Saturday, 30 June 2007
iTunes 7 with Browse Album Covers

ItunesBrowse

iTunes 7 Browse Album Covers functionality is really pretty cool you can even put it on full screen mode to browse you're albums. This is the same interface that has been made available on the iPhone and would look pretty cool on the iPod if its gets released for it.

If you have problems getting the Browse Albums functionality working make sure you have hardware acceleration turned on on your graphics card. Take a look at Mark Moshers blog on how to enable acceleration on your graphics card for iTunes 7

posted on Saturday, 30 June 2007 14:45:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

BBC and Real Media Player

realMedia I really like the BBC web site. No other news web site in the world gives you the variety of choice and quality the BBC web site does without the bombardment of adverts that sites such as CNN and SKY have on them.

My only gripe is why on earth they only use Real Media Player to broadcast their content. I find Real Media Player slow and clunky where they have tried to include so much into the actual player and prefer players such as Quick Time and and Windows Media Player by comparison which are quicker to load and have better handling of buffering content. I always find when I am watching a video on the BBC site, I can hear the sound but the video takes ages to catch up.

Does anyone have the same problem?

posted on Saturday, 30 June 2007 14:25:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Tooth ache the saga continues

Well an update on the tooth ache is I have been put on antibiotics by the dentist (didn't even know they could prescribe them). The pain after a whole night staying up and bathing the tooth in cold water as it was the only way to stop the gut wrenching pain has now become a tingling discomfort.

I can only wait an see if the antibiotics clears the pain fully or I have to go back into the dentists for the dreaded root canal surgery.

posted on Saturday, 30 June 2007 13:36:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 24 June 2007
Tooth Ache Continues

I eventually got through to a dentist yesterday and he told me I was suffering from a condition where the nerve end on a tooth decides to die often after having dental surgery like the kind I had a while ago to have some inlays put in. Unfortunately not much can really be done for up to 24hrs until the pain in most cases dies away by itself the nerve end eventually dies and stops reporting pain to my head, eyes and general half of my face.

He told me I had to take two lots of pain killers that I could get to kick in at certain times after one had lost its effect. You usually have to wait about 4-6 hours before you can take more of that particular pain killer. At the moment I'm in a waiting period before I can take the next lot and can only numb the pain by rinsing my mouth with vodka or applying bonjela.

posted on Sunday, 24 June 2007 15:48:57 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 23 June 2007
Tooth Ache

I must apologize for the lack of posts recently, I've been rather busy at work working into the unsociable hours of the morning and not getting much sleep. To cap all of this off I finally get to the weekend for some nice hard earned rest and all of a sudden I am suffering intense toothache. So far I have had pain killers and vodka to help stem the pain. I basically take a sip of vodka and hold it in my mouth while crying like a little girl as the intense burning pain sets in on my tooth and then eventually numbs away the pain for about half an hour before it comes back again. The disadvantages of this method is you soon start slurring your speech and end up mind drummingly drunk after a few hours. I know what you are thinking "why not spit out the vodka?" and yes I have asked myself the same question each time I swallow it.

Hopefully the dentists emergency answer phone number will get back to me before I fall asleep. What is even worse is its my wife and my first anniversary tomorrow and I'm going to be in so much pain.

posted on Saturday, 23 June 2007 17:31:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 16 June 2007
Securing your home with CCTV

If you've read my previous blog entry about the Wheelie Bin Thief you will probably have noted that I have a CCTV system around my house. Before people start calling me paranoid it was originally intended as a cat cam network to keep and eye on what those balls of fur actually get up to. After a while it started to grow so we could check on the house over the Internet if we were staying at a friends place for the night or we went away on holiday.

Most friends are quite fascinated by it and usually think it cost me a fortune, well to be honest it only really cost me around £50 to put together. If you are looking at having the same kind of system I have in place, have a look around your home for any webcams you might have. I have about 6 of them I managed to pick up some dirt cheap a while ago at Homebase of all places for £5. Another camera I have which isn't as cheap is a wireless camera which I use for places not close enough to my PC which cost me £20

CameraSet-3 This little camera can either be powered from a 9V battery or off a power adaptor I plug the receiver unit into the video card on one of my PC's upstairs. You can pickup this camera from Skyline Select for around £75 however I managed to get it cheaper from a shop in Thailand for £20 but it no longer appears to exist anymore.

Anyway pulling this all together I used a very clever piece of shareware software called SupervisionCam by Peter Kirst. This only cost me £25 at the time to register which I consider a real bargain.  If you don't register it you will get a "Unregistered" on all of your webcam views.

