The firegrid Blog. Thoughts, humour, ranting and general randomness. Wowzers!


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Tue 15th April 2008

Jack's £60k prang

Filed under: Random Stuff

93-year-old former Pentecostal minister Jack Higgs has miraculously escaped unharmed after an accident outside his house.

Jack lives next door to RS Porsche in Penarth, Wales and for the last 45 years has driven across the garages forecourt to get to his driveway.


However, just the other day while reversing his 600, 13-year-old Fiesta into his driveway, he somehow managed to strike a Porsche Carrera II.  The next thing he knew, he had flipped his car and was hanging upside down on top of a Porsche 911. Both Porsche's were in the garage for servicing. 

Jack's OK which is the main thing, although he has said that his driving days are now behind him, relying on lifts and the bus service from now on.

Unfortunately, one of the Porsche's is a write-off as well as Jack's Fiesta.  The other Porsche is going to need some extensive repairs.

More over at the Beeb.
Mon 14th April 2008


Filed under: Gaming

Well, it's been a while, but my mouse pointer finally hovered over the 'World of Warcraft' icon and gave it the old double-click treatment.

20 minutes later and I moved up to level 64.  I then headed directly for Stormwind, got my level 64 Warlock training, and stopped in at the Auction House to offload another job-lot of useless trinkets and dodgy clothing.

I'm going to head back to Call of Duty 4 now which is just brilliant online and is a refreshing change to a years worth of World of Warcraft ;)
Thu 10th April 2008

Call of Duty 4

Filed under: Gaming

Regular visitors to my blog may have noticed a distinct lack of "Dings!" of late.  "Why?"  I hear you all ask.  Well, it's all because of my latest acquisition - Call of Duty 4.  And yes, I do realise it's been out for ages but I've only just got it.

Call of Duty 4 is a first-person shooter and can be played in both single player or multiplayer modes.  I decided to play the game through on single player first so I could get used to the controls (I don't want to look like a total noob when playing online ;) ), I haven't even touched on the multiplayer mode yet.

Initially, me and Call of Duty 4 got off to a bad start.  I ran through the training level where at the end it rates your game play and decides upon a suitable game mode for you based on your performance.  I steamed through the level like a ninja cat and was presented at the end with the game telling me that I had been rated as "Novice - this mode is suitable for people who have not played FPS games before".  Shocking.  Naturally I ignored this and chose the next difficulty level up ;)

I finished the single player game last night and it's ruddy brilliant.  In fact, it's more like a film the way it involves you in the action - the cut scenes add to this to.  Additionally, the voice acting is excellent, not the usual woody monotones you normally get in games.  Oh, and if you think you recognise the Londoner, you do, it's Craig Fairbrass.

The graphics throughout the game are stunning, I had mine running at 1280 x 1024 with everything else set to medium and it really does look amazing.  The sound too is brilliant, realistic and believable all the way.

I think the best mission of the game in my opinion was the AC-130 Spectre mission.  Oh, and when you do finish the game, let the credits roll and you will get a final level which takes place on an aeroplane.  I won't spoil it for you but it's good fun.

I tried playing the multiplayer version last night but the game kept crashing with the message "iw3mp.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close."  A quick browse of the web suggested it was because I had an on-board Realtek soundcard.  I updated the drivers as suggested but this didn't fix the problem.  Eventually, I got it going with the following:

Click Start -> Control Panel

Open the 'Sound' option

Click on the 'Recording' tab

Right-click in the Recording window and choose 'Show disabled devices'

Right-click on 'Stereo Mix' and choose 'Enable'

By the time I had figured this out, The Apprentice was due to start so I turned the PC off.  I'll definitely give it a try tonight though.

So, if you haven't got Call of Duty 4 yet, go out and get it!  It's brilliant.

Sat 5th April 2008


Filed under: Random Stuff

Never heard of the band 'Pendulum' before, but their latest single rocks harder than a bucket of volcanic granite.

Did a little research and I think this band are quite big in the drum and bass scene, a style of music I've never really got into myself - hence why I've never heard of them I suppose.

Anyhoo, hope you enjoy ;)
Wed 2nd April 2008

Virgle (Genius)

Filed under: Humour

Super-rich businessman and all round nice guy Richard Branson totally duped several hundred mobile industry insiders at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas by telling them all he had teamed up with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to fly a solar powered Noah's Ark to Mars.

What makes this so genius is that they all believed him. 

Here's how it went:

"I'm sure all of you here know Google. Google and Virgin have got together, and we've formed a new company called Virgle," Branson said, midway through his CTIA keynote. "Larry and Sergey put a considerable amount of investment in - and I put in a slightly lesser investment. The values of our companies are slightly different.

"Basically, what we're doing is building a giant Noah's Ark, a space ship that is powered by the sun, and it will carry 30 passengers."

The room stayed silent, Richard kept going.

"The reason we're calling it a giant Noah's Ark is that we're taking animals on board. We're taking beasts on board. And the idea is to head towards Mars with the plan - in our lifetime, hopefully - to actually put people on Mars and build a city on Mars."

This is where eveyone erupted into applause.  Go Richy go.

"But there's a catch for the people who are going," Branson continued. "They may not come back. But I'm sure that by the time we finish the work we're doing on Mars, it will be very beautiful for people to live there."

Head on over to Google's official Virgle page and sign up for the first trip - which will happen in 2016.

