Sunday, December 30, 2007

Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Crashing HP Compaq PC Saga Continues

After being thoroughly miffed for several days at why my brand new HP PC would crash, BSOD (blue screen of death), give me many different error messages each time it did crash, hang when restarting, etc. I think I know the reason why.

I bought an extra 2Gb of RAM which I installed. Apparently, if you use RAM from different manufacturers together (the PC has 1Gb of HP RAM and then my extra 2Gb of Kingston RAM) it can cause all sorts of problems such as the ones I've been experiencing.

So I took my RAM out and it hasn't crashed since. I will try swapping the 1Gb that is in now with the 2Gb and see if there's any change in stability. It's a pity I can't have both sets of RAM in, giving me 3Gb, but I'm not sure I'll even notice the difference. I'm not a big gamer and all I do is sury the web, emails and website updates.

Why tattoos? WHY?!?!?

As with all people who have tattoos in my opinion, Leona Lewis' boyfriend looks like jail bait.

Yeah, that's going to look really cool when you're having a bed bath at 84...

Iain Lee on LBC 97.3

I used to listen to Iain Lee on LBC - a London phone-in station.

Sadly, he got the boot when the station was bought by Global Radio, but he'll be on Virgin Radio, a national station, on Sunday evenings from the New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The New Spaceship Earth at Epcot

I saw a preview on-ride video of the refurbished Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot.


Those compliant animatronics are simply amazing. I watched the video of the ride how it was before the refurb, then after. It really is superb. Apart from the ending which is a bit 'cheap' looking (just looking at a screen in your 'time machine vehicle').

Just little hand movements or gestures make the figures look so realistic, notably the Phoenician merchants and the Roman soldier.

I wonder if any more will change before it officially opens?

Christmas 2007

Another successful Christmas - the second and last in my new home.
No arguments, no drunkeness now that the dead wood has gone. The usual power cut (what year are we living in?!)

I'm really taking advantage of the phone not ringing - I have about 3 naps per day, usually on my sofa. Although today I had 3 calls, with none of the callers surprised that the phone was answered. All my suppliers start work again on 2nd January.

Trying to set-up my new PC. I'm such a PC stalwart and anti-Mac, but this HP PC gives me a different error message each time I switch it on - and all I've done is put extra RAM in it. I'm not keen on a full switch-over until it's more stable. I've always loved HP printers, but I'm still a sceptic with their PCs! I never had this with Fujitsu Siemens. I have also ordered a SATA power cable which I didn't know I needed until I tried to install the secondary hard drive.

I modified the keyboard to be my favoured Dvorak layout. I did need a knife to whittle away some plastic nodules on 4 keys, but now it's perfect. Look up Dvorak keyboard layouts and you'll see what mine looks like - if you try it you'll wonder why you're still using QWERTY. I've been using one for about 5 years now and could touch type within a month of switching - it just seems more natural.

My printed Christmas cards from VistaPrint never arrived in time, so I didn't bother sending any out to suppliers - only one sent one to me anyway (I know that's not the spirit, but the amount of money I spend with them you'd think they'd at least try to keep me sweet....).

My mum is loving her Creative Stone MP3 player I got her. She can now listen to LBC's podcasts of Steve Allen and Paul Ross wherever and whenever she wants. We did have a hard time figuring it out how to switch it on! There are no instructions!

Not a great deal on TV - BBC1 had Finding Nemo (or 'Hunt the Fish' as my mum calls it!) and Gone with the Wind (3 hours 50 minutes!). You forget how annoying adverts are when you're watching films on the BBC. I was also watching a lot of the "World's Wildest Police Chases" with narration from John Bunell. His over-dramatic delivery is funny.

The birds are eating the fat balls hanging from the tree in the front garden. They get ravaged every so often by a gaggle of thrushes who come along and gorge themselves. We prefer the blue tits and robins to eat them, but very often they end up pecking at the scraps that have fallen to the floor.

Well, mum's back with some French bread for our tomato soup, so off I pop!

