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Showing posts from 2009

Apple iPod 20gb Colour Mini Review (From the past)

iPod 20gb Colour Mini Review (buy MP3 Players online at
nb: written back in 10/10/05

Apple iPod 20Gb Colour Mini Review. ( apple ipod 30gb video 5.5g here) Manufacturer:

Overall this is a very good portable MP3 player - limited in other functions - no video playback, limited photo support as standard (it's an optional extra) etc. Annoyingly the design means a case is required at the same time as buying the iPod otherwise the back of the ipod and the screen will scratch very easily. Because of the generally high price in comparison to other MP3 players from Creative etc, I personally wouldn't spend my own money on an Apple iPod. I got the 20gb Apple Ipod Colour from freeipods dot com (back when they used to exist or work) - they also sent me the firewire cable in a seperate box (I don't know whether this is normal). Purchasing music through iTunes (the media player that comes with the iPod) is quite expensive and limiting, as the music…

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Mondeo passed it's MOT! with a few minor faults (lights being one of them and handbrake needed tightening), they also advised a new tyre after we were running for a while with the tracking out, and I still hadn't got round to replacing the tyre. This time I went for some winter tyres - which has come in handy - and asked them to re-balance them as they weren't done properly last time. Although finding some winter tyres seems a little difficult as a lot of the main online sites (and even Kwik Fit) don't seem to list many (or any) online. The car has been fun to drive, especially over the Snake Pass, (although a bit weak around 2000rpm when fully loaded), and has acted as the RAC twice for friends. Although in this winter weather it's a shame the car doesn't have any traction control to stop the front wheels spinning when accellerating. (And yes it was foggy!)

The Ford Mondeo - The Best and Worst Car I've EVER Owned!

Even when they're rubbish, they're brilliant...

Even when you need to get everything fixed on it - it's still cheaper than fixing VW / Skoda cars with cambelts and dodgy waterpumps - thanks to the Ford's chain driven engine.

Even when the tracking, balancing, anti-roll bars, wishbones and rear suspension are all shot, they're still more fun to drive than any car from VW, even the Skoda Octavia VRS with it's brilliantly fast engine and stopping power, that's horribly boring and sensible around corners, and has the dullest sound ever for a "sports" model, or the torquey, but heavy and ponderous VW TDI diesels with such narrow power bands you spend all day changing gear or stalling.

When you get the Mondeo fixed, it's absolutely brilliant to drive, especially the petrol version with smooth power delivery, with the car feeling quite light to drive, even when it's a fully loaded estate model.

Another thing Ford are capable of doing, is making …

Well... that was easy...

I was getting a little bored with hosting my own website. It was somewhat time consuming, relied on my ip address staying the same, my pc being on all the time, and having no internet or pc problems ever. Which is rare, at the best of times.

Now I'm / I've uploaded all the photos from Gallery (1) to Google Picasa Webalbums (using Google Picasa 3.5), chosen a new style (upgraded) blogger template and added widgets so you can view the photos and new albums automatically (using the Picasa photo stream widget, and the RSS feed widget). Nice.

(1) Gallery 1 was hosted locally on my PC so it was easy enough to copy all the albums, search for "sized" "thumbs" and other random files (".dat", ".bak" etc) and clean it up so I was just left with the original files in their original album folders - then I put these in Google, let it detect some new faces, and then uploaded. You can do the same if you have FTP access to your website, just find the alb…

still not connected...

the internet. cameras. phones. phones with cameras. it's still not connected. yes your camera phone can post your photos to the internet (if you're lucky), but how about wirelessly putting them on your laptop so that you can use them when you're using your laptop in an internet cafe (phones still don't provide an acceptable or suitable internet experience and I doubt they ever will, unless they come with a full size USB keyboard), without having to find the usb cable that you've also lost, or the micro-sd adapter thingy?

our internet is down. support is somewhat poor. they seem to have a call centre that logs a job and can't actually help you other than telling you to switch it all off and on again, or arranging a tech to come out. if you want to get through to proper broadband support? don't know, nobodies told me the number...

internet surfing in a "free internet" Cafe is somewhat strange. do you have to buy a coffee every half hour? will you be …

Google Picasa Web Albums...

