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Subject:Today's Portobello Road bargain...
Time:03:29 pm
...was a Polaroid Pogo bluetooth photo printer for mobile phones etc., the one that prints 2x3" photos with a sticky backing, boxed with charger and a sealed pack of 70 sheets of paper, for a tenner.

I'm charging it up now, I think there are a few sheets of paper inside which will let me test it without opening the pack. Because even if the printer is dead (and so far it's looking fine) the pack of paper alone is worth £15 and up on eBay, and the printers sell for £50+

Rather pleased about that one.


Later: it works, but the results are a bit streaky. It turns out that the packet of paper has a use-by date of 2010, the paper in the printer is probably older. Hopefully I will still be able to sell it, but probably not for as much as I initially thought.
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Subject:The Bovril Movie
Time:09:09 am
Little film about the classic 19th century inventions - Bovril

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Subject:Unintended consequence of eBay purchases
Time:01:02 pm
It's my grand-niece's birthday soon so I bought her a couple of presents. She's five and likes Hello Kitty stuff, so I got her a cheap watch and a pendant. And suddenly my eBay page and recommendations are virulent bright pink, so garish my eyes hurt.

I'm pretty sure she'll love them, but until I buy some other tat I think I'll need to turn down the brightness when I look at that page!
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Subject:Booked my tickets to Eastercon
Time:10:14 am
The train people are taking bookings for Easter; just booked my tickets and got my first choice of train times pretty cheaply, if you're going by train it's worth getting in now before they get heavily booked and some services run out of cheap seats.
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Subject:G4 update
Time:11:44 pm
G4 buyer seems to be happy and slightly boggled by the Euro popcorn mountain I sent him.
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Subject:Flash / Supergirl crossover coming
Time:10:34 pm
The Flash will be appearing in Supergirl on March 28th. Should be interesting...

http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-flash-and-supergirl-crossover-is-happening-people-1756890879
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Subject:Jupiter lens update
Time:09:10 pm
The Jupiter 135/4 lens seems to be working a bit better after turning it backwards and forwards a few times, which makes me think the problem was simply lack of use and grease badly distributed in the works. Still very stiff towards infinity. I've added it to my ebay listings, starting at 99p but hoping it will do considerably better. It turns out that these lenses have a weird interchangeable mount and I could actually convert it to Nikon fit for a tenner, but my D50 doesn't play nicely with manual lenses and I already have a zoom covering that range so it's probably more trouble than it would be worth.

update - first bid within an hour or so, hopefully more to come.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Osprey Adventures +2
Time:09:00 pm
This is a collection of RPG related stuff published by Osprey, better known for their monographs on soldiers etc. It isn't so much games or game supplements as a series of books covering things that gamers might want to know/adapt/use with whichever game they run. And it's supporting Doctors Without Borders, the charity that gets the income from my Flatland RPG. I suspect that this bundle will give them a LOT more money than I've been able to raise...

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Osprey2

"This is an all-new sequel to our August 2015 collection of Adventures volumes from Osprey Publishing. Osprey has become one of the world's most successful niche publishers. Originally owned by Berkshire Printing, part of the Brooke Bond tea company in the UK, Osprey was founded to publish the Aircam Aviation book series based on the collectible cards which were then packaged with Brooke Bond tea. Aircam's success spawned a long sequence of nearly 1,500 authoritatively written, beautifully illustrated military histories in nearly two dozen series, including Men-at-Arms (400 books) and Campaign (200+ books).

