Monday, July 30, 2007

Graphics cards, Vista, and our Brussels holiday video

Posted by Chris @ 1:35 PM

A broad title to this blog post, but one none the less that covers the topics herein. As you will recall I bought Vista for my PC after a small issue, the downside being on installation Vista told me in no uncertain terms "your graphics card is shit, you don't get to see my fancy graphics until you buy a new one." I was rather put out by this, I knew my GeForce 440 MX was bad, but I didn't think it was that bad! Anyway I decided at the time sod it, Vista is working, lets stick with what we've got for now.

A few months in and having come back from holiday I wanted to edit our Brussels video. Great, I'll crack open the Windows Vista Movie Maker, only no, that too requires a better graphics card, instead download Movie Maker v2.6 Poo. So I did, installed it and guess what, v2.6 decides that the lovely video that media player plays, is actually just audio, gargh! I try and get codecs and the like for v2.6 but nothing works. Poo. Add into the mix the fact I've had a fighter sim game sat collecting dust because the GeForce 440 MX doesn't support the pixel shading it wanted and you have 3 good reasons for updating my graphics card.

So a bit of browsing and voila, the Asus GeForce 6200, a graphics card that will do all I need it to do for less than £25, can't say fairer than that! After finally being delivered I had it installed and set about making Vista look pretty.

And look pretty it does! Vista is sexy people! I know you Mac users will have had this for a while now, but I'm loving the funky window animation for maximizing, minimising, opening and closing windows, and the real time snapshot when hovering on the task bar is impressive. However the really cool one is Windows+Tab, that is super cool, and the fact they update in real time too is also impressive. As you can probably make out, having an updated graphics card makes Vista impressive!

So, onto Vista Movie Maker - it works! It plays the video and allows me to edit and everything, so I can finally edit our Brussels and Bruge holiday video together, and edit it I have. What's that, you want to watch it? Well good thing you asked, because you can! Either watch it below, or find it on Vimeo here or in the videos section here. I'm sure you'll agree that, with the tasteful use of titles, fade transitions and fade to blacks, my distinction pass in BTEC National Diploma in Media has not gone to waste ;o)



And finally, the fighter sim game is working, hurrah!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ziggy in Northern Line

Posted by Chris @ 11:18 PM

This post is purely aimed at Big Brother fans. You'll be fully aware of the fact that Ziggy was in the boy band Northern Line a few years back. Well, via the power of YouTube here he is in the number 15 smash hit, Love on the Northern Line, by Northern Line. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Patriot Games

Posted by Chris @ 8:35 PM

Patriot Games is one of those films that has managed to pass me by, despite knowing it is meant to be pretty good I've just never managed to see it. In fact I knew nothing about it, until now! A few weeks ago Film Four had it on so I taped it and tonight I've had the time to watch it.

I've got to say, it wasn't what I was expecting, but a good film none the less. The whole fact it was set against the backdrop of the UK and the war with the IRA was surprise number 1, and that there were so many British actors in it is as well. Obviously it looked a little dated (made in 1992) but it still delivered a few thrills. I didn't realise it was adapted from a Tom Clancy novel either. The fact it was set against the backdrop of the IRA made me think about how things haven't changed much, we're just fighting Muslim extremism now instead.

Anyway enough of the philosophical stuff, have you seen Patriot Games, and if so what are your thoughts, good or bad film?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

cgriley.com cookies will 'auto delete'

Posted by Chris @ 1:37 PM

In a widely anticipated move Chris Riley, the genius behind cgriley.com, today announced cookies from cgriley.com will 'auto delete'. This follows on from the story reported by the BBC News website that Google cookies will 'auto delete'.

Speaking from his home in South Yorkshire, England, Riley said “Seeing Google implementing 'auto deleting' cookies inspired me to do the same, so I did. I had to do nothing!”

The question on everyones lips now is, will Tony Ruscoe follow suit and make ruscoe.net cookies 'auto delete'? Only time will tell, but with innovation like this constantly coming from Google one has to wonder what they will come up with next!

This is, of course, a piss take because all cookies auto delete when they hit their expiry date. The BBC obviously have incompetent technology reporters, because anyone who knew anything about the web would know cookies expire and get deleted automatically, and have done forever. What the BBC headline does instead is to make it sound like Google have invented auto deleting cookies, the muppets. I have written to the BBC to point this out to them and have suggested a better headline might read “Google cookies to expire after 2 years”, as that was actually the point of the news story, not that cookies will delete themselves. Honestly...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Recipe Binder Lite

Posted by Chris @ 9:08 PM

For those of you who haven't embraced Facebook you will have missed out on my fantastic application, Recipe Binder. Until now!

