Archive for the 'General' Category

Jet-set lifestyle

Replace the “Jet” with “Train” and you’d be getting there. But that sounds rubbish. Anyway, I digress.

I had a meeting up in Knutsford today, so I jumped on a train out of Cheltenham at silly o’clock this morning. I changed at Birmingham, then progressed to Crewe where I discovered that my connecting train had been cancelled. WOOHOO! I eventually arrived over an hour late, which was just wonderful.

We apologise for the late running of this train…

Fast forward to the return journey this evening: I get all the way back to Birmingham New Street before they thwart me again! This time the train was over half an hour late leaving. Truly fantastic service.

I’m really growing to love travelling by train.

So tomorrow I’m off to London to see a man about some AJAX. Again, I’m catching the train at silly o’clock. This one should be OK in theory – it’s direct. Going by today’s experience though, anything could happen. Wish me luck…

I’m a danger to myself

For once it wasn’t the other traffic endangering me on today’s morning commute. It was me.

I was absolutely flying this morning, despite the constant whinging from my legs. “What are you doing? That really hurts, I can’t be expected to maintain that sort of pace!” The roads were a bit damp but it’s nothing I can’t deal with. Or so I thought.

I’m approaching a right turn, pedalling like I’m an a sprint on Le Tour (really must fit a bigger gear). I look back, signal, carry on for a bit, then throw the bike over into the corner. It tracks cleanly round the bend and I carry on as usual, pedalling like fury to the next obstacle. Except this time it didn’t quite work like that.

This time I threw the bike into the corner and the front wheel decided it wasn’t going to grip. At all. BAM! My knee hits the floor followed by the rest of me. Traffic comes to a halt and a lady is asking me if I’m OK. I get up, smile at her, tell her I’m alright and the world carries on as normal again.

Perhaps turning in at ludicrous speed wasn’t a great idea in the wet – my tyres were never going to grip the white lines and knackered tarmac all that well were they? The best bit is that I’ve managed to bruise the knee and elbow that didn’t hit the ground. It seems that my bike is made of pretty solid stuff :-/

That’s very, very funny indeed.

The best Blonde Joke ever. Fantastic.

Sky!

For possibly the first time this year, we had a sky. By which I mean a blue sky with some semblance of sunshine. Up until now it’s been dull and greyall the time.

See, good stuff has happened. I had a fantastic Christmas. I got a new bike, which rides rather well. I had my appraisal at work and came out the other end very well – and recent website launches and upgrades have recieved generally good feedback. I’ve seen great films, with great friends. Yet still I feel somewhat down at the moment.

I don’t really know why, so I’m going to blame the grey. Looking out of the office window and seeing sunshine made it all feel so much better. If only I could have escaped into the hills to enjoy it… ROLL ON THE WEEKEND!

Songbird

Looks like there’s a new media player riding on into town. So what? There’s millions of perfectly good ones around. Well, Songbird has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.

  • It’s creators have previously worked on Winamp 5 and Yahoo’s Y! Music Engine.
  • It’s user interface appears to be that of iTunes – but on steroids. I’m not sure how good this is – iTunes has a very clean interface, whereas this one looks a bit cluttered and dark.
  • It’s based on the same core technologies as Firefox and Thunderbird (XUL and CSS), meaning that if you don’t really like the front end, you can probably come up with a new skin for it.
  • The same software runs on Windows, MacOS and Linux, which is always nice.
  • It’s got that mysterious ‘Devices’ menu, which leads me to think they’ll have some support for portable hardware. Which ones exactly remains to be seen.

My main hope is that they support just about every audio and video codec known to man. For me, iTunes’ major flaw is it’s inability to natively handle much in the way of non-Apple audio and video formats. Don’t want much, do I? Anyway, it’s one to watch…

All these things rock:

  • My Orange 222. Stable, planted, fast, FUN! Oh, and removing the brake-arm didn’t appear to make any difference to the ride. One afternoon’s riding without it isn’t exactly an extensive test, I know…
  • Topshelf Components. I ordered a custom built new wheel, and found it waiting on the doorstep the following day. Fantastic service. The Aireal stuff they sell is pretty damn good aswell.
  • G-Dog’s new trails. Funtastic aceness – except for that drop. It’s just plain silly.
  • Falling off your bike and not hurting yourself.
  • Fog. It made Cheltenham disappear entirely, which looked cool from the top of the hill.
  • The current albums by Maximo Park, Hard-Fi and Bloc Party, not to mention some older ones by Everlast, Haven and The Black Keys.
  • Apple crumble and custard. In fact, I think I deserve another portion…

They’re a funny old bunch, Sony.

On the one hand they’re a bunch of idiots, whose copy-protected music CDs can leave your computer open to virus attack. OK, I’m sensationalising, but that surely is a sign of a company that just doesn’t get it. It’s like they believe that if they don’t install something really nasty on the CD, the consumer is just bound to pirate it. Meanwhile, illegal copies of the CDs appear through the usual channels within hours of release – as per usual. This sort of thing just doesn’t work Sony – it’s only ever going to generate you bad P.R.

On the other hand, they produce some absolutely fantastic hardware and commission some wonderful adverts [thanks Eeen] in which to showcase it.

Go figure.

Update: It gets worse for Sony

Brilliant: It would appear that Sony’s copyright protection software is itself in breach of copyright [thanks Andy]. They’re really thought this one though, haven’t they?

Armistice Day

It’s a minor miracle: I managed to get through this morning’s two minutes silence without someone phoning me.