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If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone

www.flickr.com
More pictures from my phone


Wednesday December 31 2003 at 14:43 GMT

2003 has certainly been a fun year. My aim of travelling somewhere each month didn't quite make it, but I really had a great time when I was visiting people -- thank you to you all for being so hospitable!

I did secretly set some aims for 2003, and I've hit a few of them, but by no means all. In my mind, I have a few things I'd like to get done in 2004, so we'll see how that goes.

Keeping this site updated has become a very big part of my life. Thank you to you all for reading, commenting and getting in touch with me.

Tonight I'm still not sure what I'm doing, but the phone is charged, so there will be photos! I've been too lazy to fix my scripts, so the permalinks will be snapped right after midnight. This page will still work though!

I'd like to wish each and every one of you a fantastic 2004, and I look forward to seeing many of you in the year ahead.

Tuesday December 30 2003 at 15:30 GMT

I was back at my parents house last night. They made some REALLY great food, and I ate like a lord. De-licious!

This morning, I had to get up very, very early to catch a bus into Glasgow and then a bus to Edinburgh. At 6.20am(!!!), a time I only occasionally see -- normally after a good night out, I got out of bed, jumped into the shower, packed my bag and headed out into the freezing (down to -6C here today) weather. The bus didn't turn up...

My mum gave me a lift to the other end of the village, to try and catch the next bus, which finally arrived late ... and then proceeded to break down on the motorway. We were stuck there, with no heating, for about 20 minutes, until the next bus came along. My sister was on that one, so we had a chat on the way, which was cool. My journey to Glasgow ended almost two hours after it began! The second part of my journey was thankfully incident-free.

The temperature has hardly changed here today. The latest report is saying it is -3C, with sleet expected on Hogmanay. Ugh.

Tuesday December 30 2003 at 00:49 GMT [via mobile]

I rocked home today to see my parents. Dad gave me a bread making lesson, and here\'s the mighty result. De la!

I rocked home today to see my parents. Dad gave me a bread making lesson, and here's the mighty result. De la!

Sunday December 28 2003 at 22:59 GMT [via mobile]

Blogging Deek complaining about my lack of recent blogging.

Blogging Deek complaining about my lack of recent blogging.

Sunday December 28 2003 at 20:43 GMT [via mobile]

I\'ve taken the plunge and picked up an X-Box and Project Gotham Racing 2.  I have some *serious* reservations about inviting the beast of Redmond into my living room, but I have a 10 day return.  If you have PGR2 and want an online game, let me know!

I've taken the plunge and picked up an X-Box and Project Gotham Racing 2. I have some *serious* reservations about inviting the beast of Redmond into my living room, but I have a 10 day return. If you have PGR2 and want an online game, let me know!

Wednesday December 24 2003 at 10:02 GMT [via mobile]

A queue (half hidden by the van) for expensive cheese.

A queue (half hidden by the van) for expensive cheese.

Wednesday December 24 2003 at 09:59 GMT [via mobile]

Your time has come!

Your time has come!

Monday December 22 2003 at 15:25 GMT [via mobile]

I got this card from a local Nepalese restaurant (great food, well recommended). Didn\'t realise I had eaten there quite so often! ;-)

I got this card from a local Nepalese restaurant (great food, well recommended). Didn't realise I had eaten there quite so often! ;-)

Sunday December 21 2003 at 17:22 GMT [via mobile]

Project Gotham Racing on the X-Box, looking at the castle.  I may need one of these, I think!

Project Gotham Racing on the X-Box, looking at the castle. I may need one of these, I think!

Sunday December 21 2003 at 13:32 GMT

Things have been pretty busy since I got back from London. Thursday night was our office Christmas party which actually turned out to be pretty good, apart from everyone talking about work, which was the last thing I wanted. I ended up heading off early...

SF Christmas Friday was our departmental Christmas lunch at Blonde. Normally I don't enjoy eating out at Christmas due to the inevitably reduced level of service, quality of food and rushed nature of the meal. Blonde had none of those problems -- even though I ended up arriving very late (40 minutes -- there were NO taxis!), my starter was still steaming hot and doubly tasty (mussels) and my main course (venison) arrived promptly after I had finished my starter. The house wines we had were very tasty and well priced. Quite possibly the best Christmas meal I've had in a restaurant!

