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
More pictures from my phone

Sunday February 29 2004 at 15:25 GMT [via mobile]

The view from my living room. Glorious!

The view from my living room. Glorious!

Sunday February 29 2004 at 15:12 GMT

Today has been pretty good so far. Last night involved a few drinks, including plenty of cocktails, but only a very minor negative effect today. I've had some food and read the paper -- something I rarely manage to do. Added to that, the sun is shining!

One of the stories in today's Sunday Times is about Ewan McGregor's four month long motorbike journey, and includes the following quote which made me laugh: But unlike the original Easy Rider, the film starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as two hippies riding across America, each leg of the journey will be mapped from a state-of-the-art control centre in Shepherd's Bush, west London, equipped with computer screens and satellite navigation.

I'm assuming that the control centre will have computers to go with those screens and won't itself actually be equipped with satellite navigation. That aside, is this really "state-of-the-art"? Surely being able to locate McGregor at any time during his trip via the Web, and viewing live video footage from his bike would be something more appropriate for that accolade. Either that, or some people at the Sunday Times really are stuck in the dark ages.

Friday February 27 2004 at 11:09 GMT

[Update at 14.15 GMT]:

Friday February 27 2004 at 02:36 GMT

[If you're my brother, look away now.]

I've just been putting together a Minidisc of various tunes for my brother. It isn't something I've done for a long long time, but it was fun, even though most of the tracks are directly from one album. Anyway, it got me to thinking that it was a really long time since anyone gave me a random selection of their music for me to listen to. Of course, we're in the digital age now, so I'm wondering if anyone would like to take a browse around my home server and put together a playlist based on the contents therein. According to the server, I have 269 albums with 3507 songs by 207 artists, which should offer you a fairly decent selection to choose from. I'm a sucker for online radio or running the entire collection of songs in random mode, turning up songs long forgotten.

There are several different options for browsing the contents on the left hand side, and when you find a track (or album) to add, click on the grey +. You can then shift tracks up and down using the little arrows in the right hand pane. Save your playlist as your email address, and then I'll know who has contributed. Perhaps I can post the playlist and a way of listening to it online... I'll even offer a prize for the playlist I find most interesting, if I get a few entries.

Please note this is not a free MP3 download-fest, just some fun. Here is the link to the server again. I've set a common username and password to stop google getting involved and to stop any spam potential. The username and password are both my first name in all lower case. If you've got any questions, send me a mail. Have fun!

Wednesday February 25 2004 at 01:08 GMT

Well, it looks like Grey Tuesday has been a success. I'm looking at the number of downloads from my home server, and it seems to be just over 50 at the moment! If you've grabbed the zip from me, please leave a message (anonymously if you prefer), just for my own curiosity.

Tuesday February 24 2004 at 12:24 GMT

Today my site is grey as part of Grey Tuesday, in support of DJ Dangermouse's Grey Album. You can read more in Wired.

You can download the album directly from here or, better yet, torrent it (installers for Windows, Mac and Linux). For one day only, you can download it from my home server in zipped format (67MB).

Monday February 23 2004 at 01:43 GMT

As far as I can tell, Man Dancin' is only showing at the UGC Fountain Park for those based in Edinburgh. Times are 11.55, 2.50, 5.40, 8.20 & 11.05 (Fri/Sat). I'm suggesting either a 5.40 or 8.20 showing on any day apart from Wednesday. Who's in?

Monday February 23 2004 at 01:15 GMT

This weekend has been super quiet, due to a work commitment. I have literally been working with people all around the world -- multiple locations in India, people in London, and multiple locations in Canada and the States. As a result, I feel like I've actually watched quite a lot of TV -- educational TV, though. Tonight I've watched a fantastic re-run of the Rainhill Trials (think Stephenson's Rocket) and at the moment I'm watching Jeremy Clarkson's captivating documentary of Brunel, a part of the Great Historical Britons series. There's even a new channel, of sorts.

I finally managed to get out for a run today, too. Took it pretty gently, but it felt great to be out and exercising. According to Yell I covered 3.14 miles in just under 25 minutes. Ankle feels ... alright.

