Saturday, 31 March 2007
Our 15 captive Naval Personnel by Iran

There appears to be even more politics surrounding this issue and the irony of the situation is that its all over 0.5km of uninhabited sea water (according to Iran). That's right 0.5km a measurement so small when you think about it, lets just have a good think about it now.. that's 500 meters put into terms its probably 1 lap around a regular track at a schools sports day field. Now what secrets or installments could Iran possibly have hidden in that 500 meters worth of sea they have claimed as their own waters? Maybe its the fish they are trying to protect on their side of the border? No matter how you look at it when you get down to the actual argument there isn't much of case the Iranians are claiming the UK servicemen went 0.5km into Iranian territory the British say they didn't. The Iranians display a GPS device that supposedly proves they (UK servicemen) were, although there was probably nothing to stop the guards  who ambushed the UK Servicemen from taking a new co-ordinate with the device after they had taken it off the UK servicemen. The Iranians of course will ignore any satellite evidence that proves otherwise because now the evidence has become irrelevant it has all become part of a far bigger political game that is pushing the price of oil up and trying to humiliate the British. The letters sent back from Faye Turney added an interesting bit to the end which makes you think the letter was written under pressure which states

"Isn't it time for us to start withdrawing our forces from Iraq and let them determine their own future."

It makes you wonder if the Iranians are trying to turn the public against the British government and hoping this will put pressure on the UK to move away from Iraq? The truth of the matter is now neither government wants to loose face and neither one of them appears to have a way of backing down without doing so. The only other action if diplomacy fails in military action something that neither side will want to see happen and its probably what would have happened if the Iranians had captured US servicemen instead of British. At the moment the only deterrent from a military point of view the British have is the Trident nuclear one and I don't think anyone in the UK government  wants to even think of going there.

posted on Saturday, 31 March 2007 13:15:48 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Daily Referendum

One of the most recent blogs I have added to my blog roll is Daily Referendum run by Steve Green. The site is always an interesting read and like its name suggests enables voting in a daily referendum on current political topics in the UK. 

posted on Saturday, 31 March 2007 12:43:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 30 March 2007
TJX Group Credit card hack

According to the following article dated 26 February 2007. The credit card  fraud appears to have occurred between July 2005 and January 2007! This has got to be one of the worst cases of credit card fraud I have seen in the press for some time now.

The amount of card fraud going on now a days you'd be forgiven for going into your bank withdrawing your money over the counter and paying for your goods in good old cash.

posted on Friday, 30 March 2007 21:09:13 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

PS3 Again

Interesting post containing a video on my friend Julians blog about the decline of the PS3 by Sony. The video does seem more inclined towards the Xbox.

As far as I am concerned I think the PS3 is an amazing machine and had the benefit of seeing one at a demo with the most amazing graphics I have seen in a long time. However I think the price tag will be its downfall, maybe what Sony should have done was specked down the machine so it wasn't so expensive when they launched it which I think is the only thing that puts people off the console. The console has just about everything included making it a powerful multimedia machine. If Sony had included a desktop OS, keyboard, mouse etc they may even have been able to target it towards part of the desktop PC market (maybe this would be included at a later date as an optional extra).

posted on Friday, 30 March 2007 20:49:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 29 March 2007
Cat tracking device!

Okay its not really a cat tracking device its my newest toy called the Loc8tor. Its basically a mini tracking device which comes complete with two tracking tags the size of a paper clip (well a thick paper clip as you can see on Willows collar) which I purchased from Amazon for £59.99. Its actually intended as a personal tracking device to keep track of things you might loose such as keys, wallets, mobile phones or cats, okay not cats but that didn't stop me from trying it out on two of our troublesome moggy's Willow and Lucy. They have a habit of disappearing  and this little device makes it all the easier to find them when they go missing. You'll be amazed to find out where cats go and do with their time beside the usual finding a warm car bonnet to sit on in the mornings.

The device reminds me of an episode of aliens as the alien gets closer the louder and louder it beeped. The Loc8tor is exactly the same and allows you to have up to 24 tags registered per tracking device, you know your getting closer by the audible beep and a little beep given off by the tags themselves. You can also choose which tags you wish to track with this little gadget and give each of the tags a name. How cool is that!

posted on Thursday, 29 March 2007 22:23:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [4]

 Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Target Driven Government

Target driven government is a concept we are all familiar with where government sets departments targets or quotas to meet by what ever means necessary if they do not meet it thy re penalized. I thought I would come up with a fun story to try and explain where it goes wrong.

