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)!