jetpack technology

Monday, August 25, 2008

I wrote a review for Logitech Z4 2.1 speakers which should be posted on Amazon in a day or two. You lucky people can read it right here right now!

    I was looking for some speakers for my desk which could provide a richer sound and also fill the room when I'm not sat at the desk. I'd been recommended the Logitech x-230 speakers and heard them for myself. I'd also seen the scores of rave reviews for them here on Amazon but I wondered if there might be a later model which improves on that design. A review I found on the net said that the Z4 speakers were slightly better and more detailed than the x-230 so decided to check them out. I've always been prejudiced against 2.1 systems with little satellite speakers expecting them to always sound harsh but having read all the rave reviews on here I decided it was worth the gamble especially when I found them at a bargain price. But, my prejudices were proved valid. You can get a nice rich and deep bass, far deeper and thumpier than is reasonable but at least with the Z4 you can set the bass to zero if you so desire. However the upper middle frequencies are very strident and the lower middle frequences somewhat lacking, resulting in a very unbalanced sound. You get deep bass, harsh upper middle and not much inbetween. Fortunately I had a graphic equaliser which I was able to put between the audio source and the speakers, allowing me to tame the worst of the harshness and create a smoother richer sound, however you can never fully compensate for the limitations of the speakers. As you move around the room the upper middle frequencies are always slightly too strident even if you get it sounding just right sitting in one spot. I can't help but wonder why Logitech didn't include a bit of circuitry to compensate for the harshness of the frequency output but maybe that would have made them too expensive for the target market of the Z4. The controls and extra line in are very handy and they have a very nice build quality. So yes, they are loud with no distortion and will fill the room with sound but if you're expecting a genuine hi-fi sound or even a vague approximation of one then I don't recommend these speakers. I know they don't claim to be audiophile speakers but reading some of the reviews on here you might be fooled into thinking they are.

Incidentally if you want some, get them here - only £38 delivered - bargain!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

here's an interesting article about a guy wanting to create art in his bathroom using coloured tiles - basically a mosaic but using conventional bathroom tiles. Personally I think the final result was a wasted opportunity but each to his own. I always wanted to create my own Gaudi-esque bathroom with the walls covered in broken tiles, pots and pieces of mirror and maybe even some organic lumps and bumps in plaster to hide all the straight edges of the fittings (probably not a lizard though). One day maybe...

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Friday, August 22, 2008

long meandering post

well let me tell you about my crazy day at the hospital. I felt terrible the day before and didn't get up till about 4pm and thought to myself, how am I going to manage tomorrow? Anyway I did get up early and got a taxi to the hospital for my appointment at 9:30 - for a CT scan on my kidneys. They saw me pretty much straight away even though I was early. I had to lay on the scanner (with my trousers pulled down a little - though they did cover me with a cloth to preserve my modesty) and then the bed lifted up and down a few times and then passed through the large humming doughnut. It was a bit disorientating and I could see some machinery spinning very fast around through a window that went around the hole and I tried not to imagine that it was the machinery that was still and the room which was spinning around. A recorded voice told me when to hold my breath and when to breathe normally a few times as the bed moved in and out. I was feeling a bit disorientated then a little male nurse appeared from nowhere saying he was going to inject me with some "contrast" and that it would make me feel "a blush" but it was nothing to worry about. I started to feel a bit queasy just thinking about it, imagining it was going to be a huge syringe of thick metal gloop. He put the needle and tube in my arm which was okay but I didn't realise that wasn't the actual injection. I was passed through the doughnut again and he appeared on the other side to inject the gloop. I was feeling quite queasy by now and said so but he told me to relax and not worry. The next thing I remember was waking up surrounded by three or four women and the nurse while I was still lying in the scanner and they're all asking me if I'm okay and what happened. I didn't know who they were or where I was for about five seconds and I felt too weak to talk either. Eventually I realised I'd passed out but still felt too weak to really move or say much. They were all talking away, describing what they saw and asking me why it happened. A doctor joined the throng who asked all the same questions again and I couldn't really give them an answer. I told them I felt a bit sick so they hurriedly put a sickbowl on my chest, then 10 seconds later I spewed up but a lot of it when all down my new white tshirt. Sorry if this is grossing you out but I've hardly started. Eventually I felt able to get up and they helped me off the bed and I took my tshirt off and put on the zip-up sweatshirt which fortunately I had taken off and was still clean. They said they wouldn't continue with the scan and they may be able to use the pictures they already took before the contrast injection, and that there were stones visible in my pelvis (which sounds kind of vague - where in my pelvis? just rolling around, bouncing off my hipbones?)

