May 19, 2005

Trying to get back into regular blogging..

Its a strange thing. No matter how much you resolve to blog, you never get round to it!

I guess I have a few things to write about today though! Firstly work. Well, lets just say its been a tough week for everyone in the IT team as we are about to go live with a new website on Monday, and the amount of work involved has been incredible.. Matt has definately had the rough end of the deal (being the web editor and all) and I think he'll be ready for a holiday once the site is running and all the bugs that we've missed out in testing have been mopped up.

Secondly.. I went into Albany Cycles earlier and put down a deposit to secure an order for a Mongoose 2005 Tyax Comp – total price is £210. I know there are some keen bikers on here (plenty of them work in IT Services in fact) so i'm sure to you guys this is probably childs play, but i've been looking to get some kind of reasonable entry level, but not crap, bike so I can start going on some good bike rides throughout the summer. Partly for exercise and well being reasons.. but also because I want to get away from the computer screen a bit, and maybe even just rack the bikes onto my new car every once in a while and just go biking for a weekend. Should be good fun!

Lastly.. roll on weekend! Got plenty on including (hopefully) going to see the new Star Wars movie on Saturday, and going to a friend from works flat on Sunday night for a bit of a Seinfeld watch-a-thon and a few glasses of plonk :) By all accounts, the new Star Wars movie kicks butt.. so i'll be keen to see if this is the case!

Ciao for now!

Currently listening to: Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place (Hybrid Remix)


May 17, 2005

To the owner of the blue Citroen Xsara…

To whoever it was that blocked me into my space in the sports centre car park this evening (and who consequently got a well deserved clamping by Security), i'd just like to say thanks very much for inconveniencing me and my family for the evening. I had to get my dad to drive down to the uni to pick me up and then drive me BACK there again after you'd gone so I could reclaim my car.

You parked on a yellow gridded area (which indicates no parking funnily enough) – as if that wasn't bad enough the upper floors on the multistory car park right next to the sports hall looked deserted – and the parking is free in there after 4pm! You were off to play an hour of sport so surely another 30 seconds of walking wasn't going to be the end of the world was it? And worst of all, there was absolutely no way I could get my car out of the 'gap' you left me.. what the hell were you thinking?!

Next time use your loaf. It'll save you £35.


Internet Explorer rant…

Why oh why Microsoft can you not code a good, working browser. All that money.. all those resources.. the potential to make the best software in the world, and instead you inflict upon us a substandard broken product.

Allow me to explain myself. I've never really managed to work out web design and coding.. I am pretty handy at general techie type stuff, but coding and such have always been a bit of a problem for me. But recently in my job i've been introduced to Dreamweaver and have been adding content to the current and the forthcoming website. My current task is creating a little set of tabbed pages which will contain contact details for different sections of the academy.

This is where i've come to learn how badly Internet Explorer sucks. The tables that I make preview fine in Dreamweaver. The tables that I make render exactly as I expect in Firefox. The tables that I make render NOTHING LIKE WHAT I WANT THEM TO RENDER LIKE in Internet Explorer. I truely sympathise with guys like eLab – a site as big and complex as Warwick Blogs for example must be an absolute mind bender to get working right on the different browsers out there!

Damn you Microsoft.. the day of my switching to an Apple Mac is approaching rapidly! Grrrr…..


May 11, 2005

Ah.. Ghostbusters was ace!

Well as you can see in my previous blog entry, I was getting all excited because I was finally going to see Ghostbusters on the big screen thanks to a small promotion Odeon are running.

So we went last night – about 9 of us, and got seats in the tiiiny little screen number 6 (I can only assume this is where they show all the kids movies and such) – and the curtains opened, and I crunched through my popcorn and enjoyed one of my favourite movies of all time! It was as good as I hoped it ever would be on the big screen and I left the cinema feeling really pleased!

Only downers were where the reels were linked together.. obviously the film had degraded a bit over time and there was the occasional skip (only happened really 4 or 5 very noticable times in the film) but it didn't detract from the experience at all! I heard a few people complaining about it, but hey.. if you want a digital 'problem free' experience, go buy the DVD!

Next visit will be in two weeks time to see Pulp Fiction.. I was too young to go see that when it came out at the cinema, so would like the chance to see it on the big screen! :)


May 09, 2005

Who you gonna call! Hooray for Odeon!

Tomorrow is the day that I celebrate the greatness of Odeon cinemas.. and in fact I will celebrate them even more if they make this a regular thing.

You see.. tomorrow the Odeon at the Skydome is showing Ghostbusters. One of the best comedies ever made.. well, in my opinion at least! I've always wanted to see it at the cinema and now I get my chance. I went this evening to prebook tickets and also learned of the rest of their little schedule. Consider this some free advertising Odeon, seeing as you didn't actually bother to promote this little event any further than the escalators at the end of your foyer!

10th May – Ghostbusters (going to see!)
17th May – The Goonies (probably going to see!)
24th May – Pulp Fiction (going to see!)
7th June – Donnie Darko (probably won't see)
14th June – Grease (definately won't see!)
21st June – Top Gun (also definately won't see!)

I've always wondered why local cinemas don't show some once great movies.. i'd gladly pay full price to see some great movies on the big screen again.. movies that I was simply uninterested in at the time or too young to see! Honestly the list is endless.. just looking at one line of my DVD collection and I can pick out 6 movies that I was too young to go and see (Predator and Die Hard for example!) :)

So go support this people.. i'd love for this to be a success!


April 19, 2005

Something for iPod Shuffle owners..

