Monday, December 28, 2009

Hello all. Greetings from sa in my brief moment of being online.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

At Manchester Airport. Boarding in five minutes. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amused at the fact that my youngest thinks Father Christmas lives in our village. He keeps mishearing Northop Hall, bless him.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yay. Rage did it. I don't care what label they're on - this was exactly the single to be the final Christmas no.1 of the decade.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thought avatar was stunning. 3d was worthwhile but not faultless. Film itself was lovely.Cgi was seamless. Surprisingly good story too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Really starting to get annoyed by this southeast-centric news and weather. :(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Know I should feel sorry for berlusconi, but I just can't. Is it wrong to find it a bit funny?
Nice that a wife-beater won sports personality (even). They're a neglected group.
Nice that a wide-bearer won sports personality. They're a bit of a neglected group.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Playing the original Call of Duty really shouldn't be this much fun.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Second nighttime migraine. Need to work out the trigger. Probably that bloody blue light on the radio alarm.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cannot recommend @NPR too much (@allsongs anyway). Subscribe to the podcasts, particularly the Live one. Thanks @Villagepig for the tip.
Loving @NPR (or more precisely @allsongs). Dinosaur Jr - live, on a free Podcast. Ace. Thanks @VillagePig for suggesting it.
Loving NPR. Dinosaur Jr - live, on a free Podcast. Ace. Thanks Amy for suggesting it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mumford & Sons. Like Fleet Foxes with attitude.
Finally got a chance to listen to the latest Muse album. Mammoth! It's a glorious beast.
Can't believe that I had a perfect chance for a mini-sleep in and yet was wide awake at seven. Grrr.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"I'm a celeb" bunch of nobodies and hasbeens. Most of them seem pretty annoying. Should be ace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Listening to "Bug" by Dinosaur Jr. Had forgotten just how immense it was. Got to be one of my favourite albums.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

A guy on tv has been stripping salmon (male and female). Think he and I are both scarred by the experience.
No, my accounts have not been hacked. I honestly do want you to check out my friend's iphone app - Balloons! - Chris :)
Big-up to Balloons! for iPhone, a friend of mine's new iPhone app. Please give it a go and buy the full version if you like it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last.fm and iTunes are still disagreeing like politicians and scientific advisors.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why do so many people think that appearing on Ellen/Oprah is the equivalent of being published in "Nature"?
The idea of the clocks going back was invented by someone who hates parents.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just setup a wireless router as a wireless access point. I know it's not much, but I'm chuffed.
Well done Jenson, well done Brawn. Brilliant stuff.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fsckin' iPod! Fsckin' iTunes! Fsckin' Last.fm! All sh1te, the lot of ya.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Can't decide between swift, I tweet or twidroid. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Migraine through the night. That's novel... and rather annoying.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This week's listening

Bit of a weird one this week. No more N95, now have an HTC Hero - which is lovely. Plus, as of early last week I now have a huge, big iPod Classic.

So now my listening is going really nicely. But my scrobbling hasn't been.

Seems the latest version of iTunes and/or the latest version of the Last.fm scrobbler don't work with the latest iPod Classic.

Finally got something working tonight by using a little app. called LastPod. It's working, but has only scrobbled what I've been listening to since I last synced with iTunes.

So I won't post my week's listening, but normal service should resume next week.

KTHXBAI

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm sure the biggest thing that contributes to the NHS having a bad name is the attitude of GPs receptionists.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Glad I'm not the only Englishman planning a trip to sa in the not too distant future.
Glad I'm not the only Englishman planning a trip to as in the not too distant future.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not really sure where the weekend went. Knackered and stiff, but can't wait to see the kids' reaction.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm on holiday! Yay!
...
that is all.
I'm on holiday! Yay!
...
that is all.

This week's most listened to Artists (and some stats for the last 3 months)

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. The White Stripes
2. The Decemberists
3. R.E.M.
4. Queens of the Stone Age
5. Mark Mothersbaugh
5. The Pigeon Detectives
5. Goldfrapp
8. Biffy Clyro
8. Razorlight
8. Fleet Foxes

And as it's 3 months since I last did it...

