Monthly Archives: January 2007


iriver H10Rockbox LogoA couple of weeks back, my sister followed in the family tradition of dumping some expensive equipment into a bowl of water. In her case the equipment was her iriver H10 mp3 player. I took it home to try and fix it and, when I got back from Mexico, I took it to bits with some Mexican Torx screwdrivers. There was a tiny bit of liquid damage to a little, soldered, battery, but other than that it looked fine. So I put it back together and, magically, it worked perfectly.

Unfortunately, my sister had bought a new player in the meantime and so she had no option than to donate the iriver to me. Terribly unfortunate state of affairs.

Obviously I wasn’t going to try and do anything useful with it while it was crippled with all of that Microsoft MTP crap and so I decided to upgrade it. A couple of near brickings later and I was losing faith in the iriver firmware.

To cut a long story short, I found RockBox and installed it. What a beautiful piece of software. It’s a complete operating system and user interface for a variety of mp3 players, including the iPod. Unlike the firmware that normally comes with your mp3 player, this is written by and for its users. It’s not trying to keep an eye on you and it’ll play a whole bunch of formats including mp3, Vorbis (ogg), AAC and FLAC. It isn’t soiled by an association with filthy WMA/DRM and it’s also totally customisable, has themes support, and allows
you to run external “plugins” such as games (including Doom), utilities and tools.
And, of course, it’s free! I love it. If you get the chance, liberate your old mp3 hardware and experience some quality programming.

The other good thing about it is that its name is a classic Run DMC track

the last blog

erm…sorry about the last blog entry. It was written during a period of extreme jet lag combined with some celebratory red wine. I won’t delete it, simply as a reminder to myself of the perils of BUI.


Jet-lag is a bit of a bugger but nothing compared to the torture of being confined in an aluminium tube with a bunch of irritating, screaming, children for two hours. Once the plane has taken off you can walk about, sleep, watch the film, and have a pee. Before you take off you’re supposed to sit still and deal with hell.
Luckily, it was only two hours before our plane left the ground in Toronto and headed towards the UK. No children’s lives were taken.
Now we’re back, and reunited with dear Humphrey, we only have our memories to comfort us through the cold rain of London.
Our visit was as perfect as any holiday can be. Apart from spending some quality time with Alex, his family, Tony, Catalina, and everyone else we also enjoyed the food, car-horns, weather, buildings, people and history of Mexico. We even enjoyed our experiences of the locals pre-judging us in the way that we would them in London.
No-one speaks English there. In fact they’re almost as arrogant about their unilinguality as the English. A white face with blonde hair is a signal of massive stupidity combined with a massive wallet. Oh dear.

“How much for this bracelet?”
“For you, as you speak such good Spanish, almost free”

The streets of Mexico City smell pretty similar to those of London except for the overpowering smell of their crap sewage system and the slightly nasty smell of fried corn.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the tortillas and tacos that were in abundance in the streets; it’s just that it turns out to make proper tacos requires the production of some evil smelling gasses. Perhaps this is why so many taco vans were parked up by such smelly sewer outlets.

The amount earned per day on the Mexican minimum wage is around 40 pesos (£2; $4). We were paying more than that for the wireless Internet access in our hotel and it was still a major bargain. In fact, if you ever go to Mexico City (AKA DF) then Casa Gonzales is the place to stay.

In all we loved every minute of the trip. The weather, the wonderful people, the food, the buildings and the weddings. I even managed to indulge in one of my all-time favourite activities: wandering aimlessly around the city, talking all kinds of stuff, with Alex. If you’ve never tried it then perhaps you should. Call Alex, I’m sure he’ll understand.

