Thursday, August 16, 2007

All change...

So, it's been nearly a month since my last post. There's been a fair bit going on in recent months, what with my holiday to Majorca with H, getting engaged to H, funeral for Kennedy etc, so it's all been a bit hectic.

It was also my birthday last weekend, and I was lucky enough to get several 360 games from H (DiRT & Forza 2 - yeah baby!), and I got a new laptop from my family!

In addition to that, I've also purchased some Hosting, so it'll be all change from here. I'm currently re-modelling this page and it will be migrated over to my new host, along with several other sites which have been hosted elsewhere.

Time to merge everything, and store it in one place.

I'm not sure if many people do read this page, but if you are reading it, I will be back soon, hopefully with some quality content.

Thank you very much, good night.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What happened to Flock!?

I'm sure I've touched on Flock on my blog before. It's a modern browser built upon Firefox, but includes a ton of 'social' features.  You can write blog posts from the GUI, you can view someone's flickr feed, or drag pages / pictures onto 'your shelf' which would save them for later..

I last checked out Flock at version 0.7. Its yet to reach v1 but it looked promising, however, I rely on a few Firefox add-ons to allow me to do my web-design work, and most of these add-ons would not work with flock, so I stuck with firefox until Flock progressed.

So I was naturally interested when I read on the flock blog that version 0.9 had been released.  Not seeing 0.8, i was expecting a few major features to be included.  I wasn't wrong.

The one thing I immediately noticed was the interface.  It honestly looks like something AOL would produce.  It looks far to cluttered and messy.  It looks like they've tried to fit a button for every feature within the interface. 

I liked flock's previous interface. It was clean, it was uncluttered.  It just worked.  This time though, I was immediately turned off.

However, most of the features were still there.  I noticed the flickr feed (or media stream) as it's now known.  That also covers YouTube too!

Flock also allows you to create blog posts within the browser.. Neat trick that!  But i like Windows Live Writer, even though it takes an age to load!! Grr

Flock also includes an uploader, which uploads images somewhere. Not too sure where though as it says i need a photo account, which i have no need for.  Meh!

Im glad the Shelf is there.  Although it's now called 'Web Clipboard' (What's with renaming everything flock!?)

Rss Feeds seem to work nicely, but im happy with bloglines.  Work's a treat that!

The other big thing with Flock 0.9 is 'My World'.  A page which displays a yahoo search bar, some new bits of news from the RSS feeds, and a list of the most recent favourites added... It also shows thumbnails from your favorite media that you've starred.  Handy i guess.

All in all, im quite disappointed with the way Flock has turned out.  I'm not sure what's gone on with the UI but it seems very very messy and off-putting!  I'll still keep an eye on Flock, to see how it progresses but I'll stick with Firefox.

Check out for more info!

Don't tease me like that!

I logged into my Gmail this morning to find an email titled 'Your Xbox Console'... This is what it said...

Your Xbox Video Game system has been shipped!  You can expect to receive it in 2-5 days.  Thank you for your patience and get ready to get back into the action!

Oh man, I gotta wait some more?  D'oh!

If that's not enough, the E3 coverage is coming thick and fast, and I've learnt that 'Sonic the Hedgehog' (teh original!!?!) is out now on the marketplace (complete with HD & achievements ftw!!  I remember standing in my local games shop looking at the box wishing I had a Sega Mega-Drive (Genesis to the stateside readers!).  400MS points ain't too bad either!

I've just gotta wait '2-5' days for the box to turn up, and I hope it still has the faceplate I forgot to remove =\ eeep!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tidy up your bookmarks toolbar with these tools

I don't know about you, but when I find a site I want to visit again in Firefox, instead of adding it to my bookmarks (or tagging it on, I simply drag it onto my 'bookmarks toolbar'. I like my links to be on hand. I want to hit a button and go. i don't want to hit a button, wait for the bookmarks toolbar to appear, and then have to hunt through my bookmarks looking for the site I want to visit. It'd be quicker to Google it!

This is all well and good but what happens when your bookmarks toolbar fills up? Well you get those stupid little arrows at the end, which defies the point as you may as well use the bookmarks in the first place!

I Recently ran out of room at work, and then stumbled on a little trick which I'm going to share.  Several of my links on my toolbar had long names, for example, the 'French Sports Club - Forum'.  I could abbreviate that down to 'FSC' by right-clicking > Properties and renaming the link.  OR, because it uses a favicon which is recognisable to me, I could remove the text altogether and just leave the favicon on my toolbar! 


But, I soon realised that not all the links had favicons which transferred to the toolbar.  For example. Facebook has a favicon.  visit and notice the white 'f' on a blue background next to the address in the address bar.  That's great, but once you drag it onto your toolbar, the 'f' disappears! All that's left is a standard white rectangle which resembles a page.  So what do we do with these links?

We download & Install 'Favicon Picker 2' Which allows you to specify favicons for each link from icons or images on your hard drive! 

But how do you get the favicons on your hard drive.  Well visit this page, enter the URL in the box, and it will soon display the favicon for the site.  Right click & save the image.

Once you've done that, find the link you want to add the favicon to, right-click > properties. You'll now see a new area for the favicon. Browse to the .ico file you saved earlier and click ok!  Now you've added the favicon, get rid of the text and free up a bundle of room on your toolbar!


I hope that helps you!  If it does, let us know :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What a fortnight of highs & lows

The last 2 or 3 weeks have been so full of highs and lows, it's unbelievable.  To start,

14th June (up)

My friend Jimmy & his wife (Alex) had their blessing on the 14th June.

15th June (down)

Helena & I went round to Jimmy & Alex's place to see him.  That was incredibly emotional. I hadn't seen Jimmy in ages and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.  Cancer really is a horrendous disease.  It still couldn't beat his fantastic sense of humour though!

16th June (up)

Helena & I jetted off on our first holiday abroad.  We boarded our plane at Gatwick, and flew to Palma airport, Majorca.  We hired a car, and drove right across the Island to C'an Picafort, where we stayed for a week.  It was nice, very hot!  Nice beach, and nice people, especially at the No.1 Bar! on Avda Josep Trias!!

17th June (down)

Jimmy sadly passed away - RIP pal, you'll never be forgotten x

22nd June (up)

At around 8pm in the evening, whilst laying on a sun-lounger on the beach in Majorca, resting in the cool breeze, I got onto one knee, and asked my beautiful girlfriend if she'd give me the honour of being my wife... She said YES!  Helena has made me such a happy man over the last 4 and a half years, and things are only going to get better! Thank you angel!  Here's to the rest of our lives :)

23rd June (down)

Had to fly home from Majorca.  Had 7 beautiful days of sunshine.  Got back to Gatwick. It was cold, it was raining and it was dark :(

24th June (up & down)

(up) Went ring shopping with Helena, and found a nice platinum ring with a diamond on top! Will add pictures soon!

(down) Got home, fancied a game of Worms on the 360 and got the Red Ring of Death! (RROD) So unfortunately, the 360 has gone BACK to Microsoft for a second time. Not happy!

25th June (down)

back to work. need I say more?

27th June (down)

Today was Jimmy's funeral. A very sad day :(

30th June (up)

Today was my cousins wedding.  Congratulations to Stephen & Amie who had a wonderful wedding.  Shame about the weather. It's meant to be the summer, and it spent the whole day raining!  Luckily there was a marquee to keep everyone dry :)

So that's a recap of the last 2 weeks!  I feel mentally exhausted, and to top it off, I've had a cold for the last couple of days and that's really not made things better!

Pissed off with Microsoft

So that's another 360 that's been sent back to Microsoft.  I'll now be on my third Xbox in 10 months.  That's quite poor really.

I originally got my Xbox 360 for my birthday last year, August 2006.  It worked perfectly out of the box, and has done up until February time where it started freezing randomly but rarely. 

Then in May, enough was enough.  I sent the box back to Microsoft as it was just not working properly. 90% of the time, it'd crash within 15 minutes of playing.  That was real annoying.  So on the 3rd May, I sent my Xbox back to MS for repair under warranty.

On the 15th May, almost 2 weeks later, it returned, and I was ecstatic!  I couldn't wait to get home and play... worms!  Yeah, I'm hooked.

