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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


Thursday December 30 2004 at 02:55 GMT

Forest Hills panorama

The Girl invited me to a small family get-together at Forrest Forest Hills last week. We had a fun time, even as a storm raged outside and took out the power overnight. The view from our room overlooking Loch Lomond Ard the following morning was just beautiful, depsite some cloud and rain. You can enjoy it too, thanks to the joy of digital photography!

Thursday December 30 2004 at 02:11 GMT

If you use Firefox, check out what Frank is recommending to speed things up. Seems to work for me, or at least give the impression everything is happening faster!

If you're not using Firefox, WAKE UP and get the download happening. You should also snag Thunderbird for email. Both are now 1.x releases following quite an incubation process, and are very solid and a genuine please to use. Need reasons to change? Follow the links to the products, and you will be persuaded.

Wednesday December 29 2004 at 21:21 GMT

Unless you're literally living on Mars, you'll have seen, heard and read plenty about the devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Asia. Practically, there probably isn't too much you can do to help, but you can assist with cash.

The Disaster Emergency Commitee, which seems to be some kind of government of charity umbrella group (their about page is broken), are accepting donations, although their page seems to be broken for giving, too. The British Red Cross are happy to take money though, so you could try there.

[Update on 30th December @ 1.26am GMT]: I just noticed that the DEC site is proudly supported by a certain British telecoms company, and yet it is still timing out...

Wednesday December 29 2004 at 21:09 GMT [via mobile]

As always, my parents put together a feast. As always, I ate a lot!

As always, my parents put together a feast. As always, I ate a lot!

Sunday December 26 2004 at 03:06 GMT [via mobile]

A strange thing happens when chilli cheese comes close to me: it starts disappearing, and fast! I blame the mice...

A strange thing happens when chilli cheese comes close to me: it starts disappearing, and fast! I blame the mice...

Sunday December 26 2004 at 02:49 GMT [via mobile]

I\'m back home for Christmas, and we\'ve have snow on the ground, as well as flurries all afternoon.

I'm back home for Christmas, and we've have snow on the ground, as well as flurries all afternoon.

Sunday December 19 2004 at 23:49 GMT [via mobile]

The tree looked so good, I just had to have a video of it. Nice Mudhoney backing music, too. MP4 video [Need help to see the video?]

Sunday December 19 2004 at 23:45 GMT [via mobile]

The Girl and I put our festive efforts together and, 
after hauling a 7 foot tall tree from Leith Walk on my shoulder, this is the end result. 
It totally rocks!

The Girl and I put our festive efforts together and, after hauling a 7 foot tall tree from Leith Walk on my shoulder, this is the end result. It totally rocks!

Thursday December 16 2004 at 00:31 GMT [via mobile]

Pete steals his son\'s own hat ... which no longer fits quite like it did.

Pete steals his son's own hat ... which no longer fits quite like it did.

Thursday December 16 2004 at 00:00 GMT [via mobile]

We had a small group dinner at the Raj on the Shore last night.  Quality food, and 
excellent beer (Tikka Gold).  We ended the night at the Lighthouse, where they are 
offering pole dancing classes.  Classy.  Apparently the place was just firebombed, too.

We had a small group dinner at the Raj on the Shore last night. Quality food, and excellent beer (Tikka Gold). We ended the night at the Lighthouse, where they are offering pole dancing classes. Classy. Apparently the place was just firebombed, too.

Tuesday December 14 2004 at 17:20 GMT

Millau Bridge

Today the Millau Bridge was opened in the Massif Central in France. It looks absolutely incredible. Engineering sometimes just looks SO breathtaking.

Monday December 13 2004 at 13:30 GMT

My weekend was very quiet and relaxing, although it wasn't really meant to be. Friday I looked after my Godson and his brother. Saturday was meant to be running in Stirling, but I was so knackered from a long week at work, and my knees were not feeling 100%, so I didn't make it. Only left the house late on, had dinner at Eighty Queen Street with The Girl (good food although the lamb was nowhere near as tender as Rich can make, excellent company, no jazz...) then a few quiet pints with Jams at Iglu, which is potentially going to become my new local. Great (quality) music, nice atmosphere, cool people -- nothing like the review makes out. They've also got free wireless, should I need my fix...

