he thought of cars

he thought of cars

he thought of cars

I just got a bike – at the age of 33 it is technically my first mountain bike. I did have a raleigh BMX when I was a kid, but didn’t carry on with bikes into my teens. I am now trying to cycle to work 3 times a week – does depend on the weather thought :)

My new one is a Raleigh too, so I guess I got indoctrinated as a kid. So far I’ve done nearly 75 miles in a little under 2 weeks (which after much number crunching, based on roughly 30mpg and 115.9p per litre for petrol, giving 75/(30*0.22)*1.159) is a saving of £13.17. Only another 20 weeks and I’ll have paid for the bike!

Unfortunately it doesn’t as yet have seemed to do anything for my weight :(

Virgin Media fixed my cable modem

I’d been having this strange problem with my Virgin Media (Telewest as was) broadband.

Basically, after about 5 minutes of trying to download files, the cable modem would ‘hang’ where the data light would stop flashing. The only way to get back to normal service was to unplug and reboot my cable modem.

I suffered this fault for a few weeks – the delay between reboot and crash seemed to vary between 5 minutes and a day (I suspect it was based on how much data had been downloaded, but I’m not sure). Then after two phone calls with Virgin Media tech support I eventually got it fixed, and I thought it might be useful to post the information here.

Disclaimer: If you follow any of the advice here and screw up your cable modem its not my fault! These instructions probably only apply to the WebStar cable modem I have as well.

First off, you can view your cable modem status page by going to in your browser. The following diagram shows the signal screen.

If you look carefully at the Downstream Frequency it reads 331000000Hz. Apparently either 331000000Hz or 339000000Hz are valid values, but mine was reading 3312500000Hz which isn’t a valid value, and hence was the cause (or symptom) of the problem.

So if your cable modem is having the same problem as this, and the status screen above doesn’t show a ‘correct’ value then this might be the cause of your problems.

Fixing the problem?

You can change this ‘starting frequency’ on the following screen:

Double Disclaimer: Don’t blame me if this all goes pear shaped.

20 things I’m longing to do in 2008 (Part One)

Tagged by Brenda, so…

I shall start at 1 and see how far I get – so in no particular order:

1. Convert my Flickr Screensaver to WPF.

I thought I’d start off with this as this is a mostly code related blog. I’ve written some small prototypes and it looks like it could be quite good. I’ll also try and write a couple of blog posts about the process/what I learnt.

2. Take more photos.

I had a slow end to the year photo-wise, but I got a new wide angle lens for Christmas which it would be rude not to use, plus strange people keep giving me rolls of film, so they need experimenting with.

3. Lose weight and strengthen ‘core’.

I’ve been hovering at around the 13stone mark for quite a while now. I want to get down to 12.5-ish, all in an aid to…

4. Improve my climbing.

Climbing is now definitely my main none-work related focus at the moment, and my main inspiration for getting the weight down. We have three trips abroad planned for this year, all climbing trips (Fontainebleau in France is the first one). Its a strange game, climbing – while there is a certain joy in ‘just climbing’ there is also a large part of you that always wants to be a little bit better.

Working on your ‘core stability’ (which is more than just your abs, but your back and other areas too) is very good for climbing. Good exercises include doing crunches on a swiss ball, planks (or benches as they are sometimes called) and super man exercises.

5. Visit more places in the north-east.

This one should go nicely with the No 2. Places I want to go this year include Dunstanburgh Castle and Cragside, but there are plenty of other places out there (like the Farne Islans for example).

6. Visit more places in the UK.

This one will go nicely with the climbing one as well. So far I’ve only really ever climbed a little in the Peak District, quite a bit in the Lake District, and lots in Northumberland. Possible places to go include definitely North Wales, other bits of Yorkshire, and ideally (though less likely) somewhere on the south coast, like Cornwall (there is an area called ‘Chair Ladder’ which has some amazing climbing on it).

7. Spell better

Get it into my head that the middle vowel of ‘definitely’ is an ‘i’, not an ‘e’ or an ‘a’. Whenever my hands spell that damn word I always get it wrong. Oh, and win more games of Scrabulous in the process.

8. Improve as a husband…

Hey, no-one said I’m perfect, so there’s always room for improvement. Luckily I have a wife who loves me (and who likes climbing too).

9. Think of something else to put on this list to make 10.

Because 9 just seems to few :)

Kenya II

A new update:

With Kofi Annan and his team working with the two leaders , there is optimism in the air. Yesterday Kofi Annan met with the opposition leader and team . Today Thursday he will meet with the government . The opposition have cancelled nation wide demonstrations for today, because Kofi Annan’s team had asked him to. So MAF and many other missions are working with full staff today, whereas many people would have stayed at home for fear of the violence that has accompanied rallies .

Unfortunately some youths caused trouble outside a memorial service yesterday.

Across Kenya Friday is a Day of prayer for peace and justice and for the many, many families that have been affected by the violence. MAF Kenya will be praying along with many thousands of Christians and people of other faiths will be praying as well.

Kenya Update

I’ve got a friend, Paul Waugh, who works in IT for MAF in Kenya. He’s been sending out email updates, and I’ve decided to repost them here (partially prompted by this post).

Dear all,

The opposition have announced that there will be no more street protests after Friday (yesterday). They say “These last three days have been very painful and we have seen a lot of needless deaths and suffering … but today is the last day of the protests and we are now going to move on” .

We give praise to God that at last, the normal person in the street can get on with building his life up again. We look forward to the two leaders meeting face to face with Kofi Annan and his team.

We have just heard by text message that things are very bad in one area of Kibera, and a pastor’s family there are requesting prayer.

Pray for law and order -there are many stories of criminals using the political situation as an excuse to loot and burn. They burn one section, and when neighbours rush to help they loot the empty houses.

Pray for Kenya for Peace and reconciliation

Pray for the Families that have been devastated by the last few weeks , many of them so poor that they were already barely making ends meet.

Pray that God move in the hearts of the two leaders as they meet , and that they will have good advisers.

Thank God for the good stories of neighbours harbouring and helping their neighbours, sometimes of different tribes. Many have donated food to complete strangers, churches in Nairobi have taken collections to help the displaced people.

Firefox users more likely to rock climb!

rock-climbing.pngExclusive: Mozilla Secretly Launches A Viral Campaign For Firefox

Techcrunch is reporting on an interesting video released by Mozilla about Firefox. Apparently Firefox users are 139% more likely to be rock climbers.

Well I’m a rock climber and I use Firefox. Mmm, must be true as its on the internet!

View the video direct on YouTube.

Also, in a similar vein, Firefox users are apparently 13% more likely to have purchased Classic Rock in the last 3 months.