Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hiatus

I went out for some drinks with Bruce and Phil tonight. We sat chatting setting the world and the IT industry to rights.

I think my prediction that blueray will out is beginning to come true, blockbuster the biggest video rental chain has decided to throw its weight behind blue ray rather than hd dvd. Given Blockbuster is both a huge retail player and plays an active role in film financier this is a huge boost to blueray. I guess the execs have good reason to believe based on the market the blueray will out. I think the sooner the next gen format war is over the better for the customer, so hopefully we can see consolidation pushing down hardware and disk prices.

I have been feeling a little stale recently, in respect to this blog. There is a lot going on but its mostly work which either I cant write about or I feel its boring ground to go over. I really dont want to turn this into a work only blog its just thats actually my life at the moment. I am heading off on holiday to Turkey on Friday so I have decided to put the blog on Hiatus until I return. Ill be back with stories and pictures from there on the 3rd of July, catch you on the flipside.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fall, Fall, Fall

Just finished watching Babel, a twisting dark film connecting lives of people from America, Mexico, Japan and Morroco. It was really well shot and a very challenging film exploring the different ways people are isolated and yet connected in this modern connected world. According to the blurb its also a follow on to 21 grams and Amores perros.

I have spent today writing software, updating something my dad started years ago, when I was still at school. We talked many times about updating it to something modern. It has taught me many things about writing in .net, and how to connect to the free mysql server. I found this great article on using lists, and collections.

Much as I am really happy to get something working with my dad it another day I didn't go to the gym. Its nearly a week now, I am really getting out of the habit. I feel really unfit and fat, I really must try and go at least twice before Turkey.

My family were all really happy today, it was father's day so we had a special meal. Add to the good mood my cousin Mark sent round photos of his newborn son Jack Henry Flannery. The pictures are wonderful look like they are really happy, Jack is very healthy; they have a great life in Kansas. Quiet funny though they have this wonderful looking dog George. He is a Rhodesian ridgeback, and apparently he loves to be in on the pictures (he made it onto loads of the new baby ones) and every says "oh nice kid, but wow that is a great dog"! There was some weirdness though apparently there were two Jack Henry Flannery's born in the same hospital that day! Very random but I guess there are many Irish immigrants.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

All the gear and no idea

I spend most of my life trying not to be the sort of person who has all the gear to do a job but is unable to do it (All the gear and no idea). Today I went to help Phil set something up and I must say I had a real ATGANI afternoon. His brothers company atov wanted to project a rendered scene across 4 projectors. This would need a huge scene many times the quality of the average dvd. To do the job Phil bought one of the most powerful computers on the market, an Apple Mac Pro. It has got 4 processors 8 GB of Ram and two graphics cards.

The only problem is, it cant do the task, I am not sure anything can apart from very high end specialised kit. Stretching video across that many screens is virtually unheard of so probably untested. I think this sort of bleeding edge kind of things will require custom development and or input from someone heavily involved with this sort of technology.

T%his evening Phil myself and Nick went for some drinks in the Farmers Arms in Poynton. It was a pretty chilled out evening very relaxing after a hard week working and a frustrating time trying to make video play. Bruce even joined us later on.

We had a bit of a debate going on. I don't subscribe to the Britain is a small country and its full idea. Britain has such small cities compared to China, we have so much unused land really, even something like 1% usage of the greenbelt would house many millions of people. We mostly suffer from a lack of development the last new towns were constructed in the 1960/70's. Even Manchester big by UK standards is a minnow in the grand scheme, the leader of the industrial revolution is now something like 78th place the world GDP rankings. Far too many bright people disapear off to London or abroad, its a real brain drain down south, sorting that out attracting more business would require a real change in planning legislation to allow some more development. I don't feel threatened by immigrants I feel more threatened by a collapse in the UK.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gone on Safari

Apple have released their web browser Safari for Windows download the beta.I am actually using it to type this blog post on. Personally I think its a bit slow and buggy at the moment, but more choice for users is likley to be a good thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

From out of nowhere

I have been finding it very difficult to blog recently. Apart from feeling extremely tired all the time, there are things I cant talk about on here, and the rest of my life is taken up by the mundane things I have already discussed in detail. Maia hit the nail on the head when she told me she thought the thing I was most afraid of was being boring.

