Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You Can Tell The TT Has Started When...

...the weather goes from warm sunshine to cold and pissing down within 2 hours. Welcome to the Isle of Man lads, I hope you've brought plenty of water proofs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Robert Dunlop Dies

Robery Dunlop, the younger brother of Joey Dunlop died yesterday in a crash at the North West 200. Both Dunlop brothers were legends in the world of motorbike racing and were well loved by bike fans all over the world, especially in their home country of Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Road racing bikes must be one of the most dangerous sports on the planet, there must be one of hell of a buzz out of it and I think that's the best way to remember it! Over the years I've lost a couple of friends this way, all you can do is think that they died doing what they lived for. It's still a bit shit though.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Get Paid For Searching The Net

In these times of financial shiteness I guess we could all do with some extra money. A couple of quid here and there woudn't go amiss? It would also be very nice if we could earn this extra money by doing nothing? Walking, breathing, perhaps just dragging our asses out of bed of a morning? Unfortuntaly I haven't found a way of being paid just for breathing yet but what I have stumbled on is a way of earning a few pounds just by searching the internet, something that I guess most of us do just about every day?

Anyhoo, this is as simple a way of sqeezing money out of the internet as I've found. All it involves is you using a new search bar (That's the bar to the right of your address bar on Firefox). This isn't one of those fancy toolbars that install all sorts of crap and kills your computer, there are no ads or spyware things going on. It just adds another search option to the Google, Yahoo and MSN options that are there by default. The cool thing is that because it uses a Meta search of those engines the results you get are also great, or just as good as Googles anyway. It will work with Firefox or IE7, if you don't have those then you can even search using their portnal page. All you do then is use the search bar (or portal page) from My Search Funds to search and they pay you for the pleasure. It's not mega bucks but I'm already up to £3.50 after a couple of days of normal browsing. Once you reach £20 you can withdraw your money, either via Paypal or if you're in the UK direct to your bank account.

Whilst it's not going to buy you a new house it might pay for a few lottery tickets :)

You can sign up and find out more information about My Search Funds by visiting their website here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Gladiators - Ice

Did anybody watch the new series of Gladiators last night? I was impressed. I was expecting the full on Sky hype machine with maybe 10 minutes of action in the hour but to be fair it seemed to fly by. Anyhoo meet my new favourite Gladiator, ICE Fox!

I think that she might be the reason why Sky invented Sky+.

Friday, May 09, 2008

EuroManx Go Into Receivership

Vital to staying sane whilst living on the Isle of Man is the ability to get of it! Unfortunatly then for all us Manxies the second largest airline to service the Isle of Man has today gone into receivership. This means less flights, less competition and you can be as sure as day turns to night higher prices in the long term. Bugger. There has always been the argument that the population of the Isle of Man, the almost non existent tourist industry and the fact that so much business can be done "out of office" means that there is no way that 2 airlines could be sustained/profitable. It's an argument that has gone on since the days of Manx Airlines and it seems every day the people who say nay get proved right. Somebody ends up having to pull-out or go bust. This is life, companies come and go, people lose jobs and get new jobs (the staff down at EuroManx have my sympathy, it's no fun having a company you work for go bust).

The problem I've got is this. Why when it's fucking ab-so-lut-ely clear that as an Island we can't sustain more flights than are currently being operated have the government felt the need to pump yet more millions of OUR MONEY (about 40 I think) into an airport that compared to most other small regional airports is already spot on? All this shit about improving infrastructure my ass, how about concentrating on getting people to travel first? Tourism/business, I don't care, start attracting the people, when you need the extra space you can start thinking of expansion? The current plans for Ronaldsway are equivalent to building a six-lane motorway between Peel and Douglas, just cos we can, cos we're the Isle of Man you know! Thanks to so many people in authority over here only being interested in lining their own pockets WE are going to end up with the longest, fanciest, shiniest regional airport in the UK with nobody using the bloody thing. We rock!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Friday Nights

I used to love Friday nights. Finish work for the week, hot foot it home in the car via the local Chinese. A quick shower, TFI Friday on in the background and then straight to the White House to start the festivities. The first four pints would fly down as the lads would slowly turn up one by one. When there was enough of a gang it would then be a tour of Peel, The Royal, PC, Central, Peveril, Marine and usually ending up in either the Creek or the White House depending on what type of night it was. The White House was always a much better drinking venue but the Creek would often have coach parties in giving you that little bit of something to look at or try your luck with. Along the way we'd talk shit, play pool, argue over table football and just drink until we were at the right level (stumbling, slurring). Every week it would be a toss up of who managed to make the biggest cock out of themselves. The great thing is that when you drink with drunks nobody cares anyway!