The little note that was in the box with my Xbox said that the motherboard had been found to be faulty and had been replaced!  How nice :)

I had that Xbox for 5 weeks before it went screwy again.  On the 24th June, the day after returning from holiday, I powered up Worms (last level!) and within 5 minutes, the Xbox froze. D' oh!

I Reset the Xbox, walked back to my sofa, sat down and stared in disbelief as my screen was black, and my Xbox was flashing it's 'Red Ring of Death' at me! Noooo!

So another phone-call to MS revealed another UPS label & another hunt for a box to send away.  I was also informed that I'd be waiting 20(ish) days.  I sent it Last Monday, which was the 25th May.  It was picked up by UPS.  And as far as i'm aware, that should be a quick delivery to 'Havant' Where the broken boxes go.

Alas, on Friday, 5 day's after sending the box, i receive an e-mail saying that they had received it.  Maybe it's not in Havant after all.

So now I'm stuck, with no Xbox360.  I plugged in my PS2 to try and get some gaming in over the weekend. I went through several games, and all where rubbish! The only one which held my concentration for more than 20 minutes was GTA:San Andreas, and even that got boring (which worries me about GTA IV!).  I've got several games on my original xbox which i could play, but it's hassle setting it up!  And my desktop PC is nowhere near any good for PC Gaming.  

So I figure i need some next-gen gaming.  What are my choices?  The 360 (obv).  The PS3 & the Wii.  I've played the Wii, and I can pretty much agree with Matt Brett that the Wii is quite poor.  I've got no interest in the PS3 as the games seem rather poor (maybe they'll get better?).  Which leaves me with the 360.

Hmm.  Many people are reporting an error rate of 30%.  So far for me, it's a big fat 100% error rate.   Yet, my brothers 360 is a launch box, and that's had no trouble!

How can i stick with a fantastic system (360) but crap hardware?  I've kind of lost all faith in the Microsoft hardware. I'm pretty certain that my 360 will be going back to MS a few more times, and I'm certainly not willing to pay £80 to get it fixed each and every time!!

Why aren't Microsoft addressing the problems though? So many people have reported the problems regarding heat. From what I've read (i forget where), the heat ends up warping the motherboard which in-turn, breaks the connections and this creates a fault.  There's also stories of MS installing newer more efficient heat-sinks into newly repaired 360's to curb the problem! 

Let's hope that this new heat-sink idea works and my 360 doesn't have to return to "Havant" (read: Prague).

Rant over. meh

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Need For Speed: Carbon

So that was easy.  In my last post, I mentioned about the shocking price differences between UK supermarkets on this game (between £17 & £40!). 

Anywho, the game turned up, and I had great pleasure in playing it for all of 3 days before completing the actual story-line.  I was a bit unimpressed with the fact that I could complete the main storyline within 3 days, and only being caught by the cops once and having to purchase 3 cars for the whole game.

But yeah, it was a good game. Pretty similar to Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but not nearly as much fun!  The drifting part of the game was really fun!  But the other parts of the game, like speed trap & circuit were near identical to NFS:MW which made me feel like instead of releasing a whole new game, EA could of just released a new map-pack!

The graphics were good though, and the choice of motors wasn't bad.   Handling was alright, and obviously different with each car.  The only gripe i had with the handling was when you put the brakes on, the car seemed to jolt, and the frame rate seemed to shake.  I'm not sure if this was intentional, or just my xbox screwing up but this really put me off.  It wasn't smooth!  Speaking of handling though, I thought it'd be easier to drift during normal races.  And as hard as i tried, i really couldn't get it down.  I managed to get the Drift King acheivement though so that's all good :)

The other part of the game is the challenges, which im currenlty working through now.  Well, i say working through, i've done them all except one or two, and they were pretty easy too!

There is one gripe I have with this game though, and that's your crew.  As you progress through the game, you get to recruit other racers into your crew to help you progress, but they really are more of a hinderance than anything!  And what's even more annoying is that they tend to get in your way, or cross the finish line for you!  Now i can't remember where i read it (probably metacritic) but to me, the computer shouldn't win the game for you.  A game doesn't seem fun when the computer is winning for you!  You might as well watch a demo!

It also has a photo mode built in, but this is definatly not a patch on PGR3 which has a fantastic photo mode and EA should of looked to PGR3 for proper implementation of photo mode!

It's not a bad game, but it's not a fantastic game either.  I much enjoyed NFS:MW faar more than this!  I'd still be playing that if my disc wasn't cracked :(

Overall though, this gets a 7/10 from me!  It's good. It has it's great bits, but it also has some poor bits.  The game is generally quite easy but you do have the odd difficult race which adds a bit of a challenge to the game!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shocking price difference!

The other day, i had an evening to myself, H had gone to her dad's for his birthday. I couldn't get the time off work so i was home alone. 

I decided to watch The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, as i hadn't seen it before, and it was something to watch.  It wasn't that great, but watching it reminded me sooo much of 'Need for Speed: Carbon'.

So the next day, i went hunting for NFS:Carbon.  I didn't want to pay more than £20. I could get it second hand for that.  Most places offered it for £35-£45 though.  Ebay had a few for £25 but still a tad expensive.

Then i remembered an email i had got from Asda (part of the wal*mart family) saying that they had xbox360 games from £13!  So i checked it out, and they had NFS:Carbon for £17!  Wicked!

However, it so happened that that night, we were visiting Tesco (a rival) so i thought i'd check their website for the price.  £25.  hmmm.  I thought that whilst i was in there, i might as well get it for £25. Save P+P, get it sooner etc.  However, when i got in-store, it was marked up as £40!.. Woah!

So between the 2 stores, they was a price difference of £23!  That's no good.  So i went home and ordered it!  It turned up the other day, but not had a chance to play it yet! 

Soooon. :)

All stickered up!

I made a post 2 weeks ago (here) saying that i'd been given a window sticker to put in my car window, but the sticker was actually too long.

I wasn't too sure whether to reduce the kerning manually, but placing the letters closer to each other, and risk putting them on bent, or to just drop the www. from the sticker.

I decided to drop the www. bit, and i put the sticker on the window.  It looks pretty pretty good!


Sunrunrally sticker

Sunrunrally sticker

Sunrunrally sticker

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jellybass volume one

I thought I'd let you know about Jellybass volume one.  A fantastic mix of electronic beats & basslines.  Think Mr Scruff.

Visit to grab the free 30 minute MP3 download! 

I Must say, i really really enjoyed listening to this mix yesterday, and will definatly listen to it again and again!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One year on...

This time last year, i was going through a strong time testing my willpower, and it was probably one of the most daunting things i've ever done.

You see, I'll be 26 this year.  I started smoking when i was 16, and had been smoking roughly 20 a day for 9 years.  I didn't particularly like smoking, but it was a nice social tool.  It helped when I was at college, it helped when I was at work, and it helped when I was with friends, but it stunk, and generally, i'd wake up with a mouth that felt so dry, it'd resemble the bottom of a bird cage!

I am also rather built.  Not through muscle you understand, but fat.  I weight about 16st, and am generally overweight.  Not quite obese, but getting there, however, noone ever thinks i weigh as much as i do!  Anywho, another reason i wanted to give up smoking was for my health.  I was already putting strain on my heart and stuff through being over-weight, but smoking was just adding to the problems!

And the final problem was the cost.  When i gave up smoking, i was paying £4.35 for a pack of 20 fags, and they were the cheaper 'sovereign' variety.  But smoking 20 a day at £4.35 would equal about £30 a week, or £120 a month, and obviously, over a year, that'd be £1,587.75!  That shocked me! 

If i gave up smoking, within a year, the money i would of saved on smoking would of paid off my credit card! 

So i mentioned to Helena (my girflriend) that I was thinking of giving up smoking.  She said 'Good for you, but you'll never do it'.  And being the competitive man I am, I set out to prove her wrong.  I said "Right.  May 16th is the day i'll give up".

And i did.  I remember that May 16th 2006 was a Monday, so the Sunday before was the last day i would be smoking.  I remember driving back from Eastbourne with 2 fags left in my box.  I had one whilst driving, and then had my final cigerette on my balcony when i got home.

After a week, i felt so proud of myself, and so was Helena. She then said "you'll never keep it up!  I bet your smoking within a month".

