Useful mortgage overpayment calculator

Useful calculator for showing how much overpaying your mortgage can save:,2388,3_54988--View_1028,00.html

Excel Workbook for calculating repayments etc

The twins are here!

The twins were expected at the start of September ... or maybe early in mid/late August.

But they "turned up" even before the end of June ... Little Amelia and Bethany born in the early hours of 24th June 2008 at just 28 weeks.

Being so premature, they were immediately transferred to Chelsea & Westminster's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where they have now been for almost 2 weeks so far.

Boris is the mayor?!

Oh dear. By 500k votes!

Oh well, I guess we'll just have to see.

Is this a good omen? : [Boris' sister] "He's never really failed -- he's had some spectacular catastrophies"

Heating system re-vamp

At last, the long planned heating upgrade has been completed.

The main reason was to replace our old boiler which really struggled to heat the house during winter. The boiler was 15 years old and "F" rated according to the government website, so replacing it with a new A-rated unit should save gas too, which of course saves a few £££ as well. At the same time it was going to be an opportunity to get the rads fitted with TRVs.

Keen to make things even more efficient we also wanted to zone the house so each of the 3 floors could be operated independantly.

Planes & Trains

I've just arrived in Antwerp for a few days of business at the main office.

Eager to make the most of the day (and originally due to walk straight into a meeting on arrival) I booked for the early journey from London.

Nowadays there are 3 main choices for me:
1) Fly Heathrow (07:00) to Brussels and then a 30-40 minute taxi. Leave home approx 05:30
2) Fly City (07:40) to Antwerp then a 10 minute taxi. Leave home approx 05:00/05:15
3) Eurostar (06:00) to Brussels, get the 09:20 from Brussels to Antwerp then walk 5 minutes. Leave home approx 04:30

Reflex conditionals to create a Holiday Mode temperatue setting

We've had an Idratek temperature module (DTS) and relay module (DRB) operating for the past few months as a replacement for the traditional heating thermostat. Whilst this is very very much using only a fraction of what the equipment can do, this was a way to "test the water" so to speak.

Traditional Easter weekend - yup, DIY, DIY, DIY !

It's been a traditional easter weekend with wall-to-wall work on the house & garden. Mostly the garden; typical when it's cold & wet too. So far only one visit to B&Q!

The power of many people has yet again been proved with a complete replacement the old decking to the rear (which was rotting) with lovely new in just 6 hours (including stops for bacon butties, coffee, tea, pizza, tea, coffee,....).

Drupal upgrade etc

Drupal 6 was out a few a couple of weeks ago, so I've finally upgraded the site from the release candidate. Seems to be working fine.

Also removed all the blog drivel from the front page. So you really have to look for it .

Friday evening, the weekend beckons (hoorah). This weekend is about removing some old cast-iron pipes we uncovered last weekend. That'll be fun!

UK TV Listings site/application

Are the sneaky fellows at Yahoo crippling existing MusicMatch installations?

 So, if you read the above, you'll know I've re-downloaded & re-installed the latest MusicMatch Jukebox.  But are Yahoo pushing out malware that cripples  the installations of  troublesome folk that have resisted the "upgrade" to Yahoo Jukebox or worse... like me.. "downgraded" back the  better features of MusicMatch ?

Long Live MusicMatch Jukebox

Musicmatch JukeboxI've been using MusicMatch Jukebox for years - I think since something like 1998/99.  Anyway, a long time.  It was such a good app that I quickly paid for their "plus" version which even included future upgrades.  Fab.  Happy as can be I kept on upgrading from time to time through till 2007.  But the upgrade to Yahoo Music Jukebox was utter rubbish so I've got rid of it.  Seems I'm not the only one that hated it.

Things to sort out in 2008...

In no particular order, a list of things I want to sort out during 2008...

  1. Last few CDs not yet ripped.  I've been routinely archiving my CDs since the late 90's.  I've never lost the archive (touch wood) and always used MP3 and the higher quality sample rates, so most of the earliest MP3 files are still on the server.  Over the years, I've archived almost all of my CDs (currently 3200 tracks) but I know that a few have slipped through the net.  I've despirately avoided being anal enough to pull every CD off the shelf and check it's on the server, but the absence of the missing few on my iPod is starging to annoy me, so it's time to do it.  It's especially 'needed' now that the archive feeds not only 2 iPods and the desktop PC but also the new Roku/Pinnacle Soundbridge.  This is linked with my next "must do":

Soundbridge .... cooool gadget

Not exactly brand new on the market, infact the Roku device on which this is based (er..oem'd?) is several years old.  However, for under £45 from UK (r)etailers, this unit is a really price for something that till now has cost a lot more. 

Even better,

website woes & drupal upgrade

Yesterday I found that this site was broken. The homepage would load fine but any attempt to access linked pages or articles gave an "internal server" error. After a bit of poking around & some support emails to the friendly people at ukfsn (Jason) it appeared to be related to drupal's use of mod_rewrite. But why now? I guess the webserver was recently upgraded or tweaked and this revealed that drupal wasn't playing well and imposed some new limits on it.. causing it to break.