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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year...

The last month or so has seen a very lapse attendance to the blog on my part... So in the very best tradition of New Year resolutions, I'm resolving to fix that throughout the coming year.

We've got a lot to look forward to - not least the Olympic Games - and who can't wait to see us triumph over our assumed level of incompetence? While as Brits we might assume we're going to balls it up, we should remember that we're actually very good at this sort of thing, just a little bit out of practice. As long as we all pull together, we can accomplish anything.

With the thought of reaching the unattainable firmly planted in your mind - have a great New Year and see if you can keep your resolutions for just 30 days instead of a full year...

And then, If you manage that much, you might want to have a go at another 30 days afterwards...

Photo


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Flipboard for the iPhone

Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

Flipboard

Flipboard Inc.

Category: News

Updated: 06 Dec 2011

14589 Ratings

iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 iTunes S.à r.l. All rights reserved



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Do Not Adjust Your Set...

I'm far to fuming to write anything pleasant - it's very rare, but it has been known to happen. So instead here's some pictures of a trip to Paris a few years ago....

Normal service will be resumed - do not adjust your set.

Anyway - on with the show...

You can find out about the tower here: http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/ but this was my view from it....

Eiffel_tower_to_ecole_milataire
And then theres a couple of other shots from "About town"...

Notre_dame
This last one is hanging on the wall in my living room....
Sacre_cuoure_cafe

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, December 02, 2011

And ... Relax

Yep - I've stolen the title... Blatantly, artlessly, brazenly, candidly, flagrantly, forthrightly, frankly, fully, in broad daylight, in full view, in public, in the open, publicly, readily, shamelessly, unabashedly, unashamedly, wantonly, without pretense and without reserve.

Do I care? Nope. Not one jot, or even a fig, do I give.  And the reason I'm so unconcerned about this theft?  Well it's Friday, and as those of you that have read Scobi's Blog will know that on Friday, his blog posts are entitled "And ... Relax" - except it seems, for today.

Imagine my shock and horror, when I hopped over to his site only to be greeted by a post with the insane (for a Friday) title of "Vannin"!!  Holy mother!!  The world is on it's head! Perhaps it's true and that as the doom laden futurologists claim, the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar will actually signify the end of the world - and this is the first sign of it actually happening.  We'll find out for sure in 385 days time.

I have a reading list that's long and varied - if your interested in it you could always follow @TheGolfyFeed on twitter, which is where a lot of it gets shared - and it includes about 25 blogs by various authors that often make for an interesting read.  One of the more entertaining reads comes from The Jaggy Thistle, which I'd recommend espcially if your either Scottish (which I'm not - although we do have some in the family - poor dears) or enjoy a good laugh. Consistently good stuff.

I just figured that being as it's Friday (and you really should be able to say "And ... Relax" instead of "Vannin" - whatever that is...  I'm not old enough to know yet) that I should share a few other bits of comedy gold with you just to round of your week...  so here you go.

First up - this YouTube video of "Fenton" which if you haven't seen yet you must, and now....

Secondly - you might like to be aware of the viral activity Fenton and his shouty master have inspired...

There are literally hundereds of these....  just go to youtube and type in Benton - even though the dog's name is Fenton...

Finally a few "Gems" from the world of 9gag.com - which I should remind you before you visit, is the sort of place that you could loose your entire lifetime if you're not careful...  Don't say I didn't warn you.

"Even Siri Hates You" 

...and...

Finally, finally... give yourself an ego boost by visiting *your name*.willbemighty.com (obviously replacing the phrase *your name* with your actual name....  So in Scobi's case that'll be here: http://Scobi.willbemighty.com

Have a great weekend - and keep out of the Van - whatever that is.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Of Password Resets....

It's that time again when I have to cycle my passwords.  That is to say, they all need changing because that's what we do around here.  I have them all pretty much in sync, time wise, but not content wise, so within a few days of eachother their various systems start nagging me to change them.  

In the past I've used a theme to try and help remember them all, but apparently our new rules suggest that even this is too weak a system....  In short, the rules are as follows:

8 positions in length (minimum)
A mix of alphabetic and non-alphabetic characters
Must not resemble the user-id
Muat not be reused for 8 iterations
Must not be shared
Must not contain keyboard patters (eg: "qwerty")
Must not contain dictionary words or letters substituted with numbers (eg: passw0rd)
Must not be first time or default passwords
Must not be common or trivial (eg: "password" or "user")

That narrows it down it bit doesn't it.....   in fact if we go much further with the rules I reckon you'll be able to just guess what my password is on the basis that it can't be anything else!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rare Exports and other Christmas gifts....

We're nearly out of the back end of November and so the Christmas rush can well and truly begin.

In truth, the Christmas rush began some time ago. The retail industry kicked Christmas into a mid range gear somewhen around the end of October, although to be fair this year hasn't been as bad as some years in recent history.

Those of you that were around here last year will know that we seem to have started a trend with the more distant (although not that distant) members of the clan whereby we have Christmas day early, to get it out of the way.  This year it'll be on Sunday coming. There will be a slap up bit of lunch and some generous gift giving.

Mr Ball senior has acquired a MacBook Air this year - as a result of sister ball taking a business trip to the US and he as some associated bits and bobs to go with it. Even though Mac's are notoriously easy to set up, he is understandably a little nervous of what is to him "new" technology and so I'll be spending a large portion of the day helping him get it up and running. Quite looking forward to that to be fair.

I believe I have a new generation Apple TV on it's way thanks to Santa, but I'm dismayed to learn that Air Play mirroring isn't supported by my now ancient iPhone 4 and iPad 1...  humph...  A bit of a dig around shows that you can get the latest versions of these at a substantial discount if you go with refurbished kit - and apple refurbished basically means new with a brief previous owner. I'm sorely tempted, but funding will be the issue. Let's see what the South African Santa brings first...

And on the subject of Santa... Having recently(ish) signed up to LoveFilm the flow of movie rentals has been thick and fast through the Golfyball residence, but as yet I haven't found the time to right about my viewings, so let's try and fix that here.

First of all, let me share with you THE Christmas film of the year, recently released on DVD.  "Rare Exports" is something I've spoken of before on here - a couple of years ago when the first teasers appeared and last year when it went on general release - although not to great acclaim. However, I think the lack of support is down to it being a non-english film in part - but that IMHO just adds to the believability factor.  

