Friday, December 25, 2009

English Xmas

Happy Xmas everyone - we woke up fairly early (for us), had some champagne in bed before opening presents.  K got a Kindle, I got a guitar fx pedal and we both got Band Hero :).  We then ate breakfast and playing Band Hero for 2 hours before going to the Station pub for lunch (which was very nice).  In the afternoon we played some more and then watched films.... perfect!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Swedish Xmas

Today is Xmas Eve - or Swedish Xmas in our house.  K prepared the traditional smörgåsbord including xmas ham, eggs, fish, sausages and meatballs.  There may also have been a few bottles of champagne :)  I am now incredibly full and trying to make room for porridge later.  We also did some last minute xmas shopping although I am not allowed to open ANY of my presents until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Job: Thomsons Online Benefits

It's official - I have *just* been told that I passed the security vetting and as such have been offered a new job to start in January.  I will be the Implementation Team Leader for UK and Asia looking after a team of around 10, based in Victoria (London).  So, if you cannot get hold of me next year it will be because I have a new mobile number and email - IM me for my new details.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Girls from Uni

K and I had the girls from Uni over for a party on Sat night.  Also a chance to meet R (L's boyfriend from the States).  Thanks to the snow we had plenty of outdoor fridge space for the crate of champagne K bought.  Party was fun - introduced B to Guitar-Hero and was told to turn it down at 23:30 (sorry!).

Friday, December 18, 2009


I chose a good day to take from work - we had 6 to 8 inches of snow overnight!  Traffic came to a halt this morning all over the county and trains were cancelled.  Meanwhile I was warm in bed watching Discovery :)

I did venture out later in the day to pick up some presents - but had to wait for A and his large, knobbly-tyred jeep.  Perfect vehicle for this weather!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leaving Tera

It was a difficult decision but I have decided to leave my current employer and seek new challenges elsewhere. I've been with Tera for six and a half years and enjoyed pretty much all of it. In this time I've gotten to know a load of people and I hope many of those will stay in touch. As for what's next - there are a couple of ideas in my head but a lot depends on the next few weeks - watch this space!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Back from Sweden

K and I returned from a 5 day visit to Sweden last night. I left with a cold, and Kris came back with one :) We didn't get any snow (boo) but did have a great time with the family and celebrated G's birthday (yay). Whilst there I also met with a friend and was pretty much offered a job - not sure now is the right time to move to Sweden for us though...???

Sunday, December 06, 2009

New COLD clothes

It was cold in Sweden - very cold - ok, not that cold but still quite chilly.  The coat and shoes I bought with me were not quite up to the challenge.  So, K and I went shopping and I got some new cold weather gear.  The coat has lots of pockets and some neat features such as places for your thumbs.  The shoes have quicklaces and serious tread :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

MSc Results

News just in - I was awarded a DISTINCTION :)  WOOHOO!

MSc Dissertation Results

I just heard of my latest results - very happy to find that I received an A3 grade for my dissertation.  Now I just have to wait a few more days (weeks?) for the MSc itself to be awarded.  I am on the cusp of an A or B I think...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SatMap Active10 Firmware 1.4

SatMap released their newest firmware for the Active10.  1.4 includes several new features - the best of these is the 'night mode' which uses a red filter to stop the display harming your night vision.  It now also allows you to reduce the screen intensity in 2% increments once below 10%.  Perfect timing now the nights are drawing in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

House for Sale

Here we go again - we've put our house on the market and made an (accepted) offer on another property.  It will be sad to leave this house - it fits us so well - but fun to start another project.  If you know anyone that would like to live in this beautiful Victorian cottage set in the picturesque village of Knebworth and has £299k to spare get in touch :)  More pics linked in the title.


