Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Levels

I am feeling supremely happy this morning, yesterday I asked Kath if she would do the honour of becoming my wife, and she said yes!

I had been planning to ask for some time, the time I have spent with her have been the best of my life. I decided that she is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

About a month ago I got some extra money thanks to doing a large amount of overtime. I decided that it was best spent on a ring. I spent a lot of time searching for something that Kath would be happy with, I needed something modern yet classy. I finally found this ring which ticked all the right boxes.

French
I ordered the ring at the start of the month, and spent the time sweating that it would arrive in time for Kaths arrival on the 26th. It eventually appeared on the 23rd, just in time!

Next dilemma, I had to choose the right time to ask. A few different scenarios spring to mind but in the end I decided to take Kath to Liverpool. It might seem an odd choice of place, but Liverpool was the first place we were together, we shared our first kiss near to the Albert Docks. I also hoped that it would be well decorated and pretty for Christmas.

All I had to do was hope for good weather, and be brave enough to ask the question. Her flight landed at 7pm at Liverpool Airport, was amazing to see her only confirming my intention. We drove to the Dockside and walked arm in arm past the docks to the 3 graces. It was pretty lit up with Christmas lights, and deserted we were the only ones walking there. It seemed like the perfect time, so I stopped Kath and asked her if she would spend the rest of her life with me. Luckily she said yes, was amazing to see the grin on her face.

We went for a walk round Liverpool One, both skipping and excited. We ate dinner at Cafe Rouge and phoned our parents who were happy. It was amazing just enjoying the moment.

Monday, December 19, 2011

B0rken

This weekend has been a blur, I had planned to have a long weekend off. Take time out to clean up the house and put up the decorations in time to see Kath next weekend. Instead a load of things went wrong.
Friday my Dad managed to get in between the dog and the postman and winding up with a bite on his hand. So had to take him to casualty. Fortunately it wasn't too bad more swollen than injured, he got a bandage and apparently doesn't need a tetanus booster as after so many you get a lifetime immunity.

On Saturday I had a big failure on my Servers, annoyingly several different things all failed at the same time creating a "perfect storm of failure". To add insult to injury my datacentre access card had expired so I spend an hour waiting in the lobby trying desperately to get hold of the person whom could get me access. Eventually we found the problem a faulty memory chip in one server and faulty connection on the other. Amazing how such simple problems together could cause a massive failure.

Phil and I spent the day in the data centre listening to the whirr of fans and struggling to get everything working. Tired and hungry we went to the Kathmandu for a curry then watched TV for a while.

We finally got the server working on Sunday after a lot of effort. Thanks very much to Bruce and Phil for their assistance.

It now leaves me with today to clean up the house and get to the gym, if I can make it off the couch.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Facebook Stops Feeds

I am a bit behind the curve on this one because I haven't written any posts recently. However I have just found out that Facebook no longer supports syndication of blogs or rss feeds. This is a bit of a shame as I enjoyed the my posts imported into Facebook.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Earthquake

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind.  Have been working long hours to try and get a new version of the companies website up and running. I hav ereally busted a gut to get it up and running, even working weekends to try and hit the November deadline.


It was my birthday on the 25th and I celebrated it big style. Firstly the weekend before Phil got me tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins at the Apollo in Manchester. I had been a  big fan when I was a teenager but never saw them so was a real treat. Billy Corgan is an interesting chap, he has real stage presence.  Unfortunately thought they did play a lot of songs I knew they also played an awful lot of material from an upcomming album. Avant Guard is the best description I can think of. After the gig Phil and I got the train to Cheadle Hulme and had a Curry at the Garam Massala. All in all a really nice night.


 When we she finally disembarked (not de-plained!) we drove back to my place quickly changed and went out for a meal at the bulls Head. We both had fish and shared a bottle of wine. It was a very relaxed and enjoyable evening.


Saturday Kath and I went for a walk around the Christmas market in Wilmslow. There wasn't much to see really, nothing like the market in Manchester. We did however go and try the new Greek restaurant, the Stolen Lamb. Can highly recommend the Mezze there, it was delicious.


Saturday evening Kath and I went on a public transport adventure taking the 378 bus to Davenport, then walking to the Kathmadu restaurant. Bruce, Nina, Phil, Caroline, Jo and Holly all met us there for some Nepalese curry. I had a lovely sizzling mix grill with spicy sauce and rice. Was good to see everyone and catch up. Nina and Bruce gave us a lift home, which was really nice of them.


Sunday Kath and I went for a walk along the canal and Middlewood way in higher Poynton which was really nice.  The air was fresh and cool though a little cold it was nice to get out of the house. After the walk we went round to my parents to say hello, they were pleased to see us. Having a nice chat in the living room by the fireplace.


Good times, wonderful food and excellent company cant really ask for more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

iFixit

Thanks to the iFixit Nexus S teardown I managed to replace the screen in my Samsung Nexus S.I managed to drop and smash the screen after my phone fell from my top pocket onto the kitchen floor while I was feeding the cat. I always think that the insurance is overpriced (though I have subsequently subscribed to protect your bubble for my phone and Ipad). It took my about 2 hours to do the repair and I made one small mistake which has meant the the home key doesn't always light up. However given it cost £90 for a replacement screen I think I made the best of a bad job and have a working smart phone again.

Butterflies & Hurricanes

I am trying to catch up on some blogs, a couple of weeks ago I went to a wedding in Poland. I left on Thursday 9th September, flying to Warsaw where I met up with Kath and her friend Mike. He gave us a lift to the apartment he shares with his wife Karolina, and their kitty Helmut. They live in Legionowo about 45 minute drive from Warsaw. It is a really nice apartment, spacious with a balcony at the front and back. Karolina was working so we chilled round at the house listened to some music and Mike made dinner. Mike made a very tasty spaghetti bolognese. Helmut kitty kept us amused he is a little kitten full of beans chasing everything around the flat. The weather was terrible so Mike was to pick up Karolina after work so Kath and I took he opportunity for a nap. When hey arrived back we opened up a bottle of gin, then spent the evening chatting drinking and having a good time. The next day way Goofys wedding so we set out from Legionowo to Bialystock. They drive was long punctuated by Helmut kitty climbing about the car eventually falling asleep at my feet, and Mike shouting Whore at all the prostitutes stood at the roadside. Kath and I were dropped off at her place, we had some lunch and got ready for the wedding. The Church was only a few minutes walk away so we wondered over in time to see everyone outside. Inside the Onion-domed Russian Orthodox Church there were no pews, so we all stood. The service was in Russian and Polish so I had no idea what was going on but then neither did some of the Poles. It was a different experience, the only thing I knew about Orthodox ceremonies was what I remembered from Pierre and Natasha's wedding in War and Peace. So details like the groomsmen of which Mike was one, having to hold crowns above the head of the bride and groom. After the ceremony we went outside to watch the release of balloons and doves then queued to give our wishes to the newly-weds. Then we hopped on the bus heading to the reception. The reception was very different to a British one. There was lots of food, lots of vodka and no speeches. Essentially people mingled and danced, eating and drinking all night. Kath and I were seated on on a table with Goofy's friends. I got to know Kaths cousin Tomek and his wife Agnieszka. Also a couple who used to working London Mirka and Kamil and Ula and Grzesiek. Tomek told me an interesting story about the stag do, which I couldn't possible broadcast in this blog, to those that know "you animal" is all I can say... I also briefly met Goofys sister Maria and her husband Łukasz who seemed to bear the brunt of some of the jokes. Apparently after the stag do he got so drunk he left for a taxi only was so drunk he tried to pay with receipts and ended up having to raise his wife (and mother in law) to pay. The reception was really nice, I enjoyed it greatly. Met lots of people including reputedly a secret service person. I learned the secret of drinking vodka, I.E. don't take the whole shot each toast and make sure to eat. When we left Goofy made us drink a "traditional 9 shots" fortunately for us he could only remember 4 of them. The next day we got up early to catch a train to Warsaw, and then to Krakow where my flight home was leaving from. Travelling by rain in Poland is an experience. They are old and slow and this one had a hole for the toilet! Was weird to watch the tracks below. Sitting opposite us on the train was a very strange character. I think he was still drunk and he talked about all sorts to us. Eventually he reviled that he was a famous Polish conductor Tadeusz Kozłowski. I didn't really believe him but we googled him later and the picture matched. He was from Lodz which I learned is Polish for boat so when talking you need to be careful because people might think you came from a boat trip not from a place. I love Krakow, and when we arrived the sun was bright and the sky blue. We had a room for the evening above a nice bar (thought it was noisy when we were trying to sleep later). After a day of travelling there wasn't much time to do much other than have dinner a quick wonder around the square then to bed, in time to get up for the flight in the morning. Kath came with me to the airport then we said goodbye. I checked in and waited to fly, then just as I was getting onto the aircraft I got stung by a wasp. It really hurt leaving the stinger in place. The crew didn't have any tweezers so I had to get it out myself and spend the flight with a swollen throbbing hand. I wasn't the only one with problems one of the passengers had a problem they took him to the front to lie down, and made a call to see if there was a doctor on the flight. Amazingly there was both a doctor and a nurse, they gave him oxygen and laid him flat. It appeared he was with a group of men so had probably been over indulging on alcohol. By the time we landed he was feeling good enough to sit up and stop the oxygen. My dad picked me up from Liverpool and I headed home. I got a text from Paul he was up north having a drink with Ian and Jo in Bramhall. I was tired and my hand still hurt but I decided it would be good to meet them for a drink. Met them in Tiger Tiger for a drink and a chat mostly about their respective wedding plans and iapds. Paul could be a salesman for Apple! Rachel Ian's girlfriend. Ian, Paul and Rachel decided to get some food, I had eaten as had Jo so we headed our separate ways.