Flickr seems to be very popular, and photobucket seems to have good sharing stuff (share with blogger, twitter, fb etc), but picasa web albums seems to be quite a manual process, for example, why can't I post photos to my blogger / twitter / fb account automatically any time I upload photos to picasa web albums? (presumably I'd have to do it manually with RSS feeds?)


Kaspersky Confusion

Eugene Kaspersky sees himself as some kind of revolutionist based on the T-Shirts being given away as Kaspersky stands in IT events. Yet surely Che Guevara was more interested in freedom and equality for all? Would Che be interested in charging money for software, or would he be more likely to want to provide it for free like free healthcare?

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Dobby

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Sophie

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Jeremy

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Big Suze

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Johnson

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Mark

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Gail

Peep Show Series 6 Characters: Elena

Atari Jaguar CD

Goodbye Octavia... Hello Mondeo...

It was a sad day, selling the Skoda Octavia VRS. But now I own a Ford Mondeo 2.0 Zetec (Petrol). Things that seem to be missing (that the Skoda had) heated wing mirrors, clutch foot rest, and trip computer. However, the Ford does have a front window demister - which should be standard on all cars :)

Things it needs:
Servicing? Oil, coolant flush, air filter (air filter looks okay / newish), fuel filter, spark plugs, etc?
Air vents middle.
Inlet Manifold? Worth checking? (Ford sell flaps £5 ish each. The part code (finis code) is 1317276).

Full beam headlight gone on left side

Spare key (£30 - £55 ebay) / new battery?

Sorted / Ordered:
Isofix thingies / preparation - it has them but they're behind the cloth! (Ford?) Checked with Polar Ford, and Peoples Ford they both said the Mondeo MK3 doesn't have ISOFIX, and searches on their parts database couldn't find anything for the car, however, reports on the internetsay otherwise. They are actually behind the cloth on the bottom of the…

Mini on the beach...

...more photos available in the Mini Gallery.

Half Price Stuff at Sainsburys... here's some of the offers:

Save 50% was £9.99 now £4.99
Sainsbury's Mild Smoked Salmon 360g
Save 50% was £1.26 now 63p
Robinson's Orange Fruit & Barley Drink, No Added Sugar 1L
Save 50% was £1.94 now 97p
Lotus Thirst Pockets Limited Edition x2 Rolls
Save 50% was £2.98 now £1.49
Sainsbury's Raspberries 170g
Save 50% was £1.99 now 99p
Sainsbury's Cooked Chicken 200g
Save 50% was £1.58 now 79p
Patak's Curry Cooking Sauces, Rogan Josh 540g
Save 50% was £2.49 now £1.24
Sainsbury's Satsumas x8
Save 50% was £1.99 now 99p
Sainsbury's Butchers Choice Large Pork Sausages x 8 454g

alternatively will compare prices of all supermarkets and let you switch to the cheapest one.

Without sounding like a popular magazine... but "what car?" would you recommend?

Practical and as close to £1k as possible, contenders are below, with the most likely purchase at the top... due to engines, size, safety, isofix, price etc.

Ford Mondeo 2.0 2001+ 145bhp from around £900 (in poor condition)

Skoda Octavia VRS (ideally estate) from around £1500? (more likely £2k) other engines are poor, for example 100bhp 1.6l, or 115bhp 2.0l - why so little power from a 2 litre engine? and why did they replace the 125bhp 1.8litre engine with a 115bhp 2.0litre engine? (1.8l 2000 reg estate is available for around £1k)

Seat Toledo 2.3l V5 (150ish bhp) - but saloon :( from around £1300 (autotrader)
V5 engine not available in the Seat Leon (hatchback version)

VW Bora (aka boring) 2.3l V5 - cheap? may as well get nicer Toledo (better spec / handling). Or perhaps VW Golf Mark IV with 2.3l V5 if it's cheap enough?

MG ZT-T 2.5litre 190bhp estate £2k (too far away from budget and potential head gasket issues?)

Rover 75 2.0l V6 150bhp estate £1750 (ditto)

Skoda Fabia MK2 1.2 HTP (70bhp) Estate Thoughts

Engine / Performance: Performance isn't the right word for this car, however, the engine does have a gruff growley sound when pushed, it's just a shame the car doesn't accellerate in the same way as it sounds. When idle the engine has a wobbley character about it that wobbles the car, this is especially noticable when stopped at traffic lights (most likely due to the 3 cylinder engine). The engine is adequate to set off from lights in a nippy enough way, and keeps up with traffic.