In 2008 Osprey entered the gaming market with the Field of Glory rules for ancient and medieval miniature wargaming. In 2011 Osprey inaugurated the Adventures imprint to explore myths and legends, secret histories, folklore, conspiracy theories, cryptozoology, UFOs and aliens -- subjects filled with interesting stories, whether they be factual, fictional, or somewhere in between. This new collection features nine fascinating Adventures titles, many written by leading designers in the tabletop roleplaying field.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$91. Customers who pay just $7.95 get all three titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Wizards by David McIntee (retail $10): The history and legends of Merlin, Simon Magus, Zhang Guo Lao, Nicolas Flamel, Dr John Dee, Faust, and many more.
  • Theseus and the Minotaur by Graeme Davis (retail $14): The Athenian king and his greatest foe, by the co-designer of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
  • Zombies: A Hunter's Guide by Joseph A. McCullough (retail $14): Defending our right to rest in peace.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles (retail value $53):
  • The Nazi Occult by Kenneth Hite (retail $10): Runic lore, the Ahnenerbe, Tibet, Aktion Hess, Werwolf, and more, by the designer of Trail of Cthulhu and Night's Black Agents.
  • Bug Hunts by Mark Latham (retail $14): Surviving and combating the alien menaces of the 23rd Century.
  • Werewolves: A Hunter's Guide by Graeme Davis (retail $14): Viral, shamanic, sorcerous, cursed, and obsessive lycanthropes.
  • The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow by Mark Latham (retail $15): And the many other headless spirits of history. What is their common link?
At least one additional surprise item will be added to the Bonus Collection after launch - as usual the way that this works is that everyone who pays for the bonus collection gets the extras, but the earlier you buy the less it all costs.

To me this seems like an interesting collection, especially if you're running some sort of weird shit/magic campaign, and the pricing seems OK. But as usual I have to stress that I don't actually pay for these things, my opinion might be different if I did.
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Subject:Today's charity shop bargains
Time:04:47 pm
Star Trek DS9 S1 DVD boxed set (the plastic case version)
Big Bang Theory S1-S5 DVD boxed set
A Russian Jupiter 135mm f4 lens which appears to be nice optically but a bit naff mechanically - not sure it'll focus to infinity - a good one for an amateur lens repairer (not me) so I'll be selling it in as-is condition. I think it may just need fresh grease and minor tweaking, it feels like it's a bit sloppy and something is binding in the focusing.

Total spent £7.
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Subject:More ebay tat
Time:09:46 pm
Continuing my goal of shifting out all the old crap faster than I can buy it (fat chance). This time a couple of DVDs (Minions and The Good, The Bad, The Weird), Flight Simulator 2004, the bluetooth datalogger thing I was playing with, some computer bits, an atomic (radio controlled) clock, and a weird macro video camera.

To see the full range of tat see here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
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Subject:Pickspam - Swans, Seagulls and Ducks, and canal repairs
Time:02:59 pm
Walked past the Round Pond a few days ago, still lots of swans there, presumably because of the warm weather. A few photos:

Big picturesCollapse )

And ongoing repairs to one of the locks on the canal near Kentish Town earlier this week.

Big picturesCollapse )
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Subject:Sold the iMac again
Time:07:09 pm
Hopefully for real, this time. I've accepted an offer of £200 from a UK bidder, should receive payment over the weekend. Let's see how long it takes to go horribly wrong...

later - And he's paid and delivery is booked. Means I'll have to stay in for collection on Monday, but no worries.
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Subject:Cheapo 3D for pads and phones
Time:02:02 am
Paging autopope and bohemiancoast - a cheap route to 3D on phones and ipads etc. Really doubt it works well without endless adjustments...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/SOONHUA-Photograph-Stereoscopic-Camera-Samsung/dp/B01ALL5QWY/ref=sr_1_122?srs=4884166031&ie=UTF8&qid=1453946183&sr=8-122

The interesting question for autopope, of course is if Scorpion Stare will work through it?
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Subject:Safari problem
Time:09:43 am
There was some sort of security patch for OS-X last night. Today I can't get the tab bar to work properly in Safari, if I open a second tab I lose the first and have to use "show all tabs" button to show them all, which is a lot less convenient. Anyone else come across this?

