Friday, 9 September 2011

internet & fansubs (BT)

I mentioned a while back that I’d gotten myself BT broadband.

Well, unfortunately I recently had to boost my package to the unlimited downloads one.  This is quite a lot more expensive (the broadband bit of the package basically doubles), but there was no way I was going to be able to keep within the bandwidth limit, and they charge you a huge amount for each gb you go over.

There are two basic problems that have really brought this to the fore.  well, actually there’s one problem, but it has a couple of facets.

That problem is the entire reason I got the BT broadband in the first place- fansubs.

As I’ve explained before, I got the Bt broadband because I was hammering my landlords connection so hard and so often that it seemed to be causing the line to fall over on a very regular basis.  When this happened it meant I had no internet access at all, sometimes for quite long periods of time.

Also, my usage was clearly causing the line to hit its limit often, so when my landlord used it he’d get really slow speeds.  Therefore, by transferring my fansub downloading to another line, I’d stop being an arse.

But then two problems cropped up.  Firstly, the shower broke.  As I explained at the time, that meant I couldn't download any fansubs because my computer is underneath the hatch to get access to the stopcocks.  And because it was out for a week, I created a big backlog of stuff.

The other problem is that this year there seems to have been a real problem over shows that have been picked up for legal streaming.  I try to be a good boy and only dl shows that haven’t been picked up by crunchyroll and AOD.  However, this year a whole raft of stuff either wasn’t licensed at all or was licensed, but I was region locked out of.

A new service called Nico Nico started, which seemed to take several shows and I found the site basically unusable.  But then quite a bit of stuff on crunchyroll was region locked and then there was this big announcement that most of it was going to be on AOD.

I’m not sure I buy into the conspiracy theories that it wasn’t picked up by crunchyroll for the UK because of AOD, but what was definitely true was that it was ages before AOD announced they had them and then literally months before they started appearing.

On top of that, AOD’s site has been crushingly slow, making it unusual and there’s still the problem that AOD's content can only be viewed full screen or in a tiny window, making it a much less practical site for me.

In other words, I seem to have reverted back to downloading just about everything.

And things seemed to be going so well :(

But it did mean that last month I was hammering the connection and I had to increase the bandwidth allowance.

What made this slightly more annoying was that when I tried to rest the payment direct debit thing, it wouldn’t let me set it to a sensible level.  It had this weird thing of one page was recommending a sensible amount, but then when I went onto the page to change it, it insisted I couldn’t take it below a different “recommended” amount that was £10 more than the other recommended amount.  I put the higher recommended amount in quotes, because if you it acts as a fixed minimum value, it’s not really a recommendation is it?

Still, I guess if a large credit build up because of this stupid flaw in the system, I’ll eventually be able to set it lower.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

tweaks to blogger & drafts

They appear to have tweaked the layout and structure of blogger.

Generally speaking I often find myself having quite conservative reactions to changes like this.  I try to be open minded, but it’s difficult sometimes, especially if you’re talking about something that works perfectly well (or suits your needs perfectly).  Change for change’s sake is rubbish - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Of course, sometimes you only realise it was broke after they fix it, but this isn’t one of those cases.  However, I have to say I actually quite like these changes they’ve made.  They’ve added some stuff that, while not necessary, is quite nice/useful, and they’ve not broken anything.

It also looks prettier and feels more involved and a smidge more professional.  As I say, I don’t think it is actually changed much, but it has a nicer, cleaner feel to it.

I’ve not played with everything yet, but certainly the stats are nice.  Being a numbers nerd, stats are always nice, of course.

The new layout also showed me that something odd had happened to some of my posts.  Whether in fact they were fine before and got broken by the change I can’t know for sure, but I actually think it was some problem that I hadn’t realised.

Basically, quite a few (around a dozen over the years) of my posts had not been published.  Instead, they’ve been saved as drafts.  Quite why these particular posts never got published, I don’t know, but it was fairly clear from the page view counter they hadn’t been.

As I say, it was a bit of a random selection and I thought I was in the habit of always checking the blog once I’d published a new entry, but clearly something had gone wrong somewhere.

It would also explain a discrepancy I noticed a few times before, where two of the numbers that showed the number of blog posts didn’t quite seem to add up.  I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but it was something along the lines of the number of posts and the number of entries were different, because one must have been including all these drafts where the other wasn't.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


I kinda new what signs was about before I watched it.

In fact, actually, you can pretty much tell what signs is about from the title and the box / poster art.  However, being an M Night Shyamalan film, I was also expecting some sort of twist.  Or, more specifically, I knew the film was about aliens, but I was expecting some sort of twist on that.

And while there was a twist, it wasn't really concerned with the aliens, as such.  So the aliens didn't turn out to actually be humans from the future or friendly but misunderstood or anything like that - the aliens were pretty much as presented.  The twist was more subtle than that, and I think it worked.

In fact, I was actually surprised as I wasn't really expecting to like signs, but I actually quite enjoyed it.  Despite the clear indication that it's a story about aliens, he still manages to build a good feeling of suspense and tension and, crucially, it feels quite real.  It feels like, if aliens were to come here, this might be a possible way it plays out.

Well, I say that - there's a bit of a reveal at the end that doesn't quite make sense.  It's not the twist, as such, and I won't spoiler it, although some simple Google searching will probably reveal it to you if you feel so inclined.  But basically it's a bit of an odd idea that actually made the aliens a bit crap.  If you know much about science it would also make it impossible to be on the planet at all, but it's not too big a thing.

