Americans deserve better

No, not better than other people, just better than what there being offered at the moment.

What am I talking about?  Cars of course!

Lets face it, the current US version of the Focus is based on the 1998 original model.  The rest of the world got a totally new car in 2004, and that model has already been facelifted at least once.  Its the same all around, the Saturn Aura is a Vauxhall/Opel Vectra with a modified rear end (and an American Car of the Year award despite the Vectra’s infamous lack of… ..well anything really in the EU.)

Ford are currently working towards rectifying this, the US Focus should soon be brought into line with the rest of the world, the Mondeo is on its way over there (Or not, they can’t seem to make there minds up about it) as is the Fiesta.  GM may well bring the Chinese market Buick’s to America, and there the Vaxuhall/Opel Astra and Insignia in a more chrome blighted form.  Chrysler is going to start building its small cars based on Fiat platforms, and Fiat will be bringing the 500 (And hopefully the Panda as well) to the US market.

Its a start, but there are plenty of other cars in the EU (And probably Japanese) markets that there is a clear and urgent need for.  There is no better evidence for this than the fact that crap like the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 300C, Chevrolet Malibu and the Chevrolet Cruze (anybody EVER seen one on the road by the way?) still sell.

To replace the Cruze, a family hatchback without a hatchback – lacklustre handling and emaciated petrol engines, might I recommend the Astra?  It may platform share, but its a far more accomplished car than the Cruze.  If your really worried about it GM, stick a Chevrolet badge on it to save face, its ok.

To replace the Sebring and its fellow Chrysler slush mobiles I’d recommend French saloons.  A Citroen C5 or C6, or the current Renault Laguna, do the comfortable ride thing way better and also handle at the same time.  There interiors are great, there styling is light-years ahead of the Sebring and there build quality is considerably better.  Avoid Peugeots though, there rather crap at the moment.

What about other cars that would suit the market?  An obvious choice is of course the current Skoda Superb, its twindoor boot is ideal for markets in which a saloon is still seen as a premium product over a hatchback.  It gives you the premium look without the disadvantages of lacking a proper rear hatch.  Its also a vastly better drive than any equivalent car currently on the US market, has a dull but superbly made interior and most importantly – its a Skoda.  That means its just about bullet proof on reliability and quality without being too expensive.

Of course even that will not satisfy some, and they will want a proper saloon with all the disadvantages that entails – how about a SEAT Exeo?  Under its Spanish skin its a previous generation Audi A4 with a more comfortable suspension and tyre setup.  Its comparatively cheep and comes both as a saloon and as an estate for those who want more space.

How about some stylish hatchbacks?  cars like the Citroen C2, C3 and C4 (particularly in Coupe 3 door hatch form), Skoda Fabia and Octavia, SEAT Ibiza, Renault Clio and Megan are obviously worth investigating on the US market.

With the collapse of the faux-4x4 market there a re bound to be those looking for more practical ways of lugging lots of people around.  There’s a large number of cars build for that very purpose around the world, and indeed Chryslers latest offering in this market is supposed to be rather good actually.  However why not try some of the more entertaining offerings from the French manufactures?  The Renault Espace created the model for all modern people carriers and is still about the best out there.  The Citroen C3 and C4 Picasso are both good cars, and I’d mention the Berlingo to those who need only shift 5 people but need van sized luggage space.  The Fiat Multipla is getting on in years and is rather anonymous after its emergency restyle (google to see the original late 1990’s model) but it offers 6 seats in the same rough footprint as a normal family hatchback.  In the EU its wide body can be a pain, a problem that should be far less noticeable on wider US roads.

Other cars that should make it across include the entire Alfa Romeo range, excluding the Mito and the new 149 due to there fugly style.  The 159 may be due for replacement any time soon, but it is by far the best looking saloon made by any company in recent years.  It may lack the shear driving involvement of an equivalent Beamer 3 series, but its fantastic looks and interior is one of the best on the road even today (Also the fact its not bought exclusively by Yuppy wannabies is a major plus.)

