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Saturday 28 June 2003

P1r8t3s D00m3d! [slim]

It's headline news ( the RIAA is going after end users of file sharing applications, if you share music on kazzaa, they're-a-comin to get ya!
But how exactly are they going to do that. According to Reuters report of the story, the RIAA head cheese said 'users have to be aware that they're not anonymous, that sharing files over the internet is about as obvious as setting up a stall in a flea market'. It's statements like this that show these folks up to be a bit fucking clueless. Now, assuming nobodys stupid enough to sign up to a p2p system with a real email address and no personal details exposed, nobodys that daft, right? What are they left with? Potentially your ip. So what are they goign to do with that? Most of us are on some kind of dynamic IP, so they're going to go to the isp, get them to inform them which user had that ip at that particular time? Puleeese!
I suspect its big noise to scare people off the peer to peer networks. Anyone here put off file sharing becuase of it?

Friday 27 June 2003

Phone psu update [am]

Late lunch and I'm going to a wedding so I need my phone working which it erm doesn't due to my inordinate propensity to lose power supplies. So in I go only to face the the choice of 29 squid for a new power supply.
Now I could blog this out and all but I won't. So in the spirit of electricdeath, 20 minutes later I left with a T610.
First impressions is I can't decide if it's a bit of a block or in fact quite cool retro stylee. It's chargin on my desk here - I'll supply details later.

The weirdness wires [lurks]

You're one of two kinds of bloke. One that thinks a wire connects devices A to B up and that is the only consideration there is. Then there's the noncy type that goes in for facial products and the like and thus takes inordinate care that these wires are hidden from view and tidied away with a few ample flicks of the limp wrist.
As far as I'm concerned the only way you know you have a nicely specced computer system or home cinema set-up etc is if there's a reassuringly large bush of cables just behind all the operator bits. You can shove it with your feet every now and again just to make sure it's there, it's comforting.
Now given my Telewest debacle, I'm ripping out cable modem and the analog cable TV right. That means I had to delve into the birds nest behind my lounge set up and remove these devices and their associated wires. Well, in the process I discovered rather close to 20 redundant wires, power leads and DC plug packs and spent the last hour carefully extracting them. So given this is what it looks like now, you can imagine what it was like before.
There is, of course, a wider issue. Something which I believe hints at some form of divinity at work which has hitherto gone unnoticed. When you plug stuff in, surely you just take a wire and put it into a device and into another and the wire sits on top of all the other wires. Why then, when you go to remove a wire, does it randomly go in and out of loops (where did they come from?!) of other wires including the first wires that you ever plugged in?
Think about it. It's not logically possible. Quite clearly when no one is watching, the cables tangle of their own volition. Yet this effect can be demonstrated in any environment where the slightest interruption of electrical conductivity would have recordable effects. So how do the wires tangle themselves up if they cannot unplug themselves? Now the question that will really bake your noodle, would the cables tangle if you watched them 24/7?
Then ask yourself this, why is the most common cable, your typical cat 5 network cable, seemingly designed like an arrowhead so that it cannot be easily removed from the birds nest without catching on every other single wire in the bundle? I can only concur this is because the cables want to be tangled.
There's a message in here my friends. One only has to decipher it.

New graphics card fuxored! [lurks]

It was time for a graphics card upgraded. My Geforce 3 TI500 is still reasonable but given the demanding games I tend to run, it's chugging a bit more than I'd like. So I looked around for the best bang for buck and settled on the fairly new ATI Radeon 9600 Pro. I put in an order to Dabs for their 'value' model which will end up being some branded cheaper type card anyway.
Sure enough, a Powercolor card. Uninstalled Nvidia drivers, powered down machine, swapped the cards, powered up, installed the drivers. Whammo, desktop corruption. Odd, so I do lots of monkeying about. Software such as DX9, reinstalling the drivers, trying older Catalysts (I grabbed the latest of ATI's site), mucking about with AGP settings and so on. No avail, desktop appears corrupt in 16-bit mode but is fine in 32-bit mode. Games are shagged in 16 or 32-bit.
Here's some screenies: desktop and Planetside.
Looks like the card is fucked to me but I thought I'd post something in case anyone has seen anything like this before. Dreading going through Dab's RMA procedure...

Wednesday 25 June 2003

What can you buy for 64K? [lurks]

I remember when 64K was a lot. A hell of a lot. I had a Vic20 and I dreamed of owning a C64 when it came out. Now, of course, these days 64K is nothing. My phone has that much memory. My PDA has a thousand times as much memory. You get the idea.
So, if you were an elite demo group c0d0r on the PC. What could you do in 64K? You can use the the DirectX API and that's it. How much do you think you could do in 64K now. Well, guess no more. Download this. I've virus checked it, you can just choose 'open'. You'll need a games-type rig to run this so you folks at work, don't bother.
Prepare to be amazed.

Tuesday 24 June 2003

The Kiss DP500 - it does what it says on the box! [houmous]

I have a problem. I download lots of movies at LAN parties ( and using my external HD off Broadband enabled friends HD's ) - but I hardly ever watch them.
Why not? because I dont really want to watch them on this, I'd rather be watching them on this
Hence my excitement when I saw the Kiss DP500 - this is a DivX and Xvid enabled DVD player that also has an ethernet connection so you can play said movies straight from your HD onto your TV screen.
Whats it like? Great - not only can you watch movies, but it will also play mp3's via a menu on the TV screen, as well as showing your photo albums. I now have my mp3 collection set up on it, which means I've been able to sell the PC I had in the lounge (for playing mp3s through my AV setup) for more than the Kiss DP500 cost me! (they are just over £200 although Scan had them on today only last week for £150)
The quality is excellent even using the standard cabling and we had a happy day today watching movies still monged from a solstice beach party last night hehe (great till the rain knocked the generators out :)

Glastonbury Festival Mega Mix 1 [floyd]

Ok, travelling down to Glasto on Wednesday night/Thursday morning in a camper van with a 6 disc changer so I'm in the process of putting together the ultimate Glastonbury Festival journey cd.
I'll kick off with those soap dodgers The Levellers with One Way.
Lets be 'avin some idea's chaps!

