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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Horror Stories from the frontline...

This week, Thursday is the new Saturday for me. With amazing foresight, my good friend sniffer has decided to get married on Friday, and has planned a game of golf for the best man and ushers (one of which is yours truly). To this end, my week here (at work at least) is done. But what a week it's been.

 

It all started off well enough on Monday morning with the early train up to that Laandon. On schedule and running smoothly, even the tube was deserted meaning that my onward journey across town was a breeze. Beautiful weather is normally a sure sign of heat exhaustion on the underground, but with it being so empty, the travel was quite literally a breeze. That said, it got hotter. A lot hotter.

 

The work was challenging - lots to do and no time to do it all. I got lumbered (as no one else ever wants to do it - and if it doesn't get done, then nothing gets done) with mashing the numbers into the "tool of despair" to add them all up and make it look like a consistently well designed "thing". It's not a bad job, but I hate it because of its reputation. People mistakenly labour under the misapprehension that it's easy, and therefore boring and in no way worthy of their input. The plain facts are, without it, nothing happens - so it's a necessary evil. There are probably a myriad of better ways to do it, but we don't have them and have you ever tried to turn around an oil tanker in less than a hundred yards of water? You get the picture.

 

Despite the lack of getting on and getting it done that was apparent for a few contributors, and the last minute rush and panic generated by people when that actually have to agree to committing to what they've guessed at - I got the job done in time for the first of a series of reviews that have to be done before anyone else is allowed to look at the number. Sadly during the review it became apparent that a couple of the contributors hadn't fully understood the implications of what was required of them - and things needed to be amended. This is what is technically referred to as a "pain in the arse"

 

This was compounded by the fact that it was now Wednesday afternoon (or Friday for me) and there was no one else able to take on the task. The pre-wedding golf and even attendance of the wedding itself was starting to look like it might be in jeopardy. At the last minute IM got involved and pulled a reserve from the ranks to cover and I handed over as best as I could given the insanely short timeline to do so. At least that's how it appeared. Oddly, I'd been banging on about the fact that my weekend started on Wednesday night all week. It's in the vacation tool. All those that needed to know, knew so arrangements didn't need to be so last minute. I wonder what the real story is.... But mine is not to reason why on such subjects.

 

All that remained for me to do was hop on the train back to the West Country. The seven o'clock train was caught just in the nick of time and sped off towards Slough. But before it got to the place that John Betjeman detested it stopped. And there it stayed - in the middle of nowhere for and hour and half. In the heat. With no available seating. I was lucky enough to be squashed between some people on the buffet car - so at least there was refreshment... For a while... Until it ran out... And then the mob started to get restless.

 

The buffet car is the demarcation point between the rich and poor of the railway world and the poor are simply not allowed in first class because they haven't bought a first class ticket. Well, sod that for a game of soldiers. Having been stood stationary for and hour or so, we decided enough was enough and found the myriad of empty seats in the air condition posh carriage to be a blessed relief from the agony. Not so for the upper echelons who had paid even more ridiculous prices to sit there for the whole journey. A complaint was lodged with the "train manager" - a perfectly reasonable woman who had to deal with a difficult situation and with little or no support from anyone else. We were asked if we'd consider leaving and graciously declined her offer. She suggested that she should really be charging us full price for our added comfort (read basic human rights given the temperature and overcrowding). We suggested that that wouldn't be the case having paid over £150 for the privilege of being stuffed inside a non moving tin can inside a microwave oven for too long. We all agreed to disagree and no more was said on the subject.

 

Fee water and crisps all round.

 

The delay caused a tailback of trains and I had a further hanging around of 40 minutes at Swindon for the changeover. By the time I got off and my stop and schlepped home it was midnight and I was surviving (just) on a packet of crisps, a bottle of water and two cans of Guinness.

 

Should you be selecting rail transport in the near future and can wholeheartedly recommend that you swerve it if it's anything to do with the Bristol-London mainline. Let's hope it's just a blip - although I doubt it.

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bright eyed and Bushy tailed

That was a fairly full on weekend and now I have to face a Monday and the pain of travelling into central London. I may well be complaining unnecessarily but given that Friday sees the opening ceremony of the London 2011 "O" word, I'm expecting it to be challenging at best.