Following that, we had something of a mighty pub crawl. We kicked off at Borough, then after a few hours headed to the Meadow Bar, followed by Native State, assembly and Beluga, finally arriving at Bar Kohl to sample several of the tasty vodkas on offer. I strolled home with some chips just after 1am; pretty good day all in!

Today is present wrapping and getting into the Christmas spirit thanks to those lovely people at SomaFM [direct links to the streams: 128kpbs | 24kbps].

Sunday December 21 2003 at 13:13 GMT [via mobile]

The previous photo looked much better on my phone. You really can see the snow in this one.

The previous photo looked much better on my phone. You really can see the snow in this one.

Sunday December 21 2003 at 12:47 GMT [via mobile]

First snowfall in Edinburgh for winter 2003.

First snowfall in Edinburgh for winter 2003.

Friday December 19 2003 at 11:35 GMT [via mobile]

Feels good!

Feels good!

Wednesday December 17 2003 at 20:38 GMT

The train ride up was not so great (more later). I'm now back home with washing on and all the physical mail opened.

The coolest thing I got was the 2003 Christmas CD from the Pro (playing right now in my house); he's also posted a Christmas message online, an idea which I may well steal.

Things to do and people to see now.

Tuesday December 16 2003 at 23:34 GMT [via mobile]

I *am* the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Need an opinion?

I *am* the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Need an opinion?

Tuesday December 16 2003 at 17:56 GMT [via mobile]

Christmas tree with real carol singers!

Christmas tree with real carol singers!

Tuesday December 16 2003 at 15:43 GMT [via mobile]

Already had birthday lunch with Al, visited the Saatchi Gallery and walked miles. Now off to the Turner exhibition at Tate Britain.

Already had birthday lunch with Al, visited the Saatchi Gallery and walked miles. Now off to the Turner exhibition at Tate Britain.

Monday December 15 2003 at 18:59 GMT [via mobile]

Mr Whipcracker (AKA Jim Hughes)

Mr Whipcracker (AKA Jim Hughes)

Monday December 15 2003 at 18:21 GMT [via mobile]

Mobi meet at Pommelers Rest.

Mobi meet at Pommelers Rest.

Monday December 15 2003 at 14:52 GMT [via mobile]

Wooops. Too many beers at lunchtime. Afternoon is going to be a lot of fun. This is holiday!

Wooops. Too many beers at lunchtime. Afternoon is going to be a lot of fun. This is holiday!

Sunday December 14 2003 at 23:59 GMT [via mobile]

Some cool blue trees on the South Bank. Thankfully these ones didn\'t shoot water mist like most of the others (weird concept -- soak you when it is really cold weather, and encourage pavement icing).

Some cool blue trees on the South Bank. Thankfully these ones didn't shoot water mist like most of the others (weird concept -- soak you when it is really cold weather, and encourage pavement icing).

Sunday December 14 2003 at 16:06 GMT [via mobile]

With tree and wheel.

With tree and wheel.

Saturday December 13 2003 at 23:25 GMT [via mobile]

Gourmet Burgers with Karen, Eric, Jeff & Steph.

Gourmet Burgers with Karen, Eric, Jeff & Steph.

Saturday December 13 2003 at 18:43 GMT [via mobile]

Taken from the Tate Modern Private Guests Lounge, dahling.

Taken from the Tate Modern Private Guests Lounge, dahling.

Saturday December 13 2003 at 17:17 GMT [via mobile]

Everyone relaxing on the floor in the Turbine Hall.

Everyone relaxing on the floor in the Turbine Hall.

Saturday December 13 2003 at 17:02 GMT [via mobile]

Can you see Allan and I?

Can you see Allan and I?

Saturday December 13 2003 at 16:50 GMT [via mobile]

Saturday December 13 2003 at 15:05 GMT [via mobile]

Shopping with Allan. This photo is for Jams.

Shopping with Allan. This photo is for Jams.

Friday December 12 2003 at 16:26 GMT

Mobi As I said, today is WiFi day over on Mobitopia. I've just dropped two posts into the mix: Now I am off to enjoy the weekend!

Friday December 12 2003 at 14:27 GMT [via mobile]

I am here, and it is blooming raining!

I am here, and it is blooming raining!

Friday December 12 2003 at 09:56 GMT

Well, I made it, and I am now on the train to London. Currently sitting in Dunbar station. WiFi is go.

