“Life is like a box of chocolates…

•March 8, 2008 • Comments Off on “Life is like a box of chocolates…

…you never know what you’re gonna get.”

However, more often than not I seem to get the shitty coffee centred chocolate no-one wants. I’m not really sure where I’m going with this metaphor now, it seemed like a good idea to begin with. I guess I’m saying if you put yourself out there, raise your hopes you’re generally going to be disappointed, so make things easier for yourself and don’t have high expectations of anything or anyone, that way you can’t be disappointed or upset.

London isn’t an easy place to live, in fact it’s a down right difficult place to live – but nothing in this life is easy, and in my opinion the benefits of living in London far outweight the downsides. But if you decide you want to leave that’s your own perogative, just don’t expect me to be thrilled, or get pissed off when my genuine attempt to help you make a level headed decision unintentionally¬† comes across as patronising to you.

*shakes head*

Right, bed time.

The Miracle that is Roomba

•March 4, 2008 • 2 Comments

At the beginning of this year my neighbour Rodden invited me over to his apartment to show me something, no nothing like that – get your mind out of the gutter. He wanted to introduce me to something called ‘Roomba’, I had no idea what he was on about so trotted on over, what he showed me has changed the way I clean my apartment completely.

Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner made by the good people over at iRobot. What could be better than coming home every day to a freshly vacuumed house or apartment? Well that’s what this product promises, but does it live up to the hype?

I plumped for a the Roomba 560, one of the higher end models with some of the more advanced features such as scheduling and lighthouse mode (I’ll explain later), it arrived in lickety quick time and I got it all set up. Firstly you have to find a place for it to live, I chose the kitchen area of the flat – it seemed a sensible place to keep a vacuum. It lives on what’s called a ‘home base’ where it charges itself, it starts it’s cleaning missions there, and when it’s finished it returns home to charge.

I left my Roomba (now named Juanita) to do an initial charge of 16 hour as recommended in the manual and whilst it was charging I used the buttons on top to set a cleaning schedule, you can schedule Roomba to clean up to once a day – seven times a week, I chose 10am weekdays, and 1pm weekends (so it didn’t wake me up!).

10am the next morning, sure as hell I can hear a truck reversing noise (beep beep beep) as Roomba backed off it’s home base, and Roomba was whizzing around my living area. It uses a series movement patterns (including: spiral mode, wall following mode, and floor crossing mode) to cover the floor as efficiently as it can. It takes about 45 minutes per room, which admittedly takes longer than pushing a normal vacuum about but it covers each part of the floor on average 5 times in one cleaning mission, and most of the time you’re not there, you don’t even have to press a button!

With Cosmo shedding as much hair as he does vacuuming every day was such a faff, getting the hoover out, plugging it in, moving the power cable around, moving furniture to get under it, wasting time doing it, and then putting it all away again. Now I do practically nothing, Roomba turns on automatically, cleans (even under the sofa and bed) every day automatically and then puts itself away automatically. All I have to do is empty the dustbin every other day, which takes about 10 seconds. Honestly, my floors have never been so spotless, and I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in dust levels on surfaces around the apartment.

I’ve already converted three other people to Roomba, and I’ve already bought another Roomba for the bedroom, and a Scooba (which mops your floor instead of vacuuming), I’m going robot mad!

Here’s a short video of my Roomba in demo mode, for those who are curious…

Jon Allen

•February 25, 2008 • 4 Comments

Those are some lyrics from the song ‘Going Home’ by my new favourite artist Jon Allen. I first heard him on the new Land Rover Freelander 2 advert on TV, after much googling I ended up at his website www.jon-allen.co.uk.

“Many miles, we’re yet to travel
Many lives we’re yet to know.
There’s a road, that we must follow
and there’s still time for us to grow.”

He’s got a few songs on his website, some available for pay-for download, some on CD which you can order from Jon himself and one, this track ‘Going Home’ which is available for free download in MP3 format. He’s from Winchester originally, now he lives in London – he’s also playing a gig on the 22nd April at The Bedford in Balham which I might go along to if I can.

