luckykaa: (Robot)
Now that I've disposed of a lot of my junk, I'm starting to consider adding more.

I've had a hankering for a surround sound system for a while now. Anyone know about these things? I'm no audiophile so I don't care about anything more than decent sound quality. And according to this article, there's very little between them.

Amazon does a nice Pioneer receiver and speaker bundle. Cnet highly recommends this Yamaha unit, which is available for an excellent price, but a lot more expensive than that entire bundle.

Do I actually need 7 HDMI inputs? I can actually use all of them (Amazon Stick, Tivo, Blu-ray, PS3, HD-DVD, and occasional PC and Raspberry pi) but then I think the digital out on my TV will mean I don't actually need any. Do I need bluetoth? It's a nice-to have certainly. Should I raid Richer Sounds instead? Always the joy of getting equipment home in an impractical car.

I think I might need to do more research.

Windows 10

Nov. 14th, 2015 12:44 pm
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
My PC came with a free Windows 10 upgrade. I thought the best feature of this was that I could wipe the entire OS and remove any junk that HP felt I absolutely needed. This did mean I had to reinstall the Cyberlink stuff which is actually useful and it took a bit of time to find it, (and work out which of the half dozen applications with names like Cyberlink_HHQTB2 is which). To be fair to HP it seems that there's actually very little shovelware.

So, Windows 10... Feels fairly similar to all other versions of Windows to be honest. Disk drives are still represented by a single letter. Starting with C: for reasons that now seem very quant. Microsoft have put back the start menu - which I never really felt was perfect, but people seemed to like it. Oddly, it no longer says "start", which I thought was the original point. I seem to be in the minority who actually liked the metro interface, at least conceptually. I like the idea of having apps always available. The problem for me was that it wasn't fully integrated enough. I want to be able to put a twitter feed or news ticker at the side of the screen and "full screen" for the app I'm interacting with to be considered the rest of the screen. The legacy desktop should have been just another tile.

There are a couple of features I like. Fingerprint login is pretty cool. Windows has supported this for a while now but this is the first PC I've have that had a scanner. Also the file copy dialog has been improved. It gives a nice chart showing transfer speed. And if there are multiple copies in progress they can be paused. Would be nice if they could be queued instead.

Something thats strange is that there are two settings apps (settings and Control Panel), with overlapping functionality. Actually there's a lot of this. Functionality is spread all over the place. I can never remember whether I want wireless settings, properties, network settings, or adaptor settings to set up the various bits of internet. Apps can be started from the start menu, all apps, the taskbar, or the desktop. Application config is in the registry and advanced system settings.

On the whole it seems quite okay. That's all I really want from an OS. Okayness.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
I just wanted a new PC. I didn't plan to go to Coventry! But Currys had a pretty decent piece of kit on clearance available only from that store.

It's not too long a journey. Mostly motorways. Sadly this journey is happening at rush hour on a Friday. Will have to see how it goes.

Am looking forward to a nice new piece of kit. I've been informed that I will want to upgrade to Windows 10.

Just need to think of a name. Generally I go for a Sci-fi theme.

Furiosa, perhaps?
luckykaa: (Robot)
My poor computer (Quorra) is feeling a bit crufty. Seems to inexplicably freeze for a few minutes shorty after waking up. And I have about 5GB left on my C: drive.

Normally I'd reinstall the OS at this point. But I have other things to do with my time. Also that small C: drive means I'd need to repartition, which means the tedious process of backing up my old disk.  Or, of course, I could simply upgrade the disk.

But at 3-and-a-bit Quorra is getting a little old, and more to the point, I want something a bit better. Intel graphics are fine to an extent, but I'd prefer something a bit more meaty. And that 1366x768 screen has never really satisfied my urge for resolution. I really want 1920x1200. And that's the main factor that's been stopping me from getting a new one.

For some reason, resolution isn't seen as important to the PC buying public. Most PCs don't specify, and it's not something that's listed in mostonline search options. Adding "1080P" to an amazon search lists all the laptops with "1080P" in the description, even if they're just telling me they can output to a 1080P display. Asus have a laptop that offers "up to 1920x1080", and doesn't seem to consider the distintion to deserve a different product number. So that leaves a handful of manufacturers.

