Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You wait 2 years for an update and then 3 come along at once

Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time reading webcomics and the ones I used to, I don't any more. I currently look at and questionable content more regularly than anything else and still occasionally look at and even more rarely because of the infrequency of the updates I go and look at the superb Scandinavia and the World; I've learned a lot about my Scandinavian cousins and world history reading that one

Windows 7 USB Drivers problems

I've been having problems recently getting my Windows 7 machine to recognise my iPhone or my Android Phone. Finally managed to get them both working by manually updating the drivers for them both. Details to come.... watch this space

EE and Orange do Visual Voicemail

Who knew? On the iPhone at least you can get visual voicemail by texting "iPhone visual" (without the quotes) to 150 and on EE this comes at no extra charge. Check out their new website help page for more information on doing this for Orange Apparently it's not avaialabe yet for T-Mobile or Android peeps.   

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Windows Phone 8 - Just the bullet points

This is what I heard

  • Shared Kernel with windows 8 based on NT rather than CE
  • Multi core CPU support up to 64
  • hd screen resolutions: WVGA, WXGA 720p 
  • NFC Payments and loyalty cards 
  • SD Cards
  • IE 10 browser
  • Nokia Map Data with turn-by-turn navigation
  •  enterprise features: encryption, secure boot, it management
  • New Start Screen with resizeable active tiles
  • share info between phone and other windows device (Like andoird beam)
  • in App Purchases
  • Deep Skype integration
and the killer No upgrade path for ANY legacy devices but as a sop there will be a WP 7.8 although all I can find about that is that it will be an OTA update and include the new start screen

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Une See is Back (Update)

Hurrah! After a 2 year hiatus, Une See is back at with a new comic. P.S. You also need to follow @unesee and @xanderbolt to get the full effect

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tethering iPhone to Ubuntu 11.04

Founf this article which works a treat

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Let's Talk iPhone Event - just the least boring bits

30 minutes of “aren’t Apple wonderful” waffle
So far 40 minutes into the “event” the only interesting thing is the launch date for iOS5 will be October 12th
Find My Friends App (sounds like Google Latitude)
iPod Nano updated version finger swiping navigation and cheaper available today (in US)
iPod Touch will run iOS5 and have a white version.
iPhone 4S

  • Looks exactly the same as the 4.
  • A5 chip as used in iPhone 2. Demo of Infinity Blade 2 with impressive graphics
  • Better battery – 8 hours 3G, 14 Hours 2G, 9 hours WiFi, ten hours video
  • Two antennas to improve call quality and potentially download data faster.
  • Can use both GSM and CDMA networks.
  • 8 Mega Pixel camera with faster sensor and wider aperture. Impressive photos. 1080p HD Video with image stabilization.
  • Airplay Mirroring to link with Apple TV and big screens.
  • Voice Control Beta in English, French and German of lots of functions (from software developed by recent acquisition Siri) and voice synthesis e.g. “remind me to call my wife when I leave work” integrating contacts, GPS and calendar. Voice activated search results like “what is the exchange rate between the Euro and the Dollar”
  • 16GB, 32GB, 64GB Versions (iPhone 4 8GB version reduced and 3GS now free with contract)
  • Pre-orders from 7th October and phones available on October 14th. Obviously that’s in US, don’t know UK carriers or launch dates yet but they claim it will be their fastest rollout yet available with 100 carriers in 70 countries before the end of the year.

Monday, June 20, 2011


It was my birthday last week and the whole family chipped in to buy me a present I will never forget. I have always wanted to fly a plane and last week finally I did it. IT WAS FANTASTIC. I flew a 4-seater Piper Cherokee Archer II from Blackpool Airport to Lancaster and back

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pain Rating

Who came up with this Pain Rating thing? I worry about this kind of stuff. What if what the worst I can imagine is nowhere near as bad as the worst you can imagine because I have a poor imagination, so my 6 is like your 2. It's completely subjective and that bothers me. Is an objective measure of pain even remotely possible, if it were you'd think someone would have done it by now.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ecky Thump

It's been over 40 years (Nov 1970) since three men on a trandem first promised to do "anything, anytime anywhere".

For those of you that haven't ever seen The Goodies you *have* to watch BBC2 tonight at 11:30pm. The Kung Fu Capers (aka Ecky Thump) Episode is being shown as one of a short series of repeats of some classic episodes of the show.

For those of you who remember seeing it, enjoy watching it again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Screenshot of iPhone

Other people probably already know this so this is really just a note for myself. I recently needed to take a screenshot of something on my iPhone and didn't know how to do it. It's actually surprisingly easy but not likely to be the kind of thing you would stumble upon. All I needed to do was:

Get the screen you want on the screen
Press and hold the "home" button and press the "sleep" button, the release both in the same way you would press Shift and 4 to get a $ sign on a keyboard.
The screen flashed white and the image then ends up in your camera roll.
You can then email it or transfer it like any other photo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No more XP "downgrade" rights?

