Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Archos to the Rescue!

I cannot tell you how much I love my Archos AV500.

Oh alright then, I'll try.

This little beauty can record from TV and DVD onto its 100Gb hard disk, which means you can carry all your favourite movies, photos, and music with you wherever you go. It once again proved invaluable on my recent trip to the U.S., as the seatback video screens on my United flight from Heathrow to San Francisco weren't working, so while my fellow passengers had to go eleven hours with no video entertainment, I had all my favourite movies at my disposal (I watched Memento, followed by Rammstein Live in Nimes from the Volkerball DVD: superb!). Later in the flight I lent the Archos to the guy sitting next to me who was going mad with boredom, and he chuckled along to Nacho Libre for a couple of hours and was very grateful.

On the way home I flew bmi from London to Riyadh, on their old boneshaker of a plane. This one doesn't even have seatback screens, so we are forced to watch movies on 14" tellies mounted in the ceiling, just like a Wallace Arnold coach trip! This wouldn't be so bad if the fluorescent lights in the ceiling didn't reflect off the screens, making them almost unwatchable. Out came the Archos once more: this time it was Blade Runner, The Director's Cut, and Laurel & Hardy. The hours flew (sic) by!

I'm off again tonight, this time to UK for a holiday, and you can rest assured my trusty Archos will be in my carry on.

If you travel regularly and like movies, get one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bloody Marvellous Email!

I've just found out how to post to my blogs via email!

Now I can post from anywhere using my Blackberry -- Hurrah!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sights of Utah

Forgot to tell you I was going away on a business trip. I'm in Salt Lake City for Novell's BrainShare conference, so won't be posting anything here until I get back at the end of the week. Meanwhile, head over to Neal of Arabia to see some of the stunning scenery we found on our trip down to south-eastern Utah.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In Memoriam: Philips 37" Plasma R.I.P. :-(

I finally heard back from the Philips service centre about my Philips plasma TV that they've had in the workshop for THREE MONTHS NOW, and the news is not good.

Apparently not only has the power supply blown (I could've told them this) but the screen is knackered as well, and it would cost SR15,000 (just over £2,000) to repair. It's obviously not worth doing, as a new replacement would cost only a few hundred pounds, so I've told them to send it back to me as-is. I now have a new TV anyway so it looks like we'll just have to give the old one a good send-off when it returns.

Anyone any interesting ideas what to do with a broken 37" plasma TV?

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Got a PSP? Then get Every Extend Extra, or E3 for short.

This is just my kind of game. Bright, colourful, challenging, lots happening on screen, fantastic visuals and thumping techno soundtrack.

If you're old like me you'll remember Asteroids. Well there's a very faint resemblance to that in E3, in that you get groups of enemies drifting across the screen and you maneouvre your craft to avoid crashing into them. But, instead of shooting at them you have to position your craft as close as you can to as large a group as you can, then detonate it!

The craft blows up, taking out all the enemies in its blast radius, and these in turn can also take out more distant enemies when they explode, so what you're trying for is the biggest chain reaction you can get. Once they've all exploded they leave bonus items behind that you have to scoop up.

The action starts quick and gets quicker, and even once you've mastered the gameplay enough to get through all the levels you'll keep coming back for more, as all this explosive carnage is very satisfying :-)
Oh, and the music's good too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

T.V. News

STILL no sign of my Philips 37" plasma TV that broke down back in December. Since my last update back in January I've tried calling them four times and have got through twice, and received a satisfactory answer zero times. They have also called me back twice to apologise for the delay and to give me no further information.
The problem is that it's a European model that I brought to Saudi with me, which is why the power supply has blown. It is also the reason the Philips agent is giving for the delay: because they have to order the spare part from Europe. Fair enough but Europe isn't further away than the moon, and it shouldn't take two months to move a spare part from one part of the world to another!

When I do finally get the Philips TV back we're going to sell it, because....

I've bought a new telly! Karen and I both got fed up with waiting and we know that when we finally do get the Philips back it will have been adapted for the Middle East electricity supply, and hence useless anywhere else so not something we can take with us.

The new one is an LG 42" HD-ready TV with a built-in 80Gb hard disk, and I now have it set up with my 200 Riyal supermarket DVD player and home cinema system, and we now have the best picture and sound we've ever had. AND it's multi-voltage/multi-frequency, so it SHOULD still work wherever we end up next, when we leave Saudi at the end of the year.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lost (and found) in Translation

Continuing the Lost In Translation files, or so I thought... I spotted this T-shirt in a supermarket the other day:

Click to enlarge image

A prime candidate for the LIT files I thought: what the heck is "Drunknmunky"? But then I searched the internet and it turns out to be a designer label www.drunknmunky.com

Just when I was starting to doubt my LIT-spotting powers I saw this complimentary wall calendar in the local photo printing shop:

The legend reads, "First Service in the Kingdom, which changed your imagination to reality"

Who dreams these things up???