Monday 23 June 2003

Software firewalls [lurks]

When I was on cable, I basically put 'Wench' in the DMZ of of a Netgear RP114 router. I had rules defined on the RP114 to block a number of ports. Now I'm looking for a more flexible and easier to maintain solution to use with my upcoming DSL replacement.
Basically I don't want to have to keep up on dodgy ports and plug in filters into the Netgear, I want to run a software firewall on Wench. Again it will remain in the DMZ of a Netgear router, this time the DG814 ADSl router.
Now, there's loads of these things about. I've just had a play with Zone Alarm and managed to get things to a state I'm happy with. The problem, however, is this. When Zone Alarm runs, it appears to disable all current servers access to whatever is defined as the Internet (right now, a dial-up connection). That means I have to manually shut down some servers (mail, ftp, web, auth etc) and re-run them for ZA to decide that they are trusted and grant access.
This is pretty naff really. Means if the box crashes and reboots when I'm not here, everything is fucked. Also can't work out how to make ZA properly minimize to the tray - it seems to insist on having a window open. All in all, looks like a good package for the price (free!) but it doesn't seem very industrial, so's to speak.
Anyone got any experience of doing this sort of thing with other software firewalls they'd care to share?

Friday 20 June 2003

True Vector Engine Error [floyd]

My pc hasn't been right for some time now. I thought I had sorted the original issue or restarts by formatting and reinstalling windows only to find I had another problem in the usb speed touch modem and its dislike for my pc. So from the beginning.
After coming home from a lan party my pc started to randomly reboot itself. No warning or particular sequence of events led to this, purely random. Looking in the windows Event Viewer lead me to an error occurring with the True Vector Engine (3 separate logs seconds after each other) seconds before the restart. A clannie pointed me towards Zone Alarm, which I had been running for years with out a problem as the mother of true vector related process's.
I uninstalled ZA but the prob still persisted and after a mate remotely took over my pc, got rid of Kazaa (also having documented issues in this area) and various other troublesome apps I thought I was on the road to no random restart heaven. Not to be.
Reformatted drive and installed windows again. Up and running for weeks with out any random restarts, then this morning whilst checking mails before heading to work it fecking restarted. Now, I installed Zone Alarm Pro a night or so before and looking in Event Viewer it said there was a True Vector Error moments before the restart. ZA is now uninstalled and tonight when I get in I am going to go through everything and make sure that I have removed all fragments of ZA.
This error about True Vector Engine is well documented on several forums (google search will turn up a few busy ones) but one conclusion I came to before reading the forums and having my suspicions confirmed was that the Vector error could just be happening cause the pc is shutting down due to something else and the vector error is there because the file was opening and running when the pc shut down.
Another issue is that I'm running an app along side zone alarm which is causing the problem. This seems more likely than anything else, as I said before ZA had never been a problem for years!
Whats made this even more of a pain was that my old adsl modem was causing lock ups/restarts which I have now sorted with a router, but made pin pointing causes a right nightmare.
My next move is going into the recovery screen in the start up and disabling auto restart on errors and also changing the power management settings. Apparently when in Power saving mode and your pc goes to sleep something takes a snap shot of something and holds until you wake up the pc at which point that something floods all the info back to memory and Zone Alarm doesn't like this! Something to do with Trojan alerting *shrug* and causes an error. Either way its another avenue to explore.
I'm not to fussed at present about the restarts as I have now got a new bigger drive that I am disconnecting until this issues solved (my old mp3/stuff drive got seriously corrupted beyond repair from all the restarts and shutdowns) and theres only progs and stuff running on the OS drive so if need be it'll be another format.
Waste any fragments of Zone Alarm left on my pc, Kill the auto restart on errors, Sort out the power management, Start looking for new pc once I've killed this one doing all the above :o)
I'm still thinking that another app is causing the restarts. ZA has been great for so long and it's not exactly a beta or widely known dodgy program. The only new prog I use regularly these days is Bittorrent I think... hmmm Ohh yeah and the reason I'm here... anyone got any ideas???

Recipe - Home made 6-seed bread [lurks]

Here's another recipe. Allinsons do a small 5-seed mix sachet thing which you can use in a breadmaker. This is pretty good but given that the missus and I really like our seedy bread, that was proving to be a bit expensive. So I decided the best plan was to create our own seed mix. The first part of this recipe deals with making the seed mix. Generally it'll make a whole load of it so you just use it in subsequent breads.
First of all, you're going to need to find the seeds. You'll need Pumpkin, Poppy, Sunflower, Linseed, Caraway and Sesame seeds. Now pumpkin, poppy, sunflower and sesame seeds are dead easy to get from your supermarket. Linseed and Caraway seeds are easy enough to get from a health food shop. It's generally convenient just to go into a health food shop and get the lot.
Pumpkin are quite large and they're shit unless you toast them. So first off, slap 50g of them in a dry fry pan and get the heat going. Toss them around, you can see when they're toasted. They toast a fair bit off the heat so turn the heat off soon as you think they're coming up to being done. You'll smell them alright.
Now in a blender, chop up these seeds a little bit. Also do it bit by bit, since if you chuck them all in a blender you wont get them chopped too evenly. So maybe in 3 goes or something. Quick blend to chop them up. Some of them wont be chopped, no big deal, just so long as most of them are. We do not want pumpkin seed powder though.
The other seeds that need toasting are sesame and linseed. Chuck 50g or so of both in the fry pan and toss them around until you reckon they're done. Note, I generally put more sesame seeds in than the rest of the seeds which have equal parts. You can also optionally toast the sunflower seeds, I prefer not to though.
Now you've got 50-100g of toasted sesame seeds and 50g of chopped toasted pumpkin seeds, 50g of poppy 50g of sunflower seeds, 50g of linseed and 50g of toasted caraway seeds. Just mix it all up in a nice air-tight plastic container. Your seed mix is done.
Now for a good bread recipe for a bread machine.
  • 250g of strong white flour
  • 250g of brown flour
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons (to taste) of seed mix
  • 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fast-action yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of skimmed milk powder
  • 350ml of water

Chuck the water in the bottom of bread bin, really should be filtered water. Toss in the brown flower over the top of it. Then toss in the olive oil (you can use butter if you like but it's not as good - and if that's out of the fridge, you should warm the water slightly), salt, sugar and milk powder. Then chuck the white flour on top.
Make a well in the middle and put in the yeast. Drop a couple of drops of water on that yeast. Then put the breadmaker on a basic white recipe, using raison option. If your breadmaker has a dispenser for raisons, just put the seed mix in that otherwise you'll need to chuck them in when it beeps.
About 15 mins before the baking period starts - you might like to make sure that the mixture is centered in the breadbin so you get even slices. If you're flash and you have milk lying around, you can brush that on the top and sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the top.
MMmm mmm!

