. Maybe not as much as the Milky Way but at least 3 times more than Andromeda (the Galaxy not the TV Show and with the naked eye, not Hubble). Its clear and bright and with good contrast. The playback is smooth... so smooth (because of the hardware video) and all powered by two AAs.

You can push the output to the TV and its just as good as a desktop with TV out or Freecome Media Player display. I can imagine being around at a friends house and the chat has got a bit dull. They are talking about "friends of friends" and the beer is warm and its still so early. So what do you do? Get out the crack pipe or say this:

You: "Hi, I have my media player on me, how about we watch Zoolander 2?”

Them: “How?”

You: “I can plug it right in to your telly."


You:"Yes….. but have you got two AA batteries?"

As a final parting a very neat feature that could be in any video player but isnt, is that it remembers your position in a movie. So, I was watching a film in bed last night and when I was sleepy turned the device off. Tonight I'll continue watching it some more right from where I left off (assuming I don’t play Quake or "Frauline was is das in der leiderhossen!!!").

If you just want a portable movie player with TV out then that’s enough reason to get the GP2X.

5 Music and Podcasts

Some people find it enjoyable to listen to sounds aranged with a certain order or sequence and the GP2X has more than enough OOOOPH to satisfy these people.

It does MP3 and WMA and OGG, but lets be honest, we can forget the last two. The MP3 player is simple and effective. It doesn’t support play lists, in-song bookmarking or lyrics but it has all you really need for most cases. I wish it would have bookmarks like the movie player does but it doesn’t. It does have real smooooooooth in track navigation, so you can zip anywhere in a 50 meg podcast in seconds.

I’d like to make a special mention of the sound quality. I have had a zillion MP3 players over the years- stand alone, in Palm , PPC, phones etc and this, to my ears, is the best I have heard. It is clear and loud and a nice range and just ...good. It doesn’t have Dobly.

6 Games

This part of the review is only here so I don’t get accused of being nonquakeaphobic. I’ve seen the vidos of people playing many games at full speed. Ultima 7, Sonic, Duke Nukem’ etc etc etc.

  • There are tens of thousands of games available for the GP2X and the emulators seem to be getting better and better and better. Sure, there are homebrew games out there for the GP2x but ask yourself this question: Would you rather play a game written by one guy in 2006 and a budget of pizza and coke or 100 people in 1996 and a budget of 3 million?
  • I have been playing on the PSP of late, it may look better but the game play isn’t up to the games you get on the GP2X. End of discusssion.
  • Check out Craig’s review of the emulators and games available, really impressive.

Other Applciations

This baby runs Linux at the back end and has two meaty processors doing the work. In theory it could run Open Office, or Gimp (Like Photoshop) or contacts/calendar applications... really anything that can be done without internet on a desktop.

What I think will make or brake the trajectory of this side of the GP2X is peripheral support. It has a USB port so can it take a keyboard? Or a mouse? Can it cable via this to a mobile phone’s port to go online?

Because of the open source nature of this system and the fact it has port access the sky really could be the limit if a significant surge of developers get behind it. (We are going to try this at work, I think)

Any Downers?

There is a moment as a child when you realise that adults are not perfect. Maybe its when you ask one a question and they don’t answer right away. Maybe it’s when Uncle Derek looses the key to the tool shed and you both have to spend the night inside it and its cold. So cold.

For the GP2X this moment, the reaslisation that gadgets, like adults, are not perfect, comes when you try to change the batteries. The GP2X build is good, apart from the flimsy little metal tongue that pushes the negative into the positive. Its a spring that doesnt seep to ahve much spring about it. I am guessing that most of the send-backs for the GP2X will be because of this. It will break. I can that little thing now and it is saying... "I am the weakness."

There are other gripes......

Power Outage

In the middle of a game of Quake and suddenly the effects became awesome... better than an Xbox game. It was as if a white light nuke went off and I was starring at ground zero, my world imploding and melting at the same time.

In fact what had happened was the batteries died on me and that was the LCD's Swan Song. Being a life long battery fetishist I know that rechargeables live fast and die young; often without any warning. But this white out seemed really dramatic. I don’t ask for much... but 30 seconds of warning that the GP2X needs a change would be a start.

The Worst Accessory Ever

I got the official GP2x carry case and it is pants. It really is the worst designed case I have seen for any device, and I have seen many many.

  • The GP2x fits in the wrong way round so you can’t actually use it in the case.
  • It has a pocket but its is just a loose net that seems to flap and so useless for anything you might want to carry with the device, like batteries or SD cards.
  • The strap connector for it is cheap die-cast that I would not trust to hold a few feathers, let alone the GP2X.
  • It is disproportionately large relative to the size of the thing its protecting.

This is the worst case ever made for anything. If you can imagine taking the spongy excrement of a camel and smearing the GP2X in that excrement you will not be into the land of metaphor, but reality.

Conclusion: The Future

The review is coming to and end. I have been working on it for two days and I feel we need a dramatic conclusion to keep you happy. The GP2X review equivalent of blowing up the Death Star or (come out) Kevin Spacey loosing his limp. Where should I go? Try to be funny and zany? Or serious and resolute?

I think all good reviews of portable gaming and media devices should end with a quote that encapsulates what has gone before. And so I will end with a quote that achieves just that. And yet achieves even more.... spreading not just the scope and flexibility of the GP2X but also its community and potential.

I will end with a quote from a Korean (Version 1.0) Shin-Jok play that translates as follows:

"In the cusp of your fingers you may hold the many worlds and many things until power fails and all is dark".

out of 5