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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Saturday January 3 2004

Vintage rallying

A nice site on vintage rallying here, for petrolheads who can't get enough. I'd love to do some myself, but the vandalism of collector's cars is a bit too much of a rich man's game for me. Mind you, if I keep the Micra much longer...

Warning - much audiovisual techbore probably coming soon, as my shrine is irritating me again.

Posted at 9:35 pm by Jim Woods

Too cold

So it is. Miserable. And I have to go to the dentist on Monday. And the living room is so cold that I can't stand it for long enough to watch all the good stuff that's building up on my TiVo. TiVo has a dirty little secret, you see. The output to VCR is - probably by intent - crap. So, despite my recent investment in a Super VHS video at a bargain "last VCR I'll buy" price, it is not possible to run stuff off the TiVo onto tape without suffering a fairly appalling quality drop. The answer, if I'm to believe the various support forae, is to pay a fair amount of money to upgrade the hard drive in the TiVo to a capacity which obviates the necessity to use tape at all. This is not really a going concern though, since I like video tape for the same reasons I like cassette tape. These are: universality - you can lend stuff to people and they can play it, portability of course and lastly but perhaps most importantly in the long term I shall be residing in France or Spain and to my knowledge there's no TiVo service there.

In fact, since the TiVo service became something you can no longer buy new in the UK and the (in many ways inferior) Sky Plus took over, two cogent issues are in my mind. The first is that a satellite receiver with built in hard disk recorder or even a freeview box with same might be the way forward, as I am not prepared to put more cash into upgrading what is in effect a dead product, and the second is that my TiVo unit is worth a lot more than I paid for it; so I could flog it on eBay and go to a different system and even make a mild profit in the process.

You see, if I know that there is something on Sky which I am going to want to keep indefinitely it makes a lot more sense quality-wise for me to hook the SVHS recorder directly to the Digibox and record it the old-fashioned way. The crap output on the TiVo, presumably something designed to "plug the analogue gap" and prevent the fair use of TV programs, has the effect of making me feel that I would be better off not using the thing at all. Which is a pretty stupid way of designing your product when you think about it. I have also become aware of a rather nifty device called the Phantom, which is so cheap (£50 if that) that we should probably all go and buy one straight away.

I think I need to go and wallow in SCARTs for a while, because it has just occurred to me that it may be possible to tap the high quality output to the TV from the TiVo and run it to the VCR... It's a good job I enjoy this stuff really.

Come on cheap-as-chips DVD recorders; your day has come.

Posted at 11:56 am by Jim Woods

Friday January 2 2004

I sneered at knowing about my new motherboard

and then, like the inconsistent hypocritical creature that I am, I looked it up on the Gigabyte web site. So now you can all point the bony finger at me and chant "you sad techie bastard, and anyway you should have gone for <whatever>". It fitted straight into my system, and I can write this on it. Job done. Next.

Posted at 1:17 pm by Jim Woods

This I really like

It's a cassette deck which fits into a 5.25" bay on your PC. Having fitted this beast you can take all forms of audio you might be playing on the computer, like streams or MP3, and put them onto cassette. What a neat idea. This obviates a freestanding cassette deck and yet more cabling. I don't know what the quality is like, but for those of use who still use cassette personal and car stereos it's a gift. And why would we do that? Because the army of hooded tossers seldom breaks into your transport to steal a radio-cassette for one thing.

Posted at 1:12 pm by Jim Woods

Thursday January 1 2004

Happy New Year

to one and all.

Posted at 5:19 pm by Jim Woods

Wednesday December 31 2003

Well, after all that I relented

and realised that I could sort out the old net battlewagon for less than I thought. So I bought a new motherboard, processor and RAM to drag the PC kicking and screaming into the 21st century. A Gigabyte board, Athlon 2200+ processor and 256 meg of quick new 2700 (what I'm not sure) RAM to be precise. All now up and running after 20 minutes with the screwdriver and ready for Uru. "What board?" scream the spotty multitudes, unaware that I don't give a toss. I'll look it up. KT600. Now you can go back to your shoot 'em ups.

I'll let you know how it all pans out over time, which will be thrilling for both of us I'm sure. It definitely pays to buy your hardware behind the curve, price-wise.

I can't believe I no longer have a Jetway (right hand of the dark one) board. All the old bits will go in a second system, for which I need a few cheap bits. Now that really can wait.

Posted at 6:21 pm by Jim Woods

Another year apparently imminent

And in my experience the predictions are generally quite reliable. So it's time to gird the loins for another struggle, and to remember to have a good dinner before diving into the drinking fray tonight. I suspect for me the new year will be one of debt-clearing and rather harder working all round. This, however, may make a pleasant change...

This Amsterdam webcam shows clear evidence that the happy folk of that place are gearing up for the usual big bash in Dam Square. One year I'll have to join them, but not this one.

Possibly I'll upgrade my ageing PC soon, but my lack of knowledge of current hardware combined with my constant feeling that I have better things to do with my money are powerful points against.

I found an interesting little post related to the openness and flexibility of hardware here. I am forswearing the acquisition of further gadgetry until I've cleared the decks of some surplus stuff - call it a resolution, if you like. I have also resolved to replace the Timberland shoes which I got out of a skip (dumpster) and which, after ten years of use, have finally become too tramp-like for even me to endure.

Posted at 10:38 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday December 30 2003


Just rented Terminator 3. It's worth a rental. Maybe a little less plot than the previous films, but a hell of a lot of good action sequences, particularly with vehicles. Could have had more Nissan Micra stuff, but not everyone's in the frame with that. If you've a good home cinema rig (darling, doesn't everyone?) then this is a good film with which to demonstrate it to the lower orders (TM).

Posted at 12:08 am by Jim Woods

Monday December 29 2003


for your crack-having. Looky.

Posted at 7:52 pm by Jim Woods

Sunday December 28 2003

For your delectation today

we have what looks like possibly the most f*ck-off technological toy for a long time. Well, in the "might be able to afford it" category - obviously it's not a personal submarine or time machine. It'll be interesting to see what these babies cost when they're available in a UK model. Just look at what it'll do. And then remember what Sony's reliability and customer service are like :(

And on a completely different note, take a trip to these Finnish film makers. They have a great sense of humour, cool music and for those non-dialup-medievalists there is a great short you can download.

Posted at 5:57 pm by Jim Woods

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