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The random ramblings of a Star Trek-obsessed schools ICT Systems Manager who likes a good moan.
This is a place where I can whinge about life, and express my love of my family, 80's music, retro computer gaming (especially on my Commodore 64),
 oh and Star Trek. I'm very open with my opinions and I like a good moan. If you don't like what I say, then you might want to consider not reading this blog.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Teletext Letter

My praise for Ovine's Driller remake which I mentioned in my last post continues, with a letter that I wrote to Teletext's Game Central (page 805) getting shown saying how fab the game is, and a nice email from the creators of the game saying thanks for the free advertising!!!!! Thanks guys!!!!

I've been busy today playing with my new phone which came in the post this morning. First impressions - I like it very much, although I can't use it to make or recieve calls just yet because my contract has yet to be activated. I'll be sending out my new mobile number to all of my friends within the next few days or so.

Well, I'm sat here with Kieran at the moment (Michelle is at work as usual), watching Pixar movies. We've already watched Toy Story 1 and 2, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, and soon we will be watching Finding Nemo, assuming that Kieran stays awake. What better way of spending a sunny Saturday indoors with your child!!!!

Opps, I can smell a dodgy bum - I think Kieran's nappy needs changing. See you soon!!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Driller / New Phone

Well, what with us buying a new sofa three weeks ago, and having to get our garden fence repaired due to the winds last week, its been a rather expensive month. I've also just treated myself to a new phone - the Nokia N80 (pictured left).

Ok, its not the latest Nseries phone out, and I've been really happy with my Nokia 6280, but I've always missed having a smartphone and the Symbian OS on my phone (I last had it on my Nokia 7650), so I've opted for this model - at last I'll be able to emulate my good ol' Commodore 64 on my mobile again thanks to the excellent E32Frodo emulator

Speaking of retro gaming, I've got to mention a fantastic retro-remake game which I've been following quite closely throughout its development simply because I was a fan of the original game that it's based on - Driller

Driller was originally released by Incentive Software in 1987 on most of the 8-bit and 16-bit computers of the time, and boasted "supurb solid 3D" graphics thanks to their revolutionary Freescape graphics engine. A first-person adventure, well before the likes of Quake or Doom. Anyway, the guys over at Ovine Software (who also remade Total Eclipse, another Incentive/Freescape game) have just released their version of Driller, and it is absolutely fantastic - I highly recommend anyone to download it and experience the game as it was meant to be played (a frame rate higher than 1 frame per 5 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!)

Original VersionRemake
Go to Ovine's Site here and check out Driller, and their other great games

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Touch of Wind

As most people in the UK know, we had a pretty bad storm hit us on Thursday, and it left it's mark here in Evesham - namely our back garden. It now looks like a war zone with rubbish all over the place, and several fence panels and poles snapped and broken beyond repair.

We just had a local company pop round to give us a quote on how much it is all going to cost to get it repaired --- £300!!
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It's worse when you've got a neighbour who doesn't work, and has no intention of looking for work, who sponges of the government and who won't help pay a penny for a new fence (not even to pay half) even though it would benefit him as well.
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You get people who are too ill to work and those who are looking for work but just cant get a job - those people are fine.... Its the ones who claim everything from the government, who CAN work if they want to, but choose not to and make everybody else pay for them so that they can sit on their backsides all day.
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BUGGER ME! I'm going off topic... Sorry, I'll just step down from my soapbox.
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Oh well, its not all doom and gloom. It seems as though my promotion to ICT Network Manager (including hefty pay increase) at the school is looking like its going to actually happen very soon. I've heard that they do not plan to advertise for the position and that I've got an interview on the 9th February (more of a formality than anything being as I'll be the only candidate!). It seems that everyone including the headmaster are very pleased with how I've performed over the past few years. They then want to start interviewing candidates to take over my current position later in the month.
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Anyway, I'll shut up now - don't wanna put a hex on the whole thing. Fingers crossed :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Network Nightmares

Today has been one of those days in which I wish I never bothered getting out of bed in the morning. Besides waking up with one of my headaches, I got to school only to find that the problem we had with the school network on Friday afternoon had re-appeared, rendering the entire network unusable.

What problem with the network I hear you ask? Well, I was hoping to write a post all about it on Friday (my birthday), but I didn't get home until late and to be honest, I had just about had enough with computers. Not only that, but my parents had come over to stay as well, so I didn't touch the computer much.

Anyway, back to the problem ( I will try and keep this as non-technobabble friendly as I can) :-

Late Friday afternoon, during lesson time the school network decided to slow to a complete halt. Students were unable to access their user areas, and any work that they had just done could not be saved. We thought we cured it by stopping and restarting the Anti-Virus service on one of our servers (as this had caused problems in the past - bloody SOPHOS). It seemed to work fine for the rest of day..... That is until this morning.

I got to school at 8.00am, and went round switching on all the computers in the classrooms, as I normally do. All seemed fine, until about 10.00am when all of a sudden the network started to slow down again. Activity lights began blinking and flashing like mad in our network cabinet.

To cut a long story short, and after lots of prodding, swapping patch cables, fibre links, tweaking MS Server 2003, pinging, resetting switches, and lots of tea, swearing, and general shouting, we think we found the cause of all of our problems - a faulty module in one of our switches within the cabinet!!!

Believe me, its a complete nightmare when you are left all alone to maintain a network of over 500 or so computers and something like this happens. It doesn't help when every couple of minutes the phone rings with someone saying 'Is the network down', or 'how long before I can use the computers again'. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET US FIX IT!!!!

As you can see from the picture above, I thought I'd let an expert have a go at trying to find the problem!! I had to have Kieran with me at school for an hour while Michelle went to work and as you can see from the pictures below he had a fantastic time running around one of our IT rooms, and playing with the computers!