Again, being the competitive man I am, i thought 'I'll show her!'

A month went by, and again, i gloated at the fact that i'd proven Helena wrong again.  So she turned to me and said "I bet you wont keep it up for a year!".

And here we are.  One year on, and i've not had a cigarette since I gave up!  And thanks to my 'Quitomzilla' extension on Firefox, i can reveal several stats about my giving up, which are:

  • If i had been smoking, i would of smoked roughly 7,300 cigarettes in the past year.
  • I've saved £1,590, however this isn't accurate, as the price of cigarettes have since gone up several times, so i've saved more!
  • I've been smoke free for 1 Year, 13 hours & 50 minutes.

I'm so proud of myself for doing it.  I used nicorette gum to help me through the withdrawel symptoms, but after a week or so, i no longer needed the gum!

Looking back on it, when Helena was telling me she didn't think i could give up, i felt a bit bad because i thought she thought i couldn't do it because i wasn't strong enough.  However, i know realise that Helena knew about my competitive streak, and the fact that i like proving people wrong, so she was just saying those things to encourage me to give up!

So thank you Helena & everyone for the support!

If you smoke, i'd urge you to give up!  It's great!  Oh, and it's true what they say, the ex-smokers are the worst for moaning about smokers lol!

Finally finished Gears o' War

As i mentioned yesterday, I got my 360 back.  And a lot sooner than expected after reading stories on about people waiting months! 

Upon opening the box, my console was all neatly wrapped up along with a letter saying that the motherboard was faulty and had been replaced.  There was also another sheet of paper telling me i'd have to re-sync my controllers, and also a customer service survey which i'll be filling out tonight!  Also, to my surprise, was a one month voucher for Xbox Live 'Gold'.  Wooo!  So I'll register that soon and maybe have a bit of multi-player Gears!

Speaking of which, for the last 3 months, i've not played Gears purely because i was stuck at the end.  I Just couldn't defeat General Raam.  I tried and tried... and then gave up!

So after reading on the net about how you kill him, I tried some more... and still failed.

So I waited for Helena's brother, Colcoo to visit.  Last time he visited, he brought his Wii, so we didn't have a chance to co-op on Gears, but he's been down for the last couple o' days, so last night, we fired up the 360 and to my surprise, we defeated him on our second attempt!

Now obviously i couldn't do this on my own!  I had trouble staying alive for more than a minute, however, in co-op mode, player 2 can revive your health when your dying which definatly helped last night!  And obviously a few well placed sniper shots from Colcoo and a machine gun to the head by myself, and we'd finished the game... 5 months after i got it.

The problem is though, we finished it on... umm... casual.  Easiest of the easy.  D'oh!

So for a laugh, we started another co-op game on 'insane' and that wasn't as hard as i had expected.  We managed the first act before switching games!

But yeah, man, the 360 rocks, and co-op play is. just. awesome!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

360 is home... sort of!

At last, my 360 has just arrived back, via UPS, from Microsoft after i had to send it back for a repair!  However, it's not quite home yet. It's sitting here next to me at the office.  So it's not quite home, nestled under the TV, but it will be tonight!  I Promise!

Shame it didn't turn up yesterday though, as i was home alone last night and would of had some serious fun, but it's here now, and that's the main thing!

I would get in a couple of hours gaming tonight, catch up and all, but we're going out for H's dads birthday!  Shall be fun :)  However, colcoo should be with us tonight after the meal, so fingers crossed we can squeeze in a bit of co-op Gears of War!

Time to get a new game i suspect, a welcome home present if you will!

Another game i'll miss out on...

I've just read on the Gamerscore blog that a new xbox arcade game called Aegis Wing, which will be given away for free to xbox LIVE subscribers for this week.

This week, Xbox LIVE Arcade is making Aegis Wing available as a free download for Xbox LIVE subscribers for a limited time.

Hmm.. First off, is this just for gold members or anyone who connects to live, regardless of whether it's a gold or silver membership?

And secondly, it doesn't matter to me because i still don't have my Xbox!


edit: Reading X3F, they've mentioned that the game will be unavailable outside North America.  D'oh!

...the game is also set to be absolutely free ... in North America. Unfortunately, the game will be unavailable outside of North America at all.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Six 360 games I'll be on the look out for...

ok... maybe not so awesome for you but I think it's good news.. well, five six bits of good news really.  Let's start with number 1.

Simpsons for the 360

Now I've played a couple of Simpsons games in the past.  The best one I've played is probably Hit'n'Run for the PS2.  The rest were mediocre.

However, the 360 is here (or not in my case), and EA have come up with a new Simpsons game which isn't tied into the movie

From watching some of the game clips on youtube (couldn't get the clips to work on xbox360fanboy), it looks true to the cartoon, and also looks highly entertaining.  Especially for a Simpsons fan like myself! 

I shall be watching this one closely!

Forza 2 release date

So Forza Motorsport 2 will be released in the US on the 29th May.  I'm assuming the UK launch date should be around the same time!  I Hope so!  Yah, this bit of news isn't that awesome, but still, I can't wait!

Bomberman coming to XBox Live Marketplace

Now this brings back memories!  Played this loads when I was younger, played it a bit on the saturn, and also played it over wi-fi on a DS and it's always a riot!  So I'm happy to see that it's coming to the Marketplace. 

No reports on when it arrives though!

Project Gotham Racing 4 vid

Gamerscore blog has got a post & video available for download (you can stream it but it's 50+mb in size) displaying the weather in Seattle on Project Gotham Racing 4.  Man it looks schweeeeet!  Those effects look spot on and the graphics look absolutely gorgeous!  I can't wait to see more of this one!

Happy Tree Friends to appear on XBox Live Marketplace

Ahhh, those cute little furry animals which like to slaughter one another.  It's coming to the Marketplace, and hilarity will ensue!

X3F are reporting that Sega are publishing a game based on the Happy Tree Friends called 'Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm'.

Specific details aren't given, though the press release mentions a "physics-based reactive environment" and "accidental mayhem."

it's being developed by Stainless Games, and according to X3F, it'll be out in the later part of the year!

edit: make that six!

Saints Row 2 confirmed for 360

THQ, the developers who brought us Saints Row, are currently developing the next in the series.  However, it wont be out until 2008.

According to the Aeropause post:

Not much was said, but one thing of mention was that the game would deliver, "an all-new cross-platform gaming experience."

Oooh.  Sounds interesting! 

Thursday, May 10, 2007

zomg! too big for windows!

So you know I've got dealings with, right?  Well I met up with my mate KeithTrue who's running it last night to work on some designs for the new advert!

During his visit, he handed me a SunRunRally window sticker (which I'd been asking for for ages)!   Hurrah I thought, until I opened it up...

It's massive!  I wanted a small discreet item that would fit in my rear quarter window to match the PGAC window sticker i already have, but noooo, the  window sticker is actually too big for my rear quarter windows!

So what am I to do?  My first thought was, instead of applying the whole lot as one sticker, i'd apply each letter individually, de-creasing the kerning and allowing it all to fit, but unfortunately, it's pretty tight as it is! 

So my only other option is to chop off the www. and just leave it as

Sticking it in my rear window, or along my windscreen is too much for me, so that won't be happening!


Forza 2 Demo Released?... D'oh

Microsoft are just taunting me now.  They've released the Forza 2 demo onto the marketplace, and my 360 is nowhere to be seen!


Still, the only saving grace is that it's only available for Gold members at the moment, and I'm still on silver membership!

Wooo, i like to wait an age for my marketplace goodness... not.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

360 spring update is available...

... and I dont have my Xbox!  How inconvenient!

It was posted to Microsoft last Friday.  I've tracked the parcel via UPS, and it's arrived at it's destination.  So fingers crossed, some happy chappy is fettling with the internals, and pretty soon, my 360 will be on the back of another UPS truck happily heading back to me!

I was in the mood for a bit of gaming last night.  Maybe a bit of Gears, I thought.  Or some target practice on Mercenaries or even a bit of cat & mouse on Need For Speed: Most Wanted... but nooooo, I dont have my xbox any more.

So I sat down and looked at my PS2, remembering all the good times I had playing on it!  I Grabbed my CD wallet which holds all my games, and upon flicking through the wallet, I soon realised why I wanted an Xbox360 as opposed to a PS3.

