Monthly Archives: May 2006

UK Car Depreciation Revealed

Interesting article on PistonHeads showing what are the best and worst depreciating cars in the UK.

Mostly unsurprising, but there are a few points worth noting:

  • The Alfa 166 is serious bargain as a used car. I’ve suspected this for a while, but these figures confirm it. Very positive reviews on
  • Quite surprised by the poor performance of the Land Rover Freelander. The early ones don’t do well on, but I still would have expected a 4×4 from a brand like Land Rover to do better
  • I’m amazed that the Volvo S80 is in the list. Maybe it’s because the model listed is a saloon. I suspect most people who want a big Volvo, are looking for an estate. Rather mixed reviews on too
  • I feel rather sorry for the Fiat Marea. It seems to be well liked by reviewers on, but it loses 87.47% of its value in 3 years (admittedly as a 1.6 Auto). Could be a very good deal for someone on a tight budget
  • The Kia Sorento does very well. It was well priced to start with, has held its money well, and gets good writeups on Anyone who bought one new must be feeling pretty happy right now

Myself and some my closest friends seem to have picked our cars pretty well:

  • My previous Civic Type-R is good, although unfortunately it was a company car, so I didn’t get the benefit of it holding its value
  • Based on the Golf R32 performance, my current Golf GTI should do well. I did go a little over the top on the options list, but I knew what the tradeoff was. I’d rather have the exact car I want, rather than compromising to save a few pounds in the longterm
  • A Mini Cooper and an A4 Cabriolet feature as new or nearly new purchases made by friends. Good choice guys, and I’m sure you’ll have enjoyed reading the article

Sky HD

Managed to see SKY HD in the flesh today. John Lewis in Newcastle had it running on a 40 inch Sony Bravia LCD (1366 x 768). Cricket was showing, and despite being downsampled from the native 1080i of the feed to the lower resolution of the Sony panel, the picture did look very good.

Looking at in isolation, I would have said that it was like a very very good DVD. But then I looked at the other TVs running standard definition feeds, and they were terrible in comparison. Really pixellated. So if you’re into sport and movies, and can afford a good HD TV, it looks like it’s worth the extra £10 a month that SKY are charging.

There’s not enough content for me at the moment, but if that situation improves (especially the BBC), I could be tempted by a 1080p LCD panel and Sky HD around the year end.

Wine Review Sites

I’ve just read an interesting post over on TechCrunch about several new Web 2.0 Wine Sites.

Given that I killed off because of a lack of interest, I wonder whether these sites will do much better?

cork’d looks like it might have some momentum. It’s certainly got the Web 2.0 look and feel, and more reviews than I ever managed. I do like the tags for flavours (one of the best uses for tags I’ve ever seen), and Dan Cedeholm (I thoroughly recommend his books) is one of the guys behind cork’d, so the pedigree is good.

I do wonder if these sites will run into the problem I discovered – it’s hard to write a review of wine without drinking it, and not many people drink wine in front of their computer.

Date format change for the New Comments and New Reviews

I’ve just made small change to the formatting of the dates in the New Reviews and New Comments boxes on the left of most pages.

Rather than showing the date and time that the review or comment was posted, the code now works in terms of time difference between the post and the current time. For example, assuming now is 25th May 2006 00:00:

  • “24th May 01:11” becomes “22 hours ago”
  • “22nd May 22:26” becomes “2 days ago”

Dates older than 6 weeks, stay as dates, and lose the time.

Hopefully this will make the dates and times clearer, and will remove any potential confusion about time zones.

Even more changes to the Layout

This time less dramatic…

Following on from these recent changes, I’ve made a few more tweaks.

  • The left-hand navigation area has been widened from 250 to 270 pixels (was 336 pixels originally). To make this layout work on 800×600 screens, there’s a very tight pixel budget
  • Some ads have been removed, and others are more clearly spaced from the navigation and content
  • The car photos are back

I didn’t get any feedback on the recent changes, but I generally prefer the new layout. Hopefully the tweaks above will make the boundary between ads and navigation more clear, while maintaining the more efficient use of space of the new layout.

HTML Validator for Firefox

I recently discovered HTML Validator for Firefox and Mozilla. I try to make all the pages on my sites validate correctly, and I have been testing them using a local install of the W3C Markup Validation Service. That works well, but I do have to manually submit each page for validation.

The HTML Validator extension is different, as it runs in the background, and checks pages as you’re browsing. This makes it much easier to spot any errors.

Google TechTalks

I’ve recently been watching a few of Google’s TechTalks and other related content. They haven’t been widely promoted, but there’s some great free content on there. Basically they’re roughly one hour long presentations on a wide range of subjects. The ones I’ve watched so far have been well worth my time. Particular favourites are:

Full marks to Google for making these freely available.

More layout changes to

On my quest to simplify the site layout, and give more of the screen area to the reviews and comments, I’ve just uploaded a new layout for The Motorcycle and Mobilephone sites still have the old layout, if you want to compare. Highlights of this change include:

  • The navigation bar area on the left has changed from 336 pixels to 250 pixels wide. This gives more space for content
  • On the reviews and comments pages, the 336 pixel wide navigation is gone (including the similar reviews box). Again, this means more space for content
  • Search has moved to the top right corner
  • There are more ads on most pages, but they are almost all smaller and better blended into the content
  • The photos have been removed as a temporary measure. If this layout is made permanent, I’ll make the necessary changes to restore them
  • The tabs for the other sites have moved across to the left to make way for the search. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to make the black border under the “Cars tab” disappear across all browsers yet (Internet Explorer is proving difficult)

The new layout has been tested on Internet Explorer 5.0, 6.0, Firefox 1.5, Safari 2.0.3, and Opera 9.00. It also seems to cope with fonts set to one size larger than normal.

Hopefully this new layout will be a big improvement for people using 800×600 and 1024×768 screens.

As always, feedback is welcome, and there is the option for me to revert back to the old layout if that’s what people prefer.