Monday, 12 November 2007

My poor old Xbox 360 and my PS3

For the last 3 weeks I have been without my Xbox 360. After almost 2 years of use my 360 decides to throw up the dreaded Red Ring of Death. What makes it worse was that it decided to do this the night before my holiday started. I ended up spending the next week with very little to do.

I sent my 360 off to Microsoft to get repaired but after endless phone calls and each representative on the phone telling me something different about my repair I doubt I will see the thing again any time soon (and I have heard the Microsoft don’t even send you your own console but send you a refurbished console back instead).

I think my Xbox 360 decided to die on me because that week I had bought a PS3. I bought the PS3 because that week the 40GB version was launched and the 60GB version was given a price drop. I bought the 60GB version as it has backwards compatibility, SACD playback, 2 more USB sockets, a card reader and 20GB more hard drive space for an extra £50 when compared to the 40GB version.

I bought a PS3 bundle which included 2 games and 2 Blu-ray movies. I have not really used the PS3 as a games console as I prefer my Xbox 360 and games seem to be missing something when there aren’t any achievements. The main reason I bought a PS3 was for Blu-ray movie playback and for its price it’s a good player as the picture quality is on a par with my HD DVD players.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

FOWA and Diggnation

Yesterday I visited the Future of Web App (FOWA) Expo and the live taping of Diggnation in London's ExCel.

All in all it was a very good day (even though I went by myself).

The expo floor was a little dull and there wasn't much to see although Adobe had a really nice booth setup though where they were showing off some of their products like Flex and handing out free beers and letting people play the Wii.

Microsoft also had setup a few Xbox 360's all with Halo 3 running.

I got to the Expo in the afternoon so I missed the first few speakers but the afternoon speakers on the developers stage were really good. Daniel Burka of and Pownce gave a lot of good information on how to listen to users and take in user feedback. Matt Mullenweg of spoke in great detail about the architure and setup behind Matthew Haughley of MetaFilter presentation was on building a community and he made some good points on how to build a community, support a community and how to react when your community does not like something. Heidi Pollock formerly of Yahoo! Mobile and currently part of BluePulse gave an informative presentation on how to create mobile websites, the restrictions and frustrations on creating websites for mobiles and how to cater for the thousands and thousands of different mobile handsets. John Resig of Mozilla (and the lead developer of the JQuery JavaScript Library) spoke about the future of JavaScript and all the cool stuff they are looking to integrate into the Firefox browser. The last presentation I saw was from Kevin Rose of, and Pownce, he spoke about how he setup three startup companies in three years and the pitfalls he had along the way.

If there is a lineup of speakers as good as this next year (and if it's in the UK) I will defiantly go again.

After the FOWA Expo was the live taping of Diggnation. Diggnation was so much fun and it was really funny. I tried to take a few pictures but the all came out blurry (mainly because I kept on laughing when trying to take a picture) I really can't say much more other than it really was a great show and I hope they come back to London and do another live show soon.

While I was in London I also took a picture of the Dome/o2 (or whatever it's called these days).

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Me and My Apple TV

After my experience with a Mac I decided to buy one of those new Apple TV's with the 160GB hard drives.

Syncing the Apple TV with my iTunes library took about 4 days straight of syncing as my iTunes library is about 100GB (music and podcasts) and transferring all that over a wireless 802.11g connection was very slow (it is a lot quicker to use an Ethernet cable but I did not have one to connect my MacBook to my Apple TV). Although at first it took a long time to copy all my library over to my Apple TV now whenever I rip a new CD or download a new podcast it takes a few minutes for the data to be copied to across, I think this is because there is not as much data as there was the first time around.

My original plan was to rip all my music CDs in an Apple Lossless format and to hook up my Apple TV up to my AV receiver. I found the audio quality of my music albums not too my as good as listening to my CDs from my CD player but the audio quality is still good.

I found the best thing about having an Apple TV was the ability to sync all my Podcasts and watch them on my TV.

So far the Apple TV has been a good purchase but like my other Apple products it gets stupidly hot.

Making the Switch

For the past few weeks I switched over from PCs to Macs.

I bought a refurbished MacBook and a 23" Apple Cinema Display as a desktop replacement.

Previously I had never used OS X before but so far I have found it to be very easy to use. The learning curve is very low for what I use it for. It syncs in perfectly with my iPod (I would have been very surprised if it didn't) and I was able to transfer over all my old files. I ripped all my CDs to iTunes and I just started using iPhoto to edit my photos. I managed to synced my phone with iCal and Address Book. I also found install and uninstalling applications to be very easy.

I liked my MacBook so much I bought a MacBook Pro too.

