Nov 20 2010


Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 3:17 am

I think I will make this the last of the posts for tonight, as I still need to double check my lesson plan for tomorrow’s English Club, but for now, I wanted to tell you about MyPlayer.
It is a program that enables you to watch and download TV programs via the internet (without having to use flash-enabled browsers, which can be difficult on mobiles). There are a lot of programs that claim this same feature, however most of them seem to only have niche channels (bidTV, Jesus Loves You etc.), where as MyPlayer covers the mainstream channels.
One important caveat is that to watch the big UK TV channels (BBC, ITV etc.) you need to be in Britain at the time. Having just re-checked the author’s thread over at XDA-Devlopers, it looks as though the BBC have made him remove all BBC content, as he isn’t an authorised syndication channel. I will double check when I next have a UK based IP address, but I believe that the older versions of this program will still work; version 2.0 upwards will not have BBC channels, anything below should be OK for now. Although I am currently outside the UK, I still find it useful for radio documentaries and comedies.

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Nov 20 2010


Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:44 am

From GPS onto a multimedia application. This is one of the few programs I’ll be recommending for Windows Mobile phones that isn’t free. I don’t personally own a license, so obviously can only speak about my experience using it on a friend’s identical phone who did legally buy it. Anyway, the app’s name is CorePlayer and I will be writing a more detailed post on it in the future, including some benchmarks I ran comparing different Windows Mobile 6.5.x ROMs, using Sense as your UI or not, and consequently, just how much free memory effected video playback.
For now, back to the basics, CorePlayer is capable of playing back most audio, video and online formats natively. In the same way that driving a Ferrari will part the crowds in a busy street, using CorePlayer if you have only ever used Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 10.3 for PocketPC (admittedly this is still an improvement over previous WMP versions) will be a real eye opener to anyone watching your device.
Some tweaking of settings (of which there are many, you can alter buffer size and behaviour, graphic equalizer bands, vertical sync and other video tweaks & network settings) is required to get the smoothest video playback, and if you want the best possible playback, you may find you need to re-encode some videos, unless your CPU is 1GHz or the integrated GPU in your phone actually has proper drivers, unlike the HTC TyTn II / Touch Pro2.
Finally, if your budget is tight, you could consider CorePlayer’s freeware ancestor – TCPMP, I’ll write a post on that program later.

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Nov 10 2010

Eating Butterscotch Angel Deli…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 9:09 pm

Eating Butterscotch Angel Delight, listening to some tunes, watching Anna dance to Dean Grey – American Edit and Gorillaz – G-Sides. Bliss.

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Nov 05 2010

Driving, Biking And Singing

Category: VideosChrisM @ 10:16 pm

A couple of videos that recently caught my attention on YouTube. Actually I think they came from FailBlog or another Cheezburger related site, but I prefer to giev credit to the original posters where possible, and the quality is often higher…
Anyway, here we have two drivers who truly believe they can multi-task. First we have an American driver who found that talking on the phone whilst driving just wasn’t occupying enough of his mind, so he now completes a couple of other tasks simultaneously…

Now we have a clip from New Delhi (India), where a motorcyclist shows just how laid back he is about traffic in that area. I can’t help wondering, at least a little bit, if it might be a setup, but an interesting video to watch, nonetheless.

Oh, and finally I can’t let this one slip by. I’ve not seen Sesame Street in decades, but I do like their style. Here we have Ricky Gervais singing a sweet lullaby to Elmo (the red puppet that always talks in the 3rd person). Worth sticking through the traditional beginning, and a welcome way to blank out the memory of Ricky’s “music video” in The Office Xmas Special a few years back 🙂

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Oct 27 2010

Subscribing Made Easy

Category: WordPressChrisM @ 8:46 pm

Whether people come and visit your site to read the latest developments in the world of console comparisons, to catch up with the latest photos of your family and friends, or enjoy checking what complete strangers are up to, it is great when they make the effort and leave comment for everyone else to read and perhaps reply to.
One problem I come up against (as a visitor, rather than site owner) is I tend to leave comments at a wide variety of sites and don’t have time to check for replies in the conventional manner. My Google Reader account is already full of all the RSS feeds I have the time to follow, and keeping bookmarks for a million and one sites just clutters up the browser’s menus, and realistically means you’ll forget to check them very often.
This is why I am very happy when I come across another site that uses the Subscribe To Comments plug-in. The premise is simple – if someone fills in the e-mail field correctly, when leaving a comment, they will be e-mailed by your site should somebody else then leave a new comment on the same post. This means the visitor doesn’t have to actively check whether any replies have been left, and also improves the chances that a visitor who randomly came upon your site will return.
One issue is that the latest versions of the plug-in have had the checkbox to subscribe to comments left unticked as default. This was due to a conversation had between WordPress developers, who decided that to comply with anti-spam legislation (as there is no double opt-in etc.), visitors should have to explicitly indicate that they want to receive further communications. This makes sense (especially legally) if you are a business operating in America with their CAN-SPAM regulations. However, on a personal site like this, I tend to think it is more likely that I’ll have family, friends and random strangers who will not notice, or neglect to tick the box. For this reason, I modified the code to revert its behaviour to the old system of relying on visitors to un-tick the box if they don’t want to be told about new replies. You can either search for Subscribe To Comments on this blog to check my post detailing which lines of code to change, or check the comments section in this plug-in’s post over at
In terms of settings, you can check which addresses have subscribed to the most amount of posts, which posts have the most amount of people subscribed, and also tailor the text that is used when presenting the option to subscribe.

