The end of another year

Well, December 31st has rolled around again, another year over and done with and a new one just about to start.

What of resolutions for 2008? Well I'm still working on mine, got a few hours left yet, to be honest, although I DESPERATELY need to sort my own place out again, that's quite a hefty challenge, so my resolution will probably be career orientated, well I don't smoke, don't drink and I've always been shit with money, so career it is.

Last (this) years? Can't remember, may have been to actually get a car, the previous year's was to sort my damn license out. Achieved (finally!) and crossed off (Dec 14th marked 1 year), I eventually got the car in July, thanks to some parental financial help, and have recently installed my new stereo ;)

I have some ideas for how the resolution will go, well I have some ideas and a vague to-do list for next year's career moves, just need the concise version for midnight.

2007's been an odd one, had some pretty good achievements and at the same time, things have maintained a reasonable status quo, so I think a bit more focus and stuff for 2008 is required to properly move things forward. Not that 07 was totally shite, I kept on the path I decided, it was just a bit of a slow one ;)

Anyway 2008 and Jools Holland are just around the corner, so on with the cheesy countdowns, watching others get wasted and crappy programmes that look back at the events of 2007.

Happy new year!!

Almost Christmas...


Another camera gig, but with a twist...

Welcome to...

The Floatel!!!

Yes it's a hotel that floats. It's also shite.

So all the way up to Liverpool, well Nantwich (which I've just remembered is Greg's haunt, which I didn't remember at the time, sorry Greg) for the hotel then onto Liverpool.

Anyway check out these 'beauty' shots of my room, 'key' and view...

Apologies again for the shite quality, well Nokia apologises in spirit. How's me, sat waiting at Oxford services takes your fancy??

No well, Patrick and some kit then.

Anyway, twas a fun day, despite being a shite hotel and getting bugger all sleep the night before the shoot! Now I'm home an fucking knackered, so my bed and sleep beckons.

Oh yes, that's right I went to see Queens Of The Stone Age at Brighton Dome.

Were they awesome? Yes they were.
Did I suffer some permanent ear damage? Yes I think I did.
Was I disappointed that they didn't play Feel Good Hit Of The Summer? Yes I was.
Was I over the moon when they opened with Hanging Tree? Hell yeah!

Enjoy some shit photos from the shit camera on my Nokia.

Today I was seconded for a little jaunt up to Norfolk (or thereabouts at least) to film an interview with this guy for a BBC Worldwide thing. (Yes, that's pretty much all I knew/know)

All went pretty well, (his name's Richard West btw), the stuff, looks good, sounds good, or at least it did when I shot it, Tom (prod.) got everything he wanted, all cheers....

The guy has a Williams F1 car in is garage!

Basically, we were talking about teamwork in F1, he's worked for McClaren, Ferrari and Williams and now does management consulting.

The guy has a Williams F1 car in is garage!

so got back to the office at a reasonable time, I checked in with the production I'm actually on, then got out early so that I could get home to see Megs and give her, her present and card (as it's her 10th birthday), got a train that was a whole hour earlier than I usually get...what time to I get in??

Yes that's right, the SAME COCKING TIME AS USUAL!!!

The trains are a joke, a big shite joke and I hate them, I pay getting on for 4 pissing grand a year to ride the damn things and they can't even timetable them properly or get them to run to the damn timetables, I was late this morning and I was late this evening.


Still I touched a real F1 car in someone's garage today. :D

...then I'm working full tilt again, is there no nice middle ground?

So I'm back on Resource Review for a spell, the first batch is proving mildly stressful at the moment, with things coming right down to the wire (and possibly tripping over) thanks to some drop outs at the last minute.

Not all ICT stuff on this one, got a good mix, although to be fair, I'm probably looking forward to the ICT Hardware stuff most (although the "Green" and "Outdoor" progs should be interesting), but then that's the geek in me. And filming at Shakespeare's Globe was quite nice and Matthew got several rounds of applause from students of various nationalities for his 'performance' on stage.

Doing some more camera work, with stuff at Brook Lapping and also the odd freelance corporate gig, such as the trip to Bolton and on Sunday just gone was a job for Cancer Research UK for one of their 10K runs at Hampton Court Palace, the day for which started by filming some deer making their way out of the early morning mist, followed by copious amounts or runners and volunteers.

All in all an enjoyable day, although carrying the Z1+Tripod around on my shoulder all over the field, left me slightly bruised :/

The other thing the day confirmed for me was exactly how crap the camera on my Nokia 6630 actually is!!



