Humbug :P

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Published in

Not long at Uni left this year - Only a couple of exams to do next week and I'm done. They're both Cisco exams and I'm reasonably confident I'll do OK on them as I did better than expected on the last one. Really need to get to grips with subnetting though. What a bitch that is... I just can't seem to get my head around it.

I've also got some disgustingly long shifts in the pub to look forward to dealing with the delightfully festive public, god damn them. Should make me plenty of cash though :D

Experts Exchange suck balls...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Published in

This is something that has been pointed out to me before - Quite often you come across a Windows problem, you google around for an answer, you find exactly the problem you're having, click on the link to see the post with the answer, and it says, "you must be a paying chump to access our shitty irritating site to get the answers you need...". You check the site URL and its bloody Experts Exchange. Every time. Guaranteed. Bastards.

This particular problem is driving me nuts. For some work I need to do for uni I'm trying to write a batch file, part of which I need to map a network drive for me. Mapping the drive works fine from Explorer, no problems there. If I write the batch file to use the network path (i.e. \\blah\blahblah\)it works fine. But no. The lecturer wants the share mapped to a drive, so in the batch file I have 'net use q: \\blah\blahblah' and I get a message proclaiming that an error 53 has occured (very useful that Windows, cheers!) and that it can't find the network path. WTF!?

Bond

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | Published in



We went to see the new Bond film on Mondayand it was brilliant. Daniel Craig makes an excellent bond, the best since Sean Connery (, and who cares if his hair isn't dark!?), and Eva Green was a fantastic Bond Girl.

The film was much more violent than most and I think is probably truer to Ian Flemmings original version than, for example, Roger Moore who was, lets face it, a bit of a pansy. Bond looks like a hard bastard again.

Damn good film and I can't wait to see it again. The cars were fantastic, the women were fine, the clothes very slick, and it even had a decent plot. What more could you want?

Battlefield 2142

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, November 17, 2006 | Published in

I've been playing the demo for this and it's pretty decent. The vehicles in it are great (Star Wars like 2 legged walky things :D) and the graphics are pretty decent. Being the cheapskate that I am I'm going to wait until the price comes down a bit before buying it, but I'll definitely be getting it soon.

Computer building, gaming, uni and stuff..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Published in

OK, so I suck. Over a month since I last updated.. Oh well.

I built a new computer - An Athlon64 3000 with a 320gb hard drive, a GeForce 6800 XT graphics card, and 2gb of ram. I have it set up to dual boot between Windows (for gaming) and the latest Kubuntu (for everything else). It's a fair bit quieter than my old one (though still not as quiet as I'd like) and doesn't have all the lights and stuff on it like the old one - I thought I'd go a bit minimalist with it. I also got my DVDRW drive replaced by PC World as the old had decided that it couldn't be arsed to write DVDs any more so I now have a LG writer. I've had LG drives before and they've lasted really well so hopefully I should have more luck with this one. I'm thinking that the next bit of computer to be upgraded is the monitor. My current one is a LG crt monitor that's lasted really well and is a brilliant monitor, but is starting to play up a bit and, well..., I want a flat screen :) I'm hoping that I'm going to be able to get a 24" one. We''l just have to see what the January sales bring.
The gaming on it is fantastic - very shiny with the graphics settings cranked up, and and I've finally been able to play several games I've been wanting to play for a while - Half-Life 2, which I've been waiting to play for ages and is fantastic, and also Just Cause (Mexican Secret Agent goodness), Company of Heroes (pretty good but gets a bit frantic sometimes) and Lego Star Wars 2 (just as good as the last one). I've also downloaded the free F.E.A.R. multiplayer which is really good and looks excellent. I need to get around to buying the full game.

The new version of Kubuntu (Edgy Eft) came out not so long ago and that runs very nicely as well. It seems to be much faster than Dapper. Apparently they've replaced init with something new called Upstart that makes running services more efficient. I just really wish to god that Linux multimedia would hurry up and sort itself out. Granted its getting better all the time, but it can still be a major pain in the arse.

I'm still enjoying being a student, and I think I'm starting to get to grips with a lot of the Cisco stuff that I was having trouble with. I also have my first exam to deal with in about 3 weeks. That I am not looking forward to.. It's taking quite a lot of effort trying to force everything into my head - trying to remember all of the stuff we need to know about the OSI model and packet construction and things is something of a challenge, especially as its been quite a while since I had to learn things this intensively. But, all good, and I seem to be getting the hang of things.

Getting interesting..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Published in

That's the first week of my course over and done with and it looks like things are going to be interesting. At the moment they're just trying to get everyone up to the same level on the basics (and it's quite amazing how little some of these people know considering the course they've signed up for..). We've been doing things like basic networking and use of the command line as well as some very simple Java programming, which was pretty much the same as the C++ I did a while back.
One thing I did learn about this week which I've never been too sure on was binary and hex numbers - It's always been one of those things that I never quite got, but it seems to have clicked now.
From what the lecturer has said about the Microsoft module it's going to be a 'How to hack XP' course, which should be fun, and we also had a bit of a play with the switches in the Cisco lecture.
A pretty good start and I'm looking forward to things getting a bit more challenging.