Of course, all this is dreaming – the US market is not really growing enough to support these brands entering it just yet.  But who knows, maybe after trying out the new models the big three are bringing in from there European operations, US buyers will start to demand more from there cars than before?

And maybe France will renounce the republic, the Pope convert to pastafarianism and the batshit bannanas will be beaten out of Tom Cruise and other scientologist nutballs?




Oh wait, I promised you furry porn didn't I?  Erm, bah I’ll have to leave you hanging for now.


Mac my bitch up

Some of you may already know that I already own one mac, you know me too well and will be added to the depopulation list when the revolution comes.  For those of you ignorant of that fact let me enlighten your pitiful little minds.

A while ago my grandmother wished to get into computing, I tried her out with a variety of second hand laptops to get her going.  First was a windows 95 machine, with a whole 12mb of ram, which I had running a lightweight Linux distro (Beatrix I believe its called.)  She had issues using that, and to be honest I can rather understand this, blue and yellow screens are a bitch to read after all.  Second was a Windows 2000 laptop, a little slow but perfectly serviceable to this day, she eventually had to give up on because it was too complicated.

Her main problem was using the mouse, it had too many buttons for her basically.  So I found myself thinking like this: What type of computer is there thats designed for people who have issues understanding the idea of multiple buttons on a mouse?

And the answer was obvious: a Mac.

So I scoured the second hand shops and came across a G3 iBook (white not clam case sadly) and set her up with this machine.  At which point my grandfather decides to play the family game of being irrationally paranoid and insists she get rid of it.  He is a nice guy, just has his irrational moments.  So the computer went home to live with my mother, who uses it to read fan stories in bed.

At least I hope that’s all she uses it for… *Shudder*

Anyway! story time over, its now time to share with you the good news!  Today I found myself a lovely G3 iMac tray-loader in Bondi Blue.

Yes, its one of the first series and its working faultlessly.  233MHz, 160MB of RAM, not sure yet about the HDD space, running OSX (The first version at the moment though digging out a Panther install at the moment.)  For £34.

Actually whack on another £4, I had to taxi the bugger home since its so heavy.  I have it running right now… …ok its crashed right now since it decided to open a modern web page in IE for Mac (on a 233mhz processor.)  But that’s besides the point, the point is: I have one of the best looking computers ever made and its surprisingly good.  Ok the interface is weird and its got a CRT display, but its amazing how fast this machine runs for a 233.  I can’t seriously belive an equivalent Intel/AMD machine would be running this well but thats probably due to Apple’s ability to code for specify hardware, allowing for far more optimised code than any other OS used to dealing with a wide variety of different components.

However that said I am wondering what running a video (Obviously not a DVD on a 233, especially considering its not even got a DVD drive) on this machine will result in.  I’m guessing Kentucky Fried Silicone Chips, but it dose have a basic video editor on it, so maybe it will do just fine.

Stay tuned you revolting perverts, and maybe next time I’ll include some furry porn to wet your… …well I was going to say appetites but I never know with you lot.

Don’t want to upgrade anytime?

If your like me, i.e. a closet communist secretly hoping for the downfall of all these revolting capitalist pigs around you when the glorious revolution finally erupts in a tumult of blood and… …er, well if your like me then you hate Windows Anytime Upgrade.

Its pointless after all, you already HAVE the version of Windows you need, and the other features available are utterly pointless.  Bitlocker has plenty of free alternatives and… …what was the other reason to buy ultimate?  Choose between 35 different languages…

So apart from bitlocker there is no feature of Ultimate that isn’t in Pro anyway.  So why have the annoying link?  After all you have already found the guide to disable the program from starting and removed the link from your start menu, so how do you get rid of it from the control panel?

Open your start menu and type in “gpedit.msc” then run it.

Once there go to “Administrative Templates” is should be the bottom option in “User Configuration”.  Open up the control panel folder and you should see one option called “Hide specified Control Panel items” double click to bring it up.  Switch it from “Not Configured” to “Enabled” and go down to “List of disallowed Control Panel items” and click on show.  Type in the following “Microsoft.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade” without the quotes of course, then click Ok to close that dialog.  Now click apply and close gpedit.

