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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.

Happiness.


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 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 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.

Conclusion:

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

Accessibility

…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.

However…

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.

Raspberries

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

Thanks!


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…)


May 22, 2006

Getting old (2b): Herbs

Follow-up to Getting old (2): Gardening from 1129 - Ali's () blog

If anyone was wondering about the state of the herbs that didn't want to grow last week – they've appeared!

Herbs

All they needed was a bit of radiator heat, sprays of water and sunlight – plus we (well, I) thought it would do no harm to talk to them every morning and evening – not sure if I should have admitted that but there's some evidence to say it helps…


May 18, 2006

Big Question…

Writing about web page http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?dsid=1555&dekey=I0157400&linktext=inquire

Ok…I'm getting really confused…

If you had a form for people to make an enquiry, would the form be callled an "Inquiry form" or an "Enquiry form"?


May 16, 2006

Money

OK, I know money is not something that's really discussed on blogs, but I thought I'd try and find out what people's views were, so here's a few questions to get started on:

Spending money
  • What do you spend most of your money on?
  • What should a student loan be used for?
  • Do you spend other people's money differently to your own (i.e if your parents give you money)?
  • What do you dislike spending money on?
Having money
  • What is the minimum amount of money you could live off, per year?
  • Do you wish you had more money?
  • If you had more money, what would you do with it?
  • What do you hope to earn once you graduate?
Giving money

Do you…

  • …give money away regularly?
  • …give money to charity?
  • …not give money to certain people/causes 'on principle'?

Getting old (2): Gardening

Writing about web page /caseyleaver/entry/the_little_things/

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

New House

We've been (myself, Rich and Thor) living in our house since July and we hadn't mowed the lawn in all the time we've been here, so when it was sunny last week, Rich and I took it upon ourselves to tidy up the garden after work, whilst Thor (who suddenly felt lazy that we'd both arrived home from working 9 – 5 and then started gardening) decided to do some work after noting that his main accomplishment of the day was 'having a shower'.

New Bin

However, the first hurdle was our new recyling garden bin as, like Casey, our brown bin had disappeared overnight, along with my normal bin. I decided to adopt a new bin from across the road that wasn't being used - does anyone know if you can "personalise" your bin so you know which one is yours?

Once I had acquired a new set of bins I successfully managed to stand in the street talking to our neighbours, whilst Rich and Thor happily(?) manoeuvred the brown bin through the house to the back garden.

New Look

Once the bin had arrived in the garden, I took the lawnmowing role (as Rich had never used a lawnmower before) whilst Rich cut back bushes, and pulled up dandelions.

Depite our lawn being about 2m x 2m, after an hour I gave up trying to mow the lawn as the blades flew out of the holders every time I went over a bump (a.k.a weed) in the grass. arghh…so frustrating!!!

Thankfully I visited my Dad last weekend and borrowed a strimmer so I could finish the lawn.

New Leaf

I was on my way home from work last week and decided that my housemates deserved presents for being lovely. So I bought Thor a bag of apples (as we are having a long–standing competition as to who can buy, and eat, the most fruit in our house) and Rich some compost and herb seeds as he is the house chef and likes adding herbs to his cooking.

He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 12:11

We're being to think that the idea of having herbs grown from seed was a fantasy as they've been in soil, warm and watered for over a week now and nothing has appeared.

Are there any biologists / gardeners / cooks / clever people with any suggestions?


May 15, 2006

Getting old (1): Proper Job

I just wrote an entry, far beyond a sensible length, so I've decided to split it up, so I can add more wafflling…

Proper Job

I've had, what I would call, a proper job for 6 weeks now. Here's my thoughts in typical bullet point form:

Good bits:
  • I've been reading programming books /websites and writing code for pleasure again – something I haven't done since before Uni - crazy, considering I did a Computer Science degree!
  • I'm getting to do quite a lot of PHP and MySQL in work – good, as I have a unexplainable dislike for Java
  • I still design things – emarketing, webpages etc.
  • It's flexi–time – I can leave early on Fridays and not be late for work if I get stuck in A45 traffic
  • I get to talk to lots of people – I even have my own phone
  • I'm close to campus – so I can have lunch with Rich
  • Getting to tidy up loads of redundant HTML I enjoy tidying

and added bonuses of not working on campus:

Bad bits:
  • I have to wear smart clothes 5 days a week.
  • Having to go to work on days that Thor and Rich can have lie–ins.
  • Having my own phone – which cold-callers have got the number for
Bits I would rather never had happened:
  • Accidentally implying that my boss was bald – so had an "equality and diversity" guide thrown at me
  • Not understanding the hidden innuendo behind "Master Bates" in Captain Pugwash – I don't get puns
  • Commenting on the enormous size of the banana I had bought from Morrisons
  • Accidentally opening the same corrupted file 3 times – forgetting it would crash my computer
  • …and many more that I have wiped from my memory…

Degree Usefulness

And finally, for those getting fed up with revising and not seeing the point of exams, I thought I'd finish by mentioning that in my new job I've remembered and used quite a lot of the stuff I learnt during my degree (which I never thought possible at the time).

I just read this in Proverbs which I thought was quite apt:

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Proverbs 3:10


May 07, 2006

WiM – Week in March (but was in April)

Writing about web page http://www.rev.org.uk

This review is well overdue – but better late than never!

It was my 3rd WiM, and I think the best one I've been too. I volunteered to be the admin/treasurer person, and because it happened over Easter week and the bank was shut I spent most of the week sleeping with the cash box instead of a cuddly toy, but apart from that:

Best Bits
  • Rich doing a solo in Rev for the first time
  • Getting to know Warwick Revvers better
  • Having a shower at Chrisi's on the 3rd day
  • Hearing the song I arranged performed in the concert
  • Buying a new air bed with pillow attached – best week's sleep of my life!
  • Being warm for the entire week
  • Seeing the Tshirts turn up the day before the concert
  • Introducing the Czech boys to England
  • Dancing with Kev whilst the other choir were singing
  • Having loads of people to talk to
  • Having a drink with old housemate Martyn in Wetherspoons'
  • Not having a computer for a week (see Worst bits)
Worst bits
  • Worrying about the cash box
  • Having a cash box instead of a cuddly toy
  • Forgetting my cuddly toy
  • Being so exhausted after WiM that I slept through the majority of my birthday
  • Accidentally walking into my air bed so limped around for half a day
  • Thinking that I'd lost the Czech boys (stood at the airport for an hour after their flight had arrived and not having found them!)
  • Discovering the 'shaky game'
  • Forgetting to play flute in "Getcha"
  • Trying to remember the words for "Getcha" because I'd forgotten to play flute
  • Getting the church evacuated when I was trying to make pancakes on a baking tray in the kitchen without the extractor fan on
  • Being in Chrisi's car when the exhaust broke
  • Not having a computer for a week (see Best Bits)
Funniest bits
  • Rich getting the sopranos, altos and tenors tongue–twisted so calling them "tomatoes"
  • Thor conducting, unaware that the cloud of smoke around him meant that we couldn't see him.
  • Balancing on one leg to play flute near a microphone whilst being able to see the conductor.
  • Finding out what the Czech boys were told about England "Girls are very nice, roads are weird and beer is bad"
  • Rich hugging (and nearly kissing) Jenny, thinking she was me!
Unexpected bit

Going along to a Prayer and Praise arranged by Jamie, Rich and Adair. I didn't really want to go, but decided that it would be rude not to as they had spent a lot of time arranging it and also they needed me to drive the band equipment! Anyhow, after some great worship, I ending up doing my testimony in front of 150 people, then becoming 'holy–spiritised'. So I felt lovesick (for God) for two weeks following WiM – which kept Thor entertained as it meant that I unusually stayed up late to chat to him, had about 4 hours sleep a night and couldn't eat properly, but had to go to work (only my 2nd week in my new job) as a hyperactive spirit–filled Christian, trying my best not to go into a evangelistic rant with my new workmates!