Anyway, I hobbled outside feeling a bit lightheaded and someone went off to find me a bed to lie on and was told to sit in the chair in the corridor. There were 4 or 5 old folks sitting on trolleys probably waiting to be taken somewhere. I had only just sat down and I said to the lady who led me outside I was feeling a bit faint. Next thing I know I wake up on the cold hard floor in the recovery position again surrounded by nurses and two doctors, again bombarding me with questions and telling me not to move. I felt too weak to talk let alone move. One of the nurses was being really jolly and saying "oh I have this effect on men" I think she said it about 5 times during the whole drama, to anyone who came past. The doctor was saying "I think it's just a vaso-vagal" or something like that and was asking me if I had someone could come and get me. There really wasn't anyone in Cambridge that I knew with a car that could come and collect me right then. He said "is there any family, anyone from work, who do you live with?" etc. He asked me several times but all I managed to say was "no there really isn't anyone" and he told me I couldn't leave on my own as it could happen again and I could fall and kill myself very easily. A nurse said let's get you off that cold floor it can't be comfortable and I thought to myself actually it's very refreshing. Anyway they slowly helped me up onto a trolley and had a discussion on where to put me. Eventually they decided to take me to the neighbouring ward which I think was neurology, and I was wheeled away around lots of corridors and in a lift. Eventually I arrived and was left in empty bay, while numerous nurses came in and chatted to me. I remember one was a very nice australian one who was gave me a long speech about how I mustn't feel silly or worried and that she gets freaked out by the dentist etc. I would have like to chat more but just couldn't find the energy and I wasn't sure if I was fully conscious or not, it was all a bit of a blur. There was a very sweet nurse who stayed with me a lot of the time and put a blanket on me when I started to shiver. I think she was called Cheryl.

Anywayyyyyy, I think I was there about half an hour then they decided to take me to A&E where there would be people who could keep an eye on me and check me over. So I was wheeled off again, down numerous corridors, another trip in the lift, swung round many times, until I felt very seasick. I was parked in a corridor and Cheryl waited with me. I told her I was feeling sick again and so she went to find a sickbowl but came back without one. I told her "i'm feeling very sick now" and then spewed up a whole lot more, across the corridor just in front of someone who was walking past. I think he was a doctor. He looked at me and said " god, are you alright?" - kind of a silly question but what else do you say when someone spews in your direction... Cheryl held the blanket over my face while I spewed and spewed and it was now all down my sweatshirt too. I said sorry for making a mess and she said don't worry it's easily cleaned up. The other nurse came back and they wheeled me down the corridor and into A&E. The nurses there, took some blood for testing, gave me an ECG and numerous other tests. Then I had a drip in my other arm, so that was the third time I'd had needles put in me. At least a bag of clear saline didn't make me feel so queasy as a syringe of "contrast". So I laid there for several hours in a daze, occasionally answering questions of the nurses and registrar. Behind a curtain next to me, a very distressed traveller girl demanding morphine was wheeled in and demanded her husband to be brought. Then lots of brothers and sisters came too and I got to hear them all talking in their husky voices - I think it was pancreatis she had. Once the drip was empty, the doc said someone would come and take it out and then I could go home. I felt a bit stronger and was able to hobble to the loo in my gown and carrying the drip. I got off the bed and asked a nurse for some tissues to see if I could clean up my clothes enough to actually put them on, but they offered me a clean t-shirt which was a huge relief. It was actually a good fit and I shall definitely keep it as a souvenir. It's navy and has "saffron walden carnival" on the front and a picture of a funny leprachaun type person, even though saffron walden isn't in Ireland, it's in Suffolk... They keep clothes that are left behind in A&E to give to people that need them so it could have been a floral dress if I was really unlucky. It was now about 2:30. I hobbled outside and a few people stared as I had plasters all over my arms from the needles and the wristband still on. I called a taxi and a very friendly guy picked me up. He was very chatty and because I was still feeling queasy I was thinking "Please don't talk to me please don't talk to me". I thought I was going to pass out again and wondering what the hell I was going to do and if I should warn him. Fortunately I had the good sense to bring one of the paper sickbowls with me so when I was sick again I was able to use that. I apologised and he said it was okay and that most people don't come prepared. It can't have been nice driving and then hearing someone heaving up in the back. Anyway he got me home and finally I could get into my own bed. I slept for a couple of hours and when I woke up I thought "did I dream all that or did it really happen?!" The wristband was by the bed and I still had one of the sticky ECG things on me so yes it did. The whole thing was very surreal, and so silly considering I only went there for a harmless CT scan. Everyone was so nice and encouraging and sympathetic. I can kind of understand how some people become hypochondriacs or develop munchausen syndrome in a bid to get that kind of treatment all the time - but don't worry I don't plan on it. I think hospitals just make me queasy anyway....

what a crazy day eh. I still feel a bit sick and lightheaded but I think it's passing - it had better do...

