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Monday 30th of October 2006

BitStream Released!

Thursday 26th of October 2006

My TODO List

I have now totalled up all the items on my TODO list. Gulp!

There's all the usual things, such as take a set of stock photography pictures of London's bridges and write a sitcom. Plus the slightly left-field ones, learn hiroglyphics and create a TV magic show. Not forgetting the long term list, such as work on my 3d engine, complete the home automation software and record Symphony No. 1 in C# Minor.

However, when combined, all these projects will take another 18 years, 9 months. And I'm 33 now.

Looking at the list I can see things that won't be relevant or novel when I'm 55. I have some serious priorities to sort out!

Tuesday 24th of October 2006

Sony shoot themselves in the foot and head with one bullet

Lik-Sang.com Out of Business due to Multiple Sony Lawsuits

Ok - so the press release is horribly bias, but the content is true and will hit Sony were it hurts - the hearts of gamers. That is, their core audience. The ones that Joe Public goes to and ask "Which console shall I buy."

The next generation is now a two horse race.

Monday 23rd of October 2006

Game Developers Open Source Handbook

This is a fantastic book entitled, Game Developers Open Source Handbook.
It's about Open Source software.
Of use to Game Developers.
And it's in a handbook format.

Disclaimer: I wrote it :) And the first copy arrived today. Sweet!

Tuesday 10th of October 2006

The Magic Code

Magic is a secretive art. And one I'm slowly becoming more practised in. As a little light relief one day, I created "The Magic Code". It works in a similar vein to the geek code, as symbols let you describe your magical persuasions in a simple, succinct, form.

Mine is, Cb+O--M+Pb--VT+I-A---, for example.

This can be decoded by means of the following table.

C : Prowess with playing cards
C+++ I am Daryl
C++ I do knuckle busting sleights without thinking
C+ I'd "pass" most sleight of hand competitions
C I can do a decent DL
C- I use cards in other effects, just because I can
C-- I rarely use cards because they just scream "trick"
C--- Never touch them

Card extension, a single post-fix letter indicates your back preference.e.g
Cb Bikes
Ct Tally Ho
Ce Bee
Ca Aladdin
Ce Ellusion fashion decks (you may not use Ce++ or higher without good reason

O : Have you coinage to show?
O+++ I am Daniel Garcia
O++ I'm holding six coins, but you can only see one.
O+ I will an hours worth of material before people fall asleep
O I do a version of coins across in my act
O- I only use coins that are gimmick.
O-- Coins are meant for spending; scotch and soda is for drinking.
O--- I can't even toss a coin

M : Mentalism Memes
M+++ I am Max Maven
M++ I live and die by the centre tear
M+ I'm one ahead of the crowd
M Appearing clever is easier than being funny, and quicker than learning sleights
M- I do mental magic, and prefer the term over mentalism
M-- I being and end with Fulves
M--- I've forgotten the question...

P : Professional performances
P+++ I am Mac king
P++ I have a residency
P+ I do enough shows for a full-time living
P I do some shows, and earn money from it
P- I've the life and soul of anywhere that hasn't banned me yet
P-- Will do tricks for beer
P--- I have a higher burn rate than flash paper

Performance extension, where do you perform
PS Street
Pr Restaurants
Pt Theatre
Pb Around the pubs and clubs
Pc Corporate events

V : Magic inventions
V+++ I am Jay Sankey
V++ I've created several effects, and sets of lecture notes
V+ I've created a couple of new effects, but guard them jealously
V I've created my own routines, and plan to publish one day
V- I adapt existing routines and make them my own
V-- I would create my own routines, but it's easier to buy it
V--- You mean someone _invents_ tricks!!?!?!?!

