Gigs: The Effras

18 May 2009

The Effras are a rather lovely band from the Norwood area, and they sing rather lovely songs about South London. Actually, they sing songs about lots of things, but being named for the river that links Norwood to the Thames. They’re also friends of mine, and when it turned out they were playing the Plough, just down the road, as part of the Dulwich Festival, I thought I’d swing by; needless to say, I took my camera.

Rather pleased with these. There was, unsurprisingly, almost no light – nothing dedicated, given it was just an area in a bar – so I was pushing the sensor to its limits. On the plus side, that did mean I was nice and close to the band.

And: what a set they put on! Lovely songs, and great performers; if they’re passing by your area, do check them out.

  • "YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE… I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle." All of Milton Glaser's points are worth thinking on, but this one feels particularly acute.
  • "So there seems to have developed a general consensus in the iPhone development community that if you’re planning to develop a sprite-based game, the cocos2d-iphone framework that we mentioned waaaaaay back when and a bit later on is the way to go. So since we’re planning on doing exactly that, here’s a roundup of resources for your cocos2d development!"
  • "Here’s a round-up of the top 10 readily-available monospace fonts for your coding enjoyment, with descriptions, visual examples and samples, and download links for each." I think I roughly agree with Dan on these.
  • "Get over your ridiculous programming-language prejudices and stop endorsing real prejudices. It's this crazy little microcosm/macrocosm mirror effect. You never find bigotry in people with options. It's true in programming and it's true in real life as well, and it looks as if it's true in both places at the same time and for the same people." Giles is right, and the idiots who reached for their retweet button are definitely wrong. Less of this, please.
  • "No. That would be your mother." Valve drop the next "Meet The…" video, and it's perhaps the best yet – certainly in terms of editing and choreography. And I love how the other characters – especially the Soldier – are still being developed in this.
  • "This is a mod. And that’s kind of relevant, for two reasons. Firstly, we don’t want to pay for this kind of thing. Hell, look at The Path: people are upset that even exists, let alone that its developers had the guts to charge seven quid for their remarkable efforts. But this is the sort of thing I’d love to pay for. It seems illogical that we’ll all happily splash out fifty pounds for the same old story of science-fiction revenge, yet aggressively avoid anything that encourages us to engage our brains and challenge ourselves a little."
  • "What’s fascinating about Grifball is how well it emulates a sport (or rather a sport game.) Like basketball or hockey, players must alternately think offensively and defensively as the bomb changes possession. Movement suddenly trumps aiming, as players must gauge distance for successful attacks and create openings to score. The best players are the ones who can move in tricky, unpredictable ways and psych out their opponents. In terms of skill and strategy, Grifball has much more in common with virtual rugby than it does a shooter." Matthew Gallant on Grifball, and more forms of consensual play.

Formatting media to FAT16/32 is something you often need to do – usually for storage media such as USB or Micro-SD that’s going to be used with embedded systems, such as MP3 players or homebrew cartirdges. All theese systems tend to assume you’re running a DOS file system.

As a Mac owner, that means you’re going to use Disk Utility to format your removable media. This isn’t so hard: you simply pick the “FAT” option from the format type in Disk Utility, right?


Almost. It turns out that most of the time, that’s not enough; that just specifies the way the partition is formatted. You’ve also got to make sure the way the partitions are described is set up correctly. And it turns out that, by default, Disk Utility likes to put FAT partitions into Apple-style boot records. That’s no good at all!

Lots of embedded devices don’t just expect FAT, they expect FAT on top of a traditional windows Master Boot Record. Once you combine the two, you’re more likely to have success. To do that, simply find the “options” dialogue in Disk Utility:


and then make sure you’ve chosen “MBR (Master Boot Record)”:


That’ll give you a Windows/DOS-style partition and partition map. Sorted!

This has taken me far, far, far too long to figure out. Given how long it took, I thought it only fair to share it.

  • "I talk to a lot of parents about video games, and many of them continue to worry about the negative effects of games on their kids. If you dig a little deeper in these conversations, you quickly discover their concerns have little to do with their daughters. It's the boys they're worried about. When I say "video game" they hear "violent killing game," and they fear the messages these games send to their impressionable sons. They should worry more about their daughters." Michael Abbott on the horror that is games targeting young girls.
  • On Shadow of the Colossus: "When the game is up, the player-character suffers a terrible price for destroying these strange, animate monuments. It is one of the few videogames in which the protagonist dies – horribly and permanently – when the game is over. It is a game where destroying the evil lair might well have been the wrong thing to do. And yet it is _all_ you can do. Such is the inexorable, linear fate of the videogame avatar." Rossignol hits up BLDGBLOG, and (as if you couldn't have guessed), it's good.
  • "Guru Meditation also reminds us of the long history of experimentation with physical controllers in the mainstream consumer videogame market, even when both that market and its critics would have us believe that physical interfaces are as new as DDR or Nintendo Wii." A game for Atari 2600 + Joyboard, and also available as an iPhone port; make the yogi fly by sitting perfectly still, and perfectly upright. Written in assembler, and everything.
  • "The problem is, it doesn’t have a smug website with fancy branding, so you probably overlooked it the first time. Go back and take another look." Worth knowing about, even if it's a long while since I've need continuous builds.
  • "But the sixty-something gamers of 2020 are not the same as the sixty-somethings you know today. They're you, only twenty years older. By then, you'll have a forty year history of gaming; you won't take kindly to being patronised, or given in-game tasks calibrated for today's sixty-somethings. The codgergamers of 2030 will be comfortable with the narrative flow of games. They're much more likely to be bored by trite plotting and cliched dialog than todays gamers. They're going to need less twitchy user interfaces — ones compatible with aging reflexes and presbyopic eyes — but better plot, character, and narrative development. And they're going to be playing on these exotic gizmos descended from the iPhone and its clones: gadgets that don't so much provide access to the internet as smear the internet all over the meatspace world around their owners." Lots of great stuff in this Stross Keynote.
  • Mapping where people are leaving and arriving based on nothing more than what they said on Twitter. Pretty, and perhaps the beginnings of something quite useful.
  • "Shepard gets in his warm space suit and Mako vehicle and takes on the blizzard. I go outside and walk to work in the rain. That comparatively insignificant section of the game stands out more clearly than any other, which doesn't mean anything to anyone else other than me. I never loved Mass Effect, but I may remember that for the rest of my life." Duncan Fyfe on memories. He speaks truth.
  • "There is only room enough on this earth for one majestic horned beast, thus the Unicorn and Narwhal must clash to decide the fate of their species. Two previous battles ended in a tie, with both sides claiming to be the victim of dirty tactics. Now you can settle the score with your very own Unicorn vs. Narwhal Play Set."