The Muse

Had a funny day yesterday. Jonno popped round and asked if I would help him choose a laptop. As he was interested in the budget end of the market and wanted to pay in cash PC World seemed like the best choice. So we headed off to Stockport and had a look around. They had a LENOVO G575 15.6" 4GB Ram 500GB hard disk for £299 which seemed like a good spec for that price point. Unfortunately after finally tracking down a sales rep he informed us that they had none in stock. They did he assured us have one in Aston. So back in the car heading up the motorway to Ashton, only to find we had been sold a dummy. We were pretty pissed off the salesman at Aston suggesting that the Stockport saleman should have rung through for us. He assured us that they had 34 at the Arndale centre. So off again this time to the centre of Manchester. I don't think Jonno had ever been to the Arndale centre before, its very busy and crowded. Fortunately this time they did have the laptop in stock. It still took a while to buy though the sales guy trying to sell the usual insurance, which we declined. I made the point if he wanted such insurance it would be a lot cheaper to add to his home insurance. We headed back armed with a new laptop, 3g dongle and a mouse. I unboxed it, removed a top of useless pre-installed software and put on the free Microsoft anti virus security essentials. I was quite impressed with the Laptop, the screen was bright and clear with 1366 x 768 resolution and LED backlight. The full sized keyboard was easy too type on. Overall considering the budget price the build quality was good and the speed more than acceptable for browsing and office tasks. Afterwards I sat with Jonno and helped him to set up an email account and a Facebook page. In return Jonno treated me for dinner at the Bull's Head which was very nice. I had a chicken on a bed of Choritzo and sweet potato mash. It was very tasty just a pity that they were understaffed an the food took an age to arrive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Today was very average, this evening was exceptional, but not in a good way. I got home had a sit down and started to chat to Kath on skype then the door bell rang. Half expecting to see my mum I rang down and opened the door to find my neighbour. He started asking me where the panel was, I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. He kept saying it was in my garage and I had to give it to him. It took me a while to comprehend what he was talking about, finally I started to piece it together. He was talking about fencing panels. Last summer I replaced three of the that were damaged. It cost £55 Nick gave me a lift to Stacks to pick them up. I also painted them with Ronseal. The fence is 5 panels in total but two were ok so they didn't replace them. At the time the neighbour seemed grateful to Nick and I asked how much it cost and gave me some money towards them. At the time I thought it was a nice gesture, after all he offered I never asked. If only I had realised, I would never have excepted! Anyway back to this evening, the neighbour was getting more and more irate insisting that he had seen four panels and that I was hiding one from him. I decided to call his bluff went upstairs found the receipt and showed it too him. It showed the date, the number of panels (3) and the price. At this point I expected an apology, I didn't get one! He insisted I was ripping him off that the receipt was a forgery and that I was a cheat and a liar. At this point I had enough, so I pulled out £20 and told him he could have his money back. At this point he was really super angry and went for me with his cane (my neighbour is an old chap). I dodged and told him is he tried it again I was calling the police, I handed him the money again and he stomped off. I rang my dad, first thing he told me was I should have asked for a receipt for the money second that I should just ignore him. He also asked me if I had seen the fence, I admitted that I hadn't. Apparently my mum had already mentioned to dad that it appeared like the bottom panel was disappearing piece by piece, it looks as if he has been tearing it down one piece at a time. What a crazy guy, nothing like good neighbours. No doubt they will tell all of the other neighbours his twisted version of events. They are a retired couple with nothing better to do than sit around and complain about everything. I doubt anyone is good enough to live in their precious neighbourhood. Kath thinks that he must have dementia and might not even remember. I was so angry afterwards I went for a walk then for beer in the bulls head with Phil. Phil seemed good, busy with work.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

I am trying out the new blogger interface, its very slick, web 2.0 all the way! I am still way behind on the blogging. Kath was in the UK for the long weekend. The weather was typical Manchester rain so we didn't get out much. We did however visit a serious amount shopping. Kath needed a dress for Goofys upcoming wedding. I was a dutiful shopping asstant and after much searching we finally found a very pretty dress for her at M&S. Apart from that we watched a few films including Toy Story 3 which I liked, NEDS which was good if depressing and the killer inside me. The Killer inside me is pretty horrific, told in the first person we follow a killer who beats to death (in a very graphic way) his lover player by Jessica Alba. It actually quite depressed me, I can't quite believe that someone could happily beat their partner to death then the next morning go make a cup of coffee whistling away. So much that I actually started reading up on antisocial personality disorder, and yes some pyschopaths can behave exactly like that. Theirs brains are essentially wired differently, they feel no remorse, the concept is alien to them. Dr Robert Hare, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia believes there might be a significant proportion of the population who are Psychopaths. So most of them are able to function in society unbound by the moral rules which chain us, quiet scary really but they I think I have met a few people like that in my career. From Psychopaths to nights out. I had a bit of a windfall yesterday, due to work commitments I landed a couple of free tickets to see Arcade Fire at the MEN. I only had one evening to find someone to go with so posted on Facebook, Danny was the first response so spare ticket went his way. I met him in Manchester, after taking the train in. I hit 1000 check-ins on foursquare buying a sandwich from the Coop. Danny met me near Victoria station, he was slightly out of sorts thanks to a bout of "man flu". Been a while since I had been out with him in a setting where we could actually talk and was good to be reminded what good company he can be. Full of his usual exploits including an alleged menage a trois following a stag party at Bredbury Hall. We were seated up in the gods on the second row to the back. This actually didn't turn out two bad given the band had everyone out of their seats. The Setlist was excellent, full of energy really getting the crowd going on Wake up, Mountains beyond mountains and Powerout. The band consisted of eight members playing varying different instruments singing dancing cavorting backed up with some amazing keyboard and guitars sounds. It was almost like being at some sort of post modern orchestra. They are certainly different than the usual indie band! It was a really good gig, I enjoyed it very much and still have Sprawl II and Wake up running round my head.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lazy Flies

I have been very remiss not managing to blog for ages. Jo tipped me off that Jon Kenzie and Rory Charles have started there own blog travelling around Europe. Putting me to shame, so in an effort to catch up Kath and I went to Dublin, Ireland, and I plan to write a little series on that. This weekend I caught up with Phil and Bruce fr a few drinks out in Manchester.

We decided that rioters shouldn't stop us having a good night out. Arriving in the city centre two things were evident, it was quiet there were a lot less people than usual. Secondly there were lots and lots of Police, and there we taking no prisoners. I saw at least two people being carted off, one apparently for shoplifting and anther causing trouble near Piccadilly station.

We started at Kro bar, negotiating our way past the storm trooper police and vans full of barking dogs. Kro bar had visible signs of damage, the glass door was shattered but it didn't stop the beer flowing.

