30 November, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

During the summer there was a promotion where you could get Setanta Sports free for two months. Sounded like my type of deal, so I took advantage of it and signed up. The deal was you got the entire package of channels for August and September. It coincided with the start of the new season of the Premier League, and the rugby world cup so there was plenty to watch. They took my details, enabled the channels and said someone will give me a call near the end of the two months to see if I want to sign up for longer.

Two months later, while watching the Ireland v France rugby game, I get a call from them! In the middle of the game. I quickly told them it was a bad time i.e. I'M WATCHING THE GAME! What type of sales person would call to sell their sports package at the same time as you're watching one of the key games they were showing?!

A few days later, someone called again at a less sensitive time. They asked me what I thought of the service and would I like to sign up. I was honest with him and said I hadn't watched it much over the two months. I'd seen a few rugby matches but maybe only two soccer games. I just didn't have the time since many of the games they show are at 3pm on Saturday. So I said I wasn't going to pay €18 a month for channels that I wouldn't be watching.

The guy said that since I was already with them, he could give them to me for €9 a month for 3 months. I thought about it and hummed and hawed, all the time he was being a bit pushy, almost Mrs. Doyle type, saying "You know you want it" "It's only €9" go on go on go on. I caved in and signed up. Sure it's only €9, and I'll have the games around Christmas.

He told me if I wanted to cancel at any time, just call. You also had to give a months notice.

Two of the three months has gone by, and I noticed in my diary that I had a note to call and cancel. So I called yesterday.

I got through to customer service. The guy asks some questions to confirm who I was, and then updated my details before asking me how could he help me.

"I want to cancel my subscription"
"Why do you want to do that"
"'Cos I don't watch it enough, and I'm not going to pay €18 a month for something that I'm not going to watch"
"Ok. I'll have to put you through to an accounts manager to have you disconnected. You'll have to give him this reference number"

So he gave me a number and then asked did I have the phone number, if I wanted to call them again. I was wondering why I'd want to call again but anyway...

"Yes. It's 0818 20 30 40"
"No" says he. "It's..." and proceeds to give me the UK number. I interrupted him and told him I was in Ireland.

"Of course you are. Sorry. The number is 0818 20 30 40!
"That's the number you just gave me. Sorry"

Then he transferred me.

The new guy asked for my number. I said that I wanted to disconnect and I was giving my months notice and that I had a reference number. I read out the number.

"Sorry what was the number? I couldn't hear it. You're breaking up."
I repeated it.
"No. Sorry. Can't hear it"
I repeated it.
"No. Sorry. It's very bad"
I read out the first couple of letters
I read the next couple
"No. Sorry. You're breaking up"

My end of the line was fine. I could hear the guys around him perfectly well as they talk with enthusiasm about who would get the Scottish managers job. I was starting to see why I might want to call back...

"Can you hear me now?"
"Yes that's much better"

I was a wonder how well it improved considering I didn't do anything (since I was calling from my desk phone)
I repeated the number and he managed to hear it all! Wonder of wonders.
He proceeded to ask me some questions to confirm who I was. This was followed by
"Why do you want to disconnect?"
"I don't watch it enough and I can't justify paying €18 a month for something I don't watch"
"Do you know what you get for €18 a month?!" he said with great bravado.
"Yes. The same channels that I'm not watching for €9 a month"
"Why don't you watch them?"
"I don't have the time"
"Why don't you have time?"
"Because I have a life"
I think that the line must have mysteriously gone bad again because he replied
"Is it work?"
I wonder if he use to work with the Samaritans or some other counselling service.
"Yeah" I told him. Anything at this stage to get him to disconnect me.

Then finally he agree to disconnect me in 30 days time.


As a friend of mine said after
"People who think nothing is impossible have never tried to cancel a Readers Digest subscription".

Wii Fit

The Wii Fit has been released in Japan. It'll be some months until it's available in this neck of the woods, unless you want to buy it the Japanese version (and have a Japanese Wii to play it on). If you do then it's currently available from Play-Asia. About €130.

20 November, 2007

More Soaps in Your Eyes

So you don't want to remodel the entire bathroom just so that you can watch TV while having a shower, and you're more of a bath person anyway. Or you can afford to stay in hotels which have television sets in the bathroom. Or there's nothing you like more than watching your soaps while white water rafting....