later - this seems to have partially cleared after a couple of reboots - I've got the tabs back, but for some reason I'm still seeing the URLS of all of the open tabs overlaid in the address box, or the same one showing twice overlaying itself, and searching from the address box doesn't work. VERY strange.
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Subject:Two more Bundle offers - Champions RPG
Time:08:30 pm
Another TWO bundle offers for one of my favourite RPGs, Champions (fifth edition) - the definitive superhero game and possibly the best (though GURPS fans would probably disagree, and the DC and Marvel systems have loyal followings). One is the basic game plus some useful supplements, more if you go for the bonus items; the other is some "ultimate" add-ons. I'll keep them separated below to make things clearer:



Champions 5E Bundle

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/ChampionsFifth

"The HERO System was introduced over 30 years ago in the first edition of one of the first superhero RPGs, Champions (1981). Designed by George Mac Donald, Steve Peterson, and Ray Greer, the Champions system grew beyond its roots into modern-day espionage, pulp action, fantasy, science fiction, giant robots, and more, eventually emerging as the all-encompassing HERO System. Still one of the most flexible rules frameworks in the hobby, HERO is also one of the best supported.

In November 2013 we presented a large and popular collection featuring the current (Sixth Edition) Hero line. The Sixth Edition, released in 2009, was well received and remains popular, but it made changes that, for the first time in Hero's three-decade history, introduced important incompatibilities with previous editions. The Fifth Revised "FRED" edition in this bundle, published in 2004, is the last version that plays (almost) seamlessly with every previous edition back to the original 1981 Champions.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$125. Customers who pay just $19.95 get all five titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $60) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Hero System Fifth Edition Revised rulebook (retail price $17): The unmatchably comprehensive 569-page compendium of the Fifth Edition rules.
  • Hero System Sidekick (retail $7): The essential Hero rules condensed into a 128-page book -- a great way to learn the system.
  • Champions Fifth Edition genre sourcebook (retail $22): A thorough exploration of superhero stories, written by the late Aaron Allston (Strike Force).
  • Champions Universe for Fifth Edition (retail $9): One of the most thorough and wide-ranging campaign settings for any superhero RPG.
  • Hero System Resource Kit (retail $5): A handy collection of charts and maps.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with nine more titles (retail value $65):
  • Conquerors, Killers, and Crooks (retail $9): Nearly 100 ready-made supervillains and villain teams.
  • VIPER: Coils of the Serpent (retail $9): The hands-down best treatment of the original Champions villain organization.
  • Millennium City (retail $11): An ideal campaign city, a glittering high-tech metropolis built on the ruins of Detroit.
  • Champions Battlegrounds (retail $9): Five scenarios (with reusable maps!) set in a park, construction site, carnival, and other often-seen fight sites.
  • Everyman (retail $9): A terrific collection of normal non-powered NPCs to flesh out your campaign.
  • Stronghold (retail $11): The Fifth-Edition update of the original Champions super-prison and the villainous inmates just waiting to escape.
  • Millennium City University (retail $2), Stronghold Files Volume 1 (retail $2), and Tablets of Destiny (retail $3): Three small "Hero Plus" files with new characters, setting details, and an adventure.
There don't appear to be any surprise extras for this collection.