At the end of it all I managed to leave my mobile in the cab that took us to the airport. We also managed to leave our bedtime MP3 player in the hotel. If ever you’ve doubted the existence of honesty and sociable behaviour, then please know that I’ve been re-united with both items. This is thanks to the cab driver, the cab company, Alex, Alex’s mum and the wonderful people at Casa Gonzales

Mexican Adventure

Flying into a city at night affords those by the window a wonderful schematic view of the town as described by its lights. Generally speaking, all cities look similar from the air: small, isolated pools of amber light from the outlying villages become larger and more frequent until they eventually join together to form the central city. If you look into the distance you can usually see the edge of the central sprawl as it dissipates back into blackness.
Coming into Mexico City was not like this. People always tell you that Mexico city is “huuuge” or “absolutely massive” but it wasn’t until we’d descended low enough to see the lights that the vastness became truly apparent. At the stage where you can see the city, you are already inside it. The city extends as far as you can see in any direction and appears as a huge duvet of lights over a body of mountains. Every now and again we observed large dark areas and tried to establish what they were. Were they lakes ? Parks ? Holes ?
It was only once we’d descended lower still that we realised they were huge, self-contained, mountains poking through the duvet. There you go; it’s so big that it has mountains in it! Ten minutes of flying and we were still over the city and still we couldn’t see the edges. Suddenly I realised why I didn’t understand the maps we were sent in preparation: it’s just too big to grok at street-map level.

We’ve been here for nearly a week now and we’re only just getting our heads around the geography.

I’d planned to write a long rambling blog detailing the minutiae of the trip thus far, but apart from the fact that you wouldn’t read it, I can’t be arsed. So here is our trip to Mexico City in pictures together with wedding pictures. Animal lovers (bird lovers especially) may also like to see our pictures of Mexico City Zoo.

Michele and Tony really went all out to learn Spanish and I’m so proud of them. Tony now speaks so well he managed to have full understanding with Catalina, the friend of Alex he’s staying with. Michele speaks well enough to converse with cab drivers rabbiting at full speed. Even I’ve gone from knowing nothing to being able to order food and drinks, ask directions, and comprehend cab drivers when they’re trying to persuade Michele that they’d make better husbands than me 🙂

Seeing Alex again has been wonderful. I was filling up at the wedding.

More to come…

The joy of the new year and all of the optimistic happiness derived therefrom

According to the voice of the internets, everything’s going great! Saddam, that evil, evil, wicked, evil, wicked dictator, Saddam “evil wicked” Hussein, has been murdered by the “democratically elected government of Iraq(tm)(R)” (formally known as the puppets of the USA). Peculiarly, Saddam was also formerly known as the puppet of the USA. In fact, without the help of the USA, Saddam Hussein and the Baath party would never have governed Iraq. Nor would the Taliban have governed Afghanistan.
Funny old world.
Saddam bouncingWatching the webternets’ reaction to the world is quite a fascinating way to waste considerable chunks of one’s all-too-scarce time on this earth. Not since Steve Irwin copped it have I seen such a huge reaction to the death of a human being as when Saddam was killed. Of course the reaction was nowhere near as great as that which Irwin received but entertaining nonetheless. First came the announcements, then the videos, then the humorously edited videos, like the one displayed here.
You don’t and should not care what I think of this event, but that’s all the more reason for me to document it:

  • If a government is genuinely civilised then they would never condone a state sponsored murder. Therefore the death penalty is wrong.
  • Saddam was a shitbag. He was also trained, funded and put in power by the US and the UK and probably others. I don’t care what happens to him but I also don’t want anyone to think I agree with that grinning simpleton Blair.
  • The “outrage” against the mobile phone footage of his death is outrageous. Now look here, we’re going to kill a human being! It’s a serious business and we should give the person we’re about to murder a bit of respect. Fuck off, I’d rather have the piss taken out of me by some twat with a mobile phone than be killed by a large, impotent, bunch of jumped-up puppet-government tossers.
  • In terms of mass murder, he is pathetic. Bush has killed far more innocent people. I’ll happily watch that un-American bastard get killed.
  • Margaret Beckett and Tony Blair are, in my opinion, as disgusting and despicable as Bush, Hussein and all of the rest of the bastards; they openly put forward their support for a revolting act of human brutality and dress it up as justifiable. You’re both headed for the ninth circle, together with Jack Straw.

Who do you look like ?

In case you haven’t seen this, it’s a site that takes a photo of you and then tells you what celebrity you look like. It’s been doing the rounds for many months, but the boredom of the Christmas holidays gave me an opportunity to try it.

Now, I don’t mind being compared to Russell Crowe, but Angela Lansbury and Rachel fucking Stevens ?

So I used another pic and got totally different results.
Brittany Murphy and Paula Radclife….

My results and proof that face recognition still doesn’t work.