Monday, January 31, 2011

ZEEB? Third album reviews

These are the reviews, you can click here to buy the album...

FROM - 21/02/10
FOUND - 21/02/10
Two years in the making, the third installment from 'Zeeb' is a sure-fire winner, with creativity taken to another level and no experimental stone left unturned. Before we discuss the music, I might take a moment to praise the artwork of Indonesian, Danny Tremor – something which is reflective of the unique Zeeb project.

Without further ado, let my attentions turn to the musical mastery on offer with this CD. With notably amusing song titles such as ‘Ronald Raygun’ ‘Grindcore Grandma’ and ‘Dayglo Socks’ to name but a few, you won’t find a more serious and committed band when it comes to the orchestration of instruments. The first song we hear lasts the spritely length of 2mins and 43seconds; however its duration is packed with Zeeb’s musical ethos, giving the perfect insight to this album. It is very clear to me that each member of the band has a firm understanding of their instrument and this is represented in the precise accompaniments and harmonised sections chosen. Vocally, this is akin to a narrator telling the Zeeb tale through multiple genres, where the listener is taken on a journey- one which never fails to impress. The furiosity of guitar and drum work can be heard in aforementioned ‘Ronald Raygun’ where a blend of varying tempo keeps this album moving at pace, whilst maintaining keen interest. Even though it is possible to question areas of influence, there is nobody doing anything as original and refreshing as Zeeb, and so with this, they stand alone as a flagship band for the next generation.

An album I can proudly praise and it would be fantastic to see Zeeb hit the big time, because it would certainly blow the market wide open for more inventive bands to surface.

A very strong release from Zeeb and a must have for all.

That's it for now, if you find a new review please let me know!

ZEEB? - ZEEB? (self titled album!)

With their eponymous third album ZEEB? are up to their old tricks!

Two years in the making the third ZEEB? album sees the band at the peak of their creative curve – similar in style to their first album the band have brought back the weird, but with a huge slice of pounding noise and a sprinkling of hip hop infused funk punk.

ZEEB? were never a band that were easy to pigeon hole and with their third album they continue to confound and entertain.  This is an album stuffed with hidden detail and is the band’s most accessible and memorable offering to date.


Part F
1. Lady Gravy
2. You Want It Too Much
3. Ronald Raygun USTCB0924155
4. Adventures of Young Zeeb on planet rock
5. Grindcore Grandma
6. 36 Takes
7. Jeff Metal`s In Love
8. Pornotron 3000

Part G
9. Wookie Nookie
10. Hermaphromidget
11. Adventures of Young Zeeb on planet pop
12. Chicken Noodle King
13. Ex-hiphop Instrumental
14. Ameoba Man
15. Bratislavian Squares
16. Dayglo Socks
17. One Take

Buy now for just £5.00
(+ £1.00 for postage)

Read the reviews...

Find out more at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'This is huge' - my new blog!

As you'll know (if you're a regular on my blog) I very rarely cross-post content, but as I have a new blog to promote I decided to make an exception.

If you head on over to you'll find a blog based around a subject that might surprise a few of my followers.  I decided to start an additional blog because the joint topics of writing, web technology and random crap make this blog confusing enough as it is!

So go then, off you go

Friday, January 28, 2011

How to top up your friend's mobile phone without knowing what network they're on

A.K.A how to top up your kid's cellphones!

This article explains how to top up third party mobile pay-as-you-go phones in the United Kingdom.

Topping up friend's mobile phones is something that (for whatever reason) we sometimes feel the need to do, but sometimes our friends aren't keen on our 'charity' so we can't ask them what network they're on (so that we can buy them a top-up card).

Let me try to clarify by telling you how I came to need to find out to top up a friend's pay as you go mobile phone:  A friend of mine is having a spot of minor bother (nothing serious) and I want to stay in touch with him, but he never has any credit on his phone, so text message conversations are very one sided.  His lack of credit also means that if I text him to ask what network he is on (so I can buy him a top-up voucher) he won't be able to text me back to let me know!

How to top up your friend's mobile phone without knowing what network they're on:

  1. Go to and look up the first part of your friend's mobile phone number, it's the first column on the Ofcom spreadsheet (the SABC column).  The network your friend is on is listed in the 'Communications provider' column, which makes sense doesn't it.
  2. Go to and click the big 'buy now' button and follow the instructions.  Payment can be made using PayPal.  You will be charged a £2.50 handing fee but I think that's quite a reasonable fee.
  3. Your friend will be sent a text message telling them that they've been given 'pay as you go' credit, at this stage you might want to text them to tell them what's going on!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Exhibition stand 101 - how to market yourself effectively at trade fairs and exhibitions.