Anyway SupervisionCam allows you to plug as many camera feeds as your PC can cope with into the system and will display these camera feeds as real timesupercam over the Internet on a web page! What is even cooler is that Supervision cam detects movement and when it does you can get it to record what it sees or you can get it to email someone with the picture, play a sound, upload a picture somewhere and now even SMS someone. In addition to the web interface Supervision cam also comes with a handy little bit of software called Supervision View which is a little app that sits on your desktop instead of you having to watch a web page for updates.  

At the moment I have an external hard disk which I get SupervisionCam to record the past 5 days of movement. If something strange happens and I need to check on it I go through the past 5 days footage on speed review around that time to see what happened. If you are worried about someone actually breaking in and stealing the PC that is watching your home you can get Supervision cam to upload details to an external FTP site or email you, at least you can catch the thief on camera.

SupervisionCam has had all kinds of success with people who swear by it. It doesn't only have to be used for protecting your home you can also use it to do things such as records flowers opening at night and then speeding up the footage. You can also use it to broadcast what is on your screen across the Internet or just simply using it to keep an eye on your kids as they play in the garden.

I've noticed a lot of houses in my area with external camera however none of them are hooked to the Internet. It would be a great idea if people hooked these camera's up an some sort of community site to keep an eye on their neighborhoods.

If you're interested in setting up your own CCTV system using your computer and some webcams and get a bit lost or have any questions, please drop me a line I'm always willing to help!

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posted on Saturday, 16 June 2007 13:19:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Taps won't work! What to do.

Okay it might seem a bit odd but I do do a bit of DIY from time to time (I'm pretty sure my wife will be sniggering at this comment). One of my last projects was replacing the washer on a tap which is a simple enough task on its own provided that tap actually as a stop cock under the basin. Unfortunately this was the hot water tap and there were no stop cocks to be found and it left me with the laborious task of turning off the hot water cylinder and also the mains water that filled the refill cylinder on the roof (this is the one all the cold water taps in your house come off except the kitchen which should come off the mains) and then draining the hot water cylinder into the bath which took almost an hour.

Once I was happy there was no water left in the system I took apart the tap and replaced the washer put the tap back together again and turned on the mains water supply again. This took about another hour to fill up properly until I didn't hear the water running anymore I then turned on the taps to get all the air out of the system but no matter how long I ran the taps for, the tap with the washer I just replaced wouldn't give out any water. It left me annoyed because I'd probably have to do the whole damn thing over again, some how there was a trapped air bubble in the system which was stopping the flow of water, what to do?

Solution

Well its pretty simple actually, all I did was take a garden hose from outside and send water up the tap for a couple of minutes and like magic the air bubble was gone and the tap flowed again!  

posted on Saturday, 16 June 2007 11:21:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

Get cheaper phone calls

Friends and colleagues are often amazed when I show them how easy it really is to get cheap or even free phone calls.

I've traveled a fair amount and when ever I do I always use one of the many VIOP based Internet phone service to stay in contact with my wife. VOIP stands for Voice Over IP, which in simple terms basically means sending a phone call over the Internet to you and me. Several companies have popped up over the years that offer such a service and they are Vonage, SIPGate, Nikotel, Skype and now even BT. As you have probably guessed being the VOIP geek that I am I have accounts with all 5 of these services.

The service I have come to like the most is SIPGate, you can sign up online with these guys and select yourself a real UK phone number for free! Thats right no line rental and no monthly fee. All you do is just pay for calls as you would do with a pay as you go mobile phone. SIPGate works by using something called the SIP protocol its an open standard for voice communication. With SIPGate you have the option of having a soft phone, ie a phone that is installed on your PC or getting a little box that plugs into your broadband and into which you plug a real phone. The other mentioned above are more or less the same however they charge you for having a phone number with them unlike SIPGate.

So why would you want an Internet phone line?

Well lets examine this for a minute, with an Internet phone if you move house to another city you basically get to take your phone number with you, no number changing! This also means if you are in a completely different country and you have your phone plugged into the Internet people phoning you on your UK phone line can reach you in the states for example at the cost of a local phone call. That's a lot cheaper than mobile phone roaming charges which if you face is just day light robbery. At the moment I also have a US phone number with Nikotel which relatives over in the States can call me on over here in the UK. Usually with these operators and especially Skype will allow you to make free phone calls to other people using the same service, great hu?

If you you're VOIP interests you and you need a little advice -give me a shout by dropping me a comment.

posted on Saturday, 16 June 2007 00:08:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 14 June 2007
Connie's got talent

If you've been watching the new show called Britain's Got Talent you would have seen little Connie singing.