Dont get me wrong, I've got some good games for my PS2, but they're all very samey, and to be honest, I didn't feel like playing any of them.  The only game that's held my attention on the PS2 recently is Simpsons: Hit & Run but even that is getting rather boring rather quickly!

Please Mister* Microsoft technician sir.  Please fix & return my 360 as fast as humanly possible!  Thank you

* I realise that some Microsoft technicians will be female, so for the sake of political correctness, read that as Mister / Ms

28 weeks later

Maan, I've seen adverts for this on buses around here, but I've only just popped onto the website, and damn it looks good!

I've just recently finished reading 'Cell' by Stephen King, and that is along similar lines to this and it's all still fresh in my mind so I cant wait to see this one! 

Problem being, my girlfriend hates zombie flicks, as they give her nightmares (awww bless!)  So I'll be waiting for it to arrive on DVD before viewing!  haa!

That'll give me a chance to watch the first '28 Days Later' and get that in my head!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Putting the 360 to rest

Some of you may remember that i posted last week about my Xbox playing silly buggers.  Well, I gave it another go on Sunday.  H was on the PC, and I was at a loose end so I thought i'd give Saint's Row another bash!.

That failed miserably.  Meh!

So last night, i phoned Xbox Customer Support.  And to be quite honest, they were really nice.  I spoke to a lady called Naomi and she almost gave me a heartattack when she told me my 360 wasn't registered.  I thought that'd mean that it was not under warranty but after a quick run through with a couple of questions, i was told that my 360 was still indeed, under warranty and would be repaired, free of charge!  Woooo

So we quickly ran through a couple of things from the knowledge base, Naomi kindly informed me that all the facts pointed to a hardware fault and my 360 would need to be sent away for repair!

She said she'd email me the shipping labels (which i've now got), and i could send my Xbox in for repair as soon as i got the labels.  So my 360 is all packaged up in some bubble wrap (here and here).  However, there's a slight problem.  The address on the shipping label isn't what i told them on the phone.

So i've had to phone them up again this morning and told them the address was wrong.  Unfortunatly, they'll have to send me a new shipping label with the correct address, but this wont get to me until tomorow, so that means another day's delay when it comes to getting my box back!

Never mind though, as long as i do get it back, that's the main thing!  I was even contemplating purchasing another 360 (just a core system) to replace my busted console.  I've never thought like that before.  I've had plenty of broken consoles (3x Master Systems, 2x Mega Drives, 1x Snes, 1x CD32, 1x Playstation and 1x Playstation2), but i've never thought "right, let's go buy another one" before i've even looked into the problem.

But yeah, that's the sorry state of affairs at the moment.  I've plugged my dusty PS2 into my new TV now so at least im getting some gaming in.  A few hours of "Simpsons: Hit & Run" last night provided some amusement...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'm after a Joost or Demonoid invite...

Can anyone help me out?  I'd like an invite to either Joost or Demonoid!

Ta muchly,

hisjunk [at] gmail [dot] com

edit: thanks to some kinds folks over at Lifehacker, im now on Joost!

Get well soon Kennedy!

I've not mentioned this before on my blog, but last year, one of my good friends, Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth. 

He's a strong lad, but faar too young at only 23! 

He's gone through his course of chemo, which lasted roughly a year!  Unfortunatly though, I heard yesterday that the cancer has returned.  The last 2 sessions of Chemo that Jimmy (DJ Kennedy) went through wasn't strong enough and the cancer has re-formed which is a crashing blow to his recovery plan.

I've had some fantastic times with Jimmy!  He never fails to make anyone laugh!  He is one of the nicest guys you could possibly meet and i wish him the best in his recovery!

Speaking of which, my girlfriend Helena will be running the 'Race for Life' charity run in Croydon on 13th May 2007.  It's all in aid of Cancer Research, and Helena has stated that she'll be running for Jimmy...

I Race for Life for..Jimmys recovery xx

If you'd like to sponsor Helena in her run and donate to Cancer Research UK, please click here.  You can donate via credit card, and it's a one off donation and very secure.  Every little helps and remember, you'll be helping so many people! 

Dont forget, if you do want to donate and your a UK Taxpayer, please GIFT your tax to Cancer Research.  This means that any tax on your donation will go to Cancer Research instead of the taxman!

Thank you for reading, and let's all wish Jimmy a speedy recovery and send our thoughts out to his family & friends!!

Thumbs up from KennedyThumbs up from Kennedy Hosted on Zooomr

Oh crap!

I think my xbox360's about to die.

For the last couple of weeks, it's been crashing on me.  I'd be mid-way through a race on PGR3, and it'd freeze.  I'll be punching some punks in Saints Row, and it'll freeze.  I'd be 'bussin a cap' in someones ass in Mercenaries: playground of destruction, and it'd go pear shaped!


After posting on the forums about my problem, it turns out that this is the start of what is known as the Xbox - Red ring of death.

Basically, the green lights on the front of the box turn red to suggest there's a problem with the box.

I e-mailed Microsoft, and told them about my problem.  They suggested reading an article in their knowledge base.  I Read that, and followed the instructions and still no luck.  I tried playing Saints Row last night.  I tried 5 times, and every single time, it'd crash within 5 minutes of turning it on!

I Then posted on the Xbox forum and pretty much everyone said that the 360 is on it's way out!  Jord619 mentioned that his 360 done the same thing before seeing the red ring o' death.

You will be getting the 3 red lights of death soon, this is how it started with mine.

I've yet to see the red ring o' death, but im pretty sure it's lurking there.  Waiting until i least expect it, and then BAM!  I'll be 360-less, and cast back into the previous generation of consoles!  I'll have to dust off my Xbox1 or PS2 and bring them out of retirement!

This creates a problem though!  On Saturday evening (well, midnight!), H & I decided to have a move around of the lounge.  We moved the decks, the sofa's and the cabinets to create a more open space in the Lounge.  As nice as that is, it just wont work when it comes to the PS2 or Xbox1.  Purely because the controllors are wired.  It wont reach my sofa!  Arrghh!  Damned Microsoft & their inferior yet fantastic product!

It's come at such a bad time for me, as on Sunday, H's dad kindly donated his old 28" widescreen TV to us to replace our old standard tv.  I was getting excited because i could plug the 360 in via component cables, I could also plug in my headphones so that i could get proper sound and H could read a book or something in silence (as opposed to shooting, screams, and engine noises!)..

But it's all gone pear!   So tomorrow evening (when i've got an hour or so), i'm going to phone up the UK Xbox support team and see what they can suggest!

I hope they can replace my box, or fix it for free.. It's only 8 months old goddamnit!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

a list apart webdesign survey

it'd be great if you could do this too! I'd love to see how the results turn out!

Friday, April 20, 2007

yaaaah!.. Back to my playground!

I Bought Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction for the original Xbox about a year ago now, and I played it alot, and i mean ALOT!  It soon became one of my favorite games.  I got quite far in the game, but i cant remember much about because i haven't played the game in 8 months.

Why?  Because i bought an Xbox360, and Mercenaries wasn't backwards-compatible.

But I've just read on MajorNelson that MS have released a new update to the backward-comparability list which includes... Mercenaries!..

Just in time for the weekend. How convenient!  Time to re-acquaint myself with the scenery! heh

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Project Gotham Racing 3 (360)

I recently borrowed this off a collegue at work as I was quite intrigued by it.  I wanted to buy a good racing game for the 360, and PGR3 was my best bet, but with Forza 2 just around the corner, did i really want to purchase this? 


So i borrowed it, and it's a fantastic looking game!  It really is!  The graphics are gorgeous, the effects are perfect, and the car's are amazing!

Gameplay is most enjoyable.  It's had me picking up my controller as much as possible over the last couple of weeks trying to win me some money so i can purchase some of the more high-end motors!

To be honest though, i found some of the game too be too easy.  My first purchase was a Nissan Skyline, and that trounced most others cars in the races.  After a few championships, i had enough money to buy a Ruf Turbo.  This won me more money and i bought a McLaren F1, which i more or less raced all the way to the end of the game.  All in all, i only really needed 3 motors to complete all 23 championships!  Speaking of which, the last championship, the Nurburgring Endurance Eliminator.  This put the fear of god in me.  I thought it'd be an hour long, 6 lap race around the whole of the nurburging circuit!  But no, it was a short lap against 3 other motors. I completed it twice (once on medium, once on hardcore), and it was proper easy!