Friday night saw me hopping the train with Stan off down to Bath. In my youth, I spent many a grand evening in that fine city and it's always a pleasure to visit. That said its also got very expensive of late. It's gained itself a reputation for being a posh city and I suppose it is (unless you know where to look), which makes it the most expensive hotel rooms in England (allegedly). As it was we were able to get a couple of rooms in a Travelodge for 90quid each - bearing in mind that Travelodge's are some of the cheapest accommodation in the country and are usually only about £45 a room. Not only that, but it's not a Travelodge of any "quality". Poorly maintained and generally looking a bit drab. At least it was centrally located.

By around 9pm AJ and JH had joined us and beverages were consumed. We did a very traditional pub crawl and finally gave into the need for some sort of sleep at around 3am. I know I'm starting to get too old for this stuff, but how many nights are you on the planet? And how many chances to have such a good laugh with your friends do you get? Gotta make the most of it.






One stop of note was just down from "The Star" (sadly I know not the name of the place) which was a tiny little pub having a random Cornish themed evening. What makes it noteworthy was the liberal distribution of Cornish pasties and ice cream for anyone that was interested - and it seems that everyone in the pub was. Bizarre and very entertaining in one fell swoop.

Saturday morning, Stan and I met @LegOlympian and rode the train back to Gloucester with him. He regaled us with plans of his training routine, which you can see all about if you look.






All good silly fun and with the sun out it seemed wholly appropriate for Mrs G, daughter and I to walk into town for dinner with Aunty S and the kids before she jets off on holiday.

As much as I'd tried to forget I was giving her a lift to the airport in the morning, it was unavoidable and when the alarm went of at 3am on Sunday, the lack of sleep was starting to tell. At least she wasn't late and daughter had decided she wanted to join me on our expedition to Birmingham and back. Aside from a stop off for a McDonalds breakfast (Which I suspect may have been daughters motive) the jaunt was quick and peaceful. Back in bed by 6am so tried to catch up with the lack of subconsciousness.

Sunday was Mrs G and I's wedding anniversary. We popped in on MotherInLaw and had some pick your own Strawberries while sitting in their garden and having a bit of a catch up. The weather was spectacular now that summer has finally arrived it seems and we had a reasonably relaxing day.
In the afternoon we took a stroll down to the docks to see the Gloucester Food Festival and unfortunately we were somewhat disappointed. Not that there was anything wrong with the food or drink or music or any of the multitude of stalls selling wares from here, there and everywhere. No, our problem was the crowd. There were so many people there that you couldn't actually see anything of any consequence. I'm sure the good weather had brought them all out and in places it was almost quite literally a bun fight.

We elected not to bother with it and instead wandered up to a very nice place in town to sit outside and enjoy some far less crowded (and I suspect more reasonably priced) lunch sat in the sunshine.

Back at home with blistered feet it was baked potatoes for dinner and Sister in Law had sent us a copy of our wedding video which made for some entertaining reminiscing especially as daughter claimed she'd never seen it. (A likely story).

By 10pm the call of sleep was overpowering especially with the knowledge that I had to be up at 6 to get the train down that Laandon and so here I am - battling through the throngs of commuters, tourists, athletes and journalists who have filled our capital city to capacity.







Once I get through today's workload the most important thing on this evenings list is sleep. Something that's most definitely been lacking.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, July 20, 2012

Choons....

Not often that I talk about music on here, so here's a whole heap of stuff that I should share with you.
First of all, the unusual album collection. Take a look at these three and see how many you recognise.

An eclectic mix, I'm sure you'd agree. But not only that. What really stands out about these three musical masterpieces is the fact that none of them are commercially available. You can search high and low for them. iTunes, HMV even Pirate Bay, you won't find them anywhere for the simple reason that they don't exist. Shame really, but that's the way it is.

So what is the point of that then, and where did they come from?

Have you heard of 4chan ? (don't click that link just yet - its got all sorts of stuff on it, most of which is Not Safe For Work - NSFW! - you've been warned). However, it also has lots of stuff that's very very funny. The link will take you to the Music board of the site, which carries all sorts of discussion on the subject, and this is where you'll find hundreds of other albums like these, that simply don't exist.

The wits of 4chan have come up with the "Create an Album game". Here's the rules:

1. Go to Wikipedia and click "Random Article" in the left column - The result is your band name.

2. Go to Wikiquotes and click "Random Page" - pick a quote. The last 3 - 5 words are your album title.

3. Go to Flickr. Look at photos from the last 7 days and the fifth picture is your cover art.

Silly stuff, but entertaining for two minutes.