Last 3 months (Artists)

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Soundgarden
4. Scissor Sisters
5. At the Drive-In
6. Queens of the Stone Age
7. Pearl Jam
8. Foo Fighters
9. Sigur Rós
9. The Decemberists

Last 3 months (Albums)

1. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open [Deluxe Limited Edition CD/DVD]
2. The Beatles – Rubber Soul [UK]
3. Soundgarden – Superunknown
3. Queens of the Stone Age – R [Japan Bonus Track]
5. Audioslave – Audioslave
5. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters [UK Bonus Tracks]
7. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
8. At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command [Bonus Track] [12 Tracks]
9. R.E.M. – Green
10. Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve
I'm on holiday! Yay!
...
that is all.

Friday, July 24, 2009

This week's most listened to artists

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. BBC Radio 4
1. The Killers
1. The Stone Roses
4. The Beatles
5. The Decemberists
5. Snow Patrol
5. Green Day
5. Scissor Sisters
9. Soundgarden
9. A Perfect Circle

Friday, July 17, 2009

This week's most listened to artists

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. Fennesz
2. R.E.M.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. Sigur Rós
5. Kings of Leon
6. At the Drive-In
6. Queens of the Stone Age
8. The Mars Volta
8. Fleet Foxes
8. The Beatles

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

This week's posts

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. The Decemberists
2. Pearl Jam
3. Green Day
4. Animal Collective
4. Basement Jaxx
6. Queens of the Stone Age
6. The Beatles
8. Interpol
8. London Oratory School Scholars/London Philharmonic
8. Sigur Ros

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sometimes wish there was a love+ button on Last.fm. One heart just isn't enough for some tracks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Really impressed with the boys' school. Think they're gonna be really happy there. Now if only they'd get over the excitement and sleep.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

This week's posts

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. Foo Fighters
2. Coldplay
3. Sigur Ros
4. The Smashing Pumpkins
4. Nirvana
4. The Beatles
7. Weezer
7. Soundgarden
9. R.E.M.
9. Audioslave
So Jacko's dead, eh? Probably for the best.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feels warmer here than portugal. Know where i'd rather be though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unable to shake off this feeling of meh. Stupid, cos it's sunny and I'm off to Portugal on Thursday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week.

Artists

1. Animal Collective
1. The Horrors
3. The Beatles
4. Pixies
5. A Perfect Circle
5. Jeff Buckley
5. Coldplay
5. At the Drive-In
9. Sigur Ros
9. R.E.M.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aw shit. We're gonna crash into mars... Well, we might... In three billion years. Still, it's a worry.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tired but satisfied after the big birthday weekend. Check out our flickr site for pics.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Fantastic birthday with the boys. Lots of good kids whose parents should be proud.

Friday, June 05, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week (and as it's the end of a month, here are the top tracks too).

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. [unknown]
4. Helmet
4. My Chemical Romance
6. Soundgarden
6. Foo Fighters
6. Pixies
9. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
9. Audioslave
Hrmph. Rain. Please stop.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Had a fantastic few days with the kids. Maybe i will keep them after all.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week (and as it's the end of a month, here are the top tracks too).

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Scissor Sisters
3. Foo Fighters
5. Howard Shore
6. Soundgarden
6. Pixies
8. Coldplay
8. At the Drive-In
8. Interpol

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wonder how kerry feels about her nephew putting her pants in the bin.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The boys saying how much they love Grandma & Grandad - one of few things to bring a tear to my eye.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week (and as it's the end of a month, here are the top tracks too).

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Helmet
4. The Strokes
4. The Smashing Pumpkins
6. Snow Patrol
6. Scissor Sisters
8. At the Drive-In
8. Jeff Buckley
10. Foo Fighters

Top Tracks

1. Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes
1. The Beatles - Tell Me What You See
1. The Smashing Pumpkins - The Beginning Is the End Is the
4. Tool - Third Eye
4. The Strokes - Reptilia
4. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - On Mercury
4. Pearl Jam - Go
4. Helmet - Beautiful Love
4. R.E.M. - Sitting Still
4. R.E.M. - Talk About the Passion
Fix You (Live) on LeftRightLeftRightLeft. Wow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm in love with my new iGrado headphones. Especially cos they're free.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

RT @daxboy: If you get an email from the Department of Health telling you not to eat tinned pork because of #swineflu, please ignore it. It's just Spam.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Despite my better judgement, I'm really starting to like DragonForce.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Soundgarden
4. Pearl Jam
5. Queens of the Stone Age
5. Scissor Sisters
7. Smashing Pumpkins
8. Helmet
9. Nirvana
9. BBC Radio 4

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tired and my meeting hasn't even started yet. Thanks for the 4am wake up call ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reach for the Sky MoFo

So after having an HD-Ready TV for three years and after resisting the temptation for all that time, we finally got Sky HD installed yesterday. There was a huge delay in getting it installed, apparently due to high demand.