Neutral News Reporting

I think there's a huge difference in the way the news is reported in the USA to the UK. We have a very neutral narrative which neither condemns or gives any indication whether what has happened in a news story is right or wrong. In the USA it's very clear whether something is right or wrong. The BBC influenced news media in the UK simply puts across the facts, foolishly assuming that the viewer will and can determine whether an event or incident is good or bad. I don't think many can. IT's like films and computer games that glamourise violence. There doesn't seem to be the distance between holding something at arms length as 'bad'.

And why is it that whenever I switch on the black music channels on Sky TV that there are always about 20 semi naked black women sexually gyrating their arse holes about 4 inches from the camera? Is this what being black is all about? The objectification of women? If that's what our government want integrating into our English society for villiage fetes and long queues, then I don't think I agree with it.

To quote P. Moore:
I don't remember there being a vote for whether we all wanted to have a multi-cultural society.

Bully boys Apple shuts down rumours website

What harm was it doing?

Where are their charity donations to match those of Bill Gates?


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chamber of Commerces are rip-offs

I got a letter from my local Chamber of Commerce this morning, saying "Due to unavoidable, inflationary pressure on our direct costs, we have been obliged to revise our tariff in respect of documentation services". Quite what these pressures are with regard to pieces of paper and stamps, I don't know.

So now, to get one European Certificate of Origin form stamped by the Chamber of Commerce - just a piece of paper, stamped, with a stamp - not a gold plated stamp or a wax seal or anything fancy - now costs £44.65 ($89). That's through the mail. If I wanted to go there in person and have them stamp it in front of me, I pay another £36.31 ($73) for the honour, which would total £80.96 ($161).

What planet are they living on?

The planet of EU bureaucracy that blights our lives.


In October 2007 eBay wrote off $1.43 billion of its investment in Skype, admitting that it "drastically overpaid" for the company (for which it paid $2.6billion in September 2005).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First new PC in 4 years

I've used Fujitsu Siemens PCs for about 8 years now. They have all, bar one, been reliable and simply replaced because the amount of software and junk has bogged them down. The speed of PCs doesn't appear to have changed for at least 5 years. When I first bought a PC in 1994, the speed of the newest PCs seemed to double every few months. It has now reached a plateau.

I bought a HP Compaq.
After downloading over 90 Windows security updates....(!), Windows XP Pro starts within 30 seconds,
I even managed to get up to 218kb/sec download speed on the internet.
The irony was that the AOL default home page crashed IE6, so that's been changed to something less offensive!
I paid more to have a PC with XP Pro than one with Vista Business. I set-up a friend's laptop and Vista runs sooooooooo sllllloowwwly it's awful.
I had bought a small-form Acer M100 but it wouldn't go into standby and ran extremely hot. I also timed it against the FS PC I'm using to type this and it was exactly the same start-up speed.

I still wonder how fast my new PC would run Windows 3.11.

I still have 2 Gb of RAM to install and a 0.5 terrabyte HD!!! What fun!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Carbon Neutral Car

A bit of a weird day - I have yet to face writing a letter to someone on eBay who cashed my cheque but didn't send the item. Brings the anger back up to the surface. But I'm threatening them with court action so we'll see what happens.

My new chair gives me a hot bum. Should I have picked the 93% wool fabric?

I now have car insurance which is carbon neutral. They offset my car use by planting trees, or stopping cows from farting or something. Whatever they do, it's £273 I'll never get back.

Someone at work said they were describing me to their girlfriend and called me the funniest person he'd ever met. I was flattered. It's a pity he's leaving this weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good Old Patrick!

In May 2007, Patrick Moore provocatively asserted that the BBC was being "ruined by women", commenting that:

"The trouble is that the BBC now is run by women and it shows: soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn't have had that in the golden days."

In response, a BBC spokesman described Moore as being one of TV's best-loved figures and remarked that his "forthright" views were "what we all love about him".

Smooth North East

Test transmissions for Smooth have started on 107.7FM.

Will it be Century all over again? Or has Myers schmoozed Ofcom to make it just like all the other Smooths, rather than a Saga, how it was awarded?

I have a feeling Century FM and Smooth (both owned by GMG) will sound raaaaaaaather alike....

China are polluting on behalf of the West

I watched a film called "How is your fish?" about the increase in capitalism in China. It was a bit too surreal, but was interesting to see a glimpse into the daily lives of another world.

