Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Got a new camera!

... got a new camera, got a new camera, got a new camera, WA-FREAKIN-HOO!

So, after 4 years living with my old broken one, I have finally (FINALLY) gotten a new camera...

My old one freaked out after going from a hot external environment, into a cold internal one (an ice-skating rink), early in 2009 and has never worked properly since. It was not really worth fixing in that Canon charge a gazillion for such services and, frankly, I was looking at bigger and better things anyway (including video capacity). 

Although, I did not really think it would take 4 years to get it sorted out!

It's been a real shame as, as has become very apparent to me over the last 15 years and since I got my first one at age 7, I really love photography and have really missed not being able to do it. Since, as it turns out, rather like trying to have a child by yourself, it's quite hard to do any form of photography without a camera!

So, photos to follow, but, erm, as it stands, I'm a bit scared to take it out since it cost quite a bit and I need to get my insurance updated for it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rosetta Stone

Here's a picture I took of the Rosetta Stone a while ago, that I was fiddlin' with in Photoshop (...mainly to divert attention away from the monkey in the background).

Monday, August 01, 2011

More Smurf shit...

Well, not literally, I'd imagine they'd get mistaken for little blue smarties...
It has recently, like yesterday, come to my attention that there is a new Smurf film out, in 3D, called 'Smurf 3D', which, in all *likelihood (*caution: spoiler alert), will be in 3D... and about Smurfs.
Being (proudly) in the top 1 percentile of adult males who have blogged about Smurfs in the past 5 years, I should be more excited than I am. I'm not.
Also, since this blog seems to get more visitors from people looking for 'Smurfs', 'knee rashes' and the phrase 'Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net', I should be at least motivated about it to some degree. I'm not.
Not wanting to completely piss on the smurf parade though, here is a nice tid-bit about Smurfs for all you Smurf-seekers out there:
The name 'Smurf' and ensuing concept, originally came from a Belgian Artist Peyo, who had mis-pronounced a word at dinner as he was asking for something to be passed over.
UPDATE: Now pissing on my own parade, I actually took a moment to look up the 'real' story on the Internet and it turns out that he was asking for the 'salt' to be passed over and, furthermore, the actual word that came out was 'schtroumpf', not 'smurf'. Which is French for 'whatever' so it seems (or allegedly anyway. I don't speak French and Babelfish does not seem to agree... nor know what it is at all?!?).
It was only in subsequent translation to Dutch that it became 'Smurf' and, from there, in English too!
So, after all that (and 30 years of my own belief), he never actually said 'Smurf' in the first place.
*sigh*, I liked my version better...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Smurf or Schlumpe

I just spent 10 mins looking for a specific photo on my blog, that isn't there...

And it should be!

I meant to blog it years ago and, frankly, am amazed that I didn’t, or hadn’t, done so (yes, it's been a slow morning).

It concerns Smurfs and my love for them (legal disclaimer: relatively speaking). I've got some great Smurf stories (who doesn’t… boo-yah!)(Ed note: we have no idea where this is going either).

One of them from a friend ages ago, told me about this girl who had gone missing at a party. A period of time later and they found her, all OK, sitting alone in a cupboard.

Only thing was though as they opened the door and she looked up, she got all upset, started wailing loudly and then bursts, inconsolably, into tears.

Ages later and they're still trying to comfort her and get to the bottom of what is upsetting her, when they discover that ‘in her mind’ she had been happily sitting in the cupboard, surrounded by Smurfs. They were running and playing all about her and she was having the time of her life, all alone in this secret wee world with her new little blue friends.

Awww, fluffy bunny rabbits and happy thoughts…

Suddenly, her delight was disrupted as the door to the cupboard flew open and the humans started crowding in. As they did so, they stood on and, of course, squashed, lots of her new Smurf friends - to her absolute horror and dismay!

Hence the frantic reaction.

True story!

...did I mention that she was on mushrooms at the time?

~ ~ ~

As a life-long traveller, I had often thought of what would be good mementos from my travels.

One idea had been to see a cultural sporting event, relevant to wherever I was on the planet. All things considered, there has been limited overall progress on this one - $500 USD tickets to see the Canucks in Vancouver, for example, has put paid to that.

At an even younger stage I thought collecting the red McDonald's french fry packets would be pretty cool (...did you know they have different country-specific icons on them? Or did, anyway, somewhere back in a time closer to the last mini-Ice Age).

That, however, died out too as consideration on the hygiene matters associated with the storage of year-old greasy chip packets, grew on me (figuratively speaking). And, relatively, I just grew out of McDonalds food anyway.

~ ~ ~

Then, as a somewhat older monkey, I thought learning a unique word in a multiple foreign languages would be fun or useful. So, after the initial obligatory journey through swear words, I realised that, for me, 'Smurf' was the way to go.

With this life-matter affirmed, the next place I happened to settle in was Germany (specifically, the Bavarian countryside. Which, to some, if not many, is kind of a separate country in Germany anyway), but it took me absolutely freaking ages to find out what the word for 'Smurf' was there.

...after many conversations with many people (remember, I didn't speak much German at that stage. So, describing Smurfs and the world they live in, was not very easy nor successful. These conversations were not being helped by the fact that, not very far into the discussion, the other person had more thoughts on “actually, this cat might be nuts!”…or, specifically, “eigentlich, dieser Katze ist vielleicht verruckt”, than on working out what the juice I was talking about).

About 4 months later, I was in a service station with my girlfriend, standing idly in the books section, when I noticed there was a kids puzzle-book with a Smurf on the cover. Grabbing it in delight, I hurried over to her and while pointing enthusiastically at it, started manically repeating “Smurf, Smurf, Smurf”, over and over again.

To which she laughed and said “Ahhh, Schlumpf”.

Of course, it had been the word we had pondered many times previously, but had never had the definitive evidence to confirm it (look up Smurf in YOUR dictionary and see how you get on). Remember this was the pre-Internet, caveman, era and live in a foreign-speaking country for a while and you'll find many cultural divides.

Years later and I'm back in Hamburg, Germany, on a flying visit again and you can imagine my absolute joy at coming across a U-bahn stop (tube / train / subway) that was called ‘Schlump’, which is only one letter short of a Smurf.

It obviously deserved a photo.

This is that photo.

So, 10 minutes of searching and 40 minutes of writing later, I’m pleased to have found the picture. I’m also equally disturbed that, at my age, I’ve spent so much time sorting ‘this’ out {Ed not: I, somehow, blame Rob Brydon}.

Having had to look up the exact spelling of Schlumpf online, I have sadly just discovered that: move back a letter in the alphabet and:

Schlumpf (Smurf) becomes Schlumpe (slut)!

Egad, really?!? I never knew that.

But, then, sadly, found myself wondering - “Ist Smurfette a schlumpf-schlumpe?”.

Wow, I hope some German creative team has thought of this before and worked it through (please send all royalties to…).

Forget your 'Vorsprung durch Technik', there's a whole new Smurf paradigm going on here - and I don't need to Google that to know that 'that' whole philosophical quagmire has been debated to death (sic: Smurfette).


(1) I did once know ‘Smurf’ in about 12 languages. Years later and I have to use the Internet now just to find it in German - and that adventure in itself, just about turned into a visit to some websites that I really don’t want to see.

