Category Archives: Personal

Apologies for site outage

Mikedixson.com was migrated to a new server by my web host, who normally I’d sing the praises off. Sadly this time the migration was handled badly and an old copy of data migrated leading to many recent posts and pages appearing as missing.

Service as normal seems to have been resumed now. My apologies if you were unable to get to any useful posts in the meantime.

Mike

bluetooth headphones

How to fix Mac bluetooth audio quality

Anyone who’s tried to use a decent pair of bluetooth headphones with a Mac knows that it sucks the big one. In spite of Apple’s affiliations with the music industry it sounds like listening to an FM radio that you made yourself. In fact you could do better.This simple command (below) has resolved the issue for me and now I can enjoy beautiful music from my laptop whilst I work.

sudo defaults write com.apple.BluetoothAudioAgent "Apple Bitpool Min (editable)" 40

source: http://danwarne.com/fix-bluetooth-a2dp-audio-quality-mac-os/

loose-weight

Losing Weight Again

loose-weight

Losing Weight, It takes effort

So after my previous efforts to lose weight after the 14 Stone Wobble eventually fell by the wayside I’ve recently gone back up to 14 stone again and so I’m trying to lose weight.
Again the key here is sustainability. I want to lose weight and keep it off, and that can’t happen if I’m changing my lifestyle so significantly that it’s not my usual lifestyle. That being said of course changes have to be made otherwise I’d stay the same weight or gain weight.

One Calorie, Two Calorie, Three Calorie, Four

So the modification I’ve gone for is Calorie counting. At the end of the day if you are putting more Calories in than you are burning then you are going to put on weight. It’s that simple.
So with some calculations of my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and using the Harris Benedict Equation to multiply based on my activity level I now have a daily Calorie goal of 1780 Calories.
I’ve been working to this for about 6 weeks now and have gone from 14 Stone (90Kilos) to 13.5 Stone(85Kilos).

I bought a new belt not long after starting Calorie counting and I was just about on the holes for the large one. Now I’m on the lowest hole of the belt. I wish I’d taken more measurements to keep track of the physical representation of the weight coming off. I did take some photos so they’ll give some idea.

Making those Calories count

My goal is to get down to 11 Stone (70 Kilos). So I’m a quarter of the way there.
It’s not really taken a massive effort on my part. I gave up drinking cola at the beginning of the year anyway, so that’s made things easier other each bottle is the calorific equivalent of a decent snack wasted.
Counting calories has made me more aware of where the calories were creeping up on me. I no longer eat crisps with a sandwich, or have a side of chips with a hot sandwich in the local pub. The latter nearly doubles the Calories of the meal.

If I’m going to have a snack I want to calories to really count. So something filling but low calories is best.

I’m still affording myself some treats like chocolate, but it has to justify itself. If I’m feeling particularly hungry and only have 700 Calories left then I won’t eat chocolate as I know that it’ll be 230 odd Calories out of my dinner Calories.

Being more aware of what your eating, and calorific content alone is a good way to begin a weight loss programme. A friend of mine recently lost a fair bit of weight just by keeping a food diary for a week.

Hope some of this info is useful to others trying to lose weight at the moment.

Good luck!

Xbox One An Honest Write Up

Day by day I see PS fan boys slam the Xbox One misquoting sources, or not quoting the full story, or printing satirical articles as fact. I just wanted to summarise the facts here and back that up with sources.
Note: I am an Xbox 360 owner. I also own a PSP and PSVita. I endeavor to write as factually and unbiased as I can.

Kinect2 Always On – Is Microsoft Watching Me??

If you think that Microsoft have got the resources to actively be watching you all the time then go and speak to your doctor about your paranoia.

Microsoft have stated that the Kinect2 has a number of different power level modes, the lowest of which is just listening for you to say Xbox On. A feature you can turn off if you are struck by paranoia.

If you have a Kinect 1 then when your Xbox is on the Kinect is on so no change there.

