It’s been a while…..

I know it’s been a long time since my last post – but as with everyone else in the world (seemingly) – I’ve been busy…..

Just got back from a week cruising the Venetian Lagoon (Le Boat do brilliant “self drive” trips) – Chioggia is MUCH nicer that Venice I have to say…. and Venice Lido is a dump…. but I’m suitably relaxed and feeling like posting something 😉

I’ve wiped the X41 I blogged about last and I’m preparing to get it in condition to bung on E-Bay – I’ve found the restore CD’s, so XP will be put back on to give it that “factory fresh feel”. I’ve got a Vista Upgrade for it too – but I think I’ll just leave it up to the new owner whether to install that or not 😉

Windows 7 has been pre-ordered for all the boxes at home – plus a spare licence (at £50 a pop it was a bit too good to not get my full allowance!)

I’ve also ordered a Xtreamer from to give me some additional options for the TV in the back room (Freeview signal no-worky with the internal ariel I got 🙁 and I can’t be arsed getting an external one and doing all the cabling…..) but this solution should allow me to use the content in my Media Collection wirelessly – I’ll let you know how I get on….

I also invested in a DSLR camera – I’ve been hankering after one for a long time, and I finally bit the bullet a couple of weeks ago – a second hand Nikon D50 with kit lense from E-Bay was my 32nd Birthday pressie to myself…. with a bit of assistance from cash gifts from family 🙂 So far, I’m VERY happy…. I’ll post some example shots from the Venice trip once I get them organised and pick out some good ones….

Anyway – seeing as this is the most typing I’ve done in one go in months… I’ll stop now and try and think of something meaningful to write about soon 😉


Excuse O’Clock….

I know it’s been 5 months since I last posted… but I’ve been kinda “busy” …. 6 weeks holiday: UK – Hong Kong – Singapore – Australia – New Zealand – Cook Islands – USA – UK. No more than 3 days in any one place, LOTS of flights (17ish), 3500+ photo’s and some killer jet-lag for christmas 🙂

Obviously, this break left me with a fair bit of catching up to do – both at work and in my “real life” 🙂

The mini-note (HP 2133) was been superb – it’s everything I was hoping for in a “netbook” – the reviews generally speak for themselves – so I won’t bore you with another one…. but suffice to say it’s now running Windows 7 and it’s flying – much better than Vista I have to say!

I’m hoping to post a bit more now – work is interesting… VMWare is looking like a winner in our investigation of what Virtualisation software to use, Exchange 2007 is upcoming (pending proof we can support IPhones with it) and a gentle roll-out of Windows 2008 (and maybe SQL 2008) is looking likely 🙂 I’m finally getting my head around sysprep – as we’re finally rolling out XP – Vista / Win 7 is a while off due to some DOS requirements (I kind you not!) so hopefully I’ll have some bits to blog about soon 🙂

I’ve also caught the “Twitter-bug” if you’re interested (I’ve had the account for quite a long time – but never really “got it” until recently)

Watch this space……


I want one….. please let me beta test this?

I’ve NEVER been as excited about a Microsoft announcement as I am about this one.

Charlie, I’d more than like to test this – I’d LOVE to…… I think I’d be a perfect example of what you need to test it – data syncing using a combination of Foldershare and SyncToy and a bunch of batch files / ftp’s etc. 

Music / Photo’s / Documents etc. on 3 Laptops and 4 PC’s, Firewire attached disks with loads of storage and multiple copies of all my data – I’ve probably got in the region of half a terabyte of backups dotted around my house (and with my parents for offsite storage) – all being updated (at least) once a day (if not in real-time) and weekly / monthly archives I’ve got for a final worst-case rollback…

Please, please, please can I it? I’ll test any hardware you like – it doesn’t need to be the HP kit – although it’s rather nice and might just have the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) that I’ve been looking for – the heat / noise / power use combo that my current strategy has is something of a problem on the WAF front – it’s not very popular – but probably not a Divorcable Offense like losing all of it!!

The Xbox360 is coming soon to complete the setup – and one of these to go with it would be perfect – it might just justify the 360 – anything that makes it easy to show off the wedding photo’s whilst streaming the music to go with them would be considered a “Good Thing” TM

The ideas that Rick has are excellent and to have voiced them a year ago is visionary, I have to agree with him that they could have done more – but for version 1.0 it’s looking pretty good!

So, if there’s anyone out there from the Windows Home Server team that wants to send me some test kit – I’d be more than happy to give it a trial run?


Microsoft Max – Hello Killer??

One of the first things to come out of Microsoft’s PDC is Max a photo “organiser” and sharing tool.

I grabbed a copy* and had a play to see if it was any good… and it is… sort of…. it’s no Picasa as it has no editing capabilities – but it does allow you to do Hello-esque photo-sharing (I don’t know anyone else who has it yet… so I haven’t really been able to test that side of it fully – but I’ll get Grasshoppermind on the case later….

* it’s a tiny initial download – but don’t let that fool you – it automatically goes off to get the handily named “WinFX Beta 2 Core Redistributable Package” when you start the install

The interface is clean – but not hugely intuative (but neither is the Picasa / Hello integration…) and it’s not the fastest software in the world – but my test PC istn’t bleeding edge either…. According to

Microsoft Max requires a minimum of:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Microsoft Windows XP Professional with SP2. (Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition not supported.)
  • 1.0 gigahertz (GHz) processor.
  • 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM.
  • 200 MB of available hard disk space.
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) resolution monitor.

All in all, I’d say that the jury is out for now – but it’s a very “nice” demo of things to come in Vista. For more information, have a look at their Blog


Super Cool Flickr add-in app

The team at airtightinteractive have a superb flash application that lets you select a tag – and see all the flickr photo’s relating to it.

They also do a variant called simpleviewer that you can run on your own site – I have it running here. I spent about 40 minutes setting it up – and most of that (probably 25 minutes or so) was spent finding a way to generate the thumbnails as my hosting company doesn’t support the GD Imaging Library.

I ended up using Easy Thumbnails from Fookes Software, it’s free, quick and fairly easy to use – and only a 1Mb download!

Give it a go – it’s easy free and looks really nice….. my only complaint is that I can’t change the layout / positioning of stuff in the flash page….. no biggy!!

Thanks to Grasshoppermind for the original heads-up on this.



SpreadHello is a newly created community site for promoting the use / enjoyment of Hello – the Picasa add-on that allows you to publish your photo’s straight to your Blogger blog, or share them with friends / family quickly and easily….

I looks like a great site, and I wish Yogarine the very best of luck with it – I strongly recommend it to you if you are a Picasa or Hello user – try it…… what’s the worst that could happen???