ADSL woot! [lurks]

Wahey! Unfortunately Nildram haven't given me the log-in yet so all I can access is BT's web site. Waiting for them to get up now and clue me up. This will be the last blog uploaded on a modem, let me tell you!

Consumerism gone mad [lurks]

Rampant lazy consumerism is spiraling out of control and it's really getting on my tits. The latest astounding example I caught on a television advert last night. It appeared to be some vegetables in a plastic bag which you put in the microwave. So now you buy fucking vegetables in a plastic box which you throw away of course, inside a plastic bag which you throw away.
And all for what? Because, this advert exclaims, people are too fucking busy to just put their own vegetables in a bit of tupperware or a bowl and put into the microwave. Jesus fucking wept. What's the matter with a big bag of frozen vegetables if you're so cunting useless that you can't spent 15 seconds chopping up some fresh stuff?
Soon you wont be able to buy anything in a fucking supermarket at all, for yourself. You'll walk in and they'll be a trolly waiting with loads of boxes of things which you take out and put in the fucking microwave. It'll be a huge trolly but it'll only hold enough actual food for one person for three days.
When will this madness end?!

Wednesday 18 June 2003

Lurks says fairwell to Blueyonder [lurks]

I've been prepared to cut Blue Yonder a fair bit of slack because on the whole, the cable modem service has been fast, reliable (much more so that my previous ADSL attempts) and it's good value for money. I've been with Blue Yonder since they started doing cable modems and I had their telephone and cable TV service a good deal of time before that.

I felt that my relationship with the company was established enough that it was worth my time to pen their director of consumer services a letter to try persuade him to consider increased upstream bandwidth - particularly for the 2Mb service which I subscribed to a week later.

Then things started going bad. Instead of upgrading my cable to 2Mb, they cut my cable off. Lots of telephone calls to get it switched back on, including juggling around all sorts of different numbers and different departments that handle my specific area etc. Then it gets switched back on and it's 512kbps! I post to their support group that this is getting out of hand and they go fix it up.

A week of happy 2Mb cable service and then at 14:21 on the 9th of June my cable modem reboots. It doesn't come back up. More calling of Blue Yonder and it transpires that they've disabled my account.

In one of the many phone calls, one tech support peon tells me that it's because of an open mail relay. I go over my mail server with a fine toothed comb and it's definitely not an open relay.

Tech support stops being helpful and tells me that someone from this abuse/security team will call me. I'm told they try to resolve it within 24-hours. No phone calls within 24 hours of course.

I up the ante and start getting a bit self-righteous about this and try a different tack through customer support. One of these calls yields the note attached to my account which says 'Account disabled because open proxy detected'. I suppose it would not surprise you, gentle reader, to learn that I certainly do not have an open proxy. I am not running a proxy at all.

One of the many telephone conversations today has a customer services woman manage to get through to the Blue Yonder Black Ops department. They then say that they aim to call me within 7 days after appropriate investigation. 7 days! What investigation, they've killed my cable modem so how are they going to investigate anything?!

I've had enough. This is atrocious behavior given that I'm a long standing customer that subscribes to their top-tier products. I order the clan favorite Netgear ADSL router from Dabs. I start the lengthy process of assessing the current ADSL providers (which I will discuss in another blog). I chose Nildram, I place an order with Nildram.

I phone up customer services with that sort of righteous indignant glee that one does when you have decided to hurt said company where it hurts. I ask to cancel. I'm briskly whisked to a cancellation department.

In the first few seconds the conversation goes; 'Ahh, you've been with us for some time', to which I respond 'Indeed and I had no intention of moving before you cut off my cable modem with no warning and refuse to discuss the matter'. It is finally gratifying to be confronted with someone at Blue Yonder Broadband that finally comprehends that keeping customers is a good idea. Although of course it's a joke that none of them considered this until I have actually asked to cancel my portfolio of Blue Yonder Broadband services.

The woman gets persuasive saying that she will make some calls, get things sorted out and call me back. I almost told her to FOAD but then...

I'm not like Dr_Dave, you understand, and his penchant to take it in the ass like a good British consumer ripped off over a couch. I have no intention of staying with Blue Yonder after this atrocious behavior. However I'd be delighted to tell that to the face of whoever decides to call me up to tell me what they are going to do about it. After all, I may as well extract some amusement value from this entire episode!

I shall report back on further developments. Also, consider the fact that this blog was sent up by a £40 USB modem I ran off to my highstreet to buy this morning. Rebot on a modem. What is the world coming to eh?

Wide a Sleep [floyd]

