Something for nothing…. a “free” mouse…

I’ve always been one for a bargain, so when I see an offer that’s clearly too good to be true on somewhere like facebook, I’m a sucker, and I just have to have it. Well, that’s a complete lie. This is the first of these I’ve ever done, but who knows? Maybe there’ll be more. I doubt it.

Before anyone complains I’m jumping on some type of sponsorship bandwagon, I’m not. In fact, I’m not even going to name the site I got this from. Nobody gets free adverts from me. I’ll tell you, but only if you’re really interested.

Right, so, onto this free mouse then. Way back on 6th December I saw a post on Facey B for a free mouse. Just pay shipping from the US to the UK, all of $9.99. OK, it wasn’t free, I’d never heard of this website, I’d signed up to it using my “spam name”, I’d accidentally got my address wrong while ordering, and the site was saying that due to the amount of orders, it could take 3-5 weeks. Oh, well, this is going to turn up then, isn’t it?

I’d genuinely forgotten about it, but exactly 4 weeks to the day since I ordered it, there was a knock on the solid oak doors of Mercuryvapour Towers, and a parcel from Taiwan. A very flimsy package, consisting of a plastic bag, a zip-lock bag, some bubble wrap and the mouse. I’d show you the packaging, but I’ve lobbed it, but I was very, very surprised that it made it here in one piece.

Upon first inspection, it didn’t feel too bad It’s covered almost entirely in that “soft-feel” stuff, except for the part where your thumb goes, that’s just normal dimpled plastic. There seems to be some type of scribbled circuit design with a swirl in the middle, and the letters “JWFY”. The cable is braided red and black, but nothing special.

What does it look like when plugged in?

Clicky Bigger

A mouse of many colours. I’ve never been a fan of LED-for-the-sake-of-it. RGB gaming and all of that type of crap can go suck a bag of disks. An LED simply for decoration is a waste of the world’s finite resources. I long for the days of beige keyboards, and beige PCs, where they’re heard, and never seen. Now they’re silent disco-balls, and the peripherals are no different.

The mouse is no exception. I’m not going to break it open, but I’d guess there’s 4 RGB LEDs in there, cycling infinitely through a range of colours. The underside is, as you’d expect… plain, with no model number or similar, just a patent number…

Onto the big question… how does it feel? Actually, not too bad. It moves nicely on a mouse pad. The usual features you’d expect from a gaming mouse are present. Backwards + Forwards browser buttons, mouse sensitivity button.

There’s one thing, after an hour of use, that is stopping me from liking this (and the fact I already have a gaming mouse that’s not near as garish as this), and its the mouse buttons. I have small hands, with short stumpy fingers, so this is less of a problem for me, but if you have long fingers, this mouse will give you PAIN. The ends of the buttons are incredibly sharp.

The photo doesn’t quite do justice how bad these are, but honestly, you’ll need to take a file to those bad lads before using it for any period of time. I just caught it while typing that last sentence and had to look to see if I drew blood. Makes me wonder about the legality of the safety marks on the underside of this thing. I mentioned the flimsy packaging it came in. After feeling those buttons, I’m surprised it never cut straight through it.

OVerall, this is a *really* entry level gaming mouse. The free promotion for these has ended, and the site is selling them for $15. they have another design of “free” mouse still available, but you can almost guarantee it’ll be the same circuit board in a slightly different case. For those of you who know which site I’m talking about and are still waiting on their mice, you will eventually get it.

Oh, and a quick thing about the “Spam Name”… If you sign up for a promotion that offers you free stuff, and you think the company are going to sell your details (no company gives something away for nothing!), just change your name slightly when signing up. I call myself “Jay”. That way, if you ever receive anything with that name, and it’s not your “freebie”, it can go straight in the bin without being opened!

‘Running through Russia” is a joke of a game…

Or rather, it’s a “joke game”.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a fan of Steam, the PC gaming “platform”, for want of a better word. I’ve made no secrets about it, leading to many a good long argument with old work colleagues (“DOWN WITH STEAM!”), however, there was one game that caught my eye, thanks to an article that popped up on some facebook group, and as you should have worked out by now, it’s name is “running through Russia”

Firstly, onto the gameplay…. Jump. Avoid bears. Collect bottles.

Secondly…. er, everything else. At the start, I mentioned it’s a joke game, because that’s exactly what it is, and the author actually states this in the opening screen. It feel like it’s been knocked up in half an hour, as the first tutorial in some really badly written game editor. No effort has been spared with this one.

Maybe it’s a two-fingers up at Steam’s policy on indie games or achievements, I don’t know, but it’ll be difficult to find a game where you unlock so many achievements (4,096 of them) for doing so little.

Every time you jump, (which is the whole premise of the game), you unlock an achievement. Jump 10 times, 10 achievements. as you can see from the screenshot above, they were streaming in. All you need to do is jump over 4,000 times, and you’ve unlocked the achievements.

The game has progressed since its initial release to add some “skill” element (collect 10 bottles in 1 run, etc). Not sure why these were added, as they’re also extremely easy, and if you do decide to play to unlock all of the achievements, you’ll inevitably get them anyway.

