Exams, Exams, Exams…then a conference

Hey guys, I'm really busy right now. I've got 3 exams between april 11th - April 15th, then we have a conference in church from the 15th-17th !! I've had to pull out of the choir for the conference, as I'm not sure how the week before will be, and I will be very very busy studying. So I will not be able to attend any rehearsals for the conference, which will be a real shame, as I'd have had a chance to sing on stage with Darlene Zschech, a woman I have been listening to for years, and I admire greatly, I'm really gutted by that.

anyways, I will not be able to blog too often over the next 2 weeks or so, but I will do myself to keep up to date with all 20six blogs, and read all your stuff as much as I can.........

Before I go, I have to confess something. Tonight I was weak, and finally gave in to temptation and bought this:

from play.com

It's currently on offer for £17.99, instead of £40......so why not?



Saturday was a really spontaneous day. Was planning to stay home all day, but a phone call from an old friend changed that !! Went round to see her, and before I knew what was happening, I was back at the bowling alley with 2 other friends. Tried to leave early, but everyone insisted I stay for dinner, and I found myself getting home around midnight. Combine that with the fact that we lost an hour during the switch to British Summer time, and I had to be in church at 9am.......and spend the whole day there......I was really really tired last night, and this morning.

Got up at about 11am. I've just done my shopping, and now, I have to do some cooking..........not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow.


Taking things easy…….

After a stressful week at work, I've been taking things easy this long weekend, in fact, a little too easy.....

Yesterday, I had a good lie-in, I was in bed till NOON !! Slept at 11.30pm the night before, and knocked off till NOON, almost 12 hours sleep !! But I needed it, so I didn't feel guilty. Got up and I was really lazy all day, didn't do anything productive, and a friend came round and we went for drinks with the rest of my flatmates, as it's someone's birthday today (And being the mug I am, I forgot to get her a card!).

Today, I was up at 9am, which is still a bit late. Hope to do some shopping and get some sudying done today. Should really get moving then.......


The Central Line….

.....has given me nothing but grief this week. Every single morning this week, I listen to BBC London News on the TV, again on the radio, and check the tube website, and they all say that the Central line is running fine.

And every single morning, I get to Letyton Station, and the trains are running with delays. Packed Trains, and it takes ages to get on one. With the weather getting warmer, this means sweating, and smelling other people's body odour. 3 days out of 3.

Tomorrow is the last working day of the week. So, do I expect the line to be running normally, or with delays? WE shall see.........

Still stuck at work by the way. This week must rank up there with worst ever:

"Bomb Scare"
"Tube hell"
"Broke as ever"
"Still paying emergency tax, despite my best efforts"
"Server almost drove me mad earlier today"
"Internet went down yesterday in the office for 6 hours, fault at exchange"
"Exam is getting closer and closer"

What next?

Bad Day

I'm having a really, really, really, really,really, really,really, really,really, really bad day today.


Living in fear - Bomb scare, and a really, really horrible day

Every had one of those days where you wish you didn't bother to get out of bed? today was just one of those days.

Started off with a delay on the central line, which meant I got to Bank station 5-10 minutes late. I rushed as quickly as my legs could carry me, only to see the police had cordoned off Fenchurch Street !! People were coming out, but no one was going in. I asked the policeman what was going on, and he said 'There's a suspect car somewhere in the area. If you work on Fenchurch street, your office will most likely have been evacuated.' One phone call to the office proved there were people in the building. I walked around the area, looking for a way in, but there were police barricades everywhere. then I saw one of the security guards from my building, who told me about a route into the area, while the police line was there, there was no cop in the area. Boso is a very very foolish boy. I crossed the police line, and found myself in Leadenhall market.

Maybe I should have turned back when I saw the police evacuating all the shops just behind our building. That would have been a wise thing to do. But I walked right past them, and went into our building via the back door. On the way, I saw two chaps who were wondering what was going on. "Suspect car" I said. "Then why the hell are we still going to work" one of them said. But we walked on......proclaiming our loyalties to our companies...how stupid we were.........

