Archive for the ‘Non-jazz stuff’ Category review

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

You’ve arrived here because you want to know if is any good, right?

Well, I tried to send a parcel with them. The first time didn’t work: once I’d figured out the tracking number they email you won’t work on their site (you have to manually truncate it so that ‘PBNS1034160001′ becomes ‘NS1034160′ which you can then paste into the tracking page) I realised that Parcelforce had wrongly marked my package as accepted and picked up. Which of course it wasn’t as it was still sitting on my floor.

I emailed them to complain, and they were reasonably responsive, though I had to threaten a credit card chargeback to get the refund, which duly arrived.

Second time more lucky: placed the order in the morning, and later that afternoon the parcelforce man came to pick up the package. You can see the signature on the parcelforce website, and it was cheap (£11.50).

It seems senditnow, royal mail and parcelforce are all joined up, and while there are other ‘parcelforce resellers’, senditnow appears to be closer to parcelforce (who do all the work) than others. Why my delivery failed the first time I don’t know, it could just be the driver didn’t feel like picking it up and ticked the accepted box fraudulently.

Also, the website gives you no idea when they might come to pick it up, and they don’t call or email to confirm. So you’ve just got to cross your fingers and hope. Good luck!

But at £10.50 for up to 30kg you won’t find much better value.

How to disable Google Buzz in Gmail

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

How to disable Google Buzz in Gmail: let’s face it, Buzz pretty much sucks. At the bottom of your gmail inbox, the second line from the bottom has a button called ‘turn off buzz’. Click it!

Windows 7 - Digital River - Unloading the Box Error

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

So I’ve just paid £30 and downloaded Windows 7 Pro from Microsoft’s Ultimate Steal UK site, which downloads three separate files:,, and Win7-P-Retail-en-us-x86.exe

I was hoping to create a bootable iso disk using these seemingly excellent instructions but for some reason I get an error when ‘Unloading the Box’, which I guess is the operation to extract the setup files from the .box file type.

Exactly one third of the way through the operation this error pops up: “An error was encountered. Unspecified error”. Image attached.

I gather I’m not the only one having this issue. But it looks like it’s a bad idea to keep downloading the files from Digital River because after 12 attempts that’s it. Which would be bad news.

I’ll post here when I find a solution.

Where can I get a VISA Electron Card?

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

If you’re wondering how to get a VISA Electron Card, I’d bet that you’re trying to avoid Ryanair’s exorbitant credit card charges. Apparently a handful of UK highstreet Banks offer Electron cards with their simplest checking accounts. But these take time to set up and get delivered. By that time you’ll have missed the cheap flights. Is there an alternative?

YES! Go to, sign up for an account. Here’s how it works: you charge up your account from an existing credit/debit card, then they give you ‘virtual’ VISA card details. They charge 4.9% of any top ups to your Entropay account. The beauty of Entropay is that you can trick Ryanair into thinking your virtual card is a VISA electron card, thus saving a load of cash on credit card fees.

For example, for return flights @ £1 each for two people, £4 total, Ryanair will try to shaft you for £20 in fees. With Entropay you only lose 4.9% of £4. Bargain or what?

Internet Connection Sharing Stopped Working?!?!?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Has your Internet Connection Sharing Stopped Working?!?!?

This trick seems to work for Windows XP. So you’ve spent ages getting Internet Connection Sharing to work, and then suddenly it stops working. No amount of fiddling or restarting Windows seems to help.

Well, this works for me: restart the “Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)” service.

  1. Go to Start Menu
  2. Click Run…
  3. Type in “services.msc” without the quotation marks, obviously
  4. Navigate down to “Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)”
  5. Click on ‘Restart the service’

Hey presto! It works for me. Let me know if it works:

Brought to you by Nottingham Jazz

Canon EOS 450d movie / video recording - EOS Camera Movie Record

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Yes, it’s true! You can record videos on your EOS 450D / Rebel XSi, but only when tethered to your PC/Laptop via the USB cable. For me this is ideal, as it means I can get decent quality footage of the band using tripod and laptop. Some peope don’t know why you’d bother doing this, as you can get good quality footage off a webcam. Well here’s some reasons: you can use your decent lenses to get better low light footage, and you can use the tremendous power of a zoom lens plus 5x zoom mode to get some really nice closeups!

You need to download the latest version of “EOS Camera Movie Record” from I’m using version 0.1.4

You’ll also find the installation file on this Sourceforge Page, and project details here.

You’ll also need to have installed the Canon USB drivers so that your camera can talk to your PC. I’d advise exiting Canon’s EOS Utility (in the preferences you can tell it not to run every time you connect the 450D) before running “EOS Camera Movie Record”, which should appear in your start menu.