I only bought more car's purely because of the achievements.  I had to buy all the lamborghini's & Ferrari's to be part of their respective car clubs which earned me a few points!   I also had to purchase a select 7 exotic car's which earned me another achievement (Which i picked up last night!). 

After checking my stat's last night, im upto about 60% of the game!  Which isn't bad! I've still got bits & peices to do but i've finished the main career mode. 

Another thing that annoys me is that games coming out rely on online play for achievements.  What if i dont want to spend £30 a year to play online?!  Because i dont want to play online, it means i can't get the last few achievements, which means i'll never earn the full pointage on acheivements!

Never mind, it's still a cracking game and it's got me in the mood for Forza2 when it lands next month (i think!).

Unfortunatly, i'll have to give the came back to my work-mate, so i'll have to buy the game pretty soon anywho!.. I've spotted it in my local CEX at the weekend for £17 or so! 

By the time i come to buy it in a few months though, it'll be cheaper!  I've still got a pile of game's i want to finish! including Gears of War!!

PGR get's my thumbs up!..

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Grrr.. i hate internet explorer!

errorerror Hosted on Zooomr

What a swizz! Im trying to debug this error, and can't for the life of me, figure out why it's failing! It works in Firefox, and also Opera, but not IE7 (and probably IE6 too!).

The page loads, and then this error box appears, and the page then says "page cannot be displayed"... Whhhhy!?

Any ideas, comment me please!

+ Extras

So i've just done some googling and it appears that Internet Explorer doesn't like it when there's javascript wrapped in a <table> element.. Wtf!!

First off, how the hell does half the crap on the net work!? Secondly, is completely table-free (as far as im aware?). So what's the problem!?

Never mind, i lodged the javascript from the website, and implemented a php-based count-down script. It does the same, but doesn't produce an error! The only javascript running now is the stats based code...

Spanking! hotlist not so hot?

I'm not sure if anyone else is having this trouble?  I subscribe to the hot list RSS feed in my bloglines browser.. There's generally 40-50 updates a day!  It's very nice and generally mirrors what's on Digg, but i like the fact that there's thumbnails there!

Tis nice!

Anywho, for the last week or 2, all i've seen is markup code!... what haaaassle!  So i've just been skipping the feed and marking it as read without even looking at it.

Is anyone else having this problem with bloglines & the hotlist?

Ironically, it work's fine in Google Reader.  Is this fate's way of getting me to lodge bloglines, and go with Google?!

Woah, Jon Hicks is proper talented...

... but you knew that already!... Right?

I've just been reading my feeds and a new item popped up from hicksdesign.  He's basically produced a new CSS file for use with the Firefox Stylish extension & Googles feed reader producing a much nicer looking feed reader.

I'm still using Jon's Bloglines style, which is proper nice too... but is this enough to push me over to using the big G's feed reader?  I already use their mail, calendar, docs, maps, searchStats and of course, blogger. (Oh dear, im a Google whore...)

It's definatly worth a look! [link]

Getting Nomad Explorer on my Dock!

I've got a Creative Zen Touch Mp3 player. I've mentioned it plenty of times before on my blog, and it's a wicked little machine. I've had no real  problems with it and it's still going strong!

The Creative Zen Touch (and probably most other Creative DAP's) come with their own software called Nomad Explorer.  It enables the Mp3 player & PC to talk, i can add / remove tunes, playlists, ID tags etc.  It does an alright job, but I'd love to be able to get faaar more functionality out of it!  It does the basic functions, but it could do sooo much more!  I mean, there's a third party app called Notmad by Redchair software and that seems far more functional. However, that costs (and i dont like that!).  There's also Gnomad if i was using linux, but i'm not... So i'm stuck with Nomad Explorer.

I Also use a program called Rocketdock which provides me with a navigational dock which pops up and dissapears when i need it!  I can drag my most used shortcuts onto it and then choose them as and when i need them!  It's also unobtrusive, so it appears when i hover over it, and then dissapears when i dont need it!  It also hovers over my active windows so it's always on hand when i need it!  Saves me navigating back to my desktop to get to my shortcuts!

dockdock Hosted on Zooomr

Im babbling.  I Apologise.

So i wanted to get my shortcut to Nomad onto my Dock! Shouldn't be hard task, except for the fact that everytime i dragged the shortcut onto the dock, it didn't provide a target so it was just an icon that did nothing.  Rubbish!  After checking the original shortcut, that worked fine!  No target, but it still opend Nomad Explorer.. Strange!

So after a bit of goooglnig this morning, i found out that if i entered a path into the iconsettings, it worked perfectly!  Hoorah!  So if anyone's looking to do the same, here's the path i used.  I think this path depends on what MP3 player you have...

C:\Program Files\Creative\Creative NOMAD Jukebox Zen Xtra\NOMAD Explorer\NOMAD Explorer.lnk

Monday, April 16, 2007

Before anyone starts thinking that I've started putting ad's on this site for monetary gain, I've not. is a venture a friend of mine is embarking on with my help!...

Check it out, and if you fancy a bit of a road trip, visit for more information. Registration is now open so get in there as there are only limited spaces available!

Opera presents Speed Dial...

I'm a Firefox person. I have been for the last 3 years. It started when I was visiting several sites at once using IE6 and my taskbar had more browsers running that work apps! After some discussion with a few friends, Firefox was recommended. I gave it a go, and was amazed. Within a few weeks, my work PC, home PC, laptop & several other systems i had control of now used Firefox as it's default browser.

Then my girlfriends brother told me about Opera. A similar browser. He kept telling me how Opera was better, blah blah! I nearly beleived him, and for a month at the end of last year, Opera was my main browser! But it just didn't feel as good as Firefox. It was slightly quicker, but had less features!

Never-the-less, Opera have just released Opera 9.2 and it comes with a rather nifty feature which I'd love to see on Firefox.

When you open a new tab in Opera, instead of showing a blank page, it'll show 9 boxes which render 9 user-defined websites! Clicking on either of these thumbnails will load the site in the same tab!


I think it'd be perfect for web-developers who run several sites at once. For instance, if they crack open a new tab, and it shows the developer their own websites, which would tell the developer whether they're websites were online or not!

I'm sure it's got plenty more uses, but that's all i can think of at the moment. I will have a play around with Opera at a later date, but until then, Speed Dial is a nice addition to a nice browser.

Check out the screen cast here!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Whaa?!.. PS3 can read RSS feeds?

I recently checked my feedburner stats, and it showed that someone has subscribed to this very blog on their PS3... How cool is that!  I didn't even know the PS3 could read RSS feeds.

You learn something new everyday....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I've been 'Off the Grid'...

Over the last week, i've realised how much I really use the web and how it's a part of my life.  I posted several days ago regarding my 'rant at Virgin Media'  And how they're not helpful when it comes to network problems.

Well here's a quick update of what happened with Virgin Media.  Wednesday evening, i had trouble connecting to the net.  It was too late to do anything, so i left it.

Thursday, I tried my net again, and it failed miserably.  I Phoned Virgin, and had no luck what-so-ever.

Friday, I wrote a post about VM.  Friday evening though, H & I went to her mum's for the weekend.  Now obviously, I didn't get much 'net' time there.  I briefly check my emails but that's it.

So Sunday, i came home from Suffolk.  Tried my internet, and it still didn't work. So i got back on the phone.  Long-story short.  I shouted, they apologised and said that as far as they are concerned, there's no problem, even though i didn't have the internet.

So Monday morning, i go to work, looking forward to reading my RSS feeds and checking mail and having a whole web of info at my fingertips... but it wasn't to be.  My work computer had failed...  It wouldn't start, nor would it do anything!

We had this problem 2 weeks ago, so the computer went back to the shop.  Turns out the Power supply had gone bad, and somehow damaged the motherboard too!  Now, we told them to replace the parts.  But in order to do that, they needed to re-install windows.  "As long as you back-up the existing data" i said.   I got a lot of waffle in response.  Basically, i have filld 150GB of my HDD at work and apparantly it'd take half a day to back it up!.  In the end, i told them to install a second 80gb HDD and install windows on that.  So that's what they've done!

