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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


Friday January 30 2004 at 00:45 GMT

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. Here's some Friday fun, too.

Thursday January 29 2004 at 01:35 GMT

Lindsay headed back to Portland this morning. We managed to time the arrival at the bus stop perfectly, and the bus swept off within seconds. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear the rest of the journey has gone quite so well. Snow delayed her flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam by several hours, meaning that she missed her onward flight to the States. KLM didn't seem like they were going to help her out with a hotel room, so I'm hoping she has found somewhere OK to stay overnight. Without a phone (she uses non-GSM technology, like only a few others) I can't contact her directly. She only managed to drop me a very quick email from Schipol, using an expensive Internet cafe.

As soon as I hear any more from her (hopefully from the other side of the pond), I'll update here!

Tuesday January 27 2004 at 15:42 GMT

Mammod TE1a Last night I was scrolling through the TV guide on the TV (does anyone still buy those big guide magazines any more?) when I found that the mighty Fred Dibnah (unofficial page, with some great short soundbites) was back on the BBC. His programs always rate as some of the best TV ever. Last night he was telling us, in his classic belly-sticking-out, oil-on-face, hands-in-pockets, flat-cap-on-head Lancashire style about steam-powered engines and vehicles. Even better, I notice he was given an MBE at the end of 2003.

The price of a fully restored showman's engine was HUGE. Fred quoted GBP 350,000 for a stunning example. These were often found dumped in the corner of a field, and bought for a few hundred pounds! It is quite unfortunate that my Mammod TE1a has not appreciated at quite such a rate. On the other hand, I haven't spent the last 20 years of my life restoring my traction engine, due to ending it into a large pile of stones in the middle of the road, after realising that sliding down a smooth road at 40mph with smooth wheels in 12 tons of solid engine hooked to several tons of heavily laden trailer towards a hospital was not going to impress too many people ... as Fred has done!

Tuesday January 27 2004 at 00:20 GMT

A few weeks ago I posted about a guy called Jamie trying to become a LEGO Master Builder. He rocked through the first set of interviews and was set for a trip to California. The final competition was last weekend, and I'll leave it up to Jamie and LEGO to tell you how events panned out.

Tuesday January 27 2004 at 00:10 GMT

Here's a very quick rundown of all that we have done so far.

Thursday

On Thursday we did Monster Mash, then did some quality marching around.

Friday

Friday brought Irn Bru, St Giles cathedral, the castle, fish and chips eaten standing in the street, a pint in the Jolly Judge, Lost In Translation (which I didn't get, but think I might watch again on DVD), one quick pint in the Conan Doyle, more beer at The Hallion with dwlt & Stella, rounded off with one last beer in Montpeliers with Allan and Fiona.

Saturday

On Saturday we only managed lunch at Cafe Rouge, before heading home for food made by my own fair hands (with some help from my friends!). We had Scottish smoked salmon to start, then haggis, neaps and tatties, which set us up for plenty of dancing at the Caley ceilidh.

Sunday

Yesterday we did breakfast at Cue Bar (not so great...), before double-checking that the Scott Monument was closed, as was Holyrood Palace. We took a walk round by the new parliament building, before heading home. After some food, we popped out to Oloroso for a last weekend beer with the boys.

Monday

Today I've been back at work, but Lindsay headed to Stirling to see the castle there. Tonight we dined on fish and chips (Lindsay's request :-) and watched Bruce Almighty.

Tomorrow is Lindsay's last real day here. I think she is planning to take in the zoo, do some shopping and I'm going to encourage her to revisit the Scott Monument.

Now you know why my blogging has been so light for the past few days!

Monday January 26 2004 at 23:48 GMT

I'm not a huge fan of all things populist, but Sandy's Will Young recommendation is actually quite good. Of course, I didn't quite get around to buying the album. ;-)

Somewhere I heard the latest(?) Outkast song, Hey Ya, so that is also on some pretty heavy rotation right now. Lindsay pointed me towards The Postal Service (on Sub Pop records -- who knew they were still going?), so that too has been straight on the decks. I'm going to pick that one up in real life.

Monday January 26 2004 at 16:06 GMT

Best wishes to all my Australian and Indian friends. Hopefully you are enjoying Australia Day and Republic Day, respectively.

Sunday January 25 2004 at 13:02 GMT

It's been a busy few days! Lindsay has posted some pictures from her visit here.

