Posts

Showing posts from 2006

V for Vendetta, Green Street

V for Vendetta - Interesting futuristic vision of Britain as a "Nanny State" on steriods, ie, a complete dictatorship with curfew for your own protection, ban on all "controversial" or non-christian lifestyles or religions (the Koran is banned, etc). All personal provicy has been taken away, and citizens are bugged etc. People who complain about the government or have illegal things are punished and / or killed. Highly rated on imdb (8.3/10). It's not the matrix but it's along the same lines and something dramatic needs to happen to resolve the conflict between the government and the people. I think it's a fairly entertaining film, but a depressing portrayal of a corrupt government gone wrong. I wouldn't recommend it, although I do know people who love the film, so it may be for you, but for me it gets a "meh".

Green Street (aka Hooligans - 7.3/10 imdb) - Violent football hooliganism. Surprisingly moving. Great depth of character and depth…

New Canon Digital IXUS i7 Zoom Digital Camera

Image
The Canon Digital IXUS i7 Zoom - Actual size* pictured above in Blue - only £166 from Amazon UK - read my First thoughts here.

* Picture is actual size on my monitor.

Films - Alien Autopsy, Lost in Translation, Date Movie, Confetti

Alien Autopsy - Funny, based on a true story, stars Ant and Dec, they're very good in it. Worth watching, despite the poor ratings from sites like imdb (3.8/10). Some background info.

Lost in Translation - boredom on a stick. Painfully boring to watch, especially a second time.

Date Movie (funny rating on imdb 2.7/10) - funny spoof, not to be taken too seriously, but some very funny moments. The extras are worth watching, as they cut some very funny bits out of it.

Confetti - good film. Funny, slightly girly flick. Ad-libbed apparently. Some funny bits cut, so worth watching the extras.

I'd say watch Alien Autopsy first if you haven't already seen it. Actually Date Movie's probably the funniest, Alien Autopsy the most interesting, and Confetti probably third in the list of films to watch.

Gallery Upgrades...

Everytime Gallery breaks on me (which tends to be every time server changes are made by my host, or for some other random reason), I tend to use it as a good reason to do a quick upgrade to the lastest version, this time v1.55pl1. I'm not sure whether to risk going to version 2 yet...

The important files and folders to backup and not to overwrite are:

/albums - all photos etc are here
/html_wrap - all your custom headers and footers are here.
/css - annoyingly they store the default colours here, such as text and background colour - the screen css file is the main one (answered in the gallery 1 faq: why is my gallery blue.
.htaccess
config.php

And then the quickest way to upgrade seems to be to simply replace the root of the gallery folder (and ignore / leave all the other folders on your server as they don't seem to change too much version to version, especially making sure you leave the albums folder as it is, as this is where all the photos and albums are including .users data).

VW Fox on Finance, only £7969.82!

Image
How can that possibly be an appealling prospect?! The retail cash price is £6650, which is around £200 cheaper than the base Toyota Aygo, however, it's around £2650 more than a 1 year old VW Lupo, a much cuter car, which is valued at £4280 (in good condition) by Parkers. Buy the VW Fox on Finance, for only £1319 more than cash price, at a total price of £7969 (9.6% apr*), and you've ended up paying £3689 more than the 1 year old Lupo! The deal is you only pay £139 a month (for 3 years) for the brand new VW Fox, and you get 3 years free servicing, saving you £150 on the usual cost of an (expensive VW) annual service. You then get to pay a final payment of £2965 so you own the car outright, yet the car is barely even worth £3000 after three years, so even if you want to sell it to someone else, you don't get the money, the finance company do, so overall you've lost around £5000. Wow, where do I sign up?! Alternatively your one year old Lupo for £4000 is now worth around …

The Problem with VW / AUDI / SEAT / SKODA

Image
Skoda Octavia, VW Golf, Seat Leon, Audi A3

Apparently VW AG isn't making much money (especially in the US). They comprise of mainly four "brands" of car, they are: VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda. There are others but these are the mainstream brands. Toyota on the other hand appear to be making lots of profit. Here's what I think VW AG need to do to resolve their "issues".

