Monday 22nd December 2007

What have I been doing for the past few days? Apart from being exceptionally lazy, I completed my Christmas shopping in Milton Keynes and also went out for a meal in Chelsea. On the recommendation of my sister, Samantha, I have been listening to the Leona Lewis album, Spirit. I must say I am very impressed. During the course of last year’s X-Factor, Simon Cowell compared Lewis to Mariah Carey and it shows in several tracks on this album. Having borrowed many of the diva’s production team may explain this but overall the album is very very good. My favourite two tracks originally were Yesterday and Angel (Stargate production, the same people that brought you Irreplaceable by B and With You by Chris Brown). However I was listening to it on the drive back from Central London, late on Thursday evening and my favourite now is track eleven, “The Best You Never Had”. If it is released as a single, an acoustic version would sound absolutely amazing. I thought I would make use of my time off and clean up my mp3 collection, although wiping and reinstalling Windows XP a fresh would have been a better idea. I will save that for a quiet weekend in February. I downloaded Media Monkey, which is very good, although for some reason I cannot get it to connect to the freecdb. If anyone can recommend any alternative music management software, all suggestions would be greatly received. When I used the peer-to-peer network Blubster for a short period, a few years ago. There was a discussion on the forum about how to name / label mp3 files. Since then I have kept to a pretty standard format for file names and ID3 Tags but even my great organisation needs to be cleared up from time to time. Back in 2003, there was a breakthrough in technology. Networking using the power network in the conventional home. One of the lawyers at the law firm I was working for at the time was well impressed and thought it would be something he could have in his home. He was a little disappointed when I explained that you would have to buy some expensive kit to make it possible. The internet would not just work through the electric socket by magic! Fast forward four years, this morning I went over to PC World and picked up a kit for myself. It has been something that I have been looking at for a while. The Netgear router, now living under my desk means that the wireless reception in the lounge is rather week (ideal for web surfing but not major data intense activities). Plus, ever since taking the router from the back of my television, my XBox has been offline. To get around this in the past, I would use my old Netgear router, plug in my laptop and transfer any videos and carry out any maintenance. (Remember, I only got it back from brick status just under two months ago.) This is great but the whole beauty of XBMC is having it online, being able to see the BBC News headlines scroll on the main screen and download movie trailers direct from Apple. I also wanted to try out some new YouTube scripts and be able to transfer across content without having to setup an ad hoc network each and every time.

Netgear PowerLine HD Network Kit

I confess, I do not know much about the technology. All I can say is that it works and works well, even with twenty-five year old circuitry in my house. The product remains true to plug and play philosophy. I just plugged in network cable from xbox to power socket and did the same on my router in my room. Instantly the two boxes on the wall started talking to each other. I then logged onto the XBox via FTP and wireless transferring across music videos at a blistering rate! I have been rinsing my monthly bandwidth allocation via uTorrent and doubt I have any left. I watched the final two episodes of Journeyman, which were very good but I was expecting more. Do not get me wrong, I do not feel left down, I just expected the show to end on a bang, not a wimper! Hopefully there will be a second series. I suppose for a change, I can burn the DVD and ship it over to Pav. To make up for all the care packages he has sent me so far this lifetime. I cannot finish without mentioning football. Three matches in seven days and three wins, and more importantly six points on the board. Two London derbies sandwiched between a thriller Carling cup-tie against Blackburn at Ewood Park and thanks to Sky, all televised! You can read match reports, for Chelsea, Rovers and arch-rivals Spurs.

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