I'm now going to resume my task of scanning every single issue of DC Star Trek comics - I just hope my poor scanner can take the abuse - I've already done 46 issues. Only a couple hundred or so more to do.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One more day to go!!!

Well, I am into my last hours of being a twentysomething, and in less than 9 hours I will have reached the big 30!!!

Lucky thing for me I don't live in the world of Logan's Run because if I did, my life would be near its end as my lifeclock crystal would be blinking away, telling me that I'm ready to ride the Carousel!


((((WARNING - GEEK ALERT))))
For those of you who ever never seen the film "Logan's Run" before, the "lifeclock" is a crystal that is implanted into your hand at birth. It changes colour at different periods of your life. Children and young people are yellows, teens and early twenties are greens, and late twenties are reds. When you reach your 30th birthday, or "lastday," your red crystal begins to blink and you are forced to ride the Carousel.

Although the Carousel ritual promises some vague hope of continued life through Renewal, the truth is that you simply get vaporized into oblivion. Its a way to control over-population within the domed cities of the movie

Anyway, I don't know about anyone else, but the weather here in Evesham has been atrocious these past couple of days. As you can see from the picture, this is a common sight in Evesham when we have had a lot of rain - the river Avon tends to rise quite a bit.

I've drawn a red line along what should be the edge of the path that follows along the edge of the river.

Although you can't see it very well, the benches and bins along the edge are completely submerged, and the water is well up on grass bank.

A few years ago Michelle and I were very close to renting an apartment overlooking the river - Obviously we never took it.... Probably a good idea!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

T- 48 hours and counting

2 more days to go...
...until I reach the big Three-O

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Decorating and "Apocalypto"

We (as in Michelle and I) have been decorating. Although I don't do new year resolutions, we both decided that we would get the house exactly how we want it this year. When we moved in exactly one year ago, it was a rush to just decorate it and make it homely. We are now hoping to do one room at a time - starting with the Kitchen, which we finished today.

I also went out this evening with one of the teachers at work to watch the new Mel Gibson movie "Apocolypto" at the cinema. I wasn't too sure if I wanted to see it or not as I had heard various mixed reviews on it, but the film was absolutely fabulous and well worth going to see. Forget the fact that the whole movie is subtitled with not one word of English spoken -Its full of action, brilliant acting and incredibly beautiful scenery.


Gonna see now if I can download it on Rapidshare!! (Shhhhhhh - Did I just say that out loud??)

Well.. only until the DVD comes out to buy ;)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Everlasting Love

Today is a special day for both Michelle and myself. It is precisely 5 years ago today when we first met (well, got to know each other). Who'd have thought back then that 5 years later I'd be living in Evesham (after moving 4 times!!), married, with a son who is nearly 2 years old.

Yep, January 6th 2002 was the day I thought I'd pop online to check my email only to be IM'ed by Michelle. Neither of us were looking for love - just friendship, but of course.. well... you know the rest! What a great start to the year that was after the disaster that was 2001 which turned out to be one of the worst years of my life.

Anyway... Michelle, my love for you grows even stronger with the passing of each and everyday. Heres to another 5 years (and of course, an entire lifetime) together. xx

Friday, January 05, 2007

Old Year to New Year....

Hello again!!!

I don't tend to do these things, but this one was on Dan's blog and I figured with it being the start of a new year, I'd fill in it, so......

Old Year to New Year:

- First words of the new year:
"Why didn't you bloody wake me up!!" (after taking Kieran to sleep at 11.00pm, falling asleep myself, and being woken up by fireworks just after midnight!!

- First drink of the new year:
Smirnoff Ice

- First person you called of the new year?
I didn't ring anyone, but I sent loads of text messages to lots of people and friends (which I don't think they received as I only got 1 back!! Either that, or I'm not a very popular person!!)

- First person that called you in the new year?
Nobody rang me - I had one text message, thats all - from Gemma (Dan's sister!!!)

- First song you listened to in the new year?
Can't remember. Something from the 80's probably though.

- New Year's resolution(s)?
Not to bother with silly New Year resolutions

- First thoughts on the new year:
Can't remember!! (Honestly, I wasn't that drunk)

- Hopes for the New Year:
Universal peace - yeah right! Win the lottery - the usual thoughts really!!

- Last words of last year:
"I'm taking Kieran to bed. If I fall asleep, make sure somebody wakes me up before midnight"

- Last drink of the new year:
Smirnoff Ice

- Last New Year's resolution(s)?
Not to make any silly New Year resolutions!!!

- Last thoughts on last year:
"Shit, I'm 30 next year!" - or "Shit, I'm 30 in two weeks!!" - one of them two!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The year is 2007... the name of the place is captains-blog.co.uk

YEP!!! 2007 has finally arrived, and as you can see from the picture on the left, I entered the new year in style (well, like a drunken idiot with confetti in my hair!)

We arrived back home in Evesham this afternoon following our small new year break in Laindon, and although I love going back and visiting my home town, it is nice to be back in our house after a long journey on the trains.

I had another driving lesson this evening (hence us having to leave Laindon early in the morning to get back to Evesham in time). It went reasonably well even though it has been two weeks since my last lesson. I felt a little more nervous than usual and made a few very silly mistakes, but my three-point turns are improving as well as my clutch control. As usual, a map of my route can be found below. I think it has been the furthest that I have driven.


Anyway, for me its back to work tomorrow morning, so I had best go and finish preparing my bag and stuff. Michelle and I have been busy this evening sorting and tidying up the living room - The Christmas tree, decorations and cards have come down (thank god), and we can safely see the arse-end of Christmas 2006.... YIPPEEEEE

I'm knackered!!!

Seeya in my next post, and again - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!