Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dexter


I have to confess Dexter would not be my normal choice of viewing, and FX channel would not be one I normally hop to, but I was intrigued by adverts on the London Tube of a new series about a serial killer. OK, so there are plenty of crime dramas around but this was about the serial killer with him being the star. The ad intrigued me so I watched and was hooked, downloading episodes from the USA and watching the first season quite quickly. Now season 2 has just started in the US.

So, what is it about? Well, Dexter is a disturbed man who as a child witness the brutal murder of his mother. He was saved by a policeman from the bloody scene and adopted by the same policeman but the murder affected him. He now feels strange urges and desires that can only be satisfied by killing. His "father" realises the only way to stop Dexter from being incarcerated is to teach him a code and some control. Dexter's code is that he only kills those who kill others - he has some "ethics" - and he always covers his tracks by leaving no forensic evidence. Oh and did I mention his job? He's a Blood Spatter Analyst for the Miami Police Department.


I would not want to spoil the plot for you but season 1 ends with a bang. Season 2 opens with Dexter's stash of victims bodies being discovered. And look out for Dexter's girlfriend, she is someone that fan's of Buffy may recognise, Drusilla, played by Julie Benz.

One to watch without a doubt. If you liked, or didn't like it, let me know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Linkstation - More Toys for the Boys?

Another toy, ordered last night. This one is called a Network Attached Storage box, branded as a Linkstation. Basically it's a small computer hiding away as a semi-intelligent hard disk. The clever thing is that any PC on your home network (or the internet if you choose) can access this hard disk. Imagine, you store your documents on the NAS box and when you are at school you've forgotten your homework? No problem, log into your NAS and retrieve and print it at school.
The Linkstation Home Server model I bought first of all turned out to have a fault preventing it being upgraded and the hard disk was faulty. Luckily the eBay seller was a decent bloke and didn't cause me grief over the refund. I'm now having to buy a different model, the Linkstation Live but it stil has has a gigabit ethernet connection which means fast transfers between PC and Linkstatiion. This is also quite hackable.

The cheapest Linkstation I could find was a 250gb model at Play.com for £99.99. That is a great price and doing that and bunging my own HD in it to upgrade it to a 500Gb model is cheaper by far than buying a 500gb model as standard. Plus I get a spare 250gb drive. Result.

The plan is to open the firmware somewhat (perhaps even re-flash the device) and to add some software to it to enable me to host a personal website and to turn the Linkstation into my 24/7 download box, replacing any need to leave a PC on all day and night. Depending on how successful I am this could even render my Zonbu partly obsolete and save the planet at the same time!

More info can be found at http://www.nas-central.org/ with info on how to modify Linkstations too!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What the heck is a Zonbu


I've just received my latest toy. Yes, I am a sucker for all things electrical (well, not quite all - there are a few battery powered devices I could happily pass on). This is a "green PC" called a Zonbu. http://www.zonbu.com/.
It's a relatively low powered PC which runs a customised Linux operating system but with all the programs you would need already installed. It consumes around 15W - about the same as an Energy Saver lightbulb and additionally the manufacturers have bought carbon offsets to offset it's use. Oh how green can you get? A further major benefit is that it has no hard disk and the processor is a low power one so there are no moving parts and no need for a fan. Yes, it is totally quiet meaning it can be left on even in a bedroom without disturbing "she who must be obeyed". Next job is to replace the operating system with a customised and stripped (lean and mean) version of Windows, without all the Microsoft bloatware and then to integrate it into the home network as my 24/7 server in conjunction with my other low power box, the Buffalo Linkstation (although that has just turned out to be faulty and needs replacement). Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ninja Warrior



Also known in Japan as Sasuke.

We've got into this TV show in a big way. It's the one thing on TV (as opposed to downloadable TV shows from USA) that I actually want to watch. It's a mad Japanese gameshow where grown men (and some women too) compete on a fiendish obstacle course that tests their skill and their physical prowess to complete four stages. Some of these stages are timed, all are difficult. If too many people get through, those fiendish Japs make it harder. It's been going for some years now and so far only two people have ever completed the thing. The first guy now has an eyesight problem and although he tries to compete he often cannot see what he is doing (which is potentially rather dangerous). The old and the young compete (we've seen a 14 year old and a 70-odd year old). Some of the regulars are stars in Japan and even some foreigners have competed like US Olympic medal winners who haven't done that well!

Our hero for this is a Japanese fisherman called Makoto Nagano. The man is a class act. He makes the thing look easy when it isn't and he is super-fit. I was very surprised to read he is only 5'3" tall.

Anyway, you are advised to check this show out. It's on in UK on ChallengeTV at 6pm or shown on US television as well. "Go Nagano!!!"

10 Print "Hello World"

Well, so far I have resisted all the trendy internet uses like Facebook, YouTube, Blogging and the like but no longer. I mean, it comes as a shock to find your non-nerdy wife has a Facebook page you didn't know about. So without further fanfare, here we go. My weblog. I wonder how long I can be bothered? My prediction is "under six months". First proper entry later today.