So you've just booked your first ever stand at an industry exhibition have you?  Well here's a few things that it's worth you knowing....

Mark your territory!
The most important thing to do first is to claim the small amount of space you have on your stand and brand as much of it as possible.  Roller banners are great for displaying graphics and you'll only need a couple for a small exhibition stand.  This company in Ipswich makes great banners for all budgets - Hagley & Laws Exhibition Services...

A standing/ leaning table is also useful as focal point for talking to people, although it's not essential.  When delegates walk past your stand you only have a few seconds (or even just a sideways glance) to attract their attention and draw them in, and if you have no focal point near the front of your stand you risk scaring people away, nobody likes to intrude!

I'd recommend displaying the five reasons folk should use you on one of your stands, and a flashy logo graphic with clearly visible web address on the other.  It's NOT a good idea to print product photos on roller banners though, it's far more impressive to have a huge glass bowl (or something) of samples that folk can take away with them.  It's best to use samples branded with your own logo, but other samples can be used as long as you tape them to your business card at the time you give them to people. Delegates at these events carry around bags crammed full of free crap that they won't look at until they get home, so a business card and a sample becoming separated from each other is no good to them or you.

We will be a very small fish in a very large pond at your first event so it's important to capitalise on things that don't cost anything, like being dressed incredibly smartly, being ultra calm and genial, and above all be collected and professional.

What are your goals?
There are two goals you need to try and reach with as many people as possible:
  1. Make a memorable impression
  2. Get a card and/ or sample into the delegates bag
I'd recommend printing up some double sided business cards specially for this event, print the standard contact details on one side of the card, and the same bullet points that you have on your banner on the other side.  Your job is to create a joined up full frontal charm attack, based on what you have decided are the strongest selling points of your company before the event.

The absolute best advice I can possibly give when manning an exhibition stand is to HAVE FUN, personality is a stronger seller than any amount of flashy graphics or expensive give-aways.

For more advice try a dedicated company like Hagley & Laws Exhibition Services...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Asus RT-N12 running slow? Here's a possible solution.

This technical blog is particularly relevant to Virgin Media cable Internet broadband customers in the United Kingdom.

The background
Routers are a pain in the poo pipe, they always have been and they always will be.  But that might just be my jaded view after spending so many years troubleshooting and fixing them.  As a rule of thumb expensive routers work a lot better than very cheap routers, so for a couple of years I've been using a very nice D-Link DIR-655 but when an iPad arrived in the home I had to buy a new router because for some reason the iPad and the D-Link DIR-55 router just didn't get along.  So in a bit of a flurry I bought a Asus RT-N12.  I didn't even know Asus made routers, and in a twisted logic typical of us IT professionals I fancied trying something new so I bought it.  The iPad loved it.

Slow computers are a thing of the past 

  The problem
The Asus RT-N12 worked a treat for a few weeks then all of a sudden the Internet connection on all the devices on my network ground to crawl.  Using as a speed measuring tool I was only getting 300kpbs down and 19kbps up from my 20mbps Virgin Media broadband!  Naturally I blamed Virgin Media (and bizarrely they responded to me defensively on Twitter), but a few fancy tests later (meaning I connected direct to the modem and ran another speed test) it became clear that the problem lay with the Asus router.

Getting to the solutionJust as I was preparing to pop out to Pc World to buy a new router I decided to have one last plunge around in the advanced settings of the Asus RT-N12, and I'm glad I did.  Ever since I first set up the RT-N12 I've been logging into it and tinkering with the EzQos settings.  The EzQos settings allow the network admin (or in this case the bloke what does computers in this house -me) to give certain types of traffic priority (surfing, streaming, ftp or gaming). I tinkered with them and ran another speed test and it improved a little bit, so...

The solution (finally)If your Virgin Media Internet broadband connection is running slow try this:
  1. Log into your Asus RT-N12 router and click on the 'advanced setting' button on the left hand menu. 
  2. When the advanced setting page loads click on 'Qos' (it's in the WAN sub-section).
  3. In the 'manual uplink speed' box type in '50000' (without the quotes) and hit 'apply'.
  4. Run a speed test at and with any luck your Internet connection should now be running a LOT faster.

ConclusionWhen I went through the above steps I found out that the router was kinda guessing the uplink speed when it connected to the Cable Modem and had set it at just 600kbps!  I have no idea what difference the speed you enter in the manual uplink box makes, but I do know that when I upped it from 20000 to 50000 and ran another speed test the results were even more impressive.

