Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

PlayStation 3

October 9th, 2009 No comments

I decided to treat myself last weekend and splashed out on my first new games console since I left school in 2003. It took a lot of research and delberation, but I eventually went for the 120Gb PlayStation 3 slimline model.


The sales adviser at Game spent about ten minutes trying to sell me various packages, insurance deals and add-ons. This is usually a good sign as it means they are short on their sales quota for the day and tend to be open to some negotiation. The PS3 retails at around £250, with games and accessories ranging from around £25 – £75.

I walked out the shop ten fruitful minutes later with the PS3, Fifa 10, Little Big Planet, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Guitar Hero: World Tour (with a guitar) for a snip under £330, and they threw in a 2 year extended warranty.


Blackberry Applications

August 30th, 2009 No comments

I have been itching to really get to grips with unleashing the power of my Blackberry device since I upgraded earlier this year. It seems this itch has taken a back seat as I have been busy with other things. That is until now.

The last week or so I have been experimenting with what applications I add to really make a difference to how I would normally interact with my phone or with the world at large. The Blackberry app market is not as saturated as the iPhone apps market, nor is it as easy to navigate and find the apps that you may be interested in. However, the apps themselves are as powerful as those for the iPhone and come with the massive benefit of not having to own an iPhone to use!

I am sure that as time goes on I will find soem more apps to add, but for the time being I have gone for a relatively small selection that really make a big difference:

  • WordPress for Blackberry – a fantastic app that allows full access to my wordpress blogs without needing to enter via the browser. This means you can write and edit the draft offline then when you are happy with the end result publish it in seconds. The features are pretty powerful and the UI is not bad to look at. Needs a little more work on the higher end functionality like adding media etc, but for text based blogging it is far easier than using the email functionality in wordpress!
    Facebook – no Blackberry is really compelte without a social networking app. i have not yet worked out how to get it to tell me about new event invites, but it does let me synch existing events with my BB calendar.
    Viigo – this RSS and news aggregator is a fantastic bit of kit. Took less than 5 mins to set up all the feeds I subscribe to and it also includes suggestions of related sites and feeds. The best bit about it is the almost complete control you have over how it displays your information. This really helps to prevent info overload!
    Google Maps – BB based version of the popular web based mapping software. Ties in nicely with the BB GPS system.
    Windows Live Messenger – a BB version of the IM software.
    Gmail – Again, the BB app verison of the webmail service from Google. I actually don’t use it so much as I have my gmail accounts set up within the email system, but a useful backup none the less.
  • Spending my bonus!

    July 26th, 2009 5 comments

    It seems that my hard work at O2 over the last year and a bit is about to pay off. I mean this in the purely literal sense as it is bonus time at work. I managed to get an excellent apraisal and I am in line to receive a pretty sizable lump sum! I have decided that this shall be put towards building a relatively starter style home entertainment system. I am new to the whole thing and I have a really small house so I have not gone for anything too flash and a couple of items are still up for discussion – namely whether I sghould get separate games console and Blu-Ray player or plump for the PS3. A lot of articles and pundits have repeatedly opted for the PS3 as the idea source for a low-end system but I still have my reservations about its ability as a console. I will be looking to upgrade they system with a larger TV (ideally full HD) when I have a bigger living room. I fancy adding a full HD projector at some point for those move and sports nights I envisage :P



    The full list is as follows:

    TV: Samsung LE32B450C4
    AV Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR507
    Sources: Samsung BD-P1600, Sky+HD, Xbox 360 Elite, Custom built Media PC
    Speakers: Tannoy SFX5.1

    Firefox 3

    August 7th, 2008 1 comment

    You may or may not be aware that Mozilla have recently launched their latest offering from the Firefox web browser series. Version 3 contains, according to the official website, over 15,000 improvements on its predecesser. Now I haven’t really got under the hood of it yet, but I have noticed a few of them – namely the interface is quite different. It doesn’t strike you straight away, but when you go to click where you are used to clicking and either a) nothing happens or b) the wrong thing happens can get quite annoying. After a little while when you get used to the new interface then things start looking up. Chris, on his flashy new website, mentions in his review about the fact that Firefox 3 doesn’t leech all your memory and other system resources. Now although I never experienced this with Firefox 2.x, I have noticed that the overall memory footprint is reduced as well as seemingly making fewer demands on processor and hard disk space too. It is still a little early to make proper judgements on it and no doubt I will in the future.