Long old day yesterday, starting off for me at 4am, driving over to Tunbridge Wells for around 6, then up to Bolton for Lunchtime (thankfully I didn't have to drive that bit), do some filming and then back to Tunbridge Wells and drive home by about midnight. Wake up far too early this morning feeling like I'd been out on the piss all night and doss about all day bar typing up an invoice.

Another momentous landmark appeared yesterday, apart from being my first corporate gig, it was also the first time in my life I'd ever stepped foot inside a football stadium (Wembley Stadium not included as it's pretty much multi purpose and was kitted out for a gig at the time), the one in question being the Reebok Stadium, home of the Bolton Wanderers.

It's smaller than it looked from the outside.


Web 2.0 is all the rage, and I'm registered on various Web 2.0 sites, Facebook, MySpaz, Digg and for a short while now Pownce.

Pownce is apparently like "Twitter on steroids", Twitter is basically the "Status Update" bit of Facebook, it's called 'micro-blogging'.

Now Twitter I've not touched, I update my status on FB a fair bit, from serious to ridiculous statements, and for actual blogging, well.. you're reading it, so I'm still a bit in the dark as to whether Pownce is filling a useful niche in my life, so the features, or the different things you can send:-

Messages:- As I said, like Twitter or the Status Updates on FB. I rarely use the status updates for any real serious application, more that I feel the need to change it on an ongoing basis. I can kinda see an advantage to this aspect of Pownce in that, you can use it seriously and targeted, whereas your status on Facebook simply crops up in the news feed to everyone of your friends. How does this apply? Not sure, it's not as immediate as an IM or text (SMS), is it more immediate than sending an email?? Hmm.

Links:- Looks pretty much like a message except it's got an http tag attached. There are times when you need to bung a link over to someone, I can do that on email, in a Facebook message (which are basically my two main forms of online communication now) or if the person's online in an IM. Hmm.

Events:- Facebook has an events section, allowing you to create an 'Event', say a gig or a party, send that event to your friends, who can then RSVP to said event online. Handy. There are various levels of privacy available, so if you're having a party at your house you can keep the Event hidden from the rest of Facebook, or if it's a gig, advertise it to the world, then, post event, people can upload pics, videos, discuss, all within the event's page. Cheers.
Pownce is a lot simpler, allowing you to simply post the event details publicly or to select friends. Quicker, so for a informal get together a lot less hassle, but for bigger events, more a reminder tool??? Hmm.

Files:- Pownce allows you to send files to other users, a standard account can send up to 10MB and a Pro account ($20/yr) can send up to 100MB files.
Now this for me could be the hidden gem, or not so hidden as the case may be. Email is the usual method for me to send a file over to someone, but a lot of email systems, especially company (corporate if you prefer) ones have poxy 2MB ceiling on their attachment sizes either in or out, not the best as I work in film/video/broadcast and files can be a tad bigger than that! And even some other email providers will start to quake under larger file sizes. Ok what about IMing the file? Well, MSN Messenger is what most people I currently know currently use and file transfer on that it bigshite, sending a sub 100k JPEG is painful enough at times! FTP? Yea there's FTP, I could upload the file to my web-space, send people a link to the file to download it, but then if I'm in a situation where I'm bunging files around, that'll probably rape my bandwidth, plus it's a bit of a hassle.
So the whole File side of Pownce is intriguing, send (potentially) up to 100Mb files, people either pick them up immediately (I think) or next time the log on and it's there.

There are other file options out there, which I've yet to fully explore, there's one called Tubes or something that sounded interesting, but at the time I looked was Windows only, cross platform is better thanks. Then there's the issue of my MySpz headline "How many sites does one man need?"

If you're on Pownce add me, plus if you actually know me I've still got my 6 invites if you wanna have a lookie.

Just been pondering as i commented on the lack of British TV stuff in the iTS, as to what shows i'd actually buy (from wherever) from the store.

By the way, it seems the British offering currently consists of:

Genie In The House (Nickelodeon) - Disturbing kids tv offering
Jongleurs Unleashed (Paramount Comedy) - Stand-Up stuff
Comedy Blue (Paramount Comedy) - possibly British
The World Stands Up (P.... C....) - some Brits in it.

Oh yay.


What would I buy...

Battlestar Galactica (not gonna happen)
Heroes (nor this)
possibly The 4400 as I'm getting into that now.
also The Night Stalker sounds intriguing but dunno what it's like.
My Name Is Earl (dunno what network)
Bionic Woman
- maybe, but again i think it's NBC and I'm not entirely sure if it's good yet.