Never fear - those fine people at Sanyo have just the thing for you. A waterproof LCD portable LCD television.

The battery goes for 7 hours on a charge - you should be good and wrinkly by then!

It's available, in Japan from November 21st - just in time for Christmas. More information from I4U.

12 November, 2007

Red Means Hot

What do you get for your bathroom that has everything - coloured water of course.

Here's a little gadget for lighting up the water coming from the tap (faucet). It will normally light it up in blue, but once the temperature hits 32C (89F) it goes red.

Perfect for those late night trips to the bathroom. Even better for teaching kids that the water is too hot for them. $20 to possibly prevent a nasty scalding - how could you not buy it?

Now if only they made them for taps outside of the US.

10 November, 2007

The Coolest Cooler

The perfect device for Santa to get around to check on who's being naughty or nice.

It only does 14mph/24kph, and he may need the optional back rest.

Look closely and you'll see that it also has a cup holder. 24 cans on the inside and one in the holder.

If you want one you can buy them from here

08 November, 2007

It's Official - He's Normal!

In case you haven't heard, Michael Jackson, formally known as Wacko-Jacko, has given his first real interview for ten years. Ebony magazine has the scoop. (For those who don't know the magazine, their goal is to provide a unique and engaging forum to explore the impact of the world on African Americans and the impact of African Americans on the world.)

The executive summary consists of mostly two points.

1) He is, apparently, normal. Hard to believe, but there it is.

2) His peaches and cream complexion is the whitest to ever grace the cover of the magazine.

Find out more from the Ebony web site

02 November, 2007

What could you make with....

What could you make with some second-hand aluminium (from a crashed 747), an engine from an old Honda Civic, and some seats from an old Toyota?

Have a look here for one guys entry.

31 October, 2007

Halloween Police

I caught a piece of a topical discussion program today on Clare FM. I gather they had been discussing illegal bonfires and fireworks. The caller that I had heard had the novel idea that since banning the bonfires and fireworks hasn't made them go away, that those in charge should "Ban Halloween".

I can just see it now. Kids bobbing for apples behind darkened windows. Police on the look out for illegal pumpkins.

Trick or treating in disguise!

Wireless Photo Uploading

If you're one of those people that just can't wait to upload your photos for the world and your family to see, and your camera takes SD memory, then Eye-fi might just have the memory for your memorys.

It's a 2GB SD card with a built in wireless card. You first connect it, via it's own card reader, to your PC, and configure where you want it to upload the photos. It can upload to your PC, or to a website such as Flickr or Picasa.

Once that's done, pop the card into your camera and start shooting. When the camera is in range of your wireless network the card will upload the photos. No need for any cables or card readers - and if you're not saving to the PC, no need for that to be on either.

A great little idea which is sure to make life a little easier. It should also massively increase the amount of poor quality, badly focused, red-eyed photos which really should have been deleted photos on the internet. There'll probably be a lot of ones which accidentally get past the censor as well.

Too bad it's only usable in the U.S. at the moment

19 October, 2007

Not tonight, I'm washing my keyboard

This should be a requirement for all keyboards and mice - they should be dishwasher safe. It's a great idea. I read it first here and if you want to buy one check out the maker.

They were originally designed for the medical professions where several people are using the one PC. Nasty germ gathering potential there. So thinking of nasty germ gathering, they'd be idea for any family with young kids that love banging on the keyboard while eating toast. Of course that will usually mean banging the keyboard WITH the toast (while watching the Hippo and the Dog singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight").

15 October, 2007

Bah Humbug

I'm already fed up with Christmas, and the clocks haven't changed yet. I'm all for consumerism but give me a break. Some stores are still selling off their summer clothes and yet they have already started putting out their Christmas stuff. I'm well aware of global warming but I don't think Ireland has turned into Australia. It's just not right!

The Christmas stuff is just popping up all over the place. The Better Half spotted a large Santa, hiding behind some vampires and witches in the local SuperValu on Thursday. It was followed by noticing the shopping centre has their Christmas lights up. "At least they're not on yet" I commented to the Better Half as we covered from our initial shock of seeing them.