Ultimate Champions

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/UltimateChampions

"The "Ultimate" books are exhaustive treatises of individual superhero archetypes: speedster, energy projector, mentalist, martial artist, brick, and so on.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$99. Customers who pay just $14.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $41) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • The Ultimate Mentalist for Fifth Edition (retail price $11): The powers of the mind in comics, fantasy, horror, and more.
  • The Ultimate Energy Projector (retail $11): How to focus everything from heat vision to fireballs to Saturnian blasters.
  • The Ultimate Brick (retail $8.50): The big goons who throw tanker trucks.
  • The Ultimate Vehicle (retail $10.50): A spectacularly useful catalog of conveyances and all the important rules, including vehicles as characters.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles (retail value $59):
  • The Ultimate Martial Artist for Fifth Edition (retail $16):A 195-page treatise of every existing martial art plus rules for creating new ones.
  • The Ultimate Metamorph (retail $11): Shapeshifters and mutants in every genre.
  • The Ultimate Skill (retail $11): The authoritative 400-page treatment of Fifth Edition HERO System skills. Available in .PDF only in this offer and nowhere else.
  • The Ultimate Speedster (retail $9.50): Hit the Speed Zone to become the Fastest Hero Alive.
  • Hero System Vehicle Sourcebook for Fifth Edition (retail $10.50): Hundreds of example vehicles of every kind, all built using The Ultimate Vehicle.
Again, there aren't any surprise extras planned at present, but there is a slight possibility that another book will be added if the distributor can come to an agreement with the publisher - at the moment this isn't at all certain, but keep watching; If it is added anyone who gets the bonus collection will also receive the extra title.


As you might guess from the introduction, I'm very interested in these offers - some of this stuff I have in earlier editions, a lot I don't. It looks to be pretty good value, you're getting some VERY large books fairly cheaply, and as I said it's a classic RPG, and probably the definitive superhero RPG.

Disclaimer: As usual I have to stress that I get this stuff free, if I was paying for it I might not be so keen, so your mileage may vary!
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Subject:Outside
Time:11:37 pm
Our world as an MMORPG...

https://www.reddit.com/r/outside/top/?sort=top&t=all
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Subject:Home Office pay threshold bollocks
Time:09:50 pm
gacked from gonzo21 and from

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/118060

In April (2016) the Home Office and Theresa May are introducing a pay threshold for people to remain here, after already working here for 5 years. This only affects non-EU citizens that earn under £35,000 a year, which unfairly discriminates against charity workers, nurses, students and others.

This ridiculous measure is only going to affect 40,000 people who have already been living and working in the UK for 5 years, contributing to our culture and economy. It will drive more workers from the NHS and people from their families. This empty gesture will barely affect the immigration statistics. It's a waste of time, money and lives.

This is the first time the UK has discriminated against low-earners. £35k is an unreasonably high threshold. The UK will lose thousands of skilled workers.

Petition against it here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/118060
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Subject:Oh goody...
Time:01:23 am
After approximately 44 hours of waiting for the payment to arrive, the guy who bought the iMac G4 has just told me he wants to cancel; he didn't notice that there was a crack in the screen surround, even though it's mentioned in the item description and there's a close-up picture of the crack.

Oh well, no harm done apart from my annoyance, and at least it's packed now so I will be able to send this easily when it does sell.

Since it turns out that the buyer (a) only joined eBay two days ago and (b) was based in China I'm feeling a little relieved.
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Subject:Gmail adds cancel send button
Time:09:54 pm
Learned this evening - just after sending two emails that had errors and had to be followed up with corrections - that you can now add a "Cancel Send" button to gmail. What this does is add in a small delay of up to 30 seconds (depending on settings) before sending it to the recipient; if you press the undo link that comes up (next to the "your message has been sent" info) before the time is up it cancels sending and returns you to editing the message.

The setting is in the cogwheel menu under "settings" - I think it will occasionally be very useful.
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Subject:A New Old Use For Popcorn
Time:12:15 pm
It looks like I've sold the big iMac G4 (and for my full asking price!); the transaction is still processing since it's an overseas buyer and I'm using eBay's global shipping program. The down side is I've got to pack the thing. For various reasons it's going to have to go in the box diagonally, which means I need to fill out the box somehow. Nobody local sells commercial packing materials cheaply, but I have loads of bubble wrap so I've thoroughly wrapped the Mac (with bubble wrap then card then more wrap over the screen) and put the software, speakers, keyboard etc. in more bubble pack around it.

