Help on wireless keyboards

Mar 14, 2007 / 0 comments

I need a wireless keyboard for the media box, suitable for use while sitting on the sofa. I currently have an RF Logitech device which I picked up for free at an ALUG meet. It lacks a mouse (it supports one, but as a separate device that I don't have) and the range is such that it's a bit flaky when I sit on the sofa. I'd like something that has a range of at least 4m and has a built in trackball (or I'm sure I'd cope with a trackpad). This seems easy enough to find, but everything seems to be RF and I'm a bit wary. How good is the security on these? Does it even exist? Or will my neighbours be able to sniff my every keystroke? I'd much prefer an IR keyboard, but finding one that's available in the UK for a reasonable price (I found one for £69.99 plus VAT + P&P) seems tricky. LinITX sell an MCE Wireless Keyboard that apparently I might be able to get working with lirc and my existing receiver, but something that just plugs into USB or PS/2 ports and means I can access the BIOS etc would be preferable. Anyone got any pointers?

In search of X

Mar 14, 2007 / 0 comments

A while back I decided that I needed my CD collection needed something for every letter. I've managed them all except X. Anyone any suggestions? My profile should hopefully give an idea of what I like.

Virgin Media vs Sky

Feb 27, 2007 / 0 comments

I've been watching the Virgin Media and Sky bickering over Virgin's ability to carry Sky's basic channels (Sky One, Sky Two, Sky News etc - the premium movie/sports channels aren't included in this and are safe). And I can't help but think back to the Cogent and Level 3 depeering row. I've no idea how it's going to end, but it seems likely that someone's going to end up backing down rather than Virgin losing the channels and Sky losing the ad revenue.

The UK rail network sucks

Feb 19, 2007 / 0 comments

I've been ill; I had the flu (first time I've ever actually had to take a day off work). And then I spent a week working from Portstewart. Which was a bit odd, as Katherine's living in furnished rented accomodation which means the decor is completely not us (we've always lived in unfurnished places before).

Anyway. I went down to London Saturday week ago, and of course there was no direct train from Norwich because Network Rail like to screw over people travelling on weekends. And then I came back from Stansted yesterday and there were no trains from Stansted. So I end up on a replacement bus service to Cambridge (where I'm supposed to pick up a train to Norwich). And the moron driver goes to Audley End (fair enough, we knew it would stop there), reaches J9 of the M11 and decides to go southbound rather than over the junction towards Cambridge. So we end up practically back at Stansted - at J8 he comes off the M11 and rejoins northbound, then drives up to J11 before coming off. I'm not a Cambridge resident, but I'm sure this isn't a sensible route, even factoring in that I don't think you can go northbound at J9. 3 hours of travelling time. I'd have been better on the bus, but I just missed it and the next one wasn't for another 2 hours.

And then there's pricing. I'm going to a wedding in Glasgow next month. It was £50 cheaper to fly than take the train (and even given check in times I suspect will be significantly faster). I'm considering a meeting in Manchester at the start of April and flying is cheaper than the train (again by over £50) and in fact given the timings would mean I could actually do it in a day rather than having to sort out accomodation. Flying is even cheaper than driving it seems, and probably faster or at least equal given check in times.

I know I'm supposed to be flying less, but it's hard. Give me a viable rail network that's actually competitive on pricing (I'm not even talking about walk on pricing, I'm trying to book in advance with known travel dates/times) and has a decent schedule and I'll use it!

MythTV wants more than 1GHz

Jan 30, 2007 / 0 comments

Well, tonights experiment has shown that a 1GHz Via EPIA-M motherboard with 512MB RAM/200GB IDE HD isn't quite fast enough to run MythTV with a USB2 DVB-T stick on a 1280x768 screen. It's close, but there are too many noticeable wibbles in the display. Stock Debian etch install with MythTV packages from Back to VDR it is, until I get round to buying a Core 2 Duo based box.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any recommendations for a HTPC case? I currently have a Silverstone LC02, which is nice but I'd need a new riser card to cope with a ADD2 DVI card and a bit more room internally would be nice. I'd love an Antec Fusion but it's just slightly too wide to fit into my TV unit. The Silverstone GD01 looks pretty good, but is about twice the price of the Antec. sigh.

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