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I’m in the money

Got a web site? Want to earn £10 for more or less nothing, plus a further £5 every month? Then why not sign up to Bucks 4 Banners? By simply adding an unobtrusive banner advertisement to three pages on your web site, you can become rich! I’ve added banners to three of my DVD Image Comparisons (see if you can spot which ones), and am eagerly awaiting my first payment.

I’m really not sure how Bucks 4 Banners can possibly hope to make any money out of this, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 10:24 PM | Comments: 4 (view)
Categories: Web

David Manning rides again

HD DVD/Blu-ray

Source: AV Science Forum

Never ones to shy away from blowing their own trumpet (see the David Manning and PSP lie blog fiascos), Sony has launched yet another round of shameless self-promotions, this time in the guise of the obscurely-titled Phase Hydra. The aim of the game is to

seed “high profile” forums with Blu-ray advocates and target bloggers to promote Blu-ray to get the word out to the world.

This is hilarious, it really is. Many people, myself included, have long suspected that Sony was ordering employees to infiltrate forums related to the high definition video formats in order to promote Blu-ray under the guise of consumers, and it seems that we now have the closest we’re going to get to proof of this. Stories like this only serve to remind me why Sony is so hated by such a large number of people.

Of course, the question now is why they are so desperate as to resort to these cheap tactics. Could it have something to do with yesterday’s surge in HD DVD sales during the AVS “buy an HD DVD” celebration?

Payback's a bitch


Posted: Monday, April 16, 2007 at 6:41 PM | Comments: 1 (view)
Categories: Blu-ray | HD DVD | Reviews | Technology | Web

Just to set the record straight…


I think it would be a good idea if I clarify a few issues regarding my coverage of Severin Films’ DVD release of Perversion Story, as one or two people seem to have misinterpreted my comments (or I didn’t make my comments clear enough, or a combination of the two).

First things first, my in-depth comparison of the two cuts is in no way intended as a means to tar and feather Severin or encourage people to boycott their DVD. Rather, it’s there so people can not only make an informed decision about their purchase, but also learn about the differences between the two versions if such matters interest them. I have no intent to persuade people not to buy the DVD: everyone is free to make up their own minds, so I am simply presenting the facts about this release in what I hope is a clear and unambiguous manner. For what it’s worth, I would actually encourage people to buy it, but simply to be aware that it will be missing some key scenes that they may be expecting to see.

According to Marc Morris over at the Anchor Bay UK forum, the French cut was the only version Severin had access to, as it was what was supplied to them by the licensor (who apparently didn’t know that any alternative versions existed). As such, they could either release the version we now have, or not release it at all. Given the choice, I think we all know which is the preferable option. As such, Severin’s only “crime” (so to speak) was not making it clear which version they were releasing (except on their web site). Now, you may say “But they never said they were going to release a full-length version, so what have they done wrong?” Well, as a point of comparison, what if Anchor Bay decided to release George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead on DVD, but only put out the Italian Argento cut, and didn’t indicate anywhere on the packaging that this was the version being included. Technically, they would have done nothing wrong. It’s a legitimate alternate cut of the film, just like the French Perversion Story cut. I suspect some people would be a bit put out, though. The simple fact is that most people, not unreasonably, assume they’ll be getting the complete package, just as, when I order a pizza, I don’t expect it to be delivered with a slice missing (“Well, we never said you’d get the whole pizza…”). Of course, when multiple alternate cuts exist, it becomes a lot more complicated, but I’m a big believer in clear advertising: I think that if you’re going to put out a DVD that features a cut of a film that’s missing material that most people are likely to be used to, you have a duty to state this.

It’s sometimes difficult to reconcile the differences between two distinct crowds of Euro-cult fandom. The way I see it, there are two extremes, with most people being somewhere in the middle. At one end of the spectrum, there are the people who expect every release to be absolutely perfect, cry blue murder if there’s the slightest flaw, and organise mass boycotts to teach those nasty distributors a lesson. I certainly am not going to go this far: I expect a certain level of transparency from distributors (i.e. be honest about what you’re releasing - if there are multiple versions of a title available, make it clear which one you’re putting out, and get the running time correct on the back cover!), and I expect high standards, but within reason.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the “put up and shut up” crowd that, for some reason, thinks we should be grateful for anything that gets put out, no matter how expensive and no matter how poor the quality. In my experience, these are quite often people who collected grimy bootlegs in the 80s and 90s and believe that this somehow makes them more “legitimate” fans than those who only came along with the advent of DVD. Of course, they too are only seeing these films second-hand, having not been around for their original 70s releases, although this is something that they conveniently choose to forget. There’s a certain level of masochism here: “I had to put up with a worse copy than you!”