We had a couple in there chatting about life, then headed to TV21 for some more. I like the place its quirky and geeky. It was very busy and so we didn't manage to sit in the space shuttle. We started to feel hungry and relying on the train headed back to Cheadle Hulme to an old haunt the Garam Massala.

We used to eat curry here quick regularly but for various reasons none of us have been for years. Inside has completely changed lit up in blue neons I felt slightly like I was inside a fish tank. Fortunately the food more than made up for the décor, we had a chops to start. These were well cooked succulent and tasty. I had a Chicken Jalfrezi and we shared mushroom rice and a garlic narn bread. I felt full and happy as Phil and I shared a taxi back. The driver from Cheadle cabs had a rocking sound system, I remarked how phat it was (yes I am that down with the kids).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Caught in the middle

Recently a friend caused a bit of a storm following some of their comments. It got me thinking that some things in life are very tricky and there are no real answers. The truth can be hurtful sometimes, people don't always want to hear it and its not always appropriate. So how in the digital age should we go about managing our connections between people?

I find that a lot of people aren't very scientific. When faced with fact based evidence people often come up with the line "well in my experience". Essentially this boils down to their belief that in some way anecdotal evidence is better than fact based research. The problem with this way for thinking is that you might be the exception rather than the rule. Scientific proof attempts to eliminate chance and find the truth.

Even smart people sometimes suffer from the God complex blinkering them from being able to find an answer.

For myself I am going to try and be more careful both to examine myself and in comments to others, some people need treating with kid gloves. I actually enjoy the debate, often playing devils advocate, I can't really imagine being surrounded by people who agree with every word, however I know several people who prefer life this way. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex | Video on TED.com

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex | Video on TED.com

Crap streaming

Recently I bought yself a new TV, one of the features was that its Internet enabled, and like a modern smartphone has a series of apps.

It being a TV there are obvious video related apps, like Youtube and Vimeo and some less understandable applications like Twitter and Facebook.

One application was Love Film, I signed up to the steaming trial. They have 6000 films mostly older ones. The quality is nothing to write home about all standard definition they can look fairly ropey with a lot of pixelation. Still when there is nothing much on TV its fairly easy to find a decent film. Its a subscription service, so has a monthly fee though there is a free 16 day Trial.

Another app was Ace Trax. This is a pay per view service which lets up buy or rent content. They were offering one free rental, so I very slowly registered (using my tv remote), it was painful. Then I choose a film went to my movies and attempted to play. This first attempt froze the app. Second attempt stuck at buffering for 20 minutes before I gave up. I had one more go this time I saw one second of fotage before it froze. At this point I gave it up as a bad job.

I guess for the moment the only way to download films is to pay Virgin media pay per view. They are quite expensive (more than actually going to blockbuster), but at least their app works and the quality is reasonable.

I really think that there is a gap in the market for a good quality app that focuses on the user experience and has a decent range of films to capitalise on the non Apple user. Hopefully someone will take up the challenge because the state of streaming today is woeful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Surprise

Its been a while, found it hard to sit down and write a post. My time seems all taken up with work, commuting and the gym.

Saturday was Paul's surprise 30th birthday party. Saskia had arranged for a group of his friends and family to surprise him. The party was to take place in a pub in Banbury, Paul thought he was going for a Thai meal with his family.

I went for a morning swim, to relax, when I got home I had a missed called on my phone, it was Paul. I called him back and we chatted for a while about Ipad's and stuff. I told him how I managed to drop and destroyed my phone. I was desperate not to give the game away about the surprise. Holly and Jo were good enough to give me a lift down with them. It was a nice and steady trip down, chatting about life, and politics.

We were the first to arrive at the pub. Louise and Paul's mum had been in earlier to set up the balloons and party items upstairs. We had a couple of drinks while waiting, chatting and relaxing.

Next to arrive was Louise her boys, Matt,  Emily and their daughter Lila. Lila is a real cute kid we were all a little captivated with her. After that the rest of Paul's family turned up including his dad fresh from his travels round the Med.

T Spoon turned up, last time I saw him was randomly at the REM gig a few years ago.

Ian arrived with Dan, and Ian's new girlfriend Rachel. She seems very nice, we were chatting and drinking.

About 6 we all headed to the Mezzanine and hid. Louise told us that when she stamped her foot we would all shout surprise. Paul arrived with his mum and Saskia unaware we were waiting. The look on his face when we yelled surprise was priceless.


Earlier in the evening Louise pointed out that Paul would but slightly upset after building up to a Thai meal, hilariously while we were eating dinner Paul said he was missing the Satai chicken :D


Food was laided on, a big buffet style affair.It wasn't Thai food but it was very tasty. gorged and drank. Danny showed off his new car. A white BMW with black leather, and he would never forgive me if I failed mention the black roof lining.


There was lots of banter, drinking eating and partying. I really enjoyed it, and by the look on his face Paul did too.

Danny gave me a lift home in his new car. According to Ian he had driven like a mad man (crazy not in advertising), but the journey home was much more sedate.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

All of this

The last week has gone in a blur. A week ago I was worried about Kath going into hospital, I felt powerless and so far away. Fortunately everything went well and she was sent home on Monday, just in time to receive the flowers I sent.

Week was then mostly work than doing some bits and bobs for my old company, in between getting the computers ready for the lan party.

Friday night I got to go on a work jolly. We managed to get a release out of the door on time so the business treated Development, Testing and Business Analysts to a meal out. We went to the Sapporo Teppanyaki. I got the train Piccadilly, then metro to Castlefield. The Sapporo is a large modern place near to the Science Museum. We were seated around a hot plate and the food was cooked in front of us. The chiefs put on several tricks flaring with their cutlery, throwing potatoes to be caught by the diners and flambéing meat. We had a set meal, incorporating Namasu Salad, Miso Wakame Soup, Smoked Chicken Rolls, Barbecue Spare Ribs, Duck Roll, Chicken Fillet With Asparagus, Half Lobster, Scallops With Ginger And Sesame, Jumbo Prawns, Grilled Vegetables, Fried Rice, Sapporo Potatoes, finishing with Fruit Salad.
Though its was a lot of food the portions  were not over the top and it was all very tastey. Especially the Lobster which was increadible. We drank sake and Japanese lager and by the end of the meal I was feeling a little light headed. Next stop was dukes bar which was a short stop for me as I decided to race back to for the last train home at 23:30. Usually I would have stayed out but I didn't want to be too hung over for the lan party.

Unfortunately I reckoned without remembering how much of a hangover that Saki leads to. I felt rather jaded heading to the the lan party yesterday morning, and was more irritable than normal during the day. It was a smaller event than normal thanks to the Manchester United play in the Champions league final and Martin, Adam and Endo being away kite-flying. I really enjoyed it in spite of the fact that my computer decided that it didn't want to play Unreal or Call of Duty. I will have to see it I can save up for a new one for the future lan's.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On Saturday Kath arrived in the UK early at 6.30am. So getting up early I headed to Liverpool airport to pick her up. We came back to my house stopping nearby for a spoiling Peter Herd Breakfast. They were impressed that we arrived directly from the airport.

We went round to see my parents, and storm doggy. Their house is covered in scaffolding at the moment while Paul a colleague of Nick's fixes some holes in the roof and re-points the chimney.

I made dinner for us both, tuna steak with home made lemon garlic chilli  and soy sauce, baked potato, and salad. With a couple of bottles of wine and a rented film. We watched Another Year, a British film following the lives of several characters through four seasons. I found it very well acted but slightly depressing.

It is always nice to sit cuddled up to Kath.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Super Meat Boy

Surprisingly after the drinking games I was feeling not too bad on Sunday Morning. I even managed to fit in a bit of cleaning before Paul and Woller popped round.

We had a coffee and a chat about stuff.

I had received the King of Limbs set in the week and hadn't had a chance to open it yet. So I decided to film us opening it. The package was nice, the newspaper a slightly different version. I loved the artwork, finding it actually better than that which came with In Rainbows. I actually feel its a shame that the artwork is printed on newspaper rather than glossy paper.  At some point I will mix the video and upload it to you tube.