Friday January 23 2004 at 15:21 GMT [via mobile]

Visiting the castle.

Visiting the castle.

Thursday January 22 2004 at 22:08 GMT

I'm thinking this information is going to be hived off somewhere separate, as I'm sure most of you could not care less! This is really my own personal record of what has been done.

Tonight we ran for specific times: 1min, 2mins, 15mins, 8mins, 4mins, 2mins, 1min then a return to base jog. In between each run was either a 1min rest (2mins after 15mins and 8mins runs) where we did light jogging. All in, it took us 41mins to complete the timed runs, then another few minutes to complete a circuit and return to the start point. The timed sections were all done at faster-than-race-pace. After a warm-up lap, I completed four laps during the timed runs, then took a gentle job home. I'm *guessing* that one complete lap of the entire Meadows is about 2.5km -- anyone know for sure? Based on that, I did 2.5 + (4 x 2.5) + 3 = 15.5km in total, which makes me feel very pleased indeed! Now it is time for my big salad and pasta dinner.

Thursday January 22 2004 at 21:46 GMT

Lindsay (friend from the States, for those of you catching up ;-) has made it over safely from the States. This is the reason I was at Edinburgh Airport this morning, following Alex Ferguson.

We've done some planning of events for her stay, and it is all looking good. Today we took a massive walk around town, and sorted out the tickets for the ceilidh on Saturday night. In case you see this and fancy coming along, the details are Saturday 24th, 7pm kick-off at the Caley Brewery on Slateford Road. Cost is six pounds. At the moment, I have reserved thirteen(!) tickets, so let me know soon if you are going to join us. Everyone is welcome.

Thursday January 22 2004 at 10:45 GMT [via mobile]

The back of the Man United manager. Really. At the airport.

The back of the Man United manager. Really. At the airport.

Thursday January 22 2004 at 09:15 GMT

See how far you can make the penguin fly. My record is currently 291.8.

Wednesday January 21 2004 at 10:33 GMT

Today's Scotsman reports that Highland Cathedral is being pushed by a poet as the new Scottish Anthem. Flower Of Scotland is a great anthem, but I agree, that it is somewhat backward looking (sorry, Corries). Highland Cathedral is an absolutely incredible tune, which really makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it, especially when it is played by a full pipe band. If the proposed words are good, it definitely gets my vote.

If you'd like to hear it, you can try this link to my home server, but a) it is not the nicest rip; b) it may not stream so well from my house. I'm trying to buy a better quality version right now. As I was searching I did find this link to a folk version of Highland Cathedral with lyrics which is nice to listen to.

Wednesday January 21 2004 at 08:39 GMT [via mobile]

I guess this is how people used to send liks. Somehow my mum is not a big email user.

I guess this is how people used to send liks. Somehow my mum is not a big email user.

Wednesday January 21 2004 at 08:17 GMT [via mobile]

My new favourite (non-alcoholic) drink is ... Safeway Orange & Raspberry Crush.  Mmm-mmm!

My new favourite (non-alcoholic) drink is ... Safeway Orange & Raspberry Crush. Mmm-mmm!

Wednesday January 21 2004 at 00:03 GMT

Grant has decided to put a temporary hold on his blogging activities, to concentrate on some other creative and business-oriented goals. Without a shadow of a doubt, I'm sorry to hear his decision. Grant was the person who got me into this whole lark all those years ago, and I love reading what he, and his WIFE, are up to, given that I only occasionally manage to see them in real-life. Maybe I'm going to have to actually call him now. Weird. ;-) I'm already looking forward to whatever he's cooking up in his lab!

Tuesday January 20 2004 at 23:56 GMT

Man, time is flying past right now! I almost missed out noting that I caught up with my sister on Friday. She has just finished off her dissertation and was tidying up another big essay (done now, Viv?), so I said I'd take her out for some food and drinks.

We met up at Monster Mash, a new place on Forrest Road. It was a pretty straightforward deal -- you select one (or more, if you're me ;-) sausages and a flavour or mash and gravy. The food appears before you in 10 minutes. It was just what Viv and I were looking for, with an informal atmosphere and a simple wine list.

Then we headed along to Villager (I finally found their site, which looks unfortunately bare in Firebird!), had a few glasses of wine. I bumped into a few boys out for beers, Viv headed home, and I completed my night before midnight at Bar Kohl. Very nice way to spend an evening, all in!