"It's not dark yet" she replied.

Where will it all end? Why do they bother even taking them down anymore? They should just do like in Grandad's village (he just lives there, he doesn't own it.)

While on a brief visit to Atlantic I noticed that they had their Christmas stuff on display. The Better Half pointed out that it was roped off so that you couldn't buy it. I can only guess that's to prevent the rush of shoppers trying to get the best looking artificial trees.

11 October, 2007

Fit Update

Some time ago I mentioned a new device/controller for the Nintendo Wii, called the Wii fit.
Good news is that Nintendo have now announced that it will be on sale from December. More good news is that the price is about €53. Bad news is that they've only announced the date for Japan. No news for the rest of the world yet.

More info from here.

09 October, 2007

Nomination for a Darwin award

If you're going to work with electric cables make sure you have a a phase tester. This guy hadn't. Mind you I don't know where you'd get one that can handle 10,000 volts.

05 October, 2007

Soaps in your eyes

I like gadgets. (I might have said that before.) But even I know when to say enough is enough.

While having a slight fix of gadget related reading, I read this about a TV for the bathroom. It seems specifically designed for use in the shower. Putting aside the fact that you would probably have to remodel, or at least re-tile the bathroom so that you could run the cables for the TV, I just find myself asking why?!

Why would anyone want to watch TV while having a shower? What is so important that you couldn't afford to miss it while cleaning yourself? How much of it can you really watch while water and shampoo cascade down and get in your eyes? Will people that wear glasses have to keep them on in the shower.

It comes with a remote control!!! WHY?!

Answers on a postcard, or to the comment field...

02 October, 2007

When is a metre not a metre?

I recently purchased a new watch. My previous one has seen 12+ years of active service and was starting to have a couple of problems. The previous watch is water resistant for 50 metres, but the new one is water resistant to 100 metres. This wasn't a feature that I was looking for on either watch, but it's handy to know that you don't have to worry about it getting wet during the course of a normal day.

It is a feature that I've wondered about. Who needs a watch that will work in 50m of water? Nevermind 100m - or 200m or even 1000m. Just to put it in context, most swimming pools might have a deep end of 2m or 3m. A diving pool with a 10m board might be up to 5m deep. The Royal Navy in the UK have a tower for practising escaping from submarines. This allows them to do 30m ascents. The world record for free diving is 214m!

I was on the Seiko web site, and while perusing their FAQ I found this useful information about water resistance in watches. Basically, a watch which is resistant at 50m is only resistant at 50m if it's not moving. The watch should be static and the water should be static. If either of them is moving then the pressure is different and there could be leakage.
Q: What exactly does the water resistance description on my watch mean?

A: The Water resistance relates to pressure as measured in the equivalent of a static tank of water at a given depth under water. But please note, the faster an object is moved in or against water, the greater the pressure on the watch. For that reason, a watch that is water resistant
to 30 metres may leak if exposed to water coming forcefully from a tap, or worn whilst viourously swimming or diving, as the increased pressure may exceed the designed resistance.

So according to them, your cool watch which is good to 30m (the same distance as you might escape from a submarine, as you do), mightn't last washing the dishes if you have the tap on too high.

29 September, 2007

I know I don't need it but...

I like gadgets. I'm a man. We like gadgets and tools. That's how Lidl and Aldi get us to go in there in the first place. How can you NOT buy a kango hammer at those prices!?! I got a soldering iron the other day. It was €7. How could I not buy it?! I might need it one day. Actually, I did need it one day, but that was about two months ago. I resolved the problem without one. But it might happen again and this time I'm prepared.

Since my ethnic make-up dictates that I have to be informed about the weather, and offer an opening to a conversation on it at any time; (Now reread the opening two sentences of the first paragraph so I don't have to type them again. I'm lazy like that.) I have a digital clock and indoor/outdoor thermometer, also from Lidl, for just such situations. It sees more use than the soldering iron, but it's early days on that front.

Now I'm just waiting for them to start selling these babies! I'll start forming a queue now, 'cos you'd never know when you might need it - and when you do, I'm sure the first thing you'll do is go look at it and see what it says!