When I first watched this little girl, I thought by the way she was answering people interviewing her that she was just going to have a little singing voice.

What had me nearly in stitches was watching Simon Cowell's face he seemed consigned from the beginning that she was just going to do a little song in a little child like voice and walk off. Then all of a sudden he sat up astonished by her amazing voice as she stunned the audience and the judges with her talent.

Well done little Connie! And thanks for shocking Simon Cowell and proving him wrong.

posted on Thursday, 14 June 2007 21:07:30 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

Gaza

It seamed quite sad to see two Palestinian factions battling among each other so brutally destroying what infrastructure was created. It seems the fighting among themselves was far more brutal than any fighting they appeared to have had with Israel in the past.

I watched on TV as normal people came out in protest asking both Fatah and Hamas to stop fighting each other, they had had enough. It seemed strange how unarmed people tried to take on armed men who seemed to no longer represent any of them.

It doesn't seem as though there will ever be peace in this area unless one side completely wipes out the other. There is no room for compromise it seems and so much meddling by other countries seems to undermine any progress.

Will there ever be peace?

posted on Thursday, 14 June 2007 18:54:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Safari for Windows

Safari is now available for the PC! I had a look at it today on one of my colleagues laptop. While its's supposed to be faster than all the other browsers he didn't seem to think so, but then again his laptop is rather slow!

So what is Apple trying to do? Is this a dangerous game they are playing? Or did they think, well if our code works on the Intel platform already its only a small change to make it work on the PC so why not? Or is apple going to start releasing more and more applications for the PC in time for them finally releasing their OS for normal Intel PC's and not just Apple only Intel PC's?

One can only wonder at what Apples ambitions are for the future but they could be a strong favorite for producing an alternative to Windows. Would Microsoft stop making MS Office for the Mac if that happened?

posted on Wednesday, 13 June 2007 21:45:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 09 June 2007
Anger Management

This has got to be the most hilarious blog entry I have ever seen have a read

posted on Saturday, 09 June 2007 12:34:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Joost again

Okay I will admit I have become one of those "yuppies" who go on about Joost. I just had an excellent thought about it, why don't they come up with a version of Joost for the Wii console? Wouldn't that be great? I can already watch YouTube videos from my Wii console why not get Joost sorted on a Java applet?

posted on Saturday, 09 June 2007 10:59:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Update on the cat tracking device

If you are a regular reader of my blog you would probably have read a past post in my blog about a cat tracking device. First of all the device I used was not sold as a cat tracking device it was sold as a device you could use to find your keys or any other personal items. It could also be used to keep a tab on where young kids are and with some devices it could be used as a panic button for kids. I of course realized that I could probably reuse it to keep track of my two of my troublesome moggies Willow and Lucy. The reason I chose this device was that all the other cat tracking devices out there were quite expensive my friend Marzie however said she had seen some going for 1,000 Yen  which is roughly 5 pounds!, its a pity they don't have them over here I'm sure there would be a great market for them.

Anyway the devices were working fine and every time we had a cat go missing for a long period we would go out and find it. I must say you get some really odd looks from the neighbors when you have this little device beeping away the closer you get to the cat. Its almost like an episode of Aliens where they go around with the life detector devices and you expect a smiling alien to come out and eat you! But instead you have a curious moggie looking at you wondering how earth you found her and why a little blipping noise is coming from her collar. All was going fine until both cats we had the devices on started to let off little electronic fuzzy sounds quite randomly and I decided to remove the tags to investigate what was causing the problem. It appears that when the cats get the devices wet  they let off this electronic sound which I found seemed to be the only downfall of the device. I suppose they weren't really intended for being dragged through wet grass in the morning or being submerged in water when the cat misjudges jumping for a dragon fly and ends up in the pond.

Anyway allowing the device to dry off seems to solve the problem. Now I just have to try and get it back on the cat!

posted on Saturday, 09 June 2007 10:57:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

 Thursday, 07 June 2007
Cool site error messages
  • Something went wrong, its probably Dave's fault. It probably isn't but we always blame him!
  • I couldn't find the page you wanted, I'm like so sorry dude
  • I couldn't find your page, it probably wasn't very important anyway!
  • Something went wrong and its all your fault.
  • Sorry the hamster powering our server died
  • The servers depressed and isn't taking requests right now.
  • The servers busy playing ping pong
  • This is the washing machine the servers currently busy right now.
  • Its all gone horribly wrong, run for the hills!
  • Sorry our site is so slow, the hamster just isn't fast enough.
posted on Thursday, 07 June 2007 21:26:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 05 June 2007
The new London Olympic Logo!

olympiclogo Well the new Olympic logo is...well.. is rather well it just is I suppose....not very good. Well that was my first impression of it and when I heard it cost £400,000 to create I wondered what new age design company was busy popping Champaign corks out there.

