Half Man Half Biscuit – The Auditorium, Leicester

A new venue for me tonight, it’s actually a converted cinema. It looked pretty grotty, but worked quite well with tiered areas giving everyone a good view.

The less said about the support band the better, I think they probably rank as the worst support band I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing, however Half Man Half Biscuit more than made up for them.

They started out with the obvious tribute to the recently departed Fred Titmus, and then played for the best part of two hours. The only oddity was the lack of 24 Hour Garage People tonight, so no up-to-date Pringles pricing information was offered.

Setlist:

Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus
San Antonio Foam Party
Restless Legs
Asparagus Next Left
Petty Seasions
Running Order Squabble Fest
Bob Wilson Anchorman
Left Lyrics in the Practice Room
Deep House Victims Minibus Appeal
Trumpton Riots
Bad Review
National Shite Day
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)
Lark Descending
Surging Out of Convalescence
A Lilac Harry Quinn
99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
Tommy Walsh’s Eco House
All I Want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit
Joy Division Oven Gloves
For What is Chatteris?
Evening of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)
Vatican Broadside
A Country Practice
We Built This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune

Them’s the Vagaries
Dreaming (Blondie)
Everything’s A.O.R.

A near-lake experience

I should have been riding down to the lake with Ian today, but the excesses of the weekend were too much for him so I headed out for a solo ride. For the first 10 miles or so I hadn’t decided whether to actually ride to the lake, or just do a 20-mile loop nearer home, but the weather was good and my legs felt fine so down to the lake it was. 32 miles on quiet roads, the most dangerous bit was dealing with the bank-holiday idiots on the cycle track for the first and last few miles.

Same again next Monday hopefully.

An unscientific experiment

Same route, same conditions, different bikes. How much difference could there be? The loop is fairly flat for the first and last quarters, with a 350ft climb in the middle up a hill known, to me at least, as Double Gravity for it’s deceptive nature, it looks fairly flat but sucks all the energy out of you.

Thursday evening I headed out on the Bob Jackson, taking 69 minutes, tonight I did the same route on the Singular Firebird in 58 minutes. Unscientifically proving that gears and titanium are worth nearly 20% over steel and a 64″ fixed gear. The Firebird is also a lot more comfortable, but then it should be given that the frame alone is worth more than the complete Bob Jackson cost.

Back to tiling the kitchen floor tomorrow.

Shortcuts don’t always work out

For some reason my legs just weren’t working properly today. I spun slowly out through Bitton, Keynsham, and back towards Saltford and almost cut the ride short there to take the flat route home, but decided to press on towards Wilmington as normal. At Stanton Prior I decided to take a slight shortcut which would cut out a mile or two of lanes and more importantly one nasty climb. The only problem was I replaced the nasty climb with an even worse one. For the first time since I switched to proper road shoes and pedals I had to admit defeat and walk a few hundred yards of the worst part of the climb, fortunately there was no-one around to see me so nobody will ever know.

Two months with a Virgin Media Tivo and why you shouldn’t buy one.

Two months on, and there’s still a lot of work needed before the Virgin Media Tivo is ready for a proper release. Unfortunately for the customers, that release took place a week ago.

Things that still need fixing:

  • Excessive seemingly random reboots. This is a massive problem which Virgin Media are totally incapable of fixing at the moment. For this reason alone you shouldn’t order a Tivo for the foreseeable future. What use is a PVR if it will lose recordings because of a reboot, or reboot whilst you are in the middle of watching something?
  • Forced upscaling of SD material, which means you can’t output everything at it’s native format. The Tivo itself is not particularly good at upscaling which makes this even more annoying.
  • No way of disabling PIN requests for post-watershed recordings. There are no children in my house, why should I be forced to enter a PIN before watching something recorded after 9pm?
  • An inconsistent mix of HD and SD menus.
  • You can’t set recordings via the web on an iPhone 3GS (amongst others), the website just tells you that you don’t have a Tivo (I do, I’m sat looking at it).
  • Setting multiple series links for the same program on different channels is a bit convoluted. It tells you that you already have a series link for that program, but not that it’s on a different channel, you have to explicitly add an additional series link.
  • You can’t FFWD through recordings from Radio properly.
  • Those bloody reboots.

Basically you should stay well away from the Tivo until they actually work properly. If I hadn’t already cancelled my Sky subscription I’d have sent mine back for a refund as its clearly unsuitable for it’s purpose at the moment.

Virgin Media Tivo update

Two months on and it’s still rebooting sporadically. I’m losing a couple of recordings a week to it, fortunately nothing important recently. The engineers haven’t got a clue what to do about it, and appear to be totally out of their depth. Today’s engineer looked at it, rebooted the box a few times, and declared all was well with it, therefore any problems must be down to buggy software.

It’s not looking good for the future of Tivo and Virgin Media if they still can’t get the service to work properly, especially as it’s been launched to their existing customers this week, and to the general public next week.