Last blog of the year most likely. I hope everyone had a good Christmas season.

The weather has been Baltic, the coldest I’ve known it for some years. The snow turned to ice in some places but luckily where I am the roads cleared pretty quickly and were clear throughout the period of bad weather up to now, so there haven’t been problems with travelling, just getting safely from front door to car door.

I have two pieces completed for the Bob Shaw blog and I’m going to post them in the New Year; stretch the blog out a bit seeing as there is limited material to post about. I thought Word 2002 was the culprit of file destruction but Word 2007 is just as bad, seeing as it wouldn’t open one file and that file is now well and truly buggered. The piece was written in Word 2002 just like the other ones but Word 2007 says the file is corrupt. So, I’m not sure if 2002 is writing corrupt files or if 2007 just can’t read them and says they are corrupt. Luckily I copy everything into text files as backup so there is no loss of data, although there is plenty of loss of faith in Microsoft products.

I can’t remember where or how, but I came across Doom Builder and downloaded it. I played Doom lots and lots when it first came out, including Network deathmatches with other people when I should have been working – the nineties were actually good for something. I remember that the early versions of Doom came with a one player three screen option. You could load up Doom on three computers and one person would have a left, right and central view. It was pretty neat watching demons come at you on three different screens.

Doom of course was a great game to play. I have it on two CDs, the Ultimate Doom and Final Doom. Contents of both CDs are about twenty to thirty megabytes each. I tried installing them but Vista won’t touch either Dos or Windows 95 versions. I have to install them (well Ultimate Doom) on a virtual PC: that works although I have to restart the machine in Dos mode. I wonder how many people can still use Dos nowadays? The exe file for Doom is under a megabyte and the WAD file (where all the data is) is twelve megabytes. I have Doom 3 and I don’t think the full installation was less than four gigabytes. That’s progress for you. Doom Builder itself is pretty nifty and it’s easy to make levels with it.

I’m flirting again with Norton Ghost and Virtual Disks. I created a Virtual PC with the original Vista disk, turning the laptop upside down every few seconds so I could type in the serial number: it seemed like a good idea to put the serial number on the bottom of a laptop at one time. Vista Virtual PC created successfully, only a matter of installing Norton Ghost and then seeing if I can restore either the old XP partition or new Vista backup, although I’ve had that many failures with it I don’t hold out much hope of success. Vista took 4 Gigabytes in file size, which is a surprise as I thought it was a bigger operating system than that. Perhaps some zipping and compression is done to the virtual hard disk partitions by the Virtual PC program.

I read somewhere that the BBC has an official pronunciation of next year as twenty ten, not two thousand and ten. Someone should tell them that twenty ten is not one number but two numbers and is in no way a representation of a year, but, seeing as the BBC are thick as two short planks, I doubt if they would take a blind bit of notice.

I’m expecting a couple of books over the next couple of weeks. I bought a Howard hardback on eBay and months ago I bought Son of Retro Pulp Tales, which has been printed and the Subterranean Press web site says they are about to start sending copies out.

I did wonder if it had already been sent out and lost in the post as they announced they had received the printed copies early December. Luckily it hasn’t and fingers crossed I’ll get my copy within a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to it as I spent the extra money and ordered the signed edition.

I like pulp stories and pulp writers (R E Howard, the Doc Savage series, etc) and the main reason I bought the book because it has contributions and new stories by Harlan Ellison and William F Nolan. To be honest if it was either of those writers I wouldn’t have bothered, but both of them made me bite. I’m also expecting my very first pulp magazine to wind its way across the Atlantic. I bought a cheap copy of Weird Tales, but I’ll blog more about that when it arrives.

So, that’s it for this year. Happy New Year to everyone.