Writing about web page http://shuffle-db.sourceforge.net/

I came back from holiday in Amsterdam this weekend, and on my way through Schipol before catching my flight I noticed they had 512MB iPod Shuffles on offer @ 95. I already have a regular iPod but i've been thinking about getting one of these since they came out.. and when I realised I had almost exactly 95 left I decided it had to be destiny and bought it :)

I was exceptionally dissapointed to realise last night as I tried to get it working at home that you need use the iTunes library facility and either have it sync a random chunk of your tunes to the Shuffle or drag and drop from the library.. great, as long as you actually use the library feature of iTunes.. which I don't!

So a quick Google found me the utility at the above website. Simply drag and drop the MP3's you want onto the Shuffle (as if it were a regular USB pen drive), copy the very small database building executable to the root of that drive, and then run it. Because of the simple technology behind the Shuffle, the little app can rebuild the index without the need for iTunes at all. I tried it last night, dropped about 40 tunes onto my Shuffle and away I went.. works like a charm :)


April 13, 2005

Bye bye Corrado…

Well in my bid to cut my costs, and to get something that doesn't have quite as much of a thirst for petrol, I decided to sell my car.

I tentatively put it up for sale on the Corrado Forum I help moderate on, and I also stuck an advert in the Autotrader.. two weeks passed, I got a few calls about the car but no viewers, and that was the end of that.

Then last week a lad in Bradford emailed me and asked for some more information on the car – I told him everything about it, and he arranged to come down and view it on Saturday afternoon. To be honest I figured this would be just someone who came to kick the tyres a bit and go out for a test drive.

In the end it was the opposite to that.. the guy and his brother came down. His brother was a a VW fan so he knew what he was looking for.. they looked around the car a bit, tested the electrics, I took em for a test drive, and then we went over the history. And then the deal was made, I took the cash, and they drove the car back to Bradford!

Its kind of strange to be honest. I felt sad for a short time.. i've had two Corrado's now and I really like them – they just look and go so much better than so many modern cars, and because so few people know anything about them, it makes it a bit of fun owning one. But you wouldn't believe how frustrating they can be. Because they are sporty, and because they've all been driven hard, there really aren't many unmolested examples out there.. and as a result a lot of people end up with knackered cars needing lots of stuff repairing on them. Couple that with expensive parts, a dealer network that actually knows nothing about the cars (Corrado went out of production in 1995) nor really wants anything to do with them..

Typical temptation now though.. one of the 2.9 litre VR6 versions has popped up through for the forum for sale in Nottingham at a real steal of a price.. i'm soooo tempted! The money is in the bank!! :(


April 01, 2005

GMail (and the top secret Infinity+1 storage plan)

Writing about web page http://gmail.google.com/

I don't know if any other GMail owners out there have noticed the new 'feature' on the GMail homepage which is a small counter that is very gradually incrementing the storage space for every GMail user 1MB at a time. Its currently up to 1,127MB and having just logged in to check my mail, I can confirm that I do now have an extra 127MB of storage space. Ok.. so thats a bit of an April Fools gag by Google… BUT… a spokesperson has said that they are going to, with immediate effect, look at bumping all accounts up to 2GB but would not like to consider that the maximum available for users and look at offering more for heavier users if they need it!

Its funny – I can't help but laugh how Google effective play with storage space and features which make the other 'free' email providers sweat as they try and work out how to offer the same features.. keep it up Google.. its entertaining :)


March 03, 2005

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Well i'm not quite sure where to begin with reviewing this film. I went to go and see this last night, and couldn't help but leave the cinema with a big smile on my face.. but.. the funny thing is its pretty hard to explain this film.

The story goes something like this. Steve Zissou is a film maker.. him and his team travel the world in a big boat (called the Bellafonte) looking to make kind of movie documentarys that can only really be described as David Attenborough crossed with Chumley Warner in the way they work. The story goes that one of his close friends and partners in his team is eaten by a mysterious shark so he gets his team together, including his recently arrived son (who, up until this point he wasn't aware he actually had) and they go and hunt this shark down – with various dstractions and story sub-plots along the way.

Thats the best I can do with the description.. I can only really liken this film to the Royal Tennenbaums for the just downright unusual way in which this film works. But like the Tennenbaums, I think you would be really missing out if you didn't try and get to see this film. The whole cast works really really and there are a pretty good share of big names in here (Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe). The film is quirky, funny in many places, quite touching but just a nice film to go and see. Its getting average to reasonable reviews all over the place, but I personally thought it was superb :)


February 24, 2005

Ramblings..

Well its nearly a month since my last post, so perhaps its time to blither a little more.

It all feels rather christmas-like as I sit here gazing out of the window at the falling snow, sipping a cup of hot chocolate.. shame that its nearly March I suppose! I couldn't help but notice that at 5pm now the nights are suddenly light.. so driving home we actually have some sunlight. Its a little premature I know but for me that means that summer is on the way :)

I'm currently in the grip of a not-too-nasty cold – runny noise and looking a bit pasty looking but nothing worse. My sister hasn't done so well.. she recently got the mumps (and rather badly too) and then went on to develop viral meningitis. She's STILL away from the university after nearly a month and she is still not quite right but getting better every day.

I recently had to fork out on a rather hefty bill for my car which was rather unwelcome.. the annoying thing was it wasn't even a performance upgrade or shiny addition of any other sort – rather a bit of house keeping to keep things all in order under the bonnet. I suppose it makes sense to do it though.. a good friend of mine who recently started working up in Biological Sciences has just been given the price for the head rebuild on the engine for his MGF after the cambelt jumped a few teeth.. not good!

I'm frustratingly skint at the minute though but I desperately want a mac mini.. i'm really tempted to have a bit of a clear out at home and sell things that I don't really need to fund buying one. According to the Apple 'Procureweb' site education customers can pick up the entry level mac mini for £305 inclusive of VAT… its such a bargain! I want one NOW!!! :)

That'll do for now – must keep this blog more up to date though!


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