But it's not until this morning that i've finally got my PC back.  And i've over looked something!   None of my software is here... D'oh!

I had my work PC set up how i wanted it.  All my programs were here, everything i needed to do my job + my other internet-based activities.  My firefox was setup perfectly.  All my add-ons where there, all my bookmarks, all my greasemonkey scripts... tis all gone now :(

So now im back online at home and at work!  I just have to remember to keep some sort of "list" of programs / addons that i've installed because i cant remember for the life of me what i had previously!   bugger!

RIP - Dusty :(

My sister gave me a call yesterday to say that one of my old cats (still living at my parents house) was no longer with us :(

Dusty (she was black all over, with a flash of white under her chin which looked like dust) was quite old, Probably about 16yrs old. Apparantly, she got into a fight with a fox a few gardens down from where my parent's live.

The man whos garden it was phoned my mum who came over and found dusty. She took her to the vets immediatly, but unfortunatly, Dusty had to be put down. The vet mentioned that Dusty had a suspected broken neck caused during the fight.

Dusty was a real nice cat, but she's been ill for the last 2 years or so, with quite a few scares where she wouldn't eat at all for weeks on end. Over the last 6 months though, she's been incredibly thin! She eats though. As soon as her food is in front of her, she'll eat it all, and then start on the other cat's food... but yet she didn't gain any weight. My brother seems to think she had a disease, or a problem with her Kidneys or something.

Dusty, RIP.

+ Additional (4 apr 07)

My sister just phoned to say that jessie, her 18month old kitten has just given birth to 5 kittens! heeeee!

++ Even more additional (10 Apr 07)

I visited my parents place over the easter weekend, and caught some snaps which are now up on my Zooomr.

This is Dusty (1, 2 - RIP), Copper, PrudenceJessie and finally... Kittens (1, 2).

Friday, March 30, 2007

Rant at Virgin Media

When I lived with my parents 4yrs ago, we had NTL cable TV + broadband.  It was cool.  4yrs Ago, I moved in with my girlfriend and wanted the same service, but Telewest served my new flat so I took out a good TV package, phone & broadband!

It's a nice package, and to be honest, I'd never had a problem.   3 Months ago, we started getting leaflets & post telling us that Telewest was merging with NTL to create Virgin Media, a conglomerate to take on Sky.

2 Months ago, the whole Sky vs Virgin Media thing appeared in the papers.. Neither firm could settle on a pricing scheme.  To be fair, from what I've read, Sky are taking the piss a bit, but still, never-the-less, we've now lost Sky One, and a few other channels, but that's not important!

Tuesday night, I was at home, having a game of Worms on my 360 when I had the "disconnected from Xbox Live"  message.. How strange.   I didn't pay any attention to it though. 

Yesterday, I jumped on my PC to download some photo's.  I got 10% through the download and then it failed.  Turns out my Internet went down.  My suspicions immediately went to my 'webstar' modem provided by Telewest.

I pulled the power on it, and turned it back on and the Internet worked.. Hoorah!

10 minutes later, it broke again.  A quick reset and i was back online... for another 10 minutes.  At this point, i was quite angry. I was trying to download this 70mb file of high quality pictures from my girlies brother's 21st birthday!  As you can imagine, every time my modem went to sleep, this download would fail!!!

So I phoned up Virgin Media.  And went through the same ol' script support.  "Can you switch off your computer and restart it for me please" and "Can we check the network connections please".  I had done all this already but you have to go through the motions. 

When I first spoke to the man on the phone, i said i think the Modem had packed up as it was disconnecting me after 10 minutes of use.  He said it wouldn't be that and carried on umming and aarring about the problem.

Eventually, after 45mins on the phone, he agreed that it was either my Modem that had gone barmy, or my wireless router... But get this.  Because I didn't purchase my wireless router from Telewest, they can't help me with the problem at all?

Even though, my wireless router (a netgear one) was from a Telewest promotion where they provided some customers with a free wireless router + setup disc.  Unfortunately i wasn't one of these customers, but i did purchase one from eBay.

So even though I've purchased an official Telewest branded netgear router from a 3rd party (second hand), and I've set it up using Telewest setup instructions, they cant help me!..

How ridiculous is that? 

So it's been left that it's either the router or the modem.  So what i've done is plugged my Webstar Modem straight into the PC (so i cant access the net via my Xbox or my Laptop) and see if that changes... I'm pretty sure i'll have the same problem, but I'm away this weekend so hopefully, any problems would have sorted themselves out by Sunday night...

Here's hoping anyway!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


So a few weeks (or months, I forget) back, I was reading my favorite RSS feeds when a few of them started mentioning Mr Neighborly's 'Humble Little Ruby Book'.  It's a free PDF download of a book covering the basics & more about Ruby.

As a lover of anything free, I downloaded it.  I've got no experience in Ruby, nor do I know the first thing about Ruby... but it was free, so it was saved and hidden in my crazy filing system.

So yesterday, I posted about sticking XAMPP on my USB Pen Drive, and then posted a second time about getting Ruby onto my pen drive to create a more flexible working environment, and also to allow me to learn Ruby.

You see, I'm always interested in developing my skills.  I've got a fair few books at home regarding HTML, PHP & CSS, but I want to learn more languages.  Stupid really, I'd rather master one language, rather than being a 'Jack of all trades, Master of none'.

So anyway, as I was saying.  I found the PDF today, whilst at work. And i accidentally (read: on purpose) pressed print, and printed out all 140+ pages before cutting & carving a box for it out of a bigger box, and stashing it in my car!

I don't know about anyone else, but I try and aim for a paperless work-space.  I'd sooner read the news online, before picking up a paper.  I can read hundreds of RSS feeds a day but when it comes to learning, then i cannot do on-screen doc's.  I'd much rather have a paper document in-front of me, something to refer to rather than switching from Adobe to what-ever program I'm using, and then back!

Maybe when i can afford my widescreen monitor / laptop display, i can run 2 programs side by side and not have to switch between the two, but for now...

LOL, I had intended on writing 2 lines on this post... ho hum!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ruby on... XAMPP?

Can I put Ruby onto my USB Key with XAMPP installed?  Any ideas?!  drop a comment if you know how to =]

CV Joint's-a-knackered

So that's the third one for the pug then!... It's been knocking for a good 6 months or so, but it's starting to worry me!  I do do a fair few miles.  I drive 10 miles to work and 10miles back everyday, so that's 100 a week on commuting.  On top of that, is going out, shopping, driving about etc, not forgetting the 300mile round-trip to Suffolk each month!

The more miles I put on the car, the sooner the CV joint will crack so I needed to get it done sooner rather than later!

There's no real point in this post by the way.  It's just here so I've got a record of when it was done.  Thank god for Search :). By the looks of it, i had one done in December 05 and one in April 06... Surely they should last longer than that?

+ Outcome (29 mar 07)

Well i got the car back last night.  He said it wasn't actually the CV Joint that was knocking.  He said it's something to do with the wishbone.  But he also mentioned the rear wheel-bearing was knackered so I got that done.  He also mentioned that the CV Gaiter was split (which i knew about),  So he put a new CV Gaiter on the car too!  Total was £155

Portable server environments

USB Pen drives truly are a god-send!  I carry 3 around with me.  One I originally bought for my PS2, it's a 'Max Drive' 16MB drive.  It's faar too small for anything so it rarely get's used.  It does, however, have my CV on it, so I carry that everywhere with me.

My second USB Drive is my 'stuff drive' and is 2GB in size.  Colcoo kindly donated it to me, which is very nice of him.  I think it's a USB1.1 drive though as it's very slow.  Regardless though, 2GB is a hefty amount of data to carry around.

The third drive is now my 'web' drive.  All my current projects are stored on here, along with several portable app's via the U3 interface.  So I can code anywhere using Notepad++ and upload using my portable FileZilla.  As nice as it is, I've always got to upload something to my server to check if everything's ok!  Which is no good if your uploading to a live site to check things are ok!

Surely, if your updating a live site, you should have a test-server or somewhere where you can test the data before sending it live?

And it's that reason alone that I've just installed XAMPP on my 1GB 'web' drive.  It's got Apache, MySQL, PHP + Perl all bundled into a nice little 100mb install.

