The University of Surrey

That’s it! Christmas is over. Tomorrow marks the day I return to university life. Am I excited? Hell yea! But I’m also aware that this term is going to be hard work…

I face 10 weeks of lectures before my next break for Easter, and after that, it’s Exams all the way. That, to me, is a daunting thought. It means that, even more than last semester, this one needs to be very carefully balanced between having fun, relaxing and working. It’s the hardest balance of all to maintain.

I was lucky last semester because, if I felt like the work was too hard I could rest assured I had plenty of time to figure it out. This time, its all got to start coming together so I’m thoroughly prepared when the exams roll around.

My timetable is approximately 23 hours of lectures a week. That still includes 6 hours of lab work. It works about the same as last semester, with the odd lecturer change here and there.

I’m most looking forward to Stage Crew again, but also getting back on the climbing wall. It’ll be great to see everyone again as well.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Monday. Organise things, back to lectures
  • Tuesday. Climbing
  • Wednesday. S Club 3 with stage crew
  • Thursday. LOST is back!
  • Friday. Who knows!

Here’s a picture of Becky and Jordan ice-skating on Thursday. I was trying to skate backwards and take a picture of two other people on skates at the same time. Don’t try it, it just doesn’t work…


I think it’s time for the return of the “in-brief-o-meter”:

  • Happiness: 6/10
  • Workload: 6/10
  • Last meal: A superb medley of flavours
  • Thought for the day: Life is like a box of chocolates, its always good.


So, not much of noteworthiness has happened the last few days. I’m at my sisters up north again, building a computer. Actually it is now built and working very well. It is the fastest computer I’ve ever built.

Going ice skating this evening. Will be fun…

In case you think you’ve been sold out by the shortness and, lets face it, boring nature of this post, I’ll let you enjoy this video about “The 4am conspiracy”…

Quote of the day:

Jordan: “Well, I fancy Harry Potter in the first movie…”

ERROR 404: File Not Found

While I was preparing my computer for installing Windows 7 on it, I managed to delete everything on one of my hard drives. This included the following, precious memories:

  • All church videos, pictures, posters and PowerPoint’s I’d ever made
  • The video from when I went to China in 2007
  • The videos from various other holidays on the boat, to Mallorca and others
  • All my school work from secondary school
  • Presentations made for my parents 50th parties and my brothers graduation
  • and a lot more…

As you can imagine this was pretty distressing (to paraphrase). It was almost worse to know that all the files were still there, on the disk, but couldn’t be read because the table telling the computer where all the files where had been wiped. Its like having put all your most valuable memories in a safe, and then forgetting the combination to the safe: its all still there, you just can’t get it.

So, continuing with the safe analogy, I set about finding a tool that could break open the case without the combination. I tried a program that I had used before (Recover Files), but that found nothing.

Then I tried a program called Pandora Recovery, that said that it could get back most of the files, but none of the videos. Oh, and anything it got back would not have a name or the folder structure. Essentially, I would get a single huge folder with thousands of files with random names.

I looked for a better solution. I came across a program that cost £70, but would do a scan for free (I know, sounds dodgy). That actually managed to find a lot of files and videos, but still didn’t have file names or folders. It also cut up the videos into little 10 second bits; not good when most of the videos were supposed to be over 1 hour long.

After 24 hours of trying to get these files back and failing, it didn’t look hopeful. The best outcome seemed to be being able to get back some files, but then having to spend the rest of my life sorting through the mess. There had to be a better way. I looked in dedicated forums for this sort of thing and kept finding people recommending this free program called Recuva. Nothing to loose…

After taking 5 hours to scan the hard drive (no exaggeration) it came back with the results. It had found files, lots of files, with names, and folders, lots of folders, with names. Videos, full and uncut. Wow!

I managed to get about 90% of my files back. It wasn’t perfect, some files were named wrong, like: “000000235$NOTES~1.DOC” which should have been: “Notes.doc”, but that was easily changed. I lost a few things: receipts for computers I’d built for people, some old emails, a few old programs and the odd word document here and there. But considering I’d managed to format my hard drive, all the important stuff was recovered.

