Mike's general stuff ~ Random

OF ALL THE PLACES TO BUY STUFF ONLINE FROM www.hmv.co.uk simply has to be the worst performing and the worst designed. Firstly, the site simply takes ages (whether I'm at work with the leased line jobbie or at home with a 56k modem). Most of the hyperlinks to other pages are in javascript for some strange unknown reason... and I'm trying to spend a £10 "voucher" for hmv.co.uk...

By the time I actually get anywhere on the site, I've forgotten what it was I was looking for, also a load of films that you can get in the normal store aren't available online (such as 'Platoon', I haven't seen that film in ages...). The "search engine" [if you want to call it that] gives you a choice of "artist", "title" or "keyword". Most of the time the keyword option doesn't manage to bring up what you want, so instead you have to take an age finding through 3,000 odd titles starting with the letter 'P'. What slows it down even more is the javascript - you know if you're searching for something in a search engine (as you do...), you usually right-click on a link, select 'open in new window', let that load while you're looking in the searched-results list and do a few more like that until you find what you're looking for? HMV doesn't appear to want you to do that. Perhaps someone had to push the "keep the customer on the site as long as possible" idea to damaging extremes?

Actually, one thing that HMV.co.uk and amazon.co.uk both fall down on is the 'technical notes' options once you get to a product you're thinking about getting. Say for example you're looking for a Bruce Lee film and you're wondering whether the version the site is selling is with subtitles or the dubbed version... the technical notes on either site don't bother to give that kind of information, usually just duplicating the same information on the product's usual page. Dammit. Anyway... back to the hmv site - I could code better than that with notepad. To think that some company got paid probably twice my salary to design that. Arrrgh.

ONTO A MORE POSITIVE SUBJECT - Online game called 'Planetarion', kind of Starcraft-but-rollplay game, playing in realtime (ie. stuff happens every hour). It's quite a cool game, ideal to play at work (unless your company deprives you of an Internet connection) as you usually only spend something like 10 minutes every hour - if you were to play it per hour. The basic idea is to mine asteroids, build tonnes of ships, destroy other people's planets, the usual universe domination theme :-) what does make it better than many games (even multiplayer ones) is the human element - being able to use diplomacy if you want/need to, planning an attack with a load of allies from your galaxy, etc.

MORE FILMS COMING OUT - some of which may be of some good, X-Men (yes, I know it was released today in the UK), Tomb Raider (with Angelina Jolie - is that how you spell it?), Dungeons & Dragons (I wanted it to be based on the cartoon series DAMMIT! it being based on the boardgame means they can make up any old [probably crap] plot they like!), Lord of the Rings Trilogy - which could be cool if they stay faithful to the book - which they won't (that's known already, "little" [meant with sarcasm] things like Arwen turning up at Helm's Deep battling orcs... yeah... whatever).