Finally got WordPress 1.5 installed. Nice. Freshened up the template as well which is the default with a different logo but it keeps things simple. Now got to go through the plug-ins I had installed to see what does and more importantly doesn’t work with 1.5 – the joys of early adopters! Did manage to hack through some Mysql to get the activity plug-in working – joy.


I’ve been contacted by Anup Kurian who is the writer director of Manasarovar asking for a plug…so here goes:

Manasarovar was made for about 30000 pounds on a 16MM camera bought from EBAY and has won many awards and participated/selected in prestigious festivals.

– Aravindan Puraskaram for Best Debut Director in India
– Gollapudi Srinivas National Award for Best Debut Director in India
– Official Selection – London Film Festival 2004
– Opening Film, Indian Panorama, International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2004
– Best Film and Special Jury Prize, International Film Festival of Mumbai, 2005
– Fukuoka International Film Festival, Fukuoka, Japan, 2005

If our film attracts a good crowd in Glasgow we can get more theatre bookings in UK. It would be great if you can mention the film and the screenings in Glasgow in your blog.

– Sunday February 27, 2PM and Monday February 28, 8.45PM at Glasgow
Film Theatre.

Needless to say we do not have a marketing budget and the only marketing is contacting bloggers like yourself and requesting reviewers from main stream media to watch the film. Later the film continues at Dundee, Brentford, Kilburn etc. In April Manasarovar will release in India and later this year hopefully in USA.


I vowed never to buy an online game that a) charged per month, b) involved Orcs and Elves, c) made me worry about levelling up and the skills that I learn and d) consumed more of my time than is already spent on Xbox Live

But I gave in and bought World of Warcraft. Quite simply the most enjoyable online game, if not most enjoyable game I have ever played. Graphics and sound are good if not ground breaking. Half Life 2 put paid to that. What’s astounds is the sheer scale of the gaming world that is available to you and it’s non-linearity. The community aspect is second to none. Although the game doesn’t come with voice support Yahoo messenger with a headset soon gives you the ability to talk with your fellow players. There’s just so much to this game – different races and classes, so many occupations and skills available, an in game e-mail system as well as auction houses and some astounding set piece moments and this is a game I’ve only scratched the surface with. Recommended although only if you’ve got the time to spend on it. The WordPress upgrade will have to wait.

PlusNet Upgrades

PlusNet have announced changes to their broadband packages. As expected they’ve moved to charging on a download capacity basis rather than speed. April will see all their customers moving to the fastest line possible from their exchange and later in the year onto 4 & 8Meg connections if the exchange supports it. Class. Details of the fair usage policy can be found here – £21.99 per month for 2Meg speed and potentially 230Gig download a month sounds an absolute bargain 🙂

Sea Change

After mentioning broadband earlier this week it looks like some exciting developments will start to move fast internet access forward in the UK. ADSL has been for many the only way to get broadband access, and has always looked a slightly poorer cousin compared to cable. NTL but more so Telewest have always offered faster download speeds for a comparable if not cheaper price than ADSL providers. Indeed Telewest now offer 4Meg downloads with NTL offering 3Meg.

However Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) is now starting to happen across the country and not just in London and the South East. UK Online and Bulldog are offering ADSL speeds of up to 8Meg with an increased upload of 400k. BT has also announced they will be trialling 8Meg download speeds from April this year and also testing ADSL2+ this year which can see broadband speeds go up to 18Meg (depending on line length from exchange). All this is great news but the pricing structure of broadband will have to change radically to support these speed increases.

This is where (I think) Max DSL comes in. From April BT will launch Max DSL which allows ISP’s to set your download speed to the maximum available on your line. Initially this will be to 2Meg but hopefully by year end it will be whatever your line can take up to 8Meg. This is great for the customer as it can be done transparently by the ISP but how will the price of your connection change? I think most ISP’s will move to a pricing structure that gives you bandwidth rather than speed. So £20 gives you 50Gig per month, £25 70Gig and so on. This will allow then to charge the heavy users who use up bandwidth the most money and likewise charge less for the smaller users who only use a few gigabytes per month. Most of the big ADSL providers have been introducing download caps and indeed NTL will be doing likewise for their broadband users. This is all well and good as long as the ISP provide clear guidelines and allow users to track their usage which is something my provider, Plus Net, has done since day one.