T : Patter
T+++ I am Penn
T++ I create and publish all my own words
T+ I create all my own words
T I adapt the patter that I've paid for to suit me
T- I've paid for patter, so I'm gonna use it as is
T-- I follow the patter of
T--- I am Teller

I : Under no illusions
I+++ I am David Copperfield
I++ I can do a 2 second metamorphosis
I+ I can do a 2 hour zig-zag, and make it fun
I Illusions are my staple, but on a small scale
I- I'd like to do illusions, but the cost and travel arrangements are prohibitive
I-- I like watching it, but that's it
I--- If it doesn't fit in a thumb tip, I'm not making it disappear

A : Assisting with assistants
A+++ I run a model agency
A++ I have more women than boxes to put them in
A+ I have at least two stage assistants
A I have an assistant
A- I always ask for volunteers to go in the box
A-- My assistants are there, but never visible
A--- I don't need any assistants for my act

Friday 29th of September 2006

London Game Developers Calendar

For all your beer-infested evenings, please visit:

London Game Developers Calendar



Or use the snazzy link below, as supplied by Google themselves :)

Wednesday 20th of September 2006

Games show now open

The games history show in London is now open. This is a reminder to myself to organise a trip out to see it.

p.s. for any newbies reading this, the Revolution was the original name for the Wii.

Thursday 31st of August 2006

A bad week for EA

In a week where EA (who bought middleware provider, RenderWare a couple of years ago) have bought the Unreal engine (another middleware product) and are rumoured to be buying Crysis (another middleware product) they really don't need any more bad PR.

Alas, I was pointed to the Chaotic blog that also mirrored some of my thoughts on the evening.

Wednesday 23rd of August 2006

Who am I?

I am English by birth, science, literature and sense of humour.

I am Scottish by background, Welsh by ancestry and Irish by music.

I am also German through music,

Although I am Belgium by beer and architecture.

And Canadian through an aspired quality of life.

But American by culture. Sorry!

Tuesday 22nd of August 2006

The daydreamer

One day, I would like to perform an electronic music concert in the Atomium, Brussels.

That is all...

Saturday 19th of August 2006

Thirty One



That's the number of geek-oriented T-shirts I have...
That still fit...
None of which I've paid for, and got as freebies at conferences, events, and been given by sponsors.

Also, it doesn't count the ones that no longer fit (geeks expand all over as their knowledge of Unix increases :) and those I've lost over the years, or left at ex-girlfriends.

I don't think this is a record; just an amusing fact I thought I'd share to break my own tedium of washing, ironing, and folding them -- as I'm doing at the moment :(

Thursday 17th of August 2006

Free GP2x Article

In case I haven't mentioned it yet, my article on the GP2x is now available for free on the Free Software Magazine site.

About the GP2x

Wednesday 16th of August 2006

*That* AOL mis-hap

While I'm not going to make fun of the people that let the AOL search history onto the Internet, or the people that think "if you have nothing to hide, what's the problem?", or even the people that think AOL is, was, or ever will be a credible Internet portal site and ISP, I will highlight a search engine, that lets you profile their users.

AOL search terms

Pitty the poor so-and-so that looked for porn, and his wifes name. I guess some things should just remain private, eh?

Tuesday 15th of August 2006

Hello to all Metro readers!

Be sure to read through the past articles on this blog, too, as it passes the day much quicker than work!

And don't forget to take a peek at my world famous Lego Tori Amos portrait. And yes - it is word famous :)

p.s. If you have no idea what this 'Metro' thing is, click back to here:

Metro's best blogs

Friday 11th of August 2006

Why are there are no good computer game documentaries?

Simple - the programme makers don't want to make them!

They want celebrity gamers, and usual players such as women (how sexist), grandparents (how ageist) or priests (how stupid!) Why would any of these people be considered "unusual" ? Would they make a program about films, and ask for "unusual viewers such as women" - No! Computer games players are not (and have not) been this secular for years.

Oh - and this wasn't a hypothetical example. It really happened - as this bad casting call demonstrates.

Perhaps that's why there's no peep out of the makers since the call! Perhaps that's why every email has gone unanswered. No wonder! Perhaps every one saw through it as a Microsoft promotional gimmick. Perhaps people didn't want to be marginalised. Perhaps they don't care for people that use 'perhaps' in every sentence :)

However, if someone wants to make a good games documentary gimme a bell. Anything like Robert Cringeley's Accidental Empires for games would rock.

Any takers... ?

Thursday 27th of July 2006

Finding Amazon in Brazil

When looking to buy a Brazilian copy of an English book, my pre-conditioned brain thought of Amazon. But I couldn't remember the Brazilian TLD. So I did a search on "Amazon Brazil"


I'd forgotten my geograph. Guess through which country the Amazon river runs?

Wednesday 26th of July 2006

Server for a year

It's the one I won at gllug a while back, but it's now finally up and
working. There are only two problems: I have to give it back after a
year, and I have no use for it!

