Tuesday 29 April 2008

Latency issues again (updated)

Whilst on the subject of my internet connection, I am experiencing packet loss running at 8% and severe lag (admittedly during gaming on the PS3). So much so, I tend to end up on the losing side in games which is particularly annoying.

I don't hold out much hope of ANTEL upgrading their infrastructure upon receipt of my somewhat terse email but a reply would be nice. This is the third time of contacting them.

They certainly DON'T earn their 35 UK pounds a month that I pay them for a paltry 1.5Mb connection.

UPDATE - Monday evening, 20th May 2008

Amazingly, I was actually able to enjoy playing Call of Duty 4 online last night. Whatever ANTEL have done to fix their problems, please leave it alone from now on !!
Still no reply to my three emails though, it's like talking to the proverbial brick wall.

Monday 28 April 2008

General pikeyness

and Third World motors - click the link below which is a redirect to my Facebook picture site.


Enjoy and tell me what you think. Will keep it updated as I'm always taking pictures with my trusty Sony Ericsson K800i.

Friday 25 April 2008

Call of Duty 4 - new maps!

The Sony Playstation Store finally released the add-on Variety map pack for the PS3. Call of Duty 4 is a great game and I was interested to see what the new maps offered.

Four maps are included and they are:

Broadcast - Middle Eastern TV station. Good for big teams.
Chinatown - small city at night. Great for any mode of gameplay.
Killhouse - Speedball style warehouse interior. Good for small teams.
Creek - Outdoor Russian environment, could be good for snipers.

Personally, my favourite right now is probably the Creek map but I will probably get to know and love Chinatown in due course.

And a big plus this weekend only, you earn double XP!!


Wednesday 23 April 2008

Fog in Montevideo

Left Buenos Aires last night after a lovely 3 day break. It all seemed to be going so well, as the flight from Argentina to Uruguay is only a 30 minute hop. When the plane started to adopt a stacking pattern, I knew something was brewing and sure enough, the pilot told us that there was fog at Carrasco airport and we would be circling whilst waiting for it to clear. After 30 minutes of burning up the world's vital resources we were refused permission to land and had to fly to Punta del Este!

When we touched down, there were 3 fire engines in attendance with their lights flashing. Probably a good move since the American pilot seemed to rip the wheels off on landing.

El Jaguel is Punta's only airport and the terminal is tiny. It was a strange scene, with only a few airport personnel available. No-one from Pluna was there, which was inexcusable.

We had to take a coach for the trip back to Montevideo (again, in foggy conditions). This interminably long trip was made all the worse as Captain Slow was driving and we eventually made it back to Carrasco airport. I'd like to say thanks to the chica that spoke to me in English to tell me what was happening, so thanks - whoever you are!

Skanked by a cab driver who spoke no English and drove like a mad man, and went to bed after 2am, not great considering I left Buenos Aires at 9pm.

Pluna customer services will be on the receiving end of a sharp email from me in the next few minutes, I can assure you.

Not happy.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Thunderbird email client

I am recently a convert to the world of Ubuntu 64 on my laptop, and my email client of choice is Thunderbird.

However, after replying to some emails I noticed that Thunderbird's default behaviour when replying to an email is to place your reply at the bottom of the email.

This confused a few friends so I did a brief Google search and found the solution to setting the reply position on e-mails to the top instead of the bottom.

# In Thunderbird: Go to “Account Settings”
# Select “Composition & Addressing” for the account in question
# Check the checkbox in the Composition group that says “Automatically quote the original message when replying”.
# Once the combo box below is enabled select the option “Start my reply above the quote”

That did the trick. Thanks to this entry on Google: http://tinyurl.com/3kkqde

Very useful tip

Monday 21 April 2008

Tribeca apartments, Buenos Aires

Click on the link to view:


A lovely place to stay if you're in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tango in Buenos Aires

We finally arrived in Buenos Aires, under the strange light of semi-darkness due to the clouds of smoke pervading the air. Our home for the night was a delightful loft-style apartment called the Tribeca - a great choice made by Ale, my girlfriend.

The ceiling in the apartment was very high, possibly over 14 ft tall and all the apartments looked out upon an open-air courtyard which was pleasant. We went out with a friend of Ale's from Montevideo who had moved to BS AS. Ceci's choice was a small funky restaurant in downtown St Elmo. After a great night's sleep and a quality breakfast, we headed off to our next stop which was the Abasto Plaza Hotel, from where I am writing.

We've spent most of the day doing the sad old tourist thing but I actually quite enjoyed it all to be honest. Buenos Aires has a certain buzz (something like London, but not the same) and it is a lot more modern compared to Montevideo.

After much 'Johnnie Walking', I successfully managed to evade the proposed 'Learn to Tango' session in the hotel so I'm quite thankful for that. Ale's hunger for shopping failed to disappear so she's now off trawling the boutiques in the local area. It feels quite safe here which surprised me.

Everywhere seems to offer free wifi on the go but not this hotel. And the cheek of it all is that the wireless access is non-existent. Oh, and did I mention the best bit? You have to pay for it as well...