Microsoft still has a program in place whereby computer buyers who purchase machines that come with Windows 7 Professional can "downgrade" them to Windows XP Pro. But that program is set to end when Windows 7 SP1 is released (or April 2011, whichever comes first). After that, most customers won't be able to get XP for a new system - except via the XP Mode Virtual Machine for Windows 7 Pro. Microsoft is working on SP1. No release date has been given, but it's likely it will happen long before the April 2011 date, so if you're interested in taking advantage of that offer, you probably need to do it sooner rather than later. Find out more here:

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

New Web Comic

Une See is the name of the main protaganist. It's only been going for a few weeks and updates once a week, usually at weekends. It's being made by a couple of students and drawing it entirely in crayon was apparently a deliberate design decision.

Here's a link to my favourite so far

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Pencil vs Camera

Flickr Stream of Ben Heine, a clever Belgian artist. Go have a look

Friday, April 30, 2010

Apple CEO outlines reasons for refusing Flash

Having recently been enticed by the dark side and finally having purchased an Apple product after years of pointing the finger of scorn at mitten-wearing fanbois, things like this have now started to become things I no longer don't care about.

Steve Jobs explains why Apple does not allow Adobe's Flash products on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Apparently the decision is based on technology issues and is not primarily (emphasis added) business driven to protect its App Store, as Adobe suggests. In the article, Apple's CEO talks about six Adobe issues:

* its closed system,
* its "full web" argumentation,
* its reliability, security and performance,
* its high energy consumption,
* its lack of support for touch-based devices,
* Flash's cross platform development tool.

Jobs says that while Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

This is why fly tipping TVs is illegal

8-bit Video games invade the earth Video directed by Patrick Jean on Boing Boing also available on YouTube but my computer can't find

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10 free Microsoft programs worth checking out

Hmm not often you see someone say something nice about Microsoft's stuff

Friday, October 09, 2009

Wireless Charging

I'd heard that wireless charging was coming but wasn't expecting to see it so soon, this morning on the way to work I passed a billboard advertising the powermat and it makes me want one even though I don't currently own any of the devices that are compatible with it

Saturday, July 18, 2009

LRO Images of Apollo Landing Sites

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent some beautiful pictures of the Apollo Landing Sites from about 110km above the surface of the moon just in time for the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing on Monday. It's amazing the level of detail that can be seen, the Apollo 14 site is one of the best.

When the LRO moves into its full mapping orbit at the end of August these will be from about 50km. Can't wait.

Also, following @apolloeleven on Twitter is giving realtime tweets of Apollo 11 as it happened, to the minute: Long periods of nothing, then bursts of activity.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An Admin Password For The Universe

A whole bunch of short stories by Sam Hughes on his site (that's quantum without the vowels) but the site is titled "Things of Interest". So far An Admin Password For The Universe is my favourite with I don't know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility a close second even though the second is not an "Ed" story.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ubunto @ Key via synergy

Just upgraded to Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and love it; best distro so far by a long way. Used to have all kinds of keyboard problems using my Microsoft Natural Keyboard when using synergy but they seem to have fixed pretty much all of them: the most annoying was the right-hand shift key not working.

Still had problems with synergy not passing though the @ key - kept getting an OMEGA sign Ω instead, although the keyboard plugged into the Ubuntu machine works with the @ key just fine. Managed to find a fix using xmodmap: xmodmap -e "keycode 24 = q Q at at at at" sorted it but had to do this every time.

Adding "keycode 24 = q Q at at at at" (without the quotes) to .xmodmaprc in my home directory meant that at the next startup Jaunty asked me if I wanted to load the xmodmap file, choosing to add it and not display that message next time means that it loads on startup every time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

About time

Discworld street names in Wincanton, Somerset.

BBC News article

Must take a camera next time I'm passing that way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is this the unluckiest teenager in the UK

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Daleks are real

there have been a whole bunch of things that I wish I'd blogged about recently but *this* one has to be done. Found by following Neil Gaiman on twitter: some people clearing out a "pond" in Hampshire found a Dalek.

Right now it's the front page story on the Doctor Who News Page and scroll down to March 4. I will probably have to find a permalink for the story later. Link on ananova but no photo there and what is probably the original story at The Telegraph with photo.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Serenity Movie Fight Rehearsal

Don't normally post links to YouTube but this posting by Batteries4Holden shows the rehearsal for the bar fight in Maidenhead in the movie Serenity rocks. Because you can see more and the lighting is better and the camera is more stable I think it's better than the fight in the actual movie. Bridget Riley is the stunt woman.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

QR Codes API

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Homework Issues

It's not often that a link that someone sends me actually makes me Laugh Out Loud for real. This picture and the comment underneath are a cautionary tale about the folly of making assumptions and is one of the few links that did. I hope it's true rather than made up but either way it's funny.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More flies droppings

It seems like bad things come in threes. In the last week 3 people who have affected my life have died:

First, Patrick McGoohan at the age of 80 on January 13th. Watching The Prisoner on Channel 4 in digs when too poor to go out.

Second, Tony Hart at the age of 83 on January 18th. Vision On was a part of my childhood.