I have not totally switched over as I running Windows (for applications such as Visual Studio) under VMWare Fusion. I had originally planned to use boot camp but I found running Windows virtually to be a better solution as I can use both operating systems at the same time and with the Unity feature I can run Windows applications inside the OS X desktop environment. Installing operating systems virtually is very useful as I don't need to partition my hard drive and I can just delete the OS when I don't need it anymore. Creating virtual machines allowed me to install and try out a few Linux operating systems under VMWare. Currently I have Ubuntu 7.04 and Kubuntu 7.04 installed and I am trying them out.

Both Mac's I bought came with the standard amount of RAM (1GB for the MacBook and 2GB for the MacBook Pro) as Apple charge stupid prices for RAM upgrades so I bought extra RAM from Crucial and fitted them myself (very easy to do as long as you have the correct screwdriver).

All in all I found Macs to be great to use for every day tasks but the only downside is that both my MacBook and MacBook Pro generate more heat than a radiator!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Won't Someone Please Think Of The Panels!

I was walking through the electrical section in Tesco yesterday and the more I walked around looking at their TV's and Hi-Fi equipment I could not help but think that none of the LCDs and Plasmas were setup they all looked to have been taken out of the box and plunked onto the shelves.

I have noticed this in a lot of electrical retail stores and for some reason this sort of makes me a little upset as it only takes around 10 minutes to do a few basic optimisations and tweaks and this generally makes the panels look better.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

I can't enjoy the HD goodness....

I just got a new Toshiba HD-XE1 HD DVD player and a Sky HD box but I have not found the time to watch any HD DVD’s or watch a lot of HD TV.

The HD DVD player arrived last week but I have not had a chance to watch any discs yet. Sky HD got installed last Sunday but sadly I had to work.

I really wanted to watch the Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur game being shown on BBC HD as I heard their HD picture quality is the best and I thought Spurs could beat Chelski. Sadly I couldn’t find the time to watch the game and by the sounds of it I missed an absolute cracker. Oh well never mind we will have to beat Chelsea at White Hart Lane again!

I however did mange to see the end of a Kaiser Chiefs concert on BBC HD and the picture quality for a TV broadcast was great the colours were sharp and the crowd was very detailed. I also managed to watch part of the Blackburn vs Man City game being broadcast on Sky Sports HD. The Sky Sports HD picture was far better than the SD version but I think the picture quality on BBC HD was better, although it’s not fair to compare a fast paced football match played under floodlights with a concert in a dark location.

Running hot then catching a cold.

I having been putting in a few extra hours this month and as soon as I had some spare time a caught a cold. Why is it that when you work hard you are fine but as soon as it’s all over you don’t feel well?

Sadly this downtime is only going to last a few days, so hopefully I will be OK before I start putting in more hours.

I guess I should have expected a cold as I have had a few good months without any illness, which is rather good for me.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Training and Travel in London

I have spent the majority of this month on training courses in London learning about .NET 2.0 and I am so glad it’s finally over.

Prior to going on the course I was looking forward to it as I saw it as a way to dos around London and I would finally get a chance to use the Out Of Office notification I have seen so many other people use.

The first few days of the course were very simple I spent most of the time just creating HTML tables and doing simple coding. I spent the majority of the course just following instructions out of a book. I was expecting more theory and to learn more new skills and ideas instead I did a few simple tasks. I didn’t get much time to fully look into or understand the tasks that were new to me I didn’t spend much time as I had to do the tasks.

My advice to anyone going on a Microsoft programming course is to find out what the course covers first and then to decide if you really need to learn that stuff, if you already know it then maybe think about skipping it or if you don’t get a book and read it first so you can grasp the concepts before attending the course.

All in all the courses weren’t too bad and I can see why people go on them, but what I really hated was the travel. I hated having to leave home really early in the morning and then getting a train into London and then having to ride the tube in rush hour.

I lived in London for the majority of my life and use to take the tube to school every now and then but for some reason it really seemed worse now. The tubes were packed there was very little room to move and getting out off was a huge problem as people just kept getting onto the tube without letting everyone off, it reminded me of an episode of The Simpsons were Homer and Apu are riding a train in India that is so packed that they were having to hang onto the outside of a moving carriage.

I think from now on I am going to avoid going on training courses in London. Maybe by that time I go on my next one (hopefully it will be a long time before I go on another) people north of Northampton will have broadband and I could go for a course there. :)

Saturday, 27 January 2007

My Likeness Is Finally Out On The Net!

After being a net user for years pictures of me are finally on the net and amazingly no one has reported their screens blowing!

I added a few pictures onto my MySpace account and one onto my blog profile.