Sunday was very relaxed too, with free dinner at the Living Room. I'm not a huge fan of a) chain restaurants; b) the Living Room itself, following several dinners there, but it was good. Our food was very tasty, and service was good. Potentially I could be persuaded to go back. We then had a few drinks at Iglu. When we first arrived, there were four other people, enjoying some relaxation. Then, all of a sudden, somewhere in the region of 3000 people entered, all already somewhat inebriated. It turned out to be the All Bar One staff Christmas party, and seeing the staff reminded me why I'm not a fan of there either. One of the guys in the original group, did some incredibly funny impersonations of the ABO staff. Quality laugh.

Friday December 10 2004 at 03:35 GMT [via mobile]

Three years ago, almost to the day (19th December), I had ADSL installed. That 512k service has handled my home data needs admirably since, but recently there was a nagging feeling in my mind that I just wasn\'t keeping up. Last week the connection was upgraded to 1Mb, only for BT, and Zen, to announce 2Mb availability. This morning that need speedbump occurred. Nice. At 45 pounds a month, it is actually less than I was paying all that time ago for a slower connection. Technology,eh...

Three years ago, almost to the day (19th December), I had ADSL installed. That 512k service has handled my home data needs admirably since, but recently there was a nagging feeling in my mind that I just wasn't keeping up. Last week the connection was upgraded to 1Mb, only for BT, and Zen, to announce 2Mb availability. This morning that need speedbump occurred. Nice. At 45 pounds a month, it is actually less than I was paying all that time ago for a slower connection. Technology,eh...

Thursday December 9 2004 at 01:55 GMT

Part of the last.fm fun is that it gives recommendations to you of artists to check out -- essentially 'it' is learning from all the different members about who likes what and what else they like. For the first time I had a look at my 'recommended' page, and it is pretty spot on. Based on the tiny sample I've given it, the albums it thinks I've missed, I've actually got. They're the core of my collection, almost. My playlist definitly needs some more electronica (and last.fm needs to recognise it, too), and *then* I'll be interested to see what it's advising me!

Thursday December 9 2004 at 01:48 GMT

Thursday December 9 2004 at 01:40 GMT

Weekends are normally pretty busy and I've been slack about updating. Here, more for my benefit than anything else, is what I've been up to:

Three weekend ago...

  • not too much happened. The Girl and I had a lazy time, I think. Did we? Memory. Like. Sieve.

In between, I was persuaded to see Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. It was ... alright. We didn't visit the usual cinema, and even being in gold class just wasn't anything like the experience at the Dominion. Much to be said for staying local!

Two weekends ago...

  • Friday was a works night out to All Bar One, Firkin and finally Fingers (don't ask). I wasn't really in the mood though, and should seriously have stayed at home.
  • Saturday was considerably better. The Girl and I had a lazy day, then dined out at Calistoga, the only Californian restaurant in Edinburgh. I had plans for a bigger review of the place, but looking at the backlog I currently have, it's just not going to happen, so here goes. The place is small, and cosy, but not in a bad way. The menu is not extensive, but it covers a good selection of items, and it wasn't difficult to pick out very tasty dishes. The wine list was good, too. Service was excellent, and done with a smile. Overall, it was a very good meal, however ... I didn't leave feeling that full (OK, so when do I...) and the bill was slightly higher than I would have expected. That said, it's always good to see something different, and doing it well. The Sunday Times reviewed it the same weekend we were there.
  • after leaving Calistoga, we went for cocktails at the Scotsman Brasserie, which left us both feeling pretty icky. No more visits there. Added to which, we had to trudge home in the Edinburgh rain.
  • on Sunday, I was running in Kirkcaldy. Quite literally, it was unbelievably hard work, however I did manage a time of 47 minutes for 9.64km. No record, however when you are running up and down hilly fields through mud several inches deep, you're not going to move that fast either!
  • The Girl and I watched School of Rock, which was a pretty good laugh. The Girl even stayed awake through it all, which automatically gives it a GOOD++ rating.