It feels a little like the original version of "Let The Right One In", but without the vampires and with Santa, coupled with a european version of "The Thing" (which I read is also being re-made - totally unnecessarily). Anyway, it's great fun, but not for your young kids who might well still "believe". However, once you've seen it, you might believe again - and be scared...   great stuff and here's the trailer.... 9/10

So to touch briefly on the other viewings I've had of late, here's a quick run down:

Cars 2
More great fun from the late Mr Jobs' film studio, Pixar. Your kids will watch this a thousand times probably and I don't blame them - it's great fun in the same vein as "Cars" but with the added benefit of the great Sir Michael Caine. 8/10

The Rite
This is a bit like "The Exorcist - Lite" It's not terrible, but it left me feeling a bit "Meh". Sir Anthony Hopkins should know better - not that he does a bad job, but his welsh/italian is a bit dodgy in places. 6/10 

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
A cracker and with a couple of my favourite hollywood names in place. Clint Eastwood and Jeff (The Dude) Bridges. It's Michael (The Deer Hunter) Cimino's directorial debut. It's Well-written with strong performances and is about a complex caper in which Bridges plays a young drifter who teams up with an ex-con (Eastwood) and his former partners in crime to re-stage a difficult safecracking heist. It says here: "Conveyed in a tone that mixes dramatic and comic elements, the film is a rich blend of engaging characters and action" and very true that is. Quality 1970's movie making at it's best - 9/10

I should add - that the trailer doesn't really do it any justice at all...

Mr. Nice
Another favourite of mine is Rhys Ifans and once again he doesn't disappoint. This is a biopic of drug smuggler Howard Marks. Beautifully crafted, and quite believable if this sort of stuff is to be believed. There's been a successful book and a speaking tour by Mr Marks and it makes for entertaining viewing. One point - David Thewlis - as the man from the IRA - very nearly steals the show. 7/10 

Inside Job
Narrated by Matt Damon, this is a documentary that tells the story of the banking collapse of 2007 and strives to suggest some of the reasons it happened. It provides a fascinating insight into the way government and banking works - or rather doesn't work and should be required viewing for anyone with any interest into what the hell the banks think they're playing at. 8/10 

The Blind Side
Her out of "Speed" and a big fella we've never seen before (Quinton Aaron). He's a not-quite orphan, she's a christian hearted mom who takes him in - gives him opportunities to succeed and he ends up being a pro-american-footballer. That summary does it a massive dis-service. It's another biopic - of sorts - of the life story of Michael Lewis. A proper feel good weepy that the missus will love - if she likes that kind of thing. Sandra Bullock is still great to look at and I actually think she deserved the Oscar that she won for this role. 8/10

So that'll do you for now, but just so you know, still to come: a few words about, "Sucker Punch", "Freeway Killer" and the foreign films: "Point Blank", "Julia's Eyes" & "The Silent House"

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Sewer Ants...

P132

Perhaps I'm becoming cynical in my old age - well, older.... Not actually "old" - yet. You see, there's a story going around that I find basically patronising.

Now, we all know that insurance is the biggest scam going. You pay someone (now) so that they can then to pay you (or someone else) in the event that something might happen in the future. It's basically a form of gambling with the odds stacked in the favour of the person you're paying.

In the UK insurance is mandatory for vehicles on the roads. The insurance companies that you arrange a policy with are generally rubbish at predicting the future (surprise, surprise) and they're also a bit pants at figuring out when someone is trying to diddle them - so they've been paying out and that along with the global economic situation means they've been paying out a lot. As a result the premium you pay for this insurance has gone through the roof.

The cost of fuel and road tax has also become extortionate of late and as we're constantly reminded, we're all becoming victims of the obesity crisis. This in turn has led to a decrease in the use of cars for short journeys and an increase in the use of the bicycle.

Of course, if you're in the business of making money out of people insuring their cars against accidents and then they get rid of them, your income will drop. Furthermore if you then realise that these people are then all riding bicycles which are free from insurance, what would you do?

You'd release a story into the press.... Try and rattle a few cages... Make the natives restless... Start a new income stream...

And so it is that this has appeared:
** Cyclists 'urged to get insurance' **
Not having a comprehensive insurance policy could prove costly, cyclists are warned by the Association of British Insurers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15892074

I'm not buying it.. And I won't purchase any either!!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sharing....

I know, that yet again I've gone through a quiet spell in terms of blogging. It's not that I haven't been here or that I've been ultra busy - I just haven't blogged.

I've still shared though, although I admit not necessarily with you. I've shared with various circles of friends, family and acquaintances. I hope you do to...



http://gplus.to/golfyball

Happy Black Friday.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Careful now: Black Friday iTunes malware alert

Black Friday iTunes malware alert

Security experts warn that criminals are targeting shoppers with malware that claims to be from Apple's online store to coincide with the US http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15881034



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Insane Guitar Skills "Passionflower".

To use the parlance of our times... Awesome!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, November 18, 2011

One of the 99% isn't happy with his phone bill...

By the, way....  It's not me.
This company "EverythingEverywhere" which is what Orange and T-Mobile have become are clearly trying to rip him off - and possibly you if you're with them.

