30 October 2006


I've been using the freely downloadable Skype for a little while now to make free computer to computer voice calls, using a [Trust] headset.

Today though I paid the £10 + £1.50 VAT for Skype credit giving me their current special offer of being able to Skype UK landlines for free for 6 months. The credit I can use for calling mobiles, texting mobiles, calling international, and call forwarding charges (I've set it up so that if I'm not at my computer, calls are forwarded to my mobile, and I pay for the call at Skype's rates which are cheap).

I also paid £20 + £3 VAT to get a Skype phone number for 12 months, allowing people to phone me on Skype. This also provides me with a free voicemail service.

For credit top-ups I have Paypal set-up to allow me to top-up in Skype with just a couple clicks.

22 October 2006

Flickr Pro

I finally got around to upgrading my free flickr account to a Pro account.

What I didn't realise is that my photos were being stored in their original sizes and not scaled down to the maximum free account size of 1024x768. This spared me the daunting task, of deleting most of what I had up, and reuploading and retagging the full-size photos. Truly flickr is a kick-ass service.

MacBook Pro

With me getting Wi-Fi broadband, I more than ever would like a laptop, and with me getting accustomed to a 4600 Dual-Core desktop with nVidia 7600 and 19" TFT - the laptop would require that same feeling of state of the art sexiness.

With the price of the XP laptops I liked the look of, being in the region of £1800, I figured I'd be as well going with one of those MacBook Pros I've been hearing so many good things about. (Note that my knowledge of Macs is limited.)

The price, including VAT, is £1,899.00 and has the following specs:

17-inch widescreen display (1680x1050 resolution)
2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
1GB (single SODIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
120GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory
One FireWire 400, one FireWire 800, and three USB 2.0 ports
AirPort Extreme (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth 2.0, Apple Remote, Power Adapter, Battery, built-in webcam, OS X Tiger, iLife '06

It needs to be noted that I currently don't have that sort of money, but hopefully soon I can make the purchase.

20 October 2006

Microsoft Zune

The Microsoft Zune, to be released on November 14th, and priced US $249.99 sure looks nice; what with that satisfying sized screen it has.

8Mb Baby!

I've just upgraded from 1Mb ADSL to 8Mb ADSL, ie AOL Silver to Platinum. I'll also be getting my first router, with the Netgear one they're sending, and it's wireless.

14 October 2006

Bebo & MySpace

My MySpace page I've had for a while, but aside from the occasional message of interest, I've never been overly impressed. The concept is good but it suffers from poor aesthetics. Saying that though I have been meeting folk through it, and have just updated it a bit.

bebo on the other hand I've only recently joined and am more impressed with. It's better laid out and looks better.

Update: Okay I'm gonna backtrack on what I said. Bebo is good and has its place, but currently I'm having way more fun with MySpace.

11 October 2006

My New Computers

My main system is now a 4600+ Dual Core, with nVidia 256Mb PCI-Express 5700, 19" flat Samsung monitor, 300Gb IDE, 1Gb DDR 400 RAM, aluminium case, Alienware 450W PSU, 16 speed DVD-RW, XP Pro, and 7.1 onboard sound.

The other system, linked by crossover is a 3100+ Sempron, with 256Mb 5500 PCI-Express, 19" flat Samsung monitor, 100Gb IDE, 1Gb DDR 400 RAM, DVD-RW, UPS, and XP Home.

A Brief 40k Update

Since the last post I purchased a Catachan Battleforce, the Black Templar Battleforce & Codex, the new Chaplain with Jump-pack (so nice), a 2 pack of Catachans with Demolition Charges, a 2 pack of Catachans with Heavy Flamers, and the Cities of Death Codex.

19 August 2006

The Beginning of a Sixth 40k Army: The Dreaded Tyranids

On the 11th August I decided as a spur-of-the-moment thing to buy one of the superb new Carnifex models because it a) looked like a fun project b) is arguably one of the best 40k models (although nowadays there's so many great models, but then this also has the size factor) c) is a model you will often/almost always field in a Tyranid army d) is kickass.

Also, having read from front to back the old and new Tyranid Codex and being impressed (especially with the new codex since Tyranids are now better) it was time for me to begin a Tyranid army.

Today I sprayed the Carnifex, and the Tau Commander mentioned in my last post, and based and commenced painting the Tau Commander.

05 August 2006

Back to Warhammer 40k

It's been a while since I made a blog post, simply because I've had nothing to add. Watching a lot of TV programs is all I've been up to. Recently though I returned to Warhammer 40k, after being away from it for about 5 months.

So far I've sprayed 17 Catachans, 20 Dark Eldar (16 Warriors, 2 Sybarites, Haemonculous, Lord), 12 Fire Warriors, 2 Gun Drones, 4 Flesh Hounds, 10 Terminators and 2 Teleport Homers, 5 Space Marine scouts, and a Space Marine with Multi-melta. 73 miniatures. Enough to keep me very busy.