This morning I looked at myself in the mirror all dressed up in my work suit, and I wondered how did I end up here. Lately I have devoted the majority of my energy into work, its really wearing me down. At what point did I start living to work rather than working to live?

The problem is I cant answer the questions, I wonder if other feels like I do. That they have been swept along with the tide rather that master their own destiny. I spoke to one guy tonight, he reminded me of myself at his age, full of hope for the future. Somewhere along the way I replaced that hope for compliance, I think I need to get my edge back.

I also have a huge self confidence / doubt problem that is really an issue. I have a tenancy to be a pretty negative person, always questioning myself and striving for improvement. It's a problem working in a company where its literally impossible to get feedback on the quality of your work.At least that what I would like to believe, I am quiet lazy.

It hasn't help the one of the staffers with people picking holes in my work. C exposed some rather stupid mistakes, too much use of the cut and past caused a weird error. It was quiet embarrassing but at the same time I feel it exposed some poor working practises which we need to address.

I was like a message centre this afternoon, playing communicator between several groups of people. I was just about on top of things, until I received a random call from one of my ex's. The call came through during a busy period, so a made my excuses. Despite efforts later she didn't ring back, leaving my very curious. I think I have tried my best, worked hard and dome some good things, but all C see's is some joker who missed an obvious bug.

This evening I went for a drink with Bruce. It was very much needed, I have been feeling stressed all week, and while I realise Lager is a depressant it tastes so nice. It's has been a horrible evening, last week I was boiling, this week I needed to put the heating on!

Well I have waffled enough about nothing, night night.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Totally Random Man

I have been so busy with work recently it just seems like one thing after the next. I have been too tired to go to the gym even. Though I did manage I must say I found it difficult I was really tired I found it difficult to run and had to slow down a couple of times. Its amazing how much fatigue has on performance, I was only able to manage 45 minutes and 7KM, and that was with a couple of breaks.

I met Nina on my way in, she was telling me things at her and Bruce's house are going well its all going off on the 21st with the plastering and the kitchen arriving. I spent some time looking at some places last night. A few things caught my imagination but either don't fit my budget.

Becky came over earlier to pick up her new laptop. I managed to get her a good deal on a HP through Phil, the only snag was that is came with the new Windows Vista. I must say I like the new interface its much cleaner, less fisher price that XP. However on a laptop with 896MB of memory it was paging out over 512MB without any other applications running other than the ones that came pre-installed on the laptop. This to me suggests either HP ship bloated builds of Vista is a unbelievable memory hog. I know memory is cheap but I would have to recommend sing 2GB or more to have a good desktop experience. I also experienced a really annoying problem installing Office. I didn't realise but the laptop came pre-installed with Office 2007 trial edition. Apparently this cannot co exist with Office 2003, a host of weird errors occurred. I had to to uninstalled both versions fully, deleted mapi32.dll and reinstalled Office 2003 seemed to do the trick.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Six Days

I just walked home from Phil's house, we have enjoyed an exciting evening of Wii playing, bbq food eating and drinking.

He and I ventured to the Trafford Centre today, ostensibly to pick up Phil freshly repaired Mac Book Pro from the Apple store. We spent a while in the Apple store Phil was chatting them up as he wants some super powered Mac for some project his brother is doing. It was a glorious summer day in Manchester so I was inspired to buy a could of summery t-shirts. Also in a phase of Summer magic Phil bought one of only 4 Nintendo Wii's in the Trafford centre.

The Wii is pure genius we played the Sports game for hours on end, boxing and golf are my favourites. The graphics might not match upto the Xbox or Playstation 3 but the games and innovation is infinitely greater. Even Phil's mum joined us for a game of golf, and she even seemed to enjoy it!