Source: http://kotaku.com/xbox-ones-kinect-can-turn-off-microsoft-says-noting-510100564

Aside: Those who are worrying about the people in the room being counted and watchers of a video being limited http://tinyurl.com/asxchtd, I think this has several possibilities.
Firstly, it could be used to change on a more granular basis for media licensing, i.e. if just one person is watching then you get charged a cheaper rate. If another person enters, of course the rate would need to step up, and so could do so, up to a family license.
The other thing that would be interesting is if you could opt in to a tv viewer survey. Presently tv ratings are worked out based on a small number of people having a special set top box type device that users then have to tap in who’s watching every hour or so.
The figures would be much more demonstrative if they taken from real world counts of people watching. An opt in policy should apply of course.

Always Online – But what if I have no Internet??

There are two issues people have about this. Firstly that it’s calling back to home to check your right to play your games, and secondly people seem to be worrying about having a connection all the time.

The Xbox One checks once every 24 hours if you have the right to play your games. This does seem a bit off at first glance I agree. But the Xbox One is bringing with it a load of shifting paradigms, and they are going to take some getting used to.
For instance, I can insert a disc that I’ve bought, and ‘install’ it and then play it whenever I like, and even round friend’s houses without the disk. The online check has replaced the checking the ownership of the physical disc.

I can also lend my games to up to ten ‘family’ members who can be in different geographical locations and don’t need to be blood relatives, so think of family as a very very lose term here. I can also play simultaneously with one of my ‘family’ members even though they don’t own the game. That’s a very useful and cool function. A lot of gamers I know have a close group of gaming friends. Worked right they could save on buying games between them and could enjoy playing together on games that one or more of them might not usually buy.

If you are worried about what if you’re internet connection goes down, when was the last time your internet went down?

If you’re worried because you don’t want your Xbox to be online all the time. What do you think is happening with your current console? Are you disabling the internet when you don’t want it online? We live in a connected world, you’re reading this on the Internet.

Source: http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/license

DRM roll please – I want to trade in *MY* games

I’ve heard a number of approaches to explain this, but to me this is again another paradigm shift that is going to be hard for people to swallow initially.
Think about when Apple started releasing computers without floppy drives, and more recently, without cd/dvd drives.
Disc are going the way of the Dodo, and the floppy before them, and we’ll be fine with that in time. Microsoft haven’t taken the bolder and scarier decision of getting shot of disc entirely. But the disc has become less important. It’s a token of your purchase of the game. As mentioned above, once installed you no longer need the disc in your machine.

However this move forward to a discless system hasn’t been the focus due to the DRM discussions and rants going on online.
Let’s lay out the actual facts of the policy:

  • Publishers (not Microsoft) will chose whether to allow trade ins on their games
  • You can gift a game to a friend. (a game can only be gifted once)

Source: http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/license

At least one analyst has suggested that all published will enable trade ins to avoid complaints.
Source: http://www.videogamer.com/news/all_publishers_will_enable_trade-ins_and_pre-owned_gaming_on_xbox_one_says_pachter.html

Let’s also consider the alternative. Sony had a laugh poking fun at Microsoft’s DRM policy. However their own DRM policy doesn’t seem all that different. Publisher’s have the ability to enable DRM and to what degree. The key difference seems to be that Microsoft game publisher’s can limit traded games.
If you find that they do… maybe you take that up with them by boycotting their games. They’ll soon change their tune.

Source: http://www.polygon.com/2013/6/11/4419476/playstation-4-third-party-publishers-can-dictate-their-own-drm-terms

Finally The Price – ooh the PS4 is cheaper

And? Yes, the PS4 is cheaper. The PS4 also doesn’t include a ground breaking new Kinect 2 which can detect your heart rate and facial expressions of users.
You’re not comparing like for like, so why compare the price?
If you want an Xbox One and the price is good enough for you, then buy one. Simple.

Where have you gone digital music?

I love Spotify as a service. I use it all the time and love being able to find and listen to new music as soon as its out.
However whilst trying to play the latest Ben Folds Five album to a friend whilst telling him how good it was I found that it was no longer available. This was an album I had listened to numerous time in Spotify, so I was available, and now it was gone.
A bit of a search online and I found that it’s only available in the US.
I don’t know why Sony have decided to do this. But even looking to by the album now on Google Play music store it’s not available.

I could understand if they’d made it available to a particular digital music provider for a exclusive limited period, that makes great sense for the  music service. However to have it available on a broad range of platforms and then pull it like going backwards.

Come on music industry, get with the times. You make me want to pirate music I was happily paying for before!

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