I'm well on my way to completing the painting of the 12 Fire Warriors and 2 Gun Drones, I've started to paint 3 of the Catachans, and I've based all but the 10 Terminators and Space Marine with Multi-melta.

I also bought one of the new Tau Crisis Battlesuit Commanders, which when sprayed and painted, will give me the minimum Tau starting force.

10 June 2006

Ubuntu 6.06

Tried the newly released Ubuntu 6.06 a couple nights back. Like Knoppix it's a live Linux distribution meaning it can run from CD with no installation required.

It's the first time I've tried Ubuntu and I was suitably impressed. It's more polished and less cluttered than Knoppix, and aimed squarely at the non-geeky user.

Unfortunately like with Knoppix I can only get a maximum screen resolution of 800x600 (although I could install it and then download and install the nVidia drivers), but unlike Knoppix it won't even boot on the other computer so I couldn't try it with an Internet connection.

07 June 2006

Retrieving Deleted Files

Three days ago I was tired and had too many things going on, and I deleted a bunch of files, primarily graphics and (irreplaceable) photos, believing until 15 seconds afterward, that I had them stored elsewhere.

Fortunately I know of, and have used in the past, the excellent GetDataBack. I ran it and sure enough I retrieved every lost image. All 238Mb!

Suffice to say I'm going out of my way to get many of these pictures stored online to insure against data loss.

06 June 2006

Knoppix 5.0.1

I've been playing with the just released, Knoppix 5.0.1 (CD version), over the last few days.

If you haven't tried it yet you should give it a go. A free Linux operating system booting from CD and making no changes to your computer. It really is just a case of popping in the CD.

Unfortunately it only wants to give me 800x600 on my main computer, but the other computer gives me 1024x768. Also I can't make an Internet connection in Knoppix, as I don't think it supports USB DSL modems. Fortunately the (AOL) Internet connection is made on the main computer running XP and so the other computer running Knoppix at 1024x768 is already connected over Ethernet, the network having set itself up automagically in Linux.

Yes if you're a geek you did read that right. An AOL USB DSL connection providing an Internet connection for Linux! :)

Far Cry for 50p!

On Sunday 4th June I went to Thainston Market, in Inverurie for the first time. There I purchased: 8 DVDs for £25 (28 Days Later, Dark Water, Dogma, Donnie Darko, Full Metal Jacket, Lord of the Flies (the colour version), The Matrix, The Producers); the book Omertà by Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather) for 50p; a Groucho Marx piggy-bank for 50p; and best of all Far Cry for just 50p!

Okay so the game is getting on a little bit now, but it was the first game I came across, back in 2004, that came just on DVD, and from what little I saw of it, it looked great. I've been playing it a lot the last couple of days and it's excellent.

As for the Dark Water DVD I mentioned this is a film I've already seen but wanted the DVD to add to my humble Jennifer Connelly collection, but wasn't willing to pay the £15 I've seen it for in 2 supermarkets. So this is something of a result.

AOL Internet Sharing Update

A couple days back I finally got AOL DSL (USB) Internet Sharing working.

The new computer mentioned in my previous blog post regarding this issue had been replaced, because the 17" flat monitor that came with it had a green dot, bang in the centre of the screen. And as I'd also mentioned I've just reinstalled XP on my main machine. I mention this in part, because this time around Internet Sharing not only worked but I had to do nothing other than run the XP wizards.

It's either:

Because the main machine that makes the Internet connection, not only doesn't use the AOL software (just the modem driver on the AOL CD and the XP [Internet] connection wizard) but also has never had the AOL software installed and so no remnants or modifications remain after an uninstall, if that is the case.


The main machine that makes the Internet connection had some XP install degradation. A number of minor things not working the way they should. Perhaps this was affecting things.

03 June 2006

The Big Reinstall

Over the last week I've been organising and backing up everything on my computer for a reinstall of Windows XP. The first reinstall on this computer in the two years I've had it. Yesterday I did the reinstall.

The reinstall wasn't essential. I had no viruses, spyware, or major installation problems. I just figured it was time for a fresh installation.

So now I have a hard drive with far more space than I've had since I built this machine. A relief, since for months now, I've been forced to keep burning DVDs to free up hard drive space in 4Gb increments.

27 May 2006

Bon Echo Alpha 3

Just released is the final alpha of the Firefox 2 web browser. Here's what's new since the alpha 2 release.

Update Jun 1st: So I've been using alpha 2 and then alpha 3 for some time now, and both were stable releases. Really I can recommend you use alpha 3 over Firefox Not as many extensions are supported, but it's just as stable and you're missing out on some cute features.