Generalising much? Maybe, but, in the four and a half (or thereabouts) years that I’ve been actively into these films, I’ve come across fans from both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Obviously most people are a bit more realistic, but you do get the odd lone nutter who thinks that a couple of seconds of accidentally misplaced footage is grounds for fire-bombing the distributor’s headquarters, or who thinks that anything better than a VHS dupe is good enough. Both extremes do damage to the Euro-cult scene: the former because, if everyone were to boycott every release with the slightest problem, the companies responsible would soon go out of business; the latter because, if everyone took the “it’ll do” attitude, the overall standard of DVDs would be much lower. Does anyone seriously believe we would have received the excellent new release of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin without a whole lot of complaining about the previous version?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should expect high standards, but within reason. And Severin’s DVD of Perversion Story is of a high standard. No, it’s not definitive, and I’m personally disappointed that Severin only had access to the French cut (the English version is a better film, frankly), but it looks as if they’ve made the best of a problematic situation. As such, while I can’t pretend that I don’t hope a more all-inclusive version comes along at a later date, I don’t think that should put you off buying their DVD. At the end of the day, though, the choice is yours.

Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2007 at 12:23 PM | Comments: 8 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Gialli | Web

Oh look, a smear campaign!


Apparently making people aware of the differences between the English and French cuts of Perversion Story, and wondering why Severin elected to include the latter on their DVD, is just one step too far some people. Generally speaking I find fans of the Euro-cult circuit to be most pleasant people, but there are a few really hateful individuals out there.

Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2007 at 3:33 PM | Comments: 5 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Gialli | Web

Song of the PS3

A sweet little video has appeared on YouTube featuring an absolutely delightful song entitled “How to Kill a Brand”. Mean, but oh so funny.

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 1:52 AM
Categories: Games | Technology | Web

Hurry up, lazybones!

Has the amount of time it takes to post a comment on this site been getting you down? Good, because it’s been annoying me greatly. The problem, it would seem, is the way archives are handled by Movable Type, or rather the way I have chosen to build my archive templates. As you probably know, each post features one or more categories (with an emphasis on more), and many posts feature comments. All of this information is visible for every post on every archive page (whether monthly, daily or category), and this means that, whenever someone posts a comment, Movable Type has to go back and rebuild this data. The bigger the pages get, and the more pages there are, the longer it takes. I’ve now been able to cut the rebuild speeds down considerably by installing a plugin called SmartRebuild, which relegates a lot of the whole rebuilding malarkey to the background. What this essentially means is that all the rebuilding is still done, but it makes things faster for the end user by allowing comments to be posted without having to wait for all the rebuilding to be completed first. There is still some delay between pressing the “Post” button and your comment actually appearing, but I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a lot less painful now than it used to be.

Posted: Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 10:09 PM
Categories: Web

Stop press: I’ve been plagiarised!

Man, this is so last year! Lyris managed to uncover an article from last June on Plagiarism Today, a web site dedicated to chronicling instances of - you guessed it - plagiarism and content theft. Apparently, my experience with Mondo Movie has been doing the rounds as one of the first instances of “podcast plagiarism”. Which is all well and good, but I’m a little puzzled by the fact that Plagiarism Today didn’t contact me and ask for my input before running the story.

Personally, I have no beef with Mondo Movie: one of the webmasters immediately got in touch with me and assured me that it would never happen again; they also broadcast a public apology in their next weekly instalment (although they still seemed to have trouble with the notion that yes, reusing a plot synopsis without permission or credit actually is plagiarism). In fact, I often download their podcasts and find them highly enjoyable. However, the experience, plus the earlier Dark Side scandal, which to date still hasn’t been worked out (to be honest, I’ve sort of lost interest now, although I did admittedly only have one review stolen, unlike some), certainly opened my eyes to the rampant problem of online plagiarism, a situation that seems to continue unabated due to ignorance as much as genuine malice. “But I read it on the Internet! I thought it was free!”

