It’s always interesting to see what other people write about you…

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday July 28 @ 11:45 pm

Nothing on the TV this evening, so while waiting for Longhorn to install I decided to have a play with Technorati. In particular, I had a little look at some of the blogs containing references to my articles and me.

Most of what I found were attributed quotes either from articles in Computing, or things I have said on TV – which is great. For example, I did a great deal of media work commenting on the role of the Internet in fundraising and distributing information in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami. Hadn’t realised until now just how far round the world some of my comments had travelled.

However, as always there has to be one person who spoils the party. I found one blog that contained a recent post that took a swipe both at Computing and at me personally (it referenced me by name), questioning the quality of the journalism in both Computing and Data Business (the monthly mag-within-a-mag I edit for VNU).

I have absolutely no problem with people being critical of my work, the magazines I work for, or me personally. Everybody is entitled to their opinions – good or bad – and is perfectly entitled to express and publish those opinions. I just find it extremely distasteful when someone chooses to be critical and condescending about another person and their capabilities, and then doesn’t even have the balls to attach their own name to their comments, or to the blog on which they are posted.

I’ll leave it there – I have vented, and feel better for it.

On the plus side – only nine days until the start of the new football season! 🙂

Longhorn – a painful installation

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday July 28 @ 8:46 pm

Finally – it’s done!

It’s taken nearly 24 hours, but the download is complete and I have managed to get a very shaky, but operational installation of Windows Vista (Longhorn) up and running.

First thing to note is that Microsoft did not have time to rebrand this Beta 1 release, and so it is still full of references to Longhorn. Also, it violently objected to being installed on my main AthlonXP 3000+ machine with its Nvidia chipset motherboard, instead it seems slightly happier with a more modest AthlonXP 1800+ machine with a basic SIS chipset motherboard.

It’s still a bit early for me to start making comments on the OS, and I must stress that this is a very early beta, and so does not reflect the final feature set and definitely does not represent the final user interface implementation (in fact the one in place screams of being a cobbled together Windows XP hybrid. This is fine, as this beta release is intended for developers to experiment with, not for end users to use it in anything representing a live consumer environment.

Anyway, more on Longhorn in the next couple of days.

And it is STILL downloading….

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday July 28 @ 9:18 am

The download of Windows Vista Beta 1 stalled during the night, so I woke this morning to find that it still has another 700MB to go. I’ve restarted the download, but it is unlikely that I will get it finished before I leave for the office. I certainly won’t have a chance to install it until at least this evening.

Windows Vista Beta 1 – It’s downloading……..slowly!

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 27 @ 10:33 pm

OK, we are about 20 per cent into the download of the Windows Vista Beta 1 ISO file. It’s a DVD ISO, and weighs in at around 2.5GB, and I’ve downloaded just over 500MB thus far, at an average rate of 82KB/sec.

It is times like this that I consider moving up to Blueyonder’s 4Mb broadband service, but given that half the planet is probably trying to download this as well tonight, it probably wouldn’t make much difference, as I’m not even maxing out my current 2Mb line with this download.

UPDATE: Windows Vista beta 1 now available on MSDN

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 27 @ 8:15 pm

I knew that posting to complain about the lack of downloads would trigger its arrival, and it has.

Windows Vista Beta 1 now available for download from the MSDN subscriber area (you will need to be a MSDN Universal subscriber to access this).

UPDATE: Still no sign of the Windows Vista beta

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 27 @ 8:07 pm

Well it is now 8.06pm UK time and despite the licence key and several links appearing within the subscriber area of MSDN, the download image for Windows Vista Beta 1 is still NOT online and NOT available for download.

A great disappointment 🙁

More news as I get it…..

Microsoft release Windows Vista (Longhorn) Beta 1 early

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 27 @ 5:18 pm

At 5pm UK time today, Microsoft begand making the b1 build of Windows Vista available to developers on its various registered developer programmes. This is ahead of schedule as the release of beta 1 had been planned for this coming Monday, August 1st.

According to the brief press release issued at 5pm: “Beta 1 isbeing delivered to more than 10,000 Beta testers via the Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, and thousands more people will receive Beta 1 through the MSDN® developer program and Microsoft TechNet”.

Still waiting for it to pop up on MSDN Universal, but as soon as it does, I’ll be dropping it onto a test machine to have a play.

Time Computers: Is this the end?

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 27 @ 1:46 pm

The coompany behind Time and Tiny Computers, two of the biggest computer brands in the UK looks set to fall into administration amid reports of a financial crisis at the firm. Reports on the BBC web site claim the company has already gone under, and that Grant Thornton has been appointed as administrator of the remaining assets.

Granville Technology Group, the parent company of Time and Tiny, makes 500,000 computers a year, many of which are sold into education as well as to consumers. Yesterday the company shut down its entire 78 store high street retail operation (its stores are branded as The Computer Shop), with official statements from the company and notices on shop shutters claiming that the closure was in part to allow staff to conduct an annual stock take, while at the same time allowing the company to negotiate the reinstatement of its credit card merchant facilities, which were withdrawn yesterday by its banker HSBC folloing the failure of Granville to repay a loan. GE Capital, which provided financing for customers buying their PCs on installment plans are also believed to be owed a considerable amount.