So, if you were given a 1U box with a 2.4G PIV, 512MB Ram and 40G drive,
what idle, data mining, hacking, kinda task would you give it?

Tuesday 25th of July 2006

What defines me?

I don't know.

End of story.

The 95 these of geek activism goes some way, though!

Monday 26th of June 2006

Free TV listings for all

Er. Alas, no. The ITV are playing hardball, as announced previously with predictions of lower (ITV viewing figures)
So, sign the petition of
Free TV listings for all

If you want it...

Friday 26th of May 2006

Positive Kudos for Positive Internet

Last night, Gllug organized another meeting, reviewed here. A good one too! It started with a talk from FilmLight, on some film colourisation technology which, despite not being part of the industry, I managed to understand. In contrast to previous meetings it did seem an even split between Linux geeks, and film production geeks. I'm probably not going to meet them again (unfortunately) but it is good have this cross-pollination of people so I hope something similar can be arranged again.

Second up was the quiz. Wonderful! Just like a pub quiz - except for the distinct lack of beer! It went exactly as you'd hope: multiple rounds, unconventional questions (e.g. here's ten beards, to whom do they belong), up-to-date scoring, well-matched teams and good prizes. In fact, it went exactly and I'd hoped since the team I was on won! Well done and thanks to Pete, Martin and Trevor, my cohorts. And extra special thanks to Positive Internet for the star prize.

So - am I writing this to show off our "l33t qu12 5k111z"? Partly, yes :) But moreso that the sponsors get acknowledgement for their involvement. Like IBM did last year with their planetarium event, this shows a commitment to the community that builds, uses, and promotes the software they use everyday in their business. This deserves to be recognized. And preferably by someone greater than a celebrity media non-entity such as myself, but it's a start.

And while companies continue to support the community, I'll continue to support them.

Now, does anyone have any ideas of what I can host with a new box, with generous bandwidth caps?

Monday 22nd of May 2006

Amazon Web Services

I know I'm late on blogging this, but I thought I'd better anyway. Last week Dean Wilson organised a talk that saw Jeff Barr talking about AWS. A very good talk and Q&A followed, which has already been covered here, with photos below.

(large images in here)

Anyway, my good friend, John Hearns, suggested at that talk that you could build a Knoppix-like distro that contained all your AWS credentials so you could use your S3 storage directly. Well - the idea was so good, Jeff has mentioned it on the AWS blog. It's now likely some open source urchin :) will pick the idea up and run with it.

Way to go, John! I hope whoever does it will credit you with the idea...

Thursday 18th of May 2006

Silly word games

I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but 'Eanes' is a rare and unusual surname. Pronounced 'een-s', it belongs to one of my co-workers. Yesterday, by chance, she remarked that being called 'Smither' might be interesting.

Rule #1: Don't inspire a geek with more important work to do :)

For the last day, my brain's background processing sub-routine has been thinking of other silly christian names. The usual suspects, like Phillip, Amphetam and Trample was joined by the likes of Crustac, Vax, Byzant and Marquee De-Sade. (Think about them...)

She then pointed me to morewords. It's nothing you can't do with egrep (blog passim) but a useful link nonetheless if you're into wordplay.

I'll leave you to find the myriad of possibilities we came up with.

Wednesday 17th of May 2006

How will computer game history view this E3?

I don't know. (Those looking for snappy, buzzword-compliant, glib, pat, answers can switch off now!)

Microsoft did OK with their 360, although it's a given it'll be good. They have a history of doing crap initial versions of software/hardware, but significantly better version 2, and this is staying true to form.

Nintendo had a brilliant show. The Wii, despite its infamously stupid name, has introduced so much buzz it's incredible. Afterall, games are about novelty (blog/articles/books passim) and this introduces a novelty. You've only got to look at the infinite growth in additional peripherals attached to games (Sing star, Buzz, Guitar Hero, those Gamecube bongos et al) to know that a console game can do well at any price point provided there's enough novelty value to it. In the olden days, the game engine was the game. And each game had a different engine. Pacman was different to Galaxian. And Galaxian was different to Frogger. Now the same engine powers a hundred different games... and boy does it show!