Apart from dealing with an inordinate amount of spam (I'm seriously considering bouncing all but a few email addresses), that just about wraps my weekend up. Back to work in the morning. Time flies...

Sunday February 22 2004 at 18:26 GMT [via mobile]

One last piece of painting in my kitchen! I\'m using magic paint that goes on pink, but dries white (hopefully!).

One last piece of painting in my kitchen! I'm using magic paint that goes on pink, but dries white (hopefully!).

Sunday February 22 2004 at 12:01 GMT

Some day soon, I'm going to write a handy extension to my blogging software that handles a daily linkage post automagically for me. For now, I'm working by hand.

Sunday February 22 2004 at 11:47 GMT

In about three weeks I'm heading to France for a week of boarding bliss at Serre Chevalier with seven others, several of whom I boarded with last year in Grenoble. The snow conditions are lookin good, too!

Last year I borrowed and hired everything I needed. This year I'm aiming to go slightly better prepared. I got a cool pair of Westbeach Basecamp Atlantis trousers, I've got a jacket and I'm planning to get myself a pair of boots too, especially following the rubbish pair I hired last year, which gave me ... an ankle injury!

To get physically fit for the week, I'm trying to build up my visits to the gym and also get back to some proper running. A brief google found this handy Word document of exercises, which I'm trying to combine with my workouts. Need to get out to Hillend, too. Lots to do!

Friday February 20 2004 at 01:11 GMT

OK, I'll post something real as soon as I've offloaded these links!

Wednesday February 18 2004 at 13:46 GMT

Crazy. I now have a fan site, thanks to the guys at work. Where is the RSS feed?

Wednesday February 18 2004 at 13:42 GMT [via mobile]

It is gorgeous in Edinburgh today. Winter seems like so long ago.

It is gorgeous in Edinburgh today. Winter seems like so long ago.

Wednesday February 18 2004 at 13:38 GMT [via mobile]

When it is an LCD screen of course!

When it is an LCD screen of course!

Tuesday February 17 2004 at 02:04 GMT

Monday February 16 2004 at 13:42 GMT

This guy has built a Windows XP computer inside a Windows XP carboard box.

Monday February 16 2004 at 01:11 GMT

Click here. Perfectly work safe. :-)

Friday February 13 2004 at 20:31 GMT

Following on from the news i had about my heel a week or so back, I went to the hospital today, very kindly transported thanks to Jill.

After a pretty brief wait at the physio department, I was sent along to the x-ray department, who fairly quickly took some snapshots of my ankle and sent me back to the physio department. Then it was time to view the x-rays (no hard copies, I'm afraid; it was all digital, and the doc didn't know how to mail them to me :-( ) and ... I got some good news. The outline of my bone is perfect -- no sign of a stress fracture. Thus, it sems I just had some very bad 'soft tissue' damage. I've been told to gently build my fitness back up, starting with low impact activites, like cycling. Pretty good news, so I'll be kicking my gym regime into shape, and priming myself for boarding in four weeks and hopefully still targetting the Edinburgh Marathon in June. :-)

Friday February 13 2004 at 00:29 GMT

Today was fun. Yes, I did have to work, but I managed to squeeze in lunch with Al, a good friend from university days, and his sister, Kate. After lunch, they were looking for Internet access, and asked where the nearest location was. Guessing at the Starbucks on the corner, they were headed there, when I said ... you could head to the Jolly Judge, buy yourself a drink and enjoy no-cost WiFi. They both looked at me sceptically, and I could just tell they were headed for Starbucks, until I got a call asking for the exact location of the JJ.

Fast forwarding to this evening, when I caught up with them again for a beer and some food. Their first real WiFi experience had been a major success. As soon as the computer had been powered up, it had jumped on to the Internet and they were both seriously impressed. Sitting in a lovely place, with no music blaring and a quality pint to hand, all was well. So well, that Kate is considering adopting it as her second home, assuming the hot chocolate is up to scratch! This is exactly how WiFi should work, with no required technical knowledge to make the connection, and it was superb to know that it was working like that!

The real point of this post was to say how cool it was to see Al again. Lots of things have happened since we really had a few beers and time to catch up, and the opportunity today was certainly not wasted!