Still on the subject of music.... This sounds good to me: The Lateness of the Hour (Deluxe Edition) by Alex Clare for £8.99. You've probably heard one of the tracks which is getting lots of airtime in all sorts of places. "Too Close". Good stuff.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lateness-hour-deluxe-edition/id442906424

That's it for now. There's bound to be some stuff on my G+ stream over the weekend. Unlikely to be a blog post though, just because there's a lot going on.

Next week will me see me back up that London for three days. A great place to be on the run up to the "O" word. Expect chaos to ensue.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Here comes the rain again...

You know, it actually couldn't possibly rain any more....

This year the UK has had some record breaking rainfall which has obviously been carefully timed to try and cause as much havoc with the Great summer of Great Britain - and that's been working. But we're not the only country to have had record breaking weather of late and in fact this very week, the US has been breaking heat wave records left, right and center. Apparently it's all very cleverly tied in with the jet stream which is one of the prevailing winds that constantly blow across the Atlantic Ocean from the New World towards the UK. We love to talk about the weather (probably because we're a relatively small island with so much variation in climate) but to be honest, I'm almost as bored of it as the "O" word now.

Of course, the "O" will be a fascinating spectacle and I'll be all over it once it starts up and gets going, but the build up is becoming a little draining for me now. The BBC will be providing 24 channels worth of it (although to be more factually correct, the OBS as the host broadcaster, have commissioned the BBC to provide much of the coverage that we'll see.) and not a lot of people know that. One things for certain, over the 17 days of the "O"s, don't expect to see anything else (or anyone else other than Gary Lineker) on BBC1. I must confess, that I am looking forward to the 100m finals in 3D though.

 

No WTC this week, because we had a little get together on Tuesday, the Juglar is away in sweaty hot Canadia and there are other shenanigans going on on Friday with the Wiltshire boys. I had a fairly lengthy conversation with one of them via standard telephone, Skype and then Facetime from his current locale (Washington DC). Skype's alright, but Facetime was clearly better and both of them completely outclassed the good old telephone call. Quite bizarre. One little tip for those of you with the technology. Using AirPlay to mirror the iPad (or iPhone4) FaceTime call via AppleTV onto my Big telly in the living room, meant we could have a room-to-room conference call - albeit with the passing of the iPad/iPhone around to see individuals - but it was very effective and made me realise just how far "teleconferencing" (for want of a better description) has come over the last 10 years. Server room sized systems with multibonded ISDN lines are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

On the work front, it's a day full of conference calls covering various odds and sods. Tweaking of the behemoth toolset, status updates and most importantly a handover from the lads up that London. I suspect that will result in some travel up to the city next week. Not a good time to be going, with the "O" so close, but we'll see what happens. If nothing else, it'll be an interesting buzz. Pooh's still picking his way through the forest, but I think he's nearing a clearing and my monkey is at rest.

One last thing, for those of you wondering about the above meme. The original image is from "Game of Thrones" the HBO TV series based on the series of books by George R.R.Martin (the series of books are called "A song of Ice and Fire" and the first book is "Game of Thrones"). I'm not really massively into this sort of fantasy type stuff usually, but this particular series has been most entertaining and I'd recommend giving it a go. It's definetly for adults with some particularly dodgy moments in it, and I have heard it referred to as akin to watching Babestation with the sound muted while listening to the soundtrack from "Lord of the Rings" :-) Draw your own conclusions...

Until next time - Tyrion: As impossible as it seems, there was once a time I was unaccustomed to wine.

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Quiet... Too quiet.

I know I’ve used that title in the past, but it was then because daughter was off on a trip around Asia.  This time however, it’s quiet because there’s just not a huge amount of work for me to be doing. It’s starting to become a little frustrating. 


 

It’s fair enough that I’ve just come back from a week’s holiday, and so there’s a pile of email to work through. But once you’ve done that, then what?  Well in my case - not a lot. Pooh’s got a couple of jobs on and he needed some help making up the numbers (which as we all know is what I’m here for) so that’s been some blessed relief from the tedium that is online education. He's also having to round up the Indians which is a perilous job especially if youre on the run for robbing trains and banks and the guy in the white hat is following you...