In slightly unrelated news I got a tax credit today for my Standard Life shares. My £49 dividend bought another 14 shares. Unfortunately due to demand the drip shares were bought on a peak, I don't mind much though I still think it s along term (3-5) years hold. SL-.L has been one of my best purchases, up 50% from the original IPO if only all my investments performed so well, I could retire!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Building Steam With a Grain of Salt

You know I used to celebrate the milestones that this blog reached but somehow it slipped my notice that I already surpassed the 500 post mark. Crazy really I only started this all with coercion from Lulu yet somehow I have managed to keep writing (semi) regularly whereas a lot of others have fallen at the wayside.

Thanks to all the people reading, comments are always welcome and very uplifting even if its too tell me I made mistakes. I like to think of everyday as a school day, there is just so much to learn, it find it fascinating to see what is out there. I know recently I have been a little below par, hopefully after next week work will calm down and I can start getting some more of my life back, so maybe I will have something to write about.

Work was another marathon today; it seems this week has disappeared into meeting and stress rather than productive output. I went for a drink with some guys after work, came home for some dinner then headed out with Phil. We went into Cheadle Hulme but to be honest it wasn't that much fun, we were not part of the target demographic too old for the Kings Head, too young for crowds in the Jon Mil or Governors House.

Whilst I was at home, I heard from Maia. It has been a long while, but it was nice to catch up. She was in a great mood, having just got a new job and a new place to live with her husband. I am pleased that she is enjoying her life in Italy. I had my doubt on whether it would work but I am happy to say I was proved wrong in this case.

I promised my friend Esther I would mention her on here, she is going on holiday the same time as me though to a rather more exciting destination; hope you have a great time.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

B.O.G.O.F Film tickets

Liz put me onto a cheap cinema deal so I thought I would share it here

Too many meetings

Today was a real pain rather than being able to get on with things and try and make a dent in my ever increasing workload, I spent the day in meetings. Whilst I understand the need to meet up and arrange thing sometimes it seems like we just keep going of the same ground. Nobody really seems to have the will to move things forward, turn down of back out so we remain over comitted and stretched even with extra bodies working.

Also a lot of work is stacking up not getting through testing which is a real problem, work gets done stacks up and can cause issues, sometime things accidentally get transferred, causing untold problems like last week.

I also lost out on my day working on the next generation project this week thanks to another colleague getting called away to another site meaning there would be no cover.

Japanese was very difficult this evening, we had a mock test which would be set to allow any newbies onto the intermediate course next year. I think on the basis of the test we would all fail. My vocabulary is limited as I don't practice enough and only doing one lesson a week means the words are not reinforced enough for me to recall them. I am really going to have to add in a lot more revision time to make significant strides.

I had an argument with one my fellow Nihon students (who else but Martine) regarding a art. I suppose I am a bit of a Philistine in that I really don't like modern art, so Damien Hursts skull nor the graffiti inspired London 2012 logo just look like rubbish to me. I much prefer Bejing's Panda bears or a beautiful Renascence work to Sheep in formaldehyde. I guess the stupid amount of money languished on this stuff that upsets me too. Ill never forget when I read about the forty thousand pound pebble outside the Bridgewater Hall.

I went for a drink with Bruce, he has spent the last few days trekking round the country on an emergency replacement mission. His company suffer from bad planning just like most others, only its competent people like him and myself that end up having to pick up the ball after its been dropped. Sigh, at least we had a nice chat and a drink.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Run rabbit run

I felt like death this morning, once the cat woke me up I wasn't really fit for anything except sitting reading the economist. This weeks is a great issue, there is a rather interesting essay by Tony Blair. I dont really agree with his views on much but he always puts across a good argument, worth a read. There is also a 15 page section about climate change which was very interesting. Especially the discussion on the economics of some of the different types of renewable energy versus fossil fuel generation.

I left my car at Phil's last night, so after several hours reading and drinking water I finally felt able to go round and pick it up. I walked round, the day was beautiful, sunny and warm. Phil felt much like me, we had a sit and chat in the garden, taking a few photos with Phil's Brothers amazing digital SLR camera.