Handling and Driving: The biggest problem I found when driving this car was the general feeling that I was driving a van - the car seems to tower over similar class cars, and you can't see the front of the car. There seemed to be little feedback from the steering or wheels. The car has a light steering and a light clutch so is easy to drive.

Interior and space: Suprisingly spacious - seemed more spacious inside than the MK1 Octavia - makes me wonder why cars are different sizes when the insid…

Intenso 8GB USB Pen Drive Mini Review

The Intenso 8GB USB Pen Drive has annoying packaging - you need scissors to open it. Nice green colour though. No wrist strap / neck strap / keyring loop is provided with the pen drive. There is a (plastic) loop on the pen drive so you can attach your own strap if you have one, but personally I think this should come with the pen drive, and I suspect this will be too small for a keyring loop, and will probably break if attched to a keyring. The bright red light is ALWAYS on when it's plugged in - and it only switches off when it's flashing when you're reading / writing to the pen drive.

However, it does seem quite quick - copying 1gb on to it took about 35 seconds and copying 1gb from it took around 35 seconds. As is the norm with hard drives, pen drives, SD cards etc, you get slightly less space available in Windows - with 7.51gb total space available, and the drive comes pre-formatted as FAT32. However, I'm not sure why you'd buy one of these pen drives when you …

The Red Rover Mini Restoration Project...

So I'm very very slowly bringing the Mini back to it's former glory. So far I've beefed up the sound system with a subwoofer, and front speakers, although I do need to mount these all properly, so this is just at the testing stage at the moment. The head unit is very nice though - a Sony GT420U - with USB and AUX in it supports pen drives, and USB hard drives!

I've also been looking at the front of the Mini as there's a lot of surface rust under the bubbling paint. Very little of it has gone through so with some elbow grease and some sanding it should smooth out okay, ready for a respray. I've also decided to respray the rocker cover, as that was suffering from some rust.

Here's the before and after shots of the rocker cover, now that it's been painted red. I've sanded the rusty bits with a B+Q Mouse Sander, and covered the rusty bits with Hammerite Kurust from Halfords. Next I should be able to fill any dents, and smooth ready for the primer.

Most of…

Britain's Best Drives - 1. North Yorkshire Moors

Potentially good day road trip? from Britains Best Drives - 1 North Yorkshire Moors BBC TV (iplayer, available till 2nd April 09)

Starting at Scarborough - up to Scalby - through the Yorkshire moors - via Dalby Forest (£7 toll road), to the A169 to Hole of Horcum, Goathland, Grosmont - to Whitby Westerdale - Google maps says it may take around 1 and a half hours - so that would give you plenty of time to get to the start and plenty of time to get home afterwards with the majority of the driving being done during the middle of the day when light is likely to be at it's best.

Sights to be seen: Scarborough: 1950s cafe/ Harbour ice cream bar. Dalby Forest. Hole of Horcum. Place where Heartbeat is filmed (Goathland). Whitby Abbey.

Hopefully I've been able to recreate the route in google maps, as shown below:

View Larger Map

Next episode is in North Wales: BBC iPlayer, Google Maps Route (roughly), Screen grab from the show. Seeing: Caernarfon Castle, Dinorwic slate quarry, the Llanberis…

Clarks Active Air Shoes Again...

Wow, my last pair of shoes from Clarks, lasted nearly 3 years! They were £60. Since then this range of shoes seem to have gone up in price as they're now £60 - £75 (or slightly less when you factor in the 15% VAT we're paying - ie they're still priced up at £75 in the store, but are £73 when you come to buy them.) Here's hoping these new "Clarks Rustle GTX" black leather, goretex, active air, "extreme comform technology" shoes last as long as the last pair! With the last pair it was the sole that wore out the quickest, which meant they were no longer waterproof. The new ones are very snug - they grip your feet even on the heel - and the inner is quite fuzzy meaning your feet shouldn't slip when in them. They also seemed to be the most comfortable out of the range with the most bounce.

Here's the old ones with the worn through soles. And while we're on the subject of shoes, I may as well mention some Sketchers trainers (pictured below) I g…