It seems like a bit of a bizarre fix to me, but if your Asus router is running slow it might just save a lot of yelling at your screen and phone calls to Virgin Media!

UDPATE - 09/04/11
Shortly after this post was written I upgraded to Virgin Media's 50mbps service and they gave me a nice new router.  I tried setting this RT-N12 as a repeater router but (despite the fact I've been an IT professional for twelve years) I couldn't get it to work and ended up getting so frustrated with this shitty router I stamped on it and threw it out.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Archers 60th anniversary episode – place your bets please!

So this blog post will be one of my most short-lived ever, tonight we’ll all hear the mammoth 60th anniversary episode of The Archers and we’ll know what this threatened something or other that will ‘shake Ambridge to the core’ (Twitter hash tag #sattc) will be.  But in the meantime here’s a collection of the options as gleamed from the Twittersphere and the innards of my head:

Lower Loxley hall will burn down
Odds of 30-17
There hasn’t been an epic fire in Ambridge since Phil Archer ‘let’ his wife (Grace) burn to death.  There has been a lot of chat in recent days about how cluttered and full of family things Lower Loxley is, and a big deal was made of Nigel restoring his mother’s old brooch.  Maybe the hall will burn down because of the banner that Kenton insisted they put on the roof, Kenton is ‘due’ a slip up.  Perhaps the brooch will be the only family heirloom that will survive the fire?

Kenton falls from roof of Lower Loxley and ends up in a wheelchair
Odds of 50-11
Because quite frankly how hasn’t Kenton already had a major accident?  It would also up the quota of disabled characters in The Archers to, well, just one!

Jazza and Harry elope
Odds of 346-6
Bit of an outsider this one, but Harry’s sexuality is gloriously ambiguous (posters of men in lycra on his bedroom wall, really?) and surely nobody in the history in mankind has ever been as manly as Jazza without eventually coming out?

Jazza and Jolene elope
Odds of 250-1
Well it’s pretty unlikely I guess, especially because if Jazza and Jolene ran away together he would lose the one reason he could ever truly love Jolene, and that’s her ability to serve him beer.

The entire cast of The Archers change their names by deed-poll so they match those of their characters and all move into a village to start an Archers reality show along the lines of The Truman Show/ Big Brother/ The Running man/ Thunderdome.
Odds of 5933-2
Pretty unlikely, although I’m sure Channel Four are considering all options now that cash cow Big Brother is finally off the air.

Nigel Pargeter karks it
Odds 5-2
I’m not so sure about this one because there has been a fair amount of death in Ambridge fairly recently, but I do have to admit that taking all factors into consideration it’s looking a bit grim for poor old Nigel.  Maybe the vile amount of bumping uglies that he and Lizzie have been subjecting us to recently could mean that he leaves something of a legacy when he pops off his mortal coil?

Harry reveals himself as the illegitimate son of Sid Perks
Odds 3-1
I’m giving this theory the tightest odds because if you think about it then it kinda makes sense, let’s look at this in bullet point format and see if it tallies:

  • Harry made a bee-line for the pub when he first arrived
  • Harry has no real reason to want to live in Ambridge so damn badly
  • Harry has always been a bit mysterious, but always terribly keen to make sure The Bull (his inheritance) survives
  • We’re all tediously aware that Jolene wants to quit the pub, so maybe Harry could take it over?
  • Harry was horribly uncomfortable at the prospect of having to kiss Fallon during the panto – BECAUSE HE’S HER HALF SISTER!!!  (Er, sort of, but whatever, it would be too icky for Ambridge!).

So there you have it, all will be revealed soon enough but in the meantime why not use the comments section on this page to wildly speculate, because that’s always fun!

UPDATE - 2nd January 2011, 7.30pm
So poor old Nigel fell of the roof then, and judging from the length of his screen Lower Loxley hall is at least fifteen stories high!  But did he die?  We've got to wait until tomorrow night to find out...

UPDATE - 3rd January 2011, 7.30pm
Bye bye Nigel. Gulp...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

How to ride life.

by Andrew Laws

If we ride life like a surfer on the crest of a wave we’ll get to where we’re going alright, but unless we take moment to look up from our surf board, unless we’re brave enough to stop concentrating so damned much on our balance, or stop worrying about falling off, then we’re in danger of missing a fantastic opportunity to stare at and soak up the beauty of the beach, or worse than that we’ll reach the beach and won’t remember the excitement of the journey that delivered us.

I don't really know what this is, it's not poetry, it's not even a proper sentence, but sometimes it's just nice to create something just for the hell of it, to try and capture a feeling or a state of mind.