26 September, 2007

A New World Record

You may be unaware that a new world record for the "World's Biggest Swimsuit Shoot" was just set on Bondi Beach. Over 1000 women in bikinis.

I must admit, that being a hot blooded sexist pig of a male, it one of the photos from the shoot that got my attention, and not some attention grabbing headline. Having admired some of the artistic photos, I did a text search and was interested to find this article on it.

The article is from a respected Australian news site. The whole record itself, I guess, is an example of the Australian beach and outdoors lifestyle. It's a different outlook on things. To further reinforce this difference in outlook, the news site posted the article in the SPORTS section!

I'm still looking for their Spot the volleyball competition.

25 September, 2007

Lazy Blog Browsing

The saying is that a picture tells a thousand words, so just imagine how many words from blogs you can get through just by looking at the photos that are posted on them. You can do this by using the Play function of Blogger at play.blogger.com

It's a nice little function which basically runs a slideshow of the latest images which have been uploaded to Blogger. You can get quite a mix of things popping up. From great photos, to not so great photos, to kids drawings, to medical diagrams, to pie charts etc. If you spot something that interests you all you have to do is click on the image and you'll be taken to that blog.

Grab a coffee, put on some music, and click on play.

19 September, 2007

What could you make with....

I like to think that I can be inventive; that I can think outside the box; solve problems in different and novel ways. As a child I enjoyed making things from left over bits and bobs - or course there was never an empty washing up bottle, spool of thread or egg box to be had but that's a whole different blog. Things from craft books and television programs. Of course most of them never worked out (but if you don't have the parts what do you expect). I digress.

So what you make with the following: a bottle of detergent, a piece of wood and a rubber glove. If you have time, you can also use a vacuum cleaner - but it is optional.

Me, I haven't come up with anything. I probably could, if given enough time and if my head wasn't still trying to figure out what this guy was trying to make with them. It's like a puzzle where you have a rough idea what it should be but you just can't see how it all goes together.

I wonder if he'd seen the device in the make and do section of one the magazines?

18 September, 2007

Practice yar ABSeas

Grab a grog you lubber, and look lively.

Tis almost that most sacred of days..... arrrrr....

Sail on over here arrr....

All the Wikipedia!

17 September, 2007

Mild case of death

I just read an article where a Venezuelan man, who was in a car accident, was declared dead and sent off the morgue, where he duly came to when they started performing the autopsy (as you do).

I'm sure it was a huge shock for the guy. Massive relief (I presume) for his wife, who was on the way to identify the body and finds him sitting in the hallway.

I wonder how the pathologist felt when his patient moved and started to scream?!

16 September, 2007

At last, useful technology

I just read some good news that the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has agreed a new specification for Home Network Communication Protocol over IP for Multimedia Household Appliances.
What this means is that different household appliances will be able to communicate with each other.
Loads of practical uses such as the washing machine sending a message to your television when it's finished washing the clothes.

Of course, the television will probably reply it's got nothing to do with it, and that it should contact the clothes drier or the washing line. Then they'll start talking about the game that's on the TV and nothing will get done.

14 September, 2007

How to be a good father

As a fairly new father myself, 1 year and a week to be exact, I'm familiar with the daunting confusion that can present itself when a child comes along.

In Japan, apparently, it can be even more confusing for fathers, since they're mostly never at home with kids. They're too busy working to support their family. Their partners end up doing all the raring and most of the men don't realise what's involved.

So some guy has come up with an exam to show fathers just how much is needed to be know about fatherhood. They can pay for the pleasure of answering 50 questions and then find out if they'd be a Super Dad, or not. Great idea. Might open their eyes a little I thought. Until I read that one of the questions is
Who played the father in "Kramer v's Kramer"?
Obviously movie trivial is VITAL when raring children - you don't want your kids to catch you out with a trick question.
More on this here

13 September, 2007

Progressive thinking

I recently had the idea that the state (or even just my employer) should give parents the day off for their child's birthday. A novel idea, which has been well received by anyone I've mentioned it to (which hasn't included any members of government, or my employer).

But now I read that one province in Russia, that forward thinking saviour of democracy, has gone one better. They're giving people the day to make babies! Yes, the whole day - not just an extra ten minutes at lunch.

