I live in Ireland?

Generally my broadband connection behaves pretty well. Indeed I threw up a speed test on Friday night to Flickr showing how close to 20Meg I was getting. Quite impressive especially as it was peak time. I also had a voice in my head saying that posting the speed test will no doubt lead to trouble. Little did I know it would be so soon.

For the first time today I saw adverts on BBC News. As it happened first thing I thought maybe the BBC had decided to cash in it’s sites. I know the rest of the world get adverts so why not UK? But during the day the adverts would sometimes appear, then disappear. Hey ho. Then I tried to access some iPlayer content.

iPlayer

This content isn’t available in your country. What? I so want to see that Doctor Who trailer as well – you know – the one with Davros! So where in the world am I if not in the UK? Trust Google to know…

GoogleYes. Ireland. Clicking on Google took me to what it thought was my home country page. Mmm. What was wrong – Virgin Media or OpenDNS? Disabling OpenDNS showed it was Virgin at fault. A reboot of the modem made no difference. A bit of digging about showed that I wasn’t alone with this issue and that using Virgin’s webcache proxy would solve the problem. So using a proxy of webcache.virginmedia.com and port 8080 I was back in the UK with iPlayer available again. The only snag is the drop in speed. Compare the two speed tests below, the first one with the proxy enabled – quite a difference.

Webcache Speedtest

No Webcache Speedtest

Now I’m not convinced that the webcache speedtest is not reporting right as generally the browsing speeds all felt fine, except they should do, they are cached by Virgin. But site’s that aren’t cached all felt fine too. Weird. I’ll get onto Virgin after the weekend if this doesn’t resolve itself. Sigh. Should have never have done that initial speed test. Jinxed.

Would it be that bad?

With all the Yahoo/Microsoft talk back on the agenda, I was thinking back to the first Microsoft announcement that they wanted to buy yahoo and the reaction on Flickr. Much like when Yahoo bought out Flickr but 10 times worse. People would leave, service will go to rats etc etc etc. Then I watched this video from TED on Photosynth. Jaw dropping. Would a Microsoft take over really be any different for a lot of the Yahoo services?

Loved the developers reaction to the crowd applause in the video too.

Killionaire Video Test

Playing Halo on Friday and I managed to get a Killionaire. Woo hoo. So to celebrate I’d though it was time to take a video and test not only the Panasonic TZ5’s video performance but also to try out the different online video hosts to see which works out best. The video is of me laying waste with the gravity hammer in Halo. The video was shot in 720p mode using the TZ5. Some shady rawk music was added to increase authenticity.

Ideally I’d like to upload and show the video in HD. For that I’ll be trying Vimeo and Viddler. I’ll also throw the video onto Flickr, Youtube and .Mac website. First up is Vimeo.


Killionaire from Ian D on Vimeo.

The first realisation is that upload speeds really have to pick up as uploading 120Mb HD films is very time consuming. 120Mb is probably over the top for what this video is but it’s more of a test than anything else. Vimeo has a nice easy to use interface and once the video is uploaded it converts it into flash. The quality is very good (well I thought so) and you can also view it full screen. There is also a link to the original video so you can download it if you really wanted to. Currently there is a limit of 500MB of uploads per week.

Continue reading “Killionaire Video Test”

Crumpler Pretty Boy

Crumpler Pretty BoyI’m still loving the Panasonic TZ5 and as it has a really exposed lens, getting a good camera bag was high on the to-do list. After a bit of research I bought a Crumpler Pretty Boy XXS. The TZ5 fits easily in the main compartment and is well protected. There is space for another battery and also a card holder. What I like is that it isn’t a zip that seals the compartment but a large padded flap that seals with velcro and a clip fastener. The second pocket is also velcro sealed. I’ve used it for the last couple of weeks and it’s certainly stopped the TZ5 from scratches, scuffs and any lens damage. Great bag – crap name! Highly recommended for TZ5 owners.

D-Link DIR-655

I picked up the D-Link 655 a few months ago and have been pleased with it. One thing I did notice was that the firmware for the UK router hasn’t been updated since May 07 while the US and Euro versions of the firmware have had numerous updates.

I took the plunge a few days ago and upgraded the routers firmware using the latest Euro version and I’m glad I did. i get better wireless performance and importantly faster wireless performance over a wider range. LAN performance especially to the NAS is also better. No stability issues yet either so it looks like a worthwhile for UK 655 owners. It’s a bit odd that D-Link use different versions for different countries although Euro and USA versions look very similar. Why is the UK firmware versions so old?

Second Coming

So O2, Carphone Warehouse and now Apple in the UK have ran out of 8 & 16GB iPhones. Same is happening in America. It can only mean one thing (hopefully) – iPhone ver 2 with 3G will be here sooner than a soon thing. Or within the next couple of months.

Apple Store - U.K. - iPhone

As I was in contract and money was tight I didn’t get the iPhone back in November. But I will be picking up ver 2 assuming it is a 3G version, which it surely must be?! What else would be nice? A decent battery life although reports seem to be mixed on just how much juice the current version eats up. I’d also like a camera > 2MP and video would be smart too for those occasions without my camera. Those features along with the software that will start to flow from 3rd parties in June would make me very happy. Not really fussed with GPS. Oh, I would want MMS. Don’t send/receive many but I’ve had the feature for years so wouldn’t want to be without it now. Flash support too.

The one thing that niggles. If Apple are announcing the phone at the Jobs keynote in June would they really have let their current stock levels drop to zero? That would mean at least 30 days with no phones to sell? Maybe it’s stock mis-managment, maybe it’s clearing the decks and the current phone’s have sold more than expected, maybe it’s building up the hype or maybe it’s nothing? Time will tell.

