Archives for: September 2004

Tue, 28 September 2004

Permalink 03:03:28 am

Doesn't Amateur Mean You Don't Get Paid?

Amateur Boxing Association offers Amir Khan £70,000 a year to delay turning professional for four years. Eh?

Mon, 27 September 2004

Permalink 12:58:44 pm

Funniest Reply To An Email Query Ever :D

The award goes to mp3players.co.uk, after I sent them an email asking why an MP3 player I had sent back by Special Delivery was refused at the delivery address and returned to me unopened. Their reply was:

It was refused because the guy we employed to take care of faulty units decided he preferred the dole to employment. He just resigned 10 days in to his employment and refused all special deliveries,
including yours....

...Please accept our apology for any inconvenience caused but hopefully you will appreciate we had no control over him resigning to be a dosser again.

At least they're honest!

Sat, 25 September 2004

Permalink 07:37:04 am

Windows Update Fix

This post is as much to remind me as it is to help other people. I built a new PC a couple of days ago and everything seemed to go very smoothly. Until I tried using Windows Update that is. I'm using Windows 2000, but I'm pretty sure this will also apply to XP and 98.

I'd done a clean installation of W2K, immediately followed by SP4 & Internet Explorer SP1. Nothing else - no anti-virus software and no firewall (I'm running behind a NAT router so I wasn't too concerned about worms or viruses). When I tried to use Windows Update it would get to 66% and then hang for about 3 minutes, completely freezing the Internet Explorer session. Eventually it would come back, but with an error message telling me 'Windows Update was unable to scan your drivers'. Windows Update.log in winnt shows error 0x800C0008. Searching the Microsoft Knowledge Base and Google brought up a few things to try, e.g. check your date and time or remove the Windows Update software, but nothing worked. Strangely, I also had a problem accessing one of my online banking sites, so I guessed that the two were probably related. If you're having the same problem, here's how I fixed it:

1) Download Dr.TCP from here or here.

2) Run DR. TCP from the downloaded .exe. In the drop down list at the bottom, select the device you use to access the internet, i.e. your modem or network card.

3) Change the TCP Receive Window to 13900 and both MTU values to 1430

4) Write down the URL of this site so you can come back and let me know if it works.

5) Reboot the PC.

Dr TCP

And that's it. Your network settings may differ to the ones I used here, so if it doesn't work first time, it would be worth experimenting. If it does fix it you'll also have the added bonus that all pages should download quicker.

If this has helped and fixed your problem I'd appreciate it if you could just leave a comment to say so. Now if only I knew how to prevent a stop error displaying 'registry cannot load the hive systemrootsystem32software' that forces me to reinstall Windows then everything will be working fine...

Thu, 09 September 2004

Permalink 11:13:02 pm

MP3 Player Reviews - T-Mate Premium (MAH-610)

My MP3 player woes continue. After my problems with the iRiver IFP-790, I received the 1GB T-Mate Premium (also known as the M-Any DAH-610 or the Mobiblu DAH-610) yesterday. The only reviews I was able to find were those on the mp3players.co.uk website, and they were almost all positive so it seemed a fairly safe bet. I'll post a full review in a few days, but suffice to say, it's going back too.

T-Mate Premium

Design
The player is very small and seems fairly sturdy. Although the buttons are quite fiddly, they're not too difficult to press. I wouldn't give the rubber USB port cover too long before it breaks though.

Accessories
You get all the usual accessories with the T-Mate and this player also comes with an in-line (non-lcd) remote control. The first thing that you should do is throw away the headphones and buy some decent ones, as the supplied ones are dreadful. It makes you wonder what the manufacturers are thinking supplying such crappy headphones with a £170 player.

Controls
Not exactly what you'd call intuitive, in fact the exact opposite. This isn't really a problem to me, as it's just a case of getting used to them.

FM Radio
This is the first major problem with this player - the radio reception is non-existent. I have a cheap £10 radio that can pick up all the BBC local stations without any problems. The T-Mate struggles to pick up anything, and when it does find something it's unlistenable. The FM radio was one of the reasons I chose this player over others so this is a problem to me.

Sound Quality
I could put up with any of the other problems if the sound quality is any good - unfortunately it doesn't redeem itself. As I mentioned, the supplied headphones are useless, but even with a decent pair there is very little improvement. The specs say the frequency range is 20-20000 Hz, and if that is the case it's certainly not even across the range, there is a distinct lack of bass or high frequencies. Consequently, the player sounds very tinny, with too much 'middle', and even though there is a 5 band equalizer, adjusting it didn't improve the quality.

15 years ago I had a middle of the range (£50ish) Panasonic walkman that had fantastic sound quality. I find it unbelievable that it's proving so difficult to find an MP3 player with comparable sound quality today.

Tue, 07 September 2004

Permalink 06:57:21 am

Bush Policies vs Cancer

I've spent a fair amount of time over the past few months following the Presidential elections in the US, and you can tell from the links at the side where my political persuasions lie, but it is always good to hear both sides of the story. One of the BBC's 'Have your say' sections at the moment is 'Can Kerry Beat Bush?' Of the comments from Bush supporters, one is typical of many that I have heard:

Our country hasn't been attacked on our soil since Bush had the spine to address the terrorists and take the fight to them.

Or to put it another way, in the 3 years since 9/11, the Bush administration's policies have prevented another terrorist attack. I'm a smoker, have been for more than 3 years, but I don't have cancer - does that mean that smoking prevents cancer?
Permalink 06:16:16 am

Maradona At The Airport :D

You know those flat 'escalators' you get at airports, the ones where old ladies spend half an hour getting on, only to be forcefully thrown off the other end? Ever wonderered what Maradona would look like trying to run the wrong way up one? Thought so.

Mon, 06 September 2004

Permalink 10:10:47 pm

UK Moths Getting More Intelligent

The BBC have been reporting quite heavily today on new research that shows moths in the UK are in decline. The online story is here, and it's also been on the national & local news on TV. Now if it's true, great, I can't stand the little f*ckers. But hang on a second.

The way they track them is by placing light traps to attract the moths, who in turn are gassed; the researchers then count the dead. And they've been doing this for 35 years. Now in that time, maybe the moths have learnt to avoid the traps - maybe it's been passed down the generations, 'here son, mind you don't go near them triangular lights, we lost your uncle to one of them.' So none of this jumping to conclusions that they're in decline - they're actually getting cleverer.

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