Uni

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Published in

I've finally started uni. Last week was entirely taken up with being given timetables and being shown around. I also got given a USB key by the university. Fair enough, I gave it straight to my girlfriend because I already have a bigger one, but it's a really good idea for them to be giving them out.
The uni also provides an online storage space that gets backed up 5 times a day, every day for a month which will be pretty useful.
Bit of a slow start but having looked at the Cisco kit I'm going to be able to play with soon I reckon I'm going to have fun :)

Furniture Rocks

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, August 28, 2006 | Published in



Back from Leeds Festival today and it was pretty damn good. I didn't see that many bands because there weren't that many decent ones on, but most of the ones I did see were really good. I saw Sick Of It All, Bodycount (with Ice Mutha-fuckin T ;)), Mastadon, and a few others. The best band I saw all weekend was definitely Pearl Jam. They were absolutely fantastic. Seeing that many people singing along to 'Black' was quite impressive to see.
Breakfast this morning was interesting - I ate while sitting in a field full of burning tents watching huge bursts of flame and listening to the explosions as some of the bigger dickheads on the campsite threw camping gas canisters on the fires. Breakfast in a war zone. Great stuff.
A decent week end all in all, but it's nice to be back. Carpet under my feet and not picking grasws out of my food. Furniture rocks.

Leeeeds

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, August 21, 2006 | Published in

I'm off to Leeds Festival for the bank holiday weekend. 4 days of living in a tent drinking far more than can be good for anyone, and listening to some decent bands. I'm especially looking forward to Slayer and Bodycount.
I've been a couple of times before so I know pretty much what to expect, so here's to hoping it's a good weekend. :)

Studentage beckons..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

I've finally got my start date for my networking course - I have to enroll on the 13th of September and the course actually starts on the 18th. Can't wait :P It'll be so nice to actually spend my time doing something constructive rather than sitting at the mercy of the British public waiting for my mind to finally give up and rot away under the barrage of concentrated stupidity...

Bandwidth Upgrade

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, August 01, 2006 | Published in

The free bandwidth upgrade that the ever evil plusnet promised me months ago finally seems to have kicked in.

I'm sitting downloading all 190mb of Nexuiz, a free fps, in about 4 minutes at 700kb/s.

w00t!

I love broadband. Free speed upgrades are even better :)

Transformers Movie

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, July 24, 2006 | Published in

This should be really good. Fianlly another Transformers film. Hopefully this means they'll start selling the toys again as well :P

Have a look here for a really frustrating teaser clip.

Killer Kangaroos

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Published in

According to the BBC News site, scientists in Australia have uncovered fossil evidence of flesh eating killer kangaroos that lived between 10 and 20 million years ago (you'd think that maybe they could narrow it down a bit more, but nevermind). They have also found fossils of several other previously unknown animals, including a carnivorous duck.

Shame they aren't still around. I quite fancy a carnivorous duck as a pet. :P

Holy Flaming Laptops Batman!

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Published in

Yes it happened nearly a month ago, but I only just read about it - A Dell laptop spontaneously combusts...

Have a look if you fancy a giggle.

Uni

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

This actually happened a while ago, but I never got around to posting about it - I've been accepted onto a foundation degree course in network security at Sunderland University starting in September. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll give me a much better understanding of a subject I'm interested in anyway, and should hopefully end up with me having the qualification I need to finally get a job that I actually enjoy doing, and start developing a decent career. No more end user support! I'd also very much like it if I never have to work in another call centre ever again. I fucking hate them and I've been working in various different ones since I was about 16.

So, come the middle of September I can jack in my job with the ever delightful Apple, stop dealing with the sort of fuckwits that feel the need to call for tech support on an iPod (I mean, dear god, it's really not that hard. RTFM!) and spend a few years doing the whole student thang. Should be great.

Roll on September...

Kubuntu CDs

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, July 14, 2006 | Published in

My batch of free Kubuntu disks arrived while we were away. It's really cool that they send you them for nothing. No shipping charges, nowt. Brilliant.

Have a look here if you fancy ordering yourself some. I got 10 - 8 normal and 2 64-bit versions.

Back... Guh

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Published in

Got back from Rhodes this morning. Have spent 2 weeks eating and drinking too much and basking in the sun. It was brilliant. Sadly, we're now back in Sunderland...

Got a new tatto while we were out there, just a small one to remember the holiday from



Spent the 2 weeks going no where near a computer and am now engaging in some heavy duty gaming to quench the thirst... :D

Anyone interested in more pics can have a look at my Flickr page.

Google Earth for Linux

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Published in

For anyone that hasn't noticed yet (yes I'm slow getting around to posting this shit) you can now get Google Earth for Linux. Check it oot.

Surround sound on Dapper

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Finally sussed how to get all of my speakers working in Kubuntu. I've stuck some notes on what I did on the Ubuntu forums.

