Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.

New Home!

As I tweeted the other day, I am now the proud owner of a new three bedroom house over in Twyford (a small village near Winchester). I moved in a couple of weeks’ back now, initially on a camp bed and sleeping bag (it’s kind of exciting — I haven’t owned my own home up to now).

The developer, Hazeley Developments (tel. 01962 764500), is excellent, and in particular the project manager Simon Machola deserves some praise, both in terms of the specification and the attitude towards the development. If you have any need for new residential property, I would be quite happy to recommend their work.

Also, if you’re in the market for carpets or alternative flooring in the Southampton or Winchester area, I can thoroughly recommend Triad Carpets. I’ve been dealing with Ian and Kevin over at the Winchester branch, who have been nothing but helpful, in spite of my mucking them about a bit over the installation date for the remaining bit of carpet.

Not only did I have half their shop apart when I was originally choosing my carpets, but they went away and researched the best kind of underlay to use in my lounge (which has underfloor heating and therefore a tog limit). Plus, when installing the carpets originally, the builders found a water leak and so the carpet fitter very sensibly refrained from installing one of the bits of carpet (not something that would happen with some of the chains, I shouldn’t think) because of the amount of traffic through that area while he was there.

Anyway, it’s refreshing to find such great customer service, and they really know their stuff flooring-wise as well.

A few other things worth mentioning that I’ve bought and think are worth recommending:

  • Bosch BSG8PRO1 cylinder vac.
    Expensive, but worth the money in my opinion. Even on half power, it’s still quite capable of sticking the vacuum head to the floor, and the construction oozes quality. I’m particularly fond of the swivelling castors on the base. (Yeah, I know, I sound like Kryten… they are nice though.)

    I’ve always had an upright in the past, but this Bosch has stronger suction, better construction (especially compared to the appallingly flimsy Dyson models), is smaller and lighter and comes with a good selection of attachments.

  • AEG Lavamat 16850 washer dryer.
    Not cheap, but again worth the money. A-rated for wash performance, and B-rated overall which is something of a miracle for a washer dryer. It runs almost silent, and unlike many machines it only vibrates slightly on full spin. Oh, and it can actually dry clothes, if you’re using the drying programmes, which is a novelty for me as previous washer dryers I’ve used have been, well, useless.

  • I.O. Shen knives.
    Sharp seems to be an understatement. Sturdy handles and nice weight as well. I had an interesting time choosing these — there are lots of good sets of knives out there at various different price points. I think the I.O. Shens are a good compromise; I wasn’t going to shell out for e.g. Tojiro knives and I don’t really like Globals for the money. Henckels look OK, and there are even some cheaper ranges from people like Meyer that look fairly good. You could also look at the various Sabatier brands (but take care — there are lots of different companies selling knives marked “Sabatier”, and they do vary in quality).

    The only thing I will say is that the magnetic knife block doesn’t work quite as well for the bread knife as for the other knives, I think because the former is quite heavy.

  • Meyer Anolon Professional pans.
    These are just genius. Nothing sticks, you only need a low heat to keep things boiling, they’re easy to clean (though you can’t shove them in the dishwasher, but then as I said they are easy to clean) and oven safe too.

    I originally bought a square grill pan from this range as a present for my dad, and I knew he liked it a great deal so I thought this was an easy choice.


    I’ll close by saying a big thank-you to all of the customers who have purchased copies of iDefrag and iPartition. We aren’t some big faceless company — we’re doing what we do to make a living, and it’s sales of our products that mean that I’m able to fulfil my dream of owning my own home.

    The original version of iPartition took me more than a year to write, working full-time entirely unpaid, and I’m still not sure how I found the time to write iDefrag and do all the customer support for iPartition as well… since then it’s been wonderful watching the products (and the company) improve and grow and also seeing the level of support from the Mac community for our work.