Posted: Monday, February 12, 2007 at 8:02 PM | Comments: 1 (view)
Categories: Web

So many pages!

I’ve split my monthly archives into multiple pages (20 entries per page), using Alden Bates’ Paged Archives Plugin, in order to speed up browsing a bit for viewers with slow connections. Enjoy!

Update, January 23, 2007 10:08 AM: Comments disabled due to spam.

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 8:58 PM
Categories: Web

ATI to the rescue

Powercolor ATI Radeon X1950 Pro

nVidia be gone! The Canadians have come to restore my sanity! My ATI Radeon X1950XT arrived this morning - for some reason, Chillblast sent me a PowerColor model rather than the Sapphire one I ordered, but, as they are exactly the same card, only with a slightly different fan and a different box, I’m not particularly bothered. In any event, I installed the thing this morning, and in the process found that I had to chuck out my case fan, because the card itself comes with the largest fan I’ve ever seen, and meant that there simply wasn’t enough room in my PC’s case. In any event, the case fan’s only real purpose was to cool the video card, so I suspect that its own dedicated fan will perform exactly the same function without any real difference in the long run.

Anyway, despite my criticisms of ATI’s Catalyst Control Center and its dependence on Microsoft’s .NET framework, I’m so glad to be back to it. nVidia’s control panel, while not exactly bad, had numerous problems, including the fact that features available in the newer system, integrated with the most recent driver releases, are missing from the older and more functional classic control panel (and vice versa). It’s also nice to not have to reset my overlay settings every time I boot the computer and every time I want to watch a video.

I did, however, have a rather nasty surprise when I popped in Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes in order to test DVD playback. Put simply, when I enabled AVIVO acceleration in PowerDVD (AVIVO is essentially ATI’s version of the advanced hardware video playback functions called PureVideo by nVidia), I noticed that a massive amount of noise reduction was being applied, resulting in outlines and colours trailing, with the contents of one shot being ghosted into the next. The control panel featured no way of disabling this, but a quick search in Google revealed this thread, where it was revealed that, after dragging their feet for some time, ATI had finally acknowledged the issue and provided a registry tweak to turn off noise reduction completely. It’s not the world’s most perfect solution, but ATI deserve credit for actually listening to their customers, unlike nVidia, who have failed to fix the overlay colour temperature bug, despite it having existed for over a year. (I will, however, give nVidia credit for allowing users to modify noise reduction and edge enhancement settings as they see fit… although this too seems to be fraught with problems for some users.)

Once the noise reduction had been successfully disabled, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the AVIVO deinterlacing is actually superior to that of nVidia’s PureVideo. As you may recall, every so often PureVideo’s otherwise commendable motion adaptive deinterlacing would slip up, resulting in the fields jumping every few seconds. Not so with AVIVO: in fact, I watched an entire 15-minute stretch of Ren Seeks Help and didn’t notice a single problem.

Oh, and just for shits and giggles, I ran Futuremark’s two graphical benchmark applications, 3DMark ‘03 and 3DMark ‘05, to see what, if any, difference the new card made to performance. As I suspected, it appears that my CPU is the deciding factor, given that there’s only so much a new graphics card can do if the CPU itself isn’t equally cutting-edge. Still, I did see my 3DMark ‘03 score jump from 12,582 (12,836 on the GeForce) to 15,106, while my 3DMark ‘05 score went from 6,067 (5,875 on the GeForce) to 7,749. Not the world’s most amazing statistics, and I doubt it will result in any major improvements to my gaming performance, but a definite rise nonetheless.

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007 at 6:10 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Animation | DVD | Games | Technology | Web

Categories: now with multiple pages

As you’ve probably noticed, I tend to go a little overboard with categories, meaning that most posts have several assigned to them. I also tend to post quite a lot, which means that many of my category pages now feature over a hundred entries, many of them with pictures. All this means that it takes a long time for these pages to load, especially for people with slow connections.

The solution? Alden Bates’ Paged Archives Plugin for Movable Type. A very simple to use add-on, this allows me to split my categories archives (and monthly archives too, if necessary, although I don’t think it’s got to that stage yet) into multiple pages. Each categories page is now restricted to only 20 entries, with more visible using the navigation options near the top of the page (see DVD, for example). Note that the category post index on each page will still show every post made in the category, rather than only the ones visible on the current page.

