Life

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Oliver Brown
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I’m getting a new computer. Well most of a new computer. And I’ve been considering whether to get Windows Media Centre Edition or not. The first two versions of MCE were rather lacking but after reading a lot I’ve decided 2005 is actually quite cool. What is Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005? Good question. One I didn’t know the answer to until recently. It’s Windows XP a with range of new utilities for working with video, music and images (as well as bits of hardware associated with them) all wrapped inside one interface. The idea is to have your computer as the hub for your whole home entertainment system. Digital Video Recording (DVR) The most useful component is the built in DVR software (sometimes called Personal Video Recorder or PVR). Plug your TV into your TV tuner card and Windows can record stuff straight to your hard drive. But of course most TV tuners come with software to do this. Well MCE does it better to be honest. And you can also get a hardware bundle (ready built systems come with it) that includes a IR blaster. Basically it’s an infra-red transmitter you stick to the front of your set top box (Sky, cable, whatever) to allow your MCE computer to change channels. Disk space The lowest quality recording takes up between 1Gb and 1.5Gb per hour. Reasonable hard drives these days are about 200Gb which gives you about 100 hours of video (leaving space for other stuff). Not really suitable for storage but it does allow you to burn things to DVD. Most of the time. The software apparently supports any content restriction specified in incoming media and won’t let you copy such content of the computer that made it. But it’s still a computer, right? MCE is actually Windows XP Professional underneath. It took a while to confirm (most references are vague about whether it’s XP Home or XP Pro) but I did find a page on Microsoft’s website saying it’s XP Pro. This means you can do everything with it that you can normally do with a PC. One final note… you could always install MCE on a Mac. Microsoft, Windows, MCE, Media Center, Windows XP, DRM, Apple

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Putting dating in context

Oliver Brown
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It’s that day again, April 1st, and boy the internet make it more fun. And of course Google are at again. Personally I don’t think they’ll ever beat Pigeon-Rank but they have to try. The first thing I have to point out about Google is be very careful around April 1st. They have launched a number of genuine services on April 1st (including Gmail) that turned out to be real. None the less I’m fairly sure Google Romance is less than sincere… And another thing, GameFAQs have decided it’s bad to cheat. Romance, dating, contextual, April 1st, April fool, April fools day, fools, GameFAQS

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More Michel Thomas

Oliver Brown
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Sorry to seem obsessed :P My opinion of learning a language with the Michel Thomas CDs has improved - as well as the “Complete Course” 8 hour sets you can get the “Advanced Course”, an additional 5 hours designed for people who have done the first 8. Although I think he only does it for French and German… 13 hours of material. Considering the density this begins to rival Pimsleur’s 50 hours (only available for Spanish and German). He also seems to have lead an amazing life, albeit slightly less amazing than he claimed. But still. Go read about him on Wikipedia. German, French, Italian, Spanish, Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, Linguaphone

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I have an interview

Oliver Brown
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Woohoo, I have an interview. Before they offered me a face-to-face interview they wanted to do a telephone interview first. This consisted of a series of technical questions I really wasn’t prepared for (“What’s the difference between an inner join and an outer join in SQL?”, “What are the restrictions on cookies?”, “What do the HTTP status codes 302 and 303 mean?"). But since they offered me the interview I guess I did quite well :) (On an unrelated note, “Woohoo” is not in the Google spellchecker database but “Whoop” is….) jobs, interviews, web developer, PHP developer

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