The office was about 3/4 full, and everyone was wondering what the hell was going on. We were looking out of the windows, and watching as people were kept off the main street, and everyone was staying behind the police lines. Then suddenly, the policeman asked us all to get into the buildings and 'stay as far away as possible from the windows'. We were safer in the buildings they said. By now, I was wondering why I didn't stay put behind the police lines.

The message finally filtered through, they were going to approach the two vehicles, and see whether they were bombs. We all found 'safe' places to wait inside the office. The Internet was down as well, but that was not a priority right now!! when I looked outside the window of the server room, I had a terrible shock. There was a car right behind our building, that the police were taking apart. They had taken out several empty suitcases from the boot, and had opened up the car, and popped open the engine. I was frozen with fear. Not because the 'suspect car' was right next to our building. But I HAD WALKED RIGHT PAST THAT CAR ON MY WAY IN.

After a few minutes, we were told to go to the basement, and on our way there, we found out that it was all over, Fenchurch Street had been reopened, and it was business as usual. People on the street, cars buzzing past, I have never been happier to see crowds in my life !!!

So, after all the intial excitement, I couldn't blog about it....because the Internet was down. The exchange was down, and wasn't fixed till 3pm......all this, and one printer, one PC and one laptop all decided that today was the best day to die. Fortunately, my boss  has cancelled tonight's work, so all I want to do is go home and lie down......

Last weekend, I was chatting with my brother about how working in Central London means you have to be prepared for a terrorist attack at any time. I was at a disaster recovery fair last week, and everyone was speaking like an attack was 'just around the corner'. This weekend's news that the IRA was planning to strike and then today, I feel really scared now.

I heard something on the night that I went to the Comedy Store. 9/11 and other terrorist attacks aren't really terrorism, they are acts of terrorism. The real terrorism is when everyone is scared, because they don't know when or where the next act of terrorism will happen.


You silly boy

Was meant to study all weekend, right?

Friday: Studied for 3 hours, until my eyelids were hurting. Then I was too tired to sleep, so I played the Xbox for about 2 hours.......

Saturday: Had to go and fix a family friend's laptop. The thing about being in IT, you become free IT support for everyone that knows you, they should put a disclaimer on every single IT course!! Anyways, after that, I went home, then got called by my 14 and 9 year old cousins, only to remember that I promised to hang out with them the week before. So off I went, and I even managed to beat the older one at FIFA 2005 for the first time !! And it was a heavy one, 7-0 (let's just say I got so fed up of him beating me, I've been practising ;) Studying? Well, I actually read a bit on the train in the morning, and that was it.

Sunday: Church in the morning. Hanging out with Girlfriend in the afternoon, went to see Hitch, because I thought she'd like it, and I was right :) Got home, was too hungry and tired to read, so I've been doing some ironing instead. Now? I'm about to play a little Xbox. I've got a rematch with my cousin on the 2nd of May. And I intend to show him who's boss......


Friday feeling………

Can't wait for the work day to end. I just wanna get home....and..........study.

Yup, that's all I do now. Study, study and study some more. Exam is in 4 weeks time, and I'm really, really, really behind schedule, that's all I say for now.

I've banned myself from going to the cinema. No more Xbox even. I need to study, and the situation is getting serious.

I found out that I will still be charged emergency tax this month, which is pretty depressing, as next month is the girlfriend's birthday, and I had planned to splash out on that, and spend about £100 on new Xbox games, but I have to choose one now. Which one will I choose I wonder? I guess the Xbox will have to wait for another month then.......

What I have decided to do is wait till I get the tax refund, which may be in April or May (or even June someone said), then I'll buy all the games I want then, and get Xbox live setup as a bonus (will cost £40 for the kit, and £75 for a wireless adaptor). But I would like to get the Collector's edition of Doom3 III when it comes out, as it has the original CLASSICS Doom and Doom II !! Decisions, decisions, decisions.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND PEOPLE !! I'll be the one stuck at home, desperately studying.