Jingles was king of the monkeys who lived in the jungle, he wasn't really king anymore since he had declared himself prime leader. He had recently come to power and on the promise of far more food through the winters months, which the monkeys usually ran out of. He decided the best way to get enough food collected was to split the large groups of monkeys into smaller groups to start collecting the food. So he split them up into two groups the monkeys who collected bananas and those that collected nuts. He wanted to motivate the monkeys that collected the nuts and bananas and knew there wasn't any real motivation for them so he set them targets which were quotas for each monkey. If the group that were collecting bananas collected a hundred banana's each they would have met their quota however if they did not meet their quota they would not get any nuts. He did the same to the monkeys who collected nuts and told them they would not get any bananas if they did not meet their quota.

The monkeys tried hard to meet their targets which they were allowed to achieve by any means possible as long as they met them. The monkeys that were collecting the nuts were not doing too good and started to be penalized, the monkey in charge of the ones collecting the bananas noticed this and didn't want his monkeys to go without nuts. So he started devising schemes such as counting bananas twice or getting monkeys to repack the bananas and then counting them again when they did. Jingles was amazed by how well the monkeys collecting the bananas publicly announced how great they were and how his new form of governing the monkeys was working. They monkeys who were collecting the nuts felt very depressed and were told if they did not improve more of them would be removed and set to collecting bananas instead. The head of the monkeys collecting nuts complained that it was not possible to collect enough nuts but Jingles only pointed to the head of the monkeys collecting bananas as an example. Winter soon came and the monkeys started to run out of food. Jingles wanted to know why there were less bananas in the store rooms than there were accounted for and uncovered what the monkeys collecting bananas had done. Jingles realized that he had probably set targets that could not be achieved and that what ever you set people will find ways around the system.

posted on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 22:13:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 25 March 2007
UK sailors denied access to by Iran

Iran has denied the UK embassy in Iran access to the detained UK servicemen in an article here on the BBC website.

I had said previously in my blog entry yesterday I believe the Iranians will be milking this incident for all its worth. It looks as though there have even been calls to put the servicemen on trial, I am guessing this will probably be for spying. Iran off course knows how to play its own public and how to breed an atmosphere of contempt for the west its been doing so for many years now. My guess is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who hasn't been doing himself any favors on how he has let the Iranian economy slip will probably seize on this opportunity to distract people from this. His nuclear ambitions has also been a distraction point for his people, the sanctions it will bring to his country could be quite crippling we all saw the effects the sanctions had on Iraq when Sadam was still in power.

The only peaceful use of nuclear power is for electric power generation which for an oil rich state is not a high priority in my opinion unless Iran has suddenly developed a new zero emission policy to help curb global warming?

posted on Sunday, 25 March 2007 14:02:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 24 March 2007
UK Sailors seized by Iran

I am pretty sure many have seen the news about the 15 Royal Navy servicemen captured by Iranian forces and can't help but feel the whole incident is smeared in politics with our poor UK servicemen caught right in the middle. I think its rather bad manners for Iran to act in the way it has, if it want's to start being treated as a fair country of this world it has really got to stop pulling off these shenanigans, what's more disconcerting is the fact Iran has done this once before when they captured 6 UK service men who were patrolling the Shatt al-Arab waterway on behalf of the Iraqi government. Even if the UK servicemen were in the wrong (and I am not saying they were) it was totally against the Geneva convention for them to be paraded on Iranian TV blind folded and then made to believe that they were going to be assassinated.

No doubt the Iranian government will play this incident for all it is worth. If anything's to go by they will force the UK servicemen to admit they were in Iranian waters (because forcing someone to say something means it actually happened), they will probably parade them on Iranian TV and then secretly talking to US and UK diplomats hint that it would also be nice if those sanctions the UN wanted to impose on Iran for their nuclear program suddenly went away.

Iran really hasn't done it self any favors and is probably quite aware that America has Iran next in its spotlight especially now that evidence has been released showing that Tehran has been engineering a lot of the insurgency near Basra. Iran's seizure of the UK servicemen is probably what it sees as a carefully constructed move, it will want to play very carefully in order to get some concessions out of US and the UK around it nuclear program. Iran could get its way because the UK public is keen on getting the servicemen returned promptly or the move could backfire horribly on Iran and it that case they may just blame an Iranian figure lower down the food chain for the incident. It is also quite easy to see how carefully it was organized by the Iranians who swooped on the UK servicemen with not 2 but six boats surely those boats would have been pulled in from other patrol areas?

