Monday Results Extra

A couple of good wins this weekend, with the trend set by the fives beating Western 2-0 at Auchenhowie on Saturday. Both goals came in the first half, and some stout defending after the break ensured there was no way back for Western. No serious injuries this time, and even though it was my first game for a couple of months I was still able to wash the cars on Sunday!

The weekend was completed with a 2-1 for Liverpool at Portsmouth in the the 4th round of the FA Cup – it was a pretty ordinary game but a (dubious) penalty in the first half from Gerrard and a fine strike from Riise just before the break was enough to see them through.

Next match is Birmingham in the league at Anfield on Wednesday night, which may be the first game of Robbie’s second spell at the Reds – sure to be fantastic atmosphere whatever happens…

Urgent Action

I’ve recently rejoined the Amnesty International Urgent Action Network and received the first request today.

Maria Aparecida Denadai, a lawyer working in the state of Espirito Santo, near Rio de Janeiro, has received death threats. It is feared that these threats may be linked to the killing of her brother, lawyer Marcelo Denadai, in 2002, as he was preparing to reveal evidence on political corruption in Espirito Santo state. Maria Aparecida Denadai may be in grave danger.

I’ve written my letter’s and faxed them off so let’s hope they have the desired effect.

On more mundane matter’s Uncle Pete’s visit was a big success all round, Megan was most upset when she discovered he really had gone home. Pete also managed to fit in a jaunt up Goat Fell on Arran on Saturday – obviously I would have joined him had I not been working on Southend’s migration (that’s my story anyway!). He’s uploaded some photos of Goat Fell and a windy Sunday morning on the beach at Ayr onto his Kodak Galleries account.

Went for a game of snooker in Renfrew with Darren last night, and was soundly beaten. Lost the first three frames hardly potting a ball, but managed to get it back to 3-2 before Darren won the last frame of the night. We’ll try a repeat in a week or two, down here if I can find a snooker hall locally.

There’s no migrations on this weekend (hurrah!) so it’s the first hockey game in months on Saturday – away for the fives at Auchenhowie. I’ll probably be regretting it come Sunday…

Uncle Pete and the SCART switch

Well the SCART switch arrived but its only a qualified success – it switches nicely between the DVD player and the Sky Box, but the Playstation doesn’t want to play. It’s not a proper SCART connection on the Playstation and the switch just doesn’t sense when there’s video to be displayed. Actually its worse than that because even if you convince it there is video, the TV can no longer lock on to the signal so it’s useless anyway – the only way to get a bit of gaming is to plug the Playstation straight into the TV.

Uncle Pete’s arriving tomorrow for the weekend, before he leaves the country for is globe trotting travels. He’s planning a jaunt up Goat Fell on Arran but judging by the weather he’ll be lucky if he can find Arran never mind climb a mountain – it’s been a bit driech today.

Angela went to see the architect today, and has going to submit the drawings for the extension to North Ayshire Council to see if we can get planning permission – we’re still not 100% sure on the layout but we’re close enough for it not to matter. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what they have to say about it all.

Birthday’s & Wireless Fun

It’s been a difficult week or so, with both Angela and me feeling pretty ropey and one point or another – we were both on the mend by the weekend though, and with Southend postponing their upgrade until next week (thank goodness), we at least had a couple of days to recover for once.

We went to the Monkton Lodge neat Prestwick for lunch on Saturday and whilst we were their booked a party for Megan’s birthday – £8 a head including meals, party games, 2 hours of soft play, balloons and party bags etc. Seemed like a good deal and lot less hassle than trying to organise it all ourselves!

On the way back we picked up a DVD player for the study from Tesco (at just £17 it cost less than some of Megan’s DVDs but at least it means Mum can watch her ‘gramms’ in the lounge whilst Dad gets to watch Fifi & The Flowertots with Megan as he’s working). We also decided it was time to get a TV cabinet to tidy up the mess of wires that was accumulating in the corner and picked up one from Argos for £28 – just the right size to fit in the corner between the door the radiator – it’s made a big difference.

