Saturday, February 23, 2008

TiVo - Dead or alive?

A good few years ago I managed to pick up a Series 1 TiVo from the last sale. As an eleven year old PVR design it still boasts more features than most of the alternatives, also adding a hackable Linux back end to its arsenal of great features.

Well, tonight we had a fright. It froze. This is not altogether unheard of, as it happens once every few months - usually the sign of a failing disk. However this time it was different - this time power cycling didn't bring it back, that just left me with a blank screen.

So I got the screwdrivers etc out, and took the cover off, turned it on, and viola - it was back in action. Phew. Quite a relief.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Legal at last

Having had my impreza (AKA best car ever) for just under 6 months now, it comes time to renew my tax. Anyone who knows the saga will understand the great relief I had when I walked out of the tax office with my tax disc.

When I bought the car, after having to wait several weeks for MOT etc, I found my wait wasn't over. The tax book wasn't delivered along with the car, but I was promised it would follow shortly. Well, shortly became two weeks, then three, and after a while I had heard that the previous owner had applied for a new tax book, and was awaiting it's arrival. So I called the DVLA in Swansea, and they had not had any application at all!

I found out the only way I could solve the problem was to go into a DVLA office, and get the car registered to me. Long story short, I ended up with the car being registered to me, but at a mainland address. When I went into DVLNI to get that changed, they said I had to wait until it was up for tax renewal. Today I rectified this whole mess, leaving the DVLNI office in Coleraine with a new tax disc in my hand, and the promise of a new tax book in a few weeks.

It's been an interesting chapter, just wanted to say thanks to all those without whose participation none of this would have been possible, especially the stereotypical car dealer (2nd in the chain) who spun us a yarn, and kept us all hanging on for a few weeks waiting, while he was sitting on his hands...

Monday, February 04, 2008


It's been a while since I've had any sort of challenge on my commute, but today was different. On my way in this morning I caught up with the guy in the red GSI, very similar to the one I used to have. nobody was trying too hard, but it was clear I had a tremendous advantage over him, and it wasn't just the AWD in the wet.

Then on the way home, which was a little early as I had a parent/teacher interview to attend, there was a guy in a sporty focus behind me; must have been an RS, or ST. It seemed that he was going to go the main road, and hence our ways would part, but as I accelerated out of the roundabout I saw him tight in my mirror. We kept it up and I missed fourth (crunch) but he made no ground on me, before breaking hard for the next roundabout. I'm sure I lifted off the ground slightly as we crossed the mad roundabout at about 40, then up the hill before I reached the bit of the road I am scared of. As I slowed to normal speed I could see he was trying to pass me! Madman. Well, as it turned out he went the coast road anyway, so I had no more trouble.

These events helped me establish a few things:
  1. I no longer possess the madness required to road race properly. I have (marginally) too much sense. I could have gone faster. I could have braked later. I could have....
  2. It is easier to be behind, and stay behind than a) overtake, or b) be in front.
  3. I am quite happy to lose. I just want to have a little fun, within reasonable limits.
  4. I am no longer prepared to consciously assume that I won't have to stop.
  5. If I had had this car when I was 17-22 I would have killed myself, probably several times.

Best car I have ever had. Every day I have the scooby I enjoy it thoroughly.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

More snow

They have been forcasting snow all week. Imagine my disappointment when I awoke yesterday morning to ... no snow!

Well, today made up for that. The kids came in this morning to ask if they could get up, and while we contemplated the answer, we were informed that there was snow!

After breakfast we set off for a walk, and really enjoyed a lovely morning together as a family. When back at the house I was keen to try out the snow-chains I had bought as a result of the last snow, and they worked a treat. Great.