Thursday February 12 2004 at 15:02 GMT

Mobitopia posting I've just posted over on Mobitopia about Vodafone's launch today of their 3G datacard. Right now, it is primarily aimed at business laptop users, but they have plans to roll out 3G phones over the next few months. With any luck, this may give Three the kick up the backside they deserve!. Full story here.

Thursday February 12 2004 at 13:41 GMT

Back in the day, the first thing I bought over the Internet was a subscription to listen to the NBA commentary of games online. As a Houston Rockets fan, it was the best way to get coverage of what was going on, and thanks to the fat Internet connection my room at university had, I was all set.

Then I kind of lost interest in the whole thing. Staying up to date required too much effort, and the basketball show on terrestrial TV slowly died off. Rich called me a last week to tell me of a great NCAA (college basketball) game on TV, and I thought I should really see where the Rockets were. Thanks to syndic8, I managed to find a great RSS feed of Rockets information [full listing starts at the bottom of this page], and so now I get my daily basketball dose!

Last night they had a great win against the LA Laker, and they are actually doing not too badly in the Western Conference, despite a few recent losses. Once again, I owe a lot to RSS!

Thursday February 12 2004 at 00:25 GMT

Diego has finally managed to escape the grip of his flat, and sort out some office space for his burgeoning software empire. To be honest, i've never met Diego -- in fact, I've never actually spoken to him, but I've spent a good amount of time on #mobitopia and IMing with him, as well as reading his blog, so when he told us about the office space he had just taken, I wasn't that surprised. It rocks!

Not only is he sharing offices with Media Lab Europe, but his desk phone has an IP address, uses LDAP and even has a tutorial on how to use it. And then we have to talk about the location. Can you say slap-bang-beside-almost-inside the Mighty G factory? The boy's got style.

Thursday February 12 2004 at 00:06 GMT

Last night Rich and I headed to Oloroso, the closest thing I have to a 'local' bar, for a crazy Champagne dinner, hosted by Charles Heidsieck. Jams was meant to have been joining us, but he had a hard weekend and cried off.

The format of the evening was that we would sample five different Champagne's with five different dishes. I forgot to collect a menu before we left, so this is from menu memory. Rich will help me fill in the blanks!

  • starter was montgomery and quince (cheese and quince jelly), with Mis en Cave 1998
  • seared venison with anchovy paste on flat bread, served with Mis en Cave 1996
  • ratte with truffle and mushrooms (potato with truffles and mushrooms -- ugh), served with 'Champagne Charlie Cuvee' Vintage 1985 (this was definitely my favourite -- pretty dry and totally delicious)
  • lamb stovies with spinach (beautifully cooked lamb and some very tasty crushed & mashed potato, with spinach), with Mis en Cave Rose 1996
  • ginger ice-cream with gingerbread, served with Mis en Cave 1990
Alexandra, Charles Heidsieck's International Brand Ambassador (nice job, great title) gave us some tasting thoughts before we tried each Champagne, and it was fabulous to really taste the difference between them. I'm going to try to track down a bottle of the 1985 for some special occasion, although not one when there are too many other people with me!

The dinner and Champagne cost us forty pounds each, which both Rich and I felt was good value. The food was very good, and the Champagnes were excellent. Looking forward to the next occasion already!

Tuesday February 10 2004 at 20:44 GMT [via mobile]

At crazy Charles Heidsieck organised Champagne dinner. The 96 is so much nicer than the 98!

At crazy Charles Heidsieck organised Champagne dinner. The 96 is so much nicer than the 98!

Tuesday February 10 2004 at 10:44 GMT

My friend Jenny, who has jetted off to Australia for a while, has a film she was involved in called Man Dancin' released on the 20th of February in the UK. Anyone fancy going to see it?

Sunday February 8 2004 at 20:35 GMT [via mobile]

The Orange shop on Princes St is being refurbished at present, ahead of Orange kicking off 3G trials (according to news on the unofficial wires ;-) ).

The Orange shop on Princes St is being refurbished at present, ahead of Orange kicking off 3G trials (according to news on the unofficial wires ;-) ).