I think this is my second blog on Electric Death! The first being about Brit Eckland getting starkers in The Wickerman!
For quite a few years I have suffered from Sleep Paralysis and while it can be quite literally terrifying and worrying, it is isn't actually a disorder. Some of the commonest symptoms of SP (sleep paralysis) are a feeling pressure on your chest whilst a sleep or a feeling that your being held down, fear and not being able to move any of your limbs. Not so common symptoms but still very apparent are hallucinations and outer body experiences.
Its only been with in the last year or so that I have realised, with advice from my Doc, that I suffer from SP. Most people have had the feeling of their eyes waking before their body, lying in bed for what seems like hours staring at their eyelids waiting for their brain to kick in. I kinda thought what I had was a more intense version of that. But like last nights attack it can be a very frightening experience.
Feeling very tired and lying in bed listening to the better half talking about something or other I gradually passed out. I heard the T.V go off and the room being dark and then the next thing I remember is struggling to move my arms. I'm dreaming, about what I cant remember, but what ever it was required me to have my arms free maybe to protect myself. It felt like I had been trying for hours to move my body in any direction. I could hear myself shouting and whimpering but Jadey (the miss's) wasn't waking me up. Eventually I woke suddenly, short of breath and grabbed Jadey's arm rambling on about her not waking me. She said she had been awake and I had only been asleep for about 40 minutes and had not said anything in that time (strange for me, I usually snore like a horse!). Its hard to explain the fear involved when you get an attack. Imagine being stuck in a drain pipe with your arms at your side, your wedged in so tight that your breathing becomes laboured which along with the anxiety and fear make it near impossible to relax and calm yourself down. You cant see any way out and you can almost feel your joints millimetres away from the point where they would pop out of their sockets from all the struggling.
Its kinda worrying that one of the causes of SP is so that we don't hurt ourselves or others while dreaming (I can see me clearing the spare room out!). Other reasons include Stress and anxiety, narcolepsy, sleeping on the back, depression.
Alleviating stress, exercising, avoiding sleep deprivation and of course talking to your Doc are ways of making attacks occur less. I've spoken to the Doc and for now I'll go a different route. But I was wondering if anyone who reads this page has experienced Sleep Paralysis, on what level and how they deal/dealt with it.

Tuesday 17 June 2003

Joke... *chuckle* [brit]

At Heathrow Airport yesterday, an individual, later discovered to be a school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a compass, a protractor, and a graphic calculator.
Authorities believe he is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.
He is being charged with carrying weapons of maths instruction.

Thursday 12 June 2003

Choosing a DSL provider [lurks]

After having binned Blueyonder in blog 419 I have been left with the task of evaluating ADSL offerings and ordering a new service. I'm a bit of an ADSL veteran, having had business and domestic DSL installed at my home and having used another provider for work as well. Today things are a little more complex due to the inclusion of LLU and so-called 'datastream' products into the standard BT DSL mix.
One of the things I'm keen on is not to be shackled to a 12-month contract. I mean, why should you be? With 'wires-only' DSL, there are no big up front costs to need spreading out. You're paying 50 quid plus VAT, on average, to connect and that ought to be enough clearly. Ultimately I like the threat of being able to walk if the service falls to shit. If I'm locked into a year and it goes to shit, you're stuffed - as I was with a 2Mb business DSL from Easynet in the past.
Next up, contention ratio. I'm really not keen on 50:1 domestic stuff. Sure it doesn't hurt your downloads a lot of the time but on DSL in particular, you see nasty effects because of this. Big ping spikes and that sort of thing, mostly as a result of the way that DSL is load balanced in the BT central pipes.
I also consider that with 256k upstream, 1Mb is about the sweet spot with 2Mb being nice but not worth substantially more money.
Other considerations are obviously the reputation of the ISP. Whether there's many people to vouch for them. Static IP (obviously) and any other nice bits such as cost of the install, being able to delegate reverse DNS, maybe some web space and that sort of thing.
Having used the superb to look up providers, I found really the only new contender is Bulldog. The rest I was familiar with. In the end it came down to a four horse race, Nildram, Eclipse, Plusnet and Bulldog.
Firstly the oddball Bulldog. Like Nildram, Bulldog operates the new BT Datastream product which means they can design their own DSL packages on speed and contention ratio. Bulldog are also an LLU operator but this is of zero consequence unless you live slap bang in the middle of London. They offer quite reasonable packages which are cost-effective 1Mb and 2Mb deals with 40:1 contention ratio. I had also heard reasonable things about Bulldog in the reputation stakes but I still considered them 'new' and it was a bit lame how they haven't even gotten around to sorting out web space for customers and charging extra for a static IP seemed infantile. In the end, the fact that they wanted a 12-month contract and weren't quite as well known as the other candidates lead to Bulldog being discounted.
Next up, Plusnet. Plusnet have a good web site, unusual for ISPs these days. They also have a good range of packages with superb pricing. They also highlighted to me the fact that BT's standard business DSL (20:1 contention ratio) has dropped dramatically in wholesale price. So their 'Home worker' package looked attractive. However when I dug deeper on providers which had a better reputation (a work colleague in the past fought with Plusnet's customer support for some time) and also offered BT's Biz DSL at not vastly higher prices. Discounted due to reputation and the 'get what you pay for' factor.
Eclipse. I had used Eclipse before on domestic DSL. Small outfit but very customer focused (as they invariably are, to begin with). I asked them if they allowed reverse DNS delegation, they looked into it and created that feature on the account and being suitably impressed I signed up. Performance had it's hitches, unfortunately, again due to BT mostly. It was also quite difficult to convince them that I had cancelled and they should stop sending me invoices. Yet for all that, I liked the company and the staff. The pricing of their Biz DSL package is attractive. They were a hot contender for the crown.
And then there's Nildram. A lot of folks were jumping up and down going on about how I should go with Nildram. I'm well aware of their excellent reputation - I used them on ISDN for the longest time. However their datastream product didn't look ideal to me. It was fairly expensive, the standard 50:1 contention ratio and a bandwidth cap as well. Thanks to becoming aware of the new cost of Biz DSL, I poked around the dustier parts of Nildram's site and found that they do biz DSL for slightly less than Eclipse! So for about the same price as the 2Mb datastream job, you could get a 20:1 contended 1Mb service with no bandwidth cap. Same 1 month contract. Being slightly cheaper than Eclipse and having the best reputation and all the features I require... Nildram pulled in front.
Nildram is the winner, the order was placed. Of course, their quoted lead-time is more than Eclipse and they don't offer anything in the way of status concerning the order which is a little annoying but that's a short term concern.
The following is the table I drew up to aid comparison with the ISPs.
  • 40:1 contention - 'Alltime' (Datastream)
  • Only offer 12 month contract
  • £49.99 install
  • 1Mb: £35.24 p/m
  • 2Mb: £52.86 p/m
  • Add 2 quid odd for static ip!