Third, Mahmut Aygün at the age of 87 on January 20th. Who? The Turkish inventor of the doner kebab who first started selling them in Berlin in 1971. I shall celebrate his life by partaking of a large example of his invention tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sending Ctrl+Alt+Delete to Remote Desktop

i wanted to change the admin password on my web server through remote desktop, but Ctrl-Alt-Delete always goes to the local computer.

i found out you can also use Ctrl-Alt-End to achieve the same thing, which works in remote desktop.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dropping like Flies

No link. Just a sad comment that Michael Crichton died on Tuesday 4th November aged only 66. Forget the newer stuff like ER and Jurassic Park, good as it is, classics like The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man and Westworld are one of the reasons I got into Science Fiction in the first place.

Amazon Window Shopping BETA

Now this is a new interface for amazon shopping. Fairly easy to figure out: use the arrow keys to move around and the spacebar to zoom in/out. I didn't like the way I was forced up to the top of a column when I moved sideways. I wanted to stay part-way down the column where I was

Friday, August 08, 2008

The "Mojave Experiment"

Microsoft are making a noise about their recent The "Mojave Experiment" where they trick people into testing a "new" operating system and then when they like it, telling them it was really Windows Vista all along. Vista has a bad reputation and people who have never tried it have been saying they don't like it, hence the experiment to overcome their resistance.

Countdown to Doomsday?

This article in New Scientist Space gives details about the Large Hadron Collider's switch on date and a timetable for the early experiments.

10th September 2008 First Injection and testing of the LHC starts

The protons might get just a few metres into their 27-km circuit before veering off course and being lost, so the operations team will adjust the magnets and try again with a fresh beam until they have systematically threaded the protons around the entire machine. That could take from a few hours to a few days with a crew working around the clock. Then, the team will have to do the same for the beam in the other direction.

The next challenge will be to get the beams in a stable orbit for several hours at a time. Only then can CERN contemplate ramping up the energy to 5 TeV and finally bringing the counter-rotating beams head on at a collision energy of 10 TeV.

If luck is on their side, that should take place around the time of the official LHC inauguration on 21 October.

In early 2009, the protons are set to collide at the full energy of 14 TeV.

Aluminium Foil Helmet's anyone?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Are you an idiot?

On first attempt I didn't even make the first level. On second attempt I end up as Smart but not fast.

Cuil - Hot or Not

New Search Engine launches about a week ago. Some nice features and some poor results. Has sparked some interesting comments and articles

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ooh, I found something shiny

While trawling through the forums for xkcd I found a reference to drawball and wondered what it was. Turns out it's a Flash application that allows anyone to draw on a ball (actually a circle), which sounds fairly naff but isn't.

To draw, you have to zoom in - the zoom level is 4096 times the size of the full circle. You get given a limited amount of ink and can change nib size and colour using simple controls. The amount of ink you have available decreases as you draw and increases over time. Many people are drawing on the ball at the same time and because of this, nothing is permanent.

There are some surprisingly good pieces of art considering the rudimentary tools available and there is a showcase of these at the drawball hall of fame.

Finally a new feature is the drawball playback which shows a history of what the ball looked like at a speed of 40 hours per second.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

50 office-speak phrases you love to hate

Continuing with the theme of lists here are 0 office-speak phrases you love to hate from the BBC News Magazine

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gallery: 10 most annoying programs on the Internet | ZDNet Photo Gallery

Gallery: 10 most annoying programs on the Internet | ZDNet Photo Gallery

Takes a while to navigate to each page to come up so for references the entire list is:

10: Adobe Reader
9: Apple (particularly sneaky installs of Safari while downloading QuickTime Updates)
8: Windows Update
7: RealPlayer (more "helpful" add-ons than you can shake a stick at)
6: Java (IN YOUR FACE)
5: Yahoo (knows less about its users than the queen does about shopping in Lidl)
4: Norton Antivirus (should be consigned to Hell)
3: Preinstalled software bundles (useless below-par tat)
2: Outlook/Exchange
1: Flash

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BBC NEWS | UK | Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

Friday, March 07, 2008

FLASH! Ah-aah Another thing I didn't know

In your latest WXPNews you wrote: "What's more, if you defrag a flash drive, you'll shorten its life because flash memory can only do a certain number of writes before it wears out." I didn't know that! I haven't had one die yet. How long might they last? Any difference between brands? Cheers - Jeremy

I was surprised at the number of readers who wrote to say this was news to them. Typical flash chips last for anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 "flashes" (writes to the disk) to a particular location in memory, but some older/cheaper flash drives may start wearing out at 10,000 flashes. Reading the memory doesn't wear it out. You can read more details about how this works here:

This is a concern of many regarding the new trend to substitute flash memory for hard disks in laptop computers. However, the newest flash chips can support up to a million writes per block (with 8000 blocks per chip). With typical use, they'll last for many years. These are the type of flash chips that are being used as solid state memory in computers, and it's unlikely they will wear out before the system becomes obsolete. Read more about that here:

With low cost flash cards (as with any media), it's always a good idea to regularly back your data up to another location just in case.

More Gary Gygax

My other favourite webcomic, XKCD, has now done a Gary Gygax Tribute comic.