Sony failed. That's common knowledge in the blogosphere, so I won't comment on it much further. Their PS3 showing was arrogant and dull. Their R&D department have graduated from the school of creative photocopying to produce as little innovation possible with their re-dressed PS1 controller with a tilt switch. The only Sony innovation for the last ten years has been Eye-toy.

So - what's the purpose of this blog entry? A note to self, mainly. So I can remind myself in years to come. So I can see how history does remember this point in time. And so I can accumulate the various links and commentaries that made me laugh.

To begin, there's this clip, which I've entitled "Sony failure" and shows the opening of E3, and everybody running (yes running!) past the Sony stand to watch Nintendo present the Wii. And this cartoon that re-emphasises the point.

Disclaimer: I am not a Nintendo fan boy, nor a Sony-hater, but have developed for all three present consoles (i.e. Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox).

Friday 21st of April 2006


It's now but a distant memory for most of us, but for those that need reminding, my world famous (ho ho!) Fosdem diary is now available.

Friday 14th of April 2006

Obfuscated code

Following yesterdays (belated) study of the last IOCCC entries (and the subsequent office discussion of our individual obfuscations) I realised there was still one program I hadn't realised publically. The smallest code for the 12 days of christmas song. I shall not reproduce the lyrics here, as that would be silly, but the code is as follows:

main(i){char*q,p[]="thstndrd 12 drummers drumming 11 pipers piping 10 lords a leaping 9 ladies dancing 8 maids a milking 7 swans a swimming 6 geese a laying 5 golden rings 4 calling birds 3 french hens 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree";for(;q=strrchr(p,9);printf("\nOn the %d%.2s day of christmas my true love sent to me%s\n",i,p+(i<4)*i*2,q),++i)++*q;}

Or, just download the smallest 12 days of christmas source, since the spacing is actually quite important!

Thursday 13th of April 2006

Society of Authors

I'd completely forgotten I was on the Society of Authors database. The idea is you include your profile, e.g.
Steven Goodwin, published author on the site and people looking for a collaborator, speaker or writer can use their database to find one.

After a few years without a murmur, I can safely assume it either:

1. Doesn't work.

2. Doesn't work for me.

Pah! But this is just one of many similar systems on the net. Unless there's a FOAF feature, I'm wondering if anyone will ever use such context-less searches?

Tuesday 11th of April 2006

I need a new monitor

Or rather, I'd like a new monitor. The one I have is fine, I'd just like to upgrade the second head on my music PC. It's the first time I've looked into hardware for a while. Wow!

A flat screen monitor for 150 notes.

Or a brand new PC, with monitor, and printer, for 340.

Remind me - who said that hardware will become free in the future? It can't be that far off.

(note to self: the cost of these cheap PCs still includes the Windows tax, so I must revise the process by which you can reclaim said costs)

Friday 24th of March 2006

The next big thing will be...

... geographically synchronous content.

That is, films, games and television shows will be available around the world at the same time. Perhaps a 24 hour delay will exist in some cases to accomodate time zones, but that's essentially synchronous.

Furthermore, I expect the Internet to be fundamental in providing this content.

What's in it for the consumer should be obvious, but the content providers gain too. They get their product to many more people in a manner they control. E4 (UK Digital TV station) saw its revenue increase dramatically when it become a free-to-view channel, due to the increased advertising potential.

Also, the market for pirate movies, games, is non-existant if they're released at the same time. Some movies do this already.

Finally, it'll keep traffic off the p2p and torrents since TV programs, such as 24, will be available legally, and essentially live. Furthermore, these official versions won't have the adverts cut out like the ripped versions. This again will increase their revenue stream.

There's probably other reasons and important points to raise here. But I'm tired (thanks to the great Technology 2.0 event at ZeroOne last night :) ) so will stop typing now.

Tuesday 21st of March 2006

Stuart Goddard *demands* to be known as Stuart Goddard

He's adamant!

(Sorry - just came to me...)

Friday 10th of March 2006

My first book review

Ok - so it's not impressive. But it's the only thing I've done this last week!
http://freesoftwaremagazine.com/ has my review of Michael Still's ImageMagick.

700 words in exchange for a $30 book... mmmm... cheaper than working ;)

Monday 27th of February 2006

Back home from FOSDEM

And boy am I tired :)

I will write my usual (world famous?) diary in due course, but for now I'll use this to say hello and thank you to all the organisers, friends (old and new), travel companions, ex-vampires and assorted geeks that made the weekend what is was!