Update – Job and Road trips

Well, after a chance meeting with Casey in Varsity I promised I'd write on my blog with a life update…so here goes!

Leaving Uni

24th March
alis_last_day_in_work 2
I didn't feel as sad as I imagined I would. Probably because I knew I would see everyone from the office again (I live with Rich, sing with Graham), however, I was given my first bouquet of flowers, which was gorgeous. (see photo for proof!) Rich and I had great fun trying our hand at arranging the flowers into every vase we could find in the house!

New Job

27th March
I started my new job in eCommunications Development on the 27th March. It's pretty much what I expected, which is good. An added bonus/problem is that I'm the main route to getting information online so I've got quite a lot of responsiblity, making sure that the website is accurate and up–to–date. It's good in someways as I get to meet most people in the office, however, it also meant that when I returned from WiM I had a full inbox with website requests which took nearly 2 days to reduce to zero. It's not too much admin. though as I also have some exciting projects to get on with!

WiM

8th April - 16th April
WiM is Revelation Rock–Gospel Choirs annual event, where members of different Rev choirs meet up for a week to socialise, learn new songs and perform in a concert…there's too much to write in this entry so I'll put it in a follow–up…

My 24th Birthday

17th April
Well – I can't really say much as I slept through a lot of it recovering from WiM. Main points were:

  • A trip to Morrison's to buy some chocolate birthday cake (never ate it as I was asleep)
  • An hour's play with my birthday present (Eye toy for PS2)
  • Getting woken up by Liam at 9pm as he wanted to know where my party was being held as he hadn't been invited (there wasn't a party of any kind if anyone's offended by not getting an invite!)

Israel Houghton Concert

22nd April
This was amazing my ideal type of concert – without screaming girls and lots of God (there were whistles at the beginning but they were banned on H& S grounds!)

See Thor's blog for a in-depth review

Forum Weekend in York

29th - 30th April
This involved getting up at 6.15am on a Saturday to drive to York in time for Forum. Sounds like a crazy reason for getting up so early, but another reason for going to York was Hayley's 25th Birthday party – which was lots of fun!

On the way back from York we went to Sarah Brown's house in Bradford. Thankfully my sat nav. decided to start working so I didn't get lost on the Leeds ring road. After a cup of tea we (Rich, Thor, Nikki, Hayley, Jess, Josie, Mark, Sarah and myself) went to Abundant Life Church. All I can say is "Let's do church!"

Trip to the parents

My update concludes with a trip to Rich's parents. We went to Barrow(?) Market (That's what it sounded like, but could just as easily have been called Harrow, Bower etc.) It is a big outdoor food market where we tested lots of olives, cheese and bread and eventually bought some bread pudding, stuffed vine leaves and olives. We added in a quick trip around the Tate Modern (which I love) and a drop in at my Dad's house on the way back to pick up a strimmer to attempt to cut the lawn with!

All in all a pretty typical month – busy with lots of Rev and road trips!


March 22, 2006

One day to go!

Follow-up to Brain Dump from 1129 - Ali's () blog

I've only got one day left here and my 'brain dumps' have been completed and put onto 7 pages of A4, It's quite worrying how I've worked here for nearly two years and my entire job, including a project plan for Warwick Shootout can be condensed into 150kb Word document!

I got my first (and possibly only) leaving card today. It amused me muchly as the front of it said "I used to be an atheist, until I realised I was God" the giver of the card (who will remain nameless as I'm sure they will read this) seemed a bit worried about the irreverency of the card (I'm guessing they knew I was a Christian!), but made me think about cards in general…

so, how do you go about choosing a card for someone? Do you…
  • Think about the qualities of the person and choose a card suitable?
  • Buy a charity card, to make a good impression?
  • Pick the cheapest card possible, as you're a student and don't believe in giving cards?
  • Forget to buy a card until the last minute and buy the first one that comes to hand?
  • Send an e-card?
  • Just send a text?
  • Make one?
  • Send a card that you bought for someone else, but forgot to send?