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Archive for Alex Watson

iPhone 3.0 wishlist

Posted on 17th Mar 2009 at 12:36 by Alex Watson with 12 comments

Alex Watson
Today Apple is going to be unveiling iPhone OS 3.0 and no doubt the twitterverse will be blogervating about it minute by minute when it is revealed. As there are several iPhone users here at bit-tech and CPC (myself, Tim, Mark and Clive are all slavish devotees, and Joe has an iPod Touch), and as it's great fun to speculate on what Apple will do next, we thought we'd put together a quick wishlist of features we'd like to see.

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Books You Should Own: Core Memory

Posted on 10th Mar 2009 at 10:09 by Alex Watson with 15 comments

Alex Watson
A few years ago, I was helping a friend build a PC with a selection of left-over, scavenged and second hand bits, including a fairly crusty Epox motherboard. We’d spread all the components over the kitchen table and work surfaces and were just about to start the build when his Dad returned from work. My friend's father spent almost his whole career working for BT, beginning as an apprentice engineer tinkering around with old call exchanges, before progressing onwards and upwards into projects, paperwork and management.

Rather than being upset with the fact we’d covered the kitchen with PC kit, he was fascinated by it - particularly the motherboard. Having cut his teeth as an engineer on analogue exchanges, a six-layer PCB bristling with capacitors, ICs and silver circuit traces was, to him, a slice of pure future (even though neither my friend nor I had given it much consideration, beyond hoping it would still POST and get us into Battlefield 1942).

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iDracula, it’s like The Chaos Engine on the iPhone

Posted on 3rd Mar 2009 at 11:08 by Alex Watson with 6 comments

Alex Watson
Like The Chaos Engine (and Smash TV and numerous others), iDracula is a frantic shooter with a top down view and a principle mechanic that separates your character’s direction of movement and his direction of fire. Unlike games such as The Chaos Engine, in iDracula there’s no story, and only one level. That level is Spartan too – there are no doors to open, and no levers or switches. There aren’t even any wooden crates.

All you have to do is survive an endless onslaught of bad guys (and weirdly enough given the name, none of these bad guys are actually vampires).

It’s currently number 1 in the iTunes chart for iPhone and iPod Touch games, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s only 59p, the graphics are great and it’s action from the get-go. Given the title, you’d expect to be fighting vampires, but so far I haven’t seen any – I have however, killed enough werewolves to make enough wolfskin suits for a football team, plenty of creepy-crawly dudes and I’ve bagged enough wizards to remake Lord of the Rings.

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Why the hard disk light needs to die

Posted on 24th Feb 2009 at 09:16 by Alex Watson with 53 comments

Alex Watson
When I first got my Mac laptop, it annoyed me, to an obscene level, that it didn’t have a hard disk activity light. Unused to the new machine’s noises, I would listen obsessively to it, trying to figure out what the hard disk sounded like when it was working hard, when it was copying files, when it was doing nothing at all.

Gradually, I got used to the fact the machine didn’t have a HDD light. It stopped bothering me. I realised it had little bearing on how I used the computer. It’s not like I didn’t load up a program just because a light was flashing.

In fact, now I find myself annoyed, angry even, at the HDD light on my Shuttle at work. It’s bright orange, and just in view, and as the hard disk thrashes away when the PC starts up in the morning, it annoys the hell out of me. This is, I realise, because it’s a sign the PC has broken its promise to me.

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My Five Best iPhone Apps

Posted on 18th Feb 2009 at 09:17 by Alex Watson with 23 comments

Alex Watson
Part 1. What’s your name and where do you come from?
Hello, Hello. It’s good, as they say, to be back. Although, do they say that any more, now that Gary Glitter’s a disgrace and Morning Glory is over ten years old?

Anyway, I thought I’d introduce myself. My name is Alex Watson, and though I’m the editor of Custom PC, this isn’t the first time I’ve written for the mighty bit-tech. You might have seen my name on the round-up of iPhone earphones at the end of last week, but I also wrote for the site back in 2006, on topics such as game difficulty, weird controllers and politics.

In the intervening years, I’ve always been a reader of the site, and it’s great to be back now as a writer, and to have the bit-tech guys working right next to Custom PC.

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When politics clogs up the tubes

Posted on 17th Aug 2006 at 16:10 by Alex Watson with 14 comments

Alex Watson
Politicians are notoriously out of touch with the connected world that we live in. Is this acceptable? Alex Watson contemplates tubes, emails and political parties dedicated to the cause of piracy.

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The Evil Within Review

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