(2) Sadly, I never did find the Universe where knowing how to say the word ‘Smurf’ in multiple languages, was useful.

(2a) …probably in the cupboard with Mushroom Girl.

(3) from a greater blog’astic point of view, the fact that I’ve only blogged 3'ish times in two years is probably of greater significance than a ‘missing Smurf photo’ - Universe dependent, of course!

(4) I've got a sinking feeling that I've blogged about some (a lot) of this before (oh dementia... so soon?). Something ironic about repeating yourself on an inane subject, on a blog that you don't write to enough anymore.

(5) Oddly, No, I'm not still with that girlfriend...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, into the future...

Egad, where does it all go...

3 blogs in the lion's share of 2 years - nice!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Paths & Windows

I find it difficult to talk...

Friday, April 16, 2010

that'd be Venus then, somewhere between BBC3 & BBC4...

Click for (much) larger pic...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Phantastich, Schumacher Kommt Zurück!

That's got to be the best news I've heard in ages (obviously, there ain't been much good news in my life recently), Schumacher is going to make an extraordinary return to F1 to fill in for the injured Felipe Massa!

Wow, that is so cool and is really going to put a bit of spice back into F1. Think of the matchup's with Schumacher vs Hamilton,
Schumacher vs Alonso, Schumacher vs Button, Schumacher vs Vettel, amongst all the other stuff going on.

I never did see Schumacher race during his normal career and I'm already thinking about a wee trip to the Valencia for his first race and only one of the few European races he'll appear in. That'll be me & 80,000,000 Germans then...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wild Turkey

Someytimes, you just gotta dance... with a 'Y'...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ohhh, I want one of those...

Over the years I've spent a buckload on Sony's overpriced crap (one the reasons I'm now a Mac owner), but I really have to get one of these...

Sony Releases Latest New Kit

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 years to the minute...

...since man landed on the moon.

Personally, since that time, I've learnt to walk, wipe my own bum and, eventually, fly.

All things considered, I think I've achieved more than NASA in the interim...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Administrative Error {502:Overload}

There must have been...

...surely, I've blogged sometime between now & the 10th Dec 2008...?!?

"...check the logs for 'icebergs'." quoth the Raven (unhelpfully).

"Nope, all cool!" replies Bridge...

dataCodeStamp: 004722042009Z;

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Duck's Disease

Amazingly, positively, I can report that I’ve been running like a dog recently. In fact, rather more like a dog than I would have liked on some of the more recent ones (I seemed to go through a phase there of losing any fitness that I had).

Looking back I see I’ve chalked up 50 runs in the last 3 months, which, frankly, has required a huge amount of effort and a fair degree of obstinacy because, when all is said and done, I’m not really a runner’s runner.

For beginners, I have what my father would have descriptively called "Duck’s disease" – where my arse is too close to the ground i.e. long spine / arms, shorter legs (not that he used it on me personally, as I am nigh on 6 foot. ‘Nigh’ in this case being 5’11 ¾ - as whinged about previously).

My body configuration is good for swimming and especially good for ice-skating, where the lower your centre of gravity the better, but it is not much chop for running.

I also can’t even say I particularly like running, but I have a huge amount of respect & belief in being fit and, at the end of the day, running is the most accessible form of fitness there is available to most folk. You put on your shoes and just do it, to quote an over-hyped company (he says spying his branded running top & cap in the corner).

So, with a life-long attempt of trying to maintain fitness (
having first ever set off for ‘a run’, of my own accord, when I was about 8), I get out there irregularly and go plodding... with varying degrees of success. Anyway, I had a vague agenda in mind this year that I shan’t bore you with here, but am pleased to say that it will be over in a few more weeks (or this phase of it anyway).

It has been tough going recently and as the winter gets grimmer, darker and colder, it has been getting tougher, run by fargin’ run. In fact, I haven't been running in temperatures that were in 2 digits for goodness knows how long and over the last 8 weeks, it has averaged between minus 2 & 5 deg C (I do have a habit of running at night), plus, at times, there's been a shitty westerly wind recently - once up to 35 mph (that was a bundle of laughs, let me tell you).

The other day, 3rd December to be precise, I went out for what must have been one of the most precarious runs of my life. It was cold, 0 deg C, but it had been a lot colder the night before at minus 6 and t
here was black ice everywhere.

As I started out on the first mile or so, I didn’t really appreciate how bad it was. Over a hill and as I got down to an exposed section where the wind consistently blows, thereby dropping the temperature even further, it was like an ice skating rink.
By this stage I was out on the road, as the footpath had become un-runable (sp?), and so I began matching up my life & limb, with the passing traffic.

Being 5.30pm, it was already pitch black and the cars were having their own difficulties without having to deal with an over-enthused, but under-prepared, Kiwi on the same road.
As I got down the end of a straight I figured I’d be OK as the return leg was along the canal and once there, there would be no traffic to contend with.

How wrong was I. The path beside the canal was now fully iced up, as it had not had the benefit of some heat friction from any passing foot-traffic. Now I was having to run on the very rough weedy grass that separated the canal & path itself, which is, at best, 3 feet wide.

Now, there are no lights along this canal path and with sections of ice hidden in the undulating tussock, I was only one bad-foot step from a plonk in the canal. It’s a pretty canal it has to be said, but the water is not the best and of the two folk I know of who have ended up submerged in it, one ended up with Glandular Fever and the other contracted some other equally scary lurge.

Thinking before writing this blog, I cast my mind back over the years and I don’t think I have ever aborted a run before. I’ve certainly flagged a few before they ever started, but never crapped out of one, during it. Another mile or so along the canal and I finally thought ‘bugger this’ and figured I’d stop at the next bridge, review the safest option and either walk home along the canal, or get back to the main road, via the bridge, to return that way.

So, I make it to the bridge underpass which consists of cobblestones and just as I’m easing to a halt at the far side, I lose my footing on some ice and start to tumble. At the same time an elderly chap appeared entering the short tunnel from the other side and, in essence, I skidded out past him, sliding along on my knee & side.

He looked shocked and said “Goodness, are you alright?” to which I replied “...and that is why you don’t go running along canals on black ice!”.
I stood up, thanked him for his concern and walked up to the main road for the return (in the end, I ran home anyway as I’d already been on that part, it was nowhere near as bad as the canal and I had my tail up by then about the whole adventure anyway).

The only injury (read: world's smallest scratch) was my knee and that is barely worth talking about. Post-shower it looked something like this:

But I do mention it because it has been a while since I’ve been able to post a photo of personal injury on this blog (as feeble as it may have been) and for a while back there, I was starting to have a field day with adventures like this and this.

At the end of the day though, gotta say I kinda enjoyed myself in a perverse way. Mad & dangerous as it all was, it was a jolly good challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed the Carpe Diem element of it all.

Oddly enough, as I reflect back now, there were no ducks to be seen out there on the canal, short-arsed or otherwise - I guess they know better…

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Samaratin Work

Well, that’s pushing it really…

In that odd twist of life where things happen in 3’s, two rather strange similar events have happened to me recently. Essentially, I’ve helped to return a couple of wallets to their respective owners.