Friday December 12 2003 at 02:55 GMT

The last few weeks at work have been hyper busy -- I'm doing a stack of data checking that is just going on and on -- which is why updates have been late at night and somewhat scarce.

Anyway, I'm putting that all behind me for over a week. Tomorrow is London on the WiFi train as part of Mobitopia WiFi day. Then hooking up with Allan and an assortment of others for a fun weekend and a mini Mobitopia meet. Back up here next week, for a few more days R&R. Case is packed, housesitter sorted and I'm good to go. The one thing I haven't sorted is which one of these online maps to try out. They aren't cheap, but anything to save carrying a book. ;-)

I'm actually feeling pretty excited about some time off work and catching up with people. Now for a brief sleep and then up and go. See some of you soon!

Wednesday December 10 2003 at 08:22 GMT [via mobile]

Cool morning sky!

Cool morning sky!

Wednesday December 10 2003 at 01:32 GMT

Thanks to Granty for the lovely things he said about my minor site redesign to include the comments. Evans gave me some feedback via email, which I will try to implement. I'm really pleased that more people have been commenting -- it makes me feel so happy when I get a nice/funny/constructive/discussive comment! Thank you all.

Now to the business end of the post. I'm making my way to rock with my brother in London on either Thursday of Friday (I'm having a small challenge organising transport at the moment). We're planning a mini Mobitopia meet on Monday. Details to be confirmed. I'll probably stay down there until Tuesday or Wednesday. As far as I know, we don't have anything particular planned (do we bro?), so if you want to catch up for a drink or food or ... whatever, let me know here or on my mobile (you can use the contact form, and send to mobile). In fact, if there is something I should totally see when I'm there, leave a message too, please.

Tuesday December 9 2003 at 02:11 GMT

Saucony Grid Praxis

I've been going to the gym for a while now, and managed to keep on going even after Allan headed to London (I'm marking that down as an achievement!). It's all well and good going along, but I kind of felt that I needed some kind of driver for it all. So ... I am going to run the Edinburgh Marathon in June. I already do a fair amount of running at the gym, so, my thinking goes, upping the time shouldn't be THAT hard.

Some proper shoes were in order, to avoid wrecked knees and legs, so I fired along to the same place Allan got his shoes (he's doing the London Marathon) -- Run and Become. Selecting running shoes is a whole lot more involved than you might imagine. Word to the great service at Run and Become!

I like what I ended up with: a pair of Saucony Grid Praxis. They don't really sound like the name of a shoe, but there you go. I also got some double comfy (and pretty strange-looking) socks, so I'm all good on the gear front. Now I need to get my gym program tailored and find some other people to run with. I'm quite fancying getting back into some cross-country, as well as doing the marathon. Back in the days when I was still at school, I used to run for Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club. Looking at the pictures on the site, I still recognise a few of the faces! Any pointers towards friendly clubs in Edinburgh are very welcome.

Tuesday December 9 2003 at 01:10 GMT [via mobile]

Thanks to some thread-based assistance from Neil & Ker, Tree1.0 was successfully moved into the production environment on time and on budget.  Thanks to the whole team for all their hard work and dedication.

Opening hours for viewing the installation change daily.  Bring alcohol to ensure entry.

Thanks to some thread-based assistance from Neil & Ker, Tree1.0 was successfully moved into the production environment on time and on budget. Thanks to the whole team for all their hard work and dedication. Opening hours for viewing the installation change daily. Bring alcohol to ensure entry.

Tuesday December 9 2003 at 00:43 GMT

First off, let me say again how much I really hate the word gadget. To me, a gadget is something that has no real-world purpose; it is normally based on a perfectly good invention, but adds some 'time-saving' element. As an example, see the electric tin-opener. If an able-handed person cannot use a hand-turned can opener, then we have some real problems! In my house, there are none of these so-called gadgets, I am pleased to say. There are a few research projects lying around (see X10, ahem), but nothing that fits anywhere near the gadget category.

Anyway, Time magazine says cameraphones are the second coolest thing of 2003 [via Reiter]. Nice, but ... cameraphones were easily available back in 2002, when I picked up my T68, and I think they were in shops at the tail end of 2001. Skipping that minor detail, it is nice to see some recognition of the technology and the impact it has made and continues to make. (The number one item was the iTunes Music Store.)

Without a doubt, the coolest thing I picked up this year was my P800 (my full review is here). In terms of innovation and complete cool-factor, that wins hands down. My P900 is nice, but the P800 was the paradigm shifter.