Lenovo do seem to care about resolution. Unfortunately they don't care about security. They've installed way too much dangerous shovelware (some that even survives a full reinstall!) for me to trust them at all. "YunSun" seemed to offer a decent range of machines, but there's the added cost of import duty. Also they only seem to come with US style keyboards. I want a european one, with the correctly shaped enter key.

So we're down to Toshiba and Gigabyte (Which may also only have US keyboards). Toshiba seems to have a 1 month wait and I really can't be bothered with planning that far ahead.

To make life even more difficult, I need a DVD Drive. Well, I don't actually need one, but there I do have some stuff on CD-Rom still and will want to rip a Disc from time to time.

So that means I need to work out whether I actually want one of theose Gigabyte PCs.

I guess I'm a bit too fussy.
luckykaa: (TV)
I was tired of slumming it in 720P land. Also I'd run out of HDMI slots. So I bought myself a new TV.

Went to Richer Sounds. Was delighted that the meter parking ended at 4pm.

Told them what I wanted. Seems the only real option with the number of connectors I want was a smart TV. I don't really need a smart TV. My Fire Stick has all the same functionality, and probably more. So does my PS3. And I don't trust Sony to keep the software updated, or support all the on demand services I might want, especially future ones. On the plus side, Sony Bravias do tend to have decent picture quality, haven't done anythign particularly evil in the past few months, and the 4 HDMI slots is as many as I can hope for.

Also, Richer Sounds were very accommodating. I wanted to see if the box would fit in my car. and the manager helped me. It almost did, so I thought I'd chance it and if not get a taxi back. So I paid, tried manhandling it into my car, and knocked the handbrake off in the process, thus almost rolling into traffic. And the steering wheel was locked. Ooops. Could have been worse. Decided to get a taxi. Asked Richer Sounds manager to call me one, but I ended up hailing one as it went past.

TV set up. I now only have one orphan unconnected device. I also have a huge pile of leftover packaging! And the taxi journey took forever! Was planning to drop TV off and ask drive to turn round but I couldn't be bothered with Leicester City traffic. Decided to set it up. Found that while there are hundreds of apps on it, there's no search facility! Still, it did have enough slots for most of my devices so I don't need them.

Satisfied, I wandered back to pick up my car. Realised I'd misunderstood the parking restrictions and rather than free after 4pm, there's no parking at all after that time. Ooops! I guess I just need to consider the parking ticket part of the price.
luckykaa: (Robot)
Amongst my possessions I have an HD-DVD player, a VHS video recorder, a first generation TiVo, an Amiga A500P, a Palm TX and a scanner. Need to decide what to do with these. I do rather like the idea of being past-proof. ("Future proof" is a myth - not possible. Wait for the future to become the present and the technology will be cheaper than the future proof premium)

TiVo. Why do I still have this damn thing? It's obsolete and a total white elephant! Shall throw this one out, I think.

HD-DVD player - I can get cheap HD-DVDs of eBay (which was the entire point). Not sure if I want to. Perhaps I should replace my small collection of HD-DVDs with Blu-ray.

VHS video recorder - well, I have a huge pile of tapes somewhere. Once again I ask myself "Why!?". Because it is and was a good video recorder. But the odds of me remembering I even have all these videos is pretty remote.

Palm TX - Cool gadget, and it was a gift. Obsolete again. I feel very bad about throwing out gifts though.

Amiga A500P - I have an emulator! And this is a museum piece!

Scanner - This one annoys me. It's a perfectly good scanner. Theres nothing inherently wrong with the device. It just doesn't work with Windows 7. I could always just plug it into my netbook, scan from that and transfer. Is this actually worth the effort though? I could just spend £44 on a cheapest scanner I can find (and it will be more than adequate for my needs) and save the effort.

I guess I'm a hoarder. I get far too attched to the gadgets I buy. The end result is I have several boxes full of junk, that should really be taken to the dump, sold on eBay or given to a charity shop. Most of these gizmos, I haven't used in a long long time and still won't. I won't miss them when they're gone. Why is it so hard to part with these things?

