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Fighting Fantasy Gamebook Companion
An iOS App.

The Nicolas Cage Experiment
Is he really all that bad?

Labyrinth of Lies
An online text adventure.
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Thursday 20th June 2013
Another three Nicolas Cage films have been watched and reviewed. We've had to skip the odd one here and there and will backtrack as necessary. Hopefully as we hit more of the late 90s films they won't be as difficult to come by.

We're off to The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour tomorrow, so except a blog post about that in the next few days!

Friday 31st May 2013
Crickey O'Riley it's been a bit of time since I last updated this hasn't it?

I guess that's a reflection of what's been happening since the last entry I suppose. Which is 'not a lot' for the first half of 2013. Anyway, this is just a quick post to mention that the Nicolas Cage page has, finally, been updated with the latest films we've watched.

Will post again properly soon, I promise!

(Oh, and The Hobbit was amazing BTW).

Sunday 23rd December 2012
Bit of a gap since the last update but just a quick one to say we've finally got around to writing the reviews for the last three Nicolas Cage films we've watched. Hop over to the Nicolas Cage Experiment page to read more.

Anyway, off to see The Hobbit tonight, so will feedback my thoughts on HFR 3D and what Peter Jackson has made of one of my all time favourite books.

Monday 22nd October 2012
The FREE version of the Gamebook Companion has been released on the App Store. It's riddled with iAds and has reduced functionality, but it seems this is what the public prefer to paying a massive 69p for all the features! Odd.

It took fairly limited amount of coding to get it to work so I though I might as well get it done and see what the result was. So far the click-throughs don't even begin to compare to the 42p I get for selling the same as full price Apps, but I guess time will tell. Hopefully people will like the App enough to want to pay the extra for all the features. (Believe me, the 'Clear All' was added very swiftly when I did my first play test with a real book!).

We watched Prometheus at the weekend and I thought it was rather good. Far better than the reviews and comments from those around me had suggested it was going to be. Maybe I'd just gone full circle from high to low expectations? Anyway, I've seen films recently that were supposed to be 'Amazeballs' that have left me disappointed far more than this did.

We also watched the next in our Nicolas Cage fest, Peggy Sue Got Married, so expect a review coming up for that soon.

Don't go far.

Tuesday 16th October 2012
I hardly need to spell out the most obvious thing I spent time on over the weekend because you're looking at it now. Yep, the website's had a complete re-design. From the home page, this new blog and right through to the Nicolas Cage Experiment, it's all been refined and updated. I hope you like it?

So, yesterday the latest version of the Gamebook Companion was released on the App Store. Version 2.2 brings with it some improved graphics and a return to OS 5.1 compatibility. (I missed a very silly button in the new version of XCode 4.5 which meant that, altough the App would run fine on a 5.1 device, it couldn't actually be downloaded to one). Anyway, all fixed now.

Watched Iron Sky at the weekend. Not entirely sure what to make of it. It was funny, weird and very captivating, so I'm guessing I enjoyed it. I think! It definitely showcased the most unique way to get the lead actress to strip down to her underwear that I've ever seen.

Friday 12th October 2012
Yes, yes I know. It's AGES since the last update. I've been busy, okay?

First things first. I've written an iPhone App. Yep, you read it right the first time. A real, bona-fide working App, available in the App Store now for the pocket money price of 69p. If you don't believe me click on the web banner to the left and look for yourself.

See? So that's taken up a lot of my time, obviously.

For those that want to know why, it's a simple tale of my lovely bird and I wanting to play the only two-player Fighting Fantasy book produced, Clash of the Princes. All was going well. We'd drawn up two Adventure Sheets, rolled the characters (using a dice App we found on our phones) and started playing.

Now, there's a lot to write down while reading one of these books, not to mention the dice rolls and noting down skill, stamina and other stats when you have a battle encounter and, after a couple of plays (we both died fairly quickly at first), we were getting a little frustrated at finding a suitable place to keep the adventure sheets while sitting on the sofa. I then made the off-the-cuff comment about how great it would be if there was an App that could store all your statistics, roll the dice and maybe even play the battles for you. Two dice, a pencil and an eraser would be needed no more!

So that got me thinking... and web searching. It turns out that Apple give away the software to write Apps for free. Obviously they charge if you want to actually sell anything, but at least this gave me a chance to have a bit of a crack at writing the App we so desperately needed.

Three weeks, dozens of tutorials and getting up for hours in the middle of the night later and I was uploading the Gamebook Companion App to Apple for their approval! The App is now available (well, you know that already as you clicked on the banner opposite. You did, didn't you?) It's up to version 2.1 and I've recently submitted versions 2.2 along with a FREE cut-down 'Lite' version which includes iAds and some features removed.

Anyway, there you go. I've got a few ideas for a couple of other Apps but struggling to find the time now. I'll get something going soon enough though.

Back soon!

Friday 16th March 2012
Well it's been a bit of a gap since the last update and that's for sure. "So, what's been happening then" I hear you ask?

We went for a nice weekend break to Bath for Elize's Birthday. Did the usual touristy stuff with a stop off at Stonehenge on the way there and a nice walk around Avebury on the journey back (got to make the English Heritage memberships we bought last year worthwhile, eh?). Had a nice meal at Jamie's Italian on the Birthday evening, which was very nice too.