Simplify.

Why spend thousands of pounds making 4 different Small Family cars - for example the Skoda Octavia, VW Golf, Seat Leon, Audi A3 (pictured above). With each car comes a seperate design team, management team, marketing team, showroom, TV commercials, safety test, factory, etc etc, if they made one of these cars, for example the VW Golf, they could spend all that money on the one car, and make it the best in the class, so that it would beat all rival companies.

Keep three brands:

Skoda, for budget, reliable, spacious cars that can compete on value and safety with KIA / Hyundai, etc.
VW, for mid…

Welcome to the World, Baby Waller

Image
Born yesturday at around 10pm, he entered the world weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces.

More Photos:lots here, some here.

Yay, another marketing gimmick...

Image
New! Douwe Egberts (Sara Lee Coffee and Tea UK Limited) "cafe-Switch" Creamy Pleasure. Indulgent and Dreamy. New Pump + Froth "Just add water". Instant "cappucino" style coffee. "Flavoured coffee drink concentrate with milk, sugar and sweetener". Only contains five E numbers, bargain! and only 2 artificial sweeteners. It tastes vaguely like coffee, although with too much sweeteners for my liking, meaning that any authentic "real" coffee taste that might be in there has vanished, to be honest, it tastes pretty crappy, and doesn't taste very milky, or creamy, instead all that seems to have turned into the top froth, leaving a dark, bad tasting coffee below. Seriously, you can't have "authentic" coffee / cappucino / latte without proper ingredients, ie: real milk, and real espesso based coffee (ie from ground beans). By the time you've wasted all your money buying these fake manufactured coffee's (6 drinks for £2…

Bye bye - Skoda Fabia 1.4 Comfort at Night

Image
It was a sad day driving our car to Nottingham to sell it. Following the car, it looks like a tall Mk1 Golf for the 21st Century... it looked surprisingly clean as well. Ours was the 1.4 8v, with 68bhp, another version features a 1.4 litre 16 valve engine that produces 100bhp! With the relatively small size of the car, I'm sure that the 16v version would be VERY nippy! Perhaps in a couple of years, they will become cheap enough to justify as a FUN second car!? :)

It was good to know that the car was leaving us in fully functioning condition, with all brake lights working.

Unfortunately we had to travel in the evening, meaning that this was pretty much the last bit of daylight we saw.

Here we are nearly in Nottingham, with a sign pointing out Gotham City. You know, where they always film those Batman films. Unfortunately I'd managed to print out directions to Nottingham, but not to the actual buyers house! So we ended up spending an hour extra driving around Nottingham city cent…

Indigo Drink - Energy that's a little bit fruity.

Image
Apparently it's an energising Peach and Lemon fruit juice drink with Guarana, Ginseng and Caffiene, however, it seems to just taste purple and sugary to me. Maybe there's a hint, a slight tiny hint of Peach in there?

Contains Water, Glucose Fructose Syrup, Fruit juices (10%), Sugar, Taurine, Flavourings (Guarana, Ginseng, Peach, Caffiene), Salt!. And 25mg or caffiene / 100mls! Although this is around the same as instant coffee, so presumably nothing to worry about.

Cologne, Dusseldorf, Germany Photos

Image
Well, I've finally uploaded some photos from Cologne, Germany, from when we went for Photokina 2006. We went and checked out Dusseldorf while we were there and managed to loose our train tickets, then buy the wrong tickets, then get the wrong train, and have to buy the tickets all over again (for the third time).

Check out the photos here.

Apple Powermac G3 300mhz 256mb OS X

Image
So like yeah, I've got an Apple Powermac G3, and I can get the latest version of Quicktime (v7.1.3.100.00.0.0) for any version of Windows as long as it's Windows 2000 (6 years old) or Windows XP (5 years old), but I can't get the latest version of Quicktime for Mac OS X v10.2.8 (3 years old - apparently "ancient" in the mac world) - the most recent version I can get is v6.5.3.00.00.0 or something - WHAT'S UP WITH THAT!?! - and it doesn't work with the videos on apple's website!!?! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT!!?!

