Letter to DirecTV: You have a month to show the new TiVo or I’m going to Fios TV

As a happy TiVo customer since 1999 I and a reasonably happy DirecTV customer since 2000 I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new DirecTV TiVo. However its been a while since I’ve heard anything about it, and now I’m pissed. My existing DirecTV HD TiVo can’t do MPEG4, which wouldn’t be so bad except DTV keep…


Running a Family with Food Sensitivities

Gratuitous post time: my wife has been doing a great job dealing with various food sensitivity issues in our family for a while now, and she has her own blog that includes recipes and tips that should be of interest to anyone else in a similar position. Check out Rubik’s Food for more information.


Celebrating the first Apollo Moon Landing

In a matter of days it will be the 40th anniversay of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, a seminal moment for humanity, at least as far as I am concerned. Less than a hundred years since man figured out he could fly, three men travelled to another celestial body and came back to tell…

More HD DVD players than Blu-ray players in America. Still. In 2009.

In frankly amazing news even to me, a new Harris Poll shows that over a year and a half since the format war ended there are more Americans with HD DVD players than with Blu-ray players, and in fact 2009 was a pretty good year for HD DVD players, in 2008 6% of Americans had an…


Two Fixes You Must Have for Visual Studio 2008 SP1

The SP1 release of VS08 regressed some functionality compared to the original release, in a couple of critical areas. As a result it is highly likely you’ll need the following two patches for it. I know many of our team who hit these issues, cursed, came to me (because I am the “VS guy” on…


You Know You’re Getting Old When: The Copyright On Your First Book Expires

According to British law the copyright on my first book expired last year, after twenty-five years. Not only does this make me feel ancient, but it compels me to recall the heady days of 1983, when I created my tome “Master Your ZX Microdrive”. I was a nerdy University student who spent most of his time…


HD DVD Is Back!

Following last week’s announcements regarding Blu-ray and the Sony Playstation 3, it looks like HD DVD will be coming back as the high definition movie format of choice. Call me amazed but happy! The first clue, which few seemed to notice, was that Sony Electronics didn’t show any new Blu-ray players at CES in 2009….


How Do You Debug A Movie?

How do you debug a movie? Before I get too old and forget, here is the story of one bug that I had to find when playing King Kong in the Xbox HD DVD player. It concludes with yet another reason I am so glad we’re not doing a Blu-ray player. The HD DVD team…


Zune in my Boxster: Part 2

I’ve been enjoying my Zune installation for a while now, but I had one thing that bugged me: operating the touchpad with the player mounted in the ashtray was a bit tricky when stationary, but very tricky when moving. It was also time to post some pictures of my handiwork. Fortunately Soundgate have now released…


My First Commercial Software: Kempston Joystick Conversion Tape

1983 were much simpler times in software. Here is how a student turned a quick hack into his first commercially released software and made his first money in the business. That student was me. Back in 1983 Kempston Electronics produced a joystick interface for the ZX Spectrum, which allowed Atari-style joysticks to work with the…