Note: Nice datastream product with a good contention to price ratio. Still quite new though and very little extras.
  • 20:1 contention 'Home worker' (BT biz):
  • 1 month contract:
  • 1Mb: £70.50 install, £44.99pm
  • 2Mb: £70.50 install, £59.99pm
  • 12 month contract:
  • 1Mb: £0 install, £50.38pm
  • 2Mb: £0 install, £65.38pm

Note: Reputation a little shaky. Pricing very competitive.
  • 20:1 contention 'Connect 1000 and 2000' (BT biz):
  • One month contract
  • 1Mb: £58.75 install, £61.10pm
  • 2Mb: £58.75 install, £96.35pm

Notes: I like the company, speed rated well on DSL guide. Supports all of the features required but are a little light on extras.
  • 50:1 contention 'dslXtra' (Datastream):
  • 1 month contract for all
  • 1Mb: £58.75 install, £39.99pm
  • 2Mb: £58.75 install, £58.00pm
  • 20:1 contention 'Office' (BT Biz):
  • 1Mb: £58.75 install, £57.58pm
  • 2Mb: £58.75 install, £78.72

Note: Best reputation (clannies!). Host a gaming ISP so they know what a 'ping' is. Good extras, 24/7 support 100MB web space and unlimited e-mail.

Wednesday 11 June 2003

Switching Codes... [vagga]

I have been looking for a team sport to play for ages, while I like soccer IÂ’m just shit at it, and its no fun when youÂ’re the last person picked no matter what you do. I was finding myself training twice a week with this team and on one occasion a few weeks back they played a game with 10 men when they knew I was free. Fuck that, I know IÂ’m shit and donÂ’t expect to be made captain or anything but when your short on men and have a game and someone who has been at training is free you should use that person. Well so I packed that in and resumed my search for some kind of team sport to play.
At my house warming a few weeks back I was chatting to an Aussie mate of mine and he was saying his Aussie rules team was short on EU players! I must say I laughed a lot. I was picturing 20 large Aussie blokes screaming at me for being a ‘facking pe0n’ whenever I dropped the ball or something! But the idea grew on me. Its better than working more and slowly growing into a realistic parody of “Fat Bastard” from Austin Powers!
Aussie rules is essentially Gaelic football (Irelands national sport) with bits of soccer and rugby. Indeed the game was started about 150 years ago by an ex headmaster of Rugby school and a bunch of Irish blokes! I have played a lot of rugby up to about 2 or 3 years ago, and played Gaelic football when I was a nipper, up to the age of 14, so its not like IÂ’m going to get dropped into the game not knowing my arse from my elbow. I can hand pass, I can kick an oval shaped ball etc. Training is in Regents Park twice a week, only for 90 minutes a time. Its very well organised, you donÂ’t waste time with pointless running or mind numbing drills like in some soccer and rugby teams I have been on in the past, its all drills that involve the ball in some way or another (and no shortage of running and sprinting trust me)
So the idea grew in my head, and last week I went to my first ever practice for the team I would be trying out for. When I looked into it, its really organised, there are a whole host of teams here in London and even a league of sorts at home in Ireland. The team I’m playing with are quite good, having won the whole thing two out of the last three years. But it is a culture shock. Being new to the game I’m kicking and punching the ball all-wrong, I’m sure I’m catching wrong, but no one has said anything yet! But its just fun, its fun to be running around in a team again! They are all nice blokes, its all praise and well done’s, the first night I was there I knew one my mate, but the rest of them made a point of coming over and introducing themselves to me. When I have ever joined a new team at anything before you just stand at the back and people pick up your name and shit slowly. One of the league rules is that half the people on each team have to be ‘EU’ players – basically not Aussies. So anyone who is not an aussie is always well sought after. I‘m still going to be crap at it and I’m not expecting miracles but it a laugh and that’s all I’m after at the end of the day. The real test is this weekend when I may end up having to play due to another EU bloke being injured last week – throwing me in at the deep end!
To be honest, at the end of the day all I want it a team sport and to be able to do a bit of running about a few times a week, as thatÂ’s the only way IÂ’m going to loose weight and be able to keep it off. This is perfect to, as after the season is over the rugby season will be starting and I will be 10 weeks fitter so be able to go back to a random London rugby team near the level I left the game, as I will be able to run again; pre season training wont kill me (literally)!!
Anyway, IÂ’m sure you donÂ’t care, but IÂ’m waiting for a few builds and had nothing else to do or say!
PS: Buy (or download) the ‘new’ Led Zeppelin live album from 1972 – amazing isn’t the word!

EED TT2003 [slim]

Bitches. EED just fucking owned the IOM for TT fucking 2003. It didn't need to be fucking good, it just had to fucking rock! And fuck me did it rock! A weekend filled with so much classical sauce that it oozed out of the bitches ears and dribbled on the grass. I'm hoping someone with some ability will write a proper account of what actually happend, this is just a pictorial adventure through the ownorisation that occured, with some missing bits when I forgot the lump in my pocket was my Ixus v3 and not my involuntary reaction to the bitchin lap dancers.

First up we have an image I'll cherish, hot eed sex in me den!. Teeth tried to convince the lads that planetside owned, but they weren't that impressed, bah. Anyhow, we went out and got pissed and I left me camera at home, bah. Daves got some top pics to fill this space though!

On to Saturday, and we did some sightseeing on a boat, then smacked some rods up, but got utterly fucking ownorised by teh dr teeth. It didn't matter if he was good, he just fucking ROCKED! Jay got his tits out and stuff.

In other news, it turns out pete is a raving homosexual girly boy faygot and buys his accessories from a girly bobble shop. Mock him!

That's about it from me pictorially. We chilled we got camp we laughed at bikers being nobs and we ate and drank an awful lot.

It was good and it ROCKED!

Monday 9 June 2003

El Cheapo [am]

I need to get a lappy for arduous wordprocessing. It needs to do naff all else and needs to be as cheap as possible without weighing half a ton. Would like to have a usb keyring drive or infrared file transfer to be able to port documents home but other than that I don't think I need much except a decent keyboard. Got any views on how best to do the file transfers (work network is no go) and any suggestions on models?

