Archives for: January 2005

Thu, 27 January 2005

Permalink 11:32:35 pm

The Bug Digital Radio Review (Pure)

Having given up on my search for a Modular Technology PCI card (£130 on ebay seemed a bit excessive) I decided to buy a Pure The Bug digital radio. It has a timer that you can set to record to an SD card, so it does essentially the same as the PCI card, plus I wouldn't have to leave my PC on to record a programme. It also allows you to pause and rewind live radio.

It's solidly built, quite large, but not excessively so, and has a design that grows on you. Before it arrived I was a little unsure whether I would like the rather unusual shape, but it doesn't look out of place.

When you first switch it on it auto-tunes to find the available stations, then you're away. I live in a bit of a dead spot for FM, but am able to get all of the BBC stations at 100% signal quality and a number of others at between 70-90%.

Apart from a brief play with another Pure model at Christmas, this was my first real experience of digital radio. First impressions were that it sounded good, comparable to the quality of a portable CD player. Certainly not hi-fi, but I wasn't expecting that from a radio with two small speakers.

Then I tried it through headphones >:(. It sounds absolutely appalling. There is a constant background hiss even with the sound paused (not disimilar to the hiss on the iRiver mp3 player I had) plus what I can only describe as a growling sound. It doesn't make any difference which station you're tuned to, so it's not being broadcast, nor is it interference as it's the same anywhere in the house. It's also independent of the volume the radio is set to, which suggests it's a poor quality amplifier at fault. Once I'd heard it through headphones and knew the background sound was there, I was also able to hear it through the speakers.

There are three possibilities - either the radio is faulty, the model wasn't tested properly or Pure know it's there, but have decided not to do anything about it. When I speak to Pure technical support tomorrow, if it's anything other than a faulty unit it's going straight back for a refund.

**UPDATE 28/01/05**
It seems I'm not the only one to have noticed the problem with background noise. I've just found this forum post that describes exactly the same thing. This doesn't make me very confident that I've just got a faulty unit.

**UPDATE 30/01/05**
Spoke to Pure Technical Support. They said that a certain amount of background hiss is to be expected (so bear this in mind if you plan to listen through headphones) due to the amplifier, but there shouldn't be any other sound. It's being replaced next week, but I'm not holding out much hope the new one will be any better.

Pure The Bug Digital Radio

Fri, 21 January 2005

Permalink 07:17:28 am

Europeans on Bush and Americans

The New York Times puts it beautifully:
Before Mr. Bush's re-election, the prevailing attitude in Europe was definitely: "We're not anti-American. We're anti-Bush." But now that the American people have voted to re-elect Mr. Bush, Europe has a problem maintaining this distinction.
Exactly. The thinking goes something like this - in Europe, George W Bush is universally portrayed as being a bit thick. Alright, downright stupid. It is almost unheard of for someone with a low IQ to be voted in to head a government in Europe; you're unlikely to vote for someone who is less intelligent than you are, therefore 51% of Americans must be at least as stupid as Bush is. And does anyone actually believe this empty rhetoric?

Sun, 16 January 2005

Permalink 12:01:02 am

2005 General Election Watch

Some shameless self-promotion here, but if you're at all interested in politics and the upcoming general election, get yourself over to my new site www.electionwatch.co.uk.

Partly inspired by Manic's call to arms at Bloggerheads, and partly so I don't gunge this site up with political posts, that will be my place on the interwebnet to post news & views in the lead up to this year's general election. And before anyone says it, yes, the layout may look a bit familiar - I was too lazy to do a new template.

Mon, 10 January 2005

Permalink 01:14:32 pm

Googlejuice Request

If you have a website, please join me in starting a new Googlebomb. The target is the website of Christian Voice, the organisation who have the audacity to complain about Jerry Springer The Opera, whilst preaching their anti-gay, anti-abortion, racist message, and the link text is ignorant bigots. Once again, ignorant bigots.

**UPDATE 16/01/05**
A fine effort chaps, thanks - Christian Voice are now 1st in Google and Yahoo for the search ignorant bigots. Now it's there I'm going to change the title of this post to try and drop from 2nd.

Sun, 09 January 2005

Permalink 06:07:47 pm

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Quotes

Thanks to UKNova, I recently aquired mp3s of 43 series of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, a total of 219 show (it's not as if you can buy them anywhere). Amongst the most consistently funny parts are Humphrey Littleton's anecdotes about Samantha, the scorer - tales of her in the gramaphone library, recounted before the game Pick Up Song, and the reasons why she is leaving early. Rather than keep them to myself I decided to begin transcribing them. I'm working backwards and have done series 40 - 43 so far - more to follow.

Samantha In The Gramaphone Library - Series 40 - 43
Samantha Has To Go Now - Series 40 - 43

**UPDATE 09/01/2005**
Ok, I've done another 4 series, 36 - 39. See this page for I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue quotes.
Permalink 12:53:15 am

Jerry Springer The Opera Complaints

Congratulations to the BBC for not giving in to the vocal minority, and for showing Jerry Springer The Opera tonight. Thanks to the religious zealots and defenders of all things decent, as without them I'd probably have missed it.

As far as I can tell there were two groups of people complaining - those who objected to the swearing, and those who were worried it undermined their religion. To the first group: those buttons with numbers on your remote control change the channel; if something offends you, use them. And if the god squad are getting this upset that a piece of fiction questions their religion, I presume that none of them have read The Da Vinci Code.

Incidentally, this website belongs to Christian Voice, one of the groups mentioned in the BBC article. Just a quick skim shows that they aren't just pro-Christian, they are right-wing nut jobs. The list of things they are against is incredible: gay rights, abortion, against other religions in the UK, for some reason particularly Hinduism, and the teaching of safe sex in schools. Certainly not the type of organisation I want dictating to me what I can and can't watch.

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