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Archive for March, 2010

BSOD on my Production Workstation!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I returned home this evening to find my main production workstation had hung, I left it to restart, went off to attend to other business, and when I came back it was looping with the dreaded BSOD (”Blue Screen of Death”)

… and nobody to telephone and helpme, other than me! Odd because last night I noticed that the Vista would stall with an hour glass, randomly, indicating a disk retry - disk fault, but on checking he Event Log, no errors were logged.

I should practice what I preach and backup more, after 30 minutes of chkdsk, I managed to get Vista working again, but now the Eventlog is showing a dying hard-disk and lots of disk errors are clocking-up, time for an emergency backup to one of me NASes!

I use Drive Snapshot a very simple small application, that doesn’t cost the earth. I hoping I can get all the data off before it fails completely.

snapshot

you can see in the screenshot, it’s already found 35 duff sectors, and it had found 88+ by the time I written this!

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One Click Away with MrHyperlink (UK)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

mrhyperlinkukWeb in on click

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One Click Away with MrHyperlink (USA)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

mrhyperlinkukusaWeb in on click

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Hedge Maintenance using RootGrow a Mycorrhizal fungi

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Lindsey and I have been planting additional hawthorn whips to repair the holes in the hedge, where the hedge has died or where patches have appeared over the years.

I’m using RootGrow - a Mycorrhizal fungi to help the roots and whips grow.

RootGrow - Mycorrhizal fungi

RootGrow - Mycorrhizal fungi

RootGrow - a Mycorrhizal fungi is a once-only treatment that increases the volume of soil explored by the plant by up to 700 times! RootGrow - a Mycorrhizal fungi acts like a permanent fertiliser and ensures rapid establishment BUT does more than a fertiliser in that you can expect healthier plants because the friendly Mycorrhizal Fungi help plants have better growth, vigor, flowering and long term survival via this balanced nutrition system. For a healthier plant anywhere in the garden (beds, borders or hanging basket) or trees - indoors or outdoors, choose from our low cost rootgrow range with the friendly fungi!

Mixing the planet gell before adding RootGrow

Mixing the planet gell before adding RootGrow

RootGrow added to the gel

RootGrow added to the gel

Once the RootGrow - a Mycorrhizal fungi is mixed, then we planted the whips.

Hawthorn whips planted at the entrance to the drive

Hawthorn whips planted at the entrance to the drive

Hawthorn whips planted on the drive

Hawthorn whips planted on the drive

Still have some more todo, when the weather gets warmer and better!

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Cooking with Willie’s World Class Cacao

Monday, March 29th, 2010

A few weeks ago, I did some cooking with Willie’s World Class Cacao, start with a few 180gram blocks of Willie’s World Class Cacao.

williescacao1

williescacao2

I made two of Willie’s recipes, Porchini and Chocolate Risotto, and Gooey Chocolate Puddings, both recipes available from Willie’s Cacao Cookbook.

Here are a gallery of the photos I took whilst cooking!

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Hidden information on some Music Compact Discs - HDCD

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

The next time your browsing through your compact disc music collection, assuming you still purchase or collect compact discs, have a look for the HDCD symbol on the back of the compact disc box, or on the sleeve notes.

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HDCD - High Definition Compatible Digital, or HDCD is a patented encode-decode process, now owned by Microsoft since 2000, that improves the audio quality of standard Redbook audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing Compact disc players.  Not to be confused with SACD (Super Audio CD), it can only be dedoced on some compact disc players that have HDCD support.

HDCD encodes the equivalent of 20 bits worth of data in a 16-bit digital audio signal by using custom dithering, audio filters, and some reversible amplitude and gain encoding; Peak Extend, which is a reversible soft limiter and Low Level Range Extend, which is a reversible gain on low-level signals. There is thus a benefit at the expense of a very minor increase in noise.

But since 2000, Microsoft acquired the company and all of its intellectual property assets and included the technology in Microsoft Windows Media Player.

Windows Media Player 9, 10 or 11 running on Windows XP and Windows Media Player 11 running on Windows Vista or Windows 7 are all capable of decoding and playing HDCDs on personal computers with a 24-bit sound card installed.

hdcd-wmp9

Media Player 9 indicates the presence of an HDCD by enabling the logo in the control bar at the bottom of the application window.

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This was changed in versions 10 and 11; if an HDCD is inserted into a compact disk player with WMP 10/11 running, the HDCD logo appears only if the HDCD feature is disabled. So again, the HDCD logo only appears if you’ve got it disabled.

To enable HDCD decode on Windows Vista and Windows 7 you need to enable it. Select Tools/Options/Devices/Speakers in Windows Media Player

hdcd-enable

Does it sound any different, well you have to test it and find out!?

I’ll blog in another post, how you can re-rip all your CDs including this new detailed information!

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Happy British Summer Time (BST)

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Happy British Summer Time folks, I’ll get back to blogging in a few days, I’ve been busy than normal!

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Time to Chit!

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Chitting Potatoes on egg boxes!

Chitting Potatoes on egg boxes!

If you’ve not got any egg boxes to chit on, then ask at your local market! You may get them free!

If you’ve not already done so or started, you’ve almost got time left whilst the stockists have still got seed potatoes left on the shelves, to chit them. This year I’m trying the following varieties.

  • First Earlies Vale’s Emerald
  • Second Earlies Organic Orla
  • Maincrop Organic Lady Balfour
  • Salad Juliette
  • Salad Anya

I’m growing Maincrop Organic Lady Balfour and Salad Anya again this year, because I had an excellent crop last year.


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Broadband Connection Moved!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I’ve been suffering broadband issues for almost a year now, extreme hot or cold have been causing the Sync speed to drop-off to nothing. My ISP have agreed to get BT to move my broadband connection to different equipment. I must stress this has been a very difficult fault to trace, as the fault has been intermittent, but My ISP have been great! Well done Eclipse!

My broadband connection has been just moved to different equipment in the local exchange and the results look promising.

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An increase of almost 1Mb/s!

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Speedtest.Net & Pingtest.Net

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Still suffering from intermittent issues with my broadband, for the last 12 months, when the weather gets extremely cold or hot, the speed disappears to zero! My last email to my ISP, they are going to ask BT to move my line at the exchange to see if it gets any better. In the meantime I found these nice utilities, pretty pictures, when testing, nice graphics!

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Try a Broadband Speed Test at http://www.speedtest.net/

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and a ping test at http://www.pingtest.net

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