Posted: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 at 12:23 AM
Categories: Web

The Year in Review

2006 - the year of HD

Note: I’m not going to cover worldwide hot topics like the execution of Saddam Hussein or the continued botch-job that is the situation in Iraq. This is simply a set of personal musings about my own experiences this year.


On a technological front, by far the biggest development on the HMS Whimsy this year was the arrival of an HD DVD player - a late change from our original intention to pick up a Blu-ray player. Originally, I had expected to perhaps have half a dozen titles in high definition by the end of the year, but have in fact ended up with 21 (plus another two that Lyris bought). Certainly a number of these are films that I probably wouldn’t have bought had their been a better selection available, but still, if you’d told me that, a mere six months after its launch, the format would included crystal-clear copies of Casablanca and The Adventures of Robin Hood, not to mention more obscure cult titles like An American Werewolf in London and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t have believed you. All in all, HD DVD got off to a great start in 2006, with I only hope will continue to be bettered in 2007.

Including both standard definition and high definition, I bought or received for review a total of 107 DVDs. I wrote 66 reviews for DVD Times (two down from last year’s record of 68), and went to the cinema a whopping two times. I watched 216 films (including those watched more than once), 99 of which I had never seen before. These tended to be of the more obscure variety, although I did see a number of “major” (both in the sense of being “important” and of being blockbusters that just about everyone ended up seeing) titles that had, for one reason or another, passed me by until last year, including Trains, Planes & Automobiles, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Blade Runner, Tout Va Bien, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Collateral, Corpse Bride, The Piano Teacher, Theatre of Blood, A History of Violence, V for Vendetta, 5x2, Bitter Moon, Walkabout, Fritz the Cat, Vertigo, Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Descent, The Constant Gardener, Serenity, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, Duck Soup, Strictly Ballroom, The Fifth Element, Ghost World, Cars, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Being John Malkovich, Black Sunday, The Omen (remake), Witchfinder General, Topaz, Torn Curtain, Casino Royale, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Miami Vice, Basic Instinct and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Quite clearly, this list features some real gems and some absolute garbage, including gems that I thought would be garbage and garbage that I thought would be gems.


In terms of television, meanwhile, I watched the first two seasons of Veronica Mars and the final season of Alias. I also went through the entire seven-season run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its steadily diminishing returns post-Season 5 gradually driving me towards the brink of suicide (I exaggerate). The long-running medical drama Casualty also celebrated its 20th anniversary, with the launch of the first three series on DVD - it’s anyone’s guess how long they will continue this, given that each series becomes progressively longer, until they eventually run for more or less the entire year. Speaking of Casualty, that particular show shocked me in delivering perhaps the best two hours of television I’d seen all year, with the much-heralded return of former writer (and Waking the Dead creator) Barbara Machin for a one-off guest writing gig. Much to my delight, the magnificent Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was finally released on DVD, although the same team’s follow-up, the satirical chat-show Man to Man with Dean Learner, turned out to be a huge disappointment. The fifth season of Spooks also aired, and, while it was suitably engaging, it sacrificed some of the subtlety of previous years in favour of increasingly unbelievable conspiracies and hostile takeovers. Oh, and on the TV/film front, Channel 4’s dedicated film channel, FilmFour, became free in July, providing the UK with its first free-to-air channel dedicated to movies.

After over a year’s worth of procrastination, I finally recorded a new fan commentary, this time for Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso. Once again, feedback for this seems to have been largely positive, although it’s anyone’s guess what I’ll think of it myself when I finally brave listening to it again.

The Third Mother, the long-awaited conclusion to Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy (started with Suspiria and Inferno in 1977 and 1980 respectively), finally went into production, wrapping at some point in late November/early December, with a projected May 2007 release date. Argento also helmed another episode in the American Masters of Horror television series: Pelts turned out to be less shameful than 2005’s Jenifer, but a far cry from his home-grown exploits nonetheless. Meanwhile, the much-feared Hollywood remake of Suspiria was finally axed.

After much talk of the two companies going their separate ways, Disney bought Pixar and instated John Lasseter as the joint president of feature animation for both studios. Shortly before the end of the year, it was announced that, following the release of Meet the Robinsons, Disney would be abandoning CG animation entirely and returning to the hand-drawn realm in which it made its name.