Everyone's going on about how China are polluting the planet.

But in this film, I saw a young couple in a village sit in silence in a bare room - food stored in sacks or covered in newspapers (they have no fridge). The couple were eating - arguing about who gets to eat the fish head, the man drinking a small cup of beer. Then the lights went out - they do not have 24 hour-a-day electricity. They lit a candle to finish, then went to bed.

Then I look around my lounge with all the plastic things like TVs and electronics that no doubt caused much pollution to manufacture - manufactured in China not for the Chinese, but for us Westerners.

So although the Chinese may be polluting, they are polluting because we (the west) are getting them to manufacture stuff for us to use! So whose fault is it, really?

At least the fish-eating couple weren't wasting food - I'm not sure how many western families would eat the entire fish - including the head. Then leave porch lights and floodlights on all night while they sleep.

This Chinese couple's carbon footprint must be minute.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Noisy neighbours?

Ahhh, the benefit of living in a detatched house.

Here I am at 3.30am singing at the top of my voice without worrying about disturbing anyone.

For someone who lived in a semi-detatched for 26 years, it's still a novelty!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

X Factor Judges Chairs

I received my Kite chair from Boss Design today. I've mentioned it on this blog with regard to it being the chair the judges sat on in the last series of X Factor. It's very nice - not sure whether it quite warrants the price tag, but it's certainly better than the office chairs Staples sell. It's early hours, so I'll let you know how it fairs against my Aeron!

Global warming starts with parents

So there's people talking about global warming. They should mention it to the 30+ parents in cars outside our local primary school who every day sit there for 40 minutes waiting for 3pm with the engines of their 4x4s turning over to keep them warm inside whilst they read the latest chick lit.

The month so far

I've had the busiest few business weeks in my life. Lots of orders to process and accounts to keep up-to-date. It's been great!

I managed to squirt the neighbour's annoying dog in the face with my water pistol today. It's so moronic that it just barks at people walking past their garden wall. Why they don't put it in their house so we don't all have to endure its incessant barking through the day is beyond me. I haven't tried a strongly worded letter through the door yet, but maybe soon.

I like my new mobile phone. It's a Motorola F3. Very basic - no predictive text, no colour screen, nothing. But great call clarity (something my Samsung E350 let me down with) and very easy to use. And cheap!

I'm expecting a few things to be delivered by the end of this week.

Something I miss about Christmas is not being at school. We of course had a big church service at Christmas with those superb Christmas hymns, with the choir doing harmonies that they never did for hymns at any other time - real hairs standing up moments. Like the one "Rejoice, Emmanuelle"

I'm still trying to get rid of some tiny flies that have entered the house since I bought some house plants - a Dragon fern and a Mexican fortune tree. I've put them in the garden room so the flies are now rare in the house, but I can't think how to get rid of them other than spraying the plants.

It's 4.12am and I've just got off the phone with Fasthosts - !!!

Oh dear Fasthosts

Oh dear to Fasthosts.

I have a website hosted with them, and in October they said they'd had a 'network intrusion' which meant someone had all the passwords for their 605,000 customer accounts (or summink). They emailed everyone telling them to reset their passwords.

Then 2 months on, they reset everyone's passwords who hadn't reset them already. Sadly, this means a huge majority of their customers cannot update their websites. They did it to mine 5 days ago and I still haven't received the new password through the post (which is how they were going to tell everyone).

I'm in a queue now on their telephone support line. Remember, this is a UK company. It is 2.55am and I'm at queue position it's not just me who thought calling in the wee small hours would be better than through the day (when the lines are just engaged all the time).

I can't imagine what it's like to work there now. I remember in 2001 I used to call them in the morning and it sounded like I'd woken up the lone student operator the Bristol-based call centre. Bless!

Oh dear EFH Broadband

Oh dear to EFH Broadband.

I joined them a year ago, and they were quite good. They've since been sold to another small broadband comany, 186k, who have turned it into some sort of 'back bedroom' operation. They send invoices via email without any explanation, reference or facility to pay it! Last time I just forgot about it and waited until they cut off the service which then made the default webpage their 'pay now' facility.

Pretty poor show for the price I'm paying, so I don't think I'll be staying with them in the new year.