True, it takes up a 1/10th of my pen drive, but it shouldn't be a problem.  I try and code as lightly as possible, and I don't have that many projects on the go!  So I shouldn't fill up 900mb with a bunch of CSS & HTML files...


I jumped on Google and searched for "localhost USB" and clicked on the first link I found (here).  It told me to go to the XAMPP website, and download XAMPPlite.   Now it's a pretty large file weighing in at 44mb (iirc).  But that didn't bother me, we've got broadband here, and it was pretty quick to download.


Once I downloaded XAMPPlite, I had to unzip it.  That created an 110mb directory, which I transferred to the root of my Pen Drive.  And believe it or not, that was installation done.

Running it

Running XAMPP is easy.  Navigate to the directory you copied it to on your pen drive.  Look for xampp-control.exe, and double-click it!  This will open up a GUI for XAMPP.  It will list 4 items (Apache / MySql / FileZilla & Mercury).  Hit the start button next to each item to start it and within seconds, you've got a working localhost.

In your browser, navigate to http://localhost and this should take you to the xampp start page, and if does, congrats!  You've got your own portable web-server just like me!


Note: As mentioned, I've just installed this and not really had a chance to give it a go!  I will post details at a later date on how to set things up!  I'm intrigued and wouldn't mind setting up a portable copy of Textpattern to test stuff!   If your running XAMPP or XAMPPlite, let us know about it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stuff coming soon...

Apologies for nothing new happening here in a long time. I've been uber busy in every aspect and it doesn't look like it'll slow down anytime soon!  But I've got plenty of ideas on posts for this here website!

Also, has anyone else noticed the lack of advertising for the PS3? I caught a glimpse of an advert on TV the other day, but that's all I've seen!  How strange!

Still, the 360 RoXors!!1!!11! as some people say! :)

I promise i'll be back!  Also, Zooomr is almost at Mark III, and Kris has posted a quick note to say that they've removed all limits forever?!  Not sure if that's for existing users or new users too, but I'd get in their quick! 

Zooomr is like Flickr, only better (imho!)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

H! for Hadouken...

At work, we have the radio on.  Now this is nice as it makes us work better (sure it does!) Alternatively, for some musical delight, I plug in my Sennheisers, switch on my Creative and tune into some beats!

However, some of the time, I just listen to the radio as it's easier.  Having to pause and play my MP3 player every time the phone rings is a pain!

Now in the office, we have 6 people.  I'm the youngest at 25. Then there's 35, 48, 52, 55 and 61.   So as you can imagine, the office's musical tastes vary considerably.

Generally though, the radio stays on "Virgin Radio". It's a good station, mainly rock & indie music.  Keeps most happy.  Other times, somebody will change it to Magic, but this is pure brain melt. It's ok for the mornings when you wake up, or the evenings when your winding down... but during the day, you'll die!

Yesterday though, we changed stations, and boy I'm glad!  We put it onto BBC Radio 1 which plays a mix of rock, pop & dance.  A nice mix that has gone something for everyone, but generally "too young" for most people in the office.  I Digress.  We were listening to Jo Whiley yesterday morning, and she played her record of the week, 'Hadouken - That Boy, That Girl!'...

My my my, what a tune!  This has a real upbeat funky, yet dark feel to it!  It's a cross between grime & indie, and although I'm not a huge fan of either, when they come together, it's spot on!  The beats are tight, and punchy!  The bassline is very reminiscent to Wiley and the vocals are a cross between a grime MC & a rock band!  I personally think this tune is a cracker and will definitely be looking forward to listening to some future tracks!

Further reading:

Hadouken on MySpace

Hadouken on Blogspot

Monday, February 26, 2007

Open source Bluetooth?

Just over a year ago, I bought myself a USB Bluetooth dongle from eBay.  It cost £6 from what I can remember, and it certainly has served me well.  The only reason I bought it was because I had my Sony Ericsson K700i, and no way of getting any pictures from it!  I didn't have a data cable, or the software (my boss never gave it to me).  So I had a decision, pay £10 for a data cable for my phone, or buy a USB bluetooth dongle that should work with my phone and my girlfriend's phone, and my mates phones, and any other bluetooth devices I purchase in the future!

So I opted for the dongle.  Bit of an easy decision really.

The Problem

Anywho, the purpose of this post is the software.  The dongle come bundled with the IVT Corp, BlueSoleil software.  It seems quite slow and looks rather cheap, but it works.   It's a bit cumbersome, and tends to be slow at times, but that could very easily be down to the bluetooth system itself.  The other problem I get with it is that sometimes, it fails, or the connection drops just long enough to ball's up my phone management software.  Or all of a sudden, it decides not to work, not to find any more devices, and generally throws a tantrum!

Recently though, I've noticed that my BlueSoleil window displays 'Evaluation (5MB data only)'.  Now that's not good is it?  I might want to transmit an MP3 from my computer to my phone.  There's several MP3's on my old K700 that I DO want on my new v600.  I know i can still transfer phone-2-phone, but what if i wanted to use my PC?  For some reason, bluesoleil has gone all donkey on me, and I don't want to use it anymore!

This is where you come in!

This got me thinking.  Does a good open-source Bluetooth App exist?  Does anyone have any recommendations?  Or am I stuck with BlueSoleil? Is that the best the market can offer?

Please help me out!  Ta muchly!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

'network unlocked'

I made this post on Thursday about how my boss gave me his old Sony Ericsson V600i mobile because he had upgraded! I mentioned that I needed to get the phone unlocked before I could use it!

Now in previous years (I haven't bought a new phone since 99?), whenever someone has given me a phone, they never seem to be on my network (o2) so I always have to get them unlocked. Now I'm tired of spending £10 a time getting my phone unlocked. I'll pay it if I have to, but I'd rather not.

So yesterday, I spend a good hour or so browsing the web trying to find out how I unlock this phone. All I found was the keyboard shortcut to get into the 'unlock' menu (it's joystick left (<), *, *, (<) joystick left again!) but nothing about unlocking the phone. Unless I wanted to pay money. Which I didn't.

I then came across a website, in Australia. The author said that he visited the Vodafone (Aus) website and they had a 'self-service' unlock page on there website, so i checked it out, and sure-enough it was there. Not wanting to brick the phone, i was reluctant to try it out. So i checked the UK website, and it had absolutely no info regarding unlocking the phone!

So I phoned vodafone. I found a phone number which was headed "Non-vodafone customers" (im not a vodafone customer, so i dont have account nubmers etc). The first thing i hear is "Thank you for calling Vodafone, please enter your vodafone account number". Meh! I dont have one.

Anywho, i browsed the web again, and couldn't find any other numbers, so i phoned it again, and simply waited. I then pressed some buttons whilst navigating the stupid phone maze, and ended up speaking to a nice chap by the name of Michael. He told me that they can unlock the phones, but it all depends on the handset. Apparantly, Nokia's can take weeks (not according to this website), but most other manufacturers are fine!

So he asked for the handset details and the IMEI number, which I gave him. He then gave me a code which tapped into the phone and was greeted with a lovely "network unlocked" message!

Woot! So not only did I save myself a tenner, I've also got a tasty little phone too!

Remember, if you don't ask, you don't get!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Get fed!

So over the last couple of months, I've become increasingly obsessed with statistics. More importantly, how many people are visiting the various sites I control & maintain.

Google Analytics is perfect for this, and gives me more than enough information when it comes to finding out how many people read my sites. What it doesn't provide however, is RSS feed statistics. It doesn't tell me how many subscribers read my pages without visiting the site.

For this reason, I have setup a feedburner feed on this website, and others that i control! This will tell me exactly how many people read my feeds!

So if you read my RSS feed on this here website, please update your feeds with my new feed address, or simply click on the RSS feed on the right! My new feed address is:

Thank you & good night! :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More freebies

So back in September 2005, I posted about a new phone (to me). My boss had given me his old Sony Ericsson K700i, and it's been a great phone it really has! It had a good camera, it also done video! It had bluetooth, it was nifty, small and decent! It has served me well!

But, it's time to move on. My boss has again, upgraded. He now has a Shiny Blackberry Pearl, and I have a shiny Sony Ericsson V600i. It's yet to be unlocked, but that won't be a problem!