Their website has the following blurb:
As one company, we now have almost 28 million customers, 15,000 employees and 720 stores nationwide. We run two of Britain’s most famous brands – Orange and T-Mobile – and we’re here to give our customers a better experience than they’ve ever had before – with the widest coverage, smartest support and best choice and value.
Olaf Swantee is the name of the Chief Executive Officer of Everything Everywhere, and so with a little digging my friend was able to find up his email address and sent him the following message which for the good of the general public he has asked me to share with you.
To: olaf.swantee.orange@everythingeverywhere.com
Subject: Orange Data Roaming Charges / Complaint
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011
Dear Sir, 
I am writing to vehemently complain about your outrageous data roaming charges,
I am a long standing customer with Orange (about 13 years !), but have recently become disillusioned with the Brand and the way you operate your customer services, and appear for want of a better phrase "rip off" your customers, that's aside from the poor signal (especially the 3G signal !) that I appear to also be suffering with since the merger of T-Mobile and Orange (the signal "appears worse" despite the claims of me being able to use Orange or T-Mobile !) .. 
I am used to having large phone bills (circa £200 - £300 + per month), having three Numbers on my account (and also 2 PAYG Phones !), but just by chance I happened to look at my soon to be due invoice (after advice from a friend who has also suffered the same "fate"), and was "somewhat" shocked to see that I am expected to pay £1246 for my next bill which is due on the 8/12. Of this £964 is just for Data Roaming on (Number Redacted) .. ! 
Let me put it to you that as I have previously been "caught" out on your outrageous Data Roaming charges and have complained about this before ( my invoice dated 7/7/11 .. although nothing was done on that occasion and I was "fobbed off" with some ridiculous excuses), that this time whilst travelling abroad I took all precautions to make sure I did not suffer the same fate !: 
I telephoned Orange customer Services on the 8/10/11 and asked them what I needed to do, and as I had already purchased the Daily Data Roaming Bundle on their advice, I also ensured that my data roaming settings were set to "Off" and notifications off, on their advice , and only ever out this back on occasionally to check emails (probably once a day maximum) again on their advice , I also made sure I made use of any of the local FREE wifi hotspots where possible ! 
In fact I am struggling to see how the hell I can have used so much data when I took all these precautions to "avoid" the outrageous data roaming charges and avoid using the internet at all to make sure I avoided the outrageously large data roaming charges I had previously suffered (and as I mentioned my previous complaint fell on "deaf ears" and was never resolved ! ) .. 
I notice that I am not the only person to complain about this, as I mentioned a friend of mine also suffered the same fate (although also had taken the same precautions as myself), and also I notice that this issue has been complained about by many people (e.g the recent Watchdog Article) and various complaints highlighted on the internet (highlighted in the links below) , so I am sure you probably don't want any more negative publicity. 
http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?322768-Orange-Data-...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/watchdog/2011/09/data_roaming.html 
I trust you will take the necessary action to resolve this issue for me, and that my bill is "substantially" reduced if not written off completely, and also that my previous data roaming charges complaint is properly looked into and I am offered some recompense for that as well. if I do not receive a satisfactory response within the next five days, I will cancel all my Direct Debits with Orange, and cancel all my accounts. If you want to lose my alleged valued custom and an average spend with you of £200 - £300 a month then that's fine, I can easily take my business elsewhere and you will lose a loyal and long standing customer. Otherwise I expect a satisfactory reply within that time. 
Regards
Having had no response, he then followed up with this:
Subject: RE: Orange Data Roaming Charges / Complaint
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011
Dear Sir,   
I can only assume that either my previous email went straight to your spam folder, or the poor customer service of your organisation emminents straight from the top ?. 
Whilst I didn't expect a resolution to my complaint yesterday, I would have thought I would have received at least a courtesy email acknowledging my complaint and informing me that you had actually asked someone to investigate it and would get back to me asap.   
As I mentioned previously I will be cancelling all my accounts with Orange unless this issue is resolved within the next five days, although you would now appear to have one day less to resolve this issue as have heard nothing.   
I hope to receive at least an acknowledgment to this email.   
Please note I have also logged this complaint with Ofcom.   
Regards  
Yet again nothing and so to this morning with this:
To: olaf.swantee.orange@everythingeverywhere.com
Subject: RE: Orange Data Roaming Charges / Complaint
Date: 18 November 2011 
Dear Sir,  
Quite obviously judging by the lack of response to my emails, the customer service (or lack of ) does emminent directly from the top ?  
However by now I hope you will have received a copy of my emails that I posted to you yesterday (unless this has also gone into the folder marked "customer spam") ? And I now hope you are taking some action or have at least asked someone from your "lack of" Customer Service area's to rectify my complaint ? 
As I mentioned previously I will be cancelling all my accounts with Orange within the next five days unless this issue is resolved, today being Day 3 since I sent you my first email means that you would appear to have little time to resolve this issue, unless you are happy to lose one of you so called "valued" customers ! 
Regards

What on earth do they think they're playing at?  They claim to have 28million customers - so I guess that's why they're happy to ignore them. You have been warned....



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Community Grid - GO Fight Against Malaria Launch

World Community Grid Newsletter


In honor of World Community Grid's 7th birthday, we are pleased to announce that a new research project called GO Fight Against Malaria has been launched.

Malaria is one of the three deadliest infectious diseases on earth and is caused by parasites that infect both humans and animals. Half of the entire human population is at risk: in 2006, 247 million people became infected with malaria. Of the nearly one million deaths caused by malaria each year, 85% of those are children.

The researchers at The Scripps Research Institute are running the GO Fight Against Malaria project on World Community Grid to evaluate millions of candidate compounds to advance the search for new drugs that can cure patients who are infected with multi-drug-resistant mutant "superbugs" of malaria.

For more information about this important project, please view the press announcement on Citizen IBM.

GO Fight Against Malaria is the 10th project actively running on World Community Grid. To ensure that we continue to deliver results to the researchers as expeditiously as possible, we are challenging our members to help World Community Grid reach 2 million registered devices by December 31, 2011. We only need 100,000 additional devices to reach this goal. To help our community reach this goal, please read about our 7th Birthday Challenge to our Members.

Thank you for making World Community Grid an overwhelming success and allowing us to provide computing power to researchers working on pressing humanitarian issues for 7 years. Happy 7th Birthday World Community Grid!

Thank you,

The World Community Grid Team


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

US vs Them...

One of the things I'm doing this week is trying to understand the reason that doing a thing in the UK is so much more expensive than doing the (almost) same thing in the US. 

Now, being a Brit and a fan of all things tech, I'm consistently jealous of the ultra low prices our US friends get to pay for their consumer electronics. Ive moaned about this fact here in the past, but just to go over old ground for clarity here's an example again:

Let's assume today's exchange rate of £1.00 = $1.60 or $1.00 = £0.62 if you prefer. 

A 32Gb WiFi Apple iPad2
US Price = $599 (£373)
UK Price = $768 (£479)

So that's an additional $169 (£105) or 22%. I can speak from experience when I say "it's worth the air fare". But it's not just the iPad, and it's not just Apple. 

Just to prove that here's a Canon Powershot G12
US Price = $499 (£310) - http://goo.gl/PHRxo
UK Price = $866 (£539) - http://goo.gl/aJqhV

A 42% increase!!

We're at a point where it's just about everything - and some things even more so. 

One thing in particular that really riles me is to hear Americans complain about the price of gas - and when I say gas, I don't mean gas, I mean petrol - Gas, as any fool knows is not a liquid; moving on. 

So choosing the nearest part of the US to the UK, the current price of regular petrol on the east coast (including taxes) is $3.45 per US gallon, just to make things that little bit more complicated (As listed here: http://38.96.246.204/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page... )

In the UK, we've been switched to Litres (so we think it's cheaper in some oil executives marketing brain) and we currently pay in the region of £1.40 per Litre of unleaded (including taxes). (As listed here: http://www.petrolprices.com/ )

Don't worry, I've worked it out for you:
1 US Gallon = 3.7854 Litres
So 1 US Gallon of petrol in the UK costs £5.29 and here comes the kicker - that's $8.49 or an extra $5.04 over the US price. That's an increase of 146%

I know huge chunks of this are down to import duty and VAT (Value Added Tax, which is currently 20%), but I'm certain there's also a level of greed going on because the increase is effectively hidden. Explaining this differential to our US cousins isn't fun, because it just reminds me of how expensive life in the UK really is.
Regular visitors will know who much I hate to say it, but IIWII.
Not fun times :-(

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, November 05, 2011

We aren't where we were....

It would seem that 3 and half days of high level adrenalin production followed by an 8 hour sleep break and another day and a half of squeezing that gland is as much as I can do in a working week. When I arrived home at around 7 last night, I managed to eat a curry, sit on the sofa, and pass out. My work here is done. I dragged myself off to bed at around 11 and here we are at 11am of Saturday - feeling pretty good.
The job is done - all those that should have approved it have approved it, so it's in a satisfactory place. As for what the customer makes of it? Well that's up to the kids across the pond, but between me and the Navvy - we've given them our best shot at it.
Let's not have another week like that one for a while, eh?