On Saturday morning, I got up way early, to consider running. I decided against, seeing as my calf muscles were still feeling kinda tight after a tough session on Thursday. I also baled on running Sunday, but I was in action tonight! Had a fantastic session, and managed to hold my time for 650m circuits at the 2.30 (+/- 5s) level consistently. I'm feeling wiped now, so my bed is beckoning.

Sunday January 18 2004 at 14:23 GMT

Please say welcome to Gordon, my guest blogger in Singapore! His first missive is here. Now I need to update my scripts to credit him with the posts.

Sunday January 18 2004 at 14:20 GMT

Why is there no craigslist for Edinburgh? There doesn't seem to be much UK action at all.

Sunday January 18 2004 at 14:19 GMT [via mobile]

Bund by night

Bund by night

Sunday January 18 2004 at 14:18 GMT

This is a pretty amusing story about a guy wrapping his friend's apartment in foil. Check it out for some amusing pictures, too.

Sunday January 18 2004 at 04:23 GMT [via mobile]

I have finally kicked my SliMP3 into action, thanks to some encouragement from Jams. The new server software seems like a big step forward. This cool plugin lets me read RSS on my SliMP3. Very nice!

I have finally kicked my SliMP3 into action, thanks to some encouragement from Jams. The new server software seems like a big step forward. This cool plugin lets me read RSS on my SliMP3. Very nice!

Saturday January 17 2004 at 11:29 GMT

Friday January 16 2004 at 23:40 GMT [via mobile]

Met Viv for food, then bumped into some randoms for beer. Hello Malkie!

Met Viv for food, then bumped into some randoms for beer. Hello Malkie!

Friday January 16 2004 at 11:49 GMT

I heard on the radio this morning that one of my favourite compositions is being performed tonight at the Barbican in London. Entitled 4'33", the piece is 'silent'. No musician makes any sound.

Hearing that piece always takes me back to my days studying higher music at school, when we did actually listen to 4'33" a few times. Not all the way through, of course. We could only afford to hear small snippets. ;-)

Friday January 16 2004 at 10:01 GMT

On Wednesday night, Rich and I headed over to Glasgow to see some live basketball. The Scottish Rocks were playing the London Towers. It was really great to see a live game, after many years away from following the NBA, but a shame the crowd was so small (we reckon there were about 1000 people there).

The quality of basketball was very good -- I've definitely watched more boring NBA games -- especially towards the end of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Rocks lost the game, but not without a very good fight.

I didn't realise that basketball now had cheerleaders, but apparently times have moved on, and something other than great sport is required to draw a crowd. The Scottish Rockettes did a good job, and seemed to be on the court every 30 seconds in the final quarter! I'm sure some people must have been there just to see them.

We're planning a follow-up visit in the near future, going by car as opposed to the super-slow bus from Glasgow to Braehead. I'll post again here when we decide on the date and time.

Wednesday January 14 2004 at 21:13 GMT [via mobile]

Wednesday January 14 2004 at 21:05 GMT [via mobile]

At the b-ball.

At the b-ball.

Wednesday January 14 2004 at 20:53 GMT [via mobile]

Tuesday January 13 2004 at 23:53 GMT

Tonight was the first time I went along to an organised run. I hadn't really known what to expect, but I certainly didn't expect what I found. Scarily I was the first person to arrive, so had to hang about the corner of a park in the dark. Then another new guy arrived and then the organiser. He ran down the format of the evening: there are five different length measured tracks around the Meadows (big park in the centre of town), and you have six minutes to make the run and then recover before the next repetition. You decide what distance to go, and how fast; the aim is to go faster than one normally trains alone. About 70 runners were there tonight, from many different disciplines including triathletes, orienteers and cross-country runners.

I did a warmup lap with another guy (993m), then 5 times 651m (3255m) at between 2.35 mins and 2.55 mins with increasing pain(!) and finally a warmdown lap (1253m). At the end of that I was feeling tired but good, so I gently jogged home (3km) ... totally ~8.5km all in.

Following several mighty big bowls of pasta, I'm feeling like tonight I'll sleep like a pup, so I bid you all goodnight!

