Ian McShane Rotating Header Image

January, 2007:

Off to The Valley

Heading out to San Francisco tomorrow courtesy of work for some post-project review stuff. I get Friday and also Saturday before my flight home to do the tourist thing, I’ve been before but never got to Alcatraz so that’s on my list. All suggestions welcome.

Before I go:

I’ve been using Ebay for a good 5 or 6 years and never had a *real* problem at all, until January this year. I took a BiN auction and paid the (fortunately) reletively low price via PayPal. Ebay has this to say about PayPal:

When a buyer pays with PayPal for a qualifying listing, s/he is protected up to £500 at no additional cost if that item is not as described or is simply not received at all.

A week passed with no correspondance from the seller, which isn’t unusual. That became two weeks and 7 days later three. No response at all to emails so, out of principal more than anything I logged the claim case with paypal. I just got this response from them:

After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer
Complaint described below.

We have decided in your favour, however, we were unable to recover any
funds from the seller’s account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement,
recovery of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.


Judging by the number of negavative feedbacks against the sellers paypal account, it wasn’t a one off. Now, I know about people getting their accounts hacked and everything but in most cases i’ve heard of the person on the wrong end of the hacking usually has the decency to reply to the emails sent – even if it is just to say WTF. Besides, in this day and age when EVERYONE should know about phishing and the importance of strong passwords I have zero sympathy for people who cannot protect themselves online, especially when other people lose out because of it.

Thanks Ebay, Thanks PayPal and thanks [email address redacted]

Removing the search box from IE7

I like my browser bars to be tidy, infact I think I have a touch of desktop OCD. For example Outlook has to be the first item on my task bar and I hate it when you have 3 or 4 instances of the same application (i.e MSN or IE) that won’t ‘group’!   So, having the Google toolbar installed means I have the search box from that app AS WELL as the default search box that IE7 has in the top right. Yuk.

I’ve been meaning to find out how to remove the search box from IE7 for a month or so now and have just gotten around to it.

HKCU\Software\Polices\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\

Create new key InfoDelivery
Create new key under InfoDelivery called Restrictions
Create new DWORD under Restrictions called NoSearchBox with value = 1

Restart IE7 and voila, no built in search box.

Will getting a Macbook help my cluttered desktop woes I wonder? (Yes, i’m still fishing for ways to convince myself I NEED one :p)

Bravo Bravia

I was having a discussion over Xbox live with a couple of friends of mine.  Two of us have the same 40″ Sony Bravia, the other has a standard widescreen CRT.
It’s very difficult trying to put across just how good the picture quality is with a HDTV (especially when it is being fed HD content), I find the only thing I can say is that the colours are just so much better.  An example I use to show is a clip of an IMAX film called Coral Reef Adventure.  You can download the clip here in 720p (or 1080p if your TV is compatible) along with some other good samples.

I found a site, courtesy of Digg.com which has some great comparisons between 480p and 720p – 480 being the resolution in which standard SD (Standard Definition) film is recorded and broadcast and 720 being the lowest resolution to qualify as HD film.  (The p stands for progressive scan, stick it in google or wiki for the full details :P)

The sites creator has taken identical screen grabs of both sources from Apple.com movie trailers and has set them up as roll overs on the page.  The page takes quite some time to download as the images are big but it’s worth it.

The first image shown is the 480p or SD grab, when you mouse over it the 720p or HD grab is shown.  Note:  The first time you roll over, it has to download the 720p image so give it some time.
Once it is done, you can clearly see the difference in quality.  Notice the clarity of the skin in the Fantastic Four grab, the sharpness of the grab from The Simpsons and the others.

I was pretty sceptical of the difference before I got my panel but as soon as I put the HD trailers on that I’d downloaded over Xbox Live, I was smitten.  I guess HD really is one of those things you have to see to believe.


This was my final week off before heading back to the office. Having been off for 3 weeks and in the US for 3 weeks prior to that, i’m not keen! On the brightside, I get my driving licence back at midnight on Thursday January 11. However I have yet to get my car serviced and MOT’d – it’s been sat motionless for almost six months now 🙁


After 3 weeks of searching Teh Internets and visiting game stores every couple of days or so, I finally managed to get hold of a Nintendo Wii. I didn’t want one bad enough to start queing outside of stores early every morning so it was pretty lucky that a friend of mine managed to reserve one for me.