It's not as eloquent as the one I posted yesterday but it made me laugh out loud.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

I know this is already old news ( a couple of days ) but I don't read newspapers and only found out by catching up on my favourite web comic: Order of the Stick that has made a tribute comic as part of its ongoing storyline that says what I would like to have said only far more eloquently than I could have. The UK's Telegraph Newspaper also has a decent obituary.

And finally, a couple of comments from The Register

"Not only can I recall spending hours during my youth playing D&D and AD&D, I can also remember some of my early coding attempts such as different sided dice, character generators, random encounter generators etc." by Antony Pearce

"some people get a country mourning for them .. a few get the whole world .. this guy has the flags lowered in worlds without number" by Kurt Lundqvist

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Big Daddy is watching you

New from the USA. SPY on your wife, husband, kids when they're in the car with/without them knowing AND pay this guy shedloads of money to do it: Safe Teens First - GPS Location & Speed PLUS Roadside Assistance!

and all in the name of concerned parenting

How long before the Government makes the fitting of these mandatory to every vehicle?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Life Imitates Art

Problem: The problem of that extra arm when cuddling in bed. Where does one put it?


Art: The Cuddle Mattress

Randall's design incorporates Rockem Sockem Robots by Mattel (which you can STILL buy at Amazon) for something to do when not cuddling.

Life: The Love Mattress

Mehdi Mojtabvi's "Love Mattress" won a Red dot design award

The problem has been around for ages and these ideas for the solution are NOT new. A "Hugging Mattress" US Patent has existed since May 2000 and US Patents for mattresses and pillows with holes, cavities or depressions for various purposes have been around since 1882 still no-one has put one into production.

P.S. is the BEST comic on the web
P.P.S. inventor spot is cool too but it's not a web comic

Friday, December 21, 2007

£48,500 for Four Candles

The handwritten in red ink, 4-pages of A4 script for The Two Ronnies classic Four Candles sketch was sold in an online auction for £48,500. On the grounds that this is regularly voted that best/top/favourite/funniest comedy sketch of all time then I think £48k is a steal.

25 3D Games for Linux

Some of these free games look better than some commercial games. Most of them work on multiple operating systems but I'm going to be trying them out on Ubuntu

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Embuggerance Indeed

Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He vlaims to be taling the news "fairly philosophically... and possibly with a mild optimism" See his letter on Discworld News

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Talking of XKCD

WOW. He finally did it. A few months ago the writer of XKCD, Randall Munroe, published a comic about GROWNUPS where the characters built a ball pit in their apartment.

Well, after one of his readers, Mike MacHenry did it and blogged it, Randall has finally built his own ball pit instead of a couch. Pictures and comments on the XKCD Blag.

If you want to work out how much it will cost you to fill your own room with ball pit balls, try this handy calculator

The DM of the Rings

I don't spend a lot of time looking for webcomics or reading them, honest. There are a couple that are noteworthy ( xkcd or Order of the Stick for instance) but most have either too much noise to signal or start off good and get progressively worse (the n00b springs to mind) or even start off great and then stop updating all together (Neko the Kitty for instance).

Occasionally one is recommended to me that is actually worth reading like The DM of the Rings. This is funny even if you've never played D&D but if you've ever been a Dungeon Master then it will bring tears to your eyes.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Emergency Zombie Defence Station

I like a good zombie film as much as the next person; unfortunately the next person happens to be a little obsessed with zombies. I occasionally get dragged into discussions with him like: "what would you do if a zombie came through the door right now?" or "a zombie army is shuffling down the main road and about to turn into our street, what do you do?".

Well now I have an answer: reach for the Emergency Zombie Defence Station which is WAY better than the "In Case of Zombie, Break Glass" found on techeblog.

Marvel at its awesome-ness (scroll about half-way down for the sign, which is my favourite bit) and remember, "only you can stop the Zombie outbreak!"

The guy has also posted the stencil he used to make the shield and the sign both on photobucket

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cool Colour Stereograms

I absolutely love stereograms ever since I "saw" my first one about 12 years ago. I actually find them easier to "see" on a computer screen than on paper.
Here are some cool ones I just discovered:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Testing Testing 1..2..3..

Test post after moving hosting provider

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Most things look better when you put them in a circle

Just spend a happy few minutes looking round the official BANKSY site.

I think this waterlilies oil is my favourite picture but the Rat Fact on this ratapult made me laugh: In London you're never more than 20 feet away from somebody telling you you're never more than 20 feet away from a rat.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bowling Scores

So I looked around on the interwebs for something that would let me record my bowling scores. I found a few things that let you type stuff in and get your average but nothing that just let you record games by typing in your scores for each frame and it worked out the actual score like the machine does at the alley. So I wrote a spreadsheet to do it.

WinRAR License Policy ROCKS!

I've been using WinRAR for about 5 years now and upgraded from version to version for free after having paid my one license fee way back in 2002. I recently got a laptop and wanted to get another license. I didn't want to pay the full price for a license but wanted to convert my single use license into a multi-use license and use it on my laptop, so I contacted rarlabs ( and asked them how to go about doing it. This was their reply:

Normally we do require one license to be purchased for
each computer. But we make an exception for home users.
Home users may use their single computer usage license
on all computers which are in property of the license owner.

