Virgin Media broadband in MEx – will this post make it online?

For the last few weeks my Virgin Media broadband service has been unusable during peak times. Unfortunately Virgin media don’t consider this a service fault, merely an inconvenience. When do VM expect me to use my broadband, when I’m not at home or in bed?

The sad thing is, this is a massive problem for VM across the country. A quick look through posts on their forum, a large percentage of them are about poor service at peak times.

I’ve been monitoring the situation for the last week, this is what I’ve found so far. 50% pack loss on most evenings and for the majority of Saturday (today).

Virgin Media MEx Service status
Virgin Media MEx Service status

If it continues, I’ll have to find an ADSL provider with a decent contention ratio.. does anyone know of one? 🙂

Wishing for a Fitocracy API

So its been a while since my last post. Rather than come up with some decent content I thought I’d waste time updating the theme of the blog and coming up with a new whizzy plugin. Progress, right?

I was hoping to get my Fitocracy stats up on the blog as a widget, but turns out its (next to) impossible at the moment. I get that an API isn’t always first on the agenda or something that users should expect to have – but it would be nice!

As soon as I can get a feed of my profile data I’ll be adding the widget and then releasing the plugin to the world. I’ve put in a request on the Fito forums, lets see if anyone has any ideas.

There are some other unofficial Fitocracy APIs out there, but none seem to work at the moment!

Napster web service won’t steam some songs

If you’re using the napster web service and find that random songs stop streaming properly, interrupting your (awesome) playlist, there may be a simple fix:

1. Clear your browser cache

If unsure how to do this, please google “clear [browser name] cache”, where browser name is either “Internet Explorer”, “Firefox”, “Chrome”, etc.

2. Clear your flash cache

I didn’t know about this one, but if you browse to the Flash Settings Manager page, you can delete your Flash cache.

3. For good luck, close your browser and re-open it

Seems to have done to trick for me, now I can listen to albums and playlists without playback stopping anymore! Only thing is the issue seems to reproduce itself every now and again.

Creative extigy on Mac OS X doesn’t support 5.1 surround sound

I ordered a few cables to get both my PC and powerbook hooked up to my old creative extigy sound card, hoping I could then listen to either through my 5.1 speaker set.

I’d used the extigy on the mac before, and it certainly does detect it and play sound. Unfortunately I hadn’t paid much attention to the rear speakers. It turns out creative never released any drivers for the mac, so not only can I not get proper 5.1 surround sound, the CMSS feature won’t work either.

So that was a waste of time and money, considering I can get the same sound from a normal stereo cable. Apparently the newer macbooks (hopefully mine included) have optical audio out, but I’m not sure I want to buy the cable to find out?

As a “sort of” fix, I’m going to play music using parallels running Windows XP. I don’t think I’m ever going to get away from Windows for good. 🙁

Online small claims application form: technical error

For the last few days we’ve been trying to file a small claim online but everytime we get to the submission stage, we get a technical error and are asked to try again later or file the claim the old-fashioned way!

With the error not dissapearing, I gave them a ring. The first question they asked was, “what browser are you using?“. Firefox, of course. Apparently the application form will only work in Internet Explorer. A few years ago I would have thought to try this first, but I was under the impression Firefox had enough market share to be taken seriously.

What really annoys me is that there is nothing in this process that should require internet explorer to operate properly. Its just a series of simple forms. Its ironic because the government probably paid more for this one form thatn we’ve ever charged for all forms we’ve ever built, and it isn’t even accessible to 30% of the Internet (counting Safari, etc).