Tuesday, 24 July 2007

DVD Blues

Had a bit of a mishap with our old DVD player last week when I went to view my region 1 edition of Top Gun. Basically it appears that our old multi-region DVD player is no longer multi-region, no matter how many times I reset it. When this is the major reason for it being in the cabinet underneath the TV it somewhat defeats the purpose of keeping it.

The good news? A search at Amazon seems to indicate that multi-region DVD players are now pretty cheap. Certainly they're considerably cheaper than they were when we bought our one six years ago.

The lesson here is that technology always gets cheaper, and so it isn't worth stretching yourself to get it. In fact when I have saved for items I have found that my savings and a price dropping have met at a satisfactory middle ground. For instance the digital camera that I want to upgrade to is dropping significantly on some sites, so hopefully it might even be less than it currently is when I finally choose to buy it (here's hoping anyway).

Monday, 23 July 2007

New Office Accessory

Got this through in the post a few weeks ago, and realised that I hadn't posted a thing about it.

After receiving it I put it in a case, and then put it in front of my collection of baseballs (but behind pictures of my wife and daughter).


Bit different than just getting a t-shirt!

If any Ducks fans read this they should still be able to find plenty of these on eBay at reasonable prices with reasonable postage charges. This is the guy I got mine from.

Friday, 20 July 2007

New blog logo

I was tidying up a few settings the other night when I noticed that you can now add an image to the header of your blog.

With that in mind I got to work on what you can see above you. I'm sure it will develop in time, but for the moment this will do the job.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Property: Rent or Buy?

I've become quite a fan of the Get Rich Slowly blog recently. It's a pretty shrewd read and is far more personable (not to mention less repetitive) than The Motley Fool. It is a slight shame from my perspective that it is so American-centred (or should that be "centered"?), but some lessons are universal.

One such entry that was definitely for an American readership was the one on property renting/buying. While an interesting read it appeared that the American market is skewed towards renting, because it looks like renters don't pay property taxes. Over here renters still have to pay Council Tax themselves - there goes that advantage!

I'm pleased to have bought. Most of my friends have bought. The one friend I can think of who is still renting is paying a reasonable price, but I wouldn't say he is getting a lot for his money.

And yet there does seem to be a groundswell of people who think that owning is a peculiar British obsession. Never mind the fact that you're not held ransom to a landlord's whim to raise the rent (especially if you're on a fixed-rate mortgage), for me the big thing about getting a mortgage is the fact that one day that expense will stop. As a friend of mine said a long time ago, "Why pay someone else's mortgage when you can pay your own instead?" At the very worst I'll have my current mortgage paid off shortly after my 48th birthday (I want it to be paid off sooner).
Let's stop all the talk about houses as investments in opposition to shares. Houses are homes, and I'd sooner be owning mine and doing pretty much what I want with it.

There are downsides (that'll be the boiler again!) but on the whole I'm happy that I bought my home nine years ago. It isn't a decision I regret.

Friday, 13 July 2007

My other move

A little while ago you may remember that I posted about moving from Pegasus Mail to Thunderbird, and hinted that there was another move coming up.

This is the move: I'm moving from LiveJournal to Blogger.

The reasons for this are simple, and as follows:

1) Customisation.
Yes, you could pick your own colours with LiveJournal, but could you add in a Technorati badge, a link to add your blog to someone's My Yahoo! page? Nope. You can with Blogger. In fact you can add pretty much whatever you want to add. That's an enormous plus in my opinion.

2) All the pages look the same.
Go to an individual entry on my LiveJournal and you end up at a generic page. Here the themes carry over. That's a big difference in terms of identity and flavour.

3) There are more people here.
My friends Matt and Pamela have had blogs here for a while, and I'm sure I'll find other friends here soon. I already seem to have had more comments over here than I ever had on my LiveJournal.

I'm not saying that Blogger is perfect (feel free to ask me what I thought flagging a blog was about!), but it's a big improvement on LiveJournal, and it does what I need it to do along with most that I would like it to do.

I've moved a lot of my old posts already, as well as Furling everything else so should anything happen to it I have a backup. Farewell and thank you LiveJournal, hello Blogger!