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Quantum Kitten

The kitten photo adorning the Quantum Mew entry is of Wawa (aka Mew-chan). She is still a handful, still eats a lot, and is quite likely the very definition of ADHD...



Amazon has come through for me - twice.

I placed a pre-order for the latest (sixth) book in the Haruhi Suzumiya series (light novels, not the manga). It is due to go on release on December 1st, and indeed it is still showing as available for pre-order (at time of writing).


The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya (hardback).

Very nice!

Links to buy (hardback, both are in English). For ex-pats in France, note that while the French price is more, you don't need to pay any postage so it works out about the same.

[If you can't see product info with FireFox, your AdBlockPlus list may be blocking this content... Click on the ABP icon and choose "Open blockable items". You'll see some links to (XX = fr or uk), click on the red 'X' at the right, they'll turn grey. Click on ABP and "Close blockable items", then press F5 to refresh this page. The links should now appear.]

If you're new to the world of Haruhi Suzumiya, then you might want to start at the beginning, with the first light novel. Amazon doesn't sell either, they are from Marketplace sellers, and quite reasonably priced.


I also ordered the National Geographic 2012 calendar, which is quite a pretty calendar. It was estimated to be up to three months for delivery - it might turn up... in January. Eeek!


Japan 2012 calendar

If you'd like your own, and there are some nice photos (check the product details for a picture) plus it comes with an old-fashioned map poster as an extra, then try this:


Amazon links?!?

Yup. Amazon links. It's simple. I am paid a mite for each referral that leads to a purchase. If enough mites add up, Amazon will transfer cash into my bank account. That would be nice, but given I have some niche interests, and not so many visitors to my b.log, I'm not going to hold my breath. ☺

Don't worry, I'm not selling out. You won't see banner adverts, flash, and such. I'm only going to consider putting up Amazon links for things I actually own and like. So don't think you'll see 'em on every entry from this point on. And, furthermore, only Amazon. I am in no way connected to the company, other than as a satisfied customer.

The French/British is because I order my stuff from Amazon France (which can get most English stuff, free postage from them, or €2,99 from a Marketplace vendor). However this probably isn't going to be terribly useful to somebody in the UK, so I have a link to Amazon UK as well (and the two count separately, so my mites will not add together). Really there ought to be some way of listing a product in (GB)Pounds, Euros, and (US)Dollars and when you click the link, Amazon will redirect to the one nearest you. That would be more logical, but it seems to me as if each bit of Amazon thinks of itself as a separate entity...

I am required (it's in the Ts&Cs) to state the following:

  • Rick Murray is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and



I have also placed two small orders with eBay.

Bluetooth earpieceI quite liked the convenience of my Bluetooth earpiece. However now I'm working nights, I don't get to talk to mom much. I have no idea where I could have put it.
Well, I can get one - from Hong Kong - for €11,99. Total. Here's a link to the product, and no, I don't get commissions on eBay stuff. ☺
This was ordered around midnight, and it was sent in the morning. Wow. Plus, via SingPost, I now have a tracking reference.
[image from eBay description]

USB to serial interfaceIn order to connect my older PDA to the computer, I will need a serial port. Thus, a USB to serial dongle. Might also be useful playing with U-Boot on my PVR? The price? A mind-numbing €1,87. Here's a link.
[image from eBay description]


How is this possible? The earpiece comes with a charger, likely a wall-wart. Even at letter rate, I can't imagine they'd get more than a fiver apiece. As for the USB thingy, surely postage and packing run to that sort of price? Really, how is this possible?


Tiny Bluetooth keyboardIf this works out, something I will look to is a mini Bluetooth keyboard. Running in at a massive €10,68, this... well... it ought to make doing stuff on my phone more pleasurable. However, I have my doubts as to whether it'll actually work with a non-rooted Motorola DEFY with stock firmware. I'll try it when I can afford to lose eleven euros.
Here's a link to that, as well. [image from eBay description]

Little ARM powered oscilloscopeSomething else that interests me is a little digital oscilloscope. The person who offered me a 'scope (comments of the 2011/06/26 entry) never got back in touch - I guess he realised what sort of postage he'd be looking at!
Anyway... I'm not sure about this one as I'd have preferred at least 2MHz, but then I have to ask if I am likely to actually be needing more than 1MHz? The next step up for me is CPU oscillators in the order of 50+MHz, and this runs in at a price.
Certainly, this little gadget, interestingly stuffed into an MP3 player case, has attributes of being open source, so you can tweak the firmware (refer to the end of the user guide (PDF) - the code itself is on Google Code).