Last weekend...

  • Friday was staying in, late dinner following late working. The Girl finally decided to get broadband, and naturally required wireless. All on her own. Without prompting. At all. ;-)
  • Saturday involved meeting my gorgeous Godson and his family, freshly back from sunnier climes, to the Winter Gardens for fun on the silly rides, and then late dinner at Muang Thai. Prompted by images of my brother in tears with steam coming out his ears, from years ago (ask him about it), I played it cautious and didn't order up the SPICY food. Obviously I didn't want to play it too carefully though, so I had kind of spicy dishes. I left with a good bead on the forehead...
  • Sunday was spent very lazily, with plenty of eating.

Phew, it's been a busy few weeks, and they're just getting busier.

Thursday December 9 2004 at 00:32 GMT

For some reason I couldn't get the Audioscrobbler plugin for XMMS to work properly on my Fedora core box. It just kept losing the password, thus no login.

I had been trying to edit the config file and enter my password in clear text, but I saw somewhere it needed to be in Md5 format. Thanks to some l33t Python coding from dwlt, a quick Md5 script was knocked together, the password pasted directly into the config file, and all was good (I could not paste directly into the plugin, as it then decided it would Md5 encode it...

Anyway, if you find yourself in the same stickiness, try that. Word to Dave for his hax0r skillz. My last.fm profile is being nicely updated as I listen in my living room from my home MP3 machine.

Wednesday December 8 2004 at 18:04 GMT

Here are the instructions:

  1. Open up the music player on your computer.
  2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
  3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
  4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. Thatís right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. Itís time for total musical honesty. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
  5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You donít have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if youíd like.

Hereís my list:

  1. Smashing Pumpkins - Dancing in the Moonlight
  2. R.E.M. - New Test Leper
  3. Mercury Rev - The Happy End (The Drunk Room)
  4. Pixies - Velouria
  5. Praga Khan - Injected With A Poison
  6. Nick Warren - Art of Silence - Giant Within
  7. Stephen Malkmus - Sex Life of Robinson Crusoe pt 2
  8. DJ Krush - 85 Loop
  9. Yo La Tengo - Little Eyes

Continuing the meme: dwlt, Jim, Diego, Erik, Ewan and Gustaf.

Monday December 6 2004 at 16:30 GMT

After many, many years in Edinburgh for New Year, I'm making a break with tradition and heading to Dublin with The Girl. We're flying directly over on Friday 31st morning, until the 2nd of January, staying right in the middle of Dublin (although, from what I understand, that's pretty much ALL of Dublin).

On the list of things to do so far, apart from the bells at midnight, are to finally meet Diego, assuming he hasn't been snapped up by some smart company on the other side of the world, visit the Guinness brewery and taste a few pints, and possibly check out Kilmainham Jail where part of the original Italian Job was filmed. Further suggestions of things to do/not do would be warmly welcomed. Please leave a comment!

Monday December 6 2004 at 00:32 GMT

Friday December 3 2004 at 18:43 GMT [via mobile]

Netgear supplies me!

Netgear supplies me!

Friday December 3 2004 at 10:40 GMT

OK, so I know this isn't brand new, but everyone I spoke to was strangely impressed. From your mobile (this has just started working on Orange phones, but was likely there on other networks for a while), you can send a text message to a UK (I didn't try anywhere else) landline. Whilst the service is run by BT, it seems to work to landlines from any network.

Following a little trumpet fanfare, the message is read out by a female computer voice. Neato. There doesn't seem to be any way to respond to it, but that would be a pain on a normal phone anyway. As far as I know, the cost is a as for a normal SMS. How many cunning uses of that can YOU think of?

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