Woller headed off so Paul and I played games. I had downloaded the potatoes sack last week from Steam. So got a chance to try out some of the games. Of all of the ones we played one stood out a country mile. Super Meat Boy, a simple platform game which you play meat boy. The object is to navigate round a small level to get to the girl. There are various pitfalls and traps and every surface you touch gets covered with blood. The levels are fiendishly difficult, but addictive. There are loads of nice touches, such as once you complete a level you see all the failed attempt too.

In the evening Jo Berger came over and we went out for a curry at the Kathmandu in Stockport. Before popping out we listened to some songs from Paul's new album. There is some songs from his LA / Sydney days including a couple I am really happy to hear again. I am looking forward to hearing the mastered version.

Its actually a Nepalese, and doesn't look like much from the outside. Fortunately the food is excellent, I had a lamb tikka sizzler with a spicy sauce. Paul had a prawn Madrass and Jo had a lamb meal. The food was really nice and tasty.

After the meal we headed back to my house and I made Paul watch walking dead with me. Before heading to bed we played and completed the first boss, on Super Meat boy.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

cigarettes and alcohol

It was Danny's 30th birthday party yesterday evening. Held at Danny's local the Foresters Arms in Romiley (aka the piggy).
It all started at 2.30, however it involved watching Football which didn't interest me too much, so I headed down arriving about 6pm.
Using to the GMPTE journey planner to plan I took at train to Stockport then a bus to the centre of Romiley, then walked up the hill to the Piggy.
Holly, Jo, Woller and Paul were already there when I arrived, sat outside in the beer garden. Danny looked happy surrounded by friends, dressed in a dark side of the moon t shirt and a leather jacket.
Paul, started telling me about his trip to Australia, and proposal to Saskia.

Danny had arranged a Pub Golf tournament. I had heard of pub golf before but never played it before. It basically involves drinking a series of drinks, each drink has a par. The par indicates how many swigs it should take to drink. A pint was par 4 meaning it should be drunk in 4 swigs, consuming in 3 would score a birdie, two an eagle. There is a time limit on how long it takes to drink and some other rules which I forgot. I took Paul's place after he backed out I was teamed up ith Berger and two of Dans friends Abby and I think Becky. After the first hole and given most of the participants had been drinking most of the day already the competition descended into Chaos. Dan lost and won a shirt signed by his friends. There was a buffet following the golf, and a live band.
I sat and eat with the follow competitors, Paul and Holly. The band were good but it was very stuffy inside, so we headed back out to the beer garden. We tried to mingle, and I was chatting to Woller, Paul and Joe for a while though by now the effects of the golf had started to scramble my brain.

I took some not photos with my phone there are on facebook.

Holly was kind enough to offer me a lift home which was great, head feels a little sore this morning though.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bridge Burning

My flight arrived at Liverpool airport at 6.25am about 20 minutes early. Unfortunately my dad was slightly late so I was stood bleary eyed outside the airport freezing in the early morning chill.

Was very glad to see him when he did arrive, getting back home I had breakfast tried to sleep a little wasnt able to so instead started watching some TV and relaxing. Cocoa seemed happy to see me, I gave her a long tickle. Mum must have done a good job of looking after her as her coat was very fluffy.

Bruce called me around 5 as he was going to the John Millington, so I quickly had a shower got changed and headed there on the train. Embarrassingly my debit card decided to stop working not sure why, I'll have to call them on Monday. I had no cash so had to rely on my credit card. I didnt find this out until I attempted to buy a ticked on the train, as its only one stop I didn't think I would make it when the card declined.

Phil and Caroline were also at the pub, well I say that they were there, they were pretty hung over from a night out the previous evening. Bruce and Nina were n a good mood. We all had a chat and a drink before Phil and Caroline took off. Nina Bruce and I went for a curry at the Silsila. It is a sort of modern Indian, with fish tanks on the walls and nice cutlery, I enjoyed the food very much though. I had a sort of spicy chicken dish, with pepper chilli and garlic.

Riding the train back I noticed how much work they are doing on Cheadle Hulme station. There have built towers on each of the platforms they look to me like lift shafts I think that they will run gantries between the platforms with lifts and stairs. They have been working on that station for ages I remember part of the car park being taken over for construction works while I was at college.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Leaving Poland

Had to do a few practical things today, some shopping for Kath's gran. Apparently she told Kath that as there was a man in the house he could help carry several litres of her favourite yoghurt drink from the shop upto the flat. Which I of course obligingly did. I had a huge laugh when I saw "Power fist" cleaner.


After shopping Kath showed me how to make spicy tomato soup. Which we ate with Desperadoes beer with lime and a garlic baguette.

Having upgraded my internet connection with Virgin I had a spare Dlink 615 router which I gave to Kath. It's wireless N with multiple in multiple out so should provide better connection. I got it up and running cloning the MAC address of the old one and setting up the Wifi.

Wanting to enjoy the last of the good weather we went for a walk to the Cathedral then another beer before heading back to the apartment for a long cuddle.

We had planned to go for a nice meal out at a restaurant, however we decided to go and pizza and a beer instead. Taking a taxi to the American pizza 66, and ordering there awesome quattro pizza where you get to decide on different toppings for each quarter.

When we got back to the apartment Kaths gran wanted to say goodbye. She doesn't speak English so Kath had to translate, it was very touching she even gave me a kiss goodbye. Made me feel very happy to have met all her family and be liked by them.

In order to get the flight I had to take a bus from Białystok to Warsaw airport, leaving at 11.30pm. We arrived at the Airport about 2.45am in the morning. Time for a coffee and a cuddle before I headed through security and Kath headed back to Białystok.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Visit to the lake

Today Kath and I decided to visit White River reservoirs at Zalew Dojlidy. Stopping first at the local shop to get a little picnic for lunch.
Heading out there were a few drops of water in the air but the sky seemed clear so we took a risk. Riding the bus out of the city to the more rural zone, Arriving at the lake we sat down to have a bite to eat. No sooner did we eat the first sandwich, the weather turned and wind and rain started down. We hid out under the roof of a nearby shop (which was closed due to the time of year).

Instead we decided to head to a shopping mall for a coffee then a film. There wasn't a lot to choose from so we decided to go for Limitless. A film about a man who stumbles upon a drug NZT which increases his mental capacity many fold. It wasn't a bad film, quite an interesting take on the idea. I suspect drug companies are already working on drugs like this.

After the film the weather had turned for the better so we went for a walk round the park then stopped at the jazz bar for a drink. Then to an Italian for dinner. The Italian had an awesome backwards clock



Deciding to get and early night, we watched then new Woody Allen film "You will meet a tall dark stranger". Following the lives of a family, and the influence of a fortune teller has on them. Almost the antitheses of the American, the characters explain virtually everything going on. more of a play than a film really. I don't think that it is his best film the ending left everything to the imagination of the viewer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fountains in Białystok

After a nice lie in we took a walk around Białystok. From Kaths apartment around the Branicki palace gardens. Since I was last there they have and are doing an awful lot of work. They have been renovating and restoring the gardens, including the fountains.

I found out that Białystok has a community wireless with free WiFi in large parts of the city. It requires only a simple signup. Result!

After the walk we met up with Kath's colleagues Paul and Joanna. We met them at a Mexican restaurant, which had featured in the Polish equivalent of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.

Paul and Joanna were both very nice, bringing Kath her insurance form for her upcoming surgery and her timetable. They seemed like a force of nature trying to sort out there little business.

Paul told us a funny story about Kath trying to get her expenses repaid. Back in their early days of medicine they were working at a hospital out of town, they had basically no money but were supposed to have their bus tickets refunded. However as with most bureaucracy the money didn't appear. Paul goaded Kath to call and complain, so she rang and delivered a speech down the phone to the shocked women on the other end of the line.  The women seemed terribly shocked and took a minute before she responded, "I wish I could help but this is 66 Pizza!". Apparently Paul didn't stop laughing the entire bus ride home.

After Dinner Paul arranged for us to take a tour of the anatomy department where he works. It was very interesting for me to see all the anatomical exhibits, sections of brains, lungs, and various body parts pickled in formaldehyde. It must have taken a long time to section out the various parts, not to mention the drawings.

We had to get back to Kaths apartment, for 3.30 as her gran was having physiotherapy. After which Kath and I went to the awesome African Coffee house. They have coffees from all over the world, different blends and types. I took an expresso and we tried a cold coffee, with mint and coffee ice cubes.