Sunday 8 June 2003

Its a mad mad TFT world..... [houmous]

I've always been deeply suspicious of TFTs and gaming, mainly because I bought one of the early 15inch ones for a PC elsewhere in the house and it ghosted something awful.
Anyway having slowly been persuaded by a growing number of mates who have moved to TFTs, mainly the 17inch version of the 19inch Samsung Xiod I bought ( I got bigger dick syndrome problem ) - I eventually succumbed - and it arrived yesterday to replace my trusty 19inch Sony triniton CRT flat screen, which has been stretching my arms nicely lugging it up hotel stairs at numerous LAN parties over the years.
Whats it like? It looks beautiful - heres a piccy and heres another piccy - and the quality and depth of colour is great on still pictures - much better than my Triniton without a doubt. The aceeeeid test though is games. Well its different, its crisp and clean but you know that you are looking at images produced by a different technology - after playing around all evening I definitely like it - but if you are thinking of getting one I would definitely try out one first because I dont think its going to be to everyones taste. Oh and although they go one about setting it at 60hz I set it at 75hz and it seems fine.
Now I've learnt my first bit of HTML so I can do links (thanks Brit) heres a couple of piccies from Dublin the other weekend for your amusement as in me being weird (plus you get to see the infamous camera) and me and Di being very pissed Hehe.

Mini album review round up [lurks]

Maybe we'll get a bit more success with an album round-up than the movie roundup with folks being just plain wrong about the Matrix Reloaded ;) Same format, recentish or even recently discovered albums. I've probably got something of a monster list, here goes.
  • Radiohead - Hail to the Thief: We'd obviously heard it months ago thanks to the leaks. Nevertheless, I think it's a good return to form for Radiohead. It has imminently likable tracks from the outset (unlike Kid A) and the usual collection of growers. There There is probably my favorite song at the moment. Excellent, this would be in my top ten albums of 2003.
  • Stereophonics - You Gotta Go There To Come Back: I think the combination of being a tight group musically as well as pleasant gruff Rod Stewart-alike vocals makes these guys instantly likeable. There's also some really nice hooks and themes and it's a masterful recording to boot. Another in my top ten.
  • Evanescence - Origin: This actually from 2000 but I discovered this due to some airplay which the current 'Fallen' album is getting. It's basically a rock band with a stunning and powerful female vocalist. It's quite cheesy, big anthem 80s-like rock themes. It's the ultimate yank action film sound track basically. Yet for all that, I've got a serious soft spot for the rare female headed rock band so I find myself really likely this album despite myself.
  • Evanescence - Fallen: I think a track from this is on the Daredevil soundtrack, no surprise because their entire output sounds like a hollywood sound track. This is a bit more poppy, a bit more cheesy in places so normally I'd hate it but the female vocalist puts in even better performances than Origin so I like it anyway. Bah.
  • Skin - Fleshwounds: Skunk Anansie splitting up was a fucking tragedy in my view. I consider all their albums absolutely brilliant so when I finally got hold of Skin's solo album I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately it isn't, it's not exactly mellow and it has some superb vocals but there isn't the rock and there isn't quite the passion of Skunk. Once I got past that though, there are some really good songs here and she has improved in technique. It still feels like the lame, tame brother of Skunk though. :(
  • Electric Six - Fire: Not much expectation for this album really, both of the hits from it were novelty songs 'Danger Danger' and the infamous 'Gay bar' song. They were undoubtedly catchy and everything is kind of noisy and unrestrained in a way you don't hear much from middle of the road acts like this. It's a keeper.
  • ZZ Top - Mescalero: Texan blues rock with out of place electro pop beats and of course more facial hair than a mosque in western Afghanistan. It can't really lose can it? Well yes, yes it can. It's all be done before, it's doing nothing new other than a bit more audio layering and post production. The boys are undoubtedly talented but they seem happy to go after their perceived audience rather than go new places. It's crap, quite frankly.
  • Metallica - St Anger: I quite liked Metallic when they went through their soft metal anthem faze. It was musical and melodic enough to appeal to me in general. This album is a proper rock album and yes, rock, not metal. Although it does have that ridiculous overtemp percussion on occasion just to try prove it's a metal album. They still can't hide the fact that they can sing and they can play guitar and that is what we call Rock and Roll and that is why this album isn't a write-off and is worth a listen. Just ignore the lyrics trying desperately to appeal to angry juveniles.
  • Mini film review roundup [lurks]

    Been awhile since we've done one of these. There seems to be a load of movies about of fairly unknown calibre so maybe we can help eachother avoid wasting our time on turkeys.

    Thursday 5 June 2003

    KT4 Ultra-FISR.. my my my.. [brit]

    Ah, death to computers! may a pox be upon them!
    So my main gaming rig (which is termed as such for old times sake) blew up on Friday; quite literally blew up - smoke was pouring out of the case, and the motherboard looked in places like pork crackling.
    As you'll all be aware, this is not the sort of event that makes you want to jump for joy. It's expensive, and it's time consuming. It's doubly annoying because it means fighting tourists and drunkards in and around Tottenham Court Road.
    Anyway. I've replaced the mobo with KT4 Ultra-FISR (£119.00) and finally switched to 333Mhz/512MB SDRAM (stop laughing at the back! - £69.99) - and upgraded the processor with a spare (seriously) Athlon 2200 XP (£0.00) I had knocking around.
    Check out the spec. For the price I've given you above, you get *all* that; anything marked down as optional is thrown in - and it fucking loves it. I've now got more USB (2.0 at that) ports than god; and goddamned Bluetooth. Yeah, I'll never use the latter, but that ain't the point.
    And the audio is amazing. Seriously. I've chosen for the first time ever, to stick with the onboard audio rather than disable it in the BIOS and rely on my trusty SBLive! - and I am seriously impressed.
    Plus it's got an inbuilt gigabit LAN port..
    Chaps, this motherboard rocks hard. My rig now screams along. Raven Shield, BattleField 1942, UnrealTournament.. all running at 1024*768 with everything turned on or to 'max' - jesus wept, I can shoot accurately now!
    Now of course, I've discovered another technological nemesis; my Netgear Wireless Access Point (so allowing the flatmate to use my lappy) has decided to no longer communicate with anyone or anything... the quest continues...