To everyone who attended CTIA - the day Richard gave that speech was April Fool's day, and Larry Page was married on Branson's caribbean island.  If you still don't believe me, click here.

Tue 1st April 2008

April Fools!

Filed under: Humour

Being April 1st, everyone becomes "hilarious" for a day - telling people unbelievable stories, using superglue in all manner of precarious places, and generally just arsing about.

Also, everyone is extra cautious when reading the news, waiting for that one story which sounds so unbelievable it must be a prank.

Listed below are 10 of todays bizarre news stories, all of which are true.  I've thrown in an extra one that isn't though ;)

1. A new pay-per-view funeral service scheme is being launched today. The Daily Mail says the scheme at Southampton Crematorium allows mourners to grieve from home by watching proceedings online.

2. A turtle is addicted to nicotine. He became addicted after picking up the smouldering butts in his owner's garden, in Kouqian, China, and sulks if he doesn't get his fix. The Sun has a couple of gob-smacking pictures of the turtle doing a rather good impression of Dot Cotton.

3. The menopause is caused by the age-old battle between wives and mothers-in-law, reports the Times. As long as 50,000 to 300,000 years ago, competition for food in a family unit was a battle won by the younger women who fed their offspring, which led to the older women losing their ability to breed. With food hard to find, mothers-in-law tended to help rear the grandchildren rather than have more children themselves.

4. An injection that allows women bigger and better orgasms by increasing the size of the mysterious G-spot is being launched in the UK, says the Sun. The 800 collagen jab takes less than half-an-hour and is given under local anaesthetic.

5. School desks and chairs are to be enlarged to meet the needs of the UK's ever-heavier schoolchildren, reports the Express. On average British children are a centimetre taller than they were 10 years ago, and there are more obese youngsters, so desks supplied to UK schools will reflect this.

6. Wind turbines or solar panels built by UK companies anywhere in the world could count towards Britain's renewable energy targets under controversial government proposals, according to the Financial times.

7. You will soon be able to have a tattoo on your teeth, reports the Sun. Steve Heward, the dentist who started the craze in the US plans to set up in Britain.

8. The traditional Chinese martial art T'ai Chi can help control diabetes, reports the Daily Mail. Apparently, researchers have found the flowing movements and deep breathing involved can result in a fall in blood sugar levels.

9. A thief has walked out of a busy Norwegian aquarium with a crocodile that was over two feet long, says the Independent.

10. Drinkers have been banned from calling barmaids "love". An outraged Daily Star says new discrimination laws mean landlords that allow punters to chat up staff could be hauled before a tribunal and face unlimited fines.

And finally, flying Penguins.  More over at The Beeb.

Mon 31st March 2008

Vista downed with Flash Vulnerbaility (Ubuntu left standing)

Filed under: Internet and Technology

Windows Vista has finally been hacked on the last day of the CanSecWest PWN2OWN contest.

It was finally brought down by Shane Macaulay who used a previously unknown Adobe Flash exploit - however, it did take him the best part of 4 hours to achieve this.

For his trouble, Shane gets to keep the hacked laptop, and a $5000 bounty.

Let's hope Microsoft and Adobe can get this vulnerability fixed.  Once they do, it would appear as though Vista is pretty darn secure.

The Ubuntu Linux box has been left unhacked, the OS X Mac box went down in day two.

Full story over at El Reg.
Sun 30th March 2008


Filed under: Gaming

Just back from holiday and I still manage to hit level 63. 

Yeah I know.  I rock. ;)
Sun 30th March 2008


Filed under: Personal

Just got back from an excellent week in Bude, Cornwall.

A great time was had by all, did some surfing and some laugh a minute laser questing.  Thanks to Scott at BSX Surfing Centre for the surfing lessons and thanks to Brian and Jim at Survival Paintball for a great day out.

Oh, and we also visited Padstow where we had some Rick Stein nosh at his bistro, lovely jubbly.  (I also got a parking ticket in Padstow - nice eh?)

Can definitely recommend Bude as place to stay, very nice seaside town with excellent bays and beaches.
Thu 20th March 2008

o2 Cocoon's have been returned

Filed under: Personal

Ok, in an earlier post I raved about the o2 Cocoon, but this post tells a different story.  Please read on should you be considering purchasing one.

Now, while I still maintain the styling is brilliant, as are the music capabilities, the phone itself has a few problems which cannot be ignored.

1.  Battery Life - It has been said on numerous other sites that the battery life was poor, and this is indeed true.  I still maintain that the battery low indictaor comes on too early, but even so you can expect 4 days max out of it with little or no use.

2.  Call Quality - When making a call, the sound is muffled and very hard to hear.  It sounds as though the caller is just mumbling at the other end of the line - I was constantly saying "Pardon?" and "What?" when talking to someone using the Cocoon.

3.  Reliability - This is what finally clinched it for me in the end.  My phone stopped making calls all together.  If I rang someone, I would get "Call Failed" on the screen yet their phone would keep ringing.  Likewise, if they rang me and I answered the call, the phone would drop the call and display "Call Failed" on the screen yet the caller would hear the ringing sound down their earpiece.  Weird eh?

I had actually purchased two of these phones, one for me and one for my wife, both died with the same fault within a day of each other!  31 days after the purchase date!

My wife now has the brilliant little Moto U9 in purple, and I opted for the Samsung SGH-U600.

While the o2 Cocoon may be a joy to look at, I'm afraid I lost all my faith in it as a phone - it was just too unreliable.