Dettol Easy Mop 2003 has seen my collect a few other cool items, including a SliMP3, and I've innovated software-wise, getting my own blogging tool together as well as adding functionality allowing me to blog photos and videos from my phone(s).

However, the second coolest item I got this year is ... a mop. Yes, you read that correctly, I'm advocating a manual floor-cleaning device. In August I got new vinyl floorcovering (AKA lino, much nicer than those words suggest!) in my new kitchen and also in the bathroom. Sandy, the Queen of Clean(ing) bought me a Dettol Easy Mop and made me promise to use it. Good to my word, I have used it, because it really is so quick and easy and it totally gets my stamp of approval for Just Working. Got vinyl floorcovering? Get a Dettol Easy Mop and make your life easy.

Definite dud of the year goes to Three, the mobile phone company. More on that one soon.

Monday December 8 2003 at 01:54 GMT [via mobile]

Here\'s my Christmas tree sans baubles. I don\'t have any thread, so it will be tomorrow before version 1 comes online.

Here's my Christmas tree sans baubles. I don't have any thread, so it will be tomorrow before version 1 comes online.

Sunday December 7 2003 at 02:13 GMT

Thanks to Matt for pointing out the Thunderbird 0.4 release. Thunderbird is the mail client from the lovely Mozilla people.

I've installed it, and they've fixed quite a few of the little gripes I had with previous versions. The key differences I'm liking:

  • The message list pane now shows status for reply, forward and unread as icons directly on the message envelope instead of using text.
  • Only mark a message as read when it has been open in the preview pane for a configurable number of seconds.
  • No more new mail alert notifications when the incoming messages are Junk.
  • The progress bar now appears in the mail 3-pane window when reporting progress for operations like downloading new mail or a message body.
  • Junk Folder Purging works on all accounts and not just the first one.

Some of the icons have also been updated although, annoyingly, not the main application icon, which looks like a regular mail message and still sometimes confuses me! It really is a great piece of software and, along with its close relative Firebird (my browser of choice), make a great team for maximum Internet enjoyment. Oh, and it isn't susceptible to the viruses and hacks some other mail programs are...

Saturday December 6 2003 at 04:02 GMT [via mobile]

Jams verifies his 1995 Nokia 5.1 encourages London tabloid readership.

Jams verifies his 1995 Nokia 5.1 encourages London tabloid readership.

Friday December 5 2003 at 22:47 GMT [via mobile]

That was a very tasty Friday dinner.  Definitely time for a beer now!

That was a very tasty Friday dinner. Definitely time for a beer now!

Friday December 5 2003 at 16:22 GMT [via mobile]

I\'ve kind of let my hair grow longer than it has been for years. Now I need it cut, but not just shaved like I normally get. Any suggestions?

I've kind of let my hair grow longer than it has been for years. Now I need it cut, but not just shaved like I normally get. Any suggestions?

Friday December 5 2003 at 02:31 GMT

Friday December 5 2003 at 01:12 GMT

It feels like a long time since I actually made any real changes to the site! Never a good sign...

Since I highlighted the comments section, quite a few people have told me over IM, or even in person(!) that they really enjoy reading them. So, I've added the last five comments left to the front page, over there ->

The downside is that it makes the page feel very busy, so I'll need to take a look at some kind of reorganisation. If its not one thing, its another. ;-)

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday December 4 2003 at 21:30 GMT [via mobile]

The big wheel has arrived in Edinburgh as part of the Christmas celebrations. It escapes me which part of the Christmas story involved a big wheel right now..

The big wheel has arrived in Edinburgh as part of the Christmas celebrations. It escapes me which part of the Christmas story involved a big wheel right now..

Thursday December 4 2003 at 17:35 GMT [via mobile]

It has been a lovely day here. The sky is putting on a lovely closing show, right in front of me.

It has been a lovely day here. The sky is putting on a lovely closing show, right in front of me.

Thursday December 4 2003 at 10:51 GMT

Mobitopia article

Starting the P900 firmware upgrade

As has been expected for a while, Sony Ericsson have launched a 'home' version of their firmware upgrading software. No more trips to your local service centre, or, worse, sending your phone away for weeks at a time to have an incremental upgrade applied.

