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March 02, 2008

Mother's Day Piracy Special

Alison and Marianne adventuringFor Mother's Day I was brought breakfast in bed (boiled eggs and bread and butter and coffee), and flowers and chocolates and two cards. Marianne had embroidered a flower, very beautifully, and Jonathan had found a pirate themed card. Why? Because this particular Mother has played entirely too much YoHoHo Puzzle Pirates recently. I had completely packed it in, partly because of the crack-like tendencies of MMORPGs but mostly because of the phenomenon described in this Penny Arcade analysis. They're talking about WoW rather than any other game, but the killer quote is this; What I do know is that they have set up a system that allows me to rent my friends on a monthly basis.

A couple of weeks ago, I was back looking at Penny Arcade again, and there was an ad in the corner for Puzzle Pirates, and I thought, just briefly, gosh I miss distilling. And that was it; I fell that quickly. I reactivated my character, picked up the 'longtime subscriber' special offer of £25 for a year, and discovered the new Atlantis expeditions. I went and stood on the deck of my sloop but haven't sailed it at all; I'm not sure I remember how. Instead I've been jobbing on other boats and spending the money on new clothes. Marianne is playing too, in strict defiance of the Three Rings child protection policy. We have just (this minute) commissioned a joint portrait.

The results of all this are predictable; staying up far too late, eating badly, getting no exercise, playing no melodeon, doing no housework, and spending every possible moment in the game. It's an act of strength to do anything else at the moment. I love the collaborative nature of the game, and I enjoy the puzzles. I'm just not sure I can play it moderately.

Instead, today I'm working with a new toy; an *ion Tape2PC cassette deck. I appreciate that I could have done this with any cassette deck; I didn't need a USB one. But in fact we don't have a cassette deck, and haven't for some time, but when we found the cache of old cassettes there were some dozens that we weren't prepared to throw out. The Ion deck comes with Audacity (which is free anyway), and with some software designed to make it easier to use on PC, though not Mac. I reckon that this is a job for the killer combination of Audio Hijack Pro and Fission. The deck is £100 from Maplins; I bought mine on eBay for £84 including postage; the intention is to store all the bits and resell it as soon as the transfers are done. AHP and Fission come in a bundle for $50; although I think you can do all this stuff in Audacity if you try, I find Rogue Amoeba programs much easier to use and highly optimised for the precise tasks I tend to be doing.

So. I'm currently listening to the album launch of the Oysterband's Holy Bandits, at the Borderline in 1993. Gosh, what a great gig that was.

Posted by Alison Scott at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)