So to summarise, I'm getting a BETTER video / internet experience from Apple software on my WINDOWS PC! My PCs page updated.

And in an ironic twist, here's a list of all the software you need on a PC to keep Windows free from viruses, spyware, adware, malicious software, pop-ups, etc.

Let us buy dinner at the Cheesecake Factory

Best Spam Subject Line Ever.

5 Weeks to Go

Only 5 weeks to go and I'll be a dad!!

Movies: Syriana, XMEN III, Final Destination III

Syriana, entertaining, current, relevant, would possibly make it more interesting if it delved deeper into it all but seems fairly superficial hollywood style action film. I thought it would be better.

XMEN III, very entertaining action sci-fi. Good background story in the beginning. Although at the end, all the issues are very quickly resolved (too quickly), and the governments wish to destroy the mutants disappears far too quickly. If you've watched the other XMEN films then you should definitely watch this one. I'm not sure it would stand on it's own too well as there is no character introduction so the others do need to be watched first. Most parts of the film seem overly rushed, the opposite of The Lord of the Rings (where you shout quietly to yourself: get on with it already!).

Final Destination III, continues the stupid "you're all going to die" in stupid and funny ways bloodbath. Entertaining watching, and not the best thing to watch before going to Al…

Faulty Dell Capacitors on GX270 and GX280

Image
Okay, a quick summary, Dell Optiplex GX270 and GX280's contain faulty capacitors. Dell should have issued a recall. But didn't. This means every single PC with the problem, numbering in the thousands, will have to be logged with Dell directly. This is extremely time consuming and frustrating! Here's some more information about it:

Optiplex GX270 and GX280 Capacitors Photo Gallery
More information here
Message to Dell
Dell's blog (message left here, and here)

Koln, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Germany

I've been to Koln Cologne / Dusseldorf Germany thanks to Easyjet. It was okay.

The unwritten rules of travelling:

1 - if backpacking, make sure your stuff is blatantly on your bed otherwise someone else will claim your bed and then have a go at you for sleeping in their bed!
2 - when driving along a single track road, and meeting another car, the car that has the least distance to reverse, should reverse, however, normally the most arrogant person will force the other person to reverse, which is nice.

Needless to say I've had enough travelling for now, and seriously can't be bothered unless absolutely neccessary or if the roads are free of other traffic!

Alton Towers 2006

Image
We went to Alton Towers yesturday, unfortunately, Heather had the car so I wasn't able to drive down in it. I went with Tony, in his car. He wasn't so keen on the second ride we went on: Rita Queen of Speed, as you can probably tell from the picture! It is VERY fast, and very scary. Later I went on Nemesis and it felt quite tame in comparison. For some reason it didn't take a photo of me! Hex was good but confusing, definitely worth going on, but I felt it could have been better. The Haunted House was a good adaption of the usual haunted house with guns, but nothing spectacular.
Tony's favourite ride was the rapids, even if it did involve getting wet. I like it a lot too, the big rotating platform used to board is very cool. They had a new ride called Peugeot Driving School - unfortunately it was for kids! We wondered whether it was sponsored by Peugeot, I thought it might be, however it might just be a really weird coincidence, what with all the Peugeot 207's dotte…

Four and a Half Hours Later...

Image
We have our new car! Hooray! The journey took a bit longer than expected due to a crash on the motorway, and roadworks on the only other road. The car drives well, the brakes work well and the heating and air conditioning work very well.
The car shares a lot of components with the Skoda Fabia but the cars little extras, and big extras, make the car noticably better. The little extras worth mentioning: the stereo volume increasing when the engine noise increases, the small lights above the vanity mirrors, lights in the back for passengers, the emergency triangle in the boot, purple and red dials etc. The big extras worth mentioning: the much better 1.9 TDI engine in the VW Passat, a very nice improvement compared to the 68bhp 1.4 in the Fabia, the bigger, better seats, the increased space inside.There are some downsides, it seems to roll a bit more than the Fabia, maybe it could do with it's suspension stiffening? Plus parking will be much more difficult as it wont be possible to s…

Apple iPod 30gb 5.5G Black Unboxed (MA446FB/A)

Image
Small box, containing an even smaller box.