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posted on Saturday, 24 March 2007 12:24:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Backup bungle in Alaska

If you read my blog you may have remembered the post I did about Backing up to hard disk in response to my friend Owens blog about the risks of tape backup. And it appears as Owen mentioned it in his blog the worst case scenario happened to an IT staff member in the Alaska Revenue Department accidentally formatted the wrong hard disk, the backup hard disk and what was more the tape backups they discovered were unreadable! His little error wiped out an account worth $38 billion!

This has got to be one of the worst case scenarios I have ever heard of. However luckily enough they still had their vast paper archives they had scanned everything into the system from and would need to start again from scratch scanning in 800,000 records! Good old paper hey? It doesn't matter if its slightly wrong on the paper, the papers crumpled or torn you can still read it :)

I bet that IT department will be doing a serious review of their backup strategy.

posted on Saturday, 24 March 2007 11:54:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 23 March 2007
PS3 Launched

Well the PS3 Launched but the reaction seemed a bit mixed and Microsoft rained on the parade with quotes such as "Sony.....you're late!". The biggest launch was in London however over the rest of Europe in some cases the press outnumbered people purchasing the consoles. I was just wondering if the price was what was putting people off the console? I'd really like to own a PS3 but will probably have to wait until they became a bit more affordable. I was hoping Microsoft may have brought the price of the XBOX down but sadly that didn't happen yesterday.

posted on Friday, 23 March 2007 21:11:23 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Apple TV

I have just been looking at the Apple TV which is available here in the UK now. I think its a brilliant idea, the only problem I have with it is there is absolutely no TV series or main stream movies available for download from iTunes in the UK which is how the Apple TV box gets its content. I can see it making much more sense in the US where you can download episodes of popular shows such as Battle Star Galactica for a couple of dollars.but nothing like that exists for the UK iTunes market. The only video content they seem to have is music videos and I wouldn't purchase this device just to watch music videos I can do that on MTV. Unless you start ripping your own movies to play on the Apple TV box I can't really see much point in its launch over here yet.

I think Apple need to do some serious investing into on demand TV content, they have the hardware all they need now is the content. On demand TV is set to be rather big, Virgin Media and BT has already released a set-top box's that provide on demand TV however BT doesn't seem to be very good at promoting it as half of the people I speak to about it did have a clue it was out there. Come on Apple where's the content?

posted on Friday, 23 March 2007 15:05:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 22 March 2007
Are you still alive?

Messenger programs have started to become a part of daily life ever since the early use of ICQ, AOL Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Google Talk. ICQ was the program in my opinion that really got the ball rolling (for me anyway). Without thinking about it we log onto one or more of these messenger programs every time we turn our machines on. I have about 4 on my machine that advertise to all my contacts that I am online. It has become such a routine that when friends don't see you singing in they start to panic and here are some of the hilarious comments I an friends have made.

  • "I haven't seen <name> online is he still alive?"
  • "I haven't seen <name> online has he been hit by a bus?"
  • "I thought you were kidnapped or something"
  • "Did your broadband go down?"
  • "Is your computer broken?"
  • "I thought I would call because you haven't been online in a while and I wondered if you were ok"

And the list goes on. Isn't it funny that our messenger programs have started to become a heart beat for all our friends to see that tells them we are still around? I'm pretty sure some enterprising person could make a program that monitors your messenger etc you add MSNAlive as a contact to your MSN and it notices when you haven't been online in a while and notifies someone it could be useful for people who travel a lot (like back packers) checking their email intermittently which usually logs into a messenger program. Neat idea hu?

posted on Thursday, 22 March 2007 22:08:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Sky again

Interesting article on The Independent website about Sky's grip on Pay TV. We all know how much control Sky has over the latest imported TV episodes, Sports and even pay per view movies and in its latest move withdrawing its popular TV channels from Virgin Media. They also took an 18% share in ITV in what some saw as a deliberate attempt to stop Virgin Media buying it and making it their flagship channel. Sky have made a lot of noise in the industry especially with it wanting to start taking up pay per view slots on Top Up TV. I was wondering how long Sky Three would last on freeview, or would they be placing Sky One on Pay per View on the platform again like it was in the old days of ITV Digital?

posted on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 21:36:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Quark Help

My wife has recently started doing blogging tutorials about Quark if you need some pointers on how to do some tricky Quark functionality with bullets and tables etc take a look

posted on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:46:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 20 March 2007
PS3 or XBOX 360?

