Wales Comic Con 2011 – The Review

Sunday 5th June 2011, I arrived at the campus of NEWI*1 GlynDwr University for Wales Comic Con. This was my first visit to this event since I missed out last year due to Vampiric Eye Disease causing me to be unable to leave the house during the daylight hours.

Upon arriving at the campus I immediately encountered a slight Problem. In an attempt to prevent others for making the same mistake, I tweeted “Note to self: when going to a con, check location before leaving house. #walescomiccon.” Yes, I knew it was on the Campus, but there were dozens of buildings/complexes that could be housing it. Luckily as I was pulling my car into a car-park, I spotted a couple of StormTroopers*2 standing guard at the door to the sports centre. And when a marine walked out of the building followed by an Alien with a dog collar, I KNEW where it was. (more…)

Britain’s Got Computer Talent.

On Monday the 26th July 2010 the UK Minister for Security Declares Cyber Security Challenge UK Open.

The Cyber Security Challenge is a series of national online games and competitions that will test the cyber security abilities of individuals and teams from every walk of life. It is designed to excite and inspire anyone considering a career in the cyber security industry.

The Challenge will identify talented individuals capable of becoming part of the UK’s cyber security profession now and in the future.

Why should I participate?

Participation in the Challenge offers three fantastic opportunities:

  1. The Challenge will award more than 30 superb prizes. These will include:
    • Places on the Detica Academy
    • Funded or part-funded places for masters-level university security courses
    • Funded security courses provided by SANS Institute.
    • Memberships of trade bodies and professional associations
    • Professional mentoring sessions
    • Time on the CREST penetration test rig
    • Delegate passes to industry conferences
    • An internship at one of the UK’s premier security companies
    • Prizes will be allocated based on individuals’ ambitions and the stage they are at in their career.
  2. The Challenge will provide participants with the opportunity to use world-class technology and facilities that would otherwise be inaccessible.
  3. It will also provide a way for individuals to meet with, work with, and learn from some of the UK’s most prominent organisations in cyber security, education and politics.
    Those who demonstrate excellent levels of skill and talent will be exposed to potential employers who will look favourably on anyone who can perform well throughout the Challenge.
  4. The Challenge offers an opportunity for all participants to publicly demonstrate their cyber security skills and build their reputation with peers and potential employers as the UK’s most talented security experts.

The first challenge to get yourself started with is up here

Get playing!.

Laptop Solutions

You may remember a short while back I experienced a lot of problems putting a *nix flavour onto my personal laptop, and in the end to my great shame resorted to replacing windows xp on there. Well thankfully my plans to commit seppuku have been placed on hold, and the dreaded Microshite OS removed from the laptop.

The name of my saviour is Sabayon Linux. A lovely flavour of linux, based on gentoo. Only with a more user friendly, not have to compile everything from scratch front end. It even came with the correct drivers for my wireless card.

So I now am back on track, I have linux on my machine, and just need time now to fully set it up with all the apps i use.


The cake is a lie?

Cake or death?
Uh, cake please.
All right… You, cake or death?cake
Cake please!
Here. Next! You, cake or death?
Death please. No, cake!
You said death first!
I know, but I meant cake!
Oh, all right. You’re lucky we’re Church of England… You, cake or death?
Cake please.
Too bad! We’re out of cake. We only had three bits.
Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill – 1998

I had been seeing the quote “The cake is a lie” all over the Internet recently, almost to the same level of saturation as the old “all your base are belong to me“. So I decided to look into why the cake is a lie, if indeed a lie it is. And I do like cake! So a quick  prayer to the god of all knowledge Google granted me the Divine knowledge i needed. It was from a game called Portal, which was a current popular game amongst geeks. Not wanting to loose my “Geek Card” I did my best and got hold of a copy of the game and kick it off.

The game  is a first-person action/puzzle video game developed by Valve Corporation (The guys who brought us Left 4 Dead).  The game is set in the science testing labs of the “Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Center”.  You wake up in a small room and the voice of an AI informs you that you are being tested and you have to work your way through 19 test stages, where after testing has finished you will be rewarded with cake. The challenges get harder and harder the further along you go, while the AI inspires you with promises of cake.  The problems are solved by teleporting yourself, or items from one place to another by means of portals.  The Test chambers are very clean and modern, but the further you go, the more erratic the AI gets, slipping in the odd threat or gibberish. There are also parts where you can see the rooms behind the test centre, these rooms are all derelict and falling apart. With graffiti all over the place with parts of poems, or “HELP” written in what looks like blood, not to mention hand prints everywhere and loads and loads of :-

the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…

After completing the final test chamber (this one with the sign for cake on it) the AI places you on a conveyor belt heading into a furnace, where you will be baked and there will be cake. Here you promptly escape, not to the Los Angeles underground, but the maintenance part of the testing complex. That is implying you wish to escape, you could stay and be burnt alive in the hope of getting cake I suppose. Those of you who did not wish to die and escaped now find yourself lost in the bowls of an underground massive complex, which is falling apart, and guarded by robots with machine guns. You now make use of your portal Gun to try and follow the clues left for you by some mysterious person.  All the time with the AI telling you that your going the wrong way, and if you give up now you can have cake. or my favorite one “they have already cut the cake, I told them to wait for you, if you turn yourself in now you may be in time to get the last slice!”  You eventually (if you can complete the puzzles) get to the control centre where you come face to camera with GLaDOS (The AI). Who promptly tries to kill you, with nerve gas and rocket launchers (some computer systems).  If you can defeat GlaDOS in the time you have before the nerve gas kills you, the control room explodes, and you wake up outside and free……

The Cake is a Lie

There is then one of the best credit sequences I have ever seen in a computer game, where GLaDOS sings a little gcalled “Still Alive” while the lyrics are typed on a text based screen, with asci images. Its good………And it ends with CAKE!!!!

Epic Epoch

Today is a special day in the geeky calander.

Unix or Posix time is a means computers, part of the internet, and millions of systems across the world use for time keeping, calculating, and things like that.

Well today @ 23:31:30 (11:31 and 30 seconds PM to some) the posix time will be 1234567890

Just thought I’d mention this geek milestone.


Geek Card – Reprieve

My Car radio is now tuned in, random settings changed, advanced settings changed, and even things I have no idea what they do changed…

You have to love roadworks…