It was a case of sussing out the correct thing to put in my .asoundrc file to make alsa pipe my stereo sound through to the proper speakers for things like mp3 playback and videos. Already had surround sound for things like DVD's that have actual 5.1 sound on them.

All good. Now to commence annoying the neighbours with my subwoofer....

Clerks 2 Podcast

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, June 17, 2006 | Published in

I discovered something the other day that all people of true taste (i.e. those who like Kevin Smith films) will be interested in - A video podcast chronicling the making of Clerks 2. I'm a massive fan of the original and all of his following movies so I was really chuffed to find this and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished movie. Yet one more reason to say woohoo for video iPods!.

Bong!!

Picassa

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Published in

Anyone who hasn't had a look at Picassa yet should do. It's a free photo organising and editing/tweaking tool from Google, and with it being released for Linux fairly recently I've been having a play. It's pretty good - better than Digikam which was what I was using before and once people start hearing about it, it's going to hammer the shit out of sales of Photoshop Elements, which basically does the same thing, but costs £70.

If you have a digital camera, this is worth having a look at.

MMM, Kebabs

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

We've just spent the day walking along the seafront and found out that the Seaburn Mela was on today so we went and listened to some of the music and bought food. I had a lamb and chicken kebab with naan bread, chilli sauce and yogurt and Marie had a lamb curry. Curry and kebabs, on the beach, in the sun, with beer is great. I could do it every day :P

WooHoo Ipodage, finally

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

After 10 weeks of general incompetance and pissing about, those fine fine people at Dixons have finally coughed up the vouchers they owed me for a replacement iPod. My old iPod Mini had a cover plan on it from the afore mentioned useless bastards, saying that if the iPod broke down they would send it off and mend it and if they had it for more than 6 weeks I automatically get a replacement. So, the six weeks inevitably went by, I phoned them and asked them for my replacement, and after 4 more weeks of hounding them, they've finally replaced it for me.
I now have a shiny new black 30gb video iPod which I reckon was well worth the wait. I've installed an alternative firmware on it called Rockbox which lets me do things with the ipod like playing music encoded to formats other than mp3, like ogg and flac which is nice, and it also lets you mount it like a hard disk to move the files on and off of it which is much nicer than messing about with the ever evil iTunes. It also does cool things like letting me play Doom and Frozen Bubble on the ipod and has a Gameboy emulator as well. The only thing I'd like that it doesn't do yet (which I'm sure it will in the future) is do video playback, which means I have to reboot the player back into Apples original firmware to do that (which I do a fair bit because being able to watch anime on the way home from work is brilliant). The other reason for using Rockbox is that it plays nicely with Linux - whenever I plugged my ipod into linux before it always seemed to manage to kill the iTunes library file on the ipod rendering most of the music unfindable, which was a bit of a bugger, but Rockbox doesn't use this file, so no problem there.

I'm well chuffed with my new toy and I thank whichever god you feel like pointing me at that I no longer have to listen to other people on my way to work.

Hanoi Rocks

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, June 05, 2006 | Published in


Marie and I went to see Hanoi Rocks at Legends in Newcastle on Saturday. They're 80's sleaze hair rock at its best, still doing the clubs and enjoying themselves. It was extremely entertaining, but at the same time a little bit tragic...

For the most part they were excellent - They kept it loud and bouncy and even though I couldn't name one of their songs if asked to I really enjoyed all of it. I'll definately see them again given the chance, and may even aquire an album or two.
The tragic part was watching the guitarist. He and the singer appear to be the only original members left (bearing in mind these guys have been knocking around since the early 80's) and while the singer appeared to still be enjoying himself and putting his best into the gig, the guitarist was just so drug addled and wasted that he could barely string a sentence together, was attempting to mime to a backing track (and failing) instead of playing, and generally falling around the stage getting pitying looks from the rest of the band. It was funny, but at the same time its a pretty sad state to end up in.

But anyway, an excellent night. I got some really crappy photos on my phone (forgot my camera), got reasonably tipsy, and had an argument with a charv in a pizza shop on the way home. Rock on.

New Kubuntu...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, June 03, 2006 | Published in


I was absolutely gobsmacked when on June 1st I went to the Kubuntu site and as promised the new version was actually there, released, on time and everything. Amazing.

Aside from its really stupid name, Dapper Drake seems to be a pretty decent OS - It's fast, stable, the new live cd based installer is much nicer than the old text based one and will be much less intimidating to the n00bs.

There's a new version of Automatix available for it already which takes most of the pain out of configuring everything - It does your nvidia drivers for you, sorts out multimedia codecs and installs libdvdcss for you, as well as loads of other stuff like new versions of Firefox and Thunderbird and their needed plugins like flash and mplayer. There's also a program called Swiftfox which is basically an optimised version of Firefox for specific CPU types. It'll also do DVD and stream rippers, the new version of OpenOffice.Org, Amule, Gftp and all sorts of usefull apps and system tweaks which make Dapper instantly useable. I also have it running KDE 3.5.3, Amarok 1.4 (although this doesn't work totally properly yet), VMWare is easily installed and configured, and from what I gather from reading the forums Xgl is pretty easy to set up, although I haven't bothered because from what I've seen of it so far Xgl is, while being very pretty, far too unstable for everyday use at the moment. I'm going to be keeping an eye on it though, because if they can make it stable it's going to be great.

