Why oh why does the BBC insist on using Real formats for their video and audio. Real make the shabbiest software known to man. After installing Realplayer to access BBC radio my pc took an age to load. At the time I didn’t know if it was the Real software or something else as I had installed a fair wee bit. The pc was slow during ‘Loading your personal settings’ but I couldn’t tell what bit of software was slow. Cue golden tip:

Show Verbose Security Status Messages (Windows 2000/XP) This setting allows you to configure Windows so that you receive verbose startup, shutdown, logon, and logoff status messages. This may be helpful to in troubleshooting slow startup, shutdown, logon, or logoff behaviour. Open your registry and find or create this key:- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Policies -> System To enable verbose status messages create a new DWORD value called “verbosestatus” and set it to “1”. (verbosestatus REG_DWORD 0x00000001 (1)) An additional value called “DisableStatusMessages” forces status messages to be disabled, make sure this value does not exist or is set to “0”. (DisableStatusMessages REG_DWORD 0x00000000 (0)) Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

*Update – after taking advice from my IT industry colleagues I should point out that before changing anything in the registry back it up and if you don’t know what the registry or regedit is then do what you do with most of this site and ignore this post.

The Nanny State

There has been a one sided assault on video games today. The game Manhunt has been given as a likely cause in a fourteen year olds death. The parents of the murdered boy have said that the game was played by the murderer – in fact he was ‘obsessed’ about it. Their logic is that the game should be banned before there are any more deaths.

My main beef is that it’s an 18 certificate game. The victim and murderer were seventeen and fourteen. Why were they even playing the game? Why didn’t the parents take an interest before the tragic events took place? Did they even know what their kids were playing? Current research shows no link between video games and violence. Same for DVD’s and TV. Yet tonights news cast a long shadow over video games and their influence on kids. The issue should be parental responsibility and taking an interest in what their kids do.

More laughable is certain companies response to the situation. Dixon Group and Game have both removed the title from the shelves. Well done. This game has been out on the PS2 since last November and on the Xbox & PC since April. It was an average game, sales were OK’ish but the market for that game had long since died. I’d like to see both companies now take that stance with any future 18 certificate games. Like GTA3:San Andreas. Go on guys, ban that one. Yes – ban the game that is likely to sell the most this year hence make the most money. Not likely, is it?

Holiday…what holiday?

Well, I’m on holiday this week but I’m looking forward to going back to work next Monday for a break. Since Sunday afternoon I’ve painted the garage doors and side door, painted the garage guttering, painted the back garden gates and fence, painted the front garden gate and painted half of the kitchen ceiling. Tomorrow will be the other half of the ceiling and a start on the walls. Also cut the lawns and did some weeding. On previous weeks off what exactly did I do? Ah yes….gamed for the week. If only.

Still enough time to beat some PGR2 times though 🙂


It had to happen. The IE dev team (newly re-created again after thinking they had sewn up the browser market) have a blog. Looking at the list of popular requests, it looks like most folk want Firefix bundled with XP as the default browser if the feature list is anything to go by.

People want people to download Mozilla Firefox

It also looks like the dev team have a sense of humour.

6 Months In

Well, Tuesday 20th July marked 6 months since we moved into the new house. Even though it’s been a bit of a slog, and financially it’s a lot more stretching, it is most defiantly the best thing we’ve done – the last 6 months have been great. Neighbours are very friendly and a total opposite to what we had before which on reflection wouldn’t be difficult. Seeing someone shoot-up on the landing outside the old house was the last straw. And I don’t miss the Friday and Saturday night drunks that used to annoy every week. And goodbye Orange Walks – never again will I have to put up with your bigot driven strolls down Argyle Street while the hangers on piss all over the pavements.

I’m even enjoying the garden 🙂


Got lots of photo’s? Want to try and manage them? Don’t want to spend cash (Mr Lawrence jumps to the front of the queue)?. Try Picasa. Google have bought them and the software for the moment is free. It was linked off the front of Google but thats now gone – probably the number of downloads. Free software equals flies round shit.

It works pretty well and is nice on the eye. Abobe Photoshop Album 2 is nicer in my book with slightly better feature set…for the moment but it does cost…allegedly. Free edition of the Adobe product can be found here with slightly reduced features.

The Beast

It’s superb.

The PC arrived on Thursday, although not without a wee mix-up. I got a Glasgow Uni machine and they got mine. But Dell and TNT got the mix-up sorted by mid-afternoon – bravo. I unpacked it and faced another little problem – it wouldn’t start. Boo. All was not lost – the Dell has four lights on the back – the first two were amber. Checked the manual – memory problem. Probably unseated slightly during transit so I opened the case. Wow. The case swings open on a hinge which is really smart – what got me was the size of the heatsink and chimney that the Intel uses. Massive. I removed and replaced the memory – pressed the power button and all was well – I took some photo’s while the case was open which can be found here. While the case was opened I fitted the firewire card from the old machine as the Dell comes with 8 USB2 ports but no firewire which the iPod needs. Clicked the case shut (no screws here thank you very much) and I was away. Got the Windows formalities out the way. Impressions – very fast.

Got the XP security downloads started and I thought I would need to dig out the Nortons disk before I did anything else but the Dell comes with a 90 day trial of McAfee which is a really good idea. No need for a firewall as I’ve got a hardware one on the router. Next was Firefox – don’t trust IE. Loading times were superb. The last test was gaming. Battlefield Vietnam looked amazing and didn’t stutter once. Joy!

Since then I’ve been installing all the hardware I’ve got and also some software – not too much. Trying to avoid the clutter that I had on the old machine but thats really delaying the inevitable. I’m also glad that I stayed away from a Creative Audigy card. The onboard sound is pucker 5.1 and all I need. There’s also a strong chance that it’s less buggy than the Creative drivers.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the Dell. Easy to maintain, fast and a tad less noisy than my old machine – it fair churns out some heat though. Last positive note – no blue screens….yet.