Tuesday January 13 2004 at 17:41 GMT

Back in December, I applied for the Edinburgh Marathon. I've just had confirmation that I have a place! :-D

Allan is running the London Marathon for Shelter Scotland, and I'm quite in favour of doing the same in Edinburgh. They're a charity I always give money to (mental note: set up regular donation). I've contacted them already, so we'll see what happens.

Tonight is my first training session with the City of Edinburgh Athletic Club. Hopefully I will still be alive in a few hours...

Tuesday January 13 2004 at 13:26 GMT [via mobile]

My friend Scott at Lupe Pintos has managed to sort me out with my favourite beer, in exchange for some computer fixing. Super word!

They\'ve actually got the full Anchor range in stock just now, so go and check them out!

My friend Scott at Lupe Pintos has managed to sort me out with my favourite beer, in exchange for some computer fixing. Super word! They've actually got the full Anchor range in stock just now, so go and check them out!

Tuesday January 13 2004 at 01:20 GMT

Today I came across this wonderful story about a guy going for a job with LEGO, but not just any old job, but a Master Builder. I'm not going to spoil the story for you (it is worth the three minutes to read it), but the guy is rocking! Somewhere along the line, he got slashdotted, and he's posted a follow-up here, which is also worth reading. Let's hope that the LEGO end of year results don't have any negative effects. Go Jamie!

Monday January 12 2004 at 16:54 GMT

Mobitopia article I've just posted a summary of my experience with the first, and currently only, commercial 3G network in the UK, Three. It is not a pretty review, but maybe if there are enough posts like that, we'll be able to get them to do something about it!

Monday January 12 2004 at 01:12 GMT

Neil sent this on to me: sentences made up from snippets of songs. In honour of Neil, here's an example, using one of his many sayings.

Monday January 12 2004 at 00:58 GMT

Halley's Comment is one of the few truly personal sites (she doesn't really talk tech) that I read every day. She always finds something interesting to say, an interesting way to say it and always manages to find a great link to support her thought(s).

At the start of the year, Halley gave up drinking, and joined Joi Ito, amongst others, over at the We Quit Drinking blog. I doubt I will ever give up drinking permanently -- there are too many nice glasses of wine and interesting beers out there to taste. Doing something for oneself is highly commendable, but such extreme and drastic action seems a little too much to me. It *is* possible to limit alcohol intake. I quite often have a single glass of wine with my dinner, but I also know there are some situations where the pressure is there to have more.

Halley has now given up watching TV. In the past, I've considered getting rid of my TV because there is so much junk being shown, and it can be easy to plonk down and just zone out. But often that can be important -- after a hard day at work, coming home to take a seat and defocus for 15 minutes is a good, and necessary, thing. As with drinking, the trick I feel, is to limit the amount of time spent in front of the box (and not sue the cable company for ruining your life ... after four years of TV watching). Catching the news and some factual or innovative program for 30 or 60 minutes a day doesn't feel like time wasted to me. I still make sure I read, exercise and interact with other real people.

Sometime around New Year, I read that the most successful way to keep resolutions (this can be applied to any change in behaviour at any time of year) was to do it gradually, each iteration realising you have more control over the situation than last time, and more power to handle it how you want, as opposed to a drastic change. This seems to work for me. It is going to be interesting to follow how Halley gets on. Here's wishing she achieves her aims.

Sunday January 11 2004 at 19:16 GMT [via mobile]

Happy Birthday to Ker!

Happy Birthday to Ker!

Friday January 9 2004 at 16:27 GMT

OK, that was almost the last update. Check this out. You can get a regular size 10GB iPod for the same price as the new iPod mini, with 4GB storage. It has begun...

According to a Mac friend, upgrading to the 15GB version is the second best use of $50 you'll ever have, right after buying iLife.

Friday January 9 2004 at 16:09 GMT

Grant (and Maki) have returned from Japan, so I'm going to leave it to a pro to update you on all things Apple.

My last thought is from an article in Wired (which is celebrating 20 years of Mac), which says that through thick and thin, Microsoft is the only company that has really supported Apple. Quite a surprise, that one!

Over to you, Mr Baxter!

Friday January 9 2004 at 02:34 GMT

Jim and Lukester

Kev gave me these pictures months ago, but it has totally taken me ages to get them online! They're done now.