AND. If you (or your partner) happen to give birth in 9 months time, on Russia's national day, 12th of June, you'll win a prize!

Read all about it here.

07 September, 2007

Impulse Buy

A friend of mine (lets call him Wayne) is clearing out his CD collection at the moment due to space constraints. These things happen when you get a kid, and ANOTHER arcade cabinet.

He has boxes of CDs which he's bought over the years, but due to space constraints, and the fact that he has them all ripped to his PC, he's letting them go. It wouldn't all be to my taste, but there were a few titles which tempted me. Dunno why, since I have them already as downloads. An other I just thought, "might have be nice to have it but I'll probably not listen to it". One other that I wanted, as it's an excellent live CD. So there were 4 titles I wanted - kind of.

The one I wanted, didn't have the CD in the box. He doesn't know where it is but he'll have a look. This set me back and took the gloss off my impending spending. The "might be nice...probably not listen to it" didn't look so nice now. The other two, I figured, nah, I have them downloaded already. So I didn't take any.

That's the kind of shopper I guess I am. Almost impulsive, but then I think about it. Will I actually use it? Will what I have at the moment do the job? Is it just a waste of money that I could spend on something that I really want/need. And then I change my mind.

I'm the total opposite of Wayne. He is a marketer's dream. He has to have things. And stuff. Gimmicks, fads, special collector editions - he's the man.

For example, in one the boxes, there was a CD by a band I hadn't heard of. Didn't pay much attention to it. Went through a few more CDs and found the same one again. The only difference - the second one was a collectors edition with a second CD in it.

OK, maybe he really likes them - so much so that he's now selling them off - and just wanted to have a comprehensive collection of them. A bit like his Bob Dylan collection. I think it's safe to say that he has the complete back catalogue of Dylan on CD and is now selling it. I'd say there was about 40 different Dylan CDs in the different box. Including The Best Of...

Me, I would have just just bought The Best Of... but I guess that's the type of shopper I am.

23 August, 2007

It's kinda like, different

An adventure in couscous.

Couscous. A word many people are familiar with. A food product fewer are familiar with. But ask them what it is and you'll usually get the same answer.

"It's kinda like rice. Or pasta."

Of course it's neither, but I'm sure that you knew that already as by now you've gone and looked it up in the Wikipedia (all hail the mighty Wikipedia).

Anyway, one day while foraging for food on the weekly hunting and gathering trip to the local Dunnes, I went in search of couscous. Naturally I headed to the area of the store which contained the pasta and the rice (due to the dried wheat based goods nature of the product - not because it's kinda like rice. Or pasta). The rice section was a couscous free area, and the pasta section (dried and fresh) proved likewise. I returned to the hunting party empty handed.

Then, during an inspirational moment, I returned to same area and tried a different tactic. I asked one of the guys stacking shelves in the area if they had couscous.

"Couscous?!" he pondered, "that's rice isn't it!?" he exclaimed.

"No, it's not actually" but failing to have a mobile device with the entry from the Wikipedia (all hail the Wikipedia) my words were in vain, and I foolishly followed him to the rice section, where I watched him search in vain. With that, I followed him to the pasta section with similar results. Again I returned to hunting party empty handed.

Desperate times can make people do desperate things, and I wasn't going home now without couscous. Inspiration dawned again, and the party headed around the corned to Tesco, and straight to the dried wheat type goods which are some what healthier for you section. There was a selection of 3 (three) different types of couscous. A box of instant couscous was quickly felled and the party returned to base camp satisfied with the days outing.

Some days later during lunch, the Better Half hands me the box and asks me if I notice anything strange with it as I'm "good at that sort of thing". She's too polite to call me pedantic that early in the day.

Not one to shirk a challenge, I read the serving suggestion recipe on the back of the box. I studied the photo. Nothing there, so I read the instructions on the side of the box.

