Caissa and the latest Stephen King

November 21, 2008

I splashed out £3 on Caissa chess for my iPod and iPhone.  It seems like a decent enough application but I would really like to know its playing strength if anybody out there has an idea.

And finally, a bit premature I know (story of my life), I have downloaded the latest Stephen King, Just After Sunset, from Audible.

A collection of short stories to be sure.

I’ll let you know.


China’s first space walk

September 27, 2008
Chinas First Space Walk

China's First Space Walk

It’s about time someone / a country took up where America left off in the late 70’s and pushed human exploration of space.  This isn’t outer space yet, but it seems like the Chinese are serious.  I can’t condone their human rights record, but in this instance I am full of praise.

Onwards and literally upwards China.

Read more here.


China's first space walk

September 27, 2008
Chinas First Space Walk

China's First Space Walk

It’s about time someone / a country took up where America left off in the late 70’s and pushed human exploration of space.  This isn’t outer space yet, but it seems like the Chinese are serious.  I can’t condone their human rights record, but in this instance I am full of praise.

Onwards and literally upwards China.

Read more here.


Google Android begins with the T-Mobile G1

September 24, 2008

Looks like Googles world domination plans are taking a few giant leaps forward this month with the launch of the Google Chrome browser along with their new Android phone.  It sounds and looks pretty nifty, but as I read somewhere else recently.  It is looking more and more likely that when Skynet launches and destroys mankind it will be a Google creation rather than a Microsoft one.

Google Android T-Mobile G1

Google Android T-Mobile G1


Amiga 600

September 24, 2008

I have long been wanting to indulge in my retro computing fetish.  This isn’t something I have had the chance to immerse myself in before now.  It all stems from my first every computer, the Sinclair Spectrum +2, which I was given for Christmas at the ripe old age of about 8.

I imagine that this bastion of retro computing was what set me on the road to my much too geeky present self.

Anyway, like I say, I have been wanting to indulge myself again recently with a passion.  (It was either that or Hornby model trains…).  So I spent the last couple of days trawling the depths of eBay for a suitable bargain when I came across a rather cheap, working, and decently attired with extras Amiga 600,  (The not so popular Amiga as I have read).  A Buy It Now push of a button later last night and I am eagerly awaiting delivery.  Now all I need is a soldering iron and I can really get ready to indulge in some serious retro modding.


New Wireless Router

August 15, 2008

I finally got tired of my old wireless router and it’s ever more frequent reboots yesterday. So I purchased a new Netgear model today.

Now it has been a while since I set up the old one so I was a little rusty and not a little surprised when it came to me needing to call technical support.

Not that I should have bothered.
Virgin Media confirmed that all the settings I had input were correct and kindly forwarded me to Netgear technical support. Before calling either support team I had figured out by myself that the problem was DNS related. Anyway, after spending another half an hour on the phone with Netgear the support staff finally decided that he couldn’t fix the problem and that I would need a call back from his supervisor. This call has yet to arrive.

So why shouldn’t I have bothered calling either companies? Well after putting the phone down to Netgear I proceeded to fix the problem myself….

So what lessons have I learnt?

1. I know more than I think I do sometimes.

2. I know more about Netgear’s products than their support line (This is the first one I have ever owned and I have only had it for a couple of hours).

3. It’s nice when the technical support tells you that they don’t often get calls from ‘people with my expertise’. But not so nice when they are about as much help as an automated message.

4. It might be fun telling the support supervisor, when he eventually calls back, that I solved the problem by myself.


New Site Launch

July 11, 2008

I have been working very hard over the past couple of days preparing my new website for launch.

Munch Tech is a site that will provide bitesize technology news as and when it happens.  It has been in the works for a fairly long period of time and will continue to be a work in progress for the foreseeable future, building on the foundations that have already been built.  You can probably expect a tie in with my recently launched Podcast ‘Pod Munch’.

The site in live now and is updated minute by minute where appropriate.


Pod Munch: Episode 1

July 9, 2008

So I have done the first episode of the podcast I have been talking about.  Yep it’s very rough around the edges content and production wise but I intend to improve, like a fine wine, with age.

Give me your feedback.  Best way to help me improve!

Show Notes:

  1. Viacom vs Google / YouTube
  2. Gmail’s new security feature
  3. Google launches Lively virtual world
  4. Samsung starts to produce SSD’s on the cheap
  5. KOffice 2 Alpha 8
  6. The Alarm Clock that can get you the sack
  7. Green Israel
  8. iPhone 3G
  9. 7Digital

Apple

July 7, 2008

Apple logoI have always been a reluctant Apple user but over the past year or so I have found myself surrounded by more and more Apple products and you know what?  I like them.