The first one happened about 2 weeks ago when I was leaving my flat to go and watch some rugby. I’m barely 10 feet from the front door when I spy a bulging Japanese ‘Manga’ type wallet, lying on the ground.

Initially, I sorta walked past it in a way that a cat does, airing indifference, while it sizes up the situation.

I was already late for the bus and the game, but after taking a few more paces my good ol’ Kiwi upbringing took over and I knew I could not just leave it lying there. I dashed back and picked it up, whilst looking around for anyone who had that ‘oh crap, I’ve lost my wallet’ look on their face.

After a quick inspection I could see no-one (at all) so I figured I’d quickly stick it in my flat and sort it out later.

Many hours on, post rugby and associated mayhem, I’m back and ready to investigate the wallet situation. I open it to discover that it belonged to a girl, who was a local University student and like all good students, she had virtually no money - vice a fiver and some pennies.

Monday morning and I phone up the local University all ready to get a message to this girl that her wallet was safe & sound and arrange a way for her to pick it up.

Yeah, right – not in bloody 21st century Britain!

First of all I spoke to a chap who said I could bring it in, to which I said that I wasn’t able to come in right at the moment or, frankly, wasn't prepared to trapse over town, losing a couple of hours of work, to drop it off (well, like I said, not right then). He then said to e-mail in the details of the student.

Dutifully, I sent off an e-mail to the address he supplied and a couple of hours later I got a reply back saying that they couldn’t help, that I would have to drop off the wallet to them, in person. I wrote back a somewhat curt message saying ‘what do you mean, you can’t help? Surely you can get a message to the, by then, probably fretting girl, to say that her wallet and its contents were safe & sound?’.

More hours go past and I then get an e-mail back from his superior stating that due to the Data Protection Act, they can not give out any details about a student and, furthermore, they can not confirm or deny whether they have a student there.

WTF? I wasn’t asking her out for a date! I was merely trying to get a message to her that I had her wallet and that she didn’t necessarily need to go and cancel all her cards etc. Again, the overlord said I needed to drop it off to them or into a local police station.

I couldn’t be bothered replying to her by then, but, being somewhat irate, I was tempted to write back to say that ‘alright, no problem, I’ve chucked it back into the middle of the street - where I’m sure it’ll get stolen pretty quickly! But at least we wouldn’t breach the Data Protection Act’.

Anyway, a day or two later I discovered there was a police station somewhat closer to me than I realised and I trundled down there to hand it in. Going though the motions with the policeman, I related my tale of the University reaction fully expecting him to say ‘WTF, that’s crazy!’, but he only said ‘Yeah, they can’t give out details because of the Data Protection Act’.


I couldn’t be bother going further down the path to say about the ‘just passing on a message’ thing, as I realised this was going nowhere and my view of the Universe had been superseded by an early 21st century parliamentary act.

So there you have it folks, what a monkey’s arse-about-face time & place we live in. I agree about not giving out details on a student or encouraging any situation where they would be sent off to meet up with a stranger, but that is Data Protection gone absolutely spastic where they can not pass on a message to say something has been found and that it is safe & sound?!? Twats!

In the end, by the time any message got anywhere near the poor lass to say that it had been found, she must have cancelled all of her cards and, as such, the contents of it would have been thoroughly useless by then – save the £5 & funky wallet.

So, on to the second of these odd events…

About a week ago I hear the clatter of my postal slot and a rather ominous thud in my hallway, as something crashed to the ground. I go out to investigate there is a very screwed up white envelope, with the barest of writing on it. The scrawled address on it was right, but the name was not and there was no return address.

The contents were already spilling out so it was no feat of entry, nor breach of the 1792 postal act, to investigate the contents. I turned it over and to my amazement, a bulging wallet came tumbling out.

WTF, am I attracting these things?

Well versed by then in the art of wallet investigation, I got to the heart of the matter and found a drivers licence in this one, which belonged to a guy called Ben (I’ll call him that… since that is his name). It stated that he lived in the same street, but the next number along.

That night, early evening, I went down the road to look at the buzzers on the next building to see if I could identify the flat or his name. Like all good UK buzzers they were completely illegible and gave absolutely no indication which flat was which.

Back at home I fired up the trusty internet and did an investigation on him (I’d done the same for the girl above, but it was inconclusive). Eventually, on Facebook, I found a chap who was in Edinburgh and who’s profile picture sorta looked like the one on the driver’s licence (he had a cycling helmet on in his Facebook profile image, so his face was somewhat obscured).

I sent a quick message to him and the next day I got one back, saying ‘yeah, fantastic, that is my wallet, but he hadn’t lived there for a couple of years!’. He identified the wallet correctly in the message, for any diligent sleuth-like reader out there, and mentioned about some money being in it.

I wrote back to him to say ‘great, let’s meet up and I can give it back to you’, but, at the same time, had to tell him that there was no money in there (it was only a 20 Euro note). So, I’ve yet to meet Ben, as he was away for the weekend, but I look forward to catching up to return his possessions and basking in the light of my humanitarian work.

I wonder if he works for the Parliament or knows much about the Data Protection Act?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good on ya' Manly...

Somewhat late to the picnic, I got to see the final two games of the NRL season... since there were no takers on my Setanta Broadband sale.

It was great (even getting up at 7am on a Saturday to watch the Final) and I really enjoyed being able to watch a bit of sport from 'downunder', especially with some 78 points scored over the 2 games.

Could have been a teensy-bit better if Manly hadn't have scored 72 of those 78 points.

Final score NRL grand final * Manly Sea Eagles 40 - Melbourne Storm 0 *

Sunday, September 28, 2008

For Sale

"1 x Setanta Broadband Package. Barely used. Upset owner."

I guess that's progress - at least they converted the try this time in their 32-6 loss...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No history repeat please!

I'm anxiously glued to my computer waiting for the game to start...

Very soon, like in
26 minutes, New Zealand's only pro Rugby League team will take on the Manly Sea Eagles in the last semi-final of this year's NRL (Aussie Rugby League competition), to see who takes the last spot in this year's final.

Middle of this year and they were doing terribly, everyone had written them off. While I was in NZ they turned their season around and started their current winning streak (10 in 12 games to today) which took them to the play-offs and, now, very against the odds, to the semi-finals.

I got to see about 2 of those first few games of that run and none since, bugger it.

Figuring I'd blow £10+ if I went to see it at the pub this morning, I thought I'd cough up the bucks for Setanta Sports so I can actually watch it from the comfort of my own home. Actually, with my laptop and my mobile broadband contract I could watch it from the top of the nearest hill, but home will do for this morning.

It's funny since I once saw the Warriors play live at the Sydney oval way back in '95, shortly after I'd first left left NZ. The club had only just formed and on the other side of the equation, I had a mate who had played for Manly in time gone by - so I was keen to see the game while passing through New South Wales.

Unfortunately, as the time for game start drew close, I’d been on a 50-hour bender, part of which was spent in the pub from the beginning scene of the massively crap film ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, which is worth a digression in itself. I'm not much of a fan of musicals in the first place, so it was never going to have much hope with me, but, to add to its doom, some clown had told me before the film started, way back when, that it was about 'aliens',
or that is what I heard anyway. So, I sat there for 1/2 the film wondering when & how on earth aliens were going to come into this film?