The instructions from the side of the packet are:

1) Place unopened bag of rice into a large pan containing 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of boiling water.
2) Remove from heat and allow to stand for 90 seconds allowing grains to swell. 3) Lift out bag by loop and drain well before opening bag and serving

Serves 2, (650 Watt or 750 Watt) 1) Place unopened bag of rice into a non-metallic bowl. Add at least enough boiling water to cover bag. 2) Cover and cook on full power for 90 seconds (650 Watt and 750 Watt) 3) Lift out bag by loop and drain well. Allow to stand for 2 minutes before cutting open bag and serving.

So what did we learn from this adventure
  • Most people don't know what couscous is
  • It's not just an Irish problem (the guy I asked in Dunnes wasn't Irish. Of course it might just be that their on the job training is so good that they teach them the answers that the customer wants to hear).
  • The problem isn't just with Joe Bloggs, or Joe Dunnes, it's also with Joe Roma Foods (the makers of the couscous). Read their instructions again and you'll see that twice they called the food stuff rice (which is twice more than they called it couscous). On the plus side, I've since re-examined the carton and there is no mention of pasta.
  • Cooking instant couscous in the microwave, in boiling water, takes 2 minutes longer than just putting it in boiling water.

26 July, 2007

Epic Journeys

When I started this blog thingy, I noticed the link at the top of the page which said next blob. I followed it a couple of times, in the interest of knowing the neighbours. One of the first I came across, and I've been following it since, is Annie's European Bike Adventure. To summarise, she's cycling from London to Istanbul. As if that isn't enough of a challenge, south eastern Europe is currently in the grips of a massive heatwave with temperatures of 40C+. Seems to be an interesting (and exhausting way) to see the vast differences in countries and people across Europe.

Last weekend I met a guy with a somewhat similar journey in mind. He's planning on driving from Dublin to Bangkok. He said that some years ago he bought an old Mercedes for £100 (€127 in new money) and just recently he's started doing it up. The logistics of such a journey are quite large. From visa restrictions, customs (some countries don't want people bringing in cars), to security. He still doesn't know to go through Pakistan or to go via the middle east - if he can get permission to drive through Saudi.

It's a huge journey, but he's got a lot of advice from some guys that drove from Dublin to Sydney, in an old BMW. The car started first time, every time in temperatures from -40C to +40C. Something the owner afterwards advertised for BMW.

He's considered taking the easy way out, and taking the bus. Yes. The bus. There's a bus that goes from London to Sydney. (If you want to go check this out.)

In the sense of adventure and exploration, I'd love to do any of these trips, but I don't think I'd manage the return journey.

24 July, 2007


I over heard a group discussion in the canteen today. One of the guys (lets call him John) was mentioning he was buying something which was Lord of the Rings related. John mentioned that another guy we know was also buying it (lets call him Sam), and that that guy, Sam, had an advantage since he was teaching himself elvish.

Yes, elvish. (No, not a strange dialect of English as spoken by Elvis.)

I think it was a master stroke of tactical speaking where John, having realised that all his creditability was quickly disappearing having just mentioned that he was buying LOTR merchandise, had to cover himself. The best way to do that was to hang someone else out to dry, so Sam got it.

I did a quick google on elvish, and it's a scary world out there. Not only do some people have time to learn elvish, but people have time to put up vast detailed web sites on the language. I think that you'd struggle to find such detailed information on any other language (except probably Klingon - which I think Sam may also be learning).

Anyway, the jaws dropped in the canteen, accompanied with a chorus of whats, whys, and huhs. Immediately one of the women got up to leave (probably too much geek in the conversation) when she asked a more pertinent question...

Who will he talk to?

18 July, 2007


Apparently this image has caused offence to some people

I guess they wanted to see Homer without the underwear...

Buyer Beware

Last weekend saw the first offical HD television broadcast in Ireland. It was limited to the trial recipients (and people in the transmission area with the hardware capable of receiving it). According to the reports it looked fantastic. One thing that it did highlight, however, was peoples lack off understanding surrounding digital TV, HD TV and HD Ready.

According to someone on 2FM, all that was needed to watch it was a HD TV. They thought that the idea of being able to watch the game in HD was so great, they were going to go and buy a new TV. They were wrong, and worse, they may have encouraged others to go out and part with their hard earned cash.