Saturday, November 07, 2009


A and I went to Caterham today (A is thinking of buying one).  I got to have a test drive which was fantastic.  Also got to sit in the R500 that was on Top Gear (photo).  More photos linked in title...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Network Rail Helicopter

Here I am trying to work in my home office and for the last 20 mins there has been LOTS of noise from outside.  It seems Network Rail are inspecting the line.  Nice helicopter though :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Microsoft Tag

I made a tag - for this site - so if you scan it with your 'Microsoft Tag' enabled phone it'll take you... well, here! :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ivinghoe Beacon

J and I went to Ivinghoe Beacon for a bit of a discovery ride.  I grew up riding in this area so was fairly familiar but could not quite remember everything.  We started by riding up to the Beacon and then across the ridge, we swooped down, crossed our original path and then rode to Ashridge and back.  Along the way we diverted to ride down and up one of the biggest crevasses in the area.  A lot of fun - but very muddy.

Photos linked in the title - and even a little video here:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

HTC TD2 - WinMo6.5 Upgrade

HTC finally released their WinMo 6.5 upgrade for the Touch Diamond 2.  It took about 10 minutes to flash and a further 10 to install and setup.  Improvements are numerous and the speed of the phone remains about the same as before.  Facebook integration is good and the inclusion of several standard programs (voice recorder, remote desktop, google maps, etc) is welcome.  Overall a very worthy upgrade!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Win7 Party

We had the Win7 party last night - well, we had a couple of cocktails and then went to the pub for the quiz - but you get the idea...
In order to impress my friends I invented a cocktail especially for the occasion - the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) - I thought it fitting.
We came 2nd in the pub quiz, too many Hans Christensen Anderson questions...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IFRA 2009

This is where I've been all week - at Tera's IFRA stand.  It is good this year with plenty of places to sit to save your feet :)  Last night was good - a lock in party for all the exhibitors - although the band was questionable!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Windows 7 Party Kit Arrives

The Windows 7 Party Kit arrived from the States today.  It includes bags, playing cards, a puzzle, a table stand, a poster, some napkins, instructions and a free version of Win7 Ultimate signed by Steve Ballmer himself :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Every two years the world's biggest helicopter exhibition comes to the UK.  J and I went to Helitech at Duxford today and saw some very nice (expensive) machines.  Best bit was a short display by an Army Apache.  After the exhibition we wondered around the museum which was free of charge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Insomnia Bedgebury

We did it - 12 hours of night trace around Bedgebury's single tracks.  It was exhausting.  The team covered around 180miles (YES!) between the four of us.  I did around 50 and stayed up the entire 12 hours to do so.  Most of Sunday was pain :)

Highlights include A having to get his chain and rear gears replaced half way through (thankfully the on-site bike shop was open 24hrs), J falling off so may times I lost count, K in the way she turned her tent into an extension of our house (double duvets, pillows, inflatable mattress, etc etc) and the staff running the coffee-shop (also open 24hrs) who we caught sleeping around 04:30.

In the end we raised over £1,000 for charity at
More photos linked in title.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bike - rear shock bearings...

The bike was back in the shop today for one last operation before the night race tomorrow.  This time it was full on open-heart surgery to replace worn shock bearings at the centre of the rear suspension setup.  It took somewhat longer than expected (1 hr vs 5 mins) due to the tightness of the shock in the frame.  Nevertheless, the guys at Marshalls got it all done and it feels all the better for it.  Fingers crossed this is the last set of bearings I'll need to replace for the near future - in 3 weeks I've had the bottom bracket, rear hub and rear suspension go :(

Monday, September 14, 2009

MRP XCG Bashguard

Went out yesterday for a ride to get J's new Trek setup.  My new maxle is working well - but there was another noise.  The bike shop confirmed it is the bottom bracket bearings :(  So, it is booked in getting those replaced before the weekend.  Whilst they are there I've also ordered a MRP XCG Triple Bashguard.  This simple, yet effective device hangs just below the large ring, keeping it safe from trees/rocks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Virgin installed their 50MB/s service today - equally nice was the 1.5MB/s uplink :)

Only problem now is getting my Axis 207W to talk to the new Netgear WNR2000 using WPA2...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Marin Maxle Conversion

I've just dropped the bike at the store to have this fitted - a maxle conversion kit to stiffen up the rear.  The forged dropouts look awesome, so much so I had to get the matching lock-on grip kit :)
Hopefully I'll get it back Fri.
UPDATE: Had to get a Hope conversion kit for the rear hub too, should be here today....