They've also fixed loads of the minor irritations from Breezy - monitor power control now works properly for example.

So far I'm really impressed with this and would recommend anyone to give it a go whether you've used Linux before and are pondering a new distro, or if you're thinking of giving it a shot for the first time.

On the flipside, I installed the new version of SuSE, 10.1, and that lasted all of a day and a half before being wiped. I have no idea what the hell they've done to it but this OS seems to have gotten WORSE since the last release - I quite like SuSE 10 but it was full of irritating little bugs, and the updating system was so slow it was virtually unusable, so I was quite looking forward to trying 10.1 hoping that all of this would be fixed. But no. Not only have they not fixed the irritations (like Yast. Yast is one big horrible irritation), but they seem to have packed in a load of new bug ridden, thoroughly unstable apps and then shoved the whole thing out of the door half finished. It's a shame because if SuSE could make their OS a little less frustrating to use, and sorted out their update mirrors then it could easily be the best distro out there. It's already one of the best looking, but it's just too unstable and requires too much effort to set up. This combined with the obscene amount of time it takes to install (bloated with unneccessar packages maybe?) and the fact the SuSE still insist on crippling the multimedia capabilites of their distro means that for the time being at least, I'll be sticking with Ubuntu.

From Dueling Analogs..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Published in



(Click on the image for a larger version)

Geek Chic

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Published in

I sussed out how to use remote desktop at the weekend so I can hide my horrible noisey XP media box behind the sofa and control it from my Linux box, which will be nice. The amount of noise that thing makes is unbelievable. So, I'm going to get a wireless network card and hide it. Maybe I could put some new quieter fans in as well...

For the remote desktopping I installed the free edition of VNC on my XP box (had to do this even if I had wanted to use the built in remote desktop server because I only have XP Home which doesn't have it) and am using Krdc from my Kubuntu box to control it. Seems to work nicely :)

I've just discovered that Suse 10.1 has been released. I might have a look at it, but Kubuntu is working so nicely I doubt I'll switch again, at least for the time being. Now I just want Ubuntu to hurry up and release Dapper because I really want to have a play with Xgl. It's pretty :P I could probably do it with Breezy, but the packages are all there for Dapper so it should be nice n easy.

At the moment I'm sitting listening to a Linux podcast while reading Star Wars comics on my computer. How geekcore l33t am I? lol.

Almost wish this was me

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Published in

Entertaining stuff happening here! - I've been idly wondering for about an hour now why there's a police car sat outside - turns out that one of managers here (called Richard Hedley, or Dick Hed to his fans, and a right nasty little twat to boot - terminal short person syndrome) went into one of the contracts and laid off about 10 people. One of these people didn't take it too well - picked up their computer monitor, smashed it on the floor, picked up their keyboard and destroyed it, picked up their phone and smashed it on the floor, was restrained, got loose and planted the afore-mentioned manager, was restrained again while the manager ran away, got loose again, left the room, putting a hole in the wall as they went, and went haring off upstairs looking for the manager again... After this they were apparently asked to leave the building.

This person is now my own personal hero. The amount of times I've choked back the urge to do exactly this. It would almost be worth the ensuing legal bother. And it couldn't have happened to a more deserving manager.

Painkiller

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Spent a large chunk of yesterday playing Painkiller. An oldish game I know, but I'd forgotten how therapeutic it is.
Nothing complicated about this one - Just kill everything that moves, using a variety of interesting weapons ranging from a stake gun (which can be used to staple your target to the nearest wall, great stuff) to "The Painkiller" which seems to be the bastard child of a helicopter and a mechanical lawnmower (see picture...) and doubtless other interesting toys which I've yet to discover.



Yay for pointlessly violent computer games :D

wtf..?

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Published in

Pain, hurt, self-harm. What are you smoking woman!?

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Saturday, May 06, 2006 | Published in

Just had the pleasure of reading this article from The Herald (which herald? from where? who cares...) and I'm quite surprised that such appalling ignorace and opionated bullshit is actually still put into print. Lumping everyone who has a tattoo into the same catagory as the airhead fashion victims who do things getting Tweetypie tattoos on their saggy knockers without putting any thought into it is nothing short of offensive. "Tattooing is the close cousin of self-harming, eating disorders and and destructive urges.." What the fuck!? That must mean I'm mistaken in thinking that I'm not a great fan of pain, obviously feel like dashing out for a pack of razors to slash up my arms, and shit, I must be imagining this gut I'm carrying around!... I am not unhappy, I do not loathe myself, and as for "inarticulate sorrow"... well, hmmm. I think not.

