A week ago today, I became a father for the second time. Nothing can top that, naturally. However the last nine months have proven quite trying (from a health perspective) for my wife, son and I. So coming home from the hospital late last Thursday night, cooking up some pasta, sitting down and checking my email to find I’d been selected as a finalist at the Blog Awards Ireland 2017 was a genuinely lovely surprise.
Concerns over protecting our privacy while online are nothing new. Watch what you post online, we are told. Use a VPN, some say. TOR is unbreakable, say others. However, not many people tend to pay so much attention to DNS, a potentially massive and gaping great hole in your network that could easily be used against you.
Now, with the proper age of geo-blocking and streaming media well and truly upon us, more and more plucky punters are signing up for so-called smart DNS solutions. These services provide a great, hassle-free way to access content restricted to specific global regions by means of a complex web of transparent proxies. Some even provide VPN over DNS solutions for the really stubborn geo-blocked services.
What is not made particularly clear to those not familiar with the technology is that by amending your default DNS IP addresses provided to you by your ISP and adding in those from a smart DNS service, you are essentially directing all of your home network traffic over a bunch of proxy servers at a vast array of locations worldwide. These are servers you have no access to, so you cannot see how they are configured and more importantly if anything is being logged, or worse, intercepted due to the potential for so-called man in the middle attacks.
I’ve a bit of a reputation for making impulse buys. Not your typical kind of impulse buys either. By that I mean I don’t walk in to Lidl for bread and a pint of milk and come out with a pair of skis, a ham slicer, 15kg of de-icer salt and a rowing boat. I tend to go for the more obscure stuff. Odd one-off’s that appear in bungled web and auction searches. Rarities that appear on super dodgy looking but actually legit shopping websites that you know will never be that price again if the site admin cops on to it.
I’ve got previous. A penchant for vinyl. And I don’t mean a silly little Beatles 12″ with 14 wrinkles on the left corner and a follicle from Ringo’s ear hair embedded within them. I mean super bizarre, possibly naff yet super wonderful stuff that 99.9% of the global populous wouldn’t give even one nanosecond of thought about snapping up.
I tend to pick up items such as official cameras from the 1980 Olympics. Or an extremely rare Canon Super 8 timer add-on (found on a village classifieds forum in a remote outpost in the French countryside no less). Yes, I am weird. Yes I like weird things. And yes I will write about them all some day.
Yet on March 11, 2017 I made an impulse purchase that proved to have a bit more than a ‘gotta have it’ effect on me. Allow me to explain…
“What goes better with an intense snack than an intense film? Eat this. Watch this.” uttered the late Phil Hartman to an unsuspecting UK television audience in 1993. What followed was a 40 second visual assault on the senses as Hartman instructs the ‘Golden Wonder Pot TV’ network to “hit the max”.
From within the confines of a neon, multi-coloured television studio, the fictional broadcaster attacks the unsuspecting viewers eyes with a barrage of aggressive, rapid cuts of neon computer graphics, glitches, text, 3D renders and film footage. So expeditious, and bellicose was the strobe effect from the cutting speed that reports of viewers suffering seizures flooded the Advertising Standards Agency. Golden Wonder, the company behind the Pot Noodle snack being advertised, responded by producing a second version of the same advert, only this time with the cut speed of the computer graphics slowed down in the hopes this would smooth over the furore generated at the time. The re-edit proved to be unsatisfactory to the Advertising Standards Agency and sadly the advert was canned and banned.
If you would like to purchase items from my personal collection, I am slowly but surely adding them to my very own shop! It is hosted on Etsy and will have more items added in the coming days and weeks. I hope you find something to plug that hole in your collection!
Click the link below to be whisked over to my little shop!
Fishing Panic Densetsu: https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/FishingPanicDensetsu
When you think of good, well known gridiron video games, what immediately comes to mind? Madden? Highly likely. NCAA Football? Probably. Tecmo Bowl? Absolutely. How about 4th & Inches? Probably not. With the current American football season now in full swing and 4th & Inches a mere handful of weeks away from celebrating it’s 30th birthday, I felt it an appropriate time to revist one of the true great elders of gridiron video games.
If I asked you what’s the first thing that comes to mind about the history of television, you’d most probably bring up names like John Logie Baird, or Marconi. Or perhaps give a detailed description of a post-war family huddled around a box the size of a modern-day London apartment watching Ajax commercials and Blue Peter. You may be of a younger age group and perhaps recall a time when you ‘had to get up to switch the channels’, or ‘the remote control was actually connected by a cord’, or that a television cost a decades wages.
What may not come to the forefront of your mind is the fact that Japan joined the world of broadcasting in 1950, making it one of the first countries in the world with a full, yet experimental, television service. In 1979 Japan was at the forefront again, with NHK launching the world’s first consumer HDTV television service. By 1981, Sony was developing HD video cameras, and by April 1984 had consumer products available in shops nationwide.
Sony. Inventors of Betamax. The Walkman. MiniDisc. Hi-MD. SDDS. 3.5″ Floppy Disks. Blu Ray. This shortlist alone makes for quite a staggering portfolio. So how did a company with such an illustrious technological history make such a catastrophic mess of things with their venture in to IPTV (Internet Protocol television)? Let’s find out with a real first-hand look at PlayStation Vue from someone who actually used the service. Me.
Better late than never! You may have seen my previous entry, well I have been busy scribbling a few words down for the good folks at Retro Collect once more. This particular piece was published a few weeks ago, but I figured to pop the link here, just in case you would like to read my mutterings!
Released in 1972, long before video games were even a glint in a developers eye, Nintendo were in the business of manufacturing childrens toys. The Lefty was a series of toy RC cars by Nintendo that appeared on the market before rival Tamiya (today a world leader in radio controlled hobby products). With the Lefty, Nintendo aimed to release the world’s first radio controlled car at an affordable price point. To keep costs down the cars featured one servo. A servo with the ability to operate in one motion. A motion that allowed the car to solely turn left. Hence the name, Lefty.
If you are big in to retro video games, you may well have heard of a web site named Retro Collect. A polished and professional gaming site dedicated to all things retro. They have a thriving community to boot. My first article submission has been accepted and published at Retro Collect, the first of, I hope, many more.
I will of course be maintaining this, my personal site and am busy hammering away on various items as and when time allows. If you would like to check out my article discussing starting a family and keeping enthused with video games, please feel free to click the link below and also check out a great web site too!