bookmark_borderRandom Thoughts

I love my Apple products. But leaving my laptop charger in a hotel, with an official replacement costing £65, does make me consider cheaper alternatives. Thankfully, the hotel staff found it and are posting it to me.

I’m almost 40.

I need to make time to get back out jogging again.

A few months ago, Spotify and I finally “clicked” and whilst I won’t ever fully invest in it (it’s a closed system, I can’t export my playlists for one thing), it is very handy for ‘whims’ and random silly playlists. It desperately needs playlist folders though.

I can’t remember the last time I watched ‘live’ TV that wasn’t sport, and even then that hardly happens.

I haven’t read a book in over a month.

I haven’t weight myself for a couple of weeks.

I have been taking stock of everything I have and realising I’m very lucky, and very happy.

With my birthday approaching I’ve been told not to buy myself anything. It’s only with this stipulation in place I realise just how much money I spend (waste?) on ‘stuff’. I really need to buckle down.

In saying that, I did just buy a mahoosive big bean bag

I think I need to be planning things months in advance now, weeks just ain’t cutting it.

Still loving my new car.

bookmark_borderiTunes / Airplay issues – FIXED

“It just works”, they said.

“Except when it doesn’t” they didn’t say.

What follows is a bit of a rambling post about random playback issues I’ve experienced when using iTunes to stream music to an Airplay. Simply put, for no reason I can fathom, iTunes playback across Airplay will stop. The track is still playing in iTunes but there is no sound passed to Airplay. Searching for this issue has helped me narrow it down to the problem being iTunes, beyond that I’m stuck.

Read on for some lessons learned…

Continue reading “iTunes / Airplay issues – FIXED”

bookmark_borderPartridges and Pear trees

Here in the UK, there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is approaching. On TV the adverts have started, the store shelves are being stocked, and in the office talk is turning to who might make a fool of themselves at the Christmas party.

It’s also about this time of year I start dropping hints in the hope that I don’t end up with yet another reindeer sweater…

So, in keeping with the Christmas spirit of giving, and to save you all some time and effort, here’s a few suggestions that you could, perhaps, print out and leave sitting around for a loved one to happen upon, or email to a sibling with a subject line of “Buy me something from this list and nothing else!!”

Hopefully some of the above suggestions will save you from yet another pair of slippers…

Note: Most of the above links go through an affiliate account, so I get a few pence if you actually purchase the item.

bookmark_borderI am Apple

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve ditched my Windows PC and bought a MacBook Air so all my PC tech is now Apple.

Am I a fanboy? Possibly. But for me it’s more about things working easily, and I’m not really into hacking stuff these days so the fact I can plugin an Airport Express in and instantly I can bounce music to a nice beefy set of speakers across the room, or fire up a video on either my MacBook, iPhone or iPad and bounce it to Apple TV to watch on my big screen… well it’s simple, easy and works. For me.

I don’t feel “locked in”, I still use a hybrid service for things like email and calendaring (Google), and I don’t use many of the default Apple apps (Sssshhhh I have Microsoft Office installed on my MacBook!). It all just works for what I want to do, I will continue to tweak things like that but I’m very happy that things are just working (I won’t mention the failed hard drive in my NAS box the other day..).

I’m very aware it’s materialistic but I’d argue that having a simple, reliable system for entertainment, is good for me. It lets me relax and as I don’t watch to all that much TV, being able to bounce 6Music round my flat is a just wonderful. I no longer spend frustrating hours trying to get something ‘simple’ to work and whilst I don’t ‘hack’ things all that much these days it’s still nice to not have that stress in my life.

bookmark_borderFaff

I cannot be bothered with faff.

This is one personality trait that has definitely changed as I’ve gotten older, or perhaps it’s just a reaction to the years I spent indulging my ‘gadget-geek’ and allowing myself to think that jumping through 5 hoops to get a simple task done was “OK”.

My mindset these days is very much that technology is there to serve me. If something starts getting in my road I’ll work around it, or replace it completely, ruthlessly.

I’m about to talk about a technology company which I know some people don’t like, but bear with me.

I have an iPhone, an iPad, Apple TV and an internet connected Samsung TV. The bulk of my content consumption happens through those devices. I have a desktop PC, running Windows 7, which is where all of my content creation occurs. More of my time is spent consuming content so I recently bought a NAS drive to allow me to remove the desktop PC (and it’s large hard drive) as a middleman.

I can now watch movies on my TV that I created (ripped from bought copies) on my desktop PC as they now live on my NAS drive. I can view photos the same way.

I can also browse and play music from my NAS drive using my iPhone, or iPad. Unfortunately I can’t hear it.

My plan was to use an Airport Express, connected wirelessly to the NAS box, with audio out to a dedicated set of speakers. I have an old (“g” standard) Airport Express and bought some new speakers (AudioEngine 2).

Alas, the plan is failing and whilst I’m still not sure why, it’s getting the Airport Express setup that is causing the problems. That might be down to the Airport Express itself, or the Windows box, or even the router (a Thomson box supplied by O2). I’ve tried every set of instructions I can find but still nothing.

What are my options now? I could buy a newer Airport Express in the hope that works easily, or I could buy Airplay enabled speakers and be done with that extra step.

Too much faff ya see. If it had just worked I wouldn’t even be moaning about it here.

bookmark_borderRug

New Rug

I’ll happily admit that whilst I might not be the best at it, I do love a bit of interior design. As such I’ve been trying to find a rug to ‘fit’ my living room.

The main highlight colour of my living room is red, with some red striped cushions (from Next) and a red TV unit (a hacked Lack unit from IKEA) and this is hopefully completed by walnut woods and the brown leather of my sofa. I think it works, which is all that really matters. I might add in a couple of red lamps soon too…

I know, get me!

I’ve still to replace the coffee table, a tricky choice as it’s a piece of furniture that will be central in the room, but the new rug has already brought things together nicely.

The rug came from an online store called Not on the High Street which, I warn you now, will throw up all sorts of wonderful things you will want to buy all sourced from small British businesses.

Disclosure: I received the rug for free in return for this blog post. Regardless, I’ve already got my eye on some other bits and bobs on the website, it’s well worth a look!