Another day on the Motorways of the UK

Watch this it’s Unmissable!!

Published in: on 26 September, 2008 at 02:08  Comments (5)  
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Free air travel

Well, as much as it can be…

I just got my usual Aer Lingus flight deal email and it turns out the nearly all the Irish carriers are offering free flights to Cork, Dublin and Belfast – all you pay is taxes etc. This means a return flight to Cork is £46.26.

This is great as I can now go and see my Dentist on a day return again – however, I really want to spend some time in the emerald isle, so as yet I haven’t made my mind up typically. I also need to mentally winge at the cost of fuel for the car and the price of airport carparking – go figure! LOL

Published in: on 23 September, 2008 at 09:57  Comments (1)  
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Ian Hislop’s gaffe about Sarah Palin



Published in: on 23 September, 2008 at 08:17  Comments (5)  
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The iPod, a 1970’s British relic?

Yes, you read that right…

It turns out that a brit inventer Kane Kramer, came up with the iPod or ‘PIXYS’ in 1979 and is now wrapped in a legal battle with Apple. Apple who have actually used Kramer as a consultant.

Fox News has the story

Published in: on 21 September, 2008 at 05:04  Comments (1)  
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Need extra storage for your files?

When I’m asked what wifi router to buy, dependant of budget of the person asking, anyone who knows me knows there is only one name that is a cut above all others – Linksys!!  Interestingly enough as many geeks know, server technology has been heading into our homes at an increasing rate. In fact the so called ‘Dual’ and ‘Quad’ core processors are directly a result from such technologies.

We’re now over ten years into the home PC revolution and for the most part the average person in the street knows one hell of a lot about their Operating System and the bits and bobs inside their computers. This is not say they know everything and are not A+ qualified or even know who CompTIA is. But the one thing nearly everyone does know is that when it all goes wrong and a hard drive fails – the cost is horrific.

The normal way companies deal with this is through a mixture of their own and third party Disaster Recovery systems that back up all the data on your work PC.

Also there are the issues of requiring bigger and greater storage for your files so welcome to the NAS Storage solutions.

NAS (Network Attached Storage) is basically a little box with Hard Drives in it. As always there are many manufacturers and prices but for the most part they come with technologies such instant imaging of your hard drive that means if a failure occurs on your PC you can put a New drive in it and the NAS will put everything back on it that was there before. They also come with RAID, HTTP and FTP which means that even with your main PC switched off, you can connect to your NAS from anywhere in the world and get your files instantly.

Now there are really many, many systems – infact the whole world runs them, but for the home we need to think smaller (much smaller) because this stuff isn’t cheap, well it can be…

Imagine the server at work crashes… where do you think you get paid from? where is all your vacation leave entitlement stored? These are basic reasons to use a secondary storage solution and the costs often reflect this.

Here’s three and some vids to help you choose;

Net Gear make a great all in one box of tricks that can come with 4 hard drives in it, but have a reasonable amount of storage space your looking at prices starting around £800 and is one of the very expensive ones.

 Linksys (part of Cisco) offer a NAS200 two drive system where you buy the box without hard drives in it, allowing you to add whatever sized drives you like and costs around £100.


Buffalo offer a £100 ready to go bit of kit that has a h/d in it. But these have very limited storage capacity.

 So which one ?

Personally I would use one of these



But as I don’t have the money, space or cooling I think I like the Linksys kit. Actually, over the years I’ve become very aware of how good and highly reliable Linksys are. However, in the world of Hard Drive manufacturers, there is one company that in my own personal view rate very highly against most others, Maxtor. Maxtor make a couple of products the Maxtor OneTouch™ 4 and the Maxtor OneTouch™ 4 Plus. o if you wanted a sealed all in backup device similar to the Buffalo product listed above – then to me the Maxtor OneTouch™ 4 Plus is the product you want.


Published in: on 21 September, 2008 at 02:26  Comments (2)  
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Sometimes my town isn’t so sleepy

Yesterday Honiton came to a bit of a standstill, in fact I was a little bemused when I looked of the window.

I live right near a local Police Station and right next to that Police Station on the otherside is a thatched roof pub called The Volunteer (or Volley, as it is known locally).

Well one of the regulars in the Volley is, or should I say ‘was’ a guy called Jason Stuart who was the keyboard player for an old rock band called ‘Hawkwind‘.  Now Hawkwind have spanned 3 decades, certainly used to tour the world. And of course their most famous anthem was the track ‘Silver Machine’. 

Heck, I remember going to see them at Sheffield City Hall way back in 1980/81.

Well a few days ago Jason sadly died and the funeral procession was amazing! Local news claimed hundreds brought the town to a standstill, but all I can say it that was a lot of people. In fact the weird thing was that more and more joined the procession as it went on and the picture here from the local press was very early indeed does not show the sheer number of people who finally made up the procession.

At 10pm, the who’s who of the rock world were still packing the pubs on the High Street, no hassle, no fuss.

If I could choose my own funeral, I could only wish it could be as good as this.

Jason Stuart, without question a man respected and most obviously remembered.