Yes the cute dolphins are shit, but thats entirely down to the lack of thought put into their choosing by the fashion victim concerned - Some of us spend years choosing and designing pieces of art that we are proud to display on our bodies. I have been getting tattoos now for several years, have quite a few of them in various places about my body, and I do not regret a single one of them. They have never stopped me getting a job (simply putting on a shirt renders them non-existant as far as potential employers are concerned), and I'm not a "victim" of anything (at least, as far as I know.. and I'm sure I'd be the first to notice.)

Melanie Reid, you are a biggotted moron. Back in your box.

Superman Returns

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Thursday, May 04, 2006 | Published in

I've just watched the new Superman Returns trailer, and it looks like it's gonna be cool :)

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor! Fantastic choice. Can't wait to see this.

God Told Me to Skin You Alive!

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, May 03, 2006 | Published in

Well, not really. But if I could find the person resonsible for me having to be at work on such a nice day (escpecially given how scabby it was on Monday) I'd skin them.

Bastards :P

Where the hell did I put...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, May 02, 2006 | Published in

..Everything!

Got a new desk at the weekend and now I can't find a damn thing. Moved everything off my old desk into boxes, and have started putting it all into/on the new one, but some stuff seems to have dissappeared. My USB stick for example - I'm pretty sure I know exactly where I put it, but could I find it when I wanted it this morning? Could I buggery. Ah well. Can't have gone far and I'm sure it'll turn up. The new desk is cool - My old one was just a big table, but this is a proper, old-skool desk with a big cupboard and lots of drawers for me to fill with crap.

Went to see Slither on Saturday night - It's a comedy alien takeover/zombie film - Zombies stumbling around to cheesey love songs - very funny.

Didn't do much on Sunday - Went to the gym, then went out for a few drinks with The Goat, then met up with Marie who'd been out with her mates for several hours and was totally muntered. Very funny ("I'm not shlurring!").

Did very little yesterday - Lay in bed for the morning, went for a fry-up, got some food in, then sat around drinking and playing computer games. And getting paid for it. w00t.

Quote..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Published in

"windows is easier than linux, just like shitting your pants is easier than going to the bathroom."

fuscia, Ubuntu Forums.

Sweet sweet 3 day weekends..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Woohoo! Got the day off for Monday! Not a big deal for most people on a bank holiday I know, but here they are fought over in a vicious fashion :P Chuffed...

..Previously..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Published in

There's been a few interesting happenings since last time I did an update on here. We finished paying for the holiday (so roll on June), and we got tickets for Leeds Festival (Just hope they announce a few more decent bands) which sold out in less than 3 hours, so we were pretty lucky there.

We've had the first couple of barbecues for the year, which were pretty good - a fair few people turning up for both and plenty of decent food (yay for the cheepo freezer shop) and decent weather.
Last weekend I went and stopped at my friend Mike's new flat in Jesmond, which is pretty nice. Not sure I could deal with living in a shared flat, but the place itself is sweet. We had a night out in Newcastle - Me, Mike, John, and Vish, as well as some other people Mike knew - First we went to Luckies, realised we'd missed their 'buy one get one free' time and recoiled in horror at the price of the beer, fled to the Wetherspoons pub 'The Union Rooms' near Central Station, which is a really nice old building with big high rooms, real fire places in most of the rooms and a huge old staircase in the entrance - I really like it in there, quite apart from its Wetherspoony cheapness. After that we went to Legends. I hadn't been there since they turned into a rock club, but it seems ok - pretty full anyway. Reckon I'll go back :P A pretty good night (from what I can remember).

I'm still doing the gym, although I don't seem to be getting any less lardy yet :P But I guess that one is a case of keep at it. Must get around to doing some more walking and mountain biking - much more fun than exercising in a room full of sweaty people!

On the computer side of things, I've installed Kubuntu and configured it with the excellent Automatix script made by arnieboy from the Ubuntu forums. Thanks for that, very useful. What the script does is install and configure loads of fiddley little things for you like Nvidia drivers, browser plugins, and media players, amongst many others. Kubuntu (and Ubuntu, the Gnome desktop version) is based on Debian, but updates its software from its own repositories, which seem to be a lot more coordinated and stable than Debians which means the distro is more stable - This is why I switched - I was using Mepis before which updates from the pure Debian Apt pools, but kept breaking because of software incompatibilities. So far I'm really impressed with Kubuntu and I'm looking forward to playing with the new release which is supposed to come out in June. It wasn't quite as user friendly as Mepis to install and configure, but now that it's done the distro itself is excellent.
Also on Linux, I've just been given a copy of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 that runs natively, which is nice. Another one to add to the collection of games that I can play without stupid emulators (or whatever Cedega thinks it is) or having to reboot the computer and load up Windows. It's an RPG game which has you riding around building up your army, fighting beasties and collecting shiny things (or artifacts as the game would put it :P). It seems to be one of those games that eats up hours without trying, so beware.


There's probably been other interesting stuffs happened, but I've rambled enough for now :D

Adventure Quest

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in


I just discovered Adventure Quest which is an online RPG sort of like Final Fantasy, but simpler. It's pretty addictive and good for wasting time at work. There's free account and paid accounts which open up more of the game and also gives you access to the beta version of a new game being done by the same people. Have a look at the website for more.

