The ancient blog

As you can see, this hasn't been updated for a while. See my Livejournal blog for more up to date stuff.

Monday 26th June 2001
I must pay a belated tribute to the late author Douglas Adams - one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century. It's still hard to believe that he's dead. For those who aren't familiar with his work, I am passing a decree requiring you to purchase his books, starting with The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
I recently read a book called "Broken Eggshells", by a new author named Christian Cook. I bought it after it was recommended by a person in the Douglas Adams newsgroup. It's not a Douglas Adams clone, but it is a very good book in its own right, and its core premise is an excellent Adams-style ridiculous situation. I found that the first half of the book wasn't that interesting, but it is laying all the necessary ground work for the events in the second half, at which point it becomes excellent.

Wednesday 28th February 2001
Go to SparkMatch. It's good. [Site isn't there any more]

Also, the ST and Captain Blood pages have been updated recently with news of a new emulator.

Friday 6th October 2000
I've just launched, the US sister site of Both sites are members of the Associates programme, so if you wish to support the sites, you can order games via the links on them. (Note: I sold in 2003)

Saturday 15th July 2000
Amazingly, both the ST Scene and Captain Blood pages have been updated. The latter now has a downloadable sound sample of a conversation from the game. It's well wicked! You are hereby ordered to go and download it now.
By the way, as a followup to the news piece below, I uninstalled BeOS and will probably not be converting my games to it.

Sunday 2nd April 2000
I installed BeOS 5 Personal Edition the other day. It is fashionable to attack Windows and everything else Microsoft-related, but this kind of puts things in perspective. Not saying I like Microsoft or that Windows couldn't be a million times better, but its GUI is far, far more advanced, intuitive and user-friendly than that of BeOS.
I'm still going to continue using BeOS (creating BeOS versions of my games), but I don't think I'm going to come to like it very much.

Saturday 25th December 1999
Arganoid's Christmas Message
I could write something really deep and meaningful here. But I can't be arsed.

Thursday 28th October 1999
Further to the Localtel stuff below - I have now left them (although they haven't noticed and are still trying to bill me), and transferred to Telnet/GreatXscape, which is exactly the same thing as Localtel/ except it actually works. So I am now getting free off-peak Internet phone calls with good performance - allowing me to play online games for free.

Friday 13th August 1999
I have put some pictures from the eclipse (which I went to see in France) on the GFX page.

I have also written a several game reviews during the last month.

Thursday 8th July 1999
Some more info on Localtel and, as seen in the entry below.
The whole thing is a complete nightmare. Localtel has been totally incompetent - so far I have seen very few reports of satisfied customers. Instead, most customers are infuriated. There are far too many problems to even start listing here - for more info see the newsgroup, Localtel's totally free Internet service, is for the most part unusable. This evening it took half an hour of constant redialling to get a connection. Now that I am connected, it is transferring data at about 4k - per minute. Also, I have just found out that until now I have been using the wrong phone number, and I will have to pay for all calls to before today.
I would suggest that anyone wanting cheaper internet access in the UK should build their own phone network out of bits of string with cups on each end. It'd be cheaper and more reliable than Localtel/

Thursday 24th June 1999
After a massive wait, I have finally been transferred to Localtel. Localtel is a BT phone reseller which offers free phone calls to its own ISP, The downside is that Localtel are generally regarded as incompetent, and has a repuation as one of the slowest, least reliable ISP of all time. But at least it's free.

Friday 21st May 1999
I've done a slight revamp of the Pilsbry part of the site. I had originally used this section to try out frames when I was learning HTML, but now I've removed them as they cluttered up the screen far too much.

Sunday 21st February 1999
Work on DEATH and Partition Sector has been slowly progressing, but I still need graphics. I can't release the games without graphics. If anyone out there with reasonable graphical skills thinks they can help, please e-mail me.

I have updated the GFX page with some of my psychedelic creations.

Tuesday 23rd February 1999
Stupid Arena is starting to take off in a big way, it has its own server, and today it is mentioned in PlanetQuake news.

Saturday 23rd January 1999
My Quake II mod, Stupid Arena, is finished. Click here for its homepage.

Thursday 24th December 1998
As you can see, the new design is now in place. It's not the most aesthetically pleasing thing I've ever seen, but then I'm not a web design expert.
A short review of 1998 is now available for your viewing pleasure at the videogaming page.

Thursday 17th December 1998
The thing mentioned on the 29th of August will happen very soon - I have had an HTML question answered, so now I can go ahead with the minor revamp.

Friday 27th November 1998
Work on the various bits of ARGnet has come to almost a complete halt. This is mostly because I have much less time to spend on it any more - and with very little feedback there seems to be no point in continuing. In a few days time I will be launching a brand new site - wait and see...
I was also made redundant today :(

Sunday 15th November 1998
My account with Virgin Net has been terminated, so all the pages which were kept there (the only one linked to was the guestbook) no longer exist.

