Halloween – Pumpkin Time

We where doing our grocery shopping today, and finally got hold of a decent pumpkin. We have already grown quite attached to our little pumpkin friend, and after giving him eyes, nose and a mouth, we have put him on display in our bay window. I guess the neighbours think we are a little crazy putting him out so early, but Halloween is the best holiday. I just wish we liked pumpkin soup, the innards had to go to the bin 🙁

Happy Halloween from John & Vicki (and our Pumpkin Friend)


Vista Vs OSX vs Ubuntu

I’m having a personal struggle with operating systems at the moment. I’m looking for a rock solid OS which offers the ease of use expected by my grandmother, but that isn’t dumbed down so much that I can’t do some real computing with it. Since the new PC build I have been using Vista, and whilst the introduction of DX10 and the improved update system is a welcome surprise on the windows front, I feel that that the OS is just to bulky, bloated and slow. The same machine (core 2 duo E6600 OC to 3.4ghz, 2GB ram, 500GB sata2 drive and 8800GTS) feels super fast and responsive under xp, but very sluggish under Vista. Simple things annoy me, the length of time it takes to delete a file, the length of time to display the file structure on my ipod (I carry alot of files too and from work on the Ipod), and similar annoyances.

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New PC Build Complete – Core 2 Duo e6600 with serious overclock

Well the new PC build is finally complete, and what can I say, I’m very happy with the outcome. My old Athlon XP based machine was getting slightly haggard so I decided to go all out and build the ultimate machine. The specs breifly are as follows

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4ghz OC to 3.2Ghz Stable
  • 2gb Dual Channel DDR 800 with Copper heatsinks
  • 500gb Sata2 HDD
  • Gigabyte 965p-s3 Motherboard
  • Evga Nvidia 8800 GTX Directx 10 card
  • Zalman CNPS9700 Heatsink
  • Aria Darkstar case

What can I say about that spec. I just had to overclock the processor and I have great stability at 3.2ghz with very cool core temps. I managed to hit 3.5ghz but I need a stable machine for work so scaled it back. The build all went well, aside from the PSU which was a cheap and nasty OEM 600 watt job. Surprisingly had no sata power cables so I had to go with adapters. No big deal until I change it. Also the 8800 needed 4 molex just to power it. Also bought a couple of 80mm fans just to keep the airflow nice and flowy 😛

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Formula 1 Season starts in 1 day

Its true. The Formula 1 season starts in earnest tommorow with free practice running all day in Bahrain. No doubt few teams will actually utilize this time, but it will be great to hear the rev of F1 cars yet again on a weekend (although it will be the rev of a V8 and not a V10).

So with the new season of Formula 1 comes a new year of spending the weekend glued to my sofa and waiting with baited breath on each race. I really do adore this sport, and I just hope that Mr Alonso can pull of a second world championship this year. As usual I will also be supporting our man Jenson Button. Whilst it can be said that he hasnt had the best luck, rumour has it that this year will be different. And he is our british hopeful after all so everyone buy a Jenson Button (sorry a gag is never funny when you must explain it, Button, as in American term for badge….. ah forget it!). Seriously though, He is rumoured to have a very stable and extremely well tuned car this year. Couple that with the fact that Rubens Barichello is his new team mate and we should be in for some great racing.

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London Trip & Security shambles

Well I visited London last weekend with my Wife Vicki & my friend Jonathon. The main purpose of the trip was to visit the London Arena for WWE Raw Live. We where really excited about the event as we where sat on the 4th row from the ring, and would surely be on the TV. We watched the warm up show Heat, which got us in the mood for the main show. As we where sat on the end of the row I kept standing up to take photos, which seemed to be the norm, judging by the 1000 or so flashes popping every second. I got a fair few pictures during Heat which was reassuring. Jon went off to get some fresh pints of beer, and I stayed to continue taking photos. The main show starts, and Triple H, Edge & lita and John Cena came down and had their chit chat, Meanwhile i’m taking photos of these superstars and loving every minute. Out of the blue I was grabbed by both shoulders and under the armpits and dragged to the outside of the arena. I was told that I was going to be ejected because my camera was “too professional” for the promoters and was “against the conditions of entry”. I had a field day with these chumps, asking them to identify to me where on the ticket it was stated that Cameras of a professional standard where not allowed. I also told them that the ticket states only videocameras and laser pointers where prohibited. After a short session of pondering by the three members of security I was allowed to re enter the venue. We enjoyed the rest of the show, however this did put a small downer on the event. Why did they feel the need to drag me off like a terror suspect when I was simply taking photographs. Furthermore, a simple whisper in my ear would have sufficed if they wanted to speak with me, the “we are security and we rule this place” tactics employed by the guards go to show that event staff really are jobsworths. Between telling me to put my camera away, and shouting at kids the size of a pencil for standing up, I have had it with these chaps. The orange coats they are clad in are a necessity for out own safety as patrons.