Indeed Plus Net is seemingly going to make an announcement next week on their future pricing structure for premier account holders. I’m hoping it will include details on upgrades, their fair usage policy and also future plans for the year ahead but it may just detail price and speed changes. I’ll just need to wait and see but finally the UK market is starting to catch up with the rest of Europe…but not the Swedes who can get 100MBit/s for 54 US dollars a month. Drool.

Mac Mini

Finally saw the Mac Mini in the flesh last night (cheers Graeme) and it was very impressive. The first thing that strikes you is the size – it really is small. Certainly a lot smaller than the standard Shuttle pc cases that have been doing the rounds for the last 18 months or so. When switching the Mini on you get a nasty sound playing (like a chime) which was slightly disappointing but then the second impressive feature hits home – it makes no noise. When up close you can hear a small noise and certainly when the superdrive is accessed it makes a din but in normal operation….silence.

The Mac OS itself looks jaw dropping. Through the 17inch TFT the OS looked amazing. It initially was quite confusing compared to the Windows OS but I’m sure after a few days it will feel normal. The speed was also impressive – the Safari web browser opening quickly and displaying web pages with ease. iTunes opened in a comparable time to my pc as did Photoshop – this really is a great machine for under £400.

After 40mins the third impressive feature hit home – the case of the Mini was still cool to touch. This was partly down to the aluminium case but is still tantamount to great design and the careful selection of components. The overall impression is of a good personal computer that will definitely meet anyone’s needs as long as they aren’t a gamer. I still maintain that this hooked up to a plasma/lcd tv would be a great way of browsing the net/checking e-mails from the sofa. If I had a plasma I would be buying one without hesitation – as I have a pc (and no plasma) I’ll be leaving it on the shelf but make envious glances from time to time.


After 72 days at sea Ellen MacArthur has broken the record for the fastest solo round the world voyage. Just under an hour ago she broke the current record with one day and hours to spare. This has been a gripping challenge to follow and you cannot have anything but admiration for what she has achieved. It’s hard to imagine being alone (with on shore support team) for that length of time, grabbing 15 minutes of sleep where possible and keeping a massive boat together. During the voyage she has repaired a generator, a mast and also replaced a hard disk on a laptop. I could maybe have managed the last one but certainly not the other two.

Does put into perspective what I have achieved in the last 30 years! Well done Ellen.


Giving up Broadband?

Read an article on the BBC news site about a user giving up on broadband. Now that I’ve used broadband I just could not do without it. In some ways that’s a fairly sad statement to make and obviously there are more important aspects to life. But to go back to dial-up, wait an age for a simple page to come up, watching the minutes that I’m online, worry about receiving large e-mails and a total lack of online gaming would be unacceptable. When I moved house last year one of the first checks was could I get broadband!

It can no longer be a cost issue either. PlusNet are now doing a lite broadband package for £14.99 – and that’s for a 2Meg connection. Many dial-ups are either the same price or only slightly cheaper. Even AOL has just announced an unlimited 2Meg package for £29.99. In my book connections, I hope, can only get faster and hopefully they will address uploads as well.

Speaking of broadband, to see what’s available at your exchange check out the Broadband Availability Checker at The Broadband Resource. You can also see what capacity is like at your exchange (mines is full and been awaiting upgrades since November).

Spam Karma

Installed a new spam plug-in – Spam Karma. Since Friday night it has blocked 270 spam comments from being entered. 270 in just over 36 hours. It has many more options than the previous plug-in I was using and it seems to be doing a good job of picking up any new comments that shouldn’t be displayed. Like spam mail and spyware, spam commenting (and soon to be spam trackbacks) are ruining the net for the average user.


I’m guessing they are either about to open this up to everyone or are at least in the final stages of doing so as most users have now got 50 invites to give away. I’ll never use them up and most folk I know have one now – if you need an account drop me a mail.