In the interest of research, I decided to give it a go last night. I got the new P900 cradle out the box for the first time (I was still using the P800 cradle) and got everything ready. The online instructions are well laid out with plenty of graphical pointers to help you find the pertinent information regarding the currently installed firmware version.

It was then that I hit a little speedbump. My hope with the upgrade had been to move to Organiser version R2B02, however I was told that my R1C01 was the latest available for my phone after entering the CDA number. I hoped this was just a tiny mistake, and went ahead and upgraded anyway. This involved installing a small application on my computer, downloading a file (thank goodness for broadband!) then the actual installation. All completed without issue, however, checking the firmware version on my phone, I still had Organiser R1C01.

P900 firmware upgrade complete

After a quick spot of investigation, it would appear that Orange have restricted P900 owners from upgrading. Bah! Hopefully Orange will see the error of their ways, and relent, as they have done since the T68 to T68i upgrade.

The process itself seems to be well done by Sony Ericsson, although it took a bit longer than the 10-15 minutes updating a Siemens S55 takes. I've put some additional photos on my site showing the whole process.

Of course, I now have a blank P900. I can never be bothered to do a backup, since my 'data' (MP3/Ogg files) is on the memory stick, any text messages I want saved are on the SIM and one quick sync with Outlook gets all my contacts, tasks, calendar entries and notes back on to the phone. After that, first port of call is ALWAYS the super useful Configurator, which appears to have had a recent makeover giving it a rather minimalist look. A few clicks later and my phone has a full compliment of GPRS, WAP, email and MMS settings and I'm on the road again. Now to find some fun new apps to put on it!

This first home upgrade is, no doubt, intentionally small in terms of changed functionality. Here's hoping we see some more significant upgrades in the future, and hopefully also for the P800.

Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, I'm wondering if Sony Ericsson will allow all phones to be upgraded in this way. It looks unlikely, seeing as none of the other phones in the range come with a desk stand, the P800 being the exception; a physical connection between the phone and computer was required for the upgrade. Perhaps Over The Air (OTA) updates might work for other phones, given that the firmware will be considerably smaller than for the P900. Thank goodness Sony Ericsson have finally put home upgrades into practice -- at least for non-Orange P900s.

Wednesday December 3 2003 at 11:52 GMT

Matt posted this on the #mobitopia IRC links: current terror alert, Muppet style.

The current level is:

Terror Alert Level

Yesterday Deek hassled me because I didn't post anything until the afternoon. Hopefully this will keep him happy!

Wednesday December 3 2003 at 02:28 GMT [via mobile]

At lunchtime I went to Jessops (a pretty big UK camera store chain) to look at digital cameras with Sandy.  Slap bang in the middle of the cabinet were two cameraphones!  It would be amusing if, in five years time, it was the other way round, with the store selling all kinds of phones, and a few dedicated cameras.

At lunchtime I went to Jessops (a pretty big UK camera store chain) to look at digital cameras with Sandy. Slap bang in the middle of the cabinet were two cameraphones! It would be amusing if, in five years time, it was the other way round, with the store selling all kinds of phones, and a few dedicated cameras.

Tuesday December 2 2003 at 15:04 GMT

Following on from my post about the Roomba, Mahyad sent me a link to an Internet controllable vacuum. It sounds quite interesting, actually!

Monday December 1 2003 at 12:09 GMT

Today is the Concorde charity auction. I had been REALLY hoping they were going to do at least part of it on the Web, so that I could have picked something up, but it would appear it is all being done in the saleroom. If anyone happens to be going and wants to get something for me, drop me a mail please. I'm not after a nose-cone or anything, but some little trinket would rock.

Monday December 1 2003 at 01:53 GMT

I love this thing. It reminds me of being a kid and seeing technology programs, where everything would be done by little household robots in the year 2000. Even the tagline, Roomba™ - Intelligent Floor Vac - Automatically cleans floors while you enjoy life! is a classic. There's a great little WMV video of the device in action, which is totally worth it for the comedy value!

Monday December 1 2003 at 00:22 GMT [via mobile]

I have been looking for some plants to go in the hall for a while. Tonight in Safeway as I was getting food for tea I saw this guy. It was a bargain 2.50, so I got two.  P.S. Like the new mirror, too?

I have been looking for some plants to go in the hall for a while. Tonight in Safeway as I was getting food for tea I saw this guy. It was a bargain 2.50, so I got two. P.S. Like the new mirror, too?

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