    Bittorrent on speed [lurks]

    This bloke made a documentary about modern day gamers. He's a movie student and as is typical of the youth of today, he can't even pronounce the language properly but it's a tad interesting. You can get it at The interesting thing there is that this movie is being distributed by Bittorrent at least two different sites, so it seems that webmasters are picking up on the usefulness of it

    The marvellous thing is that public Bittorrents end up with loads of seeders so you get superb speed out of them. Pukka eh?

    Wednesday 4 June 2003

    Electricdeath Limited? [am]

    Oi - thought occurs here; we, between us, must buy a boat-load of toyz on an ongoing basis - liderally tens of thousands of squids. Is there any way in which we can pool our purchasing power to i) negotiate better rates and potentially even get ourselves non-VATable? Just a thought like. Answers on an anteater please.

    Slim's Domestic Situation [muz]

    Our fearless clan leader submits:
    "I am not wupped."
    In support of this assertion, he offers gems like: "My missus was a good hostess and made breakfast for me mates, therefore I'm not wupped."

    Vroom! [spiny]

    While the others are off playing PS for a couple of weeks, I've cracked open a can of petrol-head wh00p-ass in the shape of TOCA Race Driver.
    This is quite simply the best PC racer I've played in ages. The AI is top notch, it's got a non-linear progression that dosen't force you to win every race & pretty well acted & directed cut scenes. The handling is great, even on a gamepad (which is how I'm playing it in third person view. Or should that be third car view? ;))
    Oh and by the way, it's drop dead gorgeous in the visual dept. Nice particle effects, reflections, even a motion blur effect to give a real sense of speed. These Alfa 0wnage shots were taken 1280x1024 full detail with ansio filtering. In game frame rates are between 45 & 60.
    It's got me staying up too late on work nites & tuts from the missus about my track time. It must be good :)

    We live in a mad mad Pentax world .. [houmous]

    Hi all. I would like to introduce you to the world of Pentax - whose internal mission statement I sure you will find is ....Customers? F&*k em!
    Having purchased a Pentax Optio 330 a month or so earlier I set off for Cape Town loaded with flash cards and expectations of some excellent piccies - this was one of the most beautiful places in the world right?
    Unfortunately my Pentax had other ideas - 2 days into holiday it stops working.
    I return to UK with 6 piccies and promptly return it to Pentax under warranty. I receive a swift reply. My camera failed because of sand in it and therefore my warranty is void. Furthermore it is 'not financially feasible to repair it'. In short therefore I have effortlessly transformed my prized digital camera into a piece of junk.
    I'm not happy and also know something that Pentax don't. Five years ago I was very silly with using a camera on the beach which led to its early demise. Since then I have been ultra careful with cameras on the beach and didn't actually use this one at all where there was sand.
    I ring 'customer services'. After some discussion the woman tells me she will personally inspect the camera. She rings back to say it was 'full of sand'. Now I start to have trouble staying calm. I politely tell her that is not correct explaining how careful I am now with cameras and that I was not using it to build castles with. I can start to tell she is feeling uncomfortable but she stands her ground and insists it is unrepairable. She does however now offer me a special arrangement designed to help people in my situation i.e. the effortlessly converting a digital camera to a lump of metal situation, by offering me 30% off list price on a new camera. I stupidly thank her and end the call.
    10 minutes later I ring back. I explain that I have ascertained list prices of their cameras and the 30% off they are offering equals virtually to the pound the price I can buy their cameras almost anywhere. I feel the tension on the other end of the line and momentarily go off into a semi fantasy imagining this woman explaining to her equally appalling husband in their nice Martin Parr style neo Georgian house somewhere near Chelmsford about this awful man she had on the phone today...
    Anyway I start by clarifying the purpose of Pentax offering 30% off to customers 'in my position'. Its to help me right? Its to put me in a better position than someone off the street wanting to buy a Pentax? Yes that's right sir. Ok this is good - well unfortunately its not achieving that, so surely all you have to do, having agreed the objective, is to increase the discount - say 50%. No sir 30% is the best we can do. But that's not achieving anything! You haven't done anything to help me!
    There is a silence. You will have to write in if you aren't happy and say what you just said sir. Why! I'm telling you! Why do I have to write in! The reason is because you want to go home and its just a delaying tactic!
    I then tell her that I subscribe to a number of camera MB's and feel I would be letting my colleagues down if I didn't post my experience re my broken camera. This provokes an instant reaction involving veiled threats about what they will do if I post 'slanderous'!!! comments regarding Pentax on the web.
    Di then comes into the Houmous den at this point and tells me she can hear me yelling from the other end of the house and I will give myself a heart attack if I'm not careful - she suggests I tell the woman to stick the camera up her arse. In a moment of rare decorum I ask the woman to return camera to me.
    I receive camera - take to local repairer who fixes it no problem for £150. Lets say he took £50 labour and paid 100% mark up on the bit (shutter mech). This means f&*king Pentax could have fixed it for a £50 part.
    I was already to buy the new slimline Pentax Optio S (I love anything I can always carry with me - which is why I put up with the appalling functionality of the Palm m515 but that's another story ) but they can definitely stick that up their........
    Finally a quick comparison - I accidentally threw my Creative Zen across the gym last month - oops! Creative had the right to tell me to sod off but no - they collected it from my house and gave me a no quibble replacement - I immediately went out and bought a MuVo as well.

    Jade has child, why?! [lurks]

    The human race is fucked. We've not only side stepped evolution but we're trying our damndest to go backwards. The evidence? Jade Goody, that hideous braindead mutant from Big Brother, has had a child.

    I'm astounding that a man volunteered to inseminate it in the first place but on a purely humanitarian level, surely the world does not need another fat, ugly and stupid person? Madness, it's just not right.