We got talking about Australia, and decided to go check out how much it would cost to go diving in the UK. Heading to Macclesfield and New Horizons Dive centre. We had a look at the prices, £500 for a dry suit, nearly £200 for a course on how to use a dry suit, and the pictures of the UK waters hardly looked impressive. Diving here is a lot more than in Australia.

In the evening we headed out to for a meal, to celebrate both Bruce and Philips birthdays. Jo, Holly, Endo, Jo, Bruce, Nina myself and Phil headed for a curry at the Spicy Hut in Rusholme. It was a very enjoyable evening, we had good meal, a nice chat and a few drinks afterwards. I really enjoyed the relaxed and comfortable time.

Long days and pleasent nights

Friday was a very up and down day. With the successful go live of a major project on Wednesday and slightly traumatic update yesterday, I was at a little bit of a loose end. It was decided that we start work on a new project, again another data transfer this time to a lender. It means I have to do yet another tedious data mapping exercise, but at least I got the project, its a step in the right direction.

The day wasn't all smooth though. There was a last minute problem with one of the systems so I had to do a last minute bit of bodging to make it work, well at least not to crash. There seems to bit a bit of politics going on over this particular system, so I just did enough for the moment.

After that I felt in need of some R&R and was invited to the pub by the customers staff. A rare treat I decided not to pass up the offer. The weather was gorgeous we sat in the beer garden of the Rectory and had a couple of pints and a chat.

Today was a big day for Phil, his 27th birthday. To celebrate we had a bbq with his parents and brother. It was really nice sat in his back garden in the sun enjoying some steaks and ribs. Phil's family were all in very good spirits, he mum was telling us about "the Major", some very funny but unrepeatable stories. He had an interesting chat up line, apparently he asked the then 19 year old Miss Hadfield "Do you Fuck?" Pretty direct eh? :D Despite being sorely tempted when drunk later, I decided (wisely I think) not to try that one.

Phil and I headed out into Didsbury for more drinks, arriving at the Slug and Lettuce we tucked into several beers, including one gratis thanks to Galaxy 102. They were doing some night there, unfortunately it did attract some rather less savory characters. There were some real chav's my "favourite" example was one young looking pregnant girl, complete with hoop earrings, a fag in one hand and an alchopop in the other!

Ian joined us about 10ish, he elected to drive as he had an event the next morning. He persuaded us to move to the Bollin Fee in Wilmslow. We arrived and started hitting the harder drinks I must admit by this stage I had been drinking since 6 and it was now nearly 12 so I was more than a little bit drunk. In fact my memory is a little hazy, I remember dancing like a fool, and acting like a tit. The I remember getting a lift home and Ian pouring me out of the car.

I feel bloody awful today but it was an enjoyable evening I think Phil had a good time which is the main thing.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mortality

Today was an especially busy day but not for the reasons I imagined. A very long project has finally gone live, after well over six months of preperation the first applications started heading through today. To be honest unlike the lsast big project this one wasn't a mad panic at the end. In fact it hardly requred any tweaking.

Unfortunatly one totally unrelated change went pretty badly wrong, something sneaked past testing causing major issues on this month end week. I probably could have fixed it in 10 minutes but by the time the various people had said their piece distracting me it was over an hours work to sort out. In future Ill have to be a lot more careful checking if other people have worked on the same area.

Both Phil and I have had heavy days fo one reason or another so it was nice o head to the pub this evening to relax. Juilie was on and told us she is doing the race for life. I am pretty impressed, I hope she makes it. I would like to do the Manchester 10km next year but I am not sure if I will chicken out at the last moment.

After our drinks we came back to my place and looked over some old photos of us all looking younger less stressed, Phil seemed to feel old (even though he is younger than me) some of the pictures feel a lifetime away fom us now. I talk to people aboutn their wild all night sessions and I rememebr them wel but I always feel too tired these days. I have to apply myself so muchat work I just dont seem to have the energy to party so much, or myabe I am really getting older, I hope not!