Friday January 9 2004 at 01:34 GMT

I've just lived through two days that seem to have gone at double speed. Work is really requiring me to be firing on all cylinders at the moment. Yesterday I finally left just before 9, then headed over to catch Hamps at Tapas Ole (their site is knackered too!). I had to drop off some boarding trousers that I borrowed in, uhm, February. [Sidenote: I need a pair of boarding trousers. Anyone know where I can get a good deal on some, for about 60-80 pounds?] They invited me to stay for some food with their friends, and we had a really great laugh. The outcome was that I was persuaded to join the boys for boarding in March. Excited already.

When I got home, I *finally* managed to root through a LOT of unread/reply-required email, and completed a whole bunch of little tasks that were lying around. One of those was to look for a running club to join, to get some marathon training practice in (still don't know if I've even got a place...). I finally decided to give the City of Edinburgh Athletic Club a shout, to find out what the deal was with getting involved. My email also mentioned I was intested in having some fun running cross-country, too.

This morning I got to work just after 9am (not a common occurrence!) to find not one but two great mails back from a guy at CoEAC. The first told me to come along on a Tuesday or Thursday, to get involved. The second, a 'P.S.', asked me if I wanted to race at the final two cross-country meets of the season. To be honest, I've no idea if I'm anywhere near being able to run 12km cross-country, but that is what I've signed up for on the 21st of February in Perth (National XC Championships). I'm also participating in a league race on February 7th in Stirling. Here's hoping that is not quite as far!

Tomorrow I'm going to head off and get a pair of spikes (my first pair in over ten years!) and then try to get used to them, as well as put some serious training in at the weekend. It feels really nice to now have some intermmediate goals in place, although they are pretty daunting!

Work today was also full-power, and I finally escaped just before 8. Tonight, I got notification that an external (from work) project is coming to fruition, which should finally mean a few pennies for the toy fund, but also a bit of running around! All good fun, especially if I can squeeze some new tech in with someone else paying, and it makes the decision to return the X-box all the wiser.

So far, 2004 has rocked for me. It seems to have some real momentum! I should be able to end that pretty quickly though. ;-)

Friday January 9 2004 at 00:24 GMT

BT are offering free WiFi from 26th January to 1st February, via their Openzones. Compared to their normal (hideous) pricing, it seems like a nice offer indeed.

Of course, there is a significantly easier way to enjoy year-round free WiFi with your beer in Edinburgh!

Thursday January 8 2004 at 15:32 GMT

(Via Jim) The Register reports on Internet-enabled Scalextric. People with the same Scalextric setup and the relevant hardware/software/Internet connection will be able to race against each other, virtually (kind of like mini real-life Project Gotham Racing 2). Sounds like it could be a lot of fun. My spare room is not being used for much just now...

Thursday January 8 2004 at 01:10 GMT

One of the Edinburgh MPs now has his own blog. Let's hope that some others follow suit, and we can find out what they actually DO all day long!

I've dropped a mail to my councillor to see what her plans are.

Thursday January 8 2004 at 00:34 GMT

Rich has initiated a plan to go and see the Scottish Rocks, our 'local' basketball team, play the London Towers next Wednesday, the 14th. We're going to have to get to Braehead Arena on the other side of Glasgow, but if you fancy coming along, let one of us know. Tickets are ten pounds each.

Wednesday January 7 2004 at 11:49 GMT

After 28h 40m 26s playing time over 10 days, my X-box has been returned. I decided it just was not what I should be using my time with right now. At least, not until Gran Turismo 4 comes out.

Computer games are having a big (real) effect on life. This article relates how some players are mapping their real life into the game, to see what the outcomes are.

Wednesday January 7 2004 at 00:51 GMT

Watching the Steve Jobs keynote today, I was really impressed. Apparently (right, Evans?) there were 60,000 video and audio streams. The quality was excellent and my feed had one hiccup in just over two hours on-air. Jobs himself really impressed me, too. He really seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage, and the audience was certainly giving him plenty of positive feedback.

On the actual events of the presentation, I was quite impressed. Apple do seem to be doing a lot of cool things, but I was getting very fed up hearing about new transitions for slideshows. Having everything working together must be nice, but I couldn't help but think there should be more to it.

When the iPod mini was finally announced, everyone was waiting for the price. At US $249, I don't think anyone remained *that* impressed, even on the keynote IRC channel I found. Somewhere around US $99 would have massacred everyone else in that area. Even US $150 would have done, but US $249 seems just too much.