Sunday February 8 2004 at 12:50 GMT

Time for some local news, gleaned as I cleared out my aggregator:

Sunday February 8 2004 at 01:03 GMT

I'm not entirely sure what is going on, but the weather in Edinburgh seems to be even crazier than normal just now. This morning we awoke to a brisk breeze and perfect blue skies, then I went to the gym, came back out and the skies were heavy and threatening. About two minutes later, we had snow swirling around, and at the moment there are a few inches lying on the ground. Global warming, or just Scottish weather?
[Update at 12.29pm GMT}: The Scotsman has also noticed the crazy weather.

Friday February 6 2004 at 02:50 GMT

Each day I get a few newsletters by email. Quaint, yes, but the sites I'm referring to don't do RSS (yet). Little by little, however, I've been moving them over to feed directly into my Bloglines account, using the fabulous email to RSS functionality. If only I could share the feed, I'd be laughing! It is another superb move by the Bloglines people, allowing me to live the future of email today.

Thursday February 5 2004 at 00:28 GMT

I have this funny feeling that Yahoo! are about to take off again. As former rulers of all things search, they've taken a serious beating at the hands of google, but I'm predicting 2004 will be their comeback year. Time for a punt?

Wednesday February 4 2004 at 11:56 GMT

Today I was back at FASIC, speaking to a sports doctor -- my physio had wanted a second opinion, given that my foot remained so painful. To meet the doctor, my foot decided to swell quite badly overnight, which was nice.

After a quick chat and an examination, the doctor has pretty much confirmed that I do not have a damaged tendon. Instead, it appears I have actually stress-fractured the bone. I've now got to wait until a week on Friday before it can be x-rayed, and I'll then have a further 4 to 6 weeks of minimal load bearing activity on my foot. Definitely no running this weekend, and, if the x-ray confirms his suspicions, no running in Perth on the 21st either. Did I mention I'm off to France for a week of snowboarding in March? :-(

It has taken all my effort not to fill this post with profanities, so I'm signing off now, whilst I'm still winning.
[Update at 15.25 GMT]: Jim passed me a handy link to rate my swearing thoughts.

Tuesday February 3 2004 at 15:54 GMT

Haynes, the company that sells car maintenance manuals, has an interesting addition. Couple it with this gym workout for maximum benefit. ;-)

Meanwhile, it looks like Paisley may be about to get a topless barber shop. Crazy.

Tuesday February 3 2004 at 01:37 GMT

I'm not about to enter a political debate on the next democratic candidate in the States, but this article about Joe Trippi (Howard Dean's ex-campaign manager) is a good read.

Tuesday February 3 2004 at 00:27 GMT

There's been a slight lull in my curent running updates, you may have noticed. If you've seen me hobbling about, you'll know it is not something I'm enjoying.

About 10 days ago, when Lindsay arrived, I ran over 15km, at the end of which I felt tired, but pretty good mentally and physically. I forgot to consult my heel, though. As it turns out, it wasn't very happy with me doing all that repeated squashing of it, so it decided to stop me doing much more for a while -- in fact, it even decided to wake me up in the middle of the night, just to remind me who was the boss. I've managed to hurt (mangle/tear/squash/stretch/bruise) the tendon in my heel. Thankfully NOT my achilles tendon, but I think it is my peroneal tendon (I'll check). I've had a pretty painful time of it -- for some reason, lots of fluid started gathering in my foot, swelling it, and then hardening, giving me quite some pain.

I've had two appointments with a physio at FASIC, the Fitness(?) and Sports Injury Clinic, attached to Edinburgh University but I still have considerable pain at times. On Wednesday I have an appointment with one of the doctors, just to verify I haven't fractured my ankle bone (tests thus far look OK, but my physio wants to double check).

All this is really frustrating, more than anything. My training had been carefuly incremented, and every time I ran, I was extremely careful not to overdo it. My warm-up and cool-down were always done, and I had socks and shoes fit for the purpose. Typically, now that I had found something I enjoyed doing and felt I could improve at, my body stops me. Maybe I am destined for even more hours in front of a computer screen... Still, I should be back running soon. This coming weekend was meant to be my first race for my club, but I can't see that happening now. In my mind, I still hope to run at the last cross-country race of the season in Perth, but I'll need to take advice on whether that is going to happen or not. Bah!

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