Now wait a minute……

Two people have told me today that I look like this guy

which isn't very funny. This guy (Peter Bryan) is on the front page today's evening paper (and probably all tomorrow's papers), after being sentenced 'for the rest of his natural life' for killing two men, and then going on to eat them. Read more here.

Two people I know bought the paper just to show me !! And one person on the street said I look just like the 'cannibal'.........!!!!!!

HOW ????!?!?!

Look at my innocent face

Alright, I need to get back to studying.....just had to get that off my chest.

Daily Dose

A guy calls a law office and says: "I want to talk to my lawyer."

The receptionist replies, "I'm sorry, but he died last week."

The next day he phones again and asks the same question. The receptionist replies, "I told you yesterday, he died last week."

The next day the guy calls again and asks to speak to his lawyer. By this time the receptionist is getting a little annoyed and says, "I keep telling you, your lawyer died last week. Why do you keep calling?"

The guy says, "Because I just love hearing it."


Rare sighting

Today, there was a rare sighting of the monumental kind. For about 10 seconds, I was in complete shock as I gazed at this uncommon occurence, and almost as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. And while I was fixated on this baffling incident, I suddenly realised that there was another sighting directly behind me. And as I turned back to look at that, it was also gone.

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time this year, I saw an empty seat on the tube to work. It was right there, and while I was deciding what to do, someone sat on it. But there it was, I actually had a chance to sit down on the short journey to work !! And while I was fooling around, there was an empty seat right behind me, also quickly occupied.....SHOCKING.

Was it just me, or was London 'empty' this morning. Human traffic on the tube was pretty light, and I travelled to work in relative comfort. I was beginning to wonder if there was something happening that I hadn't been told about !!

I'm really busy right now in the build up to my exams in the week of April the 11th, as I try to catch up with all the work I should have done ages ago. And I'm also planning an Xbox holiday, where I hope to buy new games, and me and my Xbox will have 2 weeks to get to know each other better. How shallow am I?

anyway, I think I should do a bit more studying before I sleep. I feel like I'm a student again, only this time, I have to go to work every morning.......



Went bowling tonight for the first time in my life with a group of friends. It was MAD FUN, and I really enjoyed it, must do it again sometime soon. We went to the Hollywood Bowl at Surrey Quays, and while I came 3rd in the first game (out of 4) and 4th in the second game (again, out of 4), I think I may have figured out the logic to the game. However, my painful wrist now serves as a reminder that some balls are heavier than others.......

After that, we went to Pizza Hut for a drink and a chat, we hadn't seen each other in ages, I hadn't seen one the girls in almost 8 months, one of the guys in over 4 years !! We got there at 8.30pm and left around 10.30!! But it was good to catch up with them again, and we should do this more often !! Anyways, now, it's bedtime....goodnight 20six.


Asda emergency

Tonight I went to see 'Hitch' at the cinema. I've got a UGC unlimited card, basically, I pay £13 a month, and I can watch as many movies as I want. However, I haven't used it in 2 months, so I decided to go tonight. I was starving, so I bought a pack of Toffee popcorn. Little did I know.....

I usually go into Asda after a night out on Fridays, as they stock up the shelves for Saturday, and the shelves are full, and the store is generally not as crowded as on the weekend. Anyway, as I went in for my weekly shop, I suddenly had to RUN to the toilet. I had the runs !! Got there, and there was a security man on the door, toilets were shut, unless you're a customer. (i.e. you've alread bought stuff) I BEGGED to get in. The door to their bogs had no locks, but fortunately, no one came in while I was soing my smelly business.

I think I'm ok now, but that was very embarrasing. done my shopping, and now I'm watching the end bit of comic relief.

At work, a guy shaved his head in aid of comic relief, and we donated about £300 or so. As a lot of the money goes to Africa, this is something that is very close to my heart.