‘Going Home’ is one of the best tracks I’ve heard for months. It’s simple, yet it has an amazing way of pulling you in, making you listen to it over and over again, so that you can hear a different part each time. Be it the beautifully relaxing guitar notes, or his gentle but masculine voice that reminds me ever so slightly of Chris Rea – I think every part of this track is pretty much perfection.

I’m going to place an order for his CD on pay day, and I encourage you to have a listen to the tracks via his music player on the website, download the free track and take it with you on your iPod if you like it. Jon Allen gets a two thumbs up from me.

Jon Allen - from jon-allen.co.uk

The weekend that was…

•February 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This weekend was a manic one, mostly due to my house party on Friday night.

Tesco turned up 20 minutes late in the morning delivering party food and drink, I’ve never seen quite so much coca-cola in one place before. Gari turned up around 5pm to help me get ready. I had both Roombas on dirt patrol, whilst we set out drinks, glasses and hid expensive possessions.

The first guests turned up about 6.45, a tad early – I was in the shower getting ready, so I had to send Gari to collect them from the DLR station. Guests arrived pretty thick and fast from 7.30 onwards, I could keep up with putting out sweets, and pizza! I got to meet some new neighbours, and a few friends I hadn’t seen in a good long while. We managed to squeeze in a SingStar competition, I think Alan won with his rendition of ‘Losing My Religion’ by REM. Everyone had left by about 2.30am and I got everything pretty cleaned up before hitting the sack.

I woke up laaaaate the next day, about 3pm to be precise. Gari helped me do the minimal amount of cleaning up that was needed, I set off the two Roombas again, and swapped over the dishwasher before setting Scooba off to mop the mucky looking floors. The rest of Saturday was spent watching DVDs and eating snacks and drinking diet coke!

Today I’ve just got up late again, not quite so late as yesterday though, finished putting everything back to normal around the flat, cleaning the sofa, and putting my nic-nacs back. Checking on my stocks of drink it seems at the party we managed to consume 4 litres of gin, 3 litres of gin, and 6 bottles of mixers. I’m left with about half a litre of gin and a litre of vodka, that’ll keep me going for a week or two! ūüėČ

MSN Fuckwittery

•February 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Apologies to everyone on my MSN contact list. I’ve been having some rather severe issues with signing on to MSN, and with receiving messages. I checked out all my settings, reset router parameters, re-installed MSN & Adium on my computers, all with no success.

So I spoke to my ISP today, who suggested changing some DNS settings, I did that – but still nothing. So it wasn’t my ISP. Next stop was Microsoft, or the Windows Live team to be precise. After filling in A MILLION support forms, and providing endless identifying information I was told my account had been corrupted in a server malfunction, and that it wouldn’t be possible to restore it from back up.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I’ve created a new MSN account. I should have added pretty much everyone on the old account(s), but if you’re not on my new one, or haven’t seen me online for a couple of days etc – please message me and I’ll let you know the details.

I don’t have much luck with MSN do I? *sigheth*

Party: t-minus 28 hours…

•February 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Ok so my first house party at the current place (which I’ve been in nearly 4 years!) is fast approaching, 28 hours to go in fact. This being me I’ve turned what could be a simple affair into a big event, and have stressed silly over every minute detail!

So I’ve ordered about ¬£70 worth of food, guests are bringing alcohol but I’ll get some anyway in case they forget, then I’ve been working out seating capacity, standing room, how many glasses and ice I’ll need, who will need to stay over and do I have enough room, what the last DLR times are for people who want to get the last service, who’s allergic to what, where I’m storing the cat, creating¬† a party playlist and finally choosing an outfit.

I’m hoping all will go well on the night, if not I’ll just have to learn to laugh at myself won’t I?

Juanita (my Roomba) set off as usual at 10am this morning and did a sterling job of hoovering all my floors.¬† Then I set off Scooba, which is the mopping version of Roomba – I’m borrowing it from my neighbour Rodden. It’s amazing, my wood floors have never looked so good!

I must remember to get to M&S and grab some nice flowers for the party!

Review: Asus EEE PC 701 4G

•February 17, 2008 • 8 Comments

It’s been a while since I did a review on my blog, the last one being the iPod Touch 8Gb, and seeing how I’ve just a new toy I thought now would be the perfect time to do the second one. Click below to carry on readying…

Asus EEE PC-701 4G

(click image to enlarge)

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