Best Regards,
Dimitar Tropchev
Sales Manager

I now have WinRAR on my main PC, my laptop and both of the other machines in my house.

Blogger in Draft

Just found out about the Blogger in draft blog from Google where you can "read the latest news and post comments about drafted features" that Google is working on for. It also shows you what they have recently published to the live as well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Export favourites/bookmarks from IE/Firefox

I only just learned that IE can do this as well as Firefox and they both use the same format: DOCTYPE NETSCAPE-Bookmark-file-1 although with subtle differences you can export from one and import to the other.

In Firefox
  • Bookmarks
  • Organise Bookmarks
  • File Export
  • choose a path and filename (default is bookmarks.html)

  • File
  • Import and Export... -> Next
  • Export Favourites -> Next
  • Choose a folder/sub-folder of favourtites -> Next
  • Export to a file or Address (default is C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\bookmark.htm) -> Next
  • Finish

Monday, July 02, 2007

How to restore XP activation status information after a reformat

Having just had to go through the indignity of reinstalling Windows XP Home Edition from scratch when one of my machines blew it's main hard disk and then having to phone Microsoft to be able to activate it 'cause I got a message that I'd activated this particular version more times than Microsoft thought I should have, I thought I'd remind myself how to backup the activation status files so hopefully I wont have to do it again (unless I change a component of course).
  1. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive.
  2. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  3. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" and copy them to a safe location such as a USB key or CD.
  4. Reformat your disk and reinstall Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click "No" when asked if you want to activate Windows.
  5. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal)
  6. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive again.
  7. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder again.
  8. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" (if it exists) and rename them to "" and ""
  9. Copy your original "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" files from your USB key, CD or DVD or other location into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. Restart your system.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shakespeare becomes a Manga comic

This I gotta see. Ig Mangafy a word?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Got QuickTime? Got Java? Oh Dear!

This might be old news by now but QuickTime has a bug that exposes a "highly critical" vulnerability in *ANY* browser with Java enabled, not just Apple's Safari, as originally thought but also Mozilla's Firefox and (no surprises here) Microsoft's IE6 and 7 (even on Vista). As of 25th April there is no exploit code out in the wild but I'm sure this wont last for long. Let's hope Apple can fix their bug before the scriptkiddies figure out how to use it to their advantage.

Is it me or do competitions like Pwn-2-Own advertising results like this just make it *MORE* likely for unscrupulous types to turn their attention to something they now know has a flaw that can be exploited?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BBC - 6 Music - Apple and EMI deal

BBC - 6 Music - Apple and EMI deal

EMI announces it is getting rid of DRM on its catalogue through the iTunes premium dowload service: about time. I waited until today to blog this one just in case it was an April Fool.

As pretty as they are I've always refused to buy an iPod on the grounds they were too expensive and iTunes has always been an irritation becasue I couldn't play any of its content on my phone which doesn't support its DRM.

Here's hoping that Napster and Sony follow suit soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Life in Serious Organised Crime

I have just heard the funniest radio show of my entire life: Mark Thomas on Radio 4 in My Life in Serious Organised Crime about messing about with the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, or SOCPA for short, the law that requires you to get permission from the police to demonstrate in (or near) Parliament Square.

EDIT ** Just found out Mark has an MP3 of the show avaialble on his site here which wilkl be useful when the BBC listen again stops on 5th April **

What counts as a demonstration according to the police is one person with a banner or one person with a badge or one person handing out one leaflet, standing in Parliament Square for just one minute and you have to get permission - in effect a licence - in order to demonstrate.

Amongst the absurdities this law has produced is an occasion where a woman was threatened with arrest for having a picnic in Parliament Square because her cake had the word PEACE iced upon it and the police insisted this counted as an unauthorised political protest.

You will need RealPlayer (or a plugin) or a compatible program to listen to the show and the warning before the program states that it contains extremely strong language: there are four (six if you count "crap" and "poop") swear words in the program (one of which has been bleeped) but please don't let that put you off.

When you've listened to the half-hour program and had a good laugh. Have a look at Mark's own website:
Mark Thomas Info | Information and consider showing up on the third Wednesday of every month to take part in one of the mass lone demonstrations. Don't forget to get your application in at least a week in advance by hand delivery or registered post.

Monday, February 26, 2007

BitTorrent does a Napster

BitTorrent are about to offer legitimate downloads seeling downloads of filmsna dn TV showes licensed from the studios, although the films will only be for rental not for sale.
They are aiming to give a price that feels like good value relative to what [their target demographic] were getting for free. See

Wired: AP Technology and Business News from the Outside World on

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One is NOT a Prime Number

I used to be right (until 1999) but now I'm not.

