Sunday, 28 October 2007
The Google Dance

It looks as though Google has started off something the industry has coined as the "Google Dance" again. Basically every now and again Google does a full update of its index on all of its servers. This usually has several side effects either the ranking on your site goes up, or you start to loose rank as Google works out less higher ranked sites are pointing at you than there used to be. I've lost 1point on my page rank however my wife has several blogs which have all gained page ranking points.  Maybe I just don't blog enough?

posted on Sunday, 28 October 2007 22:55:59 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

MyBlogLog and Yahoo

Is it me or has MyBlogLog traffic started to drift off a bit? It all seems to be ever since people were forced to sign-up for a Yahoo ID to use the service...

posted on Sunday, 28 October 2007 22:21:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 23 October 2007
SkyAnytime PC on Xbox 360

Just to recap on my last article about how to watch BBC iPlayer content through your Xbox without using Media Centre I have now tested it with Sky Anytime PC and it works like a charm.

The best way to make this work is to log into Sky Anytime PC and click on the "Account & Settings"  button from here you can find the "Default Download Location", copy this and then open windows Media Player 11, click Library > Add To Library and click add to add the folder location you just copied from Sky Anytime PC. Now next time you download a file from Sky Anytime PC it will automatically be added to your Windows Media Player library. If you followed the steps in my previous article to share your library with your Xbox you should be able to now watch SkyAnytime PC content on your Xbox withut having to drag the downloaded movies into the My Movies folder.

posted on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 21:45:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 21 October 2007
Watching BBC iPlayer content on your XBox 360

Having recently bought an Xbox 360 I heard there was a way of streaming content from your Windows XP machine to the XBox, the reason I was particularly interested was that I had started using the BBC iPlayer and Sky Anytime PC service for watching TV programs on demand. It was great for catching up on shows I had missed or forgot to record on my Sky Plus box. The only problem I had was that it wasn't much fun watching these shows on my laptop screen when I had a 42inch LCD screen with surround sound sitting around being unused naturally the Xbox filled this chasm.

Having looked around the net many people who do not have the Media Centre edition of Windows XP do not seem to be able to stream DRM protected content to their Xbox. Well the solution to the problem is pretty simple and you don't need to use TVersity (great free program by the way).

The Solution

  1. Ensure you have Windows Media Player 11 installed you can download this from Microsoft's web site. Chances are if you have the BBC iPlayer or Sky Anytime PC installed you will already have the latest version of Windows Media Player.
  2. Click on the Library tab and select the option Media Sharing. From here tick the checkbox "Share My media to:". If you click on settings in this window you have the option to select what type of content you wish to share. Click OK to close this window.
  3. Now after you have downloaded some content from BBC iPlayer first select to watch the content. What this will do is get the licence (DRM) to allow you to view the video. No need to watch the video you can close the BBC iPlayer window.
  4. Copy the movie into your movies folder (found under my documents) and then drag it into Windows Media Player. This part is quite important I couldn't get this to work unless I carried out this step for some reason it has to be inside the Movies folders located under My Documents.
  5. On your Xbox select the media tab, select Video and then select computer. If all goes well you should see your Windows XP machine. Select your computer.
  6. Back on your Windows XP machine go back to Windows Media Player select the Library > Media Sharing over here you should see your Xbox. Select it and then select Allow and then OK. (Don't worry you only have to do this once).
  7. Go back to the Xbox and press the backup button and select the Video option again as in step 5 you should now see the video's you had placed on your Windows XP machine. Select the video and enjoy!

Now don't panic you don't need to carry out the steps above all the time. Every time you want to add a new movie try to watch it first to acquire the DRM licence then place it into Windows Media Player and then watch from the Xbox. This seems to have been the only way I could get this to work. I see no reason why the above will not work with SkyAnytime which I will be testing shortly. If you are not able to see your Windows XP machine from your Xbox backup to the media tab itself and go back in. If this doesn't work ensure your Xbox is connected to your network.