Well goodnight everyone.....


Stress, Tension and Panic

What's the difference between stress, tension and panic?

Stress is when wife is pregnant.

Tension is when girlfriend is pregnant.

Panic is when both are pregnant.

Hit count

My blog has just beat its record for average visits in a day !!

My previous record was an average of 48 visits per day(2 weeks before Christmas last year). This week, I had an average of 54 visits per day.

The statistics are from www.sitemeter.com and not the counter from 20six, which I don't think is as reliable. The sitemeter one doesn't count mutiple visits from the same IP address in a 24 hour visit. Anyway, according to 20six, the first 10 days this month, I had 94 visits per day (average).

To everyone who reads, thanks, and to all those who got here by mistake.....HELLO !!


Tonight, tonight

I decided not to go to choir, so I could get some studying done, as I'd had a very busy day. But:

1. It took 1 call to the UK helpline, and 2 calls to the USA helpline, but I finally got my all in one remote control to work with all my stuff. Apparently, I have an American model, and it didn't have the codes for my 'European' devices, so we had to 'download' them over the phone. Thankfully, it's all working now, and I have only 1 funky remote on my table, instead of 4 !!

2. Got home to meet 2 of my flatmates very upset. One of them, was upset because she wanted her friend to stay in her room when she went on holiday, and one person wasn't very happy with it, she thinks that person is being selfish, etc, etc. She was in tears, and I was dumbfounded. The other person just found out that his on and off girlfriend is pregnant, and is planning to have an abortion on Monday. He's not happy about it, and apparently, they're not even speaking to each other. Sat in the lounge drinking all night (just left him there). So much for my quiet night in.

3. Watched about 5 minutes of Celebrity Fame Academy. It was 5 minutes too long. They're CRAP. Saw Edith prance around like a drunk karoake singer, and Reggie MURDER MC Hammer's can't touch this. I'm going to be traumatised for life. CRAP. CRAP. CRAP.

OK, I have to study now !!


Bargain Hunter

I've just got one of these to replace the clutter in my room. I'll
hopefully be replacing my TV, VCR, DVD, Freeview and CD player remotes
with ONE remote control. And one SUPER COOL one at that !!

It costs about £70 in the shops, but my boss was trying to get rid of
his, so I managed to get this one for £30. Will hopefully manage to
program it tonight.......



This morning, I was hoping someone would tell this guy to shut up, but finally it seems someone has.


Crack addict

Remember the review I wrote for my MP3 player last week? Well it was SLATED on the www.misticriver.net site, And I've been accused of been a crack addict !! Some chap took my review to pieces, and insulted me several times in the process. I only just found the thread this morning, but unfortuantely, it's been closed, so I can't respond, because I really feel like trying to explain myself. This is so unfair.

I now know how musicians, movie directors, game writers, novelists, etc. feel when they are criticised in the press. And it feels bad.

The thread is here.

Weep with me.

Cashmere sweater

I'm wearing the cashmere sweater my girlfriend gave me for valentine's day today, for the first time. I hadn't worn it since, because it's RED, shocking red at that. I feel like I'm standing out.

Walked into the office, and spent the first 5 minutes deflecting jokes about wearing red. So, do I dump the sweater, and hope she doesn't notice, and continue wearing it, damning all the consequences?


Chuffed !!!

At the gym today, I beat my personal best on the bike. I cycled 4.3 km in 10 minutes, my previous best was 4.1 km which I set in November when I was gym'ing' regularly. So I'm kinda chuffed (and tired) tonight. I'm also doing well on all my other exercises, and I'm at the peak, even though I'm only going to the gym once or twice a week.

I'm thinking aboout going back on a diet, but I'm not so sure anymore. I'm feeling very fit, and even though I'm not losing weight, I'm feeling healthy, which is a massive plus. Anyways, enough about me......


