Settlers of Catan

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Settlers of Catan on the Xbox 360 recently. It is a great board game brought onto Xbox Arcade, which as far as I can tell keeps all the board game elements, and then provides you with either decent opponents or the ability to play online. I picked it up pretty much from diving right into it, and I’m rather enjoying it. Let me know if you get it and fancy a game.

I want a Wii and I want one now (or at least I think I do)

On Monday I set out to try and track down a Nintendo Wii. I’ve been pondering it for a while, and having just been paid this weekend, I felt the urge to own one overwhelm me. Could I find one? Not for lack of trying. I hit every possible store in town, to no avail. The last one I went into I just dejectedly asked “You haven’t got any Wiis, have you. No? Good. Bye”. It has only been out here for six months, one would think they wanted to sell the bloody thing. Now I’m annoyed and don’t know if I want one at the moment, especially if it means tracking them down, rather than being bought on a whim (wiim?).

Yet another long weekend to come

Bank Holidays rock. 3 days off to relax, achieve little, and think of what I could be doing were I bothered. Great.

Hopefully we’ll get a wander down by the river in sunshine tomorrow. Weather is supposed to last for us until then. We also have the return of Mrsfb’s brother from the states, our recon mission to New York. I’m hoping he is coming back packing sweets. Maybe a visit from some friends too. And now my 360 is working again, some gaming on that when it starts raining. Oh, and the Monaco GP, the finest of all the F1 races. Should be a fun weekend now I spell it all out.


Well, I’ve just been tagged by Emily who writes one of my favourite blogs, Doing it all again. So this means I have to give you all 8 random facts about me:

  1. I’m a distant relation of the godfather of English Football, Sir Stanley Matthews
  2. I have a fascination with the diabolo, and intend that this summer I shall finally learn how to get two going at once
  3. I once saw a ghost labrador
  4. I can walk on my knees in the lotus position. I once “walked” the length of a gym doing this, now I suspect that would hurt a lot
  5. My father claims to have one up on Pele, in that he once scored a goal from the halfway line, and Pele famously didn’t.
  6. I used to play competitive chess, and gave it up when I got fed up with being beaten by 7 year old child geniuses
  7. My mother claims to have invented the “weather map as comedy device”, as she sent a sketch using this to That Was The Week That Was, which appeared a few weeks later uncredited.
  8. I first wrote on this very website back in 1998.

I tag back Al, Emma, Wonderduck, Iamnotthebeatles, Ben, & Sarah.

WordPress 2.2 available for download and installed

If you’re the sort of person who likes to squint at small type at the bottom of blogs, you will have noticed that I’m now running WordPress version 2.2. It is running nicely on here, no issues with it so far. My ultra simple upgrade process is:

  • Backup your blog
  • Deactivate all plugins
  • Switch to the classic template
  • Delete everything from the WordPress directory bar wp-config.php and the wp-content folder
  • Copy over all the files from a new download of WordPress, having removed wp-content
  • log in and run the upgrade process
  • Reactivate your theme and plugins

As I’m lucky enough to have the space for it on my hosting, I’ve now got a test blog that I try things out on first to see if they cause any problems. It does raise your confidence a bit to see things work, and is better than a first run on your live blog. This is especially worthwhile with your template, as at the moment template authors don’t always keep up with new releases of WordPress, they tend to update in the weeks following a release if there are any problems. I can report that Black Minimalism 1.0 seems happy with the new release.

Installing Kubuntu on the Toshiba Tecra M5 laptop

So I guess that’s one way of saying I have a new laptop! Anyway, I was going to write a detailed blog posting of the process for setting up and installing Kubuntu Feisty Fawn on my new Toshiba Tecra M5. However there really isn’t a lot to say. I reinstalled Windows using the supplied recovery cd, as this allowed me to partition the drive very easily. Then I took the latest version of Kubuntu (7.04) and started the install process. And it all worked. All the things I would expect to be there, are, and worked out of the box, even wireless. I’ve found recent versions of KDE far better than Gnome for sorting wireless out painlessly, and this certainly did it. The only obvious thing that isn’t working is the fingerprint scanner, but I’m really not bothered about that yet, nor am I convinced I will ever be. I will report back if I find any problems, but so far it has been very easy.

More like it.

Well it seems the weather gods do read my blog, lovely day outside at the moment. It may get wet later, but it’s been nice thus far. I got slightly drenched on the way home last night, despite having a brolly and “the way home” being a two minute walk from the bus stop. Mrsfb wasn’t anything like as lucky and got absolutely soaked through, poor thing. Oh well, it is supposed to be nicer over the next few days.