Yes I am a geek.

Anything British if it were to appear?

Lead Balloon - Bloody good, but it's more of an impulse watch thing as are..
The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, and other similar ones.


Wire in The Blood - but my girlfriend watches it as well, so I'm quite likely to see it broadcast, I have been tempted with the DVD's if I get them cheap enough.
There's nothing else that I can think of that I actually WANT to follow over "watch it if it's on".

There's no way I'd buy any sort of reality or "talent" show.

Well the BBC are ditching production on various dramas, I'm hoping we're gonna see a decent 16-24 episode series that can compete with the Yanks, I've a feeling it's gonna be more expensive one offs and 6 episode blips and maybe another Dr. Wo spin off :/

TV Shows in UK iTunes...


But wait...yep as expected, no British ones. But then I don't watch Dr. Who anyway (c'mon, y'know that'd be the first in there, well if the BBC gets over itself with the whole charging thing and drops the cockPlayer).

So, is it worth it?? Well they seem to have arrived with less fanfare than they did in the States on their initial launch, maybe everything's being overshadowed somewhat by NBC/Universal's imminent departure from the store, but anyway...

I've been waiting for TV shows in the UK store ever since the original launch, my TV viewing habits have changed considerably over the past couple of years, moving away from the traditional schedule driven pattern and more towards a hip, funky on-demand lifestyle for my main programmes with my "traditional" style sitting down watching TV generally being more 'impulse' viewing if you will, sit down see what's on.

So being able to get the series I watch downloaded podcast stylee to my Mac, so that I can watch either at home or on the train to/from work is ideal.

Now of course that option is pretty much already available to me, should I wish to pursue it, albeit, it's not legal and involves file-sharing (BitTorrent has only ever worked once for me, it's shite, don't know what all the fuss is about...or I'm missing something), hoping the description matches the content and that the connection's good enough, oh did I mention it was illegal, thus not something I or anyone should do.

Do I want to wait a good decade for Heroes to reach BBC2? No. Do I have regular access to a Sky Box? Normally, no (I do at the moment but that's not the point).
Sky have done a pretty good job of securing deals with the Yanks to get Battlestar and Lost pretty quickly, the last series of Lost aired literally a few days after it did in the US, so props to them... if I had the option of Sky all the time that is.

So anyway, I'm very tempted to buy a season pass for the next season(s) of Lost and Battlestar (unless that dissappears with NBC which I have a feeling it will...wait it's not even there now!! DAMN!), so again is it worth it?

Well let's have a look..
All 3 seasons are currently listed at £32.99 on the UK iTunes Store, each are the full 23/24 episodes and are the (now) standard iTunes video res of 640x480 h.264, I'm not sure on the file size as I haven't bought an episode yet, i'd hazard a guess at around 350Mb tho, and I'm pretty sure 16:9 & widescreen aren't letterboxed as files.

Compared to a DVD box set, Lost Series 3 will retail at somewhere around £50, so iTunes is cheaper, but then you don't have them on a 'physical' media..get over it, no DVD extras, ok that's valid, I'm normally a geek for extras but for some reason I'm not that fussed about them for the shows I watch, whereas for a film DVD, it could be a deal breaker.

You don't have to wait half a year for the DVD to come out, true, but is that a worthwhile comparison? Kinda as regards the fact that I'm, paying for the episodes, but not kinda (?) as the download is instead of watching the broadcast.

Yeah? But what's the quality like??? According to Apple (for the movies at least) "Near DVD". Oh.

iTunes - 640x480 h.264 QT
DVD - 720x576 PAL MPEG-2

So DVD's are a higher picture quality, on both res and compression, HD?? Not fussed at the mo so we'll leave that one.

What's the alternative download option tho? Well, if you were on of those pirate people, there is the BitTorrent, File sharing option, how does iTunes compare to that?
Well there's a massive price difference for starters, that's assuming you're ok with breaking the law every week. The end product is essentially the same, a single episode each time, no extras, but the BT/FS options aren't encoded by the studios or Apple, they're done by some enterprising young scallywag somewhere over the pond, so surely the quality won't compare to pro stuff that you pay for from the store??

Well let's compare an episode of Lost series 3 (Greatest Hits). I previewed the episode, full screen, in the store and used the standard Mac screen cap for a few shots, then I opened up a DivX version that I'd been given to test with, played it full screen in Quicktime Player (Perian thankyou) and screen capped as best i could the same shots without being too anal about it.
Here's the stats for the DivX vid:

iTunes wouldn't give me the stats on their one :(

Now for the screen caps (iTunes on the left, DivX on the right and hopefully clicking on them will take you to the relevant page on my Flickr account)...