Wednesday January 7 2004 at 00:42 GMT

Marathon book Tomorrow I find out if I've got a place in the Edinburgh marathon. I'm quite excited. Allan gave me this book for Christmas, and it is giving me inspiration just reading it.

I finally got a warmer top for running at night in (plus some gloves), so I went out after work. Really quite enjoyed my 40 minutes in the fresh air. When I got back, I was wondering how to work out how far I had actually gone. Then my cunning plan struck me... My turnaround point was the Braidburn Inn, so I popped that, plus my home postcode into Yell, and it gave me the exact route I happened to take, as well as the distance covered (1.98 miles each way). 4 miles in 40 minutes is not too bad, given that much of it was hilly.

From my house I've got some good runs, so I'm going to work out some measured distances using Yell. Then I just need to find a big shovel of motivation...

Interestingly, Matthew has also signed up for a marathon challenge, in Berlin. After the excellent time I had their last year, I am really tempted to sign up for that one too. Worst case, if I really hate running that far, I pass or resign my place. Maybe we can get a Mobitopia team together. Frank?

Tuesday January 6 2004 at 15:39 GMT

Over the last few months, my dad has been working out what to do with his time (on top of being chief invigilator at my old school, labouring in my flat and being on the pension committee of his old company...). He's come up with Bread Kneads. The idea is very simple: get together with a few of your friends, and my dad will come along and show you how to make four delicious types of bread.

Dad has already had several interested groups contact him via word of mouth, and he's going to be putting some real effort into it at the end of this diet of exams. At the moment, the focus is the area close to where my parents live, but I reckon he could easily pack out a few days work here in Edinburgh.

You may notice that the site looks kind of (very) similar to my own. I did clearly explain to dad that I don't design good-looking sites, but he was happy with the result. ;-) If you would like to request some more information, you can contact dad via his site.

Tuesday January 6 2004 at 14:28 GMT

Mr Jobs gets his keynote underway at 5pm GMT today. Matt has done a nice little roundup of links, which saves me the bother!

Monday January 5 2004 at 22:36 GMT [via mobile]

Goodbye 2003 tree. Thank you for looking so great.

Goodbye 2003 tree. Thank you for looking so great.

Monday January 5 2004 at 14:09 GMT

I've got a friend coming over from the States (she had to get her passport, so this is her first real adventure outside America) at the end of January (22nd - 28th). The last visit I had from an American all went VERY wrong, but I know Lindsay is of a much higher calibre than the previous visitor, so please don't be afraid!

At the moment, I'm putting together a list of things for her to see and do. Here's what I've got so far:

  • Edinburgh castle
  • Botanic gardens
  • a visit to Glasgow. I count that as my 'home city', and it is a very nice contrast to Edinburgh
  • Ceilidh at the Caley on Saturday night (open invite -- let me know if you are interested in coming along). These are always great fun, plus she'll get to see some real men in kilts.
  • a traditional Scottish pub -- possibly Kay's, but also possibly the Guildford Arms and the Abbotsford (there will be plenty of others, but these are the more traditional ones)
  • a new-school Scottish bar -- I'm thinking Oloroso or Halo (nice pic here)
  • a walk up Arthur's Seat
  • a day coach tour round the highlands (time dependent)
  • a ghost tour
  • the whisky tour
  • bus tour (thanks Rich)
I definitely feel there should be some more historical visits in there, so what am I missing?

Monday January 5 2004 at 13:46 GMT

Today's Apple link comes courtesy of Frank. He points to MacMinute story with details of the live keynote Webcast, tomorrow at 9am PST (5pm GMT).

Monday January 5 2004 at 13:43 GMT

Back in October I mentioned the mPark start in Edinburgh. A report in today's Scotsman indicates the scheme has been a good success, with over 1400 people signing up (you need to register before you can use the system) and over 100 tickets a day being issued via mPark.

Conor -- any comments now? :-)

Monday January 5 2004 at 12:49 GMT [via mobile]

Opening at Tollcross Real Soon Now.

Opening at Tollcross Real Soon Now.

Monday January 5 2004 at 01:02 GMT

This evening I watched K-PAX on DVD. It's a pretty ... lacking film. There is a story there, but its kind of flimsy. I was surprised to see Kevin Spacey in it; I thought he was normally involved with better films than this!

If you've seen the film, there's some interesting discussion on whether Prot was an alien or not on the message boards at the bottom of this page.