Monday, September 07, 2009


Had a great weekend - we went to S&S's on Sat night for their first (hopefully now annual) 'Peacefest'.  They have a two-part back garden.  The lower field is perfect for camping (about 8 of us set up tents) and the main garden ideal for a stage area, using their walled patio.  We set up a PA, several guitars, keyboards and mics.  Spent the evening entertaining and being entertained.  Bringing guitar-hero and the XBox proved a wise move :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

White Kitchen

We finished painting the doors and cupboards white this weekend - makes a nice change from the blue they used to be :)

Extension - Building Regs

We got the building reg plans through from out architect.  Seems like all is in order - now we have to submit them, pay some money and wait for approval.  At least we can start shopping around for quotes now.

Guitars Re-Strung

I restrung my guitars this weekend, also took the oppertunity to de-funk them and lemon-wax the fret-boards.  New strings play sooo nicely - I always wonder why I leave it so long each time.  I also played around a lot with the Kelly's action to get it lower.

50MB Broadband

There have been some price cuts on the top end Broadband services today. As such I've upgraded to the 50MB/s tier. It actually saved me £3 as I pay £5 a month for cloud storage which is included free with this top-end service. Install date is next Thu :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jackson King V Demmelition Signature Model

Ever since Sonisphere, when I got to jam on the Jackson stage, there has been something missing in my life. Well, now I might be able to fill that gap. I found a local store who can get me one of these to look at this weekend. It is a signature series from Machine Head's Phil Demmel - comes with some astounding hardware and a flight case. It's a neck-through model (like my Kelly KE2) and has all the usual: shark inlays,Floyd Rose, ebony fret board and EMG active pickups. Will see how it plays tomorrow...

UPDATE: Hmmm, had a play but was not as impressed as I remember. Turns out this one was a very early model, and did not even have the hard case. Am thinking about it...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Win7 x64 BSOD - aswTdi.SYS

Oh dear - out of the blue (excuse the pun) I got this - seems some sort of Avast AV issue. Let's hope this is nto a sign of things to come and that they fix the issue quickly. To be fair though, this is the first and only one I have seen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dissertation Finished :)

I couldn't sleep, so instead of watching rubbish TV in bed I decided to work on my dissertation. Ended up completing it - WOOHOO! It is 123 pages (including appendices) and the official word count (excluding the bumf) is 15,158, which is pretty close to the 15k guideline. All I have to do now is print two copies and bind them and then submit them along with one electronic copy. I have to say - I am SO glad it is over, but I don't feel I can celebrate until it is handed in.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kitchen Goes White

In preparation for the extension we wanted to overhaul the kitchen. First thing was to change the colour of the doors and woodwork. It was blue - and is now in the process of turning white. This turns out to be a lot of work! We spray-painted the doors and have been brush painting the rest of it. This would be a lot easier if the gloss paint did not require 16 hours to dry after each coat.... that's my lunch-break for the next few days sorted then!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Padstow Weekend

K and I made a impulse decision and drove to Padstow this weekend to see Grandma. We had a great time - drank champagne, walked around the town, visited an art show, listened to a Jazz concert and even managed a pint in the Red Lion and some of Mr. Stein's fish n' chips (we even managed to find room to eat-in this time). Only problem was having to leave...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dell E6400

My new laptop came yesterday and today has been spent installing all the various bits and pieces needed on it for work. You forget quite how much you have until you have to set it all up again!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Braun 7 790

I finally got fed up of wet shaving when I am away on business - carrying everything through security at airports is a nightmare. So, I finally bought an electric shaver - the Braun 7 790. It comes with a stand that is also a cleaner and a travel pouch. Will see if it is as good as a wet shave when it arrives later this week. Update - it is good, but not as good as a wet shave.

Garden Swing/Parasol

We went to a garden centre this weekend to buy some bamboo cane. We came back with one of these :) A bit of an impulse buy but we got a fantastic deal for the last one in the store.