The film stars Mel Gibson of course and he gives a good performance.  It's a little difficult nowadays not to think of the whole anti-Semitic drunkenness thing of course, but after a while you get used to his character being quite a subtle, gentle person.

The DVD had some pretty good extras too.  There's a nice making of featurette and an interesting commentary.  Shyamalan is quite a talkative chap, which is always good.  Some directors can be rather quiet on commentaries, which I've always thought of as a bit odd as surely it's your chance to explain stuff about this film that you've invested a big chunk of your life in and, presumably, had an eventful time making.

I've not much else to say, really - I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

new regimen

My new regimen seems to be working okay.  Well, ish.

An unfortunate downside seems to be that the Sunday after the cleaning weekend I end up shattered.  It’s difficult to say for sure that it’s entirely down to the new regimen, but it seems very likely.

The problem with being sure is I’ve not been doing it very long and of course this last weekend I was coming off the back of a very tiring week (hard work and lack of sleep).  But certainly as Sunday dawned it was real struggle to get out of bed and the morning was pretty rubbish.  I perked up a bit in the afternoon following a particularly strong coffee, but it didn’t seem to last very long.

Certainly I didn't do any scanning, though I sat down and thought about starting, but in the end I slobbed out in front of a film.

Hopefully that's compensate for a bit by the fact that the other weekend is basically free of stuff to do apart from watch the grand prix.

Total Wipeout is back.  Well, ish.  It seems to have started with two celebrity specials, which the telly listing clearly indicated were episodes 11 & 12 of 12, so they were meant to come last.  I thought maybe I’d missed  the series, but a quick it of googling suggested that no, they’d simply shown the la two episode first.

The seem to have added some good new stuff for the earlier rounds, but the final section - the wipeout zone - is still far too easy.  Indeed, they may have made the one bit of it that was tricky (a long roe swing) easier, y replacing it with some not very fast moving turntables.

The gadget show is also back. Well, ish.  It’s now on Friday evenings instead of Monday.  I can't say that so far I’m impressed with the new slot.  I can't really fit watching it live into my schedule, which means it’s become just another program I watch at the weekend.

Leaving it until Monday might be an idea, but I dunno, if there's a problem with the recording (it’s on 5) the repeat is at the weekend, so I’d have missed it.  I guess I could record both, just in case.  Roll on proper digital switchover next year (only two years after when it was meant to happen!).

They’ve tweaked the competition, which now involves a celeb naming stuff, which works okay, but takes up quite a lot of time.  Otherwise it’s the same basic stuff, so I’m pleased it’s back.

Bit of a random one today.  Well, ish.

Hopefully the return of regular schedule fixtures like these with the drawing in nights and my new regimen will help to get me back to my dieting ways and also kick me back into doing things like scanning during the week.  I figured out that a big part of my problem recently has been that I've been pissing about in the evenings with complicated (and regrettably high calorie) foodstuff so I’ve lost all the time I seemed to gain last year.

Monday, 5 September 2011

damp enough for you, sir?

I got an absolute soaking on yesterday afternoon’s walk.

I’d checked the forecast the day before, so I kinda new rain was forecast.  In fact, to be honest, I was actually hoping for a bit of rain.

My afternoon walk on Saturday had been rather sticky.  It was surprisingly warm for the time of year (are we going to have an Indian summer, I wonder?) and I’d thought a little sprinkling of rain might not go amiss.

When I set off I took my cap as it was just starting to spot with rain and for about three quarters of the walk it kept spotting on and off.  It was also pretty muggy again, so these spots were actually quite welcome.

I didn’t take any sort of coat or other rain protection, though, as I figured if it did rain properly I wasn’t going to be that far from home and I could possibly duck under cover if needed.  But this was a bit of a mistake.

When it started raining, it quickly changed into a deluge and I got very wet very quickly.  Also, the timing was very unfortunate, as I was a good way from any decent cover and by the time I reached cover, I was so wet, stopping wouldn’t have made much difference.  I’d have just ended up being cold and wet for ages, before having to set off in the wet anyway (it continued raining for hours).

I therefore continued on and the rain managed to somehow get even heavier.  As I was coming down the bit that leads to where I live, there were rivers running down the road and everything.  It was a veritable monsoon.

This, of course, had that weird side effect of that super-pleasant feeling you get when you come in out of the rain and dry off and change into fresh clothes.  It’s a really oddly pleasant experience.

To emphasise just how wet it was, my clothes were still sopping wet when I went to bed and rather damp when I checked them after I got up.

In other weight/diet/exercise news, I unfortunately put on the best part of a pound at my weigh in.  To be honest, I’m actually surprised I only put on a pound, considering the crap I ate.  My guess is that my long walk on Monday and my sleepless night and resultant fatigue burnt off a lot of the crap I ate.

I think, basically, it’s a good thing I’m ending one diet period and starting a new one.  Hopefully, it will effectively draw a line under my recent poor performance (only 10 pounds lost across the period, less than half compared to the other periods).  My new plan is very ambitious, as I’m aiming to be “fat” by Chrimbo.

Obviously I’m already fat, but what I mean is I want to take myself out of obese and down into overweight.

If I make it, it will be great, but if not my next target for my birthday will stand a good chance of achieving this goal.  Once I’m down into overweight, I can hopefully look at slowing down, if not stopping the dieting.

While part of me wants to become normal weight, several other parts of me have very good counter points.  One big one is that if I get properly thin I’ll have real problems with loose skin.  Another is that while being obese is a noticeable health risk, simply being overweight is much, much less bad.

Thee are other points too, but those are the key ones.