Sunday, November 28, 2010

Loft Insulation

With the recent cold (very cold) weather we've been looking at how to make the house more efficient.  Have applied for a cavity wall survey (should be able to get a Government 50% grant) and also ordered more loft insulation via an offer from nPower:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bathroom Designing

Starting to get the hang of this - here's a first draft of the bathroom.  Can't get it to look exactly as I want it - but gives me an idea of layout.  What you can't see is the moisture proof TV, in-ceiling audio, underfloor heating and auto LED mirrors :)

Kitchen Designing

K and I have been trying to design a new kitchen for the house.  It's an awkward space but this seems to work...  Features include servo drawers, a quooker, fridge that does ice for cocktails and eye level ovens :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've been training on the 27th floor of Portland House (Victoria). It has a great view over the City (when there is no fog). Took my camera in for a few snaps...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pioneer VSX-920-K

I wasn't particularly looking for a new amp - but an ad in WIRED caught my eye - controllable with an iPhone app!  Currently I have the TV, AppleTV and Sky+ being controllable from the iPhone/iPad/iPod but the amp is missing and therefore needs a RF-repeater (which sticks out of the wall and violates K's minimalist pricipals).

I found a store nearby to work (HiFi Confidential) with one in stock that would price match and ended up carrying it back on the Tube (14KG box in rush hour!).

The amp is good - key features are auto-speaker setup with an included mic, the iPhone app and built in internet radio (we can get Swedish stations).  However, I cannot figure out the best way to use the HDMI Control and the HDMI switching is quite slow.  Sounds great though - more warm than my old Sony kit.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


K and I went to Cov this weekend to see M. Whilst there we went to a charity gig at a hotel in Birmingham. The hotel was....well....a little Fawlty Towers. I managed to knock a pint over my 7D (thank god it is weather sealed). Fantastic Sunday lunch today though...

Monday, November 08, 2010

HiSpek Electronics - LowSpek Customer Service!

I am in the market for a new AV amplifier - and have my eye on the Pioneer VSX-920-K (more later in this blog).  In my usual way I went about researching on the internet to find the best price and was suprised/delighted to find a store very near me in St Albans with 'internet' prices - HiSpek Electronics.  I called first thing in the morning to check they had one in stock that I could look at and was told they did :)

So, K and I drove to HiSpek - cash in pocket - ready to return home with the amp.

At this point it all went wrong from a customer service point of view...

Firstly the chap seeing me told me that actually I could not have a demo. When asked why he said it would take an hour to swap the cables over. AN HOUR! I enquired why so long for 6 speaker cables and an HDMI – something I could surely do in under 5 minutes. He then changed tack and told me that it was due to the complex wiring situation. YOU DEMO WIRING IS SO BAD IT TAKES AN HOUR TO SWAP AN AMP! He then hit home with the fact that his manager would not let him change an amp on the weekends. I looked around at a mostly empty shop – maybe 6 or 7 customers including us and we were the only people in the demo room looking at AV equipment. I explained that I work in London during the week and therefore could not attend at the weekend. He refused to budge.
At this point I left HiSpek, furious and vowing to buy elsewhere as a matter of principle.

I sent them a note the following day expressing my frustration in the hope that they might at least acknowledge the problem - but no, not even the smallest of apologies.
So - be warned - trying to buy locally might not always be the best solution... back to the internet!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Exposure Joystick Mk5

Finally I've joined the 'joystick' club - this light is awesome and with the helmet mount will give superb visibility when night riding. The Mk5 is 30% brighter but burns just as long as the previous models.

It comes with a nice padded case too - more pics linked in title...