In the evening Kath and I headed out to meet Goofy and Ella. We started in Bierhalle. Its hard not to  like Goofy, he is the life and soul of a night out. Funny even in English, and more fluent than I remember. He reminds me very much of Matt Woller. We ate and drank, chatting and laughing, while the Barcelona, Real Madrid game placed out on the TV screens. It was a fun evening we even went to another bar for a nightcap.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gąbin to Białystok

Another day of travelling beckoned as Kath and I left the parents house and headed to Białstok. Wojtek was also heading to Warsaw back to university. The weather was hot and sunny again, the sun shone hard as we waited for the bus to Warsaw. Unfortunately the world and dog had the same idea, the bus arriving full of people.

After some debate we decided to head to Płock as there was a direct service from there to Warsaw and our train. Technically we could have taken a bus directly to Białstok. However it would mean 6 hours on a bus, so changing to the train in Warsaw seemed like a much better plan.

Kath's dad was good enough to give us a lift to Płock, where we picked up an autobus to Warsaw. Wojtek slept most of the way, so much so Kath was worried about being able to wake him up. The autobus took a few hours and dropped us all off in the Centre of Warsaw. We said goodbye to Wojtek, and narrowly missed one train. So we enjoyed a coffee and a muffin at coffee heaven. Our enjoyment only slightly dampened by the little girl begging.

After coffee we went for a wander around the weirdly shaped department store next to the central station. Killing time before the train arrived. I wanted to get a magazine so we went into a shop which sold magazines around the world. I took a copy of the economist, Kath got a copy of a womens magazine. I noticed the times on sale for 68 złotys, about £15!

We took the train to Białstok finally arriving about 9.30 in the evening. We felt pretty tired after all the travelling so ordered a pizza then had a early night.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Płock

Today we decided to go and see Kath's cousin and her boyfriend. We took along Karolina, Wojtek couldn't get out of bed.

Płock was about an hour away by bus. Briefly the capital of Poland 1079–1138, so has some nice buildings and architecture. The current source of wealth is the nearby oil refinery.

First stop was the Zoo where we met up with Kath's cousin. The zoo is fairly new and very well done. With a range of animals, Penguins, Kangaroos, Lions, Snow Leopards and a really nice butterfly enclosure that you can walk through and watch the butterflies close up. I enjoyed the Zoo, especially the Meerkats and the Pengiuns.

Karolina, got a chance to go in the petting zoo part to see the goats sheep and rabbits. She seemed to have a fun time.

After the zoo Karolina went off with her cousin while Kath and I went into the town. The weather was gorgeous and it was a nice walk from the Zoo past the Cathedral then down into the old market town. We found a nice bar with its own brewery, we tried out several of the beers. The wheat beer was really nice. Then we had a lunch, I had a highlander special, a kind of pancake filled with meat and sauce served with cabbage, it was really tasty. While we were sat we watched people playing in the fountain and squirting each other with water. Apparently it is Polish tradition to throw water over young women on Easter Monday, it ensures that they get married apparently! 

After lunch we went to see the cousins flat they had decorated. It was quite a nice place however, I found it very difficult as they spoke no English so it was a very awkward time.

We all left an attempted to get the bus back to Gąbin, unfortunately it being Easter Monday the bus we had been trying to catch wasn't running. Instead we had to wait for a while and goto a different place to get a city bus. Killing time at McDonalds, where I was able to get online. My mobile plan doesn't have roaming data so I was reliant on free WiFi. I was stuffed and just had a drink but Karoline and Kath shared a McFlurry with smarties, yummy!

After a long wait finally we managed to get the bus back, as we alighted and walked back to Kath's parents a car drove past and someone sprayed us all with a water pistol, nice!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter in Poland

Poland is a fairly religious country, following the Catholic faith so Easter is a really big deal. There was lots of preparation, the table was dressed. Wanda even said a prayer before we ate. The preparation took a while, there were loads of different things to eat, different meats, salads, and lots of eggs.

It was a really incredibly spread, so much so that I ate my own body weight in food.  After Easter breakfast Kath and were so stuffed that we decided to go for a long walk through the forest. This time about 5km to a nearby lake. We had a beer at looking out over the water, it was beautiful.

In the evening we watched a film with Wojtek. The American starring George Clooney as a hit man. He hides in a Remote Italian town on the run from other hit man. It had a good rating on IMDB however I didn't think it was deserved. I found it a plodding drama, with far too many silent shots of Clooney brooding. In what I felt was a vein attempt to build up the tension. I never identified with his character at all, given in the first moment he guns down a potentially innocent women.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Arrival in Poland

My dad picked me up bright and early, at 5am. I was feeling somewhat sleepy and a little achy after spending the previous day helping my parents re-roof their shed.

Everything was on time and a few hours later I walked out at arrivals to find Kath mesmerised by a pet raccoon who was waiting with its owners for someone arriving.

We had a coffee and a sandwich then headed to the bus station. Kath warned me that is was a pretty awful station and while she wasn't wrong. I looked like something out of a 70's era Soviet station. It stank, and looked more like Stalag 17. What was more interesting was part of the station includes a hostel. It looked more like a horror film, next to the bus station and railway lines, grey, ugly and dirty.

Fortunately I had Kath to keep me company. I was a bit afraid that we would end up on  one of the 70s era bus, fortunately ours was a more modern variety.

Our eventual destination was Gąbin, a small city where Kath's parents live. Easter is a big thing in Poland so Kath and I were to join them for a few days. I had never met Kath's dad before and am unused to big family gatherings so was a little apprehensive.

We arrived in the late afternoon, the weather was beautiful. Met up with Kath's mum Wanda, sister Karolina, brother Wojtek and dad Marek. It was a little overwhelming at first, so Kath and I went for a walk in the forest. Luckily they all speak English so I wasn't totally at sea.

After the walk we sat down to a traditional post Easter meal. There was no meat on Easter Saturday so the meal had lots of herring, and salad. It was tasty and different for me. 

After the meal we had  a gin and tonic and some Lithuanian Vodka in celebration of Wojtek's names day. Polish celebrate both birthdays and names day. It was very nice family time.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blogger mobile

Just visited pets at home to buy food for Cocoa. Mum came with me ostensibly to buy food for storm only she decided the the 20kg bags are too big. Playing with my phone I found the blogger mobile app so I thought I would give it a try. So far its pretty good, though I prefer a real keyboard over a virtual one any day.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Under cover of darkness

I just finished reading The Road of Bones: A Journey to the Dark Heart of Russia

Inspired by the painting Vladimirka Road by Isaak Levitan  Poolman and his friend Max decide to embard on a trip down the Vladimirka Road from Moscow to Siberia. Tracing the route taken by millions of unfortunate people purged by both the Tsars and the Soviets.
Max dies of cancer before the trip, so Poolman embarks on his own, and the book recounts his journey across Russia, interspersed with harrowing accounts of the dissapeared people, and the horrifying stories of lives destroyed by the oppressive regimes in Russia. Interspersed with the history his journey is interspersed with meetings with Russians each of whom has their own story to tell.
It was a really depressing read, though cathartic and moving. It made me feel glad to live in a country which doesn't persecute and march its people off to gulag simply for telling a joke at the expense of the generalissimo.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Machu Picchu

Its been a crazy week. Last weekend Kath was here, we had an amazing time together. Friday night we had a cuddly evening with Fish and chips from the new chips shop in Handforth. They were very tasty. Amusingly as we walked back with dinner, there was a gaggle of young girls outside my neighbours house having a party. We decided not to join them, and went inside to devour our dinner and enjoy a few beers cuddled up on the sofa.
On Saturday Kath and I headed into Manchester. We had a ticket for Afternoon tea at Cloud 23 bar in the Hilton Hotel. The views are pretty spectacular, and the tea and cake were very tasty. Some photos here After the tea we wondered into Manchester to do some shopping. I got myself some new trainers, and Kath got some things from Primark. We had dinner in Chiquito, then met up with Phil and Caroline for a drink.
We took the train back to Handforth and had a beer in the Railway before meeting up with Bruce for a drink in the renovated Bulls Head.
On Monday I had the day off and we went to visit Dunham Massey. A National trust property, we walked around the grounds. In an effort to find a place to park were I didn't have to pay £5 I managed to stupidly hurt my back. So I was slightly hobbling around. It was a nice walk though, the day was beautiful Spring had arrived, cherry blossoms have come out. We saw lots of deer running around. Heading into Altrincham for lunch at the Slug and Lettuce slightly spoiled by the young women on the next table who was having an argument with her dad. Moaning about the unfairness of the world. I resisted the temptation to slap her and have a rant about her!
Tuesday Kath went home, I was very sad to say goodbye, it seems to get harder everytime.
Wednesday I met up with my previous work colleagues for a sort of goodbye meal. It was a very pleasant evening at the bulls head.
Thursday I had a random message from Paul to tell me that he was coming up to see Ian. I met him Danny Jo Berger and Woller at TGI Friday at the Trafford Centre. Was really good to catch up with everyone. Having chat about what we have been upto. Jo bought Ian a wonderful book full of breasts which will make an interesting coffee table material. Wonder how Nicks' Char will think about that on the coffee table?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Magic Treehouse

Started my new job last week, quite a different environment to the last place. From a tiny office sat with one guy to one corner of a huge open plan space. So Far I have met all my new colleagues, and busied myself learning about the project I will be working on. At this stage its all a bit overwhelming, hopefully in time I will get into the swing of things.