The next release, beta 1, is due on July 6th. Hopefully that release will feature tab overflow as lots of times I have many tabs open and this is noticeably missing.

My New 8.1 Mega Pixel Camera

Just bought a Vivitar ViviCam 8300s digital camera (picture). It's a mammoth 8.1 mega pixel - way more than I'm used to with at first 2.1, then 3.1, and 1.3 on my mobile phone. It also has 3x Optical Zoom. Optical Zoom being something I've always wanted, but never had, until now. It also features a massive 2.5" LCD screen, again more than I'm used to.

I did some checking on Vivitar's best digital camera. The ViviCam X60. It's 10 Megapixel, features a 2.8" LCD, 6x optical zoom, and has anti-shake.

The first two advantages over my camera would be nice but are fine with the lower specs, the 6x optical zoom I could really do with but then when I do eventually get a new camera I'd be looking for a 12x zoom, and the anti-shake feature whilst great is not essential since I also just bought my first tripod.

Another New Printer

With my Epson Photo Edition D68 still all but new, I was given another new printer for fixing a computer. This one, a Samsung SPP-2020, is interesting in that it's one of those printers used for only printing out small photos.

26 May 2006

Remote Control Pro

Although a little buggy, Remote Control Pro, is a great free program I've been playing about with now that I have two machines networked. The free version being limited to remotely controlling just one machine. But then currently that's all I need.

So now, from either machine I can easily control the other as though I were sitting at the other machine. Okay so full screen video is a little jerky, and it didn't like a full screen 3D game I tested, but otherwise the results were pretty impressive.

As an added bonus, from the second computer, I now have a pseudo form of Internet sharing.

25 May 2006

Networking & Internet Sharing with AOL

On Tuesday I installed a second PC, and on Wednesday I got a Crossover cable to network the two. Both computers already had a network card, so that first part was already taken care of.

Networking them was a simple case of just plugging the Crossover cable into each computer and running the Windows XP network setup wizard. Actually I was getting nothing until I discovered my main PC's network card was disabled; something I'd done two years ago when I'd built the machine, and forgotten about. It would have been nice had Windows XP informed me of this, but it appears that's asking too much. With the network card switched on though it took seconds to obtain file sharing.

Now being that my Internet connection is AOL DSL (USB) I wasn't holding out much hope for Internet sharing to work, and sure enough it didn't. The gist I got from searching online for info is that Internet sharing with DSL is simple and straightforward with most providers, with AOL being the notable exception.

One good tip I can give from pottering around is that you can connect to AOL without any of their software. Simply uninstall AOL. It's likely best to then also uninstall the modem driver and reinstall it. Then run the Network Connection Wizard and add a new connection to the Internet. For your username put your AOL email address (not your screen name - so john@aol.com, not john), and for the password put your AOL password. No phone number is required because it's broadband.

Now your computer is more crap free, your hard drive has more free space, and connecting is much quicker.

Unfortunately though, I had to reinstall AOL and return to using the AOL dialer to connect because it meant I could no longer have a network. I'm figuring a lack of a router, so no way to direct the LAN/Internet packets is the cause. And just to complicate matters further, I've read that AOL doesn't like some routers.

21 May 2006

Mobile Phones Lack of True Colour

I've noticed with photos taken with mobile phones, that (lack of a flash aside) it's not the resolution that's holding them back from taking respectable photos, it's the lack of true colour support (i.e. 24-bit/16.7 million colours).

1.3 megapixel is now the norm, resulting in a maximum of a respectable 1280x1024 pixel photo. But compare a picture taken with a digital camera and a mobile phone, and it's clearly evident that the digital camera's picture, has much more vibrant colour and far greater depth of shading, all thanks to its true colour support.

With that being said, I did some checking. Basically camera phones, including top of the range, and those yet to be released, support 262,144 colours. Others have just 65,536 colour support.

One that I did find with true colour support however is the just out, Nokia 6126, which even has a massive resolution of 240 x 320. With the same colour and resolution support is the Nokia 6131 and 6133 but they haven't been released yet, and aren't yet featured on the official Nokia site.

Picture Organising

Over the last week I've been organising the pictures on my free Flickr and Photobucket accounts. It's time-consuming, but worth it. I'm uploading my photos to Flickr, and all other graphics to Photobucket.

Having things stored online is absolutely the best way to ensure you don't lose your personal files (as well as making them highly accessible). Hard Drives go screwy, and disks get scratched or misplaced, but online storage has saved the day for me on a number of occasions, and many a file has been lost because I didn't have them stored online.

17 May 2006

Firefox Usage Continues to Grow

Here's some current figures on the percentage of Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer users.

Firefox now enjoys an 11.79 percent of global use, with Canada at 16 percent.