In conclusion…

Is it worth the 63p I paid for it? No.
Would I recommend buying it? Unless you like watching steam achievements pop up every second, no.
Do I feel like I’ve wasted 102 minutes of my life unlocking all of the achievements? Absolutely. But then, I spent 117 minutes of my life watching Ant-man at the pictures.

My Amiga’s gooey feet…

I’m sure you’re all wondering what progress I’ve made on getting my Amigas back up and running. Well, I can’t find the power supplies, so that’s not happening at the moment.

Something I’ve found very strange though is that the little rubber feet on the A600 have literally turned to a sticky white liquid, leaving a residue on everything they touch (oh, grow up!).

Take this really rare and expensive “Sandpiper’s Greatest Hits” record for example.

That’s not paint. That’s actual;ly the result of leaving the A600 on it for a small amount of time. So, is this a common thing with these feet? Due to their now squishy and incredibly sticky nature, it’s not possible to remove them cleanly. I don’t think the A1200 is affected.

Anybody know if replacements are available? And the best way to remove them without getting sticky white stuff everywhere? (I knew a lady who wanted a book on double entendres, so I gave her one.)

Amiganuts! POWER!

Today, I saved the life of my Amiga 1200. And I’m slightly relieved.

I’ve typed on here several times about my love of the Amiga 1200, the computer I received on Xmas Day 1993. But what do I mean about saving its life? I removed the battery. Yep, that’s it. I took the battery out. “Hang on”, says both of the Amiga aficionados reading this, “The Amiga didn’t have a battery”. Well, mine did, because I bought a memory expansion which also shipped with a real-time clock, and obviously, a battery backup for it.

Back in 2007, I dragged my Amiga out for a quick play, to see if a problem with the video circuitry had fixed itself in the 10 years it had been in storage. Unsurprisingly, it hadn’t and my screen was still just a jumbled mess. OH WELL. Back in the cupboard it went.

Years went by, and that cupboard fell pretty much out of action. Certain room reorganisations, and knowing there wasn’t much stuff in that particular cupboard meant it wasn’t really accessible anymore. But my Amiga was safe in storage.

Fast forward to 2013. Dave Jones, aka EEVBlog, posted a video about an old Archimedes computer he’d been sent. The video was going great, until he’d opened it up and found that the RTC battery had leaked, completely eating away at most of the circuitry, including the ROM sockets and keyboard connections, turning the machine into a beautiful, yet pricey paperweight. My heart sank. I knew my Amiga had what looked like the same battery, and although that machine was older, it wasn’t MUCH older, and the clock battery in my Amiga hadn’t been changed since I installed the expansion board in 1995, pushing it up to 22 years. That thing must have been a goner.

I spoke to Daddykins about something random, and I mentioned about my Amiga and leaking batteries. I was surprised to find the cupboard now slightly more accessible. Enough to squeeze an arm in, and pull out an Amiga, anyway. Maybe he’d realised I was right, and the little Miggy was worth saving!

I precariously opened the underside door on the machine to see what grotty state the board was in…. Aaand.

Not a speck of corrosion. And yes, I’d taken the battery out before I’d taken this, but it was still in there, and came out perfectly shiny.

So, my Amiga might live to fight another day. If I can get that graphics issue fixed.

I have much more to say about this fantastic machine, so stay tuned for some more inane rambling shortly… Bet you can’t wait.

Goodbye Micro Mart, I shall remember you fondly.

Ah, so 2017 starts off with the first sad death of the year… my favourite little magazine… “Micro Mart”.

Well, OK, technically, it died last year, as this last issue is dated 29th December – 31st Never, but still, I didn’t find out until I was browsing a local WH smith.

I must start by saying , I wasn’t a prolific reader, and instead decided to just pick up an occasional issue, either when looking for a new PC (or parts for an existing PC). In fact, it was waay back in 1996, when one of my old college lecturers told me about it, and especially one of their advertisers, called something like “Page 72”, who, you guessed it, always ran their adverts on Page 72. I’m probably wrong with the page number there, but I always thought it was a nifty little martketing tool. You’d always know where to find them!

In fact, I bought my very first computer from out of a Micro Mart advert, around that same time, possibly from that very first issue I bought. Of course, way back in 1996, the internet barely existed. For me, it had only just started existing, and I certainly didn’t have the ability to shop for a new PC. I relied on the pages of Micro Mart to tell me what I was looking for. And it didn’t disappoint.

My very first PC was a Pentium 166Mhz (With MMX no less!), 16Mb RAM, 2Gb hard drive, and a 1Mb graphics card. Eventually, I outgrew this little machine, and the next one I bought also came from the hallowed pages of Micro Mart.

Time gre on, the internet became plentiful, and I didn’t really rely on Micro Mart for anything after that, but my love for it didn’t die. In the back of my mind, I’d be in a service station somewhere, or an airport, and I’d think to myself “Well, I’ll need something to fill the journey time”, and I’d walk out with a copy of MM under my arm. Sometimes I’d even pay for it!

Ho ho, I jest. In all seriousness, print medium when it comes to computer magazines is shrinking all of the time. Although there’s roughly 100 feet of shelf space in every large WH Smith, the computer section is dwindling rapidly. The vast majority of what’s left, taken up with “special” publications which seem to hang around for months, and the old established monthlies (and in MM’s case, even more frequent) are going to the great paper pulper in the sky. And I, for one, will miss them.

RIP Micro Mart.