MP3 players

Feb. 2nd, 2015 11:57 am
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
I replaced my lost Sansa Fuze with a Sansa Clip Sport. At first I was quite happy with it, despite a few annoyances. I loved that if I dislodged the SD card, it took less than a minute (rather than more than 5) to rebuild the database. I also liked that there was a shuffle option on the song select menu rather than buried in settings.

The problem came when I tried to find a specific song. It wasn't there!

Turns out that it can only handle 2000 songs on the SD card, and 2000 in main memory. I have a total of 4500 songs. Even more annoyingly, I want them all in the same place. For some inexplicable reason, the SD card and the Music folder on the main device are accessed via separate menus. My idea was to shove everything on the SD card, but can fit less than half my music there. Rockbox was my first thought. I need Audible audiobook compatibility and rockbox doesn't support that. Dual boot seems way too much of a hack.

But even discounting that, the Clip Sport was didn't have anything like as nice a UI as the Fuze. That thumbwheel was fantastic!

So I want a replacement. Requirements: Must be new, must be able to handle a micro SD card or have a lot of memory. Must be able to handle 4500+ songs. Must be able to handle Audible.com audiobooks. Must play songs in track order. Ideally has a thumbwheel and shuffle option on the song menu.

And no, I don't want to use my phone. I never have been satisfied with it as a media player.

Option 1: A new Sansa Fuze
Turns out they don't make these any more. I don't want a used one! Also the long wait for a databse rebuild was a pain.

Option 2: Sansa clip zip
May work. Am a little wary of Sansas now. Also I want the thumbwheel.

Option 3: iPod nano
Twice the price of most players. Also the ones I like are out of production. I don't like touch screens! They're unresponsive. I'd love a 3rd gen but they only go up to 16GB and once again I can't buy new.

Option 4: Sony
Expensive again. Bit of an unknown quantity. Also I have a dislike of Sony's anti-consumer attitude.

Option 5: Some other brand
Even more of an unknown quantity. I remember I got my mum an unnown brand,  and the UI was rubbish. It's very hard to actually get a chance to play with these things.
luckykaa: (Robot)
Several years ago I bought myself a Sansa Fuze. It was a lovely device with a couple of idiosyncrasies (takes a long time to index and has a non-standard connector). But it was very easy to use and just felt nice.

Yesterday I lost it. My jacket was on a bench in a bar, and it fell out.

I sent a message to the group. Apparently a waiter picked it up when everyone else left, and asked if it belonged to anyone, and everyone said "no". So, full of hope I stopped in hoping that they had a lost property box.

They did have a lost property box. And a book swhere they log everythng that was found. They didn't have the mp3 player. No idea what happened to it.

Am rather upset. I get attached to my gadgets, and I've had this one for a while.I can use my phone as a temporary replacement but I find that deeply unsatisfying. And you can't buy the Sansa Fuze any more. Or its replacement - the fuze+. The Clip+ is sort of cute but the screen looks a litte too small. The Clip sport might be what I want. I'll miss that handly little scroll wheel.

I'm sure I'll enjoy it still. And I've ordered a whopping 32GB SD card for it. It's time for a new era of gadget ownership.

It will be a thrill when it arrives. But until then I'm mourning the loss of one of my favourite toys.
luckykaa: (Gune)
I have an ancient Deskjet 550C. 

It isn't fully compatible with XP.  It works with the windows drivers but they don't have any coloursmart type technology.  I imagine it's possible to get the HP drivers to work with XP, but nobody's tried. 

This means that black isn't used for the black.  I thought I'd install Windows 2000 on a spare partition.  Windows 2000 gets a little anxious if you have drives larger than 130GB.  Also seemed to think my XP partition was corrupted and seemed to be threatening to delete that.  Decided it wasn't that important and printed using the crappy XP drivers, only to discover my ink had dried up. Or something. 

And it is only 300x300 resolution.

It may be solidly built but it's simply not worth maintaining this ancient tank.  Anyone know of a decent inkjet printer that's fairly compact and doesn't come with a damn scanner?
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
I miss my PDA  The stylus allows for much higher precision tapping.  As a result, the UI takes up less space and that makes having a taskbar a viable option.  Grafitti is a lot better than the onscreen keyboard, and the thing can be connected to a mobile phone via bluetooth. That means that it can be paired with a mobile phone.  Alas, the screen on mine is dodgy, so these days I still use my Palm T|X as an e-reader.

