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Birds nestsSunday 31st October 2004
My server, not this one, my one at home I keep in a chimney. To be exact, I keep it in a cupboard which covers the front of a fireplace. In this day and age there are no fires lit there, heat is provided by the wonderful invention of central heating.

This is a perfect place (I think so anyway), to keep my server. It is a cupboard so when closed you can't hear it apart from the very faint and distant hum (less than the boiler for instance) - this is very important as this room acts as a spare bedroom.

The downside to keeping a computer in a cupboard is air-flow. As everybody knows you must keep your computer well ventalated. Computers produce a lot of heat and this needs to be transported away to stop them from going very wrong.

That's where the large whole going up into the outside world comes in, yes the chimney. It's ideal as wind moves over the top of the chimney it sucks up air from the bottom - along with the handy fact that heat rises it's perfect. Naturally there is a piece of hardboard covering the entrance of the chimney to stop anything from falling onto the server. With enough room for air to move freely.

The downside is, this piece of hardboard is fixed permanently - so when a bird decided to screw up their blueprints for the new luxuary 4 bedroom nest they were building in the chimney - it fell down. And of course blocked the chimney, any hope of ventailation. The bit of fixed hardboard made it almost impossible to dig out the nest.

Finally my Father and I pulled it out last night. Took a bit longer than expected, there were a lot of twigs. I mean, loads. Trying to tug it out was just getting bits of dirt and tree all over the place.

The end result was me having to pull out the entire computer, and hold a black bag under the chimney while my Dad scooped out the nest bit-by-bit. Was hardly a nice experience.

And the really annoying thing, I've lost my wonderful up-time on my server. Oh well, now it's ventalated well again hopefully I won't have to turn it off again. Until I run out of disk space and need to add another drive, again.


Mobile phone contracts.Sunday 17th October 2004
It's getting to that time of year again, my phone contract will be up for renewal next month. I now have to wonder what phone I'm going to get.

There hasn't been any phones that have really inspired me. Currently I have an Ericsson T610. I like this phone, my two major gripes are that it does polyphonic ring tones, and most the memory is full of pre-defined content that I can't delete. The first gripe I can't do anything about as all phones do that now and long gone are the nice ringers. The second gripe is exclusive to Vodafone phones, as they pack their phones with custom firmare.

As the year is up I can have an upgrade, but none of the 3G stuff is very good if you ask me - and I have no intention of going 3G for some time yet (really, what's the point?).

The best phone I've seen so far is the Ericsson K700i. It seems to be a vamped up T610, better screen, lots more memory, faster better games, and a nicer menu system. It also supports MP3 ringtones - not sure how good this will be yet.

Of course the major issue is the actual contract, as you can get pretty much all phones for free on a new contract. But I already have a contract, which they rarely come for free. I don't understand why, but hey.

The options are: Vodafone (with currently), Orange, O2 (aka BT).

I phoned up Vodafone and they offered me 200 minutes a month anytime & network. Plus 100 sms messages for 35.99/month. The best part was free weekend calls (i.e. not taken out of your 200 free minutes). Which is a damn good idea. The cost of the phone though is 54.

If I start a new contract with anybody I can get the phone for free, and it is also possible to transfer my telephone number - so it's not really a problem changing contracts these days.

So, on a new contract with Vodafone (with free phone) I get:
200 inclusive minutes, 100 sms.
12p/min local rate, 12p/text
For: 36/m

Orange I have the added bonus of 2 months free line rental due to the company I work for having a deal with them. I can get:
200 inclusive minutes, 120 sms.
10p/min local rate, 10p/text
For: 38/m
Not sure if you can use GPRS with this, as it only gives pricing details if you select an option. I guess you can, but it doesn't give the rate.

O2, can offer me this:
200 inclusive minutes, 50 sms.
10p/min local rate, 12p/text
For: 30/m
With the added bonus of double minutes and text's for the first 6 months. After that I can pay 3/m for 100 sms instead of the standard 50.

Of course this all goes out the door when we come to online ordering. Which will take yet more investigation.


New job.Wednesday 6th October 2004
I've just started as a developer this week at the company I've been working for. Will take me a while to get into the swing of things, but I think I'm going to enjoy it.

Really behind on all my personal projects, and yes this site is still suffering the fate of that. I've been thinking about starting again! Yes, yes, I know, but hey. This site is technically spangly, but I want to make it spinky - which would mean a re-write, and a re-design. Don't know if I can be bothered or not.


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