I will be returning to Montevideo on Tuesday, with Ale returning on Thursday when her Human resources course finishes.

That's all for now.


Saturday 19 April 2008

Stuck in the airport - great

Due to the talented Argentinian farmers who've started to burn all their fields, we're stuck at Montevideo Airport in Carrasco. The reason being, the plane can't fly to Buenos Aires due to all the smoke. How this happens in the year 2008 is simply anyone's guess...

We're due to stay in Buenos Aires for 4-5 days. I'll try not to mention the Falklands hehe ;-)


Monday 14 April 2008

Hardy Heron release - UBUNTU

I managed to 'successfully' upgrade to Hardy Heron release of Ubuntu over the weekend. I say successfully in quotes since although the upgrade itself said it completed successfully, I've lost the ability to connect to wireless networks - which is a royal pain. So I'm composing this on my new glass table in the office, courtesy of Magui y Nacho.

It seems to be a battle between Network manager and WICD, which was already resident on my system. I've already spent 2-3 hours trying to get it working and if I don't succeed, I will revert back to Gutsy Gibbon (v7.10). Let's hope this all gets sorted prior to the LIVE release. It's still in beta so you have to accept these things happening.

One other thing I've noticed is that my browser doesn't initiate when I click on a link in an email on Thunderbird. I hasten to add that I'm running Firefox 3 beta 5. Links worked before so I can only assume it's something to do with the patchy (in parts) upgrade success.

Friday 11 April 2008

Big lip and streaming internet radio...

I awoke this morning to discover that my bottom lip was distended. I was bitten I think by a mosquito who seem to love the 'sweet blood' I have from the UK. It caused me a lot of pain, so I texted my Spanish teacher to say I wasn't attending school today ;-)

Whilst bimbling at home, I set about trying to link up two very useful open source programs - namely StreamTuner and StreamRipper. StreamTuner is an internet radio application that I have grown to love since leaving England. Most music here in Montevideo is Latino so I miss all the different genres. However, StreamRadio (similar to Winamp when using ShoutCast) gives me the ability to listen to a drum and bass station in the UK or for that matter, a folk channel from Finland of all things!

On to StreamRipper - a shell prompt app that is able to listen to the streamed data, save it to an MP3 file and also relays it to localhost:8000 so you can listen as you rip. This is important since if you don't set up the relay locally, you can in fact double the bandwidth you consume. Plus the overhead on the server at the other end. My solution cuts down on that by only taking a single stream and forwarding the data to my XMMS player.

StreamTuner was very useful the other night. We had some friends round from Ale's work and it was beautiful not having to faff around trying to play music from my CD-ripped MP3 collection.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Previous page function in Firefox

I've just found out how to change the default behaviour of my beloved browser Firefox in Ubuntu. I installed the Ubuntu 64 'Gutsy Gibbon' release a couple of weeks ago. For those that don't know, Ubuntu is an alternative operating system which runs on Linux.

Anyway - back to the story. Pressing the backspace key on the Firefox browser in Windows simply returned you to the previous page that you were viewing. Not so in Ubuntu! It does a 'Page Up' by scrolling up the screen, which to be honest is quite irritating.

Judging by the amount of forum posts I've seen on the subject, it seems to have annoyed quite a few people and this default behaviour won't be changing any time soon.

But help is at hand. If you want to change this setting, open up the config pane by entering the following in the address bar:


You'll then see a page of options in techno-speak. Search for one titled 'browser.backspace_action', and the value will be set to 1. Modify the value accordingly by setting it to 0.

You will then be returned to the world of normal backspace action on Firefox.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

ViaAqua and freelance IT work

ViaAqua is the name of a health club here in Montevideo. Since Alessandra (my girlfriend) is already a member, I was able to join as an invited guest. The only problem is that it is for 3 consecutive days! My arms have already started hurting with phantom pain.

My attempts at using the pool for swimming (what a novel concept) were thwarted by an army of rather enthusiastic people doing what appeared to be exercises in the water. I was soon joined by Ale, but after 20 minutes I became bored swimming on my own and decided to join in. It was actually quite good fun although slightly effeminate. That didn't seem to bother the Montevidean men though, which worries me slightly ;-)

Returned home to gather my stuff, then on to Nacho's where we discussed the possibility of freelance IT work via the internet. I hadn't given it much thought before but it's certainly worth further investigation.


Monday 7 April 2008

A cacophony of noise

Noisy bleeders.

That's all I can say when summarising the population of Montevideo. Every weekend, we seem to attract scores of young delinquents drinking alcohol and sitting right opposite our flat on a low wall. Since it's normally quiet round here, their vocal chorus of pisshead songs at 4am doesn't go down too well with Alessandra. Nor me for that matter.

Apparently the police are as useful as trying to wipe your bum on a car bonnet so it's almost anarchy. I've hatched a plan for next Saturday when I intend to mix some honey with chilli powder, plaster it all over the wall - and then sit back and enjoy the results. I probably won't though since the plan is still in my head but hey ho - always nice to think what you'd like to do eh?

Another Spanglish lesson today with reflexive verbs and pronouns. What joy!

Plus a visit to la dentista to sort my gnashers out.