Or not.

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Scratch that. LJ sucks balls. Big hairy ones. It looks like shit and demands that you pay to be allowed to use all of its decent features.

So, Back to Blogger... :)

moving on

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, March 27, 2006 | Published in

For anyone that cares...

this blog has moved to http://robmongoose.livejournal.com

Cos apparently that's where all the cool kids go...

V For Vendetta

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, March 22, 2006 | Published in


I went to see this on Sunday night and I think it's probably one of the best films I've seen in ages. Certainly the best I've seen since Sin City. Here's a plot summary I've pilfered from the IMDB. It's a bit pants but to say any more would spoil the film...

"In a story where Germany won a future World War and Great Britain is now a fascist state, a masked vigilante known only as "V" conducts guerrilla warfare against the government. When he rescues a normal young woman (Portman), she joins his struggle against the forces of oppression...".

I definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes films that make them think. Go and see it!

A Big-Ass Box Of Hard Drives :D

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Published in




We were thinking maybe some hard drive Jenga?

Gotta love Google for wasting time...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Published in

Take the quiz:
Who Are You In Avenged Sevenfold?

M.Shadows
YOU ARE M.SHADOWS! You voice is soothing during your melodies and raging and powerful during your screaming.Its inspiring!

Quizzes by myYearbook.com -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!




Haha, that quiz sucked :P

Stuff.

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Plenty of stuff happened since I last got around to updating.
We booked a holiday - have got 2 weeks on Rhodes at the end of June which I'm really looking forward to. 2 weeks of sitting around reading and drinking, swimming in a sea that I've read is as warm as being in the bath at that time of year, and eating far too much nice food. We went to Kalamaki on Zante about 18 months ago and that was brilliant, but we went a bit late in the season. This time we're going right at the start of the season when everything should be open, and best of all, we've booked it so that we're back before the place is overrun with children :P

A couple of weeks ago I bought a set of 5.1 surround sound speakers - I got some by n4ce from a computer fair near me. They seem to be pretty good - playing games with them is brilliant, but I haven't gotten around to watching a film with them yet. My computers motherboard has onboard 5.1 sound, but I'm thinking I may buy a separate sound card anyway as I'm having driver problems with one of my games in windows - the sound for the whole system dies when I'm Playing Day Of Defeat:Source and the system has to be rebooted to get it back. There's a section in the Valve FAQ detailing this problem, but the only fix for it is to upgrade the drivers - Done that, same problem... - looks like it's a problem that's been happening with Source games for a while (the posting date on the fix suggestion is early last year) and still they haven't fixed it! grr... Every other game I have works fine with it. Bloody Valve and their Steamy badness. The other reason for wanting a separate card is that my Linux install is convinced that my on board sound is only 2 channel, and from the reading I've done it's going to be a MAJOR ballache convincing it otherwise, so I figure the best/least hassle solution is to get a Linux supported 5.1 card that will have the right amount of channels supported by the driver. We shall see... I may even suss it yet :P

Last weekend was my birthday and we did some interesting stuff for that I took a few days holiday from work, which is always nice, so I spent them sitting around doing very little (other than playing games through my new speakers). My birthday was on the Saturday and in the evening we went to Newcastle and went for a meal at Fujiyamas which was really good. It was the first time I'd been somewhere where they cook the food on a hotplate in front of you and I had a few different things - king prawns, squid, teriyaki chicken, beef and a bit of salmon, along with some egg fried rice and veg. The only downside to it was that it's definitely a restaurant to go to in groups, not as a couple - There are only 4 big tables in the place and we got put on a table where everyone else was part of the same group, so we felt a bit as if we were intruding. Other than that, it was excellent and I would definitely go back. Next time I think I'd like to try sushi - never had that before either, apart from some from Boots which I wasn't too impressed with, but I'm told it's totally different fresh.
The other thing we did was go to Manchester for a gig on Sunday night. The band we went to see was Avenged Sevenfold who do thrashy screamy metal, mixed with 80's style guitar solos and whiddling. Great stuff! Was a brilliant gig, if a bit short, and we had the added entertainment of Marie managing to pour my pint over an emo kid. Very funny :D Then we had fantastic Curry Mile kebabs, more beer, then headed back to our hotel - a nice 4 star place on Piccadilly that we got cheap as hell from the ever wonderful LastMinute.com that has really nice big sweeping stair cases, silk wallpaper, nice old furniture randomly dotted around the place, the works, as well as the comfiest bed I've slept in in a while. Can't remember the name though... Never mind. Monday saw us wandering around Manchester for a few hours drinking really cheap beer (£1 a pint! Beer cheaper in Manchester than in Sunderland.. How the fuck does that work!?) before spending several hours on a National Express coach home with the most irritating inconsiderate dickheads I've ever had the misfortune to share a coach with. Joy.
Nevermind, apart from that it was an excellent weekend and, apart from the getting older bit, I wish I could have birthdays more often.