Steve Jobs loves Pirates of the Carribean 2, but he doesn't like it when you steal music.

The simple but ESSENTIAL instructions: To switch on, press center button. To switch off hold PLAY/PAUSE. To reset hold Center and Menu. If you don't get to grips with switching on / off using this method then you're buggered and you're best off without an ipod - why they couldn't just use an on / off button, I'll never know, perhaps it's un-cool. (Remember Apple prioritises cool, over easy to use). The stuff you get with it: Dock adapter, earphones, packet of instructions (no CD, no manual), some white apple stickers for the teenage audience, USB cable, frabric case (hoorah!)

The switch on experience: Choose your language. Use the menus...

Look for the new games, only to find, you have to buy the new games for $5 each.

New quick-scroll feature lets you go to the first letter of the Artist. Neat.

New feature: Search for songs - when …

New car... VW Passat 1.9 TDI S

Image
I'm really looking forward to this - ever since test driving a Skoda Fabia VRS - I've wanted a (VW/Audi/Skoda/Seat) Diesel TDI car. We spent a good few weeks looking for a cheap Skoda Octavia TDI, but all of the cheap ones (<=£2500) were either the 90bhp verion and/or had an excessively high mileage. We ended up testing an awesome '02 Skoda Octavia Elegance TDI (110) from Mitchell Group (highly recommended!) which was very helpful as we knew what to expect when driving other TDIs. We figured that we'd have to spend more money than we had hoped to get a low mileage car, but unfortunately the 02 Octavia was outside our budget so we tried a number of other cars from AutoTrader, and spent most of this weekend looking at: a VW Bora TDI that didn't feel like it had a turbo, a high mileage Seat Leon that had some kind of over-revving problem (and a high mileage), and finally a low-mileage VW Passat 1.9 TDI S 100bhp (pictured). It's bigger than we were intending (an…

Ryanair, Dinard, Brittany, France

Image
We went to Brittany, France this week via Ryanair, the East Midland's Airport, and Dinard airport. We ate lots of crepes, swam in the sea and in a pool, and watched lots of TV that was dubbed over in French. TV highlights were: T.J. Hooker, a cop show featuring William Shatner. German show (Alarm für Cobra 11) featuring Autobahn Police where every 5 minutes there was some form of police chase involving a vehicle of some kind (such as a Hover craft, Bulldozer, Range Rover, VW Golf, Fiat Panda, BMW 5 Series, Large Trucks) most shows would feature several large explosions - it was EXCELLENT and should definitely be on UK TV. Malcolm in the Middle was also very funny in French. Photos now in the gallery.

East Midland's Airportclaim have won an award as the "Best airport in the UK" - I personally find this claim award highly questionable for the following reasons: 1 - The layout of the airport is extremely poor meaning that queues (in check-in) end up blocking ALL walkways…

London, Hamburg

Image
I travelled to London and Hamburg yesturday. It was raining. A lot. Lufthansa prefer it if you don't walk on the aeroplane's wings! In Hamburg only men wearing hats can use the pedestrian crossings. The plane we boarded was called a Wupper, which is short for "Wupper-Sieg AG Leverkusen (Wupsi)" - Thankfully they didn't have any "Wupsi"'s on the flight - just tiny sandwiches about 1/3rd the size of normal sandwiches.

Caramac: Dust and Butter

Image
Nestle Caramacs, they're (in my opinion) like butter and dust mixed together and flattened into a milkybar sized shape, wrapped inside some plastic and sold in corner shops all over Britain in the chocolate bars section, they've been developed so that they don't melt, as general confusion means they are left next to chocolate bars, and sold as some kind of "Chocolate" bar when in fact they are made from (in my opinion) old melted butter and dust from local wood factories. Originally released as an easy way to serve and store butter without having to own a fridge, critics screamed foul at the hideous dusty taste and difficulty in spreading the hard substance on bread.

Great Britain in Albert Dock, Liverpool

Image
View it here - the picture above / left shows the mini floating Great Britain that was used on the Good Morning (Richard and Judy) show with Weatherman Fred? - He would run around on it telling us the weather. It's not there anymore but Google Maps is slightly out of date by several years so you can still see it. Hooray!

