21 September 2014

Another world

Recently I was persuaded by some Second Life friends to take a look at Inworldz. It uses the same Open Source coding as SL to the point where third party viewers such as Firestorm run OK with it, and indeed it looks much like SL did a few years ago. At present it is in Beta so land is much cheaper - $75 monthly for a Region as opposed to $295 and there are other advantages, uploading is free for example. The devs seem to be making some sensible decisions based on SL hindsight - not renting out small land plots themselves for example which should cut down on land blight.
The obvious snag right now is content, but SL merchants and creators are starting to open up stores ready for the official startup next year. Here's an example of what is being done already, sunrise at the Waking Edge, Castle of Lar.

17 September 2014

TVR - Humax HDR1010

Since I last checked Freesat have put some effort into improving their service in areas where News Corp's bigger budget for Sky can't stomp all over them, such as technology. The latest range of satellite boxes is the result.
This one has "Freetime" a front end for the various TV players that gives seamless access to past programmes via the Internet. Back space on the TV guide and any programmes from the past week that are available are shown.
The HDMI connection is now handshaking properly and outputting Dolby sound. The picture is flawless, software having caught up with the BBC's sneaky tweaking of their signal that messed up HD for many users.
HD channels are now up to 11 on Freesat.
 One neat trick is that the hard disk makes a temporary recording the current program so if you get interrupted you can press Record and it has the whole thing.

The box can play media off the computer, something that Windows 7 blocks by default and then hides permission setting in a nest of menus:
Control Panel - Homegroup - Choose homegroup and sharing options - Show devices on All Networks - Allow All.
Windows Media Player can now be used to set up which folders are accessible to the TVR, which hides them in the 'Humax - Media Share' menu.

14 September 2014

PGP revisited

Since PGP Corp was bought out by Symantic I've not updated my old version which still happily encrypts my sekrit files but no longer works with Email, something blocking it in Win7 I guess.
So I finally got around to installing an Open Source PGP, which seems to be working after the usual installation glitches.
First I needed GNU Privacy Guard for Windows. It's installation wizard rejected my existing key, but it was willing to add it once up and running.
Then I added Enigmail, a plug in for Thunderbird, told it to check my Address Book and there were my security minded friends again:

08 September 2014

Solar Panels - first year

I received £569 in the government pay back scheme. My electric bill is down by £144, so that's £713 savings in total, a 10.5% return on my investment.
The panels have been almost fault free - the circuit tripped out once.