Now then, assuming your camera is on, and connected to USB, when you run “EOS Camera Movie Record” you should hear the familiar sound of the EOS 450D’s shutter popping up, just as it does during Live View mode. A few seconds later you should see the real time video feed in the program window, which ought to look something like this:

  • The resolution is 848 x 560, at somewhere around 20 frames per second, depending.
  • If you have a ‘cannot initialize’ error, take our your memory card
  • To change the default file location, click on the … icon
  • To alter the camera’s aperture, first click the ‘DOF’ button, then once its depressed you can selected your desired f-number
  • When ready to record, hit ‘Write!’
  • I’m not sure what the maximum file size is yet, but i suspect it can’t go beyond 8gb because of Windows
  • To ease the load on your CPU, deselect the ‘Show captured image’ button. Make sure your camera’s in focus though!


Now, some folks will have you believe that you can’t access any of the camera’s functions once the program has started. NOT TRUE!

Assuming you have Live View enabled, once EOS Camera Movie Record is running, just hit your normal Live View button. You should see Live View on the camera screen, AND on the PC. Now you can adjust: exposure, aperture, WB, ISO, and you can even engage autofocus (depending on which Live View focus mode you have set in the camera’s custom options).

You can even engage the 5x zoom mode, and it transfers across to PC. For some reason 10X doesn’t work. With a telephoto lens, you can use this tip to get some seriously zoomed footage, and record it to video. This lets you use the full power of your sensor and lens.

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Change product code on Nokia 5800 / Debrand Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I’m pleased to be able to offer instructions to change the product code on your Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic. This is also known as how to debrand the Nokia 5800.

This will invalidate your warranty, so follow only AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I’ve tested this on my own Nokia 5800 (UK Red model) from the Carphone Warehouse, and it works, so now I can get the latest updates, free from Nokia’s regrettable bastardisation of my original product code.

1. Download JAF 1.98.62.exe

This above link is slow,  the quicker way is to register at and then download the rar files from the bottom of the first post here

2. 2. Download JAF PKEY Emulator v5.0

3. Install JAF 1.98.62

4. Extract JAF PKEY Emulator v5.0 to desktop

5. Connect Nokia 5800 and select PC Suite mode on your Nokia 5800. ENSURE PC SUITE IS CLOSED ON HOST COMPUTER

6. Now run JAF PKEY v5.0.exe (on desktop) and click on the GO button. It will come up with error: box driver not installed –> so click ok and now JAF v1.98 will run.

7. Select BB5 tab –> tick Prod. Manager –> then click the service button –> click the Read Values button.

8. Now you can enter yourproduct code and press the Write Values button. I used the generic UK product code 0552438 - this allows me to get update 20.0.012 from 11.0.009. For a list of possible product codes visit this site

use this modifcation at your own risk

PS :for all  windows vista users follow these steps to get JAF tool to work
first use jaf key emulator v4 from here

- right hand click jaf 1.98 and “run as administrator” and do the installation
- then right hand click jaf pkey emualtor v4.0 and run as administrator.

note -Vista 64-Bit is not supported

Check out the Birmingham Jazz Band

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Check out the Lincolnshire Jazz Band

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Check out the Leeds Jazz Band

Check out the Staffordshire Jazz Band

Flashdance The Musical - Review

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I went to see Flashdance (Flash Dance) The Musical at Nottingham’s Royal Centre. I can’t say I was as taken with it as the rest of the audience was - maybe it’s a women thing, because 80% of the (nearly full) audience were female. Most of them seemed to have a fantastic night though, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t either. Luckily I only paid £5 for my ticket so I can’t complain too much!

The best place to gauge whether you think you’d like Flashdance The Musical is its website: check out the two minute video here  It’s quite representative of the whole show (save for the dialogue, of course), and should give you a good idea of what’s involved.

I’m no expert on musical theatre, but I’ve seen enough to know that my tastes are geared more towards shows with great songs coupled with a healthy dose of showbiz factor. Flashdance seemed a little weak on both measures. Sure, there were some impressive dance routines, but the relatively small cast failed to blow me away. Indeed, I dosed off a few times during the first half.  Sets and special effects were uninspring. In fact, there was a noticeably offputting background whirr in the Royal Concert Hall (fans, lights, who knows?).

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt was an excellent Alex, singing and dancing with aplomb. She has a gorgeous voice which really shone through in the quieter numbers. But in the louder songs (and higher registers) her voice would lapse into the clichéd, slightly nasal ‘this-is-how-brits-think-americans-sing‘ style so often heard on Pop Idol and the like.

The best singer by far was Bernie Nolan, who played Hannah. She was superb.

I read one review that said it’s worth sitting through Flashdance just to see the famous hit “What a Feeling” near the end. So when that song began I was understandably excited. But instead of it being turned into a full cast knockout mega-tune, I was rather disappointed that the song featured only three female cast members singing the hit tune. It was a bit lacklustre, not the big climax I’d been hoping for.

Still, the rest of the audience went wild, and seemed to have a really great night. I was a little disappointed.

If you’re after classic Broadway / West End musical theatre then Flashdance The Musical isn’t for you. But if you’re after an enjoyable show with music and dancing then this could be right up your street. As I said earlier, most of the (female) audience seemed to love it!

Posted by Nottingham Jazz