When it finally truly dawned on me that they weren't and this was as good as it gets, I was pretty pissed!

Anyhoose, back on the day, entering my 49th hour with a wee accomplice at my side, I figured I was up to going to the stadium to watch the game. So, I actually made it across Sydney and into the stadium, but, sadly, faded as the game started, passing out ½ way through the game... falling asleep on the grassy bank!

I only woke up as the game was over and the crowd were all leaving. Lucky thing really – since the bloody mongrels lost by 52-4!

1 minute to go...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wot's on the telly...

Well, I'm back and it's great to indulge in a bit of crap telly, in the comfort of my own house... with my own universal remote.

It's funny, I've found, that if you ask folk they'll generally always say "Oh, I don't watch telly that much...". 'Really?', I so often seem to think 'It seems like the fargin' thing is on, every bloody time I go round there'.

Whilst in the Land of the Long White Cloud I had the slightly unnerving pleasure of meeting the man who 'doesn't care what channel the telly is on'.

We've probably all been in the situation in someone else's house, when the host, who you don't know so well, is out of the room for a extended period of time,
to go and change the channel over to some other crap, which you'd slightly more prefer to watch. In this case with, obviously, bugger all else on, I'd settled on Ski Jumping - a 'passing interest' leftover from having lived through a German in Winter where, like anything, if you watch something for long enough, you get into it!

A few minutes later he'd come back in the room and I thought 'shit, I don't want to be seen as the guy who has boldly taken over his telly' (some people can be quite sensitive to this sort of thing) so I left the remote on the table, pretending nothing had changed, and squirmed with embarrassment as this 'brief' news update refused to go away - highlighting my breach of domestic protocol with the never-ending heartbeat, beating, beating, under the floorboards.

After about 10mins I had to blurt out "change the channel back to what you want, I was just surfing about". He said "nah, I don't mind" and the funny thing was... he actually meant it!

On a few occasions I was back at his house and, for various reasons, the channel had, at times, ended up on something abstract thing or other and I had noted, he really was perfectly happy to sit there, in complete silence, and watch whatever crap TVNZ would throw at him - no matter what it was. Bizarre. That was flexible telly watching at the extreme (in case you're wondering, he was nice soul, but I would not called him 'dynamic').

I'm not advocating that one should watch the telly too much, or watch it 'like that', or even to watch ski-jumping, but there is a time & place to just blob out and watch 'something'. Personally, I don't watch normal shows at all, merely soaking in documentaries, sports, cartoons (Simpsons & Family Guy) and even now, late at night, as I often do, not owning a radio, listening to a bit of radio
courtesy of my not-very-electrically-green-for-such-purposes TV - 'Late Junction' in this case on BBC Radio 3 (highly recommended - eclectic music from ALL around the planet).

My 'TV man' buddy did have one vice I have to admit and that was Coronation Street. Christ, how much do I hate soapies - with that being the worst plague of the lot. Well, maybe not, at least they can act (or in that wooden, exaggerated, pregnant-pause manner of soapie acting). But for the truly tragic check out NZ's own Shortland Street - not only is the program incredibly shit, but the acting is absolutely atrocious, on a scale that has to be endured to be believed!

Back in my own world of rubbish-telly watching, I did find myself the other day slighty drawn into the fascinating world of some folk whose hobbies effectively revolved around 'checking out roundabouts'. I kid you not. They got together at weekends and then and went and visited roundabouts around the UK. They would view them from all angles, take notes, take photos, some even had their own club (with t-shirts) and, naturally, all went for a jolly beer afterwards. Extraordinary!

Of course, in the same breadth of a weekend, on another documentary, I did learn that the space shuttle has a fuel efficency, in its take-off stage, of 2 feet per gallon. I like that, that's good, and its the awareness of that sort of thing which sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom (which, of course, we are able to lampoon over their furry little heads and can continue to do so in the future,
if there is any form of an ecosphere sphere left to do it in).

On other fronts I've also been thorougly enjoying the Olympics. I wouldn't normally cheer on the Americans, not for any xenophobic hangup, but purely because, like China, they have such a vast population, it is pretty hard for them not to win everything. As such, it seems hardly worth giving them any further inane moral support.

Having said that, being an ex-swimmer and sporting purist, I found myself up late at night
a couple of times last week, circa 4am, screaming at the telly, cheering on Phelps to pull of his incredible feat (8 golds if you're a sporting heathen). I was always disappointed to not have been able to see Mark Spitz swag his 7 incredible gold medals, at the '72 Munich Olympics and never thought I'd see such a feat passed in my lifetime. So, to be less than 3 1/2 decades later and to see the impossible being done, was something special to behold.

Finally then, In the words of Richard Dawkins (on telly tonight), on the subject of religion & science "Planes fly - magic carpets & broomsticks don't!".

Touche my good man, touche!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

ich schreibe jetzt...

'Shazam' and I'm back...

... haven't actually really been anywhere of course, but there are tales to be told nonetheless.

Life, she’s a funny ol' buzzard at times, good/bad, happy/sad, and at other times completely Fargin' complicated.

When all is said and done though, you’ve only got one, so whatever it is “you better make the most of it before the whole shithouse goes up in flames..." as Jim Morrison famously said once, or something like that anyway (never could work out exactly what the hell he was babbling about on that particular album).

So, to be frank, there's been a whole pile of crap going down for moi and generally not very good crap indeed. Was seeing someone for quite a while too, but that ended up in a moderate train wreck as well. *mwah*, so it goes.

I had heartily looked forward to the end of '07 since that year had been, all in all, a bit of technological nightmare (also read: expensive). Sadly, '08 has been having its own catalogue of barndances, as well.

This ain’t the time nor format to get into it, but one sadder recent life-torpedo I will mention, is that someone close to me has developed terminal cancer and is fading pretty fast. Sad stuff indeed and with that in mind, I’m off in a couple of weeks for an emergency flying trip back to New Zealand, to see various folk, friends & members of my own Cavebear clan!

I gotta say, in the carnage that has been life recently, that it has completely pissed me off that I fallen off the bandwagon with this blog. Happily though a couple of recent kindly comments & prompters from friends, has reminded me that there are some folk out there who do ‘actually’ enjoy reading it (must buy them a beer).

Over the months I have kept quasi-hassling myself thinking that I ‘need’ to explain my absence to my own blog, like a tardy schoolboy and that, naturally, adds more obstacles to writing itself.

Naturally, the idiocy of that sentiment is only too clear to me. That 'sentiment' being quite difficult to define i've realised and a jolly good exercise in rhetoric, that Cicero himself would revel in.

In that, I realise I’m subconsciously saying ‘…hassle self to go forth and write in an abstract online diary, explaining to your most enthusiastic, nay regular, reader (which would predictably be yourself - now redefined as the audience), why you have not written ‘as such’ to the audience explaining the extenuating circumstances in the delay of writing to yourself, on behalf of yourself, about yourself… or your life therein’.

Hmmm, Cicero could provide more eloquent prose, but he went to a better school and had more time on his hands.

