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2014

Volumio Desktop UI

Pi-ump Up The Volumio!

Posted on April 19, 2014

Firstly, may I apologise for the rather tabloid-esque headline to this entry. Secondly, I have a confession to make. I’ve owned a Fiio E09K and a Fiio E17 sat gathering dust on my desk for nearly 18 months and I’ve not even powered them on once. Until today.

This morning, while supping on some cold coffee I forgot I made at the crack of dawn, I was somehow drawn to watching endless YouTube videos about the failed Sinclair C5 electric bicycle car. From endless test drive footage, to heartfelt restoration projects, heck I even revisted the excellent BBC4 documentary Micro Men to round off my mornings entertainment on a high! What followed about 5 minutes later was utterly absurd. Watching this endless stream of media about a failed project suddenly sparked an overwhelming sense of guilt of failed projects that I may have left lurking in the furthest outposts of my homestead. I switched off the television and disconnected my phone from Chromecast and scurried about the house, looking at several of my failed projects, each one tugging at my overwhelming sense of guilt, begging to be picked up and finished.

Well, yesterday evening I did finish restoring my PC Engine GT console, which was nice. One project down, thousands to go. But what next?

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metal slug 6 closeup

The joy of six. Genuinely enraptured by Metal Slug 6!

Yesterday afternoon I decided to dig out a bunch of PlayStation 2 games and give them all a bit of a once over. Stretch their legs after a long time dormant so to speak. One of the games I dug out was Metal Slug 6. A title in the famous and much-loved Metal Slug series that I think doesn’t quite get the recognition it so richly deserves. When you ask someone which of the Metal Slug games is their personal favourite, you will nearly always receive responses around any title except Metal Slug 6. To be honest up unitl yesterday afternoon I would very likely have delivered the same response.

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umihara kawase closeup

I’ve been framed! …by the Framemeister!

A while ago I made a decision. Since then I’ve made many hundreds of thousands of decisions, every second of my life in fact. But the decision I made ‘a while ago’ was a very important (cue pun) game-changing decision. I decided the end was near (and we’d just moved house and I hadn’t the room any more). It was time to say goodbye to the humble, beautiful world of the cathode ray tube.
Forever.

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Jet Fighter Controller

Suit up and scramble with the Beeshu Jet Fighter!

This is it. This is the Concorde moment in STG gaming. There is nothing, probably, to better or equal this monumental, epic and quite simply biblical piece of engineering brilliance.

Best of all it’s rubbish.

Well, it isn’t really, but it is one hell of a gimmick. Today I received what, in my opinion, I think, is a true cornerstone in game controller excellence. It’s also super rare. Not as rare as, say, the yellow Famicom Hudson Caravan joystick (you know the one…) but I would perhaps wager it is up there?

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Data Storage Error.

This week I have been mostly messing around with a toy I admit to neglecting since about, ooh, 57 seconds after I bought it. Native Instruments Maschine is a rather handsome little pup, and a tool I would very much like to learn a lot more in depth. Since I bought my Maschine Mikro v2 toward the latter end of last year, I think I must have spent about 9 seconds using it after the 908,754 hours it takes to install, update and configure the thing. When it’s up and running though, it sure is a cheeky piece of musical funology.

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LOT Car Crash

Excuse me, what do you think of Lords of Thunder?

It’s a rainy, dreary Saturday here in Ireland today. I figured I would spend my morning setting up a video capture rig and begin transferring some of my prized video cassettes and Laserdiscs to digital format for safe keeping. I dug out a box that holds my small, but perfectly formed collection of cassettes and began filing through to select what to record first. A petite cardboard slipcase was snuggled in between a couple of Gamest DoDonpachi cassettes, I reached in and dug it out to reveal some glorious artwork by Masamune Shirow. What I had retrieved was a promotional cassette tape for Lords of Thunder (Japanese title: Winds of Thunder/ウィンズ オブ サンダー ). With a runtime of just 7 minutes, I figured this would be an ideal cassette to capture first and so I popped in the tape, hit record and settled in to watch this short video.

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Darius Laserdisc Set A

Trout fishing in Ireland. 2 years in the making.

The photos I have taken specifically for this article are possibly historic. For it is possibly the first time ever that these 4 (not so) little Laserdiscs have ever been photographed together. As a group. As a full set.

It has taken me just over 2 years to complete this small set of Laserdiscs. The first title, Darius Gaiden, I acquired merely by stumbling upon it from a ‘typical online research’ session (definition: entering a search term and an hour later realising you have about 90 browser tabs open as you delve further and further to the outer boundaries of the vacuous Internet).

“I became curious as to whether other Darius titles had appeared on Laserdisc or other formats. My obsession started right there and has not waned.”

Initially I thought Darius Gaiden would be the easiest of the four to acquire. It is certainly, in my opinion, the most desirable of the four titles as it is the only disc to feature a live action Darius movie. I believe I have been proven wrong. At the time of writing, I have not seen this title appear for sale on Laserdisc since. A VHS release appeared for sale once but that is it. In fact the only photos I can find of it are photos I have posted online myself! In my opinion I believe Darius Gaiden to be the most difficult of the four titles to track down.

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WoT-Remastered

Winds of Thunder. Remastered!

Posted on January 6, 2014

FUTTOCK

(naut.) one of the middle timbers of the frame of a ship. XIII. ME. (pl.) votekes, futtokes …” – Oxford English Dictionary

The weather in Ireland has been bloody dreadful the past few weeks. Every morning I awake in darkness. The orange tangy glow of the really annoying streetlight just outside our bedroom window filters through, stinging my eyes like chopping a particularly ferocious looking chilli pepper and then automatically (and stupidly) rubbing your eye. Rain lashes against the window almost daring you to venture outside if you’re brave enough.

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