So far, I'm very impressed - particularly with Channel 4's output. But I do have a couple of gripes:

  1. Audio setup is a bit of a pain when transmitting video to the TV through HDMI and audio to the A/V Amp through the optical output. It's not that it's complicated, just that the difference in the amount of time the two take to decode their signals mean that you have to fiddle to get it synced properly. And anyone who's ever looked too closely at syncing on tv will know that no matter how hard you try, it never seems quite right after you've looked at it too much.
  2. Sky doesn't seem keen to transmit aspect ratio info via HDMI. I'm not someone who likes to stretch what I'm watching to 16:9 but rather I like to watch TV in it's native format. Unfortunately, if you decide to set the box to send it's picture as 1080i (the highest my tv can support - it's three years old remember) and therefore upscale normal tv everything is fixed at 1080i - and therefore stretched if it was 4:3 or letterbox. If you set it to auto-detect, then SD broadcasts look really nasty when shown alongside HD. Some channels overcome this nicely (Sci-Fi HD, FX HD, even Sky 1 and Channel 4 HD) by putting their own side-bars down each side but the less technically oriented (or maybe savvy) channels just transmit as is and let the box deal with it. Which is crap, frankly and means you're caught between two compromises. I've stuck with upscaling everything to 1080i and living with a few peoples' heads looking a bit fat.
  3. The BBC seems to be uncharacteristically reluctant to embrace HD. This is really odd as they're a technology friendly company. Just look at their websites, their kids on-line games, the interactive tv facilities and the iPlayer. So why have they only got one HD channel? They're really missing a trick as they have done some lovely HD shows in the past. But scouring the BBC HD for HD versions of their SD output is a ball-ache. Maybe they're just waiting for FreeSat HD to take off.
I'm sure some of these niggles are just teething troubles. Some of it will just take some getting used to. Some might get sorted out with new firmware. Some of it could just be a question of waiting for the other broadcasters to fall into line.

None of it detracts from the fact that HD is really what your telly was meant to do. For a TV geek like me it's just what I've been waiting for.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So in sky world, between three and five means quarter past five. I get it now.
Grrrr Sky installer. I'm guessing "between 3 and 5" means "5".

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Is still feeling ever so not well. Last time my throat felt like this i still smoked.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Returned from Goole feeling like a zombie. Maybe they spelled it incorrectly.

Friday, May 08, 2009

This Week's Music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Pixies
4. The Smashing Pumpkins
5. The The
6. Foo Fighters
7. Scissor Sisters
8. Soundgarden
9. Pearl Jam
10. Goldfrapp
Ok, think i've got the beating of this swine flu now... Ok, cold then.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Friday, May 01, 2009

This week's music

So here are my Last.fm stats for this week

Artists

1. The Beatles
2. R.E.M.
3. Pixies
4. Pearl Jam
5. The Smashing Pumpkins
6. Soundgarden
7. Queens of the Stone Age
8. Foo Fighters
9. Helmet
10. The The
Just won a pair of iGrado headphones. Lucky, lucky me!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Frackin apprentice idiots.

Altogether now


DSCF4157
Originally uploaded by nato060606
Who says that twins are attuned to one another. We were expecting a perfect, unified performance.

And from Nate


DSCF4155
Originally uploaded by nato060606
Anything Tommy can do...

More Rhyme Time from Tommy


DSCF4154
Originally uploaded by nato060606
It doesn't just stop at Incy Wincy Spider....

Nathan does Incy Wincy Spider


DSCF4153
Originally uploaded by nato060606
After Tommy it was Nathan's turn. Nathan has the enthusiasm, while Tommy seems to understand the meaning.

Tommy does Incy Wincy Spider


DSCF4152
Originally uploaded by nato060606
The boys mentioned to us during dinner that they'd learned rhymes at "Rhyme Time" while they were at Playschool. Here's Tommy giving his rendition of Incy Wincy spider.