What I rather like about Android is that I have a capacitive screen (plus multitouch), a more modern browser, a faster processor, and lots of sensors.  Also the Google Market. 

Integrating a phone with it is not an advantage.  I prefer the separate devices.  They do different things.  All of the above can be added to a simple PDA.  There's no actual need for an Android device to also make phone calls.  The phone aspect of an android phone is rubbish.  I like buttons.  I like decent sound quality.  I like having a battery life (A typical mobile will last days on standby, an android device barely makes it to 24 hours).  I like having separate devices.  Integration means you end up with nasty compromises.  My mp3 player plays mp3s and does it well.  I want a phone that makes phone calls and a handheld computer that I can hold in my hand .

My choice is horribly limited.  I can have a iPod Touch, a selection of small Android tablets that are way too large, a couple of cheap small android tablets, or a device that is pretty much obsolete.  I could go for the iPod but is that really my only option?  Where are the Android and WP7 PDAs?
luckykaa: (steamy)
On Wednesday I was wondering what I'd have to do over the weekend.

By Friday I had a very full Saturday planned.  By Saturday I also had a full Sunday planned.

Firstlym, I wantedf to buy a Blu-Ray player.  I'd heard rumours that the Toshiba BDX1200 was region hackable.  It's also end-of-line.  Makes actually buying one a bit tricky...  Found one in Comet.  Ex display so haggled a bit.  Then turned out that I suffer from sudden onset dyslexia, and ended up with a BDX2100.  Doh!  On the plus side I did get it cheap.

I was invited to a geeky get together at the Caroline of Brunswick.  I aimed to be a little late because everyone else would be.  My obsessive nature made me feel very anxious about this.  Turns out the pub was empty when I got there except for the barmaid.  So I chatted a bit and exchanged mobile phone tips.  Eventually people arrived.  Yay! 

In the evening was the Castle Greyskull joint birthday party.  I attended.  Listened to people froth.  Found myself way too tired to really interact so left earlyish.  Sorry guys. 

Sunday [livejournal.com profile] erestania had mentioned wanting to see the engineerium!  It's only open once in a blue moon these days and probably isn't going to re-open again until refurbishments are complete.  Gune would have liked the place and converted it to do something completely different from pumping water.  Erestania squeed a lot ina disturbingly cute way over all the pretty steam powerd shinies.  Got lots of nice photos.  Chatted to some engineering geeks - one guy had built a half scale steam tractor.  It was beautiful!  And road legal.  .  Ross the stoker gave us a full description of how the boilers worked and what not to do if you want a boiler to not explode. 

Finished off the day with dinner at parents place. 

I have another busy week coming up. 

Soemhow the house has become a complete tip again.  How!?  I'm never there!
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
My parents have me their old printer, on account of my having a parallel port.  Something that seems to have gone the way of the floppy disk (I have one of them too).  Didn't take that long to get it running.  Printed off a few things quite happily, but then ran out of memory.

[livejournal.com profile] aperrotwas kind enough to give me some leftover SIMMs that he found (they've gone to Silicon extinction as well), and [livejournal.com profile] ingaborg was kind enough to bring them to Welwyn for me (thanks both of you).  Tried installing them.  Printer stopped working.  Tried only installing only one of them.  That worked.  Yay!  20Megs is plenty of RAM for a printer. It should be able to take 36 megs though.  No idea what's happening there.  It's the right RAM and everything.

Still can't get it to print on manual feed .

I'm really not sure this printer was worth what I paid for it.  So far we're on £0.

Am expecting it to say "PC LOAD LETTER" any day now.
luckykaa: (Default)
I was behind a woman at the cash machine at the bank.  She tried putting her card in the cash dispenser bit.  Then another slot that it clearly wouldn't fit.  Completely oblivious to the flashing green light.  I figured I'd not invade her space, so let her work it out for herself while I went inside to use the other machine.

Presumably she failed.  She came into the bank a minute later.  then had trouble with the automatic (button operated) door.

