A month of yearning

Since the last post, I’ve continued the merry quest for happiness and fulfillment.

At work, I’ve laboured affectionately with MadCap Flare and TestComplete 8.60.

At home I ventured into the world of Skyrim after toying with World of Warcraft.

Skyrim is AWESOME.

Blizzard’s conference Blizzcon whet my appetite for the upcoming StarCraft2 Heart of the Swarm release and, to a much greater extent, Diablo III.

This is one of a few games or gadgets that I’ve truly developed a yearning for. The marketting hype and beta gameplay that I’ve seen are all proving very effective. the game isn’t likely to come out until sometime in 2012. I might even have heard distant rumours 0f 2013. God forbid!

Another source of anticipation is Refractive Software’s Octane Render 3ds Max plugin. Release has been delayed a few weeks but it’s looking likely to ship before xmas.

None of the recent Android phones have turned my head enough to consider dumping the iPhone 3G. The Nokia Windows 7.5 mobile was a minor disappointment. Let’s see what the iPhone 5 brings.

Time spent at iRacing took a big hit. This season was to be my foray into competitive racing with the Mazda MX-5 (starting in the rookie league) but the New Tire Model (NTM) was introduced onto the car this season and the handling is completely different. I can’t trust myself to complete a race at a competitive pace in the MX5 now. The changes took the edge off my enthusiasm and with the arrival of Skyrim, I haven’t put enough hours into iRacing to relearn the MX5 yet or to become safe in the Lotus 79 – another car that switched to the NTM this season.

Whilst still on the subject of iRacing, I bought a Fanatec CSR wheel last month. I was going to write a review but the wheel developed a centering problem and I was so annoyed with it I couldn’t bring myself to write. I e-mailed Fanatec support last week, having heard that other customers got a replacement/refund. So far, I’ve had no response.

Good concept, shame about the execution

I drilled holes in my desk to accomodate the CSR wheel hard-mounted (the clamp is crap) and these holes are compatible with my GT3RS v2 wheel. I duly dug it out of storage and have been driving with it since. The GT3RS wheel’s only concerning quality issue is that the fan doesn’t work properly (makes a nasty noise when it gets hot) but since I rarely use the wheel for extended periods at the moment, that shouldn’t pose a problem.

Apart from that, I’ve done hardly any 3D with Blender, Modo or 3ds Max in the last month. I bought Rich Hurrey’s Rigging Master Course for Modo. Heartily recommended though I’ve not got past the fundamentals yet: I need to rediscover my 3D mojo before I spend any more time on 3d pursuits.

Next year, I’m dropping SoftImage and focusing on Modo and 3DS Max as the primary professional-grade 3D applications in my arsenal. I won’t be upgrading Adobe Creative Suite any more but I am seriously interested in the new Creative Cloud rental model  Adobe is introducing next year. I hope they don’t price me out!

Much though I like the MacBook Pro, I’ve come to conclusion that I may never justify upgrading it. My partner is due for a new laptop when we can afford one and my plan had been to pass the macbook to her when I next upgrade.  This year was the first time Caz upgraded to a more powerful phone than me (she got a HTC Wildfire whilst I’m still on the iPhone 3G) and I suspect in the end she will get a new powerful-but-cheap Windows laptop well before I replace the MacBook.

Interest in the iPad3 reduced to a faint whimper when it finally dawned on me that I am struggling to make ends meet. That didn’t stop me stress-buying Saints Row 3 for PC though. I regretted that purchase after a few hours of fairly mediocre game play though I suspect it’s more fun with a gamepad controller (the gamepad didn’t work for me on the PC).

I’ve subscribed to the PC Gamer podcast and to their magazine. I heartily recommend both to you.

Finally, the yearning to watch blu-rays on my widescreen TV reached breaking point yesterday so I impulse bought a PS3 Slim. The first film I watched was Green Lantern. A truly disappointing movie but the satisfaction of watching something hi-def on the big screen again made the whole experience worthwhile.

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