That cerebral minefield aside, I figured I’d just naturally get the band back together at some right time & place anyway. So, hoo-har, I think it can be said, I’m now officially back in the game (if I use another cliché or idiom in this blog, I’m gonna shoot myself).

So, I’m keen to try and blog a bit over the next couple of months (ideally decades), but I’ll have to play that by ear (right… get the gun).

Actually, it is quite an important time in my life anyway for different reasons, but I shan’t get into that here either. Regular readers of this rather irregular blog, may get the reference if I was to refer to previous dribbles on Kylie Minogue’s birthday, Robert Kennedy being shot, Andy Warhol being stabbed and Helen Keller dying.

Suffice to say, it is a big one and I’m going to be running for it. Literally, as the bell tolls, he says, especially now, with only a few hours to go...

(not from new camera)

All that obtuseness aside, I had to buy a new camera a while ago (my previously beloved digital SLR took an unexpected broadside and was never been the same afterwards). A hassle to cough up the money (or credit card as the case may be), but my replacement camera is a hell of a step up.

I had a Canon 300D and now am the proud owner of a Canon 40D, oft-described as the ‘baby brother’ of the insane, top of the shelf, Canon EOS 1D mk III.

My new little baby has a fantastic lens on it as well, worth about the same as the body itself as it goes, and also runs the same operating system as that which is integrated into the 1D.

Amongst a number of other wicked treats, this all means that the lens is image stabilised and the camera can handle shooting at just under 7 fps (frames per second), and can do that for about 30-40 frames in a row (in the 20th century that means a standard 24-exposure roll of film gone in a shade under 3 ½ seconds). I hate to be immature, but when you hold down the shutter and it's firing off absolutely tonnes of high quality photos in the blink of an eye (all about 15MB in RAW mode), it is all rather exciting, ducky.

I’ve barely had a chance to use it with all that has been going on, but good old Kiwi land is well identified as my first serious photographic essay. So, some hopefully better-than-crap pictures may grace this blog, or some of my other outlets, soon.

The 2 pictures on this blog here are just from my camera phone, which is a N95, in case you’re wondering … which is a replacement handset (that I had to actually physically pay for) since I lost the other one a while back (and that, in itself, was already a contract replacement for my original one that died when I ‘effectively’ sat on it, with my fat arse *sigh*). Hence the quality of these pictures is a bit ropey.

They both feature from this very weekend where I’d been catching up with some people and was getting home a bit… erm… late. So late in fact, that the sun was already getting into another day. In my defence though, we are at pretty high northern latitudes here in Edinburgh (the same parallel as Moscow as it goes) and with the summer equinox only 3 weeks away, there are a fair few sunlit hours in the average day here, in this global neck of the woods (somewhat making up for the virtual darkness of October thru March, that the Scots get to ‘enjoy’ here annually).

So, that’s it, I’ve said my piece, spent my load, done my bit (right, bullets please) and I’ll sign off now with the stated enthusiasm of being a bit more proactive with this blog in the time to come.

On one last serious note though, there are a number of you out there that I am desperately overdue for e-mailing to. So please accept my apologies for those oversights and the messages will be coming through in their own manner & form, as soon as they can (unless they do actually, finally, start writing themselves, in which case it'll be sooner).

See you on the other side!

Captain Fargon – 2 June 2008

p.s. contrary to what a this blog has implied, I’m pleased to report my that my arse is not fat, except, in this case, in a figurative sense. My heads a bit bald, but my arse is not fat… as I can do something about that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A good whine & overdue job

I've been somewhat grounded with a shitty head cold ever since I went to Glasgow late last week. A number of days later and it has well & truly outstayed its welcome and I'm getting somewhat sick of it...

So much so that you could say that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!

I had been watching, distractedly, the news tonight having given up on a desparate search to find something more cerebral than 'Emmerdale Fargin Farm'
to watch (on this note, may I add that the latest rouse of digital Freeview activity which took place yesterday has, notably, given us a new station called 'Dave' and stripped away UK History from the 6pm-1am programming schedule. Nice one! I'm sure there aren't any office workers out there who would like to watch something more 'informative' than God-forsaken soapies, when they get home from a hard days work. Especially if you look at todays normal television schedule for 7.30pm, where you have the grand options of EastEnders, Snooker, Emmerdale, News {after Hollyoaks} and Nigel Marven's Shark Island {an hour after Home and Away finishes} ).

Anyway, the news had an article about the middle-classed English drinking too much wine at home! 'Jolly good' I thought and, as mentioned, being sick & tired of being sick & tired, I put on my jumper, thick denim jacket & wolly hat and trundled off down the road to buy a nice bottle of wine.

Somewhat partial to New World wines (surprise, surprise, but, in my defence, who isn't?) this is the 2nd time I've bought a 2007 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc from their private bin and I've got to say it is jolly nice.

I normally stick to the £5-8 bracket, due to an inbuilt natural thriftiness (read: tight) and the realisation that my palette is not that distinguished, nor versed in fine-world wines (I don't even drink Red, but that is a very good story for another day). But I quite happily coughed up £10 for this little number, which got about 8 steps in the door before
, unsurprisingly, its head got knocked off.

In an associated fit of enthusiasm last night (also trying to rid this cold from my consciousness) I launched into some well-overdue tasks. Before I knew it I had decided to change the strings on my trusty guitar, which has served for well for nigh on 20 years now.

I haven't changed the strings for years (5 at least) which is inexcusable.
I always think to myself go and play it steady for a few weeks and then, when I'm a bit more up to speed, put a fresh set on then. The theory being that the initial rich vibrancy of new strings are wasted if they are only going to be used by rusty fingers (watch out younger readers, it's the same type of mindset you'll find you get afflicted with when you get older - saving 'good looking' or 'useful' plastic bags).

All of which is complete twaddle and I should have just changed them years ago.

If you look at the lower section of the picture (click for a zoomed version), you'll see there is a pretty cool dust smear, where I swiped my finger down it. Normally it lives in its flight case, but over the last year its been running around free and, apparently, collecting my human detritus.

Now it's all sparkly & shiny again with brand new strings, and that is before I even get into the brightness & richness of the sound (resonance is what I'm trying to say). If I didn't know better I'd say it sounds like a 12-string.

It's always has had a great sound (far greater players than I will ever be, have often commented so) that stands it way above what its initial purchase figure would suggest. I think its life beside me in sooo many & various temperatures and climates around the world, frantically cooled & heated from many trips in unpressurised aircraft holds and the just 'general' knocking about its taken - not to mention the odd kicking, falling over and general 'being dragged about' (that's before i got the flight case obviously) has added to its rich & unusual vibrance.

So, that's me, away to get quietly phished by myself and fiddle with my guitar - nice night in at home, eh (...unless you have a 'life', partner, children or SKY, of course)!

p.s. an addendum to this story. Halfway into my 2nd glass (they're only wee) and I figured I'd go and record a little number on it and then post it on this blog as an .mp3. Having duly practised for 5 mins and found my £2 microphone (which I flogged off somebody once - state of the art 'quality'), I realised that you can't upload/host .mp3 files to Blogger's server anyway.