That still leaves a lot of space, so what I've decided to do is pack it out with a cheap biodegradable material - popcorn. I got a kilo bag of the grain yesterday, and I have a hot air popper. It looks like I can easily make enough to fill out the box with bags of popcorn, and since its made with hot air, not oil, it isn't greasy or smelly. The only hard part is not eating huge amounts!

This isn't actually a new idea - back in the seventies / eighties I think Dell or one of the other computer companies did this. But everyone went over to commercially made pellets filled with insecticides etc. or the plastic crap. For a big company that's obviously easier - for me I think the old method will work fine for a one-off package.

Just letting the machine cool a little before I make the next bag. Mmmmm, popcorn....


In other news there has been nothing more from calculator guy - I think he's decided that I'm not going to fall for his con, especially since I kept telling him that he needs to do this via eBay and the Italian post office and police. It's now nearly two months since I sold it, four weeks since it was delivered, and almost three weeks since he claims to have opened it, and I only give a 14-day returns warranty, so I think the boat has sailed. We'll see what happens.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Swords and Sorcerers
Time:07:02 pm
This is described as "a collection of RPGs in the sword-swinging tradition of Howard, Leiber, and Moorcock," e.g. heroic fantasy. Not quite my cup of tea, but possibly of interest to others:

"This is a bargain-priced collection of RPGs featuring the vigorous fantasy sub-genre of sword and sorcery -- fast-moving, often violent stories of sword-swinging heroes, colorful settings, headlong action, and dark magic. Inspired by the fantasy stories of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, and many others, these exciting RPGs conjure swordplay and enchantment in many fantasy worlds and even modern times.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Reading is Fundamental.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$103. Customers who pay just $8.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $42) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Two Shadow, Sword, & Spell rulebooks from Rogue Games -- Basic (retail price $7) and Player (retail $7): Human-centered pulp fantasy a la Howard, Leiber, Gardner Fox, Jack Vance, and other great writers. The Player guide adds lots of extra options. (See below for even more SS&S books.)
  • Crimson Exodus 2nd Edition (Radical Approach, retail $16): This unusual FRPG brings sword-and-sorcery flavor to a dynamic low-fantasy dungeonland of orcs, elves, and dwarves.
  • Sword Noir (Sword's Edge, retail $7): A tasty and amazingly effective cross of dark fantasy with hardboiled film noir. (Think of Glen Cook's Garrett PI novels and Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos.)
  • Nod (Simon Carryer Games, retail $5): Three pages of rules, five sheets of cards, and in moments you're weaving a tale of a barbarian in the mysterious city of Nod.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more titles (retail value $61):
  • Barbarians of Lemuria - Mythic Edition (Filigree Forge, retail $17): The heroic RPG of post-apocalyptic sword-and-sorcery in a gorgeous 211-page color edition.
  • Two more Shadow, Sword, & Spell books from Rogue Games -- Expert (retail $7) and Gamemaster (retail $7): Expanded rules and new methods for the pulp fantasy game introduced in our Starter Collection.
  • On Mighty Thews (Simon Carryer Games, retail $5): The quintessential indie game of S&S storytelling -- simple yet perfect.
  • Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk (Arion Games, retail $15): Cast dark magic under burning skies in this D6-System game of Persian-style myth and desert culture.
  • Legacy: War of Ages - Basic Edition (Battlefield Press, retail $10): There can be only one in this 1993 game of techno-gothic swordfighting immortals.
There will be at least one more title added to the bonus collection after launch. As usual the way that this works is that anyone who pays for the bonus collection gets all of the extras too, regardless of when they pay, but the earlier you pay the cheaper it is.

