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Mon, Feb. 28th, 2005, 09:27 pm
On the move

This blog is now discontinued. My continuing exciting adventures can be found at Rarely Updated 2.

Sun, Feb. 20th, 2005, 05:52 pm

For the ultimate in executive toys visit eccentric genius - unconventional contrivances and machine arcana.

The hypnodisc has distinct possibilities.

via b3ta

Sun, Feb. 20th, 2005, 01:12 am
Senseo advice

How to create your own Senseo coffee pads

Reuseable coffee filter for Senseo systems

via Boing Boing

Also from Boing Boing is the CafePods site who sell a wide range of blends for the Senseo and other systems. They even do tea in a pod! They actually work out about 50% more expensive than the standard Douwe Egberts pods - but there's lots of interesting flavours and they are foil wrapped in pairs.

Fri, Feb. 18th, 2005, 09:33 pm
How much?

The Guardian mentioned this useful site which allows you to find out how much your neighbours paid for their house.

Ours paid £250K. Which sounds even scarier as £1/4 million.


Sat, Feb. 12th, 2005, 08:23 pm
Music downloads

DiscLogic is an interesting one. Their prices are very variable, $5.99 to $11.99 from a quick scan but the good thing about them is that you can choose to download as MP3, AAC, WMA or FLAC. All for the same price.

Shame there doesn't appear to be anything I've heard of on their site.

Sat, Feb. 12th, 2005, 11:36 am
Assorted gadgets

The Sonos ZonePlayer is quite promising. It looks easy to set up, good quality, not ludicrously expensive and easy to expand. The drawbacks are that it doesn't support DRM'ed music, I think it's a proprietary protocol used to distribute the music, and since it's just a Linux system at heart there's always the feeling that I could so something as good myself (probably with a small aubergine). Or at least that I'd get annoyed at not being able to get in and tweak something.

Being able to support DRM' music would be handy because it would mean I could buy albums from the main stores like Napster, or even ITMS. Which although they are essentially a ripoff would still be handy now and again. And if it all ran using UPNP AV then I could integrate the gadgets I work on in the the system. Which would be nice.

In a similar vein there is the Net-Box. All-in-one server for email, network filestore, wireless router, etc.  You can even buy it in the UK, the conversion rate could be better but it probably beats trying to import one. It would save all the time I spend tinkering with the linux server, on the other hand you've got to keep your hand in somehow. Also although it looks cute and CE from the front, from the rear its obviously an off the shelf PC motherboard and a couple of PCI cards. Apparently it makes a racket as well which is bad news. There is the suggestion on one site I found that PC World will be selling them - so it would be worth looking at there.

Last time we were at PC World we found this little cutey. The Sony Vaio VGC M1 in case the sony style link doesn't work. Joe wants one for the kitchen. Some of the reviews reckon it wasn't great value for money but given its all-in-one nature - it's kind of a ghetto blaster with a PC stuck on the frontt - it seems pretty reasonable to me. You can get it for about £800 if you shop around.

And if we just need loads of storage then there is the frighteningly named TeraStation which should do for a couple of years.

Sun, Jan. 23rd, 2005, 12:44 pm
I'm a Mid-Level Nerd

I am nerdier than 74% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

American biased (you can only do 2 year or 4 year degrees) but kind of amusing.

Sun, Jan. 16th, 2005, 05:33 pm
Mac dissing

To counterbalance my enthusiasm of the other night...

A certain friend - he knows who he is -  linked to Apple Haters Unite [at Gizmodo] which is pretty funny - although not necessarily for the same reasons that the original author probably thinks it is.

What he didn't mention was that that was a rebuttal to the even funnier Apple iProduct announcement [also at Gizmodo]. The original home of this also has the trailing pseudo-disclaimer:

"iFanatics, please take note: I'm not making fun of Apple products, I'm making fun of you."

Also worthy of note was the Alternative Apple Store.

Sun, Jan. 16th, 2005, 02:04 am
Free electricity

Joe is quite keen on getting ourselves a windmill. It looks interesting - they reckon it pays for itself in 5 years. It would be quite cool to have though.

If we're going to get environmental though I suggested we switch to an environmentally friendly electricity supplier first.

The Guardian also host a comparison utility.

Both the above comparison utilities give an option to go for green tariffs.

More info: Friends of the Earth have a comparison table. This also explains why buying green electricity may not actually be doing anything useful at all.
How can you tell it's green?

Every unit of green electricity generated comes with a certificate of proof that it is green. Companies use the proof to demonstrate to the Government they have met their legal obligation.

Some companies keep the certificates for the extra green electricity they have supplied to you.

Others sell the certificates to other electricity companies which can then use them to meet their legal obligations.

The survey information is also available as a PDF download which goes into more detail and is worth reading unless you know how the energy market works already.

So comparing the two recommended options the FoE gives that are actually available we get:

  • Good Energy: 10.2p/day + 7.1p/kWh. Discounts for advance DD payment of £10 (monthly), 4.25% (quarterly), 5.5% (half-yearly), 8% (annual). Not clear whether this includes VAT or not.
  • Green Energy 100: 4p/day + 7.64p/kWh. plus VAT. Monthly DD only. Free shares given.

Current Expenditure, including VAT:

Electricity (Powergen) £390 by monthly DD. Total of 4452 units.
Gas (BG) £397.31 by monthly DD. Total of 23432 kWh.

Sun, Jan. 16th, 2005, 01:48 am
Vaio Media

Finally managed to get the Vaio Media server on my laptop to work with the software I work on - ANT PurePlay. Everything pointed to it just being another UPnP AV media server but it didn't seem to show up with any of the usual tools. Turned out to be my firewall blocking all the broadcasts - even when both applications were running on the one machine, Thumbnails don't show up though. But the only reference I can find to the problem is here. I probably need to understand the software better before I can make use of that info though.

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