No idea what the rest of the weekend will bring - probably more sleep.
Have fun.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, November 04, 2011

400m Hurdle Relay.... (or "almost there")

....and here we are at Friday. Day 5 of Adrenal gland experiment No.1

As you'll have gathered, I'm not sure how I got here, but I am here.  I probably has something to do with time passing and very litle to do with any impact I may have on the world around me. I should point out that I'm fully aware the world doesn't revolve around me - it revolves around you....  and the sun.

Where were we? So Wednesday saw a less eventful return journey from London - not quite the last train, but I still had "stuff to do" once I was back on-line. I hear that you can get WiFi on the East Midlands rail network now - that's rather annoying when the best that the Un-Great Western service can do is ittermittent 3G and my plan doesn't currently allow tethering. On the flip side, it forces me not to be online and to spend time thinking - or as was the case on Wednesday - talking (in the "quiet" carriage - how awful of me)

I was sat next to one our countries serving soldiers who couldn't speak about what he does and left his description of duties as "potato peeling". He was an interesting chap, clearly experienced in the art of the peeler and left me with a tip for a good book on the subject - "Sniper One - by Sgt Dan Mills". It's in my kindle app, I'll let you know how it pans out.

The last lumps of work from the Wednesday meeting meant I finally got finished around 12.30 and then to bed for a few hours before back on the road to my local-ish office.  

As the badman has been off, I've been recieving some very able help from a hardworking irishman - digger of ditches and canals and layer of tarmac drives.  He's a very experienced Navvy - far more so than I - in this field and without him around this week, I would have failed miserably.  I'm very lucky to have him on board ready with his trusty spade and pick at a moments notice.

Thursday saw the two of us camped out in an office performing water-fowl alignment (or "getting our duck's in a row" for the less imaginative) and gaining a deeper knowledge of what the hell it is we're trying to do.  A large contigent of accountants have agreed with the numbers we've suggested, and while we're doing things in the wrong order, the next phase is to get a large contigent of people that actually do this stuff to agree with what we're suggesting they do.  And that is how I find myself back in the office again on a Friday preparing to "help" them make thier decision.

It feels like one last hurdle to jump over and I'll get my life back - that's NOT how it is.  No clearing the hurdle will create a pile of work so that I can take a few paces back and have another run at it. Clearing the hurdle will create a pile of work in passing the baton over the pond.  I have a pile of work.

I'm hurting - but I'm not dead yet.

Happy days.

 

PS - I do hope Pooh (and anyone else for that matter) gets to see the Big Lebowski ... at least twice. It would make yesterday's post a little clearer.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Golfy Lebowski...

Not the millionaire Lebowski, but me, the other Lebowski....

In the words of The Big Lebowski (the millionaire): "You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?"

And in both the words of myself and The Dude: "Is this a... what day is this?"

Most apt. and to continue with this theme I'm happy to report that so far "the goddamned plane hasn't crashed into the mountain" but there is a lot of "new sh1t".  There is still much to be done and "this is our concern dude". My concern is of course for my "Johnson", my beverage and most importantly, my rug which of course "really tied the room together, did it not? Am I wrong?"

So, I dropped off the money exactly as per... look, man, I've got certain information, all right? Certain things have come to light. And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new sh1t, you know, I-I-I-I... this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it's not just, it might not be just such a simple... uh, you know? 

If you don't know what I'm blathering about, well...I'll tell you what I'm blathering about... I've got information man! New sh1t has come to light! And sh1t... man, she kidnapped herself. Well sure, man. Look at it... a young trophy wife, in the parlance of our times, you know, and she, uh, uh, owes money all over town, including to known pornographers, and that's cool... that's, that's cool, I'm, I'm saying, she needs money, man. And of course they're going to say that they didn't get it, because... she wants more, man! She's got to feed the monkey, I mean uh... hasn't that ever occurred to you, man? Sir? 

Ask yourself "what makes a man?" and go and watch the Big Lebowski. 

Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn't that what makes a man? 

Hmmm... Sure, that and a pair of testicles. 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Experimentation

I don't mind admitting that I found myself in a state of shock this morning when I realised it was Wednesday. It's day 3 of the experiment to see just how much my adrenal gland can produce before it simply gives up and allows me to be eaten by whatever my fight or flee system is so terrified of.  It's going quite well.

Having not arrived home on Monday before midnight - thanks to the wondrous signalling system on the "Great" Western railway service, and then been off in the opposite direction until the wee small hours again on Tuesday - I've sort of lost track of where we are in the space-time continuum.  So let's roll back to Monday night's return journey from "that London" and go from there.

As you'll have read (possibly), things went generally quite well. Some positive feedback and direction resulted in a plan for a way forward.  I managed to grab a swift pint with Jack-the-lad on the way to the station by way of thanking him for his input and support - and as those of you that know him will know - a good laugh to boot. He has a sharp sense of humour and is a pleasure to work with.

I hopped aboard the tube to get across the city and then hung around in Paddington for the next available train (the 8:45)  back to the countryshire. All was going swimmingly until we got to Didcot. Just out of Didcot we made an unscheduled stop. A problem with the signals. On a direct journey this would be of little concern, but I needed a change of train a Swindon. The timing of the signal problem could not have been better planned for anyone wishing to miss this connection and so it was that I finally arrived home at around midnight - just in time for bed.

Tuesday was an early start to drive up to the (hour away) Starfleet office, and then to put into action the plan that we'd crafted the day before. Again things went relatively well - some un-required assistance was given as well as some vital assistance and a notable let down. By 9pm we were getting very close to a completion point. One of our number had left things very late for completion but he came through in the end and by 10.30 I was on the road back home.  A nice easy drive would mean back home and tucked up by 11.30.  

Ahhh - but of course, things are never that simple.  Luckily for the god of "making life difficult" there was an opportunity to really p!ss me off, and he'd taken it upon himself to have the motorway closed off so that some highways employees could stand around drinking tea and staring at holes in the ground. The back roads, got me home though and once again a midnight arrival meant I could have a slice of toast and pass out.

And so to Wednesday - which once again finds me on the train back down to "that London" for a further executive review and hopefully a decision that might put an end to this madness. But the jury's out.

What have I learned from this?  Well a whole heap of things, many of which just aren't relevant to a blog post - which as the regular readers know is mostly a place for me to vent or just shoot the breeze. It does appear that the object of the exercise is to try and kill me off by not allowing me to eat or sleep or have any normal type of exercise - and then expect to perform herculean tasks of mental strength.  I beginning to wonder if it's worth it, but I haven't given up yet.

We have had some extraordinarily good help in the form of technical wizards and geniuses - and if nothing else, it's great to know that these people exist and can help us make a difference. It's all part of an ongoing education and I've discovered plenty that I had no idea existed and have been unsurprised by some of the things that I've been hampered with before that cause us pain all too often.  

I’m do hope that Pooh is having a wonderful time in his hollowed out tree and his paw stuck in one of his many jars of huni. I'm also sure he'd love to be here just to see how well his adrenal gland could hold up as well. Let’s hope he heals soon – although at this rate, when he gets back there won’t be a great deal (not that it ever was a great deal – see what I did there?) to be done.

