Sunday 19th March 2006

My Sunday turned out to be far more busier than my Saturday, when in most cases it is usually the other way around. Around 7.30am, I heard my Mum in the kitchen, it was time to get up. Yet I had a thumping headache and the beginnings of a cold. I was not in the mood to leave my warm duvet, but somehow summoned the courage to get up. For some strange reason, after some breakfast and a mug of tea, I was feeling a lot better. I was excited. I always am when I am about to head over to Harrow. I grabbed all my things, including the FlickR Hacks book (which Hussein waited to have a quick peek at) and jumped in the car. As I drove over to North East London on the M40, I put my foot down and hit a new record. 102 miles an hour, as registered on my Road Pilot. I quickly slowed down as there was no need for such excessive speed on a sunny Sunday morning. I pulled up outside my friend’s house just after 9am and waited for him to answer the door. Admired his dirty ride. Sure enough a few minutes later, Hussein came to answer the door. It was great to see him, particularly as it had been several months. I had been hoping to come over last Sunday morning, but found other things pop up which got in the way. Thankfully on this occasion my sister was at home with relatives so I could leave home quite carefree in the morning. Sure enough I was handed my Harmony Remote Control, which I had won on eBay a few weeks ago. It was much lighter than I expected, but in excellent condition (as you might expect) and just wanted to rush home to try it out. Then, for the piece de resistance I was shown Myth TV on the Apple laptop. Awesome, is the only word that comes to mind. Not only is the quality of the digital feed better then our Sky digital, it comes with feature packed software. The twin tuners enabled two shows to be recorded simultaneously while watching another show. The view on the standard television was also impressive, particularly when compared to the Free View digital box set. One day I will get my home hooked up to something like this. The best feature is the fact that you can pause live television and buffer the remainder of the show. So say you miss the 9pm showing of 24 by 13 minutes, you can come in and start watching it from the beginning, with the piece of mind that the rest of the episode is being recorded on the fly. I would find very beneficial, in terms of not having to work to the scheduling of the broadcaster. The web based interface is fantastic and even better than DigiGuide. It shows everything that is currently screening, quick links to IMDB and TV Tome, and all more information you could get from a standard television guide. Right click, record now and there you go, screen shot is taken and the show is being recorded. Sure enough, go the schedule page and you will seen how much space the show has taken already. There was a little issue of how to stop recording and deleting the programme, but I am sure Mighty Mouse will work it out in good time. Then we decided it was time to head outside and listen to my amp. Hussein fiddled with the audio settings while listening to Billie Jean, only to discover my sub was not working. Not a major issue, I could get that corrected with a quick phone call later this week. Then we stepped into the Fabia to hear the same track on the Empeg and you could tell the difference. Looks like Hussein is driving us to Norfolk for the Lotus weekend. Time to get the car washed. I waited for Hussein to come out of his house and began reserving the car out, when he appeared he through a walk talkie through my passenger window onto the seat. I laughed and gave a wide grin. Cool. We made our way towards South Harrow. This was the same jet wash I had visited back on Sunday 18th December last year, but it looks like the lazy member of staff has been fired. Under strict instruction to put my foot down from MightyMouse. I followed the order, but my car would take some time to respond. Meanwhile I was still fiddling around with the walkie talkie, wanting to ask what my code name was. Iceman was the reply when I eventually worked out what button to press, but it was too late, we were about four hundred yards from the wash centre. We pulled in, to find both jet wash bays in use. We parked up and went to get tickets while the two gentlemen ahead of us began their programmes. We stood by my car and talked about, cars funnily enough in the cool Spring sunshine. We looked forward, with great anticipation to our Lotus Weekend, taking place on the first weekend in June. Then it was our time to drive onto the bay. I thought ten minutes would be more than enough time. It was not. Or perhaps it was and I was just being too lazy for my own good. In the end, when it came to rinsing my car, the passenger side did not cleared down of all the foam. There was no time left to apply the wax, so I drove off wishing my friend goodbye. When I got home, around 11am, I jumped onto my computer and headed for the Logitech web site to configure my Harmony. The process was painless and after selecting the correct software to download and open, I was up and running. I only had to note down the model number of the television from the back of the screen. Done. The device even learned the functions of our Sony surround sound system and then found the closes matching hardware which would enable it to interface with the Harmony. No problems, no issues. The web based applet did the rest and I was up and running. I rushed to the living room and manually switched off all the devices and began playing around. Watch TV was the first activity I selected and sure enough, on came the television, Sky receiving and AV kit. Then I could select the channel number for Sky and was in full control of all my devices (including the XBox) from one universal remote control. Fantastic. I will get around to adding photographs of my remote (it glows in the dark) but for the time being, check out the cluster over on FlickR. Late into Sunday evening I drove my cousin back over to Hayes on the M4 and switched the radio over to Star 106.6 FM. On weekend evenings they have Yaar on Star (formerly known as The Asian Star) and play a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi music. I tend not to listen generally because I am usually busy. In any case I hate the presenter, Ali Meer. He talks in major riddles in a mixture of broken English and Hindi. To a point he almost begins to philosophize on air to his listens in between the songs. Anyhow, I put up with his drivel for the journey. It was only about a twenty minute drive if that. Then, after reading a heart warming poem from one his long term listeners, he played one of my favourite Hindi songs of all time. Now, I have already started my view that Hindi is the most romantic language in the world when sung and comes only second to French in spoken form. My sister automatically told me it was Pelha Nasha and I put the volume up. Ironically it was a song that I constantly listened to when I was in India back in 1997. Strange to think that that was nearly nine years ago. Where has the time gone? Sure the song does sound very cheesy with the rapping, but the beat is improved in the remix. You can never beat the original, but with Hindi filmi music remixes are rarely better than the real thing. If your still keen, you can go and have a listen over at Raaga. The album, Greatest Dance Mix Collection did spawn two rushed sequels, which did not live up to the quality of the original, the third having eight tracks and perhaps only two decent songs worth listening to. A shame really because they could have done a fantastic job. In a quick roundup, I uploaded images of the damanged IBM Thinkpad to my FlickR. As I predicted the second (with hopefully many more to come) BBC blog has been launched. Following on from the fresh relaunch Newsnight homepage Paul Mason has launched his own blog under the imagnitive if not quite unique title, “Idle Scrawl”. This will become part of the BBC Blog Network, which currently totals three. There is a new Commonwealth Games blog. Although at the moment, the subdomain auto directs to Nick Robinsons’s Political blog. Hope the Beeb change this soon.

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