Blown Away

Nice. Today was one of those very few days where the wind switched and I actually had a tailwind to work and a tailwind from work. Sweeet. Time to buy a lottery ticket.

Home Media Hub Mac?

With the new Apple iMac and Front Row software (see this page for a demo), the video iPod, video sales of TV shows on iTunes, and Quicktime’s MPEG4 encoding/decoding abilities (giving small file sizes of high quality video), Apple is finally stepping hard into the video distribution market as predicted. With the iMac’s built in camera and remote control, it really does look as though it’s becoming an ideal living room PC. It’s powerful too, suggesting its ability to decode High Definition video has been considered. Shhh, nobody show Kim. It really does look like a superb media hub, with great communication abilities.
Most importantly, now I can connect the iMac to my home theatre surround sound system via the built in optical out. Oh great, thanks Apple, great timing. Just as I almost finish building my HTPC you bring out a Mac that’ll do everything I want probably better than my PC. But wait, what’s this? No DVI output for connecting my plasma TV? VGA is not acceptable these days. I’m guessing that it’s still not possible to map the video output to the exact pixel dimensions of widescreen TVs either. This seems a bit of a large ommission to me, what with the huge number of flatscreen HD-ready displays being pushed on consumers these days. OK, I’ll stick with my PC for living room media. It will cost me about £800 less than the new iMac, and it’s more configurable. Plus, I can’t imagine I’ll ever buy TV programmes from iTunes when I’ve got Sky+. Do many people pay for things they could also get for free?
If you’re buying a new computer, look at the iMac. If you’re looking for a Home Theatre PC, wait a bit longer if you want a Mac to do the job.

Buying a New House

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So as most of you have heard, it looks as though we’re finally moving to Swansea. We’ve been trying to sell our house in Cardiff for almost a year now, with no luck. The solution? A part-exchange on a new house (Kim’s idea). It turns out that when the housing market is weak, people building houses still have to sell them before they’re built, putting the buyer in a strong position.
The house is in Gowerton, north-west of Swansea, and at the perfect distance to beach/distance to work/price ratio for us. We exchange contracts in 2 weeks, if all goes well. The solicitors have been activated, wads of cash have been committed, a multitude of forms have been completed and tiling and floor coverings chosen. Fingers crossed we’ll be moving before Christmas. Life will change for us, for the better.

Video iPod

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Apple’s new Video iPod yesterday. But hey, you all knew it was coming, and I’m sure you read about it elsewhere. No? OK then, here’s your link:
Video iPod
The funny thing is, it’s not a “Video iPod”. It’s just the new iPod. So if you go out and buy an iPod, it’ll play video from your brand new iTunes 6. So you’ll have a new toy that’ll do everything your iPod did (music and photos) but now it’ll do video too. Thanks to Quicktime and the MPEG4 codec, you can get 150 hours of video on the big one. It’s a small screen, but I download videos onto my phone and that’s got an even smaller screen. I guess you’ll just have to try it – it’s not like you’re losing out.
I haven’t had a chance to check out the forums yet, but I’m guessing most people are going to feel pretty hard done by. They were expecting a lot more. But I for one don’t want to carry around a great big personal video device so the new iPod is probably a winner for me. I’ll not be buying one for a while though.

24 Series 4

This latest series of 24 is pissing me off. It’s so full of holes, dodgy plans & screwy concepts that I’m now hoping the bad guys are going to win out. CTU & all are doing such a bad job, & the bad guys are as competent as ever suggesting that they deserve to succeed. Plus we don’t like the president much after the antics of season 3. So essentially, if such dodgy methods exist (that I’ll not mention so as to avoid spoilers) then they deserve to be exploited.
Weak, poorly paced, unlikely scenarios, unlikeable characters & contrived reasoning. Why so much poorer than the last series?

You know you use computers too much when…

You know you use computers too much when you’re filling in a form with a pencil and when you’re about to leave it you look for the “save” icon.
Like I just did. When writing in my lab book I look for red squiggles to appear beneath words when I’m not sure of their spelling too.

Winters Coming

Autumn is here & winter is on the way. My lights went on my bike this morning for the first time this season, the paths are slippy with wet leaves, & I got a rear wheel puncture. Strangely this was shortly after thinking, “I haven’t had a puncture for a while now”. It’s as though the puncture pixie had forgotten about me & overheard my thoughts. Hey, it’s as good an argument as any.