 

Who_are_those_guys

"They can't track us over rock. They're begining to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?"

 

I shouldn’t complain - because when it’s busy, it’s very very busy, so some natural downtime is something to be grateful for - but there’s only so much a chap can take. On top of which it starts my paranoia monkey fidgeting. I start imagining that IM is cleverer than I know him not to be and that he’s actually scheming the downfall of the house of ball. It’s ridiculous.  I’ve thrown another banana in the cage to keep him (the monkey - not IM, although from a distance you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart) quiet, but for how long, who knows?

 

At least I have something kicking off towardds the end of the week... providing cover for someone who's providing cover. They must be desperate (who rattled that Monkey's cage?)

 

On the social front, it’s ben a non-stop round of spending money I haven’t got - and it’s not scheduled to end anytime soon. There’s a wedding next week and a wedding anniversary in a couple of days time which is bound to be fun. Wool. I thought I might get her a jumper ;-) Only kidding Mrs G. Perhaps a sheep?? Oh no. I’ve got it.  A slap up lamb dinner and a lovely bottle of red. Perfect.

 

Looking at the tech news there’s been rather a lot of disruption lately.  It seems everyone’s being hacked, passwords are going astray, software rollouts are failing causing the banks some frustration and the mobile phone networks are just switching themselves off.  If I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say the government are very busy hooking into every system they can get near via their crack hacking team - known as “anonymous”.  Of course, I’m not a conspiracy theorist or paranoid (oo oo eek eek), so I’m quite sure they’re far too busy watching my every move and logging it into a database somewhere to be involved in any of that other stuff.

 

We’re also a matter of days away from Apple releasing the next version of OS X (Mountain Lion). Rumor has it somewhere around the 25th July - a Wednesday, much like today.

 

Before that we have “The Dark Knight Rises” hitting UK cinemas on Friday. There’s every chance I’m going to try and see that on the big screen, but it’s all about time and money and all that jazz. Just as a quick aside on the subject of films...  I’ve recently seen The Woman in Black, The Iron Lady, The Thing and The Awakening all of which were far better than I’d anticipated. 

 

If I were to criticize one of them in particular it would be “The Thing”. The DVD extras include the bits they cut out of the cinema release - and that edit is a travesty IMHO. The missing scenes are the ones that put the film in context with the earlier John Carpenter version - which is a masterpiece of horror. Without them, the newer film, while looking the part just feels like a bit of a poor remake, which is clearly not it’s intention.

 

Back to the tech then and the latest iOS app not to reach our shores just yet is “Twist” - a genius idea that means you won’t have to hang around for your friends or relatives anymore. Live ETA’s...  Here’s the video:

 

 

And finally - on the subject of video... (and not really on the subject of Tech, from which we seem to have strayed)  I’m sure you’re as sick of this song as I am, but you can never be sick of Star Wars.   Enjoy....

 

 

Until next time - The force will be with you, always.

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Error 1202*

Landed with a bump... Both at Birmingham airport where the Irish company of 50p flights (or not actually) came in hard and fast, and of course with the dawning realisation that there's a Monday morning fast approaching and that means our holidays is well and truly over.

Still, it was nice while it lasted and it means that we can start looking forward to the next one (when there's an "Oct" in the month)

Other than the hard landing, the return journey was unremarkable and uneventful. The car was there to meet us and we'll definitely be making use of valet parking again in the future. Saved our holiday without a doubt.

..and so what does England have in store? Well, there's the Libor scandal, the rift in the coalition, flooding and of course the "O" word complete with withering torch currently in the Channel Islands. Hmmm. Seems like if St Swithin is to be believed, the flooding will abate, which as a result will mean the "O" will be hugely successful and the Libor Scandal will just bring the enivitable collapse of the coalition ever nearer. All in all, not bad then.

**

Now, what of work? I read from the badman that while things have happened, nothing's really changed. At least his DIY electrical skills haven't seen him electrocuted and his huny pot is a little fuller. It seems that while Scobie would also like to be on holiday (and who can blame him) at least he's keeping up with the tennis, his Humax and even has some DIY to do as well... And then I also read that the Gorse Fox is busy DIYing in preparation for his house sale. Looks like there's only one thing for it... DIY all round.

