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August 13, 2007

Orange Squash

Orange Squash

I’m quite keen on my orange squash as most of you know. Those of you who know me well will also know my particular fondness of Robinson’s Orange Squash.

Recently they have changed their label from the one in the photo. Why change a label? To attract attention to the product to re-promote it? To accompany a change in flavour or ingredients?

My guess is the latter because it is now necessary to dilute the cordial in slightly different proportions in order to remove the slight aftertaste of pinapple that is otherwise noticable. When I first tried the ‘new’ orange squash I thought I’d picked up the wrong bottle from the supermarket as Robinson’s do indeed sell an orange and pinapple version….

Anyway, I checked and I definitely have the orange (no added sugar) squash and with a little bit of experimentation as to proportions of cordial to water it’s all sorted.

The point of this entry….. none really other than to fill time and hopefully keep you amused for all of 2 minutes!!

August 03, 2007

Latex and graphics :–(

Follow-up to The joys of LaTeX from Laura's blog

Thank you for your help if you commented on my first entry about Latex and graphics. I’m still stuck I’m afriad. I’ve converted the image to a .pdf and then written \usepackages{graphicx} at the top and then typed \includegraphics{Normalisedzscores.pdf}

When I did this to start with, it said it needed to know the dimension of the bounding box so I altered it to \includegraphics[bb = 4 4 5 5]{Normalisedzscores.pdf} which runs fine, but in DVi I get the following error message:

Error: /undefined in obj Operand stack: --nostringval-- PermitFileReading --nostringval-- PermitFileWriting --nostringval-- 1 0 Execution stack: %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1 3 %oparray_pop 1 3 %oparray_pop 1 3 %oparray_pop 1 3 %oparray_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- Dictionary stack: --dict:1057/1123(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:70/200(L)-- --dict:95/300(L)-- --dict:42/200(L)-- Current allocation mode is local MiKTeX GPL Ghostscript 8.01: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Any ideas? Thank you for your help.

P.S. Apologies to anyone reading my blog hoping for something exciting!

August 01, 2007

The joys of LaTeX

Last year I wrote my dissertation in TeX. This was a major faff as I was incapable of making contents pages and bibliographies in it. Therefore I’ve decided to learn how to use LaTeX. So far, it’s great! I’ve worked out contents and bibiliographies without any bother and can do tables and everything I need. However, graphics seem to be beyond me! I’ve got the graphics saved as .wmf as they were what I needed for TeX, however, it seems that these are unsuitable for LaTeX. Equally, I’ve tried converting them to .jpg and .pdf and using pdflatex in the latter case, but it still won’t put graphics into my document.

Any ideas?! Thank you.

July 09, 2007

Today's a very sad day

All but a very few, select soft toys have been taken from me :-(

Apparently, because I’m 21 and want to be treated like an adult, I have to act like one. It appears that in order to act like an adult you have to be parted from nearly 100 soft toys and redesign your room so that it looks like a room in a show house and not like a room anyone lives in.

At least my 30 favourites are safe (currently in a box waiting to go back to university which isn’t great, but at least they’ve avoided being sold.)

June 18, 2007

Number 0 in the queue

Today I had the most comedy phone conversation ever. I dialled the relevant number and after two rings, a voice announced “I’m sorry all our operators are busy at present. Please hold until the next available member of staff becomes available. You are number zero in the queue.” This is itself is amusing as how is it possible to have an empty queue? Also, if I’m in an empty queue why is noone answering the phone?!

A few minutes later my call was answered. The helpdesk I was ringing is one which sorts all things technology based. Consequently I was very surprised when they said they weren’t reading emails today. (I sent them an email initially to explain the problems as that’s what I was told to do when I rang them the first time.)

I was even more surprised when I had to explain their mailing system to them!!!!

It made for a very entertaining phone call that’s for sure!

May 06, 2007

I don't like Sunday evenings

Why are Sunday evenings so gloomy? I went out for dinner this evening, however, I was home by 9.00 so have had to fill the remaining hours before I can accept defeat and go to bed ready to wake up for another day’s revision.

