Weeknotes 2022.24: Some internet archaeology

I made my touring bike sad by not riding it for a full six months or so. While fixing a puncture on my other bike, I got Taran the tourer out of the bike cage today to test it—the tyres are still fine, the chain is still OK, but something’s wrong with one of the brake cables and doesn’t want to return properly when I release the lever. Guess it’s going to need some work before I’ll be touring again—not that that will probably be happening any time soon. Maybe I should take the opportunity to fiddle with the handlebars and make them more comfortable, too.

While on the train up towards Tottenham on Tuesday, I noticed some interesting reddish vegetation growing through the ballast. I’m not sure what it was, but it looked pretty. (Network Rail probably considers it a weed.)

A railway line taken from a train, with a rail, sleepers, ballast, and a brick platform, with red vegetation growing through the ballast.

On Saturday, I was researching for a post I want to write for this blog about my love affair with the Halo games. I put out a call for help on Twitter to locate a video I was sure I’d seen, a long time ago, of the first ever public demo of the video game Halo, taken from the hall at the MacWorld Expo New York in 1999. This video seemed to have disappeared from YouTube. A few friendly faces sent me links to alternates of the video, which was fine—but it wasn’t until I started looking on the ‘movies’ page of the venerable Halo.Bungie.Org fan site that I found what I was looking for. There I found a link to a video from The Mac Observer in 1999, breathlessly dubbed “The Best Halo Movie You Will See (Until Halo Is Released).” It took some effort to get it to play on my machine (video codecs have moved on since 1999, even if it still looks like a QuickTime file) and even more to get it to a state where it could be re-uploaded to Twitter—which proved entirely unnecessary, because someone uploaded it to the Internet Archive in 2013. It’s a fascinating historical artefact—a reaction video before the modern ‘reaction video’ genre even existed. It’s clear from the “ooh”s, “aah”s, gasps, and cheers of the audience that they realised this game was going to be something special. (The video was presumably taken by the writers of ‘The Idiots’ column for The Mac Observer, Randy Soare and Gary Randazzo—the latter of whom died in 2008. A sad ending to this little piece of internet archaeology, but I for one remain grateful for their small contribution of documentary evidence from the time around the creation of Halo.)

Garden Watch: The fuchsias are getting ready to pop. I’m regretting putting the trailing fuchsia so close to the floor. I’m thinking of getting a stool or a plant stand for the pot to stand on, so it’s not left creeping over the decking.