August 2012 in the Life of Ben (Blog)
9th London Scalextric Club (21st August 2012)
Sports cars this evening, which means Le Mans prototypes. Didn’t make any notes from this evening and forgot to blog it at the time.
“That’s all, folks.”
Freeview on a USB Stick (19th August 2012)
If you already have a decent Freeview aerial for your TV the you can plug this into a USB stick which turns it into a video stream that your laptop can display. You also get the program guide (EPG and can record shows (PVR). Some of these sticks even have dual tuners so you can use two channels at once.
There’s currently a very large Toshiba HDD & DVD Recorder (
RD-85DT) at one end of my computer desk. Replacing that with a little USB dongle would be a lot neater!
PCTV nanoStick T2 (290e) for £60
It supports Freeview HD and the Toshiba box doesn’t. There are only 5 HD channels in the UK at the moment but that’s only going to grow. HD looks spectacular when streamed from the BBC Sport website onto my Dell U2410 monitor.
Nature documentaries and Formula 1 would probably be on Freeview HD but MotoGP is probably only available that way from the BBC Sport website.
Having only one tuner means you can’t record one channel whilst watching another, AFAICT.
August DVB-T210 for £60
Another HD option for the same price as above. Claims to have the full 14 day program guide rather than the 7–8 days most of these systems provide. Very low system requirements compared to my laptop is a good sign, too.
Climax Digital DTV300 for £20
A single standard definition tuner but is wildly popular on Amazon! Compatible with Windows Media Centre, which is already on my laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
The cheapest popular option by far, so a good place to start. I also like how the aerial lead would plug directly into it, without a further connection for an adapter.
Fiona gets Freeview from a communal aerial in the loft. We feed this into a cheap signal booster and that feeds into the Toshiba box. Signal is good enough to receive all Freeview channels plus DAB radio and even some ‘Red Button’ services.
It’s heavy enough for the rear third to hang over the edge of the desk, like an architectural cantilever. The top is flat and a few small items live there:
- Left satellite speaker for laptop
- Oyster card
- A6 notepad
- Odds and ends
8th London Scalextric Club (14th August 2012)
Quite a few muscle cars this evening. Sadly I crashed a couple of Steve’s more classy models, breaking a wing mirror. Also managed to crash a Mustang onto the floor, popping it’s rear boot panel out.
Later on on Steve crashed at the bend which leads into the hairpin, popping out some front bodywork.
Should all go back together but a lot of work for the mechanics!
Happily I got a 3rd place (out of 5 racers) after I found a muscle car I could handle.
7th London Scalextric Club (7th August 2012)
Historic racers tonight. Racing started pretty late, about 9:15pm! Didn’t make any other notes so not sure what happend.
Wilderness Festival (6th August 2012)
Relaxed and hospitable long weekend camping in a glorious and spacious country park setting. It was a really enjoyable festival, my 3rd with Fiona, this time we were camping with a hen party belonging to a friend of a friend.
Lucky to have sunshine for some amount of every day and no rain. Bit chilly and windy as the Sun was setting but plenty of people still wore costumes, from the vintage to the bizarre and all points between! Took some photos and wrote day-by-day summaries, below.
Friday 11th August 2012
- Picked up from our flat by Alys (Welsh spelling) near 2:30pm.
- Arrived at grassy car park near 5pm, with big Oak trees. (Photo 1.)
- Found the box office with clean portaloos – just what we needed!
- Took a while to get tickets sorted out.
- Went in and started looking for the hen party we were tagging along with.
- Found them quite easily as they were quite near the entrance and had two gazeebos!
- We think this was the only such arrangement on the campsite.
- Put up the bargain £35 3-person tent with porch by Eurohike.
- Fiona had found it online just a couple of weeks beforehand.
- Introduced ourselves to the group.
- Wandered off towards the festival proper.
- Was actually quite a long walk due to the setting having so much space! (Photo 2.)
- When it got dark it also got quite chilly.
- Walked down to the pair of lakes and saw the lights reflected in the surface.
- Found a big joined tent with a sentimental female singer having a great performance. (Photo 3.)
Saturday 12th August 2012
- Near 2pm we went to the main stage.
- Saw a group of 3 female singers with instruments called the Staves. (Photo 1.)
- Moved away from main stage.
- Explored the site and found a slope with great views over the long boating lake. (Photo 2.)
- Had delicious cream tea on the upper floor of a double-decker bus from 4pm to about 4:45pm. (Photo 3.)
- Returned to main stage.
- Cloud Control were playing – seemed to be a favourite amongst the youths. (Photo 4.)
- We saw them once last year in a smaller and sweatier venue.
- Went for a free mountain bicycle ride with a young guide from Kent.
Sunday 13th August 2012
- At about 11am we played some frisbee on the wonky cricket pitch.
- Took some photos of the flags. (Photo 1.)
- Returned to the camp site.
- On our way we walked past the Green Crafts area, including the traditional wood-working stalls. (Photo 2.)
- Before packing up our tent I got Fiona to model it, like a game show from last century. (Photo 3.)
Web Developer Toolbar 1.2 (4th August 2012)
Since 25th June 2012 you could manually install Web Developer Toolbar 1.2 Mozilla require several changes before 1.2 can become official. That’s why you haven’t been update automatically. It’s working fine for me in Firefox 14.0.1 in Windows 7 (64 bit).
I uninstalled the current official version by using the Remove button from Tools > Add-ons, before installing the new version. Somehow, the new version found all my custom Resize dimensions. Phew!
Only thing I had to re-do (so far) was right-click it, then click Customise. From the Customise window I dragged and dropped the HTML Validator Extension result back into the new version of the toolbar, the way I like it.
An optional thing I did was to make Tools > Validate CSS use Level 3. Also used Options, Keyboard to remove its default keyboard shortcuts.