All entries for October 2005

October 24, 2005

Scary story

Was in the garden yesterday discussing cabbages with a friend (I know…) when a blackbird flew into the back of my head. It had shot over the fence I was standing next too and dipped to land on the vegetable patch, but as my head was in the way it collided with that instead.

I wake up this morning with a stinking cold…

Or is it BIRD FLU! Are these two events related in some way? I can report as yet no urge to stand on top of a statue or peck the ground for worms.

October 19, 2005

Learning is fun

Writing about web page

A board (bored?) game based on the C programming language – see, learning can be fun.

Perhaps we should have WarwickBlogs – the Board Game.

Now, I bet Hannah could come with a cracking design for that…

October 17, 2005

Reasons Sven should drop Beckham

1. Beckham slows the game down – he's too used to the Spanish style now, not the fast paced counter attacking game the England team should be playing.

2. He's not the best captain – his display of petulance demonstrates that – give the armband to Terry.

3. He tends to drift and chase the game rather than stick to the plan

4. It would keep his wife busier and thus out of the recording studio

5. He is one of the leaders of the England players mafia that seems to rule the roost – this needs breaking up to reassert the managers credibility (not that there is much of that now anyway)

6. Too much long ball when Rooney et al want ball to feet

7. There are other players in the side who can deliver from dead ball situations – he's already given up the penalty taking.

8. There are better players at running with the ball at defenders

9. More quality time to spend with the nanny

10. It would free him up to pursue more cash around the world.

Please Sven, drop him.

Oh, and you can probably can Gerrard as well.

Gardening and furniture

Had a very domestic weekend.

Finally got my raspberry plants in – been looking forward to getting these started. I hope they settle in and get producing next year.

Also dug one side of the garden. We have a lot of Aqualegia (?) in the borders, and it's a self-seeding nightmare. I must have dug up a whole green bin's worth of the stuff. It's a lovely plant, but too much is too much.

Unfortunately that side of the garden is about 60ft long (around half the length of the garden or there abouts) – so I spent a good while digging over a long thin strip of dirt, picking through the bits to get out the roots. Very weary work by the end of it.

I also started thinking about attacking the elder at the bottom now they have dropped their leaves. What with these and the trees at the front, maybe I should buy a truck. I have enough lugging to do.

We have been looking at getting some new furniture recently – visited a nice place called Four Corners Trading link between Ettington/Stratford. Really nice furniture – hand made oak tables, beds, cupboards etc. Certainly the best I've seen for a while.

Only trouble is the price:

Table: £590 – extendable to 2.5m, so would seat a lot of people. Not bad really. Between the two of us we could cover that.

Chairs: £130 each – ouch. So to add 8 chairs would be £1040.

This could be a painful process.

Supermarket Economics

Heard something on the radio this morning that made me tut in disbelief.

First up, ex-head of Tescos suggesting that small independent retailers should quit whinging about Tescos homing in on their sector – Tescos is what people want so put up, shut up and shut down.

Second, media analyst saying that big retailers like Tescos had been complaining to the newspaper industry about the giveaway CDs and DVDs in the newspapers impacting on their sales of such items.

So the message here is, if we come looking to setup in your sector then screw you – we bring competition and that is a good thing, regardless if it puts you and your community out of business – that's the law of the market.

However, start impacting our sales and that's unfair practice, anti-competition and we will go and complain at the highest level.

Dontcha love it!

October 10, 2005

Gus Honeybun's Magic Birthdays

Writing about web page

Wow, caught some of Test the Nation on saturday and who should turn up but Judi Spires.

Now this may not mean much to many people here, but Judy Spires loomed large in my childhood as one of the presenters of Gus Honeybuns Magic Birthdays – a show on South West television.