MSN’s quiet today too, as it is every weekend. I guess people have more of a social life than I do. I finished another book today though and have been watching the snooker, so I can’t grumble too much.

Bank holiday tomorrow. It’s just like a Sunday all over again which isn’t a good thing in my opinion. All of you who work Monday to Friday will no doubt dispute that point, but for someone like me who works everyday, Bank holidays are just another reason for places to be shut and people to be busy doing things they want to do as opposed to have to do!

February 22, 2007

The Future's in Our Hands!

The Future

MONDAY 26th February (week 8), 7pm in the Butterworth Hall within Warwick Arts Centre, the University of Warwick Wind Orchestra and massed choir of 250 7-11 children from local schools come together to perform for your entertainment. We will be playing pieces ranging from Hobbits from Lord of the Rings, to a medley of Beatles songs. Other tunes include ‘The Future’s in Our Hands’ featuring the massed choir and Siyahamba as well as My Fair Lady medley, Scramble! by Nigel Hess, Overture to ‘Candide’, Holsts’ first suite in Eb….. Something for everyone!

Tickets are only £3 for concessions, £5 otherwise!

Please come along and support the choir and orchestra in what promises to
be an excellent night’s entertainment for a very reasonable price!

Tickets are available from Warwick Arts Centre Box Office: 024 7652 4524 or http://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/events/id/3133

December 07, 2006

For visual thinkers…

Writing about web page http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

This may seem egotistical, but the way I think fascinates me.

Like, when someone sings a random tune at me I find it nearly impossible to sing it back, and when someone tells, or asks, me something that is lacking in punctuation or is spoken with a strong accent I can hardly remember what has been said.

But, as soon as it is written down, or I can see it, then I’m fine.

This is probably all linked to the way that I see everything subtitled.

I discovered today, that there now is a Visual Thesaurus that shows links between words, as a mindmap, just like in my head.


November 13, 2006

Why the warning?

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/newsandevents/notices/stagecoachbuspasses/

I’m really confused – is warning everyone about bus pass and bus ticket spot checks a legal requirement, like TV licensing needing to get a warrant before searching a house for a TV?

It seems a very odd thing to announce…

October 05, 2006

Public announcement

Writing about A New Beginning from [TBA]

As hinted on Thor’s blog and for those of you I haven’t bumped into recently or seen my Facebook profile.

Rich and I are engaged

For those of you who wondered why it took us so long, you should know the standards I laid out for the proposal.

  1. I had to be warm / cosy
  2. I had to be able to see the sea
  3. It couldn’t be in Coventry (implied by no. 1 and 2)
  4. No Revvers could be around (which ruled out an Omi – Kev copycat proposal at a Rev event)

Rich got full marks in all of these, going to the impressive lengths of proposing on top of a hill overlooking Barcelona, and hence the sea!

So far, we have:

  • 1 church booked (Westwood)
  • 1 1/2 bridesmaids (one who’s very excited, the half bridesmaid being the one I haven’t asked yet)
  • 1 member of a worship band
  • A first pass at a wedding list
  • Someone to marry
Any suggestions for reception venues would be gratefully received!

September 22, 2006

Print–your–own postage stamps

Writing about web page http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/jump3?catId=400043&mediaId=26800663

This seems really useful, as it is so much easier (for me) to print a stamp when I need one rather than buying a book of stamps once a year from a Post Office, but what happens if the stamp is printed with an inkjet printer, gets wet and the ink runs?

Will the Post Office charge the receiver in the same way as when a stamp falls off a letter? or will they check the details in some other way (like cross-matching the receiver address with the stamp database)?

And do you think you can print onto normal paper and glue the stamp to the envelope or do you have to use labels? I can’t see it being used widely if you have to print onto the envelope (sure to cause a paper jam) or buy a set of labels!

It also says:

Post your mail by the end of the next working day after purchase

What happens if you forget? is it not delivered? Does it cost more?

I suppose I should be putting all this into the feedback form

So, has anyone tried the online stamps? Do they work?

September 21, 2006

BBC Stats

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/live_stats/html/

Is it just me who thinks the stats from the BBC News website are fascinating…?