    Tuesday 3 June 2003

    Nukey Brown Ice Cream! [lurks]

    Heh check this out. "The Newcastle Brown Ale ice cream goes on sale at supermarkets and speciality shops across Newcastle and Northumberland from next week." Aww come on, clearly that should be in my local Tescos, it's gotta be worth a try :)

    Links of the day; the internet rocks! [brit]

    We all get links to various things during the day that break the monotony of running our respective global empires; so today I thought I'd share some with y'all...
    Recording Artists Safety Guide To The Beach - sums it all up really.
    Truly terrifying costumes for your cat - it's quite amazing what those Japanese fellas will come up with (gotta love the English though).
    Gregory Smith - heard of him? neither had I until lunchtime; he's 13 years old, and has an IQ so high it cannot be measured.. and he's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Impressive IQ; utterly fucked up kid.. check out the pudding bowl hairdo!
    Add your links as you see fit..

    women and the vote [lurks]

    Right, this Big Brother thing. I got thoroughly bored with it last time around so I haven't bothered to watch this one at all. All I saw were a few web news reports about one particular minx that likes to wear bikinis, has nipples like thumbs and stripped off in front of one of the contestants in the bath or something. Now that might entice me to watch it but I still didn't.
    Anyhow, news filters in that the first evictee is out. Who is it? It's the fit bird. You know, the one in the bikini with nipples like thumbs and a penchant for getting them out. The housemates are apparently stunned as they'd have thought she was one of the last to go, some boring geek/clod (who I'm sure we'd like plenty :) was the odds-on favorite.
    So how do we explain this? It's simple, you see most of the people voting are women. Women will always evict foxy minxs given the chance.
    The thing is, I'm trying to work out why this is. We all know our women don't like us looking at other women but prior to this issue, I hadn't really thought about that much too hard - just took it for granted. Now I'm puzzled as to what the genetic imperative is concerning this.
    I mean blokes being jealous of women is a no brainer, we're protecting the resource which can further our genetic line. On the other hand, why are women even worse and quite rabid about making sure their stud doesn't even talk to a more attractive female?
    I mean, ladies, quite frankly there's enough spunk to go around. :)
    Puzzling. However the huge volumes of statistical evidence from women voting such as Big Brother and the Eurovision Song Contest, proves beyond a doubt that actual logic and merit has absolutely nothing to do with how they cast their vote. Notice there's no foxy politicians hmm?
    See that's it, maybe we've forgotten an important lesson which men in millennia gone by have realised. Maybe allowing them to vote at all wasn't such a good idea in the first place hmm? :)

    Iraq - when the dust settles [lurks]

    Before I head off to Ye Old Dickens to get blotto with the EED London posse, I thought I'd revisit a subject much blogged and hotly debated on this very web site; Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld has dropped the bombshell that no WMDs may ever be found in Iraq. I'm afraid that this is, for me, a stretch to far. Up until this point I found the lack of any discovery/announcement as being quite odd but had assumed in due course something would turn up. It hasn't.
    Now, historically I must say I was pro-war purely to remove Saddam Hussain. I was saying this when the government was giving it large on the WMD rhetoric and failing to persuade a large proportion, verging on a majority, of the nation of the need to go to war. So they changed tack into what a bad man Saddam is and how this is the right thing to do on a purely humanitarian and world-peace level. Which is fair enough but it wasn't the proviso for going to war originally.
    So now all that evidence which Colin Powell presented to the security council, absolutely none of that has turned into any hard proof even after the regime has been ousted and the country occupied by 'coalition' forces? That raises some extremely important questions of our government, even for the pro-war lobby folks who ultimately, as I do, feel that ousting of Saddam was the right thing to do.
    One of only two scenarios can be the case here;
    Scenario one: The supposedly most capable of experienced intelligence agencies of the world (the CIA, MI6 and conventional military intelligence units) were completely wrong and dramatically overstated the real WMD threat. They failed to pinpoint that they were being told what they 'wanted to hear' from the defecting Iraqi scientists and that huge quantities of pre-existing chemical and biological weapons were destroyed and they failed to identify this fact.
    Scenario two: We were being lied to. The intelligence agencies had full knowledge the real threat of Iraq but our government communicated an entirely difference and largely fictitious story on the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war with Iraq. The rest of world was right, there was no real threat from Iraq.
    Now it strikes me that scenario one is frankly careless to the extreme. Heads must roll, changes must be made. Woe that it should come to the fact that we cannot adequately spy on a backwards middle eastern dictatorship when we have such interests in the area.
    Ultimately, however, I can forgive the government for that.
    That brings me two scenario two. Now there's some disturbing evidence that Downing Street had already staffed up to a point to generate justification content on Iraq. Remember the plagiarized and 'spinned' US student report published as an official UK dossier? But this is a different ball game. If the alleged threat, more importantly, if there *was* no intelligence evidence which we were repeatedly told existed and did in fact not exist, that's all together different.
    It doesn't matter that Saddam was ousted. It doesn't matter that a good result was obtained. If scenario two is the case, this democratic nation was lied to and our forces sent into a war on false pretences. If this is proven to be true, and of course the issue is how you go about doing so with the built-in mechanisms of state-protected secrecy, there can be no other sentences other than the immediate sacking of the current government.
    One thing is clear to me, there is no 'good' scenario. Either we have completely incompetent intelligence agencies that have dropped the ball yet again post 11/9 or we have a morally bankrupt government that is making the highest level decisions it is possible to take in spite of what it means to be a democracy.
    I'm just surprised it's as quiet as it is...

    Sunday 1 June 2003

    Radiohead live on the tele! [lurks]

    While the lads are all over on the Isle of Man, happily sending me gloating SMSes and texts to Rebot, I'm sitting here doing some work-related stuff up late. I'm flicking around channels on the Digibox (I've a little tele beside my monitor just for the purpose) and I tune into Friday with Jonathan Ross.
    Bugger me if Radiohead aren't guests! Yes, those guy that's just don't do interviews, don't do TV, nothing. The ones that did a few shows that were sold out to the rich and famous well before mere mortals could get a ticket. Also the Radiohead that has an album out quite soon but which has been happily swapped on the net for some time.
    Bloke down the pub told me it's fucking brilliant and all that but then what would he know, the filthy pie rat eh?
    They did There There from the new album, then had a chat with Ross and then finished the show by doing fake plastic trees. Awesome stuff. Now if only someone vidcapped it and made a torrent eh? That would be elite.