More HD

After a quite spell there have been some significant HD announcements for the UK. ITV HD channel will launch next spring, BBC HD has been recommended to start as a full time channel as soon as possible, MTV HD is due to land next year and Channel 4 have announced a C4 HD to launch from December. Great news and about time that there is more commitment from providers other than Sky and BBC.

Office Ultimate 2007 for £40

What a great offer. Microsoft is selling it’s top of the range Office package for £38.95. The Ultimate Steal website allows students to buy the full Office for that very cheap price or a years worth of Office for £12.95. I think that’s a great deal and it’s not only for the next few days. The offer is open until April 30th 2008.

I’ve always held the view that if major software packages like Office, Photoshop, even Windows was sold at more affordable prices then people would buy it and piracy would drop. It wouldn’t be totally gone as lower cost items like CD’s and DVD’s are pirated all the time but more people would be comfortable buying Office at £40 rather than a pirate copy. I certainly would. Even a Word, Excel, Powerpoint package for £40 would be great value. I wonder if this is the start of a shift in how Office will be priced? Maybe Google Docs, it’s online cousins and Open Office are starting to make ground.

The Ultimate Steal

One little error I forgot to mention. The Ultimate Steal website was blocked by Windows when I first tried it. Irony.

Top Of The Shop

Who would have believed it. Scotland have won in Paris, they’ve taken six points off the French in the qualifying campaign and we’re now top of Group B on 21 points, one ahead of Italy (current world cup holders) and two ahead of the French (world cup finalists). Unreal. Totally justified, and some great team spirit have got us there.

Top of the Shop. Top of the Shop.

That was Jim White at the end of the game last night. Great quote. Happy days.

Three games to go in the group of death and now we’re saying surely we’ll qualify instead of thinking…if only. Ukraine at Hampden, Georgia away and then finally Italy back in Glasgow are all that stands between us and Euro 2008. I’ve still got doubts as that’s three really tough games but it’s in our own hands for a change.

I’m loving seeing Raymond Domenech getting so up tight about the loss too. Ball boys in Glasgow were the reason the French lost at Hampden. What will tonight’s excuse be? Lucky win? They were robbed? Who cares…you were stuffed good and proper by a great team effort, some superb defence, a little bit of luck when needed and a gallus strike from James McFadden.

To think it was only 5 1/2 years ago that Scotland got done over in Paris in Berti’s first game. How times have changed. A big pat on the back to the players and also Walter Smith and Alex McLeish for restoring pride to the team and the nation. A bit gushing but I loved that game tonight. I was on the edge of my seat at the end and dancing round the room at the final whistle. Happy, happy days.

Old School

As if the deluge of new games wasn’t enough, how do you fancy some old school shoot-em up action? First up is Geometry Wars:Waves. Looks good although the only downside is that you can’t buy this as a separate arcade title – you need to buy PGR4. Is that really a downside?

The other shooters are some console classics from yesteryear – Ikaruga and Rez. Rez can be best described via YouTube. Ikaruga is best described as too fecking hard and that’s not according to Wikipedia. Good to see some more recent classics hitting Live Arcade. Just need a release dat for Sensible Soccer now.

If you don't backup

Then this could happen. How much is YOUR digital data worth? I’m backing up the laptop and desktop but the NAS isn’t which is something I need to fix and soon. I couldn’t afford to go to a recovery service to get my data back.

I make use of SuperDuper which makes backing up a quick and easy task, documents are also held on .Mac as a further backup and recent images are on Flickr. I’ve been lucky and never had a disk failure (touch wood) but I know people who have and it’s not pretty. Even just having an external drive and dragging your data over once every few weeks would be better than a total loss. I hope if you read this and more importantly the linked post above that you heed the advice.

This weekend was mostly spent...

  • Watching sport. Great win for Scotland on Saturday, and on Sunday in the rugby although they looked a bit nervous at times. Grand prix was pretty good – another close season. Tennis has also been top notch.
  • Playing with Facebook. I can see why it’s pretty addictive.
  • Recovering from golf on Friday. A great day was had by all and after a great round from me (to be honest a far to generous handicap helped) I took the trophy (now virtual) for another year.
  • Tidying up the laptop. It’s always a bit neglected compared to the desktop so every so often it’s needs a bit of work. All looking tip top now though.
  • Garden tidy. Need to take advantage of these good days and give the garden a good tidy. Started but by no means finished. Another trip to Dobbies required!
  • Enjoying Warhawk. First essential PS3 game for me…only took 6 months.
  • Starting sorting out photo library…finally. Using iPhoto and it’s been great so far. Only got a few years left to sort.

I’ve still got loads of jobs to do that I wanted to do a few weeks ago. Roll on two weeks time and another week of work. I’ll be busy….playing Halo 3!

New iPods!

Keynote over, some quick thoughts.

* iPhone ringtones for $0.99 for 30 seconds. What a rip-off! I’ve always thought that about ringtone companies but I’m used to just using an mp3 as my ringtone. To charge for this is pretty cheeky in my book.
* iPod Nano. Ugly. Proportionally it just looks wrong. Probably need to see one in the flesh but I’m unconvinced by this. It’s gone from sleek and slender to looking like a bastard child of the iPod.
* iPod Classic. New name for the iPod. Nice and gentle re-design, new controls including coverflow but big news was price – £159 for 80GB! £229 for 160GB. I think those are great prices.
* iPod Touch. Big announcement. Same form factor as iPhone so includes touchscreen and coverflow. Also has WiFi and includes Safari and YouTube. £199 for 8GB, £269 for 16GB. The size of the memory was the biggest disappointment for me. If they announced a thicker iPod Touch with 80GB of space then I would have bought one tonight. As it stands I’ll stick to the iPod and pick up an iPhone when it’s released. They are great looking devices especially if you have a small music library or don’t mind picking and choosing music you want to sync with the device. Just not for me.
* Ignoring Starbucks and WiFi iTunes Store I was pleased to see a $200 drop in the price of the iPhone and a scrapping of the 4GB version. No doubt there will be some angry early adopters in America. However, early adopters are always stung, especially by Apple, so they shouldn’t be surprised. They were also quite willing to pay $599 for the iPhone – if they thought it was overpriced they shouldn’t have bought it. Saying that, I’d be pretty pissed if it had happened to me.

A mixed keynote for me but I think it’s cleared up what I’m buying next…although cost and 3G could still be deal breakers. My trusty 6G iPod, only just a year old, will be with me a good bit longer.

New iPods?

Tomorrow could be expensive if there are new iPods. More intriguing are the BBC Radio 1 hints. Paul McCartney at a special event at the BBC has been mentioned a few times by Edith Bowman. She then went on to prattle about the iPhone coming to the UK in November.

So is this linked to the Apple event? Beatles on iTunes? BBC content on iTunes? iPhone for europe news?