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Sep 22 2010

[Insert Geek Joke Here]

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:17 pm

OK, it is time I start clearing out some of the bookmarks I have spread across three different browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer), and three different operating systems (Windows 7, XP and Vista, if you choose to honour that with the title of an OS!). Over the last 19 months, since Anna was born, I have not had as much time to blog about the things I used to. However, I have tried to Ctrl+D whenever I read something of interest, in the hope that one day I’d be able to write about them.
These posts will be in no particular order, and I’ve discovered that quite a few of the articles/sites have either been removed or become totally irrelevant. I also need to go through a few hundred favourited tweets that, again, I’ve wanted to write about, but not found the time.
First up we have a Castle/Tower Defence type of game based on the TV series IT Crowd. You may well need to be a fan of the series, and remember computer systems from the 80s and 90s to get some of the humour in the game, but if you run out of things to do in your next lunchtime, give this a shot! I’ve recently got back into this genre of games, with Azgard Defence getting the most time on my main PC (Plants and Zombies gets a bit repetitive once you have completed it a few times), and Tower Wars: Time Guardian on my phone. I wish someone would answer my previous post – I’m still stuck on the American War Of Independence Level 🙁 .

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Sep 15 2010

A Real Manager

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 8:19 pm

I was playing with PockeTwit yesterday, checking if all the features still worked OK, when I ran my saved search for tweets that mention Cheltenham. (For those that have only come to know me and this site since moving to Kazakhstan, I a lot of my childhood years in Cheltenham, after moving from Yeovil before secondary school.) Ignoring the tweets that were obviously for a Cheltenham in America (which apparently has a shopping mall that teenagers love to write about, and the residents there seem to think a local town is far inferior to their version of a Cheltenham), I came across some vacancies for customer service jobs, more specifically technical support manager. I favourited the tweet (I check twitter on my phone whilst having a smoke, and look up any interesting links on a PC later) just to see what the details were. It turned out the agency was based in Cheltenham, but the job was in London. The salary wasn’t too bad, and to my surprise I only lacked one essential skill, and ticked quite a few of the desired ones. I’m not sure right now if I’d want to be in a management role when we return to Britain (or if I’d be selected), but it was reassuring that there are jobs that pay a living wage or more that I could at least feasibly get an interview for!
This post’s title refers to a point that was raised during the last English club I ran where locals reminded me that the title manager does not infer the same job responsibilities over here at all. You will most likely not be in charge of anyone, and can be quite junior within an organization and still be a “manager” in Russian.

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Sep 08 2010

From Towers To Zombies

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:44 am

This is a general request for help. Does anyone own “Tower Wars: Time Guardian” on a Windows Mobile device? It is a pretty good Castle Defence style game, but I am stuck in Campaign Mode on the American Civil War level. I have tried quite a few combinations of weapons, but always seem to have lost by around the third level. I’m not asking for a complete break down of the necessary placements to win the whole level, I’d just really like to have a good solid base to experiment with, rather than play the same three waves over and over. Before any smart arse tells me to google for this sort of information, I have tried, but no joy so far. Whilst we’re on the topic of games in the Castle Defence genre, make sure you give Asgard Defence a try sometime, apparently also available for WinMo, though I’ve got the PC demo. Quite addictive. Obviously nowhere near as cute as Plants vs. Zombies, but then again I don’t think they are supposed to be the same beyond the basics of strategy planning and shooting things.

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Jul 27 2010

Feeding The Ducks At The River In Evesham

Category: Anna's VideosChrisM @ 2:13 am

Copying the activities from a week before, here we are in Evesham (I’m reliabily informed by Wikipedia that some locals refer to their hometown as Asum??) feeding the ducks once more. The river Avon winds it’s way through a lot of Britain, and you can get to the area shown in the video by walking through the old Abbey grounds.
There are some tables near there, so if we ever visit Britain in the summer, we could probably take a picnic down there, and really give the ducks something to quack about with the breadcrumbs 🙂 However, the 12th of March isn’t really sun bathing season, so we fed the ducks and moved on.
BTW, I didn’t plan on putting Anna’s dummy in a pile of bird seed, the idea was for Anna to take a handful to feed the ducks, however Irina had just asked her to hand the dummy over, and when Anna saw a palm in front of her, just followed the request (ignoring the Mamma part).
Obviously we cleaned up the dummy at home before returning it into general circulation. Anna normally only has the dummy in as she falls asleep, but we take it when there will be long trips in the pushchair, as it works well as a temporary pacifier. Which is why the Americans call it that I suppose?
Also, I was hovering around Anna as 1) She was very close to the river bank and 2) I vividly remember a goose snapping at my fingers as a child and so, along with bees & wasps, I am convinced that they’ll attack Anna if I’m not there to protect her 🙂 Though Anna should probably know that once she is capable of running well, and flapping her arms in the air like Daddy does when he sees something black and yellow buzzing around, she might be best to assume I’ll stop pretending that I’m anything other than a big girl when it comes to bees and wasps. I’ll jump in front of a raging bull/speeding car/other dangerous thing I can’t think of right now, but once Anna learns to run, and wants to run away from bees/wasps, she may find her Dad joining her 🙂

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Jul 06 2010

Dozing Or Discovering?

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 1:13 am
Sleeping Or Seeking? You Decide...

Sleeping Or Seeking? You Decide...

Before I carry on with the videos from our Fourth of July (American Independence Day) meal with Walton and Assel, here we have a picture from just over four months ago – March the 2nd was when the photo was taken. I can’t quite tell whether Anna fell asleep during her meal, after a hard morning’s work, or simply dropped her cheese and was trying to relocate it. Hopefully Irina can come along and clarify things? Anyway, I noticed I had one Anna photo post, and one Anna video left in my drafts area for some reason. I’ll try and crack on with the rest of the UK based ones soon. We haven’t been taking as many here in Astana, so it shouldn’t take as long to catch up with them.

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