If you know of an easier way of doing this I'd love to hear from you.

posted on Sunday, 21 October 2007 19:03:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [6]

 Saturday, 20 October 2007
Xbox 360

Every now and again we do a few drastic things or have a few spending urges and its going to sound a bit hypocritical regarding my past posts about saving money but I splashed out on an Xbox 360. Now I am a pretty big Sony PS3 fan but the PS3 is still just too expensive for me right now and I really wanted to play the game Gears of War ever since I saw it. What was the result? Well I am very happy with my purchase Gears of War was better than I ever thought it would be and its nice to have a device that take advantage of my High Resolution TV at 1080p I really hadn't realised how good the picture could be especially how the Xbox upscales DVD movies it was a nice surprise.

The other thing I like about the Xbox and I know the PS3 is capable of this is actually streaming movies from your PC to your Xbox this pretty neat as you don't really want to watch movies on your PC right? The only thing I haven't tried yet is streaming my Sky Anytime PC or BBC iPlayer content onto it. I'm hoping the DRM content is not going to be a problem.

Gears of war is excellent and my wife loves playing it with me in split screen mode, only problem is she thinks she's better at it than I am...pah!

posted on Saturday, 20 October 2007 09:36:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 19 October 2007
China and the Olympics

I have watched so many documentary's on TV about how many people have been forcibly evicted from their houses in China to make way for the Olympics and for new developments. China is growing at an amazing pace and are taking every opportunity to try and amaze the world in its capitol Beijing to try and show to the world "look we are an advanced nation with modern buildings and you can bring your big business here!". The horrible truth is that in order to put on this show China is doing what it does best and that is shoving people aside for the "greater good of the state".

I think China needs to learn an important lesson and that is if you are going to put on a show for the world you'd better do it right and that doesn't just mean the show, it also means how you do it. The rest of the world shouldn't tolerate it, an Olympic games that have been put on at the expense of people being evicted from their homes, beaten and forcibly evicted. Its probably time to start boycotting China's Olympics and there are many ways this can be done if China does not change its ways such as.

  • Not watching the Olympic games on TV affects advertising revenues
  • Athletes and countries can pull out of the games
  • TV companies can refuse to broadcast the games.

There have already been many articles on the Internet about it.

http://www.reuters.com/news/video/videoStory?videoId=68106

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/264131_olympics24.html

http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=174

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6668485.stm

posted on Friday, 19 October 2007 20:01:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Suddenly lose all your desktop items in Windows XP?

My parents in law had a problem with their machine where they had lost all the icons on their desktop. Puzzled I looked everywhere for them and could not find them, not even in the recycled folder. So naturally my next stop was Google to see if anyone else had had this problem and kept on coming up with the same old things

"Run a virus scanner and search for viruses"

"Is your screen resolution correct"

"It happened to me and sadly I found no solution to it so used other programs from the task manager"

Solution

Funny enough the solution was incredibly simple. Right click on your desktop on the menu that appears click on "Arrange Icons" then hover down the second menu that appears and ensure the option "Show desktop icons" is ticked and like magic they reappeared!

posted on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 21:21:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 16 October 2007
The infinity razor

A while ago my wife purchased me a new Infinity Razor. In short I would be able to say "Good bye to being a slave to the Gillette corporation!" because you would never have to replace it. In reality however after using it 3 times I soon realised that Gillette had absolutely nothing to fear, the Infinity Razor just wasn't as good as my trusty 3 blade Gillette which gave me a nice smooth shave unlike the Infinity which was incredibly rough and didn't at all live up to its expectations. Oh well...it was a nice dream though?

posted on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 21:28:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 14 October 2007
Older people and mobile phones

I have a hard time trying to explain to the older members of my family and friends that leaving a mobile phone on while they are out and about does not.