In praise of HDMI

So the XBox HDMI cable that I was bitching about arrived on Monday (praise has to go to Amazon third-party trader "Gadgetsville" for fantastic service) and to be honest I wasn't expecting much. As an A/V fan, I've got a fair bit of history of messing about with different cables and different output formats. Mostly, the differences are fairly subtle - certainly back in the standard definition world. So, while I thought that outputting from the XBox via HDMI might have some benefits for video playback and for upscaling standard DVDs in particular, I honestly didn't expect to notice much difference when gaming.

I tried out Fallout 3 and WOW! The game looks great through component output, but plug in an HDMI cable and the difference is veeeeery impressive. The amount of contrast is instantly noticeable. It seems to increase the range of brights and darks substantially. This increases the depth and three dimensional effect massively.

Have yet to watch a DVD through the new cable. First off, I'm hoping it sends aspect ratio info through to the tv as having to manually adjust when we watch The Wire is a bit of a pain. But I'll be interested to see the difference it makes to standard definition tv. Also makes me look forward to having Sky HD installed a whole lot more (come on Sky, hurry up!).

Has meant that I've added yet another thing to my list of necessary buys. Not only do I need a VGA switch for the office, but I now need an HDMI switch for the main tv.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Music, Mobbler and Me

I got introduced to Last.fm a while back and instantly fell in love. I liked it so much that when at work, rather than listen to music directly from my phone I'd put the SD card in my laptop and listen from there. That way I could scrobble what I was listening to. I really liked the idea that not only would I be tracking my listening habits but also building up an on-line library of my music habits.

When my phone was replaced (long story, involving many phone calls back and forth with O2 due to malfunctioning N82 and terrible customer service) with an N95 8Gb I found that I couldn't do this due to lack of removable memory.

So enter Mobbler. This is a fantastic piece of free software that I just can't praise highly enough. It's free and obviously prepared with love. The latest version is so good that I'd rather have that open in my phone than the standard Music Player. It even shows cover art automatically. So on with the scrobbling.

My scrobbling is going so well, I've even started using it to guide my music choices for the week. I trim out what Last.fm says I've listened to the most and then add stuff that I haven't listened to in a while.

So in the first of an irregular series, here's what I've been listening to the most in the last week:

Artists

1 The Beatles
2 R.E.M.
3 The Smashing Pumpkins
4 Foo Fighters
5 Pixies
6 Queens of the Stone Age
6 Pearl Jam
6 Jeff Buckley
9 Tool
10 Helmet

Albums

1 Nirvana - Incesticide
1 The Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
1 The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
4 Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah [Bonus Track]
4 R.E.M. - Murmur

Tracks

1 The The - I've Been Waitin' For Tomorrow (All of My Life)
1 The Smashing Pumpkins - Whir [#][Outtake]
1 The Beatles - I'll Be Back
1 [unknown] - ...
5 The Beatles - Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

...and in the last three months

Artists

1 The Beatles
2 R.E.M.
3 Fugazi
4 The Smashing Pumpkins
5 Foo Fighters
6 Pixies
7 Jeff Buckley
8 BBC Radio 4
9 Sebadoh
10 Radiohead

Albums

1 R.E.M. - Murmur
2 Guided By Voices - Under the Bushes Under the Stars
3 Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing
3 R.E.M. - Monster
5 The Beatles - Revolver [UK]

Tracks

1 The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
1 The Beatles - I'll Be Back
3 The Beatles - Dear Prudence
3 R.E.M. - Man on the Moon
3 Jeff Buckley - Lover, You Should Have Come Over

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grrrr Microsoft

Back on the 15th of April, I posted about my adventures in extending our network.

I'll quote from there now:

"The priority then was:

  1. Get network access in the spare room in order to turn it into an office.
  2. Get MP101 working in play room.
  3. Turn any wired access points into wireless ones where necessary.
  4. Get second XBox ;)
"

Well, I haven't exactly kept to that order of priorities. The option came up with a colleague at work to get a nearly new XBox 360 for a bargain price (actually, a straight swap with our Wii that had been gathering dust for a while). So I jumped at it and am now the slightly embarrassed owner of two XBoxes.

So this left me requiring an answer to the question that I posted back then:

"Is there any reliable way to share my DLC between two XBoxes, especially considering that I'll be using the same profile on each?"

The answer to this is quite convoluted. I've been through the steps outlined in the article on XBox.com, but it hasn't been without a bit of a struggle. Which brings me to the real topic of this post...