Technology is great. There's tons of cool gadgets and toys these days. The marketing people are finding it hard to keep up. I guess that's why they get together to come up with standard labels for things. It makes it easier on the customer to spend their money, while making an ill-informed purchase. Such as spending €1000+ on a TV which has a HD Ready sticker on it, without ever checking if it is capable of receiving and/or displaying HD television.

I've heard of people buying HD DVD players, not realising that there was a difference between a DVD and a HD DVD.

Lots of people have queued up at Lidl and Aldi for their large HD televisions - many without doing much research, apart from that's a good price for 40".

Have consumers become victims of their own success? Do they have too much money? Why do they gladly part with large chunks of cash, without understanding what they are buying?

Most people wouldn't go and buy a sandwich without looking to see what was in it. Why don't they do the same with modern consumer electronics? If you don't know what something can do then find out. Google is your friend!

If you want to buy something, know what you want it to do. Have some basic criteria that it has to fulfil. If it doesn't meet them don't buy it. If it does more, do you need the extra features? Will you use them? If not, look for a more basic model. Have a budget and stick with it. It's exciting buying new toys, and it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Hold yourself back, the next band wagon is right behind - and it's got better features.

15 July, 2007

Dish Network

For the last few months I've been reading up on satellite dishes, television aerials and the likes, with a view towards finally getting things set up the way I want them.
During the course of my reading I've come across an interesting thread on boards.ie which has photos of crazy dish and aerial installations. Dishes mounted using baling twine, swallow spit and bit of bluetack. That sort of thing.

The Better Half came home the other night from a neighbours house. She could barely keep herself from laughing while she recounted the story to me. The Polish guys renting the house next to our friends had got a satellite dish and had attached it to the small wall bordering the two houses. I gather it was more balanced on it than mounted, and it was almost in our friends sitting room. So they asked them to move it - they obliged. Sadly I hadn't heard of the initial installation in time so that I could get a photo, and contribute to the thread.

However, in relocating the dish, they guys presented another photo op, which was the cause of The Better Half's merriment. The description recounted to me was akin to A satellite dish on a broom handle.

Personally, I think it's more like an ultra modern for sale sign. Maybe they should sell advertising space on (to replace the large sticker which is on it).

By the way, for anyone that may be interested, the cable from the dish runs along the lawn and straight in the sitting room window.

The guys renting the house a couple of doors away have a mini, camping style, satellite dish mounted to the drain pipe. I bet they feel embarrassed!

While I'm talking about dishes.... the next morning I travelled to work, parked the car and as I got out I spotted something on the floor of car next to me. I found it quite humorous. So much so that I had to take a photo, and tell everyone I could about it. Please excuse the quality of the photo, but it was raining.

That is a dish (or a bowl) with a spoon, and if the photo was of better quality, you'd also see some milk in the spoon and dish.
This raises so many questions!

What sort of traffic would you have to be in to cause you to eat breakfast cereal?
What type of cereal is best suited for eating while driving?
When do you pour the milk? Before you leave the house or while seated in the car?

In defence of the owner of the car, while it was messy, I didn't notice any stray rice krispes, coco-pops, or any other cereal stuck to the rear-view mirror or else where.

12 July, 2007

One Size Wii Fits All

As someone who's into gadgets, games, technology and the likes, I was interested to try out the Nintendo Wii. I borrowed one for a few days some months back. The games that came with it were pretty basic, but fun. And in some cases tiring. I was working up a sweat after boxing for about 20-30 minutes on it. I think the controllers are a great bit of innovation and a great step in the right direction. While the others are concentrating on the graphics, Nintendo have concentrated on the interaction.

Now they have released a video of the latest controller for the Wii, called the Wii Fit. It looks like a cross between a step for aerobics and an electronic weighing scales. Seems that after some initial calibration for the user, it can figure out the body position according to how their body weight shift on the scales. (See the video here on I4U)

On it's own it looks cool. It can help to teach the user the correct method for performing exercises, and work up to learning yoga. The video shows some basic dance mat style game, which will probably be the initial run of games released for it, but if they combine it with the nunchuck controllers what will be next?!

How about using them together for a first person shooter. Having to actually crouch/prone/jump while playing with a gun in each hand would definitely immerse a player in a game. What about a version of Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia which would use them! If that doesn't get you fit, there's no hope.