Mrs G and I have a plan. New floors, refreshed sofa, new wall colouring - in fact a full on DIY fest. We have some working out to do, but you can expect to hear more about it in the not too distant future.
In the short term, next week involves two days off (I know, its an outrage as I'm not even back yet) but it's all for a very good cause... a wedding - just what's needed for a proper British summer.
This is good, lots of good stuff to look forward to, and yet still, there's a Monday Morning coming... Let's hope it's not too hard a landing.
**

* Error 1202 (for those how don't pay attention to their tech history) is the error that the Apollo Guidance Computer spewed out moments before the manned landing at Tranquility Base on the moon. They also came down with a bump.
** Thanks to AmericanHell and SavageChickens who always provide great entertainment.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunday....

Image
What a drab wet and horrible Monday morning that it is for all those of you not on holiday on the white isle that is Ibiza!!! I'm sorry, I couldn't resist - but rest assured that it's bound to be p!ssing down when the tables are turned and you're on holiday while I'm tied to a desk, nose to the grindstone and all that.

Yesterday being Sunday was another strenuous day of laying on the beach, reading, dipping in the sea and eating and drinking. The only exception to this was the wimbledon men's final.
I'm not a massive tennis fan to be fair, but I do love a bit of history making and I do love to support my country - so it should come as no surprise that neither of these were truly possible when Andrew Murray played Rodger Federer, what with Murray being Scotch and not winning. Ah well. He'll be back next year and we can pretend he's English all over again.

Incidentally, the last Brit to win a men's final at Wimbledon was Fred Perry, 70-odd years ago however, If Murray ever does win it, I won't be wearing any of his branded clothes - i'll be sticking with Fred.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday...

Image
Sat in sun, read books, bought a hat, sat in sun, drank beer (and water under duress)


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, July 06, 2012

And relax... (Friday)

Well - it is friday so I know scobi won't mind me stealing his
boilerplate friday nomenclature especially as we are actually relaxing
now.

It would be fair to say that being late is neither Mrs G's or my style. It's a very rare occasion that we're not where we say we're going to be at any predefined time. So to have slept through two alarms yesterday came as a bit of a shock when we finally awoke. After the panic there was much laughter though and quite a few "thank god we
made its". Clearly a proper holiday is very much needed if we also need so much sleep.

Hotel is excellent, clean, well positioned with friendly staff (a
little german, but theyre working on thier GSOH)
Beach is excellent, hardly a noisy youth in sight so not overcrowded either.
Sea is like a warm bath but without the taps getting in the way.
Last nights cocktails at "Sandy's" are wholly recommended if a tad pricey.




This post originally appeared here: Posterous

....in continuation...

Image
from yesterday's post regarding how to go on holiday....

You could alternatively go to bed too late the night before your flight and then sleep straight through your alarm only to be awoken an hour or so after you'd planned. This will naturally lead to blind panic of the sort hitherto unknown. Clothes would be thrown on, bags would be thrown into the car and the car would be thrown up the motorway towards the airport.

The shear agony of wondering through desperation if there is a single hope in all of hell that you might just be able to make it - at least to the baggage check before it closes is an almost indescribable terror that is second to none.

The valet parking provides a tiny glimmer of hope which is sure to be dashed when there's no sign of a courteous, professional driver to
collect your car, in sight and this is simply compounded by the
realisation that you're on the wrong side of the car park.

Finally reaching the bag drop with 5 minutes spare before it closes,
be warned of any relaxation - as those dreaded scales will most likely find that your bags are overweight and you'll either have to unpack them in the middle on the concourse, or pay the extravagant additional £20 per kilogram just to be allowed on board.

The likes of the low cost airlines play on this of course as its their way of printing money. Emergency oxygen is as low as €20 a go - probably. The trouble is, it works.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

How to go on holiday...

If there's one thing I'm really good at, it's going on holiday (vacation for our American* viewers). Here's what you do:

 

Img_4876

Start off with a lie in. You don't have to get up to go to work, so make the most of it. If you really must get out of bed before 10am, then do so only to make a cup of your preferred startup beverage and then return to your bed with it - possibly with toast but mind the crumbs. You've got to get into the holiday zone. When you do get up, take your time - you'll have booked a perfectly sensible flight time so there's really no rush. 