  • Cause wear and tear to the phone
  • Just because you don't think someone will phone you doesn't mean you shouldn't turn on your mobile phone.
  • You are not charged when someone calls you on your mobile.
  • A mobile is mobile this means you can take it with you when you go out.

I suppose there is really a generation gap here when brining our elders up to speed with mobile phones and new technology. A while ago I blogged about a granny I overheard talking to her friend about how she stored all her files on floppy disks on a state of the art PC she had bought from Dixons not knowing she could have stored it on the machines 60 gig hard disk.

posted on Sunday, 14 October 2007 21:35:41 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 12 October 2007
A new Star Trek film

A new Star Trek film is on the cards! It looks like the star from Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg will be playing Scotty. I wonder if there will be any plans for a new Star Trek series?

posted on Friday, 12 October 2007 19:30:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 11 October 2007
Bus stop driven government

A while ago I watched an interesting documentary on TV which spoke about how our current Labour government used a system called "target driven government" basically just about everything could be measured from National Health indicators and that in turn could be used to set targets for government institutions. Unfortunately as had been demonstrated in order to meet targets certain hospitals "fudge" figures in order to meet targets and in turn get more funding.

I think the best indicators on how certain government institutions are doing can actually be found at bus stops waiting for (constantly late) buses. Wait a while and sure enough you'll encounter pensioners who have no alternative but to wait for late buses, before long they will start talking about how unreliable the buses are and they keep very good mental records on how badly the bus service is doing.  Wait a little longer and you may hear a story similar to the one I heard about the health service it was a tale I started to hear several times as pensioners started to talk to each other. One story I heard was about a pensioner who suffered a leg injury when one bus collided into the back of another as he was about to get off. They called an ambulance for him even though he insisted he could dress the wound on his leg by himself. He then goes on to tell the pensioner he is sat next to how he had to wait 2 hours. He understood that people who had more pressing issues needed to be seen first and after another half an hour he decided to leave and dress the wound himself at home as he had said he would in the beginning. The other pensioner informs him that each time she has a fall or any other of her friends do that they do not bother being taken to hospital or refuse ambulances because of how bad the services are at the local hospital. When they do need to go to hospital there is a bus service that can take them. However the bus service takes almost 45 minutes to get there and the main reason for this is that is goes around every single stop to pick up people and these people are left waiting for the service for hours when it does not turn up, seldom complaining except to each other when the weather is poor.

Its not only the health service you pickup on but also issues ranging from who are the people on benefits and how some (not all) take the system for granted and laugh about it, how people who are on a minimum wage who do not believe on going onto benefits and struggle to make ends meet especially when it comes to heating in winter. How some people are on benefits and complain that its not enough but have no intention of finding employed work because they are a lot better off, but complain that they do not have enough money for "fags" and milk.

Its funny if you know where to listen you can easily pinpoint where problems are. You can find out what statistics tell you and what actually happens in reality just by listening. I have heard so many tales and it kind of tells you what is really happening. I believe that politicians are out of touch I think they have become as the ruling nobility were before we had a system of elected government. Gone is the politician who made it from the lowest depths of society the self built person who knows the plights of ordinary citizens. Instead we have politicians who have never known hardship they have been born into a privileged upbringing  a new class that fails to understand the common problems plaguing people. Maybe some of them should dress up in ordinary clothes, catch a few buses and while waiting just listen to people talking about every day things. Who knows...they might learn something?

posted on Thursday, 11 October 2007 22:48:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 10 October 2007
The onion chopper

I wasn't a big fan of the onion chopper when my mother in law first brought it about and it didn't work when I first used it and then I discovered I wasn't using it correctly. Instead of pushing the chopper down slowly all I had to do was give it short fast taps on the top to chop up the vegetables.

posted on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 20:08:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 07 October 2007
Cool Wi-Fi signal status shirt

How cool is this? A Wi-Fi Detector T shirt! Be the envy of all your friends for a just a mere $29.99 at ThinkGeek you can show people where the Wi-Fi is at!