Poor woman.  I guess some people just don't do technology.
luckykaa: (TV)
So, TiVo discontinued their service in the UK, and the programme guide information was gradually evaporating.  There is a fan run alternative programme guide but Virgin offer a TiVo box which has a larger hard disk, 3 tuners, and HD capability, so I figured after a decade it was time to upgrade. 

So, here's a mini review for existing TiVo users.

The new box is actually rather nice.  It still needs to be trained, and doesn't seem to be doing any suggestions yet.  Oddly the remote doesn't have the TiVo logo on it.  The TiVo button says "home".  I have no idea why that is.  I've been playing with it a lot.  One improvement is that the 30 minute cache has been extended to 60 minutes.  The three tuners is good since I never have issues with programmes clashing.  It's nice to have HD capability.  It's actually surprisingly clear when I'm watching 720p.  Wonder if I'd see the difference at 1080p.  Perhaps I should have bought a more expensive telly after all:)

The box has "apps" built in.  iPlayer, youTube, twitter, a photo gallery and a couple of others.  youTube is integrated quite nicely.  Programme information will automatically search for related videos.  Slight oddity is that the various means of getting content are a little oddly distributed. Catch-up/on demand is in the catch-up/on demand menu for most channels but the apps menu for iPlayer and recorded shows are in the "my shows" section.  While the interface is very TiVo-ish it feels a little bolted on.

The search has changed.  TiVo provides full episode guides to programmes and tells you when episodes will be broadcast.  I actually find this harder to use than the series 1.  Can't search by name within a category (or haven't worked out how).  The other minor downgrade is the skip button.  Rather than immediately skipping 30 seconds, it fast forwards by 30 seconds.  I suspect there may be some technical reason for this, perhaps Series 1 encoded time index information and this version records a more-or-less raw stream without time indexing.  Who knows?  Final (?) annoyance is frequent demand for PIN to access programmes recorded after 9 if I want to watch them before 9. 

I do like the new box.  It will take some time for us to get used to each other. 

Must acquire an electric monk at some point.

As for my faithful Gen 1 TiVo  - I really must see about hacking it to use AltEPG. This will involve connecting to the serial port.  This in turn requires making a serial port (TiVo has a jack plug serial connection).  Might have a go at that tomorrow.
luckykaa: (Default)
Well, I'm earning money.  Since this is the only reason I'm staying in this job, I'll have to do some retail therapy at some point.

A lot of the things I want are rather dull things like furniture. I have too many clothes.  I need storage.  I also need somewhere to store my rocket pack.  Houses just weren't built with that sort of thing in mind.  A table would be good as well.  A nice folding butterfly table with integrated chair storage would allow me to host things like board gaming and dinner. 

I do want to buy a flat at some point.  I almost have a deposit.  I can probably get a mortgage. Just need time to look. 

I want a new Satnav at some stage.  Current one has started to keep cutting out.  Will have to go for TomTom because I like the sarcastic Voice of Ireland (apparently an interior designer named Naoimh Tuohy) so much.

I'd also like a new camera but can't really justify the cost just for the optical viewfinder.  The Canon G series is so cool though. 

And a new car.  That can wait until after the flat purchase.  Something sporty. 
luckykaa: (Default)
Still failed to upgrade phobile moan.  Am tempted by the HTC Wildfire.  Despite its issues (low res, cheapish screen), it's compact and affordable and comes on PAYG.  However, after Christmas, they're sold out.  No deliveries ntil tomorrow.  I'm a little busy tomorrow, so shall try on Thursday. 

Today's plan is to make house 10% tidier, do a makeup test for next costume, and posibly try and create a hackintosh if I have time and patience,. 

Today's soup is Stilton and broccoli.
luckykaa: (Default)
So, Christmas turned out not too bad.  Was at parents' friends place and she has space!  Was also round the corner from bearhaus so invated there for randomness. 

Christmas haul included new DMs.  Same as the old ones except newer, and with tread.  Also received new jumper, a wallet, some whiskey, some magnetic ball things and many many socks.  Played buckaroo with nephew.  Decided it's a silly game.  Ate world's biggest ever Turkey!!!!  With bacon and stuffing.  Played Apples to Apples with family and friends.  Drank lots. 