Have to get around to facing up to sorting my Xbox shortly, especially as the Halo 3 beta is just out. I have also found out through the forums on Digital Spy that I might be able to get my dodgy Sky+ box replaced, which would be a very good thing indeed, as the quality of the recordings on it at the moment are shocking, the sound skips to the point of it being unwatchable. I was considering packing it all in and moving to Virgin, but the accounts of people using their boxes are even worse, same problems, but then with issues on the boxes not recording at all thrown in, which hasn’t ever really been a problem on Sky. So I’ll try and get it sorted and stick with them.

Rubbish weather, where is my global warming now?

All cold and wet outside, this is no fun at all. A few weeks ago it seemed like we were in for the longest and hottest of all summers, now those thoughts are relegated to thoughts of should I have waterproofs or an umbrella in my bag (it has been so grotty I’ve gone for both thus far this week).

Had a good trip to Birmingham on Saturday night, whilst mrsfb went off to visit a friend in Woking, I went out with some mates up there, and spent a very pleasant evening talking boys rubbish and drinking beer, whilst a pirate wandered around the pub. No, we didn’t figure out what they were for either.

I’ve been trying out the streaming tv program by Joost. Rather nice. Looks very good as you navigate through it, and the actual quality of the video, and of how well it streams is great. Content is maybe a little sparse on the ground at the moment, but they are supposed to have signed up some quite major companies recently, and it is still in beta, so there may well yet be more to come. Only downsides are that there isn’t a version in Linux yet, and some of the menus were a bit weird, I would be told that a channel wasn’t available, but then if I drilled down I could happily watch programmes listed in the channel. Watched some old America motor racing (IRL) that was great fun.

Linking your Nokia 6300 mobile phone to Ubuntu

So I did some further investigation tonight into getting my Nokia 6300 working under Ubuntu, with very positive results. What I tracked down was a program called Gnokii. It is a project to provide connectivity to Nokia phones that has been going since at least 2001, so they’ve got quite a bit of collective experience. And it has got me started.

First of all, I installed the software. It was available as a program to install, but I went with the trusty:

sudo apt-get install gnokii

Next I had to configure the connection. The documentation on the site is a little dusty, and does deal with a lot of different options depending on the phone, so I’m going to concentrate on my model, the 6300. First connect the phone using the usb cable, and select the Nokia mode on the phone when asked. You then need to edit the config file by hand (I tried setting it within the program itself, but it wouldn’t allow me):

sudo cp /etc/gnokiirc /etc/gnokiirc.OLD
sudo vi /etc/gnokiirc

And you will get a very well commented config file. If you are using a different phone, or connecting through another means such as Bluetooth, have a read through the file, there are good pointers for the changes you need to make. For the Nokia 6630, delete the contents (you’ve already backed it up) and use the following:

port = /dev/ttyACM0
model = AT
initlength = default
connection = serial
use_locking = yes
serial_baudrate = 19200
smsc_timeout = 10
bindir = /usr/sbin/
TELEPHONE = 12345678
debug = off
rlpdebug = off
xdebug = off

and save the file. You may well prefer to comment out the port and model in the existing file, and then just uncomment the two lines I’ve set at the start of this file.

Now to test the connection:

sudo gnokii --identify

If this has worked, it will show a small amount of information about the phone, the make, model, EMEI number and revision number. If you’ve got this, you’re ready to go. If not, check the config file, or look up on the Gnokii site for further help.

You can know run Gnokii from the applications menu (it should be under utilities). You will be able to view and edit basic details about your contacts, back them up, and send SMS from the computer via the phone. There is also an option for Calendar entries, but I can’t get this working yet. It may be down to me using the model = AT option, which I think is more limited in what it can do. I’ll certainly keep investigating to see if I can solve it.

Ubuntu and the Nokia 6300 mobile phone

I’ve just received my almost annual upgrade mobile phone, a Nokia 6300. Now with my previous phone (Nokia 6230), one of the last things that has had me booting back into Windows has been doing anything with the phone. The Nokia Windows software is quite nice, you can edit contacts, backup data, browse files, and install Java apps. And it was by far the best way of moving from one phone to another, I just had to backup the old phone, then restore the data to the new phone. Took everything off both the memory card and sim card, and put most of it onto the new one (apart from some games I’d bought, which was slightly annoying).

However even though I could connect the phone to my computer using a USB cable, under Ubuntu it wouldn’t do anything with it at all. This has changed with the Nokia 6300 though. It has a proper mini-USB connector, and once hooked up, the phone asks if I want to use it in Nokia Software mode (i.e. for Windows) or in data mode. The latter means that my memory card in the phone becomes available as if it were a standard flash memory drive. Which I like a lot. I can now copy pictures off and upload them to Flickr using digikam (I think that comes as standard with Kubuntu). I can add music and images as I need. I would still love to be able to sync contacts, calendars and to-dos, but it is a defnite improvement. I’d ideally like Nokia to provide that for me too, but I think I’ll start digging and see if anyone is doing anything on Sourceforge and the like that could help me. If you’ve seen anything that might be useful, please let me know.