Apart from bikes I’ve always been a big fan of Microsoft Media Center and have been using it for years and years, in fact I’m still running MCE 2005, having avoided Vista Media Center at all costs. Technology improves however, particularly hardware and this year its time to totally rebuild my Media Center box with some serious horsepower
Currently I have an old Pentium IV with 2gb RAM, 160gb system disk for the OS and 4 x 1TB drives for media content (1Tb for Recorded TV (700 hours capacity), 1TB for DiVX/AVI movies, 1TB for TV Caps and 1TB for Music and Pictures), 1 DVD ROM, 1 X Plextor DVDRW, Card Reader, Gigabit Ethernet, Hauppauge TV-Nova PCI TV card and a 512MB HDMI out graphics card. This is hooked directly into a Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD TV and the sound runs into a fairly low rent 5.1 Surround Sound.
The stuff that’s gonna get changed is as follows:
Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME which is an Intel Core-i7 X58-Express board with DDR3 RAM.
CPU – Intel® Core i7-920 Processor (8M Cache, 2.66 GHz)
RAM – Kingston KHX16000D3T1K3/6GX DDR3
TV Tuner – Hauppauge PCI Express Dual Tuner WinTV-HVR-2200 MC
AMP – Onkyo TX-SR 607 AV Receiver (Full 7.1 HD Audio/HDMI Outputs)
Speakers – Kef 3005SE K2′s in gloss black
Acquisition wise I already have the mobo and RAM and hopefully next week will have the KEF’s and Onkyo. Most likely I’ll use the Onky and KEF’s immediately on my current system until I splash for the i7 CPU, at which point I can rebuild my Media Center and reload it with Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ll post up some more pix when there’s a bit more progress but below is some of the kit that’s either coming or already in use at Billy Goat Towers.
Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD (LE46A956D1MXXU)
Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Front
Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Rear
The ‘Onk’ has plenty of future proofing built in, I can add two more satellite speakers and turn it into a 7.1 system or I could add these, plus a second sub and have a full 7.2 system (my neighbours would hate me though ). There’s several extra HDMI inputs here that could be used for Games Consoles, Blu-Ray players etc, it also handles Sirius Satellite Radio too and has fill support for all of the current HD Audio standards!
First proper Sunday ride since Xmas so I thought I’d make it a good one, headed out of town and across to Geddington to ride Clay Dick, then over to Fermyn Woods, then Aldwincle, Lyveden Way, Bear Gate Track and home.
Clay Dick is an old Byway that links Geddington to Brigstock and possibly the site of a Victorian Brickworks (hence the clay reference…). Anyway usually the top end is virtually unpassable, with the trees hanging so low over the trail that in some places you cannot even push a bike through……except this time the Byway had been ‘repaired’.
By ‘repair’ I mean they have bulldozed the whole thing flat, about 40 feet wide, ripping out all the trees, bushes, rabbit and foxholes and turning it into a mile of sticky wet clay that will take months to settle .
So I rode as much as I could until my EWR stopped working and my feet started to look like Swamp Thing and then I carried my bike for 3/4 a mile .
I fought my way to Brigstock and crossed thru Fermyn Woods which was another, barely rideable shitfest before aborting the ride near Sudborough
Wildlife count for the ride was still good, four or five Red Kites (all eluded my camera sadly), 5 fairly big deer in Fermyn Woods and six Llama’s…..yeah It’s true, although they could have been Alpaca, Clovius Hoofus isn’t my area of expertise
Mud stops Play…
Magura ‘Mud Magnets’…wheel locked
‘Repaired’ trail – The Long Walk
Mud Magnets Part 2
Kapitan Billy Goat says “TARFU, Mission Aborted!!!”
So you guys and girls all know the score….Xmas/Thanksgiving comes along, family and friends all do that “Hey, what do you want for a present?” thing, you Ummm and ahhh, suck air through your teeth…say “Hmmmm, I dunno” and weeks later unwrap something mundane like aftershave, nasty socks, wine you wouldn't pour on a skunk, a hideous sweatshirt….you get the idea
So this year I decided to be more assertive, I needed a bunch more bike and DIY tools so I assembled a wishlist of tools, added the exact Part Numbers, prices and web site addresses and stepped away, telling people to “Please be precise, or fallback on the skunk wine/socks route…”
Et Voila….it worked
Santa Claus brought me:
I'm one happy goat….everybody wins
For a year or so now my riding buddies have been extolling the virtues of SPD’s and trying to sell the idea to me, you see, I still live in the world of the Toeclip so I can’t see the sense. I never fall off my bike, never have much trouble ‘getting in’ to my toeclips and to be honest, in recent months I’ve gone back to flat pedals with no clips at all.
Yesterday was what turned out to be a large RetroBike meet at Thetford Forest, the largest lowland Pine Forest in Great Britain, down in deepest Suffolk with 22 riders attending. Also present in large quantities was snow and ice…..LOTS of it, which, much to my amusement, seems to be THE Achilles Heel of SPD pedals
The tranquil, picture postcard ‘snowscape’ scenery was shattered by the sound of dozens of MTB riders furiously stamping on their frozen/useless SPD’s, wobbling and dabbing the ground…hence the title of this blog post
Joking aside a great day was had by all during the two sub-zero rides we did yesterday……some pictures:
Watching the ‘Bomber Kidz’
All Along The Watchtower
More pictures and words can be found HERE