    On the whole though, here is to another decent product that is available as open source (which will keep Kieran happy if nothing else)!

    Western Digital MyBook World Edition

    May 17th, 2008 No comments

    Having picked up an absolute bargain version of the latest offering from Western Digital’s MyBook range, the MyBook World Edition – a network attached storage version of the ever popular MyBook external hard disc drives, I thought I would offer up a quick review.

    It is an excellent piece of kit, I have the 1TB version (2x 500GB drives) in white. It took less than two minutes to set up once I had thrown the MioNet software out the window and just plugged it directly into my switch on the house network. It is a tidy bit of kit, all the wires tuck away nicely and it comes with all the cables you would need – a power cable, a 1m Cat.5e cable and a USB connector to connect further external units to this one. My Windows network picked it up straight away and my linux machine recognises it (as you would expect).

    It is a brilliant piece of kit and I would recommend it to anyone that wants any extra network storage!

    Internet has returned!

    February 27th, 2008 No comments

    Having not had home Internet that has worked with any kind of stability it was quite a shock to get home today and find that everything seems to be working normally again.

    Check out the difficulties we have been facing here.

    2007: A Year in Review

    January 7th, 2008 1 comment

    The Christmas festivities are over, the New Year hangovers have subsided and 2008 is nearly a week old. This seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look back at 2007 and the people, events and ideas that made it.

    Christmas and New Year are always a time for reflection and nostalgia and this year was no different. My family was all together for the first time in a while, including some of the new additions. I had an enjoyable time with several highlights – firstly, I caught up with some old friends and relived some of those moments from my youth that I miss. I also had a good time Christmas Day as I actually felt part of the family for the first time in many years. The end of December was also a good time for me, I spent it with Liz and her family and really felt accepted.

    Anyway, back to my review of the year.

    January was an interesting month, fisrt it saw the blossoming of a new friendship, one that would lead to something quite special – although i didn’t know that at the time of course. This month saw the final plans for the new academic year’s housing plans and all the arguments that surrounded that decision. This is probably the time that I cemented my friendship with a number of people whom I now consider my closest allies.

    January’s exam period was hard for me, not just for the obvious reasons, but because it saw the dawning in my mind that I had lost my passion in Materials Engineering, that the course was no longer the inspiration I required. I began to toy with the idea of leaving university, or at least changing course.

    I don’t remember much of February apart from starting at McDonald’s and buying a new car. I also went to Langdale in the Lake District with my mum.

    March was an interesting month, I saw Barenaked Ladies in concert in Leeds which was amazing, visited Sarann in the Lakes and most importantly I started this blog.

    Now here is the definition of a rollercoaster ride. I reached some of the lowest points of my life but also touched some of the highest highs. I ran Rationalist Week, spent a week in a self-destructive spiral of drinking, partying and depression, I met a girl and fell in love.

    May was a busy month. Liz and my relationship went from strength to strength, went to see Soweto Kinch and The Who live in concert and Blackpool won in the League One play-offs and got themselves promoted to the Championship.

    Festivals were the order of the day/month for June. I went to Sunrise and Farmyard Party to work in a chip van with Sarann. I had a great time but it meant not seeing Liz for a lot of the month – the first real test for our relationship. I think we ended up stronger than ever! Chris ended up in hospital with a serious bout of appendicitis and I spent a lot of time helping Matt sort out his car.