Picture 1Picture 5
Picture 2Picture 6
Picture 3Picture 7
Picture 4Picture 8

Now I don't think there's a lot in it, I think the iTunes one's a bit over saturated, but at first glance, it could be ok. BTW it may be worth noting that currently I'm either watching this stuff on my 19" CRT or my 13" MacBook, not a 40" HD LCD ;)

Anyway, I'm gonna ponder some more in a bit as I have to go out now, but would be interested in people's thoughts on this...

Geordie World

I've been using Microsoft Windows Vista for less than an hour, probably less than half an hour so far and it's already sucking my will to live.

My Ex-Wife has just got herself a new laptop to replace the one she had that got well and truly trashed. I'm not sure if this is a work issued one or not, it's got the Business Edition of Vista on there, but no Office or anything (hence why she came to me to get it set up with Office and AOL for her).

This is my first experience of Vista, my old PC still has XP Home SP2 on it, and that remains in the cupboard for most of the time as I'm pretty much a Mac person now, but try not to let your preconceptions of that get in the way, I still use Windows a fair bit as most offices are kitted out with XP based networks and I've been intrigued by Vista for a while.

There's a lot of posts online (that usually get flamed to shit by Windows Fanboys) that simply state "Vista Sucks", so far, I'd have to agree, since starting the laptop up and going through a few simple tasks it's been a horrible horrible experience;

StartUp - Took it's time (I didn't time it), then this Welcome to Windows type box appeared, well the box appeared then the contents followed a few minutes later all the while teasing me with a "Open this at startup" checkbox that wouldn't un-check until it had fully loaded.

IE7 - Now IE7 is a hell of a lot better than most previous versions, the button that views all of your open tabs in thumbnail, cheers and I've used it on several XP machines. However it took ages to load, changing the homepage was an overly laborious task, it's got Google and Norton toolbars (not IE's fault but it all adds up), it went "Not Responding" for a bit (as does pretty much everything in Vista it seems) and when I typed in a query into the live search field it took a good few seconds before actually bothering to look.

Control Panel - Took ages to load, I had to wait for the progress bar to fill up before it showed anything, then it was a new fangled 'user friendly categories' view, and when I told it to go to classic view THAT took ages as well even just to load the damn icons!!

A brief look around the folders - or not so brief as each one (documents, Photos, Music), with nothing in took a good few seconds to open and display the nothing in them.

Windows Update - No longer has a handy start menu shortcut (that I've seen), so through the slow control panel again, then before it can run it has to upgrade Windows Update, fair enough, yes please, screen goes dark, dialog appears saying Windows needs my permission, trackpad clicks before I've realised and it's installing shit, oh no password input then?....Control panel dissappears.....I wait a minute or it done?... load Control Panel AGAIN, go to Windows Update, run it again, well it seems to be done, thanks for letting me know, XP was all about those damn speech bubbles, Vista's considerably more cagey, balance anyone?
31 updates (approx 60Mb), started at 13:08, it's now 13:33, it's still going.

So is this Vista's fault? Is Vista really that rubbish that it seems to be at the moment? Well that's clearly not the whole problem.

It's an HP laptop (Compaq nx7300), apparently it's running an Intel Celeron M processor (1.83GHz I think) and by the looks of it is kitted out with about 512Mb RAM, and Vista clearly doesn't like that, I'll be suggesting that she maxes the RAM in it as soon as poss (before madness sets in)

So the hardware is making it sluggish, is that the hardware's fault? Not entirely no, the system should be scaleable, you're gonna notice performance differences between systems obviously but it should be useable for Christ's sake! An the vendors should put an appropriate OS on their hardware, XP would probably be reasonably nippy on this laptop, Vista is a wheezing old man.

Aero - Fresh new Windows look, gone is the 'My First Computer' look of XP in is the 21st century snazz of the Vista desktop, get rid of "Start" in it's place the Windows flag, squash the windows control buttons, make the taskbar dark, change the colour of the windows. Transparency? I think I've already mentioned the performance issues here, plus I think you have to pay extra for that. 

13:52 Windows Update has finished and finally restarted, the clock now reads 04:52. Thanks. Change the TimeZone and we're back again. Oh and yay, I have a speech bubble telling me that updates were installed. Thanks.

Everything has a progress bar - Control Panel has one, Help has one, the cocking folders have one, what do you think that tells you about system performance, the fact that they coded a damn progress bar into the folder views!!!