Monday January 5 2004 at 00:52 GMT

Channel 4 here in the UK are currently running a kind of speeded-up version of Big Brother, called Shattered. The aim is for the contestants to stay awake for up to 7 days, with GBP 100k for the winner.

I'm annoyed I missed the entry for this -- I could really used 100k, and the challenge ... what challenge! ;-)

Monday January 5 2004 at 00:45 GMT

Last night was fun! I hooked up with Neil for a few beers at one of my super-local (access in under 30 seconds) pubs, then I was invited back to Neil and Ker's house for a tasty roast chicken dinner and some extremely smelly cheese courtesy of the neighbourhood 'monger. Good start.

After a quick change I fired into town to meet Kev and Jim -- I was snowboarding with these guys in 2003. Kev is making his way to a new life in Austria on Friday, and Jim is over from Grenoble for Christmas and New Year. First stop was City Cafe 2 (their site is broken), then we stopped at a new bar called Villager on George IV Bridge (its too new to even have a site, so here is the location). Seemed to be a pretty nice spot -- I'm forecasting a return visit shortly.

At about 1.30am, I headed along to our 'second Hogmanay' party at Jams and Rich's flat. Seeing as several of my friends were working on Hogmanay and also on New Years Day, we traditionally have a party on the 3rd of January. Compared to Hogmanay, this party was quite a bit more chilled out for me, although some others must have been feeling the pain this morning.

Sunday January 4 2004 at 01:46 GMT [via mobile]

Sandy gave me Guinness slippers for Christmas. In case you need a handy hint to remember what I drink...

Sandy gave me Guinness slippers for Christmas. In case you need a handy hint to remember what I drink...

Saturday January 3 2004 at 18:21 GMT

Last week I bought an X-box with Project Gotham Racing 2, to see what the gameplay and Internet play was like. Well, I am able to exclusively reveal that it can be seriously addictive. I'm scared to think how many mornings I've been sitting in the living room at 5am, battling my Porsche 911 around Stockholm, but it is really too many.

I've almost completed the courses (I'm halfway through the 'ultimate' section), but I am now losing interest. The courses are really nicely designed and the attention to detail is incredible (you can see items inside shops, which have the correct shopfronts), but ... now I've seen that, I want to move on. Playing others over the Internet has been fun, but, when it comes down to it, its just like playing some sitting beside me, except I can't talk to them (I didn't splash out on the headset) and I have to keep waiting for them to change the colour of their car.

The X-box Live service seems reasonable, although not really that exciting (or fast). Plus, it costs five pounds a month. Paid to Micro$oft. EEK!

So, I think I'm going to get rid of it. When Gran Turismo 4 finally comes out on the Playstation2, I'm going to take a look at that, but as many will testify, I struggle enough to manage my time. Adding one more distraction is probably not needed!

Saturday January 3 2004 at 17:35 GMT

Grant has jetted off to Japan for Christmas and New Year. During that time, he's taking a short hiatus from updating and has recommended my site as a stand-in.

In honour of Grant, I offer you a few bites from Apple.

Macworld

Macworld Expo is coming around on the 6th of January. In case you had somehow escaped the news (holiday on Mars?), Steve Jobs is expected to announce some smaller iPods -- smaller in disk capacity and cost. I can't help but think these should have been announced before Christmas, to become the hit (groan) of the season. Anyway, they'll be hitting the shops soon, and ensuring the iTunes Store keeps the downloads flowing. Ironically, it seems that a London newspaper has the scoop from Silicon Valley.

Unfortunately, it seems that not all Apple owners are living the happy life...

100 Years of Macintosh

Apparently, zero seconds on the Mac OS system clock is January 1, 1904, making 2004 the MacOS centenary. Happy Birthday!

Thursday January 1 2004 at 23:54 GMT

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good time last night.

Here in Edinburgh, Hogmanay was a washout. I've heard a slightly different version of events to the official one, but as I don't plan to welcome legal action to my life in 2004, I'm not repeating it here. ;-)

We had food and drink at Jams and Rich's, which was a lot of fun. I did pop along to Princes Street briefly, and the whole thing was really a bit sureal not seeing the place packed out with people kissing each other. My head finally hit the pillow at about 7am I think, so today has been kind of quiet. An auspicious start to 2004 indeed.

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