During this next year I'm determined not to buy books. I'm heading down to St. Helens library this week to re-activate my youth Library membership, in the hope that I can find stuff in there which is relevant and not out of date. We also have an abundance of books on our bookshelves as Vicki is a hard core readist (I would say reader, but she is a little more hardcore than a reader, so a new word has been coined to describe her). I'm going to raid the bookshelves for inspiration. I already have my eye on the copy of George Orwell's 1984, and may even give some of the Penguins Banned Books selection a go.
One of my big worries for this year was running out of shoes. Seeing as though I'm a 25 year old guy, and I tend not to wear the type of shoes that can be easily repaied (I wear skate shoes as they are tough as old boots, but still look modern and young), so keeping my feet in shoes for the year was going to be a real headache. Repairing old shoes is out of the question, and sourcing cast offs from family and friends would be almost impossible as nobody I know is a size 10.
Well today has been a quiet day on the ‘year without spending’. I’ve almost finished my first week of the project and I’m suprised how fast the week has flown by. It seems like only yesterday I was considering this project. Not a lot to report today. With the exception of sorting out the house (more importantly the office) and selecting items to keep/trash/charity/sell on eBay, it has been a very quiet day indeed.
I’m really suprised at how much time I seem to have at the moment. This could be thoroughly unrelated to the ‘year without spending’, however I beleive it is directly related. I’m not seeking out things to buy, I’m not even entertaining the idea of going into the city to browse and I feel somewhat content at the moment. I wonder how long it will take the contentment to turn into despair and angst? Anyway, I said I would post an entry to this blog everyday, not matter how dull. Hopefully I will have something more to report tomorrow 🙂
Well I'm into day 4 of my 'year without spending' and I'm yet to feel even the slightest pinch (well OK I admit I was tempted by a 2GB Flash Drive for 99p from Aria, and a 500GB External HD from Tesco, but I managed to resist). So today two major challenges, one was to downgrade my Virgin Media cable package, and the other one was to go grocery shopping without spending any more money than necessary.
Well its day 3 of the Not Spending experiment, and I am full of a cold (hence the lack of a post yesterday. The upside (if you can call it that) is that I would be unable to go out and spend even if I wanted to!
So back to the No Spending experiment. I actually called Xbox Live yesterday to cancel my Gold Account. I tried to do this months ago as they where rebilling me automatically on a monthly basis to my credit card. The fact of the matter is, in over 2 years of Ownership and Membership to Xbox Live, I have probably played around 5 hours online. When you consider membership is £4.99 a month I have spent well over £120 for 5 hours of online play! So when I tried to cancel months ago, I realised that there is no way to take your card off file and stop the recurrent billing. I tried on the Xbox Live website, the Xbox itself, nothing. You can add new cards, but you can’t delete them or cancel your membership, Crafty Bastards!
Well at last my three New Years purchases arrived. I ordered these around a week ago from Amazon to start the new year off right. Vicki & I have been talking for ages about consumerism and how we feel we have been sucked into the whole “I buy to feel happy” movement. What with the impending Financial meltdown, and the fact we are now home workers, it only seems right that we take the time to learn how to avoid consumerism. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rant about capitalism, after all our economy is built on capitalism. it is however an effort to cut out frivolous spending and to enjoy the things we do get.
Well I managed to source an iBook 1.33Ghz 12″ for the grand total of £0.00. Our friend Emma had been having trouble with the iBook rebooting and freezing, and the guys in the so called “Genius Bar” had suggested that the Logic Board was faulty and it would be a better idea to upgrade to a new Macbook. So she offered the faulty iBook to me to break up for parts.
I received the iBook and after looking at the thing (it’s pristine, a great size and too good to break up) I decided to have a go at fixing the thing. Out came the screwdrivers and tweezers and apart came the laptop. After a few hours and a few attempts to diagnose the logic board (checking for loose connections and corrosion) I decided to take a look at the RAM. I know I should have really checked this first, but I kind thought the Geniuses at the Genius Bar would have done that in the first place.
I received the Casio CMD-40 watch for Christmas this year and the mischeif value is amazing! A quick cycle through the various manufacturer remote codes whilst at the pub or in the city allows me to wreak havoc with employees by systematically turning off every TV in the room. Also of great interest is the Learning mode on the watch which allows you to manually program buttons based on any infra-red signal. You click the button that is to be programmed and point the remote of the device which is being learned and press the appropriate key to transfer the infra-red code. This system allows me to control our Cable TV, my XBMC, and any other device I want to control, all from my wrist.
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.
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 😛
Latest Picture of my Xbox setup.
And a Macro of the xbox & Chip controller.
I started Xbox hacking back in October 2004. I bought a Crystal Xbox for £100. I wanted to get an older model due to the more complex chipping procedure of the 1.6 motherboards in new machines but after aloof thought I decided to go with the new crystal machine. I then purchased a Xecuter 2.6 Mod chip from Kaneaction who offered a great service. The mod chip fitting itself was a nightmare. Took me almost 4 hours to make all the solder points and rebuild the LPC . Also, I lost one of the copper tracks (the heat from the soldering iron destroyed the track) so I had to rebuild the track using wire. After the chip was installed i ripped out the original 8GB Western Digital HD and fitted a 250gb Samsung drive . I then booted the Xbox from Slayers Evox Boot disk and installed Evox, avalaunch & XBMC.