Open the control panel and bask in the glories of the revolution!


You may now fap.


Windows 7, the update.

Been using 7 for a fair old while now and have got a few stories to tell about the system.

First of all let me just reassure you all that the GUI will grow on you. Not the ribbons of course, god no, but the glass look borders and menus do become more familiar with experience. Of course I've just installed the Windowblinds 7 Beta so I don't actually care about that anymore as I'm back in the Mac look. Ah the joys of having the window controls on the correct, left hand, side. Of course its not faultless, Windowblinds 7 is still a beta and its support for older skins seems a tad buggy. For example the Mac skin I'm using dates back to pre Vista times and thus dose not natively support transparency in its boarder, it can be forced, but the buttons remain at 100% opacity so it rather defeats the object. That's not a major issue however, the major issue is the Taskbar. For some reason, probably the redesign of the taskbar, the taskbar size starts off at maximum every time the computer is turned on, and requires quite a bit of fiddling to get it back to the very slim bar the skin is designed to use. Even then the notification area is not centered in the bar and instead hangs down at the bottom of it.

Really though, this is a minor problem when the rest of it works well enough. Windows Explorer's forwards and back buttons unfortunately use MS's native fugly blue buttons, but that should be fixed with future skins. The main problem is that its got the traditional nag screen until you buy it, and I'm not buying it till its out of beta boys.

Networking gave me a few headaches, for some reason the wifi dongle my computer is using will rarely sign first time, instead requiring another computer to sign in at the same time in the same room. This is not a Windows 7 problem, but rather a problem with the dongle I suspect, but it is rather bazaar. There was also another delightful issue to do with LAN however, one which had me cursing the OS back and fourth for an hour. This started when I attempted to get my PS3 to connect to the net via LAN running off of my computers Wifi dongle. Why? Because the PS3's wifi reception is pants and PS Home is good for pointing and mocking morons. Not so good for Yiffing, but meh if your into that go join second life you strange person you. Anyway, after hooking up a LAN cable between the PS3 and the computer I entered network properties to allow the PS3 to connect via the wifi. Immediately Windows decided that the LAN is a public network... ..public LAN access... ..ok, maybe it assumes all networks are public by default - a good safety precaution with most idiots using computers. However whats this?! My wifi has been declared a public network as well?! and grouped with the LAN so that I cannot set it back to a private network?! I attempted to set it back, with no results, disabled and enabled to no effect and yanked it out before stuffing it back in. To no effect.
What ensued can only be described as "Apperplectic", but I decided to test the net connection to check if it was still working. Nope! Apparently even when set to allow access though public networks it doesn't actually allow it, oh and predictably the PS3 could not connect either.

I soldiered on for an hour, trying every combination of settings and curses to little effect before finally getting the benighted thing to work. I could connect to the net again, and with a few setting edits on the PS3, I could connect via the LAN just fine.

The moral of this story?

Windows 7 doesn't like being connected to a PS3, it would much rather you had a 360... ..ok that's just me being an MS hater, but I do ask that any of you with 7 and a (non Bricked) 360 test it out to see if it happens for you.

Other points?
* The Ribbon interface is still pointless, particularly in a file manager.
* It has never started IE instead of FF when a program links to the net, a crime XP regularly committed.
* Steam works just fine, even its browser which is IE in an ugly skirt, when IE is not installed.
* Tablet support is excellent.
* Multiple monitors work far better than in previous Windows versions.
* The Action Center is remarkably well behaved, and all of its moans can be easily and permanently disabled should you need to do so.

All in all I'm enjoying my Win7 experience rather than enduring it. Its not perfect, but its vastly better than anything else MS has come up with in years. It may lack the value for money Linux and other free OS's have in there favour, but it is actually worth buying if your interested in games.


World Celebrates as Rupert Murdoch commits suicide!

Well ok, Economic suicide anyway.

BBC News article on the subject.