Once more in the animated world, John Kricfalusi, the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show and the industry’s last great hope, started up an excellent blog in February. July also saw the release on DVD of Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes, containing six new installments featuring everyone’s favourite dog and cat duo, three of which had never even aired on TV. Sadly, there seems to be no indication that sales of the DVD have persuaded Paramount to order more episodes.

I got into computer games this year to a far greater extent than I had for some time, picking up Guild Wars: Factions, Guild Wars: Nightfall, The Movies: Stunts and Effects, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Legend, as well as replaying Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Icewind Dale II, Starcraft: Brood War and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Lyris also picked up the new Nintendo Wii console in November, resulting in much enjoyment as all on sundry made asses of themselves waving its newfangled controller about. Oh, and Blizzard Entertainment “postponed indefinitely” (read “cancelled”) its troubled console action game Starcraft: Ghost, much to the disappointment of the three or four people that still cared about it.


I also bought rather more technological gadgets than is normal for me: I picked up a digital camera in February, and a swish new widescreen LCD monitor in June. I also replaced my Creative Zen Micro MP3 player with a Sony NW-HD5 in November, and made the mistake of buying an nVidia-based video card for my computer in December (the replacement ATI model will hopefully arrive soon after business returns to normal after the New Year holiday).

In September, I finally finished my MLitt, handed in my dissertation, and, much to my shock, was awared a Distinction. Unable to find a job, I went on unemployment benefit - what fun.

Oh, and on the web site front, September saw a new site design and a return to Movable Type as a publishing platform after slightly over a year with Blogger. In November, meanwhile, I finally got sick of my useless host, Fuitadnet, constantly screwing up and making life difficult, and moved to Donym, where the rent is cheaper and everything runs much more smoothly to boot.

Posted: Monday, January 01, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Buffy the Vampire Slayer | Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Games | General | Gialli | HD DVD | Music | Reviews | TV | Technology | Web

Search queries for December 2006

For your viewing pleasure, a sampling of some of the search queries that brought visitors to this site during the past month:

hanging boobs
cartoon naked
porn involving women snd dogs
postman pats hat blows off
fucked ass
snow white and the seven dwarfs sex film
game sex
sarah michelle gellar hairy arms
disney sex.com
freaks of nature
violent porn
naked pregnant
freaks of nature
bysexual stacey
ren and stimpy naked
young boobs
european boobs
fucking boob

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Comments: 1 (view)
Categories: Web

IE7 getting you down?

Have you noticed a slight decrease in system performance after installing Internet Explorer 7, especially when it comes to file browsing and closing programs? I certainly did, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out where the problem was coming from, as even uninstalling IE7 didn’t fix it. I don’t, as it happens, use Internet Explorer for web browsing, but I do occasionally refer to it for compatability testing or that rare site that refuses to work in a proper web browser. As such, I try to keep up to date with it, if only to plug as many holes in Microsoft’s notoriously leaky faucet as possible.

This evening, I finally came across the solution by chance at forums.whirlpool.net.au:

Have you noticed a decrease in system response times especially with menu response this is caused by “ctfmon.exe” starting after installing ie7? I have removed “ctfmon.exe” and all is fast again.

To fix it Go to Start, then Control Panel, then Regional and Language Options, then click Languages tab, then Details, then Advanced tab, then put a check next to “Turn off advanced text service” then hit Apply. ctfmon.exe will be removed from the Task Manager process list permanently

Finally click start run type: Regsvr32.exe /u msutb.dll and ctfmon.exe will be banished

And there you have it - your system will be back to full speed again.

Posted: Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 8:05 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Technology | Web

Links updated

As I previously mentioned, when I switched web hosts from Fuitadnet (die, die!) to Donym (doodle pip!), I had to reinstall Movable Type, which changed the URLs for all my news posts made using that system. Of course, it didn’t occur to me until today that this meant that there were a bunch of dead links all over the site, since many news posts linked to other posts, and so on. Therefore, I’ve been through everything and updated the URLs to point to the correct locations. Hopefully I haven’t missed anything, but if you find any other dead links, let me know.

Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 6:17 PM
Categories: Web

High definition, every hour on the hour

HD DVD/Blu-ray Sales Rank

To get an idea of the general sales performance of the two rival HD formats, I generally refer to The DVD Wars, which provides a comprehensive run-down of Amazon.com’s DVD (which also encompasses HD DVD and Blu-ray, for some reason) sales rankings. The site is a valuable resource, but it has its shortcomings, among them an inability to display the sales rank of every available title. That’s where HD Game Database’s new HD DVD/Blu-ray Sales Rank page comes in.

According to them,

This page is a different representation of the same data. The primary reason for this page is due to curiousity raised by the top 10 listing on The DVD Wars…namely, what lies beyond each format’s top 10?

The data below is sortable by several different fields. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray are listed in one ranking list. All movies in the database have been scrubbed of any invalid DVDs (WMV-HD, etc.). The data retrieved from Amazon.com contains ALL available next-generation titles (including pre-orders). The data displayed below contains only those movies with a sales rank.

A studio summary is listed at the bottom and is updated according to the list size (Top 10, Top 25, etc.) selected in the drop down list.

There are certainly some interesting numbers on display, especially with regard to the number of titles released by each studio: for example Warner, the studio that, along with Universal, continues to be the most enthusiastic supporter of either format, has 55 titles on HD DVD, but only 33 on Blu-ray. The statistics are not infallible, however: while Paramount seems to have 16 titles on Blu-ray but only 15 on HD DVD, in actual fact this is due to U2 - Rattle & Hum inexplicably not being listed as available on HD DVD, when in fact it is.

Posted: Monday, December 18, 2006 at 12:44 PM
Categories: Blu-ray | DVD | HD DVD | Web

All systems full speed ahead!


I’ve now been with my new web host, Donym, for a little under two weeks, and so far have been extremely satisfied with the move. In comparison to the deplorable Fuitadnet, FTP access is speedy-fast, downtime seems to be non-existent (pending my monthly SiteUpTime report, which will provide more specific details), and the control panel is a doddle to use. As such, I’ve now taken out a full 12-month subscription, for the most reasonable sum of $75.49 US. That works out at just over £3.20 per month, which, for 100 GB of disc space and a terabyte of bandwidth per month is, in my humble opinion, criminally good value.

Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2006 at 10:40 PM
Categories: Web

DVD review: My Summer of Love

Universal have not exactly rolled out the red carpet for My Summer of Love, which would be forgivable were it not for the fact that more materials than are on offer here clearly existed. As a UK film by a UK-based director, the lack of a commentary on this release when one exists for the US version is surprising and also rather unfair, while the absence of a 5.1 track makes this package feel like a rather second-rate effort.

Much to my chagrin, I recently discovered that, when I converted my entire site over to the new version 9 layout, I forgot to do anything about the various DVD reviews hosted on the site. I’ve now finished converting them, meaning that the site is now finally complete (for real this time), and I decided to throw in a special holiday bonus: a review that had been lying around, partially complete for several months: My Summer of Love (R2 UK). Check out the full review, but watch out, lads - it has lezzies in it! LOL!!!11~

Posted: Saturday, December 16, 2006 at 12:19 PM
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Reviews | Web

Buy my crap!

One Sapphire ATI Radeon X850XT 256MB PCI Express video card
One Creative Zen Micro MP3 player - silver - 5 GB

Ideal for second-hand Christmas presents!

Update, December 15, 2006 11:29 PM: The Creative Zen Micro is sold to the gentleman in the delightful crimpolene suit for the handsome fee of £60.

Update #2, December 20, 2006 02:51 PM: The video card is now gone, sold for a whopping £77.

Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2006 at 10:26 PM
Categories: General | Music | Technology | Web

Contract terminated

Today was my last day with Fuitadnet, the web service that had hosted me since August 20th 2005. Several factors led to me deciding to jump ship, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the server move I mentioned earlier. Basically, Fuitadnet decided to invest in new equipment, meaning that all of their customers’ data had to be transferred to new servers. With a decent web host, such a transition should be largely smooth, and perhaps result in a few hours of downtime at most. Not so with Fuitadnet. When they originally announced their intentions back at the end of October, I panicked. I knew from experience that there was no way they would be able to pull this off without some major hiccups. They’ve been going down the tubes in the last year or so, and my experience with them has always been that the staff are all very polite but completely clueless. But still I waited, deciding that it was more trouble than it was worth to look for alternative hosting. Besides, I had been told that the server on which my site was hosted wouldn’t be affected until after Christmas.