Boxing day I did as little as possible.  Went to see family and friend again and ate the world's biggest piece of beef!  Watched Upstairs Downstairs.  Drank less. 

And today I went into town.  I wanted to buy various bits and pieces for costume.  I found a ray gun and that was about it.  Am also tempted by new phobile.  The HTC wildfire looks tasty but they were sold out.  So that was a bit of a failure.  Will try again soonish.

And have now run out of things to do.  Well, wil be doing the long put-off house tidy.   Need to see people at some point.

Right now am making leek and onion soup.  Yum.
luckykaa: (Robot)
To avoid fear and uncertainty amongst my readers, the resolution of this story is that I bought a USB fax modem of ebay.

As I've mentioned before, the company I work for is an odd one.  While the agency has an online timesheet system, the client seems to insist on using the old fashioned signed/faxed system.  So far I've been using the fax machine at work, but this seems to be not working recently.  I decided it's time to invest in some means to send faxes.

A fax machine is expensive.  I need to send one fax per week at most.  A few shops offer fax services as well, but they're hard to find these days since nobody sends faxes any more.  I have considered an email to fax service.  These are actually quite expensive, at some point I'll have to cancel.  You can never cancel online.  You have to phone up and they'll try and persuade you to stay.  They'll throw offers at you and act sad that you're leaving them.  I'm a sensitive soul.  I don't want to feel I've abandoned them after getting their hopes up.  The feeling of guilt will stick with me for weeks!

What I really needed was a fax modem. 

I have one at home.  I don't have an ISA slot to plug it into. 

Research reveals that mobile phones can't talk to faxes. 

So I went into PC World.  I looked and there was nothing.  I asked the helpful assistant.  He directed me to the right area but did advise me that it was unlikely they still had any.  None were visible.  He went to check with his colleagues, and eventually told me that the last time any of them had seen such a device was back in April.  I was impressed by his efforts though.  PC World seems to have taken to hiring helpful people in recent years.  I'm not used to this treatment.

Alas I came away empty handed.  Nobody wants faxes any more.  And for good reason - when documents are generated on a computer and stored on a computer it is a remarkably inefficient transmission step to not only insert a highly lossy analogue step, but also to add a physical hardcopy.

I decided I'd buy one off eBay.  I may be lucky and receive it by the weekend.  Otherwise I'll just have another yet week before I get paid.  
luckykaa: (Default)
I typically get a handful of text messages in a week, and several on my birthday.  I was roaming for a month and receiving texts is expensive when roaming.  I did want to have a phone in case people urgently needed to contact me though so I swapped out my SIM for a spare I had.  The SIM that came with the phone when I upgraded.  This was the first time I'd used it. 

I prefer the number.  07960 775755 is easier to remember.  Lots of repeated digits.
The data cost is cheaper.  Capped at £1 per day when the Vodafone package I'm on starts at twice that.
I get 6 months of unlimited Mobile Internet. 

I like a portable internet.  At the moment that SIM stays in that phone and the Vodafone one is living in my old handset.

I'm tempted to switch permanently, but changing a mobile phone number is a big upheaval. A lot of people know this number.  I'd have to tell everyone.  It's the number on my CV on various job sites and various other work related things and there's likely to be a transition period while I have to carry both phones around.

I think the main thing though is that I have an irrational attachment to my existing number.  I feel it's become a part of me.  I can reel it off without thinking.  It would take a while before I get the same feeling with a new number. 

I get too emotional about silly things.
luckykaa: (Default)
Responded to text.  Said I will work for next 5 weeks from Weds 24th.  No response confirming things yet. 

Had interview with Rockstar.  I have no idea how well it went.  I was confident and positive though.  The tiredness and apathy I'm suffering from was successfully buried under a positive exterior. 

Happy thought for today:
Up is still on at the cinema.  Even have a movie watching buddy:)

Also managed to break social wall on train home...  Take that shyness!!!

And those who aren't on fb, seeking mp3 player recommendations.  Sansa Fuze keeps resetting and (a) spending ages resyncing music, and (b) losing its place on an audiobook.  Also slightly annoying that it doesn't use a standard USB-B connector.  Any recommendations for a replacement?  Must work with audible.

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