Phew, what a scorcha!

Thank goodness my car has airconditioning. It got up to 30C (mid-high 80’s F) around here today and even with the air being recirculated, the car’s aircon was having trouble getting down to 19C.

As described in my previous entry, most of my day was spent exchanging DVDs and getting my hair cut. I spent most of the afternoon and evening, however, sitting on my sofa with a 12″ desktop fan (which I picked up for £15 in Woolworths today) next to me trying to keep cool. At least today seemed less humid than yesterday.

I’m hoping that with the help of the fan, tonight I will get more sleep than last night. I didn’t manage to get any rest until gone half one when the temperature got down to a comfortable value.

I hate really hot, humid weather.

DVD fun

Well, I went to Richer Sounds this morning carrying the DVD player I got last week.

Anyway, the upshot was that after a little persuasion they took the old player back, especially when I told them about the experience I had when I first hooked up the machine last Saturday and needed to put the HiFi’s volume onto full to get any sound out of it at all. And he couldn’t understand why Shrek wouldn’t work either as it does on their demo machine.

So, I then ask the saleman that I’m interested in the Toshiba SD-520E and then asked if there were any other machines of a similar price which mat be better. He suggested the Cambridge Audio DVD75 as it does Progressive scan in both PAL and NTSC, unlike the Toshiba which only does it in NTSC mode. I ask for a demonstration of the unit and found it to be a decent machine. I paid my extra £50 and walked out the door with the new machine.

It wasn’t until about 1pm that I got home after getting my hair cut and everything. As soon as I got in I took the player out of the box and attempted to set it up. Things started to seem a little wrong when I started getting shocks from the unit after I’m plugged it in. I was getting tingly sensations on my fingers where they were brushing the HiFi’s metal case. I then tried turning the unit on and nothing happened. At this point I got out my multimetre and found that the case of the player was live with 121 volts AC. Hmm..

Back went the DVD to Richer Sounds. At first they didn’t believe me saying that it must have been static. Finally, the manager came across and told them to DOA the machine on safety grounds. So, they brought me another machine.

This time I wasn’t going to leave the shop without the machine being tested, so off to the viewing room I went, the salesman took the player out the box, plugged it in… nothing. So they brought another… nothing. Oops.. a duff batch.

At this point I asked if I could have the demo machine as that obviously worked. They were happy with that. So, I now have a nice new working machine. Though I will have to pop in to get the cover for the optical out port as that seems to hve been remoted and not put back on.

So far, I’m very pleased with it. The picture is sharp with very little banding. It plays all my DVD’s, is branded for all the standards. It shows JPEG pictures and on top of all that, the sound output is gorgeous! CD’s sound better than from the HiFi’s own CD player, DVD have rich sound too. The only thing it doesn’t do is control the widescreen mode on the telly so I have to tell the telly to switch to 16:9. I think that’s a pretty minor failing.

On the whole, if you’re looking for a £200 DVD player with progressive scan, JPEG, DVD-Audio, MP3 etc. playback and Dolby Digital decoder you can’t really go far wrong this player.. assuming you can buy one that works. Oh, and the remote is nifty.. it’s wafer thin, is powered by a coin battery and the buttons glow in the dark. 🙂

Cinema night

Tonight I went to see The Matrix Reloaded.

It was a rather expensive showing as I accidently bought 6 tickets instead of three on the web ordering thingy. Still, with the help of the box office staff I managed to sell two of the tickets.

Anyway, the film itself was fun. Though, there was, to my mind, a gratuitous sex and wet tee-shirt with gigglinh up and down scene which lasted about 5 minutes. (I’m sure those who’ve seen the film will know what I’m talking about.) I guess it’s there to please the teenage demographic in the USA who are supposed to be the biggest spending audience over there.

I don’t really want to spoil things for anyone who’s not seen it yet but I will ask one question… Is The Matrix actually recursive?

Weekend update

Well, it was a busy end to last week followed by a busy weekend.

My parents arrived Thursday afternoon. This was fine. Their car didn’t break down this time which was good.

Friday, I can’t remember what I did.

Saturday morning started with a trip down to Richer Sounds to see about updating
my DVD player. The first one I bought, nearly 18 months ago, was basically
a test to see if I liked the format. The one I chose on Saturday I thought
would last me a while as it could handle DVD-Audio and a variety of other
formats plus progressive scan. Anyway, the upshot is that although it does
have all the features and does have a very nice display, the audio output
is a bit on the horrid side. It’s slightly clipped, lacks bass and is a lot
worse than the quality of the DVD player I had before, which was £30
cheaper. The DVD player in question is the Limit DVD9900SE. I s’pose that
if I had an external Dolby Digitial/DTS decoder it would be fine, but that
would defeat the point of having one internally. I think I may take the machine
back to Richer Sounds on Saturday to get an exchange under their 14 day satisfaction
guarantee.

Saturday afternoon saw my aunt and uncle from Enfield, north London, visiting.

Sunday involved a 125 mile trip up to Derbyshire to see my nan and uncle,
a number of hours being blasted by their telly as they are pretty deaf (who
said that it was only young people who made a lot of noise) followed by the
journey home. By the end of the day I was shattered.

Monday was spent buying Nipon ant destroyer and laying traps for the ants…
who then totally ignored the stuff and build a sand tunnel around it. These
are intelligent ants, not fooled by sweet poisons.

So you see, not much excitement, really

Sex equality.

Well, just now I got a bit of an eyeful I wasn’t expecting.

Think woman wearing tightish jeans bending over displaying a builder’s bum, showing pretty well everything and especially that there’s no point in any boyfriends buying her knickers.

Well, if male builders can do it I suppose it’s fine for female geologists.

Oxford City Council’s wasting my money!

Well, about 6 months ago Oxford City Council resurfaced the Watlington Road with chippings and tar even though the road surface needed no repair. Chippings and tar are well known not to last very long. Indeed, they were almost worn off the surface by now. Well, they’ve done it AGAIN. Yes, 6 months after the first round of tar and chippings they’ve resurfaced it again with the same stuff. Not only this, they’ve done it on a day when the road was wet so the chippings will have even less chance of sticking to the road surface!

As a cyclist, the tar and chippings resurfacing is a real menace and a safety hazard. The chippings act as marbles making it dangerous to ride and cars and lorries throw them up into the cyclist’s face. I wish some councilors would cycle and not make such stupid, money wasting decisions. But I should merely look at the Oxford Transport Tragedy and the stupid way they’ve implemented useless and dangerous “cycle paths” to see how awful they are.