2008 in Review

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Here we are again at the beginning of a new year, so it's time for me to post my subjective opinions on things that happened over the last twelve months.

Highlight of the Year - My son Isaac who continually amazes and delights me.  He hasn't cost us too many sleepless nights either, which is a bonus.  The holiday in Australia was another great moment - three weeks worth of great moments in fact (excluding the flights).  If I didn't have family and work commitments in the UK I'd seriously consider moving down under.

Film of the Year - Ironman.  For once, an exciting superhero origin film that's worth a repeat viewing, backed up by Robert Downey Jr being ace.  Cloverfield blew me away when I saw it at the cinema, but loses a lot on DVD so doesn't quite make the cut.  I perhaps may have picked The Dark Knight or another film if I had seen it, but I haven't set foot in a cinema since my son was born so my exposure to new films has been limited.

Game of the Year - Fallout 3.  I'm not usually a fan of RPG games, but this just drew me in completely.  A well written main story, a ton of cool stuff around the map which continually rewards you for exploring, and the VATS aiming system is a lot more useful than I first thought.  Slightly let down by technical issues (a few crashes here and there), but the ultra fast load times on the PC version make up for that.  Burnout Paradise and Fable 2 are also worthy contenders, but as I worked on them both it would hardly be fair for them to win would it?  Braid seemed to get a lot of positive press and its high quality is certainly very apparent, but I found it too fiddly and difficult to really get in to.  Perhaps I'm just rubbish at games these days.

TV of the year - Lost Season 4.  A shorter series that could have been ruined by the WGA writers strike, but it ended up stronger than ever.  The flash forwards were a neat twist on the formula.  I am really looking forward to season five now.  Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is as excellent and well observed as always, but could do with being on earlier in the evening rather than buried at midnight on BBC 4.  Dr Who is just getting more and more silly this year - I can't wait for Russell T Smugface Davies to finally leave the series in the hands of some decent writers.

Book of the Year - The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. I expected this to be pure trashy chick fic beach reading, but I was utterly surprised to find an intelligent sci-fi (-ish) tale with great characters. The idea of time travel being a genetic defect that causes you to become unstuck in time when stressed, like a kind of chronological epilepsy is a great plot idea. It is expertly written, never getting confusing even though the time line jumps about all over the place. It wasn't published in 2008, so including it here is perhaps cheating a bit, but I read it this year and it's my blog! Apparently a film adaptation of the book is in production. Neal Stephenson's Anathem was also good, but suffered a fair bit from the new vocabulary it makes you learn.

Wooden Spoon Awards

Worst Tech - Windows Vista 64. I've said good things about Vista in the past, but it's little annoyances are building up for me. It randomly decided I didn't have a DVD drive connected a few months ago which resulted in me having to trawl the internet for a solution, then recently I've been forced to install hotfixes from the beta version of Service Pack 2 to stop blue screen crashes caused by using a quad core processor with over four gig of memory. Is this really the seamless experience we should be getting from a modern world class operating system?

Most annoying company - A tie between Scan International and Emirates Airlines. Scan for taking nearly a month to send me a warranty replacement of my PC's dead motherboard. I sent back the board and they quickly confirmed it was dead and said a new one would be sent out within days. A week passes and I ask them for a progress report. They say they've had to send off to the manufacturer for a replacement but it's now in stock and will be with me in the next few days. A further week passes and I press the issue. This time they admit the board isn't available any more and offer me a similar one from a different manufacturer, which I accepted and it duly arrived. I asked them why they had lied to me about the original board being in stock and they simply ignored my email. Emirates also gets a wooden spoon for offering us frequent flier points when we complained about the provision for Isaac during the flights to Australia (what are we supposed to do with frequent flier points if we're not planning to fly long haul in the near future).

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Windows 7 Beta from Keef's Musings on January 14, 2009 4:31 PM

Long ago, I did a quick review of Windows Vista which was a mixture of positive and negative.  It performed a lot better on my current PC than the one I had at the time, but still had some annoyances which... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by KeefJudge published on January 6, 2009 2:27 PM.

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