Of course it could also lead to scores of people showing up at A&E who have twisted their ankles, or tripped and fallen head first into their large screen plasmas! Still, it's all about the game play experience.

It might be so good that I might be tempted to buy one.


11 July, 2007

What's In a Name

So there I was, yesterday, after making the life changing decision to start a blog, and immediately I was presented with the million dollar question (didn't that use to be $64,000?! - inflation I guess)
I had to come up with a name for the blog!

That's not fair. I couldn't come up with a decent subject, how the hell should I be expected to come up with a name?!! That's not on!

So I narrow the subject matter to inane ramblings about nothing in particular, so I went with the title of "Inane Ramblings". I then have to come up with the name for the URL - Xxxxx.blogger.com
I tried "inane" - it was gone
I tried "ramblings" - gone

Blogger suggested that I go with "inanerambings" so I listened and went with it, and entered the seedy underworld of blogging and proceeded to experience the joys of posting a blog (as mentioned elsewhere).

I was happily playing around with various settings, adding bits and bobs, tweaking here and there - all the time oblivious to the fact that there was a typo desired URL - I'm missing an L!

What's blogger to do? (Not that I'd consider myself a blogger - since I only started this thing yesterday. Unlike the veterans of the bloggesphere which rule the name space that I attempted to inhabit. Check them out... I'll even put the links in at the bottom to save your calloused fingers from hitting even more keys or risking a typo)

So do I up sticks and find a new URL - one without a typo in it? (just as I was getting comfie around here) or stay put (I don't want to risk loosing my audience - after all it was she that pointed out the typo to me in the first place). So while entertaining the notion of moving site, I decided to explore the waters and try a few different URLs, just to see what's available. Much to my surprise - not much. I tried quite a few and most were occupied - or at least taken. To add to my disappointment most resemble the blogs of my originally desired namespace.

http://postnoblogs.blogspot.com/ - a nugget - a blog that's (almost) up to date - it has more than one post

I found one or two names (with a little help (thanks!)) which I might consider changing to at sometime - if I keep doing this. But for now, with that if in mind, and combined with the frustration of trying to find a name that wasn't taken, I'll stay put. Since it might just be the name that a serious blogger wants. I wouldn't want to add to the misery.

10 July, 2007

Inane Ramblings

Pronunciation: i-'nAn
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): inan·er; -est
Etymology: Latin inanis
2 : lacking significance, meaning, or point : SILLY

Pronunciation: 'ram-b&l
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): ram·bled; ram·bling /-b(&-)li[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, probably alteration of romblen, frequentative of romen to roam
intransitive verb
1 a : to move aimlessly from place to place b : to explore idly
2 : to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering fashion
3 : to grow or extend irregularly
transitive verb : to wander over : ROAM
synonym see WANDER
- ram·bling·ly /-b(&-)li[ng]-lE/ adverb

Get the idea?


There I was - first go at this lark, and as they say first impressions last. Well it's not been a good one. Typing away, happy with what I'd put down, I figured what the hell - I'll click on save and then publish my first post to my new blog! I go for it and then get told that
Could not contact Blogger.com.
Isn't that just dandy! Doesn't it inspire one to pour their heart out is reams and reams of bits and bytes, happy in the knowledge that nothing can go wrong - the assurance is there with the little highlighted message
Now Blogger saves your drafts automatically!
Go! Write! Create! Express yourself! Nah forget about 'cos we can't save it.

Computers. The internet. Blogs. All just a fad I tell you! They'll never catch on.

Who Writes This Crap

I always wondered who'd bother their arse writing a blog. I mean what's the point? Having an online diary?! Why?

Worse than that, who'd be bothered reading it?!

I still don't know the answer to these questions, but I figured I'd get on the bandwagon (except I'm so late at this stage, that I reckon the band have left) and see if I can't find out the answer to one or two of the questions.

The few blogs that I can say I've read, or taken a peak at now and again, are interesting to me, 'cos the have subject matter that interests me. This is the key to a successful blog; an interesting subject. This blog doesn't have one.

Maybe it does. I don't know. I guess I'll have to have a look back at some stage and see if that question is answered as well.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I think that I'll get a cuppa before I set out!