One of the biggest departures is that I am now dependant on an IT department. In the past I have always been an administrator able to set up things as I wanted. Now I am merely another sheep, I have to go cap in hand and ask the helpdesk to give me access to servers. Its quite strange, and more than a little frustrating. I guess it is the problem with large companies, they have to protect themselves from potentials rogues.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adding a disk to VMWare Centos

First add the disk from the VMWare server manager
  1. From the VMWare Server select the VM.
  2. Choose "Add Hardware"
  3. Create a new virtual disk.
  4. Choose the capacity for the example 20GB.
  5. Finish off
Next to get the Linux guest to recognize the disk. Assuming you already have one physical volume mounted using LVM the new disk should be /dev/sdb NB I had to reboot before the new disk was recognised. I wanted to add the new drive as an extra block of contiguous space.
  1. fdisk /dev/sdb
  2. n
  3. primary partition
  4. 1
  5. accept the defaults for first and last cylinders 
  6. w
Add the disk to the LVM Volume. The current disk is 20GB and I am adding an additional 20GB
  1. vgextend VolGroup00 /dev/sdb1
  2. lvextend -l 40GB /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00
  3. resize2fs /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mirage

Yesterday was notable for two things. A massive earthquake hit Japan, the 6th biggest recorded since records began. The pictures of the following Tsunami sweeping houses, cars, and roads away creeping across Japan was incredibly scary. My thoughts go out to the people affected by the quake.

Life in the UK goes on though and it was my last day at my current job. What a last day so many issues at one point I had to switch off my phone and email just to try and focus. I was so stressed trying to keep everyone happy. Its one of the main reasons I decided to leave. The company policy seemed to be if someone was good at their job just give them more and more work until they drown. Still I did not want to leave with work unfinished to I pressured on and I managed to fix the final two pieces of development about 4.30pm packed up my stuff and said goodbye to everyone.

Monday morning I start off at Close Asset Management I am finding it pretty scary starting a new job after so many years working for my current company. I just hope that I am able to do a good job for them and improve my career.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Ready to start

I spent most of the weekend fixing computers, first for Charlotte then Alison. Al's pc was particularly bad lots of viruses and a lot of missing data. I used NTFS undelete to restore her music collection.

Last night I went out with Nick, Ian and Danny. Heading to the Governors house in Cheadle Hulme. Hadn't seen him for ages. It was a very funny evening, as usual blokes spent in light hearted banter.

We arrived at the bar and while I was queuing for a drink whom should appear but Hannah Fairhurst. We had a good catch up, she is getting married in only a few weeks. It seems like another lifetime when I used to hang around with them.

Ian told me about his business partners plan for a Nuclear powered cruise ship. Personally don't think it is much of a goer, a reactor might be cheap to run but would cost millions to buy, not to mention the paperwork required!

Danny made us laugh unintentionally with he stories about trying to get a test drive of a BMW. The moral of the story for me was don't kid a kidda ;)

Something strange happened on the way home, the Police pulled us over. Nick was sober so all was OK. I was last pulled over when I was a teenager!

I got home made a drunken phone call to Kath, then watched an episode of the killing. Its the first crime drama that has really gripped me in ages. The whole series is the investigation of one murder. The effects of the crime on the varies protagonists including the family friends and suspects is excellently played out.

Today I finished offf Als pc and handed it to Ian, then had an incredibly lazy day. Basically chilled out with Cocoa watching TV and reading Time. At some point in the afternoon the doorbell rang. It was neighbours kids rang my bell asking if I knew how dirty my cars was and whether I would like them to clean it. I must admit I was slightly peeved but it is very dirty. Keeping the car clean hasnt been high on my agenda. Anyway given that Cocoa had just thrown up on the floor I gave it a pass. Hope I'm not regarded as a terrible reclusive neighbour. Sometimes I think I am the wrong demographic to live in this neighbourhood. There are a lot of older people who spend a lot of time on their gardens.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Codex

Spent most of yesterday trying to recover data from a friends pc. I found quite a useful utility ntfs undelete. Using it I think I have recovered the bulk of her files.

In the evening Bruce and Nina invited us round a to watch the England versus France in the rugby 6 Nations tournament. Nina cooked a lovely spread. Spinach and Feta pie, with tomato and potato salads. It was really tasty; Two nice meals out in two days I am pretty spoilt.

I was going to catch the train round then Phil offered me a lift. Caroline was with him. She had managed to fall out of bed and bruise herself. We arrived just in time for the 5pm kick off. The match was pretty nail biting. The first half was very even, both sides making lots of mistakes. In the second half England came out stronger and took the game to France.

After the match we watch Lets Dance, and then the film Faster. The Rock plays a criminal looking for revenge after he gets out from Prison. I found the "plot" quite convoluted however it wasn't important to really follow, the film was all about the action set pieces.

I worked through a pack of Peroni during the afternoon and was a little tipsy by the time I got home. I phoned Kath and fell asleep talking to her. We try and talk every night before bed and I find it hard to sleep without saying goodnight to her.

Little by Little

Friday was my mums birthday, I bought her a copy of a book she wanted "The Road of Bones: A Journey to the Dark Heart of RussiaThe Road of Bones: A Journey to the Dark Heart of Russia". I picked up my parents and my mums friend Kath and we all headed to the Kathmandu Tandoori for a meal. I have never been before, but a women I used to study Japanese with recommended it. Walking in I was a bit apprehensive the décor was a bit dated. The staff were very friendly though. The menu was very appealing, I tried a rather interesting dish with noodles chicken, lamb and prawns. Mum and Kath had the chicken chilli and my dad had the prawn chilli. When it arrived, I was incredibly jealous of their meals. Not that my Chow Chow wasn't tasty, it was very nice. It was just the Chilli was so well presented, the chicken strips were nicely cut and the flavour of the sauce was great. Kath also bought my mum some books, so she will have plenty to read.

It was a really nice evening, I think my mum enjoyed herself very much.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Video: This Angry Birds Cake Is Playable. It’s also ABSOLUTELY AMAZING

Video: This Angry Birds Cake Is Playable. It’s also ABSOLUTELY AMAZING

As You Are

Found this great guide to setting up a replication mysql replication slave.

That when I started the salve I had a particular problem that I got the following error "Could not find target log during relay log initialization".

I found adding the following to /etc/mysql/my.cnf
relay-log = /var/lib/mysql/slave-relay.log
relay-log-index = /var/lib/mysql/slave-relay-log.index

Then deleting any remnants of failed attempts
cd /var/lib/mysql
rm *relay*
rm master.info

Fixed the issue.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Morning Mr Magpie

Went out to Manchester yesterday for Caroline's birthday. I met Phil Caroline and TJ at TV21 in Manchester. In a rather surreal moment I found them nestled in a mock spaceship having a few drinks.
After a few drinks in there we headed towards the station stopping off for a couple of drinks along the way.
Next stop we went took the train to Stockport then a cab to the Joshua Brook in Gee Cross. This is where the party really started, with Caroline's family and Phil's parents brother and Jules all turning out.