I'm probably not going to be downloading this stuff, it really isn't my area of interest, but I think it looks a reasonable deal. As usual I need to point out that I get them free of charge if I want them, so I'm naturally inclined to look favourably on these offers, but if there's ever anything that looks like a crappy deal I'll say so.
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Subject:Fanfic - Multiple Crossovers - Messing With the Mouse
Time:10:04 pm
I've just posted a story called Messing With the Mouse on the Buffyverse crossover site Twisting the Hellmouth - http://tthf.me/7lZc

Like the last one, I won't be posting it here because it's set in a hugely complicated multiple crossover setting created by Diane Castle which must be getting on towards a couple of million words by more than a dozen authors - the bits you will need to read for it to make any sense, at a minumum, are the first and third stories of this series: A Brane of Extraordinary Women - together they're about 1.4 million words! I think it's a fair assumption that most people who read this will already be familiar with this setting from having read these stories over several years, so I'm not going to try to explain it here.

In case I forgot to say so my previous story in this world, Bad Medicine, is complete - http://tthf.me/klBc
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Subject:Server Tycoon
Time:07:46 pm
Really not sure if this kickstarter is serious or an elaborate joke

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1567327150/server-tycoon

The idea is to grow your own server farm, add more hardware, deal with cyber attacks, etc.

Can't help wondering if this is the NSA or GCHQ outsourcing cyberwarfare...

They're trying to raise 100,000 Euros which seems to be a bit on the optimistic side; so far a bit over 5000.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Nest of Spies
Time:10:30 pm
This is a collection of games etc. about spies and espionage from various companies, with some of the proceeds going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation

http://bundleofholding.com/presents/NestOfSpies

"Nest of Spies" is a new collection of modern spy and espionage RPGs. From cat-and-mouse Le Carre intrigue in Cold War Berlin to high-tech clandestine raids to Bond-style superspy action -- and even to techgnostic magicks against the God-Machine -- this bargain-priced collection is your license to thrill.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity,the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$113. Customers who pay just $9.95 get all four complete games in our Starter Collection (retail value $42) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Classified (Expeditious Retreat Press, retail price $12): Clean your tuxedo and ready your Walther -- this retro-clone (remember Victory Games?) gives the world's most famous British secret agent serious competition.
  • Covert Ops (DwD Studios, $10): Secrets, seduction, infiltration, and deception of every kind from classic spies to paramilitary intelligence. Includes the GM Operations Manual and The Usual Suspects, a book of ready-made NPCs.
  • Spione (Adept Press, $10): Ron Edward's innovative historical game of Cold War intrigue in Berlin. Build scenes where agents keep losing friends and companions until you come in from the cold. (Previously presented in our April 2015 Indie Spring Festival.)
  • Spycraft 2.0 (Crafty Games, $20): The D20 Modern RPG of action-adventure, master villains, vile henchmen, cool gadgets, car chases, and even hacking and brainwashing.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles (retail value $61):
  • Demon: The Descent (Onyx Path Publishing, retail price $25): Play the Unchained, fallen angels who defected to humanity and now fight a covert war against the God-Machine and its screaming biomechanical angels.
  • Classifed: Operation Rogue Lion (Expeditious Retreat Press, $7): Travel from Zanzibar to Botswana to Macau to solve a little problem involving lots of diamonds.
  • Covert Ops: Five Short Assignments (DwD Studios, $14): These Covert Ops supplements present cyberware, new roles and responsibility, and three globe-spanning adventures.
  • Spycraft: World On Fire (Crafty Games, $15): A Spycraft 2.0setting where Cold War spy action never ended.
There will be at least one more title added to the bonus collection after launch. As usual the way that this works is that anyone who pays for the bonus collection gets all of the extras too, regardless of when they pay, but the earlier you pay the cheaper it is. All of the books are DRM-free PDFs

I think that most people run occasional games that draw on the espionage themes, even if they're primarily in a different genre; for example, a lot of my Forgotten Futures adventures have used espionage tropes, or involved spy missions of some sort. I also write some fiction with espionage settings, and this could be useful for that, so I'm pretty interested. Having said that, as usual I need to point out that I get this stuff free if I want it, I might not be so interested if I was paying for it so your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Watch a tortoise for Alan Rickman
Time:09:49 pm
Gacked from sbisson

https://youtu.be/HkiMz-e2ZcE

Not embedded because it's a payment per hit advertising thing for charity.
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Subject:Laptop update
Time:04:23 pm
Forgot to say that I got the Macbook Pro back earlier this week and have been using it with one of those silicone keyboard condoms since its return.