I am a huge fan of the Playstation ever since I got my Playstation 2 I have had hours of entertainment playing games on this console. However I noticed after a while I was buying PS2 games played them once or twice and then they stayed on the shelf collecting dust. Playing games started to become a bit of a task they weren't the type of games you used to play on the old Atari consoles where you could have a quick game of pong or space invaders. Each game has an intro and loads a bit like a movie its a great experience for those ultimate games but it gets a bit annoying each time you load the game. But none the less I still loved the console it provided a great Karaoke machine and it was my first DVD player (a darn cheap one at the time). My natural thought was to go onto the PS3 when it came out over Christmas 2006, but then it didn't turn up in the UK. The only console available was the Wii, I had heard little about the console until I started seeing people playing on it on TV and in shops, what a cool idea! Why hadn't anyone else thought of a such a cool way to play computer games. The Wii was a great console for playing fun games and it had made me forget about getting my hands on the PS3 it was a console that allowed all your friends to join in your games instead of waiting one at a time and then trying to figure out all the different combo's.

Now that I have a Wii console I want a more serious console for playing serious games and when I looked at the XBox 360 I was amazed by the game Gears of War there was nothing that seemed close to it on either of the other consoles and I am considering buying the console just because of the game. Also the fact that the PS3 will cost £429 from Amazon and the XBOX 360 is £269 and I have heard a rumor that the XBOX 360 may come down by £50-£80 in price when the PS3 launches. I am wondering who will pay £429 for a games console you can buy a plasma TV for that price in some places.  So what game will convince me to buy the PS3 or shell out so much cash, the truth is there isn't on at the moment and the console is much to expensive. I just hope Sony hasn't overstretched itself a bit too much trying to bring out the PS3 which could probably make or break Sony as the leader in the games console market. 

posted on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 22:22:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 19 March 2007
Computers and Memory

Is it my imagination or has software that used to take up little of our precious computer memory suddenly spawned into giant memory hungry monsters?

One of the biggest culprits I have seen through the years has been Yahoo messenger and ICQ. I have found them so bad that I eventually ended up removing them from my machine why do they need to take up 55megs of memory each when Google Talk only takes up 16meg? I remember when these programs would load instantly and only take up about 10meg if that!. I just can't understand what else they could have put into these programs to make them so chunky, half the features you will probably never use. One of my other pet hates is how long Adobe Acrobat Reader takes to load? Why does it have to load just about every single plugin under the sun wait about 3 minutes and then ask you if you would like to upgrade it before you get to read the PDF document you clicked on from an Internet site! That is so annoying so much so I decided to install an older version of Acrobat that didn't do it. I think as memory starts to become cheaper (and it already has) companies will start minding less about how much memory their programs take up on your machine.

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posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 22:59:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Free calls over the Internet

Check this out for fee calls over the Internet. Its a bit like a Skype interface and I am still not sure how they are able to offer 300 free minutes of calls but it works! :)

posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 13:22:25 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Play Wii games on your iPOD!

How cool is this? Using your iPod video as a a screen for your Wii console. Probably not the most usable but cool none the less. Why? because you can do it? :) Although you would probably need a degree in electronics to do it... I would anyway :)

posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 13:16:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 18 March 2007
My computer is broken how do I fix it?

I've noticed a large selection of people placing adverts into newspapers offering to fix your PC from 15 pounds and hour to 60 pounds and hour depending on where you look. Some offer no fix no fee and its pretty cool idea you are providing a service to people who may need it. Unfortunately among the elite guys who can fix problems and don't charge you the earth there are far to many who take advantage of people who haven't got a clue on how computers work to fix them. These people are kind of held at the mercy of others to help them fix the issue, I for one don't have a great knowledge of building and masonry but that's where I ask my father who comes around to help out and I return the favor with any problems he is having with his computer.