Unfortunately the old TV that’s in the study has just the one SCART socket so with the Sky box, the new DVD and Dad’s Playstation to connect to it a solution was required if we were to avoid a lot of cable swapping. A quick search on the Internet threw up more SCART switch boxes than you can shake a stick at, so we ordered one from Maplin that will switch up to four sources into one automatically – it’s not arrived yet so we’ll let you know how successful it turns out to be another day.

Sunday was a trip to Lenzie for Hayley’s birthday party, where we all had a good time, and on the way back we stopped of at Frankie & Benny’s in Glasgow for tea – so as it turned out not that much time spent recovering this weekend after all!

At least the Reds managed to pick up another three points against Spurs – sets things up nicely for the Man U game next weekend.

We managed to recycle the old wireless router today too – it’s been sitting in a cupboard for months since we upgraded to a Netgear DG834GT 108mbps router, but there wasn’t actually anything wrong with it. It was still perfectly adequate for sharing an broadband ADSL line – even at just 10Mbps its still going to 4-5 times faster than the connection to the internet.

Audrey had a Dell Inspiron laptop that was shackled to the phone line by a BT USB Voyager ADSL modem – which kind of defeats the point of a laptop. Since it had built in wireless support it was just a case of configuring and plugging the router into the phone instead of the Voyager and Bob was most definitely your Mum’s brother. Not even having AOL as the ISP was enough to throw a spanner in the works, so Audrey is now happily wandering round the house and surfing the net (just like Angela – I think I may have unleashed two monsters now, not sure whether Alan will thank me for it or not!).

Whilst setting up the wireless networking I noticed that the laptop seemed to be running quite slowly, and a quick check showed that the IDE controller was running in ‘PIO mode’ even though it was configured to use ‘DMA if available’. Seems like this might be a common problem with Windows XP, as another quick search online turned up a way to force XP to revert back to DMA – I’ve noted it here in case I need to do it again some time…
Run REGEDIT. Go to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

It has subkeys like 0000, 0001, 0002, etc. Normally 0001 is the primary IDE channel, 0002 the secondary, but other numbers can occur under certain circumstances. You have to go through these subkeys and check the DriverDesc value until you find the proper IDE channel.

Delete MasterIdDataChecksum or SlaveIdDataChecksum, depending on whether the device in question is attached as master or slave, but it can’t actually hurt to delete both. Reboot. The drive DMA capabilities will be redetected.

Open Device Manager again and check whether the device is now actually using DMA mode. If so, congratulations, you’ve made it (at least until the next time Windows disables DMA again!).

Thunderbird 1.5

A new version of Thunderbird has just been released.

Here’s what’s new in Thunderbird 1.5:

  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Thunderbird may now be half a megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
  • Sort address autocomplete results by how often you send e-mail to each recipient.
  • Spell check as you type.
  • Saved Search Folders can now search across multiple accounts.
  • Built in phishing detector to help protect users against email scams.
  • Podcasting and other RSS Improvements.
  • Deleting attachments from messages.
  • Integration with server side spam filtering.
  • Reply and forward actions for message filters.
  • Kerberos Authentication.
  • Auto save as draft for mail composition.
  • Message aging.
  • Filters for Global Inbox.
  • Improvements to product usability including redesigned options interface, and SMTP server management.
  • Many security enhancements.

The Rumbling Edge has more detailed lists of new features and notable bug fixes.

Happy New Year

Well it was back to work today, after a belting New Year in Matlock with the gang – Dave, Pete, Jim & Clare, Chris & Catherine and Rob & Sonali (plus Nigel and Heather at various points during the week!). The cottages were great, and the indoor pool was nicely heated and good way to start the day – particular when a late night was followed by an early morning call from Megan. The snow did its’s best to disrupt the start of the week, but it soon melted away and to be honest I think now I could do with another holiday to recover…

There’s been a bit of activity on the technology front as well – WordPress 2.0 has been released so I’ve just upgraded the blog to see how it looks. No obvious changes from the website side of things (still looks much as it did!) but the back end stuff (for writing posts etc) has been spruced up no end. A big improvement – will need to have a chat with Emma to see if she want’s her blog updating too.

Whilst I was at it the WeatherIcon plugin was updated too, new icons and a bit more detail are now shown – including sunrise and sunset times and the last time the information was udpated.

So you’ll be even better informed on the weather here in the frozen north 🙂