 

No matter how rushed you are, there are only ever three things you need to travel abroad which are easily remembered by the letters PMT. Passport, Money and Tickets. Everything else is a "nice to have" but ultimately non-essential. Obviously this is a proper holiday so there will be a whole suitcase full of "nice to haves" and with no kids (or even young adults) involved on this occasion the whole process is a lot easier. 

 

Passports: should be in your travel wallet. Money: may mean a quick trip into town to change some Pounds into Euroz. To be honest this is almost unnecessary because there are ATMs on Ibiza so in this instance I could just draw it out there, but it's "nice to have" just to cover the unforeseen. Tickets: e-tickets should be in your email. In the next 12 months technology will be sufficiently available that you won't need to print them, but this time I have no choice. Printed and put in the travel wallet (also referred to as the PMT case)

 

So with that done a long lunch of choice is in order (something with bacon preferably - for it's a well known fact that everyone loves bacon, even alleged vegetarians), during which you should browse your kindle library and update as required with all manner of "good reads" to take your mind of the sweltering heat and deep suntan you'll be acquiring. Follow this with a perusal of your iTunes library to update your iDevice with appropriate audio / video content to drift off to sleep to whilst lying in the sun. Pack said devices with appropriate chargers and adapters for your destination country. 

 

That's about it really...  Have I forgotten something?  Oh yes.

 

Packing. The most important piece of advice I can give you is travel light. There's nothing worse than hanging about in airports with loads of luggage - especially in warm countries. No one wants to sweat their nadgers off dragging a heavy bag stuffed full of clothes that you probably didn't need in the first place. As a guide - Men you need a fresh t-shirt each day and a more formal evening shirt, a couple of pairs of shorts, a pair of smart evening trousers/jeans (which you'll probably wear to the airport) with your good evening shoes. Your other pair of Flip flops or light weight shoes go in the case. Women follow similar rules but with the notable addition that you do not need a different pair of shoes for every day! And of course bikinis are far better (and more flexible than shorts). Underwear obviously if you feel it's necessary :-)... But only one pair of socks (if your going to the sunshine) for the journey home. Wash bags And you're done. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. 

 

One more pro tip on packing. Roll don't fold. This creates less creasing and uses less space in the case. Ultimately, if you really really need it and you've forgotten it - get it there.

 

A gentle drive to the airport and make use of valet parking if you can.  Lugging luggage on a bus around a car park is easy enough but a waste of your relaxing time. Check in online to save that hassle, drop your case and go straight through security - don't hang about ground side. Air side there are usually retail opportunities and to start off a really great holiday I recommend a bottle of champagne in duty free to drink when your in your hotel room. It'll be cheaper than the hotel and feels like you've really arrived. 

 

Don't eat on the flight. This messes with your body clock and if jet lag is to be avoided you want to resync your clock to the destination time zone in a hurry. Let's say you're on a redeye overnight flight. Eat before you get on board as if it were dinner, sleep and eat when you get out of the airport in the morning as if it were breakfast. Don't be tempted in between times, the aim is to fool your body into thinking its in it's usual routine.  This doesn't cure jet lag, but it does make it a lot less aggravating. 

 

Switch your phone off on board the outbound flight and don't switch it back on until you're on the flight on the way home. More specifically for those of you in the iDevice world, switch your data off. It costs a fortune abroad so if you must get online use free/cheap wifi only, but you're on holiday. Unplug. Personally I send a couple of pictures back home and even write a bit as well - but then I'm a terrible geek and don't practice enough of what I preach. 

 

At the other end a taxi is the preferred transfer method, but if it's a bus don't rush to get on it and sit in the heat (unless it's air conditioned). Use this time to immediately start to acclimatise to the warmth provided by Johnny Foreigners country. The sooner you're used to that, the sooner you'll feel at home.

 

Make sure the hotel staff know your name and you'll be looked after - as long as they don't know your name because you shout and bark at them. Be nice to them and usually they'll reciprocate. 

 

That's today's plan then.... Perhaps I'll write some more at the other end - or perhaps I'll be too busy enjoying myself. 

 

For now, adios.

 

* as its the 4th of July, I'd just like to wish them all a happy "Sorry you're not in the commonwealth (where wealth is common)." day.  Just kidding.  

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A bit more on Blogging and some worthwhile apps...

