Tag Archives: Review

Do not Install Minecraft on your Mobile

Towers in Minecraft Pocket Edition
Towers in Minecraft Pocket Edition

Just don’t. You will lose hours of your time, run your battery down and if you just get the free demo version, probably buy the full version. Finally the mobile version of Minecraft now works with more handsets. Minecraft, as you probably know, is a popular indie game that features an 8-bit aesthetic and gameplay options that range from vicious survival to peaceful sandbox.

Until just recently, the only mobile version was optimised for Xperia, and as I have a Samsung Galaxy S, that was not very useful. Fortunately this has recently changed, so now if your phone is running Android 2.1 or higher you can run it. Both paid and demo versions of Minecraft Pocket Edition let you build whatever you want in a sandbox mode. Neither version has the survival mode, though the paid version has more blocks to build with, and the ability to save worlds between sessions.

Aside from some very occasional tearing, the graphics looked good, and the game ran smoothly. Minecraft’s visual style seemed to work well for the limited capabilities of mobile. It did kill the battery, which should be no surprise considering the load it puts on both the screen and the hardware, and given how easy it is to lose yourself even in sandbox mode, this is not a game you should play when you are more than an hour away from being able to charge your phone.

Should you get Minecraft Pocket Edition?
Should you get Minecraft Pocket Edition?

If you have an Android mobile, and you enjoy 3D world creation games with a sandbox mode, you should get Minecraft Pocket Edition. If you prefer to not run your battery down at the worst possible moment, because you just had to finish that castle while waiting for the bus, then you might want to avoid it.

TL;DR

  • Addictive and fun game
  • Devours time
  • Murders battery life

Vagelis Lamb Salad, with a Coffee

Late Lunch Vagelis Long Black Coffee
Late Lunch Vagelis Long Black Coffee

To some in Brisbane, Racecourse Road, Ascot is known for cafes. Which is odd, since almost all of the cafes on the street are not especially remarkable. There is a Coffee Club, a Grill’d, a small Japanese place, and a few other restaurants and cafes, but none can compare to a decent cafe, let alone somewhere like Campos or Dandelion and Driftwood. Casual dining is the niche Racecourse Road fills now, with a number of nice small places that serve ordinary coffee and good food.

Warm Lamb Salad
Warm Lamb Salad

Vagelis is one of these. Their coffee is unremarkable, but it’s good for casual dining. The menu has a very Greek theme, and it is the better for it. Both the keftedes and warm lamb salad certainly won’t let you down.

This time, I went for the lamb salad over the keftedes. The lamb was tender, and marinated perfectly, and while they certainly filled the plate with green leafy stuff, they did not skimp on the important parts: the lamb itself, feta cheese, tomato, eggplant, olives and capsicum.

The coffee itself sits a little to the right of the thick bit of the bell curve. They use Di Bella coffee and the result is decent. But still, as harsh as this sounds,  if you were after remarkable coffee, you would not be on Racecourse Road.

TL;DR

  • Coffee OK
  • Food good
  • If you want excellent coffee, why are you on Racecourse Road in the first place?

Vagelis
http://www.vagelis.com.au/
Shop 2/ 30 Racecourse Road
Ascot
ph: 07 3268 4293

Takeaway Coffee for a Powerlifting Meet

Takeaway coffee at a Powerlifting Competition
Takeaway coffee at a Powerlifting Competition

Working on the desk at a powerlifting meet is a busy job. You need to ensure the lifters get their next attempts in before they run out of time, keep the lifters aware of the lifting order and make sure the result from each attempt is entered, and often all three at the same time. If you add announcing to this as well, it’s a real juggling act.  But at least the organisers will often buy you a coffee.

Metalwork from August
Metalwork from August

The 2011 Queensland Open Powerlifting and Bench Press Competition was held in Jindalee, at the Fitness First gym.  Due to a broken arm from August, I am currently unable to compete, at least if I want my squat total to be greater than 20kg. This is why I have helped with the desk and the spreadsheet at the last few events I’ve been to.

The Fitness First in Jindalee is located in the DFO shopping centre. There are not a lot of coffee options there, and considering the only other cafe I saw that morning was a Gloria Jeans, a Coffee Club long black was not to be sneered at.

It was as good as expected – the coffee was not burnt and it was drinkable. Most importantly of all, it helped me get through the whole competition. The free Subway sandwiches for lunch also helped.

Eros Greek Coffee

Greek Coffee at Eros
Greek Coffee at Eros

I have never thought about how hard it is to get a coffee late on a Sunday. Having spent most of my life in Brisbane, it just was not something I thought about. It was a friend from Finland (he is also doing a blog on Brisbane) who brought it up on the weekend, as we struggled to find somewhere to hang out in West End on a Sunday afternoon.

After a few closing and closed cafes, we ended up at Eros, a neat little cafe that also did Greek sweets and Greek coffee. We ordered a long black with cold milk on the side for Joona, and a medium Greek coffee (1:1 sugar to coffee, apparently) for me.

It was cosy inside, with a continuous bench and some tables and chairs up against the wall, opposite the counter, so we ended up outside where there was more space for sketch pads, phones and the coffees when they came. The coffee was good, and the price was right, and seated outside, it had the Boundary Street feel.

It was just a shame it was a Sunday afternoon, as it meant we never got to try the cakes. By the time we were through the first round of coffee, they were already closing.

76 Boundary Street, West End 4101
http://www.eroscafewestend.com/

Diaspora, Disrupting Social Media & Delivering T-Shirts

The Diaspora T-Shirt
The Diaspora T-Shirt

When you only have ten invites for a new social network, to whom on Earth do you give them? It is an interesting question, and in a way, unintentionally similar to another shiny new tech thing, Path, which limits you to 50 connections. This week I got my Diaspora t-shirt, as part of my backer’s rewards. A few days later I also got my Alpha invite. With the 10 invites.

Diaspora is not limiting its users to just 50 connections, or even to just the ten that they give you invites for. Understandably as it is in Alpha, they are limiting scale, at least until things move forward some more. Whatever the reasons, I am still left on the wrong side of the network effect and with the question of whom to give one of the ten invites.

Network Effect as a Bell Curve

Network Effect as a Bell Curve

  1. Populated by purported ‘social media gurus’ or bored IT staff. That’s it.
  2. Early adopters can find their immediate circle of friends.
  3. That guy who made primary school miserable for you wants to become your friend.
  4. Ignoring your coworkers’ friend requests becomes harder to sustain.
  5. Boomers are commenting on their kids’ party photos, thanks to friends tagging them.
  6. Traditional media is reporting on all of those off-colour pages your profile links to, as funny as they were at the time.

Obviously I would want to give them to people I already interact with, and of course I would like to give them to people who would actually use them, but who are they? It is like Google Wave all over again. Not everyone even looked at it after they cemented their geek cred by acquiring an invite.

Diaspora Alpha
Diaspora Alpha

In the Diaspora Alpha, you can manage your updates by groups called ‘Aspects’, post photos and even publicise your own content through Facebook, Twitter and, even more cool, as an RSS feed. Comments on photos and posts are there, as is the ability to reshare posts across aspects after publication. I am interested in seeing if doing this makes all comments visible too, but unfortunately I can’t test that right now.

TL;DR

  • Looks cool
  • Is a pretty good fit
  • Guarantees geek credibility
  • The Diaspora Alpha looks cool too.