15 May 2006

USB & Digital Photography

With my recent purchase of a Bluetooth USB Adapter, and a photo printer, I've taken my USB port requirement up to 5, and ideally 6. The problem is, I only have 4 on my desktop computer. So today I bought a 4-port USB hub.

I also installed my new photo printer today, thanks to the USB printer cable I'd got the day before.

With a test print done, it became immediately clear I required some picture frames. I had some, but purchased another 5 to keep me stocked up.

13 May 2006

Bon Echo Alpha 2

Just released is Bon Echo Alpha 2, the working title for the much anticipated Mozilla Firefox 2 browser. I've been following the status of this project for some time now, but since the Alpha 1 release was essentially just under the hood stuff, I decided to wait until the release of Alpha 2 to try it out.

I keep unconsciously moving the mouse pointer to the very right to close a tab. I like the change, it'll just take some time to get out of the habit. The inline spell checker and new improved search box are great, and the new Add-ons feature looks good.

Release Notes | Download here | My submitted feedback

Of interest is that the last of the alphas, before beta 1, is planned for release on the 26th of this month.

Bon Echo Alpha 3 Timeline

12 May 2006

Bluetooth USB Adapter

Another first for me is using Bluetooth. For the last 24 hours, I've been putting wallpapers, MP3s, and .3gp videos from my desktop computer via USB onto my mobile, and firing them over to another mobile via Bluetooth.

In fact today I went and bought a Bluetooth USB Adapter/Dongle for £24.99. Now I no longer have to keep plugging in the USB cable, and the other mobile can now also communicate with my desktop computer. There's now even the added bonus of being able to operate my PC using my mobile.

I also got around to activating my ShoZu account and sending my first photo via them, to my Flickr account.

11 May 2006

My First Mobile Phone

On Tuesday [9th], I finally decided to buy my first mobile phone. Mainly because they now increasily act and feel like pocket PCs.

I wanted one compatible with the ShoZu service, and so from Tesco in Aberdeen, I purchased a Sony Ericsson V600i, for £99.99. (And also an Epson Stylus D68 Photo Edition printer, and 100 sheets of HP photo paper.)

The phone has a 176x220 resolution, 1.3 megapixel camera, plays mp3s, Bluetooth, infra-red, has USB and a cable provided, Java, radio, and a light for taking night photos.

Really the phone's only shortcoming is its limited storage space and no memory card option. There's roughly 20Mb, plus whatever all the files that comes with the phone, takes up. Aside from that though, the phone is fairly excellent.

08 May 2006


Featured on the Flickr site, is a free service called ShoZu, that immediately caught my attention. If you have one of their supported phones, currently 47 models, then you can enjoy instant uploading of your photos to Flickr. A good mobile phone review site, can be found here.

07 May 2006


It's been some time since I posted to this blog, and a while since I've tried out Flock. But with Firefox 1.5 now released, tested, and patched for a good time now, and with a new version of Flock just released, I figured I'd try it out. In fact I'm using its in-built blogging feature to make this post.

From what I've experienced so far of this new version, it appears a lot better than the previous version I used; 0.4.10. That version was the first time I'd tried Flock, and whilst I was intrigued by what I saw, I promptly realised it was still in its early stages of development, and so uninstalled and returned to Firefox.

This version at the very least, gave me an excuse to get a Yahoo account, to allow me use of Flickr for the photo sharing features in Flock. For some time now, I'd been wanting to try out Flickr, and Yahoo's new-improved mail services that aim to compete with the mighty GMail, something I've recently(ish) signed-up for.

24 February 2006

An Update

Since my last post I purchased a pack of 5 Assault Terminators, and a second pack of 5 Terminators. These and the 35 mentioned previously are all ready to spray but have still to be sprayed.

In fact as 40k goes I've done almost nothing (I've played 3 games so far this year), and have spent all my time catching up on TV programmes. Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, and Invasion most notably.

17 January 2006

40k - A Tale of Four Armies

With TheWarp.net quiet at the moment, and me taking a break from assembling and painting 40k miniatures for a moment, I finally have time for my first 2006 blog entry. So it's catch-up time...

Okay so on Jan. 2nd I bought the Games Workshop Army Case. Their largest case, which holds a respectable 216 miniatures. I also bought the Pin Vice for drilling holes in the many miniature gun barrels.

Then on Jan. 12th I bought the 16 pack of Dark Eldar Warriors, the new 5 pack of plastic Space Marine Scouts, and to commence the beginning of my fourth army, the 12 pack of Tau Fire Warriors with 2 Gun Drones. So 35 new miniatures to keep me very busy for a long time to come.

Currently I have the 16 Dark Eldar Warriors all glued. I just need to add their many spikes then they're ready for spraying. The Fire Warriors, Gun Drones, and Scouts have simply been cut from their sprues, and today I'll commence removing the mold lines from the Fire Warriors and gluing them together.