It'll be a welcome replacement. It looks better than the K700, it also has a better camera (1.3mp!). I'm not too sure what other features it has as I haven't had a chance to play around with it, but I'm sure it'll be a good'un!. I've just got to unlock it!

Roll on next year, I've got my eyes on that blackberry pearl!

I'm still here...

Just thought I'd say that yes, I am still here. It's all been very quiet on this page, but very hectic in life. Work's extremely busy at the moment. On top of that, the SunRunRally has started to take off (check out the site!). And I've also been drinking copious amounts of coffee whilst trying to do a million things at once!

Having said that though, I've tweaked the design a little here. I've changed the fonts & various related bits as I think it looks a little nicer.

I've also discovered TextPattern, a free, PHP-based advanced Content Management System. As hard as it looks, it's rather easy to use once you get used to it! And the host of plug-ins available are quality! It doesn't have the following that WordPress does, but wordpress also needs more resources, and to me, textpattern is just as good! It has it's problems though which I may go into at a later date.

I've re-jigged the website so that now uses TextPattern as opposed to Coranto. I wanted a MySQL backend & the ability to comment. I couldn't really rely on CGI after previous bad experiences. I also put the SunRunRally website onto TextPattern too!

And it's this platform that i'll be using on my new site that i'm currently developing. It'll purely be a portfolio for my works as i have no place to showcase! But I've been working on that for the last 7years!! So it wont come any time soon!

Never mind. Oh, and the car has hit 100k miles and it still works! The CV Joint has gone again though!! D'oheth!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wii will rock you? NOT JUST YET...

So the other week, H's brother, colcoomagnumar e-mailed me to say he'd finally bought himself a Wii. 

Now I own an xb0x360. I also own an original Xbox & a Playstation2.  I also have a Gameboy advance in a drawer somewhere.  I have an original Playstation at my parents house, along with a Sega Master System, Mega- Drive (Genesis), Saturn, SuperNES, N64 amongst other consoles.  I Had a fair few.

Whereas colcoomagnumar doesn't really do consoles. He's more of a PC Gamer, but last year, he bought himself a Nintendo DS, and has then turned into a right Nintendo fanboy!  Constantly going on about how revolutionary the Wii is (and the DS for that matter), how much fun it is, and how everyone in the world should own a Wii.

So I was quite excited to learn that he was coming to our place last night for an evening of Wii-action!  After finally getting home, the Wii was all set up and to be honest, physically, it looked quite nice.  Reminiscent of a Mac.  Lots of shiny white plastic!

The Wii-mote's are rather nice too!  As I mentioned earlier, I've played a lot of games on various different consoles, so I am used to using a gamepad, so I thought it'd feel very strange controlling games with a remote control, but after one or two games, it actually felt quite natural!  I really like the way that you control what-ever's happening whilst swinging your arms like a mad-man!

The only downside for me though, is the games.  We didn't actually get any serious gaming done (well the Wii isn't really a serious console is it?), but we did have a good go on Wii-Sports.  We had a 3-way game of Tennis, that was fun, and rather intuitive!  Bowling was fun, and so was the baseball! 

We didn't actually manage to squeeze in any more games as he was only round for a few hours, but next time, we'll have a better go!

All in all though, the brief time I had with the Wii didn't really leave a lasting impression.  It looks nice, and it would definitely suite a space I've currently got going un-occupied underneath my TV.  The Wii is also rather slick in the fact that wii-motes control everything and do it quite well!  But for me, as mentioned, the lack of games let it down.

For me though, the Wii is more of a party tool rather than a gaming machine!  And yes, It'd be very good if your a social person (I'm not).  I can imagine it'd be great fun with a whole group of people round, having a few drinks, few games of wii-boxing etc.. But to sit down in an evening and play games, I'd sooner pick up my 360 Controller.

Maybe in the future though, when there's more games available, and i've had more of a go on the Wii, then we may invest (my girlfriend has also expressed the same)... but until then, I'm still loving that ring of light + some serious Gears of War gaming!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Petition against Travel Tax

Some of you may already know that the UK government are looking into tracking AND taxing drivers by the mile! Personally, this is a stupid idea, and as others have already high-lighted, drivers are already subject to a similar (yet sneaky) travel tax.

The more we travel, the more petrol we use! And as some people know, upto 80% of the price of petrol in the UK goes to the government in the form of TAX!

In addition, isn't tracking every driver in the UK a breach of personal privacy?

You may have also seen this on Top Gear last night!

Sign the petition (over 1.5m signed already) The deadline is Tomorrow (20th Feb)!

Monday, January 29, 2007

All your BASE are belong to us

Years ago, I was asked to help construct & build a music website which had the potential to be pretty big. The site was called and it already had an installed user-base. It started as a mere forum, but as the users grew, the need for real content became apparent.

I was called in after winning a design content to create a new header image for the forum. Looking back, it was horrible, but it gave me experience.

Anyhow, I got to work on the design, with help from one of the co-owners, Jess Jackson. After the initial site design was done, it was then down to me to create the pages, include the content and work out the structure. This proved quite difficult as articles would go into the articles folder, contact details would go in a separate folder too yada yada. Now this seems pretty simple, but at that point in my life, I had no clue about CSS, yet Jess had created a CSS file for the pages. In hindsight, I didn't really know much about web-design and all my work was done in the WYSIWYG view of Dreamweaver. I never really learnt from that.

Now back to my story. When I had done an article, i placed in the article folder. And then when i viewed it, all the styles had gone. This was because the style tag in the meta part of the header was calling the CSS file which was in a different location. This taught me about the "../" that you need to put into a link if you'd like to reference a separate folder on a higher level of the tree.

This still confused the hell outta me, and in the end, i would have images that looked like Morse code.


So knowing about the BASE tag back then would of been really really handy.

The BASE tag goes into the meta of your header (Between the <head></head> tags, and generally looks like this:

<Base href="">

Once that's in between your <head></head> tags, then any link or image you reference on that page can include your BASE tag. As an example, here's the current tree of a site I'm re-developing at the moment.

Home > Events > UK > Event 1

Now I'd like this split into separate folders for clarity, so the folder structure would look like: My images would be under If I was currently on the 'event-1' page and i wanted to add the header image, I'd have to reference it like "../../../i/header.JPG". But after including the BASE tag into the <head> and referencing the home page URL (in this case, <Base href="">), then i could just call images as if I was in the root. I'd call "src=i/header.jpg" and this would read from the BASE URL, and put it together.


If i had known about the BASE tag when I was developing, then it would of stopped plenty of headaches & late nights trying to figure out what folder i was trying to call from!

The BASE tag is your friend!!!

(note: Don't know what 'all your base are belong to us' means? click here)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Printed Goodness

sunrunrally ad001

So I may have mentioned the SunRunRally on here before.  Basically, it's a venture that a friend of mine is embarking on.  Where a few people drive from Dover, UK to Kavos, Corfu.  Once in Corfu, there will be a week full of events, parties, and fun! 

Where do I come into this? Well, I have designed the website, and I am also doing the adverts for various magazines & printed media.

This isn't my first attempt at printed media, however, it is my first attempt at the end product being any good! 

Because this is my first attempt at doing proper printed media, with correct colour palettes, resolutions etc, I've been quite nervous about the outcome, but I've just been sent an image of the finished article, and it looks bloody good!

It also comes as a relief as the deadline for the next advert was last Friday.  I based the second advert on the first, so if this one was wrong, then the next one would be too!  But fortunately for myself, & the SunRunRally, it turned out good!

So this should look good when I start my portfolio on this very page!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I Have just added a new section to the right. It's called Linkage, and is basically a few links to site's I work on,  site's I have designed & actively maintain!

Feel free to visit them.  I will add more soon!   

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy new year!

Just a quick post to wish you all a happy new year!.. I shall be back soon with some reviews & posts regarding xmas presents I received. Namely 'Gears of War', 'Lego Star Wars II', 'Eric Meyers on CSS' & some 'Sennheiser CX300' headphones... THEY ROCK!

Oh, and also, Matt Brett has developed & released a new website which let's you see Xbox360 dashboard themes before you buy them! That has been lacking with the 360 Marketplace seeing as there's no refund on themes!.. Check out Dashboard Themes here!

Back in a bit :)