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Long time no see

It's been just under a month since last blog post, and much has happened.

First, and easily most important, I've been spending a lot of time playing Mario 64 on my DS. I never played it on the N64, so the whole thing is new to me. Playing without an analogue control stick makes some parts tricky - the touch screen interface doesn't quite cut it for this, so it's really down to just practising with the D-pad. All those years practising on Street Fighter 2 have now paid off, so I'm now cruising collecting stars and beating up Bowser.

Mystic Mike

With only a few days to go until 2006, it's time for some predictions about Linux and the upcoming year. I'm notoriously bad at this, but in the off-chance that something turns out to be right, here we go:

Effy wishes you a Merry Christmas

Effy only joined LXF recently, but already his down to earth philosophy, which we have dubbed Mexistentialism, is having an effect on team dynamics and magazine production. After all "it's joos some ink and some paper...", he says.


And the results of this lunchtime's Mario Kart DS races:

Mike -- 139 points
Graham -- 112 points
Paul/Nick -- 85 points

Mario Kart DS vs SNES

Yes, Mario Kart DS is the office game du jour, helped by the growing number of dual-screen Nintys around various magazine teams. It has received largely positive reviews -- deservedly so as it's better than most of the derivative tripe on the shelves -- but few writers have made any detailed comparisons to earlier Mario Karts, particularly the SNES version.

Mario Kart results

Mike: 160
Paul: 140

He beat me fair and square, but I'm rather happy that it's only by a little. Plus I learnt that you can tap L1 to hurry up the item selection, and you can ram people off bridges. He's a crafty one, that Saunders. Still, I'm sure he'll treat us all to a comprehensive explanation of why Mario Kart DS is clearly not the game of champions and that he'd easily beat me at Mario Kart SomeOtherPlatform. Enjoy! :)

A brief lesson in Hungarian

I've been away for a week on my annual pilgrimage to meet my wife's family in Hungary. Each visit changes my perceptions of the country as I learn more about its culture and people, and I thought I'd share some of my insights with you. At least that's how this blog post started, but it ended up mostly being a rant about the Hungarian language. Onwards!

Hungarian language

Jacob’s Ladder

Tower O\'Cups

Quote unquote

Had a quick look at the BBC News site this morning, and noted that it seems to have broken its own record for the number of quotes in headlines. Thus a 'new mammal' has been seen in Borneo, Gordon Brown is promising to be a 'Blairite', and Paul Gascoigne has been arrested over 'assault' (this is the first story I clicked on, readers).

Open source quality feedback on a non-existent budget

A while ago I blogged about the problems with desktop Linux, and hopefully by now you've taken my advice and visited the Better Desktop project. Now, you may well be thinking, "but that's Novell! I can't possibly afford such usability testing." You're right: getting people into a testing area, watching what they do with an array of video camera, etc - that all takes money. But you can still do a whole lot to see how people are using your software and where you can make improvements.

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