Hill walking near Reeth, North Yorkshire

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Sunday, February 19, 2006 | Published in

I went on my walking spree. Was less painful than last time. Possibly something to do with not having had a long bike ride the day before this time, but encouraging none the less. We took one of my parents dogs with us and were walking for about 3 and a half hours. I really enjoyed it and got some pretty good photos. The photos of the fool in the previous post were taken on the way there.











Have you no shame?

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in





Dickhead.
Would be a bloody Sunderland supporter wouldn't it.

Bluh...

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, February 17, 2006 | Published in

Been very slack updating lately - Just haven't done anything or seen any articles that seemed worth writing about, but nevermind... :P

Got a lovely head cold at the mo, which is really nice. Have to keep muting people on the phone at work to have coughing fits, but the cold seems to be on the way out now so hopefully it should have buggered off soon.

Going on another bout of healthiness tomorrow, albeit a slightly less lengthy one than last time - going walking 'somwhere in Yorkshire...'
Hopefully this time I'll remember the camera.

Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Thursday, February 02, 2006 | Published in

I've just been come across this on Newsvine - It's an article that describes a list of excellent Firefox extensions, some of which I was already using, some of which I hadn't seen. All of them seem to be very good, with features like Adblocking with an auto updating blacklist of ads to block, flash blocking (which I really needed because my Suse box slows to a crawl when I have too many webpages with lots of flash open) and a decent tabbed browsing extension to replace the one I was using which seems to be getting a bit buggy, doing random irritating things with the tabs.
I would recommend at least trying all of these extensions to anyone who uses Firefox as their main browser.


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Pope: Divine inspiration is copyrighted

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, January 23, 2006 | Published in

"The Pope has announced that henceforth, and retroactively, the "divinely inspired" words he utters and pens will be governed by copyright, and only publishable after permission is secured and royalties are paid to the church."

Because the Catholic church, and particularly the Vatican, doesn't have enough money stashed away...

Have a look at Boing Boing - Pope: Divine inspiration is copyrighted for more info.

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Being Healthy Hurts

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Just had an excellent weekend. On Saturday my Dad and I drove down to my parents canal boat which is moored just outside of Lancaster, taking our mountain bikes and hiking boots with us. We chucked our stuff on the boat, got changed, and headed off on our bikes. From the boat we went towards Lancaster, from there to Morecambe where we rode along the seafront, and then back along the canal towpaths to the marina where the boat is kept. That was a pretty good ride, but as I'm horribly unfit and haven't been on my bike in months I was more than a little saddlesore by the end and spent the rest of the day walking like John Wayne.
We went to a pub near the marina called the Victoria in the evening for for a drink and something to eat, then wandered back to the boat for more to drink and then some sleep.
On the Sunday we packed up our stuff on the boat and headed for the Lake District in the car. We stopped in Patterdale and went for walk that took us along the edge of the lake there, around into another valley and then up and over a pretty steep hill (sorry to be vague about these valleys and hills, but I can't remember what they're called) back into Patterdale. We ended up walking about six miles and climbing a few hundred feet. From there we headed home.
As I said, an excellent weekend which has reminded me how much I enjoy going walking, which I haven't done in years. I feel much better for the exercise, and have slept better than I have in ages, but goddamn I ache!

And I forgot to take my camera. Bugger.

Amusing Blonde Joke

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Published in

A pretty inventive blonde joke. Made me chuckle anyway.


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Apple Device Compatibility

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

This amused me, so I thought I'd share it - The camera featured in Steve Jobs' latest keynote speech, the Sony HC1, isn't on Apples list of compatible devices. This means he's been using a device that may or may not work with your Mac to advertise the features of the latest version of iMovie.

Bit of an oversight... You'd think they'd pick up on this sort of thing really.


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Keyboards Are Disgusting

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Published in

There's a Slashdot post appeared this afternoon with a translation of part of an article from a Swedish computer site on how filthy the average keyboard is.

Apparently the average keyboard has more bacteria per square centimetre than the average toilet seat. Lovely.
Admittedly, I can believe this. My own keyboard at home doesn't exactly sparkle, and it's not the most minging one I've seen by a very long way.
Time to spring-clean those keyboards people.

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Fleck: What does it do?

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Fleck is, in its own words, a "patent pending, world changing, paradigm shifting and user experience enhancing technology. Tagging, search, blog, AJAX and social networking, every WEB2.0 hype is covered". Ok...

Reading through their blog it looks like they're really doing something, but what? Who knows?

I've signed up for the beta test, so maybe I'll find out soon :D

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First Web Server

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Friday, January 13, 2006 | Published in

I've just come across this on Digg - its a picture of the first web server, a Next Cube that was used by Tim Berners-Lee when he was developing the World Wide Web at the end of the 80's, that now lives in a Swiss museum.

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Newsvine

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Published in

I've just received my invite to Newsvine from the uber-generous Ben Bishop and so far it's looking pretty damn interesting. It's a social news site with stories posted by both its subscribers/users and some of the bigger news agencies, and has features such as blogging and commenting on the stories there, as well as the ability to submit you own. On the front page at the moment we have a very amusing story on how Schwarzenegger has no motorbike license (because he "never really thought about it"), and also some photos of the new Macs that I've just been bitching about (and again, WTF!? I see pics of them online before seeing one at work!?), amongst other things.
It's still in its beta phase, but it looks pretty promising.

