Really like the look of these Sony ANC headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 look and seem to review pretty well, even up against Bose QC series. I was pretty disappointed in the ANC on the Samsung Level Over I purchased a few years back that i’m still using (they do look good and sound decent otherwise). This was coming from some Nokia BH-940s (Monster) which, yes looking back, haven’t aged well style wise but had very good Active noise cancelling. Maybe too good as you had to pay attention when out and about! My only concern for these Sony’s is the little vent/ mic on the cups facing upwards, that’d be a bad situation if it started raining and you were outside with these I suspect. Apart from that oversight. I really can’t wait to try out a pair!

Anyone got a pair? Let me know your likes and dislikes in the comments.

First proper experience of VR…

So a friend organised for eight of us to go to an Escape room venue that also hosted VR games.

I really liked the fact that you had a laptop on as a backpack that gave you the freedom to move around the room without cables trailing around. It really helped with the immersion. The game its-self had fairly average puzzles to work out (or our team found them average as we took only 30mins) but the usage of lifts and teleports really made the game feel expansive as the other two players in your four-person team would suddenly be away on another platform or completely removed from vision while they worked on puzzles in another room via those transport mechanisms.

It was also fun at the end when you finished and ended up at a beach bar with an archery range and as a team had to get a high score shooting balloons, that was a nice touch while you waited for the other team. I think we got a top 6 score for that.

So essentially, I highly recommend going and trying it out! We paid around £30 per person for the experience.

A pic from January…

Winter Park, Colorado, USA

So this is turning into a bit of a pilgrimage. Each yeah the company I work for has a sales summit in the USA, prepping the organisation for the year ahead. It just so happens that the last two have been in Denver and flights to turn up on the Monday have been really expensive from the UK. So coming in a bit early gives the opportunity to sneak in some skiing, This is from Winter park which I highly recommend! Really nice wide slopes and some very fun ski runs. We also did a day trip to Keystone which is also a brilliant resort!

How Go-tcha Pokemon Go products get away with not being blocked.

So it seems that the Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI) part of the MAC address of the bluetooth device is using Nintendo’s assigned address space to get around being blocked on MAC.

This is the initial part of the MAC 7C:BB:8A on the Go-tcha I have. Pop that into https://www.wireshark.org/tools/oui-lookup.html and you’ll see: 7C:BB:8A Nintendo Nintendo Co., Ltd. as the result. I suspect they might have gone even further to try and not get them blocked and tried to narrow down allocated address space in the rest of the MAC address for the Pokemon Go accessories range. It’d be a decent way to circumvent Nintendo blocking as this method could affect genuine product purchases.

Upgrading the old Shuttle SP35P2 PC.

So this shuttle PC used to be my main gaming PC way back, maybe 5+ years ago. It’s seen various graphics cards come and go and even been modded a bit to deal with the sheer heat some of those said cards put out. I’m still impressed with how Shuttle put these barebones PCs together. They really crammed a lot in there, trying to make as few compromises as possible.

The Configuration until recently was: Intel Core2 Quad Q6700, 4GB (2x2GB Kingston HyperX), 2TB 7200 RPM Seagate and a VTX 7870 Tahiti (which ran hotter than the sun!). Its still not a bad gaming PC under reasonable circumstances considering its age but I wanted to repurpose it as a HTPC. First up was the GPU’s age giving it the disadvantage of decoding certain media formats so that had to go! As I didn’t want to spend a ton on a GPU I did a little research and an Nvidia 1050 would suffice. Better yet I managed to get a Palit NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB KALMX Passive Graphics Card for £100 second hand Dec 2018 off eBay:

Silent beauty

As it was replacing this:

I didn’t think twice about it fitting in the Shuttle but actually the height clearance almost proved to be an issue as the 1050 Ti went above the PCB height!


Luckily for me it went in:

This picture doesn’t do it justice. It actually looks kinda roomy in there but trust me when I say it was a delicate job to get that in and not do damage to the motherboard. Almost more impressive was that this think took a 7870 and didn’t explode into a ball of flames (it did overheat at times so I took out the top second HHD tray and modded a 120mm fan into the roof (with blue LEDs and a grill).

I also added a 256GB I had spare for the OS so the 2TB is for storage only (nothing fancy. I’m OK if I ever lose the content, pictures etc are in the cloud).

All in all it’s a capable little system. The system fans could be a little quieter, but they are not unpleasant in the same room and I’ve also replaced the 2032 mobo battery as well as bumping the CPU to a Q9550. I got for that for £25 from CEX as it increases the clock speed slightly but also the L2 cache (8>12MB). Essentially traded that for the 7870 which was just laid to waste on my desk so the bump was free! Anything past that didn’t seem economical or would increase temps/fan noise. I was a bit disappointed to see that I could only stick 4GB in this motherboard as I have 2 spare slots still for RAM but as well. Not going to need more than that for movies..

OpenSSH server built in functionality on Windows 10, a hidden gem.

So I only tend to use windows 10 for my media PC and my gaming PC. Work and everything else is Ubuntu or macOS so I’m a bit rusty with Windows these days… 

I find myself doing most quick remote connections via SSH for SFTP so with Windows 10 facing me… I was glad to see that a native SSH server is now an option, although with some mild configuration required: 

Enter: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/openssh/openssh_install_firstuse which isn’t as popular a result on DuckDuckGo as I might have expected! Glad I found them thought! 

There seems to be really positive tones coming from Microsoft these days, Ubuntu support without a VM is pretty cool too!