End of the weekend

This weekend has been hectic to say the least. Had to work yesterday, so I was up at 7am, got to work at 10am and left at 7pm. However, to be fair, I finished working at 2pm, and fooled around for about 2 hours (one of the guys that came to work brought a Playstation 2 with Pro Evo Soccer 4), and then studied from about 4pm - 7pm. I may not have mentioned it, but I've got exams in April, I'm continuing the Microsoft exams I started last June, I'll be doing 3 exams the week of April the 11th. I'm doing an online course, but I'm like a month behind schedule, but I won't panic. I won't go on with my tales of woe....OK, back to this weekend.............

Today, I was up by 7am again, to go to church this time. I was singing with the choir today, but there was some kind of error with the roster, so there were too many people. As a result, I didn't have to sing at the 7pm service, so I came home to rest........

Tomorrow looks like an interesting day. yesterday, I noticed one server was critically low on disk space, I think it will last another 2 or 3 days.......so I have to see what I can do. The server is due for replacement soon, in fact it was meant to be replaced this week, but we had some problems setting up the new cluster, but it looks like it's going to be a very intersting day....

What is Marketing?

You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and say, "I am very rich. Marry me!"
That's Direct Marketing

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl.
One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says,
"He's very rich. Marry him."
That's Advertising.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and get her telephone number.
The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm very rich. Marry me."
That's Telemarketing.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl.
You get up and straighten your tie; you walk up to her and compliment her hair. You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say, "By the way, I'm very rich "Will you marry me?"
That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl.
She walks up to you and says, "You are very rich..."
That's Brand Recognition.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and say, "I'm rich. Marry me"
She gives you a nice hard slap on your face.
That's Customer Feedback.


15 minutes

A college professor, an avowed Atheist, was teaching his class.

He shocked several of his students when he flatly stated he was going to prove there was no God.

Addressing the ceiling he shouted: "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you 15 minutes!"

The lecture room fell silent. You could have heard a pin fall. Ten minutes went by. Again he taunted God, saying, "Here I am, God. I'm still waiting."

His count-down got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine - just released from active duty and newly registered in the class - walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him tumbling from his lofty platform.

The professor was out cold! At first, the students were shocked and babbled in confusion. The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silent. The class fell silent...waiting.

Eventually, the professor came to, shaken. He looked at the young Marine in the front row. When the professor regained his senses and could speak he asked: "What's the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

"God was busy. He sent me."


Wise president

When the wise company president learned that his employees were tanking up on no-trace vodka martinis during their lunch hours, he issued the following memo:

To all employees; If you must drink during your lunch hours, please drink whiskey. It is better for our customers to know you're drunk than to think you're stupid.

- Problem Drinking at Work? Solved.

Review for the IRiver H340 Jukebox (or H3xx series)

After using my MP3 player for a month and a half, I think I am well placed to write a review on it, as from the statistics on my blog, I see that a lot of people have come here looking for information on the player. So, is the Iriver H340 MP3 player worth the hype? Is it the super duper MP3 player it claims to be?

Now, as a person, IÂ’m a natural critic, so itÂ’s easy for me to find faults with stuff. While a lot of people think this is a negative, a few of my friends use this in a positive way, by telling me about any ideas they have, and watching me pick holes in them. Any idea that survives
the ‘Boso’ test, must be a good one!! Anyway, I was afraid that this review may seem too negative, don’t take it that way at all. I love my H340, I love it a lot. I’ll try my best to do a well-balanced review. And to make sure you see that I like the player, I'll put the good bits first, and then the bad bits.

First of all, for anyone who has this player, or is thinking of getting one, www.misticriver.net should become your homepage. The website set up for iRiver enthusiasts has so much info on this player, and when things go wrong, searching through the forums always comes up with the right answer. Also, when you’re trying to do anything there is tons of information here. I downloaded software to convert videos to the ‘H3xx’ format from here, written in Java by a member of mistic river, and found out about the latest firmware, how to reduce startup time, etc. They have a very good review here .

OK, so let me first of all say what I like about the player.