Well - I'm afraid I have far too much to do to talk to you lot any further today.  Must crack on.

Wish me and my adrenal gland luck

Ta ra.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, October 31, 2011

Executive Stress-heads

Monday.... Again! I shouldn't be surprised, it's a constant that regularly shows up just after Sunday and before Tuesday. It's also annoying because it interrupts the flow of the weekends - that beautiful time when work isn't entirely your master. However, this Monday is providing some new-ish ground for me.

I find myself sat on the London bound train scooting off to a Starfleet office based in the big city. Regular readers will know this isn't the first time - but I haven't been there since February this year. You'll also know that I've been summoned to receive "executive help" on, what should be called "the unwinable bid". The new ground for me, is meeting the aforementioned executives.

Now the thing about executives is thier title. I imagine it comes from "ex" as in "no longer" or "previous" and "ecutive" meaning "able to think like a rational human being"*. More often than not, when they aren't thinking about work related subjects, some of them are quite normal, sane and easy going people. Ultimately - and this is the key - they are just people. They could just as easily be sat outside a station playing a guitar as they could be sat behind a desk barking. Once you get "past the title" (and if my definition is correct, that's no biggy) then they're pussy cats.

I put in some hard working hours over the weekend, though not a stupid amount because frankly this particular piece is a damp squib, dead duck and a lame horse all rolled into one. If it were a house, you'd knock it down. If it were a ship, you'd call it Titanic. If it was a bid you'd no-bid it.... But let's see what the "previously able to think like rational humans" make of it first. I'm doing them a dis-service and for that I appologise. But as a Brit and as an employee we all moan about our senior members of an organisation. It's in our DNA.

In the meantime; the train. In previous episodes I've shared some of the excellent conversations that have been overheard but so far this morning - almost utter silence. Very disappointing. I thought that perhaps as we near the big L and a few more commuters appear there might be a titbit to enjoy, but alas no. In fact the train is more empty than I've ever seen it before. You'd think it was a bank holiday, but I'm guessing that the half term brigade are still at home to recover form the joy of spending time in the company of their little ones.

As for listening in to the few passengers that are aboard, little did I realise that it's more likely to be MY conversations being overheard for a change. Almost 8.30am, pulling into Swindon and I've already taken two calls from "Kanga" to whom the words 'arse' and 'elbow' appear to be exactly the same.

It's going to be a very very very long day. Even longer than that. I have but three rays of sunshine in it.

The first is the science of time. To all those people who say "you'll get through it" you should by now have realised that unless you drop dead in the middle of whatever "it" is, that it is impossible to do anything but get through it. This is because that no matter what the situation, time passes and this time tomorrow will be another day. Getting through it is the easy bit. Not kicking the bucket, that takes effort.

The second is a beer with Jack. Hopefully, once we've got through it, he and I will find a boozer for a quick pint before catching our respective trains home.

And the third... Well that's obvious. Walking in through my own front door to the smiling faces of Mrs G and Daughter, neither of whom are executives** and thank heavens for that.

Finally - just before disembarkation this snippet: "Hello? Where we're they? She OK? I'll catch you later."

Bugger that's boring. Time to alight and scurry down the rabbit hole into god knows what.

Adieu.

--------


An update.

Actually the executives in question were far from the ogres I'd been lead to believe they might have been. In fact they were both sane and very helpful in digging around and finding a direction for us to go in. Of course, it's only Monday and if we can't live up to the expectation they've set I might have an entirely different opinion, but for now - I take it all back and am counting my blessings to be part of a pragmatic and forward thinking bunch.

Time will be our tutor.

*This definition may not be 100% accurate - but it does kind of fit.

** The flip side to this is that by definition they are therefore still more than able of thinking like rational human beings, which naturally will mean I'm in trouble for not doing something that's on a list that I haven't seen but should have completed a week ago - probably. ;-)

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birthday Lunch

Saturday came and went and for the most part it went very well.


I can happily recommend "The Fleet at Twyning" as a truly splendid place to have lunch with all the family. Great food, great atmosphere, friendly staff, sensibly priced and in a cracking spot on the banks of the River Avon.


We had been here before a couple of years ago and at that time found it to be rather underwhelming. However, at the beginning of this year it was acquired by a small group who run a couple of well known (and very well regarded) pubs in our area and they have very successfully worked their magic on it.


I didn't have the steak after all, but I did enjoy a wonderful duck liver parfait (patè to the rest of us) and a gourmet burger from their special fixed price menu for £11. Three courses - if only I'd had the room for them - are £15, and at that quality you really cannot complain about the prices. Wander from the fixed prices and of course things go up dramatically, but the quality is a constant so the choice is yours. The sea-bass looked, and I'm told tasted, incredible. Without doubt, it was a delight and will most certainly be receiving a return visit.


There were tales of daring-do and stories of shaggy dogs and memoirs of recent events, all of which were most entertaining. Senior Ball received a couple of gifts in advance of his birthday and was suitably pleased with them.


Sister Ball has a new - I hesitate to use the word car - in fact, I hesitate to use the word Rollerskate. What is the word I'm looking for. Something very tiny with wheels.... It's a Smart car. You know, those ones that look like the were going to be a real car and the they got fed up after drawing the driver and passenger seats so just didn't draw any more. In fairness to describe it that way, while accurate is to do it a dis-service. In actuality it is a very cute and practical town car. There's no road tax to pay, has an automatic gearbox and a surprisingly large amount of storage for something that looks like it has none. At £10k for a brand new one with all the whistles and bells it seems like a very "sensible" acquisition. Whatever next!?

She was in fine form and is off to America for some work shortly. Senior Ball is in the market for a new laptop and after much discussion and contributions for his birthday, Christmas, next two birthdays and four Christmases after that it appears that he's going to invest in a MacBook Air. And thank god for that says I. Sister Ball has been tasked with picking one up while she's in the US, not least because the £850 that they cost here becomes £620 over there.


After lunch it was back to the ponderosa for a cuppa before they all headed off and Mrs G and I had half an hour to put our feet up and recover. It was short lived though an four or five hours later I was putting the finishing touches to a pack of materials that I've built in preparation for our Monday review. Still waiting from some input from our most recently re-assigned member of the team, so I'm entirely expecting to have more to do later today. I can't wait.


Was very glad of the extra hour in bed this morning, but body clocks don't adjust instantly, so I was Awake at 6am which is now 7. John Le Carrè meant I didn't actually get out of bed until 8.30 though. Daughter was equally glad of it because she and her friends had an extra hour clubbing last night - but then she's in need of the recovery time too I suspect. A difficult balance to find.


Today's plan involves visiting the brown's to help them understand the nuances (because it's certainly not complicated) of migrating from their trudging PC environment onto their newly arrived iMac. They're always fun to see and their two year old is a riot, so an entertaining time awaits.