Tour of Duty Soundtrack?

There was a Vietnam film type soundtrack that featured: Jennifer Juniper (Donovan), and Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones, as well as a number of other excellent songs. Unfortunately I can't find the album anymore, nor do I remember all the songs on the album. An internet search has proved fruitless. Does anybody have any ideas? All I can find are "Tour of Duty" but it's not got the right songs on it...?

Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf
Paint it Black - Rolling Stone
Jennifer Juniper - Donovan

Update: Thanks to an anonymous comment - the full track listing can be found in the comments! It looks like it was Tour of Duty Volume 2!! :)

March of the Penguins. A Cock and Bull Story.

March of the Penguins - it's flipping awesome. Not awesome like the Matrix, but like a David Attenborough documentary on steroids, with Morgan Freeman as the voiceover. The DVD contains two extra documentaries about how they filmed it, both very interesting / entertaining. I managed to watch the film a second time and still really enjoyed watching it. It's fairly short for a film at 1hour 15minutes but slightly longer than the average animal documentary. Some of the extra documentaries contain footage of the pengiuns from different colonies, and you wonder why they didn't contain it in the film.

A Cock and Bull Story Starring Steve Coogan - has some very funny moments where they take the mickey out of Alan Partridge. Most of the people I was watching it with didn't really get the parallels between the film inside the film, and the "real world" modern day version of it, but did after explaining it. I think it's one of those films where a brief familiarity …

Brighton - A Long Way To Drive

Image
We went to Brighton this week to visit Vanessa and Paul - it was a long way to drive taking well over 5 hours on the way down. Pictures are in the gallery.

PS - Visit Health Unlimited.org - they provide health care for people for free. They also employ door-to-door canvassers who try and get you to give them money. One thing I find confusing is that these door-to-door people aren't volunteers, but they get paid (presumably by the charity) to go door-to-door... hmmm...

Bic Biro Pen Sellotape Dispenser

Email sent to Bic: "You could invent a Bic biro with sellotape wrapped around the pen, this way it is a sellotape dispenser as well as a pen, and then by the time the pen has run out, the sellotape would run out at the same time. You would always have handy sellotape with you, plus everytime you took the sellotape off the pen you would have a clean pen again."

Related Bic Pen Articles: Bendy Bic Pen Invented

The Break Up, Ladies in Lavender

The Break Up is "alright", some people even said that it's "good" (the majority of people I was with). It is somewhat of the opposite to the general feel good romantic comedy in that it's about the break up of a couple instead of the joining of a couple. It makes for generally unpleasant watching while they have domestic arguments with guests, and a lot of the jokes are already on the trailer. There were some laugh out loud moments, but not enough in my opinion.

Ladies in Lavender is so boring. It feels like it isn't about anything at all. It is fairly short compared to overly long films like Superman, and Pirates of the Carribean 2, but it still had the female contingent checking how much time was left on the DVD display. It is slightly more appealing to women, but the majority of them thought it was awful.

The Big Bite Moro vs Boost

Image
What's with Cadbury's "The big bite Moro" in the UK (Made in Ireland), it's exactly the same as a "Boost charged with Glucose". In other countries a Cadbury's Moro is the same as a Mars bar. Contents and ingredients of a Moro and a Boost:

60.5g, Milk Chocolate with Caramel and Biscuit Filling, 310kcal per bar, 17.8g fat, ingredientsL glucose solids 23%, veg oil, skimmed milk, biscuits (5%), sugar, cocoa, glycerol, whey, e471, e442, milk chocolate, etc.

Perhaps the flavouring is slightly different, but the ingredients are identical. I want answers! Cadburys say that it's made in Ireland with a different choclate recipe.

Update: I contacted Cadburys, who said that the Moro bar is sold in Ireland, and they have no plans of introducing it into the UK, as the UK have the Boost bar. I spoke to a friend who worked in the industry, and he says that distribution warehouses simply buy from the cheapest suppliers available and often that means buying from ov…