A tale of a Scotsman living in SW london...

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well, it's the traditional time of year where I'm running about like an idiot finishing shopping, be it food or presents. Not this year though...

I made a decision in November that I'd be organised this year. And so I have been! I bought the last parcel last Sunday, and although I'd gone to Kingston, I went first thing and was home by 12. This was a good plan, as it meant that most people were still in bed when I went. In fact, I'd almost call it pleasant.

Yesterday, we had to pop to the supermarket. Knowing that the large Sainsburys Savacentre would be mad, we opted to just get a few bits in the Tesco and M&S in Wimbledon, which means a 5 minute walk (it's one aspect to Wimbledon I'll miss when we leave - everything is so close!) It was chaos, people barging into each other, generally winding each other up. As such, we got what we needed and legged it to the gym. The gym has a massive glass window where you can watch the main shopping street in Wimbledon from the 1st floor while on an exercise bike, and this led to much amusement watching the chaos and thinking - if you could all see yourselves, would you do it again?

In the afternoon, we went to Richmond Park for a bit of a wander. I love Richmond Park, and when it's open in the early morning I cut through it when I need to drive out of London. So after admiring the view from the top of the hill, we'd taken a few shots on the camera, mainly of crazy old log patterns and a few deer, we wandered back to the car and went home for a mince pie and some dodgy Christmas tunes ;-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well, it's taken 2 hours, but I think I've managed to help alleviate the skipping in iTunes on the PC. Lot's of tweaking...

So, I've uninstalled a lot of old software, which made no real difference other than freeing up some much needed hard drive space. I then updated the relevant drivers for the soundcard (a rather excellent Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer edition (essentially, the same card as their more expensive card, but you pay a third of the price), but I've left iTunes at v7 as it's relatively stable and iTunes just seems to bloat every edition you go up. Next up was some tweaks for quicktime, forcing it to use my soundcard to do the processing it thinks it should do - this made a bit of a difference actually. I checked the page file was ok, and also turned off the fancy visuals you get in Windows, so the desktop doesn't look so good but hey, it just uses up resources. Finally, I reviewed the services list so only the stuff I used was starting automatically, and removed some apps from my startup. This seems to have cured all my ills, I now have a non-skipping iTunes and have a processor that is no longer hitting maximum usage all the time.

Talking of processor usage, I've been using Process Tamer for a year or so on the work laptop and found it to be very useful, but am trialling Process Lasso on the home PC, which is a bit more configurable and less intrusive than Process Tamer.