Thursday 29th October 1998
Surely I must have been with Freeserve for more than 12 days? The nightmares of the past with Virgin are now a distant memory. Freeserve, although not perfect, are a thousand times better than anything I have seen before.

Saturday 17th October 1998
I am dumping the rather crap Virgin Net in favour of the quite good Freeserve. So far, I've found Freeserve to be about twice as fast as Virgin on the Web and Usenet, and the Quake II performance is also superb. Also, the Freeserve staff regularly post notices in the freeserve.announce newsgroup - something totally unheard of at Virgin. If they can sustain this performance then the other ISPs are in trouble.

Thursday 17th September 1998
I now have a Pentium II. See the link directly below for details.

Monday 14th September 1998
PC upgrade time. Details here.

Thursday 3rd September 1998
ARGnet has now passed 2000 hits...
Btw, the non-slacker thing mentioned below lasted about three minutes.

Saturday 29th August 1998
There will be an update to the structure of ARGnet soon, improving the navigation around the site by means of frames.

Later the same day...
Now that I am 20 years old, I am no longer allowed to be a slacker. Tonight you will find updates to the Pilsbry homepage, the DEATH homepage, the PSector homepage, and a faster-loading PC Scene page (with some of the stuff moved into the Archives).

Saturday 22nd August 1998
Paint Shop Pro 4.12. You are on day 666 of your 30 day trial period.

Tuesday 8th August 1998
ARGanoid now has a part-time job at DataDay Design Services...

On a completely different subject, I would like to tell everyone out there that if they are thinking of changing ISP, don't choose Virgin Net. The 'service' has gone from bad to nightmarish recently. The news server is so slow that I suspect it is being run on an Oric.

Tuesday 28th July 1998
Updates on ARGnet have slowed down a little recently, but there is still stuff being done here. A few days ago, the review of X-COM: Interceptor, and now, scoot over to the Amazing GFX Page to see some very early concept art for my great project, Fatal Alliance.

Tuesday 30th June 1998

Friday 26th June 1998
Windows 98 is here. My views are on the PC Scene page.

Friday 19th June 1998
ARGnet has just passed the 1000 hits mark. Hurrah.

Thursday 4th June 1998
Abort, abort. The idea below has been abandoned. There will be no X-COM fan page on ARGnet...
Why? I thought this would be a cool idea at first, but then I took a look on one of the newsgroups, and found someone slagging off X-COM Apocalypse, one of the best games ever. I don't want to have to deal with monkey-destructors like that.

Hmmm, monkey-destructors. Not the best insult I've ever invented, but fairly okay...

Oh, and another monkey-destructor sent me a virus which he said was a Quake 2 patch... Strangely, though, the text file included in this zip actually SAID it was a virus. Weird. Of course, I didn't run the files that I had been sent, so I won't know if he was bullshitting or not unless I try running them on a blank hard disk...

Monday 1st June 1998
ARGnet is soon to expand again. In the last few weeks you have seen the creation of the Crap Music Page, and the Amazing GFX Page. Now for something even better.
Hmmm... Maybe my idea has already been used elsewhere, though. I will have to go and take a look on Usenet.

Monday 18th May 1998
On the ninth of June 1997, a great project was started. I had just got hold of DJGPP and Allegro for the first time, and I set myself an ambitious task: To write the first shareware C&C clone.
About three days later, having written a routine that drew a very simple non-scrollable map on the screen, I gave up. There was no way I could ever write a C&C game - I didn't have the programming skill. It was way beyond me.

A year later, with oodles of programming experience from DEATH, PSector and various small demos; and having started to lean C++, I restarted the project. Within a few hours, I had created the base for a fully functioning C&C game, running in 800x600x16bit, with a crude but endearing scrolling map. See the Pilsbry homepage for more details.

Thursday 7th May 1998
Can you believe what I've just seen?



On another note, I am now with ICQ. See earlier on this page for the number.

Wednesday 22nd April 1998
ARGnet is at last back online, and I'm starting to think it was a bad idea.... Uploading the site was a VERY long and tedious process - and I haven't even done the ST downloads yet!
You should notice that many parts of the site have undergone improvements - some look a bit tidier, some have extra downloads, some have both...

Saturday 18th April 1998
After about 12:30am, British time, get out 'yer Gamespy and take a look for Arganoid on one of the Quake 2 servers... Join in at your peril.

Wednesday 15th April 1998
The modem is here, so now I have to choose: Navigator or Internet Explorer. I have to say that the icon Netscape gives to HTML files is totally appalling, and makes me feel ill. The browser itself seems better (if only because it displays the HTML in a slightly cleaner way), but that icon.....

Tuesday 14th April 1998
There's another programme on TV about lemmings. Apparently, the Arctic people used to think that lemmings came from outer space. Their name for them translates as 'Sky Mouse'......

Saturday 11th April 1998
I ordered a modem and a telephone extension lead a week ago. The lead arrived today. Whoopee.

Friday 13th March 1998
A report in the Daily Telegraph says that there is a tiny chance that an asteroid will hit Earth on the 21st of October 2028. According to my calculations, I will be 50 years old.