The number 1 is a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite (Wells 1986, p. 31). Although the number 1 used to be considered a prime (Goldbach 1742; Lehmer 1909; Lehmer 1914; Hardy and Wright 1979, p. 11; Gardner 1984, pp. 86-87; Sloane and Plouffe 1995, p. 33; Hardy 1999, p. 46), it requires special treatment in so many definitions and applications involving primes greater than or equal to 2 that it is usually placed into a class of its own. A good reason not to call 1 a prime number is that if 1 were prime, then the statement of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic would have to be modified since "in exactly one way" would be false because any n==n.1. In other words, unique factorization into a product of primes would fail if the primes included 1. A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states "Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable." As more simply noted by Derbyshire (2004, p. 33), "2 pays its way [as a prime] on balance; 1 doesn't."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"The Soup Is Too Salty"

I don't normally do links to video sites, there are far too many blogs full of those already but this "The Soup Is Too Salty" advert for Visa reminded me of the similar scene from "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" as it is intended to and I really like it.

While you're there, check out this video of the amazing signing voice of 11-year-old Bianca Ryan singing on NBC's America's Got Talent.

While we're on this subject I might as well do a whole bunch and then go back to not touching them as usual.

Here's a clip from a call to a HelpDesk circa 1500 on YouTube

and finally an amazing bit of accordion playing of (part of) Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D

Friday, February 09, 2007

NTFS-3G Read/Write Driver Home

At last! A stable Read/Write for NTFS under Linux

NTFS-3G Read/Write Driver Home

See also:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chain Reaction Game

Saw this ages ago, just been reminded of it.

  • You get 3 goes.
  • Each go has 50 "balls".
  • You get one shot to make an explosion and blow up as many balls as possible

My Best 125

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Case Mod - The Ultimate List

Case Mod - The Ultimate List Some that I've seen and some that I haven't. This is more interesting than figuring out how to get all my old blogposts back.

New Blogger

Changed to new Blogger from old. Let's see if it totally screws up the entire blog.

EDIT: Yes it did but that's because I didn't see the SWITCH OVER button on the home dashboard ('cause it wasn't there) and I created a new account, set up a new blog with the same name and details as the old one and published it. This totally overwrote the web pages with the articles published in the new blog database. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

How did I get all the old stuff back? Well, of course I had a local backup of my entire site but more importanlty the old blog account was still active, so I just opened that and re-published the entire blog again. Then I checked out what I should have done and waited until I saw the Switch Over button and converted from the old to the new blogger.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tower Defence Game

This ugly little game at is deceptively difficult and highly addictive.

For the first few levels you think: "what's the point", then you start thinking: "hey I'm good at this" then you get to the mid-60's levels and think "AAaaaarrgghhhhh!!!!!"

My record is level 79, although that must have been a fluke cause I can't duplicate it. The best I've had since is level 78.

EDIT: I just watched someone get to Level 82. AAAAAAaaaaaaaarrrrgggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!

EDIT: The record I know of is now level 84, the author of the game only got to level 90, although I'll bet that was on an earlier version that had more bugsd and was easier than this one.

EDIT: Well what do you know, the site I found this on has exceeded its bandwidth limit. Good job I saved a copy here

If anyone can figure out how to get past level 84 please let me know how.

Kevin Cornell's Cubbyhole Mind

About a year ago I discovered an article by professional illustrator and designer Kevin Cornell about his Cubbyhole Mind on his website

I emailed him and asked if I could use his images on my home page He was happy to let me copy the images and host them so long as he was credited and I linked back to his site. Ever since then the cubbyhole pictures have been on my front page.

Now, they have finally been relegated to here

©2005 KCornell used by permission

and replaced by the most addictive little flash game (see the post immediately below this one): Tower Defence by Roman Sanine based on Warcraft 3 Element Tower Defence.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Companies to update websites and email footers before 2007 | The Register

Companies to update websites and email footers before 2007 | The Register

The first I heard of this was December 21st, 4 working days before it has to be implemented. I wonder how many companies will fall foul of this law and what the process for enforcement and punishment is.

60 Power Tips for Windows

Normally lists of tips are a great rehash of stuff you already knew or didn't know and didn't care about but I think there is actually some useful stuff in this list of Official Windows XP Magazine - 60 Power Tips for Windows

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ultramon for Linux

It doesn't exist 'cause you don't need it. Add a panel to your other monitors and add a windowlist to that panel.

Lloyd Leung » Linux shows you how.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to get the look of Vista without giving up XP

Although you don't get the "under the hood" changes to Windows (such as the new Explorer), it does make XP look and feel more like Vista - including adding the Sidebar.

pack changes most of the system icons, skins and toolbars and also adds new enhancements to your desktop such as a dock bar or a different system tray clock. In this release, you´ll get bunches of stuff you´ve never seen before in this pack such as Windows Media Player skins, WindowBlinds skin, new stuffs, etc.