Published in: on 19 September, 2008 at 04:05  Comments (1)  
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The Boeing 777 crash ‘may’ finally have a cause

You don’t have to read too much of this blog to know that while I love traveling – not so much a fan of the flying part. However, there is one aircraft type I do trust and actually enjoy flying on – the Boeing 777. When we take a moment to compare the flight, systems, build quality and record of this aircraft you learn one or two fundamentally important facts; 1) this aircraft was designed and built by trying to crash and destroy it at every opportunity. 2) they don’t crash – unlike Airbus’s!!!

So, while I was shocked, it compared little to how shocked the entire aviation community were when one fell out of the sky while landing at Heathrow Airport in London.

Firstly, the aircraft fell nearly 125 feet and the cabin remained fully intact, then with the exception of one broken leg – everyone got up and walked out.

It didn’t take long for investigators to rule out the 777’s fly-by-wire computer systems – indeed, everything started to look like some sort of fuel issue.

Now lets put this into perspective, the entire industry has been waiting for the results of the investigation, an investigation that is being carried out in places all around the world.

So What happend?

BA038 had been descending gradually into Heathrow, the autopilot and the automatic throttle system controlling the aircraft.

As the handling pilot, first officer John Coward would have been preparing to take manual control below 1,000 feet.

The trouble started two miles out at 600 feet, as the plane was slowing down in its landing configuration.

At this point the engines would have required more power to keep the plane from sinking below the glideslope – an invisible three degree path down to the runway, generated by radio waves.

When the automatic throttle demanded more power, the engines initially responded. Then first the right engine, followed eight seconds later by the left, powered down – to a level below the thrust needed.

Warnings would have flashed up on engine monitoring screens in the centre of the control panel, showing the power was below that required.

A lower screen would have shown more detailed information about the flow of fuel around the aircraft. Other displays would show the likely speed and height the plane would achieve over the next minute.

Faced with the knowledge that a disaster was in the making, the crew had around 40 seconds to save their aircraft. It’s understood the captain Peter Burkill quickly reduced the amount of wing flaps deployed.

This was as important as the skilful manipulation of the control column by John Coward, in saving the aircraft. It cuts drag, speeds the plane up a little, and when a pilot has speed, he can maintain altitude.

But it would only delay the inevitable – the plane would have been losing both speed and height, a potentially catastrophic situation.

The 150 tonne Boeing just cleared the busy A30, the airport perimeter fence, and a radio mast before crashing to the ground in a stall – where the plane can simply fly no longer.

There would have been further warnings in the cockpit, including the stick-shaker, where the controls vibrate to alert the pilots.

ICE in the fuel??!!!

Yep, thats right, according to THIS report by the AAIB over on the BBC website, this is indeed what they believe caused the problem.

Frankly, I’d wait and see what everyone else reports in too.



Published in: on 4 September, 2008 at 14:58  Comments (4)  
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a different day

It’s been an odd and very physically demanding day, especially with only 4hrs sleep last night and getting up at 3am to start work at 5am (I really need to be awake before I endeavor to try work).

So off I go, and straight away there is an over turned van in the middle of the M5 as you can see from this vid – though I’m not really sure how it happened.

First stop; a suburb of Gloucester. I was keeping my head down a little because my uncle is a Doctor and has a practice right around the corner from where I was (and no, his name isn’t Foster). I did not enjoy one moment of being at this place and I ended up sweating like Storm Gustav!

So on to the next place Fairford. Fairford is the perfect English village in the Cotswolds, further to this, it has an RAF base there which is presently rented to the USAF. The runway is so long it’s an emergency landing strip for the Space Shuttle!

The trouble with small villages is they were built in the times when horse and cart were the logistic vehicles of the day – and not modern trucks, so the place was tight, very tight.

I thought I was blocking a lady with her Discovery in, with only a small gap for her to get out. So I went to speak to her and ended up talking for quite a while – why? we were talking Land Rovers of course and she really knew her stuff!! And then went on to manoeuvre her Disco perfectly out of it’s tight confines. Firstly I just love intelligent women, especially when they’re quick witted,but to find one who can actually really drive – heaven!. Although sadly she does pull a horse box with it – not that I have anything against watching ladies ride horses, but I’m with ‘Top Gear’ on this.

I was in Fairford for hours getting everything sorted out and finally and exhausted I left to drive back. BUT.. a problem occurred – I had physically worked so hard I was shattered, really shattered and needing urgent rest due to my sudden onset of needing sleep  – which is in no way condusive to drivng a truck!

Thankfully I got to Leigh Delamere Services on the M4 and pulled in. Now, as I pulled into the truck area I noticed a very unusual and retired beast of burden sitting there – a very old ‘wheel laddered’ fire engine. It looked like it had indeed seen better days and the restoration didn’t look too hot. Then I notice something else, a plaque on the side saying Division St.

Being from Sheffield, I knew straight away what this meant, the old central Fire Station used to be based on Division Street and is now a pub. Furthermore, my mate in Chepstow, well his dad used to work there (small world). His dad was a great bloke but sadly passed away a few years ago, so it was very strange seeing this thing sat there at the other end of the country. Then I was proved correct in my suspicion as right there on the front of it read ‘City of Sheffield’.

I was about to get out and talk to the people when sadly they pulled away and I was too tired to give chase.

So yeah, a funny old day and I managed to return to base safely and return home.

Published in: on 2 September, 2008 at 20:05  Comments (2)  

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