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not some frenzied Microsoft hater. I work with Windows tools and my livelihood therefore depends to a certain extent on Microsoft. I find most dealings with their products to be fairly painless, they are no worse in mind to any of the other big tech companies (Apple, Sony, Google, etc) and I've been a fan of the XBox 360 and it's predecessor for quite a while. But there are a couple of things that remind you every now and then of how they became quite so... well... rich. Here are the issues I've found so far:

  1. Sharing content is not easy and even now, I'm not sure I'm gonna get the level of access I'd like. I've transferred the licenses from my old XBox to my new one. I'm in the process of downloading all the content to the new console. I should be able to use my DLC on my old console as long as I'm signed in to XBox live, with my original profile but this functionality is so buried away in the smallprint that I'm not entirely convinced. In addition, what about any new content I buy - is there any way to get that onto my old console too? I can't help feeling that I'm being pushed into buying everything twice.
  2. HDMI + digital audio relies on a product only available from Microsoft. The new console has an HDMI output. I connect the video output of my console to my tv and the audio output to my A/V Amp. HDMI contains both audio and video information. The HDMI output is too close to the other A/V slot on the console to allow a normal HDMI cable and the standard A/V connection to be plugged in at the same time. So rather than buying a standard HDMI cable, I have to buy Microsoft's one.
  3. The 360 has USB slots, but you can only read data from them, not write through them. So if I want to transfer my games from one console to another I can't just use a Memory Stick (retailing at around £1 a Gig) and have to use a special Memory unit (£13.99 for 64Mb or £29.99 for 512Mb).
And don't get me started on Microsoft Points. Or the fact that they've changed the power supply connections both on the power block and on the "kettle" lead too.

So it's not been as plain sailing as I'd hoped. But hopefully, after the wife has gone to bed I might get a chance to actually use my new console to *gasp* play something.
Amazed at how The Beatles can still blow you away with their awesomeness. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is just immense.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Radio 4 trailer: I had no idea Eddie Mair looked like that. Shock!
The apprentice just got really surreal. Dance in your pants is gonna be an internet hit.
Vote my sa friends, i urge you. Even if you think it's hopeless.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You know I said that the John Barrowman thing was camp? I hadn't seen Gok going through Alan Carr's wardrobe.
I'm coding. Like riding a bike, eh? Feel like Scotty in Star Trek IV. Computer, computer?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Finding the latest louis theroux tough work, but fascinating.
Another good and exhausting day. Wildlife in the morning. Friend's Christening in the afternoon. Lots of sun. No naps. Very few tantrums.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wow. This john barrowman thing is the campest thing i've ever seen. It could turn vin diesel gay.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wouldn't MVC make more sense as MCV? It's the right order and isn't an out of business CD/DVD shop.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting angry with MVC now - database relationships just aren't working.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First proper post in a while

Writing a proper post after all this time is a bit of a toughy. It's like when you don't buy a lot of music and then decide that you want to buy a CD (some people still buy those, right?). My advice to people in that situation has always been to just buy something completely arbitrary and then it'll make the next purchase so much easier. So, for no other reason than it's a bit of a home project I've been working on here's a post on home networking.

Anyone who has followed this blog from a while back will know that we live in a bit of a weird house. It's old and it's kind of a bit of a weird shape. It's kind of long and stepped and has interior walls that used to be exterior walls. From the top/front end we've got spare room, dining room, living room, kitchen and then play/informal dining room.

Now, for those of you who don't know; I'm a geek. An obsessive, tinkering, gaming geek. This means that we need to have connectivity in order to live.

Networking this place has been a nightmare.

Firstly, we live out in the sticks. The fastest broadband connection we can get is 2-Meg. So it's kind of hard to justify going with a premium ISP. So we plumped for Sky's basic package. This is capped, has a 2-Meg maximum speed and has a proprietry (and therefore a bit locked-down) router. But it's free, so you get what you pay for.

Secondly, the house isn't designed for wireless. The broadband runs into our lounge, which is where we spend a lot of our time (it's where I'm writing this from, for example). From this point, the range of the wireless router is roughly 3ft into the dining room (those damned interior walls that used to be exterior ones) and not much further than the kitchen (I put this down to having to broadcast through tins, built-in cupboards and kitchen appliances).

Which is a bit limiting.