So on that note, it's time I knocked up some breakfast and got my life in gear again. Depending on egg supplies I'm thinking "the full English" but I might have to play hunter-gatherer first.


Until next time. Stay safe.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Through the looking glass....

Holy crud! (as we used to say back in the village) what an arse of a week that's been, and it's not over yet.

Actually, now I think about it, there's probably a whole blogpost about "what we used to say back in the village", but we'll have that on another day. Today being a Saturday should be a chance to relax and recharge somewhat, in preparation for another week of hell from Monday - but alas - not a bit of it.

Sadly the work that Pooh and I have been battling with is now getting some "help" from some members of the "executive" team and as we all know this will require treading very carefully through the minefield of the executive view of the 100 acre wood. Help is something that is always welcome, whereas on the other hand "help" is more often a hindrance that one could do without. It's also "offered" - which in non-executive english translates to, mandated. Oh what fun.

Pooh, while claiming to be a bear of little brain, is actually a darn sight cleverer than he lets on. He understands the stuff we're trying to do in a non-technical yet deeply understood sort of way. Or at least that's how it appears to outsiders - personally I think he's an expert bull-sh1tter, and that my friends means he's very VERY good at his job. I'm sure he'd agree. For my part, BS isn't something I'm particularly blessed with and sadly I'm a bit of a crap liar too, so if you want it straight without the bolotics, I'm your man.

Pooh also isn't one to "suffer fools gladly" as the saying goes and I believe that one of the execs may have read between the lines of deafening silence on a call on Friday and got that message loud and clear. It only takes 10 minutes of an SMI's time to wind him up - and some more "talented" SMI's can do it with the words "Hello Pooh". But I digress.

It's probably just as well, for the sake of his own sanity that he's not here for the coming week, so our offer of "help" therefore falls to me to accept. On the plus side, I have spent some rather large chunks of my career "managing" executives although I am a little out of practice. Pooh's advice - before he slipped out the back wearing Nike's and moving at a speed not dissimilar to that of a slightly older, shorter and more countrified version of Usain Bolt - was treat it as a training course or a test. Not a bad stab at taking the sting out of it I thought.

My approach will be to shut up and listen, nod sagely at appropriate moments and to politely ignore the sort of comments that would turn Pooh into a very Shouty bear with a pointy stick. I can assure you, that is not someone you would like to meet up a dark alley unless you were meeting him to team up and start a fight with an unruly mob of mobsters who considered themselves to be "tooled up and well hard".

So it's with these thoughts in mind that I have to do some bloody work on the weekend.

But first there are more important things to attend to. Lunch with Mr Ball senior and various other members of the Ball clan and extensions. After all executive buffoonery and the suchlike will come and go and come round again, but you only get one Dad.

Actually I think the saying goes something like "1000 dads but only one father" or is it "a 1000 mums but only one mummy"? Ah, whatever - you get my drift I'm sure.

In short, a fairly leisurely and drawn out pub lunch with much frivolity will see me and Mrs G through to the early evening by which time I'll be prepared to prepare for my visit up to "that London" first thing on Monday morning. I think I'll have the steak - famous for being the last meal of the condemend man.

Daughter's working overtime - which is a great shame because I know Mr Ball senior enjoys her stories of current police work having been in "the job" himself for many many moons, but with any luck they'll arrive just before she sets off so at least they'll get to say hello. Sister ball is also making a long overdue appearance. Always great to see her and hear about what she's been up to while in hiding since the last time she appeared.

Oh yes, and I mustn't forget to nip to the station to pick up my tickets. 170 of our British pounds just so that a bloke in a suit can rant about some other blokes in suits at a bloke without a tie (but I will be in a suit) about a guess that the othe blokes made that was "a bit short of the mark" and then end up deciding that it's a battle that will be list even though we're still in the war.

Image

Ah well - its nice to have a day out. Such fun!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking forward...

I can feel the knot of the noose tightening. The pressure is ramping up a little now. We spent time in the company of senior exec’s yesterday, which can often be un-nerving (see Dilbert for further details on how this usually works) .

We’re still striving to fit 3 weeks worth of work into a week - and that’s not working out to well obviously. And of course we’re somewhat hampered by the fact that it’s half-bloody-term. It's annoying that it's occupying most of my waking hours, but it's what I do until I do something else.

Mrs G has a cold which has spoilt her plans for Friday. She was going to see our friend S who's battling with the big C. Unfortunately as I'm sure you're aware, chemotherapy messes with your immune system, making it weak, and the patient susceptible to viruses and diseases. The last thing S needs at this point of her treatment is a cold, and so it's with sad hearts that they're not going to get together on Mrs G's day off. Here's hoping the treatment pays off and S can get back to being the great gran, mum, wife and friend that she is. 

Daughter is weary and tired.  She's not had a day off for the best part of two weeks and it's starting to show. She needs a break the poor lamb, but she's got a few days at the weekend that she's looking forward to. I believe she's even got a night out with the girls planned. Bless her. 

We've got a bit of a get together on Saturday planned too. It's that time of year again when it's Mr Ball senior's birthday, so we're all going for a bit of a lunchtime nosh up in a countryshire public house. Sister Ball is coming down from "that Manchester" and even the  in-laws are going to join us. Should be a giggle and even if you can't chose your family - it's fair to say that we're very lucky to have family that aren't just bearable, but are actually fun to be with so it's something to look forward to. Still got to get the elder ball's birthday present yet though. 

Well - no chance of me getting to 750 words today - far too much todo..

Pooh's on the phone, so I'd best get on with it. Stay safe. 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fire me into oblivion... please!

It’s all kicking off....

Still no sign of the mythical beast of a deal that Pooh and I have been waiting for, but the current one that we’re wrestling with is much like a firework.  

The blue touch paper has been lit and we should be standing well back - however “Kanga” is not only poking it with a stick (and not a pointy one I should add - as we all know the best weapon of choice of all woodland creatures is a pointy stick) but he’s picking it up and carrying it over to the gathered crowd as if to say “look at this, maybe we should try opening it and seeing how much gunpowder is in inside” - much to the terror of the rest of us.  Didn’t he read the instructions (using a battery operated torch) before hand ?

Owl was fuming and there was some argy-bargy from Eeyore. In fact if Owl hadn’t been up a tree at that point, he’d have happily pulled Eeyore’s tail off (which is only held on by a drawing pin). 

The dangers of messing with fireworks are ably demonstrated by Pooh, who has to go and have his hand fixed after many years of making his own fireworks in the privacy of his own home. The result of this means that he’ll be leaving me in charge of the box of unlit rockets and of course the finale “sky-bomb” which I’ll be setting off next week.

It should travel high enough into the stratosphere to come down somewhere over the far side of the atlantic ocean - but that rather depends on what the crowd think of it as it goes up.  Our fireworks are “applause driven” so if there’s not a general feeling of approval from the watching audience it won’t make it and I’ll have to have another look in the “wooden” (not metal) box to see if there’s anything better we can set off.