However, staff who have spoken to the media have confirmed that they are not stock taking, and have been told to go home and await further information. Today, staff at Time’s Burnley assembly plant were beginning to receive redundancy notices. The entire board of directors, except its part-time chairman, have also resigned en-masse in the face of the failure of the business.

Granville, which employs 1,100 workers, was due to file accounts with Companies House in April but has failed to do so, which is usually a good indicator of a company in deep trouble. The company is believed to have net liabilities of about £50m.

There are an estimated 2m Time and Tiny PCs and laptops in UK homes abd classrooms. Time PCs are also sold through Tesco, Asda and Woolworths, while Tiny computers are sold exclusively online and via mail order adverts in magazines and newspapers. Around 500,000 computers sold by the company are believed to still be subject to outstanding warranties and service contracts. It is unclear at this stage whether the company has insurance to cover these liabilities.

Granville Technology Group has had problems in the past. A previous over-ambitious retail expansion pla’n put pressure on the group’s finances, and the company has a notoriously bad record for poor customer service and unreliable, low quality product. The current woes come three years after the company, acquired Tiny Computers out of administration. Tiny went bust in 2002 with debts of more than £35m.

The failure of the group appears to stem from continued price deflation in the PC market, with larger international rivals such as Dell, HP and Apple continuing to drive prices and profit margins down in an attempt to win market share.

More on Frightfest, individual tickets go on sale August 1

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday July 26 @ 12:38 pm

Frightfest 2005 -

Just to clarify a couple of things, as I’m not sure it was clear in my post yesterday:

1) Frightfest rocks!
2) The team who organise it are fantastic, and I have a great deal of time and respect for them.
3) The box office staff at the Odeon are terrible, and it saddens me that their conduct is/could have a negative impact on the bloody hard work that Ian, Alan, Paul and everyone else involved put in to organising the event.
4) I definitely WAS NOT having a dig at the people behind Frightfest.
5) I was appalled by the box office and management staff at the Odeon West End.

Now that is clear – lets get on to the important stuff – why you MUST attend!

Among the ton of movies on show are the public pre-screening of Land of the Dead, with the director George A. Romero in attendance (subject to change of course). Evil Aliens, which is set to be another UK horror success alongside Shaun of the Dead, Wolf Creek, a startling story of British tourists lost and in danger in the Australian badlands – How Can You Be Found When No One Knows You’re Missing, and Dominion, the original Exorcist prequel that was subsequently canned and reshot as the one that went on general release.

It’s four days of solid movies, with shorts and surprises scattered inbetween the main features. Last year we saw, among other things, a 15-minute clip from Alien vs Predator long before it hit general release, and the previous year we were treated to a preview of Shaun of the Dead and a presentation from star Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright.

Weekend passes (£130 – including goody bag) are still on sale, and tickets for individual movies (£10 per film) go on sale from August 1st.


Frightfest woes

Posted by Chris Green on Monday July 25 @ 5:28 pm

Popped out from work earlier today to go down to the Odeon West End in Leicester Square, to purchase weekend passes for the Frightfest horror film festival taking place there over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

I popped down to the Odeon West End at lunchtime today to buy two weekend passes, one for me, the other for my girlfriend Liz. It took nearly 45 minutes, and my loudly demanding to see the manager, before I could actually hand over my £260 and get my two weekend passes.

The reason: The woman manning the box office (her name badge said her name was Carmen) repeatedly insisted, eventually getting very abrupt and rude, that the cinema did not sell weekend passes or any other kind of ticket for Frightfest, and that I should try ‘elsewhere’. Realising that I was not going to go away, as I knew she was talking nonsense, she eventually reduced her responses to my repeated insistence and explanation that the Odeon West End does sell tickets for the Frightfest, down to “We don’t sell tickets for the film festival – go away”. This farce wasted over half an hour. A chap who I was chatting to behind me in the queue was also waiting to buy a weekend pass, and walked out at that point – I am guessing that is a lost sale.

As I said, I had to demand the appearance of a manager at high volume before we got anywhere near resolving the matter. When a manager (no name given) finally appeared, he did at least know about the existence of the event and the cinema’s ability to sell weekend passes for it, and set about logging into a spare till to sell me my tickets. I should add that at no point did he actually stop to correct his co-worker on her error or her conduct.

After a 10 minute wait while he got manual authorisation for my credit card (yep, their entire till system does not support electronic credit card authorisation), I eventually got my passes.

Suffice to say, words need to be had with the managers in charge of the Odeon West End, before they deter and piss off any more people planning to attend Frightfest, especially with individual tickets going on sale in a week’s time.

I have alerted the organisers of the event to this incident, and I’m sure they will take swift action. They are a good bunch of people, and the last thing I want to see happen is for their festival to be ruined by a lazy, stupid and moronic cinema worker who couldn’t bring herself to do a few minutes work.

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