You see, a little while ago Mr “I’m a Business Man Guha Guha!” Murdock decided that the best way to increase his profits from his news websites was to prevent there stories being put up into Google News.  Despite the fact no other news companies in the world are quite as moronic as to do the same thing.

You see, Google News has previews of a full article on its news page, from there you have a link to the article itself on the original News websites page.  Mr “I like drinking Paint” Murdock has come to the conclusion that this is illegal.  His justification for this point of view is that they are making money out of his company without paying them back for it.  Erm, mate, there linking to the full article – not putting it up on there own website.  In effect there showing you what you can read on your website, which PROMOTES your website.

Apparently Mr “Toy soldiers go in nose” Murdock doesn't understand this concept.  Ok, then!  Should the man himself, hah, ever read this tirade here is how the internet works:  Man puts something on website, nobody knows it is there except the man.  Search engine goes through mans website and finds this thing, adds this to its index.  A different man who is interested in the something that is on the original man’s website uses the search engine to find what he wants.  Search engine gives him link to man’s website with a preview of what is there to let him judge if it is what he wants or not.  Man clicks on link and goes to website. 30 GOTO 10

Now that we have cleared that up, lets investigate how Mr “I’m a Clown! Brum Brum!” Murdock has decided to commit economic suicide.  He has now decided that Google will be blocked from accessing his news websites.

Lets just consider the enormity of what is wrong with this:

  1. He is ONLY blocking Google and lets other search engines trawl his pages.  You sure you don’t just hate Google Mr “Microsoft's penis tastes like chocolate” Murdock?
  2. Google will no longer be sending people to his websites, decreasing his readership.
  3. Every other news website allows Google news to access there pages, and without his pages there to compete, there readership will go up.

This, ladies and Gentlemen, is a recipe for royally fucking your own profits.  Well done Mr “Having a blowjob while giving a speech is completely professional” Murdock, you just killed your company!  Much to the Glee of the rest of the world since your news is biased to the point of humour, sensationalist, badly written, badly edited, inefficiently fact checked, racist, sexist, homophobic and lots of other bad words.

And in closing I’d just like to point out one final thing to Mr “Why does all of Australia hate me?” Murdock:  You may not believe in Free Use, but every other sane person dose.  And thanks to free use, I’ve made him a present!

Here you go Mr "Mooo!" Murdock!.

Drop dead you smug self satisfied Prick.


(Apologies to the clown who’s Photo I used for the hair and nose, sorry)



I’ve been saying this for a long time and now I’m going to say it louder.  Or rather, I’m going to type it out on here and let the vast wilderness of uncaring readers troll thought it.

Tuners are mostly idiots.

Please note the qualifier because its important, but we will come to why it is important later on because first: Its Moron Bashing Time!

Lets start off with spoilers, particularly rear spoilers on most tuned cars.  The vast majority of tuned cars you see in this country, and indeed around the world, are front wheel drive.  This is of course because the majority of cars built around the world today are front wheel drive, and indeed front wheel drive is a perfectly valid choice for a sporty car.  However, the vast majority of these tuned FWD cars have rear spoilers.

This is very dumb.

Why?  Well basically because either the owner has no understanding of what a spoiler dose or its purely decorative.  Anybody who thinks a cobbled together wing stuck to there boot looks good, needs emergency brain surgery.  As for those why they don’t know what a spoiler dose, here is an explanation of what they do:

A spoiler is in essence an upside down aerofoil as found on aircraft wings.  The shape of an aerofoil creates a pressure differential across the surface of the wing as air flows across it.  This creates lift for an aircraft and down force for a car.  Down force is simply pressure pushing the car down onto the road.  Placing one at the front of the car pushes the front down onto the road, placing one at the back presses the back down onto the road, as the speed increases.

So this means a tuned FWD car with a rear spoiler has its rear pressed down into the ground as it speeds up… ..lifting its front wheels upwards.  This has two effects:  First, the car looses grip, making it more likely to spin its wheels or go hurtling off into a wall when the wheels don’t have enough grip to turn the car.  Second, the front wheel breaks (which on a FWD car are usually the more powerful ones) are now attached to wheels with less grip, making it harder for them to stop the car and a lot easier for them to lock up the wheels.