The slider of popular stories is simple but clever, and the difference between most popular and most emailed is interesting. Especially seeing what type of articles are emailed to friends, i.e the article entitled, “Vitamin may block MS disability” is number 5 on most emailed list, but doesn’t even appear on the most read. It shows people care…

September 13, 2006

Grrrr – cold callers

Writing about web page /cjehinds/entry/the_telemarketing_calls/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

I just got off the phone to cold call from a web development company:

Man: Hello, This is xxx calling from xxx. [Introduces company and the fact that they sell Content Management Systems] Apparently you’re the person to speak to regarding the website
Me: Yes
Man: Do you have a way of updating your website at present?
Me: Yes, myself
Man: So, are you technical?
Me: Yes
Man (surprised): So, you know how to code HTML?
Me: Yes
Man (even more surprised): You can do that by hand?
Me: Yes
Man: Do you have a content management system?
Me: Yes
Man: What is it?
Me: A very small bespoke one, developed by a local company about 5 years ago which is intermittently being upgraded.
Man: Do you do that yourself then?
Me: Yes
Man: Oh, ok. Thank you for your time. Bye Bye.

OK, I didn’t make it easy for him by revealing too much information, but he didn’t do a great job of selling his product either! First he questioned my technical ability (not the best way to get me onside), then he didn’t even trying to sell me his product – despite me not saying at any point that I wasn’t interested…

Oh well.

September 10, 2006

An observation

I think the title should actually read, ‘observations’ but nevermind.

Has anyone listened to the Gladiator soundtrack recently? If so, have you noticed the uncanny resemblence of one of the tracks to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack? I know that Klaus Badelt was involved in the score production for Gladiator, but did he really use the same theme in both soundtracks?

A slightly less geeky observation: drinking too much alcohol isn’t good; for the person, the people they are with and the people that are around them. To explain, a party of promers who set up their rug next to our ‘camp’ came dressed in their finery (black ties and silly dresses.) They all then consumed lots of alcohol, but one man in particular became very drunk to the level of almost being unconcious. Personally I can’t see the point, but that is just me.

Thirdly, has anyone noticed how quickly someone can sober up if they need to?

Right, that is enough philosophical views for the time being!

Bye for now!

September 07, 2006

Abseiling success

Follow-up to Sponsor me please from Luna

One last big thank you to everyone who sponsored my abseil… I managed to raise a whooping GBP 462.50 for Age Concern. :-)

September 06, 2006

A Pain In The Neck

Yesterday I did something stupid which resulted in me clicking my neck and being unable to move it properly.

I’ve already tried:

  • Deep heat muscle rub
  • Prayer (more always welcome)
  • Rubbing jet option of shower head on neck
  • Getting Rich to try and click it back into place

Any further suggestions welcome as the pain is now spreading to my jaw and making eating my apple painful too…

August 15, 2006

T'Other's holiday

I went on holiday to the Lake District with Mum's Mum, Mum's Mum's Mum and Dad and Tom and Babe and Patch. It was very fun.

Babe, Patch and me were put in charge of choosing all the walks.

Me choosing a walk

We walked 26 miles. It was hard work. Here is a picture of me on a walk around a place called Blea Tarn.

Me at Blea Tarn

On 1 of our walks, we saw sheep playing football. You can see the goal keepers in the pictures below.

Goalkeeper 1
Goalkeeper 2

One day we went on a boat. It was very windy and cold and I thought I was going to go for a swim.

Me on a boat

I have also been on a train.

Me on a train
Me on a train again

My holiday was very fun.

August 04, 2006

Warwick Blogs – apparently 'infamous'

Writing about web page http://blogs.bit10.net/ben/2006/07/31/being-talked-about-on-other-blogs/

After my entry, asking about Web Design companies I got a comment from Ben King of Bit10, and being inquisite I decided to read his blog , which said:

While doing some vanity searches for bit10, I came across this on the infamous Warwick blogs..Interesting to see what peoples perception of us is!

So, I wondered what he was searching for on Google to find my Blog entry, and discovered that searching for bit10 blog came up with my entry 3rd in the list!

That led me to the thought, why are Warwick Blogs "infamous"?