Yes they can be over priced, yes they do overly use DRM, and yes there is an element of style over substance.

So am I that superficial that I can be converted despite all of those things or even because of them?

Well not really, my love affair began fairly simply with my other half wanting and getting a iPod shuffle last year.  I scoffed of course having never used iTunes and read all the negatives about it’s DRM and how it limits the way you can use your downloads and devices associated with it.  And I still hold those views.  But iTunes really is a very slick and user friendly piece of software.  It makes downloading podcasts, which I listen to lots of, and other sundry simple via an Ipod.  However I don’t use iTunes for the negative reasons I stated.  However I still like Apple products.  Again, why?

Well since the day of my partners pink Shuffle I have been curious and as such have tired the majority of their products to the point of now writing this on a Macbook (as you will have an idea of if you have read my previous posts).

I like the iPods, especially when using them under Linux using software that allows you to edit as well as you can with iTunes if not with a little rougher UI.

Having used the nano, classic and shuffle I have found the zenith in the Touch.

My iPod Touch isn’t used for music or podcasts.  Why?  Because I have jailbroken it to use it as a very capable handheld mobile PC.  There isn’t much I can’t do with it using the inbuilt wifi.  It is use to check my email on the fly, sign in to an IM, check on the news, browse the web, check the whether and basically any other operation you can think that you might want to do on the move.  Of course it can’t replace the functionality of a fully fledged laptop but what it can do is replace my Asus EEE 701, which has now been handed down to my partner.  Yes, I love my Ipod Touch, not for it’s Ipodness, but for it’s functionality, when jailbroken of course.

So I guess I can move on to the Macbook.

I had never used an Apple computer until I got my hands on this one.  I knew what to expect from the style and looks; as I mentioned Apple products are simply stunning for the most part.

But hardware and OS X wise I had to lose my virginity.  OS X is slick and smooth, there are problems getting some freeware tools and programs that I am used to using, but  I am happy to be using a system that is close to Linux in it’s Unix core although I have yet to really get under the bonnet.  I haven’t even opened a terminal yet.  As such I can only comment on the GUI and it is functionally simple with installs via downloads very easy and it’s overall simplicity over complexity works well.

Hardware wise I am impressed.  The Core Duo model I have runs fairly fast after my upgrades.  I have installed 2 gigabytes of RAM (The maximum for this model I was rather sad to read), to replace the default 1 gigabyte.  I then changed the hard drive from a 60 gigabyte to a 120 gigabyte model.  What I noticed most doing this was just how easy it was to install the upgrades.  Remove the battery, undo three screws and you have access to everything most users would need to upgrade.  The whole operation can be done in under 10 minutes.  Now I come to my favourite aspects of the Macbook, and these alone are almost enough to keep me on it as my main machine.  The screen is simply gorgeous, the best I have seen on a laptop.  It is clear, bright and unbelievably crisp.  But the coup de tat is the battery life.  5 or 6 hours during my normal usage!!!  Brilliant, and coupled with the above, a deal sealer for me.

Yes Apple.  You have a convert.  Not because you are beautiful, although that helps.  You have your downsides in software availability  compared to a Windows or even Linux machine; and your DRM is horrible.  But your hardware is brilliantly designed and that coupled with the functionality of your devices… well, like I say, the Macbook will be my main machine for the foreseeable future and me and my Ipod Touch are never separated.

Maybe its time for me to try the Iphone?  I just hope my other half doesn’t read that!


Macbook Part 2

July 5, 2008

It is finally here and although it is second hand I had to sell my soul on ebay to get it.  It is the first generation Macbook so it is over two years old.

It needs some work.  I have replaced the hard drive from stock I already had laying around.  It also needs some ram as the stock it came with is minimal and I hope to install some today.

However….

I am writing this blog post from the machine!  It is running OS X Tiger and  I have to say I am impressed with how slick it is.  It is nice to have a propriety machine that isn’t windows based.  It means I can finally migrate ‘totally’ away from the Redmond machine.  I expect I will be fiddling with for some time to come and that my Ubuntu Dell will be neglected no doubt.

It also means that the Asus passes to my partner and hers passes to our eldest.  She has been needing hers replacing for a while after she broke it.  So everyone wins.

Anyway, on with the work!