Sky Trilogy

Sky announced a brand new service today – Trilogy. Surprisingly there are three main features to this service:

1) Sky will take pre-orders for the service months before it comes out and take your money the day you pre-order the service, not the day you start using the service (although this is probably to avoid confusion as they have no clue when you will start using their service).

2) They will move the start date of the service to…whenever they please.

3) When the engineer finally shows up to install the service he’ll struggle to fit a dish and/or deliver a box that doesn’t work. That last part is for special customers only.

Of course there is no such thing as Trilogy. There is however such a thing as another delay to my HD install. The engineer couldn’t fit the dish – requires high install team. God damn sons of bitches. So I’ve got the choice of fitting the dish to my garage or the shared chimney with my neighbour. I’ll plump for the garage as it’s probably easier in the long run. I learned last year with fences that seemingly innocuous things turn difficult when your neighbour is involved. Main worry was that the high install team are in high demand and it could be weeks. Thankfully I’ve got a booking for Saturday 10th June. So I’ll miss the first game of the World Cup but hopefully that is all.

So from pre-ordering at the end of March I’ve had install dates of 23rd May, 27th May, 30th May and now 10th June. I just hope that when I do eventually get a box it works. They’ve had everyone’s £300 who pre-ordered since end of March – that’s £12 million. If you do end up cancelling they have problems refunding credit cards so it will take 6-8 weeks to issue a cheque. Rupert Murdoch – genius or cunt.

Rockstar presents Table Tennis

Just out on the 360 this game came from nowhere and attracted some interesting press. Most couldn’t believe that the developers behind Grand Theft Auto had picked of all sports Table Tennis to be there next game. It was also pretty unique in that it focussed mostly on online play with very little for the solo player. To be honest it was picking up fairly average press. Now that it’s released it’s quickly become one of my favourite games for the 360 so far.

Table Tennis

It focusses clearly on the game of Table Tennis so has none of the fluff that other sports games have – character creation, career modes, upgradable characters. There are characters that you can unlock playing the off-line tournaments but that is about it. The controls are simple yet offer tremendous depth during both off and online play. This can be summed up with the length of the rallies – my highest so far is around 80 strokes. Each point can take a long time to win and it captures the feel of Table Tennis – it’s hard to tell when you’ve got your opponent beat especially with the different spins that can be applied to the ball. Online play is excellent and there is very little lag. Playing Graham online provided one of the very few ‘in the room’ experiences we’ve had – there was nothing to suggest we weren’t playing on the same machine. The little lag I have seen was due to my opponent having an average connection.

Graphics are good but limited in that there is very little to see. Sound – great for what there is but again there’s not a lot there. Presentation – I think it’s slick and it has the usual Rockstar stat collecting options so you can see fastest shot, length of time played etc just like in GTA.

It’s the ease in which you can pick up the game and just start playing – no need for endless character face building options, career setup’s, money buying/training which can get pretty tiresome. It’s also very fast and requires a lot of concentration – if you like Geometry Wars you’ll love this. All at a bargain £25 if you order online means it’s a must buy for 360 owners. The official website is great too.

World cup – who to support?

There was a real kerfuffle this week over Jack McConnell’s comments regarding England at the World Cup. So he won’t be supporting them. No big deal unless your an MP at Westminster hoping to make some petty gain from the statement or Jack Straw still stinging from his demotion. This Stuart Cosgrove quote summed up my feelings.

By what weasel arrangement are England fans allowed to dislike Argentina, Germany and France, while we have to snuggle up to them as if history and rivalry meant nothing?

This was taken from a Daily Record article which stated his position and his annoyance at the anger around Scots not supporting England. I have much the same view – I won’t be supporting England and it’s not anti-English, racist or whatever anyone else wants to paint it – it’s football and I don’t support them. I support Scotland who are surprisingly missing from this years tournament and hence I want a team that plays good football to win – no great allegiance to anyone. I do know that I don’t want England to win or even do well – they are a rival. There’s also another reason.

PropagandaThe most grating aspect of England at the World Cup is the hype and propaganda that the whole country has to suffer in the run up to and during the World Cup, even after they have been kicked out at an early stage (fingers crossed). For me summed up by the re-release of Escape To Victory – since when was it England vs Germany – John Wark was playing for them – Pele too. A free England flag as well. Agggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh. Same with Mars now called Believe. This is across of the whole of the UK – not just England. The whole Rooney broken foot saga is also getting out of hand with Alex Ferguson now getting cast as the nasty Scots villain. Tragic.

Saying that it’s less than a fortnight until it all kicks off. Can’t wait. I’m hoping for a more open tournament and some real performances from the flair players.

Office 2007

Beta 2 is out and can be downloaded here. Flickr set of screenshots highlights some of the new features. So far I’m impressed. This marks one of the biggest changes to Office in years. New is the ribbon at the top of the screen for easy access to features that are required for the currently selected task. In the brief play tonight it felt far more intuitive than Office 2003 – a real step forward. The ribbon will be a love it or hate it feature – those that are used to Office as it stands today may feel uncomfortable with the change.

Word - Vista colour scheme

Excel has had the 64000 row limit removed and the chart formatting options are quicker and slicker than before. Table handling has advanced and data can be more easily manipulated. Outlook has seen very little change although the searching (once you download a beta of Desktop Search) is now more integrated with the product. The rest of the apps see the ribbon applied and easier to use themes although Visio hasn’t had the same makeover as other apps – new functionality is available but no ribbon.

One snag is I haven’t been able to activate easily – hopefully this will be sorted over the coming days. Looking forward to seeing how open the new file formats are and if Access has changed much since I last used it in anger.

Sky HD

Well…the verdict?

My installation was delayed until next Tuesday. Bar stewards. Feedback on AV Forums seems positive though so still looking forward to it. Can’t say much for Sky’s customer service though – told me one date over the phone and then changed it to another via written letter. I wonder just how confident they are of making next weeks date.

Recharge the batteries

So – this weekend will mostly be in Peterborough celebrating Shakeel’s 35th birthday. It’s a shame it’s a short trip but will be good to get away. Need a break. The little things are getting to me while the big important things are being ignored…this really has to stop. This is coupled with a sudden urge to travel.

Anyway…back in the real world Big Brother 7 has just started. Does Pete have tourette’s or is he just a complete tit. Lisa – shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shahbaz – stop stroking people. I have delusions that not watching any of the first weekend will mean I don’t get hooked on it. Aye right.