Hmm, this was announced today - Friday the 13th...

Wednesday 18th February 1998
The end is here. For now, at least. Please do not send any more mail to my old account. Send it all to [deleted]. I won't be able to access this account very regularly, though.

I suppose I should think about getting a modem and an ISP, could be useful...

Monday 9th February 1998
The end is nigh. ARGnet, and the rest of my net-connection, will soon be no more. I don't know when - or if - I will get a new connection. The pages will continue to be here (probably), but I won't have access to them - or e-mail. I will get a Hotmail account so that I can be contacted while I am off-line.

In the event of coming back on-line, I hope to have a lot of web space, so I can have some nice downloads...

Thursday 5th February 1998
In the early hours of this morning, I completed Captain Blood for the first time...

On the ST, I never completed it. In early 1997, long after my ST had died, I found the solution on the net, and it turned out I had only been one step away from the end. However, I haven't had the chance to use this new knowledge until recently, when I got the PC version.

So, that's it. The end. Game over, insert coin to continue. Congratulations, you ranked: 26th. G,A,M,E,O,V,E,R, G-A-M-E-O-V-E-R-ay-oo-ay-oo-ay-oo-ay-oo.

But it's not over! It will not be over until I get hold of ALL the samples and ALL the graphics in the game... Then, who knows, maybe a 90s update?

Thursday 22nd January 1998
I am reeling.

I have been totally blown away by the revelation that there is a third game in the Captain Blood series - but it was only released in France, and hasn't even been translated. See the Captain Blood Worship Page and the PC Scene page for more info.

Sunday 18th January 1998
It says in the TV magazine that the iguanas on the Galapagos Islands lay their eggs in volcanoes. That's a bloody stupid thing to do, unless they want an omlette...

Tuesday 6th January 1998
If you like Quake (and who doesn't?), and you like the TV comedy Game On (and who doesn't, apart from Daily Mail writers?), then click here to see the first news on something which has the potential to be superb...

Wednesday 24th December 1997
In the true spirit of Christmas, I did all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, five minutes before the shops shut.

Later the same day...
The above is nothing - I know someone who is going to buy his Christmas presents at the 24 hour garage. So tomorrow his family will probably be getting a Mars bar and a packet of crisps.

Friday 5th December 1997
Good old Microsoft, eh? Now that I've been using Windows 95 for 1.5 years, I have been able to find all its 'little' problems. For example, when creating this site, my job writing the HTML is made a lot harder because Notepad keeps running out of memory. Yes, that's right - Notepad struggles with a 40K text file - even on my 32Mb PC. With approx 100 megs of potential virtual memory. Which is why I am writing this using 'EDIT'.

But about ten minutes ago, I was in the middle of an even worse problem than this! I had created a very large (30Mb) WAV file, and I wanted to make it smaller by reducing the quality. So I loaded it into Sound Recorder...
Cue TWENTY MINUTES of constant swapping. Literally. Eventually I had to press Control-Alt-Delete to cancel the loading of Sound Recorder. But it took a further five minutes before the 'Close program' dialog box came up... Nice one, Microsoft! Incidentally, Cool Edit loaded the sample in about thirty seconds...

Tuesday 18th November 1997
This is very weird. Since going on-line in late September, it's like I'm suddenly an equal. I am referring to all those people from the ST scene who I once saw as living on a higher plane of existence... Of course, in a way they were on a higher plane of existence - they didn't have to go to school every day...
One of the first people I mailed was the legendary Flix - and I was amazed when I got a reply within a day. Today I've been having an e-mail conversation with 'MUG UK', who did loads of cool stuff on the ST. And earlier this evening I e-mailed the god of shepherds, Jeff Minter (aka YaK), regarding my game DEATH, which is based on one of his ideas.
"Weird with a capital Wee!": The Cat.

Monday 17th November 1997
I've given ARGnet a few graphical/layout improvements, plus some more internal links to make your life slightly easier.

I bought the single 'Smack My Bitch Up' today, and at first it was very disappointing. I bought if for the various remixes that were on the CD (I already had the original track, from The Fat of the Land). However, I am now starting to like the new tracks...
Yesterday I listened to the music from Quake again... These tunes sound a bit like they were composed in a joint effort between God and Satan. Which is excellent!

Thursday 30th October 1997
Well, Jaques Villeneuve has won the Formula 1 World Championship, but I don't think he deserved to after what he said after Panis' accident. (He said that all the other drivers were just pretending to be upset during hours after the accident.)

Apparently, ENIAC (one of the first ever electronic computers, non-tech heads) ran at 100kHz (that's 0.1MHz)...

Monday 21st October 1997
I just saw a real lemming for the first time. It was very disappointing. It just looked like a large hampster. I didn't expect them to actually have green hair, but this one didn't even stand on its hind legs...
This programme I am watching seems to be mostly about all the different animals that eat lemmings...

Copyright 1997-2007 Andrew R. Gillett