Went to see The Woman in Black, which was surprisngly good, with Harry Potter putting in a solid and believable performance. The only downside being the stupidly low 12A rating meant there were lots of young, screaming (and nervously giggling) teenage girls in the audience. Here's hoping if the trend to rate films lower to get a larger audience is going to become the norm, that cinemas will consider have 18+ or 25+ showings to cater for those of us with a low 'annoying teenage girl' tolerance.

Getting back into Uncharted 2 (PS3) after a long break. Still struggling with the DualShock 3 controller though. It's just not as comfortable as the 360 pad. Despite a good search I can't find any third party controllers for the PS3 that come even close to the same quality. Still, the game's just as brilliant as I remember it and I'm continuing to enjoy in nonetheless.

Haven't heard anything more from the Halifax recently. Which is good although we were starting to like the regular compensation payouts. :)

Adios for now!

Thursday 16th February 2012
Right, let's get the poopy stuff out of the way first.

Despite receiving a letter of apology and a compensation cheque from the Halifax, once again we are being chased for payment of a debt paid off a looong time ago. A further phone call to the complaints department and, guess what, another compensation payment is on its way. Maybe it's not so bad after all if they're going to keep doing this? :) Seriously though, can we just get this sorted please Halifax?

Next on the 'can't you just get it right' list is Homebase. Two dining tables delivered that have been both been damaged. Typically, now they're out of stock - so have to wait even longer.

Oh, and we ordered the table at Christmas originally. Ho hum.

Now then, on to the good things: Friday night just gone was a return to the glorious Burnout Paradise multiplayer mayhem. It's been a fair amount of time since we last played this but all the fun and banter was still there. A couple of new recruits and the return of many of the old players - all banging and crashing their way through challenges and billboards alike. The second Friday in every month is hereby earmarked for future Paradise City frolics.

And finally, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Elize (my current squeeze don't you know) who's passed her final ACCA exam and is now a fully qualified accountant. Apparently I can't give up work though.

'Til next time!

Thursday 26th January 2012
Well that's the new 'Timeline' feature in Facebook taken up.

Wasn't too sure when I saw it on someone else's page a ferw weeks back but it's gradually grown on me since, so finally took the plunge today. I don't think there's any turning back, so fingers crossed I don't start disliking it now!

I've started reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. A fantastic book which has more references to the 1980s than Back to the Future managed, and half of that film was set in the 1980s! A heady mix of 80s music and gaming nostalgia, it's had me hooked from the introduction. Keen to see how the story continues to unfold.

Final update on the Halifax saga is that we've received a letter of apology along with full admission that they were completely in the wrong and a nice cheque for the inconvenience caused. Looks like the visit to the branch has finally brought this whole 12 month debacle to a nice conclusion. I think we'll have a weekend away with the compensation. :)

And last but not least, I've cracked 2.5m on Temple Run, putting me back on top in the father vs daughter battle. Bring it on monkey!

Bring. It. On.

Wednesday 18th January 2012
Who writes these game eh? I mean, who sits down and thinks to themselves, "I'm going to write the most addictive game ever and zapp hours and hours of peoples lives while they sit there swiping up, down, left and right on the iPhones and iPads."

What am I talking about? Temple Run, that's what. Available now for an iOS device near you it'll have you tearing your hair out with its 'one more go' dynamic and power-up system. Currently sporting just over 1.8m points (my daughter is beating me with well over 2m at the moment - I'll get her!) I've barely been able to put this down since the weekend!

So, you remember the Halifax issue, yes? Well, we visited a branch on Saturday and were very well looked after by the pleasant Diane who took all the details, sympathised and promised a resolution (and possibly some compensation to boot). She's contacted head office, the company we originally cleared the loan with and the current debt agency chasing us to complain on our behalf. We're just waiting now for the final line to be drawn under it all. Ironically it seems we may actually have overpaid as well. There's a subject for you next song Alanis Morissette - you might get the meaning right this time! ;)

In other news, Sherlock has probably been the best thing on TV for the last decade, so if you missed it I strongly urge finding it on some for of catchup service as soon as you can. Moffatt and Gatiss at their absolute writing best in my opinion.

Friday 13th January 2012
Woohoo. Virgin Media are going to upgrade all their customer's broadband for FREE!

In most cases by 100%. So it looks like our current up to 50Mbps line will be up to 100Mpbs instead. A quick look on their website suggest it'll happen in our area anytime from October this year to summer next year. A little bit of a wait but it's free so can't really complain.

In the meantime I've had a bit of a move around with the Home Plugs we currently use and have increased our download speed (using a download accelerator) to just over 60Mbps. Not bad for a 50Mbps line!

Have a visit to a Halifax branch planned for tomorrow to sort out (read: complain) about a very old debt we're still being chased for that was cleared early last year. We have the bank statements and proof that it was paid off, yet the Halifax still keep instructing debt collection agencies to hassle us for payment. Each one gives up after a few months and then a new one appears and we have to go through the whole process of providing the evidence and fending off calls again. It's getting very frustrating. Hopefully a visit to a branch to make a formal compaint will finally put this issue to bed. Will let you know how we get on.

Finally, Happy Birthday to Laura Whitehead (18). Have a good one!