In essence fitting a rear spoiler to a FWD car makes it handle, stop and accelerate worse at speed than it would without it.  Plus with the added wind resistance created by the spoiler and the turbulence it causes – the cars top speed will be lower as well.

So then, what about a front spoiler?

Well here we hit another obvious issue to do with Tuners: the people who design the bits.  Most cars today are created by companies that have between 100 and say 40 years experience building cars.  They have access to the best in wind tunnel and computer design equipment outside of perhaps the aerospace industry.  Tuners are either young men in sheds or older men who used to be in sheds and now make money selling things to young men in sheds.  As a result the front bumpers of modern cars are designed and styled by experts (though I will admit with some companies – BMW and Subaru I’m looking at you – this is hard to credit.)  While the plastic or fibreglass body kit found on your average tuner was designed by a man in a shed.

Not to knock men in sheds, after all some of the worlds best cars came out of sheds, but I’d rather trust the evil but well qualified multinational than a guy who judges his parts aerodynamics by eye.  As a result of this I doubt there are more than 5-6% of body kit bumpers that actually work as spoilers at all.  The rest being extra weight and more wind resistance to suck away at the cars top speed.


As for punching holes in your exhaust pipe to make it louder – it just sounds like your exhaust is broken guys and you will probably fail your next MOT as a result of it.

Now to the explanation of the word “Most”, to put it in a nutshell some of the best car designers in history were tuners.  Graham Chapman would be an obvious example, he started working with Austin 7’s and from those humble beginnings created the Lotus company, a company that today tunes the suspension of a large number of the worlds best cars.  Sir William Lions, the guy who founded Jaguar, started off as a side car maker and created luxury versions of Austin 7’s before moving on to greater things.  Enzo Ferrari started off at Alfa Romeo, and while I doubt he could really be called a tuner he did borrow from his experiences there in creating his own cars.  Porsche was not strictly speaking a tuner since he did design the VW beetle himself, but his early cars did share parts with there humble brother.  The Renault Alpines started off as racing tuned Renault Dolphines.  The Saleen company, who I personally dislike the products of, started off as tuners before moving into there own limited production models while still tuning existing cars.  For that matter the tuning division of almost any modern car company could fit in here, from AMG to MG (Though there now defunct as tuners and instead have there badges slapped on Chinese made rebodies of a Rover 75, though it has to be said they are rather nice rebodies and the 75 was a good platform to start with even if its dated by European standards.)

So, not all tuners are morons, just the majority.


And especially any of them who stick half a 747 wing onto the back of a 1990’s Mitsubishi FTO, seriously, what where you thinking?


Very well then…

Lets start us off with something about that juicy new OS from the Unspeakable ones.  Windows 7! *Cue dramatic music*

First of all let met just clarify my personal opinion of Microsoft, since you must remember that it colours this review.  As far as I am concerned MS is about as wrong as you can make a company.  From its anti-competitive business tactics to its shockingly poor record on security, all I see is a company running around on some kind of power trip.  Also there REALLY bad at hardware, seriously guys, just stick to the software and get somebody else to style your GUI’s.

Right, now that’s covered lets move on to the actual review!

I’ve been running Windows 7 now for almost a week, and currently I’m rather impressed.  Oh sure, there’s a few bits and bobs that need work and some parts of the UI can FOAD right now (Got your Pitchforks and Burning torches? Cause we be storming Ribbon Castel boys!)  Its stable, it seems to be secure and though it shocks me to say this; I actually consider it superior to Ubuntu on the user friendliness front.

However that said it is not without its problems, and the biggest one of them all is the new UI.  In previous Windows incarnations we had customisable toolbars that could be modified and moved to suit our needs.  In 7 we have bloody great big things that put all of the functions you never wanted right there in the main screen rather than buried safely under a safe mound of menus.  I can see the point for idiots using a word processor – yes they could find it useful.  But I’m not an idiot and so I don’t need these screen hogs (thank god Open Office is sticking with toolbars) and I sure as hell don’t need them in Explorer.