It makes you wonder if they spent £400,000 on a logo how much they would spend on say the Olympic cutlery! I have a strange feeling and I don't why (I'd love to be proved wrong) but I think the this Olympic games is going to go over budget.  

posted on Tuesday, 05 June 2007 19:54:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 04 June 2007
The garden

catAndGarden At last I have finally got around to doing the garden and its started looking a lot better now. Yes I took a picture with a token cat in there, little Lucy (in the picture) has a new past time, we call it spotting newts.

She spends hours just watching them in the pond and occasionally sticking her paws in to try and catch them (she never actually catches any). 

Recently we have found the insect population in our garden has started to decline with the constant snacking of our mogey's on the local wasps, bees, butterflies and any creepy crawlies....

posted on Monday, 04 June 2007 19:56:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 03 June 2007
Silly Cats

willowandLucy I just wanted to make some things clear. While I do blog about cats occasionally I am by no means a cat person to be truthful I couldn't actually stand the little critters. However my wife was crazy about cats and even before we got married she convinced me that she had to get 2 cats. After some constant nagging and looking very depressed on her part I finally gave in and said we could get two kittens from one of my friends Owen who's cat Cuddles had just had a litter. The funny thing about cats is if you don't like them or show any interest in them they seem to want to be around you more.

One of the cats we called Willow (the grey one in the picture above) decided she was going to adopt me as her main human. This included sitting on top of me or near me at any opportunity, constantly mewing when I wasn't home before 7pm and occasionally using the carpet as a cat litter when I was even later. I had never had any animal attach itself like this to me and I hadn't even shown any interest in her. I suppose Willow started to grow on me and while I am watching TV she will quite often jump on my lap if I am not on my laptop and commence pummeling at which point I give in and start stroking her.

At the moment we now have 4 cats and every morning is filled with cats playing, they have this morning ritual which involves chasing one of the cats through the patio door around the garden, through the cat flap and around again. This appears to happen until the cat being chased is tackled to the ground then the one that attacked it becomes "it" and the whole games starts again filled with constant "meowing" excited grunts and jumping into the air every now and again. At about 11am they calm down and commence sleeping until about 2pm when a new games of "I hide in the box wait for you to come by and jump on you". Occasionally when they are in their frenzied play time they'll run over you in this game of "You're it!" sometimes claws dig in and you jump up chasing them all outside and locking them outside to play their game. In most cases they all hide away from you when one of them has done something bad and venture out later when they think you've forgotten.   

Okay I'll admit the little guys have grown on me, that doesn't mean I like them....does it?

posted on Sunday, 03 June 2007 14:14:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

Eight Below

8below This film has been around for some time now however I can remember the first time my wife and I watched this film it was on a plane back from Zante where we had just had our honeymoon. I did something silly I broke the first rule about animals films, I actually watched it and what was worst I watched it in public.

And yes the story is about 8 dogs that had to be left behind when a huge snow storm starts in the arctic and there's not enough space to evacuate them on the evacuation plane. How the dogs survive by themselves and how their owner (Paul Walker) who was forced to leave them behind tries everything to get back and rescue them when everyone says they would have died by now.

There will be laughter there will be that strange feeling in your throat at the end and that stupid moment when you get some dust in your eyes and it makes your eyes water.

posted on Sunday, 03 June 2007 13:43:30 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 02 June 2007
Swearing and British Kids

I was in the shop the other day when I heard a little girl say to her mother in the queue behind me.

"Why the f*ck can't I have that Jay's got one!"

I was quite shocked and waiting to hear the mothers response which was

"Well he's f*ckin older than you isn't he!"

At which point I raised by eyebrows and realized why the child actually spoke the way she did, it was believe it or not the parents fault. Its strange now a days I'm not saying I was never a kid that swore when I was younger but if I was ever caught by my parents I would either get a smack in the mouth or my mouth literally washed out with soap by my teachers. Swearing has become such a common part of life in some areas that its just part of regular conversation. Its shocking but it only takes one generation to introduce it as part of everyday conversation and its gets passed on. I suppose swearing which used to be something used when someone was very annoyed or angry doesn't seem to have that same effect anymore.

posted on Saturday, 02 June 2007 17:30:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]