House Price Fiasco

House prices in the UK have tripled in the last ten years. Actually, where I live they’ve tripled in the last seven years. How on Earth has this been allowed to happen? The main people to benefit from this rise are the ones who could have put a stop to it. Estate agents, mortgage lenders and, most of all, the Government. Gordon Brown goes on about how fantastic our economy has been over recent years when, in fact, he’s completely wrecked the standard of society in Britain for the foreseeable future.

How mad is it when even a well paid job cannot earn you enough money to buy any property in some areas, let alone the three bed semi which you could have bought a few years ago. Even the ones who can afford a mortgage are borrowing three times as much as they used to, only to have most of it taken away in inheritance tax once they eventually finish paying for it!

Well done Gordon Brown. Hard luck Great Britain.

Logitech S-510 Review

When I first built my MythTV box I bought a cheap “Trust” wireless keyboard and mouse. It served me right for being a cheapskate, but the range was so poor that my wired keyboard could actually reach further. Anyway, the Trust got consigned to the bin and I had to squat in front on the TV every time I needed to type something.

Meanwhile, my mate Paul bought a Logitech S510 wireless keyboard, mouse and remote combo for £60 from PC world. He raved about it, but the price was a bit steep for my liking… Then the other week, Paul made the mistake of telling me that the exact same set was on Scan Today Only for £28! 10 hours later it was in my sweaty palms…

It uses RF rather than IR, giving it a massive range. The remote and keyboard work from about 50 ft away! The mouse is a bit more picky as I guess it has to transmit a lot more information. Still, you can surf from the comfort of your sofa with no problems.

The Linux compatibility is pretty good. Many of the multimedia keys on the keyboard work; they trigger Gnome functions even when in Myth, which is handy. The only problem is the remote. It basically duplicates many of the keyboard’s multimedia keys – most of the ones which don’t work. They don’t even generate an event, so can’t be configured using lirc. I guess they could be made to work by patching the kernel, but to be honest the remote is missing quite a few essential buttons – a central diamond and the keys 4-9 for a start! So, I’m going to stick with my Hauppauge remote control. After all, £28 isn’t bad just for a keyboard and mouse.

Ubuntu Satanic Edition

You might think I’m joking, but there’s actualy a Linux distribution out there called Ubuntu Christian Edition. To me, this is just a bit silly. What’s the point of adding GnomeSword and a few fish logos to the standard Ubuntu distro and saying that it “empowers Christians”? Empowers them to do what, invade Iraq?

Anyway, this got me thinking and, even though I’m an atheist, I’m also a big heavy metal fan. So I think this qualifies me to release Ubuntu Satanic Edition.



To further the transition of my site, I’m going to move the hosting of my picture gallery onto Picasaweb. Up until now, it’s been taking up most of the space that my ISP, Plusnet, provides. Why do this when Google gives you 250MB for free?

It’s also so easy to upload your photos using Picasa. There’s even a Linux version, although this doesn’t do the picassaweb stuff as yet.

The link to my pics is:


It’s pretty ironic that I maintain a guide on how easy it is to get MythTV working on Ubuntu, but when I upgraded my own MythTV box from Dapper to Edgy I completely broke it. I can sum the problems up in just two words: bloody ATI.

It’s a well known fact that ATI cards have flaky Linux support, but my Radeon 9250 has served me pretty well… until now. It turns out that by adding Xorg 7.1 support (required for Edgy) to driver 8.27, ATI broke their VideoOverlay feature. This means that you can only see the top half of the picture, no matter what resolution you use. Without VideoOverlay, the picture suffers from horrible tearing.

Anyway, a bit of googling and I learned that the problem was already fixed in version 8.30 of the driver. Great, I thought, and promptly installed the latest version. To my horror, it turns out that ATI dropped support for my 9250 card in version 8.29!

So, I did what I should have done long ago – sent off for an Nvidia 5200. Thanks to the wonders of, I had it in my grubby mitts just 10 hours later (standard delivery!). Within 10 minutes of sticking it into my PC, I had a great picture on my TV.

The moral? Linux and ATI – just don’t do it.


Well, I’ve decided to go all Web 2.0 on your asses and start a proper blog. I’ve always written my web pages from scratch, but with applications like WordPress available, why bother?

The only downside to this is that the Web starts looking rather samey. Oh well, a nice theme should sort that out.