Another word for miscellaneous?

  • Just had a great week of work. Weather was glorious and I got a lot done around and outside the house. Also organised for the fireplace to be removed and replaced with something nicer and safer. It turns out our chimney is a bit defective and potentially dangerous so that needs a new lining. A horribly messy job awaits but needs must and it means I’ll need to decorate afterwards. Just hope the back gets a bit better as it’s very sore today. Too much straining this week.
  • Loving the Thunderbirds Specsavers advert.
  • GTA IV. Metacritic shows it’s the highest rated game. Ever. While reviews and scores are all pretty subjective it certainly is a must own title. The world simulation is so impressive. You can easily lose yourself in the game and forget about doing any missions. Driving around, phoning people, taxi runs, sight seeing, surfing the net etc. So much to do and it’s so enjoyable doing it. Mission have been pretty good so far although I’m only 15% into the game. Multiplayer is also starting to show some hidden depths. The free race modes are a great laug and very unpredictable. Cops n crooks is also a favourite with a lot of strategy required behind a seemingly simpe concept. This game has months of gameplay. Whenever I load it up I do a couple of missions and a little exploring – a great mix which is keeping the game very fresh.
  • Battlestar series 4 is a return to form so far. Certainly up there with series 1 & 2. Episode 3 is a highlight so far.
  • Summize is a nice way of searching for topics on Twitter. Also let’s you track tweets on topics you are interesed in – iPhone for example.
  • Scottish football – totally mismanaged. I hate the fact we still have the split in the SPL and no winter break. We also need more movement between the leagues. Having only one team drop from the SPL just isn’t enough. In fact, four leagues is too much. Two bigger leagues would be far more interesting and sustainable for Scotland. However the biggest joke has been the lack of support for Rangers in their Eufa Cup quest. Back in 2003 Cetic were given a free week before the final to help them prepare. Not so Rangers who have been forced to play two games against strong opposition the week before their final. Shame.
  • Can’t wait for the final on Wednesday night though. Changed flight so that I can get back to Glasgow from Bristol on Wednesday afternoon. I just hope there are no delays!!! Do not fail me Easyjet. Do not dare!
  • Not that it will be this year (and probably won’t be until end of next) but I’ll replace the desktop Mac and laptop Mac with…one laptop. Keeping data in sync between the two is easy with .Mac but it’s keeping software installed on both that’s a pain and to be honest the only thing I’d miss is the desktop real estate. A 24 inch screen is very nice and is far more productive than a laptop’s screen. One option to consider is a screen for the laptop but that’s way in the future. Resolution independent software and higher res screens may be a reality by the end of 2009.
  • Monotone is a photo theme for WordPress. It’s pretty simple but has nice archives and also colours each page by analysing the photo displayed on it. Very neat. I set up Crackle and Pop on WordPress.com and may use that to publish photo’s. Individual photo’s that is with links to Flickr sets. Time will tell – need to take mor ephoto’s first.
  • Gears of War 2 trailer. Looks very impressive. Roll on November.
  • Codemasters get the F1 licence. So yet again we’ll get an F1 game with great intro’s, great graphics but questionable handling (try the Race Driver demo to see what I mean). Maybe the 2009 rule changes will make for a better game…and a more exciting F1.

Google Reader Shares and Notes - Broke?

A couple of add-ons to Google Reader today. Firstly you can now add notes to content you share, or just plain notes. These are then added to your share stream which is something I’ve been meaning to add to the blog for a while. You should see my shared items to the right of this post unless you using, em, Google Reader.

Google Reader

The other addition is a bookmarklet for your browser which lets you swipe text in your browser, add an optional note to the text and then post that content to your shared items list. This sounded like an excellent addition except for one silly flaw. I can edit the swiped content before posting to my shared items but there’s no mention that the edit was done by me. Looking at my shared items I’ve linked twice to the Google post about these new features. However I edited the second posting adding in ‘crappy little’ – see screenshot above. The only way to see the difference would be to click on the link to the Google post and check for differences. Not hot. In the stream to the right of this post because only links are shown the issue is hidden. You would need to subscribe to my shared items for it rear it’s head but surely it’s easier to prohibit editing as the note feature is there if you want to add your own comment? Just need to remember to share more now that it’s added to the blog.

Dare to Dream

It wasn’t pretty and there’s been many times they’ve been outplayed but we’re there. Rangers have made it to the Uefa Cup Final! The quad is still on, the team is just about hanging together and the next three weeks will be a roller coaster ride but after tonight I’m on such a high that I can’t wait for the next games. Work plans will need to change as I’m due to be down in Bristol on the 14th. Doh!

I really thought we had no chance tonight but for all Fiorentina’s possession and chances they didn’t really threaten that much. They had a few good chances but we rode our luck and stuck to the game plan that’s seen us progress so well this season. No doubt I’ll get the usual anti-football, negative Walter jibes at work tomorrow but what do you do. Play to your strengths and use a bit of nouse or go for it when you don’t have the players to do so? Rangers away record this season has been amazing in both the Champions league and in the Eufa cup and their final spot is well deserved. Cannot believe the difference in a season. Walter Smith in much the same way he did with Scotland has turned around a failing team. He also created a team whose sum is far greater than it’s individual parts again much like he did with Scotland. Still can’t believe he didn’t get manager of the year. Travesty!

Roll on May 14th. Roll on Scottish League and Cup wins too.