I managed to cadge a lift back with Jim and Jules which was very nice of them. Was pretty toasted by the time I got home, I'm not the drinker I used to be.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The International

As most of you know I have a special interest in call rates to Poland.

I have just discovered a rather bizarre disparity in Three Mobiles call costs. I am currently on PAYG, though looking at the monthly tariffs.

PAYG calls to Poland are 9pence per minute for mobiles and 2 pence per minute for landlines. That is cheaper than I can make calls to landlines in the UK.

However if I take out a contract and pay monthly the costs rises to
Voice Call. 46p / minute
Text Message. 25.5p / text
Photo Message. 35.7p / message
Video Message. 76.6p / message
Video Call. £1.50 / minute

I Robot

I have been quiet for some time, so I decided it was about time I updated where I am.

First piece of news is after 6 years working at my current company I have decided to move on. I have accepted a new position as a support developer at a company based in Northwich. It was a hard decision to make however I am pretty excited to work on something new. I will be supporting and developing a new portal.

As part of the move I will lose my current mobile phone, which is provided by my current employer. I had long wanted to get an IPhone but after two failed attempts at buying one I decided to go down a different route. I got myself a Samsung Nexus S. It is an Android phone and so far I must say I am very impressed. Its very responsive and does multi tasking really well. I was talking to Kath on Skype while composing an email an attaching a picture of Cocoa
.

My old phone is a Blackberry Storm and while I briefly had an Apple Iphone 3G to play with the Storm is the phone I draw most of my comparisons from. The Camera is much better than on my Blackberry Storm. Also much better than the Storm is the haptic feedback. The Storm uses something called "Sure Type", where you actually depress the screen. It was an attempt to give your fingers some feedback for people missing keys which depress; I believe that Blackberry have dumped this on the Torch. The sure touch thing is good for new users but actually slows typing plus over time bits of the screen don't depress so well. The Nexus has feedback in that it vibrates as you hit the navigation keys or when they are locked. The screen is a lot larger, brighter and more sensitive to the touch.

One interesting factoid is while the Storm you can hold it in any direction in landscape mode. Android definitely has a top and bottom, both in portrait and landscape mode.

The Storm was dreadful for applications. It small memory and the General lack of decent applications meant I basically only had a couple. In a couple of days of having an Android phone I am swimming in them. I can edit photo on my phone, use the GPS, call Kath on Skype (please can you add video calling Skype?), and play angry birds! I am missing some applications that are Apple only, like Speed test, though given how many Android users there are I think most applications will end up with a Android version

Most people say I am crazy but I kind of miss using ITunes for music syncing. It acts as a mass storage device I can simply drag music into the music folder.

Overall so far I am very impressed with Android, and not missing the the Blackberry one bit!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The game has changed

Virgin recently upgraded all their broadband services, and for existing customers this meant an upgrade to 30MB/s srevice for a one off cost of £30. This being a bargin I phoned up adn ordered my new device. This morning I recieved my new Virgin Media "Super Hub". Basically they have integrated the cable modem into a wireless router. Its escencially a netgear manufactured router with a Virgin branded firmware.
Annoyingly they seem to have removed the DDNS option. This is very annoying as Virign dont do static ip addresses so getting remote access can be tricky.

I am pretty happy with the speed though, faster upload and and download

Try broadband speed test

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Save 10% on online Backup

Still not backing up your pc? Backup to the cloud automatically, and save 10%*

Click the link below to sign up for Mozy so you can start to protect your data! And remember to type in the coupon code SAVE10 in the "promotional code" box at checkout to save 10% on a MozyHome Unlimited annual or biennial subscription!

*NB clicking the link generates revenue for me. If you don't want to support me go direct to the site and use code SAVE10

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Visual Studio 2008 MVC SQL Error

I have been trying to follow some MVC tutorials online and got to the step about ading the sql database.
Visual Studio popped up to tell me to install SQL 2005 Express, well I have SQL 2008 Express installed. Indeed the error link redirects to 2008.

I finally found out its because I installed SQL server as the default rather than the expected SQLEXPRESS instance.

To fix this I went into tools->options selected Database tools, data connections and removed the instance name from SQL Server instance name.

If you have no idea what the instance is called you can use the SQL server installation centre, choose tools then Installed SQL Server features discovery report. This will list all the instances of SQL and features installed on your computer.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Young Blood

Yesterday was the 22nd lan party, and it was a big one. 20 people turned out including some old faces who hadn't turned up for several years.

It was most of the usual games, mostly because a lot of new games need internet access to e played. Next lan we are going to have internet which opens up a new possibility for games. Concepts like Steam and Windows Live are killing the ability to play games offline, in the name of anti piracy, it is such a shame really. However it has forced us to make a change and pay for a phone line and ADSL for the legion. Which in turn means we are going to have to be more organised and host more regular lans. If we can do one about ever two to three months we should cover the cost of the phone line.

We tried out my new local takeaway Enjoy Pizza and Grill, they seemed pretty pleased to get an order for 16 Pizzas, 2 kebabs, 2 burgers and a bag of chips. Personally I preferred them to Pizza La Vita but I do admit thanks to the cold weather they were a little cool by the time we made it back to the legion.

The new server seemed to work OK though not sure anything can cope with people moving 85GB at a time across the network.

Punching in a dream

It has been a busy week have some big decisions to make and the stress has somewhat gotten to me. Fortunately I was able to release some tension on Friday Night as I went for a few drinks with Bruce and Nick.
We headed to the Governors House for a few pints. It was a lot quieter than last time we were there at Christmas eve, fortunately no band either. Bruce was asking Nicks advice after having some issues with the landlord of his Cheltenham flat. She wants Bruce to take time off work so that the flat can have a gas inspection. Additionally, the flat has no phone line and the TV antenna doesn't actually pick up any TV station other than Russia today and Al Jazeera. The landlord doesn't think that she should fix either of these, Nick believes that she should as they are fixed items.

Nick looks like he has managed to sell the house he was working on, which frees him up to get going on his own place. By the sounds of it he has some big plans to remodel it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

C.L.U.

I went to see Tron:Legacy last night with Bruce and Phil. Initially I had gone round to Bruce's house to get the server ready for the Lan party next weekend. We managed to pool a lot of spare part that we had lying around to make quite a reasonable server, things are looking good.

Tron:Legacy was interesting, it has been many years since I saw the original so much so I barely remembered the plot. Only the light cycle racing stuck out in my memory. Clearly technology has moved on significantly since the first film. Legacy was a 3D, film which meant the entrance price was £9.80 (plus the cost of 3D glasses if you didn't already have them). I am still unconvinced by 3D. It looked spectacular of course, but after several hours I was glad to take the glasses off. I still see 3D as a bit of a gimmick rather than something which really adds to film. Only Avatar has really impressed me with its depth and ability to immerse the viewer in a 3D landscape. 3D did make the Grid look spectacular, but it would still look impressive in 2D.

beware maybe spoilers

The Grid is an imagining of the world inside the computer. The story starts out with Kevin Flynn explaining the story of the first film to his young son sam, before disappearing. Years later Alan designer of Tron spoke receives a page from Flynn apparently sent from a long closed arcade. Young Sam Flynn goes to investigate only to discover his fathers hidden workshop, where he is sucked into the matrix the grid.

He finds a world where his father is an outlaw living in the nether regions resigned not to fight anymore after his own program C.L.U. a digital copy of him turned against him. Kevin has spent years meditating on his failure to create a virtual world with Quorra. Quorra is the last of a digital race which manifested inside the grid, Kevin saw them as a miracle C.L.U. as a perversion of the perfect world and destroyed them in the great purge.

I think had we have gone to the Imax I might have been slightly snow blind by the end of the film with all the strong colours from the grid!

Throughout the film I kept thinking of Inception. Especially they are both films explore the power of the mind to create alternative realities. In Inception the reality are the dreamworlds, Tron has has digital world of the Grid. Both explore the nature of creating a world, and that our own minds can work against us. In Inception Cobs subconscious works against him, whereas Flynn's obsession with creating a "perfect" world ended up causing genocide.