I have seen far to many of friends, relatives and friends of relatives who have got into the money pit issue on their computers where they have spent so much money solving problems on their machines where they finally get told by a relative "Hey Rory knows about computers why don't you give him a call?". I usually get some call about them running low on memory or their machine not starting up properly or its lost all its settings. They have taken it down to the local PC shop where they have now spent upwards of 70 pounds to try and get the issue solved. I usually end up taking one look at the PC fuming at how much they had to spend for in some cases to fix what was quite a small issue such as them just needing to clear out those large videos on their Hard Disk they took by mistake when testing out the camcorder that connects to the PC for video editing. In many cases I am offered money but refuse and end up getting book vouchers, free monetary advice or a plate of home made cookies in return.

So in the good spirit of the web, if anyone reading this blog needs some computer advice and doesn't mind me posting articles about the advice I give please drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 15:53:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

The enigma of carbon and global warming

I'm sure everyone's seen just what a hot topic the environment has really started to become and it appears that of late this has all started to center around carbon emissions. I suppose the thing that worries me the most is that people have been lead to believe that carbon is a bad thing. Carbon is basically one of the building blocks of life we are after all carbon based life forms without carbon we probably wouldn't exist. Just like most things, too much of something can sometimes cause an imbalance,  we breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide CO2, trees take in Carbon Dioxide and let out Oxygen in return through photosynthesis.

Its a simple enough process but there are other things that let out carbon such as cars, planes, factories and power plants. While the majority of carbon dioxide is actually not made by man but occurs naturally itself in the atmosphere from the oceans, volcanoes and natural biodegrading of plant life, the small percentage we contribute to the environment is thought to be enough to offset enough of the worlds CO2 to cause a global warming effect.  However people do not seem to realize that carbon is only one of the gasses thought to be responsible for global warming in addition to CO2 there is Methane, Nitrous oxide, CFC-12 etc. and what appears to have happened is a whole industry has sprung up around Carbon many calling themselves "carbon neutral" companies. There are organizations that have risen to start profiting on the idea of carbon credits. Now you can trade the right to create pollution and in theory if there is to much pollution the price of carbon credits goes up because everyone wants them or they in theory could face a fine.

How they measure how much carbon a company creates from production is probably another question but surely such a system can only help the world if major manufacturing countries such as those in the Asia economies sign up to the carbon credit idea? Another thing that appears to have got African states annoyed many with young economies only just starting is the imposing of these restraints on them. "Look how easy it is for you to go green" they are told."You have so much sunshine why not use solar power?". What many people do not understand is that solar energy is not enough by itself to power manufacturing in these countries and solar panels are still relatively quite expensive. Solar energy is also not very reliable, subject to popular belief they do get stormy weather in Africa and the sun isn't always available. I agree that more money should be spent investigating cleaner energy, but people in the developing world are often unable to afford it.

Maybe the cost of renewable energy should be offset against the tax's on fossil fuels?

posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 13:12:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 16 March 2007
Mini Tanks!

It was my birthday on the 14th March and my wife got me these Cool Mini Tanks

These little tanks brought hours of amusement, charge them for a few minutes and then let the war begin! Each person gets their own remote in order to control these little tanks, once you shoot you're opponents tank its whirls around in circles for a second before you can commence again. The only problem I have found is the charge doesn't last long enough and you only get about 4 games before you have to charge them. The nice thing about these tanks is that you don't get shocked like the shocking tanks we used from the Joke Shop

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posted on Friday, 16 March 2007 18:13:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

The iRack

This has got to be one of the funniest videos I have seen in a long time using apple products to purvey a more political message.

 

posted on Friday, 16 March 2007 00:07:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 13 March 2007
StarGate SG1 is no more!

Ahhh the last episode of StarGate SG1 was shown on Sky One today.

Let me just say what a crap ending! There were some really odd things about the ending.

WARNING SPOILER Read no further if you don't want to no what happens
Why on Earth did the Asgard not destroy the Ori if they had the weapons all the time? Why did they have to give it to the SG1 team to do it? Why didn't they use them the first time they met the Ori?

Also they never showed how they destroyed the Ori, maybe this gets revealed in Star Gate Atlantis?

Anyway, farewell SG1 its been a great 10 years!

posted on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 22:16:57 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [2]

 Monday, 12 March 2007
Politics and being Green

Its quite interesting how being green has become the next big political thing. Politicians have finally woken up to the fact on how important it is to be green, they have realized what a vote winner it can be for them.