Thanks Ben!

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Apple Intel Release

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Well, I'm absolutely fuming. I work for Apple. I do tech support. I'm supposed to be able to help anyone who rings me with any product they've bought, regardless of how new it is. They've made me sign not 1 but 2 confidentiality agreements in the last year. Despite all this I'm not told about and trained on forthcoming products in advance, or even given any warning that they'll be coming out soon. No!, I have to read about our latest product release on the sodding BBC News site.

What. The. Fuck

Now when someone phones me about their spanking new Intel machine in the time between now and when they actually get around to training me (and it will happen. There are so many people who rush out and buy new Apple kit the moment its released, and then phone us and whinge (ok, be justifiably pissed off) about any bugs or other problems that are inevitably going to be found in a first release. Sad but true.) I'm going to have to either say "Sorry I don't know what you're talking about", thereby looking like some sort of total moron phone monkey, or say "sorry, Apple doesn't bother to train its staff on new products in advance" and get a bollocking for badmouthing them. It's a total pisstake! I mean, seriously! What the fuck do they think they're playing at?!

SO badly not amused.

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US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.


"They fired into the bedroom where we were sleeping, then three soldiers came in. They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands. When I tried to ask them what they were looking for they just told me to shut up," he said.

Uh.. What can you say to that? Would be very interested to hear what shitty excuse they come up with for this one...

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Bargain Free

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, January 09, 2006 | Published in


Tynemouth Beach
Originally uploaded by RobMongoose.
Took a trip through to Tynemouth yesterday to go to the market that they have in the Metro station there every Sunday. Quite often you can go there and find some total bargains - in the past I've picked up a 1950s army trenchcoat, and on a separate trip a nice leather jacket, both for less than £15. I've also picked up a few nice pictures and ornaments. It has a computer stall, a tool stall, several record stalls and general tat stalls, and a fair few book stalls (it's seemingly impossible to go there without picking up a few books).
I've not found any total bargains there for a while though, and this week was even more disappointing than most - very little of any interest, and I only found 2 books that I wanted. Ah well, can't have bargains all the time I suppose.
After we left here we went and had Sunday Lunch in the Northumberland Arms, where they were doing a very good deal - you spend £12 on food, they give you either a bottle of wine or 2 pints, so we ended up with a very nice bottle of Shiraz which would apparently have cost us about £9. Score!
After this we took a fairly damp walk down to the seafront, and I took a few photos of the beach (which as you can see is looking a bit scruffy at the moment), and then we decided that the best/warmest place to be would be the Turks Head pub where we were sat very happily until we were driven away by some rampant dickhead charvs sitting playing music on their mobiles... They did stop after I sat and made loud comments about 'dickheads who play music theirhir mobiles in public' for a while, but the mood was kinda spoiled by then, so we decided it was time to head home.
Not a bad day just hope Tynemouth produces some more bargains soon!

A couple of pictures from my new camera

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, January 02, 2006 | Published in



Cos I can :P

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FasterFox

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

FasterFox is a Firefox extension I was pointed at by a friend of mine after hearing me complaining about how sluggish Firefox had become, and it seems to solve this problem very nicely by tweaking the performance and network settings to make page load times decent again. It's compatible with Firefox 1.5 and I would definitely recommend having a look at it. Opera is nice, but it just doesn't have all the useful extensions that Firefox does.

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Why KDE rules

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

Why KDE rules is an interesting run down of the features included in the latest version of KDE, 3.5.0. I upgraded to this at the weekend and I'm still playing about and finding new features. So far it seems pretty much the same as 3.4 with a few tweaks, but from what I've read so far there's been a lot work work done 'under the hood' and it does seem faster than 3.4.

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Happy New Year..

Posted by : Rob Stevens | | Published in

.. Hope you all had a good night on new years eve, and all the best for the year ahead. Good luck on any resolutions you've made - I'm still working through mine, but it'll probably be something along the lines of loose some weight, exercise more (I say this every year, maybe this year will be the one!) and try to learn a new skill, whether it be computer related or otherwise.
I've also decided I'm going to go to university this year so, providing I get a place, I'll be starting a foundation degree in network security at Sunderland Uni in September, which I'm looking forward to. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a great fan of essays and things, but at least the subject matter should be interesting, and it'll hopefully mean an end to end user support work in callcentres. God, how much do I want to not work in a callcentre anymore! My girlfriend is also hopefully going to uni at the same time to do a nursing degree (bloody nutcase! :P) so we can both be scruffy students together. It'll mean money's going to be a bit tight for a few years, but we reckoned that chunk of time where we're really skint is preferable to being students separately and being a bit skint for much longer.

On the subject of planning what you're going to do with your new year, have a look at this article on Lifehacker about good ideas for resolutions, and actually pulling your finger out and doing them...

Have a good one people.




(L to R) Me & my friend Mike