Norton - Before you go off on one, I know it's not part of Windows, but this machine shipped with it and a shitload of others do. Back in the day (we're talking DOS 5 & 6 here) Norton kicked ass, Norton Commander, cheers! Now Norton sucks ass, I tried a Mac version once (thought about it to clear PC viruses off to save me inadvertently sending anything), it nearly killed my iBook, I took it off, cleaned up the mess and all was good. I used to have it on my PC, I took it off because the negative effects on performance were just ridiculous, and guarenteed this current HP laptop would benefit greatly from not having Norton-cocking-internet-safety-bollocks on it. Engage your windows firewall, don't click links in emails selling you Viagara, don't accept random attachments and steer clear of porn sites.

Another speech bubble asking me to "Help Make Windows Better", maybe Vista's chatty after all.

I'm supposed to be installing some AOL and Office software on here, if I'm honest, I'm a little concerned and not at all looking forward to that particular process. I'm typing this on my MacBook btw, mainly cos I was running Windows Update so just left it alone, also because I feel much better typing it on here (despite Safari 3's annoying little quirks)

OK, I need her AOL username/password to d/l the latest version and Office can wait. One final niggle (for now), clicking the big 'power button' in the start menu, doesn't shut the computer down, I think it hibernates it, maybe they should've had a sleeping bear icon instead.

Kevin Smith

His films may be a tad hit n miss, but his Q&A's are top!

(facebookers click ORIGINAL POST or whatever it says up there)

Getting moist yet??

Thanks to the handy Pioneer Removal Tools I got off ebay..

I managed to get my stereo out of the dash, of course the cradle came with it, but still mission accomplished.

Now to get the thing wired in to give me something while I save up for a new one...


And all the Almera has is these two block connectors and the aerial lead, damn.
Looks like whatever car this stereo was in before the guy stuffed it in mine, it was literally ripped out, Halfords have previously quoted me £40 for re-wiring, joy. I can get a harness adapter for around £8, but I still have to wire the damn thing up. Hmm

After many years...

Well it took me a fair bit of time, but I've finally joined the world of the automobiles with a not entirely brand spanking new Nissan Almera, but T reg and in pretty good nick...

And it has a spolier, electric windows AND MIRRORS, although I do need to get the stereo wired in, hopefully that'll stop me humming National Express :/

Btw, too that picture in a Halfords car park, clearly the first place to go (well technically the second, I had to get petrol first.), what do u think I bought???

Also have a token picture of me, behind the wheel about to drive on my own for the very first time...nervous.. slightly yes...

Nothing in particular

Bored, so writing a post, really bored, unemployment starts off ok then turns pretty shit. Starting to get more than a little concerned now, especially on the money front!

On the plus side went to the Brighton Barfly (or to call it by it's 'proper' name The Gloucester) to see Ghosts last night, cheers. I randomly discovered them as one of the free singles of the week on iTunes, then we heard them on the radio (different song), utilised my coke credits to get the album, saw them last night, top band basically.

While all manner of kit was failing, the lead guy started playing a random theme tune on his guitar, put it to the crowd, I correctly guessed it was Beavis And Butthead, cheers me ;) (apparently, according to my girlfriend, that's pretty sad, i don't see it myself)

The first band The Stillers, were good solid comedy rock, the second band, The Sonic Hearts, were better than I thought they'd be when they started, from Liverpool and the lead guy was pretty funny.

anyway, I'm bored, running out of money and bored some more.


Thanks to Simon Drake for pointing this out to me!

NB: Facebookers, this is a youtube embed and doesn't appear to show up in the notes, click "View original post"

New hotness

Coca-Cola are running this little iTunes promotion at the mo, with special packs you can win iTunes song credits, you're also entered into a draw to win an 80GB iPod.... guess what arrived this morning :D

So... without further ado, heres the suitably geeky unpacking shots (as is the law with all new Apple gear), note all these pics were taken with my iPhone.

iPod Unpacking 1iPod Unpacking 2
iPod Unpacking 3iPod Unpacking 4
iPod Unpacking 5iPod Unpacking 6
iPod Unpacking 7iPod Unpacking 8
iPod Unpacking 9iPod Unpacking 10
iPod Unpacking 11iPod Unpacking 12
iPod Unpacking 13iPod Unpacking 14
iPod Unpacking 15iPod Unpacking 16

All pics should link through to the relevant Flickr page and no, I don't own and iPhone :( that is somewhat revealed in one of the pictures too... I CAN DREAM CAN'T I!?!?

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