Vintage tech and strange Italian stalkers

A weird week so far. On the one hand, I’ve extolled the beauty of 1980s technology in a new column for PC Authority:

Vintage tech: Looking back at the Commodore 64: “Just look at it. Is that not a thing of design beauty? Well, OK, no, not much.It’s brown and… brown. Or in some later revisions, more grey and… grey.”

And at the same time, a random vanity name search led me to discover the oddly named, somewhat gothic and slightly Italian fan group

I LOVE ALEX KIDMAN ♥

all in caps for the emphasis, naturally. Makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, who wouldn’t love Alex Kidman?

People who were emphatically wrong, that’s who.

Sadly, it’s not actually about me (unless I’m living a strange double life even I’m not aware of). It does mean that I now know even more folk called Alex Kidman, though.

Eee, it’s a box.

Today was a day when just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. And then some. To put it in perspective, I sat down to start working this morning at 7:20am.

I actually started getting productive work done at 4:22pm.

Yeah, it’s been one of those kinds of days. I need a long cool drink. While I hunt one down and terminate it with extreme prejudice, why not peruse my review of Asus’ attractive little EeeBox at CNET.com.au?

Asus EeeBox PC EB1501: “Asus refers to it as a “ballerina-inspired” design, and we almost get what it’s aiming for there. Although we’ve never seen a black or white plastic rectangular ballerina. Perhaps ballet’s changed radically recently, and we failed to notice.”

Bandwagons, iPads, Android and shattered pelvises

Somehow, I’ve knitted the above into a single story for APCMag.com today. Truly, my wordsmithing powers* know no bounds. Especially when the story itself is about security software:

Norton 360 to support iPad, Android: “Latest version of 360 “supports” iPad, iPhone and Android. Sort of…”

*And, clearly my humility

I still reckon Sony brand name Scrabble* would be the greatest game ever…

A couple of Sony Vaio products for your perusal today at CNET.com.au. They’re fine to read, but don’t try to pronounce the product names, unless you’re already fluent in Welsh.

Sony Vaio VPCL118FG/B: “Sony’s all-in-one PC isn’t cheap and it could do with more storage, but otherwise it’s a highly attractive option for those who crave simplicity.”

Sony Vaio VPCCW15FG: “Sony’s latest vibrant Vaio has plenty of grunt, but nowhere near enough power.”

*Yes, I know, Hasbro. Scrabble. Trademark and all that. But if there’s multiple branded Monopoly games, why not Scrabble?

Dragons and storage and wireless and wetness

These are a few of my favourite thiiiiiings!

Except that, with some minor exclusions, they’re not.

What a week it’s been. One flooded office. One wife in and out of hospital. One office cleared and stuffed into every spare nook around the place to compensate. Carpet destroyed. Carpet ripped up. Office re-painted. Insurance companies screamed at.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I wrote a bunch of articles across multiple publications. First, at APCMag.com, I wrote about the one thing that could get me really excited about Microsoft Surface:

Microsoft Surface gets Dungeons and Dragons: “Porn may be out, but another great geek pastime gets the Surface treatment: Dungeons & Dragons.”

Then at PC Authority, I pondered Vivid Wireless’ exciting new data plans… or lack thereof:

Is it worth waiting for Vivid Wireless 4G? “Is it worth waiting for another contender to emerge in the wireless broadband space?”

Then at CNET.com.au, I cast my eye over a couple of external hard drives:

Hitachi SimpleDrive Mini 320GB: “Hitachi’s portable drive is a serviceable external drive that doesn’t stand out in a market awash with them.”

Hitachi SimpleTough 500GB: “An aptly named external drive; it’s simple and it’s tough.”
And lest I forget it (or forget to subject myself to ridicule surrounding my legs), the third part of the Byteside discussion is up live on YouTube:

Mental note: Don’t wear white shorts on a dark stage…

A couple of weekends ago, the Powerhouse museum held an ’80s themed retro gaming weekend. I went along as part of a Byteside panel discussion on where gaming is, was and is going to be, and the video of that panel is now up on YouTube.

Thrill! At the discussion of old games and new ones! Hiss! As I reveal a gaming activity beloved by another panel member that I find boring! Try not to look! Directly up my shorts leg. The white shorts? Big, big mistake.

Vanity, thy name is Kidmanpedia…

Every once in a while, I’ll do a vanity search on my name in Google. It’s apparently a very common kind of thing to do online, but I like to think that I do this for more than reasons of vanity. Well, I like to think that, anyway.

Seriously, however, it’s something of a hangover from when I worked as editor at ZDNet Reviews and later as editor at CNET.com.au, where it was worthwhile checking where stuff was being re-published, and whether such re-purposing was kosher. These days those chasing-people-with-cease-and-desists isn’t so much of a concern. Well, aside from folks ripping off my game reviews for YouTube purposes, anyway. It’s still interesting to see where my name pops up, and for which publication, and it has led to some interesting work avenues in the past.

I was digging through Wikipedia the other day (reading the entry on Martin Luther, if you must know) and the thought struck me that a Wikipedia personal search might be an interesting affair. Not that I’m noteworthy in and of myself, you understand. Frankly, I’d rather not be that famous in any huge regard, at least from the celebrity side of things. My surname means that searching for me can bring up some rather odd results in any search engine unless I’m rather specific. “Odd” can sometimes mean very, very disturbing, it should be noted.

Still, I’d been aware that I’d been linked to as a source for Wikipedia articles in the past, for my comments in a review of Ninja Gaiden for the original Xbox, and as an editor for the Australian version of Gamespot. That’s well prior to the current excellent Gamespot team, by the way; the site effectively rested inbetween my stewardship and its relaunch a few years later. But Wikipedia’s a fluid kind of beast, and my curiosity was piqued.

So what cropped up?

Well, the Ninja Gaiden review note is still there.

Gamespot isn’t, with the details on previous Australian editors replaced with a rather more bland listing of what Gamespot Au currently does. Apparently you’d have to be an American to be a notable Gamespot writer, but then I guess Wikipedia is horribly US-centric at the best of times.

I’m also linked for a review at CNET for one of LG’s Chocolate mobile phones.

Strangely for someone who writes a lot of reviews – and who often finds that I’m the first (and often only) person to put down a Web review on a given product – that’s the only pure “review” of mine that Wikipedia currently uses as a source. There is a half-newsy, half-review article on the open source image application Artweaver that I wrote for APCMag.com, but that rather clearly came out of their news rather than reviews budget.

The other two entries where I’m listed are frankly a little odd. Firstly, I’m cited in a list of video games notable for negative reception. When that came up I suspected it might be for a review I wrote of Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home, a truly woeful game that still stands as having the worst score I’ve ever given anything. Just. I’m not a big fan of scores as the be all and end all, but in fact it’s nothing to do with Backyard Wrestling at all. Instead, it references a list article I wrote for PC Authority on games notable for violence, and specifically it seems for a really awful game called Custer’s Revenge. That game seems to follow me around; I quoted it on a Byteside panel I appeared at on the weekend as well.

And then finally, I’m referenced a list of Zelda games. Fair enough, you might think. I’ve reviewed more than a few of them. Except this is a list of Zelda games for Philips CD-i, a system I’ve never owned, relating to a review written originally for GameSpot AU and later ported over to CNET.com.au.

Truly, the ways of Wikipedia are weird.