However, before we get that far, we need the other woodland folk to take another look at the potential “sky-bomb” and make sure they’ve included all the right whistle’s and bangs in it so that it appears appropriately whizzy when it goes up.  The problem here though, is that they’re currently working on a firework display for the village and not the 100-acre wood.  Piglet's on the case.

Some of the other woodland creatures that we don't see much - the one's that hangout in parliament, are also getting twitchy. Tigger's are wonderful things (as we all know) - but a brave bear with a pointy stick and very little brain has a better outlook on those creatures than a tatty, bouncy tigger does.

Penny-for-the-guy anyone ?

Tiggernpooh

Appreciate that’s all a bit abstract, but if you know what I’m jabbering about, then you’ll know what I’m jabbering about.

Away from the wood things are relatively quiet. A nice Chilli for dinner last night, some "Come Dine With Me" on the telly and I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to see the first half of "The Ghost" (Known as "The Ghost Writer" outside of the UK). 

It's the story of a writer employed to ghost write the autobiography of an ex-british prime minister.  A political thriller with the young Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor) as the writer and James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) as the PM.  So far, reasonably enjoyable, with lots of it set in Martha's Vineyard, the island just off the southern edge of Massachusetts, which looks like a great place to be in the summer - and a "windswept and interesting" place to be in the winter. I'll give you my final take on it once I've found an hour to cram the second half in.

Anything interesting in the news??  Well, there's The EU debt crisis, which is droning on and on. The Boeing Dreamliner has had it's first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Amazon's profits are seriously down due to production of the new Kindle Fire. IBM have named a new female chief executive (Virginia Rometty) to replace the current CEO (Sam Palmisano) in January next year. And "Nokia World" has begun where Nokia will announce a bunch of phones (including the Nokia Luma 800 Windows phone - available from November at $585) that won't be as good as the iPhone (probably). That's a little unfair, but having spent most of my career around windows and Microsoft, it's probably true.

And on the subject of Microsft, Happy Birthday to Windows XP yesterday. 10 Years old and still favoured by millions of PC users.

Finally, finally - if you feel like doing something dangerous - and let's face it on a Wednesday, who doesn't? - you could always try this:

Ta-ra for now.

 

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bleurr..ummphh! (Pirates, Mummies & Murderers)

That’s the sound of Monday.  All a bit of a flop this week. Things have not gone well for Pooh and I and interestingly this is through no fault of ours, but of some extremely unrealistic expectations of a few other members of the cast from elsewhere.  Ultimately we’re on hiding to nothing with this job - unless some wakes up and smells the coffee.

Somehow, in the midst of all this I’ve managed to pick up two deals that I’m covering for someone else and another one that I have to run with. I’ve asked for further detail which as yet is not forthcoming, so in true broken record style-ee, IIWII. Enough already.

 

Daughter returned unscathed from her dealings with the British legal system. The accused plead guilty in the end so she didn't have to take the stand, but she did get to meet a few other rum sorts - including a murderer. She's always interested in the bizarre and darker side of life - not too interested mind you, just enough to want to know enough to satisfy her curiosity. I still worry of course, but she displays excellent judgement of character for the most part. I've learned to "let go" a fair bit now. You have to let them have their own space to grow - even if they do occasionally poke around in the darker corners of the world. There was a further example of this later in the evening.

 

Last night's dinner was tuna steak freshly caught from our local supermarket on my bike in the rain. What could be nicer?  Hard to believe that just over a week ago I was sitting around in shorts and t-shirts and 28 degrees of sunshine. Now winter has arrived properly and it's cold, dark, wet and miserable. Halloween and fireworks just around the corner means that Christmas is only just behind them and at least there will be festive fun -somewhere amongst the misery. 

 

The other highlight from last night - and of "dark" interest to daughter - was provided by Channel 4. Mummifying Alan - Egypt's Last Secret is a documentary following Dr. Stephen Buckley and Dr Joann Fletcher mummifying the body of Taxi driver, Alan Billis. (Torquay's Tutankhamun) Engaging, fascinating and at times disturbing. It was Alan's choice to donate his body to this experiment and his attitude towards it is best described by his own words:

"It's just a shame I won't be here to see the results. I love a good documentary". 

I'm sorry he's missed it to, because it's really worth a watch. Amazing stuff.

Mummifying-alan--300x200

Tuesday has landed and what’s to report?...  not a lot really, so a hunt around the Internet might bring up something a little more intriguing, and here's some newsy type stuff....

 

According to The Next Web, Netflix, the video rental/streaming company that have all the latest and greatest movies available online is finally coming to the UK next year.  Right now that's too late for me, I've recently signed up with LoveFilm (part of Amazon) which I'm glad to report is quite excellent so far. That said I might jump ship once Netflix lands just because in other parts of the globe - namely America - its supported by Apple TV. But let's just wait and see what the deal is first, after all they've just had a price hike in the US and customers had been voting with thier feet on it: Video rental firm Netflix loses customers over prices 

 

As for LoveFilm, I've taken the 14 quid a month package which entitles you to an unlimited number of DVD or BlueRay rentals (but only two at a time) and streaming to PS3, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC. You can actually stream up to 3 different titles simultaneously (to different devices obviously). Streaming the latest releases means paying an extra 3 or 4 quid, but the back catalogue is almost as good as mine, so it's impossible to be at a loss to watch anything in the Ball household now.

 

As a result I've caught up with few odds and ends of movies lately, most recent of which is "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides". This is the fourth in the series and quite possibly it's turned a corner - though not necessarily completely. The first film in the franchise was a ripper. Great fun for everyone and thoroughly enjoyable. Sadly from there, it slipped downhill and gradually got worse and worse. That last effort was almost unwatchable - however, for the most part I quite enjoyed this one and while Johnny Depp churns out the same "Captain Jack" as always, the material he has to work with does feel a darn sight more snappier and thought out than part 2 or 3 did. Good stuff if your kids are fans and you're looking for something for them to watch during half term.

Pirates_of_the_caribbean_4

That should cover my 750 words for today (838 to be precise). It seems that 750words.com really is helping me. 

 

Until next time. 

 

 

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jobs

Yesterday was the 10th birthday of the iPod, and today is the launch of the official biography of the late Steve Jobs

The story of the iPod and how it's allegedly killed the music industry is a well told and worn one - in my opinion it's just changed the music industry, not killed it, but what do I know?  The story of it's creator (and I use that term in a fairly loose way on this occasion) is far less well known.  He was renowned for being a very private and secretive man which is seemingly at odds with his presence and "fame" - for want of a better word - as a company director.  There aren't many - if any CEO's (with the possible exception of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook) - that are as well know as he was. I've heard loads of theories about the reasons for his popularity since his death, but I'm not sure I click with any of them.  

