Personal

No computer - no internet

Oliver Brown
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Not having a computer also means that I don’t have internet access outside of work… I say this just to make it look like I’m still updating the blog. Internet

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Computer not here…

Oliver Brown
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My new computer has still yet to arrive. I was expecting to be able to write a hands on review of MCE by now… Windows, MCE, Media Centre, Windows XP

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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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ASP.NET sucks

Oliver Brown
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I recently bought a book about ASP.NET: Pro ASP.NET in C# by Apress, mainly because when I was looking for jobs there were lots of ASP.NET jobs advertised. And I have to say I have no idea why. Part of the problem may be that is book isn’t very good (there are bits of vague contradictions and a general obsessive (and inaccurate) preachiness about it) but I think there are major limitations to ASP.NET.

Firstly the inability to post to a different page. Who the hell decided that was good idea? I know it can be faked but that’s just silly. And you can only really have one form on a page. Well you can only have one “rich” form that ASP.NET can access in a clever and high level way.

I’m assuming people will disagree with me (if not, why is it so popular). If you do, please explain why ASP.NET is supposed to be so amazing because I don’t see it…

Updated - Clarifying my position on ASP.net

Blue screen of death

Oliver Brown
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My computer is now essentially dead. Luckily I have internet access at work and an hour lunch break :D It’s been getting increasingly unstable for the past month or so giving me random blue screens of death. Sometimes I get a driver reference that caused the problem (and they are different drivers each time) and sometimes I don’t. Yesterday it managed to crash while trying to display the Windows log-in screen and I was left with just a cursor on black screen. Since I now have money and it’s old anyway (Athlon 1.2GHz - back when AMD named their processor after their real speed) I’m not so bothered. blue screen

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Star Trek XI announced

Oliver Brown
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Ironically I found this out while reading an article on a wrestling site. Apparently the new movie will be directed and produced by J.J. Abrams, a guy famous for Lost, Alias and Mission Impossible: III and is scheduled for a 2008 release. In a risky move the story will apparently focus on Kirk and Spock’s first meeting at the accademy during the early days of the Federation. How they do that with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as old as they are is a beyond me, unless they use new actors which is an immensely bad idea. Oh and they’re apparently not involving Rick Berman in the project at all… Info on StarTrek.com. Star Trek, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, science fiction, sci-fi, TV

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One year anniversary

Oliver Brown
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Ooooh, the blog has been up for a whole year :D anniversary, blogging, Oliver Brown, OliverBrown.me.uk

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Free broadband from TalkTalk

Oliver Brown
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TalkTalk (from the Carphone Warehouse) are offering “free” broadband. The deal is you sign up to TalkTalk as your phone provider (£11 line rental a month - the same as BT), take out one of the call plans for 18 months (£9.99 a month which includes unlimited* local, national and international** calls) and pay a £29.99 setup fee. For this you get up to 8Mb broadband (very likely to be lower though) with a 40Gb download limit and an ADSL modem. Total cost (for 18 months): £407.81, about £22.66 a month. Seems like a good deal… TalkTalk * Calls must last less than 70 minutes. ** To a list of 28 countries including America, Australia and most of Europe.

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Silly company

Oliver Brown
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I have content from various ad companies on my site that I get paid for. It’s not much but it can add up and at least pays for the hosting. I realised I was owed some money from one of them that I hadn’t logged into for ages. So I logged in, checked my details were correct, set payment to “PayPal” and left. Unfortunately I changed it over too late. They sent my first payment as a cheque. As I said it isn’t that much; yesterday I received a cheque for $4.33. I’m not even sure I can deposit that in my account - whenever I’ve done it before with foreign cheques there is quite a large charge (larger than $4.33). Silly company. advertising, websites, blogging, PayPal

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No Bret Hart at Wrestlemania

Oliver Brown
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Somewhat disappointingly, but not exactly surprisingly, Bret Hart was not at Wrestlemania 22. There was some vague announcement by Howard Finkel before the Hall of Fame inductees were present about Bret being uncomfortable with the show. wrestling, WWE, WWF, Wrestlemania 22

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