Which is a bummer - about to give my first global gig and the theatre hall collapses around me... farg' me!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

moose in da hoose...

When I was young I used to like to draw.

Particularly, I used to like to pull things apart and draw the contents of what was, by then (in the pursuit of artistic expression), a freshly ruined item - I'm talking about one-speaker headphones here, vice cats.

Sadly, all of that kind of thing died on its arse when I turned 12 and elected to follow more academic pursuits. Believing, after receiving advice from elders, that it was the better and more relevant way for me to go.

I don't necessarily disagree with the advice given, but if I had been the one giving the 'said advice' to a young mind, I would have chucked in a "do bear in mind that sometimes there is more to life than black & white decisions (or considerations)".

Pity because now, many years later, having lost any real form of youthful skill, I realise I quite like the act of drawing in itself and, personally, find it's quite a fairly cathartic thing for me to do. Also, I'm happy to admit, my drawing skills are somewhat cocooned at a 12 year old level, which is fine, since the things I'm inclined to draw include logos & cartoon characters. Besides which, as more of a 'Homer' of Springfield than Greece, I realise its more about the act of drawing, vice what you actually produce.

I don't know if it all started sub-consciously with me pondering sub-orbital animals (see last post & comments), but, late last night, with sore eyes from staring at a computer screen all day long, I picked up a bit of paper and started scribbling away.

A short time later and a wee moose had turned up.

By the time I realised the perspective was all out of kilter with the cheese etc, I didn't really care, I was enjoying myself and thought 'bugger it' and carried on regardless... 'no-one will see it anyway', I thought.

So, I kinda like him for what he stands for, vice what he is with his wonky perspective & late minute nose-job. Hence, I figured I'd launch the little fella into cyberspace anyway...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik on...

All 3 of the regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear that I'm a pretty keen monkey on all matters of space. As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, but the NZ space administration would have had trouble organising a car boot sale, let along lobbing something into space.

So, today, the 4th October 2007, hearlds 50 years since the Soviets blasted 'Sputnik' into space, the first man made object to orbit the earth. It was a shade under 60cm in width and a shade over 80kg in weight and couldn't do much except electronically bleep "I'm sputnik", or the russian equivalent.

Well done to the Ruskies, it was a stirling effort and the igniter that sparked the Space Race...

it's always interesting to relate relative technology and one comparison I love is that the computer on board of Apollo 11 (the one that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins to the moon and back) had a 8KB processor on it. What is that you ask, well, effectively, it had the computing power of the most basic calculator you could find in a shop now i.e. one that could add, subtract, divide & multiply and that's about it.

In my own homage to space I have always named my computers / technological bits of kits after major space components. There has been Sputnik, Voyager, Apollo, Titan and others. Only my first computer didn't adhere to the system and he was called 'larry', as in 'Larry the Laptop' - perhaps I should write to NASA with a down-to-earth naming suggestion.

As it goes, I've had a bit of a technological day today myself as I took receipt of a long dreamt of Garmin Forerunner 305. Essentially it's a stopwatch, but it also records your heartrate and, with thanks to it's onboard GPS, it also maps your route, change in altitude in a spatial 3D manner, all of which can be downloaded to a computer.

Last Sunday, 30 Sep, I chalked up my 100th run for the year and as I've wanted one of these puppies for years, I treated myself. Earlier in the year when i did the bulk of the work toward this goal (back in NZ), I thought if/when I get to the centennial target, I will treat myself to something nice as a wee pat on the back for my efforts (as you get older there ain't too many people to pat you on the back, so you've got to do it yourself sometimes), even though, financially, there are plenty of other things that I should be putting my money towards at the moment.

I'm lucky if I get to 60 runs in a year, so I've broken all previous records and still have 3 calendar months to go in this year. So, i'm quite aware that I'm setting a personal record this year that I ain't ever going to beat. I've always wanted to be a person who just happily bounds out on runs 3 times a week, but that is not my mindset.

I'm the kind of guy who gets fit for 6 weeks and then craps out, only having to go through the whole painful 'getting fit again' phase again, 2 months later (this has been going on for about 25 years now).

Anyway, well done to Sputnik and a pat on the back to myself too. I now need to go and name the little bugger - sadly i've used 'Sputnik' before, so I need to dream up something else... Albert II was the first monkey in space (erm, on a one way ticket), but it doesn't quite have the ring I'm looking for.

Any suggestions welcome...

Monday, September 24, 2007

still badgering

I went to write a 'well done' on a site that caught my imagination today and ended up writing a Fargin' essay and bombing their guestbook with it. Since I can't seem to write on my own blog, I might as well whack it in here too.

To most folk the discussion may be a bit esoteric (discussing programming languages), but I'm sure you'll appreciate the underlying sentiment, as we all use the interent & computers, if you can be bothered to read through my blether. What they've done is to set up a platform that shows the programming code which will produce the words to the song '99 bottles of beer on the wall'.

The kicker is though, that it is open for other programmers to contribute to and they write the same functionality, but in varying languages (they're up to 1120 when I viewed it). It might not sound like much, but I explain my enthusiasm below (you can see the site at, whilst also managing to make a couple of bad jokes and attempting to offend the Chinese government at the same time:

Author: Captain Fargon
Location: Earth


"Wow, I wish I knew of this site last century when I first started programming!

It is so useful, especially when you are first starting out, to be able to compare programming languages in multiple syntax, all achieving the same function…

Darn, the amount of sleep, hair and mojo I could have saved over the years by not fretting over which language to next self-learn! The time & energy I put into getting a handle on what was going where, which would be most useful & what was truly the 'right path to follow’ (which, as it turns out, is none of them as it is all relative to what you're trying to achieve and whether, generally, your vent in life is for altruistic or commercial gain), almost makes me cry now, looking back.

Flying on a non-binary level, I speak a couple of languages (Deutsch & Espanol) and, similarly, dual-language books are a wonderful tool for advancing rapidly in your appreciation & digestion of a new language.

On each open page of said books, you have the new language on one side and the translation into your mother-tongue, on the other. Once you've learnt 300-500 words etc and have what is recognised educationally as the ‘initial grasp of a language’ (enough to be able to read, & generally understand, a book written for a 7 year old), you can then rapidly advance your broader understanding and base knowledge of the new tongue, by being able to immediately relate the new word, term or phrase of what you are reading, to your existing vocational map - Antipodean English, of the 'Kiwi' variant, in my case...

The first programming language I learnt was Javascript, circa 1998, and 'experienced' programming soothsayers of the day (established Gods, as it seemed to me at the time), would tell me that I was wasting my time, it was doomed and would be defunct in 5 years and, besides which, it wasn't a real programming language anyway!

Well, knocking on 10 years later (and, maybe, 10 forays into various languages), I still think learning Javascript up front was the best thing I ever did (HTML came first of course)!

With social networking sites & Web 2.0 ever so gently evolving, Javascript is a handy tool and trusted friend to have in the box. These days, with its fundamental association to things like Ajax & ActionScript (Flash programming language), it is only ever going to become more prevalent as richer interactive web applications come to the fore of EVERYBODIES lives.