Bye-bye guys!

An elderly(ish) couple in the next town over are leaving. Packing up and going home to sunny Liverpool. They must be mad, swapping the tranquil life here for... Liverpool. But, then, maybe there's too much quiet? Even the cows get bored around these parts.
I wish them luck, and hope they're happy. I can imagine they will be, they have family there, grandkids and so on. Will they pine for being back here? I think I would. But, then, I never really felt I'd agree with city life. I mean, I'd like to visit Tōkyō (but not live in the city), I've been to London four or five times, and the only two times I enjoyed it was the Live expo and an Acorn World. I've never been to Paris. Or Rome. Or Berlin. Or Stockholm. Places to visit, perhaps. Places to live? No. The biggest place I ever lived was smack bang in the middle of Bridgwater, circa 1993. It was convenient having everything nearby - a cinema, a supermarket, a fast food joint that stayed open my kinds of hours. But any place bigger... no thank you. As it was, I was known to the police (not in the bad way!) for my habit of taking walks in the dead of night when nobody was around (and I mean it - canal underpasses, car parks, the docks... if there were drug dealers and pimps, they weren't any of the places I went). Likewise, I enjoy walking the lane and back, at night, on my own. Just did it, only got halfway 'cos it was cold and I'm a wuss, but... I dunno, maybe I'm just an antisocial git? Either way, I don't think city life would agree with me.

As a going away present, they dropped two satellite receivers on me. No longer wanted. One is a plain more-modern Digibox. A Pace DS430N.

Pace Digibox info
There's nothing to say. It starts up (still pretty slowly...), it shows the basic channels. It looks and feels more or less exactly the same as my previous (now probably dead) Digibox. The only amusing quirk is the remote handset is written in Italian.

The second one was more interesting, but only from a hardware viewpoint. It's a bigger box, an Amstrad DRX280, still takes forever to start up. Here's the info:

Amstrad Digibox info
[I did a forced update, it's now OS v1.31B11 and EPG v5.08.6]

Sky being Sky (aka bastards ☺), you can't unlock the full functionality of your Digibox without coughing up extra cash. It's very odd, since the hardware and firmware are right there on your table, but that's their business model...

Record? You must be joking!
That's right. There's 80Gb whirring around inside (actually, there's 160Gb - 80 for user programmes that you know about, and a further 80 for live-pause) and it seems to be a capable enough device (80Gb is about 40 hours), but without the nod from Sky, the only way you'll know it's capable of anything else is the occasional reference to recording functions, plus two signal strength meters.
Signal strength
As seems to be typical of Sky receivers, the tuner isn't terribly selective. My other receiver gives it a better level of reception than this.

Has somebody put together some alternative firmware for this thing, make it behave like a FreeSat PVR... or should I just rip out the 160Gb harddisc, shove it into my server, and format it NTFS?




I will need to consider getting a new FTA receiver. My Silvercrest SL-65 is still going, but it will no longer switch off (upon powerdown, it restarts - PSU issues?). I have also observed a couple of random restarts, but so far none while I've actually been watching a programme.
Unfortunately, NHK World has left the Sky platform (there is NHK World HD, not a lot of use for the majority of SD viewers), so I pick it up from 19.2E. Thus, no FreeSat or Digibox is suitable as I need DiSEqC support to switch feeds.
Any recommendations?


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Austin, 26th November 2011, 13:59
Hi Rick. I still have the oscilloscope and you're still welcome to it. I never saw a response and hadn't realised that you tried to contact me. I have an old farm in Deux Sevres (79) that I visit a couple of times a year so postage wouldn't be a big deal. As an aside, as an iPad user I'd prefer the "desktop" version to be the default for the device. It's always looked great on the 768 x 1024 device (portrait being my favourite orientation!)

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