Hopefully, I've found a way to solve my Posterous pain - but time will tell. I've switched my writing method into a different app on the iPad (Blogsy)... Here's the overview that comes with the app (Shame about the little helper guy - puts me in mind of the damn Microsoft paperclip - but so far that's my only criticism):

Blogsy

Welcome to Blogsy!

Let's get started.

  1. Set up your blog by going to the Settings Menu→ Service Settings. Then choose your blog platform and fill in your information.
  2. Tap on the Post Info. button to get to all post information.
    1. Current post information.
    2. Local drafts.
    3. Online posts and pages.

If you would like to Edit HTML or need to paste embed codes then just swipe with three fingers across the screen to flip to the HTML side.

Here's a quick overview pointing out where to go to do all the things you want to do.

Blogsy2

To get more information about how to use Blogsy go to "Settings" → "How-To Videos" or "How-To Guide".

There's a bunch of formatting available as well as all the usual media management. It's pretty cool - a fine little app - and the format of the iPad makes it a convenient place to Blog. I know some people don't get on with screen based typing, but it's fine for me.

On the subject of Applications, a couple of others that are well worth a look into if you're looking....

First up: WAZE This little app is a social satnav. It takes input from other users and shares them across the user community. The result is traffic data that's as accurate as the number of users sing it. But it does seem to work very well. There is a fairly active community already and the small amount of testing I've done has been absolutely spot on so far.

File

I'd encourage you to give it a go - the more of us that use it, the better the info. It's also had some standard game-ification applied to it (to encourage your use) which while this might appeal to some, takes a bit of the edge of it off for me. But it does work and is useful - so that's two very good reasons to use it. Oh and of course it's free. :-)

There is no doubt that the iPad is the king of the tablets, but it does have one failing. It's actually a big enough failing that I won't be using it on my forthcoming trip abroad. The iPads display is an awesome thing of beauty, but in seriously bright sunlight it sucks. That's physics for you. So it's for this reason that I've stolen daughters kindle for my trip where the e-ink just flat out wins and it's a device that's practically crafted for the beach / plane or anywhere you want to read regardless of brightness (ah! Apart from total darkness - no backlight means not in the dark).

Of course, amazon do have the kindle app here on the iOS platform and it is a dream to use - so it very nearly works... It's just that e-ink for reading can't be beaten on any other device so far.

At some point this week, we'll finally be getting a proper iPad version of Google+. Up until now, we've had to make do with a double size iPhone / iPod touch app, so this is going to be a most welcome addition (as long as it works). Keep your eyes peeled in the apps store, but it's most likely to land just as I leave this island for a sunnier one.

One last app to mention and this one is a game... It's called Plague Inc. by Ndemic Creations and will waste your entire life if you let it. My recommendation, don't download it because you'll end up infected too ;-)

Have fun. Until next time.

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, July 02, 2012

A Two day week...

...and then it's off to sunny Spain - (near enough).

And after last night I can't think of a happier place on earth. No doubt there is much cheering on the streets, frivolity and the like because their national team played a top quality game of football and properly thrashed the italian's 4-0...  not that I know the first thing about football - but a most enjoyable match.

Now here's a thing....  Robert Scoble.  Ever heard of him?  Most people in the UK probably haven't. If you were an early adopter to Google+ you probably have a bit of an idea who he might be.  He was in everyone's stream and particularly vocal. Persoanlly I'm not sure what to make of him, I think he may be a bit of a loon.  He uses words like "Janky", sometimes seems like he's eaten too many smarties and if you really want to, you can read all about him here: "Google+" or here: "Scobleizer"

However, that's not the reason I've mentioned him.  It's actually this video of him loosing the plot over Google+'s new "Events" system.

Events

This is a way to invite people to an event. You can pinpoint individuals or circles and send them details of your event (date/time/location etc) which they can then drop into their calendar. The problem with it though, is it is possible to just drop it into peoples calendar whether they want it or not. Clearly, that's not a good thing, but I'll let scoble explain what happened to his own calendar, but interestingly he has ove a million followers on G+ vs 333,000 on facebook. By the way - the audio in this clip is NOT SAFE FOR WORK...

One last word on Google+. Scoble needs to clean up his circles and choose which one's to focus on and the folks at Google really really need to open up the API so that apps developers can start to integrate with it in a similar way that Facebook does.

Finally - this is still happening and I haven't figured a decent work around yet:

Posterbang

Enjoy your week...

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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