Dec 122018
All cars end up here

Recently we added up what running a car was costing us. Initially we looked purely at the monthly costs, but then we started to look at the ‘per mile’ costs and it was suddenly fairly scary, turning that into a ‘per use’ figure was even more insane. We realised that we were using the car perhaps twice a month and each use was therefore costing over £100, excluding fuel – which given our usage was amazingly minimal. 

We worked out that each mile cost us about £2.50, plus fuel. 

Continue reading “Do you really need a car” »
Feb 232015

I finally managed to get out on my bike. IMG_1817

On Saturday I dressed up extra warm and rode down to the seafront, then along towards the garrison and then back, up-hill, against the wind, all the way back.

Despite clipping a camera to my helmet, I did not get any useable footage at all – the mount slipped, so everything was at a strange angle.

It was great, but scary, to be back on the road. I was very nervous to start with, the first kilometre or so was pretty nerve jangling, but once I calmed down, things were not too bad. I am still obviously very nervous around the traffic and I tried to keep to the bike paths as much as possible.

So, my shoulder…… Continue reading “First Ride !” »

Dec 262013

Sure, we have all heard about the Nissan Juke R and the Nismo R, but are you aware that there is a Nissan Joke Dismal available in the UK ?

I was not.

Until Hertz handed me the keys to one with just 1.4 miles on the ODO.2013-12-21 11.43.48

….and I headed out onto the M25 in the pouring rain and howling gale-force winds. Oh yes, it was dark too

The Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi 110PS Stop/Start has 81hp at 4000rpm and goes from 0-60mph in something like a month of sundays. Officially it does it in 11.2 seconds, but it feels slower than than. Much, much, much slower than that. It tops out at about 100mph. Again it feels slower than that too – 75-80mph is comfortable, beyond that I have no idea.

Continue reading “386 Miles in a Nissan Joke.” »

Oct 162013

I see lots of people pontificating about some new wondrous diet or other and how they have lost endless weight by following them. There are some seriously strange ones that are popular at the moment too.

I may have eaten too many pies

You may have eaten too many pies

I also see endless people hopping from faddy diet to plain weird diet and failing to lose any weight at all. Or more often, losing a bit, then putting it all back on again and again.

Here is the secret.….

If you are over-weight and you want to weigh less, eat less food and burn more calories.

It is actually that simple.

Your body needs food in order to function, but if you over-feed it, then it turns the excess food into fat and stores it for use later.

If you consistently over-feed your body, you will continue to add to the fat stores.

When you move around, when you heart beats, when you are awake, when you are asleep, your body uses energy. If there is not enough food available to burn, then those reserves of fat are raided.

Again though, if there is more food available than you need, then the excess is added to the fat stores.

Depending on how old you are, what sex you are, how much you weigh and how active you are on a daily basis, your body will burn a reasonably calculable amount of calories.

For example, At my age, given my relatively sedentary lifestyle and my current weight, I need around 2500kcals per day on average to maintain my weight. Continue reading “The Top Secret Weight Loss Formula.” »

Mar 182013

I have recently taken to the idea of a Sunday morning ride.

For the last three Sundays I have ridden one of my bicycles around 22-25 miles on one of a variety of loops in the area. I am not the only one, there are a lot of people out riding. I often catch up with a group or a couple of riders and tag along until we go different ways or I run out of legs, or they drop back. Regardless on my previous couple of rides on my road bike there has been a level of camaraderie among the riders. We all speak to each other and often wave.

What I did not realize is that you need to be a part of the clique. If you are riding a road bike or in my case a ‘bitsa’ Tri-bike, then fellow roadies will wave and smile and encourage you to join them.

Now try exactly the same ride on a mountain bike, albeit one with city tires.

On Sunday I rode a slightly different loop, my usual loop sees me riding north, then east, then south and then west to get home, this time I followed the north trail and it took me towards the cost (west) before I eventually turned left and headed homeward. At about the twelve mile point I encountered a group of riders, they were all in their 30’s and 40’s and all riding multi-thousand dollar road bikes.  They were all dressed in various team replica gear, cycling shoes, ‘sponsored’ helmets, the works. As I moved through the pack I said ‘good morning’ to the rider that I was alongside. They pretty much all look away, or straight ahead or otherwise ignored me. At one set of lights I turned to the rider that pulled up alongside me said ‘I guess I am the odd one out huh ?’ He said ‘you could say that’ and looked away.

The reason that they ignored me is simple, I was not conforming to the rules.

Continue reading “Roadies vs Mountain Bikers….” »

Feb 272013

I am not sure when paying over $200 / month for cable TV, Phone and Internet became normal, but apparently this is pretty much what ‘everybody’ pays.

Decently fast internet is $65, the rest of the bill is consumed via Phone, TV and numerous little add-ons. Having a DVR costs over $20 / month, the actual DVR rental is $9.99, then you need the service too – which adds another $10, plus taxes and regulatory fees. Oh and HD programming costs a few dollars too, and so does basic cable and many other things. Log story short, cable TV with a DVR costs about $115 / month.

Luckily there is an alternative.

Almost 100 channels are available for free. All you need is an antenna and a TV that is capable of receiving digital (ATSC) signals.

The major issues though is that I simply do not watch TV live, I record a few shows each week and watch later.In other words, I need a DVR.

So, my journey started wwith finding an open-source DVR that I could use to record Hawaii-Five-O and Elementary to a format that I could playback on my WD TV Live or my jailbroken AppleTv.

Continue reading “So, you want to cut your cable bill…..” »

May 212012

I feel like I am an old man just typing this post.

A DEC VT220-A Terminal last Tuesday

But I am rapidly coming to terms with a new role in the technological world. That roles is as an ‘educated older man, to build solutions, not for the upcoming generations, but for my generation and one either side…’.  That does not fit on a business card though….

The current generation of computer users barely actually use computers. They all use cell phones and tablets, not those archaic boxes that we (my generation) call computers.

They do not have any idea about ‘running’ a program, they simply use an app.

They do not save data locally either, everything is expected to be available regardless of which device they use. Nobody keeps a diary, that is what Facebook and twitter is for. You do not e-mail your friend a photo, you either MMS it to a single recipient or you post it on Twitter or Facebook or you pin it or you instagram it.

Memories are now transient – the only inkling that you existed a few years ago is that you posted a photo on Facebook or maybe a video on YouTube.

Sales of actual physical photo albums are limited to the over-40’s set or maybe even older. Continue reading “The not-so hyper connected generation(s)” »

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Feb 172010

I have been an XM subscriber since July 2006, in that time the monthly fees have risen from ‘about $9’ to $15, while many of my favorite stations have been lost or have transformed into something that is barely worth listening to.

A couple of months ago I realized that I am not using the service at all and decided to try to cancel it. At the time I had three radios signed up and I was spending $45 / month. On radio !

I ditched one of the radios and XM offered me ‘three months for $40’, which was not a bad deal, so I took it. Yesterday we found that both of radio’s were no longer working. Coincidentally I also got the renewal notice.

Continue reading “Adventures in dealing with Customer Retention departments…” »