What they seem to have done so secretly however is avoid the discussion about Britain's future energy requirements. I like many of you would love most of our energy to come from renewable energy sources, the problem however is that these renewable energy types are not yet very reliable. Wind energy is not the great solution it was thought to be and still leaves us at the mercy of the wind, it has also been campaigned against by ironically enough green campaigners. Solar energy also has its issues, the solar panels are still quite expensive and will take in some cases a life time to pay back for the energy they generate they also rely on sunshine which we don't have much of in winter. Hydro electric power is reliable but relies on there being a steady damn however it does not generate enough power for our means and it requires some change in fragile ecosystems when damns are created.  This only leaves nuclear power as emission free but with a far more serious issue later on - nuclear waste. So what on Earth can we do?  Well what ever is decided on you are bound to annoy someone, so it all comes down to compromise doesn't it?

I wonder if anyone will ever come up with the ultimate green abundant energy source?

posted on Monday, 12 March 2007 20:28:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 11 March 2007
Sky and Virgin Media

Sky appear to be rubbing in the fact that Virgin no longer carries all of their channels anymore, by way of a TV advert on Sky One confirming to customers that they will still get all of the Sky channels even though Virgin customers won't. So what on earth is that all about? Of course we will get all of our Sky channels as Sky customers because that's what we pay for isn't it? This obviously can't be for the benefit of Virgin customers because they don't get Sky one anymore!

I think Sky must be getting a bit worried. Its been a long time since Sky has had any major competition the last was ITV Digital. There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition it helps us the customer have a wider selection of offers.

posted on Sunday, 11 March 2007 20:14:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Tip on cooking chicken on the BBQ

When cooking chicken on a BBQ there is always the risk that it is never cooked through correctly. The amount of times I have been to a BBQ and been served chicken that has not been done correctly (still pink inside) has happened to many times to mention. In some cases people don't even BBQ chicken because of the risk.

So here are my tips on getting your chicken right.

I prefer to BBQ chicken breasts, a good way of BBQing chicken breasts is actually to place them between cling film sheets and flatten them with a mallet. The benefit of this is now that they are flat they will cook a lot faster and are easier to turn.

Always have a knife and fork present so you can cut into the chicken. If you are cooking chicken legs ensure you cut through to the bone to make sure the chicken is done. Never rely on how the chicken looks on the outside. Remember just because its burnt on the outside does not means it done. If the chicken is burning raise the grill a level up and allow the chicken to cook slower.

Remember its better to cook the chicken slower so it doesn't get burnt but is cooked thoroughly.

Get yourself a BBQ thermometer, these usually come in the form of a BBQ fork you can use to test if the chicken is done.

Happy BBQing!

posted on Sunday, 11 March 2007 19:34:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 10 March 2007
The magic of the WII console

I have often said what a great games console the   is, never before has a games console appealed to so many different age groups. My father in law was over the other day and I showed him some of the WII Sports games, he was a bit apprehensive at first when I asked him if he wanted a go, but after he understood how the WII remote worked he was addicted to all the WII sports games. I have a  feeling he will probably be purchasing one soon and not for my brother in law but for himself!

posted on Saturday, 10 March 2007 22:49:57 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 08 March 2007
Backing up to hard disk

Just been looking at an interesting post on my friend Owens blog about the risks of tape backup. Now a days hard disks have become so cheap most people do their backups to these hard disks which you can start off at 250gigs for 78 pounds and now even 1 terabyte for 600 pounds from Amazon. The problem with having so much hard disk storage is you are probably tempted to use it as extra hard disk space instead of backup space!

Also the problem with having a terabyte hard disk is you need another one to back it up! And off site backups start to get costly on bandwidth...Oh the dilemma of too much hard disk space! :)

posted on Thursday, 08 March 2007 11:55:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Coffee Does not give you a boost in the morning? Nooooo!

According to this BBC article coffee doesn't give you a boost in the morning!

Well to be more accurate it has more of an effect on people who don't drink it regularly and more of a suppressing withdrawal symptoms for those that drink it regularly.

So coffee was a placebo to me all along? Mmm well if I choose not to believe the article then I should still get the benefits of my placebo?

Coffee leads to doughnuts, doughnuts leads to sugar withdrawal, sugar withdrawal leads to the dark side! Mmmm dark side...

posted on Thursday, 08 March 2007 11:31:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 07 March 2007
ASP.NET AJAX 1.0

Have just been playing with ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 previously known as ATLAS. The last time I worked with AJAX was in .NET 1.1 where you had to literally code all the calls by hand yourself in JavaScript. Now Microsoft have made it the easiest thing in the world to code .... almost too easy. All you do now is drag your server side controls into an Ajax Update Panel and hey presto! Your application is now "AJAX'd", I was amazed by how fast I could convert my old applications.

posted on Wednesday, 07 March 2007 23:26:25 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 05 March 2007
Dalek Chocolate Cake!