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Listening to music can give your immune system a boost and may help fight off disease, researchers have discovered. - That's good to know, I wonder how much worse my health problems would be without music though I know I'd be miserable without it which I guess can't be good for you. Incidentally I'm having a CT scan of my kidneys on Wednesday which should be fun then possibly the insertion of a camera crew into my bladder which definitely won't be (fun). Perhaps if they play some happy hardcore at full volume I won't feel a thing

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

cutest pets evah!

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Monday, August 04, 2008

finally some actual useful ideas of what to do with empty CD boxes

Recycle CD Box

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

'If a man belittles a woman, it could become a lawsuit.... If women belittle men, it's a Hallmark card.' - so true

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Friday, August 01, 2008

I've been on a crazy spending spree lately, and it's not like I'm rich or anything. I did get £85 cashback on my mobile phone contract but that was kind of accounted for - not now though. Never mind, I got some real bargains and I can absorb the cost provided I'm careful from now on.

First of all, I got a 6" desk fan from Currys. I'm glad it's still warm and stuffy so at least I get to use it before next summer. I often thought about getting one but always decided the weather would change as soon as I did and I wouldn't get to use it. It ain't bad and was only £7 delivered to the door. The only concession to cheapness is that the controls are on the back of the fan actually on the motor, rather than having buttons and wires routed through the base but that's a small price to pay for such a... small price. I've got it on now and it's luvly.

Then I got (another) mp3 player. I've already got loads of cheap mp3 players which I bought just because they were quirky and retro and obsolete and hated to see them go unappreciated. Fortunately they cost very little. A few weeks ago I got this great little thing called the Pontis SP600 which has two card slots and even plays games like tetris and breakout etc on the little LCD screen.

There seem to be a lot of enthusiastic users on the net from when it came out a few years back (was quite expensive then I think, over £100). I got it brand new boxed for £3 - yay!

Anyway, my latest purchase is an 8gb mp3 player from

I haven't actually received it yet but looking forward to it. It's only a very basic no frills player which takes one AAA battery but the capacity is amazing so it's going to be like a jukebox with loads of similar stuff on it and set to play randomly. More like a radio station than a jukebox then I guess. I hope it has a shuffle feature! If not, I'm sure I'll find another use for it...

It doesn't end there. I also bought a new digital camera. I don't really need one right now as I rarely go anywhere that warrants taking pictures though I daresay it will encourage me to think a bit more creatively now. My old camera was a MASSIVE 1.3 megapixels and cost a lot of money - but I was an early adopter. It's still good for taking photos to put online, ebay etc as it takes very clear photos unlike a lot of camera-phones. It's just no good for prints (unless they're passport size of course). Anyway I got a great deal on a Samsung Camera. I was drawn to it initially because of it's retro styling but when I saw it was 8 megapixels and 5x optical zoom for £58 to your door I couldn't resist. I notice it's still listed on Amazon for £299 and has pretty good reviews on the net. It's also packed with features so you can use it as a point and shoot or use all the technical SLR-type settings. I may have to learn a bit about what they all mean.... I've had a play with it and the results are amazingly clear and sharp.

Finally, I've always wanted an aquarium but never had the money or space. Now I have the space and I managed to get one for free. There's a guest house ten minutes walk from here and on my way back from the shops I saw a slightly (but superficially) grubby aquarium with it's stand relegated to the end of the drive for someone to take away. (It had a few bits of neon pink gravel left in the bottom - I can just picture the guests in the dining room tucking into their full english breakfast with that tasteless thing glugging away in the corner). I had to take my shopping home first but hurried back before it was gone then lugged it home, bruising myself badly in the process and exhausting myself for 2days afterwards but hopefully it will have been worth the pain. My housemate said to me "what are you going to do with it?" so I said "er, put fish in it?". If I was quicker and more facetious I could probably have come up with something funnier. Anyway he says I need to get permission as we're not allowed pets here. I always took that to mean cats and dogs who could scratch the furnishings and leave crap and fur on the carpet. I don't think fish are going to jump out and leave their smelly scales everywhere and nibble on the sofa cushions. I will get permission anyway which shouldn't be too hard considering I met the landlady last week and she's very sweet and friendly. I can't decide to go for the low maintenance option of drab, cold water fish or the more demanding exotic tropical fish. Considering it has a light and filter to run it may as well have a heater as well. I wonder if there's somewhere online you can get cheap clownfish posted to you in a jiffybag....

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