What I wanted to do was have the spare room as an office (and, to be honest a bit of a retreat where I could go and play XBox some time in the future), our music broadcast to the play room (especially now that we've got the decking done, so we've got a nice entertaining area on that end) and wireless access wherever we need it (we surf a lot, especially as we now both have phones with wi-fi).

The priority then was:

  1. Get network access in the spare room in order to turn it into an office.
  2. Get MP101 working in play room.
  3. Turn any wired access points into wireless ones where necessary.
  4. Get second XBox ;)

First thing I tried was a wireless range extender. While this worked in principle, it wasn't much use and didn't overcome the broadcasting-though-big-sandstone-walls issue. It allowed the range of the wireless network to extend to the whole of the dining room, but no further.

So I decided to take a punt on Powerline netorking. This was a bit of a dream to be honest. Literally, plug it into the wall and the router and then plug the other one into the office and a cheap wired router (did I mention that this all had to be done on the cheap?). Had a bit of a problem with the software CD that came with them (didn't run) and another problem with DNS failures (had to resort to static DNS settings and therefore static IP addresses). Otherwise, all good.

With the network working in the spare room, the work could start on turning it into an office. That's worked out well and has meant that working from home is now a dream, rather than the uncomfortable, warm-crotched experience it had been in the past. It's also meant that I could plug our old beast of a desktop in as a media server to stream music, etc to the XBox.

So this left me with a spare Wireless Extender, which I have now set up in the play room and which is giving us wireless access at that end of the house and (I have to imagine as it hasn't stopped raining since) on the decking.

So this leaves:

  1. Setting MP101 up (with my old amp and speakers).
  2. Replacing cheap wired router with cheap wireless router to give wireless access in the office.
  3. Saving up for second XBox 360 (and convincing wife that it's essential).
Lessons learned in this exercise:

  1. How to write a batch file that allows me to easily switch between my static IP settings at home and my static IP settings at work.
  2. Not to bother trying to set a PC up as a wireless access point (by bridging a connection to a wireless card) - too much of a PITA to be worth it.
  3. Phones don't like wireless extenders.
  4. www.skyuser.co.uk is a great resource for hacking into your Sky router.
  5. Apart from the dodgy CD, cheap powerline network adaptors seem to work just as well as expensive ones.
Questions that I could do with answering:

  1. Can I get my Netgear MP101 to work with WPA encryption? I'd prefer not to have to change the settings on the router as it means changing the settings on all my wireless devices.
  2. Is there any reliable way to share my DLC between two XBoxes, especially considering that I'll be using the same profile on each?
  3. Is my network secure without having run any configuration on my powerline network adaptors? The CD didn't work, so the two adaptors are just plugged in.
  4. Can I get generic powerline network configuration software anywhere that will allow me to lock it down a bit?
Thanks for your time,

Chris

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tiiiiired. Not used to the fresh air. Think I may have even got a bit of a tan. Gradually turning from blue to white.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Setting off for hull for a second time. Not been a great week for f*ck ups. Thanks to the wife for her understanding.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Money saving fail. Saving of £15 a month leads to loss of £425 grrr.
Nathan's mysterious disappearing ear infection has left Daddy a very tired old man.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Love it when unexpected tracks turn up on random play. Today's stand out was northern star by hole.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Working from home while the guys do the decking. Could get used to working like this.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Have just realised that i've had replies on twitter that i've completely ignored. Apologies folks. Must do better. Slap.
Howzit China. Impressed with Leo's accent in blood diamond. Good film too.
A day in the garden followed by dinner from the chippy. Thats called contentment.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

OK. Been in the job two years now and I finally feel like I know what I'm doing. Does this mean it's time for a change?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'm wondering what is hurting Amy more... the swollen glands or the idiots on The Apprentice.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wondering if we maybe shouldn't have bothered with going to the Easter parade. Might been fun if the kids hadn't cried so much.
Not enjoying British Summer Time. Dark mornings and over-excited kids are not fun.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing fable and amazed that some people didn't know i was no longer a vege. I meant meat ball before btw.
Making meat call stew. Hearty stuff for me and the boys.
Having a day with the boys. Think it's finger painting later.
fairy-tale stuff in the gp. Looking like it's gonna be a good season.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

liking The Mentalist. Derren Brown does csi. Great stuff.
loving fable 2. Especially searching for tips on having sex with my wife. In the game that is...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stuff

My ugly mug and my beautiful family Geek Stuff