 

posted on Sunday, 07 October 2007 14:26:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]

 Saturday, 06 October 2007
Your friend the ISA

I am by no means a money saving expert, in fact I can sometimes be a little naughty splashing money onto a credit card every now and again to purchase a really "must have" gadget. However most of the time I like to make credit cards work for me as per my last article Making money off your credit card using 0% cards.

One of the things that gets me when I talk to younger (and some of my older) friends is what they do with their savings. There seems to be a common theme that goes a long the lines of "Oh I don't earn enough money to worry about a proper savings account". These very same people will have a standard savings account you get from your high street bank which pays a very low rate of interest and on top of that the bank will also be paying the Inland Revenue tax on your behalf off the interest before you get it. While at the same time that so called "paltry" amount could be placed inside a MINI cash ISA and be earning 5% interest tax free!

When I explain the above there is still a reluctance as they seem to think an ISA is some kind of a special shares thing they need to sign up for. Its only when I explain that just about anyone can open an ISA account and that it can be treated as just a normal bank account except for the following rules.

  • You can only deposit £3,000 in a cash ISA each year
  • If you saved £1,000 and then withdrew it you would only be able to put £2,000 back into that ISA within the tax year.
  • If you have £3,000 in your cash ISA by the end of the financial year you can place a further £3,000 when you get to the next tax year.

I don't think enough people make use of these convenient financial products.

For more financial tips take a look at Money Saving Expert

posted on Saturday, 06 October 2007 13:20:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Cut on PS3 price

Just been reading an article on my wife Karen's blog about a cut in the price of the PS3.

Sony will be releasing a cut down version of the PS3 which is cheaper however not backwards compatible with the PS2 and PS1. The price is quite attractive at £299, however I am not prepared to buy a cut down version of the PS3 if I can't play my old PS2 and PS1 games. However if you are looking for a cheap Blu-ray DVD player the PS3 is definitely it.

On another note the full version of the PS3 will be coming down from £425 to £349 which is a much more palatable price. I am still facing the dilemma between and Xbox 360 and a PS3.  I love the Wii console but I also want a serious games console and I really love all the amazing features that come packed in the PS3.

posted on Saturday, 06 October 2007 10:34:48 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Tuesday, 02 October 2007
You know you are a geek when...
  • You only buy devices that are wireless
  • You feel sorry for people who are still on dialup Internet access
  • You can't remember the last time you wrote a letter by hand
  • You only stay in contact with friends who have e-mail addresses
  • You can't remember the last time you had real printed photos as everything's online.
  • You think something's wrong with your friends when you don't see them online everyday.
  • You know what a mac address is.
  • You know what a WEP key is.
  • You have a blog, hosted on your own server
  • You treat yourself to a new gadget every couple of months from Ebuyer or "I want One Of Those"
  • You've setup not one but two wireless networks in your house with 2 lots of firewalls.
  • You write your blog posts in a pure HTML editor because you can't stand the GUI one.
  • You have more than one PC and one of them is called "your server"
  • You use the command prompt for everything
  • You know more about your ADSL connection and how to fix it when it goes wrong than the person on the helpdesk of your ISP.
  • Your friends and family rather call you when they have an IT problem at work than talk to their own internal IT guys.
  • You prefer to build your own PC's
  • You're reading this blog post late at night smiling when you should probably be in bed.
  • Your mobile device can access e-mail and probably has Skype and WiFi
  • You criticise actors in "cyber" movies who write syntactically incorrect code.   
  • You plan your holidays by which hotels have wireless access
posted on Tuesday, 02 October 2007 23:39:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 01 October 2007
Latest army advert

Was just watching one of the latest army adverts where they showed the army using remote controlled drones to monitor the battle field. What got me was I am pretty sure the controller they were using for the drones was a controller for an Xbox 360. Very very odd....

posted on Monday, 01 October 2007 19:09:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]