Take look here to get the recipe!

posted on Monday, 05 March 2007 11:43:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 04 March 2007
Shopping with your wife?

If you've been duped into clothes shopping with your wife or girlfriend (yes we love them to bits) all men can sympathize with each other over the bored waiting around inside a women's department store, waiting for your wife or girlfriend to try on the 10 outfits she took into the changing room with her. I think the main thing is there is nothing to do but wait and probably chat to the other poor souls obediently waiting about the football, although my wife has another solution to the problem in this blog entry from my wife

posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 22:26:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

SEO and Web 2.0

In my previous blog entry I blogged about The black art of SEO and bridge that is Google on how so many web sites were at the mercy of SEO and search engines such as Google rating them high for their keywords. However sites are increasingly rising to popularity not through being found first in Google, but by web 2.0 community type sites such as Spicy Page, de.icio.us and digg where sites are judged by a vast community of people to be cool or not. instead of being brutally forced into the public domain by a mass marketing campaign or spam campaign this newly formed SEO blog has an interesting article on the subject which I found quite interesting on how sites should focus more on their content and user communities than focusing on trying to be number one in the search engines. If you're site is any good it will eventually get to number one because communities will start voting for it and linking to it.

posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 17:33:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

The blog bug and freedom of speech

I have found it fascinating how blogging has evolved during recent years, how not only has it become a platform for the technical elite but also the platform for the masses to have their say. I can't think of any time has technology empowered a person to convey a message to so many people as blogging has. It has allowed the sharing of ideas and for people to bring their own points of view with no middle organization involved to everyday people.

I think one of the most important things blogging has done is give us facts, it lets us know what genuine real people think about things if they are on the Internet or in the real world and allow us to make up our own minds instead of having to rely on a commercial or government source. Of course many oppressive governments around the world have realized this fact and have kept a very close eye on their blogging community. Thing we take for granted in a more liberal first world about saying if we don't like what the prime minister or president is doing on something could quite possibly get you locked away or shot in one of these more oppressive regimes. 

I wonder when these oppressive regimes will start realize that:

  • Its impossible to stop people thinking about something or express it with someone else. You can scare them or torture them if you find them out but they will still talk about it among themselves.
  • You cannot force someone to believe what you believe if they don't believe you then you have failed as a politician or a speaker. Even if you force them to say they believe you, these are only words and you have fooled yourself in thinking they believe you.

posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 17:10:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Internet Advertising Guidelines

I wish there would be some Internet advertising guidelines about flashing advertising banners some of them are incredibly distracting however the thing that worries me the most. Are people who suffer from photo sensitive epilepsy being exposed to these adverts. I feel websites and advertisers who place these adverts on pages should take the responsible action of making sure these adverts (if they have animation in them) will not affect people with this condition.

I understand that adverts are very important to these organizations to try and make the most of the adverts they get but they should be more responsible. They could also use a tag line in their adverts saying "our adverts are photo epilepsy friendly" which would make people more likely to take a look at their advert. If an advertiser cares that much about their customers they must be willing to offer a good product or service surely?

posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 01:11:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 02 March 2007
The black art of SEO and bridge that is Google

Search Engine Optimization has become such an important subject of late, it has now become the thing that can make or break a business who's primary source of income is from the Internet. However the problem with this model is that too many times Google appears to be sitting right in the middle of it. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against Google I think it a great search engine, however the problem is that Google has a bit of a monopoly on search.

Your potential customer needs to find a product, you sell this product and you would like that customer to purchase that product from you and not your competitor (that's how you make money). The problem is your customer has an obstacle course to get to you unless they have been to you before and you have provided them with a good service and price to make them come back. The obstacle course in most cases is the one thing the user knows best for finding things on the Internet its in grained in most of us and for some of us its even set our home page on our browser. You guessed it, its Google!

Google is that bridge in most cases between you and that potential customer, it doesn't happen all the time sometimes your customer uses another directory or search provider such as Yahoo or they see an advert or are directed by a social networking site. But other than that if you are an online business Google is your most important gateway it is something you have to respect it is that one important thing that if you get it wrong could ruin your online business. Google and search engines in general present a constant race that never ends, to stay on its front page for that gold search term that a customer is going to use to find you.