I'm trying to figure out how to get heating to it...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Quad Core

In an attempt to speed up video transcoding (I'm putting many of my DVDs on iTunes) I bought a new processor for my main machine today. I am upgrading from a Core 2 Duo 2.4 to a Core 2 Quad 2.88 (Q9550). Should be here early next week...

UPDATE: It's here - it's fast!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Windows 7's here - downloading Ultimate x64 (and x86 in case) from MSDN as we speak...


It's official - our planning application for our kitchen extension is on - today our neighbours received their forms and we had this attached outside the property. It's slated for the Parish meeting next week - all seems well so far...

More details here: North Herts Planning Site

Monday, August 03, 2009


Had a great weekend at Sonisphere (Knebworth's Rock Festival). Heard Metallica, Linkin Park, NIN, Paradsie lost - just to name a few. Only annoyance was that my phone was pinched on the last night :( Photos linked in title and vids on my youtube page.

HTC TD2 IMEI 356158020116907 SN HT94BL100586

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dell E6400

The lovely chaps at Dell are replacing my Latitude D620 with a brand new E6400 as the old one keeps crashing due to heat. They say it will be with me very soon, am hoping it comes on or before next Thu so that it coincides with Win7 being released on MSDN.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Front Garden Change

Our white picket fence finally rotted through and we made our minds up on what to replace it with. We've opted for a privet hedge this time - a softer, more natural look than the fence - plus it never needs painting!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hubcap Lost - Replaced

I lost a hubcap a couple of weeks ago whilst in the UK heading for the ferry. Very annoying looking at the car all week with one black wheel. Anyway, Merc kindly replaced it under warranty and I am, as of an hour ago, back to 4-silver-wheeled symmetry again. Thanks Merc!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lowepro's new camera bags

Lowepro have just introduced a new range of their popular 'sling' bags (one if which I own). The new one is wider, more flexible in terms of storeage and offers a padded compartment for a laptop. It also fits airline carry-on sizing - tempting! Need to find a store with them in to see if I need the small or large version.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


K and I just got back from a week in the Summer House at Kivik. It was meant to rain all week but we had fantastic weather - sunny and warm! There are lots more pics at flickr (link in title). We drove over and back this time and the 17.5 hour drive back was still preferable to RyanAir :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Hmmm - I'd like on of these: You put your 3G data SIM in it and it acts like a mini router so you can connect several wifi devices to it. Would be great in hotels or whilst travelling. Or, even as a backup home internet device should the BB fail.

Massive Storms

Since around 09:30 this morning there has been nothing but thunder and rain. Not the usual stuff either - massive trpoical downpours and incredible thunder. Internet has been down twice, Vodafone died for 30 mins - am worried the power might go later :(

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Renault F1 @ Silverstone

K and I were invited to Renault's World Series at Silverstone. Had a great day with the hightlight being K getting to sit in Alonso's car from last year. Thanks to RS for making the day so awesome! Pics linked in title.

Friday, July 03, 2009

12 Hour Night Ride - Knebworth Nights

12 Hours - night ride - for charity :)

OK - I'm in alongside J, A and S. We've created a 4-man team called Knebworth Nights and although I'm never one that does much of the sponsored thing we created this page if you fancy throwing some cash to the BHF:

Snapfish Photos

With V-Media I get 50 Snapfish photos free a month. I just recieved my first set - they are ok but dissapointing.

When there is an outsized picture, instead of shrinking it to fit, they crop it. So, nice landscapes and tall photos get made into rubbish. Not happy :(

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

MacBook Pro

K got a slightly early wedding anniversary present yesterday - a shiney new 13" MacBook Pro. Took 6 hours to transfer her info from the old one to this and most of today for its first timemachine backup. Seems nice though - I like the backlit keyboard!

Monkey Island Returns!

After 10 years it is back:

If you are quick you can order the special edition pack ;)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tiki Bar Gains Fridge

K bought a fridge for the car recently - it will keep the contents 20C below ambient - it also warms to around 60C if needed. It uses a solid-state heat pump making it quite economical. It just plugs into the 12v car socket to work. Best but - she also bout a 240v mains to 12v transformer - so we can use it in the Tiki Bar in the summer :)