See Google Maps or Google Analytics (if you’re a website owner) in action, in order to see the opening salvo’s of the future of the internet / computer. And, ultimately, the part they will play in the evolution of Homo Superior. These sorts of applications, platform independent, will sit on your computer desktop, fridge, tv et al, and 'richly' assist your life whether connected to the internet or not.

Even the new ‘One Laptop Per Child’ XO machines are running on Python and good ol’ Javascript (discover the Project here). If the project works and I really hope it does, there could be ½ billion of them running around the planet in 10 years time (or whatever form the ‘machines’ may evolve into).

Well done to the chaps (or chapesses) who thought up the idea and created this site. A fine initative indeed and, I’m sure, of invaluable use to new & developing programmers out there.

I’ll certainly buy you a beer one day when I meet you in a bar… hopefully not in a Chinese prison camp on Mars though (free thought and all that)."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

21 years

wow, twenty one years...

Friday, July 13, 2007

I forgot to say...

... while I was writing that blog earlier today I got an e-mail from a mate which said something like - "I've got a spare ticket to go and see Blondie playing at the Castle tonight. Do you want to go?"

To which I spluttered (or, as best as one can splutter via e-mail and a keyboard) "You mean like Blondie? Blondie as in Debbie Harry or, now, the 62 year old 'Deborah' Harry?".

"Hell yeah dude!

I had somewhat of a crush on her when I was a wee fella (along with a NZ singer called Sharon O'Neill) and hoped / imagined that my future wife would look like / be like 'Debbie Harry' (little did I know that decades later the closest thing I would have for a wife, would be a 3kg flat rectangular box of plastic & metal, made by 'Uncle Sony').

Now that it is raining outside (it is still 'summer' over here, of course) as I know first-hand having just come back in from a run, I've discovered that my friend, who is somewhat younger than I, is not so keen to go any more (the tickets were free, God knows how or why). But he ain't gonna get out of it that easily!

So, now, I'm quickly heating up something to eat, writing this blog and preparing to have a quick shower. I've already checked online with Ticketmaster and I can't take my good camera with me - let alone my zoom lens! So Mr Nokia N95, here's your big chance to be a hero and prove your worth. Let's see what snaps you can take of an elderly lady, from a distance and in the rain.

I'll post them over the weekend if it works!

Cool, I must admit I'm a pretty happy little bunny about all of this...

hectic times

"for the love of God" I've cried many times in the last few weeks, which, as an antitheist, shows the lengths of desperation I've been driven to...

To summarise the last few weeks:

The great British summer has rolled on, or rained on, to be more precise. So much so, that it had a bloody good go at raining out Wimbledon! Whilst all that was going on, the flooding was getting to extreme levels, noticeably around Sheffield. Which luckily is nowhere near where I live - but, it is, however, where my Broadband supplier has their network center (including their backup system).

One Thursday morning I'm sitting there trying to do some work when I can't get on the Internet!

Naturally, I assume that things have fallen
at my end over so I start disconnecting & re-connecting things to try and diagnose / resolve the problem. 90 mins later and I decide to give up & go & have lunch. After lunch I phone my ISP who told me about the flooding problem. "Oh!" I said, and "Any idea how long it will be out for?". "No idea, the engineers haven't even made it on site yet... due to the flooding!".

So, in the end, it was about 4 hours in total until I was back up an online (which I thought was pretty good). Having said that, for the next week and a bit my Broadband was pretty poor. I'm supposed to be on a 24MB service, which, even with my close location to the exchange, should degrade to 18MB by the time it gets here, but, in reality, I've never seen it above 8MB (haven't had the time to really tweak my settings / firewall to get the best out of it) and, typically, it sits at around 4/5MB. During that soggy 1 1/2 weeks, it dropped, at times, to about 30KB (that's KB not MB), which is worse than the hazy old dial up days at the end of the last century.

Next on the list of life tales was my phone - that's my cool Sony P990i that I've dribbled on about before. I damaged the screen a few weeks ago when it was in my bag and since I have insurance with my phone provider, I figured I'd get it sorted out properly. A week later it turns out that it is 'inefficient to repair" and it needs to be replaced. No problemo I thought, I'll happily have a new handset, but then I get informed that there are no more handsets available as 'they don't make them anymore'.

Say what? Sony was 15 months late in releasing them in the first place (I know, because I was impatiently waiting for it to come out on the market) and now, 9 months later, they're not providing them anymore to the UK (& Europe presumably). In the words of John McEnroe "You can not be serious!".

Meanwhile, the phone dude is on the phone with the insurance people and tells me that I can have any other handset I want (great), but they need to know which model now so they can tie up the paperwork (not so great). 'Holy crap' ('more blasphemy' said Mr Dawkins) I had done no research on where the current smart phone market stood and, in my business life, my phone is an essential part of my operating system (it needs to act as a mobile modem, ideally wireless i.e. Bluetooth or WLAN, for my laptop when I'm on the move - especially downunder).

He tried to talk me into a Blackberry device, but I knew I needed more than that (and it looked like one of those Japanese kids toys, that you need to feed every 20min or it would die). Luckily I had, by sheer fluke, been reading about a hot new phone on the market just the other day. So, after quickly firing off some questions at him about the spec's, I said "I'll have a Nokia N95 thanks!" (Nokia fluff or Wikipedia brief

So, like that, I had just taken a huge roll of the dice and hoped I was not about to get Steve Irwin'ed by it.

As it turns out, I hit triple gold on this one and the wee handset is an absolute gem. I got it home, dutifully charged it up and started to learn how to work it. It had all the functionality of my old Sony (in a smaller handset) Bluetooth, WLAN, office system, media player, 5MB camera (the picture at the right taken at night the other day. Being a handset with a small lens the quality is poor at night, but I like the pic anyway), DVD quality video camera (I find that hard to believe) and a few other surprises to boot.

Most notable of which was as I was flicking through the manual I spied a page on 'GPS' and I thought 'no way, it must be an attachment you can buy!'. But, low & behold, it does have a GPS receiver on it and integrated maps, so I can use it as a navigational device (although it can take 20mins for the handset to lock onto the satellites. Fair enough though I figure as it is only a wee phone, with plenty of other things to do).

So, all in all, that turned out pretty well.

Now to the real gripe. Having felt sick Saturday last, to the point where I threw up a few times (I really can't remember the last time I actually threw up from 'real' sickness. It must be over a decade at least, I'd say) I had to abort on my plans to go out for the day (I had a n important sporting event to watch and a mates birthday party to go to that night 30 miles south of here). By the evening I was feeling a lot better and decided I'd commence the Vista upgrade (the new operating system from Windows, released in January) for my fairly top end Sony laptop (dual processors, 2GB RAM, which is only 8 months old). How hard could that be I thought to myself?

Well, for the love of fargin' God, what an absolute performance that has been!

I have never dealt with such an absolutely dreadful system in my life. Now get me right, I'm not a basher of Microsoft products. In due course I'll happily get a Mac Powerbook (when finances allow) to supplement my PC / laptops (I've worked on Macs quite a bit and even had a friends laptop for 6 months while he was away overseas), but I harbour nothing particularly for or against either operating system. I don't bang on for either of them - believing that they both have their strengths (& weaknesses) and uses in specific work environments.