Getting drunk without any real cares in the world where the only real problem was trying to get chips out of the Chinese at 2 in the morning when they closed at 12. On the odd occasion that I did overstep the mark with the beer and found myself with a dose of the beer guilts there was always a routine that got me through it. Fry-up, pastie, Soccer AM, watch the local football and then getting ready to do the whole thing again on Saturday.

Friday nights were all about mates, beer, music and just having a laugh, this brings it all back.

Friday, May 02, 2008

PS3 Controller Interferes With WLAN

Just to make a change from senseless ramblings about those money sucking parasites of society I thought I'd post something remotely useful.

One of the other Manx Lads and I recently bought PS3s to complete are gaming setups. I wasn't that fussed as having it as a gaming machine (the XBOX 360 is far superior in all things gaming) all I wanted it for was Blue-Ray play back and media streaming from my house server. It is black and shiny so it goes well with my TV.

To be honest I'm not impressed with the PS3 on the whole but what annoyed me more than anything about it was the flakiness of the media streaming from my wireless network. It just constantly drops out the wireless signal. Music is just about possible but movies are a no go. I wanted a media centre playback device but the PS3 isn't delivering for me. So I've been running tests for a couple of weeks now, hopefully some of this might help out other people having problems with their WLAN and the PS3.

For a start I seriously recommend hand entering all your network details into the PS3. SSID, IP etc etc Doing this and keeping to WEP security seemed to stop any intermittent 15-20 second drop outs. However there was still a serious problem with what appeared to be interference drop outs. Less regular but even more annoying. I've got a lot of wireless stuff in the house, cordless phones, 3 Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, wireless TV signal senders etc All this plus another 5 wireless networks in range. It was a real pain in the ass to narrow down what the problem was.

After some serious investigation I came to the conclusion that the wireless signal strength on every WLAN device in the house was dropping whenever the PS3 was on. The internet was almost impossible to use much to the wife and daughters annoyance. It was then that I had the idea of testing the PS3 controller (it is Bluetooth wireless and apparently plays nice with 802.11b/g/n networks). The tests were conclusive, the PS3 wireless controller seriously interferes with the wireless network in my house. Part of my final testing involved playing back a DVD with the controller turned of (could use the internet fine from any PC in the house) and finally streaming a movie from PC to PS3. With the controller left on play back would crash out after less than a minute. With the controller turned off I managed to watch several movies without any problems.

It should have been obvious really, when I first got the PS3 I had to do a system update, it took 6 hours with my 2Mb internet connection. I just performed another system update this time turning the controller off. It took less than 40 minutes.

What I've now discovered is that if I alter the wireless channel to 11 or greater that the Bluetooth PS3 controller doesn't interfere as much. Unfortunately with the number of wireless networks around where I live this isn't possible because I get such a weak signal anyway that it renders every PC more than 3 metres away unable to connect. So I'm left with the choice of using a low wireless channel (1,2,3) and having great wireless whenever the PS3 controller is turned off or using the high channels (11+) and having a generally poor signal but one the PS3 controller doesn't interfere with (as much).

For now I just live with the low channels and turn the PS3 controller off whenever it's not needed. Of course this means that the PS3 Shop and PS3 web browser are dog shit slow to the point where I can't use them. Luckily I don't use my PS3 for online gaming because if I did it would have gone back by now. My next move is going to be to buy the remote control for DVD/BR playback and give that a go, I'm sure that's also Bluetooth so I'm not hopeful of any great improvement.

From my own experience it's clear to me that the PS3 Wireless Controllers Bluetooth signal is shitting all over the lower channels of a 802.11b/g/n network.

So after messing around with new no fewer than 4 different wireless routers (and numerous settings) to try and solve this I finally found one that worked. It's the Linksys Wireless-N (available for less than 50 quid from Amazon). This routers range extension works amazingly well at the higher more crowded channels. The end result is a router that gives great range/speed and does not get interfered with from the PS3 controller all. Movie streaming here we come! So if you're having the same problems with your Netgear/PS3 controller I suggest you try switching over to that Linksys. I've considered billing Sony for mine but I don't think I'll get much joy out of them?