Oh yes, Explorer.  Previously using explorer was like using any other file manager on any other computer system, now however in there finite wisdom MS have decided that using the Ribbon interface in a file manager makes sense.  Context sensitive toolbar in a file manager… ..can you imagine a more pointless UI change?  Have we not heard of the “Right Click” menu guys?  Hired a lot of Ex-Apple users by chance?  Just in case you don’t get my point, here it is: the right click menu is a context menu, it displays options relevant to the file/item/fish you are clicking on.  In 7 you can, thankfully, still do this but why then do I need to have a blasted un-editable toolbar there to do the same job?!


Breadcrumbs, a feature I can actually see the point in, hell I actually like the idea quite a bit to be honest.  However why did we have to loose the “Directory Up” button for it?  Why can’t we have our crumbly bread and our uppers?  Its a pain in the proverbial to shuffle though the address bar looking for the folder you want, particularly when with an up button you could just go to that button and click till you hit the one you wanted!

The Start button, it should shrink with the blasted task bar, not droop off of it like it was stuck on by a 4 year old with prit stic.  Also make it less gaudy or give us the chance to have a greyed out version at least.

Aero Glass, its all very nice and pretty, but why dose it have to be smeared with diagonal bands of white?  Yes I know there trying to make it look like its glass, but why?  I’d prefer it to just be transparent and leave it at that.

The Window controls are on the wrong side.  Yes I know that’s the side MS always puts them on, but its still the wrong side.  Look at it like this: Most computer users are right handed, when they rest there arm there more likely to roll it up and to the right than anywhere else as there arm relaxes forwards and out from the body.  This slides the cursor up to the top right corner, where if they click by accident they close, de-maximise or minimise what's currently maximised on screen.

Libraries feels half finished and teaches new computer users not to think about where there files are stored – I predict doom arising from this.  Thankfully its easy enough to disable.

Homegroup… ..why? Why would I have more than one computer running 7 in the first place for one thing.  Why would I want to share with other people what’s on my computer, that’s what remote desktop is for.

Windows XP mode, I have got virtualisation set on and my processor and motherboard support the blasted thing! WORK DAMN YOU!

Despite these rather petty gripes I actually like most of Windows 7, its a good OS and comes with some neat features.  Plus most of my gripes can be fixed by using something like WindowsBlinds, or patches from MS themselves.  Considering its still pre SP1 I think its only fair to cut it some slack when the majority of the system is actually as good as it is.

Overall a recommendation then?  Mostly, though I’d point out that Win7 and Ubuntu are about equal on the user friendliness in most areas, and Ubuntu has far more scope for out of the box usage.  If your a gamer like myself your choice is obvious: you will get 7 and enjoy having a gaming OS that’s both 64bit and non-shite.  However if your not a gamer, I’m not sure you can justify spending £200 on an OS when an equivalent one is free.



Oh, and I wrote this one in “Windows Live Writer” to test it out, seems to work quite well.  Though I still want to burn whoever created the idea of a context sensitive non-customisable toolbar that you can’t switch off.

Ah the Joys

I've started a blog, oh lovely! now all I have to do is buy a copy of a microsoft prod... ..oh damn, did that already with Win7 din't I. Well ok, if I'm going to have to join mainstream modern culture I might as well do it thought the nerdy self important ranting way. Play to your type I say. So a Blog then, perhapse it would be a good idea to outline what I plan to do with this benited thing hum? Lets see, I already plan on posting my half baked rants about how much blasted bad advertising there is out there. How bad acting now seems to be regarded as acceptible. How TV show writers seem to have been, as a group, drinking lead based paint. And most importantly of course: Bashing Capitolism for being corrupt and run by the mentaly disadvantaged.

Fairly standard fare I would image, at least if you discount all the blogs moaning about there life or talking about there horrible crotchfruit. Uhg.