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London part 2

OK so continuing on from last weeks blog, we left off dismounting the BA London eye. We took the small walk across the Thames and onwards towards Parliament. The thing that strikes me about this tourist attraction is the “Iron Curtain” surrounding the building. It is essentially a 2 foot wide blockade surrounding the structure to reduce the risk of terrorist attack. This is all well and good but it blends into the architecture like a stokebroker at a Gwar gig. For a start its steel, and its black. Furthermore it essentially creates a cordon the full length around parliament so you finding yourself walking in a maze of steel just trying to cross the road to get a better view. I agree that security is paramount and this great structure needs to be protected but come on. anyway onwards.

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Whatever the Weather, preparation is the key

Well it seems the good weather might well be upon us. The second duvet has been relegated to the airing cupboard and the Sweat pants and jumpers for bed have been ditched in favour of a light T shirt. Britain is a great place to be when we get the sun, just for the comedy value provided by the scallies. Strange how a shift of a few degrees develops into the widespread display of mens chests and football shorts. I was surprised to note that this phenomenon has shifted into the city. At one time a city was inhabited by those indulging in commerce and contributing to the British economy by working for a living. Nowadays, or so itseems, the city is full of those people who offer to clean your gutters but end up stealing your roof tiles. I do not mean to offend but I do believe a public space such as a city centre should be spared the bare chests of grown men.

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End of an era

Well as of Thursday 18th May 2006, I am no longer a student at the Manchester metropolitan university. This is in many ways a great event. I am no longer tied to the schedule of academia (often consisting of not attending lectures for weeks on end simply because the material was borderline GCSE), and I no longer need to step foot in the Geoffrey Manton building which again is a huge plus. However I think I shall miss the social interaction with a select few people and indeed the mental challenge of certain tasks. I am free to pursue my career in the IT sector now and as a whole I am feeling confident about the task in hand. I must take centre stage and step up to the plate. First hurdle is to actually land A job. At this point I am applying for many jobs in and around the IT role I think I am best suited too, better to have experience under my belt than to get stuck in the rut of staying at home and claiming Im to good for every job that comes my way.I have started studying for my MSCE exams and indeed my A+ exam (although I really only need to take the A+ exam as my technical background and indeed my university background cover all the bases). So my time is currently split between reading for the exams and filling in job applications.

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Anyone for Coffee? And sleep deprivation?

Last night may well have been the worst nights sleep of my life, and it is not due to the fact I wasnt tired, it was simply because I was high on caffeine. Vicki went on a shopping trip to the Trafford centre in Manchester whilst I remained home watching the Monaco Grand Prix and eating rubbish. Upon her return she had for me a shiny Krups Filter coffee machine for our kitchen.

Now I, like most men, love gadgets. After all they spice up the kitchen no end until its time to clean them, which in turn is time to disappear. To test out this wondrous invention (perhaps the peak of modern mans achievements in my eyes), I threw in a fresh filter, ground some fresh Ecuadorian coffee beans and started brewing. Being a novice at this I ended up completely filling the reservoir. A few minutes later I was presented with a 10 cup coffee pot complete with contents. I couldnt let this go to waste and proceeded to drink a few cups. The great thing about these modern coffee makers is that the built in hotplate keeps the coffee in the pot at a perfect temperature, so its ready to drink whenever you fancy a cup. Coffee drinking became the theme of the day and before I knew it I had consumed perhaps a dozen cups of coffee, and devoured a huge bar of Thorntons dark chocolate. By this time I was buzzing more than a child who is high on energy drink and E numbers. I was literally bouncing off the walls and couldnt settle.

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It’s all about bread…

I was in the supermarket over the weekend and I was shocked at the variety of bread which is now available for our buying pleasure. Vicki & I visited one of the new Hypermarkets which seem to be popping up on the British countryside like spots on a teenager. I was absolutely shocked at the sheer volume of choice across all product lines. For instance, you can now go to the supermarket, and under the same roof you can buy a new TV or even a car, have your dry cleaning done, book a holiday, have a meal and even develop your holiday snaps. This seems crazy. Not so long ago a supermarket was a place to pick up the essentials, but now the choice is king. The bread stuck out the most though. The bread racks where roughly 30 metres long and 2 metres high. There was brown bread, white bread, best of both bread, no crust bread, sliced bread, traditional loaf, half loaf, super soft and then all this choice was available in multiple brands. What is going on?

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Started Work….

Well Everyone, this Graduate has gone and done it. Landed a job that is. I started working for Kudos Web Design Yesterday and its going OK so far. I am currently working as a Web Designer/ Developer Junior. This is the next practical step after university, whilst I have tons of experience in builidng my own sites to my own spec, its a much different beast creating sites for someone else. So far I have been learning the ropes and getting into the swing of things. Designed an advertising flash banner this morning and composed some text for a static site yesterday.

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Long Time – No Blog!

Well it has been a couple of months since my last blog entry. I have been so busy with work & life this thing has kinda been put on hold. Time to buckle down and start writing again. I need this outlet to vent a few frustrations I’m having at the moment. The major worry (as you can see for the post time on this) is that I am unable to sleep. This may be down to stress, or it may be something completely different, but the lack of sleep has led me to catch up on the net.

During the past couple of months I have been developing my webskills at work, and I have been concentrating heavily at home on getting my CompTIA A+ and Network+ exams done. I have done a hell of alot of studying, and I can’t wait to sit the exams and gain my certs. Also I have started my driving lessons again which is sweet, and I’m really enjoying that.

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