Click on link to freewarefikles download page: Vista Transformation Pack 5.5 - Freeware - Desktop Category

Friday, September 15, 2006

Astronomy - Xena become Eris

On 7th September

Xena is Eris
Gabrielle is Dysnomia

Astronomy - Dwarf planets get names and numbers - Francis Reddy

I liked the unofficial names better

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How to change the location of the print spool folder

XP uses the spool folder on your hard disk to store queued print jobs. Without it, you'd have to wait until printing was finished to use other programs on your system. The spool folder is located on the partition where your Windows system files are installed, but if this partition gets low on free space, you can move it to a different location. This can also speed up performance. Here's how:

  1. First, be sure you're logged on with an administrative account.
  2. Click Start | My Computer.
  3. Select the drive where you want to store the spool folder.
  4. Click Make a New Folder under File and Folder Tasks in the left pane.
  5. Type a name for the folder.
  6. Click Start | Printers and Faxes.
  7. Click File | Server Properties, then click the Advanced tab.
  8. In the Spool Folder field, enter the path to the new folder you created in step 4.
  9. Click Apply.
  10. After any documents currently printing have finished, click Yes.
  11. Click OK.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet)

I'll never remember where this is so I thought I'd BLOG it. Wonderful Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet) I knew some of it I learned some new stuff.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

One Pill, Two Pill, Red Pill, Blue Pill

I'ts been a long time since I rock and rolled but some things are interesting (or in this case scary) enough to warrant a blog post. Although the cute names are stolen from the Matrix, this SVM based "ultra-thin hypervisor that takes complete control of the underlying operating system"

"The idea behind Blue Pill is simple: your operating system swallows the Blue Pill and it awakes inside the Matrix controlled by the ultra thin Blue Pill hypervisor. This all happens on-the-fly (i.e. without restarting the system) and there is no performance penalty and all the devices..."

'Blue Pill' Prototype Creates 100% Undetectable Malware

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How to reinstall Windows without reactivating

How to reinstall Windows without reactivating

Need to format your hard drive and reinstall XP, and don't want to have to go through the product activation process again? You can save the activation status info and then restore it after you reinstall the operating system, as long as you haven't made any changes to the hardware. Here's how:
Before reformatting, in My Computer, double click the drive letter on which you installed XP, and navigate to WINDOWS\System32.
Click "Show the contents of this folder" if necessary.
Copy the following files to a floppy, USB drive, CD/DVD or network location: wpa.dbl and wpa.bak.
After reformatting and reinstalling XP, select NO when asked if you want to activate Windows now.
Restart in Safe Mode.
In My Computer, open the WINDOWS\System32 folder and rename the existing wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files (if you have them).
Now copy your old wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files to the System32 folder.
Restart and you should not be requested to activate again. This only works when you reinstall Windows on the same computer and the hardware remains the same.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why HD DVD is gonna beat Blu-Ray

OK, so this article is from Microsoft's XBOX 360 site but the argument on the second page if the | E3 2006 - HD DVD Explained article is quite compelling: the quality is the same, the cost is lower and there is an nice and easy upgrade path that support legacy DVD and TV systems. Why would anyone want to go with Blu-Ray?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Can't see for looking

Just got this from a friend of a friend of mine:

"I was talking to my father-in-law over Christmas. He recounted this
tale. For background, it's worth knowing that he's recently gone blind.
He doing his white-stick training around town with the trainer. His wife was with him, as was the trainer (obviously). This lesson covered how to cross the road: you use the stick to help you find the dropped section for disabled people to cross and stand there. You then listen for traffic. When it goes quiet, you start out and cross over.

After he had done this ten or fifteen times, they let him have a go on
his own. He found the dropped section and waited. Zooom! A car goes by.
Zooom! Another one. Zoom! Zoom! Then he heard one stop. This confused
him and he was left trying to work out what the car was doing. Was he
parking? Had he just stopped to let a passenger out?

As he stood there pondering, he heard a shout from his wife: "Stay where
you are dear, the silly bugger's flashing his lights at you"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Nokia - Nokia Wireless Keyboard

Nokia - Nokia Wireless Keyboard Yet another thing to add to the long list of techy gadget stuff that I want and I don't even have a Nokia phone anymore. Imagine using this along with Mobile Messenger on a SmartPhone. Grom says he can't work out if it's cool or magnificently useless but he still wants one.

I would use hotmail and msn messenger more when mobile if it wasn't such a pain typing using txt input. It's useful for on trains but pretty useless while walking or driving. Would I really open that up in public and attempt to write messages? Probably. It's no worse than using a laptop and the batteries last a LOT longer.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Google Mars

How cool is this? The default view shows Olympus Mons just above and left of centre with an artificially coloured map showing elevation. You can use filters to see the map using visible light or infrared and scroll and zoom all over the place. The search functions are pretty cool too. Clicking on one of the 9 links or typing into the search box at the top of the page opens up a search results pane on the left wioth links to all kinds of extra information.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Replacement Ear Buds for the best Headphones in the World

I love my Sony Fontopia MDR-EX71SLB Headphones. I have three pairs: one white and two black. The only problem is now that I've had them a few years I've lost one of the earbuds for the white pair.

I've found out how to get a replacements: phone 0870 240 6354 - they cost £3.50 each (not £3.50 per pair) plus P&P of £1.05 plus VAT.