Now, Gus Honeybun was the big cheese for the under 7s in Devon and Cornwall in the late 70s early 80s. It was a 5 minute filler programme where a local newsreader shared the screen with a crappy puppet (Gus himself no less) and read out birthday wishes to excited under 5s. Gus would then hop up and down or alternatively would headbutt one of three levers in front of him to change the background screen to some whacked out visual.

I have memories of Judi breaking down with laughter at the absurdity of all of this, but most of all I remember kiddies parties where we all dutifully sat round the telly to hear the birthday boy/girl's name read out and watch GH do his epileptic thing.

Trust me, you can keep your bike, the real thing we all wanted was the love of a psyched out stuffed rabbit on local telly.

There was one time when we sat to watch the programme at a party of a friend who had sent some chocolates with the card as a gift to GH. Dear Judi read the card and then pronounced that the enclosed sweets had been crushed and/or melted in the post. Way to let us down gently! There were tears that day.

So it's nice to see Judi has done well for herself, despite the early experiences. Shame GH seems to have been sent to the Plymouth televisual archive. There aren't enough badly made, slightly scary, children's puppets on tv these days…

And this is news because….?

Apparantly the creator of Mr Benn has suggested that his children's TV show may have been influenced by his experience of drug taking in the 1960s.

No shit sherlock.

October 05, 2005

ooooh – video?

Writing about web page

the web is a rumbling with rumours that Apple are about (like next week) to announce their video iPod.

I know there are a lot of video players on the market, but this could be the one that breaks into the mainstream.

What could be more interesting is how this is supported through iTunes (or iVid/iMovie) – it'll be the distribution that makes or breaks this tool. Apple got good buy in for music distribution, I wonder what they have lined up for video?

Downloading the whole series of scrubs would be a good start…

October 04, 2005

Spiderman or Rain Man?

Writing about web page

Intersting Gizmodo piece on product design, comparing the latest offering from Gillette to Alessi's Mr Suicide –

What does this have to do with the Fusion? Itís a perfect example of a product made by a Rain Man company. Rain Man companies are highly data driven, and donít make a move without their tighty-whities being as tight and as white as they can get. You can just see the executives in their conference room sweating the latest metrics. Schick had captured the high ground with four razors, putting Gilletteís Mach 3, the Cadillac of razors, into has-been land. The data didnít lie: if three is good, four is better, five must be even betterer. Onward and upward!
Products made by Spider-Man companies are quite different. They have a personality, an unexpected flavor to them that immediately engages you. Mr. Suicide is a perfect example. Can you imagine Gillette having the guts to bring out something so quirky? Nope, not gonna happen.

It's worth noting that the Alessi website emphasises the designer alongside the product – you can search for a particular designers work, not just things for your kitchen.

Do people want cutting edge design from Gillette? I guess most people want a decent shave first, good design second. Do I need a quirky razor? Alessi however uses design as a distinct selling point, so it is imperative that it's designers push the envelope.

I think the author is too dismissive of object function in preference for innovative design. I want an razor that gives me a good shave. If 5 blades does that then fine. I will balance function, cost and design in making a decision. I am not sure that Mr Suicide represents signifcant new steps in bath plug design, other than a fun and funky design that would appeal to a small group of design conscious people.

However, that is not to say that the spiderman approach is foolish – indeed, innovation in design is imperative and a driver of significant change – the iPod for example. But where the iPod wins is in both design and function, backed up by some of the most numbers savvy marketing and product development you are likely to see. Cool needs to be backed with very good numbers if it is to succeed.

Mr Suicide is very cool though…

RIP Ronnie Barker

BBC has just announced that Ronnie Barker has died.

Personally I think Barker was involved in two great comedy moments – the 'class' sketch with John Cleese and Ronnie Corbett, one of those great pieces of 60s social satire, and the Porridge series.

And whilst many might dismiss most of the two ronnies stuff, they certainly made christmas a bit more bearable, and produced a few fine moments. Fork Handles and the ordering drinks sketches spring to mind.

Well, it's goodnight from him.

October 2005

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