Thursday 16th of February 2006

Windows vs Linux Ė A Virgin Speaks

Well, I'm not exactly a virgin.

I run Windows on three machines. I run Linux on four.

So, when deciding whether my newly acquired (second-hand, it is post-christmas, after all) iPaq should run a PocketPC WinCE installation, or Familiar I was essentially a virgin.

I started playing with Linux. It just worked. It had the usual PDA software. It had everything you'd want. Except, I wanted the iPaq as a universal remote control and the IR software wasn't up to snuff. As I don't have any time at the moment to do my community bit and write/port it I decided to try WinCE.

WinCE installed fine, and ran. I could find how to do anything though. There's no command line, a single level of "Programs" off the Start menu, it didn't want to understand my SD memory card unless I reset the machine, and I couldnít do anything with it. Nothing, that is, except run the pre-determine applications.

And I couldn't ActiveSync. For those that donít know, this program is a proprietary method of getting software from one broken Windows box, to another broken Windows box, and have very little chance of working. Oh, and it's the only way, it seems, that most PocketPC software will install as it copied CAB-like files to a specified directory that are then copied into the correct location on the iPaq. Not a simple as the Linux ipk installation from a local source.

I did get ActiveSync working eventually. A couple of reboots, and the removal of almost my entire network stack and I got finally get a couple of programs installed. Although the network scanner was missing .Net Compact Framework. And the TV remote was "Not a PocketPC Application."

Installing the Compact Framework resulting in installation errors, too.

Nevo works, however, so I can switch the channel on my VCR.

Tuesday 31st of January 2006

Simple script released

This script fades the volume of your Linux box up or down over a set period of time.

Aumix script for volume fades

Just type: fade.sh 60 0 to fade down to zero, over 60 seconds. It begins at the current volume level. I use it for gradually fading out my music in the evening, and fading it in again come morning. Both are triggered from cron.

It doesn't work accurately over very short time periods, but I don't need it. The code's under GPL though, so if that's your itch... scratch it!

Thursday 26th of January 2006

Blogging post-mortem

Is it sad, sick or conceited to put money in my will to pay for hosting fees after Iím dead?

Itís not that Iím going to be updating my blog every day, so thereís no dynamic content. A static grab of my web site, plus the custom source that currently makes it run, occupies just under 100 Meg. Thatís not a heavy burden.

In fact, I could create a site of remembrance. One co-lo should do it. So, as they say on Slashdot:

1. Die.
2. ...
3. Profit!

Wednesday 25th of January 2006

London to get a games museum

Well, not quite. Weíre to get a year-long exhibit as part of the science museum, according to the Metro this morning. It covers all the technology from Pong, to the as-yet-to-be-released PS3. Iím sure itíll bring in the crowds, help open gaming up some parents who still think of it in purely negative terms, and give an industry that generates more revenue (and pays more tax dollars) than most of the entertainment industry a highly visible platform.

However, Iím cynical. And Iíve been in the games industry for 12 years. So Iím using those unimportant, unconnected facts to highlight the current unknowns. Perhaps in the sense of the China-Google fiasco it will at least tempt someone to tell us what weíre not being told; as opposed to just hiding it.

Firstly, why is a history of games being sponsored? And by Nintendo. Granted they were quite big, but they are now a bit player in the industry. The Revolution is essentially a retro console, allowing people to play the games that were great in the past. The cynical might ask why are they sponsoring a review of games history.

The second question is the timing. Again, the Revolution is due to be released around the same time as the exhibition, so itís probably cheaper advertising than the TV and Nintendo wonít get outclassed by Sony at shows such as the (now-defunct) ECTS. Again.

And finally, Nintendo might even make money from this. Most of the big Science Museum exhibits cost money. The museum itself is free. You also had to pay for the James Bond thing they had in exhibition area during 2004 (or was it 2005, it was neatly timed with the film featuring the invisible car). Nor was the exhibit before that. Itís like an affiliate program, or advertising. ďSee these great Nintendo games Ė play the Revolution now Ė see the PS3 still in box and unavailable Ė then see which console you beg your parents for.Ē

Just to clarify, Iím not a Nintendo hater (I worked with them a few years while working on a Gamecube game), nor am I a fan boy. Of Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony. I am completely neutral. Iíve just become a little bit cynical with this announcement.