Both are good films, and both have exception sound tracks. Trons was privider by Daft Punk who arranged an exceptional score. Han Zimmer made the haunting Inception sound track, which added so much to the film. Overall I think inception was a little smarter and more slickly put together. Inception also wins points for being more original, rather than another rehashing of an 80's era film. Tron:Legacy is a very entertaining spectacle film, which managed to have a little more depth than the average action film.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Word Problems

I had my parents round for dinner last night. I tried my hand at making a Mexican style meal, Burritos. I thought they were pretty tasty alternative to the Fajita we normally have. I didn't manage to find enchilada sauce but I did use fresh chilli rather than powder.

I wouldn't recommend Sainsbury's Tex mex dip selection though. I served it with Tortillas and found the dips pretty bland and unappealing.

It has come as a bit of a surprise to me that I actually enjoy cooking. Before I moved out of my parents I hardly made anything, and I was pretty worried about what I would eat. Fortunately I have managed to find a lot of things to make and I prepare an awful lot of my own food. I'm pretty proud of myself for not living off takeaways and ready meals.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bone House

I just want to assure the world that I am not Judge John D. Cooke. I did not preside over the Microsoft Antitrust case. Nor am I a member of the American Criminology Society and much as your publication The Criminologist make for riveting reading I really could do without all your email.

So pretty please Judge make sure you give people the correct email address in future, okay?

Thanks!

All Terrain-Ice Cream Transport


All Terrain-Ice Cream Transport
Originally uploaded by Louis K.

Want an ice cream?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fish Fight

Just watched Gordon Ramsey Shark bait. It quite upset me, sharks are amazing creatures so it was shocking to see the industry behind shark fin soup.
I remember diving and seeing sharks was incredible. The fact that they could be driven to extinction in the next few decades, and the manor in which the fins are extracted, cut off the live animal which is then thrown back into the water was harrowing to watch.
Personally I have never eaten shark fin soup and after seeing that video I would never. Anyone wanting to know more take a look at the shark trust and Channel Four big fish fight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tricks with Chmod

Found a helpful blog post with some tips on using chmod.

Just saved me ages in scripting time, excellent!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sort Classes C#

I had a problem in C# where I needed to sort an array of classes based on one of the properties. It posed several issues, firstly the class definition came from a web service I wasn't in control of I couldn't implement IComparable which would have allowed me to use the sort routine. I suppose I could have made my own structure that implemented IComparable but given this was a quick fix I used a simple bubble sort. Not very efficient but simple and robust and given the datasets are usually less then 10 elements (and never more than 26) should be efficient enough. NB this is a cut down version that runs as a console application.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;

namespace BubbleSort_2
{
class Program
{
///
/// Simple Structure to represent insight
///

public class insight
{
public Name_match_indicator nameMatchIndicator { get; set; }
}
///
/// Name Match Indicator, this is from the Equifax Project
///

public enum Name_match_indicator
{
A = 0,
B = 1,
C = 2,
D = 3,
E = 4,
F = 5,
G = 6,
H = 7,
I = 8,
J = 9,
K = 10,
L = 11,
M = 12,
N = 13,
P = 14,
Q = 15,
R = 16,
S = 17,
T = 18,
U = 19,
V = 20,
W = 21,
X = 22,
Y = 23,
Z = 24,
}

static void Main(string[] args)
{
Random random = new Random();
string tmp;
// array to hold values
insight[] a = new insight[10];
for (int i1 = 0; i1 < a.Length; i1++) { //Generate a random character tmp = Convert.ToChar(Convert.ToInt32(Math.Floor(26 * random.NextDouble() + 65))).ToString(); a[i1] = new insight(); //convert random char into Enumerated type a[i1].nameMatchIndicator = (Name_match_indicator)Enum.Parse(typeof(Name_match_indicator), tmp); } // number of elements in array int x = a.Length; int i; int j; insight temp = new insight(); for (i = (x - 1); i >= 0; i--)
{
for (j = 1; j <= i; j++) { //Make the Comparison if (a[j - 1].nameMatchIndicator.CompareTo(a[j].nameMatchIndicator) > 0)
{
// if they arnt comparable switch them.
temp = a[j - 1];
a[j - 1] = a[j];
a[j] = temp;
}
}
}

for (int k = 0; k < x; k++) { Console.WriteLine("{0}. {1}", k, a[k].nameMatchIndicator); } Console.Read(); } } }

Fibonacci Series Program using Recursion in C#

According to Wikipedia the Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence:

0,\;1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\; \ldots\; (sequence A000045 in OEIS)

By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. Some sources omit the initial 0, instead beginning the sequence with two ones.

C#.NET Tutorial, C#.NET Basics - CSharpTalk.com: Fibonacci Series Program using Recursion in C#: "Fibonacci Series Program using Recursion Code"

The security gadget that UK bankers want squelched

The security gadget that UK bankers want squelched.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Pounding

It was Andy's leaving do last night. We went to the Deaf Institute on Grosvenor Street.

I was a good evening lots of people turned out to wish him the best. I had a good chat with Ian, about the perils of long distance relationships and many others things. Dave and Claire were there, digging into some pita bread as I arrived. Its the first time I have met them since they got engaged.

I asked Andy if he had managed to learn any Chinese, he told me the only thing he learned so far was the word for dog, so that he could check that is not what he is eating! I think its more Korea that you have to worry about eating dog, though the Chinese do appear to eat pretty much anything.

Danny arrived later on with a wonderful hat. I haven't seen him for ages, and he appeared to be in a very good mood.

I cannot remember a huge amount about the evening, probably to do with the large amount of alcohol I imbibed. I caught a cab home with Ian, after a quick kebab in Abduls. Which actually turned out to be the biggest kebab I have had for a long time, I couldn't even finish it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Show Solution in Visual Studio 2008

I recently converted all our projects to use Visual Studio 2008 (a bit behind I realise!) I needed to add another project to a solution however for some reason Microsoft have defaulted Visual Studio not to display a solution if there is only one project. Fortunately this can be redressed following the advice here

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Your Protector

Yesterday we went round to my parents for dinner for dinner. My parents made us a beef and yorkshire pudding dinner. It was really very tasty, we both enjoyed it very much. I love my parents house at this time of year, sitting in the living room warm by the fire.

We felt very lazy today, we stayed up last night watching bad movies on TV. So I made a nice spoiling breakfast of bacon and eggs then we played a bit of Super Mario Bros Wii. I have never really been into it but started playing it with Kath.

Andy G came round to pick up his data. I have been recovering it from Emily's old PC. The copy took a couple of hours, while we played Wii Sports. Kath surprised us both beating us at bowling, while Archery expert proved difficult for us all.

I just made dinner, tonight we had a stir fry and a bottle of White wine. Then we had some of Kath's amazing carrot cake with ice cream, heaven! Kath even took pity on me and did the washing up what an amazing girlfriend :)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Night Terror

Last year I spent New Years Eve in Poland. This year I struggled to decide how to spend it. In the end decided to stay in and invite a few people round. Kath and I went out to Stockport to buy some nibbles ad alcohol. It was very busy people going crazy for the offers, 10 cans for £7.

We got back from Stockport and rearranged the furniture and put the nibbles out on the table. With just enough time for a quick sit down and a cuddle before anyone arrived.

Joe and Holly arrived first. Jo was driving as they planned to leave in time to celebrate midnight with Holly's mothers.

I tried to get the Wii on the go unfortunately Jo thrashed me at bowling and I managed to whack Kath with the remote. The Wiimote jacket stopped it hurting her but the sound of the impact was quite loud.

Phil and Caroline arrived next, ladened with Alpha, Archers and Cheesecake. Later in the evening after we had been snacking for a while Phil picked up a can of Beer and exclaimed "there is cheesecake in my beer!". It amused me so much that I made it my Facebook status!

At the stroke of midnight we headed out into the Garden to enjoy the fireworks. The firework display scared Cocoa. She had spent the evening being the centre of attention, with everyone using the mouse on a string toy to torment her. She seemed happy to have lots of play and to get lots of strokes and attention.

We toasted New Year with the Champagne that Martin and Charlotte gave me as a moving in present. The sky was full of Chinese lanterns and fireworks.

I tried to get Phil and Caroline a taxi home but the firs three numbers I called were busy and the final firm the guy actually laughed when I asked for a taxi, customer service Fail! Fortunately the distance to Phil's house is not much further than my parents so it should not have taken much more than an hour to get home. Plus the weather has improved finally with positive temperatures.