He was, after all, just a man, like any other who happened to be in the right place at the right time and had a drive and passion for his business. I think he was more "well known", than popular although I think that his perceived "popularity" has a lot to do with his peer group.  Bill Gates might have owned the PC - via the Microsoft behemoth, but I'm not sure he'd be a barrel of laughs at a party. Steve beat Bill by being a "cool geek" and you can see why other geeks would want to emulate him for that reason.

I don't really read biography's - some people swear by them - but in this case I might be tempted to make an exception. I suppose I'm following the heard of wannabe cool geeks, but equally I'd quite like to know what went on in his head. Even if it is from another person's perspective and not his own.

I'll leave the subject of Steve with two points - one, and most interestingly for me, the talk in the book of an Apple Television. Not Apple TV, which he claimed was just a hobby, but an actual Apple Television. Some people have said this already exists in the form of the iMac, but I think we all know what Steve's really getting at and I think it's probably the the last piece of his grand plan. The ownership of the living room would be complete - whether it'll ever see the light of day now that he's passed, only time will tell.

The second Steve story is my favourite - and is all about the shenanigans around the release of the iPhone 4.  Some of you will probably recall that Gizmodo managed to acquire an iPhone 4 that an Apple sales rep left in a bar by mistake. Brian Lam tells of his take on Steve Jobs in this article (Steve Jobs was always kind to me (or, regrets of an asshole)), and what makes it for me is the line "Before he hung up, he asked me, "What do you think of it?"". Judge for yourself.

Giz_ip4

On the work front, IIWII and WAWWA, which for the regular readers means it's not great, but that's life. I am starting to get rather swamped though.  The work I'm doing with pooh obviously takes priority, but I'm covering for one of our number who is on vacation, pooh is going to take some time out to have his honey-covered paws cleaned up and there's more work on the horizon. I'm perceiving a pressure that doesn't yet exist - not a good place for my brain to be.

Daughter's in court today. Not for something she did (thank heavens) but for something she saw. This is what happens when you patrol the mean streets in your spare time. She was a little nervous before she set off - but she'd never say so. I'm sure it'll be fine and they'll lock up the bad guys and let the good guys go. 

Her companies attitude towards her having time off to attend court has been less than satisfactory though.  She's performing a service for her local community, free, gratis and at no charge. This translates into not only a safer, happier place for all those that live on her patch - many of them work in the same company - but also a direct saving in each of their pockets by way of a lower level of council tax.  

Clearly a forward thinking company would recognise that safe and happy staff are more hardworking and reliable staff and as such be supportive of her venture. Attending court as a witness / arresting officer isn't something you can choose not to do - it's a legal requirement. So, a day off without pay - rather than taking holiday (which let's face it, is supposed to be for your holidays) would seem to be the correct thing to do when these circumstances arise.  Not a bit of it.  

However... the police have been called, HR will be summonsed - they're surrounded and there's no escape.

Police

There's also currently no documented policy within the business to deal with it - and so hopefully it will be resolved in a speedy and logical manner. 

It seems the business just needs some edumacation in the way their community works.

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Dilbert's on a roll....

...or at least that how it appears to me having read this:

http://badmansjournal.blogspot.com/2011/10/smis.html

and then seen this:

Dilbert.com



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barbara!! Barbara!!

Yet again I’ve slipped into failing to blog.  I think the only way I’m really going to break this on and off scribbling is to signup to 750words.com again and really get my writing muscle pumping.

The truth of it is that I’ve been distracted from my blogging duties. I made a bit of a stab at it a couple of weeks ago and then I foolishly went off on holiday to Spain on the weak and feeble premise of “playing golf with the lads”.  There was some playing of golf - and in point of fact I even managed to play at least one very very good game by beating everyone else - but as is the case with such things this was most likely a fluke brought about by the amount of alcohol consumed paired with the lack of sleep that the “good” players had.  I could blag it and say my game just improved dramatically - but we all know that would be a lie.  It was merely fortuitous timing.  All the same - I won - they lost!! Hahaha!

 

One of our number has laid some ground work towards becoming a minor celebrity. Actually, when I say minor that’s bigging him up quite a bit.  In short he’s been filming “Come Dine With Me” - and if you don’t know what that is, you’re both very lucky and missing out on some popular culture that won’t change your life, but might make you smile.

 

It turns out that the filming of this show carries on until the wee small hours after each evenings dinner, and leaves the participants pretty much dead on their feet.  In this individual’s case, he was the last one to host dinner and his night ran on until about 4am on the Saturday morning.  Ordinarily this wouldn’t have mattered a jot, except that we had to be leaving for the airport to fly to spain at - you guessed it - 4am.  He was late.  He was drunk (ish) and he was still wearing his tuxedo from dinner.  A cracking start to a crazy week.

 

Regardless - he made it - we all did, and by 11am on Saturday, 8 of us were ensconced in an 80’s styled villa in Puerto Banus ready for beer, food, golf and general shenanigans. Fun times.

 

I won’t bore you with it, but we bumped into Cilla Black, Stan Boardman and probably an unknown number of ex-Eastend blaggers and criminal underlings. We drank too much, slept too little and got sunburned and tired. Very relaxing.

I bought gifts for Mrs G and daughter - they wanted perfume - and very happy with the results they are.  So what you need after a week like that is a nice gentle start back in the office.  Not a bit of it.....  

 

A conversation with the badman on Sunday, meant that I had to load up the roller-skate and whizz off to a local starfleet office because things had “kicked off” on another piece of work - not the one we’ve been waiting for, but one I’d “helped out on” just before my holiday.  What I needed was a nice quite start to catch up on the email infestation - but instead it was “bloody hard work” followed by dinner with a bunch of people who didn’t really want dinner, but did want to be entertained.

 

The badman and I suffered it together - and I suppose it could have been much worse, but really no-one was in the the mood for a party - so there wasn’t one.

 

The rest of the week has limped along because of some poorly made assumptions elsewhere and because of the now infamous phrase “It Is What It Is”.  I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing it and saying it, so for future reference anytime it may be mentioned I shall simply say “IIWII” - which looks a bit like an appendix to World War 2 in shorthand, and now you come mention feels a bit like it too.

 

The weekend is just around the corner (for most of us) although it appears I may have to do some work during mine just so that we can be “ahead of the game” on Monday.  On this occasion I don’t really see the point of it, when our target seems to be way beyond our reach - but We Are Where We Are......  Arrrrrrrrrrrgggghh   WAWWA!!!!

 

....I other news....

 

Got my iOS5 upgrades everywhere they need to be - and I like them a lot. Great stuff - everything working smoothly and seemlessly. All-in-all very pleased with what they’ve done there.

 

We have an infesation of in-laws and out-laws this weekend. It’s my favourite brother-in-laws birthday and he and the rest of his family are around our neck of the woods to celebrate.  I’d hoped for some R&R after two hectic weeks, but then I don’t mind digging deep for some remaining energy reserves in this instance.

 

Afterall - IIWII and WAWWA.....

 

Barbara!!  Fetch me the shotgun!

CDWM_Spain_Intro.mp3 Listen on Posterous

 

 

 

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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