So what can be learned from this experience:

  • If you ever find yourself having done something stupid and deleted something you want, DON’T PANIC! It can probably be recovered
  • If you want to sell an old hard drive, thoroughly wipe the drive several times to ensure the buyer won’t be able to see your files. This can be done to military standard using DBAN
  • Don’t ever pay for software! You can always find cheaper, and better, alternatives (well, kinda)
  • Always keep a backup! Seriously, do! No really, hard drives are so cheap nowadays you have no excuse, except stupidity.

So there you have it. I tell you this so you can be aware, but also because its therapeutic for me :)

Quote of the day: Designer Vagina!

(Don’t ask because you’re not going to like the answer!)

The Consumer Electronics Show

So I have been following the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas since Wednesday afternoon. Its been very good so far so I thought I’d give you a few of my highlights:

  • Windows 7: This is the news that Microsoft are today (Friday) releasing a free public test version of there new version of windows, the successor to Windows Vista, Windows 7. To be honest, this news came as no surprise, but it means I will finally get a chance to try out Windows 7 for myself.

  • Sony 27” OLED TV: Sony have on display a 27” OLED TV. This is amazing for a few reasons:
    • Firstly, the technology makes colours on TV’s so much clearer and sharper with a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio. It is also ultra thin, less than 10mm. And it requires much less power to run than existing plasmas or LCD TV’s.
    • The second reason its so amazing is that the only OLED TV you can buy today is an 11” model (from Sonly), so to jump to 27” in only 1 year is pretty huge.
    • The third reason is that its just so shiny!

  • The new Palm smart phone: So this was the big news of yesterday, that Palm have announced the latest version of their phone operating system and the first phone to run it, the “Pre”. It’s supposedly going to bring Palm back into the smart phone space. Looks good, certainly better than their current, dated interface. It also does everything that people want nowadays: camera, touch-screen, music, etc.

  • Panasonic 3D HD Home Theatre: OK, so this ones just a cool concept. Its 3D. Its HD. It… still requires you to wear those funky glasses, but hey! It’s still really cool!

Alright. That just about wraps this up for now. That’s just a small look at some of the cool stuff I’ve found so far at this years CES.

Check back with you all soon.

Note: If you’re getting this post via Email then you won’t be able to see any of the videos I put in it. If you want to check them out, just head on over to


Wow! Now that’s a big gap between posts. Sorry Becky, I’ suppose I should explain myself.

Since I made my last post (last year!!) I managed to catch a really rough headache, sore throat and stomach-ache combo, which while forcing me to dock my new year’s plans, also managed to render me pretty much bed ridden for most of 5 days last week (30th to the 3rd).

So, you say, that doesn’t explain the lack of a post as soon as I felt better on Saturday. Well, between travelling back to Balham, organising my things so I can get some work done this week and catching my breath, I haven’t really had any time.

Now I’m sorry to those people who still (despite it being the holidays) still checked this site on a daily basis, but I’m also disappointed that in all that time only 1 person seemed to notice that it was a bit quiet here!

And if you were one of the people who looked every day for an update and were disappointed, can I suggest they sign up to get updates via email, then you’ll never have to worry about missing another post.

After that blatant advert, I can finally get down to business. For New Year’s I ended up staying in watching the TV with my cousin. Boring, I know, but we did go out to a party at the Manor down the road for about 20 minutes over the midnight part, so we got a bit of the party atmosphere. It wasn’t all lost.

This week is an opportunity for me to catch up on some things I’ve been meaning to do for a while (like sort out my computer) and do some revision of the mind-boggling work we’ve done so far.

Also, and obviously far more importantly, its the Consumer Electronics Show this week! For the uninitiated, it is basically a big trade show where all the year’s best gadgets will be shown off for the first time by 2,700 of the biggest tech companies: Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Logitech, Toshiba, HP, Cisco, Motorola, Intel, …

You get the idea. I love this show and look forward to it every year. I expect to see plenty of:

  • OLED TV’s – The next generation of TV’s with superb picture quality and incredibly thin.
  • UMPC’s – Ultra-mobile laptops
  • Smart phones – with touch screen displays, cameras and GPS
  • Wireless – everything from wireless power to wireless USB

Can’t wait!

Here ends the SPECIAL BUMPER EDITION POST on my blog to compensate for no posts in a week



If you thought that was the end of the post, then you thought like an idiot!

Here’s two pictures of me and Jake (my cousin) at some random derelict iron works somewhere. And, yes, it was very cold.


OK, so that is actually the end this time :)