Focused

Still sharp. In fact, really do feel my brain is engaged at the moment, getting a lot done and sorted. One tiny little thing that has helped with this is whiteboard.com. It is a collaborative space where several people can edit the same webpage easily. I just use it as a place to write a list, that I can access from any computer. Makes life lovely and simple, and replaces the endless pieces of paper that end up in my pocket. It is nice and straightforwards to set up and use too.

Xbox 360 Innovation

So Bill Gates is giving his keynotes speech at CES 2006, and finishes up with the X360. Talks about sales for a bit, then demos a new game, Fight Night Round 3 (okay, when I say demos, I mean he actually plays against Steve Ballmer on stage). Fair enough. However, when they have finished, he casually mentions that Xbox 360 owners can download the demo right this second. Nice. It isn’t a massive technical innovation, it is simply a marketing one, but a beautiful one. I’m hoping we will start to see more of this at conferences like E3, or even in TV adverts for games.

Slowly getting my head into the working new year, starting to figure out what I am up to. Lots of small tasks to be getting on with now, but it is quite good in that they are all new things, rather than things that have hung around from last year.

So I made it through day one of the working year

in one piece. Not one email about any problems caused by, or requiring my input over the christmas break. So either I am perfect, or I am surplus to requirements and to be made redundant. I’ll go for option one-ish.

Read Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino over the past couple of days. Not your standard footballer’s autobiography, more an opening of the soul of someone that thinks a bit more about things. In fact, he admits to clearly thinking far too much about his own game. Quite an eyeopener are the sections where he describes his own self-destructive inner voice, constantly talking himself down and tempting failure at every step during a match. It is a very sad book, but interestingly is written in a way as to demand no sympathy, he lays all his failings very much out in the open (he wasn’t the most loyal of partners, and describes in great detail as to how he did this, and the consequences of his actions). Definitely worth a read, even for a non-football fan. Shows a different world to that of Mr Beckham et al.

Happy 2006 to one and all

Wow, apparently there is this hour called 7 AM. I had forgotten it existed for a couple of weeks, but it is there, as I found out today when I had to get up for work again. Ouch.

Have had a very good Christmas and New Year. Not too hectic, but plenty enough merriment for me. Got everything I hoped for for Christmas, and then some. Nice little stack of xbox games to keep me busy through the next few months. A secret agent cheeseboard (it has a secret compartment with a set of cheese-cutting implements). And a breadmaker, which although I couldn’t be bothered with the concept before I got one, I now have to admit are absolutely brilliant. Have made a loaf a day since we got ours, something about that fresh bread you cannot beat. Having to get used to cutting non-doorstep size pieces, but hey, practice makes perfect.

My main resolution that I haven’t covered previously would have to be “Make more soup”. The Christmas dinner joint of lamb made, if I say so myself, one fucking awesome soup for Boxing Day. Combining that with fresh-made bread cannot be a bad thing.

On the gaming front, as I said, have a lot to be getting on with, but the absolute highlight has been Jade Empire, which is an RPG-style game with a great Chinese style to it, real-time combat, and a great deep story behind it. Very engrossing. Reminds me a lot of Shemue on the Dreamcast, which is handy, as I had forgotten that you could get Shemue II on the Xbox. Something I intend to pick up cheap on ebay once I’ve worked through my games stack a bit. Have also been enjoying Project Gotham Racing 2 still, top-notch racing game that in all honesty makes Gran Tourismo 4 seem a little flat, and Links 2004, cracking golf game with a great Xbox live implementation. Very nice to play late at night with mates for a mellow session that doesn’t impact too hard on the brain, nor the wrists for that matter.