  • The major plus is the price. For all the bells and whistles, itÂ’s quite cheap compared to competing products. And what are these wonderful features:

  • MP3 player (doh!)

  • 2in colour screen

  • FM Radio

  • Voice recorder (and recording from radio)

  • Picture Viewer

  • Videos (after firmware upgrade)

  • Text file viewer

  • 40GB Hard Drive

  • Works as external memory

And all this for just £299 !! The only player that comes close to all this is the Ipod photo, which doesn’t have a radio, video playback or voice recorder, and the 40GB version currently sells for about £349 at www.play.com. (Although with the recent price cuts from Apple, this will fall to about £300 I think). The Creative Zen Touch 20GB has half the space, no colour screen, no photos or videos (obviously) goes for about £160. The H320 (20GB Iriver) goes for about £220, but I don’t think these devices are in the same category.

All in all, I think the price is competitive, and this is the only place you can get all these features in one box.

  • Firmware upgradeable. This feature is a big big plus. The best example is the latest firmware update allows you to watch videos. A lot of the problems I will list below, can easily be fixed by firmware updates, so this gives hope for the future !! However, IÂ’m using the Korean firmware at the moment, as the EU firmware has a volume cap (because of a French law apparently), and I like my music loud !!

  • Sound Quality is simply top notch. IÂ’ve got a great set of headphones (Phillips HN050 to be precise) with noise cancellation, and when you put them on, you immediately find yourself transported to another world, and on a crowded train on the way to work, thereÂ’s nothing better than that !! But connected to my stereo, 2.1 speaker system, it gives top quality sound, and the EQ on it is also really good. IÂ’m a massive fan of excellent sound, and IÂ’ll give the player 8.5/10.

  • USB on the go. OK, youÂ’re on holiday, and youÂ’ve just discovered your digital camera memory is full. NO PROBLEM. Hook it up to your Iriver, which will get your pics off it, and free up your precious space. Absolutely brilliant. However, the list of supported cameras is disappointingly short, and my camera sadly isn'Â’t on the list, so I canÂ’'t test this feature. L However, when using the player as a host, you can only use USB 1.1, which is a lot slower than USB 2.0

OK, so that was the good bit. Now, letÂ’s talk about the drawbacks.


  • Playlists. This is my biggest gripe. With this player, playlists are a nightmare, and thatÂ’s putting things lightly. To create playlists, you need to connect the player to a PC, and then use Winamp (that silly out of date program, created by Nullsoft, a company that has since gone bust) to create .m3u playlists. Store these playlists on the player, and there you go. As a result, you canÂ’t really create playlists on the fly. So you create all your playlists at home/work, and if you change your mind, or want to fiddle with them, guess what, you canÂ’t. you canÂ’t even look at or navigate the list while itÂ’s playing, you have to wait for each song to play, one by one. Also, if your list has any song that has a filename longer than 52 characters, the entire list will fail when loading (and not tell you why!). As my last CD MP3 player had no playlists whatsoever, itÂ’s been easy for me to adapt, but this should come as standard. However, a firmware fix can take this problem away, but will Iriver bother? Only time will tell.

  • Search. ThereÂ’s no way to search through your music database for ‘that songÂ’. All your music is tagged right? Well, guess what? The player does not care! Navigation through your music is like using a file explorer. iRiver does ship an application that
    you can install in Windows that can manually scan the audio on the device
    and build the data base file, but it only supports MP3 files.

  • Buttons. Usually, when I get a new ‘toyÂ’, I rip it out of the box, and play with it, and in time IÂ’ve figured out how to do almost everything on it. Not so with this baby. You see, some of the buttons on the front of the player do more than one thing, and youÂ’'ll have to learn how to press them. A short tap will bring up one function, and a long press will bring up another. But with butter fingers like mine, it took 3 weeks to figure out how to press the buttons to do what I wanted to do. Not too much of a sticking point, but if IÂ’d written this review two weeks after buying the player, IÂ’ve have slated it completely due to this. I was trying to play my playlists, but everytime I hit the button, it went into the repeat mode. I was getting pretty frustrated, and the poorly written manual (another minus, but IÂ’ll restrain myself and not write anything about that) didnÂ’t mention that there were 2 ways to hit the button. Oh well. I'Â’ve become an expert now.