So far my impressions are pretty good - my typing speed and accuracy seems no worse than usual, e.g. still crap, it doesn't seem to make pressing on the keys any harder, and it's staying in place without any adhesive etc. Considering it only cost a couple of quid including postage I'm very pleased. No idea how well it will last, of course.

if anyone else in the UK wants to try one, the eBay listing is here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271265787839

While I bought the clear type, you can get them in various colours with the key labels on the plastic. This might be very useful for someone who often needs another language or keyboard layout - I just checked and you can easily get e.g. Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, though some of those are more expensive since they come from other countries. Lighter if not quite as convenient as a plug-in keyboard.
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Subject:Calculator update
Time:09:03 pm
I thought that they'd given up, but I just had another email. This one telling me that ebay has advised them to contact me to sort it out - and as usual my reply is that they have to go through ebay official channels and actually open a case, so that I can report it to the post office and police. For some reason they seem to be very reluctant to do that.

At this stage I really don't care much - I can prove I posted the goods, although not what was in the package, and that they received it, and that should be enough to get ebay seller protection. I just find it all a bit annoying, especially the insults to my honesty and (if I'm right to think this is an attempted con) my intelligence.
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Subject:Citing
Time:08:54 pm
I looked at the Wikipedia article on Charing Cross Road and noticed that:
In the Harry Potter books, the Leaky Cauldron pub is located on Charing Cross Road.[citation needed]
Now this actually isn't entirely unreasonable - in the first three books the location is never explicitly stated, the Knight Bus reaches it via Charing Cross Road in the third book but could have taken another turning before arrival. I haven't checked 4-6 but I'm pretty sure the only explicit reference is in book 7:

"...He opened his eyes on Charing Cross Road. Muggles bustled past wearing the hangdog expressions of early morning, quite unconscious of the little inn's existence."

So I've put this in as a reference:
The location of The Leaky Cauldron is implied in the earlier books but stated explicitly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Chapter 26, page 423 Bloomsbury Edition, states "...He opened his eyes on Charing Cross Road. Muggles bustled past wearing the hangdog expressions of early morning, quite unconscious of the little inn's existence."
Anyone think that there will be complaints that it's "original research?"
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Time:10:50 pm
A friend is trying to identify a children's SF novel which I know I read in the late fifties or early sixties:

I have a memory from ooh 40+, maybe nearly 50 years back. YA scifi book. Man ends up in smoky eastern European type café with set of Russians. They are going off to Jupiter or Saturn in their flying saucer which looks like a flying saucer with four twisty vertical arms coming up off the rim with strange blobs attached (book is illustrated, you understand). On arrival (no gravity problems, no temperature problems, no swirling clouds of methane, just land on normal surface) the locals collar them and house them in 3 large glass man-shaped houses. Four scientists get Einstein (or such-like), 3 poets get Pushkin (or such-like), and the misfit lives alone in the glass angry man. Eventually flying saucer 2 – 3 arms (or was it the other way round?) come and rescue them.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Anyone recognize it?
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Subject:Buying and Selling
Time:07:53 pm
Nice day - started out doing some housework then went to Pimlico for the first car boot sale of the year. I got a very basic 35mm f2.8 lens (which I'll be selling straight on) for £3 and a Macbook power supply for a fiver, but won't be able to check that until I get my Macbook Pro back from keyboard replacement. Walked back via Hyde Park, which might use up a few grams of flab from Xmas.

I've just listed the 20" iMac G4 on eBay with quite a lot of accessories and software for £225, but will accept a little less. Also selling some other stuff including some RAM and an old Airport card, and the lens once I've written the listing. As usual everything is here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
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