Sunday, 27 April 2008

myPoV: Assassin's Creed

Yesterday evening, I finally finished Assassin's Creed (AC)! Yeah it took me awhile since I got it back in Nov'07, well to be fair I only started playing it about 2 weeks ago (2 to 3 hours a day). I wanted to write up my point of view (PoV) on the game as it has had mixed reviews from the different gaming sites.

In all fairness, I find AC a good play... it's not madly challenging that is true [honestly, I play but I am not a pro] but the game plays really well and keeps you enthralled in the story; seriously I wanted to get through to know the outcome. I enjoyed the game as the difficulty slowly builds up as you progress through an interesting storyline... which I won't reveal for those how've not played. Here are some of the points I found good:

  • Storyline is simple but does keep you intrigued & I really want to know what's next; Ubisoft AC2 please ;-)
  • Graphics are amazing! I was really caught by the visual effects when climbing the minarets & some even gave me the chills
  • Combat is good and can be challenging but it never gets impossible [like some certain FPS on hard modes]

This game even allowed me to complete almost all the Xbox360 achievements. I am missing 2! the 1st because I didn't know you need to talk to the assistant between each memory slot; the 2nd because my dexterity ain't that great (timed sequence of button pressing).

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Follow me on FriendFeed

If you want to follow me on FriendFeed go to and subscribe.

I have been using this service for a month or so now and I am actually quite satisfied with it. The primary reason is that it provides me with a quick a dirty daily report of all my friend's posting as well as mine. A succinct timeline of what has been going on online...

if you are not aware, FriendFeed brings together about 35 different web sources such as Flickr, blogs, music sites and many other of the social networking stuff.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Ulla's Puppies

My parents have a wired-hair dachshund dog, named Ulla, who gave birth to 6 little puppies last night. 3 males and 3 females, a full litter!
Congratulations Ulla and her parents... ;-)
Pictures here!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Finally Installed the QNAP TS209

Back in February, I bough a QNAP TS209 NAS for my home network while in Houston. Since I came back, I have not had time to sit down buy drives for it (I got 2 1TB Samsung drives for >€400) and install it. I bought the QNAP because it gave me the most options! Seriously, you would be surprised; from backup software to web server to database server to download station to torrent client!

Installation at least for me was quite simple and reminded me to a certain extent of hooking up a small server. This may be a bit of a challenge for everyday user! The drives are hot-pluggable and install on drive bay trays loaded via the front and then covered up with a nice face plate; both drive trays & face plate are held on with thumb screws. This is good in case you need to open the sucker and replace a drive.

The system automatically picks up a DHCP address if you have available but you still need to do the first configuration with desktop client which auto-locates available devices and allows you to set the IP address and other minimal settings. Configuration [selection of pics and screen shots here] then switches to a web browser based interface. The set-up was quite easy and for your average joe there is a wizard type system.

The drives are configurable in RAID or as a whole set. I decided to go for a continuous 2TB drive format instead of RAID to get the most of storage space. I will get an external HD to do backups to; yes, the system supports a plug and backup option via an external drive.

As for the different server options, for the moment, I have only configured:

  • the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) with the Twonkyserver so that I can now play videos and music from things like my xBox360;
  • the iTunes server for access to all my digital music;
  • file server which is accessible from either the windows machines or the MacOS X machines on my network & there is a web version as well
  • media server for web sharing of pictures (this will be useful once I get a WiFi enabled digital picture frame)

The next steps will be to look into the web server options and backup options of which the first step will be to hook up to TimeMachine on the Mac.

The device is responding as I wanted, except for one or two important points of which the most important is the lack of a more intelligent BitTorrent client. The download station on the system is in fact quite simple. It is missing a number of things like an RSS reader or a monitor folder option. I now need to figure out a work around to be able to get the system to auto-download bittorrents! Might need to do some fancy scripting.

I posted some of my wish list on the qnap forum.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Tibet, China & the Olympics [fvter.Rant]

I don't like to rant much on politics, but the recent world-wide noise about the upcoming Olympic games, Tibet and China has shaken my neurons a bit! Let's face it the issue is not that the athletes should boycott the games but more on how does the world protest strongly enough to make their disagreement known. Here are my thoughts! Let's get the audience to boycott watching the games and hit them where it hurts... the money through the publicity and sponsorships! The expected outcome is that hundreds of millions of viewers will watch the games and be attracted by the pitches from the sponsors; however and if only 10% of that viewership actually occurs than it will make the games a disaster and hurt both the CIO and China more!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Anti-fraude ou Fraude des Méthodes Peu Secure