So I had a look to see how many companies are talked about on Warwick Blogs, so, started with searching for ntl blog whichc showed two Warwick Blog entries on the first search page, talking about NTL.

Although, what I thought was quite a shame was when searching for something more Uni. relevant. i.e University Blog the second entry, albeit linking to Warwick Blogs had the description:

02/08 – Downtime 4/5/6 Aug; 07/07 – Entry permissions; 24/07 – Keeping your blog; 04/07 – Request for help; 17/07 – Two years · More news » …

Searching for research blog came up with nothing from Warwick Blogs (on the first page), and PDP blog only had two Warwick Blog results.


Generally Warwick Blogs are used for procrastination and life gripes, rather than any useful research or academic purpose.

I think this entry illustrates this point effectively, and now I'll get back to work…

August 01, 2006


…of my lunch

After spending all morning reading the WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines I decided to take a well–earned lunch break as I was looking forward to the pitta bread, houmous, a box of raspberries and a chocolate bar I brought to work.


Pesto Houmous

The houmous leaked, making it all greasy. Probably because the plastic seal (the type where you have a serated section to rip) had slipped down, making it impossible to find and open without using my car keys.

Pitta bread

After opening the houmous my hands were covered in oil, so I couldn't open the pitta bread packet (cue trip to toilets to wash hands and to get toilet paper to wipe the desk.


Hmm…well, I can see them through the plastic box. And I've pulled all the little plastic tabs to try and open the box, but I can't eat them! I'm going to find a pair of scissors now to cut my way into them, as I know that if I pull really hard I will shower my desk in raspberries…

Dairy Milk

Chocolate saves the day! What would I do without easy–to–open chocolate bars?

So, where are the Accessibility Guidelines for packaging?!!

July 20, 2006

Web Design Companies

Can anyone recommend any web design companies nearby?

I'm looking for ones that are particularly good with CSS


July 11, 2006

My Ill Car

I've just had a phonecall from the garage doing my car's MOT.

It has failed on its brake pads and two suspension arms.

I am sad.

It will cost nearly £400 to get fixed.

It looks like I will be walking to work this week…

July 07, 2006

Mistimed News from the BBC

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5153678.stm

The UK came to a standstill at noon for a two–minute silence to mark the first anniversary of the London bombings that claimed 52 lives and injured hundreds.

I'm assuming that the BBC use an automated content management system to put News Releases onto the web, but surely they should have timed the update of an article about the 2 minutes silence to go out at 12.02 rather than 12.01 half–way through the 2–minutes silence?!

(For anyone confused, the update time now shows 12.05…)

June 10, 2006

Sponsor me please

Follow-up to Please sponsor me from Luna

A big thank you to everyone who has already sponsored me (so far I have raised £158.46) but if you havent yet sponsored me, PLEASE DO! Its a fantastic cause, and trust me, it is worth the sponsor because this is no easy feat for me. I am terrified of heights (I still cant quite believe Im going to be hanging off a rope 52 metres above the ground. gulp)

Also, two things to add to the last sponsor me request:

1) If you don't want to give your card details out on the net, (even though justgiving is completely secure) then you are more than welcome to sponsor me OFFLINE (which will require contact! so please drop me an email)

2) If you want to remain anonymous (as strange as that sounds I have actually had two people wishing to remain anonymous) you may do so if you go through the online sponsoring page
Im afraid if you want to sponsor me offline then you can stay anonymous (in the sense that I wont give your details in to the charity) but I would of course know who you are!

PLEASE SPONSOR ME ! RIGHT NOW! What are you waiting for?!

June 09, 2006

Please sponsor me

I am going to be doing a sponsored abseil down a 170 foot building on Sunday 18th June. The money raised will be going towards Age Concern.
Please sponsor me.. and as I am terrified of heights the sponsorhip will really mean a lot to me, and of course Age Concern!

To sponsor me, or to see more details about the event, please go to


If you would prefer to sponsor me offline (and are at the University, or in the area) please don't hesitate to drop me an email.

Thanks very much,


May 27, 2006

We lost

Humph – it is raining, revision is not going well, and to top it all, Leicester Tigers were beaten by Sale in the Premiership final.