As it happens, however, Fuitadnet decided to migrate my data without any forewarning, and, on December 3rd and 4th, the problem began to manifest itself in the form of “file not found” errors, depending on whether or not your ISP had updated its DNS listings. Eventually, I was able to access my site, only to discover that, to my horror, Fuitadnet had used a backup dating back to November 20th, meaning that two weeks’ worth of posts, comments and uploads were now missing (so much for the daily backups they promise). Luckily, I keep a conscientious backup of all my site’s data, so I was able to restore it to more or less its intended state, with only a couple of comments being lost. So far, so good.

Then, at around midday on December 5th, my FTP access died. Gone, kaput. This, coupled with the fact that my site’s control panel, which allows you to upload data one item at a time, now displayed a “500 internal server error” and booted me back to the login screen every time I tried to access it, left me with no way of uploading anything to my site. I spent much of the afternoon talking to various technical support representatives, each of whom had his or her own half-baked theory as to what was causing the problem. Eventually, I ended up in a chat channel with Sharon Koifman, the company’s president, who spent one hour and seven minutes faffing about before finally asking me for my login details. He/she(?) then told me, after much more waiting, that the problem was “missing quota information”, and that both problems - FTP and control panel - would be fixed in a maximum of two hours.


Needless to say, the next morning I still couldn’t log in (and in fact, as of 2:30 PM, I still can’t). Luckily, I’d been preparing for the worst, and, late last night, had signed up with a new host, Donym, whose $3.99 US per month hosting deal, for 5 GB of space and 250 GB of bandwidth, seemed too good to be true. After transferring all my old data (from various backups on my hard drive) to the new address and updating the DNS records to point the Landofwhimsy.com URL to Donym rather than Fuitadnet (instantaneous), I set about trying to enable Movable Type. It was at this point that I discovered that Donym’s $3.99 a month service doesn’t support Perl, which is required in order for Movable Type to work (I know, I know, silly me for not making sure - there had to be a catch somewhere, I suppose). Luckily, upgrading to the Perl-enabled $6.99 a month Deluxe Plan took only five minutes, and increased my disc space and bandwidth capacities to 100 GB and 1 Terabyte, respectively, into the bargain.

The site is now fully functional, and I doubt there will be any further problems. Already things seem to be running much more smoothly than they did on Fuitadnet, with significantly faster FTP access and a much less cumbersome control panel for me to work with. A couple of things still need to be corrected, however: I need to alter the Search Results form from its default skin (unfortunately, this is one piece of code that I hadn’t managed to back up), and I need to change the 404 page from its rather plain default. Also, because I performed a fresh install of Movable Type version 3.32 instead of upgrading from version 2.661, most of the URLs for individual news post entries have changed, so if you have any links to individual posts, I’m afraid you’ll need to update your bookmarks. (The two have different default settings, with 2.661 generating seemingly random numerical URLs, whereas 3.32 uses the title of the post in question as a basis. I could have gone back to random numbers, but they would be different from the originals ones. To make things more straightforward in the future, therefore, it seems to me prudent to go with something more static.)

Still, whether or not you see any difference to the service at your end, the move to Donym should mean much less of a headache in the long run for me. Sayonara, Fuitadnet! (PS. Don’t under any circumstances use them.)

Update, December 6, 2006 06:39 PM: The correct search layout is now displaying. Unfortunately, custom 404 pages are not supported for subdomains on Donym, so we’ll have to make do with old blankety-blank.

Update #2, December 6, 2006 09:34 PM: Looks like my custom 404 page is working for subdomains after all!

Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 at 2:56 PM
Categories: Web

We’re moving…

Whiggles.com will shortly be changing lodgings. There should be no downtime of the site proper, but the News, Movies and DVDs sections will, at some point, be unavailable as I install Movable Type at the new location. Full details to follow when everything is up and running.

Update, December 6, 2006 02:29 PM: The move is now complete, and, although there are probably still a few kinks to iron out here and there, the site should be working as intended.

Posted: Tuesday, December 05, 2006 at 11:59 PM
Categories: Web

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