sorry this post is in French as it concerns something that happened to me here in France. I'll post a quick translation in the comments.
J’ai récemment été identifié par le système de FAI-NET pour une vérification ou contrôle, on va dire, d’identité bancaire. La société FAI-Net fournit un service de tiers de confiance a fin de sécurisé les achats sur Internet à la fois pour le commerçant et pour l’acheteur.
Donc en effet suite à un achat sur le site, j’ai reçu un e-mail de la part de FIA-NET me demandant de valider mon achat. C’est à ce moment que je commence à avoir des problèmes ! En lisant le message la première fois, j’étais très sceptique et je pensais que c’était un e-mail de type «phishing scam». D’autant plus que le même message m’a été renvoyé à renvoyer à plusieurs reprise.
En effet, ma casquette d’architecte sécurité en informatique a pris le dessus ! Le problème ? Eh bien l’e-mail en question avait plein d’inconsistance et avait les éléments douteux suivant :
  • L’e-mail est émis par une adresse en mais leur site et les conditions de vente sont tous attribuées à - dont on peut questionner la validité de l’émission de l’e-mail ;
  • L’e-mail n’est pas certifié, c.a.d il n’y a aucune sécurité associé à cet e-mail, ce qui est important pour un e-mail demandant vos informations bancaire – de nos jours il n’est pas difficile d’envoyer un e-mail au moins signé !
  • Ils disent avoir essayé de m’appeler par téléphone pour valider la commande – je n’ai jamais reçu d’appel téléphonique de leur part au moins pas sur les numéros inscrite dans ma commande sur ;
  • L’e-mail me demande d’envoyer une copie de ma carte d’identité et mon RIB – attention ! il n’y aucun garantie que l’e-mail va vraiment à FIA-NET ou que l’e-mail ne sera pas intercepté ! Vous imaginez ce qui pourrait ce passez si …
J’ai donc décidé de faire connaître ma pensé sur cet e-mail et ma désapprobation de la méthode à FIA-NET. J’ai donc visité leur site. À fin de pouvoir communiquer avec FIA-NET, il faut d’abord s’inscrire. Et paf encore un problème : Après inscription, FIA-NET vous renvoie par e-mail votre nom d’utilisateur et puis votre mot-de-passe en clair ! Je dits NON ! Ce ne sont pas des pratiques dignes de nos jours avec touts les problèmes de sécurité associé à des pratiques telles que celles-ci !
Pour une société qui agit en temps que tiers de confiance et qui lutte contre la fraude sur Internet, il y a un sérieux manque de protocole et de sécurisation de leur méthodologies ! C’est tous que j’ai à dire !
J’ai finalement envoyé mes informations en PDF sécurisé (non copiable et non imprimable) avec les informations (signature, etc) importantes sécurisé par des dégradations d’image et watermarking. Ce qui m'a valu de recevoir mon achat avec une semaine de retard! Quel bordel...

Friday, 4 April 2008

Most Interesting Operation Yet!

Screws & PlateYesterday, Thursday 3rd April, was my operation day. I have been back in the hospital since Wednesday to have the hardware, that was put in Dec.06, removed from my left ankle area. The operation in itself turned out to be one of the coolest I have had in a long while. Note that this is my 10th or so operation on my left leg.

The operation started with a local anesthesia. I thought that like previous times, it would be an epidural too numb the lower half of my body. It was in fact a left leg nerve block. Nerve blocks are strange. They start by sticking an electrified needle into the main nerves in your backside and then upper calf. At that moment your leg starts to twitch and move by itself - a strange feeling- which is followed by the injection of the anesthetic. Your leg then slowly starts to become numb... you know that pins and needles feeling you get if you sit on your arm for a long time. They started operating when I could basically no longer move my leg as it felt like a ton of gold bars and I could no longer feel any sense of temperature (those where the tests they carried out to see if it was ready).

The surgeon then began to operate! I felt, smelt and heard everything that was going on! The nerve block in fact only kills the pain still feel and touch, etc. I won't recount the whole operation as it was a long 2.5 hours but here are some of the highlights:
  • They used a laser scalp to cut through the flesh - smelt the searing meat

  • To remove the screws and plate, they had to chisel away and use a hammer to pry the screws loose

  • They scrapped away some set-in arthritis and irrigated my ankle
The advantage of having had the operation this way was less down time as you don't suffer the secondary effects of the anesthetics from a GA.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Off to the Hospital

For those following my blog, you may remember that back in December 2006 I broke my left leg. Tomorrow I go back to the Hospital, to be precise the C.H.U Henri Mondor in Creteil.

My angle is still swollen and I am still in pain. The Doctor said that it might be a good idea to remove the screws and plate. He thinks that it will reduce my pain but it in most likelihood would not completely alleviate it. So as I said it is time to go back to the hospital and on thursday the doctor will take out the metal and wash out (irrigate) my angle (to reduce any arthritis that may be settling in).

I will keep you informed...