I have created a Recipe Binder “Lite” version (only branded as such for the purposes of this blog post) which allows you to view the 2000+ recipes that have been submitted by over 3000 different Facebook users. In the “Lite” version you can view the recently submitted and top rated recipes, and you can search for recipes as well. You won't be able to add, rate, comment on or favourite recipes, or see the photos, you can only do that within the Facebook version.

I hope you like the Lite version and take a look at it if you haven't used Recipe Binder within Facebook, GO!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back from Brussels

Posted by Chris @ 2:26 PM

Hello blog fans! It has been just shy of two weeks since I brought you the good news, but it feels like a lot longer, and I've possibly neglected things a bit here, apologies. However the reason is because we've been on holiday! We took 6 days out to go and explore Brussels and Bruges on a DIY day trip.

We journeyed to Brussels on the train, from Sheffield to London, then on Eurostar from London to Brussels, so we're doing our bit for climate change! Eurostar is fricking amazing, it is so fast, you can't help but smile like an excited child as you pass the cars on the M20 at twice the speed the fastest cars are going, sheer joy!

Anyway, “what did we get up two?” Well, glad you asked. On the first day we did Brussels, saw all the main sites, did a lot of walking, took quite a few pictures and a bit of video. In the evening we ate at a restaurant called L'Atelier, which was really good, I had the steak and Dawn had the lamb.

The next day we did our DIY day trip to Bruges by getting the train up there. On arrival we walked all over the place and soaked up the rays, as it was quite a sunny day. However we did find it a bit touristy and the meal we ate in Bruges reinforced that fact, so avoid Poules Moules if you find yourself looking for food. However, do take the time to visit the Choco-Story museum, once you've found it(!) it has quite a range of items to do with the history of chocolate, and you get a quick demonstration of how they make Belgium chocolates too. Also take the time to go on one of the canal cruises - they provide some beautiful scenery and a few interesting facts too.

The next day we explored one of Brussels parks, Cinquantenaire which includes the Brussels Arc de Triomphe and the Royal Museum of the Army and of Military History, which despite the name was actually interesting, with lots of tanks, planes, guns, uniforms and exhibitions on both world wars.

The final day saw us taking a stroll around the EU quarter and having a look at the European Commission and European Parliament buildings, sampling Frites from the best frites stand in Brussels (according to the people of Brussels) Maison Antoine (and they were really good), before heading back into the centre of Brussels to buy chocolate, Speculoos biscuits from the biscuit maker, Dandroy Biscuiterie, and beer. A particular beer I've taken a liking to, whilst sampling many, is the Belle-Vue Gueuze, absolutely full of flavour and smells, delicious!

The only downside to the holiday was checking out of the hotel, the breakfasts we had been enjoying weren't included in the room price so we had to stump up €200 - ouch!

I'm currently trying to find a decent video editing package to pull together all the odd bits of video I've taken, as Windows Movie Maker insists that the video I've taken is just audio, despite Windows Media Player playing it fine (bloody Microsoft!) So once I do have that sorted I'll let you know, in the meantime take a look at the photos, many of which were taken by Dawn. In summary, Brussels is good for a long weekend break, especially if you throw in a day trip to Bruges, but I wouldn't want a full week there.

Monday, July 02, 2007

We're having a baby!

Posted by Chris @ 8:54 PM

You may have guessed it from a few rogue comments and Facebook statuses that Dawn and I are having a baby! We're both very happy about it, you can see our first 12 week scan below. This was quite amazing, we could see it moving and rolling around a lot more than we expected it too.

baby-12wk-scan

After telling all the family and friends, we've compiled a handy list of frequently asked questions (FAQs if you will).

  • Were you planning this?
    Yes
  • When is it due?
    10th Jan 2008
  • Do you know what sex it is?
    No, we don't find that out until the scan at week 20.
  • Will you find out what sex it is?
    Yes
  • Would you like it to be a boy or a girl?
    We don't mind.
  • Is it Chris'?
    You cheeky ******, yes, it is!

Hopefully that has cleared a few things up, fingers crossed everything will go well over the next 6 months or so, watch out for pictures of Dawn getting bigger and bigger! :o)