But the ultimate question is ultimately, will people go? Yes. And without reserve. Myself, included. While Iím disappointed that itís not an independent exhibit (so my email was either lost or ignored!) I view that any news is good news. Even if business is hijacking science Iíll let it slide providing itís not evil.

I just hope the Science Museum donít loose their reputation by blinding accepting the truths of Nintendo.

Expect a blog entry on how independent Nintendo managed to make it when it opens at the end of the year.

Tuesday 24th of January 2006

GP2x Affiliation

For those who have asked; I have joined the GP2X affiliation to make money. But I am doing so transparently. The banners on my page state clearly that I make money from them; and Iíve added a separate button that visits the same site but without the referrer id. I consider this the fairest way I could think of.

I hereby grant a Free license to re-use the text, graphics, and HTML pasted below when adding referrer links to their sites. Consider it in the public domain!

Buy With AffiliationGP2xBuy Directly

I am a member of the above affiliate program. Clicking the link on the left means I get paid a token amount for advertising to you, should you ultimately purchase. If you'd rather buy directly, without the affiliation link, then please click the logo on the right hand side instead. Please note that my affiliation begins and ends by providing this link; I have no other connection with them.

It could do with some nicer graphics, though! AnyoneÖ ?

p.s. I would pay you, but I don't expect to make any money from this!

Thursday 19th of January 2006

Free software! Sale ends soon!

Looks like I've got the home page at freesoftwaremagazine.com, again! Woo hoo!

It covers the GPL and the adherence, or otherwise, of GamePark Holdings to it with their GP2x handheld console.

Let's see what flames and abuse I get for this one ;)

Wednesday 18th of January 2006

Bibliography and Biography Online

I have, hesitantly, placed links to my bibliography of Linux and game development articles from publicly accessible web pages. That means it's now possible for Google, and his proverbial dog, to see what Iíve written and download it.

I know I haven't got time to keep it up to date, but I'm not famous enough for someone to else to do it for me, or rich enough to pay someone. But it's a start, and a useful addition to my online CV.

Monday 16th of January 2006

GP2x Circuit Bending

While I havenít had the nerve to start pushing coins into my shiny new toy, I have listened to the sound it makes while dying. And very satisfying it is too.

The GP2x dies

I hope to capture some better whines later, but since the GP2x gives no warning when the batteries are low (and putting half-dead ones in doesnít give it a chance to boot) this collection will be very small.

Wednesday 11th of January 2006

My GP2x page is up

As a direct result of finishing my GP2x article for the Free Software Magazine, I've built a small page with all the reference material there wasn't space to include. It's also got the links section, too.
GP2x information page

Also, after
I'd written the article, and after I'd formed my opinions, and after I submitted the article to the editor (Hi, Merc!) I then discovered the affiliation program and signed up to it to see if I can recoup some costs. I doubt it though...

Tuesday 10th of January 2006

Somebody elses notepad

I make notes. A lot of notes. Things to do, things to see, things to buy. You know, the usual.

Naturally, these lists get separated and lost. Even though I try and transfer everything to my PDA; to my laptop; to my server, it doesn't quite work. I hate having things on small devices and they can get lost or stolen, and you'll always lose something, no matter how often you it backup. I also hate having things on servers, they go offline, you can't take them with you, and so on.

My compromise is this: keep it on a server, and sync periodically, or when you're going out/shopping/etc and might have a use for this information. So far, I'm probably preaching to the choir.

However, my notepad of choice is not my own. It's somebody else's.

My DVD wants list, for example, is currently held as an Amazon wish list. I've also added annotations to myself about the cheapest price at which I've seen them. Hint: it's not always Amazon! And, although it's available to the general public, I know Amazon will want to keep this data safe because of the potential sales value of it. Well, I hope they do...

p.s. There's also various notes hidden in putfile and a few things in TinyURL. And of course, there's SiteBar and delicious for the boring stuff :) I still occasionally use the Blue Dust online office suite, but it doesn't get backed up as often as it should. Hey - perhaps I should open it up, create a distributed storage medium for it, and get logins on other peoples machines!