I'm a great believer in what ever helps humanity get along and move forward in the best manner, is worthy of hearty applaud and on that front, Bill Gates and his lot have done the best job
(i'm talking the 90's here). I've worked in critical environments where there were non-standard systems and everyone had their own protocols and it was downright infuriating, inefficient and, in this case, dangerous. So, what Microsoft did bringing in home computers and standardising operating systems was fantastic and could have saved us a decade if the industry kept muddling around doing their own thing i.e. if there had been 10 main vendors of operating systems.

So fair dues to them for getting us all onto a moderately similar wavelength at that point in time. Having said all of that, after almost 2 weeks with it, the Vista operating system, as it stands, is absolute crap (is that the best the Microsoft development team could come up with in 5 years and a rip of the Mac GUI, Graphical User Interface, to boot)!

I have never had to 'crash' shut down my PC so many times, since the dark days of Windows '98 and its cursed blue screen. Vista is forever dropping connections, drivers or a tonne of other infuriating things.

When I develop web applications I run them on my own computer, simulating how they will run on a real web server and, consequently, on the Internet. I, and most developers, do this to speed up development time and reduce a tonne of other variables that might be causing problems. Normally, applications will work in the blink of any eye on your local computer (localhost) since it is all happening onboard your own computer.

Well, since I've had Vista installed, the speed of my Localhost testing platform has dropped to an absolute crawl. When I even try to open a webpage it will take 8-20 seconds to load a normal page, let alone interact with a database (that is worse than the first ever modem I used back in 1990, which must have been about 9.6KB).

I can not believe it, I have been reduced to doing all my development online and from a personal point of view, am used to starting up my laptop to find that 'this time' my speakers aren't working, it can't connect to the Internet for love nor money, I can't install Vista-approved programs (even bypassing UAC) or a million other things.

*sigh*, I've seriously thought about rolling back to Windows XP, but I just don't have the time to make such a retro step. So, I'll just hang on until they bring out the first service pack which should hopefully sort out a number of these issues.

A word to you all then, if you don't need to install Vista then DON'T! It has been 6 months since they launched it, but I'd give it another 6 months at least and, especially, wait until the bring out the first service pack for the mongrel!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

been badgering...

...still flat out and with so much work to do at the moment. I haven't even had a chance to properly appreciate and moan endlessly to someone about the weather we're having... which has been absolutely crap, for those of you who read this blog from overseas and aren't experiencing, personally, the joy of living through the UK's 'Summer of 07', at the moment...

Well, with no spare time and, now, today, having spied myself blethering away on other blogs, I figured I should stop badgering people and go and put something on my own (one poor chap has had close to 2 letters dropped on his). Which is great except I can't think of much of interest to say. Of the 2 things that I can think of, one would be quite boring (to most folks) and the other is more a recent "oh shit" sort of life moment.

So for those of you with a
'Compu-Global-Hyper-Meganet' interest to all things computer'ish, you'll be pleased to hear I've bought some interesting software recently.

Basically, after years of clawing my way up the design ladder via various purchases & upgrade options, I've now gone and bought the 'Adobe CS3 Design Premium' package, which includes:

Photoshop CS3
Illustrator CS3 (for doing logos, cartoon work, page layout stuff)
Dreamweaver CS3 (web design software)
Flash CS3 (whizzy software software, for motion/video stuff you often see on the web)
Acrobat Professional (useful for, amongst other things, making multi-page .pdf's)
InDesign CS3 (never had this before - for making books, brochures - print / press program)

So that is all great, although when I said "bought it", I should probably really say I "VISA'd the moment".

I won't bleat on about it at the moment, except to say it is awesome kit and a fantastic feeling to have such full set of software and, frankly, nice to have it so close after its release date. I've been using pre-CS software for ages, so it is fun to catch up on that front.

Funny thing was after I'd ordered it, on the Saturday morning on which it was due to arrive, I had waited patiently by the door for it to arrive. Having got to 1 o'clock and needing some milk, with no sign of the disc, I decided "bugger it" and popped down the road to the shops.

As i'm leaving, I open the door and 'clunk' the parcel falls to the floor from where it had just been leaning on the door. So, great, a massively expensive box of software has just been sitting outside my front door, unattended, all morning. Annoying, since I
had been up since early on, waiting especially for the postman or any sign of him, with no radio or tv on, but you'd be kidding me if there was any friggin' knock or buzz at the door.

And, to add insult to injury, when I tested it, the box fitted through the mail slot anyway.

Funny ol' thing,
a week or so later, I ordered a new mouse online (which I like to call my "blue-tooth-moose", which, when said quickly, becomes "blue-tooth-mooth"... really, it seems funnier in real life). When it arrived, there's a buzz and an additional crisp knock at the door and a friendly, cheerful delivery dude is standing at the door, with my mooth... and to conclude the transaction, I had to sign his Star Trek autographer collector to boot...

Now, on the 2nd subject, I've having second thoughts about talking about the 'oh shit' moment, so might leave it and see how it pans out over the next couple of days...

picture to the right - has no relevance to this post, just a snap I took in Japan that I like (looks better if you click on it)...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oh what a week

I was watching the film 'Bobby' (chronicling the events at the Ambassador Hotel and the last day of Robert Kennedy, prior to his assassination) on the flight back from Japan, not so long ago. More recently, I've just chalked up another birthday and the two events combine to remind me of something that I'd noted when I was a much younger.

It was quite a week on planet Earth in the time around when I was born - none of which, admittedly, was related to me. In chronological order, the following happened:

- 4 days before I was born, Kylie Minogue was born (alright, perhaps not the biggest of newspaper sales on this one)
- the day before I was born Hellen Keller died
- the day after I was born Andy Warhol was almost fatally shot (never recovered in some ways)
- A couple of days after I was born Robert Kennedy was shot, dying a short period of time later

Kinda busy week for the newsreaders.

Astute readers of this blog will have done some age calculations by now and be able to understand why, on occasion, I have said that "I was shitting myself when man walked on the moon...".

Which, whilst very true, needs to be appreciated in the 'literal' rather than 'emotional' sense. Presumably, I was also sucking my thumb, crawling across the floor and facing the wrong way as a man made a small step & giant leap for mankind...

Well, that was a giant leap for 6 years, until they cancelled the whole firkin' space program!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

about time..!

Whoops, what happened there, eh? One minute I'm on a bus and, then, I disappear off Fargonia for 4 months.

Well, since it's such a funky date, 567, I figured that it was well overdue that I said something.

The Antipodiddlies were interesting, Japan foreign & San Francisco wins the award for the 'place of the trip'.

Something said...

& cheers to the folk who badgered me to do so (they probably hoped for more).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Technology in the Colonies...

Most impressed - sitting here on a bus, cruising down the line to my folks place & I have my laptop hooked up to the Internet, via a connection established on my mobile phone. It's pretty slow, but, all things considered, its pretty amazing. Here's a picture of the view...
Chat soon...

Picture cancelled - firewall problem or something and this ain't the place to sort it out...

*** so, 5 days later and I've finally got this blog posted... few troubles with the natives i.e. firewalls & the local Vodafone system (forced to use Internet Explorer for some reason).