SEME Limited
Hudson Road
Melton Mowbray
LE13 1BS
Telephone: 0870 240 6354
Fax: 01664 563 976
Mon-Fri : 8.30am to 5.30pm Note: For VAIO Spares & Accesories, please call 0207 365 2947

Download the Remove Hidden Data Utility for Office 2003/XP (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

Yesterday's GromBlog had a nasty story from the Smoking Gun about a "Wifely Obligations" contract an American Sicko tried to get his lady to sign.

In response to that, today, Ananova has a story about a wife who stabbed her husband for refusing to have sex with her even though she wore a G-string and everything...

A police spokesperson said: "She did not think she did anything wrong, she kept saying that he was her husband and that he had to fulfil his obligations and that because he didn't she had the right to punish him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Virtual Air Guitar ROCKS!!

BBC NEWS Technology How to be a rock star, virtually

At last! A reason to actually own a webcam. I want one of these. The BBC article is cool but the Project Air Guitar website is even better.

Penguins can stay gay

I don't think the people have a choice. It's the penguins' decision

Gay Penguins don't like Swedes

Article appeared on Wanadoo's Quirky News from Ananova

"Shy Swedes fail to seduce gay penguins (c) Rex 2005 Swedish female penguins have failed in their mission to seduce gay male Humboldt penguins in a German zoo. Bremerhaven Zoo introduced the female penguins to try and establish more breeding pairs in its penguin pens. The zoo has far too many male penguins, while Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden has an oversupply of females. At Bremerhaven, the birds, which find new mates every year, form all-male pairs and adopt pebbles as if they were eggs. Last year, officials said the females had arrived too late for pairing. And this year, the birds arrived in time, but were too shy. 'The Swedes are rather stand-offish,' said zoo chief executive Heike Kueck. Four local females were quickly snapped up but the rest of the 22 penguins ignored the newcomers and formed broody male couples. Last year, homosexual militants bombarded the zoo with e-mails and protest letters, claiming it was interfering in the penguins' freedom of sexual orientation. "

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Headline of the Year?

EDIT: Unfortunately now gone SETANTA Sports News had an article with the headline "BRUM Promise internal Butt probe"

Now that's what I call a PAINT job

Amazing 3D optical illusions created by some careful painting.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Gay rights win in Warcraft world. Link to BBC Tech News article

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How to prevent a program from being displayed in the Most Frequently Used Programs list

Windows XP displays a list of most frequently used programs in the Start menu. If you don't want a program to be displayed there, you can prevent it (on a program-by-program basis) by editing the registry. Here's how:

  • Click Start Run.
  • Type the following in the Run box: regedit
  • In the left pane of the registry editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\
  • Click Edit New and select String Value.
  • Name the new string value NoStartPage
  • Leave the data value empty.
  • Close the registry editor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Motivator: Inspire! Motivate! Mock!

Motivator: Inspire! Motivate! Mock! You know those motivational posters that were all the rage in certain types of company a few years ago (heck, they're probably still there)? Then later there were the fantastic demotivational ones from Well now there's a wonderful little tool that lets you make your own.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Cant see for looking

Just got this from a friend of a friend of mine:

"I was talking to my father-in-law over Christmas. He recounted this
tale. For background, it's worth knowing that he's recently gone blind.
He doing his white-stick training around town with the trainer. His wife was with him, as was the trainer (obviously). This lesson covered how to cross the road: you use the stick to help you find the dropped section for disabled people to cross and stand there. You then listen for traffic. When it goes quiet, you start out and cross over.

After he had done this ten or fifteen times, they let him have a go on
his own. He found the dropped section and waited. Zooom! A car goes by.
Zooom! Another one. Zoom! Zoom! Then he heard one stop. This confused
him and he was left trying to work out what the car was doing. Was he
parking? Had he just stopped to let a passenger out?

As he stood there pondering, he heard a shout from his wife: "Stay where
you are dear, the silly bugger's flashing his lights at you"

Does my bum look big in this?

How do they come up with these ideas? What's more, how do they persuade people to PAY them to spend time doing it? A scientific (yeah right) study on the effect of clothing on the perceived appearance of the female rear. Nice pic of Kylie in the article.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

StickMen Arena

Don't often do games or links to them but saw this on the GromBlog and had to link to it too. It a cool, little, online, multiplayer stickman deathmatch so click the link, hit quick start and proceed to kick butt. You can even create private servers to play against your friends (enemies?)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lady Gay

I don't drink tea so I never really understood the fascination with Gay Tea (see below) i.e. Earl Grey which is apparently a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas. The tea gets its unusual flavor from oil of BERGAMOT. Bergamot is a small acidic orange. The latest research indicates that the Bergamot orange is a cross between the sweet or pear lemon (Citrus Limetta) and the Seville or sour orange (Citrus Aurantium). The sour orange is native to southern Vietnam, hence the Chinese connection.

Earl Grey tea was the favourite tea of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Fictional characters who preferred the tea include Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Sir Leigh Teabing from the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

So why the blog? 'cause I just found out that Lady Grey didn't like her husbands tea and got her own version called Lady Grey. That's all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Xbox 360 Software Compatibility List

Go to the link - nuff said