random thoughts to oil the mind

Month: December 2009

Ten Reasons Valve’s Steam Fails to Live Up to Standards


I’ve been using Steam for a fair while now, in fact pretty much since the beginning, and have seen the program grow on from its fairly humble origins. There are now hundreds of titles available, including games from big-name publishers and independent game houses alike, and the usual crashes and quirks that afflicted the early releases are pretty much gone. Nevertheless, there are still a number of key areas in which Steam continues to live up to standards, at times making using the system a bit of a nightmare. This is a list of some of those issues which in my eyes prevent Steam from becoming a really top class product, delivering everything the platform really promises. Some of these issues admittedly have their origins outside of Valve’s headquarters, but the way in which they are dealt with only compounds the problems further, for both customers and clients.

Another WordPress Blank Page

There are plenty of examples out there of WordPress installs suddenly displaying blank pages—on admin pages as well as frontend posts—after changing themes, adding/removing plugins or updating the WordPress backend. Whilst there is plenty of good information out there covering most of the usual suspects, I just came across another which was fairly difficult to track down given the lack of information, though pretty easy to solve once I’d found it. If like me you’ve at any point tried to streamline your WordPress install by cutting down on a few unnecessary services, and reducing the number of calls to the database, you may have added some lines to your wp-config.php file like so:

define('TEMPLATEPATH', '/path/to/theme/directory');
define('STYLESHEETPATH', '/path/to/theme/style.css');

Fairly innocuous, until you actually change your WordPress theme, in which case those long forgotten about resource savers will leave you with little more than a blank page to diagnose your problem. If this is the case though, just updating the lines or commenting them out will leave you with a workable system once again.

Intelligence² Catholic Church Debate: Transcript

The Intelligence² group hosted a debate in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, in October, considering whether the Catholic church is a force for good in the world. Speaking for the motion were Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP and Catholic convert. Speaking against were Christopher Hitchens, writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book “God is not Great”, and Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and television presenter. The debate was presented by Zeinab Badawi.

Since the new Intelligence² website appears to have done away with transcriptions, I’m publishing this one here. Please note that this is an entirely unofficial transcription, so any mistakes are my own. The full video can be found on the official site, as well as on YouTube.

Before After Change
For: 678 268 -410
Against: 1102 1876 +774
Undecided: 346 34 -312

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