As you can understand if you get your SEO wrong, your whole deck of cards falls flat, its such a critical thing key to your success. The problem that adds to this problem is that Google doesn't always get it right, I often see sites at the top of Google for a key term that should never be there in the first place. Google like email also suffers from spam, this is caused by people who have found ways of cheating the search engine ranking system, the real truth is that not everyone can be on the first page of Google. So of course this gave birth to the SEO industry because if there is a way to making money people will find a way to use it to the best of it ability. SEO in many instances can be thought of as a black and secretive art, some parts of it is quite legitimate while other parts of it are rather shadier. There are companies and individuals out there that will offer you you Search Engine Optimization services, they all have there own little secrets to getting your site higher up in the Google rankings. However those who do not have the money to spend on these organizations try to pickup tutorials from the various sites on the Internet. Of course they will tell you all the basics about getting sites like yours to link to yours, to create easy to read web content with some of your keywords carefully included etc etc. However there are many many more methods out there that are not mentioned and any SEO guru worth their salt will keep these secrets that earn them their bread butter if everyone knew them then everyone would be trying them and the Search engines would cancel them out or everyone would be on the same level playing field again.

As you can see it all gets pretty interesting, I just hope that social networking sites will help to provide a healthy balance to Google. While Google is a great search service it needs a good competitor to keep balance in this industry, its never good to have any one company with a monopoly over an industry and competition is only healthy.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 23:28:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Social Networks

Interesting article on my friend owens blog about social networking

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 21:53:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Granny wants a computer

The other day I was in a computer store and heard two old ladies as they were busy looking at computers.

"Oh look at this Margay, this one looks nice"
"Oh yes that is a rather large screen Ingrid my screen is a lot smaller," said Margery.
"So will I be able to write my letters on this one?" asked Ingrid.
"Oh yes, look," said Margery who is quite a whiz with the mouse and selects MS Word "Yes this one will do"
"What happens to my letters when I turn it off?" asks Ingrid.
"Oh you have to save them first I buy disks they are very cheap," says Margery.
Ingrid nods very impressed with Margery's wealth of knowledge.

I walk over to the machine after they have left with a bemused look on my face seeing its the most powerful machine in the store with a 200 gig hard disk. What makes me smile is these old ladies were going to buy a top of the range PC as a glorified word processor. I wonder how many times this exact conversation takes place, how many grannies out there are sitting at home with some of the most powerful PC's with all the latest software all for writing letters. I wonder how many of them are saved from buying these really expensive PC's by their knowledgeable grandsons?

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 20:41:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

No Sky for Virgin Media Customers

Its a pretty dark day for Virgin Media Customers who suddenly stopped receiving Sky TV Channels last night. I have heard all kinds of complaints from annoyed work colleagues who have had cable TV for some time now before it even became Virgin Media.

The above brings back memories when I used to be an ITV Digital subscriber, I had bought an ITV Digital package because I was unable to get Sky and I also couldn't get cable at the time. ITV Digital was perfect no dish just a normal aerial. Then all of a sudden they started to go bust and Sky pulled all of their TV channels, now one thing I couldn't understand and maybe I don't understand how these sharing of channels work. But don't these commercial TV channels make their money via adverts placed on these channels? So surely the more platforms you can get your channels broadcasted on the more viewers you get and the more advertising revenue, or am I missing something?

In my opinion Sky has a very competitive advantage, they have bought all the rights to the top shows such as Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, Bones, Battlestar Galactica, Lost and 24.  Virgin will probably be hard pressed to fill the gap left by this lack of programming and do not show a single Sky channel in their lineup while Freeview the free digital service, offer Sky Three and Sky News and Sky Sports News.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 19:51:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 01 March 2007
Contaminated Fuel

The whole contaminated fuel fiasco has reached a whole new level since I blogged about it yesterday according to the news there may be traces of silicon in the fuel that may have caused the cars to break down.

The strange thing is, is that I have heard some odd things about how fuel companies work. Apparently many of them share fuel from the same depot and add their own supplements to it when it is placed into their tankers.

My major question as both the super markets who appear to be the source of this issue and are denying it is their fuel. Is who is going to end up with this massive bill for all these broken cars? I really wouldn't want to be one of those two supermarkets right now.

posted on Thursday, 01 March 2007 23:46:59 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]