  • Battery. The battery on this is supposed to be really good. Well, unless I got a unit with a bad battery, then this is not true. IRiver claim the battery can last for up to 14 hours. I use the player for my commute every day , which lasts about an hour each way, and after 3 days (total 6 hours) itÂ’s almost dead. On the days I use the voice recording function at choir practice, if I havenÂ’t charged it the day before, it either dies during rehearsal, or dies on the way home. Also USB charging is a complete waste of time.

  • Bulky. Not a major problem, but a problem none the less. ItÂ’s a bit bigger and heavier than itÂ’s competitors, but for all the features it has, I can live with the extra
    bulge in my pocket.

  • Software. Or the lack of it. I took the CD that came with the player, put it into my PC and installed the software. And then? Nothing. CouldnÂ’t find the software, nothing in the start menu, no new icons on the desktop or taskbar, NOTHING. A few weeks later, while rebooting my computer with the player connected, a window popped up telling me something about ‘not staring up my PC with the Iriver player connected.Â’ So I know that thereÂ’s software on the PC somewhere, but the silly thing isnÂ’t working. Not that I need it, I can do everything I want to do and more, without the need for extra software. Iriver could have further reduced the cost by not shipping the units with CDs I guess.

  • Start-up time. This is not really a problem for me, but apparently as your music collection grows, it becomes one. When you turn on the player, it goes through all your files one by one. That way, it knows where the playlists are, among other things. Then it loads the firmware. Now, from click to finish, IÂ’ve timed mine at 21.9 seconds, and IÂ’ve got 24 GB of stuff on the player. In this review the guy claims that his takes up to a minute. However, I defragmented my drive last night, and used the Disk Cleanup facility in Windows to remove the 80 MB of stuff in the hidden ‘recycle binÂ’, but the start up time hasnÂ’t been a real issue for me. IÂ’ve never used any other hard drive based MP3, so I donÂ’t know how long they take.

  • Video playback. Now, considering the player wasnÂ’t really designed for video playback, then the fact that it plays any kind of video at all should have me thanking my stars. OK, here goes, the IRiver only plays videos in *.avi format, and even then, thereÂ’s a maximum file size, and the video must be at 10 frames per second
    maximum. If you go to www.misticriver.net you’ll find a variety of tools to convert your videos. I managed to rip a DVD using the java based iriverter (written by a misticriver user), but it ended up being a bit ‘jerky’. However, I did one other one, and it was fine, so I guess it’s a bit of hit and pray with this one. However, if you’re not very tech savvy, you might find that converting videos is too much hassle.

So there it is !! A lot of negative points? OK, look at it this way. If I had to buy a new player today, with all I know about the IRiver H340, IÂ’d probably buy it again. It may have its drawbacks, but itÂ’s still one hell of a player. And I still have not been able to find anything with all these features anywhere, you always get a wide selection, but never EVERYTHING. If itÂ’s not missing the FM radio, itÂ’s missing the voice recorder, if itÂ’s got both, then you canÂ’t watch videos. So, IÂ’ll buy this one again and again and again and again.

IÂ’ll give it 8.5/10. Very, very good, may even be classed as excellent, but could still do so much better :)

FINALLY, the wedding photos

The bride and groom

The bestman (me), the bride and groom

The 'bridal train' (I think that's what they call it.

The couple with the 'Nigerian posse'

The couple at the reception

Me, my girlfriend and the couple.

Link to the online photo album is in the post below this one.


Finally, my brother’s wedding photos

Me (left), the bride and the groom

The bride and groom

Me, my girlfriend, with the newly married couple

The couple With some family

More pictures available here