    July was quite boring compared to the surrounding months.I went to Workhouse in Wales, had minor computing issues and moved in with my new housemates – Sarann, Michelle, B and Chris.

    Always a quiet month, with uni still a month away and the excitement of breaking up long since faded away. I spent most of the month taking stock and seeing what was what in my life. I did go to Solfest, however, which was definitely a personal highlight of the year!

    I made only seven blog posts in September, which gives a good indication of how little I did. I did start a new course at university though and turned twenty-three – which also explains the lack of blogging! The combination of Fresher’s week and birthday celebrations will do that to a man.

    A difficult month for me. A lot of things happened in my private life that left me somewhat adrift. I did get a new computer though, which is always nice!

    November saw things pick up a bit with the A-Soc London trip, Atheist Week and the discovery of the Lancashire Hotpots! London was worth all the effort that I put into it, it turned out better than anyone had predicted and nothing really bad happened. Liz and I went from strength to strength and I even managed to find time to do some uni work!

    A month of WoW and family. Not a lot to report on really, except what is already included at the top of this post. It was a good festive period all in all. I think it set me up for 2008 quite nicely.

    Another day, another problem.

    November 7th, 2007 No comments

    Last night my hard drive failed. The second hard drive in six months to roll over. Well technically this is the same drive that rolled over last time, so really I should have expected it. The first time round the Windows installation was affected by a damagaed disk surface – or so I thought, but after a re-install and a few weeks of messing about I managed to recover the disk. This time it is a total failure, so a new hard drive is currently winging its way from Ebuyer (many thanks to my sponsor, Liz :) ).

    Unfortunately, the hard drive that failed was my windows install drive and I don’t want to install windows on my second hard drive. So until the new disk arrives I am stuck using my linux box for everything. Now I like linux – it is easy to use and definitely the most intuitive system I have come across (I use Ubuntu 7.04 (for desktop) at the moment) but it does have several drawbacks. First the chess game AI is far too difficult. I am a good chess player and struggle to beat the computer on Easy and Medium. The other fault is its incompatibility with modern games. It is a bind to install them and then it’s a lottery as to whether they will even run. This wouldn’t normally be a problem for me as I tend to only use my linux machine for programming and other work related things. However, in the current situation it is annoying – especially as our internet keeps going down!

    Anyway, my new disk should be here today so hopefully I will be back up and running by tonight.

    New computer conundrums

    August 29th, 2007 1 comment

    Basically, I am running out of HDD space on my current computer. Now I have two options as far as I can see, I can just upgrade the HDDs in my current machine – currently a 160GB and a 300GB (both SATA 2) – to something larger, ideally 500GB +, or I can price up a new machine that will essentially be a file server, but not anything dedicated – ie I want it to have a number of large hard drives, but still be usable for applications etc.

    Looking on ebuyer and a few other sites it is going to cost me about £400 to get a new computer, at least I think I will as I have never built a system from scratch before so I am not 100% sure what I need. The problem with just upgrading my current HDDs is the fact that both my current disks are full and I have no further slots to fill up. This leaves the problem of transferring data from one HDD to another and having to do OS reinstalls etc.

    If anyone has any bright ideas on the matter let me know.

    PC Issues

    July 17th, 2007 4 comments


    Having had some serious issues with my PC recently I have had to format and reinstall my OS onto my computer. Now nothing works! I actually hate Dell, they send little or no driver cd’s out so I have had to trawl the web to get all the drivers I need, all except my onboard sound, my onboard video and my thrid party video/graphics card. Dell kindly told me today that they no longer supply drivers for the (now obselete) motherboard (P/N OJ8885) and that they can transfer me to their advanced software team for a nominal fee of £35!! I can buy a new motherboard for that!!

    My big problem is that Dell don’t want their customers